Article of Interest: Knock, Knock. Who's there? The Government


What did you expect was going to happen? That we be consulted? Ha! Oh, there's a surprise - former PM Jean Chretien acted out of "cynicism." Tell us something we didn't know. You know, people are so busy harping on Harper they quickly forgotten how incredibly self-serving and arrogant the thief-oriented, morally and intellectually deprived Liberals were. With apologies to Mr. Dion who seems like a decent guy.

The environmentalists are essentially saying the debate is closed - that they are supported by science. In many ways they are. On the other hand - ironically - they think that they are muzzled in the halls of public opinion. Cripes, they are about to flip the world economy in case anyone hasn't noticed.

Others, including scientists and moderates, want to discuss this a tad more given the extraordinary costs and adjustments needed to implement ambitious (if not dubious) environmental plans. You can't go around legislating laws at the expense of business and the economy (and people at large) willy-nilly. There has to be a proven end point for the pain about to be inflicted. Worse, we shouldn't put such important issues in the hands of politicians willing to easily bend over like Jenna Jameson for cheap and cynical political votes.

The environmentalists (and the politicians they have convinced) say they know what's good for us - who doesn't know what's good for us? It's all we hear now. Do this, think that, be like me this.

Do me a favour, hug a true liberal, libertarian or conservative because they'll be the only friends we'll have in the face of damn neo-communists. Yeah, that's right. I'm labeling because these people are starting to step on my twinkle toes.

So who will assess the costs and who will pay once we realize the error of our decisions?


Just Call it the Montreal International Music Festival

A couple of years back a friend and I purchased tickets to see Ron Sexsmith in concert. It was worth it though we could not figure out why Sexsmith was invited to be part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival - the biggest jazz festival in the world. A year after that I met Sexsmith through Andy Kim and he intimated the same thing to me. He loves Montreal but couldn't quite figure out his connection to jazz. Hey, it was a gig to him and he packed them in.

The jazz festival is right around the corner and I'm one of those jazz fans that simply does not attend anymore. Once upon a time the free outside shows lineup was outstanding and the roster was made up of only jazz and blues musicians. After all, it's a jazz festival, right? I know, we tend to intertwine jazz and blues (and sometimes rock'n roll) but the relationship is tight. By the way, Chuck Berry once performed on one of the stages and it was masterful.

That was from the early to mid 90s- when I was stlll earning my Major in History. In the subsequent years the outside shows began to include performers and bands that had little connection to jazz and the real heavyweight jazz shows were pushed indoors at high ticket prices. I but a few times. George Benson and Ray Charles were enticing enough to check out. No more were the grassroots feeling of pure love of jazz to be soaked up on a sweet Montreal summer evening.

Once again, the jazz festival is upon us and is right around the corner. Now keep in mind, you're reading the words of a thirtysomething year-old who buys, among other things, the music of Tin Pan Alley for the love of Birdland. Even my mother - who can belt out a Bing Crosby or Connie Francis tune or two by heart - even finds me a tad stuck behind another era. My brother is hooked on 1950s and my sister and I witht he 20s and 30s.

The guest list includes that legendary jazz performer Bob Dylan. I doubt he'll be covering Wes Montgomery or performing some Cole Porter standards. Van Morrison - one of my all-time favorites - is also on the bill. Morrison is a tricky one. He has dabbled in jazz and blues. In fact, like most British and Irish singers of the 60s, he was influenced heavily by American rhythm and blues, jazz and motown. Originally, Morrison was part of the Irish formation "Them" band before he went on to carve out a solo career. Morrison is as soulful and mystical as they come. But is he jazz?

In any event, the Montreal Jazz Festival has packed its lineup with so many non-jazz acts these past few years. It may even have alienated the hardcore jazz community in the city. It panders to all now. It is inclusive of world music and is almost yuppy-like in its orientation. Interestingly, even though Montreal boasts the largest jazz festival in the world, it remains pretty much a second-rate jazz town 11 months out of the year. Thus furthering my theory that this city is committed to one-time events that last a week or so. It is not interested in supporting something all year round. Maybe we have ADHD?

This is the course the organizers of the festival chose. So be it. However, is it time to drop the jazz moniker? The Montreal Jazz Festival is no more a jazz fesitval than I am Chick Webb.


The Commentating Commentator Comments

-We all have heard the term "don't mess with Texas." Yeah well, up here don't mess with hockey. You can mess with public health, eudcation and even rob from the citizens, but don't EVER mess with hockey, Mr. NBC.

In an insecure country where the "Hockey Night in Canada" song theme is the single most recognizable tune in the history of this country - no exaggeration intended - messing with hockey is not a good idea.

It seems that certain Canadian sports fans in some circles of the media are in a hissy and haughty rant about how NBC disrespected the NHL. None of the people, of course, doing the incessant whining are businesspeople or have any clue on what it means or takes to run a business - and it darn well shows through their rhetoric. For those of you who don't know - or care - NBC cut away at 5pm from the Buffalo/Ottawa overtime game last week to show the Preakness. I'm not defending it but I also see their point.

One thing I learned in business - among many, many things - is when you are negotiating from a position of little or no leverage, you have to be extra cautious and diligent to ensure the deal you (meaning the NHL) sign is a healthy one for your business. Did the NHL do this? I'm not sure. If not, where does the blame lie? These are tough times for hockey in terms of getting national exposure in the U.S. The game itself is fine. Is it time for a new strategy?

Canada is not a business culture so I don't expect our media to get this. However, it seems to me we're overdoing this episode. This stuff happens from time to time. We just don't like it when it happens to us good old Canadians. Hockey is the be all and end all here. It just isn't the case elsewhere.

You want to direct some anger at someone? Direct it at the people over at Global who have pulled some second-rate blunders over the last couple of years.

The reaction is slightly overdone. To borrow the lyrical words of Warren Zevon, "send, lawyers, guns and money." NBC is dissing us.

-From the desk of The Commentator: Note to the Mayor of Montreal, you scammed us with the parking meter hikes, now you can make amends by standing firm with the transit union for mechanics and maintenance represented by the Confederation des syndicats nationaux. Eroding the grip of union power has to begin somewhere. Why not here and now?


Mangia, Mangia

In one of my last posts I mentioned that I would present some of my preferred Italian dishes. Seeing that I am on a somewhat of a Latin- themed decadent binge, this is a good time to delve into this. First, a little background. Lollobrigida, hit it! Your food I digida...

Like France, Italy is an outstanding culinary nation. It is nearly impossible to match the variety and quality of cheeses and wines that come out of the two lands. In terms of sheer scope, Italy produces more types of food (rice, cold-cuts, pizza and foccacias, olives, olive oil, gelato, liquors, espresso, vinegars (including Balsamic), pasta, etc.) than any country. Italy is also a world leader in the production of organic food. Furthermore, few countries spend as much as Italy in upgrades in machinery and development (e.g. advanced mechanized olive oil and espresso machines) when it comes to the food industry. Needless to say, there is much to choose from and enjoy.

Although Italy has not standardized its food industry as early (and possible as effectively) as France - leaving it open to much confusion (surprise and welcome to organized chaos) - for some this is just fine; the regionalized ambiguities left behind make studying Italian cuisine all the more pleasantly challenging. I myself am not always sure what constitutes a "pure" way of preparing a particular dish. Usually, we go with what mom made.

Case in point, spaghetti alla carbonara - one of my all-time favorites. Recipes vary slightly from region to region and every now and then some hotshot chef tries to tamper with it - like the genius who added pineapples to pizza. According to the classic cookbook The Talisman by Ada Boni, the recipe calls for pancetta (Italian bacon), pepper, eggs and white wine - if desired. Some people add parsley, others onions. However, it should not deviate too much from this utterly classic and rustic dish. I know some call for cream to be added (for North American tastes and should technically be avoided), but that's too rich. I prefer it dry and not too creamy if you add more water and eggs. What I like about shpa-get al'carbonar (my dialect) is that it offers carbs and protein with a pancetta punch on one plate.

What is often called Italian cuisine is really Italian cuisine adapted for local North American tastes and habits, hence the exaggerated amount of salty sauce poured on a pasta dish and the satanic Kraft-style pastas. Very few restaurants - only upon requests- will actually prepare a dish as originally intended. I only go to the ones where I feel comfortable enough with the staff to ask them to make something fresh of the day.

The consequence of this is that some misconceptions persist about Italians and their mad love affair with food. For starters, Italy is not an over-starched or 'carbed' society. True, pizza and pasta are the single most recognizable and famous exports, but it does not mean Italians eat them three times a day. Get a grip, people. First, while this has changed somewhat over the years, pasta is predominantly consumed in the south of the Mezzogiorno. When Italian immigrants left Italy, most were from the south and brought with them southern-based foods. By contrast, the Northern part of Italy tends to use more butter and cream. The hierarchy of the Italian diet is best described as the northern part of the country consuming rice, the central devoted to soups and south leaning towards pasta.

Quick comment on the Mediterranean diet. The circle (sphere, whatever) of countries that make up the Mediterranean: Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and various North African and Middle-Eastern countries including Lebanon, do have the most diverse and healthiest diets.

Ok. Rice or risotto - picture above. I like all risotto. In addition to being extremely healthy, it is a meal onto itself. One I tend to make is risotto with tomato and basil. Risotto is a long process to prepare, but well worth the effort. As for soups, there are too many to name here. I would have to include almost any minestrone from any region. Bavette soup Genoese style, Stracciatella, soup with tortellini, soup with tiny meatballs and swiss chard, and so on...

So, back to pasta. Why is it so popular? Economically and practically, it's cheap to buy and easy to make - well, it should be easy to make. Too many people don't realize a good pasta must be al dente and not mushy. Even the process of selecting pasta is interesting. Contrary to the temptation of dismissing pastas as being all alike, there are many types of pastas (hundreds) and several manufacturers from low to high quality. Personally, if I don't buy (or make by hand) fresh pasta, I like to sing and buy Barilla or De Cecco.

Then comes the part of how to eat pasta. Cutting spaghetti or linguine is frowned upon (personally I like to get violent around people who do so) so don't do it. Another odd ritual I have noticed over the years is the practice of drinking milk with an Italian dinner. What...the....? Milk is not intended to act as a compliment with pasta. In fact, it's probably not even good for you. You can die. Please, go to a local Italian grocery store. Buy some carbonated water, bitter, Chinotto, pear juice or any other Italian drinks meant to be consumed with your meal.

When it comes to Italian food (or Chinese or Indian or French), observe how the natives eat it. Which brings me back to the the perception that Italians eat "too many carbs." The Italian diet is far more balanced than the North American one. Check out any fish, game and meat section of a recipe book. There are too many to name here. I know that this varies from region to region. In my house, veal tended to be the "go to" mainstay. By contrast, the Tuscan household of my friend would eat foods like rooster with rosemary or thin, very cooked pizzas with herbs. It is always odd to hear a Canadian say this regarding one of the world's most advanced and civilized culinary nations. Love of eating entails learning how to eat and this is something the Italians have been mastering at the highest levels for centuries. They do go the extra mile (or kilometer) when it comes to perfecting food - consider that the Italian government has actually legislated laws to ensure that certain foods (cheese, pizza, espresso) maintain a level of quality.

And this is saying nothing of Italian fruits and vegetables and the endless gardens still tended by the Italian immigrant army. Italians don't go to war. I'm not sure they only make love. But they damn well tend to their gardens.

In any event, it is only now that my brother and sisters and I are realizing just how diverse my mother was in her cooking. We have practically eaten everything in my house from tripe, lamb brains, polenta and pasta with oil and garlic. My mother doesn't just make one type of lasagne - she makes four or five different versions.

For the record, The Economist disclosed a survey a few years back that ranked nations according to their weight. Italians came in as the second lightest people behind The Netherlands, thus lending proof that Italians are not gluttonous goofs as often portrayed in Hollywood mob movies.

Italy does not begin and end with pasta, just like soccer is not the only sport Italians are mad about. They happen to be the topics they are most vocal about, but rice (risotto), polenta and soups are just as much a part of the Italian diet as motor-racing, basketball and cycling are among sports fans.

Anyway, what's a meal without dessert? Sure, there are all sorts of wonderful and legendary Italian desserts, from spumoni (or strawberry spumoni), to tiramisu, to granita, to sfogliatelle.Any of those would do fine with with either Sambuca, Averna, Prosecco or an espresso - or all combined. Look them up. You won't regret it.

For all recipes check out this link:


This is but one precious link. There are so many out there. Everyone has their own favorites, whether they be found on The Food Network or through family recipes passed on for generations. I went on a little too long here - you would not believe the amount of editing that took place.


The United Colours of America and Europe

In the past I have written about the scourge of anti-Americanism. Hoping for something sinister to hit the shores of the United States is an exercise in intellectual futility - in some cases a feeble attempt at masking a nation's own failures. If America collapses so does the world. This assertion may seem to be guilty of hyperbole but it does have truth to it.

South America and the Middle East, to their detriment, continue to cling on to long failed ideas of governance that hinge on this type of anti-American rhetoric. Other countries - Canada and France for instance - have their own reasons for engaging in overt anti-American discourse. Factual or not, it's best not recommended.

There is a difference in being critical of America with intent to improve upon it and with malice in hope of destroying it. I'm not sure where some people lie on this spectrum whenever I hear or read about various pontifications about the United States. There is something to be said of a country that is internationally more scrutinized than red and white blood cells. High standards and vigorous oratorical ideas of freedom and democracy can hurt America's image if not met - or at the very least be perceived to have failed.

What about the trend of anti-Europeanism? One way Americans have lashed out at the bad public relations fiasco is to single out their traditional allies. As a student of history, I've never been a fan of taking the history of nation in its weakest moments and making them pay for it. Italy under Mussolini, Nazi Germany, Vichy France etc. It's all too easy to make fun of the French and their post-1870 war record. Fun perhaps, but just as wrongheaded as comparing Iraq to Vietnam.

In fact, drawing analogies to history for a contemporary issue is a dicey game. Some may even say it's a fools game. One can read about history and still miss the point. Besides, we all select what we want to draw a conclusion that fits our perceptions. That is why it is incumbent on people who know better to refrain from this. I'm not sure this is the case.

In the case of America and Europe, there seems to be a hint of childish name calling taking place. To Americans, Europe's commitment to excessive dialogue only breathes life into rogue regimes. To Europeans, America's eagerness to use force is disconcerting. Europe understands America's great wealth and power. Americans need not wonder about this. Europeans, furthermore, should not condescend to America. The notion that America is a teenage society with too much power is overblown. Both sides have chosen an excessive path. Time to find middle ground.

In any event, the two continental giants have much more in common. Any differences are merely cosmetic. Certainly each has its own designs and ideas of what constitutes a nation but they all aim to attain just societies. Inherent are shared values and ideals that are part of the Occidental identity. You can't cut that umbilical chord that easily.

At this point, let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. They who live in glass houses should not hurl stones. None of the nations involved are perfect.

The anti-crowd only serve to distract and detract. There is much to do and accomplish. Let's tone down the reliance on pointing out the negatives and focus on the positives.

America needs Europe and vice-versa.

All together now, deep breath, count to three and let go. Feel better?


Latin Lovers in Line for Change

Again I ask:

Will the conservative Sarkozy do for France what Thatcher did for Britain and Reagan the United States?

In other words, reinvigorate and set a new course for a stagnant nation that has suffered mightily in the hands of socialists?

Speaking of shaping up, a recent OECD study of European education (despite the contributions of the Montessori and Reggio schools) ranked Italy near the bottom. One of the problem is that Italy is a "grey" society in which young people get very few opportunities. The school system is filled with "tenured" people from grade school all the way to Italy's regressing Universities. The results are not acceptable in a country that once boasted one of better education systems in Europe.

Italy is another major European nation that is in need of a jolt. Italy has historically been considered an economic giant and political minnow. This is not to assume or conclude that Italy has not produced great statesmen. It has. However, very few have done it for a united Italy. Despite Berlusconi's conservative stances, his questionable character prevented him from truly having an impact there. Now the Italians are in the hands of a centre-left coalition led by Romano Prodi. His government seems proactive but Italy needs less socialist policies.

If France, already an organized society and with a somewhat complex political culture not unlike Italy's, is ripe for change then Italy is beyond this stage. Reading about the Italian political landscape is like trying to comb Medusa's head - I'm not sure which way is up or down. Or what or who can set Italy on a more rewarding path.

The Italian political system was not as chaotic as it has been made out to be during the post-war years - thanks in part to a booming economy and the fact that the country faced very little serious issues that threatened it. It worked fine for the Italian personality. But how long can this go on?

Sweet Justice

Canada won the World Hockey Championships today - if only we were this efficient, effective and committed to excellence in other areas of our culture. Hockey Canada has it together. They know how to win. The victory is certainly one where Shane Doan can enjoy after the disgraceful behaviour of some parochial and self-serving politicans and journalists.

Doan led his country to victory while others chartered a path to loserville. Of course, Quebec nationalists - never one to not complain - will whine about how there was only one Quebecer on the team. And he was, cough, of Italian heritage. Not that they disclose or mention that nine Quebec players were asked to join but all turned down the chance for a myriad of reasons including injuries. Others are still involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hey, was that Team Canada forward Jonathan Toews speaking French to RDS - the French sister station to TSN? Wow. But that doesn't count for the Blochams and their ilk. You can never please some people. Tellingly. these are the folks that are transmitting information to their population that does not speak or read English. Most of the information French Quebecers get is second-hand. Let me tell you, they are not being well served some times.

Doan was the perfect choice for Captain of Team Canada. As it turned out, his veteran experience was the perfect tonic on a team filled with youngsters. In fact, this was the youngest team Canada ever sent to the WHC. Team Canada officials are there to win. Not play politics. They did the right thing for its hockey program.

The 'controversy' will die and the people (no point naming names. They know who they are. They should shove their heads in the dirt) who gave it life will revert into well-deserved obscurity - forgotten by all who had better things to do.


2-1 Final Scores in Double or Triple Overtime? I'm Cool with that.

Even though it shouldn't be, it's a slow sports month for some writers. Whenever your local paper runs a sports piece from another publication in which the premise was subsequently covered by one of their own writers, you know the creative juices are dried out. If it's been said, why talk about the same thing again? Especially considering if the original article was already tenuous to begin with.

In the past two weeks, we've been treated to a couple of "controversies" relating to the NHL playoffs. One is the need for the NHL to apparently do something about the lack of scoring and the other calls for the ending of overtime.

Let's tackle the first. I don't mean to sound like an NHL exec, but there is nothing wrong with low scoring hockey. It would be a problem if the entertainment value of the games were excessively boring - as witnessed during the pre-lock out era with the clutch and grab tactics that ravaged the league. Perhaps the action has not been as exciting as we've become accustomed to but it hardly merits the shrieks we are hearing. The skating is refreshing and the free flow in the game is still there. This inevitably leads to more scoring chances. It's only natural it won't be as open as in the regular season as defenses become tighter in the playoffs. 5-4 games don't necessarily translate into better quality games. Some 2-1 games are simply outstanding to watch.

Are they that hard up for stories?

Next in line comes the overtime debate. All of a sudden extended OT’s are getting under the skin of some people. All it takes is one person to write up some article about and it spreads like wildfire. Personally, I love OT hockey. I’m sadistic enough to even say the longer the better.

It doesn't matter what I think because I blog but there are scattered calls to have hockey playoff games settled by shoot out after an OT session.

Traditionally, I have fallen under the category of "settling team sports by a shoot out is plain wrong." However, I can see the case in favour of it. Maybe it’s not the best way to conclude a match but what is the alternative? You can’t just have two teams play on and on and on - and on. And sometimes on and on. In hockey, the amount of OT going beyond two periods is really minimal so it shouldn’t be an issue. Athletes today are better conditioned physically and mentally. While there is some truth that the fatigue factor leads to a mistake and eventually a goal, the bottom line is that the two teams on the ice settle the game.

In an effort to justify this position, some compare and look to soccer. This is misleading. Prior to the introduction of shoot outs in the mid-70s soccer was settled by a replay after the extra time session. Can the reintroduction of the replay be a practical solution today? Probably not. What does that leave us with? You can’t play indefinitely since soccer has only three changes allowed in an entire match. And heaven forbid you lose a player to a red card or injury.

By contrast, in hockey there are line changes that can help a coach manipulate a bench. The depth factor becomes huge; especially if you had a fourth line player sitting for a couple of periods. In addition to all this, it's also an economic question - but that's for another day.

In any event, domestic league matches are not settled by shoot outs. Only in tournaments - hockey or soccer (e.g. World Championships, World Cup)- they are used. Tournaments have a rationale for employing the shoot out since they operate within a more confined time frame.

It's strange, I’ve suddenly mellowed somewhat on shoot out. Since the 1980s my hatred for it was a delicate combination of righteous indignation infusing the intellectual, spiritual and practical. It made no sense to me. It still doesn’t. But my pragmatic Spidey senses have taught me that presently there are no better solutions. We just have to accept it. Besides, the rule is the same for two sides. And no one can dispute the drama of the shoot out gimmick. And for you team oriented guys, we can take some solace in that it’s still a team concept – sorta. After all, it’s your teammate going up to kick in your honour.

Am I recommending the NHL consider the shoot out? No. As it stands, there is no reason to do so. If every game went to triple OT then maybe it warrants a look. Consider that up until the last round, 65 games have been played. 13 (20%) went into OT and seven (11%) involved multiple OT's. Seven of the 13 games were concentrated in two series (Vancouver/Anaheim and Vancouver/Dallas) and both involved the offense deprived Vancouver Canucks.

Does this merit an overhaul of the hockey playoffs? 20% does seem a little high (although only seven went beyond the first OT) but we need more of a trend before we advocate any changes. Again, keep in mind the bulk of the games (54%) were restricted to two series. Furthermore, can it be that the reason people jumped on this band wagon – besides reaching for stories – were annoyed that most of the extended OT periods were out on the west coast and forced many hockey fans to watch games well into the wee hours of the morning?

Hey, at worse blame parity. Anyway, sports writers always find ways to tinker and meddle in games in an effort to enhance them. It makes little sense to complain about OT of all things.

My suggestion? Stop complaining, whining and just enjoy. It is what it is.


Article of Interest: Pure Fools

Antiwar groups align themselves with Mid-East radical organizations and groups.


Articles of Interest: Only for those interested in the public health debate

These are two very interesting pieces on public health. We've arrived at pretty much the same conclusions. No summits funded by taxpayers, no fancy First Ministers conferences. Just good old fashion research free of ideological phrases. Read the state of Ontario in particular. If this is not draconian - or outright communistic - I don't know what is. Quebec, for its part, clearly leads the way.




Snippety Snips: Some Comments

-Ever notice when you are watching a program how the local weather report is used? 'It was a gorgeous day in Tin Pot Valley. Will it last? Tune it at 6pm to find out." Yeah, right. Either we click on the 24-hour weather channel one channel over or we head to the Internet to find out. No need to wait around for nothing. Sports shows do the same damn thing. "We'll tell you in a minute." Like I have no fricken life. If anything it's bloody annoying. If you bring it u talk about it on the spot. I'm not in my car all day.

In these times where information is readily available within minutes if not seconds, the "tune in" hook is an obsolete ploy. Producers need to wise up.

-My wife was eager to participate in a contest today. She worked herself up into an excited frenzy when her heart suddenly sank - Not open to Quebec residents. I remember when I wanted to join a nationwide hockey pool on TSN. Same thing: not open to Quebec residents. Pork chop we are and pork chop we act like. We've all seen this. In fact, it happens more often than I care to acknowledge. Petty games among the provinces is nothing new. It's in fact one of the most irritating aspect of this decentralized nation. Sometimes I wonder about us....

-I read somewhere about how Christians, Jews and Americans (those noted infidels) hijacked Islam. Aside from the typical nonsense spewed by leftists, I wondered how this could be. As far as I can tell, it is Islam that hijacked itself. It has no one else to blame except the malignant tumours that reside within its own faith. The West and Israel are pluralistic, secular and free democracies (leave aside the creative criticisms and conspiracy theories of each - some of us have too much time on our hands) that abide by the rule of law. There is no doubt there are abuses in our infallible imperfectability but to spew and utter such assertions is unfortunate and wrong. There is zero accountability in the Arab world. There remains plenty of it here (boorish behaviour of some of our leaders acknowledged) and when we don't like something we boot the bastards out. It is the apologists for Islamic terror who tend to see the world through one narrow prism and from the predictable assumption that the West is inherently amoral and evil.

-Just watched the "History of Soccer" on National Geographic. It left me somewhat befuddled. How can a show go through a full hour without interviewing or mentioning the heritage of Italian soccer? The show was heavily represented by Germans, Brazilians and of course Englishmen. All this was fine and justified. But the omission of Italy (save one small segment abut how calcio -football - was invented in Florence) was odd if not blatant and plain absurd. In fact, one can argue that Argentinean representation was also low.

-Check this link out: Riiiight. Some of us had Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Grover and others....



Death of a Racing Legend: Remembering Gilles Villeneuve

The province of Quebec is a place where its icons intrinsically and immediately become ingrained in the cultural fabric of its identity.

The Green Bay Packers, Muhammed Ali and Babe Ruth are all examples of sports franchises and identities that captivated and enthralled generations of fans. When we read about them we are reading a piece of Americana that transcends their respective sports.

For Quebec, two famous sports icons immediately come to mind: Hockey player Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard and race car driver Gilles Villeneuve. Both are part of the Canadiana heritage.

Richard was a hockey player with the Montreal Canadiens – the most glorious of all hockey clubs. The Rocket is strictly a Quebec phenomena, while Gilles Villeneuve aura stretches well beyond the borders of Quebec and Canada.

Today marked the 25th anniversary of the death of a legend. I was ten years old when the shocking and sad images of his body violently hurled and blazed across the television screen after crashing his Ferrari. It was my introduction to surrealism. Villeneuve was no more.

Villeneuve is probably Quebec’s greatest athlete. Hailing from a small town in Quebec, Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve became a revered star in the most unlikely of places: the glamourous world of Formula One racing.

Rarely had a racer pushed so daringly across a race track. What made the Villeneuve experience all the more special was that he raced for Ferrari. It was the perfect match. Ferrari represented the essence and mystique of car racing. Villeneuve was the right personality to take over the struggling team. With Villeneuve the Prancing Horse danced once again.

He took a mediocre Ferrari car and spectacularly made it better than it actually was. For this, he earned the eternal love and personal gratitude of Enzo Ferrari and Italians. His style was Villeneuve-esque art form and in a country where art and sophistication rarely goes by overlooked, Gilles was an iconic figure. There is a bronze statue of him at the entrance of the Ferrari test track while the Imola track (site of the San Marino Grand Prix) named a challenging chicane Curva Villeneuve (equipped with a Canadian flag painted on its pavement) in his honour after he crashed there. In addition, Italy is also a place that passionately follows sports and it is not surprising they share this similar trait with Quebecers. They are forever linked. It's not uncommon for an Italian to mention Villeneuve when the topic of conversation turns to Ferrari and racing.

But it did not stop in Quebec, Canada or Italy. Zolda, the Belgian track where Villeneuve lost his life, honours him too. Obviously, the Canadian Grand Prix takes place on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Ferrari has legions of iconic loyal tifosi’s across the world and they all remember him on this day.

For years my friends and I would watch old reruns of races. Of course, one of our favorites was the stunning head to head showdown and the 1978 French Grand Prix against Rene Arnoux that went right down to the wire.

In the last 25 years much has changed in Formula One. Not so long ago, the racing world mourned the loss of another racing legend with the same no holds bar attitude, Aytron Senna. And Ferrari – in all its red fury - is back at the pinnacle of racing where it belongs.

I can’t help but wonder what Gilles Villeneuve would have accomplished with a successful and reliable Ferrari. His six Grand Prix wins would most certainly have increased ten-fold. In those tragic reflections of “what might have been” he could have possibly ended up as the greatest driver ever. Of course, I digress….and dream.

It’s ok to dream at full throttle. After all, this was Villeneuve’s greatest gift.


Everyone's a Freak

And now for something different. Every once in a while I like to write fiction. Sometimes I mix fiction with exaggerated truths - or lies. It depends on your relativist position. Anyhow, when I first started this, this thing, I used to write a lot more fiction (mediocre or not). I have slowed that down and funneled and channeled all that to either my Kooky archives on this blog or The Warehouse. Not today.

Freakin’ freaks. Can’t we just bury them into the ground or send them off to an unforgiving island? Banish, excommunicate - anything. Now of course, there is a practical problem preventing one from converting this wish into a reality. Who gets to determine which people are freaks?

According to my wife, if I were doing the selection, it would be just about anyone within a two-meter distance from me. A more balanced and objective person may be suggested.

Then there’s the issue of the revenge factor. Think about it. What if we do manage to send freaks abroad to start a new life? The realpolitik in me suggests that they would automatically become potential competitors. What if they build a military and one day decide to attack? What if they are sitting on a bed of minerals and resources I need? What if they eschew secularism and ally themselves with Al-Queda? Oh the humanity!

So I’ll have to grudgingly settle and grapple with the fact that they are entitled to live with us graciously. Ah, but one day…

A freak’s simpleton brain comes in all sorts of different skull shapes, sizes and colours. But I am not concerned with this race and its traits, origin and plight. They are of little concern to me.

Although, one has to wonder if a freak would come in handy when you want to entertain guests or impress your friends. I don’t know about you but after a scrumptious Schezwan meal I like to kick back with a glass of Porto and be entertained by dancing monkeys in diapers and frolicking freaks feeding me cumquats.

I digress.

I picked up the paper today and headed straight for the sports pages as I have always meticulously done in my mediocre and middling life. Lately, I no longer read the tired and lame pieces. There is so much “Hockey is our game” navel-gazing tripe one can take. The box scores and standings are sufficient in this light. Free of senseless words. Meaningless numbers bother me less.

Like I said, freaks meet me in the morning in print.

My wife, thankfully, broke the silence at the table. “Can you head to the grocery store, honey, and pick up some provisions?” Yes, we use the word provisions in my house. It gives a sense of being suburban roughnecks. I put away the razors used for, um, shaving and reply, “Sure thing, baby, I’m on it. Get me my suspenders.”

My local grocery store was recently bought out. This new, bigger and better grocery store has the same amount of shelf space but with far more Italian and ethnic foods. This is a good thing, right? Riiight.

Not for everyone. “Maudits ethniques!” as one person put it in the cereal aisle. I looked around to see what product could possibly offend a local so. Nothing. Wait. I saw it. There it was - Italian cereal daring to sit next to the Strawberry Mini-Wheats.

The couple that was appalled by the glory of Italian food invading their lives called over one of the stock boys. He was obviously of Italian extract - I smelled the basil and garlic cologne. They asked him, in French - and with a straight face - if the new administration would be taking away the marshmallows.

Round these folks up….

Hop into the car and drive as far away as you can from this people. Unfortunately, my house is only 1.3 kilometres away. Then again, with the wireless revolution in full gear the evil insurance companies already know this. Bastards.

Proximity notwithstanding, the needle on my dashboard is telling me, in a very thick German accent – sometimes it’s also Italian or British - that I am in dire need of some petrol and oil.

Economics is one of those disciplines that is more philosophy than science; more artistic and abstract than concrete. Now, I’m no math genius but I do comprehend basic economics. Stuff like the law of supply and demand, the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, predatory pricing and tax avoidance are pretty easy to grasp. The jury will disregard the last two. One thing I have learned is that politics and economics during a political debate are about as healthy as drinking water from a swamp.

“Pleins ordinaire,” I told the freak. He also checked my oil. I got out of my car. It was a glorious day outside. Perfect to overhear drivel compliments of the citizenry. “Bloody Americans. They deserve another 9/11 for driving the price of oil up.”

I looked over my shoulder, I should have known. A freak stood next to an angry gnome. They went on and on. I paid the attendant and managed to catch this final gem, “So, are we heading to Vermont this week-end?”

And so my cumbersome day progresses. Loud mouth activists blocking my street, wise-cracking pundits telling me what to think and beware of, people passing me on the right and slowing down on the passing lane, old ladies searching for the exact change at the local convenient store holding back the line and modern alchemists telling me that they know the secret to life.

Freaks. All of them. I pass by a travel agency. Maybe it’s time to treat my wife and myself to a self-imposed banishment.


Elections in France

Polls are indicating that Nicolas Sarkozy will be the next leader in France. Will the concept of "l'etat, c'est la France" be challenged with Sarkozy? Will he set France on a newer and more dynamic path? Can Sarkozy be to France what Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were to their respective countries?


An Idea for a Parliamentary inquiry

I just thought about something. Given the low and embarrassing standards set by Codorre and Malo, why not pressure the Conservatives to launch an inquiry on behalf of Canadians against hypocrisy? Why not summon every single Bloc MP and ask them how they justify advocating the break up the country while earning a Federal pension funded by ALL Canadians? Hey, we were willing - foolishly of course - to let this go on but since they made a mockery of our governance let's talk about this.

Just a thought.

And the Sickness Continues

I came across this disturbing proposal from the Opposition Party - the Liberals who else? - in the sports section of the Montreal Gazette by Red Fisher. Apparently, they want Detroit Red Wings player Ted Lindsay removed from the Hall of Fame for hurling racist slurs at the Montreal Canadiens during the 1953-54 Stanley Cup final.

I can't seem to find any information on this - including on the Liberal Party website. Yuk. I actually went on their site! I had to dip my hands in rubbing alcohol.

Is this their idea of leadership? I'm convinced we are led by fools. Of course, this opens up a can of worms; a Pandora's Box. What happens if we find out if the Canadiens did the same thing somewhere else? Never open the heart of history for the present. It is an unhealthy exercise. This is not justice. It's the bankruptcy of intellectualism and governance.

As people who read this blog already know, I'm no fan of taking what we know now and redirecting them to the past. It's ridiculous to do this - especially considering the fact that 9along with the PC charged world we live in) we select where we choose to impose this draconian exercise. This is the wrong way to deal with revisionism.

Ty Cobb must be spinning.


Shane Doan 3; Bloc MP Luc Malo 0

Hello Mr. Malo, my name is Shane Doan. I did my job today. I scored three goals for Canada. I gave back to Canadian taxpayers. Hey, did you know Matthew Lombardi is from Quebec? Probably not. Anyway, what did you do today besides consume a Federal pension? Hey, I hear unemployment is up to around 20% in the outlying regions of Quebec. Among other things. Man, they need you up there. Chop, chop.

PS: Sorry for writing in English.

Good show, Shane Doan.

--There's an awful lot of theorizing going on here based on little hard facts. And if there are they are twisting and distorting them out of context. The television show 110% is a French language sports talk show (110% pure garbage some will say) here in Quebec. I don't generally watch it because for the most part they know absolutely nothing about life and sports outside Quebec. But tonight the producers of the show pulled a good one.

They invited hard core separatist and film maker Pierre Felardeau*- equipped with bad teeth - to come on the show to talk about what they call "DOANGATE." He was dressed in his best street drifter apparel. I have no idea why they did this. It makes no sense. Shows you the type of people run the show. Anyhow, all night they complained about the injustices that are constantly hurled upon their pristine society and so on.

As they meandered in and out of surreal drivel, Mr. Felardeau took dead aim. He called Canada a country of "TROU DU CUL." I may have missed the slang spelling but this generally translates into a nation of assholes. Of course, not one of the panelists flinched.

Impressive stuff.

So will an apology be forthcoming from TQS? I suspect not. Should we call an inquiry into the matter? Yeah right. Wouldn't want to hurt and already wounded person. Where is Denis Coderre when you need that little sucker? We hear he has time on his hands.

Indeed, in their minds it is not slander if you are spewing insults in retaliation. Eye for an eye so to speak. A hockey player - who spoke to his team mate - hurt their feelings. In return, they insult an entire nation? They are no better.

Granted, TQS - like Le Journal de Montreal - generally panders to the lowest common denominator. This is why they invited men of low character on their show.

"Shane Doan est un raciste!" One of his close friends is Buffalo Sabres forward Daniel Briere - who is on record defending Doan. In fact, multiple people from the hockey establishment - French and English - have done so. At every turn, their assertions are refuted and yet they continue - being the French-language press - breathe new life into this. They honestly believe they have a story. To any observer removed from the historic French versus English thing, it becomes glaringly apparent that it is the French side of the equation that has not moved on. They remain stuck in 1837. They are good - as Jean Page obsesses about - to quip senselessly about les anglophones this and les anglophones that.

No one cares, Jean. Go chant gens du pays somewhere else.

If there was truly a malicious intent on the part of Shane Doan or Ladislav Nagy to hurl racist remarks at Quebecers this blog would be dead set against this offense. But there clearly is no evidence of this. In fact, it becomes painfully clear that it was uttered in the heat of the moment. Doan did express wishing he did not choose even the mild comment he made. We all make mistakes. Move on.

Nonetheless, we just sat there...in stunned silence listening to some of the most infantile and useless piece of hack journalism we've heard in a long time.

My lord, I'm watching my fellow Quebecers fall apart - OVER A HOCKEY PLAYER.

*Felardeau once wrote to a local paper describing how the Quebecois were Palestinians in Canada. Yeah, I know. Funny stuff. Two cars in each driveway, pretty autonomous and no fatalities at the hands of terrorists or Ottawa - Quebecers have it real bad. As for the Team Quebec farce: And who will pay for your Team Quebec experiment? The Feds? We all know - and let's call a spade a spade here - Quebec is not with too much wealth. Will you lead the Republic into hockey battle? You're taking it for granted that Quebec players would play for Quebec. I'm not sure this would be an easy task.

75% of Americans are Without Health Care Insurance?

Sometimes you have to wonder. I was listening to "The Fan" sports radio show based in Toronto earlier tonight. The panel opened up talking about the Kentucky Derby and Barbaro in particular. They discussed the outpouring support and premium health care the deceased thoroughbred received. Then, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail came in with this gem, "...this is a place where three-quarters of Americans can't get health insurance..."

If I heard right, and I actually hope I didn't, his assertion mathematically means 225 million Americans do not get proper health care in the United States. For assumptions sake, let's assume I heard wrong and he said 25%. That's still 75 million. Not one reputable study on health in America has ever had the number that high. The general accepted figure is approximately 44 million of which roughly half willingly choose to not have health coverage. Leaving the figure around 23 million Americans without coverage. Naturally, this figure includes the unemployed, downtrodden and quite possibly the lazy and ignorant. Whatever, that's a big difference than what a journalist for Canada's biggest newspaper is spewing.

Of course, I invite American perspectives here. You would know better than me. All I have is what I read and what friends and family tell me.

Misunderstanding the American health care system in the U.S. is nothing new for Canadians. Perhaps Mr. Blair should pay closer attention to the crisis we have in our own backyard. The figures are disclosed for the public. But hey, we ALL have access. So what we have to wait 34 weeks for minor surgeries, eh? There's more than enough information pointing to the third-world like conditions in our alleged compassionate hospitals.

We run a medical management company and we've had to study the health care landscape in this country. The general conclusion? This country does not perform well among OECD countries. Of course it doesn't, there are NO NATIONAL STANDARDS. No one is looking to us for pointers. Heck, we still rely on block budgets. It is unbelievable what Canadians have to endure. It's remarkable that we've allowed it to stumble like it has.

We've simply bought the government health care as a core value gibberish crap. I fear that holding on to this only prevents us from making any meaningful changes and adjustments to the system. What I advocate is a little more pragmatism.

Anyhow, what was surprising is that Blair was surrounded by host Bob McCown hockey writer Jim Kelly - both American - who remained silent on his comment.

Assuming, as I said, if I heard right. Still, it doesn't take away from the general tenet of this post. Many Canadians take liberties with America when it comes to health. I'm here to say let's clean up our own mess before we pass smug judgment.

Mr. Canoehead Forever and Ever

They are rather poor in quality but funny nonetheless. Four on the Floor (aka The Frantics) was a comedy sketch show/group show that ran on the CBC in the 80s.




L'Affaire Shane Doan: The Single Most Idiotic Sports Story Today

You'll need to be able to read in French and English for this post.

This piece one comes courtesy of a sports writer for La Presse named Francois Gagnon. The piece in particular is on cyberpresse.ca.


Now compare this to Pierre Lebrun's article from Canadian Press.


Personally, Mr. Gagnon, Denis Coderre, Luc Malo and anyone who takes this side are simply wrong.

I smell a book and multiple lawsuits by Mr. Doan. I say go for it.

Look it basically comes down to this:

1) Should government ever regulate and get involved in sports?
2) If Francophones are sleighted and they demand action they'd better make damn sure their own backyard is clean. We all know that it isn't free of the same things they are accusing Doan of.
3) The initial reason there is a story is because a Liberal MP jumped on the story before ever getting the story and facts straight. It was discovered soon after that Doan did not utter an ethnic slur.

End of story right? Nope. He did say something - far less offensive - and now the French-language media have spun into nothing more than a theoretical exercise.

In other words, the story has new life not based on what was originally alleged - because they ended up being wrong - but something entirely different.

It's absolutely insane. It's called sophistry. Even light of what he said to his team mate about "doing the math four French refs in Montreal" after a penalty this does not deserve the attention it is getting in Parliament. Was this a racist statement? Doan added that he would have said the same thing had they been refs from California. I believe him. It was a "in the heat of the battle" comment. Maybe we should tackle true racism. Why he chose California remains a mystery. I digress.

4)What part of libel don't these people get?

The line that caught my eye in Gagnon's piece is this: "Ah oui? Faire respecter les droits des francophones, ou ceux des anglophones, des Grecs, des Italiens, des Chinois et des autres communautés qui peuplent le pays et payent des taxes pour lui permettre de se développer c’est une perte de temps?"

Basically he's justifying government action. Now, aside from the fact that NO INQUIRY would go towards the Italians, Greeks or Chinese as he insinuates - this is patently misplaced argument - it's typical of Canada to depend on government to solve social issues. That Gagnon feels that an inquiry is merited is absurd. Would he call for one had a Francophone player called, say, an Italian a "wop?" or Irishman "mick?" Would Denis Coderre bother to come to their defense? I think we know the answer here.

It's time to shelve the parochial mentality that keeps this place under a self-imposed prison without bars. Then they wonder why every ten years they fall behind the rest of "les maudits ethniques" and need a social revolution purge just to get them to catch up. Their outlook is inverted to the reality of the world around them. They're not stupid or racist, just insular when they choose to be. To me, Quebec is the most interesting of all the provinces with a special way at looking at things. You need this to keep this country honest. What you don't need are people like Luc Malo.

What annoys me, and I feel compelled to speak out here, is that they have the guts to turn around and tell me - a non-Francophone - that I am political. The whole rasion d'etre of French Quebec is to be political. Since 1976 this place has been nothing but a jealous warehouse of politicization. You can't have a normal conversation with most Quebecers without it being turned into politics.

True, this happens everywhere but it's a little more evident here. It's become part of their DNA make up. It is not surprising that they project this outlook upon the rest of the country and assume the rest of the country thinks like them. It's so ingrained in the pathology of their logic that they're not conscious of it. 'Je Me Souviens' is an outdated concept in today's world.

I consider myself one of those Quebecers in the middle and this is what I perceive. I am convinced smart Quebecers do not relish what is going on. It's second-rate, muckraking and banana republic politics. I am convinced that the Bloc Quebecois do not truly reflect the will and soul of the new, confident and modern Quebecer.

When I used to be called names my French friends would give sound advice: ignore it. Not that I always heeded these wise words. That said, they would offer the same type of advice we are now trying to convey to them: ignore it. Chill out. It's a non-story and it certainly does not merit a Bloc MP (Luc Malo) hysterically talking as if we are surrounded by evil racists in this country - on our dime.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

As I mentioned earlier, Gagnon and his ilk are simply flat out WRONG.


The New Faces of France: Royal-Sarkozy

France is witnessing a most intriguing election. The ramifications for their country - and Europe at large - can be quite significant. Will France shift to the right or will it be lead by the familiar rhetoric of socialism? Both candidates are claiming the soul of France.

The players are Segolene Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. While both attended Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)* Royal graduated from the the prestigious school École Nationale d'Administration (ENA) where France recruits its best and brightest. Interestingly and as a report on the CBC pointed out, if Royal wins, she will become the first woman to lead France in its thousand year history. Will the United States elect a woman in a shorter time? Anyhow, the last time a woman lead France was Joan of Arc. Conversely, Sarkozy will remind some Frenchmen of another grand leader who was of immigrant stock - in this case Italian - Napoleon.

In the recent televised political debate Royal used the unfortunate and usual hysterical language come to be expected of modern socialists. She deliberately interrupted him on a number of issues and often used accusatory language. Not a smart, sound strategy if you're out to gain the "center" vote. The controversial and charismatic Sarkozy, who once called rioting Muslims "scum", simply steered clear while asking her to calm down.

It's an interesting scenario and may be worth following for the more political minded among you.

*Wouldn't it be nice if Canada would have something similar? A real, educated and prestigious civil service would go a long way in helping to make Canada a more substantial and cohesive nation.

The Book - cough - to Change Lives

Given the last few politically charged posts, let's take a different direction to calm down a little.

My wife came home with a book today. The lady at the grocery store - those experts - told her it was going to change her life.

This is how she introduced the book. "I bought a book that's going to change my life."

Now this is not to suggest that my wife is gullible. Far from it. She's just not as suspicious and skeptical as I am. Nor does she obsess in exaggerating the implications one book may have on society like the Da Vinci Code elicited once upon a time. My wife possesses far more intelligence than me so I sometimes take her comments seriously. She's an apolitical chill out kinda gal.

So she waited for me to answer as I sat down to eat my spaghetti alla carbonara - one of my all-time favorite dishes. Actually, I think for my next post I will disclose my favorite dishes for you all. But first, this piece of nonsense.

"What did you waste your money on? The Secret?" I asked.

"How did you know? The clerk at Loblaws (a grocery store like Publix to you Americans) said it was amazing. Why are you rolling your eyes."

"New Age mumbo jumbo. Anyways, read it. All that positive energy can't hurt us since we finally got the capital to launch the business."

"Then I'll get right to it," she replies.

Other than that I was at a loss for words. I just don't get how books like these catch fire like they do. Are we that insecure? Have we become that unhappy? Jaded and cynical? Why do we latch on to books that supposedly tell truths and secrets? Have we been leading lives of lies?

"New age mumbo-jumbo." This is the best I could do. The phenomena perplexes me on so many planes I can't even focus on how to discuss it. Oh, get this. I also said:

"Bend over. I'll show you the secret."

It was a slow day.

Like I said. My head visits the gutter often. Not my wife's.


Abdication of Responsible Governance



This post's purpose is twofold:

I call for the immediate retraction if not resignation of all involved.

-More on the de la Concorde overpass tragedy:

Turns out that a Transport Quebec engineer in 1992 noticed that crucial steel bars had not been installed properly. Nothing was done by the Transport Department. No explanation was given by the engineer Tiona Sanogo. FIVE PEOPLE WERE KILLED.

Either they were grossly incompetent or corrupt. Or both. Whatever. They have blood on their hands.

Oh, for the record. Sanogo became Transport Quebec's chief engineer in charge of all highway structures!

So. In light of this. how does the Shane Doan story sound now? I wish Quebecers would be this outraged with the overpass catastrophe.

Articles of Interest: Terrorism, Turkey, Global Warming

A while ago I was at a party standing at the bar (I tend to drink Cognac, Averna or Campari and soda) and some guy kept going on and on and on about America's illegal war and massive propaganda machine. That we were all being duped and bought the bit on the "so-called" war on terror.

Using the term "so-called" is one of those phrases that is inserted by many to make their points look more ominous and illuminating.

It can be used in all sorts of scenarios. Are you going to eat that "so-called" pasta? As if to say "are you going to eat that crap?" - even though it may not be crap. Are you dating that "so-called" girlfriend of yours? And of course, America's "so-called" war on terror.

It's not "so-called" because it is not a fabrication. Terrorism is real. Forget Iraq. Bush has been right all along about terrorism. The Afghanistan experiment was the correct choice of policy. That's why no country really opposed the U.S. there.

Anyway, my friend at the time was standing next to me. He was in the Canadian army and he had buddies fighting over there. He looked at the guy straight in the eye and pulled out a picture of his friends wounds. "THIS, he got being shot by the Taliban. Is this FAKE to you, sir?" Silence. And priceless I might add.

Terrorism Index:


Will Turkey stay Secular? Just like the United States needs to keep its eyes on nation-states like Russia and not get too preoccupied with terrorism alone, Turkey will be an important country to watch moving forward.


Idiots, Idiots:


Here's an excerpt from the Letters to the Editors in the Montreal Gazette regarding global warming. Italics mine:

"....Canadians are willing to pay to clean up our act..."

Really? That's because we expect the government to do everything. Seems to me that this person advocates higher taxes and greater government involvement. Will we one day reach the point where the Greenheads will tell you when to take showers? Man, isn't that where's the best sex? They already police when you water your lawn. Or when to drive like they do in Europe? Is this the "pay" you have in mind? I sure don't.

-Speaking of Angelic Environmentalists. It's time for David Suzuki to stick a sock in it. It's funny. They say politicians use fear mongering as a tactic - which is true. Well, guess what? It's a tactic that works. That's why leftists and environmentalists use the same strategy for any cause they may espouse.

Global warming is true. The political and busines scam behind it I want no part of.

I'm always stuck in the middle trying to make sense of it.


Stories that Caught this Scrawny Scribe's Dry Eyes

- And then they wonder why no one listens to them:


-Was that Justin "I'm my father's son" Trudeau winning in the Papineau riding? I'm not sure. I was too awe-struck by his royal and divine eyes. Ah, the nobility has returned to Canadian politics - for a tight group of course. I hope someone takes this guy aside and reminds him that he needs to abandon the "my father was so wise" bit and actually come up with ideas of his own. The Charter should not be the be all and end all of the Canadian identity.

-The conspiracy-theory-as-a-legitimate-intellectual-force phenomena is frightening enough as it is ("to debunk the accepted beliefs of history" as one put it). Environmentalists are also playing a game that they will eventually lose. They should stick to saving trees but drawing analogies to history should be avoided at all costs: Enter Elizabeth May. Can we all stop using Hitler, Nazi Germany and the Second World War as an anology please? It's clear we read history but very few of us possess the knowledge to be able to make proper analogies. If this gal wants to gain some seats spewing nonsense is not what will the the silent majority on board. Leave the hysterics to Suzuki.


Everyone knows the truth except me.

Sketches of Canadian Politics at its Sad Finest: Shooting and Missing the Net

It's a big world but Canada and Quebec continue to act small. Ok. That's unfair. A sweeping generalization. Let me rephrase. On second thought forget it. Let ‘em be exposed for what they are.

It seems that a hockey player – Shocker! - has caused quite a story in the House of Commons. Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan was accused during the recent NHL season of uttering a racial slur about French-Canadians. He denied it and following an investigation it was pretty clear someone else said it.

But that's not merely good enough for our magnificent middling hillbillies in Parliament. Here's how our political masters - oft-slaves to ignorance - reacted to Shane Doan being named captain of Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

To quote the Canadian Press, "The issue was brought back to life on Parliament Hill. NDP Leader Jack Layton suggested Monday that Doan's captaincy would "cast a shadow" on the Canadian team while Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion called on the Conservative Government to comment."


Cast a shadow? Please. Then again, this comes from a pampered socialist who thinks dialogue with ideologues like the crazy Taliban is a creative and constructive idea. Good one, Jack. We're all laughing. Insert Joe Pesci's famous "you think I'm funny?" scene in Goodfellas. I really don't like the NDP (pronounced Endipped).

Or check the one where some Bloc Mp quipped about the xenophobic attitude of Shane Doan. Now remember this is the House of Commons.

As for Gilles “I can’t believe I’m getting a pension for this” Dushlepp, I'm sure many Bloc MPs are not too fond that "les autres" are running amok on their blessed soil to begin with. So I wouldn’t cook too much of a storm Mr. Marxist Landlord. How does this serve Quebec's interests exactly? I ask you, um, Rex Murphy? I don't know whom to turn to anymore.

The one thing that caught these Bat-Ears is that Duceppe mentioned that Hockey Canada is funded by the taxpayers and they should be asked to explain their decision. Um, Mr. Duceppe, um, need I remind you that in your efforts to break-up the country you will earn a FEDERAL pension? A pension I will pay for?

How about Mr. Dion, eh? This is a leader? Tell you what. If aliens – they do so exist - were to land on my front lawn asking me to take them to my leader I would opt for that anal thing they do.

Bush has to deal with Iraq. Dion, er, handles hockey players.

Recently Al Gore said the world looks to Canada for moral leadership. Unfortunately, they also look to us for comic relief. That's why we produce more comedians on a proportional basis than any other nation on earth. Well, my friend says it's Iceland and Andorra but I'm skeptical of this.

All this started with a man named Denis "Jed" Coderre - a Liberal MP - who wrote to Hockey Canada asking them to not take Shane Doan to Torino during the Olympics in 2006. Government and pro-sports should not mix. Just like lemon grass is not a good idea with risotto.

I refuse - REFUSE! - to believe this is a story on the floor in Parliament. There's a joke I'm missing somewhere I bet. That they have the nerve to stand up and bring it up as an issue is beyond astounding. Aren’t we faced with far more important issues like the public health crisis, Afghanistan and taxes? Heck, even the environment ranks ahead of this. Man, I’d rather read about the plight of the beavers than this garbage. Speaking of the environment shouldn’t David “I am the Environment” Suzuki go back to that show he used to host?

What's disturbing is that there is no proof that Doan uttered these words. He worked it out with the linesman and the NHL looked into the matter. He was cleared. Case close. Move on. Let’s all share a poutine. But the damage has been done. Doan’s name has been dragged into the frozen tundra for the stupid actions of another.

The world's motto is now: Proof? What proof? We don't need no stinking proof. We have our bloody convictions and this is all that matters. Losers.

There is something to be said of the fact that Canada is a small player on the world stage to accord them the right to debate Shane Doan.

Mr. Coderre - or any other opportunistic baboon – when you take on such a file you’re basically saying your society- meaning Quebec- is free of this sort of stuff. And we all know Quebec is quite the xenophobic society when it chooses to be. Now who is the hypocritical racist? How can a society move forward when constantly portraying themselves as perennial victims?

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Thankfully (hopefully?) many Quebecers see right through this crap.

Here's a newsflash: how about you guys actually work.

Always remember: We get who we vote for.