Photos from Free Speech Wall event on Parliament Hill, 13th of September, 2015, 1-3 pm


The photos, courtesy of Victor Laszlo, are here!!!

Me and my Free Speech Wall

Me and my Free Speech Wall

The red pouch in the table contains writing tools.  The red bits on The Wall are the text of Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which I was to ‘display prominently’ so as not to ‘entrap’ people into accidentally getting arrested for thinking they can write anything they want on a Free Speech Wall.

This is how prominently my Free Speech Wall was displayed on the Parliament Hill

This is how prominently my Free Speech Wall was located on the Parliament Hill

Hey, at least you can see the Canadian flag behind me – that has to count for something, right?

The RCMP vehicle in the right part of the picture is my protection team.

Parliament Hill of Canada, 13th of September, 2015

Parliament Hill of Canada, 13th of September, 2015

Another RCMP officer ensuring peace on The Hill.

The one guy who dared to visit my display - but not to write on it...

The one guy who dared to visit my display – but not to write on it…

He had a permit of his own to demonstrate – but he could go anywhere, so he came to check me out.  My display was deemed too provocative and dangerous to bystanders (as well as my RCMP guards), so I had been limited to this corner.

The rope people would have to 'hop over' to get to see my Free Speech Wall - along with the RCMP dutifully watching that nobody breaks any rules or laws

The rope people would have to ‘hop over’ to get to see my Free Speech Wall – along with the RCMP dutifully watching that nobody breaks any rules or laws

Apparently, slightly lowering the rope between these two supports (not even ones closest to my display) was ‘sufficient’ to ensure ‘public access’ to my Free Speech Wall.  In the background, you can see RCMP Constable watching the dip in the rope very, very closely indeed:  to provide appropriate security.

All these photos are courtesy of Victor Laszlo.

For full write-up of the day, please see my report here.

More gratuitous ‘beach bunny +’ photos…

I know that the summer holidays season is over, but my mind is still not fully back yet…

So, here are some more photos from my holidays up north:

Hip Hop on an island.

And a happy Yoshi, too…

This is such a beautiful place!

This huge hydro-electric dam lake is so beautiful and dotted with islands throughout.  Some days, we take the rented motorboat to one or another of the numerous little islands.  As the only inhabitants there, we can let the pets roam free!

One of the islands we go to every year (and, water-level permitting, walk/swim the perimeter of) has a very distintct ‘X’ in the rock made of other types of rock running through.  Every year, we take a photo of this ‘X marks the spot’ x.  This year, when Hip Hop saw we were taking pictures of it, the little ham went and lay on it to ensure he was the centre of attention…

Boating can be very exhausting!



Gratuitous Rabbit Photos

This seems like an appropriate day for some gratuitous photos of the smartest, cutest rabbit ever!

Daisies are Hip Hop's favourite flowers



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Halloween is fun for everyone!


EVERYONE loves dressing up for Halloween!

(OK – the photo has ‘washed out’ the colours, but, this is one dog who absolutely LOVED getting his ‘make-up’ on.  When he saw the kids get theirs done, he just lined up and wanted the same treatment!)

More photos from ‘The North’

It is difficult to describe just how awesome the nature in Canada is.  It is bautiful, stunning, and any other totally complimentary word you’d like to use!

Every year, for our holidays, we go a little bit north:  only a 3-4 hour drive but a world apart!

The nature – both the fauna/flora and the physical formations – are completely breathtaking.  There is no other word for it, except, perhaps, ‘paradise’!  And, while I enjoy the sights and ‘feeling’ of the places we go to (we have our favourites – and we explore at least one new place each year), I try to take pictures I can look at later, when I am back home, and I need to ‘recharge my batteries’.

Please, don’t get me wrong:  I am not one to rough it.  My standard little joke is that I love camping – as long as the giftshop downstairs is good….

I cannot understand why, when we have spent millenia developing running water (flushing toilets), electricity that comes from a plug (and the appliances it runs), houses that are (relatively) bug-and-other-pests-free – and which have nice dry, un-lumpy bed, why we should snub all this which our ancestors have worked hard to develop and invent, and sleep on the lumpy ground, protected from the elements by nothing more than a flimsy bit of cloth stretched over some sticks!

That just seems like dissing all our ancestors have done for us!

Still, looking at nature (as long as one does not overdo it) is a balm to my soul….

So, here are some more of my favourite pictures:


Boating boys!


shiny rocks

more shiny rocks


'Life of the rocks' (as opposed to 'The Madonna of the rocks'...)

Recharging is exhausting work!

Evening boat-rides,

Evening boatrides

morning sunrise,

Morning sunrise

sandy islands,

Sandy islands

rocky islands,

Rocky Islands

active pets,

Active pets

resting pets,

tired pets

resting feet,

resting feet

What can I say?

In order to truly ‘get away’ and re-charge, we were isolated from the news, the internet, and everything else that was not within a boat-ride of where we were. So, it is taking me a while to catch up on what happened…

Somehow, my brain does not want to get back into the ‘old tracks’!

In surroundings like these, it is easy to ‘get philosophical’ – and we did (as we do every year).

Last year, we got into the whole ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’ thing – and decided that the answer will vary, depending on what is meant by the words ‘hear it’ and ‘sound’.  Though these are ‘simple’ English words, they can be interpreted in so many different ways that they alter the nature of the question:  the very essence of what is being asked about!  (As in, measurability vs. perception/relevance of reality…)

This year, we discussed much different things – no less philosophical, but certainly more ‘practical’.  At the core was the concept of the diaspora (not the ‘capital ‘D’ diaspora’, which refers to the dispersion of Jews once they were exiled from Israel by the Romans, but the ‘little ‘d’ diaspora’, which refers to any group of people who immigrate not as individuals,  but as a society which does not integrate, but rather enforces its own separate cultural and/or religious norms) and its effects on host societies and vice versa….and the reasons for these effects.

I’m sure I’ll be writing this all up, just as soon as I can formulate it from ‘discussions’ and ‘debates’ into a more tidied-up prose.

Still, it is difficult to discuss – and write about – the diaspora in a way that does not send people screaming and calling the thought police and shutting their minds to the very human qualities which are at the core of all the prejudice against the people who immigrate into a land and snub that land’s culture…  not because of the end-concepts, but because in order to discuss this subject, one has to address many topics which are taboo to even mention, much less dissect and debate, in our politically correct society. And, one has to use language that ‘points stuff out’, instead of ‘normalizing’ things and hiding their true meaning.

Yet, I am convinced that unless we understand what is happening inside us, unless we discuss it openly and without reservations, we cannot begin to fix some of the systemic prejudices inherent in our society!  And, reducing (even a tiny bit) some of these ‘barriers’ is a good thing for our society in the long term, even if right now, discussing it openly may feel like pulling a band-aid off…

After all, unless we recognize our prejudices and understand their roots, we cannot hope to overcome them!  It’s just too bad that in our society today, even raising the subject is taboo… yet I intend to not just raise it, but to examine it and the very things which produce visceral reactions in us, human animals.  Politely, of course….  ;0)

At the same time, there is so much which is happening now that I ‘ought to’ be writing about and screaming about…. that I feel pulled in so many directions, I keep hopping from one draft of a post to another, not finishing any!

Yet, I am making progress and I hope to be posting some thought provoking ideas soon.  In the meantime, please, enjoy these pictures!  And, if you’d like to see more, please let me know:  I took a few thousand shots over those days, and some of them have managed to capture the ‘mood’ of the North!

Lily of the valley

The other day, I was in my front ‘shade’ garden…

… when an elderly couple inquired if I ‘needed help’!

I sat up, pulled my camera down and embarrassed the kind folks… I was just taking some pictures of my flowers!

Of course, lily of the valleys are pretty low – so, to get the best shots (the sun was just setting, and I ‘had to’ capture that ‘kiss’ of ‘setting sunlight’ on the delicate blossoms…), I had to be lying down in the grass, and angling myself for the ‘best shot’!

I suppose it is easy to mistake an amateur photographer’s attempts to get the ‘perfect shot’ with random writhing in pain…art hurts, and all that…


(Updated to include the title…and fix some spelling….)

Lilly of the valley

Lily of the valley

more lilly of the valley....

more lily of the valley....

even more lilly of the valley

even more lily of the valley