Archive for July, 2010

The Tyranny of the Bylaw

July 31st, 2010
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private property rights protects more than your land

A handful of parents on a quiet Brampton court are crying foul after Brampton bylaw officers ruled it’s ‘game over’ for their children’s summer fun.

The residents were notified Tuesday that the basketball nets sitting on the grass at the bottom of their driveways were to be moved immediately, or the city would remove them and the owners charged.

The five families on Melissa Court in the area of Williams Parkway and Chinguacousy Road took a stand, insisting that bylaw 93-93 section 29 (1) — “No person shall obstruct, fail or encumber any city highway”— does not apply.
“We have no sidewalks. They (the basketball nets) are not on the road. They aren’t obstructing anything,” said Jean Catania whose 14-year-old son, Cody, won his basketball net for his school fundraising efforts.

But their defiance was short-lived. Cody Catania went outside Friday afternoon and discovered his basketball net was gone, removed by city officials.

Not on the street, mark you. On the boulevard. These nets cost anywhere from $100 to $500, and piddly little by-law officers, these pimply minions of bureaucracy, have the right to steal them off the lawn.

pimply minions of bureaucracy

Canadian Rydes into the Top Ten

July 27th, 2010

One of my favourite summer rites is watching the Tour de France.

A mammoth ride of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2,200 miles over three weeks, these guys are in the saddle for 92 hours or more over that time.  The ride takes them up the Alps and the Pyrenees. The sheer effort required to get up some of the mountain passes is exhausting to watch. The next day, they get up and do it again.

Or, the next day may be flat, and they need to push for speed, hoping the legs have some strength in them, and haven’t turned to Jello overnight (it happens).

ryder-hesjedal-wins-429x349A single crash, as happened to Lance Armstrong this year, can wipe out your Tour. One bad stage (daily race) and the podium is out of the question.

This years Tour had a real edge, with winner Alberto Contador infamously taking advantage of Andy Schleck’s broken chain last week. It was bad cycling etiquette, but more importantly Contador went into the last day leading by the exact time that Schleck lost to Contador on that day. One and two would have been up for grabs on the final, possibly a photo finish after 3,600km.

The Tour de France is, it must be said, a truly incredible athletic endeavour. Every one of these guys an incredible athlete. To win is astounding, to finish the damn thing a true accomplishment.

To finish seventh? Ask Canadian Ryder Hesjedal. Each team has a goto guy, who is expected to compete. Everyone else’s job is support. For Garmin-Transitions, the go to guy was Christian Vande Velde (*pronounced Vanda-Velt). But Vande Velde broke his ribs in stage two, and the Garmin-Transitions ball fell to Hesjedal. Hesjedal, from Victoria, rode one hell of a race, gaining ground in the last days and finishing seventh, 10 minutes and 15 seconds behind Contador.

So Ryder, what’s it like to finish seventh:

Dreams do come true…

It will keep sinking in…

You could be in the form of your life and still not achieve a top 10 in the Tour de France. I was seventh in the Tour. Nobody will be able to take that away from me. I’ll see what I can do from here. I’m looking for many years yet to come of great racing. I’ll test the limits to see what I can do. Who knows what can happen now? I know now I am capable of riding in the front of any race.

Yea, seventh is a big deal.

Congratulations Ryder, job well done.

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WikiLeaks create doubt about Canadian Deaths.

July 27th, 2010

Late Sept in 2006, I went to a red shirt rally in support of Canadian troops in Toronto. While there, I chanced to observe a man I’ve come to admire, Errol Cushley.

Mr. Cushley, and he deserves the respect of the honorific, is the father of Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley, who died in battle on Sept 3, 2006. Cushley was one of four who died that day, as Canadian soldiers began Operation Medusa in Panjwayi some 30 km west of Kandahar city.
Private Cushley  and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish were killed by a 50 calibre rifle shot by a Taliban insurgent:

“Frank was standing on one side of Sergeant Major Barnes and Will Cushley was standing behind him, behind what — I don’t know what the military calls it but — what we’d call a front-end motor, and the Taliban insurgent or whatever you want to call them popped up out of a building and fired a 50-cal rifle at it and the schrapnel killed both Frank and Will Cushley,” he said. “They weren’t killed by friendly fire. They were taken in enemy fire. It was the beginning of Operation Medusa.”

Back in November 2006 At Home in Hespeler paid homage to Private Cushley, and had his picture in the sidebar to remember the sacrifices being made in Afghanistan. So it was with some shock that this morning I read that the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary suggested that Private Cushley,  Warrant Officer Mellish as well as Sergeant Shane Stachnik and Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan were not killed by the Taliban, but in a friendly fire incident:

the raw intelligence — sometimes just reports made at the time without substantiation — contains a document that refers to a “friendly fire” incident in which soldiers received small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from a building, returned fire and dropped a guided bomb, heavily damaging the building.

“Casualties 4xCND KIA 4xCDN WIA,” the report says, meaning four Canadians killed in action and four wounded. A few minutes later, wounded had increased to seven Canadians and one Afghan civilian interpreter.

The incident is believed to have occurred the same day, Sept. 3, 2006, as four Canadians were officially reported killed by Taliban insurgents.

Private William Cushley, Sergeant Shane Stachnik, Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan and Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish were killed as Canadians launched Operation Medusa.

It should be noted that General Rick Hillier denies that claim.

We were certain, based on the enormous number of soldiers and sailors and airmen and air women that we had in that fight, what occurred that day. Of course, this doesn’t make it easier for the families when erroneous reports like this come out and they’re trumpeted.

It should also be noted that neither of the soldiers are named in the report, and a certain amount of assumption is going on in this story. None the less, it’s a disturbing and disappointing story and someone who can be trusted better be investigating the real circumstanced that day. The families deserve no less than to know exactly what happened.

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Official Leader of the Opposition…

July 15th, 2010

training program?

I wish more people had come out

Michael Ignatieff

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

July 14th, 2010

spiral toronto

Kyle Rooks of TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation ) said yellow tape surrounded the weeds

Oh my God! Its Hogwood Hysteria!


Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral

Stephen Harper’s a Big Mean Bully…

July 12th, 2010
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Canadians can smell the whiff of sulphur coming off this guy

Hugo Chavez Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has set out on his summer barbeque tour

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Punch to the Solar Plexus Edition: Lindsay, Madonna, Black Eyed Peas… and Urkel?

July 10th, 2010
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorNot so much a punch to the solar plexus, but Justice Marsha Revel did give Lindsay Lohan a boot to the nads (or the appropriate female equivalent) she won’t soon forget. A weeping Lohan was told by Judge Revel this week that, due to her probation fluffviolations- including not attending an alcohol education programme, she was heading to jail for 90 days.

fluffincolorMeanwhile, a waitress at Hollywood nightclub Voyeur denies she punched Lindsay Lohan during Lohan’s 24th birthday celebrations last Thursday. Said Jasmine Waltz:

All I have to say is that disturbed little train wreck is delusional. I didn’t hit her. But I’d like too.”

Wonder if her lawyers approved that statement?

fluffincolorIt’s what did she really mean day on the set of W.E.. Star Margo Stilley has quit work on the movie citing “artistic differences,” with director Madonna.

Said Stilley:

I had the role, but we had artistic differences. She (Madonna) is really something. I wish the cast luck because they are all really talented.

Ouch, that’s gotta hurt. But considering Roger Ebert said of the other movie Madonna directed, Filth and Wisdom, “…the pop stars directing debut, is a pointless exercise in shocking behaviour,” perhaps the artistic differences are that Stilley doesn’t want to make a crap movie.


post-lindsay-lohan-fuck-you-nailWe interrupt this post named after a sandwich to bring a Lindsay Lohan update: Little Miss contempt of court had a vile, unspeakable comment written on her fingernail during her court appearance. It was just a little joke, COCO assured the media after. Not intended for her honor at all.


fluffincolorFormer child TV star Jaleel “don’t call me Urkel” White is being investigated in an apparent domestic assault incident. Bridget Hardy, mother of an infant urkellete, says the suspendered funny-geek punched her in the chest while they were driving on a Los Angeles freeway last month. The alleged incident continued at their home, where White apparently slapped her and pushed her into a toilet.

Urkel org disputes these events:

The incident never happened. This is just a ploy in an ongoing custody battle over their young daughter to tarnish his name.

fluffincolorThe Black Eyed Peas, who’s manager punched Perez Hilton (not hard enough, it turns out) last June in Toronto, have teamed up with James Cameron to make a 3D concert documentary.

Hoping to merge Cameron’s film technology with the Peas concert experience, the Peas note that:

We have the biggest director, because we are the biggest group on the planet… People will be able to see us in the theatre with the 3D glasses and everything.

Note that it’s the people in the theatre who will be wearing the glasses, not the group – although with’s fashion sense, I could have that wrong.

We can assume at least that Fergies biggest assets will be impressive in 3D.

fluffincolorIn Led Zeppeliny circles it’s considered an open secret that Jake Holmes originally wrote Dazed and Confused. In 1967 Holmes opened for the Yardbirds, featuring Jimmy Page by then, at a Greenwich Village Club and performed Dazed and Confused. Impressed, the Yardbirds decided to cover the song, and the next day set about an arrangement, which would become I’m Confused. After the Yardbirds disbanded, Page brought the track to his new band, Led Zeppelin, returning it to the name Dazed and Confused. Fourty years after the fact, Holmes has decided to sue for royalties. In past interviews Holmes, who has remained on friendly terms with Page through the years, has suggested that he would not do so, but he appears to have changed his mind. The suit could be worth millions, but a statute of limitations applies in such cases, so Holmes can only request three years of back royalties. The present filing would therefore include all sales of the 2007 Mothership greatest hits CD, and the re-issue of The Song Remains the Same. No word on when Steve Marriot is going to sue for Whole Lotta Love. And we’re not even going to mention Randy California, Taurus and Stairway to Heaven in the same blog post.

We interrupt this post named after a sandwich to bring a Lindsay Lohan update: Her long time lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley issued a statement suggesting Lohan‘s punishment was “harsh and unfair,” then tended her resignation as her lawyer. “I don‘t do human rights law,” she isn‘t quoted as saying. Neither did she say, “I‘m sick of wasting my day on this drugged out moron.” Lohan will be represented in her appeal, or future drug cases, or something, by Tiffany Feder-Cohen.

fluffincolorThis weeks episode of the Bachelorette was cut short so the producers could bring you a sniping match between former Bachelor Jake Pavelka and his chosen one Vienna Girardi. Here’s the short of it: they met on TV (he’s a fame whore she declared un-sarcastically), they moved in together after a month (she’s a whore-whore, he hinted equally un-sarcastically), then it fell apart (surprisingly, I editorialized entirely sarcastically). No punches were thrown, solar plexus or otherwise, but this does lead to two unavoidable questions: who are these people? and who watches this stuff?


Happy 35th Birthday…

July 9th, 2010

Jack White is a multi-instrumental musician who founded the White Stripes with then wife (whom he now calls his sister) Meg White.

tintype_whiteHe is, admittedly, eccentric with possibly, maybe a touch of the genius.

It’s not, however, for his music that At Home in Hespeler celebrates Jack White today. It’s for a moment in time, caught on film.

In the fabulous guitarist documentary, It Might Get Loud, Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge get together. Early in the movie Jack White is talking, saying he thinks special effects are a cheat, a lazy approach to guitar playing. Meanwhile, they are showing The Edge’s special effects being brought onto the soundstage ahead of the guitarists summit – on a forklift truck.

Too funny.

So Happy 35th Birthday Jack White, for the finest example of how not to respect your elders I’ve ever seen.

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Don’t Blame Me…

July 9th, 2010
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I voted At Home in Hespeler for Senator.

Dear Steve:

I know it sounded like a joke at the time. Some blogger from Hespeler – Cambridge for God’s sake – wants to be Senator. Some forklift driver thinks he’s qualified to sit in the Senate.

At the time I suggested with an auto industry in crisis, maybe you could bring in an auto worker. Would do you no harm, with the added bonus that it would drive Buzz Hargrove nuts that a unionized autoworker not named Buzz Hargrove was appointed.

Could play guitar in the Senate band I hinted, and I’m sure we could use a keyboard player. Good for everybody’s image that.

But no, you went with Dick Neufeld (as he is, I’m sure, now called in your circle of friends). And what did you get? A headache. An independent thinker. Hell, lets call a spade a spade: a crony-ist backstabber, entitled to his entitlements.

I’m sure you made Dick sign an undated resignation – all the better to guarantee he runs in an election if you ever get your elected Senate. So date it, accept it, and call someone who knows how to kiss a Prime-Ministerial ass.

At Home in Hespeler

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It’s Been a While.

July 5th, 2010

imgp5469I apologize, but some times life and blogging are a bad pairing. Anything happen while I was away from my computer?

My mother came to the end of, as Ronald Reagan put it,  “the journey that will lead… into the sunset of my life.” Alzheimer’s is a nasty disease. It robs the memory first of friends, then of loved ones. It continues on to every aspect of your life, until you don’t know who you are. By journeys end your body relies on muscle memory to breathe and eat. Eventually, too, that gives way. Mom could no longer swallow, and passed away into the sunset a couple of weeks ago.

Respects may be paid with a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society, if any so chooses.

Sad news often is accompanied by some measure of it’s opposite number. So it is in this case that a band I have been working on putting together for the last year played it’s first show a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve never done it you have no way of knowing how much time is involved in getting something like this going. It’s taken a pile of my creative energy, especially the last few weeks before we played.

And finally, if this were a normal year I would be signing off for the month of July. I’m not sure I’ve done it every year, but it’s been close. Because things were so light in June, I may post the occasional thing this month, including some pictures I have ready in the hopper.  But otherwise I will be taking the usual July hiatus. Hey, if Mark Steyn can do it.

Regular blogging will resume in August.

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