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September 10, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 198 – Filling Up and Spilling Over

mmm…doesn’t that look refreshing?

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Are you a lesbian? Have you ever been a lesbian? Well Holly Near was. Singer, songwriter and activist, she was a lesbian-feminist in the heady, crazy days of early gay and women’s liberation. In the 70s she sang with the prolific and talented ladies of Olivia Records; with the likes of Cris Williamson , Meg Christian, and Teresa Trull.  Olivia Records eventually stopped producing lesbian-feminist music and morphed into a cruise line and travel company. Oh and Holly Near herself morphed into a heterosexual.

Today’s show is about the Olivia Travel company. During a recent trip to Ottawa, we had the pleasure of dinner with some friends of our travel companions who live there. Talk turned to what it was like to holiday in a resort exclusively for women. Also mentioned, in case you don’t know her, is the comic Karen Williams who has worked as a comedy writer, host of In the Life, and featured in the documentary We’re Funny That Way. Marga Gomez, as part of the resort entertainment, was also on the trip. Other Musicians Mentioned: Carole Pope, Kevin Staples.  Other Artists Mentioned: General Idea, A.A.Bronson.  Lezebrities Mentioned: Rosie O’Donnell

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August 5, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 196 – Pride 2011 – An Interview…or Two

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Dina Paige explains SIS (Photo by Ninja)

At 1:20am on the morning of Saturday June 28, 1969, police entered a Mafia run gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. It is still located at 51 and 53 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village New York. The police had raided the establishment countless times before to take their payoffs. It appears that the combination of delays getting patrol wagons to the site, police mis-communications, and undoubtedly, a growing sense of frustration with the constant raids, a riot broke out on the street, amid crys of “Gay Power”, against the police. Michael Fader, quoted by David Carter in the book Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, explained:

We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn’t anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration…. Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us…. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.   (source: Wikipedia)

This period in American history also coincided with other civil and social movements of the time, including the African-American civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s and the anti-war movement. The riots lasted for the next six days. It stands as a marker and pivotal moment when the gay liberation movement in North America came of age. Since that year, the last weekend of June has been a weekend of choice for Gay Pride parades, the world over. During the 1970s, Toronto had over the years various events to mark gay pride, but in 1981, after the Toronto bathhouse raids by police where 306 men were arrested, Lesbian and Gay Pride day was incorporated and Toronto’s first official celebration occurred on Sunday June 28.

This year the parade – known simply in Toronto now as “Pride” or the “Pride Parade” was held on July 3 during the Canada Day and American July 4th long weekend. The first year since 1981 that Pride Day wasn’t held on the last Sunday of June was in 2010 when the G20 summit literally closed down the Toronto core during the last week of June. Now it seems that between the city and the Pride Committee, the decision stands to hold it on the long weekend in July, a move that barely conceals the money making, tourism, and commercial nature of the week long Pride festivities.

I am not alone in feeling this way among Toronto queers, but we all don’t feel that way either as CP tells me in today’s show recorded during the pride weekend this year. I should apologize to CP because she might actually wished I referred to her as SP. So…sorry about that SP. D’oh. In today’s show I also talk to Dina Paige, a woman who has created the S.I.S. or the Sexuality Identification System. Using different categories, I can chart my level of femaleness, maleness or gender ambiguity that show where on the gender spectrum I define myself. I spend a few minutes talking to her about that. Enjoy the show.
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HotFRM 196 (16mb)

July 30, 2011

This Just In: Science Explains Evil – The Media Assures Me So

In the aftermath of the horror that took place in Norway recently, the headline on the Globe and Mail print version today reads:  Can Science Really Explain Evil?   Doesn’t that seem just a bit sarcastic to you?  It did to me.  Let’s have a look at that statement – shall we?   First of all the statement belies an underlying assumption about science as an authority that makes you sit up and ask challengingly, “Yeah? Can they?”  Note that I did not write it. I wrote they. That is because here is another assumption:  That science represents a group of people rather than a system of knowledge.  Now let’s imagine that I am ultra-religious.  Or even a little bit religious. Or even religious in a tiny way ; in a way that has been unexamined, say the type of faith you have in a belief that you have never bothered to question. Like Christmas: good; Ramadan: makes me feel funny and uncomfortable.  In this case the belief is:  There is a group of people called scientists that arrogantly believe they can solve the mystery of life, the universe and everything (to turn a phrase).  Oh and by the way these stuck up geeks think I caused global warming.   This ingrained belief in the truth of what a scientist really is leads me to the next question:  If science can’t explain evil, what can?  What is the next choice?  Oh!  Maybe faith?  Maybe religion?  It doesn’t matter. The question is the hook that makes you buy the paper.   If you’re a skeptic like me, the last thing you want to do is fork out the coin.  Instead I went to the internet version and read the associated article.  Nowhere in the article is there any implication or certainty that science has the answer to this pseudo-authoritative question.  I’ll repeat it again – just in case you forgot : Can Science Really Explain Evil?  Who said science ever did?   There is only discussion of neuroscience and psychology.   In fact one of the more banal statements that is made in the article is that the scientist, who is representing the complexity of this question, reveals that empathy is on a spectrum and that “The spectrum approach reminds us that none of us are angels and none of [us] is the devil [sic] …”  Well.  Thank you so much for that gem of wisdom. Now I understand everything.   You may be wondering as I did, why there is no mention of that other discipline that explores the problems of our day known as philosophy.   Oh, but in the article, there is.  It is explained that the scientist’s “…investigations are more practical than philosophical”.   It seems to me – call me a little out of it – that neuroscience and psychology, being rather young disciplines, ought not to have been called upon to explain the question of acts as disturbing and vile as the recent events in Norway.   Philosophy is wanting because, well, it’s difficult to distill and present the difficult concepts to a layperson – especially when, as a writer, you are trying to make deadline to keep the paper afloat in these times of yellow journalism.  And anyway – philosophy is way beyond what most of us can handle in the age of quick sounds-bites and headlines delivered to our already overflowing inboxes.

Was the media ever anything more than yellow journalism?   That’s a good question to ask too.  And mostly I want all of us to ask a lot of questions.

May 22, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 194 – New York is Just Like Toronto With More Stuff

NYC Ground Zero May 6 2011 (Photo by Special K)

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A New Concept in Fast Food (Photo by Ninja)

This month Special K and I took our friends Dragon and Fly to New York. Fly had never been there and it had been many years since Dragon had. In today’s segment, we visit an interesting restaurant for breakfast called 4Food – the purpose of which is to de-junk fast food. We run into many French tourists. The aim that day was to visit to Ground Zero the day after Obama visited on May 5, 2011. Surprisingly we were stopped by a journalist who interviewed us for Swiss Public Radio about 9/11. Bit of a switch for Ninja.  We also find out that there is a huge French community in New York. We talk about the movie Winter’s Bone and a class of humanity that are sometimes, but not often, represented in movies. Other movies discussed: Pulp Fiction, Deliverance, The Fly.  Food mentioned:  Pressed rice patties. Television Shows referred to:  Modern Family.  Broadcasters mentioned:  Swiss Public Radio, The CBC.

Links:  http://midtownlunch.com/   http://www.facebook.com/4food?sk=notes

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February 13, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 192 – The End of The World is Nigh

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“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein

What do Canadians do while they are waiting for the end of the world?  Watch hockey of course.  But that doesn’t stop Ninja from engaging her father and nephew in a lively discussion about impending global catastrophe.  But before we get to that, Ninja shares expert information about climate change,  how petroleum is processed, and what is required to support life here and elsewhere in the universe.   Ninja is hoping to soon make the three and half year trip to Jupiter’s moon Europa where scientists think life could exist in our solar system.

Famous people featured: Linda Hunt, Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking, Martin Gardner.    Moons and planets mentioned: Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Io, Europa, Mercury. Places on earth mentioned:  Stratford Ontario, China, Shanghai.

Europa - One of 63 Moons of Jupiter
Europa may be mankind’s only hope.

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January 18, 2011

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 190 – Because I Have a Voice

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A Million Things I'd Like to Say

The movie ‘The King’s Speech’ is based on the book written by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy. Mark Logue is the grandson of Lionel Logue, the titular man who saved that monarchy. Special K argues that in fact it was the Queen Mother, Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, known to his family and intimates as Bertie, who really saved the monarchy.  Lionel Logue was the speech therapist known for enabling King George VI, a lifelong stutterer, to speak confidently, sincerely and as a leader during a time in history when the British Empire needed that leadership most: the dawn and period of World War II. Lionel Logue, in wikipedia, is described as being distinctive in his therapeutic method that emphasized humour, patience and superhuman sympathy.

And this is in great part what makes this movie enduring art in its depth and emotional complexity. Geoffry Rush’s performance completely embodies these three qualities. There is no other way, the movie, convinces us, that he could have helped the king otherwise. A normally mild-mannered man, the film portrays King George VI, played exquisitely and poignantly by Colin Firth, as someone who could erupt in frustrated rage when provoked to face the disability that could make or break royal credibility.  For all the remoteness royality seems to the otherwise common man, this film attempts to show the humanity in all of us through Bertie and the heartwarming affection between him, his wife, the Queen Mother, his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret and his lifelong bond with his speech therapist.

Links:  Lionel Logue George VI Stuttering is Cool The King’s Speech

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November 28, 2010

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 188 – Coffee with Tyffanie

Beer Chicken

On a lazy rainy Sunday afternoon in November, Ninja calls Tyffanie Morgan (of Breakfast With Tyffanie). She hails from Kingston, Canada, has been a host of the Kingston’s Gender Bender community radio show, and speaks from time to time on social media.

While Ninja sips her delicious coffee, they discuss the subtleties of cooking beer can chicken on the grill, gardening, yard vermin, gender bending, musicals, queer politics, have the requisite meta-talk about podcasting, social media and Podcasters across Borders. There may or may not spoilers in this show about Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. She didn’t specify which kind of beer she used for her chicken. Broadway Shows mentioned: Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Classic Canadian Plays mentioned: Hosanna. Canadian small towns mentioned: Picton. Iconic Gay Music mentioned: Madonna, ABBA, Disco Podcamps mentioned: Podcasters Across BordersPodcamp Toronto

Other Links

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/cuirette

http://www.rabble.ca/

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Hosanna by Michel Tremblay

Tyffanie's Podcast (when she posts)

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September 20, 2010

First the Bad News

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Ninja @ 2:41 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you have any idea what fossil fuels provides us?   Here is a rundown:

  1. 10 calories of fossil fuels are required to produce every 1 calorie of food eaten in the US
  2. Pesticides
  3. Commercial Fertilizers
  4. Automobiles, Tractors, Trailers, Trucks
  5. Airplanes
  6. The buildings in which and the tools from which other products like appliances are made
  7. Natural gas
  8. Diesel Fuel
  9. Jet Fuel
  10. Propane
  11. Gasoline
  12. Microchips
  13. Computers
  14. The Internet
  15. Asphalt
  16. Concrete
  17. Highways
  18. Modern Cities (1 ton of cement requires 45 gallons of oil or 420 pounds of coal or 4.7 million BTUs of energy)
  19. Discovery and extraction of copper, aluminum, uranium, and platinum. (A good sized aluminum plant uses as much power as a city of 175,000 people.)  (1 ton of copper requires 17.8 barrels of oil)
  20. In the production of Solar panels
  21. In the production of Electricity
  22. In the production of wind energy
  23. In the production of nuclear energy
  24. In the production of biofuels (soybeans and corn)
  25. All Plastics
  26. Paint
  27. Astroturf
  28. Tires (Synthetic Rubber)
  29. Latex
  30. Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic
  31. Vinyl
  32. Styrofoam
  33. Naugahyde
  34. Formica
  35. Candle Wax
  36. ASA painkiller
  37. Cosmetics including Hand Lotion, Hair Dye, Lipstick, Blush, Eyeliner, Eyeshadow
  38. Food Colouring (coal tar)
  39. Soapless Detergents use a petrochemical called glycerin
  40. Petroleum Jelly
  41. Deoderant
  42. Rubbing Alcohol
  43. Heart Valves, Artificial Limbs
  44. Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyurethane
  45. Fake fur
  46. Plexiglass
  47. Bubble gum

I’m thinking that’s enough. One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline (from RankinEnergy.com ). The rest is used to make items like the ones listed above.


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