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Archive for January, 2011

His Job is What?

January 6th, 2011
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What exactly, is Julian Fantino’s responsibilities as Minister of State for Seniors?

His portfolio does indeed include pension worries and poverty among seniors — and especially elder abuse, including ageist stereotyping in the media.

Wait. What? A Minister in charge of stereotyping in the media? Can Susan Eng, head of CARP, be right about that?

And haven’t I seen the words Julian Fantino and Susan Eng in the same article before?

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Farewell Blogging Tories

January 6th, 2011

For a number of months now, At Home in Hespeler has not appeared on the Blogging Tory feed, surviving on traffic from other sources. It has, indeed survived. I never requested the problem be fixed, because I have been long considering leaving the Blogging Tories.

In truth, I have been doing less and less blogging on politics over the past few years. And there have been occasions when I have intentionally done a politics post because I feel a little obligated. I have often felt this blog is a Blogging Tory blog first, mine second.

And so today I sent the following email to Stephen Taylor:

Hi Stephen

I’m sending this email to ask that my blog, At Home in Hespeler (http://www.briangardiner.ca/hespeler/), be resigned from the Blogging Tories blogroll.

I want to thank you for all you have done for the blogs in the Blogging Tory community, as the blogroll is a massive success. It has been a privilege to be a member of the community and I hope I have managed to contribute to it over the years.

Please be assured that while there are a number of reasons that I am doing this now, it has nothing to do with any wrongdoing on the part of the Blogging Tories, or yourself. The main reason is, as I find myself somewhat discouraged by the governing conservatives, I have been blogging less and less about politics. It seems now appropriate to move on.

Thank you again for all you have done. Without the traffic brought by the Blogging Tories, I don’t think At Home in Hespeler would have survived this long. It is now time, I believe, to have it stand up on it’s own.

Yours &tc.
Brian Gardiner

It is time to move on.

If you enjoy At Home in Hespeler, please be sure to bookmark me so you can follow along, or follow me on twitter where I post updates.

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The Pimply Minions Rebellion of 2010…

January 4th, 2011
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Christmas Edition:

I’ve lost a cat before, and putting up notices around the neighbourhood is the best way to notify the area that the cat is likely lost in of the whereabouts of the cat’s owner.article-1343679-0ca24f5c000005dc-159_468x314

A couple of years ago we found a dog, put up notices, and returned the dog to a dad and his crying child within two hours of finding him (he was a sweet dog, too: we kind of hoped we didn’t find an owner).  The mother in that family is now our mail person: we get excellent service from Canada Post. It all comes from living in a neighbourhood:

Desperate to find his missing cat Wookie, Mike Harding put up posters throughout the neighbourhood offering a reward for its safe return.

And it was not long before he received a phone call.

Not from someone who had found the pet, however, but from the council saying he was breaking the law.


Take the posters down by Christmas Eve, the Dec 23rd letter proclaimed from on high, or face a
£1,000 fine.  “You would think the council would have some compassion,” Harding said. No actually Mike, you wouldn’t: they never do. That’s the mistake people constantly make.

Have you ever noticed “bureaucrats” sounds a lot like  “bastards”?

cats, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Happy 65th Birthday…

January 3rd, 2011
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John Paul Jones

Retirement age comes but once a lifetime, and John Paul Jones has hit the official age of retirement. Music fans worldwide can only hope he doesn’t take the hint of age, and continues working.

Whether with Led Zeppelin, as a solo artist or with Them Crooked Vultures, Jones has proven to be a rhythm section tour de force. May he continue to be so.

The last couple of birthdays, I have wished Jones a year traveling with old friends. Last year, it was modified to friends, old and new. This year, let me modify it again, and wish John Paul Jones a year of music, of friends, health and happiness.

Happy 65th Birthday John Paul Jones.


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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

January 2nd, 2011
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Just because Rob Ford is now his honour, doesn‘t mean the good ship Toronto is going to be righted. spiral torontoAs Joe Warmington writes today, there’s more wrong with Toronto than Transit City and doughnuts at council meetings:

Toronto’s first murderer of 2011 statistically has a better than a 50-50 chance of not getting caught….
Of the 60 homicides in 2010, more than half have not yet ended up in arrests which means as many as three dozen murderers may be walking free among us.

And that’s just in one year. In the first decade of the new millennium — from 2000 to 2010 — there were 220 unsolved murders in Toronto…

Toronto is not in a death spiral because of the politicians they chose, but the choices the politicians made, starting with the choice more than twenty years ago to overly-politicize their police force.


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The Freedom of Music: 2010 in Music

January 2nd, 2011

freedom-of-music-header

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

Another year has come to an end, and it seems a good time to have a quick peek backwards and see what the year past in music was like. So here’s the Billboard top 10 of 2010:

  • Taylor Swift
  • Susan Boyle
  • Glee: Soundtrack
  • Jackie Evancho
  • Michael Jackson
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Eminem
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Keyshia Cole
  • Rhianna

I was right, that was quick. Not much to see, or hear, here.

But wait. BestEverAlbums.com says Arcade Fire’s Suburbs was the top album of 2010. In fact, I’ve seen any number of lists, and Billboards is the first not to include the Canadian bands third album fairly well up the list. That’s not a bad choice, a decent album written as “ a letter from the suburbs.” Actually, something that we haven’t seen a lot of recently, a concept album.

Not a rock opera format mind you, not an album that must be played first to last. That idea just doesn’t work in the CD era, never mind MP3s. But certainly it’s an album in which each song is part of a greater theme. And while it’s not as good as their second album, Neon Bible, it’s a decent representation of the year in music.

Then there’s Billboards number 15, Kid Rock’s Born Free. I confess I hate that I like Kid Rock. He seems like such an unpleasant human being, yet he writes songs that delve into the spirit of the human condition with some dexterity. On 2010’s Billboard number 15 album, Kid Rock eschews the cheap rap songs with the potty lyrics and falls very comfortably into the country rock vein. Like I said, I hate that I like it, but I do, none the less.

Coming in the middle of both charts top 100 is the Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown, at 45 in Billboard and 53 on Best Ever Albums. Kings of Leon broke through a few years ago with their Only By the Night album, including the hit Sex on Fire. Once again, this years album doesn’t match the previous effort, but it’s still a good collection of songs.

At the end of the day, however, scouring the charts for quality music is to lose yourself in the misguided hope that the Billboard music chart would know good music in any guise. Finding quality new music in the Billboard charts is like finding quality writing on network TV: not in this decade. A chart of 200 albums that includes Thriller, because that’s not so 1984, a number of Glee’s and Mariah Carey’s 2nd Christmas collection somehow misses completely the best album of the last few years. Journey’s Greatest Hits circa 1988 – check: The Beatles, half of whom have been dead for ten and thirty years – check: Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits – yup. All these albums of completely different vintages make it, but the wonderfully hard rockin’ yet melodic Black Country Communion, released in the year of our lord 2010 is nowhere to be found.


Consisting of a rhythm section of Glenn Hughes, ex-of Deep Purple among others and Jason Bonham, Black Country Communion is so solid on the bottom end a monkey could play guitar and sound good. Instead, they chose Joe Bonamassa, more virtuoso than monkey and one of the finest blues/rock guitarists playing today. His guitar playing is some of the finest, the tastiest playing I’ve heard in years. Topped off with keyboardists Derek Sherinian of Kiss and Alice Cooper fame, BCC produced the best album of 2010, and possibly the best in the past couple of years.

The good news is, Black Country Communion is going back into the studio in January, so Billboard has a chance to get it right again in 2011. Not that I think they will, or care: as long as Black Country Communion keeps putting out music of the quality they did this year, Billboard can put Thriller in it’s top 200 for the 27th year. I know what album I’ll buy.

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?Saturday Fluffernutter: The End is Nigh Edition

January 1st, 2011
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Ashton Kutcher has told Men’s Health that he keeps himself in tip top shape to “prepare for end days.” Kutcher apparently believes, rather ardently, that a technological Armageddon is coming, and if you don’t practice Krav Maga and yoga (the latter in blazing hot temperatures), you will not survive the apocalypse.

In honor of the New Year, we here at Fluffernutter World Headquarters, situated in a bus buried under 10 feet of solid clay somewhere south and west of Guelph, offer this years best fluffernutters or, as we prefer to call them, signs of the Apolalypse:

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorFrom the “perhaps we can just forgo the whole horseman drama and go straight to separating the sinners and the faithful,” department:

If Mariah Carey is pregnant is a sign of the apocalypse, what is Mariah Carey is expecting twins a sign of?pinkfluff Surely not just that the IQ of the Carey/Cannon household will soon approach triple digits?
And hey, who’s that guy with the beard and sandals?

fluffincolorJustin Beiber: Minute 16.
A couple of weeks ago Justin Beiber lashed out at a fan looking for an autograph. Famous for about a year, Beiber is already tired of all these kids, children really, throwing their money at him. If only they would go away, he could enjoy his fame in peace.

Last weekend Beiber was accused of assaulting a 12 year old boy at Planet Lazer in Vancouver. While playing he hit/ran over the lad, who complained to management, and then police.

The boy says he hit him, Beiber says it was an accident. I say Justin Beiber’s fifteen minutes are up.

fluffincolorMadonna is rumoured to have dumped her 24 year old Latin lover, Jesus Luz for Brazillian dancer Brahim Rachiki.
For the record, Madonna lists herself as a “children’s author” amongst other things on her CV. Here’s a tip: if you are buying your children books by Madonna, you’re a bad parent!

If you are using Madonna as a role model for your kids, pre-teen, teen, young adults, you are a bad parent.

Want to know why society is a mess? Popular TV show Glee! Had a Madonna episode, where they raved about what a wonderful role model she was for young women. Any society, anywhere, who thinks filthy, skanky, slutty Madonna can possibly be a role model, is a mess. Full stop.

fluffincolorKim Cattrall is one of life’s lucky ones. A good career, success, money. So how does she feel about it?

Recently I was enjoying a quiet lunch in Liverpoo… this guy approaches… He says, “C’mon, stand up – I want a photo with you.” My response was, “I won’t do it. I’m not working right now…”

Quick reminder for Cattrall: this guy you so sneeringly dismiss, he’s the reason you can afford to lunch at Liverpoo.

fluffincolorBoy George was exiled from guy-ville this week, although authorities prefer it be called released from prison.  He served 27 days of an eight week sentence and got early release after the other prisoners complained they needed the rest.

fluffincolorDear Lindsay:

The rules are simple. Here’s how it works. You do your treatment program, you pass two drug tests a week, you stay out of jail.

Two drug tests a week Lindsay Lohan is mandated to take. Two. You know they’re coming. So how does she do? She fails both of them. On two separate, mandatory samples she tests positive for two separate drugs: cocaine on one test, amphetamine on the second. Two tests, two fails, two different drugs.

It’s hard to muster much sympathy for the bail revoked/4 weeks in jail she got for her transgression.

fluffincolorSigh! Another week, another sex scandal on Sesame Street… wait… what did I just write?

fluff_2_2008Singer, fashionista and all round ingénue Katy Perry was to appear on Sesame Street this week, performing a song with Elmo (who’s nose feels so good &tc.). Perry, famous for the song I Kissed a Girl was set to perform her single Hot and Cold on the pre-school MTV. The producers of Sesame Street released the clip on YouTube and then pulled it from the show “based on feedback.”

This blog has never, ever been an advocate for the sexualizing of children, and abhors the practice. But frankly, other than some really bad lip synching, there’s nothing wrong with the segment. An argument can be made that Perry is not the kind of role model we want for pre-schoolers (an argument can be made she’s not the type of role model we want for pre-teens, her target audience, but I digress), but this particular clip is tame.

fluffincolorBrad Pitt is a good leftie. He doesn’t believe in the death penalty for, say, someone who kidnaps a child and spends three days molesting them before killing them. Paul Bernardo, as an example, should be spared the death penalty.

But run a company that has an environmental accident?

I was never for the death penalty before, but I am willing to look at it again (for BP executives)

I love the headline in this weeks In Touch. Angelina Jolie, it claims, calls Brad stupid behind his back.
Talk about belabouring the obvious.

fluffincolorMr. Zeta Jones, Actor Michael Douglas, announced this week he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Mr. Jones will undergo chemotherapy and is “very optimistic,” of a full recovery.

Back in June his son Cameron, from a previous marriage, was sentenced to five years in prison for dealing methamphetamine and possessing heroin. Which just goes to show, even Kirk Douglas’s son, who’s married to Catherine Zeta Jones can have a shitty go of things.

You can, in fact, have it all and legitimately wonder, “why me?”

fluffincolorI saw the Jennifer Aniston ugly duckling photo shoot last week: the one where she makes herself up to look just like Barbara Streisand. A fine example of how to turn beauty butt ugly in one make-up session.

Want to know what my reaction was: “glad I never laminated that list.”

But this Thursday she was on Regis and Kelly, when she said about the photo shoot:

I play dress up. I do it for a living – like a retard.

Cue the professionally aggrieved, specifically Pete Burns, CEO of Arc:

I was extraordinarily offensive and inappropriate. Frankly, someone in her position ought to know better.

Someone in her position? What, an actress? A fairly average actress who if it wasn’t for the fact she has a very cute, girl next door thing going on you would never have heard of? She should know better than who? The President?

You know who should know better than to say really stupid, intellectually challenged, things: people with CEO on the business card.

fluffincolorMr. Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, this week joined the “shut up and sing,” club. Costello cancelled two upcoming concerts in Israel, stating:

…merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act…

This in contrast to cancelling already scheduled concerts, which is an apolitical act.

Last word to Israeli Sport and Culture Minister Limor Livant:

An artist who boycotts his fans in Israel is not worthy of performing in front of them.

fluffincolorSean Penn pleaded no contest to charges of vandalism this week after he was videotaped kicking a photographer. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and three years of informal probation.

How does an assault, on video, become vandalism? What’s the charge for spray painting walls? A speeding ticket?


fluffincolorRussell Crowe, somewhat known for being quick to rile, got upset and stormed out of an interview in England this week. When the interviewer suggested Crowe had a bit of an Irish accent in his new movie, Robin Hood, Crowe became angered and yelled:

What would you be talkin’ about, ya fekin gobsheit! Ya stupid wee man, ya wouldn’t know an Irish accent if it dropped it’s pot of gold on your toes.

He then finished his Guiness and stormed off.

Top signs that Russell Crowe is angry:

  • Puts a petrol bomb under your bonnet
  • Stands and drops his pants, all the while yelling Pogue Mahone
  • Knee-caps you with a hurl.
  • Dons an Aaron sweater and says, “I like it too.”
  • Drops his pot of gold on your toes.
  • Guest edit’s the Globe and Mail
  • Bops you on the head with his shillelagh.

fluffincolorJoni Mitchell gave a rare interview last week with the LA Times:

We (Bob Dylan) and I are like night and day, he and I. Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is deception.

Oh, my! Tell us what you really think Joni.

She had more to say regarding Grace Slick and Janis Joplin being drunken tramps – they were “sleeping with their whole bands and falling down drunk” – and Madonna:

Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point.

Madonna as anti-Christ. There’s an argument I can get behind.

Other revelations in the Joni Mitchell interview:

  • The Red Hot Chilli Peppers are neither red, hot nor chilli peppers.
  • Jakob Dylan plagiarised his fathers last name.
  • The Led Zeppelin song Going to California, heretofore thought to be written about Joni Mitchel, was really written about “That Girl” Marlo Thomas.
  • The reason the Toronto Maple Leafs have not won a Stanley Cup in 40 years is that Joni Mitchell cursed them by writing about them in her song Raised on Robbery.
  • Jose Feliciano is the judge for the People Magazine’s most beautiful people.
  • Bob Dylan mumbles

fluffincolorSixteen year old singing sensation/tweener heartthrob Justin Beiber commented to People magazine this week about President Barack Obama mis-pronouncing his name at Beiber’s first visit to the White House last year:

He messed up my name, but I give it to him. He’s not (the) age category I sing to. He’s not “one less lonely girl”.

I would have preferred if he had said, “Dude. You can pronounce Netanyahu, but you can’t get Bee-ber? Put it on the teleprompter and get it right next time.” However, the “it’s more than I expect from some old, square guy,” routine that he went with was good too.

fluffincolorLife and Style magazine has gone undercover to find out, which Hollywood big shots have big shooters. The big men about town, in no particular order, we hope, are: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, David Arquette, David Spade, Jamie Kennedy, Brian Austen Green, Jaret Leto and Andy Dick.

Noticeably absent from the list is any of those Hollywood loudmouth types (DiCaprio excepted) like Sean Penn or Matt Damon, proving once again, guys with big dicks don’t have to go around acting like they have big dicks.

fluffincolorIn an interview with Parade magazine, Elton John angered Christians by stating that Jesus Christ was:fluffposter01sample

…a compassionate super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.

US Christians are particularly angry, claiming labelling Jesus a “sexual deviant” is akin to labelling Elton John “fashionable.”

Other little know Elton John religious facts:

  • Elton played Candle in the Wind at Jesus’ crucifixion, changing the words to Goodbye, Jesus. Dude
  • A recently discovered first draft of an English translation of the bible refers to the holy trinity as The Father, The Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy.
  • John the Baptist also wore powder blue track pants.
  • On Halloween 1517, Martin Luther posted a scathing review of the previous nights Elton John concert in Wittenberg on the church door. Pope Leo X, an Elton John fan, declared the review a hearsay and ex-communicated Luther.
  • Benny and the Jets is about a Super Bowl III party in the Hampton’s with Pope Benedict, who then went by the sobriquet Benny the Bishop.
  • A Priest’s vestments were originally modelled after Elton John’s early stage clothes.
  • Elton John was due to appear at Jeuruselum-a-palooza in 1095 when he got a bout of food sickness. Fans rioted, causing the Imams of the Caliphate to issue a crowd control fatwa. The ensuing battle was the First Crusade.John was only able to escape with his life when the Knights Templar snuck him out of the holy city. They would be his bodyguards for the next 1,000 years for which he signed over royalty rights to his Greatest Hits album.
  • Jesus’ sandals were made by Gianni Versace.

fluffincolorThe Late Shift II: Conan the Leftoutinthecoldian – There really is one story in entertainment this week: Leno vs. O’Brien.

In a redux of 1991’s decision to replace Johnny Carson with Jay Leno instead of heir apparent David Letterman, NBC announced is shaking up The Late Show, once again anointing Leno and leaving hair apparent O’Brien out in the cold.

Leno’s new 10PM show has bombed, and NBC announced they were moving Leno back to 11:30 with a new half-hour show. O’Brien balked at being moved to midnight, telling NBC to go letter their man. Leno will return to the Late Night fold, with Jimmy Kimmel retaining O’Briens old 12:30 slot. And O’Brien? It appears he will take heed of Leno’s advice to NBC when the story started to break last week and travel: Fox, he said, is beautiful this time of year.

Who the long term winner will be is anybody’s guess, but it seem likely there will be one long term loser: Leno’s reputation as a nice guy.

fluffincolorSo your Tiger Woods. Your nice guy image is in tatters, your reputation need rebuilding. Your wife is leaving, and taking with her the kids and $300M. Pat Burns is on Montreal radio telling the world your gorgeous Swedish wife took a nine iron to your face before you got in the Cadillac, which she then took the nine iron to the windows of. What do you need to revive your image? How about a magazine cover with you looking like it was taken in the prison yard:

187291-tiger-woods

The world is upside down when I feel sorry for Tiger Woods.

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