2007-11-30

The death of Claudio Castagnetta deserves an inquiry

On the heels of the Robert Dzeikanski tragedy at the Vancouver airport, another case of taser misuse that took place in September of 2007 has been brought forward.

The case of Italian national Claudio Castagnetta should strike a chord with Canadians. This time the culprits are the Quebec police. It turns out that while he was in a police detention center, he had convulsions and showed clear signs of suicidal behaviour and mental problems. There have been subsequent reports that he was bi-polar.

Stun gun-happy cops may even zap a autistic person if this keeps up. Or how about a little old lady in slippers roaming the streets who lost her way from the home? How would they react then? I exaggerate but they showed little rational and compassionate actions in the aforementioned cases that it has to make us wonder.

What's the difference between the two?

Both seem to be a case of men in emotional distress. Both clearly were not criminals according to video and witnesses.

One was captured on film and captivated the attention of citizens. The other was not and has been forgotten. Out of site our of mind.

The result in each case? A justified call for an immediate inquiry in the Dzeikanski case and none for Castagnetta. The Italian embassy and community are still waiting for answers.

This is not to pile on the police but something clearly needs to be examined regarding tasers. Police officers don't seem to be able to distinguish between a person who is sick and one who is a criminal. Now there is talk that they will have to be properly trained for situations.

That's a start.

However, my question is why are police officers indifferent (or depraved) to begin with? Why are they not capable of exerting common sense instead of group-thuggery?

2007-11-29

Corporate handouts are a pointless means to a dead-end

Why oh why must we always turn to the government? Need people to listen to your music? Call the CRTC to force Canadians what to listen to. A senseless tragedy takes place? Well, put in a demand to the government to regulate human vices. The dollar spins upward thus eliminating a mirage and a competitive advantage for Canadian manufacturers? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Couldn't resist. "I like de black one..." If you get this one you have watched waaaay too much television like I have. Television intake was not regulated in my home.

Hmm. Maybe that's why I am a rebel against interventionism?

I consider myself a moderate. So, some interventionism is alright I guess for the collective good.

However, Premier Charest's recent $620 million package to rescue the manufacturing sector is one area that seems just plain misguided - not to mention wasteful. Nice these types of games.

Corporate handouts are ridiculous. Especially to companies who should have known better. Times were good when the dollar was down and companies should have been a little more enlightened. The concept of 'saving for a rainy day' certainly had no friends among them. Or what about being prepared in the event of a rising dollar?

Instead the emperor had no clothes and with his (or her) hands sticking out squawking, "But we drive the economy!" Sure, in spite of yourselves.

We always tend to get top-heavy. Then we have to trim or cut away the fat like a bad abdominoplasty. Companies are filled with so many deadbeats in middle and upper management it's scary. Scary as Tom Brady starting on his own 25 yard line. Scary as a drunk Saskatchewanite (or is it Saskatchewanian?) sharing a Pilsner with a polar bear in heat in the dead of winter in -40c conditions still celebrating a Grey Cup victory three months after the fact.

Shake myself back into shape.

Anyway, guess who pays for all this?

2007-11-28

Of book stores, art and Canadian Nationalism

I placed an order on Chapters/Indigo online a couple of months back. I bought a soccer book - one that I hope to review shortly if I can remember its contents - and a novel by a Canadian writer.

The soccer book came but the novel never did. This morning I received a notice from Chapters explaining they had to cancel the order and a few other blah, blah, blah's.

It's not the first time this happens but this one is somewhat irksome. I could not resist responding. Basically, I asked them how could a Canadian company that prides itself on being "Canadian" not have a Canadian author in stock?

Then again, this is Canada so this shouldn't surprise anyone.

The arts scene here is managed in a bizarre manner. I remember years ago wanting to purchase a Canadian jazz musician. Price? A whopping $24.95 as opposed to the average of of $16 t0 $18. Many jazz albums command higher prices but usually they are imports or special editions.

I could never quite figure out the contradiction of government assistance for the arts in the form of SOCAN and the CRTC Canadian content rules on one hand and the gouging of consumers on the other. So they force a Canadian musician to get on air but to buy that artist at a store it costs 25% more? Makes no sense.

I'm sure it has something to do with supply and demand. And how murky the publishing and recording industry operate.

Anyway, just a thought. Do Canadians REALLY support their artists?

2007-11-27

Film link

If you're into independent (indie) films check the Gotham Awards out here.

9/11 Rescuers Forgotten

This is a special link.

If you've never heard of John Feal maybe it's time you should.

When a great metropolis was in need rescuers were there to help their fellow citizens. Why are they now being shunned by pathetic bureaucratic rules?

Just follow the link above for details on the plight of people with various life threatening health problems since 9/11 and the absurd inflexible rules that followed regarding help and compensation.

Consider linking this to your own blogs.

2007-11-26

Article of Interest: Politics: The war on terror

Essay by Philip H. Gordon titled "Can the War on Terror be Won?" Comment to follow...possibly. Just a little busy these days.

2007-11-25

Advertising for chumps?

One mini-wheat, two-mini-wheats, three mini-wh...

Oh, hi.

Lost my count.

Maybe an advertising expert can help me with this one. I was reading the sports pages and noticed an ad for Dodge Chrysler Jeep. The caption read, "Be like... insert local sports celebrity here." In this instance, it was Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo

Now what would make me want to run and buy this car? Does this type of advertising actually work? I thought consumers have become too sophisticated to be swayed by such blatant ploys.

That's my pre-Grey Cup Sunday thought of the day.

2007-11-22

The inescapable art and benefit of writing pro bono

A magazine editor gave me some advice not so long ago: if you're starting out you'll have to write pro bono.

She was the first editor to actually see past my query and spot something else. We all need breaks and mine went something like "hey, you've got the goods and we want you but first you have some learning to do." I accepted and I've been contributing to Exceptional Family ever since. Pro bono of course.

Hey, it's a learning curve they tell me.

Writing pro bono shouldn't be an issue. If you love to write it is what it is. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't earn a living off it or get paid for your work. Far from it. Sometimes you just have to learn to pick and choose your battles. Eventually I'll get my cut.

Which brings me to another thought. I helped to launch a sports site called Inter Sports Wire button to the side on the sidebar. It's a sport blog with an ambitious game plan - excuse the pun - but we're having fun with it. We love to write and we're, well, sports junkies. Why not make a site out of it? Everyone is doing it mom!

I don't know what the rewards - if any - will be. We may end up getting beaten up like the Patriots rough up NFL teams. Who knows? But we'll give it a whirl.

Part of the plan was to recruit like-minded writers to the site. Attracting such writers is tough given we're a blog and don't pay. We have to hope we fall on junkies like ourselves who just want to talk about sports. Even when you get an enthusiastic "yes" it's tough to get anyone to post articles with any regularity. It's normal. We all have our own sites and there are so many hours in a cloudy or sunny day.

None of this is a problem. It's the reality of blogging entrepreneurship. However, we have observed a special breed of writers out there who - shall we say? - miss the point.

On a couple of occasions we stumbled on journalists who moonlight as bloggers. When approached, they immediately ask: how much? They are practically ready to present a contract.
I even came across bloggers who wanted payment!

Isn't this a form of over-rating ourselves a little? Even for journalists this is a but rich. There's a gigantic pool of talent out there. What gives them the impression they are needed?

It's one thing to sell services in the mainstream world. It's quite another to super impose this on the blogging community. Blogging is the latest frontier of free-form writing creativity. Are we ready for the practical world of mainstream media? Sure the lines have already begun and it's a matter of time before we get a mainstream blogging vein. The clash of writing civilizations is inevitable just like the clash of classical Rome and Germanic tribes.

Inter Sports Wire aims to band together a community of high quality sports writers. Nothing more and nothing else.

To ask for payment misses the whole point of the exercise.

2007-11-20

A Bugs Bunny Moment

I never realized it before - or maybe I never cared to admit it since he was my hero - but boy did Bugs Bunny deserve a beating some times.

On with your lives. Go.

2007-11-19

Montreal Canadiens retire Larry Robinson's #19

One of the greatest defensemen in the history of the NHL is finally getting his jersey retired. Selected three times as a First Team all-star and three times to the Second Team, Larry "Big Bird" Robinson also won the Norris trophy for the league's best defenseman twice (1977 and 1980) and was a runner-up in 1979.

Part of the "Big three" unit that included Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe, Robinson was part of the legendary and dominating Habs dynasty of the 1970s that won four straight Stanley Cups. Robinson won a total of fours cups (as well as one as coach with the New Jersey Devils in 200) participating in 227 playoff games.

Forget all that. No one messed around with Robinson to boot. Yeah, the Big Bad Bruins and Broadstreet Bullie were mauling the league, but Robinson put a few of those bums in their place with a punch or body check.

The only unfortunate thing to all this is why the Montreal Canadiens waited so long to retire his number? Not to mention Bob Gainey's #23 which they will also have a ceremony for.

They let the entire 1990s go by plus most of the 2000s. It wasn't until intense lobbying did they decide to do so. No one from the organization ever explained their reasoning- good luck trying to get them to return your calls or emails.

On this front, someone made a mistake. At least they got around to it.

Note to Nicolas Sarkozy...

Don't break in the face of the unions.

And can you muzzle Raymond Domenech?

2007-11-18

Ugly Canadians at sporting events becoming too common?

What follows is an edited version of a letter to the sports editor I spotted in the Montreal Gazette written by Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park. Emphasis mine.

"I attended the Bruins/Canadiens game here in Boston on Nov. 8...but something bothered me as a Canada. Sitting down in front of me were a number of Montreal fans. It was easy to identify them as they were wearing their bleu, blanc and rouge with great pride. During the Canadian national anthem, the Montreal fans sang loudly and with great pride...When the Canadian anthem was finished, everyone in the building cheered...What came next blew my mind. When the American anthem started, maybe a half dozen of the Canadian contingent sat down and would not rise during the singing of the American anthem. To me, this is unbelievable! Over the years, the world has become aware of the phrase "The Ugly American." We in Canada have always thought of ourselves above this level of contempt. Is this the new Canada, one that I cannot understand?" Is it the new low that we degrade ourselves at a sporting event to protest our culture when we guest abroad? One simple act can reflect on many. If one wants to protest, do it in the proper place. Hockey games and sporting events are not platforms...If we continue to think of ourselves as true Canadians, showing respect is a must!"

First of all, credit must go to Brad Park - a Canadian who now lives in the U.S. - for stepping up and speaking out. Of course, he is correct. I know I've witnessed not only what he describes here but the booing of an anthem (Canadian or American) as well. What's amazing is that these fans decided to do this in Boston.

Is this an exercise in freedom or arrogance?

The hard truth, as I have mentioned before on this blog, is that even abroad we're beginning to see the rise of the "Ugly Canadian."

Brad Park, a five time First Team All-Star and twice Second team, was among the the greatest defensemen in the 1970s. Only Bobby Orr surpassed him with eight First Team selections and one Second Team for a total of nine.*

"Please rise for the singing of the Canadian and American anthems" is a common protocol now. Anthems are no longer perceived as political tools. Sure we can find all sorts of excuse such as we shouldn't sing anthems at sporting events but until that happens stand up and show respect.

*Denis Potvin was also named to seven all-star selections; five of those on the First team. Yes, same as Brad Park. Unfortunately, while Potvin managed to win three Norris trophies for top defenseman (twice runner-up,) Park had the misfortune of finishing second on the ballot no fewer than six times - twice to Potvin and four times to Orr.

2007-11-16

Defend Santa Claus! HO!HO!HO!

I thought it was a joke. I really thought it was a joke. I wanted it to be a joke.

But it isn't.

It seems a company in Australia called Westaff wants to change 'Ho, ho, ho' to 'Ha, ha, ha.' Read the above link for the full story. Here's one quote from a manager:

"The reason behind that is we find that in some cases the little kids can get a little bit scared of the deep ho, ho, hos and we ask them to be mindful of keeping their voices to a lower level," he said.

"And kids are probably more inclined to understand `ha, ha, ha', than `ho, ho, ho'."

Wow.

Wow.

As I have said in the past. Way too many questionable minds are in positions of power.

The sad thing is that some boob in Canada probably thinks this is a swell idea and will import the idea.

You know, if this keeps up we'll probably have to deny Jesus and remove Christmas altogether.

2007-11-15

Death in Vancouver airport incomprehensible

My wife and I were sitting and watching the news last night when the report came that an unarmed Polish citizen sadly died following being shocked with a Taser by police.

We witnessed for a few minutes an obviously frustrated and incredibly agitated individual lash out as a brave woman tried to calm the man down. Eventually, police came and within a few moments Tasered him.

Just like that. They seemed a little taser-happy to us.

We were speechless. Four officers and they had to do that? We always appreciate the work and sympathize with men in uniform but this incident left us confused if not angered.

Why did they have to Taser him? Did he threaten them? Though that would be hard to determine since he spoke no English. Did any of the officers speak Polish? Why was a woman able to confront him peacefully and temporarily soothe him while officers had to Taser him and then hold him to the ground while he convulsed? What if he was emotionally distressed? In this day and age where autism is on the rise, should they not be more prudent?

Something is not adding up. From the footage I saw, the police gave very little chance to intervene professionally. It seems to people watching, this could have been avoided.

The Vancouver airport and its security has some explaining to do also. The guy was roaming around for 10 hours.

There are so many questions to be answered both from the airport and the police. There had better be a good explanation for why police used excessive force in the death of Robert Dzeikanski.

In the process, Canadians should demand we bring justice to this man and his family.

More on Reasonable Accommodation

For those of you concerned what is happening in Quebec - or what's been unleashed by the 'Reasonable Accommodation" debates follow this link. It's in French so brush up. Chop, chop.

contrelintolerance.blogspot.com/

2007-11-14

Soccer in India

Interesting piece on Indian soccer. Thanks to soccer-source.blogspot.com for this.

We're seeing more and more pro teams stake their claims in far away places now. For example, the Red Sox and Yankees have a presence in Asia now. It remains to be seen whether English teams decide to go into India.

Former title holders of the Asian Cup in 1951 and 1962, Indian soccer is nowhere near cricket or field hockey in terms of popularity. I guess it's akin to soccer here in North America. However, given its massive population, one would figure that a decent soccer team can be carved out.

FIFA clearly has some interest as the following link to Forbes shows.



2007-11-12

History is on the run:The National Capital Commission is wrong

I must profess I never heard of the The National Capital Commission before. From what I read they are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Ottawa being capital of this country. Take that Kingston!

In this country, we have taken the horrible habit of rewriting our history lest we offend people. Not a wise reason to make such amendments of great importance. This is a sure sign, in my opinion, of an incredibly immature society incapable of facing its own history.

The latest long dead public political figure to raise the ire of some is the British Whig John George Lambton - aka Lord Durham. Aka Radical Jack.

A talented politician, Durham was made governor-general of all British North America and was sent by the British government to survey Canada (as well as the United States) on the heels of the 1837 Patriotes rebellion. While British merchants were asking for greater control in the economic affairs of Lower Canada, the government felt it was time to act.

Durham's committees consisted of opponents of les Patriotes, he consulted with Upper Canadian reform leaders and he penned his own observations of life in the colonies. The Patriotes rebellion was not exclusively made up of French-Canadians nor was it exclusively a cultural rebellion. Rather it was made up of many nationalities including British who demanded responsible government.

The good Lord was then made famous by the Lord Durham's Report on the Affair of British North America in which he had the audacity to proclaim that Canada was "two nations warring within the bosom of a single state." (1838)

The report had three main components: 1) greater self-government for the colonies, 2) responsible government and 3) the union of the two colonies known as Upper and Lower Canada.

The third being by far the most controversial among nationalists. By his estimation, French culture in Quebec was stagnant and made little progress during the previous two centuries.

He concluded that ethnic rivalry was counter productive and recommended the union of Upper and Lower Canada. The thinking was to overwhelm the French advantage in Quebec. He further proposed that any freedoms and protection French-Canadians enjoyed under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act of 1774 should be over turned.

In other words, assimilate the bastards.

The reaction against the Durham Report found its strongest voice and expression in Louis-Joseph Papineau with Histoire de l'insurrection du Canada first published in the magazine Progrès and later La Revue canadienne as Histoire de l'insurrection du Canada en réfutation du Rapport de Lord Durham (History of the insurrection of Canada in refutation of the Report of Lord Durham).

The recommendation of the Union did not happened until Durham's successor did so in 1840 in what eventually became known as the Act of Union of 1840. For better or for worse, this signified a new direction for a country called Canada.

Ok. Enough of this. I don't want this to turn into a Durham slug fest. I almost forgot my point.

The history of any nation is bound to have acrimonious incidences that certain segments of a population are sure to have an opinion on. However, it is a part of the history and conscience of a nation.

But don't tell this to CEO of the NCC Micheline Dube who awkwardly stated, "The NCC acknowledges that the recommendations put forth by Lord Durham at the time are considered inappropriate for many and certainly controversial. We in no way intend to offend anyone and have subsequently removed the panel in question."

That panel being a a historic panel dedicated to Lord Durham.

Break out the liquid paper!

Absolutely shocking stuff. Could you imagine little revisionist committees, armed with red pens, myopically taking things out of context by making adjustments to various histories?

It's a bizarre state of affairs in this country. On one side we have a weak sense of history on the other we have nationalists and activists seeking to imprint their visions of this country.

The result? Well, antics like we have seen with the NCC.

It's a disgrace to Canadian history period. These people are not fit to preserve the identity of this country.

So. When will some jackass step up and ask that the Plains of Abraham be removed from history museums and textbooks? Should we take a look at the long list of questionable revered French-Canadian historical figures and demand they be removed from our metros under the guise of citizens being offended?

Why stop at the NCC? We have bigger fish to fry!

Example of Corporate bullies and complict bureaucrats squeezing consumers?

www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070926.wcarsuit0926/BNStory/robNews/home

So. Just how free are Canadian consumers? Nothing like a soaring loonie to show just how much corporations can play subtle games with its clients. If Transport Canada, Honda and Toyota are in on the scam telling ME where I can purchase MY products then they leave me little choice but to exercise MY right to never buy from them.

The problem, of course, is what if all the car manufacturers are doing this? That makes us lame sitting ducks.

To be perfectly honest, that Canada would do this does not surprise me.

2007-11-11

November 11: ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

It is the VETERAN , not the preacher,
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN , not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN , not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN , not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN , not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN , not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae

Note: Picture on the headline of this site is the Somme.

2007-11-10

Hassan Almrei denied bail

Is Hassan Almrei, who entered Canada with a false passport, a terrorist? Or a person who finds, shall we say, comfort with radical ideologies?

Is this another Arar case?

Tough to say but as of 2007 - this piece was originally posts in 2005 - the courts and CSIS still feel he's a threat to national security and he's been held in a Kingston jail now in his 7th year.

He was arrested under the national security certificate law which has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The conservatives are expected to table a new version of the law in the fall. The flaw in the previous law was that suspects were arrested without a chance to defend themselves.

Is this an example of government and law enforcement learning the ropes on the fly of how to deal with an invisible enemy?

My question is that while he is getting support from people like Alexandre Trudeau, Linda McQuaig and Stuart McLean, do people acknowledge there are terrorist cells operating in Canada?

2007-11-09

New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts television ratings through the roof

www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2007-11-05-pats-colts-tv-ratings_N.htm?csp=34

I know. Old news. Still. Fascinating. 22.5 rating for a regular NFL game? Baseball gets, what, 2.5 to 5 depending who's playing? Hockey is lucky if it gets one.

Any questions as to which league dominates all of North American professional sports?

Article of interest: Science: Global Warming from the Center for Inquiry

www.centerforinquiry.net/advocacy/global_climate_change_triggered_by_global_warming/

This is a compelling report about the need to face global warming straight on.

Soccer Statistics

Check out these goals per game averages (2002-2006) for the "Big Five" European soccer leagues:

1) Netherlands 2.97
2) Germany 2.86
3) Italy 2.60
4) England 2.59
5) Spain 2.58

You are free to interpret this as you wish. Betcha didn't think Spain would be last or that Italy would be ahead of England? As any fan of Serie A would tell you, the idea of that league being defensive is somewhat outdated now.

2007-11-07

For Shame: Where are the Poppie's?

Every year the number of people wearing a poppie becomes less and less visible.

The month of November is one designated to remembering our fallen soldiers.

However, as I have mentioned in the past, the number of people taking the time to carry a poppie as a symbolic gesture is sadly dwindling. It escapes me how we do so.

I live in Quebec so I get to see how the two solitudes deal with Remembrance Day on the 11th of this month. Most on the English-speaking side seem to have an unquestionable respect for soldiers. On the French side, things get a little more theoretical.

One need only to observe what I mean. In places with high concentration of Anglos, the number of poppie's seen rises. In Franco areas they become more sparse. In areas with new immigrants the poppie is absent. What connection does a Muslim from Algeria have with North Americans fighting Nazi's or Imperial Germany right?

This is not to say French-Canadians don't observe the 11th I'm sure many do, but if they had their way the act as though they wouldn't have this day despite the high number of French-Canadians who served n the military during the Great Wars.

Regardless, I see a drop across the board in any language or culture.

On television it becomes even more glaring. RDS sports broadcaster's to their credit all carry the poppie. Athletes understand the notion of team spirit, sacrifice and identity. So we shouldn't be surprised.

It is on the news networks where things become odd, if not unacceptable. From what I have seen on Radio-Canada (CBC which is a nationally funded station), RDI and other news outlets, very few if anyone is wearing a poppy.

So why the cold shoulder?

It's probably ideologically driven. Quebec has a certain way of looking at things. We all know this and this is fine. In fact, this country could use different ideas from time to time that come from here.

However, in this instance Quebec could not be more wrong. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for not doing things and other times they are plain excuses.

Of course, the prevailing belief is that Quebec did not want to go to fight an Imperial war on behalf of the British Empire. It was only after conscription were we forced to enlist and serve. Ergo, to nationalists they are taking a political stand.

Therein lies the problem that has gripped this society for decades: the politicization of every facet of our lives.

Perhaps they (soldiers) were sent into the hell halls of Europe unwillingly. No one asks them (nationalists) to forget this. The point is that they served. How can this be denied?

Quebec intellectualism is predicated on politics. Its beginning and end points revolves around every political angle. The process of intellectualism independent of political outlooks is absent.

That Quebecers reduced the sacrifices and deaths of their brethren to a mere political calculation is indeed unfortunate. The wanton dismissal and denial in their historical memory of our soldiers is most ungenerous.

It is also plain ignorance for a society that claims "to remember" (Je me souviens), just how wrong (and quite possibly ungrateful) we can be.

2007-11-06

CBC gets a new President

Is the line "The first thing we do let's kill all the lawyers" meant to be a derogatory remark towards lawyers?

I'm not an expert on Shakespeare but I've always found it odd out how we tend to look upon lawyers with a smug "they are a necessary evil."

We all say we hate lawyers...until you need one.

Where am I heading with this? The CBC just named its new President (and CEO) and guess what? He's a Quebec-based lawyer.

Quick word on the CBC. Why do we go into the private sector to find someone to run a public corporation? Shouldn't people with public broadcasting experience be running the CBC? Can people who work on the private side become "public" that easily?

Public corporation. Now there's an oxymoron. Given that in recent years the CBC acts more like a private broadcaster, is it not time them to privatize the CBC?

The CBC's appointment should not surprise anyone. Canada has a long tradition of having lawyers in high positions. Indeed, they often become Prime Ministers.

Of course that our leadership comes from one portion of society can be a source of concern. The country should not be run by lawyers. Law is just one aspect of cultural critical thinking and intellectualism. No wonder Canada is run by the Charter these days.

But don't tell all this to the Conservatives. Prime Minister Stephen Harper bucks the trend in that he's an economist with a strong sense of history. Which makes him an artist in many ways.

In fact, he's the first PM since Pearson to not have attended law school.

And that's fine by me.

Montreal Canadiens have the best logo in the NHL

www.sportsline.com/nhl/story/10446140

Tel me something we didn't know! As far as this tournament went, it makes perfect sense that the Chicago Blackhawks made the final only to lose to the Habs - like usual. Boo-hoo-hoo!

Kidding aside, notice in the first round the Detroit Red Wings lost to the....Dallas Stars? In fact, I have no idea who thinks the Blue Jackets, Lightning, Sharks and Panthers should have been in the top 16. They shouldn't be ahead of the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils or Philadelphia Flyers.

In this commentator's opinion the Wings have one of the best jersey's in hockey - as do all the Original Six teams.

Oh by the way, did anyone catch Mike Komisarek introducing his team in French last night at the Bell Center? Of course not, if you weren't there or didn't watch the game the media didn't report it.

And for the record, Bertrand declared himself "satisfied" What a pinhead.

2007-11-04

Article: Global Warming

Here's yet another article on Global warming.

I tend to post pieces that take a skeptical view on the subject because I think the argument in the affirmative is well entrenched.

I find it hard to believe or accept that global warming activists don't have their share of exposure. After all, governments are changing laws to combat it. People are winning all sorts of grants and awards based on it. Actors have taken up the fight.

No. I think the pro-global warming crowd are pretty much in control now.

That doesn't mean the debate is closed.

Interesting facts about television ratings

Not sure what to make of this - I ain't no television exec - but there's probably an interesting trend in there somewhere.

As football fans are preparing for the epic showdown (the so-called Super Bowl 41 1/2) between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts (which the Pats will win), I heard somewhere that the game will probably draw higher television ratings than some past Super Bowls. That's huge stuff.

So I checked out the all-time top rated TV programs. 22 out of the Top 50 were Super Bowls plus an NFC Championship game. Clearly, football dominates the list. The next closest thing was "Roots" with 7 placings.

However, this is not what caught my eye. It was the breakdown of how many programs were listed by decade that interested me. Here's what I found:

1960s - 7 programs
1970s- 21
1980s- 16
1990s - 8
2000s - 1

That the 70s leads the way makes me wonder if the quality of programming was that good or were people just that much more easier to keep on their couches? In any event, I have no clue what the story is on the 60s but clearly from the 70s onwards there's a steady decline in mega-programming. The 90s were just the beginning of the tech revolution which explains why the numbers dipped significantly.

However, notice the number of programs from this century. With two years to go, it looks like this decade will have the lowest number of shows with high ratings since the 60s.

Are indeed just continuing the tech boom? Will online sources be growing in stature as a result? Is it increasingly hard to keep people in front of their sets with the arrival of new technology such as the Internet, iPods, podcasts and yes blogging? Are people simply finding other things to do? Are we way too niched out to be herded anymore?

Brian Williams? On Saturday Night Live? Why not?

No matter what we're watching on Saturday nights, the channel always finds it way to Saturday Night Live. We're not dedicated fans by any stretch of the imagination but SNL has probably cornered the "curious about SNL" market. In other words, we tune in to check out who the host is and the first few skits and out we go.

Last night, as I was watching hockey I switched to NBC at 11:29pm and by 11:33pm (time not exact but it looks good. It gives the impression I took notes) we find out NBC anchorman Brian Williams was the host.

Apparently there was a debate about whether this was a good idea or not. I don't see why not. It showed a different side to Williams - one that was,well, pretty funny. I suppose the NBC brass wanted to "loosen" his image a little. Wasn't he on Jon Stewart?

As for SNL, it could have been a good idea to bring Ron Burgundy in for a skit.

In any event, people don't understand how the media works. Anyone with half a brain would see that this was a cynical plot to take over the SNL Weekend Report.

Duh.

What a guy that Denis Coderre

Dennis the menace is back!

Just thought of something. Where was Denis Codere in the Saku Koivu affair, eh? Think about it, here's a Liberal politician who went after Shane Doan for his alleged racist comments (with little proof) and is silent on Guy Bertrand's attack on Koivu. Yes, the context is different but it all adds some to the same thing in the end: politics based on race.

I thought federal Liberals represented all Canadians.

For shame.

2007-11-03

Envious Montrealers are delusional

Can we quit the "Toronto has to thank Montreal for their wealth" routine already?

Yes, the arrival of the Parti Quebecois and the subsequent exodus of approximately 400 000 Montrealers as well as several corporate headquarters did contribute to the rise of Toronto.

However that's just one part of the picture. The reality is that Toronto was well on its way to taking over as Canada's top economic center. The Big Taco in the sky Southern Ontario is one of the wealthiest geographic areas in North America - as such Toronto was bound to become the Big Taco in the sky.

From now on Toronto's nickname is Big Taco.

Bianca Leblanc: A tragedy too hard to fathom

The tragic death of Bianca Leblanc, struck down by a speeding car while playing on her lawn, has caused many to debate the issue of reckless driving. Indeed, a precious three year old life was painfully removed by a senseless act of irresponsibility.

I also feel compelled to offer my thoughts.

The horror of this utterly inexplicable occurrence is made all the more poignant given it was Halloween. Bianca was probably going to go door to door in her costume of her choice (or parents) and reap the rewards with candy. I know because we were preparing for the same thing with our daughter.

It was not to be on this day. I could barely comprehend it myself.

The story is made the more sad considering that the teenager - by all accounts from a good family - has altered the course of his own life. While speeding and racing in a residential street without a license he lost control of his car and well...

The legal punishment is likely to be severe.

The social response has been rather top-heavy. The usual calls for government to step in to do something or that a greater police presence is needed in residential areas as opposed to handing out speeding tickets on the highways. Fair enough.

However, this is only effective as long as it compliments and cooperates with our own responsibilities as parents. Passing off the baton to the government while we abdicate our job is not going to solve anything.

I have argued strenuously on this blog that it's time for Canadians to look introspectively as opposed to clamouring after the government to deal with a social problem.

I believe this is one example.

My concern is that from what I have seen from adults on the roads, kids are not getting proper instructions from their parents. Learning to drive at a driving school is one thing but it is up to parents to continue the education; to guide their childrend. If they see their kids making a wrong move they MUST step in and right it. If they know in their hearts their kids are not mature enough to be behind the wheel of a dangerous machine then be honest about it and take a bold decision.

Too often I am cut off by men and women on the phones multi-tasking as they operate a vehicle. Many times, sadly, there are kids in the car. What do you think the kids are observing? That it's alright to drive inattentively.

On a daily occurrence I see people cheating accidents - if not death. Driving without full concentration leads to impolite and erratic driving. This frustrates and angers the person in the car next to you. Who knows what the chain of events that follows are as the universal principle kicks in.

Self-absorbed drivers in a rush to get to a destination need to step back and consider the possible implications of their actions. Is how we drive a metaphor for how we are as a society?

Perhaps signs and pictures of Bianca should cover across this fair city. Bianca's Law.

Many suggestions have been put forward. Increasing the driving age from 16 to 18 seems to make the most sense. Very few 16 year-olds have the maturity to drive.

Whatever, this is just mildly superficial to what we all should be doing. We are collectively responsible and this is the true definition of a social democracy: where the people take control without the government's signal and do what's what right. It should not be the other way around.

This won't bring back Bianca. But perhaps in her death we have reached a tipping point whereby we tackle this issue once and for all.

While ignoring the news, as if keeping away from it would somehow make it go away, I couldn't even bring myself to post a picture of her here.

RIP, Bianca. Maybe in your passing an important message has been sent.

2007-11-02

Quebec Culture and Saku Koivu 1 Quebec Demagogues 0

And that's that.

Saku Koivu, captain of the Montreal Canadiens, introduced his team in French last night. What's interesting to note in all this is that he recorded it over a week ago well before Guy Bertrand's hilarious comments. It was decided to broadcast Koivu's new language skills on the heels of Bertrand's myopic and insulting words. Check....mate. I love it.

People like Bertrand and Pauline Marois do not defend Quebec culture; they demean it. Latching on to old world ideological ideas, they increasingly do not speak for not only many Quebecers, but French-Canadians as well.

Last night, RDS (the French language sister of TSN and by extension ESPN) had a poll asking the public and fans if learning French was obligatory to be captain of the Montreal Canadiens. 72% of the 6 000 people who answered said no.

Yes, all we want is a winning team. More to the point, Quebecers are smarter and more progressive than their political and intellectual masters. They are willing to leave the past in the past now. That's the mark of a maturing society.

And this fills Bertrand, pathetic sports talk show hosts who can't talk about anything else but smut, small-time journalists and the PQ with mortified dread. They see the writing on the wall - they are not only dodo's but are soon to possibly be extinct as the Dodo Bird.

Yesterday, I was sad for Quebec. Today, I'm happy. Sanity prevails.

Let's be done with this once and for all and let the millionaires go play hockey.

2007-11-01

A Pointless, blathering post

Sometimes I look back on my posts and wonder, "who is that guy?" and why is does he speak with a Norwegian and Inuit accent?

It never feels like me. In fact, I'm not sure I even found a voice; a style. Even though I write in luxury with fine Italian silk boxers caressing my lovely bum.

Interestingly, the images in my head rarely get onto print. I can't get them out. Mind you, I haven't found the perfect conditions and layout to get the mentalness (yeah that's right mentalness) of my mind into the annals of whatever. Nor am I all that slick with tech. So, the ideas stay rotting, languishing in this head spilling out from time to time in inappropriate places like funerals and the dinner table.

In any event, it takes so much time to think these suckers through. This is the best I could do so far: Moon Zuppa and The Warehouse

And of course this malfocused (that's right malfocused) bloghole.

I have to go buy toilet paper now.