Saturday, May 31, 2008

MP Ken Epp's Private Members' Bill

Today I finally managed to listen to the Alberta Pro Life Conference's banquet speaker's address: Ken Epp spoke about his bill before Parliament. It has already passed second reading. More info at:

(By the way, all the speeches at the conference were taped and a complete set of CD's is available. My own personal copy can be borrowed, as well.)

Ken Epp's bill C484, the "Unborn Victims of Crime Act" is carefully worded. When an unborn child is willfully injured or killed by a person other than the mother, there should be the possibility of charging the perpetrator of a killing with a crime. At present, this is not possible.

The bill specifically excludes abortion. A mother or aborted woman cannot be charged with a crime for choosing to have an abortion. Women cannot be taken to court because of this bill.

There have been a number of well-publicized gruesome murders of pregnant women involving shots to the abdomen, knifing and even sword thrusting. Yet, the loss of the baby cannot be acknowledged by pursuing a criminal charge. This is a grave injustice and no one beside the killer loses by the passing of this bill.

We should do what we can to help get this bill passed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dentistry and Geriatrics

The current CDAA (Canadian Dental Assistant's Association) magazine edition focuses entirely on dental care for the elderly. This,indeed, highlights a timely topic. More individuals will be in various types of facilities in the future and their dental health should not be neglected, both from the standpoint of standard hygiene care, as well as diagnosis and treatment of problems. These problems vary from caries, periodontal disease, taking care of prostheses and making sure that they fit well, diagnosing cancer and infections.

Maintaining oral function and esthetics adds significantly to the quality of life of the elderly, not to mention the implications for systemic health. Oral disease should not be ignored, as the discomfort can be tremendous and elderly cannot always communicate appropriately. Dementia patients especially require extra help and awareness from their caregivers.

In the province of Saskatchewan,legislation is being enacted that will allow dental assistants to work in elder facilities without the immediate supervision of the dentist. This should be happening in all provinces to help maintain oral health in institutional settings.

Regular hospitals and intensive care units should also consider utilizing dental assitants. We have seen patients that were released from hospital, where they were unconscious, and found afterward that their dentition suffered most significantly. This is an unacceptable and most unfortunate result of hospitalization and a great source of anger and resultant hardships.

The picture above shows the dentition of an elderly person with a healthy dentition. The recession is significant, but the teeth are firm and clean. As we get older, there will be many changes, not all of them positive. Keeping your teeth, even as in the picture above, would be a blessing.

The twelfth post--to blog or not to blog

This is my twelfth post. Why blog? People have read the posts, but rarely comment.

Blogging is like planting a little flag in cyberspace. I was here and this is my spot. You may join me if you like.

Some cannot understand why one would put oneself out there when you could use the time retreating into your private sphere. I think it depends on how busy you are and what your needs are at the time. If I were teaching school right now, I certainly would not chose to spend any extra time on the computer, other than researching and making up assignments. Nor would I care to connect with any more people than I already am. However, there are teachers, professors and pastors on wonderful, interesting blogs.

One thing I've found is that spending time thinking about what to post helps me focus on positive things. When one spends too much time just thinking, one inevitably tends to veer to the side, like a car needing a wheel-alignment.

I know I am not the only one who starts focusing on what I should have done, could have done, what others should have done, could have done... The possibilities are endless. I know many people, often women, young and old, who are very angry and accusing. They have obviously spent too much time thinking about how they have been wronged. Of course, their concerns can be highly legitimate. Yet, it does not help to go on and on, to magnify, ruminate, go deeper and wider.

Instead of accusing (which is occasionally indeed necessary), it would be better to try to understand. Blogging helps understand others and yourself. It exercises creativity and writing skills. It can make you think about what matters.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Blind Boys of Alabama in Edmonton

On Sunday we were treated to a concert by

The Blind Boys of Alabama in Edmonton

On Sunday we were treated to a concert by the Blind Boys of Alabama and Taj Mahal. These gentlemen have been performing so long that the generation gap is huge. Neither Martin nor I nor the children were familiar with their music. Stefan enjoyed Taj Mahal for the guitar playing. Our favorite was "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Blind Boys.

See the performance of Amazing Grace on Youtube:

I like this version, too. You see, one could listen to it over and over...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stefan sings at his high school graduation

The song is "Rain, rain go away" by Breaking Benjamin performed at the Winspear Center on May 17, 08.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Walking in the forest

Mothers' day is past and there still are no leaves on the trees. However, the birds are very busy.

Yesterday, the crane flew over me. The woodpeckers are drilling. The birds of prey are screeching. Ducks and geese are everywhere. The chickadee is singing its characteristic interval. The robins are bouncing on the grassy spaces. Sometimes it gets so noisy here you'd think you are in a stocked zoological garden.

I walk by myself with the dog. I wish someone else would hear and see what I do. I guess that's why I'm posting it here!

The picture is from last fall, when the cat also came for a walk. There are always coyotes nearby, judging from the howling. If the howling seems very loud and near, I go home a little more quickly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cell Phones

When we purchased cell phones for our children and ourselves, we never imagined that they would become what they have: a device that demands instant attention at all times.

There are the advantages. In this cold climate, it is helpful to know that young people driving all over the place can call for help when needed.

On the other hand, there seems to be this ever growing list of "friends", such as on facebook, who need to virtually text everyone when they've got up, gone to bed, when they are bored and so on and on... It becomes one more way to be connected to an appliance and disconnected with your family.

This weekend, I had to laugh at the Doonesbury cartoon in the newspaper. The son is complaining that the mother did not pick up his phone call when he needed more chips to eat. She responded that she was on the phone with the dad. The son thought she should have put dad on hold to answer his call. Then her phone rings because her son had put her on redial and she was now off the phone. But then the son can't take the call that he got from his redial because he had another incoming call...

There is something intensely ridiculous about it all.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Scott Klusendorf at Alberta Prolife Conference

Scott Klusendorf spoke twice at the Alberta Pro-Life Conference. His talks centered around how to ask questions so that people don't feel clobbered over the head with your opinions, but instead involve them in thinking about their own assumptions. He has the point there: we all like to hear ourselves speak more than listen.

He asserted that in this day we live in a "dictatorship of relativism" (quoting the Pope). People are less likely than ever to simply accept a doctrinal position. They need to be led to make their own discovery of fundamental beliefs such as that there is a Creator and that the worth of human life is not determined by Size, Level of development, Environment, or Dependency (SLED). Logical and accurate thinking about facts can lead one to see the truth and consistency of the pro-life teaching. On the other hand he acknowledged that pro-life cannot be disconnected from religious thought.

He was also gravely concerned about the churches. He feels that not enough is being said and done in the churches. If they won't speak the truth and call to repentance and forgiveness, who will?

Another statement about the churches was: "Some of the evangelical churches have become so 'seeker sensitive' they have become 'believer worthless' ". How much is being compromised in all directions?

Scott's website is

Monday, May 5, 2008

Alberta Pro-Life Conference, May 2, 08

On Saturday, I attended the Alberta Pro-life conference.

For me the highlight was a talk by Amanda, who co-ordinates the Back Porch project next to the Morgenthaler abortion clinic. What a courageous, warm and engaged young woman!

The Back Porch is a house with an office that welcomes people who want to speak to someone before they have their abortion. An attempt is made to refer for further counseling. Sadly, it is generally found that people have not had any counseling. They make their abortion appointment on line and then make their way to the clinic -- and that is it. Amanda was outraged at the amount of "choice" people have. She prefers to call pro-life efforts "pro-choice" as there are actually choices other than abortion offered.

In the same vein another speaker mentioned that when she was at the doctor for a pregnancy test and it turned out positive, the first words out of the doctor's mouth were: "We can take care of that." This lady was married and not in a crisis pregnancy situation, and yet this was what she had to hear. During the course of the pregnancy she was offered an amniocentesis eight times!

Such is the state of counseling and advice giving these days.