Friday, March 14, 2014

[Almost] Street Legal

Posted on Facebook on March 6, 2014 
Lawyers need trust accounts.  
But according to the bank, in order to have a trust account, you need a business account first.  
And to have a business account you need to have registered a business name. [check
But before you can register a business name, you have to have the name approved [check
So, two out of four ain't bad for one week.

And I have a date with the banker on Monday to open the business account.

The name, you ask? Oh, that's easy.

MMC Legal Services

Of course.    :D

Cross-posted on A Primer on Special Needs and the Law

Sunday, March 9, 2014


One foot in front of another.  

One. Small. Step. At. A. Time.

Maybe, just maybe, we will get there someday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pay It Forward Already, Why Don't Ya?

I know we're all familiar with "pay it forward" concept; heck, didn't they even make a movie about it? Like forever ago?

I'm sad to say that, personally, I have only ever experienced one significant random of act of kindness (I'm not going to count the "hold the door open" basic good manners sort of thing). But one time quite a few years ago, while in the drive through at Tim Horton's, I discovered I had no wallet. I had my purse but had somehow managed to leave my wallet at home.

Well, that was awkward.

I was right at the speaker when I realized this but I still could have pulled quickly out of line. Actually, I honestly don't really remember why I didn't now ... I guess I must have really needed that coffee. Anyway, I rolled down the window and explained the situation rather sheepishly, that I just realized my wallet wasn't in my purse, but that I was a regular customer and would they consider letting me pay next time.

Yeah, I admit, that might have been a little ballsy. But that is neither here nor there to my story.

Which continued something like this - the employee asked me to repeat what I had just said and then told me to wait a minute. A new voice came on (male, of course) who repeated my request back to me. Yes, sir. Please, sir. He told me to drive up to the window. Okay, thank you.

It was a cold winter day and I was just about to put my window back up when a voice from behind me yelled out "It's okay. I'll get it." I looked over my shoulder to see the door of the car behind me open and the driver get up and run over to my window. "It's okay. I'll get your coffee for you" and he pushed a twonie into my hand.

[Sidebar: For anyone wondering, this is a twonie. 
You know, twonie ... as in two dollars. 
Ah, there you go. Now you got it.

Just one other thing. 

On the first day, God created a loonie. 
And on the second day, God created a twonie. 

Don't confuse them.
Just. Don't.

We now resume regular our regularly scheduled 
programming already in progress.]

"No, no, that's okay. You don't have to do that" and I tried to hand the twonie back but he was having none of it. "No, that's okay. I want to" and he ran back to his car as I yelled "Thank you!". Well, now I felt even a bit more embarrassed than I had when trying to explain my plight over the speaker. But I also felt something else - a smile spreading across my face. What a nice guy!

I continued to the window, where I handed the twonie over and explained that the person behind me in line had given it to me. Following which, the manager (the male voice on the speaker) walked up, took one quick look at me and said "Oh yeah, I know you. I would have given you the coffee." I laughed, thanked him and drove away with my coffee.

My point of this little story? That there are still good people out there? That we need not give up all hope in this world? Well, sure, maybe, if you really want.

But this little story is all about me and how it made me feel. And, you know what, it made me feel pretty darn good. And it made me realize that I would like to do something like that for someone else some day. (Don't get me wrong - there is a darn good chance I would have made a similar gesture in a similar situation anyway, but this just made me more consciously think about it.)

So, how corny nifty is this? Apparently there exists a global initiative aiming to inspire over three million acts of kindness, a "Pay It Forward Day". And one of the individuals that is heavily involved in promoting this is from the Annapolis Valley, practically my next door neighbour.

And what I think is the best part of it all ...
The interesting thing about the Pay It Forward Day concept is that organizers around the world may never know how successful it is. That is because participants don’t have to register or sign up. 
“There’s no work to it,” Huntley said. “People can do something on their own.” 
On April 24, people from all walks of life can give to someone and make a positive difference.
I like that. It's kind of like the whole "don't let your left hand know what your right is doing", but on a grander scale. So what say you, good people?

April 24th is roughly seven weeks away. Plenty of time to think up a random act of kindness (or two) that works for you. Or just wing it. Whatever.

As long as we don't forget to pay it forward.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Differences Don't Matter

The following poem was written by Jessica Mercola many years ago as part of a diversity contest at her middle school. I found in in an issue of Exceptional Parent magazine back in 2002.

While she wrote about a "she", the sibling in her poem is actually a "he", her younger brother, who is 6 years old, has hypotonic cerebral palsy and profound developmental delay, is non-verbal and non-ambulatory and has the most gorgeous smile and eyes of anyone! [according to Mom and who are we to argue?]

I have brown hair.
She has blond hair. 
I have long hair.
She has short hair.
I am chubby and short.
She is skinny and tall.
I have braces and glasses.
She has freckles and cerebral palsy. 
I can draw, ride a bike and read.
She can't do any of these. 
I can walk and sit.
She has a wheelchair,
and tries to talk
but out comes noises,
silly ones. 
I like to chew.
She likes to go for long walks. 
I am stubborn and loud.
She is sensitive and caring. 
I am outgoing and fun.
She is different and interesting. 
I go to dance.
She goes to therapy. 
I drink from a cup and eat regular food.
She drinks from a bottle and eats pureed food. 
I like to play outside.
She likes to play with noisy toys. 
She doesn't make any choices.
We make them all for her.
I think I have a good life.
Hers could be better. 
Every day I watch her grow,
in sorrow, laughter and snow. 
I hope no one takes her away.
I would be lonely and miss her every day. 
I start every day with the positive
attitude that one day she'll be
just like me! 
I don't care what we are.
I love her anyway. 
I don't care what other people say.
We'll always be sisters and
the best of friends.
That's the way it's going to stay.
Cross-posted at A Primer on Special Needs and the Law

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

He's Baaaaaaaack


And then, just because I can (and because Canada has had an absoloutely stellar few days at the Olympics), I offer you my all-time favourite Olympic song.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Great White UP

I heard this on the radio this morning. And I haven't stopped chuckling since.

"Americans like to name their storms.
This last snow storm we had they called Hercules.
But as a Canadian, I prefer to call it winter."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Just watch out for those check flights ...


... they can be killers!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Tis The Season

'Tis the season.

To warm things up around here. Do some dusting. Pull out some cozy, colourful stuff. Maybe put the hot chocolate on, too.

Don't worry ... we'll have an adult version too, Kahlua, anyone?

So bear with me while I do some housekeeping around here. Have to dig out the decorations, put the tree up ... you know, the usual.

Bear with me - I'm still working on the colour scheme. Blog-decorating isn't as always as easy as it looks, you know.

In the meantime, sit back, put some tunes on and get yourself some Christmas spirit.

I know that's what I intend to do. Just as soon as I get some work done (of the paying variety).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Anti-Bullying Legislation a Good Thing, Right?

Following the debacle of the Rehteah Parsons case last year, I was a little unsure of how the noises being made by both the provincial and federal governments about tightening up both the law and the legal process around the issue of bullying were going to work out.

Unsure because, really, can you actually legislate bullying out of existence?

And as far as Rehteah's case went, a sexual assault is a sexual assault is a sexual assault, is it not? Even if the police refuse to properly investigate the matter?*

But be that as it may, I initially thought it was a good thing when the federal government recently announced changes to the Criminal Code making it a criminal offence to spread intimate pictures of someone without their consent. After all, what could go wrong with that, right?

A lot, apparently. At least, a lot when you're talking about a federal government that is willing to be more than a little sneaky and turn its self- this proclaimed anti-bullying legislation into ... what exactly?

Apparently only about one and a half pages of the 65-page Bill actually deal with making it illegal to spread an intimate picture of someone without their consent.

The rest of the Bill varies widely, much of it giving the police new powers to obtain digital information (including lowering the standard required to get a warrant to obtain such information from having "reasonable and probable grounds to believe" a crime has been committed to having "reasonable grounds to suspect" a crime has been committed). And let's not forget the provisions about obtaining production orders against financial institutions for banking records.

But, wait, there's even more.
One section of the bill makes it illegal to use a device to hook up to a telecommunications service without lawful payment. It’s not clear whether computer programs count as a device, or if the proposal could be broad enough to punish something as common as hooking up cable without paying for it or accessing a locked Wi-Fi signal. 
Now whether or not these amendments are "good ideas" is not really the point.

No, the point is this - how dare the government try to sneak in all these totally unrelated criminal provisions under the heading of "protecting children from cyber-bullying"? And how dare the media go along with that characterization, happily proclaiming the new legislation as being about protecting our children from cyber-bulling, full stop, until someone stood up and demanded that the truth be made known?

This is so whether or not one thinks these amendments are a good idea. And I say that despite the fact that one, in particular, I do believe is a very good, appropriate change. Just not one to be characterized as above.

You see, one of the amendments expands the definition of “identifiable groups” that can be the subject of hate speech to include a person’s age, sex, mental or physical disability and national origin. And this particular change, I firmly believe, is a very good thing.

One of the reasons why the writer of this vile hate-filled "letter" could not be prosecuted was because individuals with physical or mental disabilities were not included as an "identifiable group" under sec. 318 of the Criminal Code.  You see, while it is a crime in Canada to "advocate or promote genocide" based on colour, race, religion, ethnic original or sexual orientation, neither age, race, sex nor physical or mental disability was included. From which one can only (wrongly) presume that it is, indeed, okay with Canadians to advocate killing off, amongst others, persons with disabilities.

That it was only after this incident that the government stepped up to amend that section is sad. But the fact that they are willing to do so now is a good thing. Although apparently they were not so anxious for anyone to actually realize they are doing a good thing ... after all, they could have scored points with many Canadian citizens had they proclaimed the fact that they were making this change instead of hiding it among so many other hidden amendments.

By the by, no one should have any trouble with this particular amendment, should they?

Well, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, of all people, apparently is not in favour of this proposed amendment.
“Imagine your rant about children today. Your rant about men this, women that. The question is what on earth is contemplated here,” said Vonn. 
“Which is not to condone hate. We don’t do that. But we are talking about some very serious provisions of the Criminal Code. 
In particular, Vonn said she has heard concerns from the Palestinian community that protecting national origin could criminalize harsh criticism of Israel.
Perhaps some legal education is called for here.

First of all, "rants" are not criminalized. Neither before this proposed amendment nor afterwards.

What is (and, just for the record) has been criminalized) is "advocating or promoting genocide" and "publicly stirring up and inciting hatred" against an identifiable group. So unless someone would believe that you're seriously calling for the death of all children or all members of the (presumably) opposite sex you should be okay.

And about those Palestinians - correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will) but aren't chances pretty good they were already covered by the term "ethnic origin"?

Then again, should I really be surprised?

After all, we have a government that is unethical enough to try to put this one over on the very people it has been elected to serve and a media who was either too complicit or too stupid lazy to actually do its homework (as in, actually read the proposed legislation) and initially call foul.

Why would I expect the BC Civil Liberties Association to be any better? My bad.

* The much-belated recent police investigation falling, in my mind, in the category of "Too Little. Too Late."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Just Another 'Pittance in Time'

I don't know if anyone else noticed, but it appeared to me that following 9/11, we experienced an upswing in patriotism in Canada.

Okay, maybe "upswing" isn't quite the word ... the majority of Canadians always have been patriotic but pre-9/11 it was a very different kind of patriotism. A quiet patriotism that we held in our hearts and shared quietly with one another but that we seemed to feel no need to shout from the rooftops.

As I said, that seemed to change after the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.

More flag-waving, more open expressions of pride in our country. And more poppies. Definitely more poppies.

Remembrance Day seemed to become revitalized and take on a larger, broader meaning. And I was am a big fan of this change.

Sadly, though, I am wondering if that more open expression of pride and appreciation for our country (and those that serve in its name) is starting to ease off just a bit - at least in connection with Remembrance Day.

I hope not. I pray not.