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Newsletter Vol. # 8 That's how I see it!

Hello and welcome to Vol. #8. Thanks to you folks who are taking the time to respond-diverse and interesting responses to the articles. Thanks David for your original articles and for having the courage to share them with us.


What you'll find in this weeks newsletter:

The World Is a Scary Place-it is beyond my understanding; The Quiz; Did you know... 61.7 billion? A sleep deprived brain...; David completes his article on the death of a loved one-The Shattered Plate; something on Walking; and other stuff.


The World Is A Scary Place!

The world is a scary place at this moment- beheadings; kids forsaking Canadian values for those of terrorist killers; the shootings in Calgary, Ottawa, and Montréal; the journalists killed at Charlie Hedbo in France. Something has happened to allow the seeds of Islamic terrorism to spread and grow throughout the world. Yes, even to Canada-that leader in religious and cultural freedoms. As Canadians we are not without our own flaws but somehow we have been able to sort things out to a manageable degree without firing a shot. Maybe those days are gone and as a result we will have to live like the majority of the world does-looking over their shoulder.

The Charlie Hedbo killings exposed a very vulnerable and dark side of French society. Tahar Ben Jellounjan in his article, "For French Muslims, a Moment of Truth" states, The French government has not paid serious and sustained attention to the situation in its often dreary suburbs, a neglected zone where on socialized youths live- or merely survive. Islamist recruiters target this empty space abandoned by the state. In this way Islam has become more than a religion: To many French youths of immigrant origin, it now provides a culture that France itself has not managed to instil. For some, a desire for life has been replaced by a desire for death: the death of others, of infidels, and one's own death as a martyr bound for paradise.

Is this what has happened to our six youths who left Canada to fight with Islamic extremists? Are they so disenfranchised, so not a part of Canadian ideals and values that they are willing to give up their lives for this extremist cause? How have we failed them-were they abused, bullied, made fun of and ostracized by peers throughout their lives; were they somehow denied opportunities to be educated, couldn't find a good job; parents didn't support them; they didn't make the team-WHAT?

What in the world would make these young people check out from one of the most liberal and sought after places to live on this planet, to join a group of terrorists whose goal is to kill all those who don't think like them? Is it power over others that these young people seek? Surely, they can't be throwing the potential that living in Canada offers them for a set of ideals that is based on war, killing and the subjugation of women?

This is beyond my understanding!


 The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.

                                                                      Edith Sodergran


The Quiz

When adjusted for inflation, what 1968 film is said to still hold the record for the highest makeup budget of all times?

A traditional inn known as a "ryokan" he found in which country?

In Greek mythology, who solved the riddle of the Sphinx?

Who was the last queen of Pakistan?

An unproduced play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison called "Everybody Comes to Rick's" was made into what classic film?

A stretch of road in North America that measures 6.8 km lies between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road is known by what name?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, what country has the most official languages?

Which country does red stripe lager come from?

What was the name of the bulldog on the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons show?

(Answers below)


 Did you know...

Last year, Canadian taxpayers spent 61.7 billion just to pay the interest on our combined government debit. We spent more on interest to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments than we spent on primary and secondary education in this country.


Pt. 2    The Shattered Plate  (See pt. 1 in Vol. #7)

After much reflection, the symbol I decided upon was that of a fragile, priceless, fine plate that falls from a shelf and breaks. Just like my wife's illness and death, that the plate fell is no one's fault.  This is to say that the cause of the plate falling is less important than the effect. That effect is amplified by the fact that, because of its fine and priceless character, the plate shattered into thousands of tiny pieces and fragments that dispersed for a great distance across the floor. Like all symbols, the plate incorporates several different meanings. Of course, it symbolizes my wife but it also symbolizes our life together and my life as an individual. All three "lives" are now shattered.
In my case, although I had long ago accepted the inevitability of my wife's death, I still experienced the sense of total disbelief when it happened - when that symbolic plate fell.  I stood, frozen, staring at the fragments, unable even to think for some time. Perhaps this "numbness" is a natural sort of defence mechanism in the face of the awful shock that the death of a life-partner represents. For a fleeting moment, the thought crossed my mind that - in spite of the overwhelming evidence before me - it might still be possible to piece the plate back together in some way. That was followed by the acceptance that this was simply not possible.
At some point, I realized that the fragments could not simply be left there -something had to be done with them. What were the options? One, certainly, would be to sweep the fragments under the rug - literally and figuratively in an effort to deny and forget what happened. While this would remove the fragments from sight, at some level I would still have known that they were there. Eventually, this knowledge, as much as I might have tried to suppress it, would have begun to gnaw away at me and only compound the sense of loss. So I resolved right away that sweeping the fragments under the rug was not an option. They had to be cleaned up and disposed of properly. Things have to be done - notifications and arrangements have to be made, grieving the loss has to be allowed, and, at some point, a new beginning in life has to be sought.
Gathering up and disposing of the fragments and dust does not mean forgetting what the whole plate symbolized. That memory is deeply embedded in my consciousness and soul - it will not degrade with time. Indeed, I know as I started to clean up the fragments that I would not be able to find all the tiny (and sometimes very sharp) shards, which will have dispersed a great distance from the sheer force of the impact of the plate shattering. These symbolize the enduring nature of the loss - causing emotional distress or maybe even physical pain as I come across them months, or perhaps even years, later. But this must be accepted as part of the process of picking up and carrying on. As I continue to find the shards over time I'm hoping that I will begin to think not only of the loss they represent but be reminded of how beautiful the plate really was. Each tiny shard retains its own small and indestructible piece of that beauty - so its discovery can be simultaneously a moment of sadness and comfort.
I'm not suggesting that thinking of a symbol that captures the meaning of loss is an approach that would work for everyone. Everyone's approach to grieving is different. Thinking of some way actually to visualize my loss was helpful for me - partly because its real significance exceeded the power of any words to describe.
david.riach@shaw.ca


Did you know...

When our brain isn't sleep-deprived, it turns down our appetite. In fact, get eight hours of sleep, and production of the hunger-killing hormone Leptin will increase 15%, while the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin drops 15%. And he'll stop craving junk food, too! A University of Chicago team found well-rested volunteers wanted 33% to 45% fewer sweets, salty snacks and starches than sleepy ones. Why? When we're well rested, our brains don't send us in search of low-fibre, calorie-dense nibbles that can be quickly converted to energy.

Getting eight hours of sleep nightly can burn up to 40% more calories than when fatigued. "I didn't know that!"



Walking

What if one of the pharmaceutical giants began marketing, a daily single dosage pill that promised to lower the incidence of breast cancer, diabetes, heart attack, colon cancer, impotence, osteoporosis, arthritis, lower back pain, hypertension, and would alleviate stress and improve our immune systems? Wouldn't we all be lining up to get it?

A single dosage of walking will do all these things for us. And it's:

free and easy...
                       requires no special skills... 
                                                                readily available for all ages

Because walking is so easy and so available to most of us, we tended to discard it as a serious form of exercise. And yet it is proving to be the best exercise for most of us. There is more and more evidence that walking as an every day activity is as beneficial as a gym membership and there are far fewer injuries associated with walking.


 In truth, we can all find the time to do something if it is important enough to us. The secret to fitting walking into your life is to change your perspective on how you spend your time and to accept the value of allocating time for yourself.             
                                                                                             Nina Barough


A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After the check-up, the doctor told the wife, if you don't do the following your husband will surely die:
     1. Each morning, fixed him a healthy breakfast and send him off to work in a good mood.
     2. At lunchtime, make him a warm, nutritious meal and put him in a good frame of mind before he goes back to work.
     3. For dinner, fix and especially nice meal, and don't burden him with household chores.
     4. Have sex with him several times a week and satisfy his every whim.

On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor had said. You're going to die, she replied.


Answers to the Quiz

Planet of the Apes; Japan; Oedipus; Queen Elizabeth; Casablanca; Las Vegas Boulevard-the Strip; South Africa; Jamaica; Spike

Quiz questions and answers came from Maclean's magazine and put together by Terrance Belazo.


 

May long-weekend is over (thank goodness) weather was bad but summer is coming, maybe by the end of the week. Get your spring checklist updated and then go hit the links. Have a great week.

 

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