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Friday, November 30, 2012

7 month old baby dies at the hands of a drunk driver

For at least one family in Erie County, Christmas is over before it even began.  Due to a car accident, cause by a 24 year old female drunk driver, their seven month old baby was killed.

When can we expect laws that are harder on these drunks?  Do you really think the slogan “Don’t drink and drive” is enough?  In my opinion it’s not, not by a long shot.  Simply saying, don’t drink and drive is not even a slap on the wrist, it’s a tickle with a feather.

What we need are laws that scare the crap out of drivers who are thinking of drinking.  Fines starting from $10,000 would be a good start.  If caught again under the influence, $50,000 and 5 years in jail. 

If anyone gets hurt in an accident involving a drunk driver, 10 years in jail.  If anyone dies in the accident, life imprisonment.

In addition, labels should be posted on all bottles of alcohol and all glasses in which it is served.  Labels that look much like those on cigarette packets, carrying pictures of gruesome accident scenes along with slogans such as:

“Drinking and driving makes you a potential murderer”

“Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of spousal abuse”

“Drinking causes liver cancer”

Not to mention that for many, drinking can cause a complete change of personality.

Take last Wednesday for instance when Classic Trios got together for our weekly bowling night.

The team we bowled against that night started off perfectly friendly and well behaved.  During the course of the night that changed.  Two out of three players turned from friendly, to grumpy to downright rude.  The more alcohol got into them, the more abusive language spewed from their mouth.

While I have nothing against people enjoying a drink now and then, some people can’t hold their liquor and shouldn’t be allowed to drink.

I equally blame the bars selling alcohol to those people.  Can’t they see when these drunks had enough?  All things considered, when accidents or crimes happen due to drunk driving, the sellers are equally guilty as the consumers.

In the case of 24 year old Danielle Kellogg, her excessive drinking has not only claimed the life of a baby, it ruined the live of the mother and the father.  A child dying so young is bad enough, but to die because of some drunk brat … it’s unforgivable.

When she goes on trial, I hope justice is served and she goes to jail for years to come.  I’d say, lock her up and throw away the key and make an example out of her for other drunk drivers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It was an accident

Around this time of the year, we’re starting to think of Christmas presents.  Yes, it’s early days, but the stores are getting ready and so are we.

For years I’ve had my heart set on a Tiffany lamp.  

Something like this:

or this:

or this:

Unfortunately, such a lamp is never going to grace my corner table, not this year, not ever.  Not with four cats who behave like hooligans. 

During the day they’re ever so sweet, butter wouldn’t meld in their mouths.  As the sun goes down, their energy level goes up though and three out of four turn into Tony Steward, Kyle Busch and Jimmy Johnson.  For those unfamiliar with the names … they’re NASCAR racers. 

The cats, having seen one race too many, imitate the drivers by racing around the condo and in the process there’s been more than one casualty.  Lamps, ornaments, cups, vases, plates … I often wondered if my cats have Greek blood in them and they cry “Oppa” when yet another item bites the dust.

So a beautiful Tiffany lamp is out of the question.  If a new lamp comes into the house, it will have to be made out of wood or metal, or some other unbreakable material.

But speaking of damage … I caused a bit of damage myself today.

I gave Dieter a dart board for his birthday last week, and today the board was installed.  Dieter choose the back of his bedroom door to hang the board.  Shortly after the installation was complete, Dieter and I had a couple of games and oh dear,  it didn’t exactly go well.

For safety sake, the cats were put in the living room and Dieter’s bedroom door was closed.  After all, novice dart board players as we are, there was no telling where the darts would end up.

Where did the darts end up?  Well, some landed in the board, but others missed completely and landed on the floor or got stuck in the door.

Just look at the damage … see those holes? … I did that.

I guess I should stick to bowling ....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sleeping with cats

Do any of you sleep with a pet?  If you do, you have my sincerest sympathies. I slept with Chanel last night and oh my, it took forever for her to settle.

She was purring so loud that I wondered … is this a cat or a small propeller plane?

Usually Chanel sleeps elsewhere and Mickey and Gabriel curl up with me.  In fact, it’s a funny thing.

While I’m on the computer, Gabriel sleeps and when I say “sleeps” I mean he’s out like a light.  A bomb can go off next to that cat and he won’t flinch.  But … fast asleep as he is, as soon as I prepare to go to bed, he joins me.  He quite literally wakes up to go to sleep.

Once in bed he starts making funny noises, meaning … rub my cheeks, scratch my head, rub my belly, and rub my cheeks some more.  If it was up to him, I would be rubbing his cheeks until dawn.

Meanwhile Mickey wanders around.  He inspects the linen closets, sits on the windowsill, checks under the bed, before finally jumping on the bookcase and stretching out.

At some point the bookcase starts cramping his style and that when it happens … from roughly 6 feet 5 inches he launches himself on the bed.

This never fails to frighten the hell out a me.  Just imagine … it’s dark, it’s quiet, I’m just starting to drift off, when suddenly … boem, a weight lands on the bed shaking me wide awake.

While I’m trying to get my heart out of my throat, Gabriel barely opens an eye. It’s like he’s trying to say … “What?  What’s the big deal? He does this every night.”

And it’s true, Mickey does this every night, but I fall for it every time.

So last night I thought I would sleep in peace and quiet, without Gabriel’s need for attention or Mickey auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. I was wrong, now it was Chanel who kept me out of dreamland.

She snuggled up close to me and went … krrrrrr, krrrrrrrr, krrrrrrr. I’m telling you, she sounded like a plane getting ready for take-off.

Maybe tonight I should sleep with Charlotte.  Charlotte is a quiet cat. She doesn’t wander around, she doesn’t climb on furniture, and even though she can purr, she does so at a normal level.

The only thing is, Charlotte doesn’t move, for anything. She needs a lot of space and once she lies down, she lies down. Whether feet, legs or even a body are in her way, she doesn’t move, not an inch.

I wonder how people do it who sleep with a big dog ….

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gaining popularity

This blog started out as a way to vent.  You know how it goes, something gets on your nerves and sharing your grievances with your cat just doesn’t cut it.  A blog seemed like the ideal solution.  I could have my say and move on.

For the longest time “Under the Toronto Sun” had limited viewing.  A few friends followed my posts, averaging between 35 – 50 views per day.

That has changed.  I don’t know what happened, but ever since “Under the Toronto Sun” reached its 25,000 mark, readership has exploded, averaging between 400 – 500 views per day. 

Much to my surprise, I’ve noticed that “Under the Toronto Sun” isn’t just being read in Canada in the United States, but enjoys readership in other parts of the world as well.  Statistics show that this blog has readers in England, Scotland, France, Spain, Belgium, Chile and (a large following in) Brazil.

Unfortunately, so have the comments.  Some are flattering and encouraging, others are on the hurtful side, and then there are the spam messages: financial consultants, marketing experts, diet programs, sex toys and porn sites, they all hope for a posting.

If I see a site I agree with, I will let it through, but most spam messages get deleted.  It’s one of the reasons I started screening the comments.  When this blog was young, anyone and everyone could leave a comment, but since gaining popularity all comments have to be approved by yours truly.

My message to spammers … don’t bother.  If I don’t agree with what you’re advertising, your comments won’t see the light of day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do dating sites work?

In their quest to find Mr. Right, Mr. Right Now, or Mr. You’ll-do-until-someone-better-comes-along, more and more women turn to dating sites.  (Obviously, the same applies to men)

It’s a smart move I suppose.  There’s no need to wait for a guy to approach them, no need to suffer their pick-up lines, or go on a series of first dates that may or may not be enjoyable.  

Women (and men) can pick and choose between a series of candidates and get to know them in relative anonymity.
But do these dating sites work? 

John doesn’t think so.  He’s been a member of for some time now and is far from happy with their services.  He sends out winks and either gets nothing in return or someone winks back and wants to chat. 

Either the chat leads to nothing or the girl of his choice provides her email address and website, which turns out to be a porn site.  She’s not looking for a potential boyfriend, she looking for a client.

In addition to not attracting the right type of girls, John and other members of have their doubts about the site.  Toward the end of their membership or when they’re no longer a member, they suddenly get winks from pretty girls.  Who can resist?  When they become a member, or renew their membership, the girl in question mysteriously disappeared.  

Could these “ghost girls” be a way of attracting members?
Other sites, like Lavalife and eHarmony seem to be operating much the same way.  Especially Lavalife, who appears to be the favourite of girls aiming to attract clients.

Ladies and gentlemen, do you really need dating sites to meet potential boyfriends/girlfriends?  How about smiling at someone and see what happens?  How about just walking up to someone and making small talk? Girls are everywhere.  They’re in grocery stores, at the gym, in book stores and their absolute favorite … hardware stores.

Why do you think girls linger at the power tool department?  They’re not interested in drills and saws, they’re waiting for the right operator.

If all else fails, visit a shoe store … you know how fond girls are of shoes, right?  Gentlemen, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.   

For thousands of years men and women have found partners without the convenience of the internet.  Instead of paying a monthly fee to a dating site, why not just ask your family how they managed to get hooked up?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vaseline linked to cancer

Some people never cease to amaze me.  On the one hand they are so concerned with their health that they almost turn neurotic and look down on others who don’t share their views, yet on the other they do their very best to sabotage their health.

Take the use of Vaseline also known as petroleum jelly for instance.  Some people happily smear it on their baby’s bottom, while others use it to treat dry skin, or add shine to their lips.  Did you know that women who use lip gloss regularly, eat about seven pounds of the Vaseline in a decade.

Little do they know that Vaseline does not moisturize, it draws moisture to the surface, as such robbing skin of what it so desperately needs, and they risk all kinds of cancers.

Vaseline is made of petroleum sludge, a type of wax that forms on oil rigs.  The wax interferes with the proper working of the rods on the rigs and has to be removed from time to time.  The wax contains hydrocarbons, a substance found in women with breast cancer

Still, people ignore advice given online and state that Vaseline has been around for years, that their grandma used it, and that only fools would believe that the greasy wax could be bad.  Not only that, some articles actually promote the use of Vaseline/petroleum jelly. 

Why anyone would do this is beyond me.  You only have to look at and touch Vaseline to know that something so greasy cannot be good for your skin.  It leads to acne, impurities, irritation and worst of all, certain cancers.  This possibility alone should be enough to scare people off.  Sadly, this is not the case.  The product is cheap, has been used by their mother and grandmother, so they figure it must be good.

What is even more mind boggling is why the Cancer Society hasn’t made it its business to warn the public about the use of Vaseline.  If the product has been linked to cancer, you would think this is right up their alley.  On the one hand they raise millions of dollars for cancer research and promote pink ribbons to make women aware of breast cancer, yet on the other hand they keep silent about the dangers of Vaseline. 

If you want to moisturize your skin or give shine to your lips, do it with something safe like an organic oil.  Oils such as olive oil, almond oil, cacao butter, shea butter and coconut oil will be more expensive than Vaseline, but at least they are risk free.
Before you buy your next beauty product READ THE LABEL.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Dieter

Today, November 8, is my son’s birthday.  How he made it to 33 is a mystery to me.

He was supposed to be a Christmas baby, but eager as he was to get started on life, he decided to make an early  entrance.  He’s been in a hurry ever since. 

Initially he was slow with sitting, crawling, walking and talking, but once he got going there was no stopping him.

Once he had learned how to sit, he wouldn’t lie down anymore.  A nap was out of the question, and when he had to go to bed at night he would scream his head off.  The only way to sooth him was to put him in the car and go for a drive.  
Usually we hadn’t even reached the street corner when he was asleep.

Crawling turned out to be rather frustrating for him.  He went backward you see, and this annoyed him to no end.  Red faced and pounding his little fists on the floor, he couldn’t understand why he never got anywhere.

Eventually he learned how to walk, only he didn’t exactly walk.  He went from crawling straight to running.  Wherever he was going, he couldn’t get there fast enough.

As for talking … it didn’t take him long to say “mama”, “papa” and “cat”, but he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) string a sentence together.  In due time he learned of course and oh dear, then he could have talked a cat out of a tree.

I remember the day when the whole class (grade 4) went to see Jurassic Park in the cinema.  When I picked him up from school that day, he talked and talked and talked from the moment he got into the car, until we reached the house (and then he was still not finished).
What amazed me was, he knew all the different dinosaurs by name.

Being in such a hurry, he had all kinds of accidents.  He frequently tripped over his own feet, resulting in bumps and bruises.  One day he fell and hit his head on the corner of a cabinet.  He ended up with a gash on his forehead, causing blood to stream down his face.  My heart nearly stood still.

Another time he disappeared for a whole afternoon.  One moment he was playing in the front yard, the next he was nowhere to be seen.  My search for him caught the attention of the neighbors and soon the whole street was in search of little Dieter.  Hours later he walked out of someone’s house … he had been visiting a woman because she baked good cookies.

Another day he visited a friend and about an hour later I received a call …



“Can you come over.  I think I need stitches”

Just like that, as cool as a cucumber.
When I got to the friend’s house, it turned out Dieter had done a little carpentry.  In the process, he had used a Stanley knife and cut through the wood, through his jeans, into his thigh.  When I saw the gaping wound, my stomach flipped.

And speaking of stitches … I’ll never forget the day that I went to pick Dieter up from day care and found blood stains on the driveway.  I immediately knew that he was once again in trouble.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” my husband said.  “It could be any of the kids.  Maybe someone just had a blood nose.”

Intuition told me that this blood was more than a bloody nose and it wasn’t just anyone, it was Dieter’s blood.
A short time later, a car pulled up and Dieter and his caretaker got out.  She looked worried, he looked as white as snow.  Angry red marks stained his cheeks, while a big white gauze bandage stretched from the outer corner of his eye into the hairline.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Our dog is in heat,” Linda explained.  “He wanted to get out and Dieter tried to stop him.”

Dieter, 8 years old and maybe 4 feet tall tried to stop a fully grown St. Bernard!

The dog had jumped on Dieter, in the process scratching his cheeks and making a huge gash next to his eye with one of his nails.

Over the years, all kinds of injuries and doctor’s visits followed, including being stabbed in the arm at school and two brain operations.  Dieter came through them with flying colors.

When Dieter was born and he was fighting for his life in an incubator, I was anxious that he wouldn’t make it.  The nurse told me not to worry, that premature babies grew up into stronger than usual adults.  I guess she was right.

Happy birthday Dieter … you made it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ladies, be careful who you vote for

If you're a women
and you want to keep your rights, 
vote democrat

Until recently I only took a moderate interest in the American presidential elections.  This year that’s different, not only do I take an interest, I fear the elections.  In a few days, everything could change (and not for the better).

After hearing and reading the beliefs of the republican politicians, I can only shake my head and wonder … how can anyone even consider voting for this party?

Let’s look at some of their beliefs … 

“A Republican congressional candidate says abortion should not be legal, even when it involves "the rape thing," according to audio provided Wednesday to The Associated Press.

The rape thing? 

A Missouri Republican who came to the defense of Representative Todd Akin told the The New York Times last week “ If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you don’t kill it."

Rape is a blessing?

I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

So, according to these clowns, rape and a subsequent pregnancy is are gifts from God?  Isn’t it a shame that men can’t get pregnant?

That some men might welcome republics, I can understand.  Slowly but steadily men have been losing ground and this might be their chance to get the upper hand again.  Put women in their place, so to speak.

Until not so long ago, women couldn’t have their own money, couldn’t have property and were not allowed to vote.  Their lot was to marry and have babies.  When in doubt, look at a 
Mormon family and count the kids (if you can).  Will this be the lot of women again should republicans win?   

Maybe not at first, but if rape is seen as a blessing, and abortion is against the law, what will be next?  Keep in mind that the presidential candidate is a Mormon and it might be a good idea for any woman to familiarize herself with Mormon beliefs.

Other than women, African Americans and the gay community might also want to take a look at the Mormon beliefs.  They think gay relations is a sign of mental illness.

I can only hope that there are enough Americans who will see through the lies and the deceit and do the right thing when casting their vote. 

Ladies, do you really want to lose your rights?  Do you really want to be seen only as a baby making machine?  Do you want to stand the change of being raped, end up pregnant and having to raise the kid? 

Women everywhere have fought for your rights, make sure you keep them!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Does Santa need to go on a diet

Yesterday’s blog post brought about a flurry of comments.  As it turns out I forgot I few things.  Since there’s no time like the present, let me put the spotlight on some of the comments.

Andrea said …

“McColl is just another author trying to sell books.  She’s desperate and she knows that creating a controversy will give her her five minutes of fame.  She’s a nut job.”   

(There were more emails to that effect, stating that McColl is simply seeking publicity)

Linda said …

“I always question the motives of these do-gooders.  What alternative motive do they have?  Nobody does something for nothing.”

Michael said …

“If a smoking Santa sets a bad example for kids, so does his body.  Santa is morbidly obese and needs to go on a diet.  His weight sets a bad example for the kids.  Perhaps kids should stop setting out milk and cookies and give him something healthy to snack on.”

Erik said …

“All things considered, Santa is breaking the law.  He’s breaking and entering.  Is this what we want to teach our kids?  That’s it’s okay to go into other people’s houses at night.”

Monica said …

“The whole Santa thing is against my beliefs.  We teach our children that love can’t be bought, but Santa is doing just that.  If he didn’t bring gifts, would kids still love him as much?”

Madeleine said …

“I have three kids and I can’t afford presents for all of them.  Last year each had to make do with a scarf.  When they saw what other kids got, they asked me if Santa didn’t love them.  When I said that of course he did, they asked why he didn’t bring them nice presents.”

Andrea said …

“If we want to set a good example for children, we should look at the fairy tales.  If parents today are complaining about violence on TV and the effect this has on younger viewers, what about Snow white, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.”

I guess it’s true, the old fairy tales are filled with violence.

Snow white casts a bad light on stepmothers.  The stepmother orders the huntsman to find Snow white and cut out her heart.  When this fails, the stepmother poisons an apple and has Snow white eating it.  She is committing murder.

In Cinderella we not only meet an evil stepmother but two evil stepsisters.  Cinderella is forced into child labor and the whole story is filled with nothing but lies and deceit.

In Red Riding Hood children encounter murder.  Remember the wolf eating Red Riding Hood and her grandmother? If memory serves me correctly, in the end a huntsman kills the wolf which set the grandmother and Red Riding Hood free, which reflects animal cruelty.

In Rapunzel we encounter abduction and a child being locked away in a tower.

The cartoons kids watch don’t set a good example either.

Think of the Roadrunner … how many times has he wolf attempted to kill the Roadrunner?  He’s tried shooting him, squashing him under rocks, blowing him up with dynamite and a series of other ways.

Perhaps McColl has something to say about that too.

Fact is, no matter how much certain mothers try to blame TV for violence, that theory doesn’t hold water.  Millions of kids grew up listening to fairy tales and watching cartoons.  Most of them turned out to be upstanding adults.  Sure, there are a few bad apples, but is that any reason to deprive kids from their favorite entertainment?

McColl and other women with similar notions should take a good look at themselves.  Could it be that, because their life is miserable they can’t rest until they’ve spoiled things for a few others?