Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Knitting 101 with a political message comes to CyberSmokeBlog!

Good Day Readers:

Increasingly in this day and age gender lines are blurred. Women wear pants, cravates, lobby for genderless washrooms with urinals all formerly the perview of males. So why should they be allowed to control the world of knitting? Not here not any more!

Had an uncle in Alberta who worked in the coal mines, homesteaded and eventually went on to successfully operate a large grain operation. Uncle Stanley knit his own socks long before it was fashionable. So multi-talented sister Jo-Anne has agreed to teach us how to knit. Of course some of the apparel produced with come with political messages such as Justin Trudeau is goofy - can't resist the urge to make political comment.

It seems this decision is quite popular with at least one reader who wrote:

Clare,

I am so impressed! I will have to add you to my emails for knitters. Trust me, it is very (mentally/physically) therapeutic and restful. I believe during the war that boys in school (as well as girls) were knitting (2 of my uncles included, though I don't know that they continued). I have been knitting since at least 10 years old, maybe before - so a *few years*

Bonus now - Youtube has videos to help out with instructions. And guess what - I thought there were just 2 styles of knitting - English and Continental, but I found out there is also Portuguese style (learned from a Portuguese friend in Winnipeg who is going to teach her 7 year old granddaughter). I knit Continental (as that is what my mother and grandmother use). I have not knitted anything for a while, though I have bought yarn - my Co-op store carries yarn and I view it every so often and buy a ball or 2 because it is nice to look at. ALSO, I had a book from the library on Icelandic knitting (also have Icelandic genes) and according to the stories in it about Icelandic sheep etc. the shepherds would take knitting with them while they looked after their flocks.


KB
Knitting therapy
A repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state similar to that associated with meditation and yoga

Jane Brody
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Studies have found knitting helps people feel happier and healthier - and the knitter ends up with mittens, scarves and sweaters. (Eugenio Maronigu/Stock)

About 15 years ago, i was invited to join a knitting group. My reluctant response - "when would I do that?" - was rejoined with "Monday afternoons at 4." at a friends home not three minutes walk from my own. I agreed to give it a try.

My mother had taught me to knit at 15, and I knitted in class throughout college and for a few years thereafter. Then decades passed without my touching a knitting needle. But within two Mondays in the group, I was hooked, not only on knitting but also on crocheting and I was on my way to becoming a highly productive crafter.

I have made countless afghans, baby blankets, sweaters, vests, shawls, scarves, hats, mittens, caps for newborns and two bedspreads. I take a yarn project with me everywhere, especially when I have to sit still and listen. As I had discovered in college, when my hands are busy, my mind stays focused on the here and now.

It seems, too, that I'm part of a national resurgence of interest in needle and other handicrafts, and not just among old grannies like me. The Craft Yarn Council reports that a third of women 25 to 35 now knit or crochet. Even men and school children are swelling the ranks, among them my friend's three grandsons, 6,7 and 9.

Last April, the Council created a Stitch Away Stress campaign in honour of National Stress Awareness Month. Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind-body medicine and author of The Relaxation Response, says that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state similar to that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

But unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible and often useful products that can enhance self-esteem. I keep photos of my singular accomplishments on my cellphone to boost my spirits when needed.

Since the 1990s, the Council has surveyed hundreds of thousands of knitters and crocheters, who routinely list stress relief and creative fulfilment as the activities' main benefits. Among them is the father of a daughter born prematurely who reported that, during the baby's five weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, "how to knit preemie hats gave me a sense of purpose during a time that I felt very helpless. It's a hobby that I've stuck with, and it continues to help me cope with stress at work, provide a sense of order in hectic days and allows my brain time to solve problems."

A recent e-mail from the yarn company Red Heart titled Health Benefits of Crocheting nad knittintg prompted me to explore what else might be known about the helth value of activities such as knitting. My research revealed that the

"Learning how to knit preemie hats gave me a sense of purpose during a time that I felt very helpless."

Father of a premature baby in neonatal intensive carerewards go well beyond replacing stress and anxiety with the satisfaction of creation.

For example, Karen Zila Hayes., a life coach in Toronto, conducts knitting therapy programs including Knit to Quit to help smokers give t the habit, and Knit to Heal for people coping with health crises, such as a cancer diagnosis or a family member's serious illness. Schools and prisons with craft programs report that they have a coming effect and enhance social skills. And having to follow complex instructions on complex craft projects can improve children's math skills.

Some people find that craft work helps them control their weight. Just as is is challenging to smoke while knitting, when hands are holding needles and hooks, there's less snacking and mindless eating out of boredom.

I've found that my handiwork with yarn has helped my arthritic fingers remain more dexterous as I age. A woman encouraged to try knitting and crocheting after developing an autoimmune disease that caused a lot of hand pain reported the Craft Yarn Council site that her hands are now less stiff and painful.

A 2009 University of British Columbia study of 38 women with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa who were taught to knit found that learning the craft lead to significant improvements.

Seventy four per cent of the women said the activity lessened their fears and kept them from ruminating about their problem.

Betsan Corkhill, a wellness coach in Bath, England, and author of the book Knit for Health & Wellness, established a website, Stitchlinks, to explore the value of what she calls therapeutic knitting. Among her respondents, 54 percent of those who where clinically depressed said that knitting made them feel happy or very happy, In a study of 60 self-selected people with chronic pain, Corkhill and colleagues reported that knitting enabled them to redirect their focus, reducing their awareness of pain. She suggested that the brain can process just so much at once and that activities such as knitting and crocheting make it harder for the brain to register pain signals. More of Stitechlinks' findings are available at the website.

Perhaps most exciting is research that suggests that crafts such as knitting and crocheting may help to stave off a decline in brain function with age. In a 2011 study, researchers led by Dr. Yonas E. Geda, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota interviewed a random sample of 1,321 people 70 to 89, most of whom were cognitively normal, about the cognitive activities they engaged in late in life. The study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, found that those who engaged in crafts such as knitting and crocheting had a diminished chance of developing mild cognitive impairments and memory loss.

Although it is possible that only people who are cognitively healthy would pursue such activities, those who read newspapers or magazines or played music did not show similar benefits . The researchers speculate that craft activities promote the development of neural pathways in the brain that help to maintain cognitive health.

In support of that suggestion, a 2014 study by Denise C.; Park of the University of Texas at Dallas and colleagues demonstrated that learning to quilt or do digital photography enhanced memory function in older adults Those who engaged in activities that were not intellectually challenging, either in a social group or alone, did not show such improvements.

Given that substantial social contacts have been shown to support health and longevity, those wishing to maximize the health value of crafts might consider joining a group of like-minded folks. I for one try not to to miss a single weekly meeting of my knitting group
............................................................
New York Times News Service

Friday, May 20, 2016


That well hung Weiner man is back!

Good Day Readers:

No matter what he says or does hereafter, how can you take this fellow seriously?

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Can a new film make Anthony Weiner more than just a punch line?

By Stephanie Merry
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Anthony Weiner in a still from "Weiner" a documentary by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg. (AFC Films/Suncance Selects)

Anthony Weiner’s name was always an easy punch line — in a grade-school insult kind of way. But the former congressman all but gift-wrapped the joke when he accidentally broadcast a picture of his bulging boxer briefs on Twitter in 2011. An unfortunate moniker became a fitting one. The New York Post had a field day.

But there’s more to the man than extramarital sexting. That’s what documentarians Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg set out to prove with “Weiner,” a fascinating account of the Brooklyn native’s failed bid to become New York City’s mayor in 2013.

Before he was a filmmaker, Kriegman worked in politics as Weiner’s chief of staff in the mid-aughts. But before you assume that the movie was a favor to Kriegman’s former boss, consider this: Weiner isn’t thrilled about the documentary, which has been gaining buzz since winning the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

He doesn’t want to talk about it, he said via email — he hasn’t even seen the movie. He elaborated a bit on“Larry King Now” in February, complaining that the filmmakers used clips of his wife, Huma Abedin, without her permission. Of course, there’s considerable interest in seeing her onscreen, because she’s long been one of Hillary Clinton’s closest confidantes. And there’s something inexplicably gripping about watching the inner workings of a struggling marriage.

But there was also his pride.

“Look, I know how the story ends,” Weiner told King. “I’m not eager to watch it and relive it.”

Steinberg and Kriegman began working together a few years ago, directing a PBS special about prison reform, for example. But they were both interested in a verité-style character study. Kriegman thought Weiner would be a good subject but didn’t think it would pan out after he floated the idea and got a tepid response. But on the day Weiner announced he was going to run for mayor (for the second time; he also ran in 2005), he texted Kriegman and asked whether the director wanted to come over with a camera.

“I literally ran over there,” Kriegman said. “And, as you saw in the film, was by his side from the day he announced he was running all the way through to the end of the election.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why many Canadian federal politicians are out of touch jerks!

Good Day Readers:

What a disgraceful performance that was earlier today in the House of Commons. Picture this. Thousands and thousands of Canadians (many single parents) working multiple minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet not to mention recently graduated students burdened with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of debt and no jobs.

So up stands former Conservative Environmental Minister Peter Kent who ran on ad nauseam for at least 10 minutes providing taxpayers with a tome on Westminister parliamentary law - seriously - that included everything save for the kitchen sink. So where was the Speaker of the House to tell him to get to the point and spit out his question or comment - you know pee or get off the pot?


Speaker of the House Geoff Regan asleep at the switch yet again!

Meanwhile there was Sunny Ways Justin Trudeau responding to all comments and questions with the same smug line, "I am so, so sorry it will never happen again ... blah ... blab ... blah."

So to Peter Kent CyberSmokeBlog says, "Get relevant or get out you're wasting too much taxpayers' time and money.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk


Monday, May 16, 2016


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Justin Trudeau and jobs roll over human rights in Saudi Arabia


Saturday, May 14, 2016


On Jian Ghomeshi, "Hurting one woman may be regarded as an accident, hurting 20 looks like you're a freaking nightmare." (Oacar Wilde paraphrased)

Borel's counterunch Henein, knocks out Ghomeshi
 May 12th 2016
Jian Ghomeshi and lawyer Marie Henein appear outside a Toronto court on Wednesday. (Photo by Canadian Press)

Jian Ghomeshi and Marie Henein never saw it coming, and neither did we. The rookie Kathryn Borel entered the legal Thunderdome and beat Henein at her own game without breaking a sweat.

Round 1 of the greatest legal rope-a-dope* in Canadian history took place Wednesday inside Toronto’s Old City Hall courthouse. It was there that Borel must have appeared on the defensive, watching as the Crown dropped all criminal charges in exchange for a measly peace bond. Oh, and an apology.

In legal terms, this doesn’t even rate as a plea bargain. The apology seemed like a sop, potentially designed to give cover to a demoralized prosecution in no mood for a second helping of Henein’s trademark dish. The unmistakable inference was that the Crown lacked confidence in its complainant and star witness.

But she was just warming up.

Kathryn Borel then held Round 2 on the steps of Old Toronto City Hall all by herself. Over the course of four minutes and twelve seconds she delivered blow after merciless blow to Ghomeshi’s reputation and future. His evisceration was so swift and devastating that, had this been a real boxing match, the ref would have stopped the fight.

But no one was there to cover for him. No well-heeled lawyer could leap to his defence, intimidate Borel with smeary details of long-forgotten transgressions, or spring some hidden surprise.

She was the surprise.

In a gross miscalculation, by admitting fault, Ghomeshi opened a clear lane for Borel to step in and deliver the knockout punch.

She didn’t hesitate.

Down Went Jian.
Front page of the National post on Thursday, May 12, 2016

Weep no more, if you’re left feeling empty or angry by this abrupt ending to the Ghomeshi legal saga. This was justice at its finest—the court of public opinion has rendered a harsher and more enduring verdict than the criminal courts ever could.

Irrespective of the legal disposition of the case, through Ghomeshi’s own rather vague apology he admitted to sexual misconduct that breached Borel’s personal integrity. In his words:

"I now recognize that I crossed boundaries inappropriately. A workplace should not have any sexualized tone. I failed to understand how my words and actions would put a coworker who was younger than me, and in a junior position to mine, in an uncomfortable place. I did not appreciate the damage that I caused and I recognize that no workplace friendship or creative environment excuses this sort of behaviour, especially when there is a power imbalance as there was with Ms. Borel.This incident was thoughtless and I was insensitive to her perspective and how demeaning my conduct was towards her." (emphasis added)

"This incident." What does that mean, if not the precise elements of the charge against him?

Had this case proceeded to trial, what would have happened? We can surmise that Borel’s privacy would have been further violated through an invasive and humiliating line of questioning. Irrespective of the ultimate outcome, her credibility would certainly have been undermined to some degree through Henein’s relentless cross-examination, while Ghomeshi himself would likely not have testified at all.

Little of Borel's powerful Wednesday statement on the courthouse steps would have been admissible in court.

Had Ghomeshi been convicted, he would almost certainly not have been sentenced to spend a single day in prison. In many ways, the facts lend themselves more to unacceptable workplace harassment at the CBC, from which Ghomeshi has already been dismissed. Armed with his carefully drafted apology, loss of employment, and lengthy period of counseling (probably initiated early on by Henein in order to mitigate sentencing), Ghomeshi may well have been a candidate for a conditional discharge.

That would mean no criminal record, which is very close to today’s result.

Yet even the probability of conviction was a toss-up at best. Ghomeshi might very easily have been acquitted and claimed complete exoneration.

That outcome is forever beyond him now.

Why Henein opted for this dangerous gambit is a mystery, because it’s unclear what her client had to gain. Whatever that advantage was, it’s ashes today. Incredibly, after 18 months of silence, the first public statement by the most famous voice in Canada was an apology for abusive sexual misconduct. Was that really the plan?

And the details of that painstakingly crafted apology matter not a hair today. Nobody cares. The public sees it for what it is: an admission. Its mere existence permanently undermines the previous claims of innocence, and lends greater credence to all his accusers.

Without giving up anything substantial in the criminal prosecution, Borel emerged from this crucible of fire with her privacy and dignity intact, and her credibility strengthened by her own adversary. Untouched by defence attacks, she raised the torch not only in her own name, but as a formidable champion and witness for the 20 other women with similar complaints.

While surrounding circumstances might have been inadmissible in a criminal court, they bear repeating here. Ghomeshi's Facebook post, which admits his penchant for violent sex, was also demonstrably false and self-serving. He claimed to "to maintain a dignity and a commitment to openness and truth, both on and off the air." He made misleading statements about the reasons for his dismissal, maintaining that the CBC fired him out of squeamishness over his private sex life.

In sharp contrast, Heather Conway, Executive VP of the CBC, said Ghomeshi was fired when he showed senior management video evidence of him injuring a sexual partner. Janice Rubin's investigation into the workplace atmosphere at the CBC showed that Ghomeshi demeaned, humiliated and sexually harassed more than one employee, and that his abusive behaviour was enabled by managers at the CBC.

Ghomeshi's own apology, indistinct and amorphous as it was, essentially aligns both with Borel's accusations and Rubin's conclusions, while maintaining that he's just become aware of the consequences of his behaviour.

At age 48.

It's noteworthy that although credibility issues clouded the evidence of the three complainants in the previous sexual assault trial, Henein never significantly challenged their testimony that Ghomeshi was violent. But we know they were not alone. In total, some 20 women or more have come forward with similar stories.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, hurting one woman may be regarded as an accident, hurting 20 looks like you're a freaking nightmare.

And now, by handing Kathryn Borel the most coveted weapon of all, Jian Ghomeshi's apology, Marie Henein just created the face and hero for her client's accusers, who will now be galvanized into greater action.

This isn't just a loss, it's an obliteration.

Signed, sealed, and delivered by Kathryn Borel.

*Rope-a-dope is Muhammed Ali’s legendary boxing strategy, in which Ali would allow his opponents to corner him against the ropes and rain blows down on him in the early rounds. He’d then capitalize on their exhaustion to knock them out.