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A $1 challenge to liberty lovers

My husband and I are on a mission to restore Canada’s traditional roots of liberty under law, decency, truth, and honour. Our weapon of choice is information; we produce documentaries that tell stories of our past, stories of heroes like Stephen Langton who stood up for freedom at great personal risk and of villains like King John who would take away those freedoms in a heartbeat if we let them.

Our current project is called A Right to Arms. Its goal is to remind Canadians of their traditional right to protect themselves, against wild animals, against criminals, and against tyranny, and to have the tools necessary to exercise that right.

“But Brigitte, the laws in Canada right now say we don’t have any rights to carry weapons. We have privileges. And the courts agree with that.”

Yes, we know. That’s our point. The laws and the courts are out of line, because they go against our traditional rights as free men and women dating back centuries.

We need to change those laws. In our system we change laws by putting pressure on our elected representatives. Politicians don’t lead, they follow where the people lead. But we can’t change laws until we change the conversation. Petitions aren’t enough. We need information, and resolve.

This is where we help, by producing entertainingly informative documentaries that lay out the historical and logical foundations of our rights and liberties, and the ways in which we, today, can act to restore them. We crowdfund our films because we are telling the story of the people’s rights. And because we want to show politicians there is widespread support for restoring our liberties.

Real support. Not just from people who signed an online petition or clicked a Like button, but from people who cared enough to contribute some hard-earned money as well. It doesn’t have to be a lot; we know times are hard and every little bit helps, both to make the documentary and to show the chattering classes that you care.

So here’s our challenge. Our current project is nearly three-quarters funded, which is great. And we still have three weeks to go. Let’s use those three weeks to show politicians that we value freedom and self-reliance. Contribute at least $1 to the Kickstarter campaign and put your name to this campaign. Everyone who contributes gets listed in the credits at the end. When we show our Magna Carta documentary to politicians and they see the 1200+ list of names of contributors at the end (click on the link to see for yourself how long it takes to run through it), their jaws drop. They get it.

Do the same again. If you wish to contribute more than $1 that’s fine, too. But all you need is that dollar to put your name on a list of people who showed real support for restoring their tradition of liberty under law.

Remember: You have the right to mistrust your government, but it does not have the right to mistrust you.


Please, please, please. Ease off on those kids. Let them breathe.

Granted, the environment this reader is talking about is a bit extreme. But the point remains and is valid across many areas. It’s especially true, as far as I can tell, in middle-class and upper-middle-class environments. I see kids as young as 4 or 5 being pushed by their parents to take up a second language (with tutoring), at least one music instrument (with special teacher), arts classes (ditto) along with various sports. Plus of course enriched academics, homework, and so on.

I see kids as young as 4 or 5 who are exhausted by dinner time and can’t possibly focus on anything you’re trying to teach them. They also can’t behave. They wound up being cranky, uncooperative, and so tired they’re actually hyper. Not a happy combination.

Children need strong connections and deep, affectionate relationships with the people who matter most to them – their parents. They don’t need special activities or enriched programs or second-language tutors. They need time to be kids.

Please. Don’t be that parent:

My daughter went to Paly (where she was a student during that horrible 2009 season), finally dropped out after a suicide attempt, and was never able to fully recover. She killed herself last year.

I’m sure we inadvertently pushed her, though I spent most of my time telling her I just wanted to see her find something she cared about. But I think most of the pressure was just the environment. She had always gotten a lot of satisfaction from doing well in classes, but in Palo Alto you have to be Einstein to stand out. Everybody else is just average. And that’s really hard for a bright kid looking for a way to be special.

I remember her complaining all through 8th grade that the teachers were constantly telling them how hard high school was going to be. By the time she hit Paly, she was already panicked about what junior year was going to be like—AP classes, incredible amounts of homework, no free time whatsoever. Before she even got started, she was overwhelmed.

Extracurriculars were just more of the same—kids who had been doing the activity since kindergarten in after-school and summer camps and who were scathing to anyone who wasn’t proficient. From what I saw, the kids were as bad as anyone about upping the bar. It’s a culture that just seems to feed on itself. All that matters is achievement.

I’m sure there were many other factors in my daughter’s case, but I’m also sure that what started that headlong slide into depression was intense anxiety over a period of years. And the environment in Palo Alto was a big part of that.

Sweet potato soup

Wow. Just made something delicious, healthy and dead simple, so I thought I’d share.

  • one onion, chopped
  • three sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • bit of olive oil
  • salt, pepper, chili pepper
  • enough water to cover the whole mess

Bring to boil, simmer for an hour or so, mush into cream with immersion blender, and enjoy.

To track or not to track

Interesting piece on the new generation of runners that can’t seem to be able to run without tracking anymore…

Hey, I’m guilty… ish. I’ve been running a long time, and for many years I used an offline digital watch (see, kids, once upon a time people wore those devices on their wrists to help them tell time and also the date – impressive, huh?) to track my runs. When I stopped doing this at some point for reasons that I now cannot recall, I was unable to stop at a red light without reaching for my wrist – even though there were no watch on said wrist.

Didn’t make me feel particularly accomplished. But I kept running, untracked, for some time. Just because I enjoy running, and wasn’t trying to reach any kind of fitness goal except enjoy running.

Then one day I got RunKeeper, and started tracking my runs again. Sure enough, my pace improved. A lot. Because when you track yourself, you run faster, even if nobody sees your stats. At least, I do.

Then sometime last year I decided to stop tracking my runs again and just enjoy running. And I think (???) I’m going to stay there awhile. Especially now that I’ve cranked up my martial arts training considerably. Running is for loosening up in the morning, keeping my dog in shape, and spending quality time with my eldest in the quiet morning. Mayyyyyybe one day I’ll try to run a marathon, and then I’ll need to start tracking again. But for now, my running is just for fun. Every now and again I take ye olde app along, just to help me measure a new run. I also take my phone and app when I jog in unknown areas (such as when I’m on the road), for security purposes. Knowing I can be tracked if something goes wrong in a neighbourhood I don’t know is mildly reassuring, if a touch morbid. But otherwise, I just run for the fun of it.

But then, I also don’t take selfies. So maybe I’m just an old stick in the mud. Well, so be it. At least I’m a less anxious stick.

Because it’s never too late to be too late, right?

I recently turned 45 years old. That’s not in itself big news, of course. But it will become relevant in minute. For I have also decided to let my eldest daughter take her martial arts training to the next level and allow her to join the Tournament Team (aka Team Douvris). And she wanted me to join the team with her so we could train and go do tournaments together.

It doesn’t matter how fit you think you are, this kind of training is a bit of a shock to ye old carcass. But I am delighted that my daughter is keen to spend a great deal of time with me, and I am not the kind to pass up such a wonderful bonding opportunity. For I believe that the better the relationship with the relatively young child, the better the relationship with the eventual teenager. And that’s worth a few bruises.

It’s a big challenge, but we kind of like those. (Wish us luck…)