web analytics

Hammy Nibbles His Way onto Walk of Fame

As a kid newly arrived to Canada from Northern Ireland one of the biggest changes for me to make was getting to know all the new TV shows (that’s a big job when your six.) One of the first shows I really bonded with was Tales of the Riverbank, starring Hammy Hamster [thanks JAG for the link.] And finally it looks like the Hammy and his furry friends are getting the recognition they deserve: they’ve been inducted into CBC’s Alternative Walk of Fame:

“Before the dogmatic twaddle of Barney and Teletubbies, kids looked to Once Upon A Hamster for early-morning amusement. Unapologetically wholesome, the live-action serial followed a boot-dwelling hamster, Hammy, and his exploits with the Riverbank posse: GP the Guinea Pig, Martha Mouse, the Wise Old Frog, Turtle and Granny Rabbit. Tune in one week and you might find Hammy steering a raft or riding shotgun in GP?s car; the next, he?d be navigating a (miniature) hot-air balloon. That critter led a life of unequalled adventure.”

Ahh . . . if they only made TV shows like that these days. Wait a minute, they do.

[thanks to Anita’s Other Space for this]

Canada kids books not into seal-eating (or hugging)

[via places for writers] Children’s writer Andri Snaer Magnason may be an award winning author in his home country of Iceland, but in Canada, his book The Story of the Blue Planet goes just too far:

When Magnason recently presented a manuscript to a Canadian publisher based in Toronto, they offered to publish the book provided he remove references to grilling a seal that had been hunted for food, as well as a scene where a grateful child hugs and kisses two other children who saved his life.

I’m not a big meat-eater myself, but when kids in Canada are offered this and this and this, then I think there is room for a little chowing down on seals and the occasional hug.

S&S use tsunami to sell christ to kids

“[The audience for these books] is not what we have always thought of as the traditional Christian market. It’s Joe Everybody. When a tsunami hits, you want to be reassuring to your kids.”

- Robin Corey, Simon & Schuster Publishing

Good to see the folks at Simon & Schuster don’t have a problem using one of the worst natural disasters in history to move some product. They are cashing in on both world disasters and the booming Christian children’s book market with their new line of religious books for kids. And by religious, we’re obviously talking about Christianity because, according to this Newsweek article they are both one in the same.

The new line of books, called “Little Simon Inspirations”, won’t actually quote scripture or feature Jesus playing soccer, but they will be heavy on message and look eerily like books that a certain writer/blogger has just put out. See for yourself – jesus / no jesus. Scary stuff.

Their books don’t come with a stuffed toy, so I least I have that market cornered. For now.

Being anti-anti-everything

Max Barry is a fine example of a writer who uses his website to promote his books, communicate with his fans and speak his mind. In his latest post he answers his critics who accuse him of being “anti-everything”, something that is regularly laid at my feet by people who should know better.

He has this to say on being anti-corporate:

“My attitude toward corporations doesn?t depend on whether they?re large or small, chain or independent, foreign or local. It?s certainly true that companies that serve the general public (like McDonald?s and Apple) act nicer than companies that don?t (like Monsanto and Halliburton), but this is no anomaly: it?s just further proof that corporations are only interested in public opinion when it affects their bottom-line. Fundamentally, all public companies are cast from the same mold. They are all machines, running different programs on the same operating system.”

When you speak out against things that bother you, it immediately pins you as being “anti-” that particular thing. That’s a convenient frame for people to put on anyone who disagrees with what’s happening. Personally, when I’m accused of being anti-this, or anti-that, I try to turn it on around and stress what I’m “pro-”. And that’s tough sometimes because it’s a lot easier to define yourself by what you are not, rather than what you are.

So, being anti-anti-everything actually means being pro-something. Like
a healthy environment, triple bottom-line economics, and crackin’ orc skulls in your spare time.

To name just a few.

Your Mail in Court

That old NAFTA spectre of Chapter 11 is rearing its ugly head again. The good people at UPS believe that Canadians don’t deserve a publicly owned parcel delivery service, and they’ll sue the packages off us to make that point.

Thanks to a little NAFTA clause called Investor Rights, corporations can sue governments if they feel they are being treated unfairly. In 1998, Canada paid the Ethyl Corporation millions of dollars because we didn’t allow them to put the banned, toxic additive MMT into our gasoline.

As I type, Council of Canadians are in court in a battle to uphold the Canadian constitution. Lawyer for the CoC, Steven Shrybman puts it like this:

“It’s the first case to question whether or not Canada’s obligations under NAFTA actually are compatible with our own constitutional arrangements and norms. Foreign investors have been given the right to invoke international dispute processes that operate entirely behind closed doors and outside the framework of Canadian law and our court system.” – CBC.ca

You can let International Trade Minister, Jim Peterson, know how you feel about this via the Council’s website.

This case promises to be a big one. Hopefully someone will get punched in court that way it might actually make onto the TV news. After all it’s only our constitution at stake. Obviously the news has better things to talk about.