Showing posts from January, 2013

Blackberry: A dud by any other name

They might as well have called it The Strawberry or The Peach.
Did the eggheads at Research in Motion really believe that if they changed the name of the company and installed a new charismatic CEO (Yes, I am making a joke), they would somehow erase the public's memory of the last five years of ineptitude?
What a bunch of maroons.
I was quietly chortling to myself last night, watching the news, as the cameras panned over the buildings once proudly named RIM. All that is left of that legacy is the shadowy letters above "Blackberry" remnants that the workers couldn't scrape off.
It's no wonder that RIM, er, Blackberry, stocks sank like a cellphone drunkenly and accidentally tossed in a swimming pool.
Blackberry had its RIM shot.
The boneheads who ran things, in a typically Canadian fashion, chose to believe their own press clippings. They had one good idea and a lot of government backing and figured: why innovate? Instead the former CEO became preoccupied with b…

It's time we banned "first" from the CP Style Guide

Columnists like Margaret Wente are shouting from the editorial pages about the fact we have now have a person with a vagina in the Premier's office in Ontario.
They point out that the provincial club of living dolls has grown to six and we'd better watch out.
There are a bunch of new bitches in town, warn the wags.
It's like the Dixie Chicks invaded the White House.
As a long time journalist, I've covered my share of "firsts". First female rowing coach. First female cop. First female construction worker (I'm not kidding).
I was sick of it back then and I'm sick of the whole business now.
I've been around long enough to remember Iona Campagnolo, Judy Erola and Monique Begin at the federal level.
Sure they weren't the top dogs but they were a tough bunch of old broads with hefty portfolios back in the Trudeau cabinet.
And Joyce Fairbairn was running things behind the scenes.
You could have asked Bert. (The nickname Joyce gave to Trude…

The best way to give depression the finger

When I was going through a particularly manic phase about ten years ago, I was at the press club everyday chatting up the regulars, spending aimless afternoons playing shuffleboard. Then, like that, I was gone for weeks.
During my hiatus periods, I would get frantic calls from my buds. They would leave urgent messages on my answering machine wondering where I was. Had I put my car in a ditch somewhere? Was I lying in a pool of my own vomit in the upstairs bathroom?
It was never that glamorous.
Usually, I was working.
My pat answer to them when I finally went back to the club was this.
"You don't have to worry about me when you don't see me. You only have to worry about me when you do see me."
The sight of a Rose cut in the afternoon was a sign of trouble.
I was trying to outrun my problems.
Being a single mother is a tough road, fraught with potholes and detours. The schools are against you. The banks are against you. Your ex-husband is against you. And yes, some…

Liberal leadership: Wasn't it a party?

I have a slight political hangover this morning, kind of like the feeling you get just after Christmas when the presents are delivered and you realize that you have no idea  how you will pay for them.
I've always been a convention junkie from the time I worked at the Tory leadership way back in the mid-seventies as a volunteer VIP security officer. It was the weekend Joe Clark got elected when we first saw the evil genius that was Brian Mulroney who was paying delegates off with hooch, hot pizza and hookers, with a side of Ginette Reno.
Since then, I have travelled the country in search of serious political tail. I have eaten from lavious seafood buffets while being screeched in by John Crosbie. I have taken the bus with life-sized cardboard cutouts of my favorite political characters.
There are convention memories I hold dear, and some I'd rather forget.
I often found myself fighting off, or succumbing to, the advances of men twice my age. I once got into a near fist fight …

Sundays with my imaginary friends

For a whole decade, when I was in my forties, I literally spent Sundays on my hands and knees.

In the morning, I would polish the white ceramic floors in my condo -- a poor design choice in retrospect -- to an immaculate sheen. It was an obsession. I was like some kind of weirdo from Crazytown trying to scrub the dirt from my life.

When it was all done, I felt better, refreshed.

It didn't matter if the rest of the house was a mess, at least the damned floors were clean.

Then, I'd whip up some marvellous Sunday gourmet dinner for the kids who were head deep into movies and video games. They might have preferred pizza or takeout, but I was going to make sure we sat down for a family dinner -- at least what was left of the family -- dinner.

Back in the "Sad Rose" decade, after my husband left me, Sundays were my salvation. I would put on Blue Rodeo's Five Days in July for the cleaning and Valdy's greatest hits for the cooking.

I liked to imagine myself skat…

Like Lance Armstrong, we all need our fix

On Monday night, the cars will be streaming to Scotiabank Place as the Ottawa Senators finally begin their season. It's a well known scene, a highway parking lot of sorts, almost comical with grown men in cars with painted faces battling sad public servants on their way home to their bedrooms in Kanata.
It will be a scene reminiscent of Field of Dreams, only in the snow and ice.
A Bill Kinsella moment.
If you drop the puck, they will come.
All is forgiven with a little help from free beer, popcorn for a buck and discounted jerseys.
How it must irk the soothsayers who predicted that fans would shun the Boys of Winter, turn their backs on them, make them pay for their greed and self-centredness.
Yeah, right.
The NHL could play its season in the dog days of summer and people would still show up. Fans would still hoist a glass at various taverns and compare statistics.
Because Canadians love hockey and nothing -- not even a bunch of millionaires and billionaires haggling over every …

Deb Coyne: Liberals just aren't that into you

I was thinking about Deborah Coyne, the wispy little Liberal leadership candidate.
She's a constitutional lawyer. Like we need a constitutional lawyer right now.
She's the cousin of AndrewCoyne, the columnist who is probably playing that down in his biography. And she's the ex-wife of Michael Valpy.
Still don't know her?
She's the little self-confessed booty call of Pierre Elliott Trudeau when he was, like, a hundred. As a result of this Black Eyed Pea-type relationship, she is the mother of his youngest child.
Yep. That Deborah Coyne.
What a nightmare for a campaign director.
Also a woman who never got her copy of He's Just Not that Into You.
Now she's written a tell-all about her pathetic attempt to marry the Great Man who basically told her up front that He Just Wasn't Into Her.
On this basis, she is running for the Liberal Leadership.
I met Deborah briefly back in the good ole Liberal days. She was a policy wonk in John Turner's PMO. And y…

Depressingly unemployed

There's something depressingly wrong in this city of ours, when the men in my household can't find decent employment.
Time was that a high school education was a ticket for training of some sort. Not anymore. Our Nick has applied for every job under the sun. He got his Smart Serve and his G licence.
Guess what? He can't even get a job that asks the question: "Do you want fries with that?"
So he languishes in the basement, scouring the job boards, looking after his daughter while the rest of us shake our heads.
Meanwhile in the upstairs, Scott was just been informed that he did not pass the interview for an OC Transpo bus job he applied for a year and a half ago. It's been six weeks since his interview and he was assured that he would still be in the running if he hadn't heard within two weeks.
Finally, today, he tracked down the "human" resource guy who told him, "Meh, our bad. Somebody should have called you."
Scott has a clean driv…

Disabled Ontarians deserve better from the Ontario government

You will be happy to know that the Ontario government is working hard to save you money while trampling on the rights of disabled Ontarians with hearing loss. Nice.

To Skylar on her first birthday: Give 'er

When you have your first grandchild, that's when it happens.
You begin to see how fast time goes.
Today, Skylar Angela became a old-year-old.
I thought she was born just yesterday.
On January 8 last year, I was there when her mom woke us up with water gushing. I lent her my pajamas, which, for obvious reasons, are now her pajamas.
We lent the nice paramedics a shoe lace. We'll never get that shoelace back again.
We were there at the hospital, too, when mommy had to explain how she hadn't managed to get a health card throughout her nine month pregnancy and myriad doctors' visits and when the nice hospital folks tried to get these broke and silly children to pay the hospital bill.
I was there through the first few months, helping the kids adjust to parenthood. And then she was gone -- off to her other grandma's.
Just as well. Gordie the pug hated her. Wanted to choke the life out of her.
But now Skylar is back living with her parents in my basement once again.

Archbishop Plourde: The Pope is dead, long live the Pope

I read today that Archbishop Joseph-Aurele Plourde died on Saturday at the ripe old age of 97.
Funny the things you remember about people.
I actually had a bit of a run-in with the Archbishop, back in the Ottawa Journal days, when I was a night reporter. It was 3 a.m. when the incident began. I remember exactly because 3 a.m. was the time I was finished and I was trying to sneak out before Jake McLean, our night city editor, barked for me to cover a fire or some other kind of police matter.
It's what I tell my kids. If you want to be a reporter and you're looking for a bit of action, you can't do better than night shift.
Nothing good comes between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Anyway, I was sneaking on my coat and heading for the door when I heard the bells on the teletype machine, which meant something really, really bad had happened.
As expected, I heard Jake's sultry tone.
"Simpson, get back here."
The guys on the desk were laughing their heads off. It…

What you missed in the Globe and Mail

For those of you who have already hit The Globe and Mail paywall -- and it's only six days into the month -- I am happy to provide you with an analysis of the print edition this weekend
First, Julian Fantino is an insensitive, uninformed twat.
The International Cooperation Minister apparently stunned the Haiti higher-ups during an interview with La Presse after he announced he was going to freeze new aid projects earmarked for the embattled little nation.
It was also news to his own department apparently.
The former top cop says he is tired of the "slow progress" being made in Haiti.
How long does it take to rebuild a country shattered by a major Earthquake? It's been two years!
"Are we going to take care of their problems forever?" asked Mr. Sensitivity.
On to the next item.
The hunger strike by Theresa Spence.
In its lead editorial, The Globe and Mail suggests that the Chief, who has been striking for weeks to get a face-to-face with Emperor Harper, …

Anderson Cooper: Show some self-respect!

When Anderson Cooper finally decided to tell the world that he was gay, most of us shrugged and uttered a"meh" or "who cares?"
The reason was that his homosexuality was one of the worst kept secrets on the planet. There were pictures of Anderson all over the Internet taking romantic bike rides with a long time squeeze. The fact that Anderson's best friends were Andy Cohen, Kathy Griffin and Kelly Rippa -- the former a well-known outtie, the two latters renowned fag hags -- gave us even more clues.
For the most part, we were on Anderson's side.
It was a bit of a tricky move for Anderson. I mean, I can't imagine it going down well with the crusty old Morely Safer with whom he shared a chair on 60 Minutes. Not to mention the fallout which could occur when Anderson reported for CNN from one of the many ultra-macho hotspots around the globe where homosexuality is deemed an offence punishable by death.
Trouble is, since Anderson has become an outtie, he won…

New Year's 2013: Gagnam Style

As usual, I missed the clock ticking over to 2013.
Last night, we had a couple glasses, watched The Hunger Games and toddled off to bed at 10 p.m. Not that going to bed made much difference; now that the puppy pile has expanded, there is no longer room for my feet.
That meant that I was awake at 2:30 a.m., then 4:30 a.m., then 6:30 a.m.
I took the puppies out and Finnigan immediately started barking at a couple of lame-os standing outside my fence smoking a reefer. He was barking to wake up the neighbors.
What did joint blowers do?
They just stood there and watched him.
I was so mad, I started screaming at them and made Scott get out of bed to bring the hound in.
Sat at my computer, looking at the street and noticed that three cop cars were parked outside the apartment building adjacent to us. Just another night living large in downtown Ottawa.
Welcome 2013. Business as usual.
It's a little early for blogging, but what the hell? There's no newspaper delivery today. Nothing on…