Saw this letter over at another blog and just thought it was GREAT!

Felt like I just had to share it.

Click through for the original, or I pasted it below.
Dear Oprah,

I have to confess, I have never watched more than a few minutes of your show. Probably not the best way to start a letter to you, but I want to be honest. And the truth is, I think you’re making a terrible mistake.

Last weekend, I spent more time listening to and watching you than in the rest of my life combined. My family and I were sitting in the Duke stadium, looking down on the thousands of giddy graduates (including my older brother), the esteemed faculty in their rainbow regalia, and the charming, if a bit over the top, fake castle festooned with flags representing the different academic schools. I had no idea you were the commencement speaker until the student speaker, Robert Paul Jones, pretended to get a cell phone call from Parking & Transportation services about your limo double-parked in front of the chapel.

Having only seen you in short commercial clips and on the cover of your magazine, I wasn’t sure what to expect from your speech. I was pleasantly surprised. You were warm and funny, your voice clear and yet dressed with feeling, and I am sure you meant every word. Over the course of those 20 or 30 minutes, I developed a great respect for you as a talented speaker.

But I couldn’t leave the stadium wholly inspired by you, as I’m sure many others did. To me, it is clear that a significant number of people look up to you, and trust your advice and judgment. That is why it is such a huge mistake for you to endorse Jenny McCarthy with her own show on your network.

Surely you must realize that McCarthy is neither a medical professional nor a scientist. And yet she acts as a spokesperson for the anti-vaccination movement, a movement that directly impacts people’s health. Claims that vaccines are unsafe and cause autism have been refuted time after time, but their allure persists in part because of high-profile champions for ignorance like McCarthy. In fact, ten of the thirteen authors of the paper that sparked the modern anti-vaccination movement retracted the explosive conclusions they made due to insufficient evidence. Furthermore, it is now clear that the study’s main author, Andrew Wakefield, falsified data to support these shaky conclusions.

We have come close to eradicating life-threatening and crippling illnesses because of vaccines, but are now struggling to prevent outbreaks because of parents’ philosophical beliefs that vaccines are harmful. Realize this: when someone chooses not to vaccinate their child, they aren’t just putting their own child at risk, they are putting everyone else around them at risk. Diseases with vaccines should normally be of little concern even to unprotected individuals due to herd immunity – with the majority of the population immune, unprotected individuals are less likely to come into contact with the pathogen. Unfortunately, herd immunity disintegrates as fewer people are vaccinated, putting everyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated at greater risk for infection. Now, the rates of infection by diseases for which we have safe and effective vaccines are climbing, thanks to anti-vaccination activists like Jenny McCarthy.

You reach millions of people everyday and your words and endorsements carry an incredible amount of weight. If you say to buy a certain book, people will buy it. If you do a segment on a certain charity, people will contribute. And if you say that what Jenny McCarthy is saying has merit, people will believe you.

As your speech drew to a close on Sunday, you mentioned that you still make difficult decisions from time to time. You told us about a show where you had the exclusive first interview with the author of a prominent book on the Columbine tragedy. Despite days of promos and confirmed broadcast schedules, you decided to cancel the show at the last minute because it had a negative energy, and you didn’t want to be responsible for sending that dark energy out into the world. You didn’t want to be responsible for someone seeing that show, feeling that dark energy, and going out to commit another Columbine. You said that you followed your gut to make the right decision.

Maybe your gut is being silent on this one, so let me speak up on its behalf. You have another decision to make. Pull your support from Jenny McCarthy and her platform of anti-vaccination. Because while the Columbine segment raised the specter of potential future tragedy, anti-vaccination propaganda is causing more and more people – mostly children – to fall sick and die from preventable illness as I write this. Jenny McCarthy could be considered responsible for a significant number of these; you can imagine what might happen if you give her influence over your audience of millions.

So Oprah, I hope you take my letter, and the well-intentioned if sometimes harsh criticisms from many others in the blogosphere, to heart. Because even though I still don’t watch your show, others do, and they listen to you. Probably not the best way to end a letter to you, but I want to be honest.

Yours turly,

Shirley

P.S. My dad – for whom English is his second language – calls you “Op-er-a.” Isn’t that cute?

So, our little baby boy showed up yesterday.

3hrs old

3hrs old

He was born at 10:12am in our bedroom. It was an awesome experience. He was born into the water just like his older brother.

And speaking of Cayden, he LOVES having a little brother to take care of. He keeps going up and checking on Lucas. Giving him kisses on the forehead, and asking to hold him again. It is so cute to see Cayden hold his little brother.

Cayden and Lucas

Dawn is doing very well. A little sore, but up and about. She wrote up a little birth story on her blog. There is a link to the left if you want to read it. And who wouldn’t want to? 🙂

So lucas was born 19 1/4 inches and 8lbs. It seems we make baby’s a very specific way(Cayden was 20 inches and 8lbs). So it’s been a very mellow 24hrs since after the birth. A couple of people have dropped off some food for our freezer. Thank you very much for that. And we have gotten many congratulations and well wishes. And thanks for that too.

This was making the rounds on the blogs a few weeks ago and got quite a chucle out of it. Just thought I’d repost it here. Hope you enjoy it.

Emboldened by their success in declaring Pluto not a planet, the International Astronomical Union determined this week by a close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It has, however, been granted the newly created status of “dwarf month.” It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did.

“It only seems fair,” said IAU President Ron Eckers. “February reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75 percent of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame. In fact, this erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not belong in the same classification as the eleven ‘true’ months.”

Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day “so-called” months should be careful to maintain their number of days. “They’re already cutting it pretty close in my book.”

I think I am going to have bad dreams now…..

So I was listening to the Stuff You Should Know podcast today(from howstuffworks.com) and they ended up talking about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you have never heard of this, it is a giant patch of floating garbage that is supposed to be somewhere in the Pacific Ocean floating around Hawaii. The idea of its existence has slowly grown in popularity over the past couple of years. However there is very little existence that it exists at all.

So I decided to send a letter off to the podcast and thought someone else might be interested in reading it. So here it is.


Hello guys. I really like your show and am always looking forward to the next one. However I was a little disappointed with the one about the “Great Pacific garbage patch”. My problem with it is that it doesn’t exist. There seems to be alot of information supporting the existence of this floating heap of trash, however after a tiny bit of research the existence of this thing really falls into question.

First and foremost is the lack of ANY proof that this thing actually exists. All reports are circumstantial, anecdotal and hearsay. I have tried to find a report from a single marine biologist who has looked at or studied this phenomenon. I couldn’t find a single one.  Almost all evidence comes from people who say they saw this thing floating off in the distance. No one has actually studied this thing.

Secondly, I could not find one picture or video that it exists. If it is real and documented (and as large as it is reported to be)you should be able to find some sign of it by simply searching Google images or You Tube. You can’t. All you find is pictures and video of other places full of trash and “talking” about the Pacific garbage patch. Again all evidence is hearsay.

Third problem is the size. I have heard estimates of size for this thing to range anywhere between the size of Texas to the size of the continental USA. Lets say just for arguments sake that it is 1/4 the size of Texas. I think many people/ships would be coming across this thing and there would be many pictures of this. If it was even 1/4 the size of Texas that would make it significantly larger than all the Hawaiian islands combined. This would be large enough to show up on a simple Google Earth search. It would Stand out to passing ships. You could see it if a plane passed by.

Fourth is the location. It is hard to pinpoint where this is supposed to be. Some say it is north of Hawaii, some say south. Some say east, and some west. And some even claim there may be two of them in the Pacific Ocean. One on each side of Hawaii.

Finally the best piece of evidence for its existence is in the UN Environment Program that was cited in the original article you guys referenced. However even in the UN’s own report they cited, “These values were obtained by visual sighting surveys of debris from ships.” There was no mention of any study or research that had ever been done. The best evidence even the UN shows is based on hearsay from “visual sighting surveys of debris from ships.” Not actual evidence.

Well if you do a little digging I am sure you would find that there is more evidence to contradict the existence of the “Great Pacific garbage patch” than to support it.


So that is the letter I sent. I am not trying to spread propaganda or trying to tell anyone what to beleive. But hopefully this spawns a little discussion and some critical thinking.

🙂

So this afternoon we took Lil’ C for his second round of vaccines. He ended up getting two shots today and everything went relatively well. After he got his first shot he wasn’t really a happy camper and once he realized there was another one coming he REALLY wasn’t happy. There were some tears, and if looks could kill….well, lets just say there would be one less nurse in this world. He even refused a band-aid from her. But after the shots were done and we mellowed out for a bit everything was fine. In fact, things were great.

Lil C's "Crazy Face" taken after getting his vax.

Lil C's "Crazy Face" taken after getting his vax.

Now there are side effects to vaccines. And I had always thought that after kids get a shot the main one is that they are usually pretty mellow. Well for Cayden, it was like an Atom Bomb of energy went off in his body. We had to go to Safeway and pick up some things. I was expecting Cayden to just chill out. Probably want to be carried and just generally be very “low-key”. It was just the opposite. He ran around Safeway more than I had ever seen. He was running and hiding from one side of the store to the other. We ran around produce, then we ran around breads. Then we ran around meats, then through the aisles. He was running, shouting, jumping, screaming, laughing. I just couldn’t believe it. He just had sooooooo much energy.

I guess with kids you just never know what to expect. You think you’ve got them pegged and they just turn around and surprise the hell out of ya.

This is both the stupidest, geekiest and coolest, most awesome video ever.

.   .    .  Uhm.  .  .  .  doin’ stuff?

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve made a blog post. I didn’t intend on it being this long. Really. I promise. When I started this blog I was intending to make at  least one post per week. But as you can see I’ve been slacking. Woops. Sorry about that. The past month has been busy(or at least it’s felt that way). Now truth be told, I am sure in the past month I could have found time to post what we’ve been up to, but I’ve just felt wiped. When I get home at night and help put Lil’ C to bed and start to wind down, I had the time but I didn’t really have the energy(or brain power) to sit down and write legibly.

Long story short. . . . I needed a vacation!

And now I got one. A short one, but I got one. That’s right. Right now I am off work for one whole week. Woo hoo! Good times! No work for a whole week! Ok, I’ll shut up now and stop rubbing it in.

On to what is new. It has been so long since I posted I am not quite sure if I remember everything that happened between then and now. So I will just post a couple of highlights.

Well first thing is Shawna had her baby. A very cute little baby boy named Rohan. Wasn’t the easiest labor for her but she did amazingly well. Dawn spent a couple of nights with her in the hospital so she could be her doula. We missed her at home but Shawna needed her.

b00042091After a couple days Shawna came to stay with us for a few days so we could help her out and she could get some sleep. Cayden was a big help. He loved being able to hold Rohan and help feed him. I can’t wait to see what he is like with his own brother or sister.

We also went and did our annual pumpkin patch trip with Aunt Dolly. Ok, so we’ve only done this twice, but it was two years in a row. So as far as I am concerned that counts as annual. Plus we do plan on doing this every year. I think it’s a really cool tradition to get into. This year we went out to Abbotsford to a place called Apple Farms.

b0004243They have a giant inflatable pillow to jump on, a maze, a couple of big slides, petting zoo(a pig tried taking off one of Dawn’s fingers, but we won’t discuss that any further due to emotional trauma ;), a U-pick apple and pumpkin orchard, and many other fun things to do. Cayden helped pick out the pumpkins and the apples we picked. It was lots of fun and we may go to the same place next year.b0004259

Thanksgiving was done low key. My Dad and Fiona came over and brought the turkey with them. If you want to know the best way to cook a turkey listen up. I will tell you right now, right here. Ya ready? You get someone else to cook it. There ya go. Done. Easy peasy.

Anyway, dinner was really good, and we all played a bit of Rock Band after. Well almost all of us. Apparently NO coaxing, not even from his own grandson, can get my Dad to sing. Oh well.

Then a couple of days ago we did our pumpkin carving. That was fun. Cayden helped clean them out then just played with a balloon and ate popcorn. The carving was left to Dawn and I.

dscf0005Our Halloween was pretty good. My mom came over and went trick or treating with Dawn and Cayden. I had to work the earlier part of it, but got off just in time to get some candy that was brought home. We all met up at Molly and Keva’s house after for treats and butter rum. Mmmmmmmmmm.dscf0013

Oh and apparently Dawn was very popular with the young teenagers that were out and about. From what I hear she got a couple hoots and whistles in her sexy “Death-Eater” costume. I will admit, she did look pretty hot.

Finally is Dawn’s pregnancy. She is now 16 [edit:17 ;)] weeks along. We went to our 3rd midwife appointment today. Not too much new, but we did finally get to hear the heart-beat. Very cool. Just kind of makes the whole thing seem a little more real. Dawn is still a little low on energy but over all she is doing good. Nice and health. We’ll probably have more to report on this as time goes on. We are still in the fairly early stages.

Oh and one last thing. I finally took the plunge. What I mean by that is that about a week ago I finally went out and got us a brand spankin’ new iMac. Ooooooo it’s pretty. And quite. I really like it. Some aspects of it are taking some adjustment and some relearning, but I think I have been fully converted. And I may actually be on the verge of becoming a full fledged Apple fan-boy. I mean we have the home for it now. We are an all Apple home now. AppleTV, iMac, iPhone, iPod, we’re an iFamily. I do just love how all of this stuff just works together. I may post some of my favorite software picks up here just in case anyone is interested cause there are some really cool apps. I don’t get why half this stuff is available on Windows. Anyway, that is another post for another time.

So for now, good night. And I promise I will try and post more.

Hello folks. Just came across an article for a book called “Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure“.

It’s written by Paul Offit and I think addresses a very important issue that effects many parents and their decisions regarding their children’s health. Rather than describing the book in detail I will just post an excerpt where he describes his reasoning for writing the book.

Excerpt: “The reason that I wrote the book is because of what
happened after the studies exonerating vaccines had been performed and published. The media, using the journalistic mantra of balance, continued to cover the story as if it were a controversy. But the controversy is between those who believe in science as a way to answer scientific questions and those who don’t. The “vaccine-autism controversy” is really an anti-science story. Science is viewed by many in the media as just one more opinion in a sea of opinions.

The continued portrayal by the press that vaccines might cause autism has done a lot of harm. Harm because many parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, witness the recent measles epidemic in the United States, the largest in more than a decade. Harm because the false notion that vaccines cause autism has caused parents to choose dangerous therapies, such as chelation. And harm because the notion that vaccines might be the problem continues to divert resources away from far more promising leads. My hope for this book is that people confused about this subject will see the sand on which the notion that vaccines cause autism is built. And also get a better look at the motivations of the fringe scientists, lawyers, journalists, and parent advocates who continue to flak for the irresponsible notion that vaccines cause autism.”

Here is the Amazon.ca Link to purchase the book

Here is a hilarious pic that has been floating around the blogosphere. Just thought I’d share. Feel free to copy and save it for yourself. It could come in very handy if you frequent any message boards.

Flickr Photos

Other sites and Blogs I reccomend

whatstheharm.net

A great resource for that universal question:"If it doesn't hurt anyone, what's the harm?"

Snopes.com

Want to see if that email about getting cash from Bill gates is real? How about the one about the water powered car? Or a Nigerian prince who needs your help? Snopes.com will help you filter the real urban legends from the false.