In light of the recent #MeToo Movement, several radio stations removed the duet Baby It’s Cold Outside, a holiday classic, from rotation. Some, like the CBC, later added it back.

Critics consider it inappropriate and suggestive of date rape because of a line the woman has: “Say, what’s in this drink?” If you are familiar with the early 1940s, when the song was written, you will realize that was said as part of harmless banter.

Things were simpler, people were nicer, and conservative morals reinforcing the stereotype of the good (chaste) girl were ever-present. Most people who were courting did not end their nights in bed together unless they were married, to do otherwise broke a social taboo.

So, it is really sad that the song is being perceived in any way but innocent and sweet banter between two lovers. Banning it is ludicrous, especially considering what other songs we have playing on the radio today.

If this song is banned, then half of the playlist should be banned too. Eminem’s Guilty Conscience, Robbin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Eminem and Rihanna’s Love The Way You Lie, Jay Z’s 99 Problems and many other songs that convey mistreatment of women in one way or another still play with no protest to ban them.

It’s truly sad that a beautiful song that was written in the 40s as romantic flirtatious banter can be put through such scrutiny and judged by today’s standards while songs written a few years ago aren’t.

It is true that violence against women is an issue that needs to be exposed and spoken about on a more regular basis, but removing a holiday classic from radio play is not the way to go about it. Especially since there are far worse songs out there than Baby its Cold Outside.

The change of government didn’t stop the steep decline of press freedom in Canada according to Reporters Without Borders. Canada now ranks 22nd in the RWB index, four spots below last year. The international press freedom watchdog urges Trudeau to act on his vocal defense of free media.

Every year, Reporters Without Borders publishes a report on the state of press freedom in 180 countries. They base their rankings on questionnaires submitted to media professionals, lawyers and sociologists in each country, and on the number of acts of violence and abuse towards medias and journalists.

In 2015, Canada was eighth on the list. One year later, thanks to the ever-increasing hostility of the Conservative government toward the media, it had plunged to the 18th spot.

Many expected Trudeau to change this bleak course when he took office, considering how he advocated for a strong and free press during the campaign. While the government’s relations with media may appear more cordial, the Prime Minister has so far failed to live up to that expectation. Canada has slipped down four more spots, now ranking right between Samoa and the Czech Republic.

The top of the index is once again filled by Scandinavian countries, with Norway in the lead. Costa Rica follows in 6th place. At the other end of the scale, North Korea surpassed Eritrea as the very worst place in terms of press freedom. Turkmenistan and Syria are close behind.

RWB says Canada’s poor score this year is partly due to the fact that a number of journalists have been put under police surveillance in Quebec, including La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé. The organization also cited a court ordering Vice journalist Ben Makuch to hand over all communications between himself and an RCMP source as it highlights Canada’s lack of specific legal framework for journalism.

RWB also highlighted the charges brought against The Independant’s journalist Justin Brake for trespassing while he was covering the protests against the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador. Plus the NGO expressed disappointment at the PM’s failure to repeal C-51, which is widely considered as a huge setback for press freedom and individual rights. RWB already tried to bring all these concerns to Trudeau’s attention in an open letter written in November.

Canada is not the only country with a less than stellar performance. The US went dropped from 41st to 43rd, a relatively small slip, considering Donald Trump severely restricted media access to all kinds of information and his outright calling the press “an enemy of the american people.” It might suggest that the Obama administration’s difficult relationship with the press and war on whistleblowers might have had more far-reaching effects than it seems.

In fact, RWB maintains that press freedom is in more danger than ever, all across the world.

“We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms – especially in democracies,” The report declared in its cheerful introduction. It attributes the worsening state of affair to a conjuncture characterized by the rise of strongmen and the erosion of democracies in Europe and America alike. As for Canada, RWB recommends that the government repeals C-51 and put forward concrete measures to ensure confidentiality of journalistic sources.

* Featured image from Reporters Without Borders official site

I would like to start this post with two simple words: I accuse. “I accuse” as the title of an article is odd, isn’t it? But it’s not mine to take credit for. Émile Zola had used such words to lecture the ghosts of anti-semitism that were creeping out of every pore of French society during the Dreyfus affair. Unfortunately a little more than 100 years and a decade have passed since that sordid affair, and once again France braces itself for another mediatic circus, where all the demons of France’s racist and xenophobic past and present will be unleashed.

It had been merely a matter of minutes since news started arriving that the HQ of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo was besieged when Marine LePen, in the glaring armour of Jeanne D’Arc she so fondly believes to have inherited, mounted her horse of self-righteous indignation and galloped, sword in hand, to fend off the “Islamic hordes.” Merely minutes after two armed gunmen shot and killed two police officers and several caricaturists and employees of Charlie Hebdo.

Marine Le Pen’s venom was all over the airwaves of mainstream French media: “We must cleanse France of Islamic extremism,” she repeated time after time. “We mustn’t be scared anymore,” she stated, but we must be upfront with our racism and xenophobia is what she meant.

On the other hand, hundreds of French and non-French political representatives reiterated the fact that this attack was an attack against one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy, the quintessential core of sense of liberty: liberty of expression.

I would agree with that statement only if liberty of expression was defended at all times and places, regardless of by whom, or in the name of what it is silenced! Coincidentally and interestingly enough, the horrid massacre of Charlie Hebdo comes on the heels of another – at least according to mainstream media – trampling of the rights of free speech: the Sony versus North Korea, or The Interview release fiasco.

It’s almost tragicomic to think that two weeks ago the whole of the “Free World” was up in arms in defense of the multinational media giant Sony, and now are using exactly the same rhetoric while they mourn the passing of several Charlie Hebdo journalists that fought tooth and nail, all of their lives, against multinational media empires such as Sony. The rhetoric used today, of “defending freedom of expression” is exactly the same that was used two weeks prior during the Sony vs North Korea showdown.

If the The Interview itself wasn’t and isn’t Oscar-worthy, the drama revolving around it surely was! The fact is that multinational corporations such as Sony commit barbaric attacks against alternative media outlets such as Charlie Hebdo on a daily basis, while the world was parading around calling for “freedom of expression” for Sony. Sony was killing in the egg thousands if not millions of creative media/artistic projects that didn’t fit within the framework of their “free-market” worldview.

I accuse here all the shameless and spineless hypocrites, such as Sarkozy and his right-wing minions, that came out today en mass to defend Charlie Hebdo, when during their tenure in government they tried in every way possible to shut it down. I accuse here all the media outlets, all the mainstream media that only use the words “freedom of expression” when it involved some radical lunatic, but are silent when multinational corporations such as Quebecor and other such empires control the majority of media in the world, and thus can censor and filter the news as they wish.

je suis charlie demo montreal

I accuse all the journalists on the 8 o’ clock news tonight in France, who will utter the words “liberty and freedom” while the private interests that pay their wages hand them the censored script they’re supposed to recite. I accuse the extreme right-wing rhetoric that will blame everything on Islam and recall with crocodile tears in their eyes and with Oscar-worthy voices full of despair, how much Charlie Hebdo’s publishing was important for the maintenance of freedom and liberty in French society, but secretly rejoiced in a macabre manner when they first heard that Charlie Hebdo had been attacked. Yes, because if it wasn’t a bunch of Islamic Extremists, it very well might have been a bunch of FN-adoring French skinheads!

I accuse those who, up until a few hours ago, were the biggest critics of Charlie Hebdo, those who had a visceral hatred for Charlie Hebdo, who are now all adorned in black and are in sorrow! I accuse those who through the mingling of the market, through points of the stock exchange, silence publications such as Charlie Hebdo in cold blood on a daily basis!

Marine Le Pen and all the French extreme right and their extended family have found their political nirvana in the wake of this attack, because the French mainstream media will focus on the superficial aspect that “Islamic radical militants” perpetrated the attack, without mentioning the fact that several financial institutions, several financial predators had already tried unsuccessfully to kill Charlie Hebdo, several multinational media conglomerates had tried to buy it out, to silence it forever.

ou est charlieCharlie Hebdo might have fought the fascistic tendencies of “extremist Islam,” but it fought every extremism equally. It fought xenophobia and racism, mostly embodied in French society by the FN. And most importantly it fought the muzzling of “freedom of speech” by the “free market!”

Freedom of speech isn’t killed most of the time at gunpoint, doesn’t succumb due to “physical” bullets. Unfortunately in this day and age, in the system we live in, the system Charlie Hebdo, Cabu, Charb, Wolinski and Tignous fought until the bitter end against. Massacres like the one that happened to Charlie Hebdo occur metaphorically on a daily basis – not through the cold steel of a bullet but in the hot frenzy of the stock exchange.

To honour their memory, we should remember that this isn’t about a few individuals – as they promoted during their life’s work – This is about a system that kills creativity, that kills freedom of speech. It’s that system today that I accuse of murder!

A luta continua!

So it looks like some people who have been downloading movies and TV shows illegally are going to get letters. That’s right, not even emails. Actual snail mail. Threatening snail mail at that.

Not sure if this will have any effect, given that our mail service is soon not going to be a door-to-door thing and also considering that these warnings are nothing more than that. There are no fines or jail time possible, they’re just toothless warnings.

But Canadians are, for the most part, a well-intentioned people. I’m sure we’d happily pay to support the shows we want if there was a way. That is, if there was a way that didn’t involve having to first pay for a cable service and then the content we’re looking for.

Such a thing exists south of the border, or rather it will exist soon. HBO is finally making it possible to purchase the GO platform, accessible through computers, smartphones, tablets and as an app on Smart TVs, without first having a cable subscription, but only in the US.

That’s right, all that fine HBO program… Yes, Game of Thrones, new season, because that and maybe True Detective is all we’re really after, right? The service should cost $12 a month and while that’s a pretty penny to pay for one show, it also may include quite a bit of the back catalogue, kind of like Netflix. That means Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, old episodes of Game of Thrones, pretty good deal, if you ask me.

I would gladly pay $12 a month for HBO legally, instead of “going to a friend’s house” (cause I’d never do anything illegal… and then admit it online). A lot of time, energy, talent and money went into these shows and I’d happily support them. Unfortunately, due to my geographic situation, I can’t. Instead, I’m free to support Canadian cable conglomerates that had no hand in creating the programming I want. I have neither the will or the funds to do that.

It’s time that Canadian media companies shifted focus away from fighting hard to reinforce a system that allows them to become rich by buying then re-selling content they didn’t make, through an outdated method, and instead creating some great content of their own and distributing it through apps and streaming services that the whole world has access to.

There has never been a better opportunity for Canadian-produced media to shine globally. Sure, Canadian companies don’t have the marketing or production budgets that Hollywood does, but that can change and will change if they stop focusing on distribution, and opt for a simple model, using something like a website and an app, and instead of buying US shows, pour that money into content production and promo instead.

Hollywood has a reason to fear the internet, Toronto doesn’t. We should let the full American version of Netflix come in without people having to be clever, same for HBO GO. Who cares what Canadian company owns what? We won’t be buying shows anymore, we’ll be making them.

The internet should have no national boundaries. Not only does that democratize things for smaller content producers, it also makes it possible for national media companies that aren’t American to get a leg up.

Unfortunately, for now, it looks like our media conglomerates are clinging to the old ways so much they’ve resorted to sending letters.

But honestly, guys, if you blow this chance, THE NORTH WILL NEVER FORGET!

It’s not like us to spend time talking about another site, but then, Ricochet isn’t just another site. In fact, it’s a new model for national journalism in Canada with a plan to transform the Canadian media landscape.

Ricochet is crowd funded, bilingual and unabashedly progressive. This trifecta is attracting some of the top names on the Canadian and global left. We’re talking Judy Rebick, Linda McQuaig, Tom Hayden, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Malalai Joya to name a few.

It has also attracted a slew of young writers from around the globe who will contribute in both English and French. They hope to bridge the gap not only between Anglo and Franco communities but with Indigenous ones as well. With Reuben George and Idle No More Quebec founders Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Widia Lariviere on board, there will be a clear focus on native issues.

Ricochet hopes to raise $75 000 in a month-long Indie Go Go crowdfunding campaign based on small contributions in support of content donors want to see. There will even be a way for readers to suggest and vote on stories they want to see covered.

Ricochet plans to use these funds to pay writers a competitive wage, fund investigative reports and compete with mainstream media using comparable resources not coming from corporate advertisers. It’s a reverse model to that of the Huffington Post, which although well funded through advertising, doesn’t share that wealth with many of its contributors.

If successful, and it really looks like it will be, Ricochet and their model could have lasting positive repercussions for media in Canada. They’re a welcome addition to the Canadian media landscape.

Ricochet unveils its site and launches its crowdfunding campaign today with a 5 a 7 at Bar Populaire, 6584 boul St-Laurent

After producing several successful live podcast shows over the past year, the folks over at the arts and culture talk show Edge of the City posed themselves a question. “After so many years at CJLO (Concordia University’s radio station) it really became time to think about where do we go from here?”  says Edge of the City producer and co-host Paul Aflalo. “It came down to two options; go find one of those elusive jobs in radio, or do our own thing.”

After leaving CJLO in September, Edge of the City team of Aflalo, Al Lafrance, Matt Goldberg and Asaf Gerchak (who has since moved to Australia and been replaced by 13th hour host Kirsten Rasmussen) are going full force this Saturday November 24th with the launch of No More Radio, Montreal’s first ever podcast network. “It may take off phenomenally or it may be a complete disaster, but I’m thrilled to be apart of something that’s never been done in Montreal before” Aflalo says.

While it’s anyone’s guess if No More Radio will prove to be a financial success,  Aflalo and company have brought together an impressive creative roster of podcasts for the new network. Along with Edge of City four other podcasts each focusing on different aspects of arts and culture in Montreal will launch this Saturday:

Confabulation is  a all-true live storytelling series that has been going on around Montreal for a few years now, brought to life by Matt Goldberg. Goldberg initially became involved with Edge of the City by producing Confabulation segments for the show, and with his charming and inquisitive personality, eventually evolved into a co-host. Now with Confabulation: The Podcast Goldberg will also host a podcast that will take and expand on aspects from the Confabulation live shows.

Illa Fabulis,  hosted by Angela MacKenzie, will be a monthly podcast where she interviews interesting and inspiring Canadian women, both established and up and coming.

Dirty Feet,  hosted by Allison Burns, Joannie Pharand, J.D Papillon and Jenn Doan will be a weekly podcast devoted to dance and movement based performance arts. The show will feature interviews and discussions with dancers, choreographers and journalists.

Finally On Repeat, hosted by Dave Cool (yes that’s his real name and yes, he is a cool dude) will be a music podcast. As the director of artistic relations at the popular music website Bandzoogle,  Dave is a man who knows allot about music and will be sharing that knoweldge every episode with listeners.

Make sure that you come support No More Radio at the launch party this Saturday, 10 p.m at the Montreal Improv (3713 St-Laurent). The show will feature Ira Lee, The Bawdy Electric and comedian Dan Bingham. For more imformation feel free to contact Paul Aflalo at




It feels like we spend most of our time promoting what we do on the media networks.

What we do, what we wear, what we eat, where we eat, where we travel.

In the meantime, who’s living? Who’s working? Who’s running?

You can’t jog and type. You can’t eat and look in your lover’s eyes and type.

Working in a field called public relations that calls for being on top of the action and being well connected to people and what they do, I still find it difficult to fully embrace social media.

I feel that social media offers a limited benefit relative to the time involved in signing up to multiple social media networks and to the accessory web and mobile apps that will help you manage those networks. And social media, like blogs, are now themselves advocating that nothing—nothing—beats in-person communication and eye contact.

Despite all the technology in the world, even with sellable iProducts offering what they call “face time,” it is still the physical presence of a human being without the barrier of a screen that makes things happen, that makes the heart beat, that makes someone listen to you or come to your spa or purchase your dress or donate to your puppy shelter.

Since its emergence, I doubt the power or effectiveness of social media to really achieve anything.

I was in the first class of my graduate diploma in public relations when the instructor brought up social media. “Is it useful?” he asks. “No. It is limited and will die,” I answer and received looks from classmates.

At the time, 2009, I couldn’t see how social media networks like Facebook could possibly benefit large and reputable organisations like the United Nations, for example, or why a company like BMW would want to promote on Facebook. Does it need to? Who is on Facebook? Can they afford a BMW? Or is it just blind promotion to everyone out there in the hopes they will tell their friend or their dad who can afford a BMW?

Today, 2012, I am signed up and a frequent user of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. I find it draining. Fun at times, as well as informative because I follow organisations, enterprises, publications and people who talk about what I care about: human rights advocacy, environmental safeguard initiatives, culture and art, and social behaviour.

I also use social media to stay abreast of what can help my clients’ cause or business, and to connect with people.

After producing content, following, attracting and trying to maintain 5,000 ‘likes’ and 5,000 ‘followers’, then what? Does this translate to people using your product? Reading your blog? Adopting your advice to turn off your vehicle engine while parked?

Furthermore, social media means others also use social media to get your attention. Meaning, you will forget what you were reading and what you were supposed to do with that information. I truly believe that.

At no other time have we had so many devices in our hands and pockets, and so much information—most of it really of no consequence—thrown at us. How can we comprehend it all? Process it all? Keep track of it and use it?

A comment I heard yesterday from a hard-working founder and CEO of a great startup with a great product made the issue of social media clear to me. “Facebook is not bringing us revenue, Twitter is not bringing us revenue,” he said. This, from a man whose hands seem hooked to his iPhone or iPad or laptop, responding and engaging on social networks.

So why do we spend so much time?

“What I need is visibility. For blogs and journalists to talk about us,” this feisty businessman declares.

Yes. Is there someone who doesn’t say that?

Again, I come back to dealing with my skepticism of the effectiveness of social media, and of recommending to clients that they embark or not on the social media train.

Is investing yourself in social media overwhelming or just futile?

As public relations professionals, do we have the choice to not use social media at all in our profession and stick to what has worked and does work? I.e. warm handshakes, conversations, smiles, written correspondence, events, and representation in television, radio and print.

Tuesday night I was cat sitting for my mother when all of a sudden it seemed like someone had turned on a jackhammer in the apartment downstairs. When it stopped, I rushed to both balconies to see if anything was happening on the street below. Nothing.

After letting Cairo know that everything was okay and she could go back to licking herself, I sat back down in front of the computer. The first Facebook post I saw (from our news editor Julian Ward nonetheless) screamed what I had yet to figure out: “EARTHQUAKE!”

I’ve experienced earthquakes before, from a basement apartment, but never from the third floor. When I saw the posts start to pour in, many of them asking if that was, in fact, an earthquake, I was relieved to know that there wasn’t something sketchy and loud going on in my Mom’s hood and I was not alone.

Wanting to know details, I started surfing the local news sites, CBC, The Gazette, CTV…nothing. Meanwhile, the TV still in the other room (sorry Mom) continued playing The Daily Show, unshaken.

I returned to Facebook and there it was: 4.5 on the Richter scale, the epicentre near Longueil. I quickly shared this link for the site that monitors seismic activity through the FTB Facebook page.

And then came the memes. First, Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones warned, “Brace yourself! Earthquake status updates are coming!” Then came the image (which admittedly I have seen before) of one of four patio chairs knocked over with a text that read “Montreal Earthquake 2012 – We Will Rebuild!”

I turned to Twitter and saw there was already a hashtag #MontrealEarthquake. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to Twitter unless it’s to check up on the #manifencours or follow a political campaign (give me a reason to go there more often, follow @jasoncmclean), but from what I could tell, the discussion was on par and on time with the one on Facebook.

I also found out that FTB associate Aimee Davidson of 100 Jobs had released a vlog of her reaction to the quake and it had already gone viral. Meanwhile, in the other room, The Daily Show had turned into Colbert, mocking Romney for something he had said a couple of days ago.

About 45 minutes after the quake happened and after Facebook and Twitter had already announced the event, given details and mocked it like it was yesterday’s news, I saw the first “breaking news” piece appear on a mainstream site.

Now, in all fairness, this was a local story that happened well after the workday was done. I also feel for my Facebook friend who posted about having to leave her apartment and jammies to go to her mainstream media office to file a story about the quake.

That said, if all I had to rely on were mainstream sites or even indie sites, with no Facebook or Twitter, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to check what had actually happened close to an hour later. I would have gone to sleep thinking something shady had happened right outside my door and wouldn’t have know different until the next day.

Titles titles titles… I like the title, “Blogs on Beards: Wave That Freak Flag On Your Face”? “Blogs For The Beard-Obsessed”? “Rock Out With Your… Beard Out”? “Ode To The Cheek-Chewbaccas”? “Blogs on Beards: Shavers Need Not Apply”? “You Know Who Didn’t Shave? Jesus.” So hard to decide.

I’ve got beard-envy. Not a fan of Freud, but I’d gladly take his facial hair. Do past lives exist? If so, I’d like to think I was a troubled 19th century Eastern European curmudgeon with a Briar pipe and a bushy ginger face-cape to combat the winters of my discontent.

It’s tragic that I have never been able to grow a successful beard. Ever. Certain genetic predispositions, like being a woman, have consistently prevented me from getting together with friends to attend a Halloween party dressed as a group of Russian composers (Please, fairy godmother, can’t I be Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for just one night?). I can’t wander around St-Henri without feeling a tinge of envy with every passing beardo on a bicycle. There’s just something about the way a beard complements a pensive gaze, or how you know exactly who a person is by well-maintained facial hair. Like Jesus, or Ghandi. Lincoln, or Castro.

I’m not a hairy woman, either, which dashes all my Bearded Lady circus fantasies. And having thoroughly re-assessed the cost/benefit ratio of sexy face-fro vs. decidedly unsexy face-rash, I think I’d rather own a beard than date one. I might eventually turn into an old whiskered lady, but for now I’m relegated to living vicariously through the facial foliage of those lucky to grow them, clicking and sighing every time I come across a really, really good beard appreciation blog.

knit beardHold the phone.

Beard appreciation blog?

What, did you think I was the only one who lusts after what she cannot have? Or that our current generation of cheek-Chewbaccas wouldn’t be inclined to Instagram their own progress? There’s a market for facial hair fanatics, and I’m not just talking about hanging out at antique stores and used bookshops (I mean, I just really like gramophones and cheap books). Hundreds of beard blogs out there, and all it takes is a Google. So, I implore you, allow me to be your beard navigator, through the dark and mysterious path of online mouth-muffs (ew). It just might get a little hairy. (Bah-dum-pshhh).

For the straight-up, no bullshit, don’t-waste-my-precious-gaze-on-text admirer. Fans send in every-day photos of themselves or people they know sporting scruff, and it gets posted on the site next to minimal captions. This blog has everything: chin close-ups, ginger whiskers and plaid shirts, beards in hats, beards holding babies, shirtless Captain Crunch in a shapka wielding a hatchet… Fuck yeah, beards.

Did you know that glittery pop-music performer Ke$ha has a tumblr devoted to beards? I don’t really “get” Ke$ha’s music (I’ve never, not once, woken up feeling like P. Diddy), but homegirl takes the time from what must be an exhausting life of next-level partying and releasing vaguely feminist rap-rock singles to stick dudes’ facial hair in her mouth and post beard-gnawing pics on her Tumblr. Respect.

I Made You A Beard
What do you get when you cross a beard-envyin’ chica with arts and crafts? Yarn beards aplenty! On Erin Dollar’s blog, you’ll find fun pics of her many-coloured fake facemops, illustrations of beards drawn by her and her friends, and links to other beard-centric web pages. Her posts are now fairly sporadic, as she has since expanded her creative outlet outside the realm of beards, but femmy Blackbeard fetishists can still order a custom-made beard of yarrrn! (You can have that line, it’s yours, don’t worry about it.)

the beardedTHE BEARDED
Sexy, well-dressed, long-whiskered men, gleaned from the far reaches of the Internet and compiled on The Bearded. It’s like The Sartorialist, but less bougie and more bad-ass. Ladies, time to go fantasy boyfriend-shopping – just don’t forget to moisturize after fake-making out with all the hairy eye-candy.

The BeardlyCaptions aren’t just for cat photos and shitty inspirational posters anymore. The Beardly describes itself as “observations about beards and the men who tend to them”, but what it really means is “slogans for the beard that needs constant validation for his manliness”. They might not have office jobs, but they know that “SOME MEN BUILD A LEGACY. REAL MEN GROW ONE.”

General interest Beard Blog. They have top 10 lists for Best Beards, videos of sexy cars and the beards who drive them, infographics about how facial hair is perceived in society, tips on grooming, profiles on men with ass-kicking chin-plumes, and way more. It’s a Beard Life.

Welcome to Blog on Blog: A bi-weekly blog dedicated to some of the most obscure and interesting blogs from the depths of the Internet.

There will be plenty of strange and startling website wonders to ponder and explore. No subject will be too taboo. We’ll find plenty of online oddities! Don’t be afraid, this is Blog on Blog: The Super-Meta Blog!

Oh, cats! You are amazing creatures. From your alleyway screeches of passion, to your twilight harassment for food, somehow you find a way to get us to do your bidding. Our love for you makes us tend to your every need, slave over you night and day. No wonder you were worshiped as gods in ancient Egypt!

Somehow my new living arrangement has forced me inhabit a house with cats. Three cats! With three completely different cat personalities.

This can be very difficult to deal with, all of these cats fighting amongst each other and nagging yours truly. But at least cats can also be quite humorous; like when the fat cat, George, falls off a chair she tries to jump in, or when Chu Chu boxes me in the face with a white paw, or when Buddy serenades me with his late night meowing routine.

Although, for someone like me, living with these cats can make life incredibly difficult, since, after all, I live with these cats not out of love, but out of necessity. You see when I moved in to my current apartment they were already here, and since they were here first, I have no choice but to try to get along with these semi-wild, completely selfish, but highly entertaining pets.

Thankfully their are many blogs out there that can teach me how to learn to love these animals, through humor.

It is true, cats are really funny animals! Which is why cat blogs rule the net when it comes to animal humor.

How popular are cat blogs, you ask?

They are really popular. There are millions of pages on the inter-webs dedicated to cats. They are so popular they must take up at least a third (after sites dedicated to porn and pharmaceuticals) of the entire internet.

Here is a series of blogs I think you’ll find explosively entertaining, and rather than look at sites dedicated to “how to” knowledge, like veterinary care or how to massage your cat, today we are just going to look at the lighter side of being a cat.

Modern cat
You know what cats really need? Their own damn furniture, so they can stop messing up yours! Modern cat has it all, and while at first this site might not seem too funny, when you see a cat sitting in a yuppie style art deco piece that cost a large sum of money, you will have no choice but to snicker to yourself. Although to be fair, there are some pretty cool pieces of furniture on this site. Maybe George could use a 70s style cat bed?

I heard LOLCats is so popular its site is valued at a few million dollars. I didn’t really do that much research into that, but this site is up there in top ranking for cat humor, so you probably already heard of it. I know for sure that FTB contributor Mike Gwilliam loves this site and I don’t blame him, the comedy on this site is killer. Also check out Icanhascheezburger another site affiliated with LOLCats. if you like funny cat memes than you’ll love this blog.

The Daily Kitten
Somewhere in the world, every few seconds, a kitten is born, and thankfully, now, because of the Internet, that kitten can have it’s picture uploaded on TheDailyKitten. Keep updated on all the new kittens in the world on TheDailyKitten.

It is great to see sites dedicated to orphaned kittens like The Itty Bitty Kitty Commitee. Is there anything more adorable than an orphaned kitten? I think not! This is one of my favorites; I just like gawking at squishy, cute, adorably furry kittens. And you can also make a donation to the cause of abandoned animals, which if you read Maria Amore’s last post you’d know is a serious problem in Montreal and elsewhere. Please stop abandoning your pets. It’s not funny..especially since I’m forced to live with them!

Man, I love this site. Do you ever wonder why we get so much pleasure out of putting stuff on our cats?

Maybe it has something to do with the mischievous nature of human beings. Just like drawing mustaches on unsuspecting couch sleepers at parties. If your into that you’ll love Stuffonmycat.

William of Mass Destruction
Two felines keep us up to date on their daily activities. This is what happens when we let cats write blogs. Keep up to date on the day in the life of a cat (which may  or may not in fact be written by one crazy and obsessed cat owner) on William of Mass Destruction.

Lou vs. Rick
If letting your cats blog wasn’t enough, how about letting them text message. What would your cat say to you? Mine would probably ask for food. Find out daily on LouvsRick.

Hopefully these sites will help you get your daily cat fix, for Blog on Blog this is Jerry Gabriel signing off…

Welcome to Blog on Blog: A Weekly blog dedicated to some of the most obscure and interesting blogs from the depths of the Internet.

There will be plenty of strange and startling website wonders to ponder and explore. No subject will be too taboo. We’ll find plenty of online oddities! Don’t be afraid, this is Blog on Blog: The Super-Meta Blog!

Now considering that the whole concept of Blog on Blog is really meta, I wanted to see just how meta I could get. So for our first subject, we’ll be looking at blogs for first time bloggers on the subject of blogging: So this Blog on Blog is on blogs on blogs.

Many sites will tell you that you have to write on financial markets or the economy to make money in blogging, but that simply isn’t true, writing on any subject can make you money writing blogs. As long as you can gather high volume traffic, there are many ways to make your blog lucrative if you use affiliates or advertising on your blog site.

For first time bloggers there are two sites that have been designed for your first attempt: blogger or WordPress.

Both sites allow you to establish websites with very little programming knowledge or hassle.

Sites like blogger give you a chance to create your own blog, hosted on their server, while giving you valuable information on how to acquire and develop a fan base of loyal readers. Blogger is extremely simple and easy to use.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a little more complex, but through plugins, can be a simple way to create more intricate designs on your blog.

I recommend checking out the site for the initial start up. There are also plenty of tutorials on YouTube that can give you much needed tips on how to establish your blog and direct traffic to your site.

A blog basically does one essential thing, it invites us into the living room of another person – no matter how weird or awkward that person might be. It allows readers to get a first hand account of any topic right from the source.

So you should remember Mark Twain’s immortal words “write what you know!” that is the golden rule. When you’re highly engaged in a topic you’ll be enthusiastic when writing your posts.

On blog writing, there are so many different kind of blogs and styles that there is really no particular way you should do something. Many of these sites can show you the difference avenues you can take as well as show you how to develop comfortable levels of traffic.

A quick glance under any subject will show you that the internet already has  countless blogs on any given topic, so making sure you have something unique to say is important. How else will you distinguish yourself from the millions of blogs out there?

Besides for Blogger and WordPress there are countless other sites out there designed to help you produce a unique blog that will set you apart from the rest:


Problogger is one of those sites where you witness how powerful blogging has become. There is even the potential to make yourself some money.

Also, you’ll learn how to get pitched to a lot by companies and organizations asking you to endorse their products. Who knew that you could be a living breathing, walking, billboard for other websites? But you sure can.

Problogger also teaches you the tricks of the trade through articles like How to Write Great Blog Content and Workflow, Motivation, techniques, and Principles of Content Creation. The site itself has some in depth ideas on blog creation which can be used by first time blog creators.

Did you know that blogs can bring in an influx of much needed cash? Problogger has an excellent knowledge of how to direct traffic to your site. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to be in finance or write about stocks to make money on the Internet.

Now, if you want to make money there are more sites out there that are dedicated specifically to that.


WordPress is essential for many bloggers and as an extension of that Lorelle, a site dedicated to first time wordpress users can be an invaluable resource to starting your blogging career. You cannot miss it if you want to learn everything you can about WordPress.

How to make my blog

Another great site is howtomakemyblog a blogging site dedicated to getting your first time blog started. This is really basic stuff, so if you already know enough to set up your own blog, I would avoid this one. But it is an excellent introduction for any noob.

Blogging Blog

And how could we forget the blogging blog ? It’s a great way to learn about the lifestyle and financial situations of a bloggers everyday responsibilities. This is a detailed account of the life of a blogger including: income, analytics, resources, successes and mistakes. If you learn best from example, this is a must-see for any first time blogger.

Humor Blogging

For those of you interested in writing jokes, comedy or humorous memes with content, there is a site dedicated to your needs called humor blogging. This insightful website gives you all the basics on starting a comedy blog.

Well that’s it our first blog and blog, if you are a first time blogger I hope these sites will help you start a glorious career in blogging.

This is Jerry Gabriel signing off for Blog on Blog

The Comment Tree is a weekly collection of posts and commentary from social and mainstream media sources – keeping up to date with the topics of  interest in the current news cycle, international and domestic.

Random Thoughts

We cannot allow valid concerns about environmental protection to be used as an
excuse to trap worthwhile projects in reviews-without-end. What matters is that the relevant facts are fully considered. That need not take yea 

                                                                                        -Stephen Harper

This morning I realized that we are all in trouble—“we” being those of us, just a shade shy of
a supermajority, who stand opposed to the Harper government, its misuse of power, its corruption, its
philistine vandalism, and every slimy value that drives it


There’s nothing like going down in history for being the first active PM charged with a
crime to get us rid of them. I keep praying this happens.

                 -Douglas Connors

It’s time to free ourselves of the chains and fear…and clear our way to our own new
paradigm of understanding and responses. Live WISE~

               -Gail Blackman

 While the Bush administration treated whistleblowers unmercifully, the Obama
administration has been far worse. It is actually prosecuting them, and doing so under the Espionage
Act — one of the most serious charges that can be leveled against an American. The Espionage Act is an
archaic World War I-era law meant to go after spies, not whistleblowers.

                       -Andrew Conte

 How many killings are acceptable to the U.S. govt.? 30 Colombian unionists & 49 human
rights defenders were murdered last year. Very few perpetrators have been punished.

                    – John Walsh

Canada’s Budget Reactions

When they cut settlement services in Ontario and Quebec, Kenney said they were
shifting resources to accommodate the Prairie provinces…I guess the Prairies begin and end in Calgary.

-Geoff Krauter

The stark reality of CBC cuts unfolding now. Connect at NN and Dispatches at Radio –
two smart news shows with dedicated staff, cancelled.

-Peter Mansbridge

Remind us again how Canada has billions for new fighter jets when we’re not at war,
but that CBC and cultural cuts are “necessary.”

-Michael Rowe

After Canada experienced zero job growth during the last six months, we expected this budget to have one focus – jobs.

-Bob Rae

The government should be congratulated for introducing a number of good measures to
improve Canadian innovation and focus research and development resources.

-Joy Thomas

Liberal Party of Canada

It’s not that we were fighting among ourselves. That was utterly inconsequential. It’s that
we’re all trapped in a web of mutual understandings that no longer apply to the world we live in.


They could work on effective grass roots building of their core values and brand
themselves as the “only big tent” party. To me, the Liberal Party should stand for the great social values
of our nation [health care, education etc] but tempered with fiscal responsibility and the ability to
compromise for the greater good.

-Randy Pare

The Liberals are the only alternative to the conservatives. I highly doubt someone
who voted for Harper last election will pick up his vote and move over to the NDP. Rae will be wise to
keep the middle, and attract the right.

-Ehsan Monfared

 I have enormous respect for Bob Rae. He’s one of the best parliamentarians of his
generation, bar none. And to his enduring credit, he has given the LPC a lifeline like no other. He’s an
absolutely amazing guy and a cut above the rest.

-Dan Veniez

Thomas Mulcair’s leadership victory was — by far — the worst possible outcome for
the struggling Liberals…

-Chantal Hebert

Summit of the Americas

Saturday’s focus on Cuba and drug enforcement policy clashed with Harper’s agenda at the
summit, which was to sell Canada as an attractive destination to do business.

-CBC News

 We don’t have an embargo against Cuba and we don’t support the compete isolation of the people. We believe that engaging Cuba is one of the tools by which we can hope to move it towards democracy and towards greater human rights.

-Stephen Harper

 The declaration from the Minister’s office that Cuba “doesn’t comply with democratic conditions” is not only a slander against Cuba, but reeks of the discredited colonialist mentality and practice of foisting on independent countries imperial arrangements that they do notwant or accept.

-The Canadian Network on Cuba

The long-standing policy toward Cuba (has) become unacceptable. The isolation,
the embargo, the indifference, looking the other way, has been ineffective. In today’s world, there is no
justification for this anachronism. It’s an anachronism that keeps us anchored in a Cold War era that was
overcome decades ago.

-Juan Manuel Santos

I’m not sure the next summit will even be possible.

-Carlos Gaviria

Up until now, it has been heresy for anyone to challenge blanket global drug

-Donald MacPherson

 The economic power and firepower of the criminal organizations operating in Mexico
and Latin America come from this endless demand for drugs in the United States.

-Felipe Calderon

 As long as they figure they can gull the public into believing that getting tough on
drugs is the right thing to do, they get elected on those things.

-Eugene Oscapella

Someone who’s charged with looking after the security of the most important president
in the world cannot commit the mistake of getting mixed up with a prostitute. This has damaged the
image of the Secret Service, not Colombia.

-Rodolfo Galvis


If you have a comment or suggestion for what will be top in the news cycle next week –

Believe me, I was reluctant. When all this Shore hullabaloo started a few years back, I rolled my eyes and staunchly refused to watch. I make some seriously questionable viewing choices, but this, most certainly, was a train wreck I could avoid. I tuned out status updates that sounded oddly intriguing, even though they made no real sense to me. I sneered at the friends who assured me that I didn’t know what I was missing, while they slipped into their GTL t-shirts.

And then, one day, all alone, I decided to take a peek. Just to know what I was making fun of. Just so I could hate it credibly, and properly, you understand.

The rest is Jersday history.

People often wonder (to my face, with judging looks) how the bright, lit-loving, grammar correcting gal that I am can watch this junk, let alone admit to watching this junk.

Firstly, I cite my aforementioned love of sketchy programming. Some people like chips, I like a whole lotta my TV with empty calories and brightly coloured preservatives (I refuse to read crap, if that helps).

Secondly, I am ready and able to give a long, eloquent speech on the unique view of social dynamics and politics that we get when we lock strangers together without a common goal or enemy. MTV’s Real World’s the best example, and the first reality show, honestly. Shows like Big Brother come from a different bag and provide a whole other view of the dark spots on human nature, but I digress…

At the end of the day, shows like this have all the necessary components for drama and subsequent entertainment: a cast of colourful characters, conflict, love, sex, betrayal, violence, tears, music, wardrobe…heck, when you look closely, the thing boils down to a poorly scripted opera.

Catching up in a blissful JShore marathon for one the other night, I got to thinking how far we’ve all come together; Sammi and Ronnie have worked through their troubles, and seem to have matured as a couple, JWoww and Snooki are already shooting their spin-off, and everyone knows that little Snooki is carrying her own mini-meatball now, and engaged to her boo.

While nothing’s been publicly confirmed, this looks quite like the last season for the original cast, and what a trip it’s been. I realized I’ve even accidentally picked up a thing or two from these crazy kids along the way, and since knowledge is power, and sharing is caring, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from the Shore.

Some clubs are exactly as bad as I imagined

Admittedly, I have limited clubbing experience. This is for the sole reason that I’m afraid that more often than not, clubs are playing music I can’t groove to, filled with overly greased boys on the prowl, drunks looking for fights, and girls with their coochies falling out all over the dancefloor.

Tres icky. I almost get a rash just thinking about it. I’ve never actually been to a place like that, but Jersey Shore has taught me that they’re way more than an urban myth told to keep me safely at pubs and a select few party venues.

Always eat and hydrate after binge drinking

Look, compared to other reality shows, the guidos and -ettes aren’t drinking excessively. Alcohol is what producers feed people so they don’t have to hire writers. What the Shore kids do better than most is recover. Yes, we have traditional afterhours poutines and delicious dirty pizzas, but this crew, like clockwork, hit the kitchen after the bar and sometimes cook full out things, drunk as skunks in the middle of the night.

You know what? They spend less time vomiting than some other casts. There, I said it, and it’s a valuable lesson. They also have no qualms about taking a whole day to sleep when needed; bonus lesson.

My hair could be bigger…but not naturally

I like to think it’s my NYC Jewish roots that make me love big hair almost as much as a Texan gal does. My hair is pretty admirable, but bigger, better, faster, more, one always wonders. The Jersey girls rock clip-in extensions that go way beyond falsie ponytails and straight into what’s-its-name-and-what-do-you-feed-it territory.

This proves that when I set my mind to it, few ladies out there can pouf their ‘do as fab as mine without resorting to clipping things to their heads. Don’t hurt yourselves trying to keep up *snap*. The funny part here is that Pauly D’s notorious blowout is just styling stuff and hot air, making his the most impressive natural hair in the house.

Anytime I thought I looked too trashy, I was apparently wrong

Thanks for this one; I’m quite relieved.

Some guys have more shoes than me (…and jewelry, and hair products…)

I suppose I knew this, but it’s a whole other thing when you see all the sneakers lined up like that, or watch them trying to pick outfits. The high maintenance man baffles me. The high maintenance woman baffles me a bit too, so maybe all we’ve learned from this one is in need more sneakers.

For every sketchy guy, there’s a sketchy girl, 2 of her friends, and 50 grenades

I admit it: Jersey Shore has made me hate the player less, and even the game less. Did yet another random girl just leave the house right after sex with a handshake, hug, and a smile? Really? For free? Whatever happened to waking up confused in the morning? That used to be all the rage. But hey, everyone seems to be getting what they want (and in express time!) with no misconceptions. Let the players play with each other then, and all is right with the world.

Even train wrecks can make great friends

Say what you will, they’ve been through a ton together. Relationships, tears, international arrests, local arrests, ambulance rides, anxiety breakdowns, the bronzed bunch has shown immense heart, loyalty and fortitude of character when the pickles hit the pavement. They made each other feel homey across a whole ocean, they cook together, prank each other, cheer each other up and on, and for all the multitudes of ways in which we can poke fun at them, I think that’s something they can teach us all.

(Pretty good, right? I think we just had a moment there…)

The season finale’s tonight at 10. You know you wanna. Tell me about it @mcmoxy

I bet Rush Limbaugh doesn’t get laid very often, unless there’s a secret cult of lascivious ladies I don’t know about with a fetish for pasty, balding misogynists. Judging by the vitriolic furor he unleashed on Georgetown graduate student Sandra Fluke for espousing her views on birth control access, even if he is getting laid, it can’t possibly be that satisfying.

Sandra Fluke was testifying before a Democratic congressional hearing supporting plans to mandate private health insurance plans to cover birth control. Keep in mind these are the same health insurance plans that already cover Viagra. Fluke pointed out that the high cost of oral contraceptives causes financial struggles for 40% of the female students at Georgetown Law, the Jesuit college she attends whose health insurance does not cover oral contraceptives.

Many women are thus forced to sacrifice their prescriptions, even those who are taking oral contraceptives for medical purposes such as reducing cramps or stopping cysts from growing on the ovaries of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Fluke recounts the story of a friend with this condition who lost an ovary because was unable to get her campus insurance to cover the prescription, even with verification from a doctor.

When right-wing conservative blowhard Rush Limbaugh caught wind of Fluke’s testimony, it translated in his pea brain as the words of an immoral, baseless slut who is having so much sex, she simply can’t afford it. So basically, she wants to be paid to have sex, thereby making her a prostitute. In fact, he equates the cost and quantity of the pills as an indication that she must be having “so much sex”, completely missing the fact that in order to be effective, birth control pills must be taken daily, whether you’ve had sex or not.

The story erupted in the media this week, prompting a rare apology from Limbuagh, which Fluke dismissed. In the wake of the scandal, Limbaugh’s show lost at least fifty advertisers, includes AOL, ProFlowers and Quicken Loans. On his Thursday program, 77 of the 86 advertisements were by “free public service announcements donated by the Ad Council”. Furthermore, of the remaining nine ads, seven companies were in the process of pulling their spots, leaving a measly two paid spots. Two radio stations have dropped his program altogether, and here’s to hoping that more follow suit.

Limbaugh claimed Fluke was exercising “no responsibility for her behavior”. Really, because I thought taking oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy was being responsible. Would he rather she get knocked up time and time again, have to go on welfare, and become a drain on the country’s resources not just for herself but also her flock of grubby-faced rugrats? Oh but wait, there is another solution – she could just stop having so much sex. Obviously she must be some type of sex addict though, if she’s having so much sex she can’t afford it. He did propose another solution – if he and all the other taxpayers are forced to pay for contraceptives for all the Sandra Flukes out there, Limbaugh demanded they post their videos online so he can see what he’s paying for.

There are so many things wrong with what he’s saying that I barely even know where to start. This is an educated, well-spoken woman who never once mentioned the quantity of sex she was having. The most heartfelt and hard-hitting part of her testimony was her friend’s story about losing an ovary, which had nothing to do with sex in the first place. She’s a grown woman who is able to make her own decisions about her sexual relations and reproductive freedom. And whether she’s having sex for the first time or doing it hundreds of times a month, it’s her choice and she shouldn’t be meant to feel ashamed because of it.

While it’s refreshing to see the American media waking up to this notion in their condemnation of Limbaugh, it’s sad to know that idiots like him exist in the first place. Apparently his show is the highest-rated rated talk radio show in the States, with about 15 million weekly listeners. He’s no stranger to controversy or scandal, which hasn’t done much to dampen his following in the past. I’m proud of Sandra Fluke for standing up for what she believes in and refusing to back down in the face of a loud-mouthed bully. And I’m also proud to live in Canada, a country where oral contraceptives are 100% covered by some health insurance plans without anyone blinking an eye.

The good people at Think Progress have condensed Limbaugh’s seventy sexist smears against Sandra Fluke into one disturbing, hate-filled video. Warning: it might make your blood boil! Feel free to expel that anger in the comments section below.

Now I have yet to see the new Muppet Movie, but I know lipstick on a pig when I see it, (sorry Miss Piggy!) and the Muppets are pushing a left-wing agenda.

The Muppet Show (1976-1981) is a perfect example of this hatred of capitalism. For instance, do we ever see any Muppets paid for a hard day’s work?

Also, day in day out, they parade around with Hollywood Liberal elites like Peter Sellers, Rich Little, Jason Segal and others. Is their anything these despicable Muppets won’t do to indoctrinate children to the liberal agenda??

They even appear to live in an egalitarian society; these communal hand-puppets live in harmony between the sexes! Females and the males are equals – just look at how Miss Piggy pushes and controls her man Kermie. How disturbing! When will liberals stop indoctrinating our children?

On a Fox Business News show recently the topic of the Muppets communist agenda was discussed in the segment Follow the Money with host Eric Bolling and Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center, who went after the latest Muppets Movie, especially the new villainous character Tex Richman:

Fox speaks the truth when they tell us that the Muppets are attempting to influence our children with a green, (sorry Kermit!) anti-capitalist agenda. Much in the same way, say Mcdonald’s attempts to win children over through cheap toys; pure mind control! But of course when Mcdonald’s does it, it’s for lofty American goals like selling unhealthy products to children!

Controlling what out children see is of the greatest importance. Of course, like most Fox programs, that doesn’t mean curbing violence, especially the kind of unnecessary brutal force one can expect from law enforcement officers a la Cops. This is extremely important for childhood development. On the other hand, any kissing, sexuality or anything else remotely nurturing (i.e. Sesame Street) is just idealist sissy communism; it is just plain wrong! How can we expect our children to grow up with American dreams by teaching them that making money by plundering is wrong? That greed is wrong? If we continue down this path we will make our children weak with cooperative socialist ideals. This must be stopped!

If it wasn’t for Fox’s Business Network none of these details would have been brought to our attention. So we ought to be very grateful for their “fair and balanced” news team.

Now let’s be honest about the suspicious egalitarian fair-trade loving, big bank hating, communistic characters in the Muppets and salut Fox news for enlightening the world on this topic. Because of its tireless effort to push for pure “laisser-faire” non-regulated capitalism that gave us the opportunity to bailout the sky-scraping banks and juggernaut insurance companies I will call the next segment: Muppet Pinheads and Muppet Patriots!


Gonzo is perhaps the sickest, most twisted Muppet of them all. One whose subversive activity would have never survived the McCarthyism or Golden Age America:

“Tells us , Mr. Gonzo, are you, or have you ever been a card carrying member of the Communist Party?”

Not only is he, but this pervert Muppet lives with a harem chickens in a polyamourous relationship! How deviant!

The Swedish Chef: He is from Sweden, the most god-less European country of all. And I can’t understand a word he is saying! Sworty flourty borky?Shut up commie scum!


Sam The Eagle. Sam is a great American patriot, who represents the values of the American way. One day he will be a great host for a Fox News program.

Mrs. Piggy: She like clothes and shopping, and although she can be at times irreverently and bossy towards her man, Kermit, her unrelenting consumerism represents the best of mean pig kind: Consumerism!

And how can we forget true American patriots like the guys who worked for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, I am of course talking about Statler and Waldorf. These old curmudgeons on the balcony rows point out all the flaws and help us see the hypocrisy in the Muppet show. And because they are higher up, they are better than all the other characters in the show! They teach children the value of vantage point: the higher you are in life the more mocking and inconsiderate you can be.

Communist Gonzo courtesy of