Monday September 01 , 2014

Archive for January, 2013

The Goon Squad in Orleans

I just read a story in the Toronto Star with the headline: Conservative MP and senator belittle Chief Theresa Spence, Idle No More movement.

And boy am I irked.

It refers to Royal Galipeau and Patrick Brazeau acting like a couple of goons at a fundraiser for a provincial brother in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans. The audience was apparently made up up similar goons, as evidenced by one such yelling out “She’s fatter!” in response to Patrick Brazeau comparing his post flu weight to Theresa Spence’s post hunger strike weight.

Ah, the fat jokester, always a welcome addition to any goon party.

The headline gets it wrong, of course, because the belittling wasn’t really of Chief Theresa Spence or IdleNoMore, it was of everybody at the fundraiser.

I mean, fat jokes? Really? Were there no grown ups in the audience?

If I was in attendance at a fundraiser and a politician set up a fat joke at the expense of a political hunger striker, I’d stand up, making a loud noise with my chair, and walk out.

If it was a male politician, I’d pelt him with my dinner roll first.

New Democrat, Liberal, Green, Marijuana, Natural Law, Libertarian, Rhino, party affiliation would be irrelevant. I mean, there’s partisan, and then there’s being a grown up.

So fuck you everybody in attendance at that fundraiser. You should be ashamed and embarrassed and I hereby sentence you to life in Orleans.

Just a reminder, Conservatives, this is your party on power.

Brazeau is clearly stinging from having been rebuffed at the teepee on Victoria Island (which was admittedly harsh but I find it almost incredible that he would have expected anything else) and remains consistent in making the case for the NDP that the Senate be abolished, so he at least brings a certain value to his appointment.

But it’s really Royal Galipeau who brings it home with his boast that he was able to spy on Chief Spence by being unrecognized as a Member of Parliament.

Right. Kudos, sir. You have done your constituents proud, I’m sure. Fifteen thousand dollars to engage the services of the Responsive Marketing Group during the last election (most noted for its massive electoral fraud) was clearly money well wasted.

That he went on to brag about his “government” passing legislation drafted by a lobby group (I mean, dude, you passed legislation – literally – drafted by a lobby group) pretty much brings the belittling home to roost, I’d say.

You know, I get the ideology that Stephen Harper might be trying to sell us on, that Canadians shouldn’t depend on government. The party he created is proof of it. We shouldn’t depend on government because a party like his can get in power and then where will Canadians be who depend on government, eh?

So I get that. Don’t look to your government for, well, anything.

But even ignoring the fact that Stephen Harper has been years himself dependent on government for his income, that he’s a politician some consider the finest at the game, that he appears to revel in the perks and benefits, what I just don’t get is the medium for the message – the goons.

I don’t get the goons, the goonery, the gooniness. And I don’t get why, or even how, Conservatives can ignore it.

Really, if all this, Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, is Alberta getting even with… Canada? for Trudeau and the National Energy Program, uh, okay, I get it, I guess… but fat jokes? Really?

 

Babysitter Reds

I have a friend who house sits and whatnot to make ends meet. She’s technically as poor as a church mouse (technically? really, Sooey? technically as poor as a church mouse?) but she lives very well in one of our most expensive cities (you know, the one with the increasingly expensive, increasingly worthless mayor).

Anyway, she can’t retire, because she doesn’t really have a retirement fund, which is to say, a public or private pension that will ensure she has enough money every month to pay her rent.

Not even close.

So, she does various freelance jobs like house sitting and dog walking.

I recently stayed over in one of the mansions she house sits (the owners are cool with boys and parties) and had my own bedroom with dressing room and bathroom. I wore my Ralph Lauren pajamas for the occasion, because you never know when Ingmar Bergman will arise from the grave, knock at the door, and insist on making a stylish movie (although I was thinking of Pretty Baby when I typed that, so I mean Louis Malle, who is also dead – and I only know that because he was married to Murphy Brown).

Also, my mama didn’t raise no cheap pajama-ed overnight guest.

Anyway, as I was lounging on the chaize, minding my wine, I noticed a faint red stain. I quickly called it to my host’s attention (so she wouldn’t think it was me who made it, as has happened on occasion, although not in that specific mansion – that she noticed…) and she said, “Oh, that’s old.”

But then she told me about lounging on the chaize with a glass of the finest red in one of the other mansions, and knocking over a full glass on its cream coloured upholstery.

And she went on and on about sponging and rinsing and plunging and quincing and funging and frinsing.

Finally, I screamed, “Did you get it out?!”

And she sort of shrugged and said, “Mostly”.

Mostly?! Red wine?! Cream coloured upholstery?! HOUSE SITTING!?

So I said, “Here’s what I would have done. It’s red wine, it’s cream coloured upholstery. I can’t get it out to my satisfaction, let alone anyone else’s. I’d call a friend, one of those shady in reserve friends, and tell her (no, him, no, her – her, he might get kinky) to tie me up, steal a few trinkets (and make sure it’s nothing you can’t give as say… a $100 limit gift) and leave a broken wine glass near the chaize. Then I’d wait until they got home. You know, so it would look like vandals did it. To make it extra authentic, I’d demand a raise – danger pay.”

I wouldn’t really, of course (too afraid I wouldn’t get away with it), but it got me thinking about how easy it would be to get a raise and guaranteed repeat business for house sitting services if mansion owners thought there were red wine spilling on cream coloured upholstery vandals living all over town.

There’s gotta be a capitalism metaphor in there somewhere.

And I wonder if that story in any way reflects what has happened south of the border with regard to gun ownership?

Seriously, if I have to watch that poor woman who got shot in the head at one of her own rallies plead for gun control one more time, I’m changing the channel.

 

 

Up and At ‘Em

My mother used to call that up the stairs every weekday morning, along with a weather report when it was winter.

We knew the weather. We could see it in the fog of our breath, which is why we sometimes went to school wearing our pajamas under our clothes.

But when I’d return home for a visit, she’d give me her electric blanket, make a big fuss about how I was always cold. She’d go up to bed around 10:00, but before she did she’d go into my room and turn on the electric blanket for me so the bed would be warm when I went up a couple of hours later. She’d have extra Hudson’s Bay blankets on the bed, too. Eventually, she took to lining the bed with an extra duvet. The small of my back collects stress and she thought the cushiony warmth would help.

I don’t know if times changed and she with them, or she just didn’t believe in catering to children but was happy to accommodate adults. I always told my kids, “Grandma will be interested in you when you’re old enough to drink a martini.” And that was pretty much the case. As each one went to university, her interest would perk up and she’d start asking how they were doing – academically – on her weekly phone calls to me.

Really, now I look back on it, kids do have a certain sameness, don’t they. I know we think our own are special at the time we’re raising them, but once they’re adults, it’s hard not to recognize that we were really just being exceptionalists. I mean, it’s a human behaviour, sure, but that doesn’t make it the be all and end all of behaviours, does it.

Surely the world would be a better one if we raised our kids like they were other people’s and not our own.

Public transit would certainly be used more often by courteous teens.

When I was separating from my ex, my mother was losing her vision, since mostly regained, although I don’t think she’s entirely honest about how well she can see. Still, the thumbs of the mitts she knit in the bad days fall off, but the socks she knits now hold up.

They were all I brought for my winter camping weekend and one pair was all I needed even in cross country ski boots, which really aren’t well insulated.

Funny the design flaws that persist, eh? When I stayed overnight with my brother and sister-in-law they raved about the design show in Toronto. I was jealous and I’m going to make a point of going next year. So I told them about how I had managed to get a futon topping under the cover for our futon couch instead of buying new and more comfortable furniture.

My sister-in-law was suitably impressed because she understands skill and invention. She laughed, “You’re an unemployed furniture designer now!”

She can laugh, though, because she’s an unemployed professor of chemistry.

My mother is very guarded about weakness of any kind. As a kid, I don’t know if I was afraid to get sick because I was vomit-phobic, or if I was afraid to get sick because I might get dropped off at the side of a mountain to be raised by caring wolves.

It was the most difficult time in my life when I was separating, but it was also the most difficult time in hers, apart from when my father way dying, I suppose (or maybe it’s worse to be losing your eyesight – her narrative about my father may have been more for our sake than hers – eventually I suspect it was just habit – my friend B had to point out to me once that my mother was really only married for a dozen years), and I didn’t really appreciate her situation because I was so much in my own.

I couldn’t appreciate her situation, is maybe a better way to put it, because I couldn’t appreciate reality. I was trying to do the impossible. I was trying to get out of a relationship without anybody noticing, without anything changing, without suffering.

Insanity.

Suffering is the worst. That’s why I can’t be a nurse. Do not let me become a nurse. I’d just put pillows over my patients’ faces and then make their families even madder by feeling good about a job well done.

And I’m not sure I’d suffer being incarcerated. I’m very adaptable. Although I’m sure I’d find the food wanting and my cell improperly heated.

Okay. Don’t let me be a prison guard, either. I can see the pillows/faces theme emerging again.

Eventually, my sister-in-law, who was living in the same city as my mother (the Sault) and knew better of her state of health, said, “She doesn’t understand why you’re doing this, you have to tell her what you want her to say.”

So I did, by telling my sister-in-law what I wanted HER to say. She did a 180 and then my mother did a 180 and voila! – I had my nearest and dearest saying what I wanted to hear, at least.

I’m irked (now) to say that the separating went on for years, too, but I finally found myself so tired of it all that I’ve decided to reinvent the relationship by only remembering myself in it.

Otherwise, I’ll just be irked at myself forever for not taking it off like a bandaid way back in the early 80s when we’d moved in together at my invitation and he said, “I’m not doing dishes”.

For some reason, I forgot my response to that, which was, “Oh, really?” Followed by him not only doing dishes, but I believe most of the cooking, as well.

Is it possible I’m starting to remember him even wearing an apron? Why yes, yes it is. There. And he really took to the kitchen, too, so take that, memory bank.

Somewhere along the way memories of me in the relationship took over memories of me, and those are the memories I have to re-create or forever hold my peace.

I wonder if Americans spell it “piece”?

Besides, I can’t be irked because I got three kids out of it, three kids that I didn’t just make, I made happen. And then I stayed home to raise them.

Everything that mattered was my decision, he was just there to carry out its execution. When I made the decision to stay home, I remember now how freaked out he actually was. It was completely turning the tables, since I’d always been the reliable money earner. I was more or less copying my sister-in-law, or so he would have thought, but also fulfilling a want in myself to have a  mother at home.

So I made myself be her.

As time went on, I have to admit, it would have been dream come true if my ex was hit by a bus on his way to work so that I could live happily at home off his life insurance. No suffering, no lingering, no even seeing it coming.

Just <splat>.

I know. That’s terrible. But it’s the truth and what’s the point in saying anything if it isn’t the truth (at least as how you remember it). What’s also the truth is that nowadays I wish him a long and happy life. Because when you’re happy you want everyone you care about to be happy, too. Blessed are the new partners of exes. May you stay together always and never look back on what wasn’t the right relationship for me so how could it have been the right relationship for you.

Also, I stayed overnight at my brother and sister-in-law’s place in Toronto on Sunday and my brother referenced the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and let me just say, free at last, free at last, free at last.

It was a long time coming, and I shouldn’t need it, but it was still nice. Insanity all around, my friends, insanity all around.

I think of that time as a swirling vortex, with me swept up in it, but maybe it was the other way around. Or maybe I should remember it as the other way around whether it was or it wasn’t. Because there’s a lot to taking responsibility that I’m starting to appreciate. It brings reality into focus and improves the memory, but also the memories.

My mother has always insisted you have to put yourself first.

So now, “I do”.

 

 

 

On the Bright Side – No Blackflies!

It’s okay, Sooey Says reader(s), you can stop worrying now. I’m not dead, I was just resting your eyes.

But seriously, I was winter camping up at Windy Lake near Sudbury (Sudbury stands for “city of big smokestacks that blow mining pollution down to Ohio where it belongs” – ironic since one of our group was up here from Ohio).

I don’t know what Windy Lake stands for but it has well-groomed cross-country ski trails that wind through an evergreen forest of remarkably tall snowy evergreens, heated yurts with double bunk beds, and the coldest smelliest outhouses you can imagine.

Okay. That’s enough imagining because they’re colder and smellier than that. No, stop. Forget it. You can’t imagine how cold and smelly they are.

Last summer I did a similar camping weekend in the same general area with a group I won’t name because I don’t want it to get so popular that I can’t sign up for adventures at the last minute, being the sort of “should I or shouldn’t I” waffler that I am, who continues to fret even after I’m on the bus or the train en route to Toronto from Ottawa for a ride, this time from a Buffalo gal who doubles as a chemical engineer.

I don’t know what a chemical engineer is, but you’d never guess from her cute little Indiana accent that she is one.

I know, accentist. And yes, I realize that Indiana isn’t in Buffalo or even the other way around.

Anyway, my reason for doing the excursion wasn’t about experiencing the great white north – outside – which is the what this particular group is all about, it’s about having an experience with strangers and then coming home to the people I know.

I’m not about the doing, I’m about the having done. That’s because I like to be comfortable and travel really isn’t. And outdoors definitely isn’t. Having said that, it was cool to find out I can still cross-country ski with the octogenarian Finns, albeit much slower and less elegantly, and snowshoe my ass off if need be.

Which turned out to be an unexpected part of the excursion – unexpected by me, at least. As usual, I didn’t take in the details, the major one of which was that this was a skills building weekend, not a catered to weekend.

There’s a big difference, of course. Suffice it to say that the provincial park chalet was not the private resort chalet I had imagined.

But, as always, following in the dainty footsteps of Blanche DuBois and depending on the kindness of strangers worked like a charm and I was given extra blankets and wine.

Being a people person in search of warmth, I also hung a bit with the locals at the aforementioned chalet, and found people who knew Cousin Schooey of St. Joe’s (up near the Sault). After getting the nod that I look like her (she’s my best looking cousin, so it matters to me that we look alike) I introduced one of my group to them who looked even more like her than I do.

It is truly one small gene pool, this world. Plus, this woman is an identical twin, which means that yet another whole person looks even more like my Cousin Schooey than I do.

Anyway, I’m going to write about the adventure and submit it to the annual contest so I won’t go on and on about it here. (One of our group was curious about why I blog, “So, it’s like a diary? Except, public? For, like, anybody to read?”, which is painfully and pathetically accurate now that I stop and read that back.)

But before I sign off to save my gems for money, as I was trudging back and forth fetching water for boiling on the wood stove set up in the tent kitchen, I had a bit of a revelation.

I think a lot about why (also what, when, and where – but not so much who, I get who) and being in the great outdoors quiets the question and the din it leaves in its wake. On the second night, there was no denying that I had to get up to pee. (The first night, I stubbornly resisted, which can apparently make you feel colder, as your body wastes energy warming pee instead of thee.) But on my trudge to the coldest and smelliest outhouse, I stopped and looked up at a bright full moon and the big and little dippers, all alone in the great big snowy forest and let myself just be.

 

The Adventures of Sun Son – Amended

Yesterday, I checked in (again) to the great Canadian internet debate about whether or not Canada’s own Sun News Network should be included in the so-called basic cable package – i.e. should basic cable subscribers be forced to pay just that little bit extra every month so that SNN (as it is now being marketed, Fox News North having been a bit of a bust) can benefit from more advertising revenue.

My brain marched – left/right, left/right, left/right.

Fortunately, I came across a link to an actual news article (by Steve Ladurantaye and Simon Houpt of the Globe and Mail) that explained why Karl Pierre, billionaire son of controversial Pierre Peladeau (“Jews take up too much space” / “We had a very strong sports section and black people are interested in sports…. What I didn’t know know is that black people are very conservative people. Did you know that? They will not move from the paper they are already in.”), has gone application in hand to the CRTC for a handout, er, handup of, er, for, greater market share.

According to the article, “Advertising revenue has been difficult to obtain and it [Karl Pierre] is having trouble convincing Canadians to subscribe to the specialty packages that include its signal”.

There’s also this sentence, which I found hilariously mean, “Sun believes most Canadians don’t know it exists, and it has the market research and ratings to prove it.”

So, of course, SNN says yes, Canadians should have to pay a little extra for a basic cable package in order that SNN can be more profitable, or at all profitable, I guess.

Alas, people who consider SNN to be an always race-baiting, often racist propaganda arm of the Conservative Party of Canada say no, they shouldn’t.

I’d say we, but I canceled cable already anyway. I’m unemployed, thanks to Stephen Harper, economist Prime Minister, and even basic cable became an unjustifiable expense. And all we ever watched was CBC Newsworld, which is so chock-a-block with CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) propaganda and Kevin O’Leary that I decided it was time to send Rogers a message. And as much as I believe cable should be free, I find life is better without it at all.

I’ll take it to the mat on principle, though, if we stop getting the signals from publicly funded networks CBC and TVO.

Anyway, it’s up to the CRTC (Canadian Radio & Telecommunications… Cabal?) to decide the outcome.

The irony, of course, in billionaire offspring Karl Pierre pleading the case for mandatory cable coverage of his vanity network is that the supposed raison d’etre of SNN is to educate Canadians as to how propagandized we all are by the government run Liberal/NDP CBC.

So SNN, to provide balance, cheer leads for Stephen Harper’s CPC, which, as most Canadians know but apparently the news hasn’t reached SNN yet, has been the government for the past several years. So if the government is really running the CBC then that means we’re being propagandized by a government run CPC CBC.

Right?

Another irony of SNN’s existence (of which I am not opposed, just curious) is that it appears to get all of its news from CBC Newsworld, which it believes should not exist at all. A handful of Conservative white male pundits, one Liberal Party white male pundit, and the odd woman without sleeves (I can’t prove it, but I suspect the sleeveless uniform is code for, “Suck it, Muslims!”), then offer up their opinion on the news gathered by the public broadcaster they live to rail against, CBC.

Oh, and I say opinion, singular, because it’s always the same opinion. you know, on account of the news has been gathered by journalists working for the CBC, a public, as opposed to private, broadcaster, so the news must be biased against Conservatives, the Conservative Party of Canada, and the Conservative Party of Canada government.

I’m sure father Pierre got rich under Liberal governments, too, but whatever. What I’m not sure of is that anything about SNN makes sense. My rightwing lunatic friend and the manager of this website swears by it, but even he will say that it doesn’t provide any news, just opinion about the news.

Well sure, news gathering is effin’ expensive.

Now, since I canceled cable, I watch a fair bit more of CBC than I used to and I have to say, the comedy is up to my standards (admittedly, I’m an easy laugh), the dramas don’t strike me as any different than any other dramas, and the news is the sort of news one would expect from a broadcaster that has a written code of ethics for its journalists to follow.

It’s pretty good, unless the Royals are visiting, marrying, divorcing, having babies or posing topless or bottomless, then it’s just a stupid waste of time and money.

And then there’s all the news programming that offers up CBC’s opinion on its news, which I would say is very much dominated by, if not big “C” Conservatives, small “c” conservatives. On some panels there is a lone socialist on the ropes condescended to by the moderator and other panelists of like mind with the moderator, and that’s good enough because, as I always say, it just takes one lone socialist to cancel out ten non-socialists.

There’s balance, or as much balance as there will likely ever be in the Great White Conservative North (according to no less an expert on politics than Stephen Harper, economist PM). And unlike some internet lefties and internet rightwing lunatics I don’t agree that Peter Mansbridge is biased, and certainly all his Angels (I think the theme is Charlie’s Angels, anyway) are kick ass straight up we report you decide.

(And it’s not like we don’t already have private news networks, CTV and Global, to filter the news for our millionaires and billionaires. And I have to admit, even CTV isn’t like how I remembered it. My mom watches it. She’s a Liberal.)

By the way, just so you know, Kevin O’Leary, who is on CBC every day, twice, three times, possibly four, thinks that news comes from Twitter, so he must wonder why CBC doesn’t just pay him more instead of paying all those journalists to go out into the world and gather it. Why he isn’t on SNN is beyond me, but what the hell do I know, thanks to millions of my sister and brother Canadians electing (or not) Stephen Harper, economist PM, I’m unemployed.

Normally, it would be a typical no-brainer, as Stephen Harper, economist PM, said of Obama’s approval for a foreign government subsidized corporate oil pipeline to traverse over private property and a major American aquifer that supplies millions of citizens with drinking water (ooh, head’s up, America – maybe Stephen Harper, economist PM, figures an oil spill would just speed Canada’s inevitable fresh water sales and diversion projects to an increasingly dry America – thank you fossil fuel burning industry), for the CRTC to give Rogers the go-ahead to include another cost in its basic cable package for Canadian consumers so that billionaire Karl Pierre could increase the profitability of his, so far, not very successful vanity network/mouthpiece for Stephen Harper’s CPC government.

Except, there’s a problem, a problem brought to the fore most recently (so, again) by IdleNoMore, and it’s this – some of the opinion expressed on SNN is racist, and that’s not an opinion, that’s a fact, a Canadian fact. And while Canadians may be entitled to their privately held racist opinion, they are not entitled to be subsidized by basic cable subscribers and broadcast it over our public airwaves.

Which, sadly for Karl Pierre, and the no doubt many good people of SNN who don’t hold with racist opinion, means that the CRTC should deny SNN’s application.

As Stephen Harper, economist PM, might say, it’s a no-brainer.