Thursday, April 27, 2006

Forrest Gumping on an April Afternoon

A couple of things sparked this blog. Myles of Freenewfoundlandlabrador asked "Who is a Newfoundlander to you?" and a column by the lovely and talented Averill Baker about "Newfoundland Heros". For regular visitors please excuse this bit of sentiment - must be the sudden burst of sunshine. I'll return to my regular bitterness in future blogs.

The people that we met as we go through life each have an effect on who we become. Their influences become our own. Like a modern day Forrest Gump some of the situations we find ourselves in, and the people we meet along the way are as important to our lives as the pathes we follow.


While in high school I had the great fortune of having a set of teachers who were very proactive in bringing the world to a sheltered inland rural community. "Education Week" this was the time when the textbooks were closed and we took the opportunity to peer up from our desks and into the real world. It was during one of these academic interludes that a gentleman by the name of Arthur Scammel was introduced to our class. You should know the name, if you don't you will surely know his simple ditty of Outport Newfoundland life in the words of "The Squid Jigging Ground". Mr. Scammel was a man in his eighties at the time. Rumours of his demise had been greatly exaggerated; he was alive with a spirit that few of us can attest to.

When Mr. Scammel was a young student he wrote The Squid Jigging ground as a school project. His teacher did not receive it favourably. This was a time when textbooks came from England and we learned about another country's culture. Come to think of it I'm not sure it was different when I was in highschool except that the shining example of England was replaced with the influence of our neighbour to the South as we were taught from American textbooks. From Mr. Scammel I took away the pride in being able to say that I heard The Squid Jigging Ground sung from the shaking and whispy breath of the man himself, and more importantly an understanding of what it is to be a Newfoundland and Labradorian in the context of being surrounded and infiltrated by the powerful influences of Europe, the U.S., and from our foster parent Canada.


When I had completed my academic career I had a brief stint as a delivery driver. One of my routes took me into Shea Heights. There is a dichotomy about Shea Heights; it is famous for the beautiful view overlooking St. John's from the South Side Hills. This beauty is at the surface of a place that has a dark and horrible secret that is the unsolved murder of Dana Bradley. It is also the birthplace of one of Newfoundland's great hockey stars Harold Druken, and one of the most recognizable Newfoundlanders of all time the late Ed "Sailor" White. I met Ed on a number of occasions on my runs. He was a man who was physically ominous. His body round and thick, his face a living testament to the life he had led. On his forehead was the scars of the past, when blood was the entertainment of the day he would slash his forehead with a sharp object concealed in his palm and let the blood run over his face for the covers of magazines. What I took away from having met him though, is how the heart of a lamb can beat in a lion. Frailties exist under the strongest face. We should not be quick to judge people on their lifestyle choices, careers, looks or any other surface factor. The depth of a man or woman is worn in the heart.


Not a Newfoundland and Labradorian but one of the rare exceptional Canadians that makes us all wave the flag was the late Terry Fox. When Terry started in Newfoundland there was not a lot of initial reaction to his story. St. John's is a city that sees so many firsts - and the spring of the year is often a time when some adventurer with an odd homemade boat or plane will leave from here to mark his or her name in the history books - to cross Canada, North America, or the Atlantic Ocean. Sailers, rollerbladers, rowers, pilots we see them all. So we can be forgiven in Newfoundland for initially not taking notice of a runner from Vancouver. As Terry began to continue along the TCH people started to realize the conviction of this man - children started to mimic the famous "fox trot". One of my favourite TV shows was the Six Million Dollar Man. I thought for sure that this mechanical leg must give him some qualities of a superhero. I watched the news as he hit some of the smaller communities in Eastern Newfoundland, finally a decent reception somewhere around Gander and Gambo. I ran with him through our town, he was amazingly ordinary – he could have been anyone. The last vivid memory was from the next summer when I read the headline of an American newspaper in a roadside vending machine with the headline Canadian Runner Dies During Marathon of Hope. From Terry I learned what an indemitable spirit could accomplish. I don't think I need to elaborate...


...and lastly for now, my "Jenny". We have known each other since we were ten and I can't remember not loving her. She has worked since she was about fourteen. Her work ethic allowed us to build a life when my own live’s faults and trials would have seen me on Desolation Row. Lesson learned: The connection that two people can make in the centre of caos.

There are many more people and places of course where a wide-eyed and ignorant BNB has made his cameo and drawn influence. Cassie Brown, Annie Troake, Mary Dalton, Christopher Pratt, Lisa Moore, Bernice Morgan, EJ Pratt, my mentors, my father, my sister and my late mother. I have been but a spectator. I thank them for their influence on my life and the lessons of how we have fought to live here and why we continue to do so.

...but here's your bus. Thanks for the company. You can take the chocolates.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Some Final Thoughts on Costco and the Activists

My letter to Costco and their reply. Long story short - This hateful and hypocritical animal right's group is full of poo. If that comes as a surprise to you, we should also talk about Santa and the Easter Bunny...

I am a Costco Member in St. John's. Please answer for me simply
if this statement is true:

"After discussions with *** ******* Conservation Society, Costco's
senior management team have decided to remove seal oil capsules from the shelves of their St. John's location, their only store in Canada where the capsules were available."

Please answer my inquiry.


Thank you for emailing Costco Wholesale.

From time to time over the past few years, Costco has carried an over the counter product in its pharmacy in the St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, location that is a byproduct of oil derived from Canadian seals. It is a product that is requested by members in that one location.

Costco has been urged over the years to discontinue the product by various parties, notably by the *** ******** Conservation Society, who are opposed to the seal hunt in Canada.

Costco has never taken a position on the controversy between various parties and the Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador governments regarding the seal hunt. We have consistently made it clear to all parties that we do not take political positions, and our actions should not be misconstrued as such.

On March 1, recognizing that the sale of the seal oil capsule product was limited to a single location in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and in light of the very small dollar value of the sales in a single location, Costco made a business decision to discontinue the item. The item has not been carried in any of Costco's 346 locations in the United States.

While there were conversations with the *** ******* Conservation Society, the decision to discontinue the product had nothing to do with the *** ******* Conservation Society. Our decision to place or pull a product from our shelves is never based on politics. Each item must stand on its own commercial merits.

In its March 30 press release, the *** ******** Conservation Society falsely stated that Costco had removed the product from its shelves across Canada (it had been carried in only the St-John's location) and that this action was intended by Costco as a statement of its opposition to the seal hunt (Sea Shepherd knew that we were intending no such statement).

As a direct result of the *** ******* Conservation Society's actions, Costco has been made an unwilling participant of the media blitz surrounding the Canadian seal hunt, and has faced a firestorm of protest from its members in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, protesting the removal of the product.

As a result of member demand in the only Costco location where Omega 3 seal oil capsules were sold, we informed the appropriate governments and our members of our intent to restore the product to that single location. We recognize that some outside of Newfoundland and Labrador may wrongly construe this as a political statement; however, our decision to restock the product in St. John's is consistent with our company policy of being guided solely by the commercial merit of an

Sara M

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Wolf in Sheep's (faux fur) clothing

Note: I wrote this bloody quick so excuse any rambling, grammar or other bits of weirdness. I told myself enough with the animal hypocrites and racists 'leave them to their little utopian world' - but allow me to get this out of my head and into the keyboard before my head pops...

Remember the old bugs bunny cartoons with Fred and Ralph; the sheep dog and coyote? We have something akin to that in the animal rights movement. Except that the wolf (coyote) in sheeps clothing claims also to be the shepherd. Weird or what?

Case in point Dr. Danny Penman - all the charm of a little Harry Potter. Came over here to observe the seal hunt, an impartial observer - but listen closely - he uses the lingo of the extremists "baby seals", "slaughter", "the rest of the world". Got the old Spidey sense tingling so I did a web search. Among the articles I found was an article from the Daily Mail saying how bad Sushi was for you - toxic, cancinogenic and even fattening! Another about the seal hunt which he describes as appaling... No strong words like that though when he walks up to our local news with the "please ma'm, I want some-more" look on his face.

Most interesting though is the article I found here where it describes how he used a pseudonom to buy the materials for chemical weapons. Should we be concerned about this? He was buying them as an experiment to write a little piece perhaps get on a chat show or two... no harm done. We can take him for his word right?

I never condone violence and that is where myself and these shepherds of compassion differ. I wonder though if it would not be beneficial for humanity to give them a legislated "cuff up the side of the head"? Not to be violent, more like your daddy did when he caught you with that cigarette.

Chemical weapons for fun and entertainment:
(Look for the KO article)

Sushi is Evil!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Boycotts vs Bull Shit

Just about a fortnight has passed since Newfoundland and Labradorians were told that Seal Oil Capsules has been removed from the shelves of Costco. Just about a fortnight since we were told that the whims of a racist had removed the Newfoundland product from the shelves of St. John's. If you had visited Costco today though you could not have entered the store without having to sidestep the cases of the product smack-dab in the entrance way. A couple of bottles of the capsules also sit neatly at each cash register. There is an obvious statement that Costco is making:

We have heard and we have responded.

It is rather interesting to me in considering this local Boycott of Costco. The effects were large enough for anyone to notice. All but empty parking lot at the store, line-ups for canceling memberships. Newspapers, openline shows filled with the buzz about Costco. Funny that the Capt. claims in his correspondance that Costco can expect "some (limited) Fallout in Newfoundland". Observe the limited fallout. The effects of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians was loud and clear - and the response was just about a couple of weeks in the making. I find it interesting because I look at this Boycott and compare it to the farse of a Boycott that is supposed to be making a dent in the Canadian Seafood industry. The seafood Boycott has been ineffectual. Why? Because it is based on Bull Shit. Restaurants that are not aware they are on a Boycott list, others that never serve Canadian Seafood anyway - this is their idea of a Boycott. The price of seal pelts is better than ever, support for Canadians in favour of a well-managed hunt is stronger than ever. What Boycott?

One of the clearest indicators of the ineffectiveness of the extremist rhetoric is during their big day of action to protest sealing on March 15. The hype would have us believe that we could expect something resembling the fall of the berlin wall. Instead there is a brief mention of the couple of dozen people with signs here and there throughout the US and Europe. Something like 60 people in Washington? That's not a protest, give me any day of the week and I can get you a couple hundred people together for a photo on the waterfront in St. John's.

Now the KKK posse is angered that the "N" race has won the Costco battle. They are countering with an all-out Boycott of Costco. I'm not even sure who I'll be routing for on this one. Costco in all other locations except St. John's deserves a good kick in the sack for listening to the racist ramblings of a biggot. At the very least if this was some big mis-understanding like they initially claimed they can take a swap to the pills for not denouncing the stupid statements right off the bat.

I suspect though that Costco need not shake in it's Vinyl Boots over the KKK posse. If their Costco boycott has as much affect as the Seafood boycott, Costco is in for a great year. An honest Boycott beats one based on Bull Shit any day of the week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

57 Years in Canada

... and the squeeze is still on