“Any race except Caucasian” CBC Job posting: Reported For Twitter.

A curious new aspect to my job has emerged; stories that are not necessarily local to our city, and may not be on our nightly newscast, or on our website, end up running their course instead on social media.  This means increasingly,  I report news or stories to my Twitter followers, without it going out over our traditional broadcast media.

Case in point, Tuesday;  I saw a Tweet about a “racist” CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Television job posting asking for  “Any race except Caucasian” to apply.

Original Job Posting, before it was altered to remove racial reference.
Original Job Posting, before it was altered to remove racial reference.

Having worked at the CBC, I’m well aware of its diversity policies.  But I was a bit surprised they’d be so… blatant in a job posting/casting call for a new Kids TV host. Curious, I went to look at it immiediately. But before Tweeting about it,  I first wanted to make sure the post was legit.  I did a few checks; looked up the casting agency that was handling the job posting and auditions,  “Larissa Mair Casting”,  and did some basic verification on them.  It’s always good to make sure these things aren’t hoaxes before re-tweeting and weighing in.

Seeking further verification, I called the business number, and was surprised when Larissa Mair herself  answered the phone. Before I could even get a question out, she told me, You’re calling about that posting… It’s a terrible terrible mistake”.   As I was on the phone with her, someone across the newsroom hollered that the original posting had just been changed to remove the racial reference.

Knowing this story didn’t really have a Calgary angle, it was clear we probably wouldn’t be putting it on TV tonight (that would be left to our National news partners).  But still I was curious and tweeted about the posting.   There was immiediate and visceral response.  At the time, I also screen-grabbed the original posting, which was still up on my computer  in its unaltered form.  (Thank goodness I hardly ever close an internet tab until the end of the day!)

I tweeted the posting right away, and again moments later that the posting had been altered.  More fury from Twitter.

I asked Larissa about how this criteria had come to be in a CBC (government-funded for those of you outside Canada)  job posting.  Here’s what I Tweeted as we talked:


JUST IN Larissa Mair tells me “this is an error on my behalf”. “I want to be just sick right now.” This was “innocent error, no ill intent”


Larissa Mair tells me by phone she’s horrified about what she calls a “mistake” in CBC kids host job post that only non-whites need apply.


Casting agent taking full responsibility for “mistake”.


Casting agent Larissa Mair says “Any race except caucasian” line in CBC job post was “mistake”. She can’t explain to me just HOW it happened.

Immiediately I got a tweet back from someone in the industry telling me he had e-mailled to ask about that “Any race except Caucasian” line in the CBC posting earlier today, and was disappointed with what he heard.  He sent me his e-mail:

On 2013-04-29, at 3:19 PM, Joseph morris wrote:
Hello Larissa,

I am curious to know why your recent ad on craigslist excludes an entire race.
On 2013-04-29, at 3:24 PM, Larissa Mair wrote:
The only race is Caucasian.  The show has been ongoing for years and this is another role they want to cast.

I’m the casting director and this has been requested from the production.
If you have further concerns, why don’t you give me a call.
Since you’re a producer, I’m sure when producing something for a show, you’re seeking something specific.

e-mail from Tweep regarding his complaint about the original posting.
e-mail from Tweep regarding his complaint about the original posting.

I contacted the casting agent again to ask about this letter, and why she told the writer this had been “requested from the production”. She remembered it, and provided this explanation:

“Absolutely, It was a complete mistake on my part.  In the casting profession we are often asked to find specific types for different roles. In this particular case we were asked to seek a cast of diversity. We mistakenly took that to mean that the production was not seeking Caucasian actors. This was a mistake that was made entirely by the casting company and not the broadcasters, who are seeking actors of all ethnicities for this role. We deeply apologize for our error and anyone we may have offended.”

So in very short order after the posting was first brought up on Twitter, we had outrage, explanation, acceptance of responsibility, an apology, and more outrage.  Also interesting – Twitter users are tweeting the original posting far more than my follow-up tweets with the  explanation/admission/apology.

So what’s the CBC saying about all this?  Nothing.  Requests for comment or an explanation, or an answer about what exactly was asked of the casting company have not been returned.


Thoughts on this story?  Does the casting agent’s explanation satisfy you? What does the CBC’s silence say to you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Gordy: The other half of the Dynamic Duo leaves us

Originally Written January 9th, 2012 for Facebook.

Its been a sad day in our house.  Very suddenly, Gordy has decided he misses his best buddy and has gone to be with Webby.

He’d been battling what we thought was a cold, but it was quickly affecting his ability to breathe, and the vet now thinks he must have had some kind of fast growing cancer.  After worsening over the weekend, we had to put him down very unexpectedly this morning.

Gordy was a unique kitty to say the least.  Talkative, and demanding,  but loving and a real big suck for love and affection.  No one who was at our house near mealtime ever wondered where we kept the cat food, because Gordo would lead you right to it.

That was a trait Gordy had from the moment he showed up on mom and dad’s doorstep.  Truly half-starved then, and so skinny I could put my thumb and forefinger around his waist, Gordy was clearly lost, hungry, and fragile, but he was easily the most affectionate cat I’d ever seen.  As soon as I started scratching him, he rolled over and let me scratch his belly, then eagerly ate up some cat food I borrowed from a neighbour.  He never, never lost that ravenous hunger, no matter how much food was in his dish.

Gordy came home right away to meet Weber, and while that first day there was a lot of hissing on either side of a door, it gradually evolved to tapping paws underneath it, then sideways looks across the room.  But pretty quickly, he and Webby bonded, and would fight over catnip mice, spar each other, then curl up side by side to sleep.

Where Webby liked to just bask in the sunshine outside, Gordy was a hunter.  More than a few times, he’d drop a mouse on the doormat, or snag a small bird for us.  While Weber was a relaxed cat, Gordy liked to scrap and play and would chase Webby around the house in circles until Web would pop him a good one to let him know he’d had enough.

Gordy had a knack for waking us up each day.  He was always the one mewling outside our bedroom door as soon as anyone so much as opened an eye.   How he knew we were awake was something that Roger eventually found out; he’d sit outside the bedroom door at around the time we’d wake up, and listen.  When he heard any movement, he’d let out a loud “meow” and then run laps around the main floor, stopping to shout at the closed door on each lap, until he got so annoying we had to get up to feed him. It would go on for so long, we named it the “Gordy 500”.

And if we didn’t get up fast enough, well, Gord was the one who could help himself.  Loaves of bread, chips, bags of cookies, a dish of butter, whole tomatoes, leftover grease.  You name it, if it was left out, Gord would shred its protective package and feast, leaving plenty, of course, to share with Weber, who was frequently the brains of these covert operations.

I hope there’s big bowls of tuna and tomatoes wherever Gordy is now, and I really hope Webby is with him, and that they’re spending tonight curled up together in a big soft basket, in front of a big sunny window, or a warm fire. Most of all, I’m glad he didn’t have to be without his best buddy for too long.

Weber: Goodbye to the Cat that helped make me an adult

Originally written for Facebook  in summer 2011.  Weber passed away later that year.

Most of you who know me, also have had  the pleasure of meeting and also being adopted as a friend by my bossy bundle of tabby, Weber.  I’ve had Webby as long as I’ve been an adult out on my own.  After 14 years of companionship, comfort, unconditional friendship and love, Weber’s nearing the end of our relationship. Despite being very healthy, happy, and blissfully unaware–and still the bossiest buddy in the house– Weber’s developed an incurable feline cancer and won’t be with us much longer.

When you’ve had a pet for 14 years, you develop a symbiotic bond, as any pet lover will understand.  When I want to sleep, Webby wants to perch on my chest.  DIRECTLY on my chest, under my chin. When I try to sleep in, Webber will stalk my bed, pawing small objects like eyeglasses off the bedside table and onto the floor until I get up and provide breakfast.  When I’m trying to rush to work, he’s figure-eighting his way though my legs, hoping for a brief show of affection. When I’m down, he tries to boost me up.  And when I’m happy, he cuddles in and adds his motorized purr to my bliss.

Weber and his brother Gordy are a dynamic duo.  Gordy is the brawn, Web is the brains. They’ve developed a keen dynamic over the years that allows Weber to do things like  sniff out wherever we’re keeping the food, and use his little fuzzy paws and jelly toes to pry open doors, drawers and closets to access the stash.  That’s when Gordy comes in.  The only one with claws, Gordy’s job is to shed any plastic harnessing the goods, and dump a feast fit for a feline onto the floor.  I can’t tell you how many times they’ve bested me this way and gotten a good feed well after breakfast. Or dinner.  Or both.

Once when one of our neighbours here in Calgary agreed to cat-sit and feed The Buddies, she experienced firsthand the mastery and kitty-cunning of my loveable pals.

She came in one morning to find a wall of the kitchen almost entirely covered with brown spatter. A burner was on full blast, there was the smell of smoke in the air, and a large dent in the wall behind the stove. Baffled, she thought someone might have broken in and trashed our place.  She shut off the burner, cleaned up as best she could, fed the cats and left.  She only barely gave thought to the fact the cats didn’t seem hungry that morning.

When we got back home, we were able to do a bit of CSI.  In this case Cat Scene Investigation:  We think one of the two had knocked a full, unopened can of cat food off the fridge, which sits beside the stove.  On the way, it bounced off the stove burner knob, turning it on HIGH.  Coincidentally (we’ll never know, WAS it coincidental?) the can rolled right onto the burner, where it must have cooked to such a heat, it  rocketed a gouge in the wall and  blasted the can right open, spraying much of the kitchen in hot and tendr vittles.   With a warm meal at the ready, breakfast was served. The scorched paper on the can we found later seems to confirm our investigations.  How they pulled this off, I have NO idea.  But needless to say, any time we leave home for a few days, the stove burner knobs are removed. (Read all about it and see photos here:https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=40760336727)

Webby and Gordy have developed the kind of bond I never imagined when I foisted them on each other 14 years ago in London Ontario.  Initially they fought and hissed.  Today they sleep together, intertwined in a yin-yang ball of kitty that’s soothing to see.  What breaks my heart almost as much as losing MY best pal, is knowing Gordy’s going to have to adjust to life on HIS own too.  I wish I could predict how he’ll react, or protect him from it.  For now, all I can do is let them spend as much time together as possible.

I can’t count the number of ways both Gordy and Webber have made my life better.  They’ve been there to greet me at the door when I get home.  For years when I lived in Toronto, Webby was known in my neighbourhood as the cat who  followed me on nightly walks around the block, mewling and howling if he fell too far behind. I always felt a bit like the pied piper, but it gave the neighbours a laugh, and that felt good too.

When I ever I’m down Web will push his way up onto my lap and begin to knead; a soothing behaviour cats learn as kittens when they take milk from their mothers.  He had a knack of knowing just when I need to be soothed too.

Whenever I’ve been sick, Webby has known.  Pushing his way into the bedroom to take up nursing and triage duties from the bedspread.  Whenever I’ve been down, he’ll headbutt me and nip my nose, as if to say, “Hey!  Cheer up! Things will get better!”

Webby has also been the one to introduce me to my neighbours.  In cautious Toronto, and unfriendly Vancouver, bumping into the neighbours was always fun, because I’d learn Webby would let himself into other people’s houses through open doors and windows, and make friends.  Saucer of milk here, kitty treats there, some chin scratches and ear rubs.  He’s the charmer that everyone remembers. And the outgoing new neighbour I didn’t yet know how to be.

These two cats are part of adult Erin.  To me they represent independence, and love. My parents always resisted pets, saying “When you have your OWN place, you can get what you want.” So I did, and always had someone waiting for me to get home, and showering me with love when I did.  Since the day I moved out on my own, it’s been us three. Then they adopted Roger.  They’re still not on speaking terms with Coogee-dog, but I think I’m learning why.  It’s because they (Weber especially) is unwilling to relinquish full ownership of me.   As Webby’s advanced in his condition, he’s gotten bolder at picking fights with the dog. He’s getting feircer in his love of, and protection of me.  And he wants to make sure That Dog knows her place: he was here first.

The two vets he’s seen during this diagnosis have been so kind, and in awe of his friendly personality and pint-sized charm.  They said they’ve never seen such a friendly cat, or one who seems to blissfully unaware he’s terminally ill.

That’s going to be Webby to the very last day; he’ll be the one headbutting me and telling me on that last trip to the vett to cheer up, and I’ll be doing my best to repay that safe comfort, and love to him too, one last time.

Jewelry Blog: Adventures in Gold Plating

The finished Gold-plated project.
The finished Gold-plated project.

I’m always happiest when learning something NEW in the jewelry field. This weekend, I worked with a local goldsmith friend who taught me about the deceptively simple process of electro-plating.

I always thought plating involved dipping a piece of metal into liquid gold, or silver, or whatever metal. I learned you are dipping it, but the liquid looks more like water than liquid metal.

Vintage electro-plating machine.
Vintage electro-plating machine.
Cleaned sterling silver (dipped in lye), ready for plating.
Cleaned sterling silver (dipped in lye), ready for plating.

If I can simplify, the process uses an electro plating machine, or even a 9V battery if you prefer, some wires, and a chemical solution containing suspended gold particles.

Bubbling chemical solution as current passes through.
Bubbling chemical solution as current passes through.

A charge is run through the solution; commonly cyanide, and the particles are drawn to the charged object; the jewelry that’s being plated. The solution bubbles as the charge passes through and the gold attaches itself to the underlying metal. Some jewelers believe that the best base for electro-plating gold, is sterling silver.


The process is quick, simple and produces a good finish. On jewelry such as necklaces or earrings, the finish could last many years. On rings, it could wear off much quicker. But electro-plating allows the hobby silversmith the chance to produce items in gold, that might otherwise be too expensive, or cost-prohibitive to make in solid gold.


Gold-plated sterling silver before and after plating.
Gold-plated sterling silver before and after plating.

Products I’m LOVING Lately – Too Faced “Return of Sexy” Shadow palette


So many colours , so many combinations and a handy little cheat-sheet to help you navigate it. I’m loving the blendable shades and the rich velvety shadows. The eyeliner is pretty smooth too. This kit also comes with a Shadow primer sample which, I find I don’t really need. But it’s good to try.



Products I’m LOVING lately – Roots French Bucket Leather Cross-Body Bag

Products I'm LOVING lately - Roots French Bucket Leather Cross-Body Bag

I happened upon this bag by accident and fell deeper in love when I found it was on sale! The soft leather Roots is famous for is so touchable. But it was the bright poppy teal that screamed “Take me home”! This roomy bucket bag can be worn on the shoulder or cross-body for versatility. I’m in LOVE.

Roots 3


roots2 18019959_Y41_e_475x475

Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings Part 2: First Steps and What the Heck Does 10 Karat mean?

Sometimes before there can be construction, there is destruction in jewelry making.  Metal must be melted down or in this case, old jewelry must be torn apart.

My brother’s wedding bands are going to be gold, and we’d collected a good amount from various family members, friends and kindly donors who were tired of unwanted baubles cluttering up their jewelry boxes and drawers.  But before we can work with that gold, it has to be verified as gold (as opposed to gold coloured base metal, brass or copper), and all stones and and glue must be taken out.

A bag of collected "old gold".
A bag of collected “old gold”.

So on a chilly Saturday afternoon, I consulted with my goldsmith pal and teacher Trevor to separate the bounty into usable and not usable.

Gold that’s real must be stamped with its karat weight; 10k, 14K, etc.  That number translates into the percentage of gold in the metal.  100% pure gold is just not used for jewelry; it’s way too soft and would bend or break instantly.  It must be alloyed or mixed with other metals to make it sturdy.  Pure gold is often alloyed with nickel, silver, or copper.  As the percentage of pure gold decreases, the strength of the metal increases: so 14k gold will be stronger than 18k.  Fortunately, as the percentage of pure gold  in your alloy decreases, the price of the metal also drops: so 14k will cost less than 18k.

So what do those numbers mean exactly?   “18k” gold is 18/24 or 75% pure gold.   “14k is 14/24” or 58.3% pure.  10k gold is just  41.7% and is the lowest alloy allowed for legal sale  as “gold” in The USA, and it must be marked if it’s to be sold.  Gold made in the USA  can be out by a half of one Karat.  Canadian gold goes by “Plumb Gold Standard” and the percentage of fine gold has to be right on.

In Canada,  if you’re going to mark your jewelry as 18 karat gold, or with any karat or quality mark it must also have  a maker’s trademark (also known as a  “manufacturer’s mark” or hallmark).  BUT.. the law also allows for precious metal jewelry to be without ANY of those marks; which is why sometimes your gold doesn’t SAY it’s gold.  So how will you know for sure?  You can have it tested, or if you no longer care for it, cut into it with a file or saw.

Old gold taken apart.
Old gold BEFORE its taken apart.

So that’s where we were Saturday; carving into some pieces of gold to check that they are the real thing.  We used pliers and tools to remove both cheap glass stones, rubies, and yes, even some diamonds.  Trying to handle tiny diamonds that are probably slimmer than a hair was fun.  But I don’t think we lost a single one!

5 rubies from an old ring of mine, plus a decent sized diamond from another old ring I'll never wear. Those can be used later in something else.
5 rubies from an old ring of mine, plus a decent sized diamond from another old ring I’ll never wear. Those can be used later in something else.

Also in the donated pile were a few chunks of pre-melted gold, and some dental gold.  One was clearly a crown, the other was still attached to the tooth!  Kinda yuckky, especially when Trevor told me the way to get the gold out of the tooth was to smash it up.  Tooth fragments everywhere!  But gold is gold and we’ll need all the little bits to make these rings.

Pre-melted gold chunk plus old rings.
Pre-melted gold chunk plus old rings.
Two gold teeth! A weee bit creepy.
Two gold teeth! A weee bit creepy.

We also made a new decision about how the rings will be made.  My initial plan was to melt the gold and pull it into wire; to basically fabricate them.  But in looking again at the original solitaire, Trevor suggested it would be easier and better to carve them out of wax, and cast them.  So that’s the new plan.

I’ve got some jeweler’s wax ring blanks and will begin carving them by hand.  Jeweler’s wax is basically a soft plastic that can be cut and carved with files.  If you do a good job carving your wax, and making sure it’s smooth and even, it will require only minimal finishing afterwards.


Jeweler's Wax ring blanks.
Jeweler’s Wax ring blanks.
Sizing the wax before carving.
Sizing the wax before carving.

So that’s where we are now; wax carving is underway.  Stay tuned.

To check out more of my jewelry work click HERE.

The engagement ring I'm making matching bands for.  It belonged to our mother.
The engagement ring I’m making matching bands for. It belonged to our mother.

Rare Pink “Princie Diamond” sells for $39 million

Princie DiamondThis undated photo provided by Christie’s shows a rare pink diamond, nicknamed the Princie Diamond, which has sold for $39.3 million at auction in New York City. The price for the 34.65-carat diamond that sold to an anonymous buyer at Christie’s on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, was the second-highest ever for a jewel sold at auction. (AP Photo/Christie’s)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:46AM EDT

NEW YORK — A rare pink diamond once owned by Indian royalty has sold for $39.3 million at auction in New York City.

The price for the 34.65-carat diamond that sold at Christie’s on Tuesday was the second-highest ever for a jewel sold at auction. The seller and buyer were anonymous.

The gem nicknamed the Princie Diamond was discovered 300 years ago in the Golconda mines in India.

It once belonged to the Nizam of Hyderabad, an Indian prince.

In 1960, the diamond was purchased at auction by the London branch of the jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels.

Its name was bestowed at a party at the firm’s Paris store. It was called Princie in honour of the 14-year-old prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother, Maharani Sita Devi.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/rare-pink-princie-diamond-sells-for-us-39-3-million-at-new-york-auction-1.1243004#ixzz2QpqFCPSV

Reblog/repost via CTV News/AP