Archive for January, 2007

Hurray for Rick Mercer

January 31st, 2007

You won’t here me say that one often. I don’t particularly like Rick Mercer, certainly don’t find him funny, certainly don’t think his biases belong on a publicly funded broadcaster. However…

He did spend Christmas with the troops in Afghanistan, instead of at home with his family. And he did do this:

Poor Noreen Golfman. She wrote in her Jan. 12 column (Blowing in the Wind … ) that her holidays were ruined by what she felt were incessant reports about Canadian men and women serving in Afghanistan. So upset was Noreen that, armed with her legendary pen, sharpened from years in the trenches at Memorial University’s women’s studies department, she went on the attack. I know I should just ignore the good professor and write her off as another bitter baby boom academic pining for what she fondly calls “the protest songs of yesteryear,” but I can’t help myself. A response is exactly what she wants; and so I include it here. After all, Newfoundlanders have seen this before: Noreen Golfman, sadly, is Margaret Wente without the wit.

Dear Noreen,

I am so sorry to hear about the interruption to your holiday cheer. You say in your column that it all started when the CBC ran a story on some “poor sod” who got his legs blown off in Afghanistan.

The “poor sod” in question, Noreen, has a name and it is Cpl. Paul Franklin. He is a medic in the Forces and has been a buddy of mine for years. I had dinner with him last week in Edmonton, in fact. I will be sure to pass on to him that his lack of legs caused you some personal discomfort this Christmas.

Paul is a pretty amazing guy. You would like him I think. When I met him years ago he had two good legs and a brutally funny sense of humour. He was so funny that I was pretty sure he was a Newfoundlander. You probably know the type (or maybe you don’t) — salt of the earth, always smiling, and like so many health-care professionals, seemingly obsessed with helping others in need…

Further on in your column you ask why more people aren’t questioning Canada’s role in Afghanistan. I understand this frustration. It’s a good question. Why should Canada honour its United Nations-sanctioned NATO commitments? Let’s have the discussion. I would welcome debate on the idea that Canada should simply ignore its international obligations and pull out of Afghanistan. By all means ask the questions Noreen, but surely such debates can occur without begrudging the families of injured soldiers too much airtime at Christmas?

Personally, I would have thought that as a professor of women’s studies you would be somewhat supportive of the notion of a NATO presence in Afghanistan. After all, it is the NATO force that is keeping the Taliban from power. In case you missed it Noreen, the Taliban was a regime that systematically de-peopled women to the point where they had no human rights whatsoever. This was a country where until very recently it was illegal for a child to fly a kite or for a little girl to receive any education.

To put it in terms you might understand Noreen, rest assured the Taliban would frown on your attending this year’s opening night gala of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival. In fact, as a woman, a professor, a writer and (one supposes) an advocate of the concept that women are people, they would probably want to kill you three or four times over. Thankfully that notion is moot in our cozy part of the world but were it ever come to pass I would suggest that you would be grateful if a “poor sod” like Paul Franklin happened along to risk his life to protect yours.

[Emphasis Mine]

Good On You, Rick!

FYI, Cpl. Franklin was injured last January in a suicide attack that many people will remember as it killed Foreign Affairs diplomat, Glyn Berry.

h/t SDA


Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week

January 31st, 2007
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The Blue Blogging Soap box Blogging Tories Site of the Week is The Truth About Marketing Choice.

The Truth About Marketing is a blog about the Canadian Wheat Board by David Anderson, MP, Cypress Hills – Grasslands Saskatchewan.


Picture of the Day – The Back Yard Rink (Finally)

January 31st, 2007

Government Approved Plastic and Tobogganing

January 30th, 2007

Every time I read a story on tobogganing and helmets, I’m reminded of Eddie, Clark Griswolds cousin-in-law in Christmas Vacation. While standing at the top of the hill getting ready for some sledding, Clark asks Eddie is he wants to go first:

You know the metal plate in my head? I had it replaced. Every time Catherine revved up the microwave l’d piss in my pants and forget who I was. Over at the V.A., they had it replaced with a plastic one.

That ain’t as strong, so I shouldn’t go sailing down a hill with nothing between the ground and my brain but a piece of government plastic.

Change “government plastic” to “government approved plastic” and you have politicians taking their policy ideas from cousin Eddie. When you get your ideas from cousin Eddie, it’s probably time to think new career.

However, never minding that as free Canadians we should have a right to make such determinations for ourselves, what evidence is there that helmets provide any benefit for tobogganers? Looking at studies on bicycle helmets, it is highly questionable whether helmets would save a child that head firsted into a concrete wall at the bottom of a tobaggon run.

Two recent studies found that bike helmet laws may not help, and may in fact make things worse. One British study found cyclists wearing a helmet may be more likely to have an accident, and an Australian study found, since helmet laws were imposed on Australians in 1990, there has been a greater incidence of hospital admissions for cyclists, and a decrease in cycling.

That last part is important, as we can logically expect a decrease in tobogganing if helmets were mandated. In the age of childhood obesity, and complete lack of fitness, reduction of any activity could be deadly. (As Olympic Rower Silken Laumann said in her book Child’s Play, (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “we protect our kids from broken arms and are giving them heart disease and juvenile onset diabetes instead”). And tobogganing burns 159 calories in a hundred pound child tobogganing for half-an-hour. Never mind the muscles they are using, and the fact they are getting outside on a winter’s day.

The last word on this subject goes to Eddie:

The plate runs right underneath my part. Over here is nothing, but if this gets dented, then my hair just ain’t going to look right.

Is this what it’s come to, councillors worried about our hair looking right? Watch those parts, Kids!


Those Attack Ads

January 30th, 2007

Have you seen them yet? The Conservative attack ads. The ones where the Liberals are doing the attacking. Thanks to Blue Blogging Soapbox, I can post them here in a nice easy format:

Meanwhile, The Star is reporting this morning that the Ads may break Canadian Copyright Law:

Conservative attack ads fired at Liberal Leader Stephane Dion may end up sideswiping the ruling party after questions were raised about possible breach of copyright laws.

The television ads, which began airing Monday, use footage from last fall’s Liberal leadership debates to deliver the message that the new Grit leader is weak, indecisive and an environmental failure.

But that footage belongs to a consortium of TV networks which pooled their resources to provide live coverage of the debates.

h/t Joanne


Endless Highway: The Music of the Band

January 29th, 2007
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A new CD to be released tomorrow pays tribute to the great Canadian rockers, The Band. Well worth the money, in my opinion.

I have written a full review here. Follow this link, click on music, and listen to the entire CD for yourself by clicking on the song you want to hear.


What Would Sheila Copps Know About Due Process

January 29th, 2007
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From Peter C. Newman’s The Secret Mulroney Tapes [pg. 232]:

…I [Brian Mulroney] said in a very loud voice – a very loud voice – “That vulgar bastard. What a vulgar bastard to say something like that before Christmas on an event that involves children, I can’t believe it.” I could care less who heard me, what do I care? Then Sheila Copps comes out and said I used the words “fucking bastard,” which of course I never did…

That night on television they led with Sheila Copps fabricating a falsehood…

As I read Sheila’s article in yesterdays Toronto Sun, Doesn’t due process apply in politics?, I couldn’t help but think of Sheila the rat packer, who would say and do anything for a headline. Sheila wouldn’t give anyone a break, certainly didn’t involve due process while accusing opponents of all sorts of wrong doing.

Sorry Sheila, it’s a little late in the day for you to suddenly be in favour of due process. Or does this story have more to do with who isn’t getting due process? Note the Liberal mentioned most often is Marc-Yvan Cote: The same Marc-Yvan Cote who supported Sheila Copps leadership bid in 1990:

Cote was an organizer in my 1990 leadership campaign and his eastern Quebec success on my behalf was never forgotten by Martin’s people.

The other Liberal mentioned, Jean Pelletier, Cretien’s Chief of Staff at the same time as Copps was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Sorry Sheila, until you stick up for everybody, and not just your friends, your argument rings hollow.


Led ZepAgain II

January 28th, 2007

I was originally on this story back in March:

Rumour mill is abuzz that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will be doing something together after they both stayed at the same LA hotel last week.

Initial reports appear on Photographer Ross Halfin’s on-line diary (March 2nd & 3rd are the relevant entries). The rumour mill has done the rest.

Now comes word that things may be better than originally rumoured, and closer than they appeared: is reporting that LED ZEPPELIN are set to re-group after 22 years for a money-spinning stadium tour of America. The three surviving members — singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones — plan to hit the road next summer.


LEGENDARY rockers Led Zeppelin are set to re-group after 22 years for a money-spinning stadium tour of America.

The three surviving members — singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones — plan to hit the road next summer.

The trio hope to pocket £6.4million for the shows.

Robert, 54, Jimmy, 58, and 56-year-old John Paul met two weeks ago at the offices of their management firm Trinifold.

They buried the hatchet over Page and Plant’s 1990s tour, which John Paul only learned about from a newspaper.

A band insider said last night: “If the right offer comes up they will do it.”

Trinifold added: “Jimmy is itching to do something, but there is nothing firm yet.”

Zeppelin split in 1980 after a booze binge killed drummer John Bonham.

His son Jason is set to play drums on the tour.

Of course, the rumours have been around for years and is not considered the most reliable source for anything. But hey, a Led Zep reunion – Hot Dog!

h/t Road Hammer.


Saturday FlufferNutter

January 26th, 2007
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All the Fluff about those Hollywood Nuts:

There has been a lot of mention the week of the new Dakota Fanning movie Houndog, none of it good. The movie features a scene in which the character played by 12 year old Fanning is brutally raped. Despite the critics usual habit of approving of such movies, seeing as they push boundaries and other such noble nonsense, this one has been getting awful reviews. Add to that a repulsed public and it looks like this one is dead before it’s out of the gate. Good!

The most distasteful part of this movie, however, may not be the movie. It may be Miss. Fanning defending her parents decision to let her do the role. Bad enough they put her in this awful role, now they leave her to be the one to explain to the world why.

Looks like Van Halen is back. It appears the Munster Van Halen boys Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang will be joined by David Lee Roth for a late April launch at the Pearl (in the Palms) in Las Vegas, and a 40 city tour to follow.

Condloences go out to the family and friends of Denny Doherty. I was 5 in 1968 when the Mamas and the Papas split, so I know about two songs. I am quite familiar, however, with his work as the Harbour Master in Theodore Tugboat.


While I Was Gone…

January 26th, 2007

Walls, I have walls…
While I wasn’t busy blogging, I actually got some work done around the house. In this case, I built myself an office/studio in the corner of the basement. Like Less Nessman, I believe you can’t do the news without walls; besides, I was tired of getting hit by mini-stick balls.

While incomplete (shelves are going along the back wall, and a few guitars/amps/&tc. needs to be put in place) here’s a glimpse at where At Home in Hespeler will be crafted from now on.


Picture of the Day – Churchill in the Square

January 25th, 2007
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Bob Seger: Air Canada Center Jan 23, 2007

January 25th, 2007

Rock and Roll really does never forget, and Bob Seger and his eleven piece band proved it with a vengeance on Tuesday night. Looking more like my dad, minus the La-Z-Boy than a rock icon, Seger is the consummate professional. His bands are always tight, his song selection always fan friendly. And that said, on this night they were better than usual.

Seger has been around for forty years, a major player in the rock world for thirty, but has not been seen in ten. That’s along time for us fans, but by the guy on stage looking like he was having the time of his life, Bob Seger may have been having a better time than the full audience who spent the show on their feet.

With a set list that didn’t stray from the standard Seger fare, so familiar is the routine Seger does that at time I was repeating the stage banter before Seger was saying it. But that’s not a bad thing. Seger long ago figured out what worked and has stuck with it. As a guy who laid out $100 to go see him, I got what I paid for and then some.

All in all, a great show – 5 out 5 from this fans perspective.


Roll me Away
Tryin to Live My Life Without You
Wreck This Heart
Main Street
Old Time Rock’n’Roll
Wait for Me
Face the Promise
No Matter Who You Are
Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight
We’ve Got Tonight
Turn the Page
Travelin’ Man
Beautiful Loser


Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
C’est La Vie
The Answers in the Question
Sunspot Baby
Horizontal Bop

(Band Intro #2)

1st Encore
Night Moves
Hollywood Nights

2nd Encore
Against the Wind
Rock and Roll Never Forgets


Migration Frustration

January 22nd, 2007

Well it happened again. My second attempt to migrate to *new* blogger knocked my blog off the charts. This time for 26 days.

After my first migration attempt failed, and left me blog-less for a week, I decided to try again over Christmas, working on the presumption that since I wasn’t planning on blogging over Christmas, if it failed again no big deal. So, Dec. 27th I moved At Home in Hespeler to the *new* blogger.

So, have I missed anything? Everybody have fun while I was away? Myself, I met Gerry Nicholls in Kitchener last week, which you can read about here.

To make matters worse, I reappeared tonight with no notice, and I will be away from the computer for a couple of days. So this post is it until at least Wednesday night.

And where shall I be? I hear you asking. Here. With a bunch of really old friends. To while away the time until I get back, here’s a sample of what tomorrow night will be like:

So folks, please be patient with me a couple more days, then it will be back to business.

Assuming that’s OK with blogger.



January 22nd, 2007
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