Ah…Poor Hate. Must be Tax Season


Seeing a lot of ‘Poor Hate’ on Facebook today, so it must be tax season. So far, before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee, I’ve seen over a dozen ‘I hate paying taxes so the government can take my money and give it to someone who doesn’t work as hard as I do.’ or some variation thereof.
Congratulations folks, you drank the Kool-aid. The people who are ACTUALLY responsible for sucking every last dime out of the economy would love you to blame your poorest and weakest. You get to kick someone who’s already down, and they get to keep scrounging until they’ve got every last dime of yours, while you blame a scapegoat.

Photo by Ivan Sorensen

Photo by Ivan Sorensen

I’m assuming you’re referring to spending on social programs, such as welfare, perhaps Employment Insurance (which everyone who collects has to have paid into btw), or healthcare for the poor through programs like the Trillium drug benefit. I say that because I don’t see any of you complaining about having free healthcare, public schools, roads to drive on, water to drink, police and emergency services to call on when you need help, etc.
If you look at the math, the cheats at the bottom cost us very little. The last publicly available data that I could find easily showed that out of over 700 000 claimants, 106 were found to be cheats. That’s hardly an epidemic. For the ones who do ‘cheat’, for the most part, lying about income is the ‘cheat’ of choice. One of the biggest reasons people cheat on welfare is that the amount paid by social assistance is woefully inadequate to live on. Forced to decide between working for cash under the table or shorting rent to pay for groceries, some pick the lesser of two evils. There are very, very few people collecting welfare because they want to. Not none, there are always a few bottom-feeders who are happy to stay there, but very few. In terms of your tax burden, these few cheats are so small a percentage as to not register, and already living a pretty miserable existence. The rest are good people. Ordinary people like you or me, legitimately in need of a little help.

The rate of fraud in the income tax system is over 20 times that of the Welfare system. People with incomes cheat WAY more than those without, and cost us a lot more in the bargain.

If you really want to know where your Canadian tax dollars go, look here. All the information is there.  The vast bulk of spending for individuals goes to seniors.  Not to immigrants, or welfare cheats, or other popular scapegoats,  but to upstanding Canadians who have mostly worked their entire lives, and paid their fair share of taxes.

Imagine a Canada where everyone who fell between the cracks, mostly due to bad luck more than their own negligence, was left to fend for themselves. How long before disease begins to spread, and crime rates go up, (and costs for hospitals, police, and prisons etc.) as good people fall sick, or resort to the unthinkable? Being poor isn’t always a matter of choice. How many of you haters out there are only a missed paycheque or two away from poverty yourselves? How many of you would do anything to make sure your kids have enough to eat? See how easy it is? Those are real human beings you’re talking about. I know and like many of the people posting and repeating hateful anti-poor messages this morning, and I don’t remember you being cruel people. If I’m wrong about that, please feel free to unfriend/follow me.

We live in a pretty good society. <—- Note the root word there is ‘soci’. Latin for ‘a friendly association with others’. One of the key elements of ‘Society’ is that everyone takes a share in ensuring the good of the collective. A society isn’t raised or lowered from the top, but from the bottom. The overall health of a society can be judged by how well those at the bottom are doing. I don’t mind paying taxes to raise the social floor a little. We ALL benefit when even our poor and stupid have a place. When we get over ourselves and recognize that a poor person has the same human value as ourselves.


In response to ‘A letter to Victoria’s Secret from a Father’


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I read Huffpo, I have Facebook etc.  This week I’ve seen this letter circulating around.  It’s a letter to Victoria’s Secret from a Father, critical of their decision to market a line of racy underwear to young girls.

Ok, I read this article. And on the one hand I agree. It is sorta skeezy. But at the same time, rather than expect the world to change to protect our daughters, which it won’t, as long as there’s money to be made marketing to them, I’d focus on raising kick ass daughters with an iron clad sense of self. Then it won’t matter. We can’t go around saying that what a woman wears doesn’t matter if we’re going to be all outraged about what’s written on her panties, and VS making sexy underwear for young women. A teenager wearing ‘call me’ panties is entitled to the same respect, and legal protection as one in granny bloomers. Does it matter or not? Standards apply across the board. By getting our knickers in a twist, we sort of tacitly support the message that a woman’s virtue can be defined by what she’s wearing. Further, that we have a right to decide for OTHER girls what’s appropriate. If a girl’s sense of self worth is damaged by someone’s line of racy underwear, then you’ve got bigger issues than just what’s written on a pair of undies, IMHO. If your opinion of her value is affected by what’s written on her underpants, you need to take a good long look at your own moral compass. So yeah, another lame marketing exercise capitalizing on the insecurities, and sexualization of young girls. *yawn*. We can do better than banning suggestive underwear for young girls though. We can raise young girls who know that they are so VERY much more, and boys who know that the value of a girl is defined by a hell of a lot more than what’s written on her underwear. That’s on US though, not Victoria’s Secret.


Also- we begin to emerge as sexual creatures around puberty. That’s not a moral issue, it’s a biological reality, and it’s a genie nobody can put back in the bottle. There is nothing inherently bad or immoral about sex or sexuality. It’s our attitudes towards it, ignorance of it, and all the emotional issues tied up in it that make navigating that minefield so tricky- for example, accepting sex as an easy substitute, when what we really need is intimacy. Tough stuff, even for adults, much less teens. But ignoring or denying the sexuality of young people isn’t going to help. Moral outrage isn’t a solution. Make them all wear potato sacks, and the issue will still be there. That’s kind of what puberty is about. Reaching sexual maturity. (emotional maturity is a separate issue) Teenagers don’t need to BE sexualized. They are already SUPERCHARGED, no matter whose name is in their underwear. This would be the case with or without movies, music or mass marketing. Our efforts would be better spent teaching healthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality as part of our whole self image-for both genders, fostering respect with regards to sexuality, giving our young adults the tools they need to protect themselves, recognizing what is abusive or unhealthy, physically and emotionally, and preparing them to make good decisions even when we parents aren’t there to do it for them. That’s not VS’s problem. It’s ours.

In which very little sleeping happens…

Snow bed, photo by Kate Broderick

Snow bed, photo by Kate Broderick

As a teenager, I moved around a lot. Sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings night after night, I got in the habit of sleeping with one eye open. If disturbed, I still come up either swinging or screaming. As soon as you touch me, I’m instantly wide awake, pumped full of adrenaline, and ready to either fight or flee. I’ve been married almost 15 years now, but the problem remains. It came in handy again for the brief period while my son was a baby, and all parents develop the sort of spider senses that leave them tuned in to every whimper. But for the most part, it’s a pain. I find sleep difficult to get to, and I am a ridiculously light sleeper. This exacerbates some of my other issues with chronic health problems, since few conditions are improved by sleep deprivation. This then sets off a downward spiral, where things start to hurt, and then I don’t sleep because everything hurts etc. etc. Whole weeks have gone by where I sleep no more than a couple of hours a night. The longer I go, the lower my IQ drops.  Because of these issues, and for the health and safety of everyone involved, I normally sleep in my own room.  However our house is old, and drafty, and mine is the coldest room in the house.  I’d temporarily abandoned it on Friday night when my tea froze.  It was a bad idea, but I’m a suck, and the cold hurts.  I am already in my second week of rattling around until normal people have long since all gone to sleep. It’s not that I’m not tired, I just can’t settle. Many nights I see 3:00 am. Even the cats won’t stay up that late.  It was a dumb time to switch rooms, but Sweet Hubby is the human furnace, and my room was freezing.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

However,  I’m now reaching critical stupidity, owing to not having had a door between myself and my housemates, and it’s only Tuesday.

Saturday morning (with a late night planned). 4:06am

Enter mostly naked child. He is wearing ‘Iron Man’ Y-fronts, and socks. He is clutching a Jar of Cheez Whiz.

Mostly naked child:’MOM!’

Mom shoots upright out of bed, and grabs the closest thing that can be used as a weapon, a hairbrush.

Mom: ‘!!!!!!’

Mostly naked child: ‘I need help opening the Cheez Whiz’

Sunday morning- bed at 4:00 am, up again to go collect child from his aunt’s house.

Monday morning 4:50 am.

Enter mostly naked child, clutching a piece of paper. He’s crying.

Mostly naked child: ‘I HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM!’

Mom shoots out of bed, elbowing Sweet Hubby in the face, and kneeing him in the jimmies in a reflex defensive move.


Mostly naked child: ‘I wrote my meal plan homework yesterday, and now that’s not what I want for breakfast!’

Tuesday morning. 4:50 am

Enter mostly naked child. He is shivering. There’s a good chance that this has something to do with being mostly naked, and the fact that he moved into my room last night, looking for me, and decided to stay there.  It was 8 degrees in my room last night.

Mostly naked child: ‘Mom!’

Mom jumps out of bed, punches the puzzled cat, who was minding his own business on the pillow above her head, grabs child by throat and pins him to the window while blearily attempting to assess the threat.

Mom: ‘!!!!!’

Mostly naked child: ‘I’m cold.’

Have just tripped over the cat’s water dish again, poured cranberry juice into my coffee, then lost it before I could do anything about it. I have a long to do list to get through before the next IV on Thursday, but the list was on my phone.  I have no idea where my phone is.  Probably with my car keys.  I can’t find them either.  Which is fine, because now I’m coming up blank on where I was supposed to go.

I’m going to be a mess by Friday.

The Massage-o-Matic Mat


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'Nuff saidSometimes, when I’m ‘enjoying’ a flare of this nebulous, auto-immune thing I live with, I can wind up so sore that I can’t stand to be touched. Mostly this is a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, caused by fluid in the joints as my stupid immune system chews on them for reasons nobody understands, and osteoarthritis which, is the physical degeneration of the actual joint, destroying cartilage and ultimately in many cases, the whole joint. I have both. It’s the osteo in my back that prompted my husband to buy the vibrating massage mat for me one birthday after a particularly cold, miserable and sore January. (I’m a Valentine’s baby) I should point out that Sweet Hubby is not known for his gift buying prowess. Among the highlights of his largess:  choosing to mark our 5th Valentine’s Day as a married couple, so many years ago, by proudly presenting me with an animatronic plush of the dancing gopher from the movie ‘Caddyshack’. Comparatively  the Massage-o-Matic mat was a well considered choice. I’m sure he imagined giving me a means of relaxing and easing pain, whilst pursuing some peaceful activity like reading, while I wait for painkillers to kick in. I choose to believe this, because if I believed that he’d known when he bought it how much every other living thing in the house would be attracted to it, I’d have to divorce him. So I appreciate the sentiment, even if not the actual item.

The Massage-o-Matic mat is unassuming enough to look at. It’s body length, which is apparently 6 ft (I’m 5’3″ in heels), charcoal grey, and has 4 motors, which offer both vibration and heat, spread out inside the mat at intervals helpfully labeled ‘neck’, ‘mid-back’, ‘lower back’, and ‘thigh’. Given that I’m quite a bit shorter than the person this device was obviously designed for, my labels would be more like ‘head’, ‘mid-back’, ‘HI THERE!” and ‘calves’, I’d have saved a lot of time this morning if I’d remembered that that was why it got put away in the first place.

This morning found me tired, since I sleep lightly and poorly when flaring, aching, unable to put my own socks on for pain in both hands and back, out of the T3’s that I rarely use, and because I rarely use them and never remember to refill, and open to almost any option. Because of this, and because I have a short memory, the Massage-o-Matic got dug out of the upstairs closet in the last couple of days, This last couple of weeks before I start Remicaide tomorrow have been a slow, painful grind, so, willing to try anything, I spread it out on the couch, laid down, and reached for the control, only to be bitten by the cat already sitting on it.

The cats have a love hate relationship with the Massage-o-Matic. That is to say one loves it, and the other hates it. Big Cat, the one who loves it, was already trying to burrow underneath me to get closer to one of her Favorite Things. Small Cat had already ‘killed’ the controller, and was happily attempting to chew it off the wire connecting it to the mat, and bit me when I took his newly killed prize away from him. Small Cat is possessed of an unnatural knowledge of how electrical things work, and is the reason I’m on my 5th clock radio since bringing him home, and also why I have to buy new Christmas tree lights every year.

Having retrieved the controller, I lay back down, squashing one cat and stepping on the other while trying to arrange myself at the right height, relative to the mat, for the motors to actually do anything useful, and turned it on HI. Then jumped up, stepping on Small Cat again, having proved that there is no way for the motor at the mid back to be in the right place, without head and lady garden also getting buzzed. This isn’t as much fun as it sounds, since rattling teeth are kind of a distraction, and the overall experience does little to help with pain, especially when fighting for space with 26lbs of aggressively affectionate cat who is trying to get as much of herself as possible in contact with the mat, drooling in ecstasy  and purring back at the mat in response to the vibration. Small Cat hissed, the mat hit the floor, Big Cat sort of oozed off the couch after it, and I spilled my coffee, then bruised my thigh falling over the coffee table.

Apparently I suck at relaxing.

I went to get the Wet Jet to clean up the coffee, Small Cat headed for the hills, (the only things he hates more than the Massage-o-Matic are the vacuum and the Wet Jet) and Big Cat tried again to lie down on the mat, but she’s slow. AND IT HAD MOVED. Turns out 4 motors worth of deep heating massage are more than enough to produce locomotion when the mat is laid out on hardwood, and not weighed down. While I was getting the Swiffer, the mat had crept under the couch, where Big Cat is too fat to follow, and I am too sore and stiff to chase after it. It kind of crawled back out again on its own, then crawled halfway under the coffee table, reaching the limit of the cord. Pulling it out again demonstrated why, in a house with two cats, you really should vacuum twice a week.

Which gave me an idea, since relaxing was clearly not in the cards this morning.

The 100ft extension cord normally lives with the camping gear, buried way at the back in the deepest, darkest corner under the basement stairs at this time of year, so you can’t tell me I do nothing around the house all day.

Freed from the constraints of a short cord, the Massage-o-Matic is now freely roaming the main floor of the house, slowly sweeping the floors as it goes. It’s the best thing to happen to housework since crawling babies in polar fleece sleepers, except it doesn’t eat the bits that are too big to stick to it. So far it’s picked up five raisins, a Lego lightsaber, a fake mustache (don’t ask), and enough cat hair to knit another cat. I may suck at relaxing, but that’s OK  because I am the QUEEN of alternative domestic maintenance! Every few minutes, Big Cat walks up close to it, turns in a circle, and flops down slowly, just in time to miss the mat as it slinks away. She’s done it four times now. This is the most exercise she’s had in…well, in EVER, really. So Big Cat is getting a workout, the floors are getting cleaned, the Mormons have just left, having met their ‘WTF?!!!’ quota for the week, and I am MADE OF WIN.