Friday, February 12, 2016




I am having a terrible week due to another bout of kidney stones. For the second time in my life, the pain required hospitalization.
Drawing of the urinary tract with labels to the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Insets show a cross section of the kidney with labels to the kidney, stones, and ureter and a cross section of the bladder with labels to the ureters, stones, bladder, and urethra.

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney when substances that are normally found in the urine become highly concentrated. A stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. Kidney stones vary in size. A small stone may pass on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger stone may get stuck along the urinary tract and can block the flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding.

Drawing of three kidney stones of various shapes. The stones are labeled golf ball–sized and brown, small and smooth, and jagged and yellow.Kidney stones can form when substances in the urine—such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus—become highly concentrated. Certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible, but scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible.

Earlier this month I started feeling a nagging pain in my left flank. It's stayed fairly consistent over the past few weeks, sometimes worse, sometimes not there at all. 

On Tuesday night the pain extended down to my testicles. We went to hospital at midnight in agony as I had been dealing with this pain for a few hours and couldn't take it anymore.

For the most part, the rest of the week has been a write off.  The pain has not weakened much and the darn anti-inflammatories make me too drowsy to accomplish much in terms of writing or working.  I have a week of medications and heavy drinking ahead in the hopes it will flush the stone out on its own accord. 

In the past, I have not had to opt for surgery or a stint, but this one has me concerned.  The wait time to see a Urologist is over two months. 

The cost of hospitalization, medication and lost work due to these buggers was an estimated $ 10 billion last year in the United States.


The potential impact of cuts to the provinces primary and secondary education system has been garnering a lot of attention this week. One of my volunteer roles is President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils. 

I might have mentioned in a previous post that the organization was asked by the Minister of Education to bring forth suggestions for cost savings.  Frankly, the front lines have all ready cut to the bone. I do not see room for "efficiencies" at the school level. I am certainly not going to suggest increasing ratios (again), closing schools, cutting administration or slashing more programs. That is not my role.

I have said in the past that savings will have to come from the department and at the board level but one can only believe if there were savings to be found there that they would have been found before teachers and programs were cut over the past few years.

On Thursday, I participated in a lengthy interview on the challenges facing education with the CBC Central Morning show. Host Leigh Ann Power explored a number of the issues in the context of the current fiscal crisis.

Between that interview and the comment section on the CBC Newfoundland Website story from today, the issues and responses make for some interesting considerations.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I had never heard of scarred, wise-cracking anti-hero Deadpool until my youngest son became fascinated with the "merc with a mouth" a few years back.

Deadpool becomes the latest hero to be lifted out of the comic books into the Marvel shared movie/tv universe. specifically the X-Men Universe.

Deadpool was created in the '90s — an era when comic books were bent on pushing the limits of violence, sex, and cynicism.

I might have been able to dampen his enthusiasm for this crackpot if not for my buddy John who was all impressed with Conor's choice of favourite superhero. John is cool, he likes Deadpool. The discussions began as did the comic reading and now a movie. 

The movie faced budget challenges and was almost forgotten on the cutting room floor but fans kept up the pressure.  

Six and a half years years later, fans get to watch a hard R-rated superhero debut in theatres tonight.

Ryan Reynolds stars in what is being billed as the funniest superhero movie ever. It is expected to be an instant cult classic. 

O my nerves. 

What am I getting myself into.


Newfoundland and Labrador embraced a full-inclusion model of education in 2009. 

All students, of all learning capabilities, are taught in in the same classroom.

Every day we hear stories about the impacts of underfunding and under resourcing the program.

Please read this story from the Go Team Kate Blog which speaks to the chaos faced by students, teachers and assistants in a resource starved full-inclusion setting.

Inclusion is more than just about putting children with needs in a classroom with their peers.

Is it any wonder teachers are at the breaking point