Beer Drinkers Beware

Mosquitoes like you.

Copa America

The Copa America (South America's premier soccer tournament), is about to start. I plan to watch the first game between host nation (and one of the favorites) Argentina and Bolivia (who I believe is ranked lower than Canada. Ugh.) Still, the last time these two met Bolivia shocked the soccer world by not just beating Argentina but smacking them down 6-1. Those were the dark days when the insane genius Maradona was coach.

Argentina has won 14 Copa's tied with Uruguay. Brazil is next with eight but have won four of the last five titles. Argentina last triumph came in 1993 - incidentally the last major trophy the soccer super power has won in the last 18 years.

Naturally, odds makers have Argentina and Brazil with their usual roster of studs - Alves, Julio Caesar, Messi, Lavezzi, Tevez, Cambiasso, Mascherano, Anderson, Pato, Neymar and Maicon etc.* - in the finals (edge to Brazil to win it all) but we should still watch out for Uruguay blessed with an excellent and exquisite offense - Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Javier Pastore (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid) and Luis Suarez (Liverpool formerly at Ajax). Paraguay should also be considered but theirs is a team built on defensive prowess. Lest we forget, they beat themselves against Spain in South Africa. People already forget that Paraguay came within a missed penalty of getting past the eventual champions. I don't expect Chile to win but I do look to them to creatively craft and mount a competitive effort.

As for the invitees from Mexico, well read it here.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup champs could have made some noise but now seem poised to field an inexperienced and young side in light of the recent scandal that saw eight players, including the key Jonathan Dos Santos, be expelled.

Personally, I would make Mexico and the United States permanent members of Copa America. The USA has been a Top 10-15 soccer nation for quite some time but one thing I noticed under coach Bradley's tenure is their inability to A) hold significant leads in important games suggesting a lack of maturity in tactics and poise and B) lack of focus to channel their high energy in a composed manner.

*Currently six Brazilian players play in Italy and three in Spain while four earn their living in England. Nine Argentinians play in Spain, six in Italy and two in England. Meanwhile, six from Uruguay play in Italy, and four in Spain. In total between the three, 18 are in Italy, 16 in Spain and 6 in England.

Piano Great Earl Hines

Pet Peeves

 I don't hate too many people but I do hate the type of driver who drives on a one lane road 10km below the allowable maximum, hits the breaks excessive BUT doesn't do their stops, refuses to use their turn signals AND speeds up to pass through a yellow light while leaving your stuck at the red.

Prudent driver my friggin ass.

Loans For The Subsidized And Other Thoughts

No one has been able to answer me this question so far.

To date, most banks have refused to give me a loan/line of credit for my private daycare. Only one has stepped up and they will get my business if I manage to survive and open a second one. It's simple. Support me and you get all future businesses.

Alas, it's a logic only I can understand. The banks could care less with their ultra-conservative, tight credit disposition. The line repeated to me is they "prefer to lend to subsidized daycares." Which begs the following thoughts and questions:

1) The government is not giving out subsidies these days.
2) Why would a subsidized daycare need a loan? Aren't they already well take care of by the government? Some daycares get up to $800 000.
3) The bank is part of the game that really costs taxpayers more money than it should. Private daycare is cheaper and more efficient for society.

The best line I got from one of the "Big Six" banks was, "You'll succeed. It's a great business to be in but we can't lend you money. You don't have enough kids* and we'd rather lend to subsidized daycares. But come to us for your next project!"

That's when you want to give the big middle finger. 

*I'm close to 1/3 filled in just 2 1/2 months. Apparently, that's normal.


The other thing I have a problem with is the government reacts aggressively whenever they come across a private daycare that breaks the law. Society curls in shock (as they should) at some of the cases reported. However, I wish they'd be more fair in how they approach things rather than paint all private services with one brush. There's no question there's an anti-business/private bent in Quebec - heck, North America as a whole. No doubt about it. The only people who come to me are professionals.

Yet, whenever scandals take place with public officials and programs, the people's only option is to vote them out. There's no way to crack down on political corruption by having a "private inspectors" investigate them.


Speaking of anti-business. I read often that Obama is anti-business. I don't know if it's that in as much it's just not his thing. I listen to him speak and all I see is a guy who gives off the impression that dealing with such subjects is a nuisance. His ideas are deplorably boring and typical and his language can be interpreted as not being friendly to business.

He's not alone. There are plenty like him. Mostly people who don't own businesses. They aint's got a clue.

Wanna help business? Lay off the "tax credits" crap. That's good for established businesses. For start-ups, it's all about the NOW. My feeling is forgive all the bull shit excessive taxes and permits for one year. Give businesses a chance since, on average, the first three years are the most critical. Hit them where it matters most - IMMEDIATELY.

Funding The Arts

 Is this "hate propaganda" as being touted by liberals? It's a little unrefined but hardly hateful, no?

I'm not convinced. So the interviewer asked her why people should fund interpretive dance. Big deal. I'm sure plenty of people wonder too.

Ms. Gillis had a chance to once and for all defend why taxpayers should fund certain arts programs. Did she succeed? On one end, to much typical "out there" notions about how it's "good for the soul" to support the arts. On the other hand, I'd like to know more about her assertion that the average salary for a dancer is $12 000. That seems low but it all depends on the total dollars spent.

I get the argument that just because someone doesn't understand art doesn't mean it shouldn't be supported. I think the argument is should we fund those art forms that would not survive on their own and actually cost too much money? Just because it's art doesn't mean it deserves money.

The same debate happens with libraries and museums but to me, those institutions are worth being protected by the government. Not at a perpetual loss, but I could tolerate a small debt. We're not respectful of cultural history enough.

I'm not a fan of subsidies as a whole but in certain instances I don't mind them. It's just when people or programs feel entitled to them I get a little antsy.

In any event, why can't we debate such an issue without people going off with the usual it's all driven by "hate?"


Token Black Legend

Meet Token Black. Next to Dwight Schrute, he's the man.

Appreciating Cultural History

The other part (in addition to the one on poverty discussed in a previous post) of the 60 Minutes report I saw was on Wynton Marsalis.

I agreed with Marsalis on the lack of knowledge (indeed, indifference) when it comes to "cultural history." Count me in as one of those people who find it a shame young people seem to know less and less - growing more and more disconnected - about significant historical figures that form the identity of an entity known as a "cultural" group. In this case, jazz is a uniquely American art form and as such, should be taught to every American. There really is no reason why the average person - if not average music fan - to know who Earl Hines, Chick Webb, Duke Ellington, Nick LaRocca, Jelly Roll Morton etc. right on down to the Marsalis brothers were.

The thing that struck me about the report was how, when in Cuba, people (mere kids in some cases) swarmed with incredible delight, anticipation and sheer love of music to Wynton Marsalis. They knew they were in the presence of a wonderful musician and let it be known.

If Marsalis walked the streets of North America he'd be able to walk into a smoked meat joint and hardly be noticed I reckon.

But shove Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber, the Royal Couple or Paris Hilton in there and watch the streets fill up.

Maybe it's an unfair comparison, I don't know. 


When I was in Cuba, I spent my time with a guy who earned an engineering degree in Russia. He was, as I've recounted countless times on this blog, earning $1 a month handing out towels in a hotel to pampered Westerners like me.

The one thing I observed was how appreciative and knowledgeable they were on various cultural things. And, through the many winks, how much they loathed Castro.

Hover Links

I have been linking to articles in my previous posts but I notice on my end it can only be seen when you hover over the word or sentence I linked to - a hover link if you will. I don't know why this is happening but thought I should mention it

Slavery And The Republic

Quote I found:

"But things went from bad to worse during an appearance Monday on Good Morning America, when interviewer George Stephanopoulos questioned her insistance that “the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly until to end slavery in America,” a statement Bachmann made on January 21, 2011.
“Now with respect, Congresswoman, that’s just not true,” Stephanopoulos said. “Many of them including Jefferson and Washington were actually slave holders and slavery didn’t end until the Civil War.”

The last sentence is unfair and wildly simplistic. Because they owned them doesn't mean they didn't want to eradicate it.

As I understand it, while it's true they owned slaves, it was a hotly debated topic (if not, the single most important topic) with the Founding Fathers acknowledging the evils of the institution. The fact it ended at the end of the civil war doesn't mean they chose to overlook it. 

Ending slavery wasn't a simple thing to do. Indeed, reading DuBois, one learns quickly just how incredibly messy an event it was in the aftermath. Being "free" is one thing. Living, and succeeding debt free and with dignity was quite another and didn't reach its apex until the Civil Rights movement. The pace of it makes perfect sense; and it all began with the Revolutionary War.

Obama No Fan Of Gay Marriages

New York just allowed for gay marriages.

Still Obama doesn't acknowledge the institution of marriage can be changed claiming (copping out?) it's a state issue. 

If a Republican took this stance, would he be called a barbarian?

Just asking; saying.

Poverty In Canada And United States

I watched 60 Minutes where they reported 25% of children live in poverty in the United States. Came across this link at the National Poverty Center: 

"In the late 1950s, the poverty rate for all Americans was 22.4 percent, or 39.5 million individuals. These numbers declined steadily throughout the 1960s, reaching a low of 11.1 percent, or 22.9 million individuals, in 1973. Over the next decade, the poverty rate fluctuated between 11.1 and 12.6 percent, but it began to rise steadily again in 1980. By 1983, the number of poor individuals had risen to 35.3 million individuals, or 15.2 percent.

For the next ten years, the poverty rate remained above 12.8 percent, increasing to 15.1 percent, or 39.3 million individuals, by 1993. The rate declined for the remainder of the decade, to 11.3 percent by 2000. From 2000 to 2004 it rose each year to 12.7 in 2004."

Things seem better in Canada. From the Children's Rights Council:

"Fifteen years ago, the Canadian government resolved to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Nine years later, nothing has changed. The rate of child poverty has remained at 12 per cent for two decades now, according to Statistics Canada."

Clic Car Has Arrived

Apparently the electric car pooling service Clic is the first of its kind in North America and it's happening right here in Laval north of Montreal.

If you're going to go green, at least be pioneers I say.


Top Prime Ministers

Interesting how they vary.

This one stretches back to 1997. Notice in the top four three were from the Liberal party while in the bottom seven, six were from the Conservatives. Of course, MacDonald was conservative and considered to be the greatest PM.

In 2003, Policy Options conducted their own study considering the last 50 years with "28 eminent Canadians." Four Liberals lead the list to two Conservatives. Pearson comes out on top in this one.

Collective States Always End In Loss

Conservative historian Victor Davis Hanson on socialism:

"...History is not kind to such collective states of mind. Pay an Athenian in the fifth century BC a subsidy to go to the theater; and in the fourth century BC he is demanding such pay to vote in the assembly as well — and there is not to be a third century free democratic polis. Extend to a Roman in the first century BC a small grain dole, and by the late first century AD he cannot live without a big dole, free entertainment in a huge new Coliseum, and disbursements of free coined money. Let the emperor Justinian try cutting back the bloated bureaucracy in sixth century AD Constantinople and he wins the Nika riots that almost destroy a civilization from within even as it is beset by hosts of foreign enemies."

I like reading Hanson for his classicism. His connection of the Ancient world to modern America is also intriguing.


I might have written this in the past but I reckon what we're witnessing in America is not all that dissimilar with Caesarian Rome when Imperial Rome led by Caesar and his faction were in a political power struggle with the conservative Republican body and Cicero at its spiritual head.

 Empire versus the Republic.

Obama Versus James Madison

I find Madison most engaging. Obama less so. But that's not his fault. Keep in mind the philosophical backdrop to which each evolved with. The Founding Fathers existed during the Enlightenment; the last great philosophical period in Western culture. Obama operates in a time of great philosophical diminishment. It's no surprise what the results have been.

Not only is anybody not challenging Washington but the people as well.


Lazy Sunday Music

Top down. Blasting Long Cool Woman. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Willis.

Debt Should Not Enhance Self-Esteem

A person who takes on debt and feels empowered by it is misguided to say the least. Taking on debt as a way to improve one's life or start a business is not to be seen as anything but stoically. You take the money up front as a means to attain your goals and objectives. If you fail, you're on the hook. Not mentioned in the study is the interest paid on the capital borrowed. That alone can sink a person. If your interest outpaces your revenues (or what you pull in) you're bankrupt. 

Debt and credit are a necessary evil. However, people taking them on are not sufficiently aware or educated enough about what they constitute in terms of possible consequences. I know plenty of people who don't even make minimum payments on their cards reacting flippantly when they find out they have bad credit scores.

Having a bad credit score can ruin your life. I don't agree with how credit bureaus sell themselves like cheap sluts as if there are no consequences to unsuspecting people and then turning around and ruining such people, but the best way to fight against this is to educate and knock off the excuses.


It was always basic common sense to me. I always had a pristine balance sheet until I started my business. Now I live in a state of precariousness from day to day managing a growing business and a large debt load. I based my borrowing on my projections. While I don't doubt I can achieve the numbers in my plan, it all depends on how fast I can establish break even that's key; the magical critical point. I'm not out of the woods yet.

Speaking of which, I keep hearing about how I should go get a subsidy. People talk as if subsidies are free money and have no negative impact on society. They do as far as I'm concerned. If you need a subsidy to survive, then you're not viable as a business.

If this business falters, I won't regret my decision to go private. Not one bit because I believe I offered a true service to society without being a drain on public coffers while offering a needed service with a unique idea.

As far as I'm concerned, THAT'S what we should be nurturing as a society: Meaningful entrepreneurial spirit. Articles attacking private services do no good to enhance us as a society. They set us back further into the bosom of the state and false sense of security.

Air (And Fart) In A Bottle

I don't know if this girl is for real but if she isn't, she's awesomely good and funny.

We used to joke that someone would come along and try and sell "air in a bottle." We never bothered to try and expand the idea because it was supremely stupid but someone has come along to think this idea further.

Don't laugh as you watch this video. You're watching the next millionaire, if not billionaire. She may sound like an air head but she's turning that empty head into dollars. I'm convinced.

People are so fucking stupid they'll buy anything. The term "who will buy that?" doesn't exist.

Sometimes real life and satire collide.The NDP are already courting her.

As for my idea, I want to sell "Farts in a bottle." I would collect the scent of farts from all over the world for people to sample.

The Commentator: "Ever wonder how does a fart in India differ from one in Iceland? Well, gaze no more at the green skies with 'Farts in a bottle! Or for you advanced thinkers, enjoy our elite and vintage line "Exotic Flatulence from Tribes Unknown!"

Naturally scented bodily odours at your nose tip! Use it for your own pleasure or as a joke with your buddies on a night out! Piss off your boss or turn your cat on! The options are limitless! Including doing your part for the environment! Releasing farts into the air reduces global warming! Believe it! A chemical reaction thingy takes place when fart gases meet carbon dioxide and other mean gases that threaten our very existence. It's like they say, "take that you meanie! We're Fart Special Forces and we mean business!" Like, you know?"

I have to work on my pitch but I think it's something worth exploring.

Stupid? Don't try and tell me there isn't a market where people enjoy smelling other people's farts. It needs to be tapped into.


Daycare Update

In six months of reading CV's and conducting interviews one thing is clear: The "ethnic" candidates are blingual and usually even trilingual. The "Quebecois" candidates or French-Canadians, are strictly unilingual.

So, I had to ask my director - bilingual herself - how in this day and age we're still seeing French kids coming out of college who can't speak a lick of English. It's amazing. My parents want nothing to do with unilingualism yet that's what the system spits out. This state of affairs pleases the likes of Imperatif Montreal and L'Office de la Langue Francaise, but for the rest of us, those with a mind outside the tribe, it's unfortunate and not useful.

Her response was pretty much what we on the other side of the language divide thought: French-Canadians remain parochial on their views of culture and language.

When will Quebec mature on matters of language and accept the English fact in this province with grace?


I'll never forget while watching television with some members of my wife's family years back. One of them was a nationalist Quebecer who still spoke as if Italians were recently immigrated folk. We were watching a report about art and museums on a French new channel. It was from New York and the reporter said something like, "les Americains sont hombristes..."

I didn't know what 'hombristes' meant so I asked the nationalist who in turn explained it meant 'parochial.'

"Geez, if Americans are "parochial" what does that make Quebecers and Canadians!" I replied.

Freedman's Bureau

Currently reading the poetic W.E.B Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk.

Discusses The Freedmen's Bureau here.

 "...The two great obstacles which confronted the officials were the tyrant and the idler, -- the slaveholder who was determined to perpetuate slavery under another name; and, the freedman who regarded freedom as perpetual rest, -- the Devil and the Deep Sea."

Food Saturday

Many years ago, like, when Reagan, Mulroney and Thatcher were in power, my sister made a dish that starred capellini pasta in a cantaloup sauce.

Years after that, like when Chretien and Clinton (or was it Bush I?)were in power, and I was just beginning my cooking journey,  I made the dish myself and have been making it on and off for a few years now.

I don't know the origins of this sauce but it's fantastic.

If you want to try this dish you will need at its most basic:

Mangos. Joking. Cantaloup (duh). Depending how many people you cook for, one is sufficient for four servings. I use Tuscan cantaloups because they're generally sweeter and juicier thus quicker to cook

Capellini pasta. One package should be enough. You'll adjust what you need as you try the dish a few times.

Butter. 2 to 4 tablespoons.

Cooking cream. 1/2 a cup.

Pargmiggiano-Reggiano - 1/4 to 1/2 depending on amount made and love of cheese.DON'T use knock-off cheeses like Kraft Parmesan. It may be more expensive (lots more) but invest and buy the real stuff.

Fresh pepper.

Optional (recommended):

Fresh shallots (1/4 to 1/2 a cup) and pancetta (Italian bacon). Or, if you're creative and know how to mix things up, you can try Prosciutto di Parma instead of the pancetta but it will cost you - real prosciutto commands roughly one dollar per slice. And you'll need 1/4 or 1/3 and up to 1/2 of a cup - call it, say, 10 slices or so of either cold cut you choose.

I'm not married to capellini either. I've used spaghettini and spaghetti. Never used my favorite - bucatini - though. I think it would be too thick a pasta for such a delicate sauce. Don't like shallots? Try a vidalia onion; or any other sweet onion.

As for the cream, I've tried 15% and 35%. I've settled on 15%.

Just to give an idea, here's another variation of it.

Another here with tomatoes and linguine.

This one uses gorgonzola cheese.

Basically, melt have of the portion of butter in a pan. Add the shallots and pancetta (if used and in whatever variation) and cook for a few minutes until the pancetta starts to get crispy.  Add the cantaloup and cook for about 10 minutes until it becomes soft. Add the cream and parmiggiano and remove until have of it has been dissipated.

Take the pasta, leave a little water after you drain it and combine with sauce.

Keep in mind, this should be a simple sauce if you ask me. Don't go overboard adding all sorts of things.

Jazz Festival In Name Only

Same with Sade winning the Ella Fitzgerald award.

The Jazz fest always had a blues component (the line between blues and rock is tighter than rock and jazz), so I reckon it's the only connection I see between Plant and the festival given the role the blues played in the music of Zeppelin. 

It's years I don't go to the Jazz festival. Aside from the insane amount of people crammed in the streets, the outdoors shows are no longer pure jazz like they once were. Once upon a time you could walk along and see awesome free jazz acts live. Now all the actual major jazz acts are indoor commanding high prices while almost any genre of music are found in the outdoor shows. 

A few years back a friend and I went to see Ron Sexsmith (whom I've met on a number of occasions to the point I'd have no problem going up to him without fear of not being recognized. Superb individual) during the Jazz fest and even he had to ask what was the connection between his music and jazz. He joked that he came nonetheless because he could use the exposure and loved Montreal.

Just call it the International Music Festival and be done with it already.


More On Afganistan Draw Down

Some analysis of Obama's draw down.

"President Obama's plan indicates that the US and NATO transfer of control to Afghan security forces will be accelerated, forcing them to divert energy from building and training forces to actively assuming security responsibilities. This high-risk plan relies on the nascent Afghan security apparatus to battle the Taliban in areas outside of government control while negotiating a political settlement with the top levels of the Taliban movement. President Obama also indicated that he will continue to attempt to work with Pakistan to deal with terrorist sanctuaries there.

The US will likely remove the first batch of troops from the southern region, where the bulk of the 33,000 surge forces were deployed. Security in the south has improved since the surge began, and the US believes there are sufficient Afghan forces available to start taking over. The remaining US forces, while smaller in number, will be required to complete the remaining combat operations while transitioning a portion of their numbers to mentoring the Afghan security forces."

If this was a political move, and if mass slaughters begin (sounds as if the Afghan army is not ready for prime time), the irony of being in Libya will become more glaring.

Pakistan. Now that's a problem.

Long Runs And No Appetite Make Jack A Dull Boy

I noticed that after my long runs I have no appetite. Usually, I wait one hour and start to feel some hunger but as I run past 8 miles hunger doesn't arrive until hours later - if at all. I've also observed after a shower my appetite returns or the feeling of needing to eat to replenish the body.


Same with thirst. However, I fill myself with plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Whitey Bulger Caught

Irish mobster Whitey Bulger, who was #2 on the FBI wanted list after Bin Laden, has finally been caught after two decades on the run. I recently watched his wicked story on Unsolved Mysteries.

The Departed was inspired by Bulger - love those Boston Irish mob flicks - and he is thought to know something about the massive Gardner Museum art heist.

Bulger was pure evil.


Hiding Kids Lands Mother In Trouble

Assuming the kids are alright. Little details are provided. In fact, Yahoo! news is usually short on details.

So. Let's see. Take a mother away from her kids, throw her in jail and split the kids up by sending them into foster care.

That's a solution?

Rioters Fired

The fall out of the Vancouver riots continue.

What's extremely dismaying are the empty apologies and terrible excuses.

Fluke Goal For Canada Earns Draw

Neat goal by Canadian keeper Quillan Roberts giving Canada a 2-2 draw with England.

I post this for two reasons. One, it's extremely and preciously rare when a goalie scores and it's not everyday Canada rises and earns a good result with a soccer giant like England.

Not that they'll likely advance into the next round.

Churchill And The Welfare State

"In 1908, when Asquith became prime minister, there were almost no models of state welfare anywhere on earth. The exception was Bismarck’s Prussia, which to the dismay of German Social Democrats had instituted compulsory health insurance in 1883. That created a sudden panic on the left. Karl Marx had died weeks before, so the socialist leader August Bebel consulted his friend Friedrich Engels, who insisted that socialists should vote against it, as they did. The first welfare state on earth was created against socialist opposition."
The forgotten truth about health provision is that socialism and state welfare are old enemies, and welfare overspending is a characteristic of advanced capitalist economies. Nobody doubts that California is capitalistic, and its public debt is notorious; the People’s Republic of China, by contrast, is a major creditor in international finance. When the two Germanies united after 1990, the social provision of the capitalist West was more than twice that of the socialist East, and the cost of unification to West Germany proved vast. Talk of socialized medicine was always misleading if socialized implies socialist, and the very word probably guarantees that confusion. The British National Health Service of 1948, like the Canadian version that followed it 20 years later, always allowed for a flourishing private sector—a sector that has tended to grow with the years. It neither banned private medical care nor discouraged it. Only a competitive economy, what is more, is likely to generate a tax base big enough to maintain public hospitals, pensions, and schools. In short, a free economy needs state welfare, and state welfare needs a free economy."

Pharmaceuticals And Medical Journals

Interesting article in The American Scholar on how big pharma influences publishers, editorials and marketing of its products. I pulled out two very small excerpts of the piece:

"But aren’t physicians, with their scientific training and medical expertise, able to see through the negative bias and data manipulation? Not according to the editor of the Journal of the National Medical Association. “A busy pediatrician who is seeing patients until eight at night doesn’t have time to figure out whether an article has been vetted,” explains Eddie L. Hoover, MD. “He depends upon the journal editors to make sure he is not reading trash.”

"When you are published in a medical journal, especially one of the top ones, this gives the article a certain imprimatur that makes people less critical,” adds Joel Lexchin, MD, a bioethicist at York University in Toronto. “‘If it’s in The New England Journal of Medicine it’s got to be good’: This mentality diminishes the critical reading of the study.” 

I remember reading a similar article 10 years ago while I researched a few pharma stocks. 


The Rise Of The Welfare State

By way of Skeptical Eye, article from von Mises about welfare before the welfare state.

Which led me to Hayek's 'The decline of socialism and the rise of the welfare state.'

To me, socialism (or free cooperation) can be the natural state of man, if not coerced. I just don't believe I know what's good and right for the next guy; my neighbour. To me, that's supreme arrogance.

Experience should teach us to be most on our  guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent.  Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers.  The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in  insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning  but without understanding. Brandeis.

Afghanistan Draw Down

If Afghanistan is ready to stand on its own two feet, why not pull out? If not, why do it considering General Petreus was looking to keep the momentum going America's and its allies were said to be building?

It will be interesting to see what Harper does with Canadian troops. Originally, we were expected to stay until 2011 and see through the mandate set by the Liberals.

The Age Of Space Exploration's Future

Who doesn't remember the destruction of Challenger in 1986? I was watching it live on TV. I still remember my first reaction: Disbelief. No way they died. Somehow they made it out.

No, they didn't.

Just watched Nova and the episode about Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Wow. A piece of foam was all it took. But even I knew, based on what Galileo proved, that something like foam could pick up energy. You can watch the full episode aired on PBS on Hulu...if you have an American IP address.

The question indeed is, could they have been saved?


In 2005, signed off by President Bush, the more advanced, leaner and efficient Constellation was launched with an apparent new sense of purpose. But the program was cancelled by President Obama. Maybe the negligence and waste that was present in NASA set in after Nixon cut funding was still around?

Stench Of FIFA Corruption


Blatter should just go away.

I still have no idea how Qatar got the World Cup. Personally, I thought it should have gone to the United States. It's the last true great frontier yet to conquer for soccer. It's there you can propel the sport to still greater heights.

The irony of course is while the sport is not in the top five (heck, maybe top seven or eight) in the USA, it is there where the maximum exposure and revenue would be attained. 1994 broke all attendances record up to that point and I have no doubt they'd do it again.


Presidential Rankings Again

I don't know how people can claim Obama is "the worst ever" seeing he hasn't even finished his term yet and can still earn a second one.

Wiki has this chart ranking presidents.

I suppose Lincoln is considered #1 for preserving the union.

American As Apple Pie?

I swear, New York and Vermont make Quebec look like Hong Kong.

A list and explanation of which states allow fireworks.

Not many states ban them outright.

Fireworks laws around the world.

The Liberal Decimation

Article about the Liberals in Dissent magazine.

I don't know what's so surprising about the fall of the Liberals. They make it sound as if some noble party just passed on.

It's simple, as a former Liberal voter (and not gone for good if I see improvement): The liberals became cocky, stale, arrogant sons of bitches.


As the article points out, it doesn't help that the Liberals have little grassroots support or exposure.

Lotsa work to be done.

It's a good article but I don't get this paragraph:

"Most frustrating is the Left’s inability to pull a Harper and unite. The Liberals, the NDP, and the Green Party, if combined, would have won a majority of the popular vote in May and would have won a majority of seats in the preceding elections. The inability of the Greens to join up with the NDP or Liberals is particularly galling, given that the former hold a single seat and nearly halved their vote total. Polls are showing that Canadians would like the three parties to join hands, but the NDP and Liberals have very different histories and, truth be told, philosophies. The NDP is a classic European democratic socialist party, while the Liberals are much more business- and American-friendly. The NDP advocated Canada leaving Afghanistan years ago, while the Liberals remain committed to keeping troops there to train the Afghan army; the NDP wanted to raise corporate tax rates, in contrast to the status quo–favoring Libs; and only the NDP called for an aggressive cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."

If it's not possible, why bother arguing "they would have won the popular vote?" Until the scenario is more plausible (and it's all talk right now predicated more on fighting the conservatives than actually coming up with a new game plan) it's just pillow talk. If Italy would have been united during the Renaissance would South America be predominantly Italian speaking? Interesting question, but a 'what if' one that could leave us spinning in circles. The Liberals, who did claim moderate voters (just like the Progressive Conservatives did - they didn't hold a monopoly on that) they would likely further alienate that base if they joined up with the other two.

And this one:

"Still, a Conservative is a conservative. Harper has cut sales and corporate taxes, avoided confronting climate change, and increased military spending. If Canada’s Left is to regain control over the country’s future, another 145 years will be too long to wait."

Still a socialist is a socialist, Layton would increase sales and corporate taxes, enrage Alberta even more than Trudeau could ever do  by confronting climate change with still more taxes,  and decrease military spending thus making us even more dependent on American military protection "behind the scenes" thus weakening our "independence" as the pillaging Danes, Norwegians, Russians, Americans and Kenyans would claim more Arctic land.

If anything, this country could use a reality check.

By the way, the author might be interested to know the Liberals balanced the budget how exactly? By cutting SOCIAL PROGRAMS.

There. Simple.


Just Being Human

Corpsmen. 57 states.Couldn't name a White Sox player. Queen's toast. The Bow.

Sarah serves as a nice strawman for Obama's repeated mistakes.

Lebanon And The Palestinians

Again, as I've said a few times already, the Arab role in the Palestinian question is under appreciated.

I blame the Joooos nonetheless.

Italy And The Jews

Italy isn't against the Jews. Italian leftists  are.

The same crap you read in the article happened here (and witnessed by yours truly on campus and in class) in Montreal at Concordia University.



I know Ron Paul's libertarian views has limited appeal - especially on economics and the Federal Reserve - but is he at least changing the conservative view on foreign policy? That is, moving it back to its original non-interventionist posture?

Daycare Update

I'm getting a distinct feeling government  inspections of private daycares are excessive.

I'll find out soon enough.

Live On SCTV

John Cougar on SCTV back in the early 1980s:

The Sky Didn't Fall

Two kids were selling lemonade in the parking lot of a local business near my daycare today. For one hour they stood outside soliciting cars to buy their lemonade. They deserve to be mentioned here for their perserverance.

I love people who work and show initiative. We don't have enough of that spontaneous entrepreneurship given all the obstacles we now face.

The owner of the business clearly had no problem with a couple of kids selling juice. People were actually stopping and buying lemonade. Why not? It was the perfect day for one; hot and sunny. Perfect day for a straight consenual transaction between citizens free of any type of state bullshit too.

I wonder if anyone came along wagging their fat, useless, brainwashed finger telling them they were breaking the law. Technically, playing street hockey is illegal you know and some neighbours have been known to call the cops on kids. I'm sure it happens with lemonade stands across the continent. It must be stopped!


I also noticed the sky didn't fall. I don't think they earned enough for the state to tax them. Nor did they "steal" business from anyone and I'm pretty sure no e-coli was in the water.

As for me, I had ZERO cash on me and couldn't buy any. I was a little peeved because I went home before going to the daycare to do some work and purposely left my money wallet on the table figuring (wrongly as usual) the odds of my buying something were remote.


'Immeasurable' Loss

You don't have to be a fan of Springsteen to know their relationship was iconic in the realm of music.

I'm glad I got to watch them live three times. In none of those did they play 'Jungleland,' where the long sax solo by Clemons was legendary, but there was a whole lot of E Street majesty to be witnessed.

Of course, the two were immortalized in one of the greatest album covers of all-time in 'Born to Run.' (Pictured above)

I wonder what kind of an effect this will have on Springsteen himself and his music.


Lemonade Stand Laws Are Idiotic

Some laws are meant to be (and quite frankly should) ignored.

If you're the type of person who sees lemonade stands are "breaking the law" then...aw, forget it.

Some people are just assholes. 

Government Spending

General government expenditures as a % of GDP from the OECD.

Selected countries:

Canada 40%
USA 39
Greece 48
Italy 49
Japan 37
Germany 44
Australia 34
Sweden 52
France 53
UK 48
Spain 41
Netherlands 46
Denmark 52
Korea 30
Chile 21

The average from this group is 42%. Australia, Korea and Chile by far are the lowest. Seven countries, including Canada and USA fall south of the 42 mark. France, the UK, and Italy are the highest of the G7.

Will The Real Vancouver Stand Up And The Fake One Sit Down?

I don't get all this "that wasn't the real Vancouver" stuff. It's about as real as you can get, no?

From The Economist linked above:

"Canada remains one of the world’s safest countries but in recent years Vancouver, BC’s largest city, has gained notoriety for gun crime, especially among drug gangs. Since 1997 nearly 450 gangsters have been killed there. The surge in shootings is “directly related” to a crackdown on gangs in Mexico and the United States, says Pat Fogarty, a senior officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 

Recent arrests by the three countries’ police forces have disrupted a Mexican-run cocaine distribution chain, leaving Vancouver’s street dealers fighting to secure their supplies. “The price goes up and the guns come out,” says Mr Fogarty.

Vancouver has become a distribution hub in a global drugs trade stretching to Asia and Europe. Local gangs ship out cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy made in BC, importing cocaine, heroin and guns for the Canadian market. Around 135 gangs are thought to be fighting over a business worth an estimated C$7 billion ($6.2 billion) a year." 

Let's see what kind of sentences the perps get.


Know what the sad thing is? One of the rioters was to represent Canada at the Olympics in water polo!

I'm assuming the Canadian Olympic Association will do the right thing and cut him. One mistake or not, you can't represent this nation.

It Was My Browser

Comments are back. I switched back to Firefox.

McDonald's Job Training

The folks we see around town or on tv looking to ban or close a McDonald's are missing one key thing McDo offers: Outstanding job training.

Years ago I took a marketing course (the professor suggested I go into the field. Of course, I ignored the advice anarchist without a cause I was and am), that discussed McDonald's. Aside from its smart advertising, it provided workers with a sense of personal and job responsibilities. Over the years, I've read many articles covering this subject and have met people who worked for McDonald's. A friend of mine even made it to manager and eventually upper management. He confirmed McDonald's solid record of teaching people the ar tof work.

It's called teaching work ethic.

Daycare Update

(Interviewer) Scully: What has been your biggest challenge so far in your daycare adventure?
T.C.: Tough one, Sculls. Bit loaded if you ask me. Ever eat a skewered pineapple seasoned with brown sugar and cinnamon?
Scully: No.
T.C.: Well, I have, dammit! It's dee-lish!
Scully: As for the question regarding your toughest challenge?
T.C.:  Right. Suppressing my inner Larry David.


Greece Has EU On Edge

Greece is on the brink of defaulting again.

We're told Europe is on "edge" unless something is done.

Obama recently admitted - among other things - the job recovery has stalled. So will the 'throw money at the system to shock it back on track' logic prevail again?

Despite all the musings about needing to bail everything out, we're right back where we started.


Why does Greece defaulting, a tiny economy with little influence, scare people so? Can its problems really effect the economies of Turkey, Spain and Portugal?

I ask.

Eliminating Excessive Websites

"There are nearly 2,000 federal .gov domains, according to the White House. Under many of these domains are smaller sites that result in an estimated 24,000 websites, and the White House said the redundancy creates confusion and wastes money."

Bail outs remain on the table I reckon.

Yes, it's true the real spending lies elsewhere but it's a start.

Reminds me of when Harper wanted to clean up the waste in the arts. They don't want to end the programs per se, just be more efficient by getting rid of the worst ones and consolidating where you can.

Welfare Anarchy

The more I delve into the nether-regions of the welfare state, the more I realize chaos reigns.

It is said state sponsored initiatives are created for the public good; the greater good as it were. No doubt public institutions have provided "free" options for the economically less advantaged. Though I wonder if public libraries, for example, would exist at all if the government didn't pay for them. I don't see, sadly, too many people in them. Same with museums. What would they be like if there were no subsidies supporting them? I reckon, for starter, entrance fees would sky rocket. But we can't have that since it would further keep the poor from getting a chance to culture themselves. The question is, are they even going when it's "free?"

It's all basic economics. Remove the government from subsidized daycare and what's the true cost to society? A lot. More than private daycare fees who are more efficient. There's no way to argue otherwise.

The enhancement of the welfare state took place during a time when the wealth of Western nations (well, the USA and Canada anyway) were expanding just after the post-war era - although I think for Europe it was less wealth and a conscious decision to preserve their existence with the little resources they had left in the aftermath of two spectacularly murderous and expensive wars. It was left to the United States of America to finance and protect Western civilization.

In that mindset, of course we had the money to spend and even overspend in the interest of the greater good.

It's not like that anymore. We try but our economies have some adjustments to make and our public institutions need some reforming.

In the end, private or public, it's all about survival and preservation. Ask a public worker if they're willing to take a pay cut in the interest of "the children." See what the response will be. They don't care about all that mumbo-jumbo when you strip it to its basic "survival of the fittest" reality. They care about making the mortgage payment.

So why the continuous charade? Why insist on state sponsored socialism and the tyranny of over taxation to fund all these often dysfunctional programs? Has anyone noticed how North America is moving towards a cashless society? How immigrants who come here to invest have an abundance of cash setting them on a better path than the natives? The need to control and get their hands on your stash is such that they want to trace everything.

How can you possibly create any type of sustainable wealth when you eliminate cash from the equation?

The "we come in peace to better you" fallacy is likely reaching its end. Only you and your community can better your lot. A contract between citizens with the state as mere arbitrators with limited powers to settle and enforce certain agreed laws and rules should exist. Right now, the state rules OVER you; not FOR YOU.

When (if at all indeed) will we reach a private cooperative initiative?

A Tale Of Two Cup Cities

We're often told Canadians are a docile, polite lot.


Not when it comes to hockey we're not.

Vancouver went on a riotous rampage (like Montreal did in 1993) after losing to Boston in game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So much for 'laid back' Van City.

I know. Select few ruin it for others. We usually dismiss them as troublemakers not representative of the true fan base. I don't know how you can separate the two. I'm pretty sure some hard core fans were involved. In soccer, it's a little different given gangs dedicate themselves to violence and the cops usually know who they are. In hockey, no such thing exists. Naturally, we act surprised when it happens. It runs contrary to the image we have of ourselves.

Problem is, the "silent select few" were numerous.

By contrast, from alll accounts (not that any of the fricken sports Canadian outlets showed any images), Boston celebrated victory in peace. Boston! One of the toughest towns in North America we're told! Then again, Beantowners are used to this sort of thing, what, with the Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox and now Bruins all winning titles (seven in total) in the last 10 years or so.

Canadians, outside the Blue Jays and Raptors, cling on to the NHL and hockey.


I just wanted to see the best team win. Truth is, there were great story lines on both sides. Vancouver, possibly pound for pound more psycho than Toronto and Montreal with their Canucks, had the classy coach Alian Vigneault, and goalie Roberto Luongo, whom without which the 'Nucks don't even compete in the final. Luongo backstopped Team Canada to a gold medal, but it was not his time. Of course, all the useless cynics will chime in with bad logic claiming he "can't win the big one." Bull shit. Finally, the city of Vancouver never celebrated a cup in its 40 year history. The 2011 edition of the Canucks were probably their best team ever and represented their best shot in their third attempt.

On the Boston side, coach Claude Julien made it to the promised lands after being outsed in Montreal (to make room for Gainey's guy in Carbonneau) and peculiarly nixed in New Jersey just before the playoffs by GM Lou Lamouriello before finding his way to Boston. Ever on the hotseat despite his clear record of successs, Julien now finds some respect I would think. 37 year-old Tim Thomas, much like Luongo, had and will continue to have his doubters despite all the personal hardware he has won, and his unorthodox but highly effective style (reminiscent of Dominik Hasek - the greatest goalie ever) caps off a most remarkable personal journey. Mark Recchi capping off his long productive career on a high. And of course, the city of Boston who waited since the days of the immortal Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito who brought the cup home back in 1972.

It's hard getting coverage with the likes of the Patriots, Sox and Celtics, but Boston has always supported hockey. In fact, the Bruins are slightly ahead of the Celtics on the pecking order these days - much like how the Flyers edge past the 76ers in Philadelphia.

In the end, the Boston Bruins were by far the better team. Hence, they get to hoist and parade the cup around New England. Now Vancouver begins to learn how to win.

Simple as that.


I never understood why reporters do stuff like this.

I saw and see no point in it.

In the end, what the fuck do they know?


Stroke Hits E Street Band Saxophonist Clemons

Clarence Clemons, Springsteen's iconic right-hand man and 'Secretary of the Brotherhood' of the legendary E Street Band, suffered a stroke.

Not so long ago, the band lost Danny Federici.

Energy Consumption

Most energy efficient countries in the world.

North Americans, of course, are net consumers en masse.

Tough Puzzle

Think you're smart?

Patronage USA

Oh, well.

From The Center for Public Intergrity:

"More than two years after President Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found."

Didn't the use of government limos increase under the President?


It's all racism.

Seeing that there's such controversy regarding his birth certificate, I'm gonna go out on a limb and claim he's Canadian given his penchant for patronage.


Make Up Your Mind

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."

So which is it?


Top 100 Comic Heroes

The Top 3 shouldn't surprise anyone.

The way they split up the Fantastic Four is a little strange.

"He’s arguably the single most important creation in the history of superhero comics. Superman is a hero that reflects the potential in all of us for greatness; a beacon of light in times that are grim and a glimmer of hope for the hopeless. He’s an archetype for us to project upon; whether you consider him a messiah or just a Big Blue Boyscout, Superman’s impact on the genre and pop culture is undeniable."

"Batman has taken down monstrous creatures, aliens from other worlds, international terrorists, all manners of supervillains, and even Superman himself. Perhaps Bruce’s only flaw is his lack of self-satisfaction. It’s not hard to see that no matter what he does, it’ll never be enough."


The Worst President Debate

How to measure the "best" and "worst" of Presidents?

The "history will vindicate" angle is a loose logic to use because anything can happen - including good or bad luck - that can change how a leader is viewed.

I read somewhere (I forget where) that, in hindsight, Coolidge probably had the best approach in dealing with the looming economic meltdown that led to the New Deal under FDR.

Bad Analogies

When I heard this comment by Wasserman-Schultz it literally dragged me back to the bathroom.

Obama The Indicter

Whistleblowing ain't Obama's thing.

From The Guardian:

"Barack Obama has the worst record of any US president when it comes to dealing with whistleblowers, according to the Oscar-nominated director of a documentary about the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s.

Judith Ehrlich, whose 2009 film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers explored the 70s leak of US government documents on the Vietnam war, said Obama had indicted five alleged whistleblowers since taking office, making him the "worst president in terms of his record on whistleblowing".

And...Obama the Extender...

"Speaking at a session on WikiLeaks at the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Thursday, she said whistleblowing had become more dangerous than ever, in part due to the restrictions imposed by the US patriot act, which was brought in by George Bush in 2001 and recently extended for several years by Obama."

Isn't that what pretty much sums up his Presidency? Merely extending and expanding what Bush did and slap the "liberal progressive" tag on it?

Posting Comments Extravaganza With SE!

Me and SE having something going in my time of comment need.

Posting comments as posts! Now there's a niche market!

To respond to his post about my comments, it's a good time to mention that Canada Post and Air Canada are about to strike. Just google Air Canada strike. I don't feel like linking.

I have friends who work for both Canada Post and Air Canada. It's easy to jump on them for striking, but listening to their side lends more insights not necessarily covered by the media  into what's going on.

I hate unions with a mad passion, but unfortunately, most people who pay union dues are just good, honest people who want to protect what they have and a pension for the future. What's happening at Air Canada is pure outrageous.

On one end, you have the CEO Robert Milton getting $85 million and on the other, they slash employee salaries up to 40% as well as their pensions.

That's plain not right.

Air Canada is a company that didn't seem to make the transition from Crown corporation to private company gracefully.


Apparently, according to Bret who likely was on his pills when he made the comment, my browser may be the issue. I'll try that angle soon. Thanks.

Spain New Haven For Mob

Spain is the new hub for mafia activity in Europe. In fact, my cousin in Paris explained to me it's far more entrenched and widespread than that. He went as far as to claim the mob - and the Calabrese in particular - control everything in Europe including politics. Madrid is to Europe what Montreal is to North America: A crucial point of entry.

“Germany is where the Italian mafias launder their money and is also a pick-up point for Eastern European arms’ sales. Spain is the operating base for drugs arriving from South America,” explained a Europol liaison officer.

Spain’s climate, its cultural and language similarities and, until recently, its reputation as a construction paradise, have converted Spain into a primary bolt hole for Italian capos."

As long as you have public officials willing to be on the take and greed drives people, the mob will always be there spreading like a cancer. It certainly feels that way.


I Shoulda Learned To Play Guitar

I've only been to about 60 live concerts in my life (and who knows how many live via satellite) and one of the most memorable songs I've seen performed was Mellencamp doing Play Guitar and Van Morrison's piece de resistance Gloria. Although, he played The Doors less, erm, sanitary version.

I thought it would remain in my memory until I spotted on youtube. Where else?

The main difference here is the Toronto crowd contained none of the energy Montreal had. They rarely do. At the part where the music slows down and Mellencamp moves into the Jim Morrison version of the song, Montrealers sang along quietly with a pulsating "Gloria" following Cougar's movements reached its zenith with euphoric chants of Gloria. The natural progression between singer and crowd was perfect. It was amazing.

It was at the 1988 The Lonesome Jubilee concert (where my brother got up on stage and played Pink Houses with him. We later met Mellencamp and the band) I was introduced to the music of Bob Dylan. As part of his encore, Mellencamp played 'Like a rolling stone' in a rousing tribute to Dylan.

Before he sang it, he said something to the effect that Dylan was the, 'greatest singer to ever have his name on vinyl..."


Despite the title of this post, I did learn to play a little guitar. Precious little I'm afraid. I remember my teacher asking me to bring in a song I wanted to learn and I brought the notes to 'Hurst so good.'

"Wow. What a neat, awesome set of guitar chords!" he said in French. He couldn't stop playing it.

I didn't persist (like piano) and never learned to play a song to its completion.

A big regret.

A Sure Bet

Use guilt. Make money.

Doesn't matter what. It could be the environment, eternal damnation, whatever. It's all good as long as you make people feel guilty for their choices and for not seeing it your way. If you can bag a few scientists on your journey to back your claims, all the better.

False Dichotomy

Why is it presented to us as if we have only two choices? That is, either the private or public sector.

Are there no other choices?

I believe in a social-cooperative-libertarian agenda. Why shouldn't that work?

As part of a comment I left at Man of Roma's blog: I want it to come freey from the private citizens and not coerced by a massive welfare state. Cooperative “socialism” in a free society is possible in my view.

We should be directly responsible to one another where we share mutual interests to better the world we operate in. As it stands, I have to "trust" the government to do the "right" thing acting as a middle man. As we should be aware by now, that creates its own mix of corruption and inefficiencies.

Socialism as a state backed ideology has been destructive, corrupt and murderous. And it’s worse than anything capitalism has done because it claims to do so in the name of good.

It's Chinatown

Message to Nikk at SE since my comments are f'd up.

Please tell me those California teachers weren't really teachers but union reps from outer space. Please. Because if they're teaching my kids...

The last thing I need is my daughter coming home spewing gibberish recited by a teacher who wears a Che t-shirt about taxing the rich for anything and everything to support a massive, coercive, unresponsive, calcified, welfare state. It should be reformed.

And they could care less about your kid.

As for the 29 comments about Siberian weather.

I've given up trying to figure things out.

Aim High: 5% Growth In The U.S.

The 2012 U.S. election will likely be about jobs and the economy. Bin Laden and Libya may still carry some currency for Obama at that point, but if the economy is still struggling along, that's what will trip him. Focusing on who his rivals in the GOP will be may mask this reality.

Obama gambled with stale economic ideas and he's come to admit jobs haven't recovered while growth remains ok but not much more. All that money thrown at piece of shit dead beat companies that should have sank. What a shame. It would have been better to sprinkle all that money on profitable small-to medium sized businesses and let them drive growth and employment.

But North American politicians are not friends to small businesses. That's a fact. Just observe their actions. Few of them help us.

Alas, you can't control so many small businesses. Am I right?

Obama has run out of ideas and isn't presenting anything substantial. If he has ideas, he's not getting it out.

The United States need a real shot in the arm. And that's why Pawlenty's plan is sure to raise eyebrows but aiming for 5% growth (to the extent GDP is an acceptable measure of wealth)  isn't that crazy. Besides, we've become too complacent in North America, why not set the standards high for once?

Increasing revenues is king. Focusing on cutting spending is a defensive strategy. Cash is king.

If there's one society and economy that can achieve it, it's the United States.

I for one am pulling for them because when they're healthy, Canada is healthier. It's just a plain fact and reality. I know much is made about our dollar being stronger, but that's a temporary thing. It has nothing to do with our economy being stronger. It isn't. It's resource driven. And coupled with America's struggles, we're benefitting. I don't expect this to become the new pink or norm.

Hey, I could be wrong but I doubt it.

Running Along Training

I'm training for a half-marathon and currently on pace to run it in roughly 88 minutes. Not bad for a guy pushing 40 on two bad knees. Then I thought, man, imagine if I did this during my peak athletic years and one good knee? At least, what, 70 minutes?

When I was 19, I was running on a treadmill at a local private club and one of the trainers came up to me and asked to join his team in training for marathons. Like a chooch I declined because back then I was running as a means to stay in shape for other sports. Running for a marathon had little appeal to me. I still see little purpose in running for two or three hours but these days, I no longer have time (or interest) to commit to sports like soccer or hockey anymore. I just don't feel like busting up my knees - again.

Running proves I'm still...alive.


I realized I'm using Nike running shoes to train. I bought them in Delaware at the Nike outlet for $59 - retail was $149 or something. I asked why the mark down was so high and the clerk told me because the colour was out of style one year later. The shoe is a nice melange of silver, white and orange. Style? Pft. Style is a state of mind and only a person with no personal creativity would wait for a company or magazine to tell them what's "in."

The last time I bought Nike was waaayyy back in 1986 or thereabouts. I was the only kid in town with Air Jordans. Remember the hype around those? I bought them (actually my parents) in the U.S. for I believe $115 at the time. They were pretty cool - black, some silver and red.

Comfortable too.

Since then, I've hopped along with New Balance, Asics, Diadora, Converse, Fila, Adidas, and Puma.

Until now.

I'm not brand loyal. I'm a whore that way.

Is Reform In Education Possible?

Over dinner with friends, we talked a little about public education. My wife and her friend are colleagues at the same school and so it was natural some of the talk was about education. The colleague is passionate about education and has become disillusioned with what's happening in public education. In his opinion, we're robbing kids of a real education.

The whole curriculum and thought process of how we teach is wrong headed in his view. Which is why he decided to begin a private school project. Public education is so far removed from meaningful reform he's preparing to bail out. Indeed, there's the added dimension that Canadians blindly believe we have excellent education - and health care - when in fact what we're getting is just acceptable and mediocre. There's no focus on excellence in it.

One thing he told me that's part of the problem is the average teacher can't even explain what their education philosophy is. They just absorb and feed what the minister tells them. Few question ministerial authority. It's just a job that pays the mortgage and that's not good enough for him.

The other major hurdle is bad teachers are not held accountable. And it's basically impossible to fire those known to be under performers.

I know I'm saving money, even through an RESP, to send my kid to private school. I don't like what I see in the public system. Sure, there are some decent public schools. Our public school right around our house is acceptable enough for her elementary years. Beyond that though, I want more. I want her to be challenged because she's already showing signs of being an academic type of student.

Capital Gains Shouldn't Be Taxed

No. No. No. Nooo!


Liberal myth:

Capital gains and dividends cuts only help the rich.

No, they don't. Anyone can benefit from capital gains and dividends.

To begin with, the government has no business taking that money in the first place. Why? Think of it. You pay income taxes and various other taxes. Now. What's left in your pocket, you decide to put aside some money to invest in a mutual fund - say $100 - or you decide to buy a safe stock with a high dividend yield.

That fund or stock pays you a dividend which the government then issues a T-slip you must submit to pay taxes on the dividend. And if you sell it, the government takes taxes on both. So in essence, you're taxed on three levels.

Think again. Capital gains and dividends are a way to create savings, wealth and spending for ALL CITIZENS regardless of stature and income. It's shortsighted to clip people just starting out to build their nest egg.  In fact, it's a good way for a young sharpie who plans for it to begin accumulating wealth. It's a way to get ahead. It has nothing to do with the "rich." I'm sick of that bull shit logic.

You're taking a risk to grow your money (and get back some of your taxes). The government isn't taking the risk YOU ARE. Understand? Repeat after me: It's my money and I want to keep it!

That the government takes its "cut" from a risk you took, is plain wrong to me.


My father-in-law amassed a nice nest egg before he passed away. Unfortunately, much of it was in tax sheltered investments. While they rolled over tax free to his wife, when she passes on the state will take half of all monies leaving the two children with a lot less.

Imagine that. The father works for 40 years. Is diligent and responsible and saves his money while paying income taxes on a high salary and when he dies the state grabs a huge chunk of it in the end. Imagine, the money belongs to the "greater good" and not the family that earned it.


All You Can Eat Brazilian Meat

We just came back from a Brazilian restaurant earlier. All you can eat succulent meats (including sausages), pork, and poultry, sweet potatoes, rice, salad, mushrooms, and spiced pineapple. It was our first time and it was deeee-lishus.

The Commentator Is Always Open

My comments are still down. Don't know why.

Just saw a commercial by TD Bank saying they're now open on Sunday.

My have we come a long way when the plan was to cut hours back and funnel people into the ATM machines. We told the geniuses in upper management during a training session back in the late 1990s it would never work and it didn't. Alas, what did we know?

Brazil v. Italy: Mighty Titans

When time is tight, always post about soccer.

To me, with all due respect to Germany and Argentina (two brilliant, influential and dominant soccer nations in their own right), and a few others like the Netherlands, England, France and Spain, the two single greatest footballing nations of all time are Brazil and Italy. From its clubs*, to the great fans, players and managers, and the overall history and philosophy, these two tango and samba the soccer soul in operatic perfection.

It didn't get better than this match at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Italy and Brazil have went on to win more cups and reach finals in others, but those two teams are the last memorable line ups for each squad I reckon. Socrates, Scirea, Conti, Zico, Falcao and of course, Paolo Rossi. Paolo fricken Rossi. What a marvellous performance by him.

Sure, the Italians of 1990 and Brazilians of 2002 were solid, but 1982 was the last time great soccer matches lived. Considered one of the greatest matches in World Cup history:

For good measure, then there was 1994:

And 1970:

In other important matches, the two sides also met, led by the likes of da Silva and Meazza, back in the semi finals of the 1938 World Cup with Italy prevailing 2-1 and 1978 with Brazil posting a 2-1 win to win 3rd spot. Brazil holds a 3-2 edge in key matches.

*Brazilian domestic clubs, as a whole, though successful, haven't been as dominant as the Italians have been in Europe. Argentinean teams tend to dominate the South American continent. Like Europe is basically a battle ground between the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga (and to a lesser extent the Eredivisie. Even Portugal's top flight league has been competitive and successful. More so than Ligue Un in France too. Anyway...), South America is ruled by Argentina and Brazil.

So why did I chose Brazil and Italy?

Brazil is straightforward enough, although Argentina has won more Copa America's than Brazil and basically play .500 soccer against them. But at the World Cup Brazil edges Argentina out with five world cups to two and seven finals to four. Of course, Brazil produced the likes of Garrincha and Pele while Argentina has contributed Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi who has yet to join the big club with a World Cup.

Just like in South America two rival teams dominate, Europe has Germany and Italy. Despite Germany's remarkable consistency of success to the point of disbelief, Germany has never beaten Brazil or Italy in  World Cup play. That counts for something. While Germany has made seven trips to the finals (equal to Brazil), Italy has six. However, Italy has the four stars to Germany's three titles. Germany does have more wins than Italy (second and third respectively on the all-time list) but the edge has to go to Italy for the simple reason they won more and never lost to Germany.

The other thing I considered were the roster of great (including legendary) players. Looking over multiple "all-time" lists from several books and publications, one theme becomes clear; Brazil and Italy are neck and neck with Germany trailing behind. 

Also considered, were the domestic clubs (despite the role of foreign nationals) and their performances in major tournaments (Champions League, UEFA/Europa, Cup Winners Cup, Super Cup and Intercontinental/World Club) since 1950. Serie A has won more titles and reached more finals than any other league on the continent including the Premier League. Serie A clubs have outperformed teams from the Bundesliga and so the edge goes to Italy.

Finally, the fans. While these are tough times for Italian soccer as a whole including attendance, historically, the most fanatical and commited fan base in Europe were the Italians. Indeed, times have changed as La Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga all have better attendance records (and facilities) than Italy has to offer. The role of the fan is changing in Europe, and Italy is lagging in this respect. Its dominance has now given way to La Liga and Premiership.


Special Indeed

I'm not sure how I'd react if I was a parent of one of those kids. It always strikes me how quiet and graceful the aggrieved can be.

It's rather narcissistic and disrespectful of them to push their way onto what was a day for special athletes.

Says more about the "protestors" and their pathetic pettiness.

Right Fat Is Good

I think I've posted about the pros and cons of cooking oil but I'll do it here again with a small difference.

The trend these days is to babble on about "low fat" diets without thought to what people may be missing out on.

Oil and butter are fatty foods often singled out but they contain acids and properties the body needs. For example, lauric acid is found in both coconut oil and butter.

Problem is, I hate butter (except when I cook) and coconut.


It All Comes Down To The Man In The Mirror



Blame not being shifted.

Maurice Clarett's comments are something to ponder. We always think bad motives are the work of a few controlling the minds of the innocent.

Human motives are complex and essentially impossible to dignify.

Publish The Offenders Rage

This lady, in her grief, brings up a good point.

The government has taken to posting the names of deliquent landlords and bad daycares, but if it's for the public good, then why are public servants thoroughly protected? It's become near impossible to have a bureaucrat account for their actions.

Why the double standard?

In public education, for example, try and fire a bad teacher. If you think that's not having an impact on the quality of education, then poor you. Poor us. No wonder more and more people want private services.

Most Expensive Roaming Charges In The World Here In Canada

Each time I look at an OECD report, be it on education or public health, Canada usually lags at the bottom.

That we have the "most expensive roaming charges" in the OECD shouldn't surprise any Canadian willing to criticize our performances in various areas.

Canada doesn't do competition. We do monopolies. It's what we do best.

We'll Make The Choice For YOU

Food for thought.

If you listen to some, democracy - or their version of it in their minds - ends with Harper. It's a strawman.

Like, I mean for example. From Wikileaks: 

"Opposition to the decision is mainly driven by the partners in the Canadian service, CHUM and Astral, who argue that their business model would not be economic given the terms of license. The push to review the decision is also supported by the Canadian music/recording industries and by "Friends of Canadian Broadcasting," a nationalist cultural lobby group. These groups have focused their criticism on the fact that the effective Canadian content level required by the licensing decision would be around ten percent, versus over thirty percent in conventional radio, and that this would permanently undermine the Canadian-content regime. French-language interests, including the provincial Government of Quebec, also complain about the effective French content - which could be as low as one channel in forty."

Le govmint est ton ami! Love the Friends Of Canadian Broadcasting lobby group. Who knew? Personally, I'm going on Sirius. I'll BUY my own damn choice. It's come to that. If some Canadian shows catch my attention so be it. If not, word of advice, GET BETTER.

"Canadians can receive satellite broadcasts intended for U.S. audiences, both TV and radio, by purchasing the necessary hardware in the United States (when traveling  there, or by mail order, or online), or even through illicit Canadian-based dealers. In the case of satellite  television, this black/gray market reception is considered a serious threat to the licensed Canadian broadcasting and  cable industries, which have been pressing the GOC to strengthen enforcement and penalties."

Oh, dear. Penalize Canadians for MAKING THEIR OWN CHOICE!

Never liked Liza Frulla for the exact reasons it mentions in the article. She's a nationalists. And nationalists step on civil liberties for the myth of the "greater good."

More like to consolidate power and their own interests.


By The Will Of Genghis Commentator

I sat to watch 'By the will of Genghis Khan' expecting, well, I didn't know what to expect since it was a Canadian-Russian-Khazakstani-American production.

Part of me wanted to see how he consolidated power (which I think was sloppily and hastily done) and the other part of me wanted to see his hordes of warriors invade Europe which didn't happen. Alas, it was an introspective film (with some decent scenes) before he became conquerer although I thought that was the purpose of the first part of this film- Mongol: The Rise of Genhis Khan - which came out in 2007. Naturally, I thought the "sequel" was going to explore his military prowess. Unless I'm mixing my sequels.

It was a slow moving story with a lot of (and I paraphrase) "he sings with the wind" and "by the word of Tengri" and "the birds whistle wail past my ancestors" and "you sing like the stars and the moon and wind" and "the water nourishes our souls with bones" lines reminiscent of Native American myths. In fact, if there's one thing that stuck with me with this film was how similar Mongolian and Native culture and myths seem to be. Of course, there's a belief Native American culture has its roots in Asia - the so-called crossing of the Bering Strait. Yes, it read like an Andrew Lang narrative.

I'm all for that but it gets to be cumbersome after one hour.

The movie seemed disinterested in exploring further the impact Genghis Khan had, negative and positive (if applicable) on world and European history.

This point was disappointing albeit a personal perspective and opinion.

On the other hand, maybe the film makers wanted to offer a side of Temuchin (Genghis Khan) most of us in the West didn't see or know. It perhaps went poetic showing a sympathetic side (didn't Oliver Stone sorta want to do this with Hitler?) of Khan willingly. Actually, that's exactly what it did and it mentioned that his obsession with consolidating Mongolian power was making him essentially evil according to his mother who turned on him along with his wife Borte.

My thoughts. No one paid me for it. So there.

On a side note, Hollywood will be taking a shot at Genghis Khan with none other than Mickey Rourke playing the part.