Category Archives: Politicking

Building a Hamilton-based Seed Library?

Seeds 2012Over the years I’ve developed a finely tuned tolerance for winter that balances the recognition of seasonality’s importance for southern Ontario with a curmudgeonly bitterness far more intense than the rest of the year.  I’ve coped with winters of late by dividing them into the holiday part, followed by the long, escapist part when I think about gardening, pore over seed catalogues, and mastermind brilliant garden plans. (Incidentally, my summers seem to be divided into two parts as well: the part when I try to put those plans in action, followed by the hot, sweaty resignation part when things get out of hand.) Continue reading


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Filed under Dans Ontario, Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections, Politicking

Shame on the Anti-feminists

White Ribbon

Lately I’ve noticed numerous anecdotal signs of an anti-feminist groundswell: friends announcing on Facebook that they’re ‘over’ feminism (post-feminists, some would say), and a proliferation of signs on Hamilton telephone poles decrying the supposedly feminist-led assault on men’s rights.  (I’m working up the energy to eventually tackle a post on the men’s rights movement, but today is not that day.) Continue reading

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Filed under History, On Human Connections, Politicking

Doing Away with Double Blind

Warning: academic rant.

Having taken a solid month six weeks seven weeks off after comps to ‘unwind’ (i.e. do everything I put off for 8 months), I’ve returned to my academic work.  One of my fall projects is to revise and submit for publication two papers I’ve been working on for a while.

Once submitted to academic journals, both of these papers will undergo a process known as peer review, which means that they will be judged by a couple of readers (experts in one’s field) who suggest to the journal whether or not they think the article should ultimately be published. In general this process is  double-blind, meaning I will not know who reviewed it, nor will the readers know whose work they are reviewing. Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, History, On Human Connections, Politicking

On Quebec, education, and conservative myopia

Free tuition.  It’s not that we can’t do it.  It’s that we won’t.

If we, as a society, were justly democratic, the emphasis would be on developing a system where no one would be denied food, water, shelter, clothing, rest, sexuality, leisure, a healthy environment or education on the basis of cost or discrimination.  Instead democracy is shackled within the much narrower confines of one’s civic and political right to express opinions–to a point, as Bill 78 suggests–and then only through an elected-representative-as-mouthpiece. Continue reading


Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, On Human Connections, Politicking

Urban Chic and the Contempt for Poverty

It’s been a year since I started this blog, a year that has at times meandered and at others left me in its wake as it seemingly rushed by.  I’m a sucker for anniversaries and milestones, I guess, because I feel like I ought to write some kind of post to reflect a little. Continue reading


Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, Politicking

A Brief Sojourn in Madison, Wisconsin

I meant to write this post about Madison, Wisconsin as soon as I returned home so my thoughts wouldn’t become a banal, nebulous ramble, but unfortunately I got back two weeks ago. Continue reading


Filed under Academia, Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, Politicking, Travel

McMaster…Y U No Drop Fees?

While upwards of 40,000 Quebec students are walking off campuses in Quebec to protest tuition increases, our tuition fee rally at McMaster a few weeks ago consisted of about fifty.  I don’t mean to slag those organizing the event, for they do wonderful work, and I’m told that this year’s showing was an improvement on the last.  But I can’t help being disappointed in the wider McMaster community – both undergraduate and graduate, not to mention the faculty – for their lacklustre support.  It’s all the more disconcerting when one considers that Ontario undergraduate students pay the highest tuition in the country (and receive the lowest per capita support from the government).

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That was a year; this is another (in Hamilton)

I took a vacation over New Years, and in British Columbia I set my sights on flora.  There’s a lot of moss.  I was enamoured by the hardy winter crops in rows on folks’ front lawns, gardens that have bunkered down for winter but hold onto some fierce kinda life force.  Continue reading


Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections, Politicking, Travel

Rabble Rousing in Grimsby

It began with a march on the banks in downtown Hamilton, but an autumn day of rabble rousing culminated with hot coffee, car stereos and friends at a moonlit intersection in residential Grimsby, Ontario.  We were twenty strong in a town of 20,000.  It was one of the more interesting actions I’ve been to, not least because these things often take place in more urban areas.  The quiet was punctuated by the periodic horns of vehicles whose drivers saw one of our signs: Honk against wage theft! Continue reading


Filed under Dans Ontario, On Human Connections, Politicking

Toronto, a city of…taxpayers?

“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”  — Howard Zinn

I’ll throw in my two cents, though it’s a long toss across the ocean and into the streets of Toronto.  Even from here I can feel the palpable anger, the quiet desperation, and unfortunately, some bitter resignation.  I think there’s also creativity and passion and wit in the resistance. Continue reading


Filed under On Human Connections, Politicking