Law, Order and Torture: A Messy Trio

Nothing beats sitting down to wipe your mind clean with am anti-bacterial substance only to be blind sighted. A recent episode of Law & Order had me locked and engaged as it took aim at an important issue: torture as a means to an end. It was rather intriguing how it navigated through the murky swamp between justice and use of torture. My date with an idle mind had to wait.

For many, the issue is as deep as it is grey absent of any concrete black or white answers. I fall into this group. But this particular show crystallized some cold, hard realities I have chosen to write about.

The show itself revolved (and I deliberately briefly summarize) around how information was obtained by a police officer to locate a kidnapped girl. Excessive force (a difficult thing to measure to be sure) was used to gain knowledge from a con-man who attempted to use the girl as leverage to rob a bank. The means of coercion used by the Detective Fontana was the art of dunking the suspects head into a toilet bowl. By the third dip (I must confess I enjoyed this scene thoroughly), the information required was given - that'll teach the crook to tell a police officer 'screw you.' The girl was saved and all sorts of personal moral dilemmas versus Western legal traditions ensues.

Whatever intellectual considerations presented, I don't think any parent on earth would have objected to what Fontana did. I know I wouldn't. McCoy was on to something when he said it is time to use the law 'as a sword to protect the victims' for a change.

Far from being a legal expert, it was glaring (even for me) how clear it was that Detective Fontana did the right thing. So the bad guy got roughed up a little. He should have thought of that before going off to grab a six year old from her home. Yes, in this case the ends justifies the means. By extension, yes, terrorists understand the language of force. There is nothing complicated here.

What about suspected terrorists? How many would object to having a known terrorist with information that could save many lives tortured? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Alan Dershowitz most certainly concurs. I don't think the founding Fathers, in all their wisdom and glory, would be morally and intellectually depraved enough to go to extremes in protecting the rights of a person who plans to destroy their own way of life. I fully recognize what I am advocating here. Who said balancing security and liberty is easy?

Stable, strong, liberal democracies will always be faced with such issues. We will inevitably use measures that are not part of our collective belief systems, but given the inherent advanced and flexible nature of our society, these (in this case torture) are usually temporary and not likely to become part of the social norm. Democracies battling terrorism fight with two strikes against them. They need to gain a ball somewhere.

This is not to say we should flagrantly resort to torture. The point is that sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and accept the fact that in some cases it is appropriate. Torture truly is a barbaric act. It really takes a special type of character to do it. Nor am I completely convinced that the people in power possess the moral authority to conduct it. This, I'm afraid, is for another debate.

For our purposes here, never give the criminal the upper hand. At this moment, whether we choose to accept this or not, men with less than stellar ideals seek to take advantage of our obsession with providing good governance to all. Time to shift this advantage slightly back into the hands of civil citizens.

Every single person - most people anyway - understand that sometimes a sound kick in the butt works to protect something we cherish or love. Are we prepared to accept this in a time where the nature of war (in terms of how an enemy operates) is changing before us? Not that terrorist techniques are anything new in world history but in the context of Western culture since 1648 it is indeed new - and uncomfortable.

Fontana and McCoy were right. Borgia, for her part, also had a valid point. Our moral conscience should always be consulted in order to ensure our justice and the legal system protects our civil liberties. A little, calculated suspicion of people with power can be healthy. However, (in this case anyway) Fontana and McCoy were closer in line with what most of us think. It's hard to admit in public - or words- that you agree with excessive means.

That was some exercise. An idle mind - or hands - is the devil's workshop anyways.


The Undercurrent of a Myth Never Strays in Quebec

The art of political nonsense is always pushed to new heights in Quebec. A thoroughly socialist and unionized society, Quebec nationalists think with nothing but dead organs. They are, I suppose, nothing more than a collection of parochial pagan alchemists.

The insidious notion of demanding that a pro-sovereignty book - Parlons de Souveraineté å L'école (Speak of Sovereignty at School) using precarious history facts to espouse their political agenda is an affront to high civil discourse. Quebec is a place that lives partly in a surreal dream world. Sound economic and business models that remotely resemble American ideals are distrusted to ridiculous fervor here.

The real moral question is not the romantic demands of a people who forever consider themselves oppressed (nice work if you can get it) but whether they can still justify using tax dollars to pay for this sad sordid mess.

Once and for all it should be explained to Quebecers the true cost of running away from the Confederation using smoke and mirrors will be. Lay the cards out on the table and see where they stand. If the people buy it so be it.*

Quebec -as they wish to believe- is not an intellectual sophisticated place. It's completely unhinged when it comes to this issue. Quebec has far more serious issues to attend to. At least Alberta - with no less of an excuse - has the cash to do so. When, if ever, will it all end?

The school system has no place for trash history. Leave that work to the self-serving impostors of contemporary society (where the art and discipline of history is under attack) via the likes of Michael Moore and Dan Brown.

*The debate continues as to whether the separatist threat will ever succeed. One the one hand demographics (and by extension the larger global geo-political landscape) seem to be pointing to an inevitable dissolution of Canada. Yet, many French-Canadians are growing resltess over the dabte as they are slowly emerging from the Quiet Revolution with a sense that they are once again being short-changed by their masters - first it was the Church and now it is their leaders. Why do Quebecois leaders send their children to American institutions to learn or seek private care in the U.S. when French Quebecers themselves are not allowed to? It's a question circulating and answers will be demanded. It can be presented that French-Quebecers share more in common with certain American values than they care to acknowledge.


Finding Don Cherry

Don Cherry is a colorful hockey personality who is enormously popular on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, and who also happens to be equally loathed by many others. The perfect recipe to stardom! There isn't a sports commentator in this country that remotely approaches his status. His segment on Coach's Corner, with the witty pun master Ron Maclean, is an intermission mainstay ritualistically watched by millions - including myself.

Why? I happen to be of the opinion that Cherry knows what he's talking about on most issues. Sometimes his bare-boned honesty gets the better of him, but he should not be chastised for it. So he pounds the desk and tells Ron to 'keep quiet and let me finish.' It's all part of what makes this duo unique. In a time where we cynically lament constantly about not having enough interesting and honest people in broadcasting (not to mention the dying art of poetic sports writing), Cherry serves a positive reminder that old time personalities still exist. People who like Cherry are not stupid; they just appreciate candid opinions. They surely don't need presumptuous journalists warning us that he is Rated 'R' before we listen.

Too often we get hung up on the messenger rather than the message. People can't stand his 'in your face' aggressive and brash style, but behind the persona, more often than not, lies some insightful comments about hockey - even life. Cherry goes where no journalist dares go. If the trend and fashion is to demand visors, you can bet that Cherry will offer an alternate opinion. Many may disagree, but at least he offers real debate - and this bothers many in the media.

Media hates whenever there is a dissenter among them (though the smug ones would never dare consider him a colleague) and Cherry is most definitely a vigilante; the Dirty Harry of hockey commentating. Thank God. What's the point of having the same opinion all the time? Of course, all that this has earned him is scorn and a seven-second delay on the CBC to appease mother hens. Cherry is about freedom.

Many times Cherry has outshone his brethren when it comes to predictions and thoughts about the game. For example, I often find myself comparing his analysis with one or two journalists in the Montreal Gazette sports pages that absurdly obsess over him (not to mention attack and seek to unwittingly censor him), and there simply is no comparing the two. In fact, one particular arrogant writer (who mixes sports with his political views fit for a University paper) often makes it a point to attack Cherry, though it never seems to dawn on him that he uses same shtick.

Ah, but there's the kicker! He believes he's in the right. He's too smart for Cherryesque musings. Nonsense. Those who do nothing but complain and offer no solutions to perceived problems are part of the problem themselves.

I doubt the journalists who hate him have earned, nor command, the respect Cherry does. He is in the community for various causes (including organ donation), he always sets a few seconds on his segment to honor a fallen police officer (most recently the slain QUEBECOIS POLICE WOMAN from Laval) or a young hockey player who suffered life-altering injuries. Don Cherry always finds a moment for the people and the fans. He is constantly paying homage to our troops (when so many of us forget), our collective history - which serves as a reminder that Cherry cares and there is little proof that he is a decadent barbarian.

He has been called a troglodyte and racist by those who don't get him, (one of the enduring myths is that he 'hates' French-Canadians I have seen him praise Quebec hockey players before my own eyes. One of his all-time favorite players is Guy Lafleur).

However, Cherry is not going to give any nationality a free pass. He is equally hard on all of them but he does give praise where warranted. Some have called him a know-nothing wannabe coach (he compiled a .597 winning percentage in six seasons with the Boston Bruins, taking them to the Stanley Cup finals in 1977 and 1978 - only to lose both times to the Montreal Canadiens -arguably the greatest dynasty ever).

Say what you will about Don Cherry. Some true, some not. Behind the big thumping chest lies a complex individual (and sports have always been riddled with them from Dick Butkus to Ted Williams to Bobby Knight). On the surface they are malignant characters. Scratch a little and you find interesting men with intricate world views who take words like loyalty, honor and accountability to high art. It's not hard to find Don Cherry when put in this light.

Funny, eh? Journalists pride themselves on being instinctive and perceptive. When it comes to Don Cherry, however, they have failed miserably. The paupers, on the other hand, pass with flying Cherry red colors.

Article of Interest: Politics and Society: The Easter Bunny as an Offensive Symbol

The Commentator

Thanks to Owner's Manual for this one. When does Kafka make his comeback?


Italian Community Gets Cash. No Apology. .

I've been slow to getting around to this but a piece over at Alternavision jolted me into action.

Earlier this winter, Montreal's Italian Community was presented with $2.5 million dollars in compensation by the Canadian government (then under the leadership of Paul Martin and the Liberal Party) for about 700 Italian-Canadians accused of being 'enemies of the state' during World War II.

No pubic apology was forthcoming in the House of Commons. Interestingly, just the opposite happened in 1990 when Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney offered a public apology minus the money.

Either way, the whole notion of apologies and monetary compensation for past injustices is not a game worth playing. Never mind that it was a time of war and some fascist organizations did indeed operate on the continent (though were mostly harmless). Families were destroyed and businesses lost. This is to not condone the government and its actions (there's ample reason to believe that racial overtones were part of their decision to intern Italians. Lest we forget the eugenics movement was still fresh in the minds of many Canadians.)

It was all a human travesty. Let us leave it at that.

The Italian community has moved on for the most part and opening old wounds serves little purpose. In fact, for me, what has been more irritating is how history books and columns in newspapers have usually ignored that Italians were interned at all. The popular community often cited are the Japanese but the Italians (as well as Germans and Ukranians) have taken a back-seat - our attention spans can't process too many nationalities mistreated.

As a Canadian of Italian heritage and a historian by education, I never sought a government apology. The Italian National Congress of Italians need to focus on more relevant things to enhance the community.

Last, the cheque was presented along with former Minister of Multiculturalism Raymond Chan which went straight into the coffers of the communities rather than the families of the former prisoners - whom of which are mostly deceased by now. To me, this is an injustice.

As is usually the case when it comes to post modern crusades to right past wrongs, this is the act (whatever the good intentions) of a select minor group of 'esteemed' political figures who decided the community wanted (if not demanded) this. Forget the fact that many Italians want this chapter closed once and for all.

If I were involved, which I'm not, I would have taken the cheque and given it right back to the taxpayers. Not to mention abolishing that mythical abomination - Minister of Multiculturalism.

But that's for another post at a later date.


Giving A Moderate Voice to Muslims


Please visit this site for those who cherish pluralism. Sign the petition to show your support. They say moderate voices need to speak up. Here's a place where they do but they also need support. This is my - however small - way of doing so.

Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.

We -- writers, journalists and public intellectuals -- call for resistance to religious totalitarianism.

Instead, we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide.

The necessity of these universal values has been revealed by events since the publication of the Muhammad drawings in European newspapers. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the arena of ideas. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilizations, nor an antagonism of West versus East, but a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The preachers of hate bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a world of inequality. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of greater power imbalances: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all others.

To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed people. For that reason, we reject “cultural relativism,” which consists of accepting that Muslim men and women should be deprived of their right to equality and freedom in the name of their cultural traditions.

We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia,” an unfortunate concept that confuses criticism of Islamic practices with the stigmatization of Muslims themselves.

We plead for the universality of free expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on every continent, against every abuse and dogma.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of enlightenment, not of obscurantism.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafiq , Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Irshad Manji , Mehdi Mozaffari, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val, Ibn Warraq


Harper in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a secret surprise visit to Canadian troops in Afghanistan this week. Much negative nonsense was said about Harper before he was elected but by this act solidifies himself as a leader this country has sorely missed over the last 15 years or so.

It was the right thing to do.

Neither previous PM's Jean Chretien or Paul Martin dared to go to this region to visit the military. Even when our troops were sadly killed and morale dropped they continued to mock the Canadian nation by ruling a bankrupted Liberal Party.

The debate is growing here as to whether Canada should stay in Afghanistan. The answer is clearly yes. However, for a country that has abdicated its responsibility and lac of maturity on the international stage, it is not surprising some citizens would demand we bring our soldiers home. We went into - regardless of justification - Afghanistan. The job is not finished. We must stay. This is the moral thing to do. We should stay provided that we respect local customs while maintaining a determined footing. We should proceed standing proudly next to the United States but with an independent posture. This is easier done than mistakenly thought.

It takes vision and it takes courage to do this. American special forces have been hard at work learning local languages, customs and diets among this notoriously hospitable people. It's this kind of work that wins hearts one person at a time. It's slow in its methods but deliberate in its goals.

The media is disinterested in stuff that takes too long. The big picture is not what concerns them. Hence we focus on conspiracy theories (the snake apple of our intellectual minds) that seem so plausible to believe. Not to mention our constant tabbing on the cost of the war and body bags in Iraq for example.

"In their heart of hearts Americans want to do right" was as one person put it on a national radio program. I agree. I'm not too much into the 'America is an evil empire' stuff. First, because I am a historian by education and historical evidence simply does not point in that direction. In order to believe that our leaders are rotten we need to concede our society is rotten. I'm not quite there.

Debate is necessary but how we direct it is where we fail at times. Is the demand for Harper to call back troops - which amounts to abandoning Afghans much like if the Americans were to run from the Iraqi people - a Canadian value at work we speak so highly of? I hope it is not or we have deeper troubles than we think.

The CBC is Officially Braindead

The CBC sucks. It is lead by a bunch of leaderless and visionless hogs who live off the taxpayers money. Unless true changes come to the hollow CBC put a bullet in its empty, pathetic head.

What were they thinking to not honor Bernard 'Boom Boom' Geofferion; one of the true innovators of hockey? Last I checked the CBC is meant to support all Canadians. It is clear that it is a Toronto-centric network running rampant. Especially in light that they annoyed us with that laughable ceremony honoring Tie Domi's 1000th game.

Once upon a time the CBC offered a split telecast with Hockey Night in Canada. The West got to watch the misery that were the Toronto Maple Leafs while Atlantic Canada and Quebec got the legendary Habs. My suspicion this was done so because the Montreal Canadiens were always a legitimate threat to win the Stanley Cup while the Maple Saps were not. Now that the Leafs are somewhat successful they backstab the Habs and run with this inept organization.*

I have grown tired of the CBC using MY MONEY to push the Toronto agenda. Every single one of their groupthink bosses make no sense anymore. While the CBC offers superb radio programming (though some of it feels as though they are broadcasting from early 20th century Moscow) it does need to rethink its raison d'etre. If not, privatize the sucker once and for all. Or if they are worth their salt and arrogance let them have pledge drives a-la Vermont ETV and other PBS stations. Alas, they can't do that! How will they earn their ridiculous high salaries? Nothing like a Crown corporation existing on public funds to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars, eh? Ah, capitalism - Canadian style. First they fire the talented and classy Chris Cuthbert and now they first Montreal viewers to watch the Leafs. Time to call out the CBC once and for all and wash out the shower slime.

I'll close on this note. Nancy Lee - whoever she is. I think she was the genius who fired Cuthbert and has the purse strings to money that does not belong to her - was quoted as saying that she does hope that Toronto makes the playoffs. Not only are they comedic at the CBC they apparently lack class.

Where's my Beretta?

*Note: The Canadiens are just as culpable in their ineptness. To have waited so long to retire #5 was a travesty. I would like to think they learned their lesson. I doubt it.


The New England Patriots are a dynasty

With rules that amount to nothing more than socialism, sports have become a fabricated parity fairy land. Many people just love the even playing field with the arrival of revenue sharing and salary caps. Not me. I loved watching dynasties rise and fall. Teams were rewarded for being the best and the teams were punished for not making shrewd decisions within strong organizational standards. It's not just in sports we see this.

We have seen the bar lowered in contemporary times. Don't misunderstand me, I do feel athletes are at times overpaid and that owners have not always acted in the best interest in the game they respectively operate in - no system is perfect - however imposing superficial laws and rules leaves a slight distaste in my mouth. Everyone gets a shot at winning. How nice!

That said, an interesting comment caught my attention on the radio the other day. I still can't believe people actually do not think the New England Patriots are not a dynasty - or at the very least a great franchise. In these times where team spirit is rare and where superstar athletes act like brats, the Patriots are an anomaly in pro football. They draft smart and are coached with purpose. They have standards in a time when it is hard to maintain some. To ignore them because they don't have that 'star' power is unfair. Kept in the context of the modern NFL, their accomplishments is outstanding.

They run contrary to the prevailing ethos and they have proven to be champions in the process. Three Super Bowl titles in four years? The New England Patriots easily rank among the greatest teams of all time. And they will continue to be competitive in the foreseeable future.

End of bloody discussion already.

The Montreal Canadiens dishonor their past

Why are the Montreal Canadiens reluctant to retire numbers of great players?

We all know politics and sports should not mix. In theory we all wish this to be true but the reality is that humans are political beings. And petty political vendettas sometimes gets the best of people. I could just imagine how many ball players were and are kept out of the Hall of Fame because they did not play ball - excuse the pun - with the thin-skinned media in MLB history. For example, Doug Harvey - possibly the greatest defenseman in the history of the game outside Orr - was kept out of the Hockey Hall of Fame by Frank Selke Jr.

Retiring numbers may be a small gesture by sports franchises towards a former star athlete but it's not taken lightly by players - it's the ultimate symbolic acknowledgment of ones services. That doesn't mean there aren't questionable retired numbers just as there are many people who don't belong in some Halls.

In the case of the Montreal Canadiens there is no excuse for them to wait as long as they are to retire some important numbers. They are behaving in a contemptuous fashion towards their own legacy in doing so. Frankly, it lacks class. I have no idea what their problem is and nor do I care.

With the news of Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geofferion's stomach cancer, it was sad to hear that he will not make the pre-game ceremony honoring the retirement of his number. Widely thought to be the inventor of the slap shot, Boom Boom had to recently sell his hockey memories to make some money. He deserved to have his number retired long ago. Why did they have to wait this long? All they do by doing this is run the risk of not having the person honored present as time goes on.

Geofferion was not the only one to wait so long. Earlier this year, Yvon Cournoyer and Dicke Moore had their sweaters retired years after they retired. Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden and Bob Gainey all cornerstones of a Montreal dynasty are all waiting to have their numbers retired. None of these stars were marginal players. They were all superstars that brought Montreal several Stanley Cups and help to build the Montreal mystique.

Alas, this has been forgotten by the men who run the organization these days. It's a damn shame. It really takes nothing to do it. The Habs are not only failing on the ice but in the heart and soul of its own essence.


The Barry Bonds Saga

The Barry Bonds saga is just too weird for me. For over 15 years we have heard what kind of a crummy character he is. And more recently his doped up decision to use steroids - excuse the pun. How one of the purist all-round ball players ever would succumb to cheating is a mystery. Why anyone does it given the scrutiny it gets these days is a mystery too.

It must take one darn narcissist I suppose.

In turn, Bonds blames the media for all his troubles. I don't know the guy (I can only judge what I see and that leads to relying on perceptions. Still, there has to be some truth to all this and good old-fashioned human intuition can be used here) but he seems to be failing in the game of life. He could have avoided so many head aches by simply acting as a straightforward and professional individual. Instead, he rammed his acidic and confrontational attitude right into a wall at top speed. He fell for the bait. The truth is that he has no one but himself to blame. It's all a shame. A shame. For the game, the fans, the records and above all Barry Bonds and his legacy.


George Clooney is too brave for this world

In my brave confessions,let it be dutifully be noted that I have never watched the Oscars in my life. Sure, I've come across bits and pieces here and there but never quite understood the celebrity fascination. Question: If many people feel athletes are over paid why aren't people questioning celebrities?

With sinful excessive decadence within its core, Hollywood helped spawn a lobotomy induced gossip industry that proves the idleness of our minds. Alas, not all is lost as the ratings for the Oscars were dismal this time around. Are people finally beginning to take Hollywood with a grain of salt? Seriously, how many more stories do we have to hear about divas and divos treating their staff as though they have leprosy? "Don't you dare speak an utterance to me you low life. I'm a millionaire low-life with a hint of whate trash and don't you forget it. Now cut a cheque to this charity and don't forget my tax receipt you moron."

Thank God for intellectual salt'n peppa activists like George Clooney to save us. He who is so proud to be 'out of touch.' He who feels liberalism is a dirty word - which it's not. If it is, it's possible for the reason that Classical liberalism has been hijacked by pseudo-phony liberals by Hollywood scumbags. Hollywood is not interested in the complex and elusive concept of truth but rather it seeks - wittingly or otherwise - to portray its vision of whatever events and issues in their mold and visions. Big difference between being trustworthy social commentators and purposefully manipulating stories for one's own gains. Please see Michael Moore.

What he meant of course by his out of reality gibberish is that Hollywood is the preserver and conveyor of all things progressive. Despite his fondness for his industry, I'm not sure if Holywood is ahead of the mainstream curve. At best, it imitates and copies life. In this light, Hollywood seems like a coincidental tool in pop culture; they pluck stories from the newspapers that are claimed to be alternative and they make big budget films out of them. Most of course are based on conspiracy theories. This is what they mean by alternative?

Films truly ahead of their time rarely get contemporary recognition. To seemingly put himself in a class of avant-garde actors because he made an oil film or that Hollywood made a gay cowboy film is proposterous. Time rarely vindicates selective Hollywood on such issues.

Brave new world he is proud to be a part of. How brave is Hollywood? Brave to the extent of asserting its agenda - whatever it may be. He has taken his ideals to the paupers. We should feel privileged in his eyes. Hollywood is not mainstream, no way. Nah.

The truth is that we should never look to Hollywood for any historical or political or cultural lesson. Hollywood either suffers - so it seems - from exaggerated self-importance (and why shouldn't they given how people sickenly maul celebrities?) or infantile insecurity. Since when has Hollywood ever influenced history as a serious discipline? Of course, it doesn't have to in the minds of our brilliant actors since Hollywood points out all the stuff history neglects or people don't want to talk about. What a crock of hooey.

To the well-informed and well-adjusted, his comments were harmless. Just another Hollywood actor making a forgettable comment. Delete. Then again, some will take issue and in their own way hold him to it. As it stands, there is nothing insightful out of Hollywood's narcissistic lessons - ask any historian. But don't tell that to Mr. Clooney. Hey, Mambo! Mambo Italiano...


A Rock' N Roll Soliloquy

Music in many ways imitates historical political cleavages in that it too can at times be fragmented. Or, as it often has been said, it can imitate life. In business economics the motto is location, location, location. We can add niche, niche, niche to that equation. And not just in business but the arts as well.

There is industry music and there is music for its own sake. There are amateur athletes and there are professional athletes - where the unholy alliance of music and business meet. Some are in it for the money and know how to penetrate the snobby walls of the entertainment's version of 'cosa nostra' while others are purely in for the love.

Once upon a time rules were meant to be broken. Now rules and systems control with an iron fist. Individuals are no longer trusted extensions of the corporation they work for. Need that extra half a percent on your mortgage? 'I have to clear it with upstairs. Our mutual trust means little to the big boys.' Sports went from freewheeling athletism in a showcase of ultimate franchise and player expression to a stuffy over analyzed (notice the word anal in there) and mechanized product. Follow the damn system! Improvisation will summarily be executed. Now the lines are blurred. Rock acts need to be a part of the process of authority. Who knows why?

No wonder corner doo-wop acts are dead. Tight playing is all the rage. Technical sounds soaked in political messages, blantant violence and cheap sex. All in the name of progress and style. Some modern bands are good but only if they are original. Some knock offs are talented but are in danger of following the dreaded 'blueprint'. Some of it is solid and others downright insulting.

It's hard to find a song to feel good about these days. Cynicism is to the modern hipster is what satanism was to the 60s and 70s cultural rock trends. Life is rough as it is. Hard to tell if it's imitating my life or not.

All I know is that spontaneous acts of momentary purity is usually brought out by music from another time. Only Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley can lead to a dance on a drive way in front of neighbours. On a stunning summer evening when you're not thinking of anything in particular what has your fingers popping better than Chuck Berry? Man, it was all about cars, girls, beaches and other universal themes we all shared.

These guys knew the secrets of rock'n roll. They had the fire and perhaps it should be found and rekindled. Disjointed many of us are but for one brief collection of mere seconds a good rock song can unite. It can make your soul move in ways you never thought.