Waiting For 2011

I have a bunch of things I want to post but time has got the better of me. Soooo, youz willz hafta all waitz until 2011.

All the best to one and all and all of one. Or something.

*Table finger tapping begins*


Keep And Nurture The Clients You Have

I've always loved this question: Is it cheaper to retain existing clients or to get new ones?

If you think hard enough you may get the right answer.

"The conventional wisdom is that it costs more to get a new client than to keep an old one. And for once, the conventional wisdom is correct.

Yet, many professionals too readily take clients for granted. Or don't look for opportunities to increase revenues from perfectly satisfied clients.

Then there's the classic story of the client who went to another firm for a particular service. "Why didn't you come to me for that service?"

"Because I didn't know you did it." It happens too often."

This last part happened to me on my journey to get loans for my day care. One day I'll discuss what happened to me. 

Rethinking Entitlements

Personally, I don't get how anyone can think higher taxes to our problems is a solution. Higher taxes burden the wrong people - those in the middle.

Maybe once upon a time (higher) taxes worked but that's when the welfare state and economy (along wtih lower debts and higher GDP rates) were different. Today, it's simply an inefficient and insufficient answer to what we face in the West. At some point, higher taxes ceases to be for the good of society and transfers into immoral confiscation.

Then there's a serious social ill which stress any benefits taxes can offer: Entitlements. The sense of entitlement, and this is just my perception, is out of control. Any pragmatic progressive or liberal knows this is a problem. Talk to any teacher as I do on an almost daily basis and this observation is felt.

See, again only as I perceive it, when they spoke of their (liberal) agenda, it was a time when they could not foresee a fall from our financial grace. They spoke in a time when everyone pulled their weight; when a citizen said to their peers, "hey, you're not helping me by doing what you don't do." There was a sense of belonging, of belief, of country. It truly was a great experiment worth a try.

There was a sense of honor and dignity.

For those who chose to abstain from giving their best, well, a type of social banishment awaited them. End of story.

Today, we don't even pretend to care or believe in self-sacrifice. We don't feel a sense of duty to one another because there is a belief - conditioned over time during the Welfare Age - the government will take care of...well, us.

I fimrly believe the liberals of the past stand with our contemporaries who worry about the state of affairs and not with their modern philosophical brethren who seem to compute anything socialistic as a proper means to an end. In other words, it must be done. You'll see, you'll love it.

As people who read this blog know, I always reject this sort of argument or logic.

My point is government assistance is not (always) an evil. It becomes an evil when it enables incompetence and unacceptable behavior detrimental to the rest of society.

At this point, if we haven't succeeded in solving problems we set out to solve then a new strategy should be explored if not demanded.

At this point, those parts of the system that have failed but survive nonetheless - where vested interests nothing to do with aiding people persist - is all that keeps this wretched monstrosity alive while feeding off the productive.

Alas, it should no longer be viewed through a label prism - liberal, conservative, progressive etc. - but one of a sane, sensible attitude set to reinvigorate our moral, physical and intellectual existence.

Death, Taxes And (Missed) Cost Estimates

At this point, such things should never surprise people anymore and cost estimates made by politcians are one of them.

My (financial analyst) friend said it best the day the PQ introduced subsidized daycare. "With low productivity, high unemployment, let's subsidize a whole new industry in a province predisposed to corruption. Sounds like a winner to me."

15 years on and seven dollar a day care is over strained.


The Superhospital is on its way! Let's build a bran new building even though the previous one we built is full of mistakes! This time...

The cycle seems predictable enough. Government says something will cost X amount. Half way in, overheads eat at margins and costs soar. 10 years after a panel of "experts" and academics revisit the errors and publish their "what went wrong" and "we must never do again" recommendations.

And then it starts all over again.

It's stale and boring at this point.

More Bureaucratic Pointlessness

They just don't get it.

They really don't. A new daycare law courtesy of the Liberal party.

I don't quite understand, with all the financial and corruption problems we face in this province, why is this considered to be so important?

I don't see it and many parents don't either. I deduce nothing enlightened or progressive in this decision.

It's almost as if the state wants to prove it exists...or that it's smart.

The headline has it right: It's a solution with no problem. Which means it's just another lame, misguided, one size fits all bureaucratic law.

They will be hiring 58 inspectors for this. You know what this means, right? More confusion and waste.

I'm not one to consider or view religion in such a terrible light. I personally feel it has a place in our education and daycare system. If parents feel this way, but not the government then the state should focus on public laws and leave those private institutions that offer it alone.

Let the institutions tailor their services to the people. Not the government.


Look Ma, No Hands!

For Christmas I ate a lot and behaved like a true Chritans.

Not bad, eh? I wrote this without looking at the ketboard.

Darn. Missed by a few leeters.

Compassion Doesn't Always Run Through The State

Believing in the welfare state doesn't make you make you more compassionate...or progressive for that matter.

Classical Guitar

These gals sure can pick the get-ar.

Ana Vidovic and Filomena Moretti. Tuque tip to Man Of Roma for Moretti.

Man Goes After Spammers

Hm. Suing spammers, eh?

He's giving me an idea.

It Ain't Over Until The Fat Lady Eats

I don't peruse this site enough.

What an idiot this woman is. 30 000 calories? Wants to be the fattest person in the world?

Meanwhile...New Zealand releases UFO files.

"Then there are more bizarre ones, such as letters to the New Zealand Defence Force that have the title Ethology of Light. In one of several letters, the writer says they met an alien, known as Dear Old Dad, who was 4,000-feet tall and had size 440 shoes."

Sure thing. Whatever. Go play some rugby or something.

Smoking Quotes

Some smoking quotes:

The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide. ~Kurt Vonnegut

I kissed my first girl and smoked my first cigarette on the same day. I haven't had time for tobacco since. ~Arturo Toscanini

Please don't throw your cigarette butts in the urinal. It makes them soggy and hard to light. ~Author Unknown

Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics. ~Author Unknown

A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. ~James I of England, A Counterblaste to Tobacco, 1604

Little Remembered Singers

Like jazz/blues artist Virginia Liston.

She also played with Louis Armstrong.

La Linea

If you were a little iffy or mentally rendered somewhat incapacitated, if you know what I mean, for some reason this cartoon always seemed to be on.

Politics As Carlin Sees It

Imighta posted this in the past. Meh.


Freedom In Romania

Hey North Americans you bunch of whining compainers! Think you believe in your cause?


Adrian Sobaru will teach you something about taking action!

Psycho Rudolf

Baby Jesus

Since it's Christmas.

Infiltrating Swedish Mosques

Should we be surprised? Really.

Reminds me of the many conversations over the past few years I have with some under cover RCMP guys I know.

While 10% of Muslims are not terrorists as Glen Beck ludicrously asserts (more like .1%), it still merits some attention on our parts. All it takes is one person to go off the reservation in the name of an entire religion.

Nuclear 'Holy War' North Korea Style

Even godless, mental, secularist, communists go "Holy War" on us.

I think Kim Jong-il just needs to be hugged. Maybe then we can all better understand North Korea.

It's intetesting. We're often told it's interventionist American foreign policies that lead to countries behaving badly. However, that argument is lacking when it comes to North Korea.

I don't know how serious this threat is, but the fact they're saying it is enough to at least merit some attention.



Bearzot Dies

After learning of the passing of legendary Azzurri coach Enzo Bearzot, I immediately recalled this picture of him (smoking a pipe), keeper-icon Dino Zoff, Franco Causio and FIGC president Sandro Pertini playing cards - Scopa I believe.

Of course, the brilliant tactician is best know for, aside from leading his team to a fourth place finish at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, bringing Italy its first title since 1938 four years later in Spain. After three uninspired draws in group play, Italy went on to incredibly beat Argentina, Brazil and Germany in order en route to its third World Cup.

Of all the Italian teams I've seen, the 1982 one (with 1990 coming in second - the best Italian team to not win a title; earning a third place finishing instead) remains my favorite. Bruno Conti, Alessandro Altobelli, Marco Tardelli, Gaetano Scirea and of course Paolo Rossi, are pure legends in soccer.

Billy The Terrier

Billy had over 100 rat kills to his name in a sport called Rat-Baiting.

When We Were Cool

I don't care for golf, but is it me or are golfers of today just not as cool? Try and pull this these days. I keep looking for the Rat Pack to pop out.

Pictured are Ben Hogan and Arnold at the 1966 Masters.

Justice For Average Joe

I have to say, it's interesting how "regular" citizens get the book thrown at them (I'm not questioning the sentence), but celebrities (especially athletes who kill), somehow get off and continue to earn millions.

Just a tragedy all round.

So I Lied

Tsk, tsk.

Ok. So that didn't last long now did it? About discussing political topics.

In The Drama Queen Corner

Former PM Paul Martin.


Again. The long-form census was not scrapped; it merely became voluntary.

I like how Martin says, "this is not a way to run a democracy." Aside from the little problem of "tyranny of the majority," how is it remotely "democratic" to force information out of people under the threat of fines and even jail time?

Just because a "consensus" is arrived at, doesn't mean I have to like it. In such cases, I should have the right to abstain. Period. That's FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

Please, please, PLEASE.

Homeland Insecurity

Priceless is a piece of news thanks to the clueless.

Politically, people will attempt to defend the ignorance of James Clapper and Janet Napolitano. However, from another perspective, it strictly a question of competence.

One thing I never have and never will tolerate is incompetence; especially in the type of business I'm heading into. Why in the world would anyone of any political stripe accept it from their political masters?

It's absolutely unacceptable.

Smokers Unfairly Treated

As I've asked a gazillion-bazillion times: but isn't nicotine legal?

Of course, it is legal so how is this not discrimination?

Daycare Update

A pro and con for you.

The more I sink deeper into the daycare world the more I learn about this industry. I've discoverd that Quebec is one of only three places on earth that has the type of subsidized day care - Finland and Denmark are the other two. Unfortunately, ours is not properly managed.

Surprise, surprise.

If you think government run daycares don't squander or abuse their subsidies, oooo nelly, do I have stories for you. They go with puppy eyes to the government saying they're not for profit but then turn around and show themselves to be no different than those bad boys on the private side.

Here's the thing in a North American context. The good thing about what Quebec tried to do is that it forced society to accept the realities of daycare needs and to at least attempt to professionalize the profession. The bad is we simply can't afford it. The government knows it; although private daycares knew this all along.

That's why the "CPE" government daycares will see their quality drop as subsidies will no longer come their way, while private day cares will be able to offer better services - on average of course.


A semi-private daycare owner strongly suggested I apply for a subsidy; even if I get turned down.


History Of Libraries

Libraries and how it connects to the information age.


As you can tell, this blog has decidedly taken a less political and historical turn for the month of December. Truth is, after nearly 1300 posts, I'm politically pooped. All in all, the forces of whatever it is I espouse has never been more popular I reckon.

Broken Social Scene In Montreal; Captain Beefheart Passes

I mentioned in an earlier post I was going to the Broken Social Scene concert at the Metropolis this past Saturday and in a moment I shall describe what I heard and saw.

First, a quick word on the landmark we call the Metropolis.

Converted in into a nightclub in 1997, the building was erected in 1884 and became a movie theater in 1923 until it evolved into a - growl - porn theater in 1960.  I'm guessing Fritz the Cat found a home there.

With its lustful, licentious past long gone, the current owners have been wise to preserve parts of its 19th century classical decor. It's a shame this is not the case for some of Montreal's downtown landmarks as many have been completely gutted


I'm a little late with this blog "review" but, hey, I'm busy. As a matter of fact, it coincides with the death of musical innovator (and acquired taste) Captain Beefheart. I own a couple of Beefheart records and that's what it is: an acquired taste. But there's no doubt to the genius it possesses.

Broken Social Scene. The Ontario-based band is essentially five core members, fronted by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning with a rotating cast of musicians, at least on Saturday night it was, including a horn section and four female singers (including Amy Millan of Stars); thus a broken social scene as drummer Justin Peroff explained to me after the show.

In fact, the constant, comfortable ebb and flow of musicians coming on and off the stage (I counted as many as 14 for one song at one point)  is one major defining characteristic and charming impression one gets from BSS.

No redundant office cubicles with rigid rules here.

That wasn't the only impact pressed upon the eyes and hearts of the roughly 2000 music fans who packed the Met. The defining quality, for me (and really, who but me to know thyself?), was BSS's authentic soul.

The togetherness of the band is reminscent of The E Street Band.

From the first note to the last, it's an explosion of layered, orchestral musicianship in which the listener relentlessly absorbs countless styles and genres.

If you think this can come off as confusing to listen to, you're mistaken. Despite the complexities they take on, they somehow find a way to elegantly convey to people the essence of their art.Much like how a great history writer like Fernand Braudel could take world history and lucidly render it readable to the layman.

For their encore, they brought out special guest star Andy Kim. In introducing Kim, Kevin Drew took a few moments to discuss Kim's music legacy but for me the one thing that hit hard was when Drew explained "Kim is a Montrealer who never played in Montreal." Incredible when you think of it. I don't know how this happened, but it's something that should come to an end once and for all somehow, someway.

Like an elder statesman imparting his artistic wisdom upon the next generation, and joined on stage by his trusted guitarist Derek Downham, Kim played, 'How'd we ever get this way.' A perfect song choice given BSS's natural affinity for Kimesque arrangement. It was a perfect match.

Looking around as they performed, it was clear they nailed it as the crowd nodded approvingly along.

Above all, BSS brings to the music scene something altogether unique not just in how they approach music, but how they choose to live as stars. To the point, Broken Social Scene are about as nice a group of people you'll ever come across.

So much so you want to will them to success.


Buddy goes to the doctor.

I'm not that far off him in the doctor's office.

Things I Suck At

Spreading peanut (or almond or macademia) butter on a bagel. I'm not sure how, but bagels hate left-handers.

Simpson. Homer, J.

That is all.


Biden v. Linus

The Meaning of Christmas.

Such dramatic effect!


Mormon Cartoon


This is classic. I wish I could say it's humor but I'm afraid this is not the case.

I kept waiting for Rocket Robin Hood to fly in and do his thing baby.

Actually, come to think of it, a former colleague of ours at the bank was Mormon.


Concert Night

Was invited to go watch the Broken Social Scene VIP style. Will report back with my observations.

Lucky yoooooooz.

I have to watch me alky-hol intake given I gave blood earlier today.

Survey Says!

I wonder what my American pals think of this world opinions survey about the USA.


Rock Pianists

The pioneers.

Vote your favorite pianist (classical, jazz, rock) of all time here.

Fats Domino - Blueberry Hill:

Elton John on Soul Train:

Randy Newman - I Love L.A.

Billy Joel - Only the good die young:

Ok. A bonus. One of my all-time favorite jazz songs is 'Seventh Son' by the cool, smooth Mose Allison:

What's Making Canadian News, Eh?

For starters, I still nocanbeliv this blog hasn't been discovered and its author-master not invited to talk whimsical nothings on any talk show circuit. Judging by who gets on sometimes, I haftasay, why nots me?

Anyway. Pft.

As any Canadian worth his historical Bras D'or lake sea salt (I swam in Bras D'or by the way as part of my Nova Scotia/ Cabot Trail vacation back in 2002 or something), Vimy Ridge was the definitive Canada battle in WWI. This is an interesting find, however, I have a history book by Pierre Berton that talks about this so I don't know why they act as if it was a myth until now. In fact, I've heard it be said by several sources. Unless they're claiming the letter is the final proof of a Christmas truce between German and Canadian soldiers prior to the bloody battle.

The letter by Private Ronald Mackinnon, 23 years of age, was published in the National Post:

Dearest Sister,

Here we are again as the song says. I had quite a good Xmas considering I was in the front line. Xmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. I had long rubber boots or waders. We had a truce on Xmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars. Xmas was "tray bon" which means very good.

I am at present in an army school 50 miles behind the line and am likely to be here for a month or so. My address will be the same, No. 3 Coy., PPCLI. I left the trenches on Xmas night. The trenches we are holding at present are very good and things are very quiet.

I have had no Xmas mail yet but I hope to get it all soon. How is Neil getting on in the city? I'll write to him some of these days. Remember me to all my many friends at home.

Your loving brother Ronald

Sadly, Private Mackinnon was killed at Vimy.

Nothing beats bringing to life the souls of our dead than a primary source.

Deformed fish in Alberta brings to question the lack of transparency in this country.


If you still believe in Santa - the good or bad version - you may not want to read what I'm about to say, but NORAD does realize he's. you know, a fucken myth, right?

I don't get the point of the exercise in "escorting" Santa.

What are they gonna do once they get up there and he's a no-show?


Temporary Change

I've temporarily enabled comments moderation due to some spamming.

In the meantime, feel free to comment. Sorry for the eeeenconveeeenience.

Time Cube Or Else

Some days. Some days I just want to be stuffed back in mother's womb. Any womb. Isn't that what happened in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Time Cube explained. Sorta:

Why People Move To Canada

It's all about (obsessive) love.

Is there any other kind? Infatuation, maybe.

Celine Dion has some power about her.

Overused Resume Cliches

I guarantee you, my resume on Linkedin is nothing of the sort. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the send me a letter kindly asking me to get friggin lost.

People aren't even 24.31% of the the shit they write on a resume. All vague, unsubstantiated platitudes. In their minds people think they're all that. In reality, they're more like Michael Scott or Dwight.

I remember one chick at the bank who claimed she had strong diplomatic skills; even though she was crude and stubborn as a, let's avoid a cliche here, stubborn as a coconut.


More Bertrand Russell

I often refer to 'A History of Western Philosophy.'

Bertrand Russell--Heretics and Believers from John C on Vimeo.

No Eggs For You!

Even if you wanted to help someone, the state is likely to stop you. Then they wonder why community spirit is dead. The government will and should take care of it! Shut down that lemonade stand for not having a permit! I'm surprised people helping stranded Ontario motorists weren't told to back off.

I heard this story about a farmer in Joliette giving eggs to a charity on CTV news and found but one newsservice CJAD talking about it:
"A farmer north of Montreal has been threatened with a fine if she keeps donating surplus eggs to charities in her community.
Danielle Landreville has been helping food banks and other groups in the Joliette region for ten years. Now the Agriculture Ministry is threatening a fine of more than two-thousand dollars, citing rules requiring special processing of fertilized eggs."
Video link to CTV here just scroll down to 'No eggs for charity.'

Anything with a board is less about protecting the people and more about preserving its own interests.

Just something I've learned.


Bertrand Russell And Philosophy

Bertrand Russell's description and discussion on Christianity should be read for those interested in such things.

The interviewer is a little out of her league but still worth a look-see:

Rock From Canuckistan

For some reason, copyright considerations I reckon, I couldn't embed 'Cuts like a knife' by Bryan Adams. Nevernonetheless, Adams makes this installment of Rock from Canuckistan.

I happen to think 'Cuts like a knife' ('This time' is another solid track) is a great album still listenable today. I was 11 when I bought it and even bought a pair of high ankle loafers similar to the ones he wore on the album cover and in the video. 

North American Conformists

"...We work in offices, we fight rules and corporations but we hardly ever hit anybody. Not that hitting anybody is a solution. But to survive in the world at one time, one had to stand up and fight - fight the weather, fight the land or fight the rocks. I think there is a real desire for man to do that. Today he has evolved into being more passive, conforming..."

"...I think it's a reflection of the North American way of life. This is one of the ways you are somebody: you beat somebody. You're better than they are. Somebody has to be less than you in order for you to be somebody. I don't know if that's right anymore. I don't have that drive anymore."

From Working by Studs Terkel. Interview with former Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks player Eric Nesterenko.

Studs Terkel. It has to be among the wildest of names, no?


Some people do deserve to be punched. Let me get that out of the way.

We are more conforming today. There's not much doubt about this. A couple of years back I was hired by an internet company as a writer posing and pretending to be cutting edge. They were dull and nothing of the sort. It was an assembly line only it was for repackaged websites instead of widgets. There was absolutely no room for personal growth or creativity.

You had to conform. Me? Shit. I can't do that. I just can't. The current construct of our ways makes little if any sense to me.

I also worked at a call center. A call center is a place where everything is carefully scripted. If you're a free thinker, don't go work at a call center; unless you need the money bad and are willing to be frozen like juice on a popsicle stick taking orders from people who shouldn't even dress themselves let alone be allowed to direct other humans.

It seems the more we screamed and yearned for a "new" way of working, we just ended up with the same manners and methods. The bubble burst on that bright balloon in 2000. Remember? No neck ties was the future of the board room. Much like how I was encouraged to learn Japanese since the Japanians were coming to take over America in the late 80s and early 90s. I had enough trouble with three thank you very much.

Now, I entered a realm I needed to be in. Entrepreneurship is an underground art form. Its spirit roams the souls of a few and escapes those who should accept it.

Alas, listen to the narrative around you; business is bad. It must be reigned in for the greater good. Why go through all the obstacles thrown at your feet? Face excessive municipal ordinances, rules and zonage laws.

Go work for a stable company, get a pension and make sure the state gives what's coming to you.
I would love to see what we'd come up with if we were truly free to exert our passions as business artists.

Maybe Nesterenko was onto something.  Perhaps we're nothing but cattle. Pick your animal of choice. I call free-range cow! Cows don't move much.

I'm better than you. I know this. You know this. And vice-versa. I sold more friggin term deposits ergo I know about financial markets. It was and is a zero-sum game. Maybe that's why the jackasses keep getting rewarded. Who knows?

Found the Nesterenko image here.

A Day In The Life Of Snow

The weather has been viciously annoying in December. From heavy winds, sub-zero temperatures (only to rise to above zero with rain and back down with thick snow fall), and snow - lotsa, lotsa snow.

What blows my mind is we still don't have winter road management and snow removal down to a science. Given our experience with snow - it's not like it won't come - it sure comes off we're incompetent in dealing with severe weather. If there's one thing we should know how to expertly handle, in addition to friggin hockey, it's snow. There shouldn't be any delays or problems that comes as a result of snow. We should always be in a heightened state of snow alertness. It always feels in the first few days we act like Floridians seeing snow for the first time (yeah, yeah I know. Florida does get hit with the odd snow fall or frost. I do have an uncle who first lived in Melbourne and now lives in Cocoa Beach. We visited Florida on and off for 25 years so we know the place and have in fact witnessed Florida frost and even hurricanes. You get my friggin point). It's only once we get into gear things run smoothly.

We should be able to become and think like a snow flake.

Should 300 cars stranded in a storm really be happening in Canada? Or at least on the Canadian shield between Quebec and Ontario used to heavy snow storms.


Bomb Hits Sweden

B-b-b-ut...they're Swedish!

Who would want to hurt a Swede? A Canadian?

Watch. Plenty of people.


I read somewhere someone assert: We need to raise taxes to balance the budget.

Which makes me ask: Why and how is it the fault of the citizen the government can't balance the books?

Cooking With Oil

Some information on cooking oils.

I use a mixture (depending on what I'm cooking) of sunflower oil, vegetable oil they describe in the post(albeit very little), pure peanut oil, sesame oil, canola oil and of course olive oil (probably 75%).

Go oil go! Go oil go!


Depression Professions

I've touched on three of these professions: Financial advisor, writer and now child-care services. Although I won't be taking care of the little sh...erm, kids.

I used to hate losing in sports; especially soccer. Big anger issues there. My competitive edge was psychotic - until I busted up my knees and then I had to adjust; which I hated. I convinced myself it was God's way of preventing a teenage heart attack or stroke.

The problem is in sports, if you want to lead, you have to lead by example and my injuries wouldn't let me. So I had to sacrifice some of that edge. It still pisses me off to this day.

Yeah. I threw a few squash and tennis rackets around in my day. I was a leftie just like McEnroe.

Other than that, it's all how you take it.

Me, Center-Libertarianesque

Whatever. I just hate stoopid people.

A couple of years back I posted a similar political test - posted by Bret at Skeptical Eye - on my blog. I don't remember where I came out but this one has me close to the center.

I'm rarely a fan of these tests since the questions can sometimes be false dichotomies while other ones, despite the surficial clarity, actually have lotsa grey matter in them.



I can easily fall into the right quandrant. My views on social issues probably pull me to the left.

Memorable Prime Ministers

Not a big fan of "ranking" leaders (tee-hee..."leaders") because, well, there's too much to consider.

However, in Canada, who have been the most memorable (define memorable however you choose) leaders in the last 50 years or so?

My list is pretty basic: Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau.

I suppose you can throw Mulroney in there because of Meech Lake, Free trade and his Irish connection to Reagan.


Soccer Mood

I've seen some sweet soccer games in my life but it's not everyday you see two superpower house teams face off each other with one dominating as AC Milan did in the Champions League final in 1994 against Barcelona.

Milan - the most trophied team in history - was quite simply a machine. In fact, those Milanisti teams from 1989-1995 rest comfortably among the best in the annals of world soccer. The final 4-0 score didn't flatter Barcelona but the passing in that game was exquisite on both sides.

If anyone can define to me Albertini's style please email me. Loved that guy. I kinda played that way.

Some of the best teams? Leaving aside South America (Boca Juniors, River Plate, Penarol etc.), some of the best clubs in European soccer (which usually means world soccer), include Ajax and Bayern Munich of the 1970s, Juventus of the late 1970s and early 80s, Internazionale Milano of the late 1960s, Real Madrid of the mid to late 1950s, Barcelona  of the early 1990s and present, Liverpool of the late 70s, Manchester United of the late 1990s. Benfica had some good teams too.

The Presidency Now A Duo

This is just plain weird. Never really saw anything like it. Is it amateur night in Washington now?

I don't know much about, well, anything but for fooksakes, what's Obama doing? Giving Limelight Slut Clinton a mic is a little like a head coach in any sport letting the previous coach talk to the press about the  present situation of the team.

Does this guy wear any pants? Shit, Old Navy is always having a sale. Go buy a pair. 

How does a President that was (stupidly) considered the "best" President in the last 50 years to one being seen as weak and run down by the hard left within his party?


Why do I even care? I've always been with my pal de Tocqueville about the best talent not going into politics anyway.

The Mafia Has Liquidity

And in a cash crunch...well you do the math.

Writer Roberto Saviano offers his thoughts on how the EU should fight the mafia and even imparts an opinion about Assange.

“The Mafia is not only an Italian problem,” he said. “Europe is today experiencing a liquidity shortage and the mafia has a lot of money. So they are infiltrating the European business world and the European banking system. The criminal economy today is the first economy, with a turnover of more than $100 billion per year...”

"...Apart from Italy, other European countries do not even have the crime of mafia association in their national legislation. At least the UK, Spain, Germany and France don’t have it. On the other side, Italy has among the best anti-mafia legislation in the world, but there are still many problems...."

On Assange:

"Instead of focusing on supposed sexual crimes, the authorities should look at how he ended up doing what he did. They are just trying to discredit Assange. This is unacceptable."

More On Wikileaks

None of this surprises me. One of the sex victims was a CIA operative?

Washington Post discusses the messiness of the alleged rape charge here. There is no "sex by surprise" law in Sweden. An urban myth is born.

The U.S. is set to charge Assange with, get this, espionage!

A bunch of knucklecrackheads.

Look, if the Americans end up being right I'll be the first to retract. But they're simply not convincing me at this point.


Transparency Index

I like this site and what it's trying to achieve for Canadian cities.

Transparency and accountability should be demanded and the Local Government Transparency Index is a good step towards that.

But judging how government react to people attempting to get at the truth through transparency (see Wikileaks) we have a long way to go.

Incidentally Montreal scores lowest among major cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto. Funny.

Large Canada

Canada, as you should now, is the second largest country in the world. A lot of it is ice, but so is Russia. So there.

Here are some big Canadian things:

Starship Enterprise in Alberta.

Perogy - again in Alberta.

Truck in British Columbia.

Aluminum baseball bat in...you guessed it, Alberta.

Alberta likes things big. Like in Texas.

Time For A New Espresso Machine

After 8 1/2 loyal years, my cappuccino machine is running on its last legs. I could dump some coin and make some repairs but in my experience, it only temporarily pushes back the day of reckoning. So I've decided to keep the money and buy a brand new machine.

I just hope it can hang on until my daycare opens since disposable income is pretty much dried up.

I've started my research for a replacement machine. Man, have things have changed in just nine years. First off, the machine I originally wanted - Gaggia - was bought out by Saeco (the machine I currently have) and none of their machines, I was told, are made in Italy anymore. They've apparently moved their plant to Romania with Gaggia moving its parts onto a Saeco platform.

What this means is no more solid brass parts and other pieces of quality. Plastic and all that.

So I had to set my sights on those still made in Italy.

As for espresso tips and information on the net, let's just say they're lacking. I came across one on Slate and wasn't impressed one bit. This one is not bad - though not sure about the products. The best thing to do, in my opinion, if you're planning to buy one is get into the trenches and talk to distributors and retailers who know their stuff. Compile notes and make an informed decision based on that.

I'm looking at Mokita, Avanti and other names for now. Beautiful machines made with excellent components. I need one that comes with a built-in grinder. Those generally run for $800. My mother wants to buy a $1000 one-stop Mokita machine. Nice to be retired and with some cash to dispose of.

Quick word on Jura. I don't know why, but the latest trend is people telling me how the Swiss machine is the best espresso machine superior to those made in Italy. All I know is I got it straight from the experts and they told me it's bull shit. It's made with plastic parts on the inside.

Not good. Not for the prices they're asking anyway: $1300. For that price you can get a much better machine.

As for me, I've had coffee made from a Jura. Personally, I think it does a terrible job if extracting the full power and flavors of an espresso.

Also avoid (most) De Longhi, Krups and Breville - if you're a hardcore purist. Those machines are fine for the novice but for a person who drinks espresso with passion and likes to compare different types of beans, these machines are not made for that sort of exploration.

I'll try and write a more in-depth post about espresso machines as I hit the pavement harder.

For now, observe the picture. That's exactly what the coffee should look like when it comes out of your machine. If it doesn't....well, it's just not espresso.


Good piece about Illy and the opening of its Galleria.

Incidentally, I agree. I know people like to pile on Starbuck's but I think the quality of their coffee is very good.

The New War

Nikk over at SE has this Wiki vs. government thing and the consequent attacks by Hacktivists as an Internet war. I surmised there was a serious problem but did not to go as far as call it such. Internet war sounds about right to me. If this isn't a people and freedom vs. the tyranny of the state battle I don't know what is. As you can tell, I'm thoroughly outraged by the behavior of elected officials acting like despots.

Watching the news about the hacktivists doing their thing all I could say was, "good." Live Free Or Die" and Bruce Willis warnings notwithstanding.

The beauty in all this is at least hacktivists won't be killing people in the name of freedom and national security.

This whole thing is so blatantly a railroad and an attack on freedom by the state it baffles me how people don't see it.









Just plain fucking assholes.

Now they have Visa and Mastercard in on the pathetic, evil act against Wikileaks.

Since when are credit cards political?

Very, very, very, disturbing trend.

Who will stand up for freedom, decency and common sense?

Musical Harper

I remember when Bill Clinton was elected it had the same electrifying feel as Obama's here in Canada - surprise, surprise for California North or Californada. We sat around the table watching his inaugural party. Major news outlets were fawning over the sax playing, Rhodes scholar seen as America's "first Black President." Which in itself was a stupid and insulting phrase if you ask me.

I digress.

Point is they loved the guy. Canadian companies still to this day dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars to hear him speak about things they should already know.

And the fact he played the sax. Oooo, nelly! Dexter Gordon here we come!

Yet. Yet, the same networks made little, if any, of the fact that our own Prime Minister - Stevie Harper -  is a musician and an academic stand out himself. Here he's seen singing Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' at a Tory caucus jamboree. Last year, I posted him singing a Beatles classic 'With a little help from my friends' with Yo-Yo Ma.

But if this was shown on NBC or ABC or CBS or FOX or CNN, boy would that American confirmation change our tune. Excuse the pun.

They talk about charisma. Clinton has it and Harper doesn't. I reckon therein lies the rub. Personally, I always stand two feet (give or take) from people with high charisma. Just in case.

Of Moka Java And Pinkos: A Day In The Life Of Toronto Political Life

Seriously, my American (and European friends) don't laugh at this video. It's right out of MadTV. Or SCTV. Whatever.

Don Cheery cracks me up. Meh. I still learn more about hockey from him than most journalists who hate the guy.


The Government Got Their Man

Oooooo. The Good Guys nabbed the big bad Wikileaks villain Julian Assange. Yaaaay! Go government go! If you were a sports team I'd pay $500 to watch you in action! Not sure about bureaucrats as Cheerleaders though. That could be tricky to look at.

Do you assholes all feel better now? Do you feeeeeeeel safer now that a crazed, raping (alleged but that's neither here or there in the mass hysteria of retardation) lunatic middleman is in police custody?

If you do, you're an idiot. So much so that I want you off this blog right now. Go on. I'm waiting.

Now that the dipshit dimwits have gone, the rest of us can dramtically discuss Wikileaks.

The thing that fascinates me is Wikileaks has been around for a few years. Now all of a sudden, the whistleblowing site, erm, terrorist organization (gotta toe the line) is public enemy number one? They couldn't get a man who killed 3000 people on 9/11, but some dorky looking hacker from Australia who publishes documents leaked to him, him they get in a matter of days?

As I've stated before, something stinks to high Shanghai on this one big time.

What about MSM? If you didn't think they were a bunch of smug, incoherent, mumbling, self-serving, conforming, smart-alec, pukish, gutless, unimaginative, hysterical, coiffed, empty-headed alien babies put up for adoption by alien parents who determined they were unfit for their galaxy, you have to think they are now, no? Eh?

I said, eh?

Hit piece about the dangers blogs pose to society coming right about...now!


They got the guy in cuffs. They're interrogating the son of a bitch. High five! Let's publicly lynch him 15th century style. What does it take to grab a few bundled faggots, spark 'em and burn him a-la Joan of Arc? Nothing I say!

Then the defenders of freedom and security will each sit by the fire stuffing their throats with marshmallows, telling ghost stories about how one little man threatened humanity and how they saved the species after a good jack-off. By golly, Jimbo Defender, he tastes like smokey poulet!

Speaking of superheroes, you should all sleep tighter with Captain Civilization, when not busting up Cambridge police heads, on the mountain top observing us all with Spawn-like intensity.

You really think the douches in MSM are going to investigate this further? It's case close.Once more, "truth" and "objective" journalism is a casualty of our archaic, insecure stupidity.


Paleoconservatism: Political Ideas Don't Die

I'm not much for the "Such and Such is dead" or "The death of that" type of headline. Nothing dies. Especially when it comes to ideas be it artistic or political. It can fall out of favor or may be forgotten but the dust always comes off at some point.

Is this the case of paleoconservatism? Perhaps it may never be feasible as a political entity, but ideas don't disappear. It was pronounced dead in 2000 with the arrival of George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism." People forget but Bush did run on a largely "liberal" conservative platform and despite 9/11 and the ensuing wars, Bush II did find time to introduce his compassionate agenda. Nonetheless, in the civil war between the largely interventionist neocons (who had been an obscure group prior to 9/11 and ironically influenced by Wilsonian  and FDR principles*) and isolationist paleocons, Bush sided with the former.

As this article in Front Page Magazine revealed: 

"George W. Bush is a supporter of immigration, bilingual education, multicultural education, some forms of affirmative action, free trade, and a strong foreign policy. His spending proposals rivaled those of Al Gore and he even ordered a Confederate plaque taken down in Texas on the grounds that it was offensive to minorities. Indeed, "compassionate conservatism" was everything that paleoconservatives had been fighting against. But, this time, the battle was not even close."
And this differs from Obama how exactly? To me, it's blindingly illogical to be stark raving mad at Bush and not Obama.

In any event, elements of the the paleo outlook does live on in libertarian thought. Libertarianism has always found an ally in conservatism even though it often describes itself as "classical liberal."

All are wickedly misunderstood by the liberal left.

*Which lends more proof that necons were liberal democrats who were pissed off.

The Steady State Economy Position

Don't say people aren't trying to come up with different ideas when it comes to economic philosophy. CASSE explores something called the Steady State Economy. Basically, it warns of the pitfalls of relying on "growth" as a means to a stronger economy.

Here's just an excerpt of its philosophy and a history lesson:

The evidence is all around us — the global human economy has grown too large. Continued economic growth (especially in high-consuming nations) is at best irresponsible, and at worst risks ecological collapse and resource deprivation for future generations. The logical way forward for nations of the world is to take a different path to achieve sustainable, healthy, and equitable lifestyles for citizens. The alternative to continued economic growth is a non-growing or steady state economy. Modern societies have not undertaken efforts to establish steady state economies – the goal has consistently been growth, especially since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

Fear and doubt often swirl around the concept of a steady state economy. Mere mention of an end to growth prompts anxious discussions about unemployment, stagnation, and lack of progress. These are not features of a functional and dynamic steady state economy, but most citizens do not have a sense of what life would be like in an intentionally non-growing economy. One way to envision this life more clearly is to examine various activities and institutions as they would exist in a steady state economy and compare them to how they exist in an economy that pursues continuous growth. Click on the following items to see how they behave in a steady state economy versus an economy aiming for evermore growth.
And...some myths and realities.

This post was originally supposed to be about discussing Canada's poor record on climate change and the contradictory reality of being a semi-diversified, resource based economy. My research brought me to the CASSE site and this article in particular:
In the 21st century, Canadian economic growth has been rooted in real estate and oil production. Canada has a resource-based economy, even though almost three-quarters of Canadians have jobs in services like real estate, which have little or nothing to do with resources. In fact, only 5-6% of Canadians actually work in the primary sector, where resources are extracted. Yet the country has one of the highest ecological footprints on the planet, partly due to international demand for its oil and minerals.

Over time, the volume of materials that circulates through the Canadian economy hasn’t changed much despite improvements in intensity (material used per unit of income). As a result of this peculiar structure, Canadians have become a nation of extractor-investors, with the remainder of people working in a manufacturing sector centered around transportation equipment, which has been struggling to remain competitive for the last decade.

Services have become a top-heavy trophic layer in the economic structure, with material throughput remaining roughly the same over time despite modest and constant population growth. According to Brian Czech’s trophic theory, the tertiary sector sits atop the secondary sector, which sits atop the primary sector. The three sectors are mutually dependent, imitating the same trophic structure of an ecosystem. Resources flow from one sector to the other in an entropic thermodynamic process, which subjects them to the laws of irreversibility and path-dependence. In other words, material and immaterial economies can’t be considered separate from one another. It’s more like a top-heavy layered cake which, miraculously, doesn’t fall over.
Read more about SSE.

Day Care Update

The one thing I keep hearing is the notion that private daycares are for profit ergo quality is always sacrificed. While I have no doubt this happens in some cases (since non-subsidized private day cares do have to keep costs in control), the problem I have with this belief is it implies government subsidized programs are of a higher standard.

I reject it outright.

I've observed enough to see inefficiencies and poor services exist on the subsidized side of things as well. Really, should you be surprised? I think the body of evidence (public services in general) speaks for itself on this front.

Just because a day care is government certified doesn't guarantee anything. In the end, we're all humans; at which point the private/public dichotomy is blurred.

People get into subsidized daycare for the money as well. "Free" money is too hard to pass up. Nonetheless, the profit motivation isn't removed. It's just recalibrated. People own several daycares earning millions while not necessarily offering top services on the public side.

Frankly, it insults me to be told this at every turn. It's a presumptuous fallacy to assume I'm - or any person for that matter - strictly in it for the money. My intentions are to provide a great service to the best of my abilities. I'll do this by hiring a strong staff, keeping communications at all levels constantly open and by providing financial support to achieve this objective where possible and feasible.

To suggest private day care is for profit is really pointless. Of course it is. To attach a negative attitude to it is wrong in my opinion and only lends credence to our basic suspcions and growing anti-business atmosphere.

It is true we're not a charity but parents are wise to not blindly accept that because something is public it's "safer" or "better." The cold hard truth is once the permit is given, human nature takes over and there isn't (and never will be) enough resources to handle this.

The important thing is at least parents have a choice.


History Is Yours For $69 000

I wonder how many offers on The Unabomber's land have been made.

"This is a one of a kind property and is obviously very secluded. Power and water not on the property but are available."


Scientists Still Waiting For Obama To Make Good On Promise

From the New Scientist.

Politics still sticks its nose in science.

It concludes:
"Obama may be a friend of science, but many of the functionaries in his administration are rather less friendly. And if he fails to institute a sea change on the crucial issue of scientific integrity in government, there will be little to prevent a future President who sees little value in science from taking us back to the bad old days."

Saturnalia And Christmas

Saturnalia = Pukefest. Someone had to clean it up, right?


Lemonaid Video

People tend to forget one thing: Business is not a charity. It's a, anyone?, that's right, a business!

It's all very duh.

Canadian Citizenship Test

Just a couple of things. #17 is, I gather, meant for Ontario residents. #6 is an awkward if not poorly phrased question. The answer of being 18 and a permanent resident to vote is not technically wrong. At least, that's how I was explained when I used to volunteer in elections. The answer "Canadian resident" is vague to say the least because a child is a citizen but can't vote, just like a Canadian with a passport who doesn't make Canada a permanent resident can't vote.

Geez, how many people have been tricked out of that question?

Anyway, it's nice to see I'm a worthy Canadian answering 18 of 19 correctly (I didn't consider #17, although the answer should be easy to figure out).

Here's the test.

Welcome to Canada? It's not that hard.

If you answered less than 15 right, well, welcome anyway. The strawberry field is thataway.


Tom Selleck Trailer

People sometimes ask me, "Hey, Commentator you prick what do you think about all day?" I always answer, "Tom Selleck."


Public Health

At this point, should anyone be surprised? At this point, Canadians should be demanding once and for all improvements and changes be made to public health (building a Superhospital is not the answer for the problem is one of mindset). At this point, I don't know how anyone can suggest we have "the best" health care system in the world and keep a straight face.

Yawn. Par for the course. Everyone with a pistachio for a brain knows bureaucrats decide; not doctors.

"The root cause of the problem, according to the physicians, is a government advisory body that does not have a single oncologist sitting on its board to properly evaluate the latest generation of so-called biological anti-cancer drugs.

What is worse, say Gerald Batist of the Jewish General Hospital and Normand Blais of Notre Dame Hospital, is that the Conseil du medicament appears to be more concerned about keeping costs down than saving or extending the lives of cancer patients."
Like I've said over and over and over and over and over and time and again here, our system is not compassionate; it's cost-centric.

It really doesn't take a genius to observe this.



The other myth that was obliterated once and for all is that there are no "queue jumping" in the public system. If you believed that and only came to realize this because of the doctor bribe story, again, you have a pistachio for a brain.

You really thought politicians and athletes and other celebrities above the masses are going to wait six months to see a doctor? What's wrong with you? My wife, meanwhile, has been waiting two months just to see a gyna for a special issue that needs attention now. She can't wait until February. We're now looking at going to Vermont.

Welcome to Canada. Where shortages abound.

Losing Rationality Over Wikileaks

Like most people trying to make sense of Wikileaks, I sway back and forth, but clearly politicians are rattled by it. I can't say they don't have a reason to but their reaction and comments have been troubling.

Consider former senior advisor for the Conservatives Tom Flanagan who called for the "assassination" of Assange. I saw it live and while the way he said it was mildly meant to be in humor, I scratch my head as to why he said it at all given Assange's life is apparently in real danger.

I'm ok with Wikileaks. It's just that the problem with all this information is context. That is, the average person reading and digesting it can't always contextualize what they are reading or seeing and that can pose a real problem.

And there's this idiotic "death threat" from Ezra Levant. How the Ottawa Sun can publish this tripe is beyond me.

Down south, American conservatives (including Kristol and Limbaugh) are having a go at Assange. I'm generally frivolously flippant and indifferent to Sarah Palin. I don't know what the hubbabub is all about but I respected the fact she is popular and has supporters. However, listening to her make comments about how Assange should be hunted down like a terrorist, changed my mind. I think she's a dink like anyone who is over reacting to this.

How is this rhetoric, particularly with Levant, any different than an Imam issuing a death warrant for someone?

Very disturbing to say the least. Ok, you don't like the guy, his background and his motives, but to question his life? Screw you all. You're no different than the terrorists you hunt down.

As for liberals, haven't heard much from them.

Greg Was One Mean Bunny

Count me in as one of those who was bitterly disappointed when Greg the Bunny was cancelled. Depressed, I went into hiding. Hiking in Vermont that is. Hanging around Stowe doing absolutely nothing but trying to revive the Bunny by sending out fliers. Vermonters really didn't care. Not progressive enough I reckon. The state is appropriately named; Vert mont literally translates into the Green Mountain. And boy are they green. Like aliens.

I kid and digress because I love.

All the shows I like get nixed early. Just like the one item I like in a grocery store always gets knocked off the shelves.

Meanwhile, we have, what, how many spin offs of Family Guy? I mean, really. The only animated spin off worthy of its original was when Futurama spun off from The Simpsons.


Day Care Update

We're inching closer and closer to our opening. Still lots of work to be done but everyone involved is excited. Today I was with my director and interior designers (who happen to be a high school friend and my sister; in fact the friend is my sister's sister-in-law. Follow?) choosing tiles and colors as I talked ruffian with the construction guys at the center.

At this point, the art is to not run out of money or hold on to what you have until you get more. Still waiting for an answer on a loan extension from the bank. I hope they don't drag it further. I need to make some decisions and other arrangements if they leave me dry.

On one side, I'm pleased and relieved because it looks like a January open is possible (three months after I wanted) but the anxiety of not knowing if we have enough to get to the finish line weighs heavy. It may come down to my asking for a small loan from friends and family members. Trying to avoid that for now.

The next thing we need to do is revisit our client list that's been building since May. In theory, the day care is filled - or near capacity anyway. But until I get the final signatures on the contracts, it's a stress. I'm very lucky the school is in a wealthy area and right by a train station.

Anyway, posting may be thin for a couple of days or weeks as I finalize this once and for all. There are many loose ends to consider.

Once open, I'll be back with a vengeance screaming, ranting and pulling a Scanners on all.

Until then, you'll just have to adjust to a life with a little less Commentator.


Denial, Take A Pill Libertarians

Very interesting, and plausible I admit, piece titles, 'The Stages of Libertarian Denial.'

Can't say that some of these haven't crossed my mind. Mind you, the same can be argued for its opposite; liberalism.


I still identify more with Bastiat, Hayek and the sort. I'm just not a nut about it.

Cracking Wikileaks

I asked in a previous post how would national governments react to Wikileaks.

Why do I get the distinct feeling Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange is being railroaded?

Most of the "leaks" I read on wikikeaks are more gossip than hard leaks. So, to me, the reaction he endangers people is weak to me. Conversely, he's over rating what he publishes. Interesting as it may be, I don't see the value of publishing what lower level diplomats say to each other. It's not official stuff and it just shows we're all human.

Nonetheless, I don't think he should be "shut down."

He's basically TMZ for news just like Deadspin is more sports celebrity gossip than anything else.


I find it quite intriguing to hear the national media and conservative media in particular howl derisively against Wikileaks. Everything from calling it a terrorist organization to traitor demanding execution has been hurled towards the site and its founder.


Rather than A) become more transparent and B) do its own internal clean up, the government and the media are singling out a website. 'A' in particular is important. Leaving aside the "quality" of the leaks for a second, give a little, and it'll help quell the appetite of the curious. Outlaw or be secretive, and well, look. You get stuff like Wikileaks.

Guys like Limbaugh talk a mean game when it comes to freedom and liberty, but when a chance to defend it at all cost presents itself, they go all statist and fall in line.

Anyway, these are my early impressions. I'm sure things will change a little moving forward.