Saturday October 25 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

A Closet Too Far

I’d be terrified, of course, but there’s something about knowing that Stephen Harper hid in the closet while a mentally ill young man with a gun ran towards the Library of Parliament that makes it difficult not to make with a bit of har-dee-har.

It would be terrifying for any unarmed person, though, wouldn’t it. As soon as I heard about him hiding in the closet I thought of Reeva Steenkamp, trying to save herself from a mentally ill young man with a gun, crouched in the bathroom behind her only defense, a locked door.

I wonder if Stephen Harper thought of her as he crouched in the closet. I hope he did. Maybe someone could ask him. I’d think better of him if he thought of someone else while he feared for his life.

Perhaps he could even pretend to us that he did and I’d think better of him.

Yes, yes, of course I’m relieved that he wasn’t harmed.

I couldn’t take the martyrdom.

Imagine being Reeva Steenkamp when she realized that the mentally ill young man with a gun would just shoot through the locked door to end her life, that no one was coming to rescue her because she didn’t matter enough to anyone who could.

I guess the young man guarding the war memorial was shot in the back and so didn’t even see it coming.

So sad, the photo of his dogs, as if they know he’s not coming home. They don’t, of course, and his young son will forget him, too.

I don’t remember my father being alive. JFK Jr. didn’t either, you know. He’d have had the same memories of JFK that most of the rest of the world did – celluloid.

Two bad that one of the guards for the war memorial wasn’t facing the other way, although I guess they’re ceremonial and the violence of the other day was unthinkable.

I think it’s a mistake to react to random violence with increased security. If anything, we should decrease it, ramp it down, stop referring to everybody and everything as targets.

We’re security mad and it isn’t making us any safer. It’s just isolating us from each other and causing frustration.

We can’t have tax cuts and more security both.

Reeva Steenkamp could never end the life of the mentally ill young man with a gun who killed her, but he could always end hers. She feared for her life long before he shot and killed her. That’s the power of the gun owner. The gun owner can decide at any time to kill anyone, can’t he, and yet they all get so up in arms (sorry for the pun) when the rest of us want some sort of national control over their gun ownership.

I want the police to know who has guns. Stephen Harper doesn’t. Please, let’s not lose sight of the salient facts of gun ownership here and who wants what for whom.

Stephen Harper lives in a $20? $40? million security bubble and still he had to hide in a closet from a mentally ill young man with a gun.

Stephen Harper/Reeva Steenkamp. Only the one who lives and breathes tax cuts for corporations could rely on publicly funded rescuers to save his life from a mentally ill young man with a gun.

Maybe this incident will make conservatives behave like better people, a good old fashioned government, although most likely they’ll use it as another excuse, not that one is needed, to ramp up our unconscionable ramping up of the violence afflicting the middle east.

Lest we forget, it’s all about war.

The gun registry will be just as destroyed after the violence of the other day, no matter what lies Stephen Harper tells the gun nuts up in Northern Ontario. Yes, I know, it came with a lot of bumf, the gun registry. Too bad. It’s a complicated world, and young men don’t seem to have kept up with it.

Good government, meanwhile, seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird.

I don’t feel safer. Do you feel safer?

I don’t believe in all this radicalization nonsense because if it wasn’t that it would be something else. Young men need to be kept busy. I recall our family doctor saying that she was diagnosing an epidemic of psychotic episodes, that what the medical community knows, even if the rest of us don’t, yet, is that the male brain takes much longer to mature than previously considered.

And they’re delicate. Easily fucked up with the wrong fuel and made ripe for wrong messages.

Anybody know any young men who liked to get fucked up on booze and drugs and blame others for their problems?

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

I knew two young men back in the day who headed off into the bush to blow their heads off with their father’s hunting rifles. Suicide. Winter is long up there. It can get really tedious when you’re a teenager/young adult, too, knowing that you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with nowhere else to go because you’re going nowhere.

I should say I knew of them because I wasn’t popular enough to know them well. I shied away from the opposite sex for a long time. Also, I was away at university by then, I think. Even if I wasn’t, yet, I would have been busy anticipating a whole new life soon enough.

I lived on hope, I absolutely did. My daydreams saw me through to the life I have now, which is so good it’s finally enough.

It suits me well, this life I’m living.

There was never enough for young men, particularly, to do up North, and they ended up drinking a lot, doing drugs. Before he became a judge my brother did a lot of legal aid. It’s almost social work, lawyering up North, stupid violence causing stupid violence causing stupid violence.

It angers me that Stephen Harper was just up North, ramping up the paranoia of gun owners, pretending that public servants in Ottawa are out to get them and their guns.

It’s shameful. He should be ashamed. He should be shamed.

I wonder if the mentally ill young man with a gun had an idea where he was headed or if he expected to get shot well before he had to navigate his way through the Parliament buildings.

Why was Kevin Vickers(?) back at work the day after killing someone? I mean, even a police officer would be getting counseling and time off, wouldn’t s/he?

Security on the Hill is a real sausage fest, that’s for sure. Don’t get me wrong, we can’t have mentally ill young men with guns running through the halls of Parliament.

But speaking of security, hard to reconcile any amount of security on Parliament Hill with the privilege extended to the men of cabinet by allowing them drivers to sit in idling vehicles out front all day, easy hijacking for a mentally ill young man with a gun.

We pay for that, you know, our hardearnedtaxdollars pay for John Baird and Jason Kenney to be able to hop into warmed up or cooled down cars and driven wherever it is that their important selves are required.

I think they should be taking public transit, myself, setting a good example, learning how the rest of us live, but I would say that, wouldn’t I.

Look to more of that as a result of this – over-the-top security colliding (meshing?) with over-the-top privilege. They’ll want their drivers to be armed, the glass in their cars bulletproofed and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Look to the macho to get turned up to eleven.

Meanwhile, if you ask me, which, yes, once again you’ll be happy to hear no one ever does, young men (and so the rest of us) need the older men of government to take a moment to remember when and get to work on finding their younger selves something productive to do.

Because, if you ask me (see above) there but for the grace of being born with both feet in the door, so to speak, go they.

 

If We Had a Government, I’d Stand With It

Alas, we’ve had Conservative Party operatives hacking away at it for the past eight years.

But it’s okay, sister and brother Canadians who care about us here in Ottawa. Don’t worry. We’re as safe as you are, I guess.

Even got a call from head office yesterday, checking in.

It was nice. Chatted a bit with the lady, from elsewhere in the world, told her that my first born was in lockdown downtown. She tsk tsked about it all and told me to stay safe.

Stay safe? It’s staying safe that got us into this mess, lady. We need to get out into the streets and protest.

My first born saw uniformed shooters on rooftops before the call came to stay away from windows.

Very sad about the young man killed guarding the war memorial, which apparently requires guarding because another young man urinated on it one Canada Day a few years ago.

Of course, he didn’t urinate on it because it was the war memorial, he urinated on it because he was drunk.

Conservatives are running ads right now on CBC warning us all about the danger of smoking marijuana. And so, Justin Trudeau.

Of course, the death toll caused by smoking marijuana is nothing compared to the death toll caused by the Mexican drug cartels that benefit from Conservative politicians deliberately standing in the way of its legalization.

Looks like the killer of the young man guarding the war memorial used a long gun.

If I was to be political about this “lone wolf” “radicalized” “jihadi” “convert” I’d juxtapose Alberta Conservatives celebrating their sabotage of Canada’s gun registry with images of bystanders trying to revive yesterday’s “soft target”.

How are we supposed to stand with our government when we don’t have a government to stand with?

Anti-government politicians guilty of committing electoral fraud can’t not govern in the public interest for eight years and then pretend to be up to the task because now disaffected young men are perpetrating domestic violence with foreign strings attached.

Isn’t this the Conservative dream come true, another excuse to restrict our civil liberties while ramping up our involvement in the American “war on terror” without having to seek any kind of mandate or even consultation with Parliament?

It’s just a week ago that Stephen Harper was up in Sault Ste. Marie lying to real life gun nuts there about having to stop “the bureaucracy” from trying to re-introduce the gun registry, which he claimed it’s “always” trying to do.

That’s a lie.

He even pretended to them that he wasn’t trying to add to any paranoia they might have that public servants were trying to take their guns away.

That’s another lie.

You’d think he’d be challenged by our media more often than he is.

Anyway, no, I’m not playing along. He and his can call me names, have me audited, play politics with my life like they’ve been playing politics with the lives of other Canadians who won’t play along, but I’m standing up.

Because we don’t need no stinkin’ government – right, Stephen Harper?

 

Whose Fucking Face Is It, Anyway?! (*Updated) (**Updated)

Odd how upset everyone is over Renee Zellweger’s new look. So yesterday I tweeted what 80s Cher had to say to her plastic surgery critics, “I’ll put my tits on my back if I want to.”

No exclamation mark. Cher has always had a low key delivery. Remember “If I Could Turn Back Time”? which she performed sans pants or skirt, surrounded by sailors? I wonder if that was on purpose or if she just forgot and nobody had the stones to tell her.

I believe she was in her 80s, after all.

I know a guy whose daughter has been systematically tattooing and piercing over the years. She wears her own designs, too, which are haphazard and unfinished looking to my perfectionist eye. It upsets people d’une certaine age, probably most particularly mothers of daughters, that she’s deliberately doing this to herself.

And, of course, mental illness comes to mind, as it always does now if a girl (she’s a woman now, I guess, just that slight physique we associate with girls) isn’t towing the looks line.

Lena Dunham? That nut?

I have a real appreciation for a pretty face, and no – I AM NOT A LESBIAN! (I don’t even want to have sex with men these dry old days…) I just derive a certain pleasure from prettiness. It’s why Paul was my favourite Beatle when I was young.

I don’t have a favourite Beatle now, although I had a crush on John Lennon for a bit (after he was dead) and enjoyed George Harrison’s take on being a Beatle back in the day, “It was boring. Four guys trapped in a hotel room all the time.”

I also liked his annoyance at everything, particular parades with confetti, “Who’s going to clean all this up?”

I do have a lesbian friend, one of the wild women I met on a camping trip who’s on Facebook and who commented on my tweet about Renee Zellweger. She’d be modest about it so I didn’t mention it on Facebook but I doubt she reads Sooey’s. She’s a natural beauty and you notice it right off. It’s like, “Wow, what a pretty woman!” That’s when you realize pretty isn’t really a dime a dozen, as the saying goes.

I think about this guy’s daughter a lot. She used to worry me. It also bothered me when people would comment to each other about her look in a negative way. It’s a challenging one, especially for mothers of daughters, though, and it took me a while to get it.

She’s art. She’s not going for pretty, she’s going for art. She’s the living, breathing canvas. She challenges us, therefore she’s art.

Did I get that right?

It changed my way of looking at people, that realization. It’s had a profound effect on how I interpret the world and other girls and women in it, how I see looks.

It’s not her, it’s us. Especially us mothers with daughters. It’s really quite terrible and life/art denying.

We’re terrible, mothers. ISIS has nothing on us.

(**Yikes! Given the current situation on Parliament Hill I should probably edit that out, but you know what I mean, right? Right.)

But speaking of ISIS, everyone and her Aunts Thelma and Louise are up in arms because Value Village is selling girly Halloween outfits again this year marketed to girly little girls.

Please. People. Value Village is a for-profit business owned by the Ellison family and a private equity firm. Stop shopping at Value Village and go to the Salvation Army. I know, I know, they discriminate against homosexuals in their hiring practices, but not really, because they don’t make men have sex with women at work.

I mean, I’m bilingual on my resume, but I don’t actually speak French at work.

But if you insist, some little girls like girly costumes. Some little boys do, too. Stop reacting to girly crap as if there’s something wrong with it. We need more sexy nurses, not fewer. And flight attendants could use a little niceness added, if you ask me, which no one ever does, you’ll be glad once again to know.

Cinderella didn’t behave badly, everyone around her did.

I was a tomboy. I wanted to be a boy. I got Mrs. Scott to cut my braids off, I wore a little cap, I told people my name was Joe Pete.

?

(It’s no wonder, reading that back, that my older sister spent years trying to kill me. There but for the grace of realizing at a fairly young age that my push-ups had paid off go I. Meanwhile, she would become one of those pathetic specimens who was felled by monthly periods, like Marilyn Monroe she’d lay in bed for days, bleeding and moaning. I ran a marathon on my period, which my mother phoned all her friends to announce. Alas, my sanitary napkin became stuck to my pubic hair and I was stymied until my older sister told me to soak it off in the bathtub and then take a shower. Stupid. What kind of moron runs a marathon? A question I’d like to ask a lot of middle-aged female friends of mine, actually.)

But once at university it was full on slut-a-rama for me at Halloween. Cripes, if I’d had the body for it I’d have gone as Pamela Anderson (I dropped the Lee after that piece of shit gave her hepatitis C) at Hugh Hefner’s 150th birthday celebration.

She went as a letter carrier except instead of a letter she was carrying a cake and instead of a uniform she was completely naked.

I forget how young I was but my best friend T. and I took to wearing dresses just long enough that you couldn’t seen the lowest frills on our underwear. I’m pretty sure we were in grade five. We’d vie for the chance to go up to the front board and solve math problems (we were at the top of our half of the class, the grade six half being leagues ahead, though, so it was kind of dispiriting).

Our teacher was male, too, and from Guyana. It was quite an education for him, I’m sure. The grade six girls, I used to think all of them but I’m remembering now it wasn’t, some of them were having sex already.

It was the Sault, where Stephen Harper was recently, lying to the gun nuts about “the bureaucracy” supposedly trying to bring back the hated gun registry.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing happens in government without governing politicians initiating it. And everything, I repeat, everything must go through ministerial approvals before anything, I repeat, anything is enacted.

Stephen Harper is flat out lying to citizens when he claims that public servants do anything.

Okay. That didn’t come out quite right, but you know what I mean. The important thing to remember here is that Stephen Harper is lying, and he knows he’s lying, when he claims to a bunch of already paranoid nutcases who love their guns more than their children or there wouldn’t be any children dead because of gun owners, that “the bureaucracy” is trying to bring back the gun registry – because it isn’t.

Kim Campbell, on the other hand, Kim Campbell told the truth and nobody voted for her so there’s that, I guess.

It’s tricky enough being a girl in a world that sees you first as a girl, second as a person. We are the default sex, even though we aren’t, world over. And yet female first, person second, so it’s all very contradictory and unfair and weird, but it would be nice (there’s that word again – nice) if we didn’t deny our girly girls anymore than we deny our girls who challenge us by turning pretty into art.

And always remember, no wait, never forget – it’s Renee Zellweger’s fucking face and she can do whatever the hell she wants with it!

(*Well there you go, everybody and her Aunt Thelma and Louise. We can stand down. Apparently, Renee Zellweger’s new look is just the result of living better and away from Hollywood.)

 

And She’s Off…

So, continuing on, I guess my question is this: If the goal is to have citizens working and making money, why isn’t our government doing everything it can to find employment for those of us who want it?

And yes, jobs that we want to do. I mean, why aren’t employers knocking on my door, instead of me having to figure out how the hell to find a way to make enough money to put some of it back into the economy, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

If Conservatives want us all working for money, why is it so fucking hard to get a decent paying job that I can stand to do for a few hours a day?

Why make it more difficult instead of easier for citizens to have kids AND jobs?

Why make it easier instead of more difficult for corporations to hoard tax cut profits instead of reinvesting them in people who want to make enough money to pay taxes?

I make so little money now, and so spend even less, that I’m barely paying taxes at all.

Why are politicians, federal ones, at least, making it all more and more difficult, instead of easier and easier, and then blaming us for not keeping up with this economy that makes no cents, I mean, sense?

When I say, too, that temp agencies in 1982 were paying (me, because this is personal) $12/hr (and by the time I took a job with the NDP, it was $14/$16) to do the same sort of office work that temp agencies now offer $11/hr to do, I should stipulate that they’re only offering that $11/hr because it’s legally required.

They can’t offer less or they would. And people would work for it because their employment insurance has run out and/or they don’t qualify for employment insurance.

Joblessness is an epidemic. Look around. Believe your eyes, your ears are being lied to by statistics and politicians.

By the way, the $12/hr I made in 1982 was well above the legally required minimum wage, too, so there’s that.

My mother quipped that my Conservative friend should hire me (to do what I can’t imagine, but that’s not her point) or risk being just another corporation hoarding his profits. But she’s a Big L Liberal, and so she would say that, wouldn’t she. She hired people to do anything and everything – cleaning, painting, accounting – if she could hire someone else to do it, she did.

But she’s also of a previous generation and was a teacher with a pension (and a gravel pit that put us through university!) and was first in on RRSPs so that her early retirement was over-funded.

Don’t forget, people who write in to the Globe and Mail business section worried about whether or not you have enough to retire on, kill yourselves now. Tell Gord Sooey sent ya.

Her retirement, as sure as the hell the Globe and Mail editorial board will burn in, isn’t over-funded now, though. Chartwell, with ads galore on CBC all of a sudden-like, raises its exorbitant rents every year without fail, while fixed income residents and their families nervously eye the stock market.

I’ve met at least one woman, she works are the new hospital in the Sault, built with gambling proceeds, whose mother was kicked out of a Chartwell residence because she couldn’t make rent after they raised it.

So don’t be fooled. Seniors’ residences aren’t goodwill endeavours, they’re cold hard cash businesses. And they nickel and dime the staff just like over-priced ladieswear stores do, staff who nevertheless are good citizens doing their best in these inexplicably miserly times.

My Conservative friend in a comment to my previous entry refers me to google to answer my question: Who benefits from free trade?

He’s right, it’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it.

 

 

 

 

Money for Nothing

Elizabeth Renzetti’s column on Saturday (Globe and Mail) is about Iggy Pop’s claim that he can’t support himself just by making music, that consumers of it won’t pay for it, so he has to take on other jobs to make ends meet.

She’s my favourite columnist and even if my partner didn’t routinely buy a Globe and a Citizen (Ottawa) every Saturday, I probably would because I have to read her every week.

I follow Mike Holmes in the Citizen.

I wonder if he’s on Twitter? I think it’d be funny to tweet do it yourself repairs to see how long it would take before he’d show up with a crew of orphans “this is all gonna hafta come down” so he can “make it right”.

Anyway, the column made me think about writing, which I do a lot of for free, and how I feel about that, which is conflicted. I’m currently reading a friend’s book, which I bought last year for $27 or so. I ordered it in soft cover. It takes place in the made up country of Carnivorous and I think it’s about how capitalism is failing us but there’s also a lot of men treating women badly in it.

I bought another book, this one by a woman I’ve met a couple of times. Her politics are anathema to mine, Ann Coulter-ish, but I’ll give it a go. She’s entertaining, it’s all showbiz, her beliefs beginning and ending with herself.

No one can possibly believe that neoconcrap, right? Am I right?

I also bought a book of poetry by a Facebook friend.

I used to be annoyed that anyone can read my blog and lift ideas, but now I welcome it. Please, go ahead and lift. Make money writing while somebody still can.

Stephen Harper seems ready to eliminate copyright for the purpose of making Conservative Party attack ads that he hopes will stop Justin Trudeau from becoming Prime Minister.

Except that the attack ads will backfire because every time I see the striptease one I think, “What a handsome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be. And so talented, too. How refreshing that he doesn’t take himself seriously, like Ol’ Dead Eyes.”

Michael Harris has written the biography of Stephen Harper that he deserves, “Party of One”. I’m buying it for my mom for Christmas.

I once checked out the strip clubs of Toronto (with a male escort because a woman wasn’t allowed into a strip club unescorted, maybe we still aren’t) thinking I could make big $s, but there’s no way I could handle props while dancing while taking off my clothes, which I was more inclined to put on in those days to discourage any ideas from my on again off again boyfriend later husband now ex.

Suffice it so say that I’d like to see Stephen Harper try the same.

But this is all excuse-making and I’ll write a book yet just you wait and see if I don’t. No one is stopping me from achieving my dream except l’il ol’ me.

Just do it, stupid!

I was talking to my Conservative friend, who seems to think we had the same sort of middle-class life growing up. It’s startling to me that he thinks that, but I suppose that’s what the middle-class is, a swath of society so all-encompassing that it really doesn’t have any meaning beyond “I’m Okay, You’re Okay”.

It set me off for some reason.

No, he sets me off because of his opinions.

It didn’t help that I could hear Ezra Levant of Sun Media in the background, harassing protesters. Apparently, one of them clobbered him with her sign, a rational response – finally – to Ezra Levant.

Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin have a website and on it they publish lies masquerading as news. Right now they’re claiming that 17 children in Dallas have died of Ebola. To me it’s the equivalent of yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, to claim such a thing to a population of gun-totin’ racists, but my Conservative friend would argue it isn’t, that it doesn’t matter, it’s just entertainment.

Like Ann Coulter is entertainment, I guess. Certainly, my Conservative friend is a fan. He must know that she’s a complete hypocrite, too, a single childless workaholic, white, and therefore not a REAL woman.

Anyway, it strikes me now that I’m writing about it, which is why I blog, that what’s a game to him isn’t a game to me, his economic power has increased dramatically of late, mine has decreased just as dramatically, and yet, here we are, still having the same argument.

I can’t repeat often enough that I literally make less money per hour now than I did in 1982. Please, somebody with a column reading this, pass it on. In 1982 I made $12/hr as a word processor, working for a temp agency (I mean that I cleared $12/hr – no idea what the agency was charging) and now I make $11/hr selling over-priced ladieswear.

And I’m selling over-priced ladieswear because I can’t get a job in the government via an agency. In two years of trying, in spite of being experienced/edjumacated, not a single possibility has panned out. And every possibility that hasn’t panned out has been for the same minimum wage I’m making in retail anyway so who cares.

Not me, to be honest. The government would have to pay me a lot more than minimum wage to work for it now.

What a shit factory.

And yet, as I probably don’t stress enough, I prefer this lifestyle, the one I have now, which, to be more honest with my Conservative friend here on my blog than I was on the phone, is my choice.

Glory hallelujah. Breakthrough. I choose to live the way I do. And it’s all good because it’s a good life. The hard fact, a real number that even an economist should be able to understand, that I make less money per hour in 2014 than I did in 1982, doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t matter because my Conservative friend is right – middle-class is middle-class is middle-class.

Meanwhile, he is literally in the fabled 1% now, or, at least, his company is. His focus since forever has been on making it there. And I have another friend who works all the time at her job which she enjoys, too. I don’t know what she makes but it’s a lot. I remember once my Beau and I being out with her and when she heard our combined income I saw her discreetly slide our bill over to her side of the table, so that’s how much.

It was a lovely gesture, really, and much appreciated. But it wasn’t necessary. We can afford our lifestyles.

I have yet to even draw up a budget.

Part of it is not drinking, it’s had an effect. But it’s more of a mindset effect than a monetary one, I’m pretty sure.

But all this is leading up to a question I have that I hope somebody will put out there more officially, which is, who benefits from free trade? I mean, really. Who is all this for? And I ask sincerely because I’m not clear on what the big deal is (pun intended) and why it’s characterized by economists everywhere as a common good. Yay! Another free trade deal! Thank goodness!

I mean, it’s inevitable, I guess, because there’s no going back, even Cher can’t turn back time, but my household income is a fraction of what it was in the 80s – literally – thousands of dollars less – but I’m still living the good life.

Is that the benefit of free trade? That we can make thousands of dollars less and yet still live the good life? Because that doesn’t sound like something Conservatives would applaud, if you ask me, which no one ever does, so that’s why I’m asking you.

A better life, really, I’m living it on less. Less has actually turned out to be more. Who knew (except Zen)? Sure, I’ve taken retirement out of the equation, but retirement never had to be in it, it was just another made-up product for sale that it turns out we don’t need.

In fact, retirement can often be a cause of death, can’t it. And while my Beau’s parents are retired, they probably work as hard as they ever did, just not at their former jobs.

Me? I finally have a job that has taught me to take it easy when I’m not working for money, physically and socially challenging work that ticks off that box I need ticked off to tell me I’ve worked and now I need to think about stuff.

Eventually, I will figure out how to make money thinking about stuff, or I won’t.

Maybe it’s not about making money?

Because if it really is about making money, if making money is what it’s all about, if making money is so good for us, if making money is what the powers that be want us all to go out and do – why can’t I make money doing this?

Writing is work. I’ve spent an entire morning working. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I’ve worked steadily until now, just after 1:00 p.m. Soon I’ll publish my product, an original piece of writing, for you to read and muse over, maybe even lift from, and I won’t make a penny.

Why not?