Archive for March, 2010


Sunday, March 21st, 2010

The arts in Babel have demanded more than $6 million funding,

If the wise men of Babel say ‘yes,’ the costs will be never ending.



Saturday, March 20th, 2010

I hear they want to arm the airport security staff,

Then they can shoot at Harper’s cabinet riff-raff.



Friday, March 19th, 2010

Females are not natural nags, they learn from their mothers,

The lucky ones are the ones who get to practice on brothers.


#22-10 – Thinkers sometimes do not know.

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Michael Ignatieff’s thinkers’ conference in Montreal this month lacks some thinking. It is like the referendum, Dalton McGinty dumped on Ontario voters in 2007. It was a referendum on our political process that lacked input from people who make the political process work. Ignatieff’s Liberal thinkers’ conference lacks input from liberals who make the political process work for the Liberal Party.

And it is hardly that the subject has slipped his mind. He has had to live with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s abuse of the political process every day that Harper allows parliament to be in session. He can hardly complain about Harper without recognizing that, if in power, he would have the same levers to pull.

“Trust me,” he tells us.

“Trust me,” Jean Chrétien told us.

“Trust me,” Paul Martin told us.

“Just watch me,” Pierre Trudeau told us.

“Screw you,” Brian Mulroney told us.

Kim Campbell and John Turner were in the mix as prime ministers also but never long enough to learn where the levers were located.

The problem for Ignatieff is that the next federal election is going to be decided in Ontario. Harper’s Conservatives are united in Ontario under the thin disguise of the supposedly benign banner of ‘Bill Davis’ style Tories. While they have to travel under true ‘Reform’ colors in Canada’s western provinces, Harper’s control of the party brooks no controversy in any area.

Ignatieff’s Liberals, in the meantime are fighting for existence in the west, looking at slim pickings in Quebec and will stand or fall in Ontario—outside of Toronto. That is hardly helped by the Ontario liberals being caught up in internecine fighting for power by the Ottawa-based party and the Toronto-based party. Aided by the hapless leadership of the McGinty Liberals at Queen’s Park, the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) organization based on St. Mary Street is fighting to exist while there is an assault from Ottawa to take over the Toronto group’s last vestiges of power.

It leaves the federal ridings that the party needs to win adrift, caught occasionally by the eddies of influence from the two power centres of the party. The party has understood for some time that the real power centre should be the individual ridings. Individual ridings should be the funding base for the party. They should be the origin of the party’s policy. They, alone, should make decisions about who should be chosen as candidates. They are not and they do not. They are creatures of the party leadership and we all know what happened to democracy in making that choice.

But that is not what Michael Ignatieff’s thinkers’ conference is about. Maybe the party needs to ask: What is it about Michael? And what is its relevance?

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

St. Patrick’s is a day for everyone to say they are Irish,

But if you are a ruddy Englishman, you can only wish.



Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The creek below us is running, the wild fowl mating,

Does this mean the extremes of winter are vacating?


#21-10 – Comments are not always cherished.

Monday, March 15th, 2010

In the artistic world, you live for your reviews. Whether you paint, act, write, sing or sculpt, it is the reaction of the audience that you await so eagerly. Your work is the extension of your life that you place before others for judgement—in hopes of their approbation, in fear of condemnation. The comments count.

Mind you, there is the occasional asshole out there who fails to understand that criticism should be a good-bad-good sandwich. They fail to understand the spoonful of sugar that is needed with the nasty stuff. You take their inconsiderate rudeness in stride. Their insults toughen you to the realities. The only problem is you often give their stupidity more importance than it deserves.

For the writer, the challenge is always to find subjects that interest you as well as your range of readers. People are easily bored and hard to amuse and entertain.

That is not a complaint. People live their own lives, in varying degrees of awareness to the world around them. The dullest of the dull is still a complex individual with all the feelings, strengths and weaknesses of their experience and fully capable of love, hate, passion, concern and all the emotions as the brightest and most erudite. And you are writing for both and everybody in between.

A writer does not say: “Today I am going to write something for stupid people.” Nor do you say the next day: “I am going to write something for the learned in our society, using big, rarely used words to keep out the riff-raff.”

A good writer writes for all. The words are simple. The sentences are easily parsed. Henry Luce determined many years ago that Time Magazine should be readable for a broad audience. The publication prides itself in that its articles are easily understood by the person who achieved grade nine level in a school with a standard K to 12 curriculum. Using a writer’s tool, known as the Gunning FOG Index calculations, that is easy to assess in every issue of the late Mr. Luce’s very successful publication..

Writing for children is a different situation. Then you must use simple sentences and a vocabulary of regularly spoken words. In English, that is somewhere around 4000 words in an average household. There can be no industry-specific words such as computer jargon, medical terminology or words recently created or picked up from foreign languages. It is words such as this that are pushing upwards the hundreds of thousands of words that are now accepted as part of the English language. It is a living language; subject to change without notice.

Since I neither aspire to write for the school-marmish editors of Time Magazine nor do I write for any children other than my own grandchildren, I tend to communicate in the language appropriate to the situation. If I am taking aim at some rude and childish person who fails to appreciate what I write, without engaging in intelligent discourse on the subject, I might just tell him to take a flying leap.

But to my regular readers—and you would be surprised at your numbers—you are most welcome. Please enjoy these comments and discussions as much as I enjoy writing them. Thank you for joining in.

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Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Trying to read the entrails of Ottawa’s coming election fever,

The trap door’s ready to open but no one will pull the lever.



Saturday, March 13th, 2010

The condominium comments of Mar. 9 must have struck a nerve,

A childish comment from a person once trusted, I didn’t deserve.


#20-10 – There were simpler times at the movies.

Friday, March 12th, 2010

It is hardly like Gene Kelly dancing into your heart in Singing in the Rain. That was small screen stuff. Today, everything is big. The screen is big. You are encouraged to sit close to it in wide seats that lay back to let you see everything. The scenes surround you. The sound embraces you. It’s like having a woofer in your pants. You feel the music. You smell the actors. You are part of the action.

But. Damn but that is a big “But.” What you think is the smell of the actors’ greasepaint is really just the smell of liberally salted, stale popcorn and rancid butter. There is something about that stadium seating system that makes people nauseous. It could be a problem with the optic nerve. The proximity of the colors changing and moving could have a dizzying effect and be disorienting the moviegoer. It is quite likely. You can also get a similar effect from being too close to 60+ inch plasma television screens.

You will hardly be forgiven if you go to the movies and throw up on the people in front of you. The theatre owners could post your picture at the box office. You can be banned for life from the local Galaxie Movie theatre.

Something has to be done. Some of us need to sit back further. Can they make those theatres in different sizes? Can they make the screen smaller? Do we have to wait for that big screen stuff to get to DVD? Should theatres offer Dramamine suppositories?

Stop laughing. This is a serious topic. Going to the movies is the last of the great levellers of mankind. The movies hardly belong just to teenagers. They might be the best customers but Tuesday is for seniors. And mums and dads go to the movies. In all parts of the world, movies cut across financial levels and reach IQs above and below the average. They are appreciated by children and by academics. They make gigglers think and the sad happy. They explain, teach, amuse, entertain, expand knowledge and understanding, plum the depths of our love and affection and despair and raise our hopes, admiration, affection and devotion.

But, just maybe, that was in simpler times.

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