Archive for April, 2007

Treasure in our Midst: The Story

April 16th, 2007

This starts with todays picture of the day, three drawers with painting in them.

Click on picture for larger image

Lady Hespeler’s grandmother was an artist, who played around in various styles at different times. There is quite a bit of her work floating around the family.

Recently one of the aunts began a project to document what everyone had, and I began taking, and sending pictures of the six or so works we have. There was some problems with the mail delivery (probably a combination of large files, a dial up connection and the PEI weather last week) and we began e-mailing over these issues. In one of those e-mails the aunt mentioned a sewing chest:

An that reminds me, Dad used Mother’s oil paintings for drawer
bottoms in a sewing chest, missed those.

Oil painting in the bottom of a sewing chest? A couple of years ago when the grandmothers possessions where moving around the family, a chest stopped at us. It looked like a chest that musicians use called a manuscript chest or manuscript cabinet. Lady Hespeler wanted to throw it out, I said I’d take it. I could find it useful in my office/music room and it was too nice to throw out.

Could this be the sewing chest? I opened the top drawer, pulled off the brown paper that had covered the bottom of the drawer all this while, and Voila! A painting.

Thus a treasure found in our midst, although it’s value probably very little. None the less, my saved cabinet has now been I’D’d as a 50 year old sewing chest, hand-made by my wifes grandfather, with three paintings done by his wife in the drawers.

Now I have to decide whether to remove the pictures, thus modifying an antique chest, or leave them and risk them getting ruined.

Boy! Some problems sure are more fun to have than others.


Picture of the Day – Treasure in our Midst

April 16th, 2007

A Great Quote

April 15th, 2007
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From A Nation of Serfs? – page 212 (paperback edition). A British Naval officer in 1799, on the introduction of a tax on income:

It is a vile, Jacobian, jumped up Jack-in-Office piece of impertinence – is a true Briton to have no privacy? Are the fruits of his labour and toil to be picked over, farthing by farthing, by the pimply minions of bureaucracy?”

As I have complained before, why don’t public figures have this kind of grasp of our language anymore?

I somehow can’t see me discussing Elizabeth May and Stephan Dion in the future without referencing it as a “Jacobian piece of impertinence”, or looking at Kyoto without mentioning the “pimply minions of bureaucracy.”


Picture of the Day – Rumble of the Falls

April 15th, 2007

Querying Elizabeth May’s Job

April 15th, 2007
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Political Staples posited the best question regarding the recent Elizabeth May/Stephane Dion democracy-fest:

Is the Green Party a lobby group by other means…?

That is the question? And if they are, should they not lose their 75% tax credit status as a political party?

If you have been volunteering, donating to the Greens, as a political party, I can’t imagine how let down you must be this week.


Blogging Tories Site of the Week

April 15th, 2007
NB Tory Lady

The Tory Lady came to my attention a few weeks ago. She is a pure blue partisan and boy, does she give it to those Liberals.


How Bad are things in Stephan Dion’s World?

April 13th, 2007
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Polls last week put Stephan Dion, and his Liberal party, in horrible position. But as I’ve said before, ignore polls: watch what they do, not what the polls say. However, an exception comes to mind when repeated polls show a definite pattern. In the past month, repeated polls show the Liberals going down, the Conservatives going up, and more importantly, Stephan Dion’s numbers in a full flush. That pattern has to be worrisome for Dion.

Which brings us to the Dion-May accord:

Stephane Dion has decided not to run a Liberal candidate against Green party Leader Elizabeth May in the next federal election.

Dion, who shares May’s environmental idealism, is expected to make the announcement today. In return, sources say May will promise not to run a Green candidate against the Liberal leader and will essentially endorse Dion for prime minister.

Why would Stephen Dion agree to not run a candidate against May, in return for no Green candidate against him? It only makes sense if you assume Dion is going to have trouble holding his seat. Otherwise it’s just giving up a seat to someone else. This accord shows that Dion has not just the Liberal party on the ropes, but is himself on the ropes.

So if you are a Liberal party supporter, you can safely believe those negative polls, because clearly Stephan Dion does.


Belinda Calls it Quits

April 11th, 2007

And I called it

Last night I wrote, and this morning I posted:

Based on this article, I ‘d say Belinda is leaving politics, and heading back to Magna (perhaps my new boss at Chrysler). That’s the only explanation why she’s worried about productivity (buzz word for competitiveness) and not same sex marriage or Kyoto inmplementation (which is the opposite of increasing competitiveness).

Bang on. One day later National Newswatch is reporting:

The Honourable Belinda Stronach, Member of Parliament for Newmarket and Aurora, today announced that she would assume the position of Executive Vice-Chair of Magna International Inc. effective immediately, and simultaneously, she will not stand for re-election as a Member of Parliament in the next federal election.

Frankly this one was obvious from yesterdays column in the National Post. In fact, yesterdays article brings into question why she ever joined the Liberals, as she seems to have nothing in common with them.

So if I got part one and two right (quitting politics, re-joining Magna) is she my new boss at Chrysler? Don’t suppose that would be good for my career options.


Belinda Becomes conservative – again

April 11th, 2007
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Has Belinda Stronach crossed the floor again? I ask because how else to explain her very conservative (and Conservative) column in yesterdays National Post: The Real Issue Facing Canada: Competitiveness.

No kidding, a Stephen Harper complaint from years gone by, being espoused by Belinda Stronach. Too bad she can’t reisist a bad dig to start up the column:

Some see it ( competitiveness ) as simply a synonym for lower corporate taxes and restricted wage growth.

We know who this is meant for, Conservatives, but it was Paul Martin and Jean Cretien who believed competitiveness was about lower taxes, especially when the Conservatives talked about it.

The juiciest bite in this article comes from this line, however:

Being competitive globally involves education, job skills, infrastructure, innovation, technology and regulation. It is an integrated package. Competitiveness is the result of a political philosophy that sets the balance between government and the private sector”

She’s right, that philosophy is called conservatism. Stephen Harper has been preaching it for years.

Now remember back to when Belinda left the Conservatives because their lack of tolerance:

We have our priorities backwards. Other issues such as government accountability, lowering the GST and same sex marriage rights are secondary to making Canada competitive for the future.

Has she told this to Stephan Dion? She left the Conservatives supposedly because they didn’t make same sex rights a priority. And what is Belinda’s main accomplishment as a Liberal? The Pink Book:

Today, that voice is required more than ever as the Conservative government pursues an ideological agenda that ignores the needs of many women and cuts the funding of groups dedicated to those who need help most.

The Pink Book: A Policy Framework for Canada’s Future, Volume 1, describes a different direction – a progressive course that is essential not only to the advancement of Canadian women, but to the success of our country in the years ahead. We believe that a future Liberal government must focus its efforts on advancing the equality and economic status of women. Within this document you will find ideas and recommendations designed to achieve those goals – and to improve in other ways the lives of women and families across the nation…

Our ultimate goal is a better society for women and families – a society based on our Canadian values of justice and equality.

Yours sincerely,
Hon. Belinda Stronach, P.C., M.P. (Newmarket-Aurora)
Chair, National Liberal Women’s Caucus

That’s just the introductory letter. The rest of it is loaded with non-competitive ideas and leftist buzzwords, things like pay equity and “$1 billion over five years towards the development
of a national caregiving agenda.” It very certainly has it’s “priorities backwards.”

Based on this article, I ‘d say Belinda is leaving politics, and heading back to Magna (perhaps my new boss at Chrysler). That’s the only explanation why she’s worried about productivity (buzz word for competitiveness) and not same sex marriage or Kyoto inmplementation (which is the opposite of increasing competitiveness).


Picture of the Day – Killer Blue

April 10th, 2007

for Mark
Painting by Antonio Piacente


Aspiring to Mickey Mouse Standard

April 10th, 2007

I wrote a large post yesterday, that crashed while I was adding pictures, about how bad the NHL is. An old Leaf fan, I stopped watching/caring a number of years ago. Occasionally, however, I will bandwagon jump, and did so this weekend. I watched two games, the Leafs/Canadians Saturday night and the Islanders/Devils Sunday afternoon. After watching the two games my weekend came down to a shootout, which acrobat dropped the first bowling pin, to decide. Lame! The NHL officially owes me a new weekend.

Other issues I noticed, that I have been assured have been fixed, is referees officiating by the score and the clock, and strange penalty calls. The fact the league allowed New Jersey to dress their ‘B’ team for one of the leagues most important games (try that in the NFL) tells you how far the NHL has to go before they even acquire “Mickey Mouse league” status.

Then today, I read this:

The CBC is furious over the National Hockey League’s decision to schedule Saturday’s Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators match in the afternoon instead of prime time…

Particularly galling to the CBC is that it is paying the league a rights fee of $65-million a year while NBC pays nothing in a profit-sharing agreement with the NHL. What’s more, the CBC recently signed a contract extension with the NHL in which it will pay $600-million over six years, starting in 2008-09.

The CBC, the only rate payer involved in this discussion, is the one voice not being heard. That’s purely amateur hour thinking. In a business the size of the NHL, money talks. The CBC should be seriously rethinking that new contract, if it’s not too late.

Meanwhile, back in Maple Leaf land, the Toronto Star has a scathing report on their day after attitudes:

The folks who love this team want to believe their heroes will be hurting this week, when the NHL kicks off its annual Stanley Cup tournament by inviting a whopping 16 teams not named the Maple Leafs. But if you were hanging around the Air Canada Centre yesterday, it was hard to find evidence that anyone was dying inside.

There hasn’t been an NHL playoff game in Toronto since 2004. And yet there wasn’t anybody saying: “This is unacceptable” or “Never again.” There was, on the other hand, plenty of delusion in place of truth, much self-satisfaction in lieu of self-blame.

“I’m happy, personally,” said Andrew Raycroft, the goalie who was yanked from the biggest game of the season. “I got to play a lot of games and win a lot of games …”

It’s hard to say whether it was insulting or hilarious to hear Raycroft pat himself on the back repeatedly for winning 37 games. Raycroft, who put up some of the worst statistics of any NHL starter, needed 72 games to rack up his 37 dubyas. J.S. Giguere, to put it in perspective, played 16 fewer games and won 36.

“The end goal is to get into the playoffs,” Raycroft continued, “so it’s a bit of a disappointment.”

The end goal – and only Maurice and captain Mats Sundin correctly answered that skill-testing question yesterday – is supposed to be the Stanley Cup…

“Why is it always about who scores the most goals?” interjected Darcy Tucker. “It’s about your team winning.”

Um, precisely.

But Raycroft is, in fact right. The end goal of this organization has never been a championship, and that has rarely been more true than it is now. Make the playoffs, that’s the goal. By the way, that’s Raycroft in the picture to the right. If you see him on the street, remind him of how bad it really was. Remind him a .513 win percentage is not good enough for an NHL starter.

One final hockey note, it’s nice to see bad things happen to bad people.


You Can Say That Again

April 9th, 2007
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“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women of the Canadian Forces, who risk their lives to create a safer and more secure world for Canadians and people the word over.”

Stephane Dion
April 8, 2007


Mood For A Day

April 8th, 2007
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Steve Howe is not a name the general population knows overly well: he’s no Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen. But he is, none the less, one of the truly great guitarists of the rock pantheon. Adept in Jazz, fingerstyle and classical as well as rock, there is a huge number of guys my age who play classical as a direct result of “Mood For A Day.” The Los Angeles Quitar Quartet, in fact, did a flamenco variation of it called “Aire para un Dia,” on their 2004 CD “Guitar Heros.”

Howe’s band Yes was one of the biggest of the 70’s and still sell out medium sized venues whenever they tour, which is frequently.

Happy 60th birthday, Steve Howe. And on a personal note – thank you!


Blogging Tories Site of the Week

April 8th, 2007

The Lasso of Truth

Formerly the North American Patriot, Wonder Woman has pulled the stilettos out of storage and is ready to send her dispatches from Paradise Island.

Welcome back Wonder Woman: You look good in those shoes.


Saturday Fluffernutter: Keef and his Dad; Juno Debachles; Avril Gives Britney a Smackdown

April 7th, 2007
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All the Fluffy news about the worlds biggest nuts.

This is the story that I began the Fluffernutter for: this is the reason I ever wanted to start talking strange celebrity events. Kieth Richards this week said he snorted his fathers ashes: “He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow.” His father, Richards assured the interviewer, wouldn’t mind.

Meaning there are now two immortal Richards men. Assuming you believe the story, which I don’t. Sounds tome more like Richards thought he had a particularly dumb reporter on his line, then proved it.

The no publicity is bad publicity crowd should talk to the publicists over at CTV: has there been a worse TV debacle since Al Capone’s vault? First, the show time was changed to suit The Amazing Race. Not just changed, but shifted all over depending on where you live. Then they award a car on National TV, and tell the poor winners no dice. Now they say they are offering the non-winners a one year lease on the $20,000 vehicle. Thanks a lot!

While these two ‘winners’ seem like consummate whiners, could CTV have handled this any worse? A cheap Pontiac, and it’s too much for a major television station. Maybe they could have got Al Dubois to host the awards: it would have been far less embarrassing than having your hostess winning five Juno’s: that wasn’t awkward.

Avril Levine has never seemed too bright to me, but she got this one dead right:

“What’s happened to Britney[Spears] is all down to who she is as a person. If you want a piece of this business, you have to be able to deal with it. You can’t complain about the pressures, the paparazzi, the madness because that’s the job.”

Haven’t seen it yet? The ‘hilarious’ Alanis Morissette take of on The Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” video? Wait no more.

Instead of funny, I find it kind of ironic. Last decades NoTalentOverhyppedMediaDarling/Star parodying this decades NoTalentOverhyppedMediaDarling/Star.

But if Alanis wasn’t making fun of Fergie, what would she be doing? And yes, I would like fries with that.

Deeply sorry to hear of the death of director Bob Clark, who directed A Christmas Story, amongst others. Both Clark, and his 22 year old son Ariel, were killed when their car was struck by an unlicensed drunk on the Pacific Coast Highway:

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Bob, 67, and Ariel headed out; it’s unclear whether they were going to get something to eat or driving to Ariel’s Santa Monica apartment.

They had just driven a few blocks and were heading south on Pacific Coast Highway near the Bel-Air Bay Club at about 2:20 a.m. when a GMC Yukon swerved across the lane, striking their Infiniti Q-30 sedan head-on. Father and son were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the sport utility vehicle, Hector Valazquez-Nava, 24, of Los Angeles and passenger Lydia Mora, 29, of Azusa were taken to UCLA Medical Center and treated for minor injuries. Valazquez-Nava was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license and gross vehicular manslaughter.

The Christmas Story may is one of the top three Christmas movies I have ever seen, and Bob Clark deserves to be well remembered for that alone.

Left to right, here’s R.D. Robb (Schwartz), Ian Petrella (Randy Parker), Peter Billingsley (Ralphie), Bob Clark (director/co-producer/co-writer), Scott Schwartz (Flick) and Zack Ward (Scut Farkus).