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What the “Cluck” is All the Fuss About?

26 Nov

For the last few weeks, a debate has raged in the City of Windsor about the keeping of chickens within the City limits. City councillors have been side-stepping the issue, enforcement personnel have been zealous in their response and the community is divided over whether to allow these potential menaces into people’s back yards.

The problem started when Sarah Kacso, a City resident purchased a couple of chickens – that’s right, a couple – and kept them in her yard in a coop as pets and for their eggs. She claims that the eggs have benefits over factory farm eggs, but to be honest, I wouldn’t know the difference.

So, why all the fuss? Well, a City by-law prohibits the keeping of chickens in residential zones. It’s rational is that they may become a nuisance because of their smell, noise or whatever it is that chickens could do to annoy people. I have to ask, “really?” I’ve got neighbours that routinely let their dogs run at large, bark their damned heads off and crap all over my yard. Frankly, I’d welcome a chicken-at-large. At least what it leaves in my yard might be edible! And don’t get me started on my neighbours cats who have been using my beach as a litter box for the better part of the summer.

In reality, a chicken or two is no more a nuisance than a cat or a dog. I see no harm in allowing unusual pets into the city, provided that the ownership is regulated and the property where the pet will be lodged is large enough to contain it (I know someone will advocate elephants because they make excellent fertilizer). So, have your chicken and eat it too!




Tap, tap, tap…is this thing on?

29 Jul

If there’s one thing Mel’s recent verbal tirade at girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva can teach us is to assume we are always being recorded. My father once told me, “Never put anything in print you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.” This advice came in handy years later when my law enforcement partner and I were conducting an investigation. At one point during the collection of evidence, an altercation broke out between my partner and a suspect. During this altercation, my partner said some fairly off-colour remark about the suspect and his parents. These comments made their way to the Director of our department, and my partner was reprimanded. My partner was a bit of a hothead, but from that time forward, I would constantly remind him, “Before we go in, imagine that there is a camera on your head and a microphone in your pocket and everything you do is being recorded.” This piece of advice served us well for the remainder of our careers.

In reality, few people expect to be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that Mel is experiencing, but it bodes us well to apply this principal in all our affairs. A colleague told me recently, “I respect you because I can trust that you will do the right thing even if no one is watching.” Just remember, even though you may not notice, someone is always watching.


16 Jul

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Mel’s Meltdown

16 Jul

I’m a normal guy. I get pissed every once in a while. And on occasion the person pissing me off is a girlfriend. Do I shout? I have. Have I used profanity? Yup, rarely, but it has crept into my arguments. Am I proud of it? Not a chance.

The problem with anger is that it smolders beneath an emotional kindling box and with the right application of fuel, can turn into a raging fire. I don’t know Mel personally, but it’s evident from the excerpts of his explosion last week, that he had some very hot kindling waiting to be ignited.

After the fire has burned itself out, as it does in most cases, we are left with the aftermath and that can be a private or public affair. Mel’s case in not unique; there are plenty of men who have blown a gasket during a discussion with a loved one and lived to regret it. In Mel’s case, we all heard it and now the recriminations and the career fallout is underway.

Mel wasn’t the first to have a meltdown that made its way into the public arena; think Alec Baldwin having it out with his daughter or Christian Bale’s tirade on the set of Terminator. All of these guys let their anger control their behaviour. They all faced public derision, but in the end Alec and Christian were able to save their careers. For Mel, it may be more difficult. He’s already had one anti-Semitic meltdown and was just brushing off the ashes from that incident when this latest outburst took place. It’s hard to say whether the public will forgive him a second time.

Regardless, Mel needs to look deep within himself to understand the turbulent emotional forces that were shaping his perspective the day he verbally assaulted his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.

Like Mel, men have the capacity for great love and great destruction. Turning the love inwards could help us from turning the destruction outwards. It is clear to me that whatever was taking place between Mel and Okasana was one that had been bothering Mel for some time and finally erupted. By learning to love ourselves (without being narcissistic or vain), we can define boundaries in our lives that can guide others from crossing that line. When that line does get crossed, if we love ourselves, we will make choices that maintain our emotional safety before we ever get to a place where we begin to burry it under a smoldering anger.