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Archive for April, 2011

Activism That Works


The Calgary Raging Grannies have a chapter in a new book entitled Activism that Works, coming out in May 2011. The chapter, written by Sharon Montgomery, uses songs and stories from our recent activities, to illustrate the many ways that we are successful, how we know what works and why.

 The book’s editors (Elizabeth Whitmore, Carleton University, and Maureen G. Wilson and Avery Calhoun, from the University of Calgary) worked  over a 4 year period with 86 activists from nine groups and organizations across Canada, including the Calgary Grannies, asking them “how do you know you are making a difference?” 

   What becomes apparent is that success is not only indicated through large-scale social changes but is also found in moments of connection — in building relationships and raising awareness. Success and what contributes to it are sometimes interchangeable so that the “doing” of activism becomes a part of its effectiveness. Building on activists’ stories, additional chapters contextualize and analyze success within social justice activism in Canada.

 For details about ordering copies of the book, go to Fernwood Publishers (www.fernwoodpublishing.ca)

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More Election Songs


Since volunteering with Janice Kinch’s campaign, where she is the Liberal candidate in Calgary West, I’ve been delighted to meet many dedicated volunteers.  They loved the four songs the Raging Grannies have on Youtube: He Cut Everywhere, Party Politics, Not Stephen Harper, and Harperland.  They wondered what the Grannies would sing about Rob Anders, the incumbent Conservative candidate.  Rob has been voted “Canada’s Worst M.P.” in national surveys, yet has managed to maintain his seat.  Calgary West has been strongly Conservative, and was Stephen Harper’s first riding.  When the electoral boundaries changed, Stephen represented Calgary SouthWest.  Rob Anders was a rookie MP, and has embarassed the party and Canadians numerous times in the last five years.  How does he continue to be re-elected?  Who knows? 

These are the songs we wrote about him.  Check on Youtube in the next few days to see the Raging Grannies live, giving it to Rob.

WHERE HAS ROB ANDERS GONE?
(tune: Oh Where Oh Where has my little dog gone?)
 
O where, O where has Rob Anders gone?
O where, O where can he be?
With his time so short and his tasks so long,
O where, O where can he be?
 
In Calgary West he’s been voted in,
Conservative to the core.
So many gaffes he has made each year,
We wonder what more is in store.
 
Rob Anders insults those he fears the most.
True ignorance he has shown.
Calgarians don’t like his Tea Party tricks.
He makes constituents groan.
 
On election day how will they vote?
What choices do they like more?
So Calgary West, please rise to the test,
And show Rob Anders the door.
 

Rob Anders – Fool

(tune: Am I Fool #1 by Brenda Lee)

Am I fool number one or am I fool number two
If once again I vote Rob Anders like I always do 
When he’s earned himself the title “Canada’s worst MP”
Is the bigger fool Rob Anders or me?

If I only knew I would have changed my vote before
Cause now he’s the incumbent we can’t keep him off the floor
If he’d only just retire I’d be so glad on voting day
But until that happens I can only say . . .

 Am I fool number one or am I fool number two
If we ignore our better judgment and we vote again for you
I suppose it doesn’t matter how embarrassing you are
I guess that we’re the biggest fools by far. 

To see the first four elections songs the Grannies video-taped, check these links:

Harperland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65__Em3V2A

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He Cut Everywhere


When I wear my other hat, literally a cowboy hat festooned with buttons, I sing with Calgary Raging Grannies.  This is my new favourite song, about the cuts the Conservatives have made under Harper’s leadership.  It is based on a report published by Voices/Voix, listing 72 agencies and organizations that have been cut back.  Watch the video, and consider how you will vote on May 2.

 

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The house has been listed on the market for two weeks now, and I just have to be patient.  Only two realtors have visited it so far, and there have been no open houses.  My realtor says to give it time.  The steady snowfall isn’t helping either, because few people want to leave their present home to house-shop in snow conditions.  Driving is a chore.  It’s not keeping me indoors totally, of course.  I still have a life.  Shortly I’m off to church, then volunteering this afternoon at Janice Kinch’s campaign office.  Janice is the Liberal Candidate for Calgary West.  The snow won’t make it easier for Janice and other doorknockers to visit people today.  However, perhaps it will find more people home, so that could be an advantage. 

The biggest change to me regarding the house is that I don’t have my chesterfield in the living room anymore.  We needed it to fill space in the Big Steel Box that went to storage 3 weeks ago.  I’ve moved the loveseat from the dining room to the living room.  I miss it in the dining room because that was my relax spot to catch the morning sun, sip my coffee, read, pet the cat beside me, and maybe phone a friend.  I need to be patient.

Ensuring the house has been tidied up before leaving it is also a challenge!  I’m  used to letting papers spread all over the table, each in its different pile: house stuff, newspaper, crossword puzzle book, recent mail, mail to be mailed, magazine notices, and latest pages for editing.  With my den in the basement, with no window, I can work here only for so long, then go upstairs.  It’s good to move around anyway.

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This book is a great read!  Borrowed from a friend, it has entranced and intrigued me for the past week.  Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60s, it tells the story of a young white wannabe journalist writing stories from the POV of hired help.  The stories of Aibileen and Minny and Skeeter all ring true.  The back jacket says: ” In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another.  A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help  is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.”  I totally agree with this summary and can’t improve on it, so am including it here.

The Help really is a gem.   No wonder it’s a bestseller.  Read it.

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Much Ado About Nothing


Went to Theatre Calgary’s production of Much Ado About Nothing yesterday.  It was wonderful!  The set of a vineyard in Messina, Italy was colourful, rich, and terraced.  It rotated to show different scenes.  The roles of Beatrice and Benedict were superbly acted, and I totally got into the story and the fun.  It’s on for another week, so you folks in Calgary can still attend.  Enjoy!

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It's official now

I took this photo at 8:00 a.m. today, after shovelling a foot of heavy wet snow from the walks.  The snow will deter potential buyers from visiting for a few days.  Rabbit tracks show where the wild hares have checked out their feeding spot below the spruce tree.  I put more food out after I shovelled.  No tracks led to their usual hiding spot under the cedar shrub, so they must have shelter elsewhere in the neighbourhood.  I’m sure the hares will find the food soon enough.  This snowfall is the biggest all winter, and it’s April 3rd.  Too much already, and much too long a winter!

Is it any wonder I’m ready to move into a condo?

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