Monday 23 December 2013

Single-Payer Healthcare or bust !

The multiple 20 oz killer Canadian Lagers you're drinking ... $32

The steaming pile of Nacho's and Hot Wings you're munching ... $14

The Antacids you'll eat after imbibing ... $4

The FREE visit to Emerg later when your heartburn fools you into thinking it's a heart attack ...


Single-Payer or bust baby!!

Thursday 19 December 2013

Deep thoughts from behind the bar ...

Bartender:  (noun) a person who serves alcoholic beverages behind the bar in a  licensed establishment.  This is who I am now.  I am a bartender, I tend the bar.  Seems simple enough doesn't it?  I mean all I need to know is which drink goes in what glass and a few mixology musts right?

Well let's consider this for a moment.  I took part in a training program to receive a certificate called Smart Serve that allows me into this job.  But what else does this certificate afford me?  For one thing, a much lower rate of pay.  The minimum wage in Ontario is currently $10.25 while for servers and bartenders like myself it is $8.90.  Okay ... we (hopefully) get tips .. I get it.  But another thing it gets me a whole lot of responsibility. In fact, according to the Alcohol Liquor and Gaming Commission of Ontario, this certificate opens me up to a plethora of civil and potentially criminal actions!  Wow ... for $8.90 an hour?  I could sit on a stool in a gas station hut taking cash and processing payments all for $1.30 more an hour.  What's wrong with this picture?  I've even seen tip cups in those huts.

In effect, I could have an 'off-night', miss the signs, serve you one too many and get fired for it or even worse sued if you were to leave and drive impaired.  Or even more upsetting, to have my place of employment outright lose its liquor license completely?  Yikes.  That's an awful lot to load on one person's shoulders.  All for under $50 and four hours of your time.  Will we soon see the day where individual bartenders like myself need to acquire personal liability insurance to be employed?  I may soon regret putting that out into the universe!  Yes the tips can be substantial, almost as substantial as is the pain in my feet at the end of a long shift.  Maybe I should start banking some of my tips in case I have an 'off-night'?  I shudder at the thought. Thank goodness that the Smart Serve team train you well and offer ongoing support via their website  That site is full of tips, reminders, and important considerations like medication and alcohol contraindications.

That brings me to my next point.  Let's discuss my smart serve knowledge and implied responsibilities, and how they pertain to you the customer.  Let me ask you this:  have you ever been asked by your bartender or server who in your group was the designated driver?  How did that make you feel?  I can give two perspectives on this question.  I have been the one to ask it many times, and I can't speak for everyone but for me it's always inspired by concern for you, your well-being, and the good standing of my boss's AGCO Liquor License.  And ... I'm being paid to be on the ball about this stuff.  It's my job.  While you're there to have fun.  It's not your job to count your drinks; it's mine.  It's not your job to make sure any one of your co-partyers is drinking responsibly so they can drive home;  it's mine.

I've also been asked this question and y'know what it told me?  That my sever not only cares about me, her job, her boss, but also that she respects the Smart Serve certificate in her wallet.  I remember making eye contact with my hunny and nodding in appreciation to the fact that I am not alone in taking this stuff seriously.

Whenever I envision what it is to be a bartender, I see Woody from Cheers standing there patiently listening or pondering Norm's words, slowly polishing a beer stein.  We are a rare breed.  I mean, you don't become a bartender unless you like people.  You don't purposely put yourself into that situation if you abhor intoxicated party-goers.  I genuinely love people .  I love our similarities and I celebrate our differences.  The energy of fun and recreation livens me up like a shot of B12. I bar tend at the 2013 Canadian Venue of the Year and we have a different liquor license because it is an all-ages venue rather than a bar that checks I.D. at the door.  Each license the AGCO gives has parameters that are logical in my opinion, and for the good of you the citizen.

Back to the Smart Serve certificate.  I recommend that you as parents encourage your kids to get this certificate when they turn 18 or 19.  It truly sets them apart from many other potential employees, and for under $50 and four hours of their time, they can have a certificate that never expires.  I've had mine since 2001!  Not only that, but they may really enjoy their job like I do and be enticed to work those busy nights rather than partying with their college and university pals.  To be honest, depending on the function, concert, or game, I feel like I'm being paid to party sometimes.  Except in the morning I wake up clear-headed with a few tips in my pocket and the memories of funny customers I was able to make a connection with.

We are all interconnected.  Strangers really can care about the well-being of strangers.  So the next time that you are out with your friends and your server inquires about your designated driver, know that they're not being a buzz-kill ... they're just making sure they see you again soon.

Monday 16 December 2013

Gardasil ... to do it or not to do it.

Gardasil in the news.  Quick update:  Gardasil is a vaccine from Merck recommended for girls aged nine and up, boys aged twelve and up that is supposed to protect against a sexually transmitted virus called the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV.  It is said that all cervical cancers start with HPV.  One thing to remember ... not all cases of HPV result in cancer.  There are about forty types or strains of the virus, most of which our amazing immune system-driven body fights off easily.  Of 40 strains, Gardasil supposedly protects against four.

But there's a whole other side to this vaccine--and almost every other vaccine out there.  Blanket coverage of everyone has irrefutably resulted in many vaccine-damaged people.  These are facts.
We wouldn't have a National Vaccine Adverse Reaction site if this wasn't a common and factual thing.  So like every other medical procedure, there are risks involved.  It is these risks that are not being taken seriously or shared by those profiting or regulating Gardasil.   That statement is spoken time after time in hospitals all over North America, and yet it's never spoken in relation to vaccines is it?  Why not?  Either they are incredibly sure that their product is risk-free or they are sure they have enough lawyers to crush any doubt.  And don't forget polio or small pox!  I can't help but think it matters that the man who created the Polio vaccine, Jonas Salk refused to patent it saying, "There is no patent.  Could you patent the sun?".  Such a far-from current reality statement, showing the purity of intention of past Scientific research.  The intention today in many opinions is solely to make a profit.  To raise stock prices.  To fill pockets.  This is the case with Gardasil I think.

Take the risk or don't--thank goodness it's still our choice.  Here's another idea.  We could teach those nine year old girls and those twelve year old boys to use protection when they have sex. We could teach them to be choosy, to ask questions, research whether a potential partner is active or not.  Or ... warning graphic content to follow ~teach them that self-pleasure and yes masturbation is normal and healthy and oh-so-friggin good for your brain, your self-esteem, your confidence!  My 11 year old niece came home with comprehension words to memorize, one of which was "Ethnocentric".  So at 11 years of age, kids in Ontario Canada are supposed to know that ethnocentric means:  "having the idea that your own group or culture is better or more important than others".  But we can't expect them to comprehend or remember that if they have any form of sexual intercourse~protected or not~ with someone who has an STD, they will very likely get it and have it forever?

If you're willing to risk damage or even worse pay for this shot, then surely you'd be willing to drill this into your kids' head wouldn't you?  Condoms don't protect from everything, but they protect a lot.  And yes ... be personal, be graphic!  Show them pics of genital warts or an oozing and painfully inflamed herpes outbreak!  Show them the documentary "The Greater Good" and meet a young girl who is forever damaged by this vaccine.  I know... extreme.  But effective!!

Or you could give them a shot that has given almost 32,000 young girls adverse reactions; 133 of whom died.   These are also facts, and it's been said that only 2% of all adverse reactions are reported!!  Ugh ... can't even do the math there.  Oh how far we've come from when I was young.  The heavily Christian-influenced societal mentality surrounding condoms was very much that encouraging their use equaled encouraging sex.  And now some thirty years later, we routinely give newborn babies Hep B shots and give adolescent children HPV shots long before sex is an issue.  This would be fine, if the shot were risk-free.  But it's not.

As with any medical procedure there are risks involved with Vaccines.  That's all I want them to say.

Saturday 14 December 2013

PAIN ... the Great Equalizer

I just learned last night about another young adult, this one from my home town who has been living with chronic pain for the last year or so.  Fell off a horse~ let’s just call him Joey.  This kinda hits home for me, because I have fallen off SO MANY horses just like Joey ... some more times than others.  But yikes.... this could have been me so easily and so often!

Can you imagine being in your early 20's and knowing or surely feeling like you're going to be in major chronic pain for the rest of your life?  Can you imagine that?  Even minor chronic pain is debilitating within months.  Chronic is the operative word here.  Never-ending, never-easing, 24/7 pain.  Many can imagine it; others live in it every day.  Pain ... the great equalizer eh?  What the hell are we doing?  In the year 2013, we can perform open-heart surgery on a fetus, but we can't safely kill pain.

There's a plant.  Have you heard about that plant?  It's a Gift from Mother Nature.  It helps kill pain by firing up receptors that already exist in our brains, livers, gut and many other organs.  My home town is in the middle of Farmerville ... acre upon acre of fertile land.  And guess what?  This plant grows like a weed :-) 

Here is something to ponder.  As of December 10th 2013, if Joey lived in Uruguay, he could grow this plant in his fertile and safe rural back yard.  Uruguay of all countries has legalized all use of this plant in an effort to push out violent gangs.  If he lived there, Joey could go online and buy seeds from gardeners who breed strains of this plant that are effective for any combination of symptoms.  He could grow six plants—which is therapy in and of itself--then harvest, dry, and convert the herb into tinctures, cooking oils, and concentrated oil to make food to kill his pain.  He'd be able to go back to work.  He’d want to go back to work.  He’d want to live again.  Joey would want to dress like he’s on the cover of GQ again.  It would truly be a win-win!!

Are you aware of how many Canadians live with chronic pain?  This is pain that never stops.  This is pain that gnaws at your inner sanity, changes your perspectives on life, and leads one to wonder about all the ways to stop the pain-none of which are good.  As time goes on, depression sets in.  Tears are ever closer to the surface as your life, and the lives of every single person who loves you changes….because of a four-letter word.  PAIN.

I try to put myself in the mind of a capitalistic employer, an insurance company, or even our government’s disability support programs when I think of the benefits of safely killing pain.  Staff attendance and fewer sick days would no doubt drive profits up for employers.  Fewer monthly insurance payouts keeps the all-important insurance companies’ money making money.  And fewer Government disability support payments speaks for itself.  Killing pain safely and without side-effects and addiction is good for the economy!

Then I revert to my mind, which is one that feels the immensity of chronic pain even though I don’t suffer from it.  A mind that knows first-hand what depression and a warped sense of self-worth can do to you and your decision-making abilities in the long-run.  A mind that also knows first-hand the zombifying effects of prescription depression meds,and has heard the horrors of nauseating, constipating prescription pain meds.  I see that the economy is important, but I see that it’s nothing without its workforce—you and I that is.  They can’t make effective robots to stir your double-double or wrap a pita just the way you like it, not to mention care for anyone!  My mind sees what the average human needs to be happy….and the rest in theory and practice will follow.

 If I were running the show, we would grow our own medicine with our dill weed and our tomatoes.  Work, class, life attendance would be up because when people can live pain-free wondrous things occur … slightly melodramatic sounding … unless it’s you that wondrous things are happening to.

Humans are not meant to live in pain for any length of time.  We are biologically resilient, and mentally fragile in a world of additives and nutritional shortcuts.  This plant that I speak of is Cannabis.  Big Pharma tried to put what Mother Nature makes into a pill but it just never seemed to measure up.

You cannot make in a lab, what the Sun, Earth, and Moon can make in a season.

Friday 13 December 2013

Quantum Physics and Pope Francis

In a documentary years ago called "What the Bleep do we know", one physicist described Quantum Physics as the Science of possibility.  Imagine that anything you can imagine, is possible.

I've been warding off negativity all morning after posting my hopeful thoughts about Pope Francis and his recent words of equality, compassion, and inclusion.   Perhaps Francis wants to become Patron Saint of Occupiers of the World?  What was his opinion of Bloomberg allowing peaceful protesters to be bulldozed out of public parks in the wee hours of the morning I wonder?  The same thing that's happening now in the Ukraine ... and the same U.S. authoritai is speaking out against it.  As though we all have amnesia.

I recall asking questions of my father and the nuns about the church as a child.  My father, bless his heart, rarely had an answer.  For in the days where his mind questioned these things, were the days where asking equaled doubting.  And doubting wasn't allowed.  Let's face it, the whole Papal mindset has been over the years very much like someone who is being advised by a lawyer to never admit or apologize for anything because admitting equals guilt.  Never admit.  Never speak of it.  Deny deny deny.  Was mayor Ford raised Catholic?  But I digress.  And out of the giant life sized cake comes Pope Francis .... to save the day?  To finally be the one Pope who speaks to us as his equal?  

Quantum Physics says anything is possible.  Could Pope Francis change the world for the people?

Imagine it ... please ... cuz there is power in our thoughts.  Just think many thoughts equals much power!