Agree or Disagree: Canadians stores adopting Black Friday.

“I still believe in the Holy Trinity, except now it’s Target, Trader Joe’s, and IKEA.” 
― Jen Lancaster

Yesterday was American Thanksgiving.

Today is Black Friday in the States. A time in the United States where the best shopping deals are made. A time where people get up earrrlllyyy to get in line to make sure they get the best deals. A time where quite frankly, places like Walmart, Target and many more companies ensure that you come to them and but their product.

While the deals started in America, many Canadians head down and join in the Black Friday festivities. Except now, things are a little different.

Many stores in Canada have decided to adopt the Black Friday model here.  With what it appears, some success. 

This is the link to the National Post story on Black Friday. They estimate that 47% of Canadians will participate in Black Friday in Canada. 

Now, while some are excited and open to this, there are also some Canadians that are not. The reason is that we have Boxing Day here in Canada which the is the day after Christmas. We have our own holidays and identity and we don’t need to adopt an American holiday.

Is this a big deal? Is it just a clever marketing play by stores because they know people will buy in? 

Or, is this something that bothers you? A loss of Canadian identity

Agree or Disagree: You would take payment from an author willing to review your product.

Agree or Disagree: You would take payment from an author willing to review your product.

As an author, I know that there is some competition for your “voice:.

For example, I know a blog in Calgary called that is getting 17,000 visitors a month. I’m not. That would be nice, but I’m not.

Now, there are many reasons why you read a blog or a book or a story. But basically, it is about quality. The better and the more popular you are, the more work you get. Particularly if you desire to review. Many companies and organizations are looking for bloggers to promote their product. And they are willing to pay you!

However, just for a moment think about the flip side of this.

Let’s say a guy like… maybe me for example would come to you with an idea. I would review your product and instead of asking you to pay me, I would pay you to do the review.

Would you do that?

Some would say great idea! However, there are many that considers this unethical.

Above there is a link from an author named Rachel Thompson who is @RachelintheOC and @BadRedheadMedia on Twitter.  She gives a pretty detailed perspective.


What do you think? Is an author paying for a review unethical?

Agree or Disagree: Foster Parents receive enough support. A perspective from a former Foster Kid.

There was a time in my life when I was a part of the Foster Care system.

I was in two foster homes. Both were with larger families. One of the families had other foster children while I was there. The other as far as I remember anyway, did not.

This is going back a number of years now, but I remember a bit of the moment this happened. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this.

I remember coming home from school one day when there was a car pulled up to my house. I remember feeling a little different about that day. A feeling I can’t fully explain except to say that there was a change in the air. My suitcase was packed and moved to my then social workers car. It was then explained too me that I was going to a Foster home. 

I remember staring out. I was numb, but not surprised. There was conversations about this before so I my 8 year old self wasn’t surprised. I just went with the flow.

My social worker drove out to the house. She gave an explanation of this family I was going too. A load of emotions came through my head all at the same time. But, I remember going with the flow.

We arrive at the house and we meet. It was an acreage there was lots of animals. Cows, horse, cats. The family is standing there waiting to greet me. What was odd was one of the kids names was Kevin he was one of the other foster kids, which was my name. I think we changed mine to Mark for the time.

It was an adjustment for me. New house, new  household rules and new ideas. It was also close to the end of the school year and I was also going to a new school with new teachers. There is lots of an 8 year old to adjust too.

That experience ended. But a couple years later, I went to another Foster home. This was a family of 5 with no other foster kids in the house. This being the second foster home, I had some  experience with dealing with the adjustments to fall back on. Again, new family, new school and new teachers and lots of a kid to adjust too.

In both of the cases, I would have to say that my foster experience was positive. The parents were nice, so was the Foster siblings. As a matter of fact, do you remember the kid named Kevin I told you about from the first family? Him and his actual blood sister ended up being adopted into the family. 

The reality is , and this is from my perspective, being a parent of foster children is not easy. Some of you who are parents can give that perspective. The reality is you are dealing with a child that in all tense in purposes was pulled out of a family into another one. There is a small sense of rejection that is hard not to suppress. Kids will handle that very differently. As a parent, that is an adjustment depending on the kid. Some kids are bounced from foster home to foster home. This includes babies.

Looking back, I also think it’s odd that the first meeting between family and child was when I was moving in. I’m not sure of that has changed, but it should. We are spending a long time in a confined space together, should there not be meet and greet before? I know the parents are educated about the child, but that can improve.

The reason that this is I’m sharing this story with you is because there has been some discussion about Foster homes in Alberta.Things like this story here v about the number of deaths in Foster homes. This will lead to an investigation on foster care in Alberta. Which I welcome because it is an important discussion. However, let this not stop people from realizing there are many incredible foster parents out there that are loving and nurturing

If we are going to have this discussion I say we open it with this question. Do you think that the government or agencies are showing enough support for Foster Parents?

My answer is no. There is a psychological preparation from both child and parent that needs to be worked on. 

But that’s a perspective from a former Foster Kid that was in the system.


Agree or Disagree: News Media outlets using Facebook as quotes for a news story.

At some point today, the chances are quite likely that you posted a status for your friends on Facebook too see. The chances are quite likely, many of your friends have seen it and commented on it. There are various reasons as to why you would post on Facebook. Too make someone smile. Too share a story. Or, perhaps you could use some support as you are going through a tough time.

That would be Audrey Strasser’s reason.

Who’s Audrey Strasser? This weekend, her 18 year old son died in a bar fight in Calgary. Understandably, she took to Facebook to share her grief with her friends and family. Also understandably, news outlets reported the story of the murder.

Except the news reporters from the Calgary Herald did not actually interview the grieving mother. Instead, they went to Facebook to get their quotes from the story.

Here’s a link to the story

Now, before you get on the Calgary Herald for this action, the Calgary Sun also used Facebook to gain some quotes on this story. The difference being, the Sun went to the Facebook memorial group to gain some insights.

Here’s the link to that story

Now, imagine if this was you. You shared something on Facebook and found it on a newspaper story the next day. Or, this was your friends. How would you feel? Is this good journalism? Or ethical?


Agree or Disagree: You would consider Speed Dating to find your mate.

Agree or Disagree: You would consider Speed Dating to find your mate.

Some of you might have done this before and some of you might not have.

Many of you have tried internet dating. Some of you have found it successful, some of you haven’t.

But what about Speed Dating? Have you tried it? Did it work?

There’s a perspective above.

Agree or Disagree: The Bible should be in the non-fiction section of your local bookstore.

Agree or Disagree: The Bible should be in the non-fiction section of your local bookstore.

Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach was upset.

He walked into a Costco store a saw a Bible for $14.95 and titled under the category “Fiction”.

So, he tweeted out the photo above and tweeted this.

Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of FICTION Hmmmm….

Costco issued an apology saying this.

Costco’s distributor mislabeled a small percentage of the Bibles, however we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution,” the statement said. “In addition, we are immediately relabeling all mislabeled Bibles. We greatly apologized for this error.

Read the story here.

Well, thank you… I guess. But wait, I have a question. What section should it be in then? I’m serious here.

Yes, you can argue it has non-fiction elements in it. You can also argue it has allegorical elements. You could technically say it has elements of fantasy in it. And realistically, you can argue it has elements of fiction in it.

My point is this. I’m not as offended by this as Pastor Caleb, or maybe other Christians are. It doesn’t matter what section it is in. And it doesn’t deter my view of the Bible. If anything, it made me think about elements of the Bible.

What do you think? Are you offended by the Bible in the fiction section?

Agree or Disagree: You are worried about your future pension.

Agree or Disagree: You are worried about your future pension.

In Alberta, the AUPE is very concerned about how the Provincial Government is handling pensions. They are so concerned that they are strongly encouraging you in Alberta to come to Town Halls they will be having all across Alberta titled Hands off My Pension.

The reason they will tell you is attached in this link for you to read.


The question I have is this. Are you worried about your pension? If so, why or why not?

Agree or Disagree: It is time to ban hazing in a sports locker room.

If you follow the NFL, or even if you are not, you could be aware of the story of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. It became a major news story the last couple of weeks.

Incognito is a veteran offensive lineman with the Miami Dolphins. Martin is in his second year as an offensive lineman with the Miami Dolphins. From all indications, Martin and Incognito were very close friends. However Martin has left the team because of allegations of bullying by his teammates. The centre of this accusation happens to be Incognito.

You can listen to the interview Incognito did with Jay Glazer on Fox. Specifically, there is a voicemail that Incognito left for Martin that is discussed on this interview. Not to be simplistic, but the voicemail would indicate too me that Incognito was in a position of power over Martin.

Incognito will also go on to admit that the language that the locker room uses is in his words, “vulgar”. For many of you that have been in a team sports locker rooms, men or women, perhaps this does not surprise you. It is the language of the locker room many of you will say.

In addition, the Miami Dolphin teammates seem surprised that there was an issue. They reported that Incognito and Martin were close. It has lead many to question if Martin in over reacting?

Many of you that have spent time in a team sports locker rooms will also be familiar with the term “hazing”. There are times when the rookies will have go through to put it simply a “right of passage”. It can vary from anything such as being duct tape to a goal post, purchasing a veterans restaurant bill, which on a professional sports team can be a bill of over $10,000 , to something much more humiliating. In an effort to be “one of the group” the rookie will comply to the actions asked. It has been looked on as a term of endearment.

Now although it is not specifically addressed in this interview, it is a question that is being asked as a result of this. The question of if it time to ban hazing. This is not the first locker room incident and it won’t be the last.

For help on the definition of hazing, I will add this link. This is from the hazingpreventions,org

It explains their view in what hazing and the questions to ask.

For you that have been on a sports team, I would love to know your thoughts. Is it time to ban hazing? Or are people over reacting to this situation?

More Fun Facts about Kevin

I don’t normally play these games on Facebook, but for some reason I did. I don’t know what it’s called. You get a number and you have to put  a certain amount of facts about you. I got 6 and those were mine.

1. I was diagnosed at an early age with a learning disability.
2. When I was in Grade 3, I won my first acting award. My principle was proud.
3. I Directed Two One act Plays and assisted in other plays. I won one award.
4. I almost went to Vancouver Film School
5. I spent a brief time of my life homeless and on Social Services.
6. My Grandma was glad I turned out to be such a nice boy.

It has occurred that at times perhaps people don’t much about me. For example, some do not seem to know what I do for work. (I feel like Chandler Bing) There is also some other things that you might not know. Things like,


7. I write articles for the Calgary Beacon. It is an online newspaper.

8. I work as a Student Advisor at SAIT. Basically, I tell students where to go and how to get there:)

9.I’m  quite involved with our AUPE Local 39. I’m with the Bargaining Committee, Academic Council rep , Education Sector rep.

10.  I’ve ran  in a 10 kilometres race for three years running.

11. I used to help sell drugs to people in the States. That is medication not well …. you know.

12.I spent over 4 years in a stellar career as a telemarketer. I was also very good at it. 

13. I used to also sell things door to door. I was not as good.

14. I used to have a lot of hair. It was wild and went everywhere.

15. I’ve been called loud. I’m not exactly sure why.

16. I was in a church choir.  I’m a bass that often was in the back ground.

17 I was in three musicals. One was Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. My brilliant dance moves led me to the background.

18. I used to volunteer with Voiceprint. They read newspaper stories for the blind.

19. I once was mugged. I do hope that he enjoyed the 50 cents he got from my pocket.

20.  I spent most of my life fighting of poor self-esteem.

21.  I’m fiercely loyal and believe there is a solution to a problem.

22. I will do my best to defend those who are being picked on or belittled.

23. I have some really long term friends. Not because I’m old, but because they are courageous enough to stick with me.

 Sometimes going forward, you forget what happened looking back. I forgot some of the obstacles, the efforts, and the challenges I came through. I also forget the victories, the joys and the surprises that have also happened in my life.

There you go. Now you might know a little more about me.