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June, 2010:

Friday miscellany…

In the news….

More titter-titter about le gaspillage in and around Parry Sound / Muskoka wrt the Gee-Ate pork-a-thon!

Local residents, unaccustomed to such attention, are expecting a massive tourism boom…local entrepreneurs arranging guided tours of the childhood home of Bobby Orr, the Magnetawan haunted bridge, the Rosseau General Store, and, of course, the now famous Orrville gazebo…

A Request for Proposals for the construction of a gilded statue of MP Big Tony Clement is being prepared by local staff…

In the States…

Obama sends BP oil mandarin to his room for a time out…GOP Congressman apologises for apologizing to BP for the “shakedown” by the President.

GOP execs send said Congressman to his room for time out.

In soccer…

Noisy bee sound making plastic things are turning off fans and players alike. Claims by South Africans that these vuvuzelas are a part of their culture is nullified by the fact that plastic horns –  made in China – have no place in the African archaeological record.

Upsets, upsets… Spain attack nullified by strong play by the Swiss in the neutral zone… get it? Neutral zone?

France loses to Mexico and immediately appeals to FIFA for a replay of the match due to an undisclosed injury to Thierry Henry’s hand… which hampered 100% of the the French goal scoring ability…

England must win today to be assured of moving on. South African police on guard for hooligans armed with valazuzas… ear plugs on standby.


Right now, Trashy is thinking about…

  • whether he should take the leap and attend a certain information session tomorrow.. tough call.
  • why, oh why is the forecast for every single Saturday filled with rain? Ain’t right, I tell ya!
  • how much dynamite will it take to open the fault line close to the building where I work? Workers are blasting rock at a construction site and seem to be trying to find out.

CPC drop continues… and so does the Grit inability to capitalise…


Newsflash! BP execs spill coffee!




The Grits have officially lost me…Iggy – bye-bye…

Sorry gang. Hugs all around. I was a Liberal Party member until the party mandarins decided that Dion was the best thing to take on Harpy.

That ended well, didn’t it?

And yeah. I have been sympathetic to Iggy as I felt that he was getting his land legs. He’s a smart guy, after all. I’m a smart guy. So I can relate to another smart guy.

Takes a while to get the hang of being the leader of Canada’s Natural Governing party, ya know.

BUT. I can’t stand by this.

Who is advising you Mr. Ignatieff? Homer Simpson?

Iggy trying to out pander to the right wing of the nation by saying that our armed forces are gonna stay in Afghanistan till the cows comes home is the deal breaker for me, folks.

No way, no how.

Why bother? The right wing zealots in rural Ontario or in Alberta, Saskatchewan or the interior of B.C. were never gonna vote for ya anyhow!

With some regret and much disappointment, I officially denounce this leader. As well as the party he represents until Liberals get with the game and realise that they are supposed to be a progressive alternative for Canadian voters – not regressive. They are trying to out right-wing the DeceptiCons!

I need an alternative. Not more of the same.

I. Am. Seriously. Pissed.

I can remember only once in my political consciousness when I was this pissed and that was when the Grits did not rail against the machine in 1988… Turner could have gone for the throat but did not.

And my so-called political consciousness goes back to ’78.

Message to Roy Romanow. Do you want to set up a new centre-left party comprised of disenchanted Grits and Dippers?

Call me. I’ll give you money and time.


We can be heroes. Just for one day

Yup, “Heroes” by David Bowie is one of my all time fave tunes. Haunting and melodious, he tells the story of a couple in love in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. I saw this performed by Bowie here in town a few years back… the crowd was mesmerized.

The best lines are these:

I, I can remember
(I remember)
Standing by the wall
(By the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads
(Over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall
(Nothing could fall)

This leads me to recount an interesting Facebook exchange last night with an old friend from my Trent days (where I did my undergrad degree). I don’t normally copy a FB back and forth onto my blog – pretty lazy, IMHO. But this is an exception because I like the topic.

My bud – let’s call him “Ike – was wondering aloud about what makes a hero and who might they be. He posed his question in the form of a status update:

is thinking about heroes… real ones; not Superman et la… Just been thinking about the incredible people I work on various causes with and that they are the real heroes; and our troops; and our cops; smoke-eaters and EMS eagles…. I’m curious; in the cynical age we live in; do you have any living heroes ? Who are they ?

To which someone immediately came back with examples of a cop, a U.S. Air Force dude and a paramedic. All fine examples of who that particular person considers to fit the mold of hero… but I had to take issue…

Sorry man, we really differ on the whole heroes thing…

My old friend still remembers me well enough that when I am called out on something, I’ll usually take the bait – being the opinionated bastard that I am.

I KNEW you’d call me on this!

Heroes are strangers worthy of my respect because of some act that they have performed. Not that I’m anything special and not that worthy of my respect is above being worthy of someone else’s respect; but you asked.

I am certainly no hero.

Cops. Yup, they will occasionally put their asses on the line. But the bulk of their time is spent hassling folks who dare to question authority. And I’m 47 yrs old and still saying this.

Most of the cops I have know in my adult life have been on ego trips to beat all hell and really don’t give a crap about being heroes more than satisfying their own dominating, macho, misogynist agendas.

Yup, there are exceptions, but I’m speaking from experience.

I’m NOT going to go on about the military because that will just invite flames – not from you, but from others. Let’s just leave it at that. Sure, they are heroes at times… but that’s their job.

Sure – EMS folks – I’ll go with that… but still, that’s their job and what they are paid for – right?

But what about those who are in the shadows and receive not recompense?

Here are some of my heroes:

– The anonymous woman in Sudan who stands in front of the soldiers to protect her kids – after her husband has been murdered in cold blood…
– The anonymous middle-class family in Halifax who spends one day a week delivering food to the elderly
– The anonymous guy on Vancouver’s Lower East Side who brings a thermos of soup to that pathetic dude on the corner who is 15/16th the way to being dead.
– The teen who gives up her weekends to volunteer at the local old folks home… and tells her friends and family that she’s chilling with her friends for fear of being found as uncool…
– The anonymous “anyone” who stands up to authority when authority is wrongly wielded and pays for that defiance. Whether in a Vancouver airport, a ship off the coast of Gaza or at Kent State in the 1960’s.

Go ahead and say that I sound like some rambling hippie. Fair ’nuff. But there are heroes every day and everywhere… and they need not wear a uniform. Though they might.

A couple of commments later, someone else piped in with:

Interesting topic and views. A hero to me is someone who makes a difference; even if it just touches one person’s life or millions. I agree it is every day people. I would not exclude anyone because they are trained/paid to do the job. I cringe when I ask students this question and they can come up with is a sports figure. Great topic!

I couldn’t agree with this more. I guess it may be easier to describe what is NOT a hero rather than what IS one.

For example, are athletes or other celebrities heroes when they do something philanthropic?  Is the hero a researcher who dares to question the common wisdom of his field and endures criticism and ridicule from his peers; but then goes on to make a major technological/medical  breakthrough?

Sure, a cop can be a hero by disarming a bad guy intending to do harm. A firefighter will willingly enter burning building to save a trapped child.  A soldier in Afghanistan can heroically save his comrades and innocents by disarming a bomb or leading a sortie into hostile territory. I’m not saying that these men and women for whom being heroic is part of their c.v. are not heroic, but I am saying that they are not automatically heroes because of their chosen field.

So. Who is your hero? And why?



True ’nuff – it really IS just a big photo-op.

Yeah, yeah… the Grits had their moments wasting money, but really… a BILLION ($1,000,000,000) dollars just to get a few votes?

A billion dollars might have been our national daycare program.

Or a whole shitload of medical equipment.

Or rapid transit between Calgary and Edmonton.

Or thousands of doctors and nurses.

Instead, Stevie gets to look all Prime Ministerial in front of some cameras.

How embarrassing for Canada.


Hug a Public Servant this week!

Yup! It’s Public Service Week again – where we in the PS pat ourselves on the back and say “Way to go! You still have a job!”
Some Departments do a lot for their employees, others do not. I am fairly fortunate to work in a place that sets aside time for their employees to take part in various activities both in the Department and elsewhere. I’m not one of those employees since I am way too busy right now to go to picnics, etc. 😉
But that’s just me. I do encourage my staff to partake…
So why not hug one of us this week? It may be a spouse, your Dad or Mum, a nephew or niece or maybe not a family member at all!
How about that cute blond with the Health Canada lanyard that you’ve been riding the bus with for the last 6 months? She might appreciate a hug. And you will appreciate the restraining order!
How about that annoying neighbour who works at the Coast Guard? Or the Corporal in the Forces? Or that young couple who work for Treasury Board? Hug ’em, dammit!
A word of warning though – it is important that you confirm they are indeed part of the PS and not a political staffer. Look at the ID card carefully. Hugging a staffer will get you in varying degrees of trouble depending on their party.
  • A ReformCon will likely Taser you.
  • A Grit will try to merge with you – opposite sez be damned!
  • A Dipper will lecture you on the social inappropriateness of hugging
  • A Bloquiste will hug back… with tongue… but then pick your pocket and seperate
  • And a Green Party staffer will, uh, will.. uh – are there any of these critters?
Some messages from our boss and the GG… not that these turn my crank…
Hi everyone:
I wanted to take a moment to wish you a very happy National Public Service Week.
It has been a busy and challenging year during which the public service has accomplished a lot.  We have mounted humanitarian operations and offered relief to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, we have facilitated the hosting of the enormously successful 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we helped contain the H1N1 pandemic, and we helped develop and implement the Economic Action Plan.
Public service in Canada can mean a number of things. Public servants make important scientific discoveries, participate in rescue efforts, develop emergency preparedness plans, contribute to the public health system, as well as develop and implement programs for Canadians, to name just a few examples. They live and work throughout Canada and abroad. With more than 277,000 employees, the Public Service of Canada is a diverse, representative group of dedicated professionals.
During National Public Service Week, it is important to take stock and celebrate our successes.  All of us work hard day in and day out serving Canadians, supporting ministers, and protecting Canadian values and interests both here and abroad.  We take pride in our work and we can be very proud of our accomplishments.
It is going to be a great week.  Have a well deserved and wonderful celebration, everyone!
Wayne G. Wouters
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

National Public Service Week

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the occasion of National Public Service Week, June 13 to 19, 2010

June 12, 2010

National Public Service Week, June 13 to 19, 2010, is another wonderful opportunity for me to applaud the remarkable contribution federal public servants make to building this country of infinite possibilities.

Canada’s public service is rightly known for its tradition of impartiality, its dedication to excellence, and its constant focus on the common good. But we really have our federal public servants—who perform their duties with passion, devotion and integrity—to thank for this enviable reputation. They continually improve the quality of the services they deliver by remaining sensitive to the needs of all their fellow citizens.

I would like to thank all the women and men who, day after day, in a spirit of respect and solidarity, help keep the wheels of government turning and ensure the well being of all Canadians.

Michaëlle Jean


3 things catching my eye this morning…

Possible VIA strike

Word this morning is that VIA ticket vendors and maintenance workers have voted for strike action at the end of June if a settlement cannot be reached. Bad timing for riders, of course, but a strategic move for the Union as the summer tourist season begins.

I’m not going to comment on a possible strike and what a hassle this will create for those of us who use the service, but rather on some of the comments I’m reading on the MotherCorp story.

Check it out:

There is something wrong. In many countries rail travel is the most economic way to travel. No not in Canada here in Canada to go from Winnipeg to Vancouver, economy class Via Rail: $258.76. Greyhound bus: $96.00. Like the roads the rails are there.
What make this so ” humane kind of travel” so expensive.
Right the “Via Rail workers have voted in favour of going on strike “.
They are pricing Via Rail out of business.
I love rail travel but not at those prices. As one commentator said: “Take away the subsidies and make it private.

The writer is making two points – rail is too expensive, and that the system should be privatized.

Yes, it is expensive compared to travel by road and is about on par with a flight for many cases. Against the air option, there is no contest, rail wins hands down. When I am traveling for biz to Montreal or to Toronto, I almost always go by rail; the exception being if the meeting I am attending is near the airport. No hassle. Comfy seats. Good food. and best of all, NO security!

And it IS used by many, many commuters in the Windsor to Montreal corridor – contrary to what this guy says:

Not a good move, I can’t name one person who relys (sic) on Via to get them around! Train travel is now a novelty thing , the odd tourist, vacationer thats (sic) about it.

Hmmm… it just occurred to me that comments like this may be coming from the West – where many like to bask anything that may be perceived to have an Eastern Canada bias.

As far as privatization, I don’t know if that is the solution. I know of folks who took Brit Rail both before and after the breakup of the national system and most would agree that it is far worse now than before. As well, I’m not so sure the Amtrak system is the cream of the crop in the States. So, at best, the jury is out.

Besides, privatization would only be effective if there were a profit to be made. In this vast country with wide spans between destinations, could a private firm offer a palatable service, pay their workers a living wage and still get a half decent RoI? I’m not so sure.

One other comment I want to say something about:

Here we go – the Union dummies don’t realize we are still in a recession.

Um, apparently this dummy doesn’t realize that we are NOT in a recession anymore. They should Google the definition.

I can’t begrudge the union trying to get a wage increase. As someone who belongs to a union that has been completely de-clawed (no cost of living increases for the next few years, meaning that our purchasing power will be 5-8% less three years from now than today) by the Harperites – as have all Federal Unions, I say go for it and good luck!

Another thing that caught my eye:

Apparently, a planetary alignment today is going to cause earthquakes, tsunamis and whole bunch of other end-of-the-world stuff.

Kongpop U-yen, a Thai engineer who works at the US National Aeronatics and Space Administration (Nasa), said the alignment of the planets today could cause natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

NDWC chief Smith Dharmasarojana agreed with the forecast, saying it was backed by scientific data.

The forecast, however, met with criticism from the scientific community as authorities did not clarify the prediction.

Mr Smith recently said during a TV interview that a solar eclipse was due to occur on June 12 as a result of the alignment of the Earth, the moon and the sun.

He said the alignment would release considerable cumulative energy, which could affect the Earth. Mr Smith, quoting Mr Kongpop, said the phenomenon would have a direct impact on the Earth in the forms of climate disruption, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.


And finally:

How true it is…


Friday miscellany…

I haven’t said anything about the so-called “Fake Lake” that has been built to simulate the Gee-Ate setting.

But being from the area, I can only hope that authenticity has been respected and that the lake has leeches, crazy-ass dudes on wave runners, broken beer bottles, loons, drunk teenagers and the water is kept at about 70 F.


Question – why is it raining every single weekend? The work weeks are full of sun but once Saturday arrives – poof! It pours!

I blame Harper.


Good to hear that the 16 year old teen feared lost at sea has been found safe and sound – and help is on the way. Abby Sunderland was sailing through the southern Indian Ocean trying to sail around the world in the 30 foot yacht that her Daddy bought for her (does her Daddy wanna adopt a 48 yr old bald guy?).

BUT – I have two three problems with her being out there in the first place:

1) What parent in there right mind would allow their child (she is a child) to do this? I can only imagine that the Father is a publicity seeking fool who is willing to risk her own daughter’s life for time in the limelight, and

2) Who is paying for the search and rescue operation? I’m sure the Aussies don’t want to foot the bill for that Airbus 320 that was chartered to find her. Nor the French for sending that rescue boat to fetch her.

3) Putting all else aside, it’s WINTER in the Southern Hemisphere! Why not wait till their summer when the weather is much calmer?


I wrecked one of my good shirts the other day. Is there a way to remove ink stains short of dying the whole shirt the colour of the ink?


My Mom Facebooked me with this:

We had a bear or bears here sometime in the night. Dumped all the flower pots and left there calling card on the lawn. love, mom

Quick! Someone call the Gee-Ate organisers! My Mom and Dad’s house is a quick 40 minutes from the conference and someone had better do something about these terrorist anarchist bears before they ruin Harpy’s show! Use some of those BILLION dollars wisely, eh?

Or maybe catch ’em and ship ’em to the Fake Lake along with the leeches! Use Don Cherry as bait!


If I had a billion dollars…

I’d build stuff to get me votes…


Don Cherry’s time has passed…

…and the MotherCorp should come to grips with the fact that Grapes should be shown the gate to the bench.

I know this won’t make me popular with the Timmies crowd out there (no insult intended to those of you who like that swill, but you can’t help having poor taste in coffee!), but really, can anyone even follow what he spouts on about anymore? He is so fricking right wing that he makes Glenn Beck look like Bill Moyers.

C’mon folks, he is a blowhard, racist, fascist who knows precious little about hockey – the subject of which he is supposed to be an expert on! To make up for this lack of understanding of the modern game, and to cover up his increasing dementia, he uses his rant to bitch about Europeans, lefties, politicos and whomever else doesn’t agree with ol’ Grapes!

Now, I have not always been “anti-Don”. Coaches Corner was once a good segment that focussed on HOCKEY and had guests who talked about HOCKEY –  but it has devolved into a wandering bitch-fest about whatever is up Don’s butt that night… with an obligatory weekly gush and cry about the military.

He appeals to the lowest common denominator and that is the only reason the CBC puts up with him. He sells ad space.

But he has to go, and now is the time time. Right now.

The season is over (Congrats Hawks!) and the Canadian mindset will soon tune to summer mode. Hockey gets pushed to the back burner for a few months so the timing is right.

But they can’t simply show him the way to the gate with boxes in his arms! Noooo… imagine the hue and cry! And Grapes himself would happily stoke those flames until the CBC backed down for fear of a boycott and the loss of advertising bucks. So here’s what you do.

First, offer him a very generous buy-out package – much more than he is worth.  But more importantly, they have to be sure to stroke his huge ego by arranging for him a “speaking tour” – complete with PR hacks and a small entourage of cooing followers. And pick up the tab for the whole shot. Cherry would agree to this, I think, as he would still be able to utter all that swill about how the politicos are ruining everything and if important decision were left up to him and his beloved military, then Canada would go back to being that down-home redneck-friendly place that he once imagined it to be!

Yes, he would still have an audience, but it would be much smaller and thus less damaging than the millions who tune in to him every week during the hockey season. The folks in the Legion halls, old folks homes and middle-of-nowhere community centres and hockey rinks (read – places where the ridings are held by the CPC) are already ardent admirers of the jerk, so no further damage would be done.

Better yet, ship him overseas to entertain the troops! Kind of a USO thing like they do in the States! Man, that might be just the weapon our troops need to crush the Taliban! Put his blathering, meandering rants on loud speakers and blare it at full volume wherever it is believed there may be Taliban hiding… THAT would be better than any other ammo you can imagine!

Trashy – doing his part to help the mission overseas!

PS – If the Hawks can win the Cup 49 long years, then the Leafs will be next! Woo-hoo! I’m reserving my spot on the parade route now!