Trashy's World Rotating Header Image

April, 2009:

NATO slaps restrictions on Canadian media in Kandahar

I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised to see this headline, eh?

According to the Mothercorp, journalists have far less access to the world outside of their bases.

Grit  Denis Coderre said that “The media is not the enemy and this is a form of censorship — and it is unacceptable,”  “There is a public interest to know what’s going on in the field.” and he is correct. The idea of having journalists directly in the field during a conflict is to have the ability to provide unimpeded and unfiltered information to the Canadian people – the ones who are “funding” the mission.

And whose sons and daughters are dying for it.

This decision by NATO (note – this is not a Harper Directive – though I don’t see them making a big fuss about it… nasty media!) goes against this principle and pressure should be brought upon the organization to lift some of the restrictions.

Since coming into force in March, journalists even have to be escorted to and from the bathroom, for frick sake!

The new U.S. security team at Kandahar Airfield stopped issuing International Security Assistance Force accreditation to journalists in late February. Instead it gives them temporary base visitor passes, which restrict movements and require them to be closely monitored.

The reporters are also compelled to forfeit their passports to the military for the duration of their stay.

Even stranger still, U.S. journalists are not covered by these restrictions. “Some of the new rules do not apply to American journalists because the measures would violate their rights under the U.S. constitution.”

This is insane. Harper get Canada the the hell out of this stupid war. Guess Canadians are good enough to die there, just not good enough to know what’s actually going on.



OK – now everyone just take a BIG BREATH! And take off your masks!

This is good. It’s refreshing to see that some folks aren’t jumping out of their skins about the flu!

Thanks to Knitting is my boyfriend for this.

27k391…and thanks to Mal Pingu for the image


Back to the Citizen – one more chance.

This past weekend, a young guy came to my door selling introductory subscriptions to the Ottawa Citizen. It was a good deal and I’m not committed for more than a few months at a rate of a few bucks per week.  So, I said yes to give it another chance.

I did previously have a subscription and kept it for several years till one day I decided that the rag wasn’t good enough to line my green compost bin!

And I wonder how long it will take me to reach this same decision. Every now and again, I am reminded why, a couple of years back, I cancelled my subscription to the Ottawa Citizen.

At the time, I was angry at and tired of the editorial board’s über-Christian, David Warren and his constant rantings about his born-again-ness and how Christians were fighting along the side of Dubya for morality, the free market and the American way… all being interchangeable in the mind of “Father” Warren.
It’s not that I mind a good theological debate. My views on the subject are pretty well-defined and have been honed over the years. I grew up in a decidedly non-Christian household that to a large degree shaped how I think today. Later in my teens, I performed a thorough and critical examination of the world’s major religions to see if I had missed something and that perhaps I could find a path that would enhance and complete my life experience.
Nope – what I found was a good basis upon which to launch many arguments against religiosity and for secularism. And I remain of the same mind to this day.

It’s also not that I think that having a system of religious beliefs is a bad thing at all. Indeed, if it gets you though life and it’s many pitfalls, by all means – believe! But don’t impose your system on me or my kids. And DEFINITELY do not make me subsidise religious institutions… although taxpayers most sickeningly do so. Witness the tax-free status of churches and the utterly wasteful duplication in Ontario’s Catholic / secular school boards!
Nevertheless, a system of spiritual beliefs works for some. I am reminded of my favourite episode of the West Wing where President Bartlett, after his lifelong assistant and confidante is killed in a car accident, stands in a church wailing in Latin against the absurdity of the death and how a righteous and kind god could ever allow such a tragedy. In the end, though, he finds strength in his beliefs and this helps him through the loss.
However, I digress.

My point is this: The Ottawa Typo-Master is a private enterprise that is free to write as they wish within certain parameters of decency and acceptable behaviour. But they go overboard when opening and unashamedly advance their evangelical Christian beliefs in the guise of “reporting”.  Their flagrant support for the Conservative Reform party is one issue – after all, they are not the only rag to do this – but issues of spirituality and the touting of one weltanschunng over another is completely out of order in our diverse, and yes, highly secular country.  The other side of an issue should always be addressed by a major Canadian newspaper in the name of balanced reporting and addressed not just as an afterthought but in a thorough and fair manner. There are atheists, humanist and agnostics in their readership who couldn’t care less about the Pope’s views on abortions.

Truth be told, I have been buying the Saturday paper for the New York Times crossword – cheaper than buying the New York Times.

So we’ll go with this for a while and see how fast it takes me to tire of the evangelising!


Didn’t read new rape law, Karzai admits

President Karzai doesn’t take the time to read the legislation that he is signing into law.

Again – why are we there? Why are our brave troops trying their damnedest to help a people whose leaders are still in the Stone Age?



Bea Arthur moves along…

A helluva funny lady has gone on her next great stand-up gig.

While I was never a fan of the Golden Girls, Maude was max-funny – ’70’s style.

Thanks for your caustic wit!


Goin’ to the dawgs

Just the other day, the Resident Love Goddess mentioned that she had just seen one of the most ridiculous sights imaginable – a stroller for dogs!

killywalk_5th_ave-200hAdmittedly, I am not a “dog person”. Not an “animal person” of any ilk unless it’s tasty when barbecued. Never seen the point in pet ownership – seems like a waste of time and money. I grew up on a hobby farm and have been exposed to enough of the creatures to know that I don’t want one. I also know that I don’t want a pig, horse, cow, chicken, duck nor one of those most incidious creatures of all – a goose (but that’s the subject of another scribble).


I did own one of my own (named “Cosmo” before Seinfeld was on the air) while living in Parry Sound but, upon moving to southern Ontario and the dearth of open spaces, I realised that the mutt shouldn’t have an owner like me.  So she went to a home where there were open spaces, squirrels to chase and lots of legs to hump.

But there are dog-people and those of us who occupy the human spectrum of reality and I accept this.  They – for whatever reason – feel the need to pick up faeces, hair and dog barf. And I guess they enjoy the smell of mutt after summer’s rain, having their crotches sniffed and – the most thrilled of all things canine – having their legs used as a humping post.

And, being an open minded individual I say to dog-people: “Live and let live and enjoy whatever pleasure the dopey, mangy critters provide!”

Yet, I can’t help but wonder what if all or even some of the $$$’s invested in the purchase and maintenance of these flea-ridden mutts were invested in something, uh, that matters to humanity… say… mosquito netting for refugees in Africa.

Incidentally, World Malaria Day is April 25.

According to the latest data, 49% of Canadian households reported having pet-related expenditures. That’s roughly 5.7 million households.

The average expenditure per household was $432.  Do the math and that comes to about $2.4 BILLION dollars spent on pet purchases, food, veterinarians and other pet-related supplies.

OK. Now let’s assume that I won’t get my way and have dogs declared a public health hazard and they continue to co-exist with us humans.  They do have to be fed, kept healthy, etc.  Hey! I don’t LIKE them – I would NEVER encourage cruelty… that is just so wrong in so many ways!

Anyhow – assume that a very small percentage of the $2.4 BILLION was spent on incredibly frivolous things like dog strollers, dog boots and dog bike baskets.  Or similar items for cats or gerbils or whatever..

Um. Let’s say 2%.  A little zippidy doo-dah on the slide rule and what do you get?


Hell, you say. $48 million doesn’t go a long way these days, right. OK, check this out:

$48 million would buy
o    480,000 mosquito nets
o    320,000 chickens
o    218,181 hygiene kits
o    96,000 goats
o    48,000 emergency toilets

These are things that save lives in the parts of the world where folks are more worried about whether their kids will see the light of the next sunrise than whether or not Fido is too pooped to walk to the corner store and will need his stroller… and boots… and coat.


Breaking news! Stevie may have emotions!

Over in XUP’s ‘hood, there is evidence that our PM may indeed NOT be a robot!

The intrepid Cub Reporter has uncovered photographic proof that Stevo may be capable of feelings!

Canada Jamaica Airplane HijackedWay to go XUP! Now our nation can rest assured that its leader, being capable of having a mancrush, may also be able to  laugh, cry, feel pity and wonder.

Atta boy MR. Harper. I have a new-found respect for you!

But I wonder what the gool ‘ol boyz out west will think of this?


What is middle age?

Middle age – I have never quite understood where that begins and ends. The term is often used to denote the years between, say, 45 and 60. Or 40 and 55.

But if it is a term that is supposed to denote the “middle” of one’s life, then, given modern life expectancies, anything older than 40 or so is a little unrealistic. I seriously doubt that most of us envision seeing our 90th or 100 birthday cake – unless it is served by ol’ Mr. Death.


So, if not a temporal term, what does “middle aged” mean?

  • It has a physical connotation.

Many of us note that, upon reaching our 40’s, the girth of our “middles” becomes much harder to predict or control. One’s belt size increases by leaps and bounds if left unchecked. And even those who are saintly about their diets and have an exercise regime that would make a UFC fighter blush still struggle to keep the inches off their torso.

In the past month, I have made a real effort to watch what I eat. Yeah, right – I watch that bagel go from the platter to my gaping yaw. But I have been hitting the gym for an hour FOUR TIMES A WEEK! True, I have seen a bit of progress and my biceps are tighter than they’ve been in years. But I’m still in my size 38 jeans and feel that I’m about 25 pounds over what I should be. Sigh.

And I find that my travails are not dissimilar from others of my vintage.

Unless you’re one of those freaks with the metabolism of the Tasmanian Devil who can eat all you want and do zero exercise and STILL fit into your size 32’s. Yeah. I hate you all! You suck.

  • You are in the middle of your career. Or the upper middle if you’ve kept your nose clean.

By the time we hit 45 or so, many of us have a pretty good idea about where we want to spend the next 15 or 20 working years. No harm in staying at the position and the level that you currently occupy – but some see the brass ring and throw their considerable weight into grasping that damned thing and riding it off to the world of executive washrooms and really boring meetings about stuff like “strategizing” and “enriching competencies”.

In the public service, you can move from one of the working level classifications to be an “EX”… standing for Executive. Or Exhausting. I’m not sure which is true.

And in the PS, there are no perqs associated with being an EX. MUCH more work with marginally better pay. Yet, if ou have passed those middle years and have not jumped to that exalted state, well – ya probably won’t get there in this lifetime.

  • Your opinions become more “middle of the road”.

I know a lot of middle-agers like this. They have mellowed. More grey than black or white. More white bread than multigrain. More Julia Roberts than that chick from L.A. Ink.


More – well, you get the picture.

Happily – I’m not like this and seriously doubt I will ever be.

This middle-aged guy is gonna stay on the upslope as long as he can. I don’t like the notion of becoming something I despised as a teen. Though that is likely already too late.

Well, I don’t think any of the above is what I would consider to be “middle-aged”. For me, it is a state of mind rather than a set of years, the size of your waistline, the state of your career or your tendency to sell out to “the man”. I despise the thought of getting old. I don’t even really like old folks. They can’t drive worth a crap and they often stink to high heaven as they run around in those motorised scooters.


Me, I’m staying generic – no age applicable. And until my kids put me on an ice floe, that’s where I’ll stay, thank-you very much!

Hmm, maybe it’s time for another tattoo?


A very, very simple question

The government of Afghanistan, with the support of President Karzai, passes a law that makes it just peachy-keen-OK for a husband to rape his wife. The law also makes it illegal for Shia Muslim women in the country to refuse to have sex with their husbands and restricts their rights outside the home as well.

Hey, they’re just chattel to these misogynists, aren’t they?


And protesters who marched against this law are pelted by cowardly men with stones.


Of course, not all Afghans are living in the Stone Age, right? Right?

In search of a life together, Abdul Aziz and Gul Pecha fled their remote Afghan village, hoping to leave behind their ultraconservative families and the sharia law of the Taliban-controlled region.

Their marriage hadn’t been arranged, and their parents didn’t approve. To try to elope in the remote Khash Rod district, where women face strict rules about appearing outdoors, was a risk for Mr. Aziz, 21, and Ms. Pecha, 19.

This is a country where tribal rivalries and honour killings are accepted as the norm. Furthermore, many of these despicable practices and beliefs are being codified as law under the watch of a government installed by the West – further ensuring this region’s place as one of the world’s most backward and crude.

So my question is:

Why is my nation still sending soldiers to this basket case of a country where the rule of law means nothing. Lives are cheap and guns even cheaper. And men hold onto the perch of power using any means available to them – moral or not.

Can someone tell me why wonderful young Canadians are still dying there?

This country is not going to change its ways in a few years or a few decades.

It is time we politely but firmly gave our notice.


End of an era…

I was saddened to see the following – my high school chums and I worshipped at her shrine… many lasting and fond memories of a Betamax tape with Zep as the accompanying soundtrack. She was truly a pioneer.

RIP Marilyn.