Sunday, May 31, 2009


The popular media often catches a lot of flak for their shameless self-promotion, their focus on consumerism, their use of sex to sell, their ignorance of justice issues, etc...

Which is probably why I truly love to see a great ad campaign, one that bucks the trends and uses images to send a truly powerful message. The medium is not the fault, simply the message.

So I pass on to you an interesting ad campaign via one of my regular reads, Africa is a Country.

You can check it out here and the blog is titled, "History is written by the winners."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lil' Peanut

Life has been crazy busy for the Ritskes'. I finished up my job with Elections BC this week and in 5 short days we pack the moving truck and start the trek out East. I am looking forward to it as much as one can look forward to nearly a week of driving a rather large truck and will most definitely keep the blog up to date as possible as I make my Breweries of America tour!

But before that even, in 3 short days my sister becomes a married woman! Should be a fun weekend.

Just thought I would also update you all on our little peanut as well, who's growing up so fast. She's sitting and rolling around, babbling away and in general just a real busy body! Some last pictures of her from Beatiful British Columbia.

Laughs with Grandpa.

Opening presents from Auntie Janis.

Tuckered after a long day.

Our Lil' peanut.

Helping us move.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The World Needs Women

This picture is from an ad for Health Care services and makes me chuckle whenever I see it.

But it's true as well, not only from a beauty or reproductive point of view.

In Africa and other developing countries there has been a push to target aid initiatives towards women because, not only are they often marginalized in their locations, but also they are much more adept and using the aid to assist their family and sustain development.

I guess the world does need women! (Really not much of a shocker from my perspective.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Darfur vs. Congo

An excellent comparison article over at FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) over the level of coverage of crisis' in Africa. You've all heard about Darfur - but do you know what's happening in the Congo? The article is here. And an excerpt:

“… The most recent survey [by the International Red Cross] estimated that 45,000 [Congolese] people are dying each month from conflict-related causes (primarily hunger and disease), nearly the same shocking rate as during the war itself. And with the recent flare-up of violence in Congo’s volatile east, things don’t seem to be getting any better. To put the death rate in perspective, at the peak of the Darfur crisis, the conflict-related death rate there was less than a third of the Congo’s, and by 2005 it had dropped to less than 4,000 per month. The United Nations has estimated some 300,000 may have died in total as a result of the years of conflict in Darfur; the same number die from the Congo conflict every six and a half months. And yet, in the New York Times, which covers the Congo more than most U.S. outlets, Darfur has consistently received more coverage since it emerged as a media story in 2004 (Extra!, 1–2/08). The Times gave Darfur nearly four times the coverage it gave the Congo in 2006, while Congolese were dying of war-related causes at nearly 10 times the rate of those in Darfur.”

It's interesting to wonder at why some things get the coverage they do. I guess they just catch our attention and once they do the media wants to feed us what we know about. I remember thinking the same thing when the pirates in Somalia caught the world media attention. They've been hijacking boats for years and then all of a sudden, for some reason it became a big story that everyone was talking about. The media is a monster that we feed.

There's no reason to not know what's going on in the world around us. If you want to know more about what's happened in the Congo, an good book to check out is Howard French's A Continent for the Taking which focuses a fair bit on his experience in the Congo in the late 90s.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Who said politicians can't be witty.

From CNN: "Obama even took on former Vice President Dick Cheney, who wasn't in attendance: "He is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled, "How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People."

Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Brush With Death (x2)

It's been an eventful week. Full of events.

First I get rear-ended while driving to get my wife a cookie. She has this thing for Portofino cookies that they sell at the Red Barn Market. Mocha almond or something. So, on my way home from work I take a detour to pick one up for her. The sleek black Mercedes in front of me stops to take a left, I stop to allow it to take a left and the little Honda behind me failed to see us stopping. Crap. Nothing too bad, I'm fine minus some shaking up, some scratches and dings and a trunk that doesn't like to close. She was a real nice gal and called ICBC first and claimed responsibility and it's another thing to add to the to-do list before we move: take car in to get fixed.

Then I had my own real, live brush with the famous Swine Flu. No jokes. Okay, it kinda seems like a joke when you hear about it. Supposedly a school in Victoria had a dozen or so kids come down with swine flu. Just so happens that the mother of one of said kids was working next door in the office I had been in and out of a handful of times the past 2 days. She gets sent home, we all get put on Neon Purple alert (it's the new alert color for flus), she gets tested.... and she doesn't have it. Whoooooosh. Exhale. And then this makes the CBC news. The kids didn't really have it either. Talk about being close to near death!

But I am okay, despite the many mishaps. Busy busy but not too busy to head out to a local pub with a friend and taste the coolest named beer to ever come out of BC (Crannog's Backhand of God Stout). And to possibly cheer for the Canucks to lose. Just can't bear to see the enemy triumph. I know it makes me a smaller man but I've come to grips with that. Go Blackhawks!