All posts filed under: My Articles

Occupational Hazard

BULLYING’S NOT JUST AN OUTLET FOR YOUTHFUL ANGST. IT HAPPENS IN THE ONLINE WORKPLACE, TOO by Heidi Staseson When pondering the prototype of the human “bully,” society’s once-popular archetype of the burly sand tyrant named “Biff” and his pastime for picking on 98-lb.teen weaklings has evolved significantly from the beach scenes of 1950’s comic books. In fact, with the rise of technology, the “Biffs” of the past are the least of people’s worries; yesteryear’s bully has morphed and attached itself to a more sombre and serious trend: cyberbullying. Vitriolic spewing is especially ubiquitous on social media. And many of us are complicit in some way – as perpetrators or inactive witnesses to attacks, or even as unwitting victims who stay silent post-blast. Calgary high school guidance counsellor Marc Osenton, an AU Faculty of Health Disciplines graduate, says part of the problem is the newer phenomenon of being “turned on all the time” – especially the teens he sees, who take to social media like birds to breadcrumbs. While news about online bullying is rife in the media, …

“Save Us, Kevin Bacon”

As a tween and pre-teen in the 80s, my friends and I probably saw the flick Footloose five times in the theatre, in Ottawa, where we lived.

We became diehards. We could relate somewhat to the mean town council people who laid down bogus rules of behaviour for the fictional town-folk of Bomont, GA.

While our junior high years weren’t nearly as bad as the experiences of Ren McCormack and Ariel – we still were subject to various punitive ideals belonging to the girls’ school we went to for five years.

Hence my pride for being able to contribute to this People magazine story from my home in Calgary.

Calgary Celebrates 50 Years of Canada Flag Creation

Story From the Calgary Herald, Feb. 15 While Canadians proudly pay homage to their national flag this Sunday, Davinder (Davi) Singh will help his team serve duck confit poutine for lunch guests at the Laurier Lounge in downtown Calgary. It’s a fete befitting the late-George Stanley, a man widely regarded as a founding father of the Canadian flag, who also happened to grow up in this turn-of-the-century, wine-coloured clapboard house—now a French restaurant at the corner of 11th Ave. and 7th St. SW. Blackwell says Stanley’s flag vision was influenced by that of the Royal Military College where he taught in Kingston, Ont. His wife Laurie adds the 1928 Olympics also played a role. Stanley’s rich history as a Calgary resident and Rhodes Scholar-turned-seminal-national-flag-designer of the red and white maple leaf emblem may fly under the radar as a hidden Cowtown gem. But such roots, says Cynthia Klaasen, president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative, make for a fun fact Calgarians should celebrate. “It’s a lot of fun that the designer of the Canadian flag actually …

Maclean’s magazine, Oct. 2014

Have We Reached Peak Pumpkin Spice? The pumpkin-spice backlash has spawned its own bona fide cultural industry. Is it too much of a gourd thing? Just over a decade ago, a Starbucks barista pumped the first squirt of pumpkin-flavoured syrup into a cup of coffee, topped it with steaming milk and a dollop of whipped cream. And, with that, the coffee giant birthed not only a product, the pumpkin-spice latte—or “#PSL,” as Twitter calls it—but also a commercial and cultural force. Its market effect has been evident for a few years: The chain’s rivals have their own spins on the creation: Tim Hortons has a pumpkin-pie latte; Second Cup a version of the original. The flavour du jour has branched out into a fleet of products: pumpkin-spice hummus, Oreos, M&Ms, Pringles, even Purina dog treats. The PSL is synonymous with fall. “People wait for it; they expect it,” says Vanda Provato, vice-president of marketing at Second Cup. “We got calls in early August with customers asking when it’s going to arrive.” No surprise, then, that …