Archive for August, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, My MLA…

August 19th, 2010
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Cambridge MPP Gerry Martiniuk will not introduce the private member’s bill that would have seen Victoria Day renamed Victory in Europe Day.

3297243839_9e2c381713Gerry Martiniuk is the Progressive Conservative critic for labour and seniors. It’s entirely appropriate because, like the union stewards at work, you only ever see him, or hear from him at election time.

The MPP stated he was concerned historical events such as the end of the Second World War would be forgotten with the passing of veterans and potential closure of Royal Canadian Legions.

Because when they were naming the holiday Victoria Day, they just picked the name Victoria at random out of the phone book.

I’m all in favour of doing something to remember World War Too (although you would think the critic for seniors would be aware of Remembrance Day), but the reason history gets lost is because we decide it’s a throw away commodity. Victoria Day was chosen as a holiday because it was the birthday of the longest reigning British monarch in history.

In Canada, 1837 to 1901 were big deal years. She reigned through our formative years as a country. She proclaimed us a country, signing the BNA act in March 1867. May 24 is her birthday, and so important to us we named a case of beer after her.

Simply put, you can’t cast aside history and complain history is being cast aside. Don’t take a holiday that celebrates an historical figures birthday, and change the name to something not relevant to that birthday, in the name of improving knowledge of history.

But hey, don’t blame me, I warned Tim Hudak he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Cambridge Times, history, World War Too , , ,

Freedom’s Just Another Word…

August 17th, 2010

for you can’t do that here.

Surprisingly, shockingly even, a local government fails an irony test. Sadly for Canadians, it’s one more thing you can’t do in this country:

Orono, ON: Due to an anonymous zoning complaint filed with the local municipality, husband and wife bed-and-

Peter Jaworski and Gerry Nicholls at the 2008 Liberty Summer Seminar

Peter Jaworski and Gerry Nicholls

breakfast proprietors Marta & Lech Jaworski may be forced to pay as much as $50,000 in fines for permitting their son, Peter, to use his family’s property to host the Liberty Summer Seminar, an annual seminar in support of liberty.

Over the weekend of July 25, the LSS celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day event on the Orono property. On Sunday afternoon, as the event was wrapping up, a municipal law enforcement official arrived without notice in the car parking area. He quizzed a passing LSS participant about the event, asking him what had been served for lunch, as well as the cost of the registration fee, and the number of port-a-potties available. After a few minutes, the official left without attempting to speak to the Jaworski family.

On August 12th, the Jaworskis were served with a summons to appear in court on the grounds that they had “allowed the use of land in an agricultural zone for a use other than a permitted residential use; namely for a commercial conference centre,” which is contrary to Clarington by-laws.

Yes, in Canada you are not free to hold a freedom summit without government approval.

For further information you can contact the Jaworski’s:

Peter Jaworski
Marta & Lech Jaworski


h/t Five Feet of Fury

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In In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…

August 15th, 2010

If you don’t like the policy, wait around 6 months, it’ll change:

March 2010:

If I was to knock on 1,000 Ontario families‘ doors and ask them for their top three concerns, I’d be surprised if anybody said, `Well … one of those is we’ve got to start this new kind of mixed martial arts in Ontario. That’s going to mean a lot to me and my family,’” said McGuinty.

“It’s just not a priority for our families and it’s not a priority for me.”

August 2010:

Our government has been monitoring MMA for some time. We know that the sport has evolved and that Ontarians want to see it here.

Geez Premier Dad. You’re on about it’s not a priority for you, then you say you’ve been monitoring it for some time. Which is it?

And if Ontarians want to see it here, can we presume that if you knocked on “1,000 Ontario families‘ doors and ask them for their top three concerns,” somebody would say MMA in Ontario?

Dalton, Dalton Dalton Dalton, Premier Dad ,

The Freedom of Music: Robert Flirts With Cabaret

August 15th, 2010


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

“Now there’s a man who’s never let you down.” So remarks a friend of Nick Hornby when he tells him he is a Rod Stewart fan. Yes, admits Hornby. “…it‘s true Rod‘s record is not without its blemishes.” Us old Robert Plant fans know a thing or two about disappointment.sidebar-2

On his last solo album, Mighty Rearranger, Plant wrote,

My peers may flirt with cabaret,
Some fake the rebel yell.

I assumed he was talking about Rod Stewart’s American Songbook. But then his next album was a duet of old bluegrass songs with Alison Krauss. No rebel yell in sight, Plant became a crooner, and not a very good one.

It wasn’t just new songs either. He is currently on tour with his new band, Band of Joy, and bootlegs have been circulating since the first show . Get your hands one and see what he’s done to the old Zeppelin classic, Houses of the Holy to learn about butcher’s block song arranging. At least Rod Stewart still sings Stay With Me as a rocker. Plant can’t even work up the enthusiasm to sing Rock ‘n‘ Roll from the nutsack, preferring a rockabilly arrangement. I’d have a hard time deciding whether to laugh or cry if I could just keep my eyes open.

But disappointment is about more than a real shitty version of Tall Cool One.

I have a list. A mental list, not a sheet of paper with a bunch of bullet points, but a list nonetheless. It is artists who have earned a pass from me, who’s work I buy automatically based on past performance. All members of Led Zeppelin are on the list. Or at least they were, until Raising Sand.

I did what I always do with a Robert Plant album, I listened to it a number of times. I convinced myself I liked it. Then one day I listened to one of the Plant/Krauss live shows. A couple of songs stood out: in the Mood, a Plant hit from his second solo album, The Principle of Moments. It’s a great song, and the producers of Glee should be all over it, because it would work. The other was Battle of Evermore, the Zeppelin mandolin masterpiece. I wondered if Plant and Krauss would do it, thought it was the perfect song for them as it was folk/acoustic and a duet with a female singer not dissimilar to Krauss. I was excited at the possibility, and never more disappointed in the reality. The arrangement sucked all the energy, and thus all the life out of the song. Folk was out, bad acoustic country was in.

As I listened, a realization dawned on me, like the Grinch listening to the Who’s singing on Christmas morning. There he stood, the Emperor, Robert Plant, clothe-less. In a flash I’d realized, I hadn’t enjoyed Robert Plant in more than twenty years. Other than the odd song, you have to go to Now and Zen since I liked what Robert Plant had done. His first two solo albums were, in my opinion, brilliant. Now and Zen, his fourth, was good, very good even. But everything else since the passing of John Bonham was sub par, even lousy sometimes.

Oh sure, the Page/Plant thing was good, that first Unleaded album a treat. But the follow up, Walking into Clarksville simply isn’t good. And it isn’t the guitar work, or the music that doesn’t work on that album. No, Robert Plant has been, for the better part of thirty years, disappointing. As the time approaches when he releases his next effort, I’m prepared to be disappointed, prepared not to like it, fully prepared not to buy it.

So what happened?

Plant released his first single from the new album, Los Lobos Angel Dance. It’s in that tempo, he sings it in that voice. By all rights, I should be feeling pretty smug that I’m not being fooled by this guy again. Except…

Except, I like it.  It has a groove I can latch on to, and if he’s not giving a Viking yell over an oar pounding rhythm, he at least sounds interested.

Damn You Robert Plant, nice clothes.

I still don’t know if I can sit through a whole album of new Robert Plant, not sure it won’t be breathtakingly dull after three or four songs. But Angel Dance is Plant’s best song in at least three albums.

It’s not gonna put Plant back on my list, but maybe, just maybe, he won’t disappoint this time.

The Freedom of Music, The Mighty Zep, This Week on my I-Pod , , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter: The American Idol Edition; Ritchie Hayward (1946 – 2010)

August 14th, 2010
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorSo you’re a dad. You’re daughter is mid-to-late 20’s. She is dating, and has become pregnant by a rich celebrity 26 years her senior, who has four kids by three other women, fluffernutterand recently left his wife and two of those young children due to irreconcilable differences (i.e. she aged). What are the chances your reaction is:

It’s great news and we’re very pleased for them both.

On the other hand, perhaps the next statement explains the previous words of Alan Walsh, father of Kelsey Grammer’s 29 year old squeeze Kayte Walsh:

I don’t know how long they have been together and I have not met him yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

fluffincolorAmerican Idol is looking for judges. First up is Jennifer Lopez. Lopez, who is talentless as a singer and actor, has been bumped from consideration because of her excessive demands.

How excessive can your demands have to be? I want a dressing room, nanny, masseuse, water, flowers &tc. All would be no sweat. What else could a person making millions a year ask from her employers?

Ohhh, perhaps she wanted to sing. Yea, good call American Idol.

fluffincolorReview in Brief: Eat, Pray, Love – I haven’t even seen it, but the preview made me nauseous on three separate occasions.

fluffincolorSince Jenifer Lopez is out of the running for American Idol judge, a plan B is needed. How about… Shania Twain.

Canadian born Twain has several advantages over the aforementioned Lopez: She can sing; she’s smoking’ hot; she lives in a castle in Switzerland, so her tastes and demands can’t be too over the top. I say, sign her up.

It’s not enough to make me watch, but it’s enough to make me put a picture of Twain up once a month or so during Idol season.shania-twain-pic

fluffincolorAmerican Idol singer Fantasia Barrino had a week to forget. First, she was named as the other woman in a divorce proceeding in North Carolina. The wife of Antwuan Cook alleges the singer had an affair with her husband, which is denied.

The next day, Barrino was hospitalized for a “medication overdose.” She was admitted to a North Carolina hospital and her condition is not considered life threatening.

Paula Cook, on the other hand, is said to be life threatening, if she dare goes near her man again.

fluffincolorRitchie Hayward (1946 – 2010):
Ritchie Hayward was the long time drummer for Little Feat, one of the most under-rated bands of the rock era. He was there in the beginning in 1969, and stayed with the band until founder Lowell George’s death in 1979.

In 1987, Little Feat reformed, and their 1988 album Let it Roll is probably the best album of the 1980’s (seriously, if you don’t know it but feel sure you’ve missed something: give Let it Roll a listen). Hayward continued with Little Feat until his cancer diagnosis last August.

Other than Little Feat, Hayward has played with Jimmy Buffet’s Corral Reefer Band, was the drummer of record on Robert Plant’s Shaken and Stirred album, had spots with Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, The Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, Arlo Guthrie, Robert Palmer, Tom Waitts, Warren Zevon and some guy named Dylan, just to name the people you’ve heard of.

To watch Hayward drum was to watch a man having a seizure in 4/4 time. His arms and legs splayed about in much the way you would imagine a monkey would look if he tried to drum, except with Hayward, it made sense. He was never repetitious, and in fact, a drummer friend once commented when listening to them, “there’s no pattern there to try and follow.”

In short, Ritchie Hayward was an exceptional drummer, and if the general population of music fans was unaware of the fact, music insiders knew it all too well.

Ritchie Hayward died this week from complications of liver cancer. If there’s a rock and roll heaven – I want Ritchie Hayward in my band.

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Contraband Lemonade in Vancouver Park

August 11th, 2010

I’m trying to decide what bothers me more about this story: the monkey’s ass who reported the kids, the bylaw officers who didn’t tell him/her to go get stuffed, bylaw services manager Dan Scoones, who said:

the next thing we would know, we would have two hot dog carts at the dog park and we would have two ice cream carts at the dog park

or the fact that I posted an almost exact story, this time out of Oregan, last week.

The world is being run by lunatics without an iota of sense.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Uncategorized

Saturday Fluffernutter: Lindsay Lohan’s Freedom; Mitch Miller (1911-2010)

August 7th, 2010
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorWhen last we checked in, Lindsay Lohan was off to the Women’s Prison. fluffernutter-2“Ninety days,” said Judge Revel to the weeping Lohan back in early July.

“Thirteen days,” replied the California Penal Department, “for good behaviour.”

It’s all very surprising: You lock Lindsay Lohan in a building full of bull dykes and Penal-ses, good behaviour is not what you expect her to get off on.

fluffincolorMitch Miller (1911-2010)

Mitch Miller wore a number of hats in the musical world: musician, singer, conductor, producer and record company exec. A highly successful and long career, including a number of albums as “Mitch Miller and His Orchestra,” Columbia records house band. As well “Mitch Miller and His Gang” had a number of successful records.

He also produced a number of artists for Columbia Records during the 1950’s, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney.

But it is as the inspiration behind The Flintstones “Hum Along With Herman,” that most Americans remember Mitch Miller. “Sing Along With Mitch,” ran for three year in the 1960’s. With the Mitch Miller Singers, Mitch would lead sing-a-longs on a variety of popular songs.

Miller was married for 65 years to Francis Alexander, who predeceased him. He died this week in New York City, age 99.

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When Government Get So Big…

August 7th, 2010

that they’re shutting down little girls lemonade stands:

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she and Mayor Sam Adams will present a plan for Last Thursday in the next two weeks. She declined to discuss details, though she noted that vendors at Last Thursday don’t pay vendor fees, which she said is “different from any other street fair” in Portland.

She added she believes the health inspectors were right to shut down the lemonade stand.

The solution is not more government.

Amanda Fritz: bureaucracy’s pimpliest minion.

pimply minions of bureaucracy

When blowing up people, places and things becomes part of your list of acceptable activities,…

August 6th, 2010
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for whatever reason, I don’t tend to feel sorry for you. Ever.

canadian-federal-liberal-conventionOne question for Margaret Atwood, The Barenaked Morons (or any coked up ex-morons), Quebec and everyone else who protested that Conservative cuts to arts funding was the end of culture in Canada:

Do you, or do you not believe that Erica Basniki’s tax dollars should go towards paying for Homegrown, a play about Toronto 18 terrorist Shareef Abdelhaleem?

You at the back… yes you, Michael Ignatieff… Your first.

Michael Ignatieff, Pompous Igghead , , , , ,

Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone

August 5th, 2010
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I have tickets to see Roger Waters next month when he comes through Toronto to do The Wall. Almost didn’t buy them because while I like Pink Floyd, I’m not a huge fan. And frankly, Roger Waters politics turns me off.  Today, I’m glad I’m going, and the reason is political:

A pair of Iranian exile brothers have produced a distinctly contemporary remake of the 1979 Pink Floyd anti-authoritarian anthem “Another Brick in the Wall.” With the official blessing of Pink Floyd, the Canadian-based band “Blurred Vision” have released the updated version of the track that is rapidly becoming a social media phenomenon. “Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone” intersperses news footage from the June 2009 “Green Revolution” with the band’s performance in what is depicted as a mosque

Talking to a friend today who was in high hopes David Gilmour would join Waters on stage in Toronto. Nice, but today, I’d rather see Blurred Vision do Another Brick in the Wall (Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone).

h/t KittyOnFire

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin' , , , , ,

The Pimply Minions Rebellion of 2010

August 3rd, 2010

The bureaucracy is up in arms over Prime Minister Stephen Harper choosing to – gasp – govern.

First there was StatsCan dictating to the rabble that they would give the information required – they have ways to make us talk you know. Tony Clement’s wouldn’t play along, so Canada’s chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, took his pocket protector and went home.

Now we have Errol Mendes, CHRC tribunal Member,  (there’s those thought police again) declaring the Pimply Minions to be the one true government.

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Liars, Damn Liars and (Green Party)Statisticians

August 3rd, 2010

Enjoyed this letter in today’s Toronto Sun from trained professional John Northey (edited because some of it is just silly):donato

…I have yet to see a single person with a statistical background (via degree or profession) in favour of the voluntary census. All surveys on this issue, which would become biased if the census were made voluntary, show a split among average Canadians on the issue – even though the majority have no statistical training and thus little knowledge of how vital the census is…

In other words how dare you, John Northey’s underling, question the use of imprisonment as a threat for refusing the pimply minions of bureaucracy’s desire for information. And don’t give me this “never had a… single person go to jail.”  Imprisonment is on the books, so it is under threat of imprisonment that you currently refuse the long form.

But really it’s all moot, since his argument is based on an unknown sample size of “person(s) with a statistical background,” who answered under no coercion. Therefore, we can conclude it is inaccurate and meaningless.

Interesting, as well, that Northey opens the letter with a shot at cartoonist Andy Donato’s presumed political affiliation:

Andy Donato’s July 30 political cartoon makes me wonder if he is now a Conservative staff member or shooting for one of those senate seats.

Yet he does not mention that he works for, or at least does work for the Green Party of Canada.

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Wellington or Macdonald? Gardiner on Gardner!

August 1st, 2010

Occasionally you just stumble upon something that is so well written, an argument so clearly laid out, that you have to acknowledge it. So it is with Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner’s column yesterday on renaming Wellington Street in Ottawa to Macdonald Street.

I have no dog in the fight, didn’t even know the controversy existed until I read this. But of course, the controversy always exists, in every town and city. There’s always some street or park that somebody wants changed, and this is the clearest argument against the practice in principle I have seen:

A city is a monument

A river delta is a monument to its own history. Every moment, every day, silt tumbling along in the river comes to the slow, sluggish waters of the delta and it settles on what was there before. The next moment, the next day, new silt settles. And so it goes for years, decades, centuries, and millennia. A delta, no matter how great and grand, is nothing more than an accumulation of passing moments. Generations, we might call them. And they’re all there, faithfully recorded, in the layers below.

A city is like that. A generation learns, builds, plays, lives. They add to the city. Another generation does the same. And another. Slowly, the city grows and changes but always, beneath the bustle of the present, lies the past that is its foundation. A city is a monument to its own history.

Prior to the 18th century, this is all there was to the development of cities. People came, they worked, they built homes and streets. There was seldom a central plan and regulation was haphazard, at best. There weren’t even official names for streets.

If butchers set up at a certain spot, and a track developed alongside, and the track became a lane, people may have called it “the lane with the butchers,” or “the butchers lane.” Or later, “Butcher Lane.” As the surroundings developed, the butchers may have gone elsewhere. In time, they may have been forgotten. But still, people would call it “Butcher Lane.” And they would shrug if asked why.

London’s famous Pall Mall got its name from the French game of “Paille-maille,” a precursor to croquet, which was first played there in the early 17th century. I’m sure few of those who throng Pall Mall every day know that. London is stuffed with such relics. Many are even more obscure. A “pickadill” is a sort of stiff collar, but accounts vary as to why that word became attached to the place known as Piccadilly.

Layer upon layer, generation upon generation, the city grows. London is the Thames’s true delta.

The 18th century brought Enlightenment, so the textbooks tell us, and Enlightenment brought planning. There were official maps and official street names. Buildings were numbered…

Lafayette Park, directly opposite the White House, may be one of the most evocative locations in the United States, but it is named for a man of little relevance to today’s Americans and we can be sure that if the park were constructed today there would be a thousand suggestions for what it should be named and none would be the name of that Revolutionary War hero…

The debate about renaming Wellington Street in honour of Sir John A. Macdonald has been muddled from the start. Supporters such as Bob Plamondon and Andrew Cohen emphasize the prominence of the street and the importance of Macdonald to today’s Canada. The Duke of Wellington — who never set foot in Canada, they always add — simply isn’t relevant to Canadians today.

Oh, but Wellington is relevant, the critics respond. He was responsible for funding the Rideau Canal and without the canal Ottawa as we know it would not exist.

Supporters answer that Wellington was a nasty aristocrat who opposed responsible government. Critics shoot back that Macdonald was a drunk who put his hand in the till…

The assumption underlying this debate is what is relevant to us — what we want to honour, what serves our purposes — is all that matters. The city is merely raw material. We may dredge the delta, and excavate it, and pave it over, as and when we wish.

As G.K. Chesterton is reputed to have written, but probably didn’t, this is “the tyranny of the living.” Past generations do not exist. Ignore them. What they built and dreamed, what they honoured, is of no concern. We are all that matters…

Ah hell, just read it all yourself.

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