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This is Summer?

This is Summer?

I just caught a little back and forth on the CBC with a Canadian meteorologist. He said across Ontario, July is four degrees (Celsius!) cooler than normal. He also said Nunavut has been warmer, on average, than Toronto lately.

You know Nunavut. On most maps, it’s the perma-white band of northern Canada, next door to Greenland. They recorded three centimeters of snow there over the past 24 hours.

“In B.C., they’ve had too much summer, in the Prairies there are places that haven’t had enough summer, and here we haven’t had any,” said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips, from his Toronto office.

WRONG < – Click ME

What is going on with the Summer?  When I was up north visiting my Parents this weekend I found it to be tolerably humid and nice, instead of the constantly cool and easy to cold and crappy that is prevalent here in London.  So what’s up with the weather?

There really are some racist bastards out there

According to parents and students in Greg Howard’s seventh-grade social studies class, Howard on Friday, Sept. 26 asked the class a question regarding Obama’s call for change, and proceeded to write out what the letters C-H-A-N-G-E stood for.

“She told me that he wrote on the board ‘Can You Help A (expletive) Get Elected, and then laughed about it,” said Shelia Christian, a mother of one of Howard’s students.

Marianna teacher ‘told students what ‘CHANGE’ stood for’

As if this isn’t enough;  this comment was added:

Posted by ( leroy ) on October 03, 2008 at 9:00 am



The Teacher was trying to make a joke (if the facts are presented correctly) a poor joke that might have been accepted from the mouth of a comedian, but not to a bunch of middle-school kids, right?  That being said, if the semi-anonymous comments on the article are accurate, the teacher in question (Greg Howard) has been making loaded comments for a while now, while protected by the complacency of the school administration.

Myself, I’m not outraged, people say stupid crap all the time and laugh or tell inappropriate jokes, that’s the way of the world.  I don’t think any one group is inferior to me because of how or to whom the are born; but I will certainly crack jokes at the expense of an individual or a group based on stereotypes, that’s kind of how humor works.  Fat people like to eat, Hard Core Christians are willfully ignorant, smart people are nerdy and so on.   Broad stereotypes form the foundation of some humor and I can’t condemn anyone for using them for humor’s sake.  I can’t, however, condone slurs for the sake of a joke, especially to kids.

So Greg, I don’t envy you, you’ve put your foot right in your mouth, it’s time to either face the music and step down or weather the storm (if you can) and work for forgiveness. However, if you have an axe to grind with Obama, and this is how you express it; you probably deserve what’s coming.

From a web article the looks like parody about Toby Keith Backing Obama:

PAarmyWife See Profile I’m a Fan of PAarmyWife permalink

Toby Keith is a country singer with an extreme conservative base. I just came from his concert tonight and just stumbled upon this possible fact that Keith supports Obama. IF this is true, and a big IF, he can be certain that backs will turn and it’s possible he will lose some of the very fan base he has created over the past few years built upon conservative principles. My husband is a military man and is not very fond of country music but has always respected Keith for what he has done for the troops and his outspoken patriotism. This would be a huge disappointment to my family if he was no backing a piece of filth. But then again, to mainstream Hollywood, it’s the “cool thing” to do. I have always assumed Keith was above all the Hollywood hype.

Did she call Obama a piece of filth?

The National Post Fails the "Truthiness" Test

In the past, we’ve been hard on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In many cases, our criticism of the Ceeb’s left-wing editorial stances has resulted in run-ins on these pages with such senior corporate executives as former CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman. These dust-ups have provided spirited entertainment for readers, but they have also served a serious purpose: Canadians who disagree with the world-view of CBC editors and reporters should not be forced, through their tax dollars, to subsidize our public broadcaster’s unremitting attack on conservative ideas they hold dear.

No Byline Opinion Piece in the National Post

I’ve been appreciative in the past of the National Post’s online component, especially their prediliction for publishing a vastly more robust version of the facts in a given story.  Their well-rounded coverage of stories have often allowed their readers a well-informed view of a given subejct.  Bravo.

Then there is their right-wing editorial staff who don’t seem to have the intestinal fortitude to sign a byline on their opinion spots.  Why?

I take responsibility for my opinion, why can’t the author of this fox-news snorting one?  It’s all well-and-good to love the Americans and their right-wing politicians, but you should put your name on your work, right?

Sucked in by Bad Fact-Checking

She’d lie in bed while on the other end of the line he played Halo 3 on the Xbox, and they’d go for hours like that, with Rob whispering about his shitty childhood and his fickle mother as he mowed down virtual enemies on the screen.

The Phrase that killed a whole article for me

Everyone will remember me as a monster

If you want to include some color about your subject, make it facts, not plain fallacy.  Halo 3 came out in 2007, this phrase was about a time period on or around late 2006 – mid 2007.  While it is possible that it’s about September, I don’t think it is.

Little details like this kill these long “story-style” narriative pieces in newsmagazines, it’s small and easily overlooked, but since the devil is in the details, how many other details are misquotes or possible prosaic fabrications?

Here’s the quote that confirms my suspicion about the time-frame (it comes later in the article)

It was in this tenuous position that he reached out one last time to his mother. Last September, just as he had two years earlier, he picked up the phone and called her out of the blue.

He had been with his GF for a while, he was feeling depressed so he called his mom, mid september, before the release of Halo 3. It’s a minor point, but still. Gah!

All of that being said, the comments on the article really missed the point; this kid and the kids like him could have been stopped/saved if the people around them had just understood them a bit better.  I don’t know if that is true, and the facts presented are suspect at best (and under researched at worst) but I can’t see for a moment that “Rob” is being held up as a hero, if anything he is presented as a wretched, victim who couldn’t look beyond himself for help, but depended totally upon others to get by.

It’s just another opinion peice-cum-narriative that masquerades as journalism.  I’m happy to see someone take an interest in the kid, it’s just too bad it’s post-humously.

What "The Age" says about your Avril Lavigne collection


POP: Conformists, overly responsible, role-conscious, struggling with sexuality or peer acceptance.

HEAVY METAL: Higher levels of suicidal ideation, depression, drug use, self-harm, shoplifting, vandalism, unprotected sex.

DANCE: Higher levels of drug use regardless of socio-economic background.

JAZZ/RHYTHM & BLUES: Introverted misfits, loners.

RAP: Higher levels of theft, violence, anger, street gang membership, drug use and misogyny.

From: Musical key to unlocking teenage wasteland by Kate Benson

I don’t often include the writer credit on these quotes, as I understand that sometimes the writer is just a staff position with no real autonomy or authority; but since Kate Benson is the “Medical Expert” at The Age; I thought I’d leave her name on this as I researched the actual source material, in case I had a nice rebuttal on hand.

For your notes; Felicity Baker is described as thus:

Former Assistant Professor in Music Therapy at Sogn og Fjordane College, Sandane, Norway and holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in music therapy from Melbourne University and a PhD from Aalborg University Denmark. Her primary interests are in the area of music therapy and neurological rehabilitation and in the effects of music on the mood changes within clinical patients.


She holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in music therapy from Melbourne University and a PhD from Aalborg University Denmark. Dr Baker is currently program director for the music therapy training program at The School of Music. She is the editor of the Australian Journal of Music Therapy and serves on the editorial board of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy.

Dr Baker has research interests in music and mood; music preference and diagnosis; songwriting; and music therapy in neurorehabilitation.

I’ve given the paper, and some of the other paper’s authored or co-authored by Ms. Baker a quick once over and found that she has been writing about the effects of music on the human body and mind for some time; long enough I imagine to at least form cogent observations about the matter.  I won’t waste any time on the science of this, as I don’t have the time to break the study down (nor do I have the actual data to draw my own conclusions from).

As anecdotes are not data, what can I; the untrained, unpaid and over opinionated person put forth on this?  I don’t know.  I don’t have an intelligent rebuttal here as I don’t have access to the actual study.  However, I do have access to the actual conclusion put forth by the authors:

Studies have found a relationship between various genres of music and antisocial behaviours, vulnerability to suicide, and drug use. However, studies reject that music is a causal factor and suggest that music preference is more indicative of emotional vulnerability. A limited number of studies have found correlations between music preference and mental health status. More research is needed to determine whether music preferences of those with diagnosed mental health issues differ substantially from the general adolescent population.

Note that money phrase there:

A limited number of studies have found correlations between music preference and mental health status. More research is needed to determine whether music preferences of those with diagnosed mental health issues differ substantially from the general adolescent population.

The limitted sample set of data available prevents conclusive results from being made available; thus we need to study the concept further.

Do you see anything about how Rap Music makes you a mysogynist?  How about Pop music making you Gay?

If you read the objective or thesis and then use the technique of making shit up, you might:

In the aftermath of the double suicide of two teenage girls in 2007, the media linked the themes of ’emo’ music and the girls’ mental state. But it is not just emo music that has been the subject of scrutiny by the media. Rap music, country, and heavy metal have also been blamed for antisocial behaviours including violence, theft, promiscuity and drug use. It remains an important research and clinical question as to whether music contributes to the acting out of behaviours described in the music lyrics or whether the preferred music represents the already existing behavioural tendencies in the subject. This paper surveys and discusses the relevant literature on music preference and adolescent music listening behaviours, and their links with adolescent mental health.

It appears that Kate Benson might have simply created a conclusion without reading the actual results just two inches lower on the same page.

Good work there Journo!  Ms. Benson is probably an opinion writer; and not a journo, but it still seethes my Baby Goats in their mother’s milk when I have to dig so much further for the facts of a sensational story.

More Newswire Crap!

reprinted from: Agencies Help Owners Take In Strangers To Keep Their Homes

”Where we see it being of value is if someone is having short-term problems,” she said. “The average stay of a sharer is about a year, and some are much less. It’s good for someone leaving a marriage or a relationship, or going to school. You can’t count on it as a regular income. It’s a stopgap.”


After counselors from St. Ambrose interviewed Terry and Ongiri, Terry drove to the house where Ongiri was living alongside three men. Right away, Terry said, “I’m like, she don’t need to be living here with three males. I felt as if I could help her, get her out of that area and that living arrangement. I hoped she felt the same way.”

Ongiri said she was relieved to know “I wasn’t going to move in and find the house was in foreclosure or something equally distressing.”

Yes, that “STORY ENDS HERE…” section is in the actual article.  I was looking for more about the subjects of the story and hit a bunch of reprints of the wire.  Why post a story with no further research or at least a care for editing? This is just laziness on the part of the news director/editor from this site.

I went ahead and searched for that phrase on “the google” and hit upon a bunch of sites that just didn’t care enough to edit the newswire.  It’s what passes for “news” I guess, it explains a great deal about how and why people aren’t up on the news and have their opinions formed by Talk Radio and Cable news, doesn’t it?

Poor news reporting sickens me

This certainly looks shocking:

Court overturns father’s grounding of 12-year-old

A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl’s grounding, overturning her father’s punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

According to court documents, the girl’s Internet transgression was just the latest in a string of broken house rules. Even so, Justice Suzanne Tessier found her punishment too severe.

Beaudoin noted the girl used a court-appointed lawyer in her parents’ 10-year custody dispute to launch her landmark case against dear old dad.


This is as detailed as I could get from the general web, I ended up having to search using the Lawyers name to find this article from the National Post:

Quebec girl wins court case over field trip

And while the case is raising some eyebrows, a tangled behind-the-scenes custody battle must be taken into account, said Montreal family law lawyer, Miriam Grassby.

“It’s a very different situation than a child who might appear to not be be happy with the parent’s decision and simply saying ‘I’m going to go court and I’m going to get what I want,” she said. “And if in fact it’s been portrayed that way, it’s not putting in its complex context.


I never thought the day would come that I would be praising the national post (again, I think) but there it is, real context and details that make the whole thing plausible and sane.  There is a behind the scenes fight going on where the daughter has moved back with her mother and there is a battle going on between the two households.  With that context in place, the ruling seems a great deal less shocking.

If one was only to read the light on details story one could easily assume the the courts were subverting the father’s authority over a willful and disrespectful child.  This would send shockwaves through the whole of parentdom, no more punishments.  On Noes!

The truth, as always, is a great deal muddier and requires more reading that most news sources provided. I shouldn’t have to research this crap on my own, I should be handed the facts up front and draw good conclusions, instead I have to treat every headline like it is out to lie to me.  That’s no way to present news guys.