Thursday October 23 , 2014

The Old Man O’ War

It tells a separate reality, doesn’t it, all the column inches devoted to Justin Trudeau’s response to our current narrative: “Harper Canada Goes to War!” vs what the hoary old men of the Liberal Party would have it be.

As someone who’s pretty hip with the yout’s these days, I’d say he’s playing it just about right. Tom Mulcair is playing it exactly right, of course, but I would say that, wouldn’t I. There’s no ambivalence here for me with regard to dropping bombs and/or aid from planes.

Talk about your mixed messages. Boom! Bandaids!

But I’m misunderstood, too, because I believe we either get in there with our combat boots on or we don’t. Instead, we pretend we’re at war and our soldiers, or, our country’s sons and daughters, as politicians refer to them, are kept out of any real harm’s way because Harper wars aren’t real (for us) they’re just real for people living and dying half a world away.

Please, kids, stop signing up. It only encourages him.

What we’re doing by dropping bombs on Iraq is fueling the fighting, that’s all.

And since the Harper Government doesn’t even hint at calling out Saudi Arabia, which, unless every article I’ve ever read about Islamic fundamentalism is misinformed, funds it, this war is just a whole lot of destructive (for others) self-serving (for General Harper) hooey.

There’s nothing noble, nothing brave, about Harper wars. The General is a boy-man playing soldier with other people’s lives. Why? Because he gets off on it. IS/ISIS/ISIL is his wildest wet dream come true and I wouldn’t put that in print on the internet if I didn’t truly (yes, perhaps madly) deeply believe it.

It’s not just that I’m politically opposed to him. I’m morally opposed to him. And so I wonder at the pundits and politicos who can turn their opposition on and off because he really has made it either you’re with him or you’re agin’ him.

Anyway, I can’t stop any of it, can’t do a damn thing, so I think I’m just going to give up the racket of political blogging – no, really, I mean it this time – and blog about other stuff, real stuff, the stuff of Sooeydom.

One last thing, though, before I switch over to pies (the apple pie I baked last night was the best yet!) – if you ask me (relax, no one ever does) Tom Mulcair is the best Opposition leader we could hope for and that matters more than the pundits and the parties and probably even Tom Mulcair, who would no doubt like to be Prime Minister instead one day, can appreciate.

And it shows the depth of political intercourse in this country that they can’t.



Don’t Worry – It’s Always Worse Somewhere Else

Ugh. My apologies. So crabby. Crabbasaurus Rex. It might be the weather. It might be this head cold I’ve suddenly come down with because women can’t not shop for clothes they don’t need even when they’re sick.

Although I suppose sick is pretty relative these days, isn’t it. I mean, you can probably go in to the office with a cold now that ebola is trying to hitchhike a plane ride to everywhere.

You’d never know the entera virus is much more likely to fell a healthy Canadian than ebola is, though, would you.

It might be having an elderly parent living elsewhere and dependent on the trustworthiness of corporate caregivers. It might be changes in the collegial landscape of the store. It might be an upcoming interview in the old stomping grounds of public service.

It may be trying to plan a trip home to check in on her before store hours ramp up for the season to be shopping and/or a miracle occurs and an interview leads to a new/old job.

I don’t really want to go back to public service, though. It’s too fucked up.

How do we know the psychopaths beheading journalists (insanely brave people and politicians should be shamed and ashamed for slandering them when it doesn’t suit their purposes and coat-tailing them when it does) aren’t Blackwater or Halliburton or SNC Lavalin mercenaries?

I’m just not buying any of it, the masked man with the British accent and now the masked man with the Canadian, possibly American one.

“Authorities” are asking for the public’s help, those of us who watch the nightly news, I guess, in identifying who the latest masked man might be.

He speaks Arabic, apparently, although it’s hard to tell if it’s him speaking behind the mask at all, not that we hear him speaking Arabic, anyway.

I’m watching An Honourable Woman on CBC. It’s okay, but I realized in the first minute of the first episode how tired I am of the Israeli/Palestinian psychodrama. The accents grate on my nerves, the eye for an eye/spy for a spy, who suffered more then, who suffers more now.

All of us. Everybody. Let’s just give Dick Cheney the world and call it a day.

We lost. He won. Somebody had to, it might as well be the guy who shot an old man in the face.

But I read a news bulletin today wherein a bunch o’ bishops from the One True Faith decided now is a good time to stand up for the Palestinians in Gaza by telling the Israelis that they’re not the chosen people because Jesus said we’re ALL chosen people.

No, I cannot get out of here. I’m serious.

On an even lighter note, a young man with Asperger’s asked Doug Ford to apologize for his disparaging comments about people with autism, which he made last summer to show support for his own kind (ignorant boors) who live in his Etobicoke neighbourhood. But, of course, Doug Ford, who suffers from Ignorant Boorism, blew him off.

Really. People. Get a brain, please. If Doug Ford had any idea how offensive he is, he wouldn’t go out in public at all, let alone run for mayor of Toronto.

He’ll have even less of an idea when he wins, too, so get used to a lot of Ignorant Boorism.

Okay. I feel better now.

At least I don’t live in Toronto.


And There It Is

Apparently, the latest homicidal maniacs we’ve spawned in the Middle East have bombed a (the?) French cultural centre in Gaza.

Of course, they’d have to bomb something in Gaza, wouldn’t they. (Although I’m surprised it was left standing for them to bomb. See Israeli domestic/foreign policy, Summer 2014.)

Because now CAWs (Canadian Armchair Warriors) can shout at us “lefties” (i.e. not-heaven-bound non-misanthropes) that IS? ISIS? ISIL? must be stopped by any means necessary.

So congratulations, Halliburton/Lockheed Martin/Boeing and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc. You have won more $$$!

For the record, I assume no responsibility for the series of tragedies that have befallen the middle east during my lifetime, except that I’m a Canadian taxpayer, so, yeah, I guess I bear responsibility whether I assume it or not.

Thanks for that, o ye political class of chauffeured limousines and million dollar security teams.

By the way, that European free trade deal Harper signed on our behalf? It’s all so Tarsands Inc. doesn’t get slapped with a “dirty oil” label. Not that Europeans were planning on buying any of it anyway, not having the facilities to refine it.

Keep voting, Conservatives, hell is just around the corner for us infidels, I’m sure.


CAW – Canadian Armchair Warrior

A commenter on a Facebook friend’s post that more people in Saskatchewan will be killed by drunk drivers in the next month than by ISIS  pulled a CAW (Canadian Armchair Warrior) on me, wagging his finger at my lack of appreciation for how the Conservative Party of Canada’s war on Iraq, financed by all Canadians and which consists of flying over Iraq to drop bombs on it, will protect women and children.

Ah, women and children. Oh, how our men in suits and uniforms love ‘em some women and children.

Just not enough to hold an inquiry into missing and murdered ones here at home.

Heck, hold an inquiry? Provide us all with safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation!

I should have just ignored him but instead I told him he was full of it. As far as I know he’s still blathering forth (ala Mark Steyn, not that I’ve had occasion to read him in a couple of years) about what a traitor I am to the women and children of the middle east for not lining up behind the CEOs of Lockheed Martin, Halliburton (which has two “l”s now thanks to commenter, sheena) and Boeing to rah rah Stephen Harper’s wildest we(s)t dream come true, the A/OK from Obama (of all Muslims!) to bomb Iraq.

I was more annoyed than usual, though, because earlier this morning I read a pundit misrepresent – completely – what Romeo Dallaire said about Harper’s War, which was that we would need to put boots on the ground to have any appreciable effect on ISIS one way or another, meaning that dropping bombs from the air is dropping bombs from the air.

So unless I missed an opposite nuance that said pundit didn’t, Romeo Dallaire is hardly supportive of dropping bombs from the air.

But who cares, right? Because all of this is just more of the same, playing politics with people’s lives, domestic lives, foreign lives, it’s theatre, playacting, the only people to suffer will be the friends and families of the bomb droppers who develop back injuries and/or post traumatic stress disorder because, surprise surprise, the bombs that they drop from the air will kill more women and children than would be killed had they not dropped bombs on them.

And because Conservatives believe that governing is all about lower and lower taxes for the same corporations that have completely messed up the economies of the world by severing the loop that once connected profits to workers, there won’t be any support for them, either.

Please stop boo hooing about your injuries after the fighting, veterans, and either stop signing up in the first place or stop voting Conservative, because we can’t afford both you at war and you after war.

So get over yourselves and pick one or the other because Sooey Says Economics 101 teaches us that you can have your tax cuts or you can have your wars but you can’t have both.

Oh, unless “you” are a corporation living the most rarefied of existences in Harper Canada.

Whatever. Just shoot me if I’m caught wasting my time arguing with a Canadian Armchair Warrior on the internet, please.

Cripes, if only I knew how to knit – then I could leave off the war CAWs altogether and go back to my knitting…



Mystery Solved!

Okay, for anybody wondering why Olivia Chow’s performance is so lame, I’ve figured it out for you – her heart isn’t into being mayor of a city so fucking stupid that it would have John Tory at 39%, Doug Ford at 37% and her at 22%, at any point in the campaign, let alone two weeks before it’s too late and either John Tory or Doug Ford has been elected mayor of Toronto, aka Stupidheadtown.

David Solnacki I stand corrected, you did not drop out too early, you dropped out too late.


Another Q

Is it me? Or does Chris Alexander literally diminish in stature every time he opens his mouth?



What, exactly, is noble about flying over people living halfway across the world and dropping bombs on their habitat?


Children of (Other) Men

(Yes, I added a couple of paragraphs of ennui.)

It’s depressing, almost boringly so, isn’t it, the obsession by suits and uniforms with waging war, real and not real, against anybody and everybody.

We’ve all read the articles by knowledgeable folks (see what I did there?) and know it’s all about imperialism and oil (we even have Imperial Oil to give us a clue) but it doesn’t make any difference, does it.

But back when George W. Bush was making up weapons of mass destruction to justify his illegal invasion of Iraq I wondered why he didn’t just tell Americans and the world that he was invading Iraq to seize control over its oil for Dick Cheney.

So now we have to put up with Stephen Harper, because he and his party cheated its way to a majority in the House of Commons, unilaterally directing our military to drop a few bombs on Iraq, simply because we can, while taking the opportunity to call anyone who doesn’t agree with this evil and insane action more or less a coward.

Well, I can’t do anything to stop him from taking this evil and insane course of action, which will result in more death and destruction and lead us on into the next evil and insane action and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc, but I can rage at all the pundits and politicians from my blog who cheer him on, can’t I.

For now, anyway, so consider yourselves raged at, computer-chair-warriors.

But isn’t it revealing of the lack of moral fibre in our political leadership that when we have the chance to redeem ourselves for rushing in with Team Canada to do business with China after its dictators massacred young democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, by at least lending verbal support to the young democracy activists in Hong Kong, there’s nothing but silence?

Meanwhile, out in B.C., the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper with an editorial board so compromised that it’s nothing more than a mouthpiece for its rich owner, reports that the Chinese “partner” of Petronas wants more temporary foreign workers brought in for its liquified natural gas projects.

Oh, and a relaxation of regulatory requirements.

Oh, and lower taxes.

One wonders why it doesn’t just pay Chinese government hackers to make it so, while the RCMP investigates Canadian citizens opposed to TransCanada’s pipeline dreams that will be subsidized into reality no matter what we ordinary hardworking taxpayers want.

Cripes, Stephen Harper’s appointment to the security agency, SIRC, that supposedly oversees CSIS, Yves Fortier, owns shares in TransCanada. It’s been all over the news but it doesn’t matter a whit. Cripes, again, Yves Fortier? Arthur Porter! Another Harper friend turned out to be crook.

It can’t just be me who believes that Stephen Harper wants our military to fly over to Iraq and drop a few bombs (brave? noble? maybe in the amoral universe inhabited by Conservative politicians) in hopes of getting in on the spoils of war (that isn’t) later on down the road.

Maybe this is all about Tarsands Inc getting a pass on being held responsible for the death and destruction caused by climate change, who knows, there’s no moral compass guiding any of these people.

Always remember, no wait, never forget, their guiding influence is the likes of the Manning Center, where political operatives are trained in the art of cheating to win.

I had hopes that Mike Duffy would, ironically, be the man who takes down Stephen Harper, but even when (if?) he does, it’s too late.

We can’t tell the terrorists apart from the other terrorists anymore and our own governments apart from the likes of Haliburton and SNC Lavelin.

But what really gets to me is knowing that the brave journalists shown being beheaded by so-called ISIS, now ISIL (whatever happened to “terrorist” – oh yeah, the RCMP is investigating them in the Sierra Club, while jihadis from Calgary fly off to Syria) are used as much for propaganda purposes by the good guys as they are by the bad.

On the bright side, Canada’s 150th anniversary of peace, order and good government is coming up.



I read stuff linked to on my Facebook page by people I know or don’t but I haven’t read anything yet that makes the point I want to about Sun Media and its suck-it-up-second-sex brand of muckmaking, vis a vis Ezra Levant’s recent verbal assault on Canadian girls and women.

I get it, you know, I do, how the purse-lipped gender equality minders can grate on our one remaining frayed nerve at times, disallowing humour for the sake of real feelings not even in the room.

I worked at the NDP during the 80s. Believe me. I get it.

When I first saw a Toronto Sun, though, I kind of couldn’t believe how deliberately in-my-face sexist it was. It was a visual and verbal assault against girls and women, as far as I was concerned. Again, it was the 80s, and I was working at the NDP, but the Sault Star used to be a fairly decent paper, and although inside editorial opinion was mostly sexist drivel, the front page didn’t always read like a Progressive Conservative Party pamphlet advising women to stay indoors and out of the paid workforce.

Everybody at the NDP read the Globe and the Star but one old battle-axe I hung out with on occasion always read the Sun.

“How can you stand it?”

“It’s not a question of standing it. I want to know what voters are reading.”

I knew a Sunshine Girl. She worked with my ex at a drugstore on Yonge Street and went by the name of Vera Skye. That may in fact have been her actual name, I don’t know. I do know that she partied with Ackroyd and Belushi one New Years and did an audition at Second City. She lived at the YMCA and sang on its roof.

She was a very talented singer.

She was also completely humiliated by the shoot, although in an easy going spirit, the photographer was a pig, the pay peanuts, but it was publicity and her outfit was cool. She went with the Gwen Verdon look from “All That Jazz” (danskin and legwarmers, but short spiky hair) and claimed to be a ridiculously young age when she was actually inspiringly old to be passing herself off as even an atypical Sunshine Girl.

I have always lacked an appreciation for the rules of show business.

I couldn’t read the Sun, though, because it was so anti-me. I was just made upset by it, discouraged by old man Conservativism, the knowledge that the men of the Sun would happily lock up someone like me and throw away the key, a phrase it so often employed.

It was the enemy, really, this populist rag, an enemy nothing could be done about because it was also the way it was. I knew from a lifetime already of arguing about politics that there’s a deliberateness to the stupid that becomes insistence if challenged.

Meanwhile, I’d been called a slut by a pharmacist for getting my pill subscription renewed (we were all on OrthoNovum 1/50, taking an insanely high and unnecessary level of birth control, even in the 80s) and I’d been called a slut, even asked for a list of my clients, by a doctor for wanting to be checked for venereal disease during a gonorrhea epidemic at university.

I tested positive, by the way, but I plan to save that story for my book of anecdotes, mine and others. Young women today need to know how sexist it really was for their mothers, that even in the 80s you’d be castigated for being proactive about your and your partners’ sexual health and well-being.

Of the three men I told so that they could be tested, too, not a one seemed surprised. One of them went on to become a doctor, he was an intern at the time, so good luck with all that, ladies.

Sadly, we don’t tell our daughters the truth directly. You’d think what with teenaged girls drinking bleach and hanging themselves, distraught over the propagation of “she’s a slut” accusations, we’d get over ourselves and fess up to the drunken one night stands that were for many of us, more often than not, the path of least resistance, the means to an end, a way out of a tricky situation.

It wasn’t a consideration of being sexually assaulted so much as it was a concern of being a cock tease. But I forget lots and remember falsely and there were lots and lots and lots of good guys and good times rolling in the hay.

And I do know for a fact that the man I’m with now, born in the 70s, is at least one Enlightenment away from the men I knew then, so it’s all good and getting better, isn’t it.

Still, it’s Canada in 2014 and teenaged girls are killing themselves because they would rather be dead than alive and living down the slut label. And yet, we are having to put up with adult men propagating it, for some reason not at all clear to me.

Sure, Ezra Levant called PET a slut, too. Of course he did. It’s not sexism, then, see? He’s an equal opportunity offender, not a male chauvinist pig.

Two words: divorced, deadbeat.

And, but, oh dear, it was wrong to call Maggie T a slut because she’s bi-polar, isn’t she, an elderly widow, as Jonathan Kay put it, and not because it’s wrong to air outrageously sexist opinions on television, because balance, and enough affirmative action because girls are now outdoing boys academically (as if we didn’t always until we were barred from entry) and if we’re not careful will soon be forgoing motherhood and then the Muslims will have won.

But where is Stephen Harper, our Prime Minister, who claims to care so much about victims of crime, the teenaged girls driven to suicide by the slut label, where is he to call out his Conservative Party’s blatantly sexist media mouthpiece for fueling their drive?

Oh, there he is, on the international stage, calling out the swarthy men of other countries for being so sexist that he and his have to step in to look after their mothers and their babies, so concerned with the lives of girls and women is he.

Oops, no, he’s home again. Lecturing us all about the moral imperative of sending planes overseas to drop bombs on the Muslims again as opposed to standing with the cowards who dare question the Conservative way.

But I suppose if soldiers shooting themselves well after the fighting is over isn’t enough to convince Conservatives that they’re wrong, teenaged girls drinking bleach sure as hell isn’t going to do it.

Indeed. We’re all asking for it, aren’t we.





Offerings of Pie

I’ve been baking apple pies lately and I’m telling the truth when I say that it gives me a sense of accomplishment I don’t get from any other endeavour when the crust is flaky and the filling just sweet enough to not be too tart.

I’ll add two spoonfuls of sugar to the next heap of chopped apples. One isn’t quite enough sweetness with these fresh tart macs currently being sold at the grocery store.

They’re apparently from a local orchard, too, which is an interesting departure from the usual. I remember, still, the wonder expressed by my mother the day she came home from Safeway (in the Sault, back in the day) to announce that apples and oranges were more or less the same price.

She could recall getting an orange in her stocking at Christmas, an incredible treat for a relatively poor family living in the Peterborough area of the 1920s, so it was a big deal that apples would be equivalent in price.

I’ve always had an appreciation for homemade pastry, I grew up with both, the appreciation and the homemade pastry.

My Gram, who was always in the kitchen (she liked to pretend she wasn’t allowed in other parts of the house) produced a new dessert probably every other day. Pies, cakes, cookies. But my mother also bought desserts on occasion, including delights from Paul’s Bakery, and although I ate them, too, it was with no particular pleasure.

I was the same snob then that I am now, you’ll be delighted to hear. When I took Home Ec in grade nine I was pretty much at my peak of obnoxiousness, though. My ratatouille was to die for, my brownies divine.

Honestly? Even I can’t make brownies now that are as delicious as those I used to make.

This morning, I had pie for breakfast. It’s my day off (working for money) or I’d have had eggs and the pie was still sitting there on the kitchen counter, my son having left  just enough for me and my Beau to each have a piece with our morning coffee.

I don’t know if he was being considerate (my son) or if he was just too full from the two giant pieces he must have had after we went to bed, having enjoyed a modest piece each – fresh out of the oven – while The National was on.

My pie baking happens whenever, usually later on in the evening.

It’s one of the many joys of adulthood minus having young children about the house, that I can enjoy a leisurely piece of pie for breakfast, and so I do. It struck me later on the dog walk with my Beau how it no longer even feels rebellious, it just feels adult.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about seeing plates of delicious looking desserts being passed around at one or another of the receptions our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was gracing with his exalted presence recently.

I saw the plates of delicious looking desserts and thought about how much I would have loved to take just one bite of the various offerings, no doubt concocted by the best pastry chefs in town, wherever town happened to be.

I don’t know if it was in New York for the UN conference on whatever it was on (ebola? Ukraine? climate change? ISIL?) or in Ottawa for the hosting of European men in suits signing corporate trade deals that will surely leave some of us better off than ever while the rest of us scramble around looking for pick up work in the malls of the nation.

Any more free trade and maybe I’ll just give up on selling ladieswear for minimum wage and wait out the dozen or so years (two more than necessary, too, thanks to our man, Stephen) until Old Age Security kicks in.

Just say no to working for money!

Interesting times we live in that the olden days victims of communism get a memorial while modern day victims of it in Hong Kong can re-stage Tiananmen Square and still be ignored in favour of our men in suits staying on good terms with the men in suits who run China.

What is it with our men and their suits? In Japan, during the summer, anyway, suits are considered politically incorrect garments to wear to work because they cause air conditioning needs to rise.

Climate change? What climate change. Our men won’t even forgo their suits, so powerful they apparently feel in them, next generations be damned.

Hey, our men in suits should switch to black robes and wave black flags back at ISIL, preaching the death and destruction that capitalism will wreak upon their earth should they not give up their infidel ways and start following our Great God of Money.

There’s always a subtext now when the men in suits send their – our? – men in uniform to war, too, isn’t there, that they’re doing it for us, women, and now, of course, journalists.

Those are some brave souls, eh? Journalists who go over to parts of the world that are either police states or lawless to get the straight skinny on what sort of fresh hell is being visited upon the ordinary men, women and children of the world un-freed by our Great God of Money.

And yet, if you watch very closely you’ll notice that they’re not portrayed so much as brave souls, the beheaded ones, as poor souls, victims of the wrong sorts of men, while the right sorts of men will exact vengeance on their behalf.

It’s outrageous, really, if you stop and think about it, which clearly no one ever does.

Remember when George W. Bush was the punchline of every late night talk show and then 9/11 and war and the Vanity Fair photo shoot of the War Team in the Oval Office? He sure showed the world who was a punchline, eh?

What does Stephen Harper really want? Does he eat the desserts being passed around at the receptions he holds for visiting men in suits? He famously doesn’t drink, although we have seen pictures of him drinking, but I guess he means he doesn’t drink drink, or want to drink, or enjoy drinking. Does he appreciate a glass of water when thirsty, I wonder? Sometimes I wait until I’m really thirsty and then I frantically rush into the kitchen and run the tap like we’re supposed to, although not for as long as we’re supposed to, fill a glass, and chug it down.

On occasion, I’ve left thirst quenching too late and I’ll be somewhere, desperate for water, and so I’ll ask “Can I have a glass of water?!” And whoever I’m asking will hop to it “Of course!” and produce a tall glass of water, usually with ice in it, too.

I’ve even had people add a slice of lemon, such consummate impromptu hosts be they.

I suspect the really terrible truth is that Stephen Harper believes he’ll ultimately be proven right, that appeasing the Great God of Money kept us free.

But I guess this entry is about the importance of pie after all because now I want to post about the mothers of a couple of boyfriends I had, one of whom is now my ex (in the husband sense) and how much I loved visiting them because whenever I did there’d be pie, homemade, fresh-baked. With my husband’s mother I even took to letting her know ahead of time that we’d be coming for a visit. She was a teacher and they kept horses and she had a much younger daughter she was still raising. My previous boyfriend’s mother worked, too, as a courtroom stenographer, but it was only part-time.

She not only made pie, she made donuts! Fresh daily donuts! She made them for my boyfriend’s dad, who was very old and cranky and whose twenty year rift with his two brothers, S. and M., over a brisket from Honest Ed’s, only ended when my relationship with his son did.

It’s their mothers I missed most, to be honest, and that missing has to do with their generosity with baked goods. Because it’s not easy work, making pie.

This morning I really had to think about why I shouldn’t eat that second and last piece of pie before my Beau had his fair share. In the end I reasoned that a second piece would be too much, that I’d enjoyed the first sufficiently, but there was also the feeling that I’d be better loved for leaving it, that the long term risk wasn’t worth the short term reward.

Still, I’m not so martyred that I didn’t tell him about it, that there but for the grace of I did he have pie.