Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amnesty International - "Small Places" that you should see.

I know there are a million causes out there, and I know that charity fatigue is a very real problem, but I ask that you take a moment to look at something that my friends in Wide Mouth Mason (one of the best Canadian bands our beloved country has seen) hold dear to them. We've heard a lot since yesterday about the great things that Paul Newman did for the world in which we live; now we can focus on what we can do.

Amnesty International's "Small Places" is all about Human Rights, and what everyone - from musicians to us regular folk - can do to improve the conditions for those whose most basic rights are ignored every day.

Borrowing from WideMouthMason.Com (because they and their Chef de Mission always say it better than I ever could), here's the answer to the question: What IS "Small Places"??

What "Small Places" is:

  • It's a three-month campaign by Amnesty International that is inspired by a statement by Universal Declaration co-author Eleanor Roosevelt that "Human rights begin in small places close to home".

  • It's about artists and other creative folk around the world bringing human rights 'close to home' wherever they happen to be.

  • It's a cross-Canada and 'round the world arts jam with a call to action that celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • It's a global effort that Wide Mouth Mason wholeheartedly supports and invites all those amongst its Masonite masses around the world to check out and consider making this campaign part of their Small Places in the world.

    With members of Wide Mouth Mason being long-time supports of Amnesty International, Wide Mouth Mason is glad to announce its support of this initiative that has been organised to run right to Human Rights Day on December 10th. Like Amnesty International's Small Places campaign, Wide Mouth Mason wants "to increase global support for human rights in these dangerous times"... and knows Masonites around this wonderful world of ours are a great Mass of Damn Cool people who might be interested in getting involved.

    Each Small Places artist champions a community or individual whose human rights are under attack, by calling on fans and friends to speak out and send appeals to governments, in the coming months.

    Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of almost two million people who work together to protect individuals and communities around the world whose human rights are under attack. Amnesty International appeals for the violations to stop and mobilize public pressure to prevent human rights abuses. Amnesty International takes action to stop grave abuses of human rights, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination.

    I know most of you reading this have access to my private blog, and are more likely to comment there, but for those of you who are seeing this only here, I ask you to check out SmallPlaces.Ca and comment here to let me know what you think. Or to ask for more info. Anything at all. It's a cause worth reading about.

    I promise I'll return (hopefully before I leave for the UK!) for another of my more lighthearted, entertaining entries! But for now, this seemed like an important message to get out there. I hope I've helped in some small way; even if you tell me that you'd never heard about this before I posted it, I'll know that the word is spreading, and that we can effect change.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman - 1925-2008


My heart is broken.

There isn't a soul alive tonight who's been touched my this man's work, onscreen or off, who shouldn't sit down and pay homage to possibly one of the greatest actors - and philanthropists - we will ever see. Sit down and watch something great. Something he gave us.

I bought my first bottle of Newman's Own wine while in New Hampshire in July, and even then my heart was heavy. That was the same weekend I saw a photo of Mr. Newman on the cover of one of those awful magazines, and...we all knew it was coming. But that never makes it easier when it does.

What a man: With writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, and salsa, and wine among other things. Newman donates the proceeds, after taxes, to charity. As of early 2006, the franchise has resulted in excess of $200 million in donations.[3] He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman co-sponsors the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the first amendment as it applies to the written word.

One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman cofounded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman's college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted "Hole in the Wall" as their "national philanthropy" in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France and Israel. The camp serves 13,000 children every year, free of charge.[3]

In June 1999 Newman donated $250,000 to the relief of Kosovo refugees.

On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college's current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign.
[from Wikipedia]

So, from someone who never had the great honour of meeting the man, I wish peace to him, and to his family, and tonight I will watch The Hustler for the eighteenth time and cry like the world is ending.

Because a little piece of it has.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Julian Lennon's latest project(s)...

Over at Julian's MySpace, we are all abuzz about his upcoming album (check out the songs he's posted; they're brilliant)...but there's more! "WHALEDREAMERS" is a film project in which Julian is very involved (and about which he is understandably quite passionate), and the trailer is finally up on the Apple website!

The description:

whaledreamers - the title alone evokes hypnotic visions of these most magnificent and ancient creatures. This visually stunning film offers an incredible glimpse into a rarely seen and scarcely understood tribal culture whose entire story of creation revolves around whales and has endured for centuries. The film passionately explores the connection between the subtle elegance of these “mothers of the sea” and ancient civilizations around the world whose culture and very existence is based on whales. Intertwining incredible underwater footage with ancient legend, whaledreamers examines the complex past and the possibly dire future of human civilization. Told with moving optimism and spiritual strength, it is a clarion call encouraging humanity’s reconnection to the profound beauty of the natural world and is an appeal to embrace all living beings thereby creating the unity and peace which the Earth itself can bring.

If you have a passion for saving the earth and celebrating nature as it was meant to be, you MUST check out your local listings on September 26th to see if the film is playing near you. (I promised the good Mr. Lennon in his blog that I'd help get the word 'round as much as I could, so there you have it! GO SEE WHALEDREAMERS!!!)

German Lesbians Pick Top 10 Sexiest Actresses

Yes. I'm serious.

I'd originally intended to submit this to Oh No They Didn't!, a celebrity gossip blog to which I occasionally contribute, but another member beat me to the punch. Still...this has to be the most random poll ever - talk about a niche! - but I found it amusing & thought I should share! (And yes, these ARE the wretched photos the article chose to feature; I coulda done much, much better than most of these, so for the sake of eye candy, I HAVE. SERIOUSLY, if you're trying to make a case for any of these women being attractive, WHY wouldn't you choose the photos that I opted for???) The barely-there commentary beneath each photo is right from the source, too. Blasé!! Anyway, enjoy this image-heavy post (made much prettier by the photos I chose), and ask yourself how much money was spent on polling for the results. I don't get it.

From the source:

Lesbian Poll Tallies Up Top 10 Sexiest Actresses

Lesbian choice:
Hollywood’s sexiest women

8. September 2008, 14:55 Uhr

Lesbians rate [redacted so you'll be SURPRISED] as their top sexual fantasy, a new poll has revealed. The British actress took the number one spot in the 'Women We’d Love To Love' poll of 4,000 gay women.


Cate Blanchett just made it into the Top 10.



Not only men seem to like her: Catherine Zeta-Jones is No.9.



No. 8: Emily Blunt, 24, (front) played in 'My Summer in Love' with Natalie Press.



No. 7: Actress Thandie Newton.



British actress Keira Knightley (6th place) poses for photographers as she arrives for the world premiere of her film 'The Duchess'.



The English-born Australian actress Naomi Watts (5th place).



Kate Winslet is in 4th place. She was nominated for an Oscar for her acting in 'Titanic'.



Actress Minnie Driver came in third.



No. 2: Nicole Kidman. And the winner is...

[ MY CHOICE OF PHOTO (source) BELOW - you may have to click that source link, because this blog is formatted in such a way that her head may be cut off!! ]



...actress Rachel Weisz, she is the sexiest of them all.


I cannot think of any "sexiest whatever" poll EVER that chose to use THE most unflattering photos of their subjects more effectively than this one!! LMAO @ pics for #s 3 and 8!!! And I even think #2 might be a WAX FIGURE.

So who's missing from this list? I VOTE DREW BARRYMORE, but the majority of these choices seem to be of the underweight, non-curvy sort. Who's REALLY the sexiest actress out there?

[ poll source ]

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mishmash: Linkspam, Terry Fox Run, and Mom's MRI!

Where to begin? I think I should first send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who's pledged in my name for the Terry Fox "Run" I'm doing in 6 days. You guys are amazing! I'm really, really grateful to all of you & I promise I'll make the donation worth your while. I also plan to thank each of you personally after I've accomplished this feat (it being a big deal because of my feet - ha!), but for now I must at least acknowledge those generous donors who've supported me thus far: Jerri, Stacey, Tierney, Matthew, Ian, Vanessa, Kathryn, the McCluskeys, Sara, Dale, and my Mom... I hope I'm not forgetting anyone! I'll make sure each one of you gets to see a wrung-out, gimpy photo of me after the fact. ♥ You've all outdone yourselves!!

Speaking of my Mom, many of you know she's been having a pretty rough time, health-wise, since January, and that she had a much-dreaded MRI this morning (her claustrophobia had prevented her from getting the first one done back in April - it's shockingly common for people to freak out and not get through this test). Well, SHE DID IT, and I applaud her bravery. Even without some of the comforts she'd been promised, which were taken away from her at the last possible second (i.e. me being allowed to go into the room with her; an extra-powerful sedative that she chose not to take after all), she kept it together and we're all so relieved that she can finally relax...and maybe this MRI can tell us more about why her health has been so bad for the past 8 or 9 months. YAY, MOM!! No-one should ever underestimate the guts she has.

Okay - it's MASSIVE linkspam time again! I love getting all those half-amused, half-enraged messages from you guys that blame me for you not getting anything done on the days when I post a bunch of weirdly fascinating links. But, hey, it's Monday! Who wants to accomplish anything on a Monday?? (I know; I use that line for every day of the week. Case in point: last Wednesday's endless list of urban legends!) So sit back and start clicking:

All right. Enough. It's probably Tuesday by now. I hope you found some entertainment in that mixed bag o' links, 'cos if you didn't...well, cripes, they were the best I had at the time!!

I'll close out by saying that, if you were still planning to pledge a couple o' bucks for my Terry Fox Walk-Don't-Run (only 6 days now...egad!), I'm still gratefully accepting donations! You can do it one of three ways:
  • If you see me in person (though I admit it's rare to see me in the wild), I have a pledge sheet and an envelope!
  • You can DONATE AT MY TERRYFOX.ORG SITE & they'll send you a receipt.
  • If you hate using your credit card online, but you have a PayPal account, feel free to transfer funds to me ( straight from your bank account! You can even use this handy button, which immediately puts your money into my Terry Fox Fund.


Free Web Statistics

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm gonna walk the Terry Fox Run.

So...yeah. I left it awfully late - BAD ME - but I wanted to let everyone know that I have officially signed up to walk the Terry Fox Run on September 14th! (It's only the second charity walk I've attempted, and my ankles hated me after the first one, but I made a promise to myself and I plan to keep it.)

For those unfamiliar with the Run, you may want to check out the Terry Fox website. It takes place every September and raises a lot of money for cancer research, and since I've lost some important people to the disease in my life, I figure it's high time to do more than just donate money. This year, I'M WALKING.

If anyone's interested in donating/pledging for my non-Run Walk (?!), you can do so online:

Support Ehch in the Terry Fox Run!

And yes, I promise there will be photos afterward, to prove that I actually did it. Any support will be gratefully received - even a dollar can go a long way!

Thank you in advance, and WISH ME LUCK. I'm gettin' the ice packs ready for my ankles already. Hee.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Avoiding seriousness and going straight to Snopes.

I've already practically set my LiveJournal aflame with my unpleasant "anti-Obama" rant this week (which was not, really, what it seemed - long story short: I was called a bigot by someone who barely knows me simply because I said I would choose not to vote for Obama, were I an American citizen; that led to me flying off the handle and writing a scathing post that puzzled many of my actual friends, but it's all water under the bridge now. Anyone who knows me is smart enough to know that I choose not to live my life being racist, and I would certainly never dislike a political candidate - or ANYONE! - because of his heritage!). For that reason, I'm staying light and fluffy today. It's Wednesday, a.k.a. Hump Day, and we all know that there's nobody who doesn't need amusing linkspam when faced with that dreaded Middle-Of-The-Week fatigue.

Today's theme revolves around a collection of my favourite urban legends. On the very off chance there are some of you who aren't familiar with the Snopes.Com website, I shall enlighten you. Snopes is, arguably, the largest database on the 'net for urban legends of every kind, proving or disproving the authenticity of those annoying email petitions we all get forwarded to us, discussing age-old rumours about Richard Gere's "gerbil experience", debunking myths about 9/11 (and in some cases shocking us by proving they're true)... It's a goldmine of fantastic trivia and interesting information. If you've ever wondered, say, if Jane Fonda was in fact anti-military during the Vietnam War, Snopes is the place to go to find out the whole story, and from whence some of our most pervasive and accepted-as-fact urban legends really originated.

Enough of my blathering. Let's get to the list! (Note: Each link will open in a new window, just FYI.)

  • The Rabbit Test - why do we use the phrase "the rabbit died" when referring to a positive pregnancy test?

  • Facebook vs the FBI - the truth behind whether or not your computer can become infected with the Storm Worm virus via Facebook.

  • Charlton Heston's Basement - just how many guns did they pry from his cold, dead hands?? (Poor taste. I know. Sorry. Couldn't resist!)

  • A Teacher's Assignment Saves A Suicidal Student - this is among my favourites, and every teacher reading this should take note. You only think you're not getting through to them.

  • Is That A Condom In Your Hair? - There's a possibility that your new hairband is made outta rubber(s), folks.

  • Palatial Prison - If there really IS a prison that looks like a 5-star hotel, I'll confess to anything! Jail term = spa day!

  • Getting The Point(s) Of Canada's Flag - Someone took the time to count the points on our maple leaf and then announce that each one of the total 11 represents one of our provinces/territories. Can't say it ever occurred to me to study our flag that closely!

  • Angry Golfer: A Bad Sport, Indeed - There's a story going around about a golfer who got so angry about his lousy shot that he threw his club...and it hit him. Dead. Buh-bye.

  • Dear Google: PLEASE HIRE ME - Check out the amenities afforded to the staff of Google. Can these photos possibly be legit? Read and find out. (I know someone who works for Google. I wonder if they ever have Take A Friend To Work Day...?)

  • A List Of Old Wives' Tales - If you ever thought your grandmother was pulling your leg about certain things - like the "no swimming for one hour after eating!" rule, or the idea that bubble gum takes 30 years to digest (I myself was traumatized by this one for years) - you'll want to see where these adages originated, and whether there's truth to any of them.

  • Inboxer Rebellion: Enough With Those Stupid Forwards Already!! - I doubt there's anyone with an email address who hasn't gotten at least ONE message saying something like, "Forward this to 25 people, and Bill Gates will send you $1,000!" This Snopes entry explains just how dumb you have to be to actually believe those claims, and why.

  • Disarmed - Two guys take their arm wrestling a little too seriously, and...well, it's all fun and games until someone loses a limb. This can't possibly true...or is it??

  • This Goes Beyond "Break A Leg!" - How many actors have died right while they're performing in front of an audience? (And did the patrons get their money back?? What a rip-off!)

  • The DARWIN AWARDS - I love these. This link shows the 2003 list of honourees (for those who don't know, Darwin Awards are "given" to people who died/got injured/were arrested because of something incredibly stupid they've done; these morons prove Darwin was right about "survival of the fittest"). You can also find several other years' lists here, along with an explanation of which are real and which are not. Phony or legit, though, they're almost always hilarious. (Or maybe I'm just demented.)

  • Completely Freakish Tales - These stories range from things like the lawyer who fell to his death from a highrise building while doing a presentation on the safety of its windows, to a story about a kid who died from trying a new dance step (I assume it wasn't the Macarena, as I fail to see how that could be fatal), to the reported cases of people literally laughing themselves to death.

  • 9/11 Rumours - We've all heard them. Muslims being warned to avoid Lower Manhattan on September 11th. The winning numbers for the New York State Lottery that day were 9-1-1. Starbucks had to pull an ad campaign that was creepily reminiscent of the planes hitting the towers (and also charged rescue workers $130 for bottles of water). The people of Gander, Newfoundland flung open their doors and welcomed thousands of stranded Americans. A Canadian police officer was suspended for helping out at Ground Zero. Osama bin Laden is the owner of Snapple. So what's true and what isn't?? You'll be surprised.

  • Jack Benny's Eternal Gift - Is it true that the actor/comedian/musician arranged to have a single red rose delivered to his wife every day after he died?

  • A Little Boy's Gift Of Life - I admit, I cried the first time I read this (not knowing whether it was true or not; I don't think it matters, really). A little boy agrees to donate blood (or is it bone marrow?) to his very sick little sister, and mistakenly believes it will kill him to do it...but he does it anyway.

  • The "Glurge" Collection - I strongly recommend you read all of these, actually. "Glurge" is a term used for stories that are sickeningly sweet, or that have a heavy-handed moral to them. Again, though, you'll be surprised which are true and which are not.

  • Another One For The Teachers - A story about how one teacher's assignment still affected her students decades later.

  • Film Follies - Read about all of your favourite gossip that has swirled around people like Richard Gere, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Charlie Chaplin and more; get the truth about whether or not the set of "Three Men And A Baby" was haunted by the ghost of a dead child; find out if Toronto's cleaning crew managed to ruin a movie set that had deliberately been strewn with garbage...

  • HALL OF HORRORS! - The freakiest urban legends, some horrifyingly true, can be found here. Cannibalism? Check. Zombies? Check. Be prepared to laugh, and then shudder.

  • Risqué Business, Baby - All of the steamy, kinky, and often embarrassing tales passed down over the years are listed on this page. You can even read all about Mick Jagger and the famous Mars Bar incident. Might want to shield your screen if you're at work, though. (Especially if you read the bit about the vending machines in Japan that sell the already-worn panties of schoolgirls. Gah?)

How d'ya like DEM apples?? I could have gone on for hours, but now that you've been introduced to the wonderful world of Snopes, you'll be able to find your own way around. It's an easy site to get lost in, believe me. And you can always start your journey with the oft-changing Top 25 Urban Legends; I guarantee it'll lead you into hours of entertainment!

Feel free to leave me a comment here if you find one that I failed to list & is worth noting. You can also ask me about your Need To Know urban legends, and I'll do my best to find out how much of it is true! In the meantime, I hope I've provided a bit of amusement for you. 'Tis my mission, after all, to be The Entertainer.