EppsNet Archive: Canada

Parents Use “Naturopathic” Remedies to Treat Toddler, Who Dies

11 Mar 2016 /

A southern Alberta couple accused of allowing their meningitis-infected toddler to die four years ago tried home remedies such as olive leaf extract and whey protein rather than take him to a doctor, a Lethbridge jury heard Monday.

David Stephan, 32, and his wife Collet Stephan, 35, have pleaded not guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-month-old Ezekiel, who died in March 2012.

CBC News

First point: If the name “Ezekiel” shows up on a birth certificate, alert the local authorities to be on the lookout for additional crazy behavior in the future.

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., which distributes a product called Empowerplus. They also tried treating Ezekiel with Empowerplus.

The Stephans have said that they prefer “naturopathic” remedies because of their family’s “negative experiences” with the medical system. Now that they’ve also had a “negative experience” with naturopathic remedies, I’m thinking it’s a good opportunity to reassess their position.

The family has posted on social media that they feel they are being unfairly persecuted and that their approach to health should be respected.

If your son dies because you refused to take him to a doctor even though you knew he was sick, then I’d say that any persecution of you is both fair and appropriate.

As for respecting your “approach to health,” that would require ignoring the fact that your approach to health resulted in the probably unnecessary death of a 19-month-old child. That’s a pretty strong argument against your approach to health.

Remember folks, there’s not such thing as “alternative” medicine. There’s “medicine” and there’s “things that have not been proven to work,” like curing meningitis with maple syrup.

We Have Entered a New Screwball Phase

30 Oct 2015 /

Peggy Noonan had a good article in the Wall Street Journal this week about, among other things, two departures: Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and Joe Biden as a presidential candidate.

On Harper’s successor:

[Incoming Canadian prime minister] Justin Trudeau has been a snowboard instructor, schoolteacher, bartender, bouncer, speaker on environmental and youth issues, and advocate for avalanche safety. Sensing “generational change” and gravitating toward “a life of advocacy,” he entered politics and served two terms in Parliament. He has been head of the Liberal Party two years. He is handsome, has a winning personality, exhibited message discipline during the campaign, and is a talented dancer. There’s a sense we in the West have entered a new screwball phase.

On Biden and old-school Democrats:

Joe Biden’s decision not to run for president left me sad. He would have enlivened things. He has always reminded me of what Democrats were like when I was a kid—kind of normal and earthy and fun. They did not spend their time endlessly accusing people of being sexist-racist-homophobic-gender-biased persons of unchecked privilege. They would have thought that impolite.

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

28 Jul 2015 /

Lake Louise


25 Feb 2015 /


What’s on Your Nightstand?

17 Dec 2012 /
  • Lamp
  • Clock radio
  • Extra pair of reading glasses
  • Business cards, mostly my own
  • 1 pen, 2 pencils
  • Post-Its
  • Vaccination record
  • Schedule of classes for LA Fitness
  • Two or three dollars in change
  • Nine dollars in Candian coins
  • 440 Indian rupees

More Fun at Border Crossings

24 Jun 2012 /
Border Crossing

“Where are you folks from?” the border agent asks.

“Irvine, California.”

“How long were you in Canada?”

“About half a day.”

“Why such a short stay?”

“We’re staying in Seattle for a few days and just came up for a visit.”

“How do you like this cold weather?”

“No big deal. I grew up in cold weather.”

My son makes a sputtering noise in the back seat.

“Is he okay?” the agent asks.

“Well, unfortunately he’s got irreversible brain damage to his frontal lobes. We still love him though.”

“Is anyone in the car carrying $10,000 or more in cash?”

“American dollars or Canadian?”


“I wish.”

“Is that a yes or a no, sir?”

“Sorry. No.”

After we pass through the border check, the boy says in a mocking tone, “‘I grew up in cold weather.’ In La Mirada.”

“La Mirada is subject to extreme temperature fluctations,” I reply. “Much more so than Irvine.”

NARCh Winternationals – Day 2

16 Jan 2010 /

Game 3

Devil Dogs

The West Coast Warriors are a team of big kids from British Columbia. The Devil Dogs had some trouble dealing with their size and speed. And the Warriors’ goalie played a great game.

Final Score: West Coast Warriors 2, Devil Dogs 0


The final round-robin games are scheduled for tomorrow. Depending on how things go, the Devil Dogs could be the top-seed for the single-elimination round or they could get knocked out of the tournament. Their game is against NorCal Riot Black, who are undefeated at 3-0.

Twitter: 2009-10-07

7 Oct 2009 /
  • RT @capricecrane: A Canadian man climbed into a tiger pit and was mauled. The tiger, when reached for comment…mauled that guy, too. #

Where I’m Coming From

16 Jul 2009 /

After a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, we stopped by a Subway where an Asian woman with a strange accent made our sandwiches.

“Have you been to the Hockey Hall of Fame up the street there?” I asked her.

No answer.

“It’s great!” I said. “We came all the way from California to see it.”

“I came from Buffalo,” she said.

“Really? Where’d you come from before Buffalo?” I asked.

“I saw Niagara Falls,” she said.

Downtown Toronto

16 Jul 2009 /
CN Tower

Downtown Toronto looks pretty much like downtown anywhere else, but it is the first place I’ve ever seen a street performer playing a set of bagpipes . . .

Canadians are Really Into Hockey

16 Jul 2009 /

I already knew that, but one of the TV stations at the hotel seemed to be showing nothing but ball hockey — no skates, just guys running around with sticks trying to hit a ball into a net.

I asked a Canadian: “What’s up with all the ball hockey games on television?”

“It’s the playoffs!” he explained.

Force of Habit

15 Jul 2009 /

Our hotel room in Canada had a king-size bed, which I slept on, and a pull-out sofa that my son slept on. The first night we were there, I picked out my side of the bed and went to sleep.

It wasn’t until the second night that it occurred to me: Hey I could sleep right in the middle of this bed if I want to! There’s nobody else in it!

“I still slept on my side of the bed when you were gone,” my wife said later.

Another Thing I Learned in Canada

15 Jul 2009 /

Our hotel room had a fridge, so we went to the market to stock up on a few drinks and snacks. We weren’t planning to buy a lot of stuff so instead of a cart we just put the items in a hand basket.

At the checkout line, the girl asked me, “Do you want bags for this?”

Am I missing something? “How else are we going to get it to the car?” I asked.

“I’m going to charge you for them,” she said, “so I have to ask you if you want them.”

Plastic grocery bags in Canada will set you back five cents apiece . . .

Show Me the Canadian Money

15 Jul 2009 /
Canadian 5-dollar bill

I handed the girl at the McDonalds drive-thru a Canadian 5-dollar bill and asked her, “Who is that guy?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I only came here three years ago and I’m not really into money.”

When we got back to the hotel, I asked the guy at the front desk the same question. He had no idea.

I was dumbfounded to discover that Canadians don’t know the people on their money!

By googling “canadian 5-dollar bill,” I learned that the gentleman is Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada.

The prime minister is like the president in the United States, isn’t he? Wouldn’t this be like an American not recognizing Abraham Lincoln?

A Cool Thing I Learned About Canada

10 Jul 2009 /

There’s a picture of kids playing hockey on the back of the 5-dollar bill:

Canadian 5-dollar bill

Photo by Alfred Benway

NARCh – Day 1

10 Jul 2009 /
Hershey Centre

The Devil Dogs played their first two round-robin games today. In the afternoon game, they beat the Motor City Moose from Detroit, 5-3. Devil Dogs scored the first three goals, but the Moose came back to 4-3 down before the Dogs scored a late goal for the final margin.

After the game, we came back to the hotel, barbequed some burgers and hot dogs, then drove back to the arena for a 9 p.m. game against the Mission Mayhem, a local team from here in Ontario.

Devil Dogs won, 3-2. My son had a nice goal. A teammate tried to saucer a pass to him as he skated to the front of the net, but the pass stayed airborne all the way. He took a short baseball swing at it and batted it in out of the air. When an NHL player does that, it’s a definite SportsCenter Top 10, but the boy said after the game that he had that one all the way.

Tomorrow, two more round-robin games against teams from Buffalo and Detroit. Everyone says the Detroit team, the Mission Stars 92, is a very good team, so the Buffalo game tomorrow morning may determine whether the Dogs are able to advance out of the round-robin . . .

Team Bonding and an Amazing Coincidence

10 Jul 2009 /

Yesterday’s team bonding activities included miniature golf, pizza and a midnight screening of Brüno, all within walking distance of the hotel.

After the movie, the kids walked to McDonalds. It was closed. The drive-thru was still open, but they didn’t have a car.

Just then — in an amazing cross-continental coincidence — Eddie, the manager of our local rink in Irvine, pulled into the drive-thru, and the kids got him to buy them all ice cream cones . . .

Twitter: 2009-07-09

9 Jul 2009 /
Jus d'orange
  • Niagara Falls is INSANE! #
  • RT @paulandstorm: [P] "Listen to them. Children of the night. Christ, what a racket." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @paulandstorm: [P] "First rule of Fight Club is — dues must be paid by the first of every month." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @paulandstorm: [P] "I'm mad as hell, and I'm telling you, that's pretty damn mad. Mad, mad, mad! Hoo-boy, am I mad!" #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @paulandstorm: [P] "He's Spartacus!" #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @paulandstorm: "I'm sorry; did you say 'badgers' or 'badges?' Actually, we don't have either, so the point is moot." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @ChipChantry: "Guys, guys, time out… this boat is WAY TOO SMALL." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @ChipChantry: "If you build it, your wife will get angry with you." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • RT @diablocody: "Make sure I get paid adequately." #1stdraftmovielines #
  • Why isn't there a law against guys with sleep apnea taking redeye flights? #
  • Just enjoyed a bottle of jus d'orange. That means "orange juice" in French. We're learning the language of the people up here. #

Toronto in July

8 Jul 2009 /

We’re off to Toronto for a week for NARCh. I wonder what the weather’s like in Toronto in July. At least there won’t be thunderstorms every day like the NARCh tournaments we went to in Florida.

Let me check the forecast . . .

Toronto weather forecast

Team A vs. Team B

6 Jul 2009 /

My son and I are leaving Wednesday night for Toronto where his 16-and-under team, the Devil Dogs, is playing in the NARCh roller hockey tournament.

Hockey player

Do the Dogs have a chance to contend?

Short answer: I don’t know. That’s why they play the games.

Longer answer: They’re in a round-robin bracket with teams from New York, Canada and two teams from Michigan. If you get through the round-robin games and into the single-elimination rounds, anything can happen.

Let’s say Team A is good enough to beat Team B 9 games out of 10, or even 99 games out of 100. There’s still that one game that Team B wins, and in single elimination, that’s all you need.

Whether that’s good news or bad news depends on whether you’re Team A or Team B.

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