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May 2013

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WATCH: 8 more reasons why we love Ohio hero Charles Ramsey

By now you’ve heard the news of real American hero Charles Ramsey rescuing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight from the home in which they had imprisoned for a decade.

What you may not know is that Charles Ramsey is the chillest, coolest, most down to earth hero you’re ever going to meet. Here are eight reasons why.

1. He eats McDonalds for breakfast.
The breakfast of champions.

2. Even when he’s being interviewed he’s cautions not to step on the toes of the news crews there to interview him.
He keeps looking back after accidentally bumping into someone to make sure he’s out of their way.

3. He gives credit to the detective he spoke to.
He takes the time to get the card out for Detective Gregory Cook so he can read it to the newscaster.

4. He picks up something that someone drops.
In the middle of his hero interview (once in a lifetime kinda deal) he picks up something for someone beside him, they say thank you. A hero twice in one day!

5. “You got some big testicles to pull this off bro.”
He’s the creator of a phrase that needs to be said on the news way more often.

6. He barbecues, eats ribs, and listens to salsa music with his neighbours.
Unfortunately the neighbour in question turned out to be a maniac, but we will gladly take his place for backyard parties.

7. “Ain’t nothing exciting about him. Until today.”
Someone get this man a TV show, he is hilarious.

8. “Bro, I knew there was something wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here.”
Get this man a TV show right now.

A hero and our absolute new favourite person in the world.

Women rescued after a decade of captivity

On April 21, 2003 Amanda Berry, 16, disappeared after calling her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at Burger King.  Gina DeJesus was 14 when she went missing on April 2, 2004, while walking home from school.  Michele Knight went missing in 2000 when she was 20 years old.

Yesterday, May 06, 2013, almost a decade later, the three women, now ages 27, 23, and 32, along with a 6-year-old child identified as the child of Amanda Berry, were all found held captive in the basement of a home in Cleveland, Ohio.

They escaped after the owner of the house, 52-year-old school bus driver Ariel Castro went out and Berry managed to stick her hand through the home’s busted front door, grabbing the attention of neighbour Charles Ramsey, who kicked in the door and called 911.

Authorities say the women appear to be in good outward health, and they have all been released from the hospital.  Police currently have Castro and his two brothers, aged 50 and 54, in custody.

 

 

‘Toronto Stronger’ sign rightfully upsets Bostonians — and everyone else

Last night’s game between Boston and Toronto was a tragedy of its own kind for fans of the Leafs, but for one fan the line between the world of hockey-mania and real world tragedy went out the window in favour of bad taste.

The fan in question was spotted outside the Air Canada Centre holding a sign reading ‘Toronto Stronger’ — a tacky playoff slogan if there ever was one, considering that ‘Boston Strong’ is the phrase Bostonians used to express their community, grief, and fear last month when a terrorist bombing tore through the Boston Marathon killing three and wounding hundreds.

The Toronto fan’s sign is even complete with a ribbon, a symbol generally reserved for tragedies or diseases.

Toronto fans, has it really been that long since the Leafs made the playoffs that you have forgotten decency? Of course, it was only one man in a crowd, but one would expect, in a world of common decency and reverence, that this photo would show this man getting a tongue-lashing from a fen beside him.

The Toronto fan did later get his due for brainlessness from Boston fans when his photo hit Twitter:

And Toronto fans alike:

Hopefully the young man in the photo has learned a lesson that, apparently, no one else needed to learn: Making fun of national tragedies, especially one month after the fact, won’t go over too well with pretty much anyone.

Reasonable political discussion in Ontario, RIP

Today I had the good fortune of coming across an old friend’s post on Facebook as it floated through my news feed. It wasn’t much more than what he usually posted: extreme support for the Ontario NDP, for whom he does work, and a stream of trash talk about the other political parties in the province.

Today’s posting happened to be a screen grab of the Toronto Star’s Facebook page where someone had forgotten to put quotation marks around an excerpt from an editorial, leaving it looking as if the Star had suddenly taken a caustic and personal stance against the ONDP leader Andrea Horwath.

His sentiments were along the same lines as everything else he’s ever posted. The Toronto Star has long been accused of being a mouthpiece for the provincial Liberal party, he explained, and this just goes to show that they harbour a resentment for Horwath that would go so far as to find fault if she saved a baby from a burning building.

Commentary on commentary.

I’ve never had one true political allegiance, having voted both Liberal and NDP in the past and even supporting some Conservative policy. More than anything I find the discussion and conversation around politics to be the most interesting part of the political cycle.

I found it particularly interesting that he himself would take issue with what he thought the Star was doing since his comments and postings might as well be dyed orange.

“As opposed to you,” I commented, “who would simply neglect to post on Facebook if Horwath went on a killing spree, eh?”

I even threw in a tongue-out smiley emoticon for good measure.

Commentary on commentary on commentary.

“His Facebook isn’t mass media,” came the quick response from someone else.

“No, the last major newspaper to share his views thankfully closed down shortly after the dissolution of the USSR.”

A cheerful jab. Maybe a bit sharp, but that is how old friends get on. A few milliseconds later I see a private message from my old friend pop up. “I don’t allow personal attacks on my wall. Would you prefer to take a minute to correct it or should I just remove your ability to post on my wall?” Uh oh.

I think about what to say here. Is he so closed minded that he actually can’t stand anyone disagreeing with him or even, as I did, lightly ribbing him? Is he so high on his sense of self righteousness that he actually, truly believes that everyone who works hard in the Liberal government and who works hard in the PC opposition are actively seeking to destroy our province? Is he so incredibly fragile that the slightest whiff of a differing opinion will destroy his whole world?

I figure he’s probably had a rough morning and give him the benefit of the doubt. I tell him my love for discussion and tell him one of my favourite quotes: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

A tirade of disagreements. “Just because there is an open forum for discussion doesn’t mean that you should take it to the limits,” he says shortly before deleting me.

While I was still reeling — not over the loss of a friend mind you, we were friendly acquaintances at school who hadn’t interacted in person for several years and he hadn’t crossed my mind since I had an awkward conversation with his boyfriend on Grindr last year — it dawned on me that this is the current state of political conversation.

This is the type of conversation I might expect from an American redneck perhaps, chewing on a strand of tall grass while lamenting that the president is a socialist Muslim out to destroy the country. This stark us versus them mentality isn’t just the property of the lowly masses of the right, either. I remember a time when George W. Bush was the president of the United States and people really truly thought that he was going to singlehandedly dismantle the country and that his policies were crafted with the specific aim of hurting people.

Here it has been adopted by on the far left like my old friend. The rhetoric is downright exhausting.

WE MUST STOP STEPHEN HARPER BEFORE HE DESTROYS CANADA! WE NEED TO END THE EVIL CORRUPT LIBERAL DYNASTY! WE NEED TO GET THE NDP INTO OPPOSITION SO THEY CAN CHANGE

So they can change…

So they can change their own constitution to remove any references to socialism to become more palatable to centrist voters. At least, federally. Here in Ontario where the NDP hold the crutches under the Liberals the chant goes something like:

WE NEED TO STOP WYNNE! WE NEED TO STOP HUDAK! …Eventually.

Behind the scenes at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill the situation isn’t quite as nasty as people on the street (or Facebook) might assume. Friendships exist across the aisles, parliamentarians and senators working together in committee with those you’d think would be enemies sworn by blood.

What is so surprising about the serious tone my old pal took is that, as someone who works greasing the gears, you’d think he might have some more insight into the true workings of the political world. The attack-ad attitude is designed to appeal to the lowest common voter, someone who isn’t likely to do their own research and just follow the other lemmings off the proverbial cliff and into the voting booth.

The kind of blind, stupid passion he exerts as a tireless support for anything and everything NDP is more in place with a hockey fan than a politico. His total dismissal of discussion and conversation as important to the political process is frightening. Apparently the commentary from the Star was wrong and shouldn’t be allowed. However his commentary on this matter was correct and should be accepted as fact. And my commentary on his commentary got me silenced through deletion, the online equivalent of being removed from the room. What a great friend. Keep your fingers crossed he never winds up being your MPP.

It seems that the ONDP can be added the list of people so “enlightened” that they never want to hear another word contrary to their beliefs, joining such rub-it-in-your-face-smug company as Green Party supporters, militant atheists, and Habs fans.

In the end the irony of silencing someone for a comparison to Soviet newspaper Pravda appears to have been lost on him.

This is the current landscape for political discussion in our fair province. I’m right and you are wrong and la-la-la-la-I’m-not-listening.

Reasonable political discussion in Ontario, may it rest in peace.

Patio etiquette 101

Despite winter’s desperation to survive, it finally happened: spring has broken through. In celebration of this glorious event and me being a living stereotype (actor/waiter), please let me remind the general populace about a simple forgotten code: patio etiquette.

When dining upon a patio, please do your best to encourage the following:

1) Please do not sit until at least three-quarters of your party has arrived.
Toronto is a crammed city; green space and patio space are among the first to be consumed when nicer weather is upon us. I’m serious, try setting a blanket down at Trinity Bellwoods in June. It is a cruel joke when someone sits at the last patio table, occupying it for hours, as other poor souls develop shin splints standing in line with their full parties present.

2) It is illegal to smoke while sitting on an enclosed or partially enclosed patio.
Don’t get me wrong, I too love a drag when I’ve had a few G & Ts, but the law says no.

3) For the greater good and all that is holy, if you have a fungal infection or mangled hobbit feet, please wear closed-toe shoes.
They are sensible, stylish and inoffensive. On this note, I must confess, I wrap my hairy French feet up for the summer. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s appetite.

4) If it begins to rain, please remember: it is not your server’s fault.
They do not possess any voodoo mama juju powers. And even if they do, do you think they’d use it to spoil their chance at making money? Servers have other things to worry about, like gaining Patrick Dempsey’s love or solving world hunger.

5) Sadly, and as much as everyone loves them, dogs are not allowed on patios.
I wish I could change this one, but I can’t.

6 )Please pay your bill.
This one sounds ridiculous to have to mention, but all too often and a few pitchers in, a party may get up to leave. Let me put this into perspective: as a server you tip out, so a percentage of your tips goes to tipping the wonderful kitchen staff and bar staff. (We work together as a great team.) If a party forgets to pay their bill, the server has to pay for it. All of it. Sometimes this forces him or her to have to go to an ATM to take out money, as all of the tips earned that day have to go to paying that very bill.

7) Control your volume.
I am 100% guilty of this one, but I like to think it’s because I’m a stage actor and I accidentally slip into my “stage voice.” Please be aware of Toronto’s patio shortage (see point i) and try your best to be courteous of other diners around you.

8) Have fun.
You’ve worked a long week. We’ve had a long winter. Enjoy every second of it. Don’t forget sunscreen and/or hats for prolonged visits. Stay as long as you’d like, you deserve to soak up this beautiful sunshine. Hope to see you around.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave my feet.

Women of the week: Kathy Cheng

Do you “buy local”? With the ever-increasing globalization of the market and the growing awareness of the unstable working conditions of overseas factories, the buy local movement is gaining a strong presence in the marketplace.

Kathy Cheng, president of WS & Co., strongly believes in supporting this movement.

“Each time a Canadian buys something that is Made in Canada, they are supporting not only their local economy, but also contributing to the continuation of a skilled workforce – that’s located on our very own soil rather than across the Atlantic.”

One of Canada’s leading apparel manufacturers, WS & Co. maintain a factory here in the Toronto area. As “crusaders for Canadian garment manufacturing,” the company has rejected the potential of increased profit through outsourcing, choosing instead to ensure that their employees are working in an environment protected by the rules and regulations of the Canadian government.

Started by Kathy’s father, Chak Wai Cheng, in 1988, WS & Co was originally a much smaller operation, employing only five seamstresses. Business improved and the company expanded; at its peak, it employed 500 people.

Growing up, Kathy spent a great deal of time in the factory, learning about the various steps of the production process. Then, in 2000, Kathy officially joined the team. It was a change from her previous role in financial consulting, but she feels it was the right thing to do.

“The factory and those who make it successful have allowed me to experience many privileges over the course of my life. So when my dad asked me to join in the family business, I believed this was my opportunity to give back,” she says.

In 2009, after surviving two recessions, the company went through a re-structuring process. Debra Tse and Gary Cheng, Kathy’s aunt and uncle and co-founders of the company, retired and Kathy became her father’s new business partner.

Her role was “to put a North American spin on a traditionally Chinese company and explore a new revenue stream for the factory.” It was at this point that Redwood Classics Apparel, WS & Co.’s in-stock apparel line, was created. The website for this division has proven to be very successful, increasing its search engine presence by 650% since its launch in 2009.

But Kathy’s pride and joy is a new division of Redwoods Classics, the Heritage Collection.

“Featuring a limited-edition lineup of classic fits, vintage colours and retro styles for men and women, the collection is proudly designed and manufactured in Canada with principles rooted in quality and integrity. The line is really a tribute to the preservation of our country’ craftsmen.”

The collection is being launched at an apt time. Given recent world events in the manufacturing industry and the increasing awareness of consumers as to where their products come from, WS & Co. is in the position to “expand and thrive” with their socially-conscious collection.

But expansion is about more than just the product, and Kathy is quick to point this out.  Redwood Classics chose to partner with the Pay It Forward movement, giving a white bracelet to those who purchase a PIF x RW Kangaroo Hoody.

“[It] is a physical reminder to do good. It’s that simple: give someone the bracelet and ask them to pay it forward,” she explains.

As the market changes in the coming years, Kathy and WS & Co. will adapt and thrive, thanks to her clear understanding of the new world order.

“Business is no longer just about the bottom line. It’s about people first, the planet second and profit third. For a positive and fruitful business environment, all three of these components must be present.”

LISTEN: We love the new Carly Rae Jepsen — and so do you!

In case we haven’t made it clear with some of our previous stories, we adore Carly Rae Jepsen. Canada’s girl next door has managed to captivate us once again with her amazing new tune “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” that is meant for blasting at top volume on a beautiful spring day like this.

Give it a try and try and say that you aren’t downloading it to play on repeat right away.

Oh, and there’s a remix featuring Nicki Minaj on the way. Summer anthem? Here’s hoping.

Win a Tilley Weekender bag

Women’s Post is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a Tilley Weekender Bag. Stylish and functional, this bag features leather handles, a detachable leather shoulder strap and zippered interior pockets. Enter today for your chance to win.

 

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Wednesday, May 22nd, at 4 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

Farewell to Winnipeg’s Sweetheart

Deanna Durbin, Canada’s own Shirley Temple, died yesterday at the age of 91.

A top child actress during the Depression, Durbin played the part of the perfect child, fixing the problems of the adults around her with charm and grace.

She hit Hollywood royalty with her first movie 1936’s Three Smart Girls, a musical comedy co-starring Nan Grey and Barbara Read. A box-office smash, it saved the faltering Universal Studios and turned her into one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses.

Then, in 1938, she was given a special Academy Award for her “significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth.”

Like many child actresses, problems arose when she started to move onto more adult roles. Her public wanted her to retain her youth and innocence, and reacted negatively to any attempts of Durbin’s to expand her range.

First married at 19, Durbin was told that she was not allowed to divorce because it would “ruin the image.” A second marriage would also end in divorce. Finally, at age 28, Durbin met director Charles David and married for the last time.

At this point, after starring in 21 feature films, Durbin retired.

She will be remembered by many as what she was officially dubbed: “Winnipeg’s Sweetheart.”