Howie Defranco: New Beginnings

Hello everyone, it’s me Howie Defranco and we are just a few days from the New Year as I am writing this, a time of new beginning so to speak.  I chose to write this because I feel like we all need a little hope, 2016 was a heart wrenching, head smashing shamble of a year for the most part at least as so many people say.  I don’t know I just heard that Carrie Fisher passed away over the holidays, as did her mother Debbie Reynolds literally from a broken heart, as did George Michael and right now I know I need something to look forward to.  First I’d just like to say that my deepest condolences go out to the families and fans of of everyone who was lost this year and every victim of persecution and unlawful action. There was a lot this year and I seen a number of posts about the good in 2016 but let’s talk about what’s to come.

As such though here comes 2017 a year for a fresh start, yes I know that a lot of people say that and most people will say it’s just another day but I strongly disagree.  There are so many things that come with the start of a new year from new people, to new opportunities to new adventures good and bad their just as important as one another as they shape who we are.  It’s the next chapter in our lives, the new part of the story do not dread it despite what you may be expecting to come next year.  It’s true though you don’t just wake the morning of January first and it’s like someone hit the reset button on the game you call life.  Wish it were sometimes I admit but no this isn’t something you are just given.

We all know that life doesn’t work that way, could you imagine how much easier everything would be if it did.  No though it gives you an opportunity that it is your job to take advantage of and that opportunity is in simplest word hope.  Hope is a lot of things, but everything from no beginnings, to taking a chance, to a rebellion is built on hope, the hope that things will change.  Some of you may laugh at the idea of hope I have before, given up on it completely until I was told hope is a necessity for change for the better.  Change is one of the biggest constants in the universe, whether it be the weather everyday, new fads every year, or even ourselves, no one person stays the same from birth to death.

As such changes are coming with this new year, for one thing there is a new president of the united states and whether you approve of him or not, that comes with a bit of hope.  It could be hope that he doesn’t put the country in worse shape or hope that he keeps his word and makes it great again.  In August all of Canada will have the chance to view a solar eclipse and I’m personally quite excited to see what this Canada Day brings as we will be 150 this year.  I don’t know I think we just all need some hope this year between the events of this year Paris, Allepo, Trump’s victory, rising racial tensions in the states, legends we have lost.  So everyone just and not to sound corny go out there take the opportunities that come your way make 2017 your year!

Marie Talks: Traditions

Most people have things that every year they do, and certain ways. The ones I am talking about specifically in this blog are our winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa just to name a few of the best known ones. There are many others as well, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves that once in a while, especially when we’re excited for our holidays and want to spread our cheer. Wanting to celebrate your holiday and spreading cheer is a great thing and should not be stifled, and in a perfect world you would see decorations for all holidays and everyone wishing everyone a good holiday by holiday they celebrate. However when you look around it looks a lot like Christmas, and not a lot like we’re celebrating any other holidays. That is why as a society we are wishing each other a happy holiday instead of calling out just one. Changing our greeting is not to shove Christmas back up the chimney along with Santa, but instead to allow other holidays to be celebrated and acknowledged.

Christmas is only a small time period of the winter seasons but it seems to be everywhere even before Halloween is over. So while some of us are preparing for Christmas many other celebrations are taking place. Now to many people who celebrate Christmas it’s a very exciting time of year full of songs, decorating, loved ones, and cheer; but that is also the case for many others gearing up for their holiday. I remember the first time I was told I should not be wishing people a Merry Christmas but instead a Happy Holidays, I was young and annoyed as I wanted to share my cheer with everyone. Then I wanted to hear more then just the instrumental versions of my favourite Christmas songs, as it felt bare and dreary without them. Over the years though I have learnt, realized and accepted that although I did not see my holiday as overshadowing others that it was. I started noticing that the last time I had heard about Hanukkah I was probably still in elementary school and since then it had only been mentioned as one of the other holidays surrounding Christmas, and that upset me. 

To me Christmas time was my favourite because of the cheer and togetherness I felt within my community, and that struck home a while back. I love Christmas due to the cheer it brings me, not just because it’s Christmas but because so many people are buzzing in anticipation of their celebrations and traditions. Regardless of what someone is celebrating sharing the cheer is better then not having it there at all.

I start wishing everyone I meet a Happy Holidays as soon as December 15th passes. I do slip up and in my excitement say Merry Christmas, but I never mean it to take away from someone’s celebration, I say it out of habit of what I was raised being taught to say. To me wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays means to hope they are filled with cheer, love, and surrounded by loved ones regardless of what they may be doing. Saying Happy Holidays is not taking away my celebration, it’s allowing more people to be included in the cheer I have felt every December which makes it even better

Hope everyone has a safe and cheerful winter and a Happy Holidays.

Marie Olsson 

Howie: The Measure of a Person

Hi everyone it’s Howie Defranco and today were going to talk about something very not important to me but important to my history, and a few things the world forgets sometimes.  First thing I’m going to say is that the world is going to think and say whatever it wants to about you, sadly people do not all think the same about most issues.  So they’re going to judge you a lot of people will judge you on everything about you, your past, your body, your skin, your intelligence, everything about you the world and a lot of its people think they have a right to judge.  They don’t see what the true measure of a person really is often they look at your mistake, or something they think is and that’s it their mind is made up from that moment.  We live in a world wrought with this kind of mentality which has improved do not mistake that, but people still judge.  Some think it is fun, they gossip and laugh, some no it’s cruel and use it to hurt and some just make a joke not realizing what they said.

So now I’m going to tell you a bit of a story, so grab some popcorn and get a drink.  I am the son of a guy who I could never call a man, in fact I call him sperm donor.  I’ve never met him that I can remember and in fact he left my mother two weeks before I was born.  He met me though, my mom called him and said your son was born you should at least come meet him, he basically showed up and said, ok I met him anything else.  I wasn’t there so I don’t know the exact wording and I was 18 when my mother finally told me that part that he had met me.  So her words were foggy to me as well.  I’m telling you this because I judge myself for being his son a lot, my mother reminds me a lot how I look like him or even act like him in the moments when my mood is not at it’s best.  I hate my father for leaving I do not because I wish he’d stayed even slightly but because I’m afraid I might turn into him someday.  I’ve worked everyday of my life to disprove that and yet I’m still judged by people even people I’m closest too.

When I say I’ve worked I mean I’m there as much as I can be for everyone in my life, I worked hard in school up until I lost my drive for it and everyday I put 100% into my job.  These things people judge me for, in high school, I never missed an assignment up until grade 12 and had straight A’s but people called me lazy because they never saw me doing any work, for that matter one person called me out as a cheat and that had to be disproved, which it was.  I’ve probably in the last few years spent more money and time with my friends than I ever thought I would but I’ve had friends who say it’s not enough, they told me I’m not there for them because of the one time I would be unable to go see them or join them or help them.  One of them I gave 300$ to so he could go see his girlfriend in the states a week later I chose not to join him in a dangerous situation he told me it was fine, not to go to and said I do not do enough for him because of it.  I was a supervisor for all of 4 months before I left my old job and people I had worked with for years complained to other management for how I spoke to them after I was promoted.  Apparently saying, “hey I have this person to cover you can you please go do your cleaning duty?” is rude and saying thank you after they were done didn’t help.  People judge a person daily from something as simple as thinking they will respond to something in a certain way, or they can have pre-conceived assumptions about a person or any number of things.

If you want to measure yourself, on how good or strong of a person you are you have to ignore other people’s and even your own judgments and it is hard, because there’s 7 billion other people in this world.  We still need friends, family, someone to love, to hold, to kiss, to miss, and because of this we do worry about what other people think. We let it get to us and dig it’s way into our brains.  Then we go out into the world with our masks on pretending everything is alright.  Be who you want to be not what people expect you to be and you might find that you still find all of what you want, it’s not a guarantee but why not risk it all to get it all.  The measure of a person is who they chose to be and they’re actions to be that person not what everyone thinks.


Howie on The Death Penalty

Hey Blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today’s topic is the death penalty. Let me start by saying that although I have some very strong views on some types of criminals, I think the death penalty is an inhumane answer to the problem. Mind you in Canada it is already abolished, but it still goes on in parts of the world including are neighbours down south. Which oddly enough in recent years polls say the amount of people in both countries is very close, scary thought if they ever tried to reintroduce it.
Could you please now close your eyes for a minute and imagine a dark room, no windows barely any light that you’ve been in for years. There’s a person there with you a religious figure giving you your last conversation, your then taken away to another room. A room where your put on an ice cold metallic table. Their are men strapping you down to this table, your legs, your wrists and one on your forehead. You feel something brushing against the skin of your arm, you start to cry as you know it’s coming, cry because your innocent, you know you are but the world thinks you committed an atrocity. You’ll never get to see your family again, or see the light of day, that’s when you feel the prick and drift. Drift into endless slumber…

That is the “humane” way of caring out the sentence assuming that nothing goes wrong, the man with the needle, probably not a nurse or a doctor as most medical professionals refuse to take part. Hopefully he has actually gotten the vein. That’s right ladies and gents most executions like this aren’t carried out by some with a medical degree or much training. This is far from the worst practices for carrying out capital punishment, shooting, hanging, electrocutions, they all still happen not necessarily in the states mind you but it’s the 21st century and we’re still here.  Still living with the concept of eye for an eye. What if the “criminal” is innocent, and you’ve just taken a life for no reason, or they just made a mistake? Is it fair they pay the ultimate price? Yes ok their are a lot of crimes that are unforgivable, sexual assault, murder, pedophillia , terrorism but hey lets just break our own laws and kill them back. Yes it might be legal but it’s a giant double standard smacking the world in the face, if they don’t have the right to take lives, hurt lives, attack the world, what right do we have to take their life?

The answer is simple we do not as race have the right to take urine and call it grandma’s peach iced tea. Criminals should pay their time and be rehabilitated or continue to be confined, because we can’t kill them all. Sure it starts with capital punishment for the big crimes, then hey why don’t we do it for all crime and end it, then we’re living in some 1984 and Gattaca merged world were people are tortured for even the slightest misstep and people are trying to make perfect humans.  I may have gone quite far with that train of thought but the point is where is the line, when does it end. We stoop to their level and were no better than the criminals and terrorists whose lives were taking. Can anyone say differently? Can anyone really say there’s a difference between a law that contradicts another law but is somehow ok and that law it contradicts?

Lynn Talks about Communication

I’ll be the first to admit that communication is one of the hardest things to do during a hard time or just in general. Trust me, I’m a frequent offender of cutting myself off from people. At the same time though, it’s also one of the most important things to maintain. Especially during a hard time. Staying alone may seem easiest and best, but it often leads to a whirlpool of confusion and negativity for everyone involved.

Now I’m not saying that alone time isn’t allowed, not at all. Being alone at times can certainly be a valid solution if it works for you. Just remember that if you’re going to “go dark in the field” as it were, just give your friends, family, and everyone else a warning before you do so. If you’re not comfortable talking about the issue at hand or just most interaction in general, you have every right to say so, even if you’re feeling you’re being pressured into it.

Keeping silent about it forever isn’t a good solution, though. You’re free to talk about it whenever you feel comfortable, just make sure you actually talk about it with someone. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a friend or family member, maybe look into talking to a counselor or possibly a therapist. If money’s an issue, try looking up “help hotlines” on Google. There’ll always be someone to talk to whenever you’re ready.

Madison Taylor, Communicating with you

Ok lets start this blog off with something familiar.
Communication: The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech,signals, writing, or behavior.
definition was found on
In almost all my blogs you hear something on communication. I feel that it’s one of the most important things in the world. it can help strengthen a relationship, it can build or break a country, it can help create things, communication can do so many things. Communication happens everyday, there is no avoiding it i’m communicating with you right now. There’s not really much to say on communication besides how important it is to watch what we all say and how it can effect someone else. Saying the wrong thing can sometimes cause a riple affect or as some may say bad karma. I was always taught that what goes around comes around, so if you show good social skills you will get a positive feed back. there are different situations where you need good communication skills such as: School, work, relationships and online.
School is a big one and I wanted to start off with it because it’s where we all first learn how to use our communication skills. In class say you got your teacher, the class clown, the class bully and your friends, and learning how you communicate with the different personalities and situations determines the out come. Say as an example a new kid comes into class, if you have positive communication/social skills there a good chance you may make a new friend, but if you show bad communication skills where you’re rude and mean to the other student, you may not be surprised by a negative come back. Funnily enough same goes for work except you get to learn to deal and understand what to do in certain situations.
Relationships, you always hear me say communication is the number one thing you need in a relationship of any kind. With communication comes trust, loyalty, comfort, compassion and so much more. It also brings a bond between you and who ever you’re communicating with, everyone should have at leasest one person they can talk to about anything and can trust them with their heart and soul. That shows good communication in that relationship and that can be anyone from your mom to your best friend to a boyfriend/girlfriend to a neighbour/co-worker. That doesn’t mean once you got them you got them and stop, to keep a strong relationship healthy there always has to be a constant flow of communication. Also the communication can’t only be one sided there has to be equal part through everyone involved
Now for online. Online is always tricky because like texting you don’t always know how the other person may read it. You have to be very careful about the way you write things through text, because you can’t hear sarcasm on a piece of paper/computer screen. for an example you could say “omg shut up” and there are two ways someone can take this 1) you’re excited 2) your being serious and you want them to be quiet. No matter what you can’t guarantee what the other person will think. so being careful with the way you phrase things is very important.

Marie Talks: Why She’s Not a Feminist

This week’s topic is feminism, which is a great thing, however I am an equalist. I believe regardless of race, sex, culture, intellect, disabilities, orientation, social status, or beliefs etc, that everyone should have equal rights, privileges and opportunities in social and work environments.

I used to refer to myself as a feminist, as I was huge on equal rights for men and women. However in today’s society equal rights for men and women still leaves a lot of inequality for many others. Where equal rights for men and women is a good start, as a society we also need to work on the rights and our treatment towards those who don’t fit into the ‘standard’ two genders. We need equality for people in the transgendered, gender fluid and Intersex communities just to name a few.

I believe that not only do we need a term that includes more then just females, we need to focus on all humans having equal rights. I find equality better fits my beliefs than feminism does. I have nothing against those who identify as feminists or what they stand for. I respect feminists and what they stand for and applaud what they are working to achieve. It is solely a personal preference that I believe equalism is a better cause to fight towards.

Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Equalism: Any of several forms of egalitarianism (advocacy of equality) concerned with establishing sexual, racial, class or other equality.



Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx


Madison Talks About The Difference between Feminism and Equality

To be totally honest I do not really know how to write this blog on feminism, because I’m not a feminist. I do not fully agree with what feminism stands for now, I did in the beginning when they were trying to promote female equality; but now to me it feels like they are doing more male bashing and giving females more power over males. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not too clear on what feminism is anymore. I’m a equalist , I’m more for equality for both males and females; but yet I still like being treated like the female I am.  Yes I know that may sound wrong but I love when my fiancé hold’s the door open for me or pays for our date. The typical stuff that males do, yes I understand that female’s can do it too, but I don’t.  That’s something that only happens in my relationship and I don’t expect people to do it too because that’s the way I want it.

When it comes to equality I don’t think my partner should have to bring home all the money and pay all the bills, I enjoy going to work and having money that is mine. My fiancé and I have split the big bills up, such as he pays for the car and I pay the rent. Same with house cleaning, mind you I’m not really good at it but hey who’s judging. I maintain the living room and bathroom he has the kitchen and the bed rooms. It’s all a part of what he can do, I can do and what I can do, he can do. There needs to be that healthy balance between the two or nothing would get done. I lived in a house hold where my father would make us wait until our mother came home from work to feed us dinner, and sometimes she was off at midnight, so we were waiting a while but in his mind it was the women’s job. In my house it’s whoever is there feeds the kids, funny thing is my fiancé is a better cook then I am. Also I heard this all the time when my mom would ask my dad if he could help with the kids, and my dad would tell her that it was her job. You see that a lot going back in our history where the male brought in the income and the female did everything else. That though is  also how he was raised, he is a lot better now, my mother talked some sense into him finally.

​Yes I know people are going to say that there is no difference between equality and feminism but there is. I’ll give you the definition I got off of

Feminism: an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

Equality: the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.

The biggest difference is that equality fights for both male and female’s rights rather than just females. Yes I believe there should be female doctors but why can’t there be a male nurse, or yes there can be a female gardener but not a male house cleaner. Male’s need just as much support as females do and that’s why I’m on the side of equality. Now if you’re a feminist, keep fighting but also remember males do need help too sometimes, they are just too stubborn to ask for it sometimes.

I hope you guys liked my blog. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions or comments. I love hearing from you guys.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
-By Audrey Hepburn

-Madison Taylor

Howie, A Male View of Feminism

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today we’re going to talk all about feminism. Let me be clear I’m an equalist (yes autocorrect that is a word), in that sense therefore I believe in a version of feminism for as I see it there are 2 versions. The first being the one I believe in being the original which was about the genders being equal in every sense. The second version which has formed only recently, is less about equality and women’s rights and more about hate towards the opposite gender. Turning a once strong word into what feels like a form of sexism, for those of you who disagree with that, I ask you to read keep reading until the end.

It just feels like lately feminism has become a platform for hate towards men, and about putting women’s rights above men. Now the acts that show this range from, the National organization for Women and other groups standing against shared parenting for divorced families to the hashtag #killallmen. I’m a man and I like to think I’ve done right by the women in my life, I don’t really appreciate hearing that even exists. Despite the fact the basis of feminism groups is equality, groups that preach it actively work to undermine or exclude the rights and stories of men. Men can be raped too, men can be good single parents, men can be discriminated against, we’re people too.

Feminism, true feminism was a good thing, it was based on the idea of evening the scales so that everyone was equal not so woman could become better then men. The fight for the right to vote, Norma Rae’s fight for worker’s rights, and modern stuff like free the five or free the nipple are good examples of what good feminism can do. As in this day and age, the right to equality is an ongoing battle for all genders and these are little things that are just trying to help women be free. Which is completely the right thing but the part that’s gone extreme, that’s made the Internet, laugh at feminism is not real feminism.

To all those of you who think feminism is about man hating your wrong, but also to those thinking that feminism in its current state is good, well you’re wrong too. If feminist groups were to renounce some of their actions and remove some of the hate maybe it could be something noble again. For now though I don’t appreciate someone who puts hate into this world under the guise of equality. Today there are no longer just two genders at least in my mind, so first off we need to stop acting like their is and second we need to accept and work with them. These so called feminists don’t seem to respect that ideal.