Hawk at Spontaneous Arising has tagged me for the Magnificient 7's meme.
If I over-analyse, I'll NEVER post this...so here goes nothing:

Seven Things to Do Before I Die

Love - as much as I can

Live - on the Canadian West Coast

Add Canine to my list of animal companions

Go completely vegan

Recrudesce my practice of Ashtanga Yoga (hopefully LONG before I die)

Visit a peaceful Middle East where I could drive myself anywhere I chose to.

Procrastinate less

Seven Things I Cannot Do

Remain silent in the face of injustice or suffering

Keep quiet at some times when I really should

Consider plastic surgery

Enjoy most music on the radio

Abide willful ignorance

Empathise with Conservatives

Patronise for the sake of ambition

Seven Things That Attract Me to Blogging

I always have an opinion

I learn something new every day (through one blog or another)

I met (and continue to meet) interesting people


I prefer the medium to others for self expression

It's more convenient than a soap-box


Seven Things I Say Most Often

"Come for your pilly!"

"Did I see that movie already?"

"It's already Monday tomorrow?"

"Yeah, well..."

"Where's the magic bag?"

"As a matter of legality, please remove my number from your call list"

"I love you."

Seven Books that I Love

Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins

The Secret World of Og - Pierre Berton

50 American Revolutions you're not supposed to know - MickeyZ

The Essential Rumi - Coleman Barks(a collection of Rumi's poetry)

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen Donaldson

The Vampire Chronicles - Anne Rice

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants - Michael Dirr

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again (and some I just enjoyed once)

Gorillas in the Mist

The Silence of the Lambs

Dial M for Murder

The Life Aquatic

The Usual Suspects

Pulp Fiction

Batman Begins

Seven People Who Must Now Do This

Everyone's off the hook here because most of my blogging friends have already done this sort of post - but if you decide to run with it, I'm looking forward to reading...



May you see the Golden Mean in all Things.


Stop The Landmines

You won't see this on 'the box' in the US.
A little too clear of a picture of what reality is like for many in the world.

I came across this Public Service Announcement from an Expendable in Scotland.
(the link is a browser window which plays a quicktime movie)

Apparently all US media outlets are refusing to carry this PSA in support of Stop Landmines .


Happy Winter Solstice to One and All

Newgrange in Co. Meath, Ireland is also known as Bru na Boinne. It's an absolutely beautiful place where ancient society marked the magic of Nature at the Winter and Spring Solstices. People still flock there today to see the sun rise through the narrow shaft and send a beam of warmth and life into a 5000 year old coffered-ceiling structure corbelled ceiling built into the earth like a cave. Beautiful sculptures and rock (originating far from the structure itself) was built by people long before the pyramids came to be and still we are uncertain of so many things about our own histories.

I hope everyone takes a moment to enjoy the day, the sun, the Life.

A rock at Bru na Boinne carved in the typical Irish pattern:

Winter Solstice illuminates the Mound:

The view at Solstice from inside:


Law Suits filed in an effort to have the Polar Bear declared "Endangered"

I can't beleive that they have not already been declared an Endangered Species. How can they not be?

Our world is warmer than has ever been previously recorded and these animals depend upon the annual onset of cold weather for their very survival.

For as long as modern man has walked this planet, Nanuk has wandered the North and been the most powerful individual ever to survive it's harsh and unique environment. They have forever wandered out onto the sheet ice, swimming from from one ice floe to another as they hunt, as is their very existance.

Now the Polar Bears are now drowning while they hunt, swimming from one ice floe to another is no longer as easily done. Sheet ice is melting and breaking up; ice floes are farther apart; the once fruitful shoreline is changed. Their prey now move to deeper water themselves and are no longer as accessible to the Great Nanuk.

They drown while they hunt because they are tired and hungry.

They drown because for so many generations we've talked about climate change and what we might do to prevent Catastrophe; but we've not done nearly enough.

Now a group of Conservationists in Alaska is doing what little they can to try and prevent these wondrous creatures of the North - an integral and identifiable part of what we think of as 'Canadian'- from slowly disappearing while nothing is done.

"ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP 12/15/05) - Three conservation groups say they will file a lawsuit Thursday under the Endangered Species Act seeking to protect polar bears from extinction.

The lawsuit says Arctic sea ice that bears depend on for hunting, mating and travel is melting at an unprecedented rate because of global warming.

Center for Biological Diversity spokeswoman Kassie Siegal says the lawsuit will be filed in federal district court in San Francisco.

The other plaintiffs are the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace.

The groups petitioned to have the polar bear listed as threatened last February.

The Endangered Species Act requires that the Interior secretary respond within 90 days of receiving such notice but the secretary has yet to comply.

Scientists with the US Minerals Management Service Wednesday released a report documenting the deaths of four polar bears found drowned in September 2004 when sea ice had retreated a record 160 miles north of the northern coast of Alaska.

The researchers say that more polar bears may have drowned that have not been found.

full article

The Center for International Environmental Law CIEL is helping.

I hope for all our sake's that the Polar Bears of the Arctic will continue to exist as they should - in the wild, hunting, swimming, playing, fighting, rearing their young, braving the harsh elements; not just in cages in zoos around the world.


Indigenous Colombians successfully using pacifism to stand their ground against violence

The indigenous natives of Colombia are standing their ground to keep their ancestral lands from violent marxist and government forces using nothing but their ceremonial staffs bound with the colours of their flag.

They are organised and determined.

Peace CAN be a force for change - even today.

Thanks to mr. damon who posted a great write up with many links at his site and at American Samizdat.
Check it!


In times like these, there's no time to waste

Thanks to Michael at Spontaneous Arising for this excerpt from Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Since there is faith these days, but absence of inner life, there seems to be a greater need of the inner life than there has ever been before. It is the head quality which is developed and it is the heart quality which needs to be developed in order to bring balance in life. Life, so balanced, is then prepared for the inner culture or spiritual life.

Many consider sentiment something quite unimportant, something that should be kept aside from the central theme of life today which is intellectuality. No one who has given a thought to the deeper side of life will deny for one moment the power and inspiration that manifest themselves once the heart is kindled.

A person with heart quality need not be simple, he need not discard intellect; only the heart quality produces that perfume in the intellect which is as fragrance in a flower. Morals learned from logic are dry morals, a fruit without juice, a flower without fragrance.

It is the heart quality that as a course of nature produces virtues which no one can teach; a loving person, a person with sympathy in his heart, teaches morals through himself. It is the balance of mind and heart, or the balance of thought and feeling that makes the ground ready for sowing the seed of the inner life."

We can but attempt to improve ourselves to be the change we want to see in the world.


America’s “Ghost Detainees” Shuttled to Morocco

“December 8, 2005 — North African nation hosting secret prisoners identified. According to informed intelligence sources, the country that is hosting most of the U.S. terrorist suspects moved from Eastern European secret prisons in advance of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent European visit is Morocco.

Many of the prisoners are being held at remote prisons established by former King Hassan II to torture political prisoners. Many of these prisons are in located high in the Atlas Mountains and are so remote, they can only be easily reached by helicopter.

The deal with Morocco was reached as a result of the close relations between Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and former Secretary of State and UN Special Envoy for Western Sahara James Baker, Baker’s Special Envoy assistant John Bolton, and former US ambassador to Morocco Margaret Tutwiler. Western Sahara is illegally occupied by Morocco but the Bush administration supports the continued Moroccan occupation of the oil and mineral rich territory. In return, Morocco has supported the holding of “Al Qaeda” suspects, interrogations by its security services, and close liaison with Israeli intelligence and military personnel.”

Thanks to Youngfox for posting this Wayne Madsen article at Pourquois Pas?.


National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Pausing to mark a dark day in Canada's recent history.

So many women today, in so many countries, struggle for equality under the most adversarial conditions. We can immediately conjure up images of Afghani women and young girls who do not have the freedom to get an education simply by virtue of their gender; but we need not look so far afield to find examples of oppression.

While Western Nations or NGOs attempt to effect real and positive change around the world to empower women with the most basic rights, it would serve us well to remember that the underlying reasons for the discrimination against women are often learned at home.

Our own backyard still has many problems that need tending if we are to reach a truly equal society.

The Montreal Massacre

For 45 minutes on Dec. 6, 1989 an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique and killed 14 women.

Marc Lepine, 25, separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, "I hate feminists."

Almost immediately, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment in which mourning turned into outrage about all violence against women.


More stifling of the free press in Iraq

Aside from the obvious - indiscriminate violence all around, kidnappings, among so many inumerable atrocities, now they’re refusing entry to all non-Iraqi Arabs…

The government of Iraq has barred non-Iraqi Arabs from entering the country ahead of the Dec. 15 general elections.

"It covers all border points whether airports, land border crossings or ports," said one senior official.

An Interior Ministry official said it was "part of security procedures" reportedly implemented Nov. 29, with no formal announcement. No date for lifting the restriction has been set.

Here's where it gets really special:

An Associated Press correspondent of Egyptian nationality was also barred from boarding a plane Friday for Baghdad. Iraqi officials say there will be no exceptions to the new rule.

So the AP will now have to rely either on non arabic speakers to report the news from Iraq and/or journalists who speak Arabic as a second language. I realise there are doubtless many talented and hopefully scrupulous journalists who fit this bill, but wouldn't it be nice to know that your news is coming from someone who speaks Arabic as their mother tongue?

Looks like Iraq could be on its way to becoming a Belarus style democracy.

'Democracy' in Belarus

Conveniently this comes before an election set for 2006. It is already illegal to critcize the President who has so far remained in power for 11 years.

The parliament of Belarus has passed a law intended to stop mass protests - ahead of 2006 presidential elections.

The law will make it a criminal offence to "discredit" the Belarusian state both within Belarus and abroad - with a three year jail term for offenders.

The new law was passed overwhelmingly by the lower house of the Belarusian parliament on Friday.

Officials say it will help prevent protests similar to those that led to Ukraine's so-called Orange Revolution.

The new law makes it a criminal offence to deliberately make available to foreign states or organisations, false information on the political, economic or military situation in Belarus, or to discredit Belarus or its government.

Anyone found to have done so could face between six months and three years in prison.

Sanctions threat

The bill broadens the scope of existing legislation - it is already illegal in Belarus to criticise the President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, or any top officials.

The head of the Belarusian KGB, Stepan Sukhorenko, said the law was intended to stop a wave of protests like those in Ukraine last year during the Orange Revolution.


Swaziland cancels all World AIDS Day events by royal decree

I find it truly shameful that rulers of nations are still hampering the treatment, and thereby helping the spread, of HIV among the planets poorest and most destitute while the means exist to deter the spread and treat those already suffering.

In a royal decree, Swaziland's King Mswati cancelled the AIDS Day events, saying they would interfere with a month-long traditional ceremony.

Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang told an audience in Durban that they should eat lots of vegetables and garlic, for its anti-fungal properties.

She's been called "Dr. No" for her reluctance to support the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, which have been shown to prolong the lives of HIV/AIDS patients.