Monday, February 8, 2016

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

Today is the Lunar New Year, so welcome to the Year of the Monkey, everyone! Gung hey fat choy!

What can we expect in a Monkey Year? According to Susan Levitt and Jean Tang in Taoist Astrology:

The Year of the Monkey is a time of courage, action, anarchy, and true devotion to even the wildest of schemes. Success can be attained in business, politics, and real estate. Everyone wants to work the shrewdest angle, get the best deal, and win big. Now is the time to start new endeavors, for they are destined to succeed under Monkey's influence. But woe be to the dull or slow-witted. Monkey will steal all the peanuts and leave nothing but empty shells.

To celebrate this auspicious year, here is my favourite photo of monkeys! They are Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, who live high in the Japan Alps. The most northern-living of all non-human primates, snow monkeys love to relax in the outdoor mountain hot-springs. Look closely at this wintertime photo of a male and female pairing -- do you see their tiny baby who they are sheltering from the elements and keeping warm between them? Only its little eye is peeking out!

[photo from the internet]

And finally -- to guarantee good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year, be sure to exchange a small coin with a friend today -- click here for details of this fun little ritual!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bzzzzy as a Bee

Just a heads up that my blog posts in February will only be appearing sporadically. Well, okay, even more sporadically than usual. Got lots of hive activities to take care of.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Appreciation Day

Many of us thoughtlessly and mercilessly mock the poor Groundhog's weather-forecasting abilities.

But please remember that the poor little bugger has a hard job to do and it's not getting any easier because of shifting weather patterns.

We should be grateful that the selfless Groundhog persists in performing this thankless task. Who would do his job if he didn't? Not the apathetic Honey Badger, that's for goddamn sure --

Or the equally lazy Slothy McSloth.

Beavers already have a full-time job being the national symbol of Canada, so they don't have the time to take on additional duties --

And the job certainly couldn't be done by anyone in the Otter family because they all have short attention spans and anger management issues.

So hug a Groundhog today and thank him for his service!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Imbolc Cyberspace Poetry Slam

Imbolc is once more upon us, the sacred day of the Celtic Goddess Brigid, She Who is the Radiant Flame of Gold, the Summoner of Spring!

And that means it's time again for another Imbolc Cyberspace Poetry Slam! This event has been celebrated for several years now by many pagans around the blogosphere. Everyone posts a favourite poem written by themselves or by another so that, collectively, a vast internet web of poetry is woven to honour Brigid, the Goddess of Poetry.

This year as a special devotional offering, I am posting a traditional Celtic poem of praise to Brigid the Bright, the Goddess Herself, as transcribed by the late, great scholar of the Divine Feminine, Patricia Monaghan.

Brigid, gold-red woman,
Brigid, flame and honeycomb,
Brigid, sun of womanhood,
Brigid, lead me home.

You are a branch in blossom.
You are a sheltering dome.
You are my bright precious freedom.
Brigid, lead me home.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The First Women in Canada to Get the Vote

One hundred years ago today on January 28, 1916, women in my home province of Manitoba became the first in Canada to obtain the right to vote. I like knowing that my grandmother and great-grandmother were legally enfranchised on this date. No longer were Manitoba women classified along with "children, idiots and criminals" as legally incompetent to exercise the central right of citizenship -- the right to vote.

Led by the Political Equality League of Manitoba, a long campaign for female suffrage had been waged throughout the province. But unlike the violence of the British suffrage movement, the vote in Manitoba was won through peaceful means -- pamphlets, lobbying, petitions, public debates and satirical mocking of anti-suffrage arguments.

The long-time Conservative premier of Manitoba, Sir Rodmond Roblin, consistently refused to enact female suffrage, saying it was supported only "by short-haired women and long-haired men." Homophobic slurs have a long history in the fight against feminists and their allies! But once Premier Roblin was turfed from office in a corruption scandal, his Liberal successor Premier Norris promised to enact votes for women if a petition with 20,000 signatures could be produced. The Political Equality League presented him with a petition of 40,000 names and the deed was done.

One of the most prominent members of the Political Equality League of Manitoba was Nellie McClung, a popular author of the time. She later moved to Alberta and became one of the "Famous Five" group of women who successfully sued to have women recognized as "persons" under Canadian law, equal to men.

Saskatchewan and Alberta followed close behind Manitoba in extending suffrage in 1916. It is thought that the prairie provinces were more open to the idea because men understood perfectly well the central role that pioneer women had played in homesteading and settling the west. It was harder to portray women as too inherently weak to engage in society's issues.

Canadian women obtained full voting rights in federal elections in 1918. Quebec women had to wait the longest for the right to vote -- until 1940 -- because of the conservative Catholic Church's unyielding grip on Quebec society.

First Nations women and men could vote only if they legally surrendered their treaty status and rights under the federal Indian Act. This fundamentally unjust condition was not removed until 1960.

And what about "children, idiots and criminals," the other categories of people who were all forbidden to vote a hundred years ago? Following the 1982 enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our courts recognized the voting rights of people living in mental institutions in 1988 and of prisoners in penitentiaries in 2002. So today, only children under the age of majority still remain on the list of those citizens who are legally disentitled to vote.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Liebster Award

Way back in December, two wonderful bloggers -- Anne Marie in Philly of From My Brain to My Mouth and Toni of Wandering and Wondering -- both nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thank you so much, you two! Sorry I had to wait for the hub-bub of the holidays to die down before I could post my appreciation. Thank you even more for your patience!

The award comes with 11 questions to answer. I pass the award on to any of you who want to answer these questions on your own blog!

1. Order or chaos?
I'm all about order, baby. Chaos upsets me. I'm so anal retentive, I even rearranged the order of this set of questions to make them flow more logically.

2. What do you think about social networks?
I'm not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other social network because they are all major time-sucks. Most of my spare time goes to blogging . . . . What?

3. Why did you start blogging?
For the big bucks and international fame, same as everybody else.

4. What is the writing for?
To inflict my random thoughts and reposted cat memes upon an unsuspecting world.

5. Which literary genre do you prefer?
I like novels. Huge, sprawling, seemingly endless novels. Right now I'm reading the Game of Thrones series of (ultimately) seven novels. I'm on Book Two. It's gonna be a loooooong haul.

6. Paper book or e-book?
I prefer to read an actual paper book but if I can't get large enough print for my aging eyes, I go with the e-book version.

7. TV or not TV?
I watch certain select, cherished programs. And lotsa news because I'm a masochist.

8. Where would you like to live?
In a pineapple under the sea. No, wait, that's Spongebob.

9. Starry sky or sunset?
I love a big starry sky at night but with urban light pollution in the city, it's easier to see a sunset.

10. Favourite food?
Anything bad for me that I'm not supposed to eat.

11. Favourite music genre?
Good music is good music, no matter the genre. I love ALL kinds of music. As a special treat, I'm going to end this post with my current favourite song, S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats --