Reader Letter To The Silo Regarding Motion 103 And Hamilton Protest Rally

Dear Silo, there was a protest rally held at City Hall in Hamilton this past weekend. The purpose was to discuss or protest “Motion-103 “the motion put forth by one Ms. Iqra Khalid to stop as she sees it “Islamophobia.” For many the idea of “M-103” seems almost redundant as hate speech and any sort of hate crime based on religion is already under the “Criminal Code, The Charter of Human Rights & The Constitution.” Some have opined that Ms. Khalid is grandstanding & perhaps they may be correct.

The protest was as it went peaceful & low key. The police presence was minimal and well placed. Directly on site there were six uniforms, but a bit further back there were two mounted units, and further back out of sight behind city hall were three more mounted units.

The speaker at this event was a Muslim woman who was well spoken and exhorted the crowd with slogans, chants & political sayings, touting the Liberal regime and downplaying the Conservative aspect.It was my understanding that there would be both aspects of this motion represented at the protest, but for the near 3 hours I was present I only heard one side of the story [but] perhaps another side spoke later. I saw on the 6:00 pm news, things turned a bit ugly, and the police stepped in to quell any further incident, so who knows.

For many, it seemed a “ family event,” and I saw a few children there, [but] in my humble opinion [this] is no place for kids. In the “ Vietnam” years when the protest was clearly in many cases, a daily event, there never were any children present, mostly due to the fact protests can at any given time turn from something sedate to an angry, ugly mess, ergo no kids. I for one seriously have to ponder the parental abilities of such an action.

There was a few tables set up, all proffering their political views, the Communist Party, ( the mainstay at any protest), a painting table where you could add your hand to a large almost like paint-by-numbers setup where you could if so inclined could add your hand to it. There was a Muslim table set up and two young men who would engage you in conversation about their faith and handed out books & pamphlets, one of them at the time I stopped by, was engaged in a somewhat intense conversation with a Christian young man. Several people were working the crowd by handing out flyers, pamphlets and flash cards with their message on it. The “ Socialist group”, ever present at any event, was handing out small flyers promoting  worker solidarity,” the Marxist group was there too, handing out flyers to combat racism, the “ No Borders Manifesto,” an 18 point small booklet promoting a “ grassroots movement “ to promote the movement to the “ new world.” There were “ Stop the War Coalition,” the “ Know your Rights,” group & “ Hamilton Against Fascism,” and regarding [this]protest it seemed a well-rounded outpouring that way.

As I said, as protests go it was for the 3 hours I was there a peaceful, almost fun event. Later after things went south and everyone had done their barking and bitching sessions, they packed up their wares, printed material and children, and went home to read the tea leaves of the event and to generally pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Protests are an integral part of the Canadian fabric and should be allowed at all times. The message I received from this one was that the potential for “ free speech,“ could be quashed possibly if this motion is put into a bill and becomes law. Do we have concern?? Perhaps as many feel we do, and it becomes the responsibility of all of us, to be open-minded, observant of what our government says and does. It falls to us to yes question what they tell us so that democracy as we live it will be ongoing and ever present so that we may all move forward with a proper sense of things for all who live and come to this great country we know it.


James R. Charlton

How To Start Blogging With Plastic Deerheads And Ironic Moustaches

The trendy and kitschy Owl. images/photos: Charity Blaine
The trendy and kitschy Owl. images/photos: Charity Blaine

Blog writers are like Indie music that’s about to become “cool”, or rather, they are the people that enjoy the Indie music before it’s “cool”, in fact, they are most likely part of the reason it eventually becomes popular. Only it’s not just music. It’s everything. Lifestyle bloggers like EVERYTHING before it’s cool. Therefore, I, as a blog reader, know about everything cool before it is cool. I, am a blog world hipster, and I’m only partly ashamed to admit it.

To clarify, it’s not just the blogs themselves that set the trends; it’s also the only shops where bloggers sell their handmade goods, such as Years ago, I remember searching for kitschy little polymer clay earrings shaped like foods at etsy, today, when I no longer want them, they are available for a fraction of the price at popular stores such as Clare’s and Arden’s, although truthfully, they do look cheaper. The handmade versions look more like real food than the store bought versions.  You should never believe anything that doesn’t come with proof, so here are three substantial examples of bloggers, not retailers, setting the trends.


1)      Owls. I really hate owls. I don’t think they’re cute. I don’t understand the obsession at all, but so many places these days sell things adorned with owls. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that owls were popular years ago, but this is a reference to the current owl obsession.  and sells more than a dozen owl accessories so does Clare’s. Where did I first see an obsession with owls? In the blog world, for example, blogger Elycia Watson ( from Hamilton, Ontario posted regularly about owls more than three years ago. All the blogs I initially read as a blogger were full of owls.




2)      Geometric Shapes. Bloggers love chevrons, triangles, lines, squares, any simple shape that can be coloured pink or gold. This isn’t the best example, but two years ago, the Sidney Crosby  of blogs, A Beautiful Mess, did a ‘do- it –yourself’ project “making a geometric mobile”. It’s a clothes hanger with dangling wire triangles wrapped in yarn, basic and geometric. Most of the bedding at Urban Outfitters these days is adorned with chevrons and triangles. This also points to the ‘do- it- yourself’ trend. These crafty women have been doing it yourself way before pinterest made it popular. To sound even more hipster, I remember when pinterest first started, in those days, there were no weight loss schemes or a surplus of one direction photos, it really was mostly crafts and home décor, and bloggers used it to find inspiration for new blog posts. I love pinterest, so thanks again bloggers for being cool before it was cool.


deer heads


3)      Since I’ve already given four substantial examples I don’t really need a number 3, but just in case you still doubt, take a look at Faux Deer Head for your wall. Flipping through a home décor magazine lately, I found a photo of a plaster deer head, in the style of the mounted, taxidermy deer head that hunters would have on their walls. Currently, even Home Hardware sells them. Bloggers have been doing this for years. They even use old piñata heads. They give the deer head hats and jewelery. The Dainty Squid was one of the first places I really remember seeing this phenomenon. Kayla found a plastic deer head more than 3 years ago, plopped a wig on its head and called it beautiful.

So the conclusion is- if you really want to be ahead of the wave, read blogs, small, crafty, lifestyle blogs. By the time any of that stuff hits the mainstream, you’ll be really sick of it and you can officially embrace your inner hipster and tell everyone, while sporting an ironic moustache, that you liked all those things, including ironic moustaches, before they were cool.  For the Silo, Charity Blaine.  

Supplemental- Street Trends: How Today’s Alternate Youth Cultures Are  Creating Tomorrow’s Mainstream

A 3D printer Photo Booth prints miniature versions of you