Archive for September, 2007

Led Zeppelin Reunion

September 12th, 2007

They are calling it a one night only event, and with Zeppelin’s history that seems likely. However, if they are ever going to throw a tour together, this seems like the time. And remember, a few weeks ago everybody was denying the one off event.

Besides, I don’t think the $45.00 I have saved in my Zeppelin fund is enough to get me to Londen for the weekend of November 24th, so they have to do more shows.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', The Mighty Zep

The View From Ground Zero

September 11th, 2007
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As I mentioned last year, when I opted for New York Photo Essay, others will do a much better job of covering the anniversary of September 11th than I will. Once again, I give this page over to my camera, with pictures, again taken in the spring of 2006, of ground zero. Please click on the images for a larger picture.

I Love NY, Pictures

What I Like About Stephen Harper.

September 10th, 2007

Street hockey on the driveway at 24 sussex.

Sean O’Donnell, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ defenceman who is an Ottawa native, brought the Cup to the house (24 Sussex Dr.) on Thursday.

“He got to take the Cup anywhere he wanted for 24 hours and we were fortunate to have it here for an hour and a half,” said Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen. The Harpers invited friends and their son Ben’s hockey team, and people from the neighbourhood, to touch the Cup.

“We had over 250 people line the driveway with hockey sticks,” Mrs. Harper said in an e-mail. It was a private event with no media. While waiting for the Cup to arrive, the Harpers served hot dogs and ran a mini hockey tournament on the semicircular driveway outside the house.

“We had three street hockey games going. It was fun,” said Mrs. Harper…

Mr. Harper and his son attend NHL hockey games together, he goes to Ben’s games at the local arena, and his kids and their friends play street hockey outside the home on a regular basis.

Three street hockey games were played on the driveway at 24 Sussex, Ben’s friends play street hockey there, “on a regular basis.”

One question, where’s the pictures and video? This is the kind of story the PM’s image needs. Why haven’t his people got it out there better?

Hockey, Stephen Harper

This Week on my i-pod: Lost on Bon Jovi’s Highway

September 9th, 2007
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I’m not a huge Bon Jovi fan. I do have Slippery When Wet, and like half of it. Livin’ on a Prayer is the very best of the 80’s hair-metal, in my opinion, and Wanted Dead or Alive was always a favourite. And to be fair, Jon Bon Jovi seems pretty cool and down to earth, and Ritchie Sambora was married to Heather Locklear, so he doesn’t need to do much with the guitar to impress me. None the less, he impresses me as a guitar player.

All that said, I heard some good things about Lost Highway, and decided to give it a listen with very little in the way of expectations. The thing about having no expectations, is sometimes you are simply blown away: I was blown away.

Now mind you, this is not one of the great albums of all time, nor is it a uniquely remarkable achievement in the history of rock and roll. It is, however, a very good album, and possibly my favourite of the year (the Foo’s and Robert Plant still have works coming down the pipe, so I’ll not offer a definitive).

Much has been made of the albums country influence, but other than a few pieces, particularly the duet with Leann Rimes, We Ain’t Strangers Anymore, and the fun, I Love This Town there’s not a lot of country: calling this album country is a bit like calling Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door country based on Hot Dog. Bon Jovi treat country like a mannerism to have some fun with, not a serious music style to copy. There’s nothing wrong with that: with songs like Summertime (no, not that one) and the title track, they treat rock and roll the same way, and that’s what makes this album so good. It’s OK music, but Bon Jovi just doesn’t take themselves, or the music seriously throughout the album. Result? A fun, rockin good CD, the way rock and roll was meant to be.

Honourable mention goes out to Seat Next To You, a gorgeously romantic song that has earned it’s way onto my back yard dance disc.

Long slow drive down an old dirt road
You’ve got your hand out the window, listening to the radio
That’s where I wanna be…

On an old park bench in the middle of December
Cold hard rain fallin’, can’t find no cover
That would be alright with me…

Hard days, good times, blue skies, dark nights
Baby, I want you to take me … wherever you’re going to
Maybe say that you’ll save me … a seat next to you

In the corner booth of a downtown bar, with your head on my shoulder
Smokin’ on a cheap cigar…that would be alright with me
In the back row of a movie or a cross-town train
I wanna hear your voice whispering my name…that’s where I wanna be

Hard days, good times, blue skies, dark nights

Baby, say that you’ll take me … wherever you’re going to
Maybe say that you’ll save me … a seat next to you

Life is like a ferris wheel, spinnin’ around
When you get to the top it’s hard to look down
Just hang on … we’ll make it through
Save me … a seat next to you

When you get to the gates and the angels sing
Go to that place where the church bells ring
You know I’ll come runnin’ … runnin’ to find you

Baby, say that you’ll take me … wherever you’re going to
Maybe I want you to save me … a seat next to you
A seat next to you

Hmmm, lets see, a couple of fun country songs, a couple of good old rock and rollers (not too serious) and a song that can fight it’s way onto my patio when Lady Hespeler is feeling romantic. All the makings of a really good album, and Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway is exactly that, a really good album.

This Week on my I-Pod

Blogging Tories Site of the Week

September 9th, 2007
Making Sense With Nicholls

I wish this site of the week thing was always this easy. Gerry Nicholls and I have been on-line friends now for over a year. We were the only two people in Canada who seemed to care that the CAW was calling for elimination of Canadian capitalism, and replacing it with socialism. We have been friendly ever since, and it is one of the pleasures of blogging the last two years that I have been able to say so.

He is not only one of the top 5 political minds in the country, he wrote the list, and this week Gerry joined the blogging Tories.

Welcome to the team Gerry.

Blogging Tories Site of the Week, Gerry Nicholls

Saturday Fluffernutter: Chef’s Nuts Roasting on an Oven Fire.

September 8th, 2007
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Condolences to uber-chef/potty mouth Gordon Ramsey, who got his right testicle burned in a cooking accident. His reaction? “F**k me, bollocks to that.” Seems kind of tame. He has said worse than that to wannabe-chefs who undercook the risotto. Word is The Savoy Grill is going to start serving a drink called the flaming testicle.

Disney’s High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, who is hotter than Gordon Ramsey’s right testicle, has had a nude picture (no, that’s not a link to the picture) leaked onto the internet. Normally not a big deal when you are an 18 year old actress, and maybe even a plus if you feel you need the publicity. But Vanessa works for family friendly Disney, who can’t be happy today.

It’s shaping up to be a good fall rock and roll season with a Bruce Springsteen CD, the first all new Eagles CD since The Long Run, a Robert Plant/Alison Krauss CD, and the Foo Fighters, Matchbox Twenty and James Blunt offering new CDs. As well, there is a Zeppelin Box set, Mothership, a Paul McCartney retrospective, and live albums by Elton John and Jimmy Buffet. Finally, Led Zeppelin is re-releasing The Song Remains the Same DVD, with the complete set from the ’73 Madison Square Garden shows. Add in a Springsteen/E Street Band tour, and a long rumoured Zeppelin reunion, and the next six months my motto may well be “poor but happy.”

If Zeppelin is going to reunite, they probably better step it up and get on with it. According to researchers at Liverpool John Moores University rock stars are “more than twice as likely to die a premature death as ordinary citizens of the same age.” While I can’t imagine why this would be, those Zeppelin boys aren’t getting any younger.

I’m not sure what I could possibly add than hasn’t already been said, and said better, but farewell to Luciano Pavarotti, who passed this week of pancreatic cancer at the age of 71.

Celebrities, Fluffernutter

Double, double Mulroney and trouble; Trudeau burn, and Dion bubble.

September 7th, 2007

I can’t begin to say how much I have been enjoying the political hornets nest Brian Mulroney has stirred up with his trashing of Pierre Trudeau this week, and release of his memoirs, Memoirs 1939-1993 next week.

And, strangely, I half agree with Stephane Dion that Mulroney is off base, although Dion calling him a political coward demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge in Mulroney’s history, if he really believes it. But slapping Trudeau around for youthful indiscretions? Even if they were as serious as being a Nazi sympathizer (which I in no way believe they are), they are events that happened 70 years ago, in the youth of a man who lived a full life, and passed over six years ago. Besides, Trudeau’s work and policies in no way suggest he was sympathetic to the Nazis.

No, if Mulroney wants to attack Trudeau, policy is the place to do it. And there is lots of room to attack, and it is, frankly, fair game whether Trudeau is alive or dead. Policy is the legacy a politician leaves behind, and Trudeau left enough policy is just downright bad. I will reserve judgement until I have read the book, but if Mulroney’s critique of Trudeau can’t rise above the “he didn’t fight the Nazi’s when he had a chance” stuff, if he can’t find enough policy to lambaste Trudeau over, then it explains much about what went wrong during Mulroney’s years in office. If a Conservative Prime Minister can’t find pages an pages of critical comment on Trudeau’s politics, then he should never have been a) a Conservative and b) Prime Minister.

The fallout, however, looks like it will not be constrained to pistols at sunrise between the Trudeaupeans and the Mulroneyites. Today Senator Pat Carney wrote a letter into the Post regarding David Frum’s piece of the free trade Agreement. In his piece, Frum suggested that John Crosbie was the minister of trade who negotiated the FTA. It’s not so much Carney’s setting the record straight that’s interesting; that happens all the time. But the tone of the letter strongly suggests the following entry in Pat Carney’s (Sen. PC) Christmas card list:

John Crosbie

Here is the letter itself:

David Frum’s mundane account of Brian Mulroney’s historic accomplishment in achieving the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is marred by his false assertion that John Crosbie was the minister of trade who negotiated the FTA. That role is properly mine, as trade minister whose signature is on the Agreement in Principle negotiated by finance minister Michael Wilson, chief of staff Derek Burney and myself in a clock-racing marathon in Washinton [sic] on Oct. 4 1987. John Crosbie, who famously said he had never read the FTA, was responsible for implementing the negotiated agreement. Look it up.

With this being the week before the first of the two big memoirs coming in the next few months (Jean Cretien also has his coming out), this could be a lively and fun fall.

Books, Silly Politicians, Who You Calling a Nazi?

How Does More Days Off Help The Manufacturing Crisis?

September 5th, 2007

Two days ago Buzz Hargrove was mentioning “Canada’s Manufacturing Crisis,” which lets face it, is Ontario’s Unionized Manufacturing Crisis, and he laid the blame squarely at Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty. They are the guys who should be losing their jobs, paraphrased Hargrove, not 1,000 GM workers. Interestingly, while Buzz was blaming Harper and Flaherty for not creating enough US demand for pick-up trucks, Dalton McGuinty was making the crisis worse, to stunning unionized silence.

The CAW will tell you they have a very tough round of negotiations coming up with the big three next year, where GM, Ford and Chrysler will all be looking for concessions from their workers. The concessions will be in the form of wages, benefits and paid time off. So in the middle of this crisis, in the middle of a good, the right wingers aren’t left wing enough rant, Buzz’s left leaning buddies in the provincial Liberals decide to create, one more paid day off.

We can debate the merits of the day off pro and contra until the cows come home, but if we are in the middle of a job-loss crisis, this is not helpful, it’s harmful. And, if that is so, shouldn’t Dalton be called out on that fact by Buzz, Jim Stanford et al.? And if they don’t call Buzz on this one, does this mean there is no real crisis?

Oh, and memo to the CBC: back in September 2005, the CAW lost zero (0, none, nada, zilch, soccer score) “jobs at DaimlerChrysler in Ontario.” Many workers, some of whom I knew, worked with, liked, in fact did lose their jobs. But the CAW? They weren’t their jobs, they don’t own the jobs, thus they cannot have lost the jobs. Just sayin’

CAW, Dalton Dalton Dalton

Riddle Me This Dalton

September 4th, 2007

Is it going to be declared a new holiday, or will you just ban working on the third Monday in February?

And the reasons given by Jim Watson, Minister of Health Promotion (was Minister of Saying Please and Thank-you taken?), for creating Family Day: Statutory holidays are good for the tourism industry. Maybe in August, but in mid-February Jim, don’t call me Dr., Watson thinks I’m, what, heading to the beach in Goderich? Taking the family to Algonquin Park? Good for tourism in the tropics, where no doubt four day weekend packages to the cayman islands will start springing up, but will Orillia really see a boost? Tourism Carolina can boast about 60 degrees and sunny only 12 hours away, but the Minister of Diddley Squat thinks a February holiday will be good for Ontario tourism?

I think not Sherlock.

Dalton Dalton Dalton, Ontario Election

McGuinty’s Billions

September 4th, 2007
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Well labour day is past, summer unofficially over and election season begins here in Ontario. This is not just an election for Premier, between two very left Liberal types, John “Red” Tory and Dalton McGuinty, but also a referendum on proportional representation (PR), or non-democratic democracy. I’m not a fan of PR, but will wait until later in the election to detail my objections.

It is, frankly, a hard election to get very excited over as John Tory is the very definition of a Red Tory (Red by ideology, Tory by name), and Dalton is a classic Liberal (lie like a b@@tard). For a conservative voter, this dog don’t hunt. Economists like to model a scenario they call the prisoner’s dilemma, this election is looking like the taxpayers dilemma.

Which leads to the question, where does a blogger go to get Hemlock? and how do you self-administer a dose?

I wish Monty Brewster was here.

Bad Movies, Ontario Election, PR.

Return to Planet Blog

September 3rd, 2007

Well, I never really went away, I just stopped caring what was happening, both in the world I scribble about (i.e. politics) and the blog itself. The truth is, when the weather got nice in around June, and I was pulling 15-20 readers a day, killing this blog was high on my mind. Instead of doing so, I decided to just go away, and not come back until Labour day. Just go away for the summer, and see if I want to do the work necessary to try and resurrect this blogged up corpse.

It was, frankly, hard to stay away this past few weeks, and as the last two posts show, I only sort of succeeded in staying away. The goal now, is return At Home in Hespeler to it’s former glory. This involves returning to mostly short, humorous posts, with occasional longer more serious work.

The weekends will see the return of three features, which have never appeared before together. Saturday will feature the Saturday Fluffernutter, my take on the weekly Hollyweird stories. I am aiming for a shorter feature, with one or two stories, instead of running five to seven as I was doing before (although some weeks, there is just seven can’t ignore stories). Sunday will see the return of the Blogging Tories Site of the Week, which I inherited from Blue Blogging Soapbox and have been uncomfortable ignoring the past three months. And finally, Sunday morning will also give you This Week on my I-Pod, a weekly look at who I’ve been listening to, with some general reflections thrown around.

That’s it. Come tomorrow, the kids go back to school, and I will start to look at politics again. As I say that I note this weekend that Andrew Coyne has suggested “Canadian politics is uniquely stupid.” And Susan Delacourt, talking about PuffinGate©, has said “humour seems to have gone out of fashion in politics in Harper’s Ottawa.” Never mind the nonsense about it being somehow Harper’s fault that Liberal’s and progressives are insulted, degraded and disgusted every time some Conservative makes a joke. Humour is gone from politics, and the reaction to Ignatieff’s ill-advised, but otherwise humorous little bit about Puffins is a stunning example of exactly what Andrew Coyne is talking about. Good on Christian Conservative, who got into the proper spirit of the thing, and hammed up a new Liberal Logo, which you see above.

Blog Administration, It's all about me

America’s Little Dumplins

September 2nd, 2007
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What’s funnier?

(click for full sized image)


(click for full sized image)

Because according to the Sun, they ran with the alternate, unoffensive to Nutjobastinaians cartoon last week, because:

Sometimes a cartoon can be funny and even useful. Sometimes it isn’t. We made the switch and ran the funnier strip.

The two cartoons you see above are this weeks Opus, presumably the safe one was used for the same reason. (which maybe explains why the Sun’s weekday comic page has become pathetic this summer).

When I wrote that piece on Wednesday, I noted the Sun once was edgy, gutsy paper, and now they’re a bunch of cowards. Out of a sense of fairness, not being sure why they didn’t post the original cartoon, I didn’t post that.

New events lead me to change that decision.

Humour, opus