What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?

Cn: street harassment, creepy behavior, pedophilia

They’re both useless, unnecessary, and just the worst.

So the playgrounds in NYC are finally reopened. And since I had my nieces and nephews (henceforth referred to as niephlings) for the weekend, I decided to take them and my daughter to the playground.

Now this playground is also a park but the areas are clearly defined. There is a policy in place that adults are not allowed in the playground without children.

My niephlings range from ages 7-3. My daughter is 10. So mami joined us to help out. It was a warm day and the playground was not crowded so it was perfect to keep social distancing protocols. While the smaller children played on the baby slide the two oldest (my daughter TJ and niece V) ran around the playground. I noticed a man who seemed to be by himself staring at the kids, particularly the girls, and smiling. I kept my eye on him.

Eventually TJ and V went to the swings. And the man moved to the seats in front of the swings. After a little while TJ tells mami that they feel uncomfortable because the man kept staring at them and their cousin. I asked V and she also said she felt uneasy. While keeping an eye on the other kids (they were close by to be safe) I went and stood by my girls. Mami stood next to the man.

We both watched him. He kept smiling. If you’re a woman or non-man, you can trust your gut about this sort of thing. It wasn’t just a kindly old man smile. It was creepy.

Finally mami asks him what he was staring at. He says he could stare at whoever he wanted. So mami starts to tear into him. I come along and he asks me, “right? I can stare and smile all I want?”. No, I replied. Especially not at little girls. I was getting shaky and told him I would rearrange his face if he kept it up. He told me to bring it on! The audacity? It only gets worse.

So we’re yelling at each other. He keeps insisting he can stare at whoever he wants. He actually mansplained sight to us! He says the cops would prove him right. Now I’m not a fan of cops, much less the NYPD and this encounter didn’t help. The man calls 911 and the cops eventually show up.

Mami and I explained to them what happened. They went and talked to him. They were with him for about 10 minutes. They come back and say he wasn’t breaking any laws. That since the playground is also a park, they cannot move him. I mean, it’s really convenient, you know? The police sure do know when to use force and when to not. But whatever. This post isn’t about police brutality. Although we DID talk about how useless the police were to us and about the whole organization at large.

They asked him to move and he refused. He said he had a long walk so he was tired and he wasn’t going to move.

So, he has a long walk and rather than sit in the benches at the entrance he walks his ass all the way into the playground. Make it make sense. And to refuse to move when he’s been told he made people, especially children, uncomfortable is just even more audacious.

The cops told us we could stay in the park but not speak to the man or we could move to another area. So this man’s pants feels are more important than my children’s right to safety. One cop told us not to let this man ruin our fun.

We went home. Once home I called the parks department and filed a report. I explained and they told me that the man was NOT supposed to be in playground area, regardless of it also being a park. So, the cops just didn’t want to do their job? I’m shocked. /sarcasm

This is not the first time my daughter has been creeped on and I know it won’t be the last. Creepy, predatory behavior is something my daughter and my nieces will have to endure. What did this teach my nephews? That they, as men, can do and say and sit and stare and make people uncomfortable at the least, but it’s ok? My daughter and nieces are just supposed to deal with it?

This is rape culture. It’s a culture that tells women and non men we just have to take creepy behavior. It’s a culture that doesn’t respect children. It’s a culture that tells you to trust your instincts but then chastises for doing just that.

I spoke to my niephlings, especially V and my daughter and we discussed what happened and how they felt. I told them they did the right thing by saying something.

Oh and by the way, since I was so shaky, the man had the nerve to laugh and tell me not to be nervous. The audacity of this jackass, not to mention the entitlement.

I hope he has a heart attack. We have a term in Puerto Rico for creepy old men, viejo verde. And he’s definitely green as hell.

Creepy old man

What do creepy old men and the NYPD have in common?
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To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:

To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:

MP Jagmeet Singh taught us something about Canada this week.

For anyone who hadn’t heard about it: In response to growing global concern about systemic racism, especially with regards to policing, including mounting global protests on the Issue, Member of Parliament and PoC Jagmeet Singh proposed a motion addressing systemic racism in the RCMP.

The RCMP or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (and no they don’t ALL ride horses) is akin to the FBI. They are the Federal policing agency, though in provinces like BC which doesn’t have it’s own Provincial police force they may also provide additional policing services.
Mr. Singh’s proposal would recognize that racism exists in the RCMP, would review their funding, as well as demand their reports regarding the use of force. Mr. Singh brought up that just in the last short while many Indigenous people had been the victims of violence at the hands of RCMP officers.

That racism exists in the RCMP is not really a new revelation. Some of us remember the Starlight Tours, where Indigenous peoples in Canada were left to freeze to death by the police. Some of us remember the findings of various commissions and reports that consistently pointed out issues with racism within the ranks of the RCMP and especially in their dealings with Indigenous communities.

Mr. Singh’s proposal was met with a single consenting vote, from the leader of the Bloq Quebecois. The Bloq has had a long racist history. They are among those who have proposed laws restricting access to public spaces and government services to people who wear religious garb like a head scarf. They’re basically conservatives with a Quebec accent.
Mr. Jagmeet Singh then proceeded to call Alain Therrien a racist.

I believe this to have been a calculated decision on Mr. Singh’s part. I think he was teaching us a VERY IMPORTANT lesson that we need to make sure we pay attention to.

In the last few weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee in acknowledgement of the protests and in support of Black Lives Matters. A big gesture in support of Civil Rights, but a gesture nonetheless.

As Prime Minister, Trudeau has the podium and the influence to make big changes in Canada. But he won’t even do the work of calling out and rooting out racism from within his own House. He won’t address the fact that white people are overwhelmingly over-represented among the members of Parliament and the Senate. More than one MP currently sitting in Government have shown support or given dog-whistles to white supremacist organizations. Our Oh-So-Brave Prime Minister won’t even call a racist, a racist.

Canadians like to pretend that racism doesn’t happen here. We loudly brag about the fact that the Underground Railroad led here to Canada, where we have no history of slavery.  We like to pretend that when racism does happen, then those who are its victim can be confident of support.

So here we have a Member of Parliament for whom Racism is not a theoretical problem. This Man of Colour spoke a truth everyone already knew, calling the one person to object to saying that there is racism in the RCMP, a racist. Here was a person who knows what it is to be a victim of racism saying out loud “this person is a racist.”

And as I’m sure he fully expected when he chose to speak the truth: He was Punished for it. Meanwhile, the person being racist, faced no consequence, not even an acknowledgement from other members of the house that yes, he is in fact a racist.

The truth of the matter is that in Canada, it is still worse to call someone a racist than to actually be a racist. That calling attention to racism when you are a person of colour, is to invite punishment. While a white man takes a knee and receives praise, a Brown man stands for the truth and is silenced by the same people demanding praise for their anti-racism. We are being shown right now what systemic racism looks like, what it acts like.

Jagmeet Singh took a stand against racism. I will not give my vote or support to anyone who doesn’t choose to stand with him in this moment.

Sincerely,

Ania Bula

To the Members of Parliament of the House of Commons of Canada:

Dobranoc Babciu

I received a phone call early this morning from my father: his mother Lidia Bula née Pardon, my beloved grandmother, had passed away at the age of 91.

This has been especially hard on my Father. Around 30 years ago, when I was just a toddler, he lost his father Andrzej to a surprise heart attack. At the time, my father’s immigration status in Canada was still under application, meaning he couldn’t leave the country without risking not being granted re-entry. With a wife and new daughter here in Canada with him, it was a risk he couldn’t take. He had to miss his father’s funeral and the chance to see his face one final time.

Now 30 years later he loses his mother, and circumstances again steal from him the opportunity to say good-bye. Mine too for that matter.

Continue reading “Dobranoc Babciu”

Dobranoc Babciu

Guest Post: Lessons from the 442nd

By: Junpei Yamaguchi 

CN: Internment, War, Covid

Setting: An eighth grade U.S. History classroom in 2005.

Cast: 14 year old Junpei, relegated to the very back of the classroom due to regularly falling asleep in class and the teacher getting tired of it and banishing me out of the way entirely.

Mr. Federighi stands at the front of the classroom and tells us about the brave 442nd regiment of World War II. Thousands of brave nissei men off to fight the nazis while many of them left their families not in their homes, but in concentration camps sealed with barbed wire… Put there in the name of freedom.

Their land and property was seized, and sold by the US Government for profit that the victims wouldn’t see a penny of. People who looked like me, or even *whiter* than me… Just one grandparent was enough to justify imprisonment… People who looked like me were shipped across the country to some of the most miserable places on the continent.

Hot dusty summers, hardly arable land that these enterprising farmers managed to grow in *anyways*, machine guns pointed at them, mold in the rice… There was no going to the grocery store. If you weren’t in a camp where anybody had thought to bring seeds, or where the soil was simply too barren, it was moldy gruel, and gruel alone. Even those who had grown food, it was sparse at best. It supplemented, it did not alone feed.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Lessons from the 442nd”

Guest Post: Lessons from the 442nd

April 2020

My first semester of Agriculture Technology is finished. I’m taking a summer course, which means I get to stay out West for now, which is lucky cause I cannot imagine trying to navigate getting to Ontario in the middle of this. Not to mention, that BC seems to have a much smaller number of cases than Ontario, which for someone on immunosuppressants that make me in particular at risk of upper respiratory infections, is kind of a big deal.

This whole thing has been weird and scary to navigate. I’m trying to balance the need to feel in control by educating myself as much as possible with trying to not actively freak myself out by facing just how fucked I could end up being if I get sick, not to mention the fact that I’m likely to get sick eventually. It’s not been great for my anxiety, but weirdly, most of the time I’m managing.

Continue reading “April 2020”

April 2020

Baba Yaga’s School for Abandoned Girls

For the last few years, I’ve been writing a fun little story about a school run by Baba Yaga for abandoned girls. It’s been a Patreon perk, with the posts password protected. As a way of both encouraging myself to write more, and in a nod towards these difficult times and a need for some levity, I’ve made the previous chapters available to the public.

Additionally, until the crises is past, new chapters will remain open access.

You can find Chapter 1 here!

Baba Yaga’s School for Abandoned Girls

Some Pictures of Beautiful British Columbia

As a way to share some of the better aspects of living here, here are some pictures from BC, most of which are from the last few days and some socially isolating long drives and fishing trips.

Gallery

Delicious Homemade Broth

There is something quintessentially evocative of a Polish home, at least to me, about a big pot of stock simmering on the stove. Growing up, we would make stock at least once a week, and sometimes even more than that. We would have ingredients for stock prepped and frozen in the freezer so we could put together soup whenever we ran out of the bits already made.

Store bought, just can’t compare to the taste I grew up with.

If you have any kind of meat bones lying around, chicken, pork, beef, cuts of freezer burned meat, they can all be tossed together into a pot and simmered into the kind of soup that’s perfect for when you are under the weather, outright sick, or just craving something homey.

With everything going on, I thought I would share the family recipe for stock. If you are feeling adventurous and want to give it a kick, when roasting the bones, smoke them instead. It will add a smoky flavour to your broth.

Chicken Stock Continue reading “Delicious Homemade Broth”

Delicious Homemade Broth

Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst

I grew up on liverwurst sandwiches. I love a slice of rye or sourdough, spread with some liverwurst, some tomato, and a slice of pickle. It’s my favourite sandwich, for all that I was mocked at school for eating them let alone liking them.

I am kinda picky about the kind I like though. I hate it when it’s coarse, or in any way gritty. I don’t even add THAT much to my sandwich, preferring a thin layer. When it comes to other forms of liver, I’m not a fan. The smell, taste, and texture are not really things that appeal to me.

When the opportunity came up to get my hands on a whole pig, one of the first things I thought of was getting a chance to try my hand at making my own. NOT for the faint of heart, let me tell you.

To start with, there are MANY different schools of though around ingredients, fillers, and so on. Different techniques, spice mixes, and so on. It can get overwhelming trying to figure out what and how to try. So those of you who know me won’t be surprised to hear that my decision was to sort of try it all at once. xD Luckily this porker had a BIG LIVER (easily 2 KG).

What do I need to get at the Store?

The base recipe that I finally settled on includes the following.

  • 500 g Liver
  • 500 g Pork Fat
  • ½ Onion pureed
  • 1-2 large cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp Cure 1
  • 35g salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 slices sourdough
  • 2 slices buttermilk potato
  • 3-4 roasted chestnuts
  • 1 cup of water

Your choice of assorted spices

I then added different ingredient variations to see what worked and what didn’t.
I find the flavor to be pretty versatile, so that a lot of different interesting additions work surprisingly well. Just think of what you like on your sandwich and what you like with pork and have at it!

Continue reading “Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst”

Sausage Adventures: Homemade Liverwurst