Archive for November, 2008

Saturday Fluffernutter: Ramsaydoes the dirty; Two Reviews in Brief; A New Rhythm Section in Rock and Roll Heaven

November 29th, 2008
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Saturday Fluffernutter – all the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is a potty mouth TV chef here in America. In Britain, however, he is way up the celebrity scale, with his name appearing daily in the gossip tabs. Much of his fame comes from his bad guy on TV/dedicated family man in reality persona. It is under this guise that news of a reported seven year affair between the chef and serial mistress Sarah Symonds. Symonds was Jeffery Archer’s bad girl at one time, among others and authored the book “Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman.”

Ramsay has both denied the report, and reportedly has apologized to his wife Tana over the affair.

I’ll tell you, if I was on Hell’s Kitchen next season, the first time he called me stupid (which he does to everybody), I would retort “Oh, great. I’m being called stupid by a man who had an affair with a woman who wrote a book on having affairs.”

I tell you, I can’t get the audio out of my head about what a Gordon Ramsay affair would sound like:

“Not like that, stupid, like this. Do I have to everything my f***ing self?…”

Review in Brief: Twilight (as told by Miss Hespeler)

It was really cheesy, but good cheesy.

Was that Jason Priestly I heard on the radio the other day talking about kids these day? Brandon from 90210 complaining that the kids these days don’t take what their doing seriously enough?

You know you’re getting old when that kid you used to complain about is now complaining about kids.

Review in Brief #2: Guns and Roses Chinese Democracy.

Loud, but not worth the wait.

Irony Alert: speaking of Chinese Democracy, in an example of true irony, not sarcasm dressed up as irony ala David Letterman, the Chinese government has banned the album Chinese Democracy in China.

Bruce Springsteen released his first single of his new album this week: Working on a Dream. The song is the title track from Springsteen’s upcoming album, scheduled for release January 27th. He released it as a free one day download. It is now available on itunes for 99c until December 9th.

Rock and Roll Heaven acquired a new, however unlikely, rhythm section this week

Locally, former Platinum Blonde bassist Kenny MacLean (1956 – 2008) passed away of natural causes at the age of 52. MacLean has been active in the local music scene for over twenty years, and held a release party for his latest CD, Completely, Sunday night. He died through the night after the event.

Internationally, English drummer Michael Lee (1969 – 2008) passed away on Tuesday from what is presently being listed as unknown causes. He was 39 years old.

Lee played with Thin Lizzy, the Cult and Echo and the Bunnymen through his career. But he is most remembered here in Hespeler for his work with both Robert Plant and subsequently, Page & Plant. When former Led Zeppelin frontmen Jimmy Page and Robert Plant banded together to work up new material and rework some old Led Zeppelin tracks in 1994, Michael Lee joined them on drums. He would stay with them through the dissolution of the partnership in 1998.

Here’s a clip of Page and Plant, with Michael Lee playing drums.

cookin' with Ramsey, Fluffernutter, The Mighty Zep

Stéphane Dion, classy guy

November 28th, 2008

Remember during the election all the stories, what an upstanding, honest, ethical guy Stéphane Dion is? So how come today he is negotiating to bring the traitorous Bloc Quebecois into the government of Canada and the story is, Stephen Harper blinked, as I heard it reported on three different newscasts this afternoon?

I’m still trying to imagine Stephen Harper negotiating to put Gilles Duceppe in cabinet, and not being called a traitor. Yet nobody is calling Stéphane Dion or Jack Layton a traitor (or hypocrite,, since they would be teh first to scream if Harper did this). I’m going to spend some time looking for it tonight, but wasn’t there once a picture of the two of them sitting together that ran as a “look how close they are” story?

Oh, and one last request for the media, can we please stop calling it a stimulus package and call it what it is? A spending package! This is nothing more than Bob Rae, spend your self rich stupidity that the Liberals Bloc and NDP are screaming for, and it’s bad public policy. Last week you were yelling deficit, he’s put us in deficit, this week your yelling spend! Spend!! SPEND!!! And shame on the media for letting you get away with it.

Want to overthrow the legally, elected, constitutionally legal government? Then what is your plan. Let Canadians know exactly what you mean by stimulus.

Update: From the comments:

*“We would see him [Stephen Harper] and (Bloc Québécois Leader) Gilles Duceppe, if they get enough seats, working together to dismantle this country that all of us are so proud of.” (Paul Martin, Toronto Star, December 3, 2005)
* Martin questioned how the Tory leader can explain “his common agenda with the separatists.” (Ottawa Citizen, June 3, 2005)
* “Stephen Harper has made it so clear that he is prepared to do the Bloc’s bidding in Parliament, which I find incomprehensible…” (Paul Martin, Ottawa Citizen, April 28, 2005)
* “Let me tell you, Stephen Harper, you made an alliance with the Bloc, not me. The Bloc wants only one thing: a referendum to divide us and break up our country.” (Paul Martin, Globe and Mail, November 29, 2005)
* “The Conservative Party and the separatists … want this Parliament to fail because the Bloc wants Canada to fail.” (Public Works Minister Scott Brison, Hansard, May 2, 2005)
* “…it is impossible to understand why the Conservative Party supports the Bloc” (Scott Brison, Hansard, April 5, 2005)
* “It has become clear that the Conservative-Bloc alliance is alive and well, despite the Leader of the Opposition’s claims to the contrary.” (Susan Kadis, Hansard, May 17, 2005)
* “It is an unholy alliance [Between Conservatives and the Bloc] and Canadians need to know all about it. I take great exception to the hypocrisy of saying that they are not in bed with the Bloc and the separatists because they are.” (Roy Cullen, Hansard, April 14, 2005)

bad journalism, Economic Fundamentalism, Jacobian Piece of Impertinence, Parliament, pimply minions of bureaucracy

BBS Blogging Tories Site of the Week

November 26th, 2008
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The Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week for the week of November 23rd is:

Angry in the Great White North
” a heat-seeking missle in the Conservative arsenal”

Steve Janke’s Angry in the Great White North is one of the premier political blogs in Canada. His work during the recent election was outstanding. Many people may not have heard yet that one of the results of all that hard work is that he is being sued by former Liberal MP Blair Wilson. Stop in AGWN and while you’re there, give the Donation page a tap.

Blogging Tories Site of the Week

Picture of the Day: Sir Duke

November 24th, 2008
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November 13th, 2008

I, as an individual, this blog and numerous other bloggers are in support of Resolution P-203 and we put forward the following statement of support

We strongly support those members of the Conservative Party of Canada who seek to repeal Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act are a direct attack on the freedom of expression guaranteed to us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The provisions of these sections allow the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to prosecute anyone alleged to have said or written something “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” whether there is a living, breathing victim or not.

Vague concepts such as speech or writing “liable to cause hatred or contempt” are the basis of expensive state-funded prosecution of individuals. The statute provides no objective legal test for “hate” or any objective means of determining what constitutes “contempt”. As a result, the CHRC is used by various groups and individuals, as a risk-free taxpayer funded method to silence their critics and those they disagree with. CHRC investigators have testified that that “freedom of speech is an American concept” and therefore not valid in Canada. Such statements are contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but are standard operating procedure at the CHRC.

Commissioners of the Canadians Human Rights Tribunal, who are not judges and are often not even lawyers, have held that “truth” is not a defence against prosecution under Section 13. Intent or fair comment are also not defenses. In fact, there is not a single listed defence under Section 13! Because of the lack of any defenses, the Tribunal has a 100% conviction rate since 1978. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal routinely ignores the principles of fundamental justice, such as the rules of evidence, and these kangaroo courts, even allow hearsay evidence. The CHRA provides for each Tribunal to make up the rules as they go.

Every journalist, writer, Internet webmaster, publisher and private citizen in Canada can be the subject of a Human Rights complaint for expressing an opinion or telling the truth. Given the ambiguity of Section 13, it is virtually impossible for any individual to determine if they might be in violation of Section 13. Arbitrary censorship and punishment are wrong, and cannot be justified in a free society.

Please support Resolution P-203, and preserve Canadians’ Charter right to freedom of expression.

Because if conservatives won’t protect us from the pimply minions of bureaucracy, who will?

pimply minions of bureaucracy

Resolution P-203 Part II

November 13th, 2008
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The resolution is available in .pdf version, or .doc version.

More available from Richard at No Libs! dot com.
If your sitting MP is a member of the CPC, e-mail them and let them know you support P-203.

free speech, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Picture of the Day: Manhatten Sunrise

November 12th, 2008
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In Memory of a Fallen Soldier: Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley

November 11th, 2008
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William J. Cushley arrived in Afghanistan in August 2006 as a member of 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. He was 21 years old, had a girlfriend, Karine Rousselle, a member of the forces herself, and RCR tattooed proudly on his back. On September 3rd, 2006, Sunday of the Labour day weekend, William was killed by Taliban fighters during Operation Medusa, a major offensive in the town of Panjwayi, 30 km west of Kandahar city. Four Canadian Soldiers, including William, lost their lives that day, and a reported over 200 Taliban fighters.

William has been on my mind since the Toronto wear red rally and I came into close contact with his father, Errol Cushley:

I watched Mr. Cushley closely after that. I kept thinking that, while I agree with the mission, agree that Canadians belong in Afghanistan, I knew that if given the deal, the Faustian bargain, my son for the mission, I would say no: Let the damn Taliban have the place, let them have this one too. I’ll give Canada over to the Muslims, rather than pay that price. But Errol Cushley paid the price, and here he stood barely three weeks later, supporting the troops, supporting the mission even.

William was born in Port Lambton, Ontario, and is buried there. He is survived by his father, mother and three sisters – not to mention his girlfriend Karine.

On this Remembrance Day, instead of doing the usual foot shuffle, I used the two minutes of silence to offer a prayer for William Cushley and his family. I told my children about William, or at least tried to but couldn’t do so without becoming verklempt. For me, this year, Remembrance Day became personal.

Reposted from Nov 11, 2006. Lest we Forget.


"There is no words…

November 11th, 2008
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… or you wouldn’t have enough film, and I don’t have enough time to thank them from the bottom of my heart for respecting my son.” Darlene Chushman:

Darlene Cushman is mother Trooper Darryl Caswell who was killed by a roadside bomb on Monday June 11, 2007:

Trooper Darryl Caswell was the 57th Canadian death in Afghanistan since 2002. The 25-year-old was driving a Coyote armoured vehicle when it was hit by a roadside bomb. Two others were in the vehicle and were injured. The vehicle was part of a convoy delivering supplies to a forward operating base in Shahwali Kot district.

Col. Mike Cessford, deputy commander of the Canadian mission said the bombing was typical of insurgent tactics who try to avoid direct combat with better armed and trained NATO troops when possible.

“It is a tactical weakness,” he said.

Trooper Caswell was born in Bowmanville, Ont. and grew up and lived in a number of communities around the province. He had been serving in Afghanistan since January with the Royal Canadian Dragoons and was scheduled to return to Canada at the end of July.

Tom Blackwell snapped this photo of Trooper Caswell’s vehicle which shows significant damage to the front of the Coyote. The DND also has more information on the vehicle.

h/t Joanne


Saturday Fluffernutter: The Monday Edition

November 10th, 2008

Saturday Fluffernutter – all the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

Blair MacLean (1943 – 2008). So sad to hear of the death of the surviving member of MacLean & MacLean, Blair MacLean, of heart attack at age 65 last week. Canadian comedy duo MacLean & MacLean ran from 1972 to 1998, but had their greatest successes through the 1980’s. It is still not Christmas around the Hespeler Towers without MacLean & MacLean Go To Hell spinning once on the turntable.

MacLean’s partner, brother Gary MacLean passed away in 2001 of throat cancer. To mark the kind of man he was, Blair and his wife moved from Nova Scotia to Winnipeg to help care for Gary’s sons after his death.

Note: That’s all I got around to writing last week, and normally would have scrapped the whole thing, but I felt I wanted to pay small homage to Blair MacLean.

Fluffernutter, RIP

Low Blogging Month

November 10th, 2008
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I decided to take some time from my normal November schedule to challenge the National Novel Writing Month. I had hoped to keep up the blogging, but have found writing a minimum 1666 words a day, and working a full time job means less blogging will occur.

For those interested in how it’s going, you can follow my progress here:

So far I’m on pace with 15,643 words written. I have a 1,300 word excerpt, under Novel Info, for those who are interested, but here’s a shorter excerpt:

For The Sake of the Dog

It was the dog. He was the reason Kate and Paul stayed together all those years ago: for dog’s sake.

And now, the dog is sick.

Paul had an affair, a passionate, torrential wild affair that lasted about a week-and-a-half before Kate found out. Some people are good at cheating: they can lie easily, keep calm and cool, juggle a wife and another: Paul could do none of that; and it was obvious from day one that he was up to something. It took Kate a week to figure it out, another few days to prove it.

The dog Nicky, named after Nick Hornby, Kate’s favourite writer, is an Australian shepherd with grey hair and patchy grey fur around his eyes. He was about six months old at the time, three as the family dog.

Kate threw Paul out, but the dog moped around the house all night waiting, impatiently, for his return. After being kept awake a second night by the dog pacing and, she swears it, crying, she decided to call and say, “move back in.” Not because all was forgiven, not because it was OK. Not because she was two months pregnant with their first child, a fact unknown to Paul then, but for the sake of the dog. “I can’t do it to Nicky,” she said at the time. “But you sleep in the spare room.”

He moved back into the house that day, sleeping in the guest room at first, the marital bedroom a month or so later. Zach, now 14 and so pubescent, was born seven months later. Stephen was a year-and-a-half behind Zach, and Jeff two years after that.

All for the sake of the dog, and now the dog was sick.

Blogging won’t stop altogether, if nothing else, I’ll update my NaNoWriMo status periodically. And hey, I work for Chrysler, I could have all the time in the world to do both by the middle of the week.

I Love My Job, NaNoWriMo

Windows 7? No Thanks.

November 6th, 2008

I bought Windows Vista when it first came out a couple of springs ago. At first I quite liked it, but as it’s propensity to crash has increased, as I am looking at my third re-format in less than two years because Vista can’t seem to handle life in the 21st century, Microsoft hopes I’m game to step up and try the newest Windows product, Windows 7:

Microsoft Corp.’s latest Windows operating system was unveiled yesterday and it appears to be a faster, sleeker and simpler version of its shoddy predecessor, according to industry observers.

Now, after calming the hysteria of technology enthusiasts who dismissed Microsoft’s Windows Vista for being bloated and difficult to use, the software giant faces another challenge convincing millions of computer users and businesses to buy Windows 7 while mired in poor global economic conditions…

“I don’t expect businesses and consumers to hesitate upgrading to Windows 7 as Microsoft is likely to have its vast ecosystem primed for its release,” said Kevin Restivo, a software market analyst with IDC Canada.

Some of Windows 7’s features are a quiet acknowledgement of Vista’s main short comings: its poor device compatibility with other devices and slow start-up speeds.

Memo to Microsoft: Never again! My next machine will either be a Mac or, if I go all cheapskate (which I’m apt to do), pre-loaded with Linux. The only way I put Windows anything on a future machine is if you comp me a version of the W7, complete with apologies for my Vista experience. Since I don’t imagine you even care about the unhappy costomer at this end of the keyboard, I’ll continue pricing Macs with a special glint in my eye.

windows sucks

I’m OK with President Obama

November 5th, 2008
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The pre-election chatter from the right wing in the American election has often reminded me of the “Stephen Harper has a scary hidden agenda” nonsense we have endured for years here in Canada. Once elected, of course, the hidden agenda was shown to be, sadly, missing. As others have observed before, the ship of state cannot easily be turned. Even if Obama is determined to turn America into a vacuous socialist state, it will take time.

I find the Presidents contributions are often cultural as much as political. The President sets a tone for the country in how he acts that the country seems to subconsciously follow. Note, below, the Bloom County Cartoon from the 80’s (click on it for a readable size).

One of America’s true problems the past number of years has been a culture that seems to promote stupidity and illiteracy. Dropping out of high school is what the cool kids do. Black youth particularly seem to be inundated with role models that speak incomprehensibly. Whether it’s basketball players or hip hop artists, dropping out of the mainstream of society, speaking in mumbled street slang, wealth demonstrated through gauche wearing of “bling” is the norm for too many.

President-elect Obama is highly intelligent, literate and articulate. Much like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bill Cosby before him, he prizes his education, speaks clearly and has shown that a black man in America can be successful.

If President-elect Obama does nothing else, I sincerely hope his influence on culture is one that offers a different way for many young people, particularly but not exclusively in the African American communities, to strive for success. I hope he proves a needed anecdote to a gang culture that has decimated communities and left a generation without real hope.

Finally, congratulations to President Obama from At Home in Hespeler and I look forward to working for you — er — boss?

Politics American Style

Eh Tu National Post?

November 3rd, 2008

A few weeks ago I got on to The Toronto Sun about a price increase from $1.00 to $1.50. Bollocks, said I, or something to that effect. I’ll spend my money elsewhere. What I didn’t realize at the time was this was a GTA issue. The Sun was still .50¢ in Toronto and area, $1.50 the rest of the province. It’s fair enough really, and the same pricing system as the Star and if you can get $1.50 for the Star then you can for any old piece of crap. But I’m not playing that game, and since The Sun has become crap, I’ll do myself a favour and keep my money.

Then along comes The National Post, who today joined the crowd and raised their outside Toronto price to $1.50. What grates me on this, and take a seat Globe and Mail who do the same thing, is the Post is supposedly a national paper, for all Canadians. But if you drive one-hour out of downtown Toronto, the price increases 200%. So by national you mean Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, otherwise their not really interested? Who are these guys, The Liberal Party?

It must be said I can’t run a blog like this and refuse to buy any newspapers, but as I commute to Brampton daily I will most certainly change my habits and begin buying the Post in Brampton, but National Post take note, with less frequently.

A dollar-fifty for a daily newspaper. Kate’s right, they really aren’t waiting for the asteroid.

National Post, Newspapers