War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation – A Book Review

“War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation”
by Jeanne Martinson
Published by Wood Dragon Books
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$21.99 ISBN: 9780968537022

“War & Peace in the Workplace: Diversity, Conflict, Understanding, Reconciliation” is written by Saskatchewan-native Jeanne Martinson, a renowned speaker, author, and management trainer. Published by Wood Dragon Books and distributed by Martrain Corporation and Personal Development, this national bestseller is designed as a guide for employers, organizations, managers, or those interested in navigating their workplaces in a more positive manner. The content of this book pertains to many of the challenges that the average Canadian faces in the workplace. These include diversity/bias, toxic people and environments, harassment, conflict, and much more.

Similar to one of Martinson’s other bestsellers, “From Away: Immigration to Effective Workplace Integration”, this book begins with an in-depth analysis of what diversity is, and how it may affect communities such as the average Canadian workplace. The most interesting portion of this chapter, in my opinion, is Martinson’s analysis of the factors that shape a human being’s “us vs. them” mentality, and how easy it is for us to distort information to cater to our biases. If you have an interest in human behaviour or psychology, I would recommend this book based on this chapter, alone. Martinson then moves into the “Understanding” portion of the book, which details a number of cultures, traditions, gender identities, and histories within Canada. This assists the reader with more contexts of the many factors that can make a workplace diverse, albeit difficult to avoid misunderstandings. At its core, diversity is a fantastic value for a work setting to have as it results in a variety of worldviews being brought forward. However, this diversity can also yield a fair amount of conflict simply through minor misunderstandings. In the “Reconciliation” and “Synergy” components of Martinson’s book, she brilliantly provides the reader with a plethora of techniques and strategies that one can use to navigate these challenges. I must admit that when I began this book, I had thought that a read regarding the workplace would be a dreadfully dry one. What I had found instead were incredibly applicable strategies that anyone can use to re-evaluate their own biases, provide others with more empathy, and to use the diversity in their lives as a positive factor.

Martinson had stated near the beginning of the book that her intention was to allow the reader to view themselves and their workplaces with new eyes. Personally, she succeeds with that intention from this reader. Whatever your workplace setting may be, there is something for all to gain within this book. All you have to do is pick up a copy to start working and living in a more resourceful and positive setting.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM

The Pen and The Sword Podcast: Episode 1: “Dana Carny”

Hello and Happy New Year, All!

I have decided to start a podcast as an addition to this website because there are not enough podcasts kicking around. And speaking of kicking around, the theme of this new podcast is martial arts reviews and writing. As such, it is called the Pen and the Sword Podcast. It will be coming at you once per week (depending on if I’m a lazy piece of shit or not).

This is a brand new idea on my part and I hope that I can develop it further as I do more and more. A logo, theme song, music, and a slew of other awesome guests are to follow! In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy!

On this episode, Dave Baxter and I talk about the first ever UFC, cutting weight, carnies, female fighters, and everything in-between.

 

Enjoy!

 

Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings (A Book Review)

“Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings”
by Patricia Sinclair
Published by DriverWorks Ink
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$12.95 ISBN: 9781927570463

 

“Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings”, written by Patricia Sinclair, illustrated by Wendi Nordell, and published by DriverWorks Ink is a fantastic work of historical literature for young readers that is both beautifully crafted and exceptionally informative. The book cleverly educates the reader about the D-Day landings and World War II through a narrative of a young girl speaking with an elderly neighbor named Lena, who is about to move away. Like many real Canadians, the young girl in this story learns about the battle of D-Day and the history of World War II from elderly people in the community that either fought directly in the war or were alive during that time period. As I am writing this, Remembrance Day is approaching, and I cannot help but be reminded through this story that World War II and all of its horrors really did not happen a long time ago.

Lena tells the girl, and through a frame narrative the reader about what she remembers of that fateful day, June 5th, 1944, as Lena learns about the battle so does the reader. During Lena’s story, the reader will notice that some of the terms that she uses are in bold, this provides a neat method to teach the young readers new vocabulary and terminology about the war and the military. It is not just the terminology that is informative, but the entire book. As an adult reader, this book introduced me to new vocabulary and facts about the battle that I did not previously know. Upon finishing the book, I was impressed by the sheer attention to detail and the adherence to research that went into the information found in the story, and it gave me more confidence that what I had just read was truly legitimate. There is something for everyone to learn in this novel.

The simplistic yet powerful descriptions of the battle written by Sinclair are also brilliantly matched in tone and imagery by Nordell’s illustrations. The pencil sketches in the book give impact to the words, and the style is mature enough that a young reader would not feel as if they are reading a “baby book”. The writing found within this novel would also act as a great introduction to literary devices such as metaphors, similes, onomatopoeias, and the aforementioned frame narrative for young readers.

In conclusion, Sinclair’s novel is a fitting read in this season of Remembrance. As if the content of “Lena’s Story: The D-Day Landings” was not a respectful tribute to Canadian veterans on its own, a donation of the book’s sales is made to the Royal Canadian Legion. I cannot recommend this book enough both as a tribute to our veterans and as the perfect gift for the budding history buff in your family.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM

King Can

Kickin’ back with a King Can

of Black Ice.

Everything’s gon’ be alright.

Half a pack of Player’s Red
and the liquor store is open ’til ten.

You call me a feral man,
a leech to society.
But you don’t gotta put nothin’ in my outstretched hand,
so I prefer the word, “free”.

Who the Hell is “Daryl Lect”?
Who the Hell did we elect?
That would let us freeze without Tundra Ice?

Who the Hell asked for your advice?

“Get a job”?
Thanks. I haven’t thought of that!
I can instantly snap out of this,
all it takes to go from slob to snob,
in no time flat!

Winter Is Coming,
and I’m on the 5th season in Game of Loans.
I miss my daughter.
The girl needs her father.
But I’m just kickin’ back
with my King Can of Black
The King without a Queen or a Castle,
dying on his concrete throne.

You call me a bum,
a scourge, a disease.
You don’t put nothin’ in my outstretched hand.
You snarl, you bite, you fit me into God’s plan.

But I smile,
and say, “God Bless”.
You’ve walked an inch as I’ve walked a mile,
but you still win the race, delusional in determination, but I digress.

I may be a chaotic, wild mess.
I may not know the real me.
I still am a brother, a father- just forgotten and seen as less.
I am cold and I cry, but even eye contact is denied.
Let alone a helping hand, I close my outstretched hand.
But have not lost my way, I am not blind I still see
The turned backs of my fellow man deserve dignity.

 

Invisible Enemies

Feminists smash the patriarchy
with the tools of fascism and anarchy.
They destroy their oppressors,
with slogans and letters.
Echo chambers far to the left of sensibility
regurgitate the thoughts that they are told is right,
and what is left of critical thought, of responsibility?
We will worry about that once the patriarchy is on its knees.
Everybody has invisible enemies.

Incels cry and they wail,
that this cruel world has cursed this selection of males.
Women only want the rich, the strong, the handsome, the tall, and the Chads.
Women only want what I do not have.
Instead of spending time with the fairer sex,
they hide in putrid basements, they utter putrid heinous threats.
They sleep on stained mattresses, only to wake to wallowing in self-pity.
Echo chambers feed the entitled, lost without an identity.
Everybody has invisible enemies.

The gays are destroying our morals and families,
the church prescribes with a twisted glee.
They are pushing an agenda, they are here to convert your children
No one is safe, they will not rest until the world is a cauldron of sin.
If they must live that way, do not push it down our throats,
Do not rant and rave, do not shout or gloat.
Your children are safe with us, never-mind that we relocated your priest suddenly.
We are educated enough to know that you can make that choice in secrecy.
Everybody has invisible enemies.

The corporate investor growls and hoards his cache.
He damns the threat of his inconvenient past.
His employees are greedy,
His government is needy.
He had to work hard to get where he is,
His father spent a lot of money to persuade the Yale selection list.
Echo chambers far to the right of sensibility, bicker and tear at the seams,
you can’t deride the boy- he was a good student and a part of the football team!
So what if he made some girls do things they didn’t want to at a few parties?
This is a witch-hunt, the ramblings of a jealous mob seeking to destroy the American Dream.
Everybody has invisible enemies.

It is far easier to point a finger
than to look yourself in the eyes in the mirror.
You may have flaws, but theirs are far worse.
And they are lethal, they must be dispersed.
Onwards we fight,
to slay the creatures of the night.
We believe they are out there, lurking to destroy us.
We need to believe, or else we’d have to look inside, where they dwell and they fuss.
It is our duty to end these atrocities.
To end our invisible enemies.