To OCSE Ambassador for ODIHR Cristian Strohal 2006

Adyghes (Circassians) are the indigenous nation in Northwestern Caucasus, – was spoken in the reference. – Folk customs, ceremonies, traditions, culture and the national language of Adyghean ethnos developed in this territory within millenia. The ancestors of the modern Adyghe-Abkhazes created the Maykop archeological culture dated the IV millenium B.C.

Since the end of the XVIII century the Russian Empire had a colonial war against Circassians. The purpose of that war for the Russian autocracy was not just capture of territories and conquest of Circassians, but also utter annihilation of the people, eviction of the remained part of it out of the limits of the historical Native land. 1864 became the final date of the end of the Russian-Caucasian war and simultaneously the year since which Circassians had ceased to exist as one ethnos. Since that period of time mass eviction of Adyghes to the Ottoman Empire was started and it proceeded till 1914. Colonists from Russia systematically occupied the lands Adyghes had abandoned. Simultaneously with that imperial Russia pursued the strategy of violent assimilation of remained Adyghes (Circassians).

According to Adolph Berge (1828 – 1886) considered at that time to be an official, and now – a tendentious historian of the Russian-Caucasian war, from among over one million Adyghes (Circassians) in the war they lost more than 400 thousand people; 497 thousand Adyghes were deported; about 80 thousand men stayed on their historical native land.

After the Revolution of 1917 the rests of Circassian people had received autonomies: Kabardino-Balkarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR), Karachaevo-Circassian and Adyghean autonomous regions, Shapsug national area. Though the Soviet authority had proclaimed equality of every people and every nation, in reality they were far from resolution of the Circassian problem – returning of the descendants of the expelled Circassians to their native land and creation of a uniform national formation in the structure of the USSR. Moreover, the national policy of that period did not seriously differ from the previous policy of the tsar state: that could be illustrated with the names of the national formations. Kabardians (Adyghean sub-ethnos) were united with Balkarians – people related to Karachais. Besleneys (Adyghean sub-ethnos, nowadays named Circassian people) – with Karachais. Shapsugs (Adyghean sub-ethnos), living near to then Adyghean autonomous region, were formed in a separate national area that on May, 24th, 1945 was liquidated.

As a whole the history of creation and abolition of Shapsug national area in many respects was indicative for all Adyghean regions of Russia. Authorities persistently inculcated the idea of “inexpediency” of the area’s existence both during its creation and later when it had been already functioning. It was considered that way during the cutting of the borders the area – it did not include an entrance to the Black Sea coast, to railways or highways, other vital objects. During delivering Shapsugs lands for agricultural needs the plots were given in the places remote from the roads. Chronic underfinancing of the area was practiced so that the area could not develop its own life-support infrastructure.

“The true reason for the local authorities’ counteraction to creation of Shapsug statehood, – wrote Tamara Polovinkina, the author of a number of monographies about Shapsugs, – was that in 1920s (like before) they considered politically inexpedient and even dangerous to give Shapsugs (and Adyghes in general) an access to the sea”.

Inter-regional interaction of the leaders of Adyghean national formations during the Stalin times ended in GULAG, in the intervals of so-called “thawing weather” or during “stagnation period” it was categorically oppressed. Publications of materials, concerning the period of the Russian-Caucasian war, access to the archives of that period were under a private interdiction. The official policies were reduced to hushing up, as subjects of publications – to purposeful distortion of reasons and scales of the catastrophe of Adyghean ethnos.

In 1991 Russian Federation declared about democratic and legal way of the state development. In that connection Adyghea, having refused the status of autonomous region, proclaimed itself republic. That was stated in the Declaration of Adyghea state sovereignty in 1991, in the Federal contract of 1992, in the Constitution of Russian Federation of 1993 and, at last, in the Constitution of Adyghea Republic of 1995.

During that time till nowadays Russian Federation was shaken – and is now – by economic crisises with heavy consequences for all the citizens of Russian Federation. Adyghea republic, being a part of the federation, has also gone through all the difficulties of the reforms of the federal center, but failing of standard of living changed the condition of Adyghean people in a greater measure. For today in Adyghea the indigenous population’s death rate exceeds the birth rate (minus 2000 people a year). The small ethnos began reducing even more, and it means that in percentage terms in the republic Adyghes become lesser numerous; so that influences the political decisions both of the republican, and the federal levels.

It should be noted that during B.N.Yeltsin’s presidency the national interests of republics were restrained much lesser than during the previous or the present periods. If there were some nationalism, it just existed in a household form. However after V.V.Putin’s coming to powers of the president the country began departing from the democratic way of state development.

On June 21st, 2001 the president of Russian Federation signed the Decree # 741 “About commission at president of Russian Federation on preparation of offers on differentiation of subjects of conducting and powers among federal governmental bodies, bodies of the government of subjects of Russian Federation and institutions of local governments”. On the basis of the decree infringing the Federal Contract of 1992 (about differentiation of powers between the federal center and republics) they began withdrawing from the legislations of republics laws, concerning powers and rights in the sphere of the national interests’ observance.

As a result of that in Adyghea they had abolished about 90 acts, positions, laws protecting the rights of Adyghes, which corresponded to the international norms and in their majority did not contradict also to Russian legislation. In particular, from the Constitution of Adyghea Republic they had withdrawn: 1) regulations about sovereignty of Adyghea Republic; 2) about obligatory knowledge of president of republic two state languages – Adygheeyan and Russian; 3) about parity representation in the State Soviet-Khase of Adyghea Republic; 4) the republican Law “About repatriates” of 1997, as others were abolished.

Among the mentioned acts under the protest of the Office of Public Prosecutor of Adyghea Republic the Law “About referendum of Adyghea Republic” which provided interdiction on carrying out of referendum about status and borders of republic, was abolished, too. At the moment there is a process of pushing through the State Soviet-Khase of Adyghea a bill “About referendum of Adyghea Republic” in which those items are not present.

Adoption of the law on referendum in such version would contradict the United Nations Organization Charter (clause 1, item 2; clause 55; clause 73), numerous international legal acts where the principle of equality and self-determination of nations is affirmed, as well as the Constitution of Russian Federation (clause 5, item 3; clause 15, item 4). In Adyghea Republic representatives of various nations live. They have all the civil rights, stipulated by international-legal acts and the Constitution of Russian Federation in full, and they used their right for self-determination in the form of national-state formations outside Adyghea Republic. Carrying out of a referendum on change of the status or territory of Adyghea in the conditions when quantity of the indigenous population in the republic makes only 24 percent, would lead to the predicted result – the republic’s liquidation. It would mean further genocide against Adyghes (Circassians), but in the other form. However on such effect the federal center counts.

From a tacit sanction of the law enforcement bodies in Adyghea nowadays forces, which should execute a new genocide, are actively formed. At the last VI congress of the republican social movement “Union of Slavs of Adyghea” passed on December 18th in Maykop, those forces were united in the political block and passed the joint program.

In the resolution adopted at the congress, it was written the following: “Union of Slavs of Adyghea will take part in the elections of deputies of State Soviet-Khase of Adyghea Republic on March, 12th, 2006 in the union with Cossacks, “Economic union of industrialists and businessmen” and other Russian national organizations, as well as those organizations which activities do not contradict Russian people’s interests”. “We call up all the citizens, – it was also spoken, – to take part in the elections and to support association of those candidates who will incur the duty to pass the law on referendum in Adyghea Republic and to lead such referendum about integration with Krasnodar territory”.

The leader of the Adyghea republican branch of the National majestic party of Russia sounded at the congress his appeal to Russians “to use more actively lawful ways to get armed”. The weapons, as he said, “are necessary for protection of the national interests of Russians both in Russia, and abroad”.

Thus, Adyghean (Circassian) ethnos like 140 years ago remains in conditions when it can be liquidated physically. Initiators of the national republic’s liquidation – in the territory of the geographical center of the indigenous population’s historical lands – count on that: during escalation of the conflict Adyghes would be declared a next nation-terrorist which should be liquidated. Numerous references concerned the problem to bodies of the federal authority, to the top management of the country are left without any reply. We consider that it is useless to believe on its resolution at that level.

We address to you with our desperate request to interfere immediately in the situation in Adyghea with the purpose of preservation of its statehood in the form of sovereign republic. We entrust you the destiny of our people and call up to send in Adyghea Republic a special commission to analyze the above-mentioned facts and to give objective estimation according to results of your check. We would like representatives of the Council of Europe to take the situation developing now in our republic under control and to regulate it according to the principles of the international law.

Murat Berzegov

Public Movement of Adygeya “Circassian Congress”

Address: 385000 Россия, Респ. Адыгея, г. Майкоп, ул. Советская, 201, 3-й этаж, 2 каб.

АРОД “Черкесский Конгресс”

Tel. +7 8772 527288

Cell. +7 928 461 6764

Beslan Makhov

Public Movement of Karachaevo-Circassia “Circassian Congress”

Cell. +7 928 386 1177

Askhad Chirg

Public Movement “Adyghe Khase” of Adygeya

Tel. +7 8772 525511

Cell. +7 918 420 7733

Valeriy Khatajoukov

Kabardino-Balkarian Public Legal Expert Center

Tel. +7 8662 406582

Yuriy Shanibov

Independent Social Research Center of Kabardino-Balkaria

Tel. +7 8662 421042

Cell. +7 928 700 1540

Kentucky Derby heartache

Why did I suggest horse racing was great family entertainment?So, under a great deal of duress, the Little Nutball finally agreed to allow us to pre-empt the replaying of Ruby Gloom so her dad and I could watch the Kentucky Derby, which we had recorded on the PVR Saturday afternoon. Fortunately (or perhaps not-so fortunately, as it turned out), we never actually get to read the Sunday New York Times on Sunday (I usually snatch a section or two per day and hopefully have worked my way through it by midweek), so we hadn’t known the outcome when we watched the race on Sunday evening.

In any case, we all had fun listening to the lead-in commentary, Gayego’s owners were Cuban dissidents who had spent time in jail; Colonel John’s jockey Corey Nakatani’s Japanese-American dad was born in a WWII internment camp and actually spent time at Santa Anita track when it was a relocation camp; and of course, beautiful Eight Belles, was our favorite horse, the only filly in the 20-horse field.

“I hate Big Brown,” the Nutball kept repeating of the horse favored to win.
“Sweetie, all the horses are great horses, and we shouldn’t hate any of them. All the horses are awesome!”
“Yeah, I don’t care. I ONLY love Eight Belles. She’s a girl. I want Eight Belles to win! Stupid Big Brown…[loud grumbling followed by indeterminate mumbling…]”

In any case, the race was on, it was an exciting race with many twists and suddenly,
“Mommy, mommy, Eight Belles AND Big Brown won!”
“Uh, Sweetie, Big Brown won, but Eight Belles was second place. That’s great! She came in second!”
“Does that mean she won?”
“A little bit, but mostly Big Brown won. But she came in second!”
“Stupid Big Brown…” she muttered.
“Big Brown is a lovely horse! And Eight Belles came in second, Sweetie! That’s great!”

But then, horse racing fans, you know the rest. Soon thereafter, Eight Belles was on the ground after breaking both her legs a quarter mile after crossing the wire in second place. She was euthanized on the track. We told the Nutball that Eight Belles was going to an animal hospital because it seemed sort of cruel and unusual to say, “Well, Sweetie, she went out in a blaze of glory after beating 18 colts and now she’s in horse heaven.”

“This race was stupid!”

Which made me really rethink my take on thoroughbred racing. I’m no aficionado, but I love watching it every so often, but whenever I REALLY like a horse the last one was Canadian Triple Crown winner Izvestia, euthanized in 1991 after breaking his leg something like his happens and it seems more and more like a bloodsport. More recently, for instance, Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, was euthanized eight months after breaking his leg during the 2006 Preakness, and last fall, a horse named George Washington was euthanized on the track after breaking his leg during the Breeder’s Cup.

Clearly, thoroughbred racing has become less appropriate as family entertainment. Some blame dirt tracks, others blame selectively breeding racehorses too much for speed at the expense of strength and soundness, or, in this case, racing a filly against colts. I couldn’t say, but the Little Nutball and I are going back to Pros Versus Joes for our sporting fix. Watching some blowhard twenty something IT guy from Connecticut get humiliated on the court by a middle aged ex-athlete is less poetic – but also a lot less heartbreaking.

Eye Stye Treatment– The Review

If you have an eye stye or have suffered with one in the past you will know how painful they can be, I have suffered with eye styes for many years and finding getting rid of a stye can be difficult.

After suffering with a very sore stye I decided to search the internet to find a treatment after some in-depth research I came across what I think is the #1 remedy – Stye No More!

How to Treat A Stye

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Anyone can implement these remedies and it’s guaranteed to make those red bumps disappear so you can live your life without the discomfort and embarrassing blemish on your eye!

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Home remedies to get rid of styes fast that you can start using TODAY.
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After using the product after only a couple of days my stye had almost completely disappeared. I was very happy with the results from what was a very simple process using just the items I had at home.

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Being Clean and Neat in Appearance

In al-Muwatta, Imam Malik reports a hadith with a mursal isnad from ‘Ata’ ibn Yassar, who said:
“The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) was in the mosque, when a man with unkempt hair and an untidy beard came in. The Prophet (S.A.W.) pointed to him, as if indicating to him that he should tidy up his hair and beard. The man went and did so, then returned. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said, ‘Is this not better than that any one of you should come with unkempt hair, looking like the Shaytan?”
Islam lays great emphasis on having a clean and neat appearance at all times. The Prophet (SAW) always took note of people’s appearance. Whenever he saw a man that was badly dressed or had untidy hair, he would criticize him. Essentially what our Prophet (SAW) was implying is that we should not neglect ourselves. Imam Ahmad and al-Nisa’i report that Jabir (R.A.A.) said: “The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) came to visit us, and he saw an unkempt man whose hair was going in all directions, so he said, ‘Could he not find anything with which to calm his head?’”
Here I took special note of the Prophet (SAW) that he should ‘CALM’ his head -:). The likening of a man to Shaytan by our Prophet shows that Islam gives the utmost importance to being neat, clean and sharp at all times! We have all seen Muslims with unkempt hair and scruffy over-sized clothes.

People have and will continue to judge you by your appearance. The harsh reality is that we make decisions about people within the first 3 seconds of meeting them; we then spend the next 90 seconds trying to confirm our first impressions. This means that before you even open your mouth you’ve been sized up and profiled. Knowing this, a Muslim should always dress neatly, professionally, and appropriately. The fact is you never know who you are going to meet; at anytime you may run into a potential convert, a client, a future employer, or for those singles out there, the love of your life. And like it or not, they are going to form their initial impression of you based on how you look. Made within a few seconds, first impressions are powerful and should not be taken lightly. We often observe a person before we speak with them. Human beings by nature look to make sense of what our eyes are showing us. Using our personal experiences, we categorize individuals; we pick-up on a key feature that has meaning to us, and then associate that person with it. If what you are wearing is doing all the talking for you, make sure it is sending the message you want. I think this message is for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a white, blue, or green collar worker. At work you should be the best dressed in your field. At one point in my life, I was a blue-collar worker. My uniform shirt was always ironed and pressed and I wore a nice pair of khaki slacks to work everyday.

Here is another favorite episode in Muslim history of mines. Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) always took care to dress well and to ensure that he smelled clean and fresh, and urged others to do likewise. One day he met a man who used to attend his circle, who was dressed in scruffy clothes. He took him to one side and offered him one thousand dirhams with which to smarten himself up. The man told him, “I have money, I do not need this.” Abu Hanifah admonished him: “Have you not heard the hadith, ‘Allah (S.W.T.) loves to see the signs of His gifts on His servant’? So you have to change yourself, and not appear offensive to your friend.”

So here it is; we have the great Imam Abu Hanifah (R.A.) being a fashion consultant. Imam Malik (RA), the inspiration for the Maliki school of thought also dressed well starting as a young man. His mother was particular about his appearance and would dress him in his best attire to go out and learn fiqh and hadith. Imam Malik (RA) would continue this habit later in life. Whenever he would go out and teach hadith and fiqh, he would dress in his best clothes and then go out and teach the people. Ibu Muslim Al Khuzai wrote that: When Imam Malik would intend to read, write or give class on Hadith, he would first make Wudu, would put on his best clothes, would then wear perfume, and would comb his beard. Imam Malik dressed and prepared himself for his profession. Dressing professionally and taking care of the essentials like personal hygiene improves your discipline. One of the powers of clothing and excellent hygiene is that it can transform an individual’s state of mind. The transformative effective is powerful.

Why the first Wedding Anniversary is the Paper Anniversary

There are all kinds of conflicting reports about why the first wedding anniversary is one of paper. Looking through history, European countries seem to have been celebrating anniversaries for centuries, although the modern symbols that people use today as a measurement of time passed in a marriage are much differently perceived. One thing that is sure is that the paper anniversary is that it is likely to have come into being in Victorian times, when people enjoyed celebrating things with some kind of symbolism. Gretchen Scoble and Ann Field stated in their book, The Meaning of Wedding Anniversaries, that Victorians loved to keep records, and that this love would lead them to encourage the practice of having symbols to represent each stage of marriage.

Since paper is of little value, one can only assume that its symbolism comes from the use of love letters affirming the love that one person has for the other. Although modern interpretations are a little strange and include such things as tickets to a football game, the origins of paper as a symbol would no doubt have come from the idea that couples would diary their lives together, or use paper as a way of recording their emotions. Paper is of little financial value, but is more symbolic of writing, illustration and even gift wrapping. It takes a lot of imagination to come up with original ideas which are paper based, although many couples have indeed put a lot of imagination into their gift giving, to seal the knot after one year of married bliss.

Those who don’t know the origins make the assumption that the first anniversary being paper is symbolic of needing to record a date even though the relationship is still in the early stages. The couple have only invested 365 days in marital bliss and as such the giving of a diamond would seem very out of place. Instead, a photograph to grace the mantle of the couple’s home would seem to help lay down the foundation of that marriage’s success, made – of course – from paper. Paper is able to record sentiment. It’s easy for anyone to get hold of, but it also means that the obscurity of description lends itself well to adaptation. For example, while a homemade card may be sentimentally superior to a ticket to Hawaii, all age ranges and incomes are still able to fundamentally celebrate that first milestone within a marriage within the reach of their finances.

Thought to have emanated from early German history, it’s much more likely that Victorian Britain chose paper as the symbol of the first anniversary. Looking back through history, the Victorian era was one of heavily floral and scented correspondence and beautiful cards tailored to different events. Victorian cards were extremely floral in decoration and were a very popular item that are still found today by collectors. The theme of love and of turtle doves was depicted on many of the cards of the time, and as these were popular with people, it would be a natural conclusion that the paper upon which they were printed would give rise to the popularity of paper being thought of as suited to that first anniversary. Still in the new throws of love, the couple used this to send a poem or hand written message to that loved one, and that paper message was of more value than something which could easily have been purchased.

The theme of anniversary gifts through the years seems to give credence to the longer periods of marriage being thought of as more investment, and thus worthy of richer gifts. Paper, as a relatively inexpensive gift allows the couple much freedom of expression in the choice of gift given. The Victorians loved decoration. They loved the nature of busy detail and this was a period when paper cards began to be printed for all manner of occasions, including place labels for celebrating dinners and cards which depicted the couple whose wedding anniversary was being celebrated. It was a time of production as printing presses were able now to print in glorious color and use lithographic processes needed to produce quality cards. Public demand for decorative items was catered for by the latest techniques in printing. It’s worth looking at these images to see what a difference the introduction of color meant to Victorian consumers.

With beautiful paper images available to everyone, many of which depicted love, it seems a natural assumption that the first wedding anniversary was one of those times when paper could be used to symbolize the passing of the first year. This was always going to be the early stages of a marriage and the token of love which passed between lovers who had been married for such a short space of time seemed fitting to paper cards, letters or other gifts of a photographic or illustrated nature.

Though the exact origins may never be discovered, the paper gift is a suitable one for the first wedding anniversary since it offers a wealth of choices for everyone. The imaginative can conjure up ideas that take their loved ones’ breath away, while for others, a simple poem or declaration of love may just have the same effect. Paper offers possibilities of conveying love, and making some kind of record of an event important within that first year of marriage, before more material gifts are introduced. Available to everyone, perfect and made from natural elements, paper seems right for the occasion and for a simple conveyance of devotion, thus making it the ideal medium to celebrate a year of marriage.

Holistic Recipe: Fish With Fennel in Foil

All this recent sunshine, even if still on the cool side, is making me think of summer recipes. Here’s a recipe I’ve done in many different cooking conditions – in the winter I’ve done it in the oven, but more often I cook it on the BBQ in the warmer months. I’ve even done it on an open fire when camping. It’s easy to prepare, cook and serve and it is delicious.

Adding fish to the diet is always a good idea, (although being on guard for species that have high mercury levels is a necessary precaution these days. This recipe uses rainbow trout, a fresh water fish, less likely to contain heavy metals). Yesterday I wrote about a study done in Sweden that found that 15-year-old boys who ate fish more than twice a week did 11% better on intelligence tests than those who ate fish less often. Smarten up! Eat your fish!

Recipe for Fish and Fennel in Foil after the jump.

Fish With Fennel in Foil

1 whole rainbow trout, or 2 fillets separated from the bone
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 fennel bulb, cut into wedges (you can use the stem here too, cut into bite sized chunks)
a handful of fresh dill
1 Tbsp. or so of organic butter
unrefined sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Take a large piece of tinfoil (big enough to wrap around the fish and its contents without needing a second piece). Place a few of the lemon slices, some of the fennel and a few dabs of butter on the foil. Season with unrefined sea salt and pepper.

Lay the fish on top of the lemon and fennel. Put the remaining lemon slices and fennel pieces on top (you can place the fennel around the fish too, if you need more room). Add a few more dabs of butter and season again with unrefined sea salt and pepper.

Wrap up the whole concoction, making sure you’re not leaving gaps that will leak. Now add it to your preferred hot place (oven, BBQ, campfire). The oven it should be at about 350F, BBQ should be on medium high and a campfire… well, just put it in a hot spot.

Cooking times are always tricky to gauge, but I’ve found this takes about 20-25 minutes in the oven, less on the BBQ and on a campfire it varies (it took 15 minutes once, but over half an hour another time). You want to to flip the foil package about half way through cooking, so I’d do it at around the 12 minute mark (you can always carefully open the foil to check on how it’s doing).

When done, be careful removing from the heat – a tear in the foil will drip hot fish juice everywhere and can scald. Also be careful when opening the foil – the steam will be HOT! If you used a whole fish, slice filets and slide them right on the bones. Serve the fennel and lemon on the side. Goes great with a brown rice or quinoa pilaf.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.

Dad’s So Embarrassing

So Mack’s cheering his kid on at the intramural soccer game: “Go, kid, yeah!”

When he came off the field he was all crabby (he came off the field “with his eyebrows down” as we say in our family).

“What’s the matter, kid?”

“You really embarrassed me, Dad. Yelling every time I touched the ball.”

“Oh…I was just trying to encourage you.”

I have a hard time dealing with the fact I “embarrass” my kids. Tattoos, Jay-Z sunglasses, rocking the freshest pimped-out gear at all times– what more do they want?

Of course, that may be exactly the problem. A dad who tries to be cool is obviously the most embarrassing thing in the world.

But a) I don’t just think I’m cool, I actually am cool– I think; b) I refuse to become a fanny-pack type Dad for their benefit. Hey, Dad has a personality, kids, go figure.

Ironically, I think it’s my oldest, age 12, the kid who first started showing signs of being embarrassed by his father, who is also the first to get over it. Now he’s a teen, he can appreciate some of the things his father, the eternal adolescent, is about: loud music, artistic yearnings, and so forth.

But basically, it’s a mug’s game to try to convince your kids you’re cool.

I take great solace from Kid Rock. In an interview Kid Rock said when he goes to the movie with his (then) 10-year-old, the kid sits in a different part of the theatre.

And Kid said he wants to say to his kid “I’m considered one of the coolest people in America, but I’m still not cool enough for you?!”

Poor guy. I feel his pain. And it’s not just an empty boast, the Kid is cool: along with Diddy, probably the coolest.

But give it up, Kid. No one can ever be cool enough for a 10-year-old.

Not even the coolest guy in America.

The Cleanse: Cocktail-Loving Mack Daddy Gives It a Try

Mack and Ms. Daddy are doing a “cleanse.”

I’ve done it once before. Ms. Daddy never has.

You get a box from the health-food store. Inside the box are three boxes of herbal pills. One set is to “cleanse,” one to “stimulate the production of bile,” and one is an “herbal laxative.” Then there also some sort of tincture, an herbal extract. Not exactly sure what that one does, but you take two of each kind of pills and thirty drops of the tincture (with a little eyedropper they supply) twice a day.

And, uh, stay near a washroom. At least for the first few days.

Ms. Daddy is a television news reporter, dashing around the city at top speed, always in a hurry.

I’ve told her this cleanse may not be for her, it’s better for us work-from-home types who have a washroom nearby, especially in the first few days, but she’s determined to butch it out.

She’s never been one to shy away from a challenge.

In any case, I don’t even think it’s about the pills and the tincture, so much. The key is the piece of paper in the box outlining your dietary restrictions.

It’s brilliant, I think. For one thing, it makes no mention of quantities. For another, you’re allowed popcorn with salt and butter– in fact they’re listed under the category from which you’re supposed to get 80% of your diet.

As are baked potato with butter and chives.

Mainly, though, you eat a lot of fish, brown rice, and vegetables. No booze, no pasta, no bread, no refined sugar, or cheese. Your body takes a moment to adjust, and on the first day Mack felt kind of woozy and dizzy and had to lie down as my body cried out: “Where’s the booze? Where’s the sugar and flour and noodles and such?”

Ms. Daddy and I are used to, after a long hard days’ work, having a vodka and 7-up, followed maybe by a big old plate of pasta alla vongole (pasta with clams: shellfish is also strictly verboten, for some reason) washed down with fine wines.

But now with all this fish and brown rice and purified water, how could we not feel like a million bucks? The pills could probably be made from ground up cardboard and sawdust (how they taste) and it wouldn’t matter.

Supposedly on this cleanse you feel great, absolutely ecstatic, on days 4 and 7. We’re on Day 3, and already I have to say I do feel a lot lighter and more clear-headed.

Though as Ms. Daddy did point out, early on, it is kind of boring. Most virtuous things are. Can’t wait for that first drinkie-poo. Mmmmm….that’s gonna taste good. Bartender! Make it a triple! And give me two– no make that four slices of pizza! Extra cheese, bro!

Kids and Chores

Pop quiz, my bloggies: What, at least according to a longitudinal study conducted at the University of Minnesota that followed the development of a number of kids from toddlerhood to young adulthood, is the single most important predictor that your child will wind up happy, healthy, successful, out of jail, and with the fewest monkeys on his/her back (e.g. drugs)?

Going to a good school? Growing up in a loving family? Being part of a stable household? Being imbued with a high IQ? Being blessed with wealthy parents? Here is A plan for caring for diabetes in school children.

Wrong, nope, nope, wrong, nope. Of course, none of the above hurts. But according to the study the single most important factor determining a person’s success is whether that person did chores around the house as a kid.

I know that may be hard to swallow, my bloggies. And you are free to accept or dismiss the results of this study (easy to find online, just google “kids and chores”).

I buy it, though. It’s like our parents, and their parents, and their parents before them, kept repeating like a mantra: “builds character.”

Yes, chores are heinously dull and your kids will squawk and prefer to watch TV. That’s the point! I’m always telling one or another of my boys (ages 12, 9, and 7, currently): “Dude, life’s not all fun and games and candy and watching Tv and being entertained while your parents do all the freakin’ work around here. Maybe it was when you were little but now it’s time to ease into reality, like a cold pool, just a bit. To get your toes wet. When you grow up you’ll find, especially if you have kids, that work is the main thing; and the fun and games and movie and TV and all the rest of it is just the icing. Sooner you learn that the better, kiddo. (Now make the bed/sweep the floor/clean out the rat cage, etc.)”

Next post I’d like to go a bit into the specifics of getting your kids off the couch and raking/sweeping/mopping, the question of paid work, and so forth. But for now let me just say: putting your kids to work around the house is a favour not only to you but them as well.

Not only will you put them on the path to success, but it will make your life easier– both now and in the future.

You’ll be amazed how even a little thing like someone other than you making the bed (my youngest, Adam, 7 does ours: that’s his “chore,” that and cleaning the lint off the dryer thingie– seriously). And they’ll make your life easier when you get older, because, them being all successful and everything, they’ll be able to lend you money for bingo.

And maybe they’ll cook you up a little “alpha-getty” on the hot plate of your senior-citizens’ residential facility. (Formerly known as “old folks’ home”)

And won’t that be yummy? What about you, my bloggies? Do your kids work around the house, or just lay there like jellyfish?