New Writer

For those of you looking to support new writers here's a link to MySpace to author Eric R. Payne and his novel "Along the Lines of Causerie."

Cutting The Arts

I know I was hard on artists complaining about the government's decision to cut funding so in fairness here's a link to the Writer's Union of Canada and their position and thoughts.

Blog Post Of Interest: Illegal Immigration

This is an original post from Bumpy Path that considers who the real culprits are concerning illegal immigrants in the United States.

Amazon Warriors

Who says women can't fight? A good old cat fight is not something to sneer at, eh?

Whenever we say "Amazon" we think of sexy, beautiful Brazilian warriors deep within the Amazon ready to rip heads off their enemies. Nice. Growl.

But the Amazons, who attacked European explorers - particularly the Portuguese - in the 16th century - along the Amazon river - weren't the only warrior band of women to grace history.

A few of these tribes, as far as I can tell, were connected with Atlantis and Greek mythology. Here's a quick overview:

Caucasians: Lived around 8000 B.C. between the Caspian and Black seas along the Thermidon River (also spelled Termodon). By the age of eight, girls had their right breast seared with an iron so as to not disrupt the use of a bow and arrow. They meant business.

Libyans: Lived in the Altas Mountains in Morocco. Wore red leather armour into battle. Wait. Getting a mental picture. I'm sure many a men lost a head (excuse the pun) staring at the Libyans as they attacked. They were caught with the proverbial "dick in their hands" I assume.

Gagans: Existed in North Africa and routinely killed baby boys prior to their conversion to Christianity.

Hamitics: Lived between the Nile and the Red Sea.

Sauromatians: Lived along the Don River in Russia.

Euryple's Amazons: Captured Babylon in 1760 B.C.

I would like to add one more:

Oprah's Maniacs: Convene within a tastefully decorated studio with comfy couches in Chicago.

Source: Essential Militaria. Nicholas Hobbes.


Blog Link: Learning More About Cyber Con Artists

Con Man's Blog is a great blog I recently became connected with on Blog Catalog. There's a lot of criminal activity out there in cyberspace. Cover yourself and stay informed.

Time For Great Artists To Step Up On Their Own Two Feet

Harper is cutting $45 million in arts funding. Call me crazy and callous but I'm ok with it. I'm not sure I buy "we need the funding or else we whither culturally" angle. I agree that arts and culture are the conscience of a society. The bloodlines of who were are. I will always respect artists for their contributions to society and in some cases funding and grants are perfectly reasonable. But...

Arts shouldn't be given free cash. Let's not overdo it either.

Too many mediocre "artists" are getting their hands on public funds that are better off, I don't know, being used to feed kids, help repair public health and education and the military.

The whining is odd to me. They can say all they want about conservatives but this is a fiscally prudent move. Maybe artists are upset they have to go out and get real jobs now. Nothing in life comes for free - not even Paul McCartney - and all these cultural organizations like SOCAN and the CBC are a drain on public money. Go private and see what you're really worth.

Here in Quebec there are so many cultural organizations that it's impossible to keep track of them. Yet, there they are, being fed by the public. I'm pretty sure most of these have little impact on the cultural landscape. And don't get me going on the L'Office.

Why should the rest of us subsidize others? We all have to work hard for what we get without government help so why should the arts get the free pass? In any event, when you choke off cash to deadbeats the best, if Canada truly has artistic talent, tend to rise.

Let's see how this goes. Maybe we'll see world class stuff come out of it.

For those of you who are hooked on the free ride there's always La Ronde. Or find a private patron like artists used to do in the Renaissance. Artists were independent contractors once upon a time. Not dependents of the state.

I'm surprised bloggers haven't begun to seek grants under the guise of furthering Canadian culture.

The Arctic: "Use It Or Lose It"

When I was in University the popular chorus to repeat was that Canada didn't need a military. The thinking went sort of like "No one wants to hurt Canada and besides with the Soviet Union dead there's no need for one."

My buddy and I (and a few others) argued in class that the military wasn't something to be used in times of war. It can be used for many things like, I don't know, protect the Arctic?

The military is a way to prove we exist. That our national sovereignty wasn't up for grabs. I know this is tough for some to comprehend but this is reality.

Of course, one can argue to what degree Canada is "sovereign" but that's for another matter. But for those who harp about Harper being a puppet of U.S. interests best to recall our history: Canada sold its cultural nationalism down the river way, way before Stephen. I mean decades before.

To me, the Arctic has always been proof of Canada's naive approach to power politics. World powers have always laid claim to our seas at different points during our short history. A basic axiom of laying claim to land is by simply maintaining a presence in the region you lay claim to. This simple but effective concept has eluded Canadians - especially the Liberals.

Under the Liberals in the 1990s the military was left in a deplorable state of probable disrepair. Their oblivious attitude towards the military basically meant foregoing exerting national influence on not just the Arctic but on the world stage as well.

Canadians believe that somehow no one would ever want "to hurt" us. This is true. No one says "let's get those people for being Canadian." But they could say, "Those Canadians are very nice but they have something we need. So..." Fill in the blanks.

That something is blue and black gold. If resources and the environment key components of national policy then it stands to reason that we need a strong military to preserve our interests. Arctic Inuit Rangers aren't enough.

Like I said. Naive.

The Liberals and NDP have taken the insane position that the Northwest Passage was opened up because of global warming and this is the reason why foreign nations are coming with their flags.

To think this way is not only ridiculous but utterly irresponsible. Have any of these people been reading Canadian history? This issue has been simmering for a couple of centuries now and it's not because of friggen global warming. Just on this alone neither of these parties should get any votes.

At least Harper is having none of it. He understands, being a student of history, that Canada needs to act like a real country if it's to have any chance of protecting the Arctic. "Use it or lose it" is the perfect phrase to apply to this particular situation.

For a few of us in school, our position was simple: your word is only as good as the hardware to back it up. Ironically, for a country that claims ad nauseam to be independent from America we may end up needing American protection in the Arctic.

That's the price to pay for a parochial approach to national issues where international interests are present. The EU, Denmark, Russia, Norway and the United States all have a presence (or ready to exert one) on the North now . In each case, Canada is powerless militarily to do anything about it. Wagging fingers and talking tough can only go so far. Last I checked, nations don't defend interests with the letters "a,b,c" but with guns, tanks and planes.

We may very well find ourselves in the position of choosing the lesser of all evils and letting the Americans in.

Last, the situation in Georgia may seem like something that has nothing to do with us but if we ponder it a little, the disturbing thought that perhaps it's not all that far away does seep in the mind. That Russia is positioning itself to grab its piece of the oil market after the Americans already had a jump start should make Canadians wonder about how capable we are of protecting our resources.

For his or her part, a hardcore realist already has concluded that since Canada is essentially a branch plant society the decisions has already been made - even if we're unaware of it.

Now tell me we don't need a military.

Tim Runs Out Of Maple

Ran into a Tim Horton's - yes, I always run into places screaming -craving a maple dough nut. I eat dough nuts once every three or four months. Anyway, they had run out of maple dough nuts. How does an establishment that specializes in dough nuts run out of maple dough nuts? It's all you need to worry about. The least I ask as a consumer is that a dough nut shop has the staples stocked.

It's like walking into Wendy's and being told there's no chili left.


Obama A Marketers Dream

Good question and one asked by my apolitical gal pal.

Girl: "It'll be a shock if he doesn't win."

Boy: "Apparently they're neck and neck."

Girl: "What? How can that be? I don't think so."

Boy: "You don't even follow politics. How can you conclude that?"

Girl: "Still. Why would the media only focus on him?"

Ah, yes. The media. Why would the media, assuming this happens, take sides?

Interesting that she noticed this. Bias is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

Implied - to me anyway - is that Obama is the "better" or "smarter" candidate among casual observers of politics. He certainly looks and speaks the part very well.

But is talking smooth and dressing the part a sign of intelligence?

Isn't the phrase "smooth talking salesman" a negative? I'm not suggesting that Obama is one. He may very well suck at it for all I know. I'm just answering my own question. Yes, I know. It's possible to be well-dressed AND be smart. Just look at me. Well, you'll just have to believe me.

When I was in high school a kid went around campaigning to get elected as school President. The whole campaign thing never did sit well with me. Call it a character flaw or quirk. Anyway, one day he came and explained his policies and plans. One of his many long-winded nutty ideas was to raise the roofs in the classroooms. As impractical (and foolish) as the idea sounded he was extremely articulate (and passionate for some reason) about it.


Right until this day my buddies and I always reply, "yeah, raise the roof buddy" whenever we hear bull shit.

I don't know why Obama gets most of the coverage. He does deserve credit for plastering himself all over the internet and he does seem to be able to reach the young. But how much of this is reliable come voting time?

About the media bias - something SNL felt it was strong enough to merit a sketch about it during the Democratic nomination race - it really depends where you sit. It's all relative. Liberals feel under attack. In traditional Liberal/Democratic regions, states, provinces and what have you, this assertion is ridiculous. But if you're a liberal living in a region where the Christian power base holds sway then I can see why they feel under attack.

Today, politicians are good at saying the right things and pulling out big words but can they really do anything about what they say? Can they really convey their values and beliefs without empty rhetoric as well as convert them into concrete policy easily recognizable by all?



If All Bogs Are Glogs and No Blogs Are Bogs...

This is a fine example of good political writing and critical thinking by James Taranto at Opinion Journal. Now compare this to a Neil Young song or Madonna. It is when things seem so logical to the point of taken as truth is when we fall in the trap of to us

Enough said.

Thanks to Contratimes for this one.

Montreal's Construction Scene Is Insane

I've been helping out a friend doing some courier work and let me tell you my suspicion of Montreal being an urban planning backwater have been confirmed.

If you're from out of town be forewarned: the entire city is under construction. No matter where you turn you're screwed. What used to be a 20 minute drive into and out of the city from and to my house is now a 45 minute journey. It's so scary I have to carry a map of the city and wear army gear.

Now before you go off and say that I'm just another one of those citizens who demands better services on our roads but not willing to put up with the inconvenience of getting that perk there's something that needs to be said.

It's not that the decision of Transport Quebec to fix our roads is a bad one. Rather, it's the way they handled the whole thing. Instead of doing things slowly and strategically, TQ decides they will cover the entire city in orange signs in one gigantic swoop. This has translated into a nightmare on the roads.

To be a courier you need to be resourceful. If one street is blocked off you look for alternatives. The problem is that the alternatives and the alternatives to the alternatives have been cut off. So what you get is grid lock and one frustrated bunch of drivers.

It amazes me at how many streets have been closed, detour signs without warning and exits blocked.

It's abnormal really.

Clearly they did this without the citizen in mind.

TQ is now appealing to drivers to have patience. I think we've been more than patient. Canada as a whole is a nation of patience. However, according to people in construction the reality is that we now use inferior materials to build our roads and that's why our roads are in perpetual decadence. There should be a public outcry for the way this has been handled.

Another thing they've been asking is for people to leave early in the morning. Even that is not a guarantee of getting to work on time. One friend of mine gets up at 5:30 just to get to work at 8am and even then it's tight.

We're getting up with the roosters now. What more does TQ want from us?

Add to this that the police have decided in their infinite wisdom to lynch people by nailing them on all sorts of infractions. All designed, of course, to meet new quotas to make more money off our backs. And they're doing this in jeans because - surprise - they're in a dispute with the government.

Sit in traffic for one hour, cross on a solid line because you have to go pick up the kids on time from the daycare and get a ticket.


The people are caught in a web at this time. We have to put up both with a government apparatus with no vision and with a police force with extreme vigilance.

Something has to give. In the streets of Montreal I see the face of our society and our government - and it's not a pretty one.

Madonna Compares McCain To Hitler And Mugabe On Her Tour

And the guy is not even elected!

The stupidity of people never ceases to amaze.

She should be made to explain exactly what McCain has done to earn this comparison. To me this adds up to blatant libel. This is not freedom of speech or "artists being artists." This is just another example of the destruction of critical thinking. Looks like the Kabbalah did little to enhance and enlighten her discotheque mind.

Ignorance is bliss indeed.

Madonna is 50 years old.

Grow up.

Tax Alert From Revenue Canada

Please be aware of this fraud email going around.


A Few Words On "A Few Words In A Defense Of Our Country" By Randy Newman

I'm on record as saying that the American coming to an end is over stated. I could be wrong I know but it's a hunch I got based on my own personal experiences with life and knowledge of history.

No doubt America is on a down cycle but is this to be taken as the decline of an empire? Assuming it is an empire of course.

One of America's true great singer/songwriter Randy Newman thinks otherwise. It seems that the decline is already underway and a forgone conclusion for Newman.

I simply love the songs and lyrics of Randy Newman. His latest album 'Harps and Angels' has already been acclaimed and here are the lyrics to one song relating to the topic at hand in this post.

To be honest I have no idea what he's driving at about "a couple of young Italian fellas" alluding to Scalia and Alito on the Supreme Court. Scalia is conservative but one who holds principles closely aligned with Alexander Hamilton - which makes him a strong Federalist I suppose. Alito is considered a moderate conservative. Do they deserve the "tight ass" moniker? The "brother" he refers to is obviously Clarence Thomas. Is Newman taking issue with their conservative values?

A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country lyrics

I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They were sleeping with their sister
Stashing little boys in swimming pools
And burning down the City
And one of ‘em, one of 'em
Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something

That’s not a very good example, is it?

But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position
I don’t even like to think about it

Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Hitler. Stalin.
Men who need no introduction

King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?


A President once said,
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

[To the first eight bars of "Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean"]

You know it pisses me off a little
That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world
To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got

And as for the brother
Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

The American South And Quebec

Rock aficionado's know the story of how "Sweet Home Alabama" by Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd was born. It was a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man" and "Alabama."

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

I saw cotton
and I saw black
Tall white mansions
and little shacks.
Southern man
when will you
pay them back?
I heard screamin'
and bullwhips cracking
How long? How long?

I can see why Southerners would take offense to this. Young essentially painted an entire region with one brush - something some Northern liberals are unwittingly good at.

I don't know much about the South except for that I've visited Georgia, North/South Carolina and Florida. However, I do see similarities between the American South and Quebec.

The South has its share of assholes and bigots just like Quebec does - hello Pierre Felardeau - but it's also a place with rich traditions and history different from other parts of the United States. Both have a segregationist angle to it and both thrive on a strong distinct identity.

That being said, writing about it like Young done did is a little like having an artist from California call all Quebecers parochial separatists.

Then again, if it could produce two great songs Young and Skynyrd produced music fans would stand to gain.

Montreal's Best And Brightest Miss Olympic Mark

The staff over at The Gazette and Team 990 are either bored or lack any imagination these days. I was thoroughly disappointed with the rationalization of Canada's Olympic performance.

Personally, I think Canada did well. Here's why: they don't get enough public, government and private support. Simple as that. Anyone who doesn't think money = medals is deluding themselves. In this way, it's amazing we win any medals at all.

The question is how far do we want to go? Obviously, I doubt we'd go the Chinese route. On the other hand, setting some standards and striving for excellence is not a bad thing.

Let's review some writers who left me scratching my head:

Stu Cowan - Sports Editor: I once emailed Stu a few years ago and he was kind enough to respond in a professional manner so by all accounts he's a decent guy. But...no free pass here.

He asked if it changes anyone's life if we win medals. He prefaced this notion to build his argument that more funding isn't needed. That public money should go into other stuff. Of course there's some truth to this but the reality is that we participate at the Olympics and many nations take it damn seriously. Not committing and giving our full support makes a mockery of the spirit of competition and our athletes. Why do we have to do something at the expense of another? I disagree with Stu. Funding is key. Perhaps we should spend the money better? Cut the 600 member COA a little and send less but more efficient athletes?

Canada won 18 medals despite operating in an apathetic society obsessed with finding smug excuses rather than doing the hard work of rolling up the sleeves, pumping the cash and designing a true program of excellence to attain the full potential of our athletes. Imagine what we could do with more! I firmly believe we should do more.

Jack Todd - the wannabe sports writer who won't go away. Once again proving his limited skills in understanding sports. Why must he always try and belittle and begrudge with pointless cynicism? In his attempt to dismiss an athlete's accomplishment (Michael Phelps) he tried to somehow posit the notion that swimming is easy. Why is this guy still around? Writing that Phelps earned "McMedals" is beyond shocking even for a "Mcwriter" like Todd.

Norman Webster. As far as I know he was a former editor. Dunno if he's a sports junkie but his attempt to somehow assuage Canada's mediocre performance by linking it to population and the Americans is ludicrous. What did he do? His logic led him to claim that since America is ten times the population of Canada they should have won ten times the medals. Since they didn't, that is taken to mean Canada did better.

We really should make stats class a prerequisite in our schools. I suck at math but even I understand that this method has drawbacks. I presume that people who use it like the fact that America always looks bad. No kidding! There are a limited amount of medals given out. Do the math. Big countries will always look bad. Medium sized countries will always look average and small countries will always look great. Even if the U.S. wins double the medals they would still look worse than Togo, Jamaica and Barbados. Does anyone truly believe these countries are "more athletic" than the States? I certainly don't.

Here's a simple example: Canada won 18 medals with a population of 33 million giving you a .6 ratio. In order for the U.S. to match that they need to win close to 200 medals (out of 956). Now, let's assume Canada wins 25 medals next time - or .76. The U.S. would have to win 250 medals to match this. In other words, for Canada's seven medals the U.S. has to win an additional 50. Does this make sense? The "margin of error" is tighter for the U.S. in this way.

If one wants to spin things this way then you have to look at it from another angle as well. For example, Canada is ten times the population of New Zealand. By Webster's (and he's not alone) calculations that means given New Zealand's nine medals (three gold) Canada should have won 90 medals and 30 gold vis-a-vis New Zealand. Notice how we tied with gold medals It doesn't stop there. Holland has 20 million people. So, Canada should win 1 1/2/ times the medals. Instead, it finished 18 t0 16 and with the Dutch earning more than double the gold medals at seven to three. Cuba is a third of our population. Ergo three times the spoils for Canada, right? Cuba won 24 medals with one less gold. Australia is around 20 million people. They won 44 medals!

Population to medals ratio is misguided and doesn't prove anything. There are so many factors and variables that come into play when designing, funding and training a national program. It's asinine to reduce it to such a simplistic calculation. If one really wants to "equalize" the playing field then delegations of athletes sent to medals won is a better (though far from perfect) ratio to use I suppose. If we do this, we find that the U.S. beats Canada by a WIDE margin. In fact, Canada's ratio is not impressive. 344 athletes to 18 medals is not a good ratio.

One last note, people go off about the Americans winning most of their medals in the pool. So what? Here's a thought: how about we stop whining and actually try and get some for ourselves like the Aussie's did? If we don't want to then the least we can do is not squeeze our sour grapes and turn them into acidic vinegar. Oh by the way, the swimming medals accounted for 31% of America's production. It reached 45% for Australia. Yet no one seems to bring this up.

No matter how you dice it, Canada's three gold medals is too low for a country with our talent and resources.

Elliott Price. Price falls too easily into the hysterical typical anti-Toronto/America thing we often read at the Gazette and hear on Team 990. He went off about Sports Illustrated about how upset he was that they picked Canada to win 14 medals. They weren't that far off as it turned out and the rhetoric used was parochial at best. Who cares what SI thinks? To my knowledge he harped about it a few times.

The Americans are not out to get us. Fret not friend. "The don't know we exist" is a popular phrase uttered by sensitive nationalists. Advice time: How about we force them to acknowledge us by, I don't know, actually doing something? And then they go on to talk about, well, American sports.

PJ Stock. See Webster. But Stock, likable as he is, really needs to concentrate on getting his thoughts together better. One question he posed caught my ear. He asked a listener what he was prepared to do to support Canadian athletes. He's absolutely right. Put your money where your mouth is. Nonetheless, I thought this was unfair. Here's why: This is Canada. We are experts at all talk no action. Funding for the amateur program already comes from taxpayers. Asking a citizen to dip into his pocket again in a society that does not a) have much disposable income and b) is not private oriented simply went against the grain of Canadian culture. Stock was mixing American sensibilities with Canadian ones. In America, they say "I should" when faced with a problem. In Canada we say "the government should" in two official languages.

The Team 990 has a bit of a "public radio" feel to it now as one savvy sports friend of mine put it.

One last thought. China won 51 gold medals and 100 total. The U.S. won 36 and 110. How each nation reached the objective couldn't have been any different. The LA Times report was not propaganda "attempting to make excuses for the Americans" as some have oddly claimed. Rather, it is a fact. China destroys families. They completely miss the point of what sports are supposed to be. It couldn't be any different in America. Besides, they did win: last I checked silver and bronze matters at the Olympics and rankings should ALWAYS be compiled with that in mind. Or else just give gold medals, right?

For me, the manner in which some of the aforementioned attempted to rationalize Canada's performance (often falling to typical and tired comparisons to the Americans) left me feeling that they could have presented their cases better.

I do expect better perspectives from people in positions to form and inform minds.

Introducing A New History Blog

I try to keep up and plug every history blog I run into. The latest is History's Mysteries.


Bunny Berigan's Swingin' Trumpet

The Swing era is best known by Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and a few others like Earl Hines, Artie Shaw, Cab Calloway, Erskine Hawkins, Lionel Hampton and Gil Evans. Lesser known legends included Chick Webb and Bix Beiderbeck. An even more obscure and forgotten trumpeter of the big band era was Bunny Berigan.

Berigan was a true original and helped to launch swing.

When Will These Prop Sticks Break?

When I was a broker part of my routine was to read financial reports and analyst documents of companies. This was during the period of "when stocks could do no wrong" earlier this decade. One company who was the darling (and remains so) of everyone was the basket case known as Bombardier. Once a proud, innovative business the company languishes as a corporate beggar.

While Canadian analysts fell over themselves selling the stock to investors, American firms were more sober. One company, Credit Suisse First Boston, never bought the hype as I recall it.

It turns out they were right.

There's no true investment value to Bombardier. How can there be one when a company relies on corporate government hand outs to bail it out?

Ah yes, the corporate hand out for losing industries. A classic Canadian business trait.

For the record, Bombardier is not the only one.

I recently had a conversation with an investment banker and we discussed how here in Quebec it feels as though behind every company there's a government stick propping it behind the scenes. The province is littered with unprofitable businesses who get to continue operations because they provide jobs. When people say Canadians are not productive this is one component of the argument. Of course, the owners of these "businesses" that churn loss after loss drive around in Land Rovers.

I love reading these "top 500 companies list" in Canada and Quebec. Aside from the fact that already the quality and depth of the 300 companies in the TSX is thin, it's strange that we actually have 500 companies of note to rank. Of course we don't. When you look at the companies many are far from "best managed" or innovative. Many are public companies and others are private companies connected with the government.

But hey, as long as "we're not American" that's all that matters.


The Rise Of The Annoying Canadian

"We're chauvinists, too" was an article I picked up from the National Post by Katherine Jeffrey.

A local sports radio station (of all places) exemplify perfectly this argument. It's amazing how much liberties we take at criticizing the U.S. while offering very little introspection for ourselves.

It's not seen as chauvinism because we're convinced we're right and that we have the "superior" country.

Is the position that the nations of the West who went the welfare state route were able to do so because of the money saved from cutting the military? A luxury the United States could not afford to give into during the Cold War. Does anyone really doubt had there not been an American presence on the European continent (and Canada) it would have been over run by the Soviet Union?

Something to think about.


I Ain't Ever Satisfied And God Knows It

I saw Steve Earle live back in 1991. I think. The night at Theatre St. Denis was marked by a gay man with a thin mustache making overt passes at me. It was so blatant I couldn't contain my giggling but my girlfriend at the time felt insecure enough to hold me in a possessive lock.

Man did she make sure I was happy later on.

Earle is possibly one of the last true country-rock singer/songwriters before country went pop. I read somewhere a few years back that he sells more records here in Quebec than anywhere in North America. Quebec is also the one place (in the world I think) where Pepsi outsells Coke.

Who says we're not "distinct?"

The first Steve Earle song and album I ever bought was 'I ain't ever satisfied' (video here)from Exit 0. But Copperhead Road was Earle's piece de resistance in my opinion.

Not feeling satisfied is a terrible feeling. It's one that I've lived with as far back as I can remember.

As Earle sings,

Last night I dreamed I made it to the promise land I was standin' at the gate and I had the key in my hand Saint Peter said "Come on in boy, you're finally home" I said "No thanks Pete, I'll just be moving along"

Sounds a whole lot like me - and many others I'm sure.


From Mount Tambora To Frankenstein

I picked up the latest issue of History Magazine recently and came across an article titled, "1816: The Year Without A Summer." It was an interesting read and the piece explored how the massive eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia (then known as the Dutch East Indies) in 1815 had a devastating effect on global weather patterns. The explosion was heard as far away as 1200 miles while the volcanic gases reached 24 miles into the stratosphere. At its peak Mount Tambora stood 13 000 feet. By the time the volcanic eruption was done it was a mere 9 350 feet.

That's some poof.

By 1817 the weather had begun to normalize but there remained a lingering effect. One episode took place in Lake Geneva (that's in Switzerland, Jen) in 1816. A party of English travelers were staying with Lord Byron but the rain was rampant enough to force everyone indoors and read ghost stories. At one point, the good lord suggested everyone actually write a ghost story.

And write they did.

One gal went by the name of Mary Godwin. She went on to become Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her creative mind gave the world Frankenstein.

Who says great gifts don't come from nature?

How To Describe...

The Liberal party of Canada: When there's a problem talk about introducing a tax. The only time they like the word "private" is when it suits their little pockets.

Speaking of being allergic to privatization, I was driving around town and noticed that Anne Lagace Dawson (she's a radio host on the CBC) is running for the NDP. I looked at the picture and smiled. Of course the NDP! Would anyone at the CBC ever work for the Conservative party?

Getting back to the Liberals, astronaut Marc Garneau is running to join their ranks. Garneau is a decent fellow from what I can tell and obviously an accomplished individual. Which got me thinking. The Liberals have mastered the art of positioning themselves as the "middle" and "moderate" party. I would submit "mediocre" as well. For them , empty rhetoric dressed in passionate expression is enough to win votes. I already told family and friends dear to me that if they ever vote for Justin Trudeau I won't be speaking to them.

Moving on to something else. How to describe Montreal's English language sports radio at the Team 990? Let's just say there are way too many inexperienced (in some case unqualified) people who have not spent enough time in the trenches hosting shows.

While it has its bright spots here and there, it feels too much like an alternative sports station run by interns. Mind you, it's not worse than the mess at The Gazette sports pages. Dudes, GET SOME FRESH BLOOD IN THERE.

Anyway, if there was a word I would use in addition to presumptuous and bitter it would be nostalgic. Bitter about everything to the point of engaging in pointless Toronto and American bashing. Nostalgic because the loss of the Expos has had a real impact on some in the city.
The presumptuous part is harder to describe but it's an instinct I get. I could add confusing sophistry but now I'm getting too detailed here.


The Commentator Is Left Handed

Let's see. What can I tell you all about myself. Hm. Spreading Nutella, spreading Nutel...Well, I'm left handed.

I remember in Grade Four when a girl told me that left handers were highly intelligent. This blog obviously challenges such a notion. Especially considering that I found out in high school that the same girl had a crush on me for most of our time in elementary school. We're talking one of the prettiest, smartest, classiest girls here. What a dork I was. Lefties suck at reading flirting signs too. Well, I do anyway.

Another girl told me, a couple of years later, that we're creative geniuses. Again...you know the rest.

Nevernonetheless, being left handed is like being part of a cult; a secret society like the Stonecutters. Only lefties know what I'm talking about. We all scope each other in class rooms and other public spheres.

And there's nothing sexier than a left-handed woman.

Of course, it's not easy being left-handed in a right-handed world that discriminates against us minorities. Last I heard we represent anywhere between 6% and 9% of the world's population. For the record, I'm Aquarius and apparently we represent 9% of the population. The first time I picked up a pen or pencil my parents tried in vain to have me switch to that evil other hand. Left handed I remain.

I'm not one of those fake lefties either. I do everything with my left. I'm pretty useless with my right side. If I could cut it off I would.

Here's an entry about us in wiki:

"According to this theory, right-handed people are thought to process information using a "linear sequential" method in which one thread must complete its processing before the next thread can be started.

Left-handed persons are thought to process information using a "visual simultaneous" method in which several threads can be processed simultaneously. Another way to view this is such: Suppose there were one thousand pieces of popcorn and one of them was colored blue. Right-handed people—using the linear sequential processing style—would look at the popcorn one at a time until they encountered the blue one. The left-handed person would spread out the pieces of popcorn and look at all of them to find the one that was blue. A side effect of these differing styles of processing is that right-handers need to complete one task before they can start the next. Left-handers, by contrast, are capable and comfortable switching between tasks. This seems to suggest that left-handed people have an excellent ability to multi-task, and anecdotal evidence that they are more creative may stem from this ability to multi-task."


Article Of Interest: Henglish His Himportant

A blunt and passionate plea by Michel-Kelly Gagnon (formerly of the Montreal Economic Institute I believe) about the need for French-Quebecers to learn English.

He's right.

No other way to put it.

Meet The Real Coneheads

"Astronauts to the moon?"

It seems the classic SNL skit has been insensitive to Pharoahs and Mayans all these years. I think they owe them an apology. Why? Well, according to author David Allen Rigsby, Pharoahs and Mayans had coneheads.

He concludes on his website,

"...This proves my theory that fallen angels did indeed mate with mankind's seed to produce giants and demigods like the ones found above..."


The question is: who had coneheads in their DNA? Was it the angels or the Pharoahs and Mayans?

The skull looks a little darker than the rest of the skeleton. Must be the lighting.


Article Of Interest: Web Bots As Easy As 1, 2, Twin Peaks

Presented here is an introduction to web bot technology courtesy of Urban Survival. I get it. Sorta. Not really. But I do know it's brilliant.

Incredibly interesting. Web bots explore the nether regions of our collective consciousness and may lend insights and give evidence to various events that humans may face. It certainly has a quantum component to it.

Buying A Futures Mayan Contract

In the blah, blah corner, the Mayan calendar mysteriously ends on December 12, 2012. Which is taken of course to mean the end of the world. I don’t know what the Mayans knew but it’s a helluva calendar aesthetically speakingAs we know, the world was supposed to end on numerous occasions. Yet, wretched little creatures that we are, this species continues to exist.

I'm betting we're still going to be around and so does this blogger.

Where can I buy 12/12/12 futures contracts?

Introducing My Bio-Rhythm Soul Mate

I was messing around with bio-rhythms for an assignment a month ago. Naturally, being the curious gent I am, I checked my own bio-rhythms. Interestingly, according to this website I'm 99% compatible with Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Jen, call me. Apparently we have something in common.

I have a great collection of lamp shades.

NBC Is An American Network And Comparing Woods To Phelps Misfires

Over a nice lunch today my mother voiced a typical Canadian complaint. It came during NBC's replay of events at the Olympics (the CBC and TSN had moved on to other things for the day) as Jim Lampley interviewed the Williams sisters.

"The CBC is always interviewing American athletes why doesn't NBC ever take the time to talk to Canadians?"

This is by no means an isolated complaint. I hear this all the time from indignant and sensitive Canadians with comments on websites to radio shows. It's the oddest thing.

My reply was stoic and blunt. I explained that the Americans are freaking out in the pool (as they always do) and were busy hauling in 65 total medals. As such, American journalists and broadcasters probably barely have time to keep up with their own athletes let alone other countries. What time can they possibly set aside for Canada?

Michael Phelps alone (who is viewed with suspicion by some Canadians. Remember, this is a country that doesn't appreciate perfection. The more successful you are the more our inner communist kicks in) won eight gold medals. Which of our non-medalists (until recently anyway) does NBC feel is compelling enough to transcend their own athletes?

The answer is nobody.

If there was a Canadian who won the 100-meter then it would make sense for NBC to hunt the gold medalist down and ask them a few lame "how does ye feel" questions. Other than that, a wrestler and the rowing team isn't going to cut it.

At least my father agreed. They don't owe us any favors. We have time to watch paint dry and talk to Dutch medalists. Good for us. Maybe we should get a gold medal for our worldliness.

-Side note. I'm of the opinion that Michael Phelps is indeed the most dominant athlete I've seen. In the mean time, I've heard a few "who's the greatest athlete or most dominant athlete" ever debates. Obviously, this is up for debate but I do have my limits. The other day some were pitting Tiger Woods against Phelps. A golfer against a swimmer? Sorry. I'm not buying this.

You know, we do tend to over do this golf thing. No, it's not a pure sport and no I don't happen to accept that it's the most "mental" of games. Motor-racing, downhill skiing (where lives actually are in danger) and the pitcher/batter battle in baseball all match or even surpass golf on a mental level. Besides, this is a tough argument to use. How does one measure the degree of mental difficulty?

Woods is no doubt a great and dominant golfer (the greatest ever to many) and what he's done for the game is something to admire. However, grouping Woods (and his workout regime really isn't a reason either) and Phelps in the same sentence is a stretch for me.


Letter To The Editor: More On Russia And Georgia

I got these bon mots in the letters to the editor section of the Montreal Gazette. It was in reference to Russia's defiance of American pressure to withdraw from Georgia:

"Finally there is someone who seems to be putting an end to the expansion of the American empire."

Of course, I wonder if this person wonders how dangerous this situation can really be.

Funny how some are prepared to accept the bullying of big powers over small nations so long as it serves the purpose of challenging America. It doesn't matter Russia is an oligarchic dictatorship. They serve the purpose of thwarting the United States; though I have no clue what he means by "expansion."

Russia has found it hard to find its place in the post-Communist world. Its former republics seem to prefer the American way and this poses a geopolitical problem for Russia for a few reasons. One, many are being courted to join NATO - interpreted (not entirely wrongly either) as Americans antagonizing Russia. The U.S. seems to be ok with Georgia acting this way. Two, they can lose their own oil monopoly in the region. Three, on the psychological front, many of these states served as protective barriers from the rest of Europe. Four, it makes it hard for Russia to prove they exist as a power.

The last point is important since it also means Russia is having a hard time accepting the independence of many of its former satellites it forcefully and violently subdued not so long ago.


Who Owns The Zeitgeist?

I've noticed the word zeitgeist is a popular choice for conspiracy theorists and the outright unhinged these days. I get an awful lot of emails from friends attempting to "educate" me about "history" as it's interpreted by God knows who.

It's insulting but I know they're just trying to save me. From what I'm unceratin. Apparently, my lack of conviction in all things conspiratorial means I help feed the darkness of evil and ignorance.

Knowledge is power I'm told and with it comes a link to some tired argument about something incomprehensible because it's hard to read through the hyperbole.

A less popular dictum I've seen (mis) used is how Occam's Razor and how it relates and pertains to 9/11. It seems Occam's Razor is used to prove that there was a conspiracy. When in fact, OR probably would conclude that the most likely answer is that a few Arabs (I forget how many) hijacked planes and flew them into two buildings driven by political-religious fanaticism.

All to arrange a blind date with 72 lousy virgins I might add.

The funny thing about intelligent philosophical principles is that it can be molded to fit any position andm still make perfect sense. In other words, we can twist and steer clear of its original intent and meaning so as to meet a prevailing belief.

Again, I ask.

Who owns the zeitgeist?


I Take A Moment To Honor Fallen Canadians

Lives lost in combat in Afghanistan.

Read their names here.

Definition Of Scientific Research Forgotten?

Oh, were are Bacon and Galileo when you need them?

I love this thought about science from "Pen and the Spindle." It's all about fads.

We see it in soccer all the time. The most popular players are not necessarily the best ones. Hello, C. Ronaldo and Beckham. Science has gone pop-culture taking its "findings" to TMZ.

It really is too bad. As these paragraphs reveal, some good people become victims of this nonsense.

"This brings me to the definition of scientific research. Scientific research is not something produced by universities, institutions, and other building confined thought. Nor is scientific research a practice defined by the changing fads and feelings of academics. Scientific research is not what is reported in the media as we've found the cure. Nor is it the product of partisan funding which dictates the outcome before the project is begun.

Scientific research is a process of establishing verifiable patterns of activity without bias on the part of the researcher or observer. Bias exists in all research, but the trick is to identify the presence of bias within the researcher/s and the research environment and actively and consciously bracket this out or build in safety controls to prevent contamination. This is not taught in academic research class anymore.

I have seen more valid research performed statistically and qualitatively by non-affiliate academics and by run-of-the-mill BA degree owners than by institutionalized scientists who seem always to miss the point. Yet, the work that gets acceptance is the work produced by institutionalized minds, and the research that could make a real difference is consigned to the trash heap of history.

It remains one of the greatest sadnesses for me that friends who are brilliant academics and contributing minds have been sidelined because their research no longer fits the fad. It is no wonder we are still dogged by AIDS and by other social issues that could be solved but for the lack of the right people in the right places."


Froot Cheerios Leaves Me Yearning For Any Other Cheerios

I bought Fruity Cheerios the other day. You know, for market studies.

I was thoroughly disappointed. It seems the good folks at General Mills felt the need to repackage Froot Loops and pass it off as Cheerios. What's the difference between the two? The size of the circle?

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Riot In Montreal Follwing Death Of Teenager

Not the kind of exposure Canada is looking for. Two tragic events in a span of a couple of weeks that garner international coverage. First, the Greyhound Bus murder in Manitoba and now the shooting of a teenager in Montreal that sparked a (non-hockey related) riot.

I'm in that part of the city (known as Montreal-North) often enough.


Canadian Innovation A Laggard

Here's an absolutely outstanding blog post from Brandthroposophy (I had to stare at this to make sure I avoided misspelling it) about branding and innovation - or the lack thereof here in Canada. I found this while researching a blog post about the Italian fashion industry for e-Talian. I decided to cross-post. Is that what they call it?

Anyway, the article goes into the (Giovanni Battista) Giorgini Principle (the man who established an indigenous Italian fashion industry 57 years ago. Once a copy-cat world, the Italians pushed France aside and became the standard by which all great fashion design was measured) and is well-worth the read.

Ironically, I do feel there are some analogies between Quebec and Italian culture. Something tells me the Italian business model would suit Quebec's artistic soul quite well.


I Like These Odds

Men and women have been waiting for the end of the world for centuries now. Over the years, I can't remember how many times I've read the world will end since the Book of Revelations was written 2000 years ago.

In the 20th century, a new type of doomster has joined the fray: the environmental doomsayer. Only these people are smarter. They claim to have science on their side.

I've always been of the opinion you could make something as ugly or as beautiful as you want. You can be pessimistic or optimistic. You can make the world look like it's about to end or you can draw it as just the beginning.

I'm not convinced, as you know, of two things: that global warming and high oil prices will destroy us and that the American empire will end in our lifetime. I was a bull when I was a broker and a bull I shall remain. You can call be delusional or naive. Or both. But that's the way it is with me. Something will happen in nature to make us all go, "Ah, the little..." and the Americans will realize that their work is not done. The Redeem Team is in Beijing but redemption and optimism seems to be a strong suit with the great republic.

A tipping point will take place somehow.

The bears and naysayers have been wrong for so long now it's amazing they still have an audience at all.

Meh. Now watch the world end tonight. Of course, the Book of Revelations and its supporters and defenders will say, "See, we told you so! We knew it!" After 2000 years your bound to be right at some point, no?

Anyway, so many smart people have tried to calculate the exact date (just like when I had stubborn clients who were convinced they had mathematically figured out the options market. They were, obviously, always wrong and usually lost money. They would then blame us for high fees and poor advice. Naturally) when the end of the world would come and so far, well...

I won't gloat.

It says here that according to a good preacher, "the ratio between eternally lost and saved would be 1 in 17 476."

I gotta say.

I like my chances.

Lives The Justice System Forgot

I don't know how and why I settled on this...oh yes, I was reading about Morgan Freeman's accident and the supposed curse of the Dark Knight, which led to the curse of Superman via Christopher Reeves which in turn led me to the Poltergeist cast. I read about the sad death of Heather O'Rourke at the age of 12 and the murder of 22-year old Dominique Dunne.

Her murderer and former lover, John Sweeney Thomas Sweeney, got six years. Apparently he's out cooking as a chef somewhere under a new name John Maura

It will be interesting to see what sentence Vince Weiguang Li gets for the brutal murder of Tim Mclean.

I still can't believe Karla Homolka is free. The names of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy have remained tattooed in my mind. It sickens me to know Homolka walks the streets of Montreal - free.

These people took lives.

Russia Invades Georgia

Not the state. The country. No Georgia Peaches here.

Didn't anyone tell them that the Olympics have begun?

PETA: For Shame

For shame.

It's insane to draw a comparison between the Greyhound bus murder and animals. This is senseless provocative advertising designed to capitalize on the death of a person.

Quite frankly they've finally made me permanently blind and deaf to them.


Devoid of any real imagination - and humanity.


Scribing History

It is said history is written by the winners.

Has this notion moved on?

Is history now written by the losers? The victims so to speak?

Bush, China And Human Rights: Leggo My Eggo

Bush recently spoke out against human rights abuses in China. As a result and perhaps predictably, he has faced criticism for doing so. Critics point out that Iraq and Guantanamo Bay are hardly bastions of human rights projects - though in the case of Iraq this is a different issue altogether. Iraqi's now have a chance at designing according to their experiences a free and functional government.

Are these fair examples when attempting to draw an apparent hypocritical stance with the Bush administration?

Isn't American society, as a whole, still a democracy that respects the rule of law and human rights? China may not be pleased but is it not Bush's job to bring up the matter of human rights; especially during the Olympics as China cracks down on freedom? Is Guantanamo an extraordinary (and temporary) circumstance? Did the U.S. lose some of its credibility as a result of it? Should Bush just sit back and let November come?

It's a sobering thought to think that as we watch sports somewhere in China millions of prisoners are detained robbed of their freedoms and existence. How can anybody turn a blind eye to this reality?


The World's Smallest Functional Ferrari

Pierre Scerri of France has created a replica of the Ferrari 312 pb on a 1:3 scale. See it here at Fine Art Models.

Prepare to be amazed.

Was there a military revolution?

Well, some historains dispute if there was a Scientific Revolution so imagine a military one! Here are some recaps and resources you may or may not agree with.

As a result of new military technologies like the musket and canon, countries and towns had to find new ways to defend themselves. One method devised has come to be known as Trace Italianne. It makes sense that Italy would become "defensive" in its military approach given the amount of times it had been invaded through the centuries since the fall of Rome in 476 ad. A fact that was not lost on Machiavelli who lamented Italy's fragmented existence and frail reliance on mercenaries.

Perhaps this explains why, in part, Italian soccer has taken the character it has: notably one that appreciates defensive qualities and obsesses over tactics.


Link of Interest: Unesco World Heritage

I recently visited the Unesco World Heritage site. Here's a list of WHS from around the planet.

Italy heads the list with 43 sites followed by Spain with 40, China 37 while France and Germany follow with 33 each.

Other countries of interest include: Mexico with 29, United Kingdom and India share 27, Russia 23, the United States 20, Australia, Brazil and Greece at 17 , Canada with 15 and Sweden at 14.

A Carbon Tax Is Not Green

Very simple:

They are the anti-Christ. I know, I know. There have been many over the years but...

What's the best way to describe this bunch of soul-less opportunists? Ok. This pretty much applies to any political party. Work with me here.

A man named Peter Damian lived in the 11th century and wasn't exactly enamored with priests marrying women:

"I exhort you, women of the ancient enemy, you bitches, sows, screech-owls, night-owls, blood-suckers, she-wolves."

The Liberals: A bunch of fornicating she-wolves ready to rape Western Canada to ensure that the senseless, self-serving swindling of Canada. Sheesh. And I'm not even from the West.

This is what I see when I hear a holier-than-thou Liberal speak of the carbon tax. Stephane Dion and his Liberal crooks'n cronies have tired, dead-beat, fluffy ideas about this country.

But they sure know how to get their splits. Now they plan to do it through a carbon tax.

How can we conclude that a carbon tax is the right thing to do for the environment? Not only will it likely handicap the middle-class it will rape Western Canada (like NEP) of its wealth all designed to feed Jabba the Hut on Parliament Hill.

It all somehow ends up in the hands, in the form of equilization payments, people like Gilles Duceppe and his comedic circus of creepy secessionists or Bombardier or something like that.

Ironically, Canada has a"Clarity" bill (to go along with the "Notwithstanding" clause. Examples of Canada's "flexible democracy" in the spirit of compromise to some; the "price" to pay for unity and peace) and there is no clearer way to upset Western Canada with a carbon tax.

That the carbon tax is being passed off as a "Green" idea is misleading if not laughable.

It's a tax GRAB.

Nothing more, nothing less.

The rot in the Liberal party persists. When will a real purge begin to save this once proud party?


The Over-Apologized Society: 1914 And The Komagata Maru Incident

It seems PM Stephen Harper has spent a good portion of his time apologizing for so many bad things the Canadian government did to so many communities.

Anyway, sheesh. Tough these Sikh's. At least they got one. Even though a very good case can be made that Harper should never have given one to begin with.

Canada does not have a pristine past but reopening it to soothe present sensibilities is dangerous and dicey game. We're now stretching things a little.

Man, it's tough not to find a special interest group or community with an axe to grind against Canada. From Elmasry, to Quebec to the Sikh's, this country is absurdly attacked.

Come to think of it Canada should legislate National Apologies Day. Paid of course.

I'll be first in line. I demand an apology from Canada for not fighting scurvy hard enough. We lost many a brave soul to that disease.

A CBC Headline Leaves Me Wondering

One of the many headlines used to describe the hideous murder in Manitoba (now covered internationally) in a Greyhound busincluded this caption, "Beheading suspect described as quiet, hard-working immigrant."

Aren't they all?

Notice the word "immigrant" inserted in the headline. Yes, this is a fact but it reminded me of a cartoon I saw years ago (1988 to be exact) about the Ben Johnson fiasco at the Seoul Olympics. The caption read, "Canadian wins gold medal!" The next panel read, "Jamaican-Canadian tests positive for steroids."

Or something to that effect. You get the point.

It's almost as if, wittingly or otherwise, we drop the word "immigrant" to soothe us that a "real" Canadian wouldn't commit such a beastly act.

In any event, this is what I observe.

As for the other part of the headline, I don't know know about other parts of the world but here in North America the "he was a quiet man" line has been used to the point of absurdity. A line that some comedians have used as part of their routine over the years.

If you know someone to be quiet, hard working and polite...run.


Rate This Part Two

Recently I went off on a semi-tirade about the nonsense of rating blogs.

Today I was perusing a few social networking sites and I could not help but notice a trend that seems to confirm my suspicion.

A few well-researched, well-thought out websites drew low ratings. Of course they did; they're "boring." Conversely fluffy sites with cool images with nothing in particular to say garner very high ratings.

More On Greyhound Murder

Police leak about the Greyhound murder. Killer cannibalized body.

This is worth second degree murder?


Link Of Interest: China Blocks Bloggers

The Great Blog Wall of China has been erected.

How is this a surprise to anyone?

The day it was announced that Beijing would get the games was the day we knew all this was coming. China acts in predictable ways on certain matters.

While the IOC is pleading that this is out of their control, the reality is that they alone gave the games to China. It's hard to imagine they did not understand how China functions at the time of the decision.

So they can plead the 5th all they want but in the end they chose China so in a way they are part of the problem.

Such a majestic and magnificent culture of influential and glorious historical repute. Yet...

Metrosexuality Is Not My Thing

Names have been changed to protect the integrity of the guilty.

"Hello Jezebella. Is Balaam there?"

"Hi, Commentator. No, he's not. He went to get a pedicure."



"Ped, Pedi...?"

"...cure. What's wrong, Comm?"


" You're buddy is a metrosexual didn't you know?"

And so went the conversation with the wife of a close friend.

I'm a throwback to another time - so I'm often told. I'm also often accused of being too reserved. For the record, I've been described (by family members) as being a hybrid between Seinfeld and Ray Barone with a Keanu Reeves/Pierce Brosnan look. Actually, my alleged similar features to Brosnan was the observations of a girl who I was madly in love with between the ages of 14-17. She told me I looked like 'Remington Steele." Never watched the show. I was more of an A-Team guy.

As for Reeves, whatever. I guess it's accurate. Here's why. When I was in Whistler (that's in BC) in 1995, my buddies and I were walking around on the prowl when a cluster of gals descended upon us mad and drunk as hell. It was a bachelorette party and the sloshed bride to be put her arms around me and said, "You look like Keanu Reeves and planted a big, intoxicated big one on my lips. So if an alien drunk chick says so it has to be right.

Personally, I think I look like this guy.

Anyway, that story with her is a long one and best kept under wraps. Let's just say she owes me a night of passionate love-making.

Ok. So my mother and sister claim I'm a Seinfeld/Barone hybrid - to which my friends confirm. One girl I dated in university said I was enigmatic. Another wrote a poem about my "mysterious aura." Her poem was published in a prominent poetry book. Imagine that. Me, The Commentator a subject of a romantic poem.

Gosh, these past few posts I've been letting some things out of the bag. It's not in my nature to do so but what the hell.

Come to think of it, all this does explain, in part, why I've refused to define this blog in any specific way. Maybe I'm running away from something. Perhaps this blog says more about me than I care to even understand.

Pass the hearts of palm.

Back to the conversation and the metrosexual revelation. I still struggle with the fact that I can't call some of my buddies and ask them to go for a spontaneous sausage sandwich. Everything needs to be planned and scripted with them. They can't seem to take and make decisions without consulting and clearing it with their wives.

So when I found out my friend goes out and...and...I can't say it. When I heard about this, this ritual I thought about the womanification of man.

I'm cool with a man getting in touch with the so-called "feminine" side. We all secretly wish to be women...you know, so that we can get some lesbian action. I'm not one of those guys who has to hang out with the boys. I'm more of an outsider; a loner. I've never really fit into any organization or group. No, I wasn't a Goth or nerd. I was popular I must say. I hung out with the alleged "cool" people and did all the "cool" people things. Though I wasn't as cool as The Fonz.

I not only hung out with English-speaking Quebecers but French-Canadians as well. I led a double-life of sorts. After all, both sides come with their own sets of rules and batteries.

Despite my internal issues with social gatherings I managed to adapt for brief periods of time.

Put it to you another way. When I played soccer I was a great team mate. I did everything with the team within the confines of the game. But beyond that I didn't par take in any social activities where I didn't need to. From what I know of these baseball players, I was kinda like Bill Lea or Mike Marshall. I didn't feel the need to congregate.

Same thing in the corporate setting. I was a good worker (when I wasn't challenging authority) but don't ask me to go have a drink after work. I did occasionally but my preferences were elsewhere. The truth is that social settings in large groups left/leave me uncomfortable. I get easily distracted and don't enjoy holding several superficial civil conversations. I prefer a one on one setting.

My buddy, the metro, is the ultimate social butterfly. A regular Sinatra/Valentino. I'm the complete opposite. We were quite the pair in University. Yet, despite the huge differences we've been close since the age of four. He's always been baffled by my behavior. He can't figure it out. He wishes the person he sees in private is displayed publicly. The TC in public is completely different than the one in private.

I don't know why people are so perplexed by it. The reality is that I protect my space and allow few people in it.

Let's just say it hasn't been easy.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, my friend is a metrosexual. This wasn't news to me. It's just that hearing it left an impression on me. It makes you realize just how different you are.

Next on The Commentator: What I think about men exposing their toes in public.



Article Of Interest: Quebec

Here's an article about Quebec (the little wannabe nation that could) negotiating without Ottawa's permission on the international stage.

"The Canadian federal system is a very decentralized system, by choice," he said. "It is not an accident of history that we have a decentralized federal system. It is one of the conditions that permitted the creation of the country." Premier Charest.

What country?

Fidel Takes Swipe At Edmonton

...and misses. I still can't figure out how this is Edmonton's fault? Isn't the fact that Cubans defecting an indictment of Cuba itself? I doubt money is the only motivating factor - if it plays a roll at all.

Now who's fault is this Fidel?

He blames the blockade and money. Sounds simplistic and self-serving to me.

I don't think he of all people should be calling Edmonton a "dumping ground."

RIP: Tim McLean

Second degree murder? For an unprovoked attack that ended in the brutal decapitation of a 22 year-old man? Perhaps it wasn't premeditated but the problem with SDM is that a defendant can actually be paroled after 10 years for murder as opposed to no parole for first degree murder.

If this guy gets paroled...if this guy gets paroled...

Remember that our justice system released the unrepentant, monstrous murderer Karla Homolka into the streets a couple of years back.

What an act of depraved inhumanity. It most certainly forces some to think about capital punishment.

Many Canadians will be closely watching the events unfold.

It's not just a killer who will be on trial. So will the justice system.

Happy Good Times In History

Welcome to August; a month named for the Roman emperor Augustus.


And why not kick off the hurricane season (in honour of Florida) in a month that is sickenly humid (here in Montreal anyway) with, well, a Roman theme?

Edward Gibbons wrote and suggested in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" that 2nd century Rome (specifically 120 AD) was the ‘happiest in mankind’s history’, when ‘the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind’ was 'gently but firmly guided' by a succession of virtuous and able emperors.

A time even the Romans knew were grand calling it the "Age of Gold."

Sounds like a blast.

Which got me thinking. Gisele, I can smell the brain wax burning all the way here!

As I said, which got me thinking. I'm presently reading "A History of the End of the World" by Jonathan Kirsch. It's a book about the Book of Revelations and all its dire predictions and creepy descriptions. It's a fun read and definitely a lot of fun when applied to sexual games.

"And I gave her space to repent of her fornication and she repented not." 2:21

Come on. Tell me that doesn't turn you on.

Come on Maude, let's commit fornication and rock the casbah!


Yes. This is all part of the thinking process.

So, between Gibbons belief about 2nd century Rome and the Book of Revelations there's a lot to digest and ponder. My question is: Assuming we agree with Gibbons, has there been other great "happy" periods since then? Can the 1920s be characterized as "happy?" Was there any spot in the 18th century (or any other century) that gave the impression peoples of a land were "happy?" And what do we mean by "happy" anyway?

Like I said.

I was thinking.

Some call it wasting time.