How to Protect My Handsome, Gentle Sons from Domineering Women


Times sure have changed.
At least here in the West. My wife, Pam, is thrilled and excited to have three young boys turning into young men. And so am I, of course.

But she’s worried for them: because they’re boys. Because they’re nice, handsome, gentle boys. She’s afraid some domineering woman is going to snatch them up and overpower them completely.

Because when she looks around that’s all she sees: wimpy, haunted, confused, yes-dear type men being (metaphorically) led around by the earlobe by strong, dominant women.

One of my boys’ future girlfriends? (

Mind you, she works in the television news business; and there are quite a few tough-cookie chicks in that racket. I go to her work parties and it’s hard not to draw an across-the-board generalization: when the girls say “jump” their menfolk say (in whiny, nasally, groveling tone): “Yes, dear, through which hoop, dear?”

There’s quite a bit of truth to this observation, too, when it comes to my neighbourhood. In the park and around the area. The women glowering, complaining, cracking the whip. The men yelping and jumping up to do their bidding.

Is this the future? Or has it always been thus? Please discuss. But she’s infected me with her fear, though; and now I’m wondering if I should start coaching my boys to be tougher, meaner more cold-hearted bastards when the women come flocking.

Because they’re quite handsome—oh, wait, I said that already.

In the meantime, I’m searching for the exact right grade 7 for my oldest, Nick. It’s scary, a scary responsibility! For the first time ever, really, his fate is at a crossroads. Which fork should he take? At age 11, the horrible, terrible life-long onus of having to make choices begins.

I hate having to make choices and wish I could protect him from ever having to do so. But I have no choice in the matter.

At first I sought his input on this one. Then he revealed that the reason he wanted to go to one particular school was a) because it was near a Taco Bell b) because it was near the place where he scores his Game Cube cartridges.

Nix. No more input from him.

Nope. This one’s all on me.

Hockey Bag of Memories


The New Year has seen one transformation: I have become a full-on “hockey Dad.”

(Though perhaps with a bit of a twist: I take my kid not in a minivan but on the streetcar to practices and games, with his giant duffel bag full of equipment.)

Does this mean I’ve given up on my hopes and dreams for myself? Does this mean I live vicariously only through my children?

No! Well, hockey-wise, yes. I will never play NHL hockey. I was never going to play NHL hockey. In this knowledge, I am calm and firm.

But I, a man no longer in his twenties or even his thirties, still entertain hopes and dreams for the future. Is that sad? Is that pathetic?

I can’t decide which is more tragic: a man in his forties still dreaming of big changes in the future, or one who doesn’t.

In any case, I’m a Capricorn. (Yes, I just had a birthday, hence the tone of these thoughts, probably.) We never give up. Like the goat which is the emblem of our star-sign, we pick our way through the rubble to the top of the mountain. If we have to eat grass, or even tin cans, on the way, so be it.

I can’t give up. And I can’t go back. So there’s only one choice: forward.

But we bear the past in mind as we move through time, right, my little bloggies?

Now, here’s an extremely odd tidbit for your…derrieres, dearest bloggies. I noticed every time J.J. changes into his hockey gear, a strange melancholy comes over me.

Why? I finally figured it out. His hockey bag, the duffel bag containing all his hockey equipment, is the same bag I used to leave my old live-in girlfriend Leah, the girl I lived with in New York.

It’s her bag, in fact. I should have given it back to her. I still should. But I never have, and I never will. Into that bag I, at age 28, stuffed most of my earthly possessions (the rest were in a backpack) and to her bid adieu forever.

A horribly sad moment for me. I mean, I knew it had to happen. But we had once been best friends. Once we thought we were going to get married.

But what can you do? The chemistry wasn’t there. And without chemistry you got zilch, bupkes. Right, bloggies? I was tempted to compromise. I mean, we lived together a year and a half. I loved her, just not the right way. She was my best friend, my confidante, my other half. To her I said whatever popped into my head. Talking to her was like talking to myself. So what if sex is a bit of a chore? That might change over time.

But I’m glad, now, I didn’t compromise. We would probably be divorced by now, maybe with kids, bad idea. Now she’s got two kids by some other guy, a guy named Bob, and she’s much better off (though she’s not sending me any thank you notes—she doesn’t talk to me: she reviewed my first book, for the Chicago Tribune: not a favorable review, though she struggled to be objective; she mostly reviewed our relationship).
Me, after numerous romantic misadventures, I met the divine supergoddess Pam, a woman who is not only my pal in the same way Leah was, but also pushes all my buttons, um, physically (yeah, baby!).

So I’m going to keep the bag. I’m glad I’ve got the bag. It’s a reminder to me that sometimes the path of most resistance is the way to go (it would have been easier to stay in that apartment, get married, figure out we had problems after the fact). And it’s a reminder things weren’t always set in stone. Now, if you saw me, banging on the glass, shouting at my kid “Attaboy, J.J.! Skate! Skate!” you’d probably think “typical hockey dad,” and it would all seem foreordained, carved in stone.

Which is how is sometimes seems to me (and to Pam, who claims it was no less an agent than Fate that brought us together; little did she know it was actually a diabolically clever Bachelor Campaign with me as the puppet-master, pulling strings, employing half the city as my undercover agents).

But there was a time, sitting in a taxi, tears in my eyes, that same duffel bag on the seat next to me, heading for JFK airport, when the future seemed very uncertain indeed.

Pandemic Hogwash

Here, infectious disease specialist, Dr. Neil Rau, talks about why he thinks this alert may be overblown, just a little.

Q: As of Friday last week, there were 29,669 confirmed cases in 74 countries and regions, including 145 deaths. It’s hard to ignore the numbers. Is this pandemic alert hogwash or not?

A: It does spread very easily but the key piece that is missing is virulence. It’s not killing people with enough frequency to cause a serious global health impact. We’re not seeing a run on hospitals, people off work sick or school outbreaks.

Q: If this flu isn’t a level six pandemic, what is it?

A: If you’re going to call this pandemic anything, it’s mild. Publicly, I think this would be the mildest of mild pandemics. Why bother declaring it at all?

Q: If it’s so mild, should we just be ignoring this and shutting our ears to all the bad news?

A: I think we need to watch this. On a hospital level, we need to be ready to intervene and treat these people if they need it. But on a day to day level this is not of interest. All the old advice on how to prevent the flu still applies. Wash your hands frequently. Cover your cough. Stay off work when you’re sick and tell others to do the same.

Q: What has been the response to the WHO’s decision to label H1N1 a pandemic? Are people panicking?

A: Eight weeks ago there was panic. I think people are appreciating that this is a mild virus. There’s an emerging cynicism directed at the World Health Organization.

Q: How can the WHO get away with calling it a pandemic if it’s not? Have they redefined the word?

A: I think to do this now is a premature step. People call it pre-cautionary but I’m not convinced it’s really helping anyone. It’s an error rather than erring on the side of caution. It needlessly frightens people.

Q: If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would be suspicious of the drug companies who stand to profit from declaring this a pandemic.

A: More than a drug company conspiracy; there’s a pandemic preparedness industry that’s been built. A lot of people have been waiting for the big one. I will say that there is a vested interest in keeping concern alive. The problem is you can’t sit on the edge of your chair forever.

Q: What do you think of Canada’s measured response to the situation?

A: Unlike the WHO, there has been a more reasonable approach taken at a Canadian level.

Q: Will the WHO’s pandemic alert affect our activities now or in the future?

A: I don’t think it’ll change anything, I just think that hospitals are on high alert. It’s a waste of resources to try to contain something that is not containable. Plus, the economic and personal cost is huge.

Q: What does the future of H1N1 look like?

A: The truth is this is going to run its course. It’s not containable but frankly it’s not that dangerous. It’s going to circle the globe. It will cause more occasional deaths but relative to the number of people exposed to this virus, those deaths will be few and far between.

Q: What really scares people is that this virus might mutate into something far worse. Is this a valid concern?

A: I don’t think the virus is going to suddenly change and become a meaner monster. It may become an established seasonal flue strain over time and then it’ll probably be replaced by something else.

Q: If the seasonal flu kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 year and swine flu has killed only 145 total, why isn’t seasonal flu declared a pandemic?

A: You can’t have a pandemic annually then it would become a rather tiring declaration. A pandemic is supposed to be a calamitous novel event of great health impact.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Margo Varadi.

Black Nail Polish Incidents

Yuki Hayashi

Driving to gymnastics yesterday, The Little Nutball, apropos of nothing said, “E. [she hasn’t used “Daddy” since she was 3], after gymnastics, can we go to Home Depot so you can buy wood to make a coffin for me?”

Our Tiny Nut has been lobbying hard for her very own full-size DIY vampire coffin for months now. (And also a pet mouse.) Oh, also, if we build her a coffin, she says she’ll sleep in her own bed, ie, the coffin. (Yes, we’re still co-sleeping.)

If the question is, are future Fine Arts students born or created, the answer would be: born, born to parents too dazed and worn down to redirect their drama queen peccadilloes into more conventional directions like music-class vanity CDs or weekend preschooler art workshops.

One of my mom friends calls these the Black Nail Polish incidents, and I think it’s an apt description. Although in our family, the Death Ray Davies’ album title Midnight At The Black Nail Polish Factor seems more on the money.

Related Article: Nail Salon Safety: Tips to Avoid Infections

Constitutional Rights. Who needs em?

Over the weekend President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

Hold on to your britches boys and girls because this bill is a bitch.

A version of the NDAA bill is passed every year with different adorable little add on’s and amendments each time. However, the changes for this year remind us that apparently the United States Constitution is just a suggestion and holds no merit when it comes to the rights of US citizens.

Seriously!?!?! The US Senate approved this bill with a vote of 86-13. Keep this number in mind when you realize that only 13 of our US Senators voted against violating the constitution and taking away a right of every single American citizen.

This NDAA bill that Obama just signed should warm the hearts of all citizens with the cozy thoughts of living in a fascist society.

Now, thanks to our trusted representatives in Washington, the United States executive branch will the EXPLICIT authority to order and allow our military to seize any person, INCLUDING but not limited to, United States citizens for indefinite detainment and without rights.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME CONGRESS!?!?! Republicans and Democrats alike should be hanging their heads in shame for supporting a bill that gives the White House unrestricted power to detain US citizens who are seen as potential ‘terror’ suspects indefinitely and without a trial.

Keep in mind that currently the definition of what is and can be considered as potentially terroristic is so vague that every US citizen is at risk of being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial.

According to the Department of Justice, a person with missing fingers is suspect and may be characterized as a terrorist. Hope no one had any accidents in shop class because your ass just became a terrorist. Oh, and don’t think that the fact that you are a US citizen matters, because it doesn’t.

Any person who owns a gun may be seen as being suspect and may be labeled a terrorist.

Anyone with weatherproofed ammunition is potentially a terrorist.

Anyone with more than seven days of food stocked in his/her house maybe considered a potential terrorist.

So now US citizens with missing fingers, hunters, gun activists, and hoarders are all potential terrorists and the executive branch can chose to deny them their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS by ‘legally’ holding them in detainment for as long as they damn well choose.

So I guess that whole United States Constitution thing guaranteeing all citizens the right to a fair and speedy trial is no longer important.

OH, and that whole Sixth Amendment thing guaranteeing a citizen the right to “NOT BE DEPRIVED OF LIFE, LIBERTY, OR POVERTY, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF THE LAW” is just a joke that was written in for good measure. Hilarious.

This bill is simply unacceptable, unconstitutional, and anti-American.

And why is it that legally denying a US citizen his/her constitutional rights the only bi-partisan issue Congress has agreed on in four years?


Abortions available by…video?

In the ten years since the FDA approved the abortion pill, a lot has changed. There was a migration from France, where it was first available in 1988, to this country, after 12 years of heated debate.

Then came the name change. Originally dubbed RU-486, the medication is now known as mifepristone (and marketed as Mifeprex) in the United States.

Through it all, controversy has surrounded this pill, from whether or not it is safe and effective to whether or not it should be available at all. The debate surely won’t quiet down in this decade, especially with the newest developments for the abortion pill — availability by video.

While Skyping in a prescription is really just a slick way of saying it, the reality is that clinics in Iowa can now offer mifepristone remotely to patients through video conferencing and auto-release of the actual pills.

Through a new telemedicine program, patients have a video conference consultation with a doctor. The doctor, who has the patient’s medical records on hand, reviews the pregnancy and barring any complications, can unlock a container with the pills for the patient to take home.

Patients can participate in the telemedicine program and the prescription by visiting a clinic where they are examined by a nurse, given an ultrasound, and offered private access to a secure Internet connection. Sixteen of these facilities operated by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland are available to women in Iowa.

Mifepristone (different from Plan B, the emergency contraception that does not cause abortions but rather, acts as a higher-dose birth control pill that prevents pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected sex) is available in 35 countries worldwide. It is offered in the U.S. as an alternative to surgical abortion with the appeal of privacy for women who would rather take the pills at home rather than have a procedure in a clinic. The popularity of the pill rose significantly from 2001 to 2008 — from 55,000 pills distributed to 184,000 doses distributed, even though the number of abortions did not go up.  Today, the pills is used for approximately 25% of all terminations at nine weeks of pregnancy or sooner, and 15% of all total abortions. To date, about 1,900 women have been provided with the pill through the telemedicine program.

Bee Pollen on Wikipedia

Now days, many people tend to use Wikipedia as a way to search and look up information that they may be looking for.  It is a great tool that can help to broaden your knowledge of various things, and you can find virtually anything on it.

Not many people trust Wikipedia, but if you make sure that what you are reading has sources, we are sure you will be getting the right information.  In this article, we will give you some sneak peeks of what Wikipedia has to say about bee pollen diet.  You can further your reading by looking up it on Wikipedia for yourself.  Read on to learn more.

You may be surprised, the pollen is actually not listed on Wikipedia at all.  We are not sure of why this is true, but this is what we have found out.  Hopefully we can find a way to add it to Wikipedia, so people can educate themselves on this amazing nutrient.

Bee pollen is very beneficial to the body and we are sure you will love the benefits of it as well.  If Wiki pedia adds this important nutrient to its database, we are sure they will get a lot of hits on it.  This is because many people are already looking for extra information on this pollen and they want to know more about it.  This wonder nutrient has been used for a very long time as a way to help people lose weight, strengthen their body, and improve athletic performance.

The pollen can help your body in so many great ways because it is 100% natural and very effective as well.  We have found that it is extremely safe, which can help lower the chance of side effects in our body.

Where can you find the pollen?

Well we have found it in various health food stores, and it usually comes in a capsule of some type.

Pills are the easiest and most effective way to take this nutrient, and we recommend pill form over the powder form.  You can also find it on and other online web stores too, but they could be a bit expensive.  The best thing you can do is find the cheapest and highest rated source of pollen so you are sure you are making yourself as healthy as possible.

We are sorry that articles related to this type of pollen are not on  Again we hope one day that this will change, and that the website will add this important article series to their data base.  People want to know about it, and is usually their first stop when it comes to looking up important information.

Bee pollen is overall very healthy for you but you need to make sure you take the correct dosage or else you can develop serious side effects that can harm your body.

Constipation in Children

Constipated Babies

Many families go to very traumatic event while the child refuses to stool and when he or she finally does all the family go to the same experience. Many families also suffer with the trauma of a child soiling his/her underwear at home, or school producing significant embarrassment, many or all of the families go without understanding these situations. Reading to this E-book section, you will learn why this happens,how to eliminate it and prevent it.

Treating Constipation in Children

After medication is available and prescribed under medical supervision, it is very important for the parent and patient to see if the stool consistency is harder than mashed potato. If so, then a small adjustment can be made by increasing the medication amount based on the stool consistency until the desired consistency is achieved. If the stool becomes too soft, such as pudding or even watery, then adjust by small decreasing intervals until the stool becomes as soft as mashed potatoes again. Once the stool is kept soft, continue adjusting up or down, depending upon the consistency, for the indicated period of 6 to 24 months without stopping the medication.

Nursing profession, nursing occupational therapy, shortage of nurses

The qualified nurses are in great demand. The boom is unprecedented. Nurses will continue to be in good demand in great numbers in the coming ten to twenty years.
It is a well paid job in the advanced countries. Are you ready to fly?

The reasons for the sudden growth in the number of vacancies for nurses are many.

The first and foremost reason for the boom is the aging population in large numbers in both United States and Europe. They need people who can take care of them. The age related problems make it a challenging job to take care of them. If the people who want to look after the old are trained and educated in geriatrics they will be handy and helpful.

The second reason is the retirement of many qualified nurses. Many experienced and qualified nurses have reached their retirement age. The people who devoted their lives for caring others now need people who can care them.

The third reason is there is no replacement and the recruitment is very low. The nursing job did not attract enough number of young people in the developed world to fill the gap. It has led to unprecedented demand for qualified nurses. It is a great opportunity for the people in the third world countries to realize their dreams of building their careers in the developed countries.

As a result of the above three reasons, there is a huge gap between requirement and supply. The availability of educated and trained nurses has come down as nursing could not attract enough number of people into the field. Now it has become almost a wild goose chase to find a qualified and skilled nurse.

The lack of skilled man power is seriously affecting the health care in the advanced countries. It is estimated that the situation will further worsen in the coming decade. Countries like USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand are willing to take nurses from any country if they are qualified and experienced. It has opened up the gates for the entry into these countries for the skilled people who can care others.

If you want to grab this opportunity, get ready travel and be willing to relocate yourself and your family. If you are ready to go anyplace where your services are required, then you will have tremendous opportunities. There are many visa facilities to accommodate you. The visa option depends on how long you want to serve in those countries. The US in particular has come out with four types of Visas.

So the people in the developed world are inviting you if you are willing to serve them. It is their requirement and what you need to do is to utilize the opportunity. They are willing to pay you more provided you are ready to serve them better.

Give a serious thought about this option before you go to bed, it may open up an entirely new life for you. You never know what is in store for you until you try.

Vancouver to Banff

Amidst streets swept clean of shattered glass, amongst commuters and backpackers alike, the chinook decelerated along Granville Street and pulled up beside the hostel – and thereby augmented my anxiety.

Hauling our possessions out of the SameSun, Michael and I waved at Lorna of The Roamantics as she stepped out of her vehicle.

With ride number one before our eyes, the commencing of Grand Canadian Hitchhike dawned upon me.


Intertwined with my exchange of dialogues with Lorna, who then proceeded to drive us to Langley, south of Vancouver, were bubbles of silent contemplation – two weeks of pampering and leisurely travel around British Columbia, sponsored by Tourism BC, I felt somewhat intimidated by the prospect of throwing myself into the hands of unpredictability.

The Grand Canadian Hitchhike may have been months in the making, yet my fate would only reveal itself one hitch at a time.

Inevitably Lorna dropped us off outside of a petrol station and we parted ways. The challenge, as we clenched our fists and straightened our thumbs, had truly begun.


For a struggle to escape an awkward hitchhiking spot – by a bus stop on a high-speed major road leading up to Trans-Canada Highway – a mere one-hour wait was flattering. A ride all the way to our first intended destination, Kamloops, may have been wishful thinking, though the commuter between Langley and Chilliwack had dropped us off on a rampart adjacent to Vancouver’s furthermost suburbia – beats getting stranded among intra-city traffic.

One and a half hours later our appeal was answered by a honk and a couple travelling to nearby Hope for a psychedelic festival.


They dropped us off by a service station. Dusk was swiftly catching up with us but, convinced the prolonged summer sunlight will linger for at least a few more hours, we stuck our thumbs out again and hoped for a long-distance ride – though the temptation of staying behind and attending the festival was firmly occupying our minds.

Soon after we were dashing along the Coquihalla Highway, northbound, ascending into the snow-filled mountain ranges.

The bloke driving the pickup truck was travelling to Alberta and, having to stop by Kamloops to pick up his son before returning home, was happy to drop us off in downtown Kamloops. We managed to reach our intended destination – I could sense the nerves evaporate from my weary body as we gulped down celebratory pints, laughing away the night and plotting our next course of action with more ambition.

Except our quest to cross the remainder of British Columbia and arrive in adventure-capital Banff didn’t happen until after a wild-goose-chase of a hunt for the night’s accommodation and a serendipitous encounter.


When the alarm failed to wake the pair of us early in the morning, we skipped breakfast and trekked a brutal distance to the outskirts of Kamloops, bailing from one fruitless hitching spot to another – the fortunes that smothered me in cockiness and over-confidence the previous day seemed like a fateful betrayal.

Then Michael went to speak to a trucker at the service station we ended up in – the casual enquiry for hitchhiking advice became our first lorry ride. Albeit only for a short distance, some 10km down the road.

We strategically positioned ourselves on the highway itself, yards away from a turnoff point that diverted traffic south towards Vernon. Once again, the raised difficulty level was felt by our increasing sore limbs.

A native strolled past us, thumb hoisted; he warned us about police presence.

Then, the item of antiquity with boat in tow pulled up beside us and screeched to a halt. I approached with whatever hope I managed to salvage; the reward was a ride – however as unimpressive as I’d so vainly wished for – some 130km to Sicamous.


Kelly, who filled us in with his quirky accounts of mining in his Saskatchewan properties and cranky antics, dropped us off just outside of his destination; by then we’ve noticed the thinning of traffic – even though we were supposedly on the busiest highway within the province – and lamenting were we of our decreasing chances of reaching Banff.

I was becoming very frustrated. I may have had “pls?” and a smiley face scribbled on the sign, yet our plea remained mostly unanswered: how heartless could people be? How much will my faith invested on the rest of my journey – with some 7000km left – be repaid instead in scorns and distrust?

We lingered by the side of the road for over an hour, then retreated into an adjacent lorry park. The inhospitality prevailed, except in verbal form muttered by truckers – a stark reminder of an earlier statement by the lorry driver who delivered us out of Kamloops, who mentioned how insurance policies forbade truckers from picking up hitchhikers.

My heart sank – the motel perching on the opposite side of the road had been a temptation, yet it appeared more as a taunt of our failings.


The final decision of the day: we’d attempt for a final time to hitchhike, loitering close to the motel our last resort.

Mere minutes later, I raced towards the crimson pickup truck parked before us; heart throbbing and humbled, I accepted on our behalves the driver’s offer – to take us all the way to Banff.

As sunlight dwindled and the Mountain Time Zone enclosing, we traversed the national parks amidst conversations of wild life and struggles to stay conscious within the dark. Eventuality arrived as the numbers on signposts subtracted before one directed us into Banff.

By 1.30am we were reclining in hostel beds, eyelids tightly enshrouding me in darkness; yet I couldn’t sleep, for the cocktail of exhilaration, surrealism and sense of achievement would not wear off for days to come.