Friday, November 24, 2006

Mature Reflections on Aging

A few months ago, my friend and I went to a little indoor, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf place that I love. It's Day-Glo inside with psychedelic decor and reminds me of a bar without the alcohol. Also, I developed an addiction to mini golf a few years back but only inside. Outside I find it really boring but I love this indoor place because there's great music and the holes have banks, so I feel more like I'm playing pool than golf because I'm banking most of my shots. And two years ago, I was the only female who qualified for a tournament at this place, and at the time there was a very handsome charming young manager who spent a lot of time with me.

Moving along, as my friend Anna would say, and returning to the subject of aging. My friend Cathie and I played our game of golf and I did better than her but being the thoughtful, sensitive person that I am, I subtracted a few points from her score so she wouldn't feel hopelessly depressed at the end of the game since it was her first time playing and I didn't want her experience of being deflowered to be unpleasant.

As we were leaving, one of the twentysomething kids who works there, and who I talk to all the time, was chatting with us. Cathie looked up at the sign above the cash, which said that seniors received discounts and that a senior was someone who was 55 years or older. Much to my dismay, Cathie volunteered the fact that she was over 55 and the twentysomething woman by the name of Andrea says, "No! You guys can't be over 55?" Cathie replies, "Yes" and I shout NO, NO, NO and point to Cathie and not me, although I'll be 54 in December, but don't tell anyone. I'm sure that when I do become 55, I will continue to argue with people and be happy to pay full price up until the age of 82 or so rather than having someone call me a senior.

How we feel with the passing of each decade and how differently society treats us is an issue that has preoccupied me since I turned 40. I made it one of the themes of my novel and am quoting a few passages from D'Amour Road here to give you a better idea why I like the song Forever Young. My main character, who is 39, is just leaving the apartment of a 25-year-old guy who she's fallen for. She is headed for the parking lot, feeling old.

As I was walking towards my car, I took off my jacket because the weather had turned humid. A scruffy looking pair of men walked past me. One had an unruly beard and the other had a leer on his face.
"Nice tits!" The second guy grinned at me.
"Up yours," I replied automatically. They both laughed. I walked faster to get away from them and put my jacket back on. I was annoyed, offended and repulsed, but I’m ashamed to admit that I felt vaguely flattered and pleased to have been noticed.
WAR (my women's collective) would consider me to be a lost cause, but I couldn't help but ask myself how many more years of sexual harassment I had left before I became completely invisible. Sheila and Diane often joked that one of the few benefits of being close to sixty was that they didn't have to deal with men whistling, calling them lewd names, and attempting to grope them on the street.
Once, I heard Germaine Greer on a talk show, saying that she’d lost her sex drive after menopause, and felt relieved not to be at the mercy of her hormones and desire anymore. Although my ardor for Alain had become painful, I definitely did not want to be "liberated" from it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

One of the Best DVDs of all times -- Six Feet Under

One of my all-time favorites is Six Feet Under. If you're not familiar with this Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series, run, don't walk, to the nearest store to rent Season One. You won't be sorry.

The fifth and final season of SFU was just released on DVD. Watching it is a lot like eating the last piece of fudge after Christmas. I want to savor it, rewind and play it again, delaying the inevitable finale. But all things must die and that’s one of the central points of this gem created by Alan Ball, who soared to celebrity with American Beauty.

Six Feet Under follows the lives of the Fisher family. Father Fisher is killed in a car accident. He leaves the family funeral parlor to his sons David (Michael C. Hall) and Nate (Peter Krause). David is an overly responsible, serious type who’s already been running the business with his dad. But Nate escaped to work in a health food store in Seattle, partly to get away from the constant presence of death, but also to avoid his quirky and crazy family. Now Nate must decide if he can forsake his freedom and commit to helping David so that the business doesn't fold. Loyalty versus following one's own heart.

This HBO show is full of ethical conflicts and philosophical questions about the meaning of our lives. Every episode starts out with a new person who dies and whose body will be embalmed in the Fisher's basement: some person who got up in the morning, assuming that it would be an ordinary day with its regular, mundane stresses and challenges, but it wasn't.

Six Feet Under is a “dramedy” that is funny as hell. It's also erotic and filled with endless conflicts, insights and struggles within relationships.

Maybe I won't finish Season Five; that way it will remain alive for me forever.

Sigridmac

Check me out on My Space: http://www.myspace.com/sigridmac and add me to your friends’ list!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Suze Orman Kicks Ass!

If you have the misfortune to be home on a Saturday night, don't despair. One of the best things that you can do with your time is to tune in to CNBC and 9 p.m. to watch the Suze Orman show. Multimillionaire financial planner Orman is feisty, brilliant and quick on the draw. Her razor sharp mind allows her to analyze a wide variety of financial situations in a short period of time. She conducts live interviews, talks to people on camera, and answers desperate pleas on e-mail from people who need her advice about everything from how to get out of credit card debt, to the best way to mortgage a home, to handling conflict over money within relationships.

In fact, aside from offering astute monetary advice, Orman has an uncanny talent to discern who is in a healthy marriage or relationship and who is wallowing in toxic mire. Often, people call into the show thinking that their problem has to do with money, but Suze tells them that it really has to do with their spouse.

Orman recommends that people do what they love, even if they can't make a living at it. She suggests getting a second job or cutting back on one's lifestyle rather than giving up a satisfying career. A strong advocate of individual responsibility, Suze frequently advises parents not to give their adult children money but rather to pay off their credit card debt if they want to do something wonderful for them financially.

Orman is sincere and passionate; obviously, she cares about the people who contact her. However, at times she is too quick to judge a situation -- after all, she's not Dr. Phil! -- and I'm not always amused by the way that she teases her assistant Jeff about everything from his shoes to his girlfriend!

Nonetheless, Orman is hot and brimming with wisdom. Run out and buy one of her books on money management or set the DVR to tape her show if you're going out. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kinsey: Let's talk about sex -- Well worth watching!

Last year, I skipped the movie about pioneer sex researcher, Alfred Kinsey, because I thought that I already knew everything about him and that it might be dry. Was I ever wrong! The dialogue in the movie was crisp and unexpectedly funny and the acting was stellar. (What else could be expected from Liam Neeson, Chris O'Donnell and Laura Linney?)

The movie traced the puritanical and oppressive upbringing that poor Kinsey endured as a boy who was born in 1894 and raised by a fire and brimstone, preacher father. Those were the days when no one talked about masturbation and it was widely thought to cause blindness or insanity; oral sex was feared in the event that it resulted in infertility; and no one knew a clitoris from a clavicle!

Kinsey was one of the first to break down those barriers in the 1920s and 1930s. He started classes at university for young couples who were about to get married in order to give them proper sex education, rather than the abstinence message that they had been receiving in their hygiene class. He interviewed 18,000 people and wrote books about his findings, for which he was widely criticized because what he found was that there was a large disconnect between what people said was "moral" sexual behavior, and what they actually practiced behind closed doors.

Moreover, he stated that "37 percent of U.S. men (and 13 percent of women) had had at least one homosexual experience, while 62 percent of women (and 92 percent of men) masturbated. Premarital sex was common. Half of married men and a quarter of married women had cheated on their spouses." [Source -- National Geographic News]

In addition, Kinsey concluded that the majority of people were bisexual. This was during an era when adultery, homosexuality and oral sex were illegal in many states!

Kinsey had two great failings: firstly, as a zoologist, he could never understand that the human mammal with different from other animals. Humans had feelings that were intricately tied to their sexuality. Animals did not. Secondly, Kinsey's research methodology was questioned by many sources as being skewed and lacking objectivity. He interviewed most of his people face-to-face and then transcribed his findings. At least one quarter of his subjects were prison inmates, 5% were male prostitutes and they were all volunteers. A good research design should have a randomized study, preferably double blind so that the researcher and his assistants did not directly interpret data from subjects in order to avoid potential bias on their parts.

The movie clearly discussed Kinsey's first failing but was not explicit enough about the second one regarding research methodology. Having said that, Alfred Kinsey was an amazing man and this is an awesome movie. Great entertainment and it made me feel that despite our cultural ambivalence about sex, we definitely have come a long way, baby.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jonathan Fesmire -- Fantasy Author

Check out the awesome books by one of my MySpace friends! Jonathan Fesmire is a well-renowned fantasy writer who lives in California. His articles have appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, SpaceWays Weekly, Jackhammer, Lexikon, The Wandering Troll, and elsewhere. And he has done cover art for Venus Press, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Gryphonwood Magazine, Andrea Dean Van Scyock's novel, "A Man of Two Worlds," and Joseph Yakel's novel, "The Legend of Juggin Joe."

Listen to the free audiobook version of Children of Rhatlan at Podiobooks.Com. Then post comments about it here.

Sigridmac

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Missing in Ottawa -- Gina Smith

To my great surprise, I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen the other day about a woman by the name of Gina Smith who has apparently been missing from Ottawa for almost two years. Could have fooled me. With all of the publicity that surrounded other women who disappeared in this town starting with my own friend and acquaintance, Louise Ellis, and moving on to Ardeth Wood and Jennifer Teague, how could someone else have gone under the radar without receiving a tremendous amount of media attention?

Easy. She was a drug addict and a prostitute. Does that sound familiar? Think East Side of Vancouver and the dozens of sex trade workers who ended up on Robert Pickton's pig farm.

Recently, bones have been discovered in the Rideau Canal and the police are wondering if they belong to Gina Smith. She disappeared under suspicious circumstances in that she was about to testify against her old boss and ex-lover, saying that he had "threatened to bash her head in with a hammer." No one questioned the fact that she didn't appeared in court because people without addresses are often dismissed as "transients" who move from place to place.

Andrew Seymour of the Ottawa Citizen, source for this article, wrote that Gina was "lost before she disappeared." So true, so sad and so infuriating that we haven't evolved to the level where we treat all people equally regardless of their occupation or circumstances.

Sigridmac

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Come to My Book Signing October 15 in Ottawa

STOP SPOUSAL ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

Join two local authors from Ottawa Independent Writers at Baico Books, Sunday October 15th from 1 - 4 p.m. to find out what it's like to be in an abusive relationship, how you can get out, and the plight of women who are murdered by their partners.

LOCATION: BAICO BOOKS, 102-C MCEWEN AVE, OFF RICHMOND ROAD (JUST EAST OF LINCOLN FIELDS)


Meet Alberte Villeneuve, author of The Neglected Garden, a fictional account of a woman who looks back on her abusive marriage to a mentally disturbed man; and Sigrid Macdonald, author of D'amour Road, a novel about female friendship, missing women, and midlife crisis that is loosely based around the true life death and disappearance of Louise Ellis in Ottawa in 1995.

$1.00 discount off every book purchased that costs at least $10

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CALL SIGRID MACDONALD AT (613) 224-0762 OR SEND AN E-MAIL: sigridmac at sign rogers.com

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Government Agency Revictimizing Battered Women

Revictimizing Battered Women

In her article "Battered Women Revictimized by Secret Government Protection Process to Change Their Identities," Margaret Akulia tells the story of Candace, a woman who "unwillingly enrolled" in a "secret government protection" program for battered women who faced possible death at the hands of their violent partners. These women were given new identities and anticipated more promising futures. Little did they know that they were leaving one abuser in order to embrace another.

Candace lived underground for a number of years through NIVA (NEW IDENTITIES FOR VICTIMS OF ABUSE) and has bravely offered to tell her story to spare other women from revictimization. She agrees NIVA or a similar program is essential for battered women whose lives are in danger, but she believes that the process needs to be revamped so that it is “adequately funded, properly administered and regularly audited for abuse and misuse.”

Candace stated that she was coerced into joining by a senior Federal Government program officer in charge of NIVA. "This happened despite my repeated assertions and protests to the Senior Federal Government Program Officer and some Barristers and Solicitors advising him about and/or handling the identity change that I did not want to enroll in NIVA." She and other women in comparable situations were very "vulnerable, isolated and beaten down emotionally and physically and still recovering from effects of abuse they experienced from partners when the Senior Federal Government Program Officer continued the cycle of abuse by manipulating, bullying, intimidating and cajoling them into enrolling in NIVA... He entered the women’s lives, gained their trust and then took total control of their lives, just like the abusers and bullies the women were fleeing," Candace told Margaret.

Instead of going into NIVA, Candace wanted to investigate prosecuting her abuser through the criminal justice system. Instead she was pressured to enroll in NIVA and to abandon legal action against her abuser. "If I had been allowed to take my abusive partner to court and exhaust all legal avenues first, I would not have had to resort to the extreme measure of getting new identities for myself and my daughter and been so severely injured as a result…The Senior Federal Government Program Officer made me believe that I did not have a choice but to enroll in NIVA and it was the only way I could protect my daughter. He instilled so much fear in me that I believed that I was in grave danger…and had no option but to change my identity and that of my daughter by enrolling in NIVA.

"When I tried to back off from the Senior Federal Government Program Officer, he became aggressive like my abusive partner…I did not meet conditions stipulated in the Change of Identity Procedure and should not have been pressured, manipulated, scared and intimidated by the Senior Federal Government Program Officer into resorting to the extreme measure of changing my identity and that of my daughter."

Margaret Akulia asked Candace what measures she wanted the government to take now in response to her being "unwillingly enrolled and bullied" into participating in NIVA. "I want accountability and our old identities back," Candace replied. Margaret wasn't sure if it was possible to regain an old identity for Candace and her 13-year-old daughter, who “have sustained severe damages and injuries as a result” of their forced participation in NIVA, while her abusive partner has never been charged or prosecuted.

To add insult to injury, Candace consulted a lawyer who told her that her current NIVA identity is not even legal! Moreover, she doesn’t have sole custody/no access, which is necessary for her to obtain a new identity. Consequently, it is possible legally that the abusive father could track Candace down and apply for custody of their child.

Candace has appealed to Members of Parliament, lawyers and police officers. She needs our help. Please visit Holly’s Site for Justice: http://www.fightforjustice.blogspot.com/ and e-mail Holly at hollyhawk30@gmail.com to offer assistance.

After so many years of torment, Candace deserves safety, her old identity, and assurance that she and only she will raise her daughter, not to mention accountability from the government workers and agencies that mistreated her. She should also be advised of her legal rights now if she were to take action against her abuser.

To read a longer version of Candace's story, please visit Margaret Akulia’s site at http://www.akulia.com/OtherStories.html.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

False Confession in JonBenet Ramsey Case?

On Thursday, John Mark Karr, an American school teacher living in Thailand, claimed that he was with JonBenet Ramsey on the night that she was murdered in December of 1996. He confessed to killing her but said that her death was "an accident." 41 year-old Karr is currently in custody and en route back to the United States to be investigated.

There are several problems with his confession:

-- Karr's ex-wife states that he was not in Colorado at the time of JonBenet's death but rather with her in their home in Alabama.

-- Karr said that he drugged JonBenet but the autopsy revealed no evidence of drugs; there was an indication that a stun gun may have been used based on marks left on the six-year-old's body.

-- Karr claims that he had sex with the child -- i.e., raped her -- but there was no semen at the scene of the crime.

It's possible that Karr is delusional and believes that he murdered JonBenet; that he has a perverse obsession with the case; that he is seeking attention; or that he actually did kill her. DNA can tell for certain if someone did NOT commit a murder, whereas it is not 100% accurate in terms of implicating individuals who DID commit a murder. Thus, if Karr is ruled out by
DNA, which has already been taken from him in terms of a mouth swab, we can rest assured that he wasn't involved in JonBenet's death. But if the DNA is positive, it will not be conclusive. His lawyer will no doubt argue that the evidence has been mishandled over a 10-year period.

Much to-do will probably be made of the new assertion that Karr sought a consultation at a sex change clinic in Thailand. This was confirmed by Dr. Thep Vechavisit, a doctor at the clinic, and by a staff person.

It also seems clear that Karr is a pedophile who has been teaching grade school on and off.

As if the devastating assault and murder of their precious, beauty pageant child wasn't enough, John and Patsy Ramsey and their son were the main suspects in the case for many years. Instead of receiving international sympathy like the parents of Adam Walsh and Polly Klass, and being allowed to grieve, the Ramseys were viewed suspiciously, and were forced to defend themselves in print and on public television.

They were frequent guests on the Larry King show and wrote a book called
The Death of Innocence. After I finished reading their book, I was convinced that they were not guilty and I wrote them a letter of support.

Sadly, Patsy passed away earlier this summer, on June 24, of ovarian cancer but she was aware that an imminent arrest was to be made. It's hard to tell if John Mark Karr is the man that we have been looking for, but so far, it doesn't look likely. However, the news has reported that Karr seems to know specific facts about the case that were not released to the media, so he must be checked out.

John Ramsey has urged everyone to reserve judgment and that's precisely what I'll do.

Sigridmac

Letter to President Bush

My friend's husband just wrote this letter to George Bush. Wonder what he'll say in return ;)

Sir.

I was appalled today to hear you claim that Israel had won a victory over Hezbollah. You must be aware how shallow and inflammatory a statement like this is?

There was a cease-fire. No one was victorious in this conflict. A cease-fire is a chance for peace. Do you think your comment is conducive to this goal?

Since you took office, I have seen this country become less safe than it was before. You have used the events of 9/11 in order to further your personal and family agenda, and in doing so you have put the people of the United States at greater risk from terrorism than at any other time in our history.

Your goal of a US dominated Middle East will obviously fuel terrorism and create an environment that you will use to your advantage by creating fear among the citizens of this country.

Under your incompetent administration, the world has become a far less safe place.

I am also very suspicious of the whole spin your administration put on the events of 9/11. Your familys close ties to Saudi Arabia and the Bin Laden family can only make one question the events as related by your administration. Allowing the Bin Laden family to leave the country on 9/11 also make one question where your true loyalties are.

Your refusal to give testimony under oath to the 9/11 commissions was outrageous. Anyone who is telling the truth would not refuse to take a simple oath, which could only improve the credibility of the testimony.

Sir, I truly believe that you and your administration are the greatest threat to this country and to global peace that has ever existed. You have also attempted to undermine the US constitution, and in doing so you have violated one of your greatest responsibilities to this nation and to the world.

You claim to be a man of God, but I can see no evidence in this based on your actions. Your actions seem to be more like what one would expect of an Anti-Christ. Do you really believe that Jesus would condone any of your actions? You are not fooling me, and Im sure you are not fooling most intelligent people of the world.

Your actions and statements regarding the lead up to the Iraq invasion were lies, and I believe you knew them to be lies at the time you made the statements. The blood of thousands of innocent Iraqi people is on your hands. Meanwhile Iraq has become a terrorist training ground, and your actions have given the terrorists a true cause to fight for. Iraq was never a real threat to this country, and Saddam Hussein only existed as a leader because of US support over the past few decades.

As a citizen of this country I am deeply saddened and appalled by all that you have done, and I believe that history will show you as a dangerous and devious president who constantly lied to the people of the world in order to allow the neo-con agenda to drive the nations foreign and domestic policies.

America is now more hated around the globe than ever before. Consequently we will now be the target of extremists and terrorists to a degree never before seen.

This will be your legacy.

Robert Lawrence
Oregon

Friday, July 28, 2006

Change of Venue for Teague Murder?

The newspaper reported today that lawyer for Kevin Davis, the man who has been arrested in the September 2005 slaying of 18-year-old Jennifer Teague of Barrhaven, Ontario, may request a change of venue. Understandably, the lawyer, Michel Bisson, is concerned that pretrial publicity may have already adversely affected his client. Confessions tend to do that.

Bisson is waiting for more information from the Crown before he even considers such an application. He told the Ottawa Citizen that change of venues are rare and infrequently granted, but information that was released by the police at a press conference about Davis's confession may have biased too many people in Ottawa for Davis to receive a fair trial here.

Agreed. Everyone deserves a fair trial. I haven't spent 14 years working for the wrongly convicted for nothing! There are such things as false confessions and we really need more concrete evidence against Davis; however, the police did report earlier that Davis seemed to know things about the murder that were not publicized, and that fact will work against him.

Davis made a brief court appearance via video.

Sigrid Mac

***Update -- July 29. Bisson will definitely file for a change of venue and intimated that Police Chief Vince Bevan was out of line by providing too many details to the public about Kevin Davis's involvement in the Teague murder.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Police Chief Bevan Retires

Ottawa police chief Vince Bevan retired yesterday. He gained notoriety in the nineties when he oversaw the investigation of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, two of Canada's most infamous sexual serial predators and killers.

The Ottawa Sun newspaper quoted Bevan as saying that sometimes all people need is one good break in a murder, but writer Jorge Barrera pointed out that Bevan missed his big break in the Bernardo case. His team failed to find explicit videotapes in Bernardo's house near St. Catherine's, Ontario, that clearly implicated him in the murders of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffey.

As a result of the team missing the tapes, the Crown cut a sweetheart deal with Karla, who has now served her time and, to the dismay and outrage of the public, is out of prison, living somewhere in Qu├ębec.

Bevan may have also missed his cues in the murders of Ardeth Wood and Jennifer Teague in Ottawa. Chris Myers of Sudbury was only arrested in the Wood case when some clever cop in North Bay recognized Myers from the suspect sketch that had been hanging in the walls of various police stations all around the province.

Bevan didn't have to do much work in the Teague case either, although Barrera stated that the search for Jennifer Teague's killer took more than 10 months and cost approximately $400,000. But in the end, the suspect, Kevin Davis, was so overwhelmed with guilt that he became intoxicated on psilocybin, ran into the streets naked, and confessed to the murder.

It can't be easy being the chief of police. The responsibility of that position is daunting to consider, however, it doesn't seem as though Vince Bevan was anywhere near the top of his game during these tragedies. As he passes the torch, I wish the best of luck to his successor.

Sigrid Mac

Sunday, July 16, 2006

91-year-old woman raped in Ottawa

Some crimes are more horrific than others. Last week, a 91-year-old woman in my town of Nepean, Ontario (part of Metropolitan Ottawa) was raped in her own apartment. The building has security and a surveillance camera, but no one saw anyone unusual entering the apartment. However, when the Ottawa Citizen newspaper investigated, they found a back door wide open. So much for security.

Despite the trauma, the woman sounded strong and feisty, and said that she was not afraid to return to the apartment that she had lived in for years.

It is nearly impossible to imagine the mentality of someone who would rape a 91-year-old. Of course, it's hard to fathom that someone would do that to a nine-year-old child and bury her alive, which is what convicted child molester Couey is being tried for right now in the tragic death of Jessica Lunsford.

I've never been a proponent of the death penalty, but stories like these make me wonder.
It is not very reassuring for people like me to know that the perpetrator is still out there. The Baseline Road apartment is probably less than a mile from my house.

Sigrid Macdonald

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ed Teague Offers Forgiveness

Ed Teague, father of 18-year-old Jennifer Teague who went missing from Barrhaven, ON and was found murdered back in September of 2005, told Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun that if he were able to say anything to Kevin Davis, who was recently arrested for the crime, he would say that he has forgiven him. Tough words to relate to from a beautiful, Christian man who has lived with unimaginable pain and uncertainty since last fall.

Teague would also ask Davis , who has confessed to murdering Jennifer and given police details that only the killer could know-- why he did it. Why? It's a question that torments us all, particularly people who knew Jennifer (which doesn't include me), and her family.

Ed said that he found the behavior of some of the bloggers to be incomprehensible when they were speculating that he had killed his own child. Other Internet people seemed to be attention seekers, claiming to have been Jennifer's best friend. Sad and pathetic. We need to take responsibility for our words in virtual space and only say the same thing here that we would say in a room full of 10,000 people.

What I would say now to Ed Teague if I could speak to him is, I'm sorry. I don't understand violence, especially something that seems so arbitrary and random because we don't have the answers as to why Kevin Davis fatally injured your daughter and what his motives were.

I also don't understand the cruelty and unfairness of this life where an 18-year-old can be snuffed out before she had a chance to begin her journey. Why Jennifer? Why now?Ed, I'm glad that you have the religious faith that I lack and I hope that it sustains you and your ex-wife in your darkest moments.

Sigrid Mac

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Neglected Garden

Please check out my newest link called The Neglected Garden. It's about a wonderful book by Alberte Villeneuve about how she survived an abusive marriage. The book was originally written in French under the title Le jardin neglige.

Alberte speaks to many women's groups to help other women come to terms with violence in their lives. WTG!

Sigrid Mac

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kevin Davis Had Always Been a Person of Interest In the Jennifer Teague Murder

Today, journalist Joanne Laucius from the Ottawa Citizen, pointed out similarities in arrests made in the Jennifer Teague case and the Ardeth Wood case. In both instances, the men who were eventually arrested had been on the police list of suspects or "persons of interest" since the beginning of the investigation.

Kevin Davis was interviewed only two days after Jennifer went missing but he claimed to know nothing about her disappearance and said that he had been home that evening.

Laucius wrote: "In both cases, endless hours of investigative time and hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent, only to have the final piece of the investigative puzzle fall into place by what a high school literature teacher might call the deus ex machina -- an unexpected or improbable device that resolves the plot, but leaves observers feeling unsatisfied by the way the loose ends have been tied up."

Fortunately for the police, the community and the Teague family, Davis got high on magic mushrooms earlier this month and was found wandering naked on Fallowfield Road. He was taken to the Queensway Carleton Hospital, according to Police Chief Vince Bevan, after telling several people that he had killed Jennifer Teague. When he recovered from his drug episode, he denied the veracity of the claim. However, he repeated it several days ago, for whatever reason -- speculation is that he was feeling too guilty to carry the secret any longer; however, he's gone for almost a year without spilling the beans. One wonders what prompted him to do so now.

We can only hope that this is a true confession that will provide answers for the family and the town of Barrhaven, which remains traumatized by Jennifer's murder.

Sigrid Mac

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Kevin Davis arrested for murder of Jennifer Teague

24- year-old Kevin Davis of Ottawa was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jennifer Teague. 18-year-old Teague disappeared en route to her house in the late hours of the night during September of 2005. Apparently, Davis has confessed to killing Jennifer several times in the last month or so, starting out one night when he was high on psilocybin and treated for drug-related issues at the Queensway Carleton hospital.

Yesterday, he approached neighbors and asked for help; he even told them to call the police and spoke to a police officer himself about his involvement in the murder, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Davis lived close to the area in Barrhaven where Teague was abducted.

Sigrid Mac

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Al Gore Is Getting Hot!

Last night, I stood in line to see An Inconvenient Truth. My friends and I arrived 40 minutes early, which was a good thing, because every seat in the theater with a capacity of 660 sold out.

Global warming doesn't sound like a fascinating topic but this 98 minute documentary held my attention from start to finish. Previously, Gore was strongly criticized on the campaign trail as being too stiff and humorless. He failed to convey enthusiasm and his warmth didn't shine through when he ran for office, or at least that's what voters said. Frankly, I'm far less interested in a politician's personality and physical appearance -- although I do concede that Gore is a fine looking specimen! -- than I am with his or her POLICIES.

At heart, Al Gore is a scientist and science gets him excited. He was in top form in AIT describing the disastrous effects of toxic emissions, the abundance of carbon dioxide that we spew into the atmosphere, its effect on the ecological system, animal species, and climatic changes such as an increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons and tsunamis. (Think Katrina.)

Gore talked about his older sister who died from lung cancer and his young son who was involved in a serious car accident. Discussing both incidents served to humanize the former Vice President, as did his use of humor and cartoons throughout the film.

Aside from watching projections of Greenland melting, one of the things that scared me most about this movie was the fact that Americans have been given not one but TWO chances to elect Al Gore as president and they failed dismally both times. Instead, they put in two men with strong ties to Saudi Arabia and big oil.

We can all do our little bit for global warming -- use compact fluorescent light bulbs, reduce our air-conditioning or heating systems, drive less but ultimately, the only solution to this problem is political. The United States produces more than 30he world's toxins and they have yet to sign the Kyoto agreement. People -- take your dissatisfaction to the polls (although I have my own paranoid suspicions that the polling stations are no longer reliable! And that's something that needs to be addressed way before 2008).

Find out what you can do at www.climatecrisis.net

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jennifer Teague -- New Photos on Police Web Site

Recently, the Ottawa police posted 24 new photographs of potential witnesses in the Jennifer Teague case. 18-year-old Jennifer Teague disappeared from her home in Barrhaven, Ontario last September. Her body was found about 10 days later and police are still trying to track down her killer.

They have posted new photographs on their web site of people who were in a convenience store on the night that Jennifer disappeared. The police have received 38 calls in response to these new pictures. Let's hope that some new witnesses come forward to shed light on this tragic situation. Her family deserves answers and closure.

If you have ANY info about potential witnesses, please call the Ottawa Police Jennifer Teague tip-line at (613) 236-1222 extension 5477 or contact police by e-mail at infojennifer@ottawapolice.ca.

Sigrid Mac

** Update: By June 1st, 8 of these people have been removed from the list because police have already interviewed them.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Younger Men Pursuing Older Women Online

Lately, there's been a lot of press about the number of predators on Internet web sites, especially My Space.com. According to Andrew Keen, My Space is a gathering for approximately 98 million users, many of whom are in their teens and twenties. Dateline and CNN both ran specials on police officers who pretended to be peers and were able to gain the trust and confidence of many ignorant teens on My Space.

Of course, this is very disturbing and as a member of My Space, I lament the lack of discretion that so many young people use on their web pages. They put their age, their pictures, the name of their town, their sexual preference and post provocative pictures of themselves. They do just about everything except draw a map to their house because they feel secure and think that they're just chatting back-and-forth with their virtual friends. That is not safe Internet behavior; however, the vast majority of people on My Space and the Internet in general are not perverts and are not trying to take advantage of teens. (My Space itself has a policy where it won't allow anyone under the age of 14 to join and those under 14 or 15 must set their profiles to private so that they can only be read by their friends.)

So, freaky pedophile adults are a problem on the Net, even though they're not in the majority BUT little has been said about another unusual, yet far more benign, phenomenon -- that of young men propositioning older women online. I've been on My Space for a couple of months now and on a daily basis, I receive about 5 --10 notes from men, or should I say boys. Some of them are innocuous. Others are off the wall (e.g., I literally can't count the number of marriage proposals that I've had in the last couple of weeks from both men and women! Who are these people who write love letters to total strangers? Is it the online version of the Jerry Springer audience?) Yet others are vulnerable teenage boys telling me that they're dying to lose their virginity to an older woman (I quickly refer them to the local single's group for teens!)

But the e-mails that interest me the most are the flirtations and propositions that I receive from men half my age. They tell me that they're turned on by older women. They think older women are more experienced sexually -- true! -- and that they know what they're doing. (Not necessarily!) They say that girls their age are missing something. (Osteoporosis? Senior discounts at the movies? Orange flavored Metamucil in the cupboard?)

The attention of these young men is very flattering and it forces me to rethink my earlier statements about the way society views couples of different ages. It's always been acceptable for an older, especially wealthy, man to take on a younger wife or mistress but this has not applied to an older woman taking on a younger male lover unless she's Catherine the Great or Demi Moore. In fact, I wrote extensively about this in my book D'Amour Road, where my main female character, 39-year-old Tara Richards, falls in love with a 24-year-old man and is ridiculed for doing so.

Maybe I'll have to eat my words. Things may change if young men are now actively pursuing older women and feeling more confident about it because of the relative anonymity of the Internet. To quote from the song Stacy's Mom by Fountain of Wayne:

"Stacy's Mom has got it goin' on.
She's all I want and I've waited for so long.
Stacy, can't you see, you're just not the girl for me?
I know it might be wrong but I'm in love with Stacy's Mom."

Move over, Stacey, girl -- you can't compete with your mom!

Clearly, these young men who contact me are not alone. There is an acronym that guys use to indicate that they're attracted to their friends' mothers by referring to them as MILFs : Mothers I'd Like to ... (let's be polite here) Fondle? This suggests that a social movement is underway.

Sigrid Mac

Monday, April 10, 2006

Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, reviews D'Amour Road

Lisa Xing, a reporter for Carleton University's newspaper, the Charlatan, wrote this wonderful review of D'Amour Road.

"Sigrid Macdonald makes an astonishing entrance with her sophomore publication, D'amour Road. I've recently found it quite difficult to get through all of my existential philosophy reads and explanations into relativity, so it was refreshing, to say the least, when I picked up the book and couldn't put it down.

Macdonald does an amazing job of setting the background for the action, especially in portraying Tara, a 40 year-old woman going through a mid-life crisis. With no sexual desire for her husband, she channels her frustration to the virile young man working at the local Loeb, Alain.

She feels disconnected from her teenage son and has some serious reservations on her "older woman/motherly" image. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Lisa, disappears suddenly.

Tara's internal monologue and first person narration is entirely believable and realistic. Her bleak worries on her age and desire for Alain is hilarious, infused with sarcastic and almost cynical stream of consciousness that helps the reader identify with her. This makes her the perfect 21st century crisis-wreaked heroine.

The story brings us back to the age-old concept of conflict - man vs. nature, man vs. man and man vs. himself. Well, in this case, woman.

With D'amour Road, Macdonald covers all these bases extensively as Tara falls apart following Lisa's disappearance, fighting waning feelings of self-worth, contempt for others and fear of losing someone she loves.

Throughout the ordeal and daily searches for Lisa, Tara fights to stay together, but her situation at home with Mark, her husband of 15 years doesn't help. Tara describes him in an unattractive, contemptuous way.

In turn, she gets increasingly obsessive with Alain that she makes a point to apply makeup and choose attractive outfits when grocery-shopping.Alain joins the search for Lisa. When this happens, I didn't know whether to think that something between them would happen or not.

Although Tara is emotionally unstable throughout the novel, her narration is oddly reliable and gives a solid foundation for the rest of the plot. I was surprised to see what a compelling character she was and after finishing, I actually felt disappointed to know that she was a fictional character.

After reading this book, centered on Lisa's mysterious disappearance and backed up by some sub-plots, I immediately though of the recent Jennifer Teague case. The Barrhaven teenager was leaving work on Jan. 8 when she disappeared. Another similar case also comes to mind - Ardeth Wood, an Ottawa woman who was murdered two years ago. There seem to be eerie similarities in the cases, and the Wood case is even mentioned in the novel.

Macdonald addresses these issues sensitively but also candidly, raising public awareness while creating fiction that is accessible and entertaining."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

New tips

Ottawa police have received 85 new tips about the Jennifer Teague case since their press conference on Thursday where they released a composite sketch of a potential suspect. Police are now saying that Jennifer's murder was "sexually motivated." If you have any information about Jennifer Teague -- something that you remember or something that you fear may be unimportant -- or think that you recognize the man in the drawing, please call 236-1222, ext. 5477 or e-mail infojennifer@ottawapolice.ca. The investigators need all of our help.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Teague reward may be as high as $100,000

At the press conference this afternoon, police introduced a sketch from a witness who they said just came forward a few weeks ago. The sketch portrays a white man, somewhere between age 18 to 30 with a "thin or medium build." He was "wearing a dark ball cap and dark clothing when he was seen along the Moodie Dr. area," the Ottawa Sun reported.

The newspaper also noted that the person who murdered Jennifer Teague probably acted strangely immediately after her disappearance and the large-scale publicity blitz. Hopefully, the sketch combined with the reward incentive will get neighbors, acquaintances, and employees thinking about anyone who may resemble the photo and might have acted peculiarly right after Jennifer disappeared.

Wendy's Canada have informed the public that they will be putting up a generous $50,000 reward. Police Chief Vince Bevan said he will ask the police services board to double the amount to $100,000.

Sigrid Mac

Teague press conference scheduled for Thursday

Police are planning a press conference today with Jennifer Teague's parents and reps from Wendy's in Barrhaven, ON where she worked. Jennifer had finished her late night shift on September the 9th, 2005 and was walking home sometime around 1:30 am when she disappeared. An off-duty Ottawa police office found her body 10 days later on an NCC trail off Moodie Drive.

Apparently, the police now have a composite sketch, which was assembled by talking to a witness who had not previously told his story along with feedback from Jennifer's friends. There was some talk about a "person of interest." But her friends have been quoted as saying that the sketch is vague.

Police found quite a bit of evidence at the scene of the crime, which has been tested at the forensics lab in Toronto. But they're not sure they have all of the items Jennifer Teague had with her that night -- including her Wendy's uniform.

Today's Ottawa Citizen stated: "Police believe she knew the person, or persons, who picked her up as she made her way home along Jockvale Road, although they cannot be certain she went willingly.

"Mr. Teague also thinks his daughter knew her killer.

'I believe someone who knew Jennifer is definitely involved in this,' Mr. Teague said days after his daughter went missing. 'She would never approach a car with strangers.'"

The Ottawa Sun said that they think that Wendy's Canada will offer a reward -- "believed to be $50,000" -- to entice someone to come forth with pertinent information.

Hope we're getting one step closer to solving this tragic mystery. If you have *any* news about the case, please call the Ottawa police at (613) 236-1222.

Thanks. Sigrid Mac

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

A grateful Jill Carroll returned to Boston today after leaving Germany on Saturday. She was finally reunited with her parents and her twin sister after spending 82 days in captivity in the hands of Iraqi terrorists.

Carroll strongly denied comments that she had made while being held prisoner and asserted that she had been "repeatedly threatened," according to Glen Johnson of the Associated Press.

Jill Carroll was pleased to see a copy of the Christian Science Monitor on her airplane; the newspaper will be covering her story in greater detail later on but would like to give Jill some time right now to regroup and appreciate her freedom and her family.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Welcome Home to Jill Carroll!

When Elizabeth Smart was discovered after her lengthy disappearance in Utah, it was a miracle. The public was ecstatic. Elizabeth had beat the odds.

That's exactly the way I felt this morning when I discovered that Jill Carroll, the 28-year-old freelance writer on assignment for The Christian Science Monitor, had been freed by her captors. Just last night or the night before, I had seen her twin sister on CNN, pleading in a calm tone for her sisters' release. I thought, how terrible and how pointless. She will never return.

But I was wrong! Carroll, who was seized in Baghdad on January the seventh in a violent ambush that killed her translator, was dropped off near the Iraqi Islamic Party Office, according to Yahoo News. She went inside and the people contacted American officials.

"I was treated well, but I don't know why I was kidnapped," Carroll said in a short interview on Iraqi TV. Few details about the kidnapping have been released but we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that she's back.

Sigrid Mac

P.S. It's important to keep in mind that the most likely kidnap victims in
Iraq are Iraqis "with an average of 10 to 20 taken hostage every day for nearly three years, a U.S. official in Baghdad said Thursday." (source - Associated Press.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lydia Cornell

Please visit my latest link to the official web site of Lydia Cornell. Lydia is an award-winning comedian, writer and actress. She starred as Sara, Ted Knight's daughter and the granddaughter of Audrey Meadows, in Too Close For Comfort , a top rated ABC series that has been in worldwide syndication for years. She performs her own material in theaters and did a one-woman show at Century City Playhouse with a feminist bent. She has also written Venus Conspiracy for theatrical release in 2004. Other projects include Clash of the Wills, Falling Up and Recovering Blonde.

Moreover, Lydia is a dedicated political activist. She runs a fascinating and controversial blog where she is not afraid to state unpopular opinions about the war in Iraq and American foreign policy. Check her out in my link section right below Laci Peterson.

Sigrid Mac