Category Archives: Media

Binge- Watching

offspringNot long ago I got horribly hooked on a Netflix series from Australia called Offspring.  At its heart was a young obsterician named Nina Proudman. I think part of the reason I couldn’t stop watching was because in every episode Nina delivers at least one baby and each time it’s such an emotional experience.  Nina is a bit of a klutz and frequently drifts off into the world of her daydreams.  But when she is delivering babies she’s focused and professional and really, really good at her job. The Proudman family is HIGHLY dysfunctional and Nina feels responsible for them all. 

I was intrigued by Nina’s bohemian wardrobe and the way she decorates the various homes she lives in during the five seasons of the show.  Nina’s brother-in-law is a musician and I really liked the songs he writes and performs in some episodes.  

Even though I often felt like grabbing some of the Offspring characters by the shoulders and telling them they needed to be less selfish, more circumspect and a whole lot more responsible about their relationships, I was drawn in by the story of the Proudman family.  I know now what the term ‘binge- watching’ means.  I got very little done for days while I was watching Offspring.

I’ve decided the next time I start to watch a Netflix series it would be prudent to be sure there are no more than two seasons.  

Other posts……..

Warms Your Heart and Makes You Laugh Out Loud

House of Cards- Are Politicians Really Like This?



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Too Tough or Not Tough Enough?

A drunk driver who may not receive a tough enough sentence and a mother who has received a sentence even the judge feels is too tough .  Those were the two contrasting cover features in the City section of the Free Press on Saturday.  free press city section

The first story was about a young Steinbach man found guilty of dangerous driving causing death.  Columnist Gordon Sinclair seems worried the convicted man may not receive the sentence he deserves because he’s had a religious experience and his recorded testimony of repentance  is popular on the website of Steinbach’s largest church.  Will this influence the court to be too lenient? The mother of the girl killed by the intoxicated young man behind the wheel, says if he was truly sorry  he would have pled guilty and not put the girl’s family through the grief of a trial. True repentance should have motivated him to ask the family of his victim for forgiveness.  

The second story is about a young mother convicted of smuggling painkillers into Stony Mountain prison for her boyfriend, a gang member with a criminal record. A victim of childhood abuse she was susceptible to the manipulation of her boyfriend who demanded she smuggle the drugs. She has no prior criminal record and court evidence suggests she is a good mother.  Her kids will have to be placed in care while she is in prison. The judge wanted to be lenient saying the woman’s story had ‘touched his heart’ but mandatory sentencing introduced during the Harper era means he must send the woman to jail for two years, a sentence he feels is too tough. 

So two young people.  One may receive what some worry will be too light a sentence and another has received what even the judge feels is too harsh a sentence.  Both stories are heartbreaking. How sad for all the families involved.  One story makes you wonder if the courts have too much discretion in deciding on sentences and the other makes you wonder if they have been given enough discretion. 

I’m assuming Free Press editor Shane Minkin purposely chose these two contrasting stories for the front page of Saturday’s city section.   Their juxtaposition was thought-provoking. 

Other posts about court cases………

A Novel So Long It Took Us Through Eight States

Red Bows for Michael’s Geese


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Filed under Media, Winnipeg

Hard To Watch

A woman whose face has been damaged irreparably by acid gives a lesson in make up application. 

We went to the Cannes Lions Commercials show at the Winnipeg Art Gallery recently.  There were many excellent advertisements in the line up but the images I saw in two are still with me many days later.  

The commercials featured a woman named Reshma who has a face grotesquely scarred by an acid attack.  In the first she gives a lesson in applying lipstick and in the second she shows viewers how to put on eyeliner. 

The ads draw attention to the fact that in India there are more than a thousand acid attacks on women a year.  Women have acid thrown in their faces as revenge for rejection of a marriage proposal or sexual advance.  Some attacks are due to religious differences, conflicts over property or are gang related.  

I found a website called Stop Acid Attacks that details the problem and presents demands for stopping it. Some hopeful signs are a Supreme Court decision that hospitals in India are obligated to provide care to victims and victims will receive some compensation. Last year the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited with victims of acid attacks on a trip to India thus drawing much-needed attention to the issue. 

Acid_attack_victim creative commons

Acid attack victim

Acid attacks don’t only happen in India they are a problem throughout South East Asia. 

Other posts………

India Assaults the Senses

Skin Color

Beggars Everywhere

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Filed under India, Media

There are People in Provencher Who Aren’t Hateful, Unsavory and Ignorant

The people in the political riding of Provencher  are “hateful, unsavory and ignorant!”  That’s what you might think if you read the second page feature in Tuesday’s Metro newspaper.  I had a copy of the Metro handed to me as I boarded the bus early Tuesday morning. I opened it up and read the piece during my transit ride.  I found the article unsettling. It describes a video posted by Provencher member of Parliament Ted Falk on his Facebook page.  In the video Mr. Falk suggests refugees who cross the border into Canada at Emerson are taking advantage of kind-hearted Canadians. Falk calls on the Liberal government to make their stance on the issue clear.

I had watched Mr. Falk’s video prior to reading the Metro story. I thought there would have been better ways to address the concerns of his Provencher constituents in Emerson.   I wished Mr. Falk had adopted a more welcoming and open-minded tone. While expressing his opinion that additional information and a clear policy from the federal government was required in the Emerson situation, he could have also talked about the many concrete ways we can all provide practical assistance to people from war-torn countries. Mr. Falk could have reminded his constituents  that at one time most of their families had been refugees too.

The Metro writer says hundreds of people have written accolades about Mr. Falk’s video on his Facebook page and that is true. I scrolled through the nearly four hundred responses and many are written in a fairly reasonable tone. There are some that remind Mr. Falk he needs to be more compassionate. They speculate as to how Jesus might have acted towards ‘the least among us’  who are crossing the border at Emerson. There are also some comments that say very disrespectful and unkind things about Muslims, the prime minster and refugees in general. I agree with the Metro writer that having provided a platform for these kinds of comments Mr. Falk might respond to them in some way. He could  delete or moderate inappropriate comments and remind his Facebook followers that informed, rational dialogue is the path to understanding.

One line in the Metro piece stood out for me. “Sadly, Falk’s views are in tune with those held by many of his constituents.”  That line makes it seem like the people in Provencher don’t care about refugees or their plight. I know that isn’t true. To balance their reporting on the Falk video the Metro might also have published a photo of the huge sign outside Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach that  welcomes all people as neighbours in both Arabic and English.  They might have reported on the refugee families that are currently being sponsored by groups in southeastern Manitoba or have been sponsored in the past.  I personally know of many such stories.

Last summer in the coverage leading up to the Pride Parade in Steinbach the media largely ignored the efforts of the people in southeastern Manitoba who have welcomed their LGBTQ neighbours for years and worked hard to make their communities more accepting. Instead they chose to focus on the less supportive comments and actions of local political leaders. Now they are doing the same thing with the refugee situation. 

I lived in Mr. Falk’s riding for some four decades. I know it is home to many people who are open-minded, welcoming, well-informed, thoughtful and compassionate. They need to be featured in media reports about Provencher as well in order to provide more  balanced coverage.

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach isn’t Something  New

Thoughts on Refugees

My Former Church and the Pope


Filed under Media, Politics

Warms Your Heart and Makes You Laugh Out Loud

Looking for a great little series on Netflix?  Look no further than detectorists.   We just finished watching two seasons worth and what a gem it was. We so enjoyed it!

detectoristsThe series follows a group of hobby detectorists in a British village.  They have a metal detecting club and look for historical treasures in the surrounding meadows and fields. They meet regularly to share their findings. 

I liked the way the series showed the caring but understated relationship between the two men who are the main characters. They are passionate about their hobby. Both are experiencing personal crisis and their metal detectoring is a way of dealing with it, a kind of therapy if you will. I found the espisodes charming and heartwarming. Each member of the metal detecting club has a unique personality and when they interact it makes for some great humour. I don’t know when I have laughed out loud as many times as I did watching this series.

My husband Dave liked the soundtrack and the great cinematography which highlighted the pastoral English countryside in a beautiful way.

My brother said he enjoyed the nuanced  gems of human interaction in detectorists.  He found the characters to be quirky but definitely relatable and said there was a kindness about the show that so often is missing in television programs. He liked the gentle pace and the way the stories unfold fluidly not in a jerky fashion as so many television programs do.  He thought the writing was great. 

If you were a fan of the old British series The Avengers you will appreciate the cameo performance by one of its stars Diana Rigg in detectorists.  Diana’s daughter has a starring role in the drama and is just as dynamic an actress as her mother. 

While watching the series I learned that it is important to distinguish between a detector and a detectorist.  A detector is the actual metal detecting machine and a detectorist is the person who operates it. 

Other posts………

Winnipeg in Televison and the Movies

Creative Television Commercial

Breaking Bad- What’s to Like? 

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Filed under Media

To Unfriend or Not?

I have Facebook friends whose points of view on a whole variety of issues vary greatly from my own.  Some of these Facebook friends are people I got to know on my travels. During the short time we enjoyed each others’ company we didn’t necessarily get a chance to share our political or social ideologies in too much detail.   Some of the Facebook friends I disagree with mightily are high school classmates,  or my former students, whose adult opinions have evolved in ways that are radically different from my own beliefs about religious faith or social problems or government agendas. Some of these Facebook friends are colleagues from the past or present who interpret things from a stance that bewilders me, and yes, I’ll admit it, at times infuriates me. 

Sometimes when I see post after post  from someone who obviously has a world view that seems the polar opposite to mine I am tempted to just ‘unfriend’ them. It irritates me that they have such a wrong-headed approach to issues.  

A few days ago I read something by Heather Plett  in which she encouraged people to interact with Facebook friends who stretched them and had ideas that challenged their own. What wisdom.  If we only listen to those who think the same way we do, how will  any of us ever change, how will we meet halfway, or manage to live respectfully with one another?  

Unfriending those whose ideas are at odds with my own might make me feel less frustrated, but it won’t really do anything to promote greater understanding and possible compromise. 

Other posts………

Opposite Profound Truths

I’m So Tired of You America

Travel Alphabet


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Filed under Media, Reflections

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

dailybonnetbanner-3A former teaching colleague of mine, has started a very funny blog called The Daily Bonnet.  He satirizes the ideas, quirks, foibles and traditions of conservative Mennonites be they cultural, political, gastronomical or religious.  In Mennonite circles across Canada the blog is becoming quite a phenomena. There are times when the posts have me literally laughing out loud. 

Yesterday my husband and I were mentioned in a Daily Bonnet story that referred to a popular Canadian band, Royal Canoe. Three of its members have Mennonite roots in southern Manitoba communities.  

If you haven’t read The Daily Bonnet and you’d like a good chuckle check it out. 

PS. Not everything in the post is 100% true.  My husband and I do not live on Wellington Crescent, although it might be cool to have a home in the heart of a neighborhood that caters to the rich and famous. 

Other posts………

Could I Have Been a Grey Nun? 

Brush With Greatness

Fun Evening in Toronto

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Filed under Media, Religion