Archive for February, 2010

#13-10 – Babel’s Beer Barn hosts the fight fans.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

It was fight night at the Babel Beer Barn last Saturday night. It was supposed to be a hockey game but these guys know what pleases their fans. While there was some testiness, the first period was just to let you know that they also know how to play hockey. They are good. They are one of the top contending teams of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

But, as already mentioned, they know what really pleases their fans. The fights came fast and furious during the second period. There was really no reason for the fights. You can blame it on young men’s testosterone if you like but the fans loved it. How the referees sorted out all the penalties was really the major mystery.

The truth is that watching young men go at each other with bare knuckles is stupid and disgusting. Hockey hardly needs that to sell tickets. Admittedly, the Babel fans seemed to love it but their level of civilization is in question.

Maybe that is why the Beer Barn is designed so badly. It is supposedly a place to drink beer but if you do, you are tinkering with trouble. First of all there are not enough washrooms. Where half the men go to pee, I would hate to ask. The line-ups at the washrooms between periods are staggering.

And speaking of staggering. Have you tried to negotiate the stairs in that place? There are no rails. You are taking your life in your hands if your seat is either high or low in the tiers of seating. You have to be cold sober to reach the last row of seats. Maybe the designer left it to God to look after the drunks.

While the Barn obviously holds a few thousand people for a hockey game, it really is an intimate place. My seat the other night was directly in front of the Rogers Cable broadcast booth. (Yes, it is Rogers that matters in Babel, not the local CTV-owned TV station that CTV says is supposed to matter.) I turned to the Rogers announcer after the first period and complimented him on his play-by-play announcing. I was particularly pleased that he had not once said “Holy Mackinaw.”

What bothered me about the Barn visit is that my daughter and I had brought Snake and the Corporal with us. Snake is playing non-contact hockey with other 12-year olds and the Corporal is an aspiring goalie with the 10-year olds. My grandsons hardly need to watch adults pummel each other with bare knuckles for the pleasure of the mob.

Next time I want to see hockey from the Beer Barn, I will do it from the comfort and safety of my living room and watch it on the local Rogers channel. (No high definition for us small markets but you can hardly have everything in Babel.)

– 30 –

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Monday, February 15th, 2010

To the producers of the Olympic opening, we have to say this to them:

It was a very strong effort but stop screwing with our national anthem.



Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Love with its warmth is a wondrous gift,

It comforts, coddles, gives our life a lift.



Saturday, February 13th, 2010

We are watching the CTV Olympics, they really are a thrill.

Hate to say, fellow Canadians, wait until you get CTV’s bill.


#12-10 – Babel’s mayor tries his hand at writing.

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The wise men of Babel were nonplus. “Who,” they asked, “is the person, whom we should blame for this?” Their perplexity and concern had to do with an advertisement in Canada’s national newspaper for a key official of Babel. They had not authorized it.

The wise men turned as one to stare toward the chair of the mayor. The incumbent sat and quivered, as though he might be the one. He did not deny the possibility that he had done the deed. “But,” he said, “you must admit, there really is a need. The board that looks after this has to adhere to the provincial creed. With only four members left on the board, somebody has to lead.”

Checking very carefully, the wise men interrogated the other members of the board. “Not I,” said the chair. “And, just to get me out of any personal involvement, I quit,” he added, which also added to the confusion of all concerned.

“Not I,” said another member of the board. “I know nothing. I did nothing. Nobody tells me anything and I’m going to be in a snit about it!”

The other member of the board, knew when to duck. “I know nothing and do not quote me,” he said through his mail slot to those seeking facts and bits of information.

The wise men of Babel conferred and the verdict was quickly determined: “The mayor must have done the deed,” was the wise men’s consensus.

In exchange for anonymity, one of the wise men acted as spokesmen to the media. Preening with satisfaction, the wise man said, “We knew it was him all the time. All you have to do is read the advertisement and the suspicion is confirmed. The obvious lack of familiarity with the Queen’s English is what gives him away. Punctuation does not seem to be his strong suit and he might have been absent the day the teacher tried to explain some basic rules of grammar.

Equipped with this information, the media of Babel, true to their custom, gathered in solemn convention around their victim in the mode of vultures waiting for their carrion to pass from a living, breathing creature to the meat of their next meal.

The mayor looked at the media people with whom he had spent many pleasant hours. He knew that he had to put the best face on the situation. He had worked so hard to please them and yet he was well aware that they would give no quarter. “So guys. D’ yah want me to sing?” he asked. And he broke into a sprightly song:

I done it, I did it,

I might as well admit it,

I did it to fill our voters’ need

I showed them all that I could lead.”

While the entire media group enjoyed the mayor’s singing—especially when he did Shirley Temple impressions in falsetto—they had to interrupt. Some of them had deadlines.

“Mayor,” one reporter asked, “Why didn’t you follow the usual procedure?

“Why didn’t you ask one of us to help you write it?” was another’s question.

A more practical reporter asked, “Who’s paying for the ad?”

“Give me a break guys. You complain that I don’t show initiative and then I show some and you still complain. You complain that I don’t do anything and then you complain when I do something. Will you all make up your damn minds. Since I’m the only guy who understands cops around here, I’m definitely the one to find the right guy for the job that we advertised. And besides, I can pay for it out of the mayor’s slush fund,” the mayor told them.

As the media left, a print reporter asked a broadcast guy, “Did you know the mayor had a slush fund?”

“It’s news to me,” the broadcast guy replied, “but next time we go out for beers with him, let’s make sure he buys.”

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to


Thursday, February 11th, 2010

What a wus Young Adam turned out to be,

A little controversy and Adam was history.


Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Young Adam wants to be Toronto’s Mayor,

First he needs two women to learn to share,

Two women plus a TTC? My, I do declare!


Young Adam leaps from bed to bed with a happy shout,

‘Look at me George Smitherman and eat your heart out.’


#11-10 – Taxicab drivers are their city’s stage setters.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

When the wife is in the car there is no longer any discussion of other Babel drivers. She forbids it. “You,” she informs me, “are also a Babel driver and you must stop, complaining about others, insulting them and saluting them with that middle finger. We need more civility around here.” Chastened, I agree.

You can therefore imagine my surprise recently when she used some very unladylike language to describe the lack of intelligence and responsible family of a Babel driver who was impeding our progress. To make matters worse, this pathetic excuse for a driver was driving for Babel’s largest and most decrepit taxi fleet. It occurred to me that no matter where you go in the world, the taxi drivers are so appropriate to setting the stage for the city in which they drive.

In London, England for example, the drivers are generally garrulous, friendly, knowledgeable and drive with a certain dignity of their profession. They bespeak the stoic pompous charm of all Londoners with their lingering love of a crumbling royal family and the faded glory of the empire that used to be.

Conversely in Tokyo, Japan, taxi drivers who rarely converse with North Americans–because of the language barrier—are referred to as kamikaze (suicide pilots) by their own citizens and have spotless vehicles covered with antimacassars to prevent soiling. While their high speed is unsettling in the crowded streets, you soon find that you are relaxed in the confidence that they know what they are doing and they are expeditious in getting it done, just like the Japanese salary man.

Where the speed is totally unnerving is in Paris, France. After you have fought for the privilege of hiring (Parisians eschew the queue) a taxi, you wonder why you were so determined. The Parisian taxi driver is ruder than any flic and determined to hit someone or something. It is like being driven in a bumper car race by a raging lunatic. There are rare opportunities to pass on the narrow and treacherous streets of Paris but the drivers do anyway. As do most Parisians, the drivers talk nonstop about things that you are not sure you want to hear about.

Conversely, Babel drivers are more erratic than fast. They drive as though confused and are obviously not hired for their driving skills. You give them lots of room on the roads as you never know what they are about to do. They drive disgusting smelling vehicles that should not be allowed on the road. I rode in one once and while frightened and appalled at the interior, I realized that the transmission was constantly slipping and the poor driver was probably spending every cent of the fare to replenish the fuel the vehicle was wasting. I would have tipped him more generously but I had to tell him every turn to make to find my apartment building that every other driver in town uses as a convenient landmark.

What that tells you about us citizens of Babel, is something we will have to ruminate on.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to


Monday, February 8th, 2010

Our winter sports fun is outdoors or on frozen rinks of ice,

It’s not always fun being Canadian, winter isn’t at all nice!



Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The U.S. says ‘Buy America and Canada that excludes you,’

We complained, so Obama said, ‘you can buy America too.’