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Monday blues? Here’s a baby skunk to cheer you up

Mondays can be rough, but nothing is cheerier than seeing a baby pet skunk desperate for some love from his adopted mom.

The little guy, Jasper, can’t get enough of him mom’s toes as he whines to be picked up.

Jasper even has his own Facebook page, written in the first person of course, where he details his adventures as a house-skunk. Check out more videos of Jasper on S Decker‘s YouTube channel.

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter for all the latest news in adorable animals. @WomensPost

Women of the week: Michele Romanow

For Michele Romanow, co-founder of Buytopia.ca, there are three words that easily describe both her and her business. “Fun, hardworking, and bold,” she says in her breezy, upbeat tone.

After speaking with her it is hard to disagree that her approach to business is one grounded in hard work. At only 27 this businesswoman has achieved goals that most people twice her age can only dream of. An entrepreneur starting from her days as a student—while completing her undergrad, she started the Tea Room, a zero consumer waste coffee shop—she is now at the helm of her third successful business venture with Buytopia.ca and the key to her success is hard work.

“You always want to be adding the most value,” she advises women who aspire for greatness. “If you’re that person making sure projects always get things done and driving the relationships — if you are constantly the most valuable team member, it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or not.”

For Romanow, being bold is a second nature. “I think that we’re bold when we go out to find the best deals for Buytopia. We try to be innovative for brands and I think that’s a huge part of what has made us successful and a huge part of what makes our business work.”

But to her, boldness stems from her personality. Her strong interpersonal skills shine through in every situation, giving her the advantage of winning over others in every walk of life. “I think I’m just a naturally social person. I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories, and I think that has given me an advantage in business.”

“I’m a natural extrovert, which means I come up with my best ideas by talking and sharing with people. What really balances my life are the people in it.”

And an advantage it has been. With Buytopia approaching 2 million subscribers the bond that Romanow forges between her company and Buytopia’s users is built upon the strength of communication, trust and, of course, great deals. By striking out to create the same kinds of bonds with national brands Romanow has successfully created a chain of trust from retailer to consumer that is unparalleled in Canadian business.

Romanow’s fun side is also displayed up front and centre. Her infectious laugh and easy demeanour puts others at ease. While many other 27-year-old women might balk at receiving a Mother’s Day note from an employee, to her it is a symbol of something more. “I think of my team at work as family.” As for her real family, she laughs as she explains the universally humbling nature of siblings despite the fantastic level of success she has achieved: “There’s nothing like a sibling to put you in your place.”

In her downtime she switches gears ever so slightly from running a business to running half marathons. For her, running is a calming, focusing experience. “Your body just falls into a rhythm,” she explains of her favourite pastime.

Buytopia is unique in the way it approaches the daily deals business, a field that can be tricky to master. By focusing on delivering quality unique experiences to subscribers they’ve managed to keep the colourfully decorated website in the hearts and minds of members even when they are offline.

“On Buytopia you should be buying things that make your life more wonderful: be it a spa packages or great restaurants, we want you to discover that gem in the city that you’ve never expected and try it out at half price. I want the website to have great pictures and be easy to use for a seamless experience. I don’t want you to be spending time there; I want you to be spending time in your life discovering these great services.”

On the future of web-based businesses, Romanow is looking up. “I’m optimistic the internet will have a lot of wonderful surprises in the years to come.”

Right now it seems like two lovely surprises, Michele Romanow and Buytopia.ca, are already here.

 

Win a McSorley’s night out

McSorley’s is offering one reader the chance to win the perfect Fathers’ Day prize: A set of his & hers McSorley’s T-shirts and gift certificates for beer and food for two.  Think of the fantastic bonding night this prize will let you have. 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 Thursday, June 13th, at 3 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

Feminism as Practice: Valuing a Feminist Motherline in the Age of Neoliberalism

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming collection of scholarly feminist essays mixed with personal stories, Mother of Invention from Demeter Press. For your chance to win a free copy of the book enter here. 

Introduction: The Age of Innovation

In our current neoliberal age, innovation provides the guiding mantra. We are constantly looking toward the future, hoping to find the next best thing defined by what is guaranteed to ensure “value.” And yet our definition of “value” has changed drastically, with the language of social value increasingly being replaced by the economic determinism of market value. In this age of innovation defined by short-term thinking and future prospects, the value of the past is lost. It is precisely for this reason that a discussion of feminist motherlines is becoming increasingly essential. The stories of our mothers and grandmothers, and the intergenerational knowledge that is passed down from them, cannot be quantified in market value terms. And, more importantly, these stories weave the fabric of our very social core.

My Mother’s Stories

My mother grew up as the youngest child in a family of seven on a farm in the southern part of Holland. At the age of 12, she was sent to an all-girls boarding school that was run by nuns. At the age of 17, she went to an all-girls college to become a Montessori teacher. She then decided to travel by herself to Canada and teach kindergarten, and here she met my father. At the age of 24, she worked with my dad to build their own log home in Calgary because no bank would give them a mortgage. And at the age of 28, with two small children, she worked night shifts to make enough money so my dad could start his own piano tuning business that she would go on to manage for the next 30 years. When I listen to my mother’s stories, her words cannot be relegated to a particular feminist theoretical framework. In fact, when we sat down for an informal interview and I asked her whether she considered herself a feminist while living in Holland during the 1960s, presumably during the heyday of feminism’s Second-Wave, “nope” was her response. Then upon further consideration she laughed and said, “They called them dolle Minas. They were the ones that would burn the bras, feel the freedom […] the birth control pill came out, it was about love and no war. But I wasn’t part of that. We would see it on TV. Especially in Amsterdam” (Informal interview with Maria Vandenbeld, June 13, 2012).

Feminisms

From my mom’s perspective, feminism was something that had nothing to do with her; it was a theoretical paradigm that bore no relevance in her daily life. And yet, when I listen to her stories, and when I think about everything she has taught me throughout my life—particularly when I had my daughter—I know that my mother’s influence has been pivotal in my understanding of what it means to be “feminist”, and these are the very same things that I now teach my  daughter. The values of equality and freedom, that everyone is equally important, that being honest, sharing and being kind are the most essential qualities, but also the ability to recognize when injustice or inequality must be acknowledged and the capacity to be both kind and strong at once—these are the values that have been passed, and will continue to be passed, down my motherline. And when thinking about our motherlines, it is equally important to recognize how knowledge transfers in multiple directions. My mother now actively identifies as a feminist and laughs about how she didn’t think feminism had any relevance for her in the past making a discussion of feminisms so important. And I am constantly amazed and enriched by my six-year-old daughter’s understanding of the world and realize daily how much I have to learn from her.

During our discussions, my mom said that she always felt like an outsider in Canada, and that the mothers here were far more lenient with their children than what she was accustomed to. The 1970s were, after all, the age of the “free-range” child in North America. And I, too, often feel like I stand outside of contemporary normative mothering discourses. In our current hyper-competitive neoliberal age, while “freedom” remains highly prized, “equality” does not, and nor do the values of sharing or being kind. Rather, within an individualistic winners-take-all mentality, kindness can often be equated with weakness. As such there is an uneasy juxtaposition between recognizing where one’s own value systems emerge and appreciating their historicity, and acknowledging how these value systems, rather than being purely individual, are inspired by larger socioeconomic circumstances and dominant ideologies.

A discussion of feminisms enables the recognition of the multiplicity of feminist voices while also acknowledging the possibility for collectivity. While we are all part of larger societal discourses, we are also unique individuals with particular stories to tell. My mom might have been part of a larger second-wave feminist temporality, but her story is unique. And while she did not identify as a “feminist” until recently, her mothering has been the best example of feminist practice that I can think of. I will always be grateful for the values that my mom has taught me, and I hope I will be able to continue my feminist motherline by instilling similar values in my own daughter.

 For your chance to win a free copy of the book enter here. 

HAPPY FRIDAY: Here is a blog dedicated to photos of sloths

As you may have guessed from our previous articles, we here at WP had a love-on for sloths. Luckily we aren’t the only ones. That Sloth Blog is a Tumblr dedicated to bringing you photos of sloths doing sloth things and being slothdorable and slothcool. They sum it up pretty well by saying: “Us, we’re sloth people.” Yup.

Yes, there is a sloth-on-branch cursor on this website.

You are currently counting down the hours until you can use some of these relaxing sloth moves on your couch.

Here are some of our favourites from the blog.

Follow Travis on Twitter: @TravMyers

 

Ford’s silence on crack allegations is about to make Toronto $200,000 more dangerous

Rob Ford, you need to come clean. The longer you refrain from saying yes or no to these allegations the closer the people of Toronto come to giving $200,000 dollars to a group of drug dealers. The clock is ticking.

Right now Toronto is buzzing. Did the mayor smoke crack? Is he in with a group of drug dealers? These are questions that are up in the air right now. The fact is: three journalists — okay, two journalists and one gossip-hound — say they have viewed a video of what appears to be Rob Ford uttering slurs against racial minorities and gays and smoking crack cocaine.

The allegations weigh heavy against you, Rob. Despite whatever vendetta that you and your brother think the Star has out against you there is no way that they would fabricate anything about this, barring a complete and utter bankruptcy of ethics and disregard for the law.

If the people of Toronto are to trust our most seasoned and talented journalists (and one seasoned and talented gossip-hound) we have to accept it as a fact that a video of what appears to be Rob Ford smoking crack exists.

The ball is in your court, Rob, and it has been for one full week now.

Your silence, aside from a few one-sentence dismissals of the pack of journalists desperate to get to the bottom of this, is more than a political or legal move. Right now your silence, Rob, is dangerous.

With every minute that ticks by a new donation is being made to Gawker’s crowd-funding project. As of lunch time on May 23 it sits at $133,291, just a few dollars shy of two-thirds complete.

This money is going to people who are admitted crack dealers; shady men who dart in and out of cars in parking lots at night and live off the proceeds to selling poison. These people are about to be two hundred grand richer.

The things they could spend this money on are easy to imagine. Pouring that money directly into the lowest rung of the drug trade can only result in more drugs on the streets, more guns in the hands of criminals, and more dead bodies.

Rob, the longer you refrain from doing anything the more money the people of Toronto donate towards these drug dealers in an attempt to gain some form of answer to the question of whether or not their mayor is smoking crack.

You need to respond to these allegations by saying something, anything.

If it isn’t true, although the chances of this being the case seem slimmer and slimmer as the days go by, help the city of Toronto like you want to and come out fists blazing in denial like you always do. Will this please everyone? No. But it could help to stop the slow and steady ebb of your former supporters looking for some kind of answer by donating to this fund.

If it is true and you did smoke crack and it is on video, please, please come forward and tell the people of Toronto what you did. Admit that it is true, that you are a flawed man who smoked crack, and beg everyone to stop donating, not for the sake of your political career or your brother’s ambitions, but for the sake of every person who might die of a gunshot or a drug overdose if this project succeeds.

Your claim to want to help the people of Toronto was at least believable before. You did your best to help people who shared your views on subways and garbage collection. Right now your silence is helping no one but yourself to avoid embarrassment and putting the lives of others at risk.

The people at Gawker and the people of Toronto are not innocent in this either. These people are knowingly opening up their wallets to drug dealers and criminals, and in the aftermath of this situation, another summer of the gun or a Toronto crack epidemic, they’ll also have themselves to blame. But nobody holds more cards in this game than you, Rob, and your poker face is a time bomb waiting to go off in the ghetto.

Step up, Rob. If you love this city like you claim, if you want to help people, you will step forward and say something, anything, or the blood of Toronto’s next Jane Creeba will be all over your hands.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter: @travmyers

Marathon running? Ever heard of Philippides?

The inspiration for the marathon was a man named Philippides.  According to Greek myth, Philippides ran from the battlefield at Marathon all the way to Athens to announce Greece’s victory over Persia. He ran roughly 26 miles as fast as his legs could carry him – an amazing athletic achievement.

No one seems to remember though what happened next to Philippides: he collapsed and died on the spot.

Training for a marathon is an increasingly popular activity these days. For a lot of folks the marathon represents the absolute pinnacle of fitness. “If I can run a marathon,” the thinking goes, “then I’ll really be in shape.” Chances are you’ll wind up in some shape, it just might not be good shape.

I think that the volume that training for a marathon requires is far too much for the majority of us and leads to unnecessary wear and tear on the joints. There’s a certain point at which the exercise that we do ceases to be beneficial and actually becomes harmful. Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize this point because exercise is promoted as being good for us; so logically more of it must be better. Not so. Exercising too much can raise levels of stress hormones causing our bodies to break down muscle and store fat. Just take a look at a marathoner. Most don’t look at all like pictures of health; they look like they’re wasting away to me.

Don’t get me wrong: I think that running can be great for fitness. But there’s a sweet spot where we can get most of the benefit while avoiding much of the harm. (It varies from individual to individual.) Perhaps running briskly for 20 minutes doesn’t gives us the same bragging rights that running a marathon does, but it might do us better at the end of the day.