Archive for September, 2009

Oh, The Irony

September 24th, 2009

Greg Weston was one of the journalists in the Parliamentary Gallery who got his nose particularly out of joint with the PMO when it got invaded by Conservatives. He has since calmed somewhat and seems to be offering fairer reportage. Today, he offers up a tidbit I never heard before, but which gave me a good laugh:

"Stop wasting my money!"

"Stop wasting my money!"

It has been almost 30 years since a flock of geese flying across Canadian television screens caused a national flap over taxpayers’ money being used for partisan political propaganda…

Liberal MP Bob Rae, then a member of the NDP, said at the time: “I will never be able to look at Canada geese in the same way again. I’ll see them as Liberals in disguise.”

Turns out Bob Rae was the Liberal in disguise, who knew?
Besides providing an easy swipe at Bob Rae, Weston makes an error of, if not fact then certainly, content. Writing of the Conservative’s “we’re spending your money so fast we hardly have time to count it,” ads. Here’s what he wrote:
Even right-wing commentator Gerry Nicholls decried the campaign as “an abuse of tax dollars,” describing the ads as “clearly partisan, clearly Conservative propaganda.”
Entirely true, Gerry Nicholls has been critical of these ads,. However, the way Weston writes this it suggests Nicholls is an otherwise compliant Conservative who never criticizes the Harper Tories, and that’s simply not the fact. In fact my friend Gerry is often criticized for speaking out against the Conservatives.

Gerry Nicholls, Ink Stained Wretches , , , , , , , ,

Happy 60th Birthday…

September 23rd, 2009

Bruce Springsteen could get the AHIH Birthday nod because of 35 years of quality rock ‘n’ roll and leave it at that. I could offer best wishes on his 60th for turning the Fender Telecaster into a rock ‘n’ roll instrument, synonymous in rock ‘n’ roll circles with Bruce Springsteen much like Jimmy Page and his Les Paul.bruce_springsteen_3

On the other hand, in 1974 Bruce Springsteen set out to record the greatest rock album ever, and almost succeeded (arguably did) with the release of Born to Run. Three years later he released his most artistically complete work, Darkness on the Edge of Town, leaving possibly the two best songs (Fire and Because The Night, the former become a hit for The Pointer Sisters; the latter for Patti Smith) on the cutting room floor. He also wrote one of those songs that may never go away, Blinded By The Light, made what it is by Manfred Mann. Surely that’s enough for birthday wishes on his 60th.

Maybe I’d say happy birthday because he performed two of the three best concerts I have ever seen, first in 1984, just before he was to achieve superstardom. Dancing in the Dark was on the radio, Courtney Cox dancing on MTV, her first flirtation with fame. The second time was almost 30 years later, in 2003. Performing from a new album, the 50-something Springsteen stepped up for 2 1/2 hours. If a reformed Led Zeppelin hadn’t upended the “best concert I’ve ever seen” listing in 2007, I could say with absolute confidence they would have been the two best shows I have ever seen.

Someone else, I might offer wishes because he wrote the following lines:

brucespringsteenIf dreams came true aww wouldn’t that be nice…

I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul…

The street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
Man, the poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all,
They just stand back and let it all be…

I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote.
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest…

We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school…

But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company…

On another day I might suggest the guitar solo in Prove it All Night is worthy o, the bass line in Fire, the passionately strained vocals on Born to Run suggest the recipient was worthy.

Truth is, I can’t narrow down Bruce Springsteen’s contributions to one lick, one line, one song, one album. His career has produced a body of work that can only be called significant, much of it among the best in rock’n’roll.

So Happy 60th Birthday Bruce Springsteen, because of the years of wonder you have given me, and because even after all these years, rock ‘n’ roll still seems important to you.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Springsteen is still Boss

Saturday Fluffernutter: Kanye West Goes Stupid; TIFF; The Jones Boys Ride Again?; Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

September 19th, 2009
Comments Off on Saturday Fluffernutter: Kanye West Goes Stupid; TIFF; The Jones Boys Ride Again?; Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

fluffincolorIt takes a special kind of drunk to get kicked out of the MTV video awards, but Kanye West is not just a special kind of drunk, but a special kind of asshole. While Taylor Swift fluff2was accepting her award for best female video, West interrupted her acceptance speech to complain that Beyonce should have won the award. The cognac swilling douche-bag then was escorted out of the awards, possibly making him the first musician to be too drunk for the music industry.


How do you tell a real punk rocker from a fake punk rocker?

Real punk rockers don’t have their own line of clothing.


It’s that time of year here in Southern Ontario when the Toronto International Film Festival takes over the Arts pages of the newspapers. We don’t navel gaze or anything here in the “center of the universe,” but the next month will feature story after story of “celebrities” who deign to grace us with their presence, most of whom 99% of the population has never heard of. Case in point:  The Toronto Sun reported twice this week that Viggo Mortensen was seen about town with a Montreal Canadians sweater, causing the city of Toronto to say en masse, “who the f&%k is Viggo Mortensen?”


Jay Leno debuted his new Prime Time show this week, with massive ratings for Mondays inaugural show which featured Kanye West apologizing for being, well see above.  While initial rating where positive, critics where finding that while the show promised to be something new, the only thing different was the time slot. Otherwise it was a minor variation on the late night talk show.


Reports this week that Harrison Ford is thinking of riding the Indiana Jones pony one more time. Ford is reported to be working on a story with Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas and is prepared to “put on the costume again… if the script is good.” Funny, that didn’t stop him with the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Another report has Sean Connery looking to reprise his role as Ford’s father, Henry Jones.

fluffincolorPatrick Swayze (1952-2009) – Farewell to Patrick Swayze, star of the movies Ghost and Dirty dancing. Swayze passed on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer at age 57.

In the long line of Hollywood movie stars/dancers, Swayze will find a place with some of the best, and certainly was the best of his generation.

Fluffernutter , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Libertas Post

September 19th, 2009
Comments Off on Libertas Post

It was a couple of weeks ago that Gerry Nicholls emailed me to tell me about a new web site he was working on, “with some other people.” The idea, a Libertarian portal, where a variety of writers would contribute articles and blog posts. Perhaps, he thought, I would like to add some content?

I did, and have been posting some stuff there for a few weeks now. Yesterday, Gerry went live with LP, the new Canadian Libertarian website. With articles by Gerry, Rondi Adamson, Charles Adler, Michael Taube and others Libertas promises to be a good website, which I am honoured to be contributing to.

Please check out Libertas Post, bookmark it and come back often.

Libertas Post , , ,

Do You Have Ze Papers II

September 17th, 2009

Was it two whole days ago I was complaining about licencing of cyclists? My how time flies. One of my comments in that post was that we are already licenced for boating:

Car, motorcycle, boat, sitting beside a pond fishing, all require a licence. Now Michael Walker thinks cycling should require a licence…

guitar-boatMy old pal Ron, who used to blog here, commented on getting his boat licence:

Perhaps it will be like the boaters so-called licence. I took the test at a booth at a flea market. It took me twenty minutes, with no studying, and I hadn’t driven a boat in years.

But what could be so wrong with licencing bicycles? asked everyone else who commented. The boat licence provides a nice background. As  noted by Chris Selley in today’s National Post there’s lots wrong with  the boat licensing system: no boating experience is necessary, private licencing without proper oversight, licence not required if your renting the boat or if your just visiting. One thing the licence is not about is improved safety.

Here in Ontario (I can’t vouch for elsewhere), the boat licence comes with one other minor problem, it authorizes otherwise illegal searches. The OPP can, and advertise heavily that they do, stop your vessel and board it, at which time they can, and do, demand the pleasure craft operating card of the driver. It matters not at all that you are operating safely and legally, it matters not at all that they have no grounds or reason. As they will tell everyone through media sources, they hit every lake, big or small, they stop any boater on those lakes. You will, they assure us, be asked to provide your boaters card if you go out on you boat. Now that they have stopped you to check that your paperwork is in order, they can do a quick look around make sure everything is up to standard.

To provide a little perspective on this, the OPP can absolutely not pull you over while driving down the highway for no other reason than to see your licence. Having done so, they can not search around to see what they see. Even when they perform the RIDE program, stopping people to check if they have been drinking, they do not ask for your licence. But on your boat, that kind of police state tactics is fine.

When I see politicians talking about licencing bicycles because “there is no requirement for a cyclist to carry personal identification,” I imagine a world where cyclists are stopped riding down the road, for the reason of proving they have the appropriate papers. Am I paranoid? No, it is the exact same regimen that is occuring on the lakes and rivers all across the province: you cannot go to your cottage and take a simple boat ride without having to answer for it, and that is incompatible with living in a free society.

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

ShutterBugging Picture of the Day: Cute Redhead

September 15th, 2009
Comments Off on ShutterBugging Picture of the Day: Cute Redhead

Do you have ze Papers?

September 15th, 2009

Toronto Councillor Michael Walker wants to force Toronto cyclists to get licences for riding of said bikes. Adults, as well, should have to wear helmets, lest they crack their pretty heads open. Free choice? Not in Michael Walker’s city!

3579129846_b784d25038It is, however, the licence issue that’s most troubling. It may be an excusable request if the problem was rampant bikers who don’t know how to ride their bikes. A course, plus a test for every body’s safety, perhaps. But listen to Walkers reason for wanting licensing:

Currently, there is no requirement for a cyclist to carry personal identification…

Micheal Walker doesn’t want you riding around in his city if he can’t tell who you are and, we presume, if you belong.

Car, motorcycle, boat, sitting beside a pond fishing, all require a licence. Now Michael Walker thinks cycling should require a licence, at the same time as the City of Toronto is trying to get more people to ride bikes – a conflict of priorities if ever there was one. However, Walker’s stated reason, because you should have to carry identification, is chilling. If he gets his way there will be one method you can go to leave the house that wouldn’t require handy identification: walking. How long before the likes of Michael Walker decide that’s not safe enough, and identification is required, so it is not “difficult for police?”

At that stage, you can no longer go under the mantle of free citizen.

freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral , , ,

Happy 60th Birthday…

September 14th, 2009

Ed King is the third guitarist in the legendary three guitar attack of Lynyrd Skynyrd.edking Joining the band as bassist after Skynyrd opened for King’s own band, Strawberry Alarm Clock, King had moved to guitar by the time Skynyrd’s first album hit the shelves.

His guitar prowess notwithstanding, King was also a significant songwriter with credits including the legendary Sweet Home Alabama and an uncredited assist on Strawberry Alarm Clock’s big hit, Incense and Peppermint.

All that pales, however, to Kings one true contribution to rock and roll: he’s the guy who gives the four beat count-in on Sweet Home Alabama: possibly the most recognizable count-in since I Saw Her Standing There.

Happy 60th Birthday Ed King, hope your enjoying your retirement.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin' , , , ,

Thanks Wendy…

September 11th, 2009
Comments Off on Thanks Wendy…

You brought a tear to my eye.

Actually, it wasn’t Wendy, it was Erica Basnicki, daughter of Ken Basnicki who died in New York on September 11, 2001:

It was there that I realized that I can’t explain the significance of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, because the anniversary itself isn’t significant. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the fifth, 12th or 402nd anniversary – five is just a number.

If you want significant numbers, here are just a few: 2,996 people were killed on 9/11, and only 174 bodies were found intact. Most of the people who died were young, between 35 and 39 years old. There are 193 countries in the world and 115 of them lost citizens that day, and the fires at Ground Zero burned for 99 days after the attacks.

Most significant of all, Canada lost 24 citizens that day.

One of them was my dad.

God Bless Erica, and all other who lost loves ones nine years ago today.

And a special blessing to anybody who ran into those two buildings while everybody else was running out.

I Love NY , , ,

CRTCs Fantasyland

September 10th, 2009
Comments Off on CRTCs Fantasyland

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and their bedmates, the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting (who lets face it, don’t call themselves Friends of Canadian Television and Radio Consumers for a reason), are presently all knickers-in-a-twisty over Rogers and Bells decision to pass an operating fee onto consumers as a tax. Their reason, it’s not a tax, and it was meant to be imposed on the broadcasters, not their customers. We now have a good clue how out of touch with reality the CRTC is.tv_satellite_dish__150_c_band_

The CRTC mandated fee is 1.5% of the companies gross operating revenue, to pay a Local Programming Improvement Fund – also CRTC mandated. Somehow, the CRTC, and their pals, think a government body, imposing a mandatory fee on a Canadian entity, to be paid regardless of profitability, is somehow not a tax. Weasel words and left-wing advocatory groups do not change the fact that government confiscation of wealth is always a tax. You can agree or disagree with the tax, but there’s no denying what it is. Note too, it is 1.5% of gross revenue. If Rogers was running a $50M loss on revenues of $100M, they would till owe their 1.5% of $100M.

But the real delusion happens when they complain of the tax being passed onto consumers. Companies always pass on tax increases to consumers: companies don’t pay taxes, their customers do and this tax increase merely illustrates that.

It illustrates another thing that everybody should already know: the CRTC does not work in reality, but in some fantasyland where people will watch what some bureaucrat tells them to and a mandatory payment from private sector to government control is not  a tax.


Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

September 10th, 2009
Comments Off on Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

After six years of hard-left winger David Miller’s reign, there is signs that the people of Toronto are looking for some change.   So who do they get coming to the plate?toronto

Provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman, from the leftern most reaches of the Liberal Party.

One question for George Smitherman: what would you have done differently you had been in charge the last six years?

Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral , , ,


September 10th, 2009
Comments Off on Test

Post test


Dalton’s Culture of Corruption

September 8th, 2009

Stevie Cameron, where are you? Where is “On The Take II: Crime, Corruption and Greed in the McGuinty Years”? The elements are all there, the spending scandals piling up, even the traffic incident to throw in to somehow prove the other crimes.

First up is eHealth, in which McGuinty appointees and insiders where granted single source contracts and spent taxpayers money like drunken Chrétien era Liberals.

Then came the lotto file, where insiders where winning a statistically high number of big claims. Once eyes turned towards the Lotto Corp. it was soon discovered the board of the The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) thought their expense account was to cover any expense they might have, professional, personal or otherwise:

Dalton McGuinty: Sitting Down on the Job.

Dalton McGuinty: Sitting Down on the Job.

Your sister-in-law is having a housewarming and need a ’96 La Mondotte? No problem, that’s an expense; car broken down and, hey, I can’t get to work without a car. That’s an expense; just had a $3,713 meal (alcohol: $1458) and whoops! Left my personal credit card in my other pants. No problem, they accept Government of Ontario Diners Club card; damn grocery store is now charging a nickel for plastic bags and why should you have to fork over $1.12 for a cloth bag? Just expense it.

Bottom line, just over a week ago the whole board resigns, except for CEO Kelly McDougald who was dismissed with cause.

I won’t dwell on Michael Bryant, he wouldn’t otherwise belong, unless your spoofing Stevie Cameron’s book on the Mulroney years in which every irrelevant issue is used to prove what Cameron had no evidence for, that Mulroney was personally corrupt. Including in that evidence was Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Bernard Valcourt, who had an impaired driving conviction in 1989 after a motorcycle accident that cost Valcourt an eye. So in the Cameron tradition, Bryant is evidence of criminality, corruption, an above the law attitude amongst McGuinyites (hey, this is Canada, it doesn’t have to be good journalism).

Which brings us to today:

The agency that assesses property values for homeowners in Ontario broke its own rules for hiring consultants and acquiring information technology systems, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s rules state that contracts with external consultants that are extended beyond their initial term cannot have a dollar value more than twice the amount of the original contract.

But an internal audit done by MPAC found the agency extended contracts to anywhere from five-to-14 times the initial value, for a total of $11.4-million, a revelation that suggests MPAC had been quietly grappling with some of the same issues over spending taxpayers’ money that have come to light at eHealth Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

Of course, the issue was “problems with the agency’s procurement practices in 2005 and 2006,” and the “report is out of date.” In other words, “we already solved the problem.” But why are we only finding out about the problem now? And, of course, we’ve heard this song and dance before: past practices, new procedures. Which doesn’t explain why the lotto board resigned on masse or eHealth keeps coming back to haunt us like a bad Karl Heinz Schreiber movie.

That can only be explained by Dalton’s culture of corruption.

Dalton, Dalton Dalton Dalton, dalton spend, spend dalton spend , , , , , , , , , , ,

ShutterBugging Picture of the Day: It’s Not Easy Being Green

September 8th, 2009
Comments Off on ShutterBugging Picture of the Day: It’s Not Easy Being Green

Saturday Fluffernutter: The Better Late Then Never Edition: Demi Twitters; Perez is a Twit; Crooked Vultures on Tour; Inglorious Basterds Review in Brief

September 5th, 2009

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

fluffincolorDemi Moore is threatening to sue “celebrity blogger” (or as I like to call him, “Darwinian proof that an IQ is not a requirement to operate a computer”) Perez Hilton. 1156378006_39dd7e6473Hilton linked to pictures of Moore’s fifteen year old daughter in a tiny bikini top and shortish shorts. Using Twitter as her platform, the former Mrs. Bruce Willis, current Mrs. Aston Kutcher accuses Hilton of encouraging child porn: “Clearly Perez Hilton isn’t taking violating child pornography laws very seriously. He might not but there are a lot of people who do! Anyone who advertises follows or supports Perez supports violating child pornography laws!”

Hilton has answered by calling Moore’s claims: “libellous, defamatory, inaccurate and stupid.” Four subjects Perez Hilton knows a thing or two about.

fluffincolorReview in Brief – Inglourious Basterds: Funny, violent and better than the reviewers are saying.


Led Zeppelin story of the week, courtesy of Ramble On: John Paul Jones new band, Them Crooked Vultures, is doing a mini tour of North America in October and the UK in December. Shows will be in Austin, Nashville, Columbus, Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. Your truly will be at the Toronto show, so expect to be bored silly for the next month with Them Crooked Vulture tid-bits.

fluffincolorCelebrity Twitter: (mrskutcher) Anyone who advertises follows or supports Perez supports violating child pornography laws!

Fluffernutter , , , , , , ,