“Frozen”

Her eyes are heavy. Those eyes are blue and icy. As I look into those eyes I could cry. If I could search those eyes I might find the answer to many mysteries in their depth. I do not. I only gaze at the surface. It’s a calm and glistening surface. The sun reflects against those eyes, and at first glance, they seem so innocent. But I fear that if I were to venture further I may crash through thick, frozen layers. If that were to happen I may spend my last moments with no breath. Suffocated by the darkness. Her eyes are greater than any lake that I explored as a child. They are expansive. They are endless. I hear my mother hollering to me. “Stay away from that lake,” she’d say in a stern voice. Just as I had crept upon the frozen water as a child, I do not listen. I stare into her eyes longer than I should. If I were any other man, I might be distracted by the fullness of her naturally stained lips. I cannot be bothered by these details. Her eyes are more than eyes. I know that behind the glass there are thoughts that the toughest man could not endure. In their calm silence, her eyes whisper “danger”. I know nothing of her suffering. I want to hold her arms in mine and tell her that there are days that are warm. There is sunshine and beaches that stretch against the shores in the summer. There is swimming, and laughing. There is a time of year when the water, when the expanse, is to be enjoyed instead of endured. I say nothing. She watches me closely. I feel myself fall through her eyes. I am plunged beneath the surface. The weight and heaviness of her thoughts push me down further. I cannot escape. If I could, I would not. I am content to stay here. I am trapped forever in her icy hands. I am cold, but I am loved.

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“You’re Everything”

I think he thought I was beautiful then. I hope he did. My hair was a bit longer, and I used to wear it in loose waves. Maybe he never thought I was beautiful. Maybe he only thought I needed him, which I did. “Scarlett, we’re done. Stop calling me,” and “You’re an idiot” are the last things he said to me. Not in that order, but he said them. Haeden was around a lot when I was younger. I guess he was twenty-five when I was sixteen. Young, spry, and my father’s right-hand man, I could trust him with everything. That’s the problem: I did. I trusted him with everything I had. The door closes and we’re alone. The lights are dim. He looks at me with eyes that say he wants more, that say “don’t test me,” but I can’t help it. I look back at him and I smile slyly. I place my hands on his shoulders. I know he wants this. I know I want this. “Scarlett, we shouldn’t…” I move my mouth close to his, but I don’t touch his lips, not yet. “We shouldn’t, why?” He takes a step back and my hands lose their grip, falling to my side. “Haeden, it’s alright. No one will know.” “Your father…” “Doesn’t care.” He shakes his head, eyes set on the back of the room, on a painting, maybe. We’re in my childhood bedroom. It’s large and luxurious with wing-backed chairs and large rugs. It speaks to my father’s affluence, and my privileged tastes. I don’t know how to say no to my desire, and Haeden’s just a man. “Are you trying to seduce me?” He asks, hands on his side. I playfully lick my lip, nodding. “Is that a problem?” “It’s going to be, for you.” He’s been gone for years but I can’t stop thinking about him. His hands, large and domineering on my back. I have to close my eyes when I think of his face, so handsome, and his voice, like a symphony. Two glasses of wine aren’t enough to make me forget his name. Worse, I want to call him now. He won’t answer. Unless it’s an emergency, which he’ll know it isn’t. He’s smarter than me. I don’t want to admit it, but he is. He may not know it but I’m inexperienced. My breasts are showing in this tiny red nightgown, and I’m doing my best to pretend I know exactly what I’m doing. He was working late, and I pretended I needed something. “Haeden?” “What?” He asks, his voice husky and strained. “Do you think I’m pretty?” He lets his guard down and he smirks at me. Of course he thinks I’m pretty. He looks around the room for a few moments, and then tells me to lock the door. I do so quickly. I know what’s about to happen. His lips touch mine and his arms pull me as close to him as they can. He’s going to steal me away from reality, and I couldn’t be happier. I drunkily kiss him, feverishly draining in his ecstasy. He takes like cinnamon and he lacks no authority for what he’s doing. Four glasses of wine don’t even begin to change my thoughts. I’ve loved so many others since him, but he’s still there, top of my mind. I cringe. I stare at old photographs and I wonder about where he is and what he’s doing. The last I heard he was a waiter. Why, I’ll never know. He’s too smart to be a waiter, too perfect. I know he still keeps in contact with my father. They’re friends. Somehow, my father forgave him for breaking my heart. Then again, he never really cared. Currents of electricity move through my body. His eyes are watching my body, and they move up and down, like the beat of my heart. He places his hand to my chest, noticing the thumping. “Are you sure you want to do this?” His eyes try to be warm but they’re hungry, his teeth grazing his puffed up lip. “I’m sure,” I say struggling to speak louder than a huff. He uses his hands to help me remove my shirt and I’m before him in my black laced bra and underwear. I rarely wear them, but tonight I prepared for more. I worry about my chest, if it’s enough for him, if somehow I’m lacking and he won’t want to carry on or continue. He pauses, hands still, and mouth slightly open. “What’s wrong?” He pulls me to him. I’m startled as his lips envelope mine, my mind responding with nothing but enjoyment. I lose touch with myself and am replaced by everything that is Haeden.   My thoughts are slurring. I wonder if I was ever his, if he ever loved me, or anyone. Maybe he loved himself. I reach for another drink but the bottle is empty. I pull for the next worst thing, my phone. It rings. Too many times. I imagine him sitting at the table and seeing my number. I should be past this. I went from angsty teenager to pathetic adult. Nothing’s really changed. “Hello?” I nearly drop the phone. It’s really him, older, but him. “Hi.” I want to say, ‘it’s me’ and ‘I miss you’ but I can’t. “Scarlett? What’s up?” He doesn’t sound mad like he did the last time. I hope he’s over that. The last time I begged him to love me. “Not much. Just moved back to the city, was wondering how you’re doing.” Yes, wondering, begging the universe for information about him. Prying at every friend in-common, all too obsessed. “I’m doing good. You?” “Oh, I’m great,” I say after thinking for a moment. All things considered, I’m doing well. There’s a silence for a moment. “What brought you back?” Him. He’s brought me back. My desire to be near him against all the sanity in the world. My love for him that prevails against the turrets set against it. My self-loathing, terrible tendency toward masochism brought me back to the city I was raised in. “Work. I’m in marketing now.” Lies are so much easier. “Ah. Cool. Well, I’ve got to go.” So short a conversation but it’s stirred my very being. I want to curl…

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“A Dream Within A Thousand Dreams”

I have never felt ashamed of my anxiety and depression. I have suffered, tread through, and rejoiced in its remissions for the better part of ten years. Since I was 12 years old, I have found ways to overcome and to live with these conditions. You would think all of this pain, and losing my grandfather — amongst dozens of other relatives so early in life, would have prepared my for what I am about to speak of. But, nothing prepares you for moments that rip apart your being, your core. Two years later… with a month to spare… the lights went out. Slowly, they are flickering back on. At first I could only see shadows and now I can see the room, and the outside of the window. I am no longer devastated, but I am not the same. My grandmother, a wonderful lady, supported me through much of my life. She was kind, compassionate, funny, and vain at times. Many never knew the last bit, but we still joke about it, my mother and I. She was vain, but not selfish. The morning she died I was awoken by my mother, scared, frantic. “Grandma’s in an ambulance”. You see — we lived across the highway from the hospital. Right there, across the road from my childhood home, is where my grandmother was being carted off. So, I went. I went, and I called my relatives — we all met. Then, we were told it was much more serious so she would be sent to another hospital 45 minutes away… We found out the day she died that she had cancer. In her brain. There was no saving her. So, still trapped in that hospital room today, I can explain to you the metal of the sink, of the bedding — the lost look on the doctor’s face. She too, had lost her father mere weeks before to the same grappling illness.

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the american dream shaylynn hayes

The American Dream

Music means a lot more to people than simply splicing beats with vocals. It’s the sensations that course through our lives, and it’s a gateway to our emotions. Sometimes, without meaning to, I am found deep in reflection and introspection when it comes to music. Trooper is one of those bands that hits me hard. Next to the Eagles, that is. Yeah, you can go on about other great bands… other bands that have done great things… but that won’t change the impact this music has had on my life. “Well I didn’t sleep at all that night So I missed the american dream” I’m not going to go on about politics… though, I could. For Canadians like me, exposed to the media — to American culture — sometimes we feel a little ‘off’. Up in our cold, dark, grey land, we can feel something that’s missing. There’s no Hollywood in Canada, and Vancouver (though milder than Winnipeg) is not the palms of ‘The Hills’. This song has an important meaning to me. Canadians can sometimes feel as though we’re in isolation, as though the world is filled with grandeur in our south-most nation. They certainly make no bones about Canada being an “outlandish” place on their TV shows. I don’t have a problem with the United States. They’re their own country and they have a lot of great qualities, but even when it comes to research and disorder, I feel bound by their decisions. In this capitalistic world I find it hard to fit in and to find a solid Canadian identity. After all, what culture does Canada have? “I flew into New York city Another face in the crowd They took me in a limousine To an office up above the clouds They said 1 and 1 is three Nothin’s as it seems” Chances are if you’re Canadian you’re not from a big city. Most of us live in rural areas. Even if you are from a city, a lot of them are friendly. You know a lot of people. I feel crushed by the weight of the global scheme – like, there’s something out there, but I don’t quite know hot to belong to it. When you come from a rural area in Canada (one that’s hardly heard of), it’s hard to feel like you belong. Then, your music, your TV… it’s all talking about this “American Dream”. I don’t think I have a point. I that’s the entire reason for this post… the world… it’s so much more complex than Hollywood or the music industry would have you believe. I don’t want to be sucked into any “culture” or “hype” and I leave you with this… “Everyone was dreamin Everyone but me But I’m sorry But I don’t believe”

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food rights veganism politics

Before Arguing for Animal Rights, Learn What You’re Talking About

Recently the Truro Daily News published a piece that aims to ‘shed light’ on the issues of animal rights. It seems that radical Vegan movements that are most commonly found in larger cities has finally made its way to the more traditional landscape of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is a culturally rich area that has thrived through agriculture since its beginning — and before. According to the article Tamara Cox, “believes most people are against cruelty but are not aware of what happens behind the scenes, or that they can be healthy on a plant-based diet.” I find this statement skewed. While it is true that people can live healthfully on a vegan diet, we do not live in a warm climate. The same problem arises when we attack native populations for their diets. People with less money, and less means, in cold climates are going to need animal protein for food. Vegetables, until subsidized by governments, are not cheap. While some can afford an all-vegetable and nutrient dense diet year-round, this is not an achievable goal for every family, especially the thousands of Nova Scotians on a fixed income. Food affordability is just one part of this story. The food and agriculture industry in Nova Scotia provides jobs for many families. It is a livelihood that is not soon to be replaced. While better farm practices, and more vegetables, are always sought — we are still a province that experiences winter. In order to grow vegetables, grains and legumes in winter (if even at all), massive facilities would have to be funded. Nutrition, for the health of all, has to focus not only on the pure chemical aspects (what foods are needed for proper health) but also on the available sources. Families that cannot afford healthy options, if unable to buy local meats (which are nutrient dense and can provide adequate, if not sufficient nutrients), will turn to highly toxic cheap alternatives such as processed foods. Farmers are not our enemy in the upcoming wars on food accessibility, food ethics, and the treatment of animals. That is factory farming. By isolating farmers and attacking a market that helps promote better food practices, Tamara is missing the entire point. Not every one is going to be vegan, nor are they going to share her ethics. Small farmers often care for animals just as much as vegans — they care for them day in and day out, shelter them, feed them, and ensure their standard of living is comfortable. Farmers fill the much needed gap between large scale farms with no ethics (and disgusting food practices) and no meat at all. The fact of the matter is that we do not live in California. There are no blueberries growing in the month of February. We do not have orange trees in our back yards, nor can we pick lentils any day of the week. We are in Canada, and if we attack the small farmers that are providing us better options for our health — all that’s left are cheap ‘foodlike’ products that are making us fat, sick, and die younger. Melissa Stewart, who raises animals, worries that these comments are an attack on a valued Nova Scotian industry. “I grew up with cows, chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, sheep, horses, etc. And they have ALL lived happy lives. I also live across the road from a cattle barn and they are perfectly comfortable with enough to eat and drink, and clean, private pens and assistance with calving.” If Ms. Cox would like to have a conversation about the rights of animals, and on nutrition, she must first be willing to have an open and honest conversation with the farmers she has so ignorantly attacked. Instead of nuanced, thought-provoking arguments, Ms. Cox has resolved to use anthropomorphism to explain away the feelings she is so sure the animals have. While I do not argue that animals deserve a better life, we must consider the implications of a world without animals as a meat source. Suggesting persons lower the amount of meat eaten is a better step than outright telling them what not to do, especially in areas that may be classified as a food dessert. For some families, hunting deer, rabbits, moose, or even polar bear and seals (especially native populations) may be their only means of a healthful and enriched diet. Healthy food choices, and farming, are hot button issues not because they are simple and easy to solve. Fear mongering does nothing more than isolate your cause, and effectively shuts down conversation. This is not how one should advocate for change. If Ms. Cox would like to see change in industry — she must first understand that its uses go far beyond simple food choices.

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The New Frontier: The Legality of Data-Sharing, Piracy, and the Threat of Cyber-Warfare

The world we now live in is a world of data. Information is now a resource that is widely traded, sold, and according to some, exploited. Mixed views on data-sharing and data-mining have led to a world where the NSA can freely spy and look for information wherever they choose, yet a person can be labeled a thief for sharing a digital copy of a DVD that they purchased. However, the growing number of “good guys” finding information is also coinciding with the ability of foreign nations to spy. Thus, the question is roughly devised around the legitimacy of privacy rights in the face of a potential threat. Such as the case of mass-arrests during war-time, is the invasion of digital privacy merely a reaction to the clear threat of cyber-warfare? If it is concluded that digital privacy is non-existent, then piracy and other data-sharing techniques may fall may merely be a cultural by-product of our new data-age. This is further complicated by the conflict of whistleblowers vs the NSA. On the one hand, data may be free and open – therefore, the NSA “leaks” were merely a product of culture. However, on the other hand, there are reasonable exceptions that nations take in order to protect the interests of their peoples. In recent times the case of Edward Snowden has become so inshrined in modern debate and discussion that it is practically a folk tale. Snowden released classified documents believing, “his only choice was to expose the NSA activities in order to spark public debate about what the NSA was doing, and to stimulate reforms” (Fidler 2). To some this is an act of heroism, others, treason. What Snowden revealed was much deeper than the revelation that the United States was spying on its own citizens. While this is constitutionally questionable, it is not necessarily within the global sphere to condemn. The greater issue, which unsettled many, was that the NSA had been spying on other nations. Worse than spying on enemies, or nations that may reasonably have suspicion for cyber-warfare, the US was spying on its ‘friends’. The NSA was closely watching and gathering intelligence on, “foreign countries, including close allies and fellow democracies, and spying on international institutions, such as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN)” (Fidler 8). If the NSA is able to so casually spy on other democratic nations, then there is no one to stop the NSA from going a step further, and divulging this information to government officials that may use this as a political advantage. President Obama callously stated that, “he did not know that the NSA tapped Merkel’s mobile phone”, and that “either the NSA was out of control or that spying on Germany’s top leader was not important enough for the president to know” (Fidler 8). Perhaps if the NSA is out of control it would be reasonable to limit their involvement, or their rights, in international affairs. According to Bob Toxen, “a person, regardless of citizenship, always is entitled to all Constitutional rights and may challenge a violation. The only government defense is that no violation took place” (Toxen 50). This point is made briefly after discussing cases in which judges dismissed allegations against the government for breaching the 4th amendment right of Americans. The judge, unfavorably, ruled that because Snowden’s information was illegally obtained and released, there was no crime. In the age of digital information it seems to be a larger question of whose rights matter most, or at all: the government agencies, or the people the government agencies should protect. While questioning whether or not the fourth amendment was infringed upon by the NSA, there should be examination upon the judges interpretation of Snowden’s illegal obtainment of documents, and the lack of a case against the NSA because of this. Switching gears to another example of cyber-data and the question of the law, and rights, we are faced with P2P sharing and piracy. On the surface these cases may not seem similar. A young mother was fined $1.9 million (USD) for downloading CDs that amounted to less than $60 in value (Da Rimini 319). Of course, the fine is substantial and disproportionate for the crime. This is not the issue that causes similarity. The defendant’s actions must have been tracked, either by the Internet Service Provider or persons that worked for the company. This, may in-fact have the same breach of the Fourth Amendment that was mentioned above. More importantly though, the case should not have been authorized because the initial gathering of evidence was not in accordance with democratic law. Cases like these draw a clear line when it comes to data rights. What is right and “lawful” seems to have more to do with those that have power, and less to do with the rights of the people. Privacy, once a heavily regarded right, has been put to the test by the modern data world. Since websites technically “own” all the content placed on them (they own the domain, the database), it is interesting when we see companies that are selling the data of their users. This practice may seem strange for democratic nations such as the US, Canada, Britain, and other developed nations. However, as Sheldon S. Wolin points out in his book Democracy Inc, when discussing the U.S., “unlike the classic totalitarian regimes which lost no opportunity for dramatizing and insisting upon a radical transformation that virtually eradicated all traces of the previous system, inverted totalitarianism has emerged … in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation’s political traditions” (45-46). Essentially, Wolin is commenting on the shifting ability of nations to feel entirely comfortable with, and normalize the act of data sharing. With focus on terrorism or “cyber-warfare” we are seeing a populace that is being conditioned to believe that going against the NSA is “unpatriotic”. Whilst many may point of that there are a great number of persons that oppose these dealings, it is a fact that Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have been tried and convicted for sharing information against their security clearance. The ownership and legitimacy of data is constantly being challenged in the modern, globalized era. Most recently, Netflix caused a stir by enforcing geoblocking content and VPN (a way to “trick” the server into believing you are viewing from another…

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Should There Be an International Form of Government?

The global form of government is anarchic and hectic by its very nature. Procedure and rules have been applied by arbitrary forces. The views of the strongest nations have impacted foreign policies, and remain the largest factor in determining the shaping of global order. Since, “the United Nations is primarily an institutional framework through which member states may pursue or channel their foreign policies” (Weiss 15), it is important to realize that no body controls the international community as a whole. Convention as well as loosely held boundaries hold together the structure of a world that has become increasingly globalized. Whether or not this is a problem is widely speculative. On the one hand, smaller nations may become fearful that they will be ‘annexed’ not from warfare, but from an inability to keep up with the demands of capitalization. On the other hand, since the nations that hold the most power hold “all the cards” it is unlikely that they would do anything to hurt their economies or ways of life, so these conventions are often upheld. The Case For Current discussions on international law, and its actors, usually involve a conversation about the UN and their role in political decisions. Whether or not the UN is a political actor, or merely an institutional framework has been subject to much debate. In The United Nations and Changing World Politics, the authors discuss the notion of legitimacy. As such, “the question of legitimacy in world politics is a complicated matter” (Weiss 15). What these complications are is not the point here, the point is, that the UN despite its workings for the past decades, has not been established as the be all and end all. This is an important distinction to make because in order to advocate for an international form of government we must first acknowledge that one does not currently exist. Whether or not there should be a global form of government rests heavily upon the ethics that are involved in the sovereignty of nations. If there is to be an international form of government it will be a strange and rough road in deciding its customs, practices, and of course, rule of law. While some things are a generic starting point, such as the right to life, or the right to not be detained arbitrarily, many nations have differing opinions on fundamental laws. A communitarian, with the view that “states have rights and duties un global society” (Amstutz 11), may assert that we are already doing as best they can. These viewers believe that yes, we are a community, but it is important that we should continue with the foundations of sovereignty. If we take this position, it is simply good enough to allow cultures and nations to develop their own ways of protecting and defending the world. Of course, this leads into moral accountability: who has the ability to wage war, and when? Can a nation protect itself? And, if they can, from what? Cosmopolitans however, are our best case in the view of why there is a need for a greater global society. The Cosmopolitan, “develops a global morality based on the rights and well-being of persons, challenging the morality of the existing Westphalian political order of sovereign states” (Amstutz 11). A Cosmopolitan will argue that the greatest importance is the rights of the individual. In this case, it is important that a globalized form of government may help aid human rights. If an international body has the right to quickly and justly handle cases of rights violations, there may be a greater chance of alleviated suffering. As well, if there were a body that could solve conflicts without the sovereign right to war, there may be a greater chance of peace. Whether or not this is obtainable, is hard to determine, since it has never come into action. The Case Against It is no mistake that most dystopian tales in the warning genre include a great lack of cultural diversity or cultural plurality. These “super-nations” usually include a story that has an over-all government, one with great control over its subjects. “How well we come through the era of globalization (perhaps whether we come through it at all) will depend on how we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world. For the rich nations not to take a ethical viewpoint has long been seriously morally wrong. Now it is also, in the long term, a danger to their security” ( Singer 13) Cultural Plurality, which has been both accepted and discredited depending on the source, is an important question that must be raised when we consider a greater global reach over the affairs of individuals. States that have rich ethnocentric values may lose out when a greater presence has control over what matters most in the world. If an internationally based form of rule were able to bypass the views of smaller countries for the “greater good”, these people would be forced to conform to a way of life that may not best suit their interests. From an anthropological perspective, “power is exercised in society through social relations, institutions, and bodies that do not automatically fit under the rubric of ‘the state’” (Erickson 337). It is hard to truly dispute that countries have collective values and have grown based on their interests as a whole, democratic nations especially have emphasized this view of “people first”. Great fundamental differences between large countries and smaller countries may not be the largest problem against a more globalized form of government. For example, the United States, despite, “thousands of murders and rapes [that] are committed annually in States where death is an authorized punishment for those crimes” only use their death penalty law, in a fashion that is, “‘freakishly’ or ‘spectacularly’ rare, or simply as rare—” (Bedau 192) . Currently, there are 31 states where the death penalty is still legal, leaving only 19 that have abolished capital punishment. With this information in mind, it is clear to see why there would be a conflict with Canada, in a global world order. Canada, in their right to life and lack of Capital Punishment has taken a strict stance, even refusing to extradite criminals that would be put to death(Death Penalty Information Center, photo attribute as well). Since Canada and America…

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