Cold Ground
email Derryl (replace AT with @)

Places to Go:
Derryl's Fotolog
Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
Alyx Dellamonica
Boing Boing
Charlie Stross
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Saturday, September 14, 2002
This is apparently a direct link for the Chretien as Dr. Seuss.
~ Friday, September 13, 2002
I know that plenty of people make fun of Shrub because of his decided inability to articulate without aid, but he ain't the only one. If you have Real Player, check out what our lovely PM said last week.

Click on Listen to Latest program (or, see if you can find Sept. 7 in the Archive, but I don't know if that's as easy). Fast forward to the 46 minute mark and listen to Canadian PM Jean Chretien do a magnificent if unplanned Dr. Seuss. They follow it with a sorta funny Seussian gag, but the initial one is for real.

Somedays I think I'll miss him when he's gone...
~ Thursday, September 12, 2002
Two days ago, the Prince George Citizen, a paper to which I no longer subscribe, published a front-page article about a mother in town who is "annoyed" that her child's elementary school has declared the school a peanut-free zone. She felt this was wrong, that children and their parents should look out for themselves, and that it severely restricted the choices she had in feeding her child for five lunches a week, barring holidays and professional development days.

My son Aidan has a peanut allergy. We feel that his school did not need to go overboard; as he actually has to consume the food to react, they declared only his classroom peanut-free. But there are other children who are far more sensitive. One mother I know from Brennan's preschool class was on the front page today, and her older son is allergic to peanuts, milk, soy, and wheat. One of his classmates in kindergarten used to smear pudding on his face, or rub a cheesestick on his face, and the teacher did nothing (why this would be acceptable even without the allergies, I don't know). Those days her son, now 11, would come home with his face completly broken out ina terrible rash, uncomfortable, in pain, and the teacher wouldn't do a damn thing. But the mother compared this to a knife, and asked the teacher if she would let another child come to school with a knife and rub it in her son's face. She won that arguement.

The fuss continued yesterday and today in the letter columns and in other articles. The schoolboard supports the ban, as does the paper's editorial today. Here's the text of my letter, which was published today:

As the body of the article does not actually use the word "annoy", I will give the mother who is concerned about the peanut ban a little more benefit of the doubt than the headline initially allowed. However, the concerns voiced in the piece must be addressed.

My son has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, as does another of his Grade One classmates. In our household we are lucky, as he actually has to put the peanut product in his mouth to react, rather than suffering anaphylaxis by simply smelling peanuts. But the moment he does so he instantly develops hives in his mouth. If he swallows, he gets hives in his throat and without immediate treatment, dies.

That last word is the key. He DIES. Death. Gone and not coming back. My lovely 6-year-old son, along with his younger brother the joy and light of our lives, would be taken away from us forever, and we would be left with pictures, with memories, and with a bitterness over the events that led to his death, be it our fault (and let me stress; his allergy is NOT our fault) or another's.

Imagine living every day like this, carefully scanning ingredients and not allowing your child to share snacks with good friends, afraid you might miss something and cause your child to suffer or die. Now compare that fear to concern about feeding your child lunch, one of three meals of the day. I'm sorry if I sound selfish, but one doesn't stack up to the other.

When my wife was in Grade 12, her class raised money and took a trip to Paris, France. While there, one of her classmates, who was allergic to peanuts, neglected to bring her medicine when she went out for some sight-seeing. She ate something she shouldn't have, and only made it as far as the outside entrance of the hotel. She died there on the sidewalk, her family thousands of kilometers away. This was a young woman of 18, mind, not a small child.

Younger children make mistakes, just as older children obviously do, but if that mistake can take a life then adults have to step in. To remove the life-threatening peanuts from the school reduces the possibility that my son or one of his friends will cause serious health problems. Or, I remind you in a non-subtle fashion, his death.
OK, this is just frickin' freaky. It is also, though, nicely congruent with the sort of numerical coincidence I seek for the novel-in-progress, Napier's Bones.
~ Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Says Bibi: "I suggested to the Prime Minister that it would be in the interests of Canada... to root out this kind of zealotry because its pernicious effects can be felt well beyond the university." Now there's an excellent idea, eh? We could have barbed wire, and checkpoints, and make sure that the zealots work only mediocre, low-paying jobs (if any), and of course take away their right to citizenship. That oughtta do it.

But in case you think I'm taking a hard line in one direction, let me point out that I believe they're all a bunch of loony idiots, be they overseas or home-grown. Check out the temerity of these remarks; next time I get a speeding ticket I'll have to remember to blame the city for building the roads the way they did.
Way to go, Buzz!
~ Monday, September 09, 2002
A great new Art Spiegelman 911-related comic online here. But now I have to decide if I can afford to sub to the print edition of Forward to see the rest. Frankly, Maus is one of the greatest comics of the 20th century, and his stuff always deserves a good close reading.
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