Sunday, 30 June 2013

Canada Day Warm Up: Ottawa Farmer's Market

It's a hot tamale today, so what better way to celebrate than to canoodle around the Ottawa Farmer's Market, which is held every Sunday at Brewer Park across from Carleton University? BTW, there are signs that say you can pay to park at Carleton University, but there's plenty of free parking around the fancy pants streets where professors spend our hard earned tuition dollars on run down, yet posh houses.

Today, we bought some hot sauce. This is Gord, the principal of Gordz Hot Sauce. We're spicing up tonight's dinner with Gordz Smokin' Chipotle, mixing it with maple syrup for our barbecued chicken!

And to cool off, we bought ourselves some strawberries to make Margaret Troyer's famous strawberry shortcake (recipe thanks to Scott's sister Jill). When we were growing up on the farm, we just put some sugar in the strawberries and ate them out of the bowl. The Troyers were fancier people than us.

Margaret Troyer's Delishus Shortcake

1 quart strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar (I use a bit less)
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
i teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
Whipping Cream 
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sliced strawberries with 1 cup (or less) sugar; let stand 1 hour.

Heat oven to 450.  Cut shortening into flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, the baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in milk just until blended.  Gently smooth dough into a ball on lightly floured counter.  Knead 20 to 25 times.  Roll to 1/2 inch thickness; cut with floured 3 inch cutter/  (I use a small glass) Place abut I inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. I stack them, one on top of another, so they're double deckers.

Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Whip cream until stiff.  Add vanilla.  Just before serving, stir in 3 tbsp sugar.

To serve, split shortcake, top with cream and strawberries; add top of shortcake, and top with more cream and strawberries.  
On our way back from the Market, we saw these dudes playing cricket across from Ottawa Hospital, General Campus on Smyth Road. I swear, I could hear them chirping.


Friday, 28 June 2013

RCMP Musical Ride, Virtually Speaking

"There are all kinds of pictures of the RCMP Musical Ride. Just use one of them and just say you went there." -- my husband Scott

Look, if this blog is to work, I have to be perfectly honest.
I was going to the RCMP Musical Ride tonight as one of my first Rose Experience Blogs. But I'm not going to. It's going to rain and I don't sit in the rain.
For anybody. So here's the link
Knock yourself out.
I don't mind walking in the rain. I'll walk the dogs in the rain. I'll walk to something, but I'm not, not, not going to sit in the mud and watch the Musical Ride, much as I'd like to.
It's not how I roll.
I feel the same way about festivals or any other event that says "rain or shine".
I'm a shine-only type of girl.
Scott and I did a pair of documentaries at the Bluesfest and the Folkfest about ten years ago and I couldn't get over the number of people who sat huddled together, like tadpoles in a jar, under umbrellas and tarps in 35 degree heat, with their bums in the mud to watch musicians risk life and limb to give them a performance.
Look what happened two years ago. Now the Bluesfest is getting sued by a roadie.
They never learn.
The year we did our documentary, which I'll show you in another post, Danny Aykroyd and Jim Belushi actually performed in the rain n' tunder. It was practically a monsoon. At the Bluesfest, we were working. We were backstage. I was drinking beer and eating sandwiches.
I'm writing this for free so I'm not going to get my bum wet.
I also once saw Rod Stewart tap dance during a lighting storm at the old Ottawa Ex. But I was under the lip of the stadium. With beer. And hot dogs.
Rod, God Bless the old tosser, was risking his life.
I wouldn't do that, even if I was getting paid.
He also took hallucinogen drugs and I don't do that either.

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend, so I'm looking for indoor things to do.
I'm thinking of taking the baby to the Museum of Science and Technology to watch her hair stand on end. That would be awesome. And it's free on Canada Day. So are all the other museums.
There are also a couple of things I'm going to check out in my own neighborhood.
Apparently, there is a new rock climbing place that's just opened across from Laser Quest on St. Laurent Blvd. There's also a SkyZone trampoline park down off Conroy.
Maybe I'll sit indoors and do my research.
Mostly, because it's my birthday this weekend, I'll be drinking tequila on the deck.
Under the big blue umbrella.
You will not see me on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, either.
I'm not 15.
I'll watch it on the telly with the rest of the nation.
I'm planted.
But here, for your pleasure is a very nice video of the RCMP Musical Ride taken last year.
Sorry, I couldn't find the Smell o' Vision for the manure part.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Presto! My Ride

Princess Rose rides the bus.
The words kept ringing in my ears today, as I set off to buy my first bus pass in two decades.
It's not that I'm against the bus.
It's that the bus has never seemed a friendly place to me.
I suffer from agoraphobia, meaning I develop anxiety just leaving the house sometimes. I also have generalized anxiety disorder which often forces me off the bus with my heart racing and my head swirling.
For years, I couldn't work because of GAD. When I finally did get a job, I spent my lunch hour for the first few weeks wandering around downtown in a daze looking for an ambulance -- or at least a paper bag.
GAD is the real reason I don't work out of the house. In the past, I had to steel myself to get into a car just to get to an office. I found it impossible to concentrate. I get sick a lot and ended up on high blood pressure medication.
So I quit six years ago and have managed to get my GAD and agoraphobia under control.
Even the smallest interaction -- like going to a funeral as I did recently -- can send me into a tailspin.
So consider my experiment, to get out of the house and into public, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is intended to expose a person to the very stimulants that give her panic attacks in the first place.
And the bus is where I begin.

I'm not much for lineups, so I was happy to find the St. Laurent Station for OC Transpo nearly empty today when I went to get my Presto card. Two nice young men were waiting to explain the new bus ridership system to all the little old ladies. We simply filled out a little paperwork and took it to the cashier. Easy peasy.

The young fellar reminded me that anyone can use my Presto, even my chronically unemployed son who is always shaking me down for bus change especially at the end of the month when money is tight.

The whole experience went well for me, but I did feel bad for an older lady who didn't have a computer to activate her card. It's hard to believe in this day and age that not every household is Internet capable. I wanted to take her to the library, but she was ornery, so I minded my own business.

My first test will be tomorrow night with the Disney approved RCMP Musical Ride.

People in sweaty uniforms, 30 degree heat, and beautiful black horsies.

I love the smell of fresh manure in the evening.

All for free (or for a small donation).

Good way to start off the adventure.

Full steam ahead.

Monumental Ottawa

I come from a small town, St. Catharines, in Southern Ontario, and we don't have many monuments that I can recall. If there are some, nobody took the time to point them out to me.
There must be a war monument somewhere -- there's one in every town and city in this country -- but as a teenager, I was never dragged to one.
We had a carousel on the beach, a gazebo where old people listened to geezer tunes. There were cemetaries with granite statues. But monuments? Not so much.
Part of the problem in monument building is that you have to have money for it. The community has to raise it, and then decide which founding fathers or mothers it wants to commemorate. Largely, I suspect, the monuments are paid for by the commemorees, if that's even a word.
But Ottawa is brimming with monuments to this cause or that. This person or that person.
You can sit a spell with Lester B. Pearson or leak tears at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can take tea with Nellie McClung and the other Fab Four and read about how the old dolls got the government to agree that women were "persons".
The most useful monument on Parliament Hill, of course, is Queen Victoria.
Queen Vickie is the patron saint of bladder dysfunction.  She guards the spot where tourists gratefully step out to wee and change diapers in the middle of the Changing of the Guard.
Needless to say, I'm not really up on my monuments.
The trouble with living in a city like this one is that you take for granted the privilege of living here. You no longer feel the urge to drink in its fabulousness unless, of course, you are arm-wrestled into it by visiting tourists.
Last week, we got a request to visit the new Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The request came from one of my Facebook friends whose father had died in a fire back in 1970. I'm not sure why we hadn't visited the memorial. Scott and I had worked for years with the organization who raised the money to build it. We hadn't even bothered to go to the unveiling.
So we set out to find the memorial, which is inexplicably built in front of a condo complex across from the War Memorial. Perhaps its location was chosen for its proximity to the Mill Street Brew Pub (hey! firefighters like their fire water). Who knows?
Anyway, we made our way to the site which holds the names of the more than 1,000 firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. It's a Holy place with the names of the fallen sketched in granite with little pegs to allow loved ones to place sheets of paper and rub the names of their dads or sons onto them, a little souvenir to take back to home.
Every year, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation holds a ceremony to honor the fallen. Some have died in tragic house or forest fires. Others, most in fact, have died from work-related cancers, wasting diseases that they've acquired tearing down buildings filled with carcinogens. Still others have died from heart attacks and in traffic accidents on their way to and from scenes.
We've attended this ceremony for years on Parliament Hill on a beautiful Sunday in September. The men and women of Canada's fire service honor the families with black helmets. As you would expect, the fallen receive quite a send off.
I know a few of the names on the monument.
It makes me sad.
But the monument will surely given families some comfort.
Their loved ones died heroes.
Protecting their communities.
It's got to count for something.
For more information, visit


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tourists: Please don't feed the university students

As with any country, Canada has its own dirty secrets.
The seal hunt. The Senate.
Don Cherry.
As your new intrepid Ottawa tourism investigator, I want visitors to be warned about a disturbing problem of abuse akin to the old side shows. Each day from the middle of June, countless young men and women are abused in a public display that is designed to ridicule them and make money for the government.
This practice has been going on for decades.
As in some other twisted cultures, this activity is actually sought out by job hungry youngsters.
If they are chosen, they subjected to Hunger Games like ordeals that involve recycled Canadian animals and precious metals.
Then they are put on display for tourists.
It is hard not to look away.
I've witnessed the carnage and it is absolutely horrendous.
Sometimes, these poor souls find themselves carted away in ambulances. Mostly, they are given smelling salts made from beaver tail extract.
I am speaking, of course, about the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill.
University students are made to wear winter-like red serge and wear hats the size of toddlers.
Then they are made to march long distances and stand in front of a rich person's house for hours in 30 degree heat.
Please, do not support this government sanctioned activity.
It is not good for young people to be tortured this way.
It screws with them mentally.
Eventually, they grow up to be politicians or worse -- investment bankers.


My adventure. It will be Capital!

Most girls ask for wine or flowers or a nice dinner on their birthday.
This year, I asked for a bus pass.
I live in one of the most beautiful cities in North America, but I haven't really even been downtown since 2006. Oh, sure, occasionally I've met people for dinner. Or I've had to attend an event.
But mostly, I have spent the past seven years as a shut-in sitting here in my window looking out at St. Laurent Boulevard, making the daily trek to Loblaws and The Liquor Barn or getting in the car to take the hounds to the dog park.
I live six minutes from the Rideau Canal but haven't looked in its murky water in nearly a decade. I am a stone's throw from the Byward Market but I buy produce shipped in from Mexico. I can practically see the Museum of Science -- if even that's what it's called -- but haven't taken my granddaughter there to watch her hair stand on end.
Mostly, I am a shut in because I'm poor. The life of a freelance writer can be exciting and wildly productive but it does not provide much of an income. So mostly, I watch television and canoodle on the Internet. And play with the dogs in the backyard.
The biggest thing I've done for myself is join The Athletic Club which is about a twenty minute walk from my house. Even going there four times a week hasn't made much of a difference to my visceral bellyfat.
That's because I can literally open the fridge from my office chair. The kitchen table is right beside me and I find myself grazing and typing, swivelling occasionally to the coffee pot, and only getting up to take pee breaks. Not exactly ten thousand steps, you know?
So this year, I've decided to change things up a bit.
I'm going to get on a bus every day and go somewhere -- anywhere -- and give myself a little adventure. Maybe I'll go to the beach at Mooney's Bay. Maybe I'll take in a lunch time concert at the National Arts Centre. Maybe I'll rent a bike and tool along the canal.
I might enlist the help of my friend Glen Gower over at Glen's site has hundreds of ideas and is updated every day. (See what I did there, Glen? Product placement!)
My goal is not to find yet another sedentary thing to do. Each adventure will have to involve 10,000 steps of walking. So sometimes I'll get off the bus and walk a couple miles. Or I'll take the bus somewhere and walk home.
I'm also thinking of taking one day a week and volunteering some place.
That's a pretty big step so I might save that for August.
My gift to myself is to get to know my home town again.
Enrich my life instead of letting it pass me by.
Get out and meet people other than the ones I've encountered under bar stools.
It's going to be challenging but I'm going to try to do this each day for the price of a regular cup of Starbuck's coffee.
Tomorrow, I get my bus pass.
How exciting.
Do I choose a monthly pass or a Presto! card?
How much does the bus cost anyway?
What's the cheapest mode? Are there trains running or have they shut down.
So many questions.
I haven't had a bus pass since I was a student in the 70s.
I'm doing this for the month of July.
So come along, if you feel like it.
Get all snuggly with one of those pass-out dudes in the bear hats on Parliament Hill.
Feel the ice cream drip down your virtual arms.
And feel free to send me timely suggestions that might help others get the most out of their own Capital adventure.
Don't worry. This won't be your average tourist blog.
I'm still Rose after all. There will be lots of bad with the good.
I promise!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Jurassic Pug and The Game of Shadows

"There's something I need to admit to you about Gordie," Scott said, as we settled in to watch some bad Stephen King last night. "When we first got together, you told me that pugs could live to be 15.

"I started having second thoughts."

"About us?"

"No, I was thinking that if Gordie lived to be 15, I'd be 61," he said. "I didn't know if I could survive that."

As he spoke those words, he patted Gordie on his little black bastard head. Every evening, Scott gets "Gordie duty" which means that his lap becomes Gordie's chair where he plops himself to snore and fart contentedly after a hard day of doing absolutely nothing.

This chore is not for the faint of heart. Gordie sometimes also lets fly with three perfect nuggets of shit. No long runners for Gord. Not one or two. But a hat trick.  Always a hat trick of perfectly formed turds the size of mini chunky chocolate bars. There's no moaning and groaning. No time to get him outside.  They just slide out of his butt hole effortlessly.

He also does this shit trick for company. Sometimes on them. Sometimes behind them. Usually right in front of them.

He is the Sidney Crosby of incontinence.

Hey, he says, telepathically. It's how I roll. When a guy's gotta go, a guy's gotta go.

For years, he's been a pretty hard to love little individual. But we put up with him. Of course, we do.

He's our dog.

Last night, Scott held Gordie a little tighter.

"But you know, I love the little bastard."

Gordon Blackstone had just returned from his new vet, Marie-Andree, who replaced his old vet who tried to kill him twice. Well, she didn't do so intentionally. When Gordie had his first operation, back when he was about three, she didn't sew him up quite tight enough and so his fatso stomach fell out of the incision leaving him looking like he'd swallowed a balloon. To her credit, the vet paid another more skilled surgeon to do a second operation, which seemed to work fine, so all was forgiven.

We had to forgive her. After all, she did save his life before almost killing him.

Last spring, she slipped again.

After she bragged that she never lost a pug on the table.

Then she killed Ming. Fortunately for her, her record was intact. She killed Ming before dental surgery.

"She shouldn't really have had the dental surgery," she confessed. "She doesn't have the respiration and she wouldn't make it through surgery."

So I said goodbye to Ming anyway because she had a respiratory attack before the vet could get the line in.

"But Gordie, his surgery went well."

Now did it?

We brought Gordie home from dental surgery and he wasn't the same dog. He just stared blankly at us instead of getting up in our faces. It was as if the vet had pulled his teeth and given him a lobotomy.

So for the past year, Gordie's pretty much been Cuckoo's Nest.

He retreats to a small space behind my chair where he tucks in and makes himself very small.

This is not our L'll Bow Wow.

This pug is something out of Pet Sematary.

Sorry, Ms. Simpson, he died on the table. We buried him in the Derry Cemetary but he climbed back out. Sure he's smelly and mangy and almost a stick of furniture, but hey, he's still a pug.


There were a few upsides. He stopped pissing everywhere. He stopped barking every ten seconds. And stopped menacing my baby granddaughter.

But I wanted the old Gordie back.

Ever since the dental surgery, he's been declining. His once lustrous fur is dull and flaky. He has lost all the hair around his collar. He has to be carried out for a pee, not an easy task considering he is now 30 pounds of dead weight. I've actually started to list to one side.

It took me over a year to get up the courage to take him back to the vet. I wasn't going back to Dr. Death. I couldn't be sure he'd make it back out the door.

So yesterday, we took Gordie to a new vet, a vet who would hopefully uphold the Hippocratic Oath and do no harm. Marie-Andree spent an hour with us, pouring over his records which were two inches thick and represented our entire retirement fund.

She felt his joints, the ones we expected were arthritic. They were fine. She checked his heart. Aces. She weighed him. Overweight, but to be expected for a pug who hadn't moved from behind the chair for a year.

Then she took some blood to check for hypothyroidism.

The vet didn't seem too concerned.

"He's just old and weak," she said. "If it's the thyroid, we can give him pills for that and he'll be fine."

But what about the dementia?

"Well, certainly, he could have had some neurological damage. But the fact is, he's totally blind," she said, "At best, he can only see shadows."

Well, of course he was. That explained everything. Why he couldn't find his food bowl. Why he kept falling down the steps. Why he sometimes barked at the wall.

And with that, we paid our three hundred dollar bill, thanked her and carted Gordie away.

But not before he gave his own two cents worth by shitting on the vet.

Update: Gordon has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, as we suspected. He also has the beginnings of Addison's Disease. He will be medicated shortly but live to see another summer. Yay!


Monday, 24 June 2013

Gordie: The Don Quixote of pugs

We decided to get up the courage to take Gordie to the vet today.
I found myself in tears on the elliptical this morning.
The general rule when a dog is old and ill is the 50-50 rule. If he enjoys his life more than 50 percent of the time, he's probably good for a few more months or years. If less, then, well you know.
I got up this morning and decided to make an appointment. It had to be done today.
Part of my decision was because he's had a few good weeks. He's walking a bit more, though he does teeter and list to one side quite often. He's been barking, though he's somewhat like Don Quixote, a bit demented and swatting at unknown windmills.  He's also been coming to his food bowl and whining at the smell of bacon.
And yesterday, yesterday, was the biggest news of all.
Yesterday, he sat outside with his schlong hanging out.
I haven't seen the angry little knob for years now. But there is was, airing out like a bright red pencil crayon.
Normally, I would have been completely disgusted.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, I was as happy as a hooker expecting a big paycheque.
Of course, he did shit on me while we were watching television.
But that's maybe 10 percent bad.
Anyway, it will be what it will be.
To save a little money, I volunteered to collect the urine sample, which isn't easy when you're chasing a male dog who's a few inches off the ground who doesn't lift his leg anymore. I sort of had to feel for it and got my hands soaked.
But I have a crystal clear sample.
I don't think his pee is the problem.
I think it's old age. Maybe the thyroid.
Hopefully not diabetes.
If it's anything really bad, he'll go to the light.
I'm writing this now to pass the time.
I don't want to imagine that he could take the walk down the Green Mile just yet.
With dogs you never know.
I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Still life as an aging Avatar

I ran into Donna, an old school chum, at the local Starbucks today.

Donna is an engaging soul, always busy. She was in Starbucks to grab a quick libation on route to a nail salon and then she was off to a life celebration. Donna told me that over the past weeks, she's been staging her home in hopes of selling it, after which she will retire with her lovely husband Jim to a house they are buying in the Maritimes. Next week, she'll be going to Edmonton for work.

Aside from those duties, Donna somehow manages to do community theatre and travel North America as a professional Scrabble player.

What a whirlwind life she leads.

This kind of life is foreign to me. Our chance encounter came as I was walking back from the gym, all sweaty, listening to Bruce Springsteen do a bad impression of Pete Seeger on my iPod. After Starbucks, I was attending the grocery store to see if I could find some half price meat to put on the barbie tonight.

Unlike Donna, I have no place to go this afternoon, except to let the dogs out. Maybe I'll canoodle on the Internet for a couple of hours, have a nap and do the dishes. My lifestyle is hard to talk to busy people about. They have no reference point.

I have no work experience to share. There are no exciting trips or lunches.

I work where I sleep and shit.

My job consists of scouring the Internet for exactly two hours a week for a virtual client across the pond. There is no workplace banter. Heck, we don't even speak the same language.

I haven't had my nails done ever and haven't shopped for clothes in a decade. I have the same uniform I wear whenever I got out: a black tunic top, black capris pants and Mephisto sandals. Yesterday, I split my gym shorts up the middle, shorts I bought in 1994. I kid you not.

I don't have a home to stage, let alone sell, though I am thinking about moving to a smaller more affordable place which is not surrounded by crackheads and rapists of teenage girls. It would be nice to look at some trees instead of the back end of a convenience store.

I'm not planning to move to the coast to retire; I'm just trying to save up enough money to be cremated on the inevitable day I realize there is no point living any longer. That will be when the doctor tells me that I have to give up drinking wine and eating cheese, I suspect.

What a ridiculous life I lead.

It makes it hard to be around people when you have nothing to say to them. I remember, years ago, leaving a women's group to which I belonged, because every luncheon involved a host going around the table asking us what was new. What was new in my case was that I'd just got my kid off the street or I'd lost my house or I'd got myself dumped by some nefarious boyfriend.

Nothing good to say, ever.

My life is better now. The kids are grown, I have a granddaughter and I'm remarried, but my life is still an endless lurch from one electricity bill to the next. I'm not really living, I'm bridging.

My circle has shrunk to immediate family which is still a big circle. One thing about having a large family is that if you invite the kids over, there's always a crowd.

I have two -- just two -- real friends. I know a lot of people and I have an entire army on Facebook, although many of them I would pass on the street and not recognize. Most of them are friends of friends who enjoy my brilliant repartee or share my twisted sense of humor.

I exist in a virtual world.

And I am an aging Avatar.

It's not a bad way to live; it's simple and predictable. There are no obligations. You don't have to make excuses. And you can't get your feelings hurt if you don't let people in.

Mostly, I spend my days talking to myself in this blog. It's great. I've gotten to know myself on a whole different level. I find myself interesting and engaging. I make myself laugh everyday. And I rarely make myself cry.

I like that.

But it makes socializing extremely awkward.

Every once in a while, there is an obligatory occasion that I must attend like last week when I went to the funeral of a long time friend. I was not looking forward to it.

I agonized over the fact that I had dumped a couple of friends who were going to be attending the affair. Would there be a scene? Would they call me out? Would there be tears or explanations needed?

The week before the funeral had already been a disaster. I had inadvertently shared the imminent passing of the friend with another person who had blabbed it on email. Then I got a smack down from his wife.

Then she discovered I had somehow become involved in the writing of his obituary without her knowledge. It was an innocent and well-meaning act, I swear. I had merely been asked for advice.

No matter.

That put me in the doghouse. I was a social pariah and would be forever known as a busy body and interloper.

Me, who never leaves her house. Me, who never answers the telephone.

"Trouble is, you can't keep a secret," Scott said.

There it was, a blinding glimpse of the obvious. I never had much of a filter and now the gates of hell had opened and I had somehow become Perez Hilton. Truth is, I'm a journalist. I need to process things or they burn up my insides. Every single action and thought must be turned around and dissected so that I might have peace.

That is the absolute truth. Just ask my husband.

A lack of filter and an inquisitive mind makes me a good journalist, the kind who gets awards and accolades for getting the story out first, with no detail left hanging. Unfortunately, I've discovered, it doesn't always make me a good friend.

Still, I attended the funeral and greeted my former colleagues and friends, many of whom were on crutches and canes. Some sported pacemakers and artificial hips. One guy mused that it should have been him in the ground ahead of the deceased -- at least according to his cardiologist.

It was a lovely ceremony, fit for a king. The widow had done it up right. Of course she did.

I sat in the front row on the other side with my family and later paid my respects, then deeked out with the smokers for a quick gab. I like smokers -- even though I've never been one -- because smokers are always in shit with somebody.

Spending time with that group cheered me up. I remembered that the reason we used to like each other was because we were all politically incorrect. Each and every one of us had had our cheese slide off our cracker more than a few times.

Didn't matter back in the day. We celebrated and laughed at each other's differences.

Not anymore. We're not the same. The world is not the same.

It's the refrain of aging. You may still be drumming, but your drum has lost the beat.

Sometimes I feel like a gopher who occasionally pops her head out of a hole somewhere. If I'm lucky, I'm not shot by some cranky farmer or trampled by cows on their way to the trough. But like most smart gophers, I keep my head down lest I risk permanent brain damage.

Oh well, it's a life I've chosen. Or has it chosen me?

So here I am back in my comfort zone, away from the glint of the coffee machine at Starbucks and the glare of judgy people. Alone again, virtually.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Do it Daily: Read the Standard

I saw today that The St. Catharines Standard is moving from its ancient spot on Queen Street to a spiffy new locale.
Brings a tear to my eye.
Like many ink-stained wretches, I earned my first callouses on the typewriters of The Standard.
My initial job there was in high school as a columnist reporting on all the fascinating events at West Park Secondary School.  It's hard to imagine, given the space wars today, but nearly every high school in St. Catharines had a weekly column where nerdy wannabees like myself got their chance to commit journalism.
The man I worked for was Jimmy Simpson -- no relation -- who had the classic look of the old newsman. He was about 92, by my recollection, and sported a skinny torso and a basketball where his tummy used to be.
We got paid 25 cents a column inch which was -- and still is! -- a fortune in the freelance game. The trick to making money was to write long, so every week I included the names of every single athlete. (This experience set me up to become the successful entrepreneur I am today.)
A few years later, I had the great fortune to be hired by Larry Smith, the managing editor, who was a straight up sort of dude, a gravelly-voiced charmer with an oak panelled office where he proudly showed off his polished awards from the Rotary Club, along with his private school diplomas.
Journalism was a fascinating career back then, during the Watergate era, when a BJ meant something very different than it does today.
We young upstarts had great expectations, believing we would change the world. But we soon had our hopes and dreams dashed after a steady diet of city planning committees, car accidents and ethnic festivals.
For some reason, I always got to write the "first" stories: first woman cop, first woman rowing coach. I grudgingly took the assignments, as they got me out of writing about the opening of the new Wendy's or the installation of new curbs on St. Paul Street.
 I was a summer student for two years at The Standard, a place that was full of eccentric lifers.
One actually got life. John, a handle-bar moustachioed regional council reporter, went to jail for killing a thug he had befriended while volunteering as a Venturer Scout leader.
There was Ken, who taught me that mornings were for work, but afternoons were for drinking at the Mansion House across the street. Ken schooled me on all aspects of workplace drinking and hangover management, skills I sometimes still use today.
There was Craig "Sweatsocks" Swayze, the city editor who wrote stories about the rowing team, quoting himself out of necessity as he was both a newsman and President of The St. Catharines Rowing Club. He taught me to use "suggested" instead of said.
"The men's eight did a terrific job today," suggested SCRC president Craig Swayze.
You don't learn that in J-school!
Like most newsrooms, political incorrectness ruled the day.
One of the photographers, a man named Les took great delight in christening me Rosie Tits and my colleague Darlene Happycrack.
One of my favorite characters was Tom McCarthy, the court reporter, a man who bore an uncanny resemblance to Burgess Meredith, who played the Penguin in the old Batman series. Tom was, let's say, colorful. He once gleefully reported to me the lurid details of a trial for the man who killed my cousin Monica. We'd thought she'd been strangled but she, in fact, had been left for dead after she choked giving the man oral sex. Instead of calling the police, the perp propped her up against the freezer in the basement.
You can't make up shit like that.
Leadership at the top set the tone for the place.
The Standard ship was captained by Henry "Bentley" Burgoyne, the youthful publisher who had been forced into his job after his dad Bill shuffled off the mortal coil. Hank never wanted to be publisher; he wanted to be a playboy and was always in trouble with the constabulary for leading them on high speed car chases.
The Burgoyne family was legendary for their love of the drink. Hank's aunt Mary -- who owned the local radio station -- once smashed her car into the CKTB building. The next day, the deejay joked: "What do you call the newest drink craze? Mary Wallbanger!"
He was soon replaced by Laura Sabia.

Yes, The Standard brings back memories, by cracky, as Les would have snarked.
Though, I suspect most of memories won't make it into the paper's official history.
Happy moving day! BTW, if you see my dignity under one of the desks, please forward to this Internet address. I've been looking for it for three decades.


The hounds of Elmvale, the gates of hell

One day, not long ago, my son Nicholas posed this question: "Do you ever wonder why, after you had two of the nicest dogs ever, you ended up with these two?"
He was speaking about the black bastard Finnigan and his faithful pug sidesick, Sophie.
The first iteration of dogs -- Hannah, the golden, and Ming, the pug -- were amazing, quiet and sweet as apple pie.
We couldn't have found two more terrific dogs.
Finn and Sophie, on the other hand, are punishments from God.
Take yesterday.
My friends Roger and Jennette arrived for our weekly gabfest on the deck. Roger is frail having nearly died a couple years back. Jennette is a little less frail, but weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet.
It's never easy to accept guests into our abode.
The Levetts have always been good sports, but even they find the new group of dogs challenging.
A successful visit usually involves my refrigerator-sized, former linebacker husband holding
Finnigan while I put Sophie in the house.
But Scott wasn't here yesterday, so it was up to me to ensure that Finnigan didn't topple Jennette and
Sophie didn't rip Roger, who is a bleeder, a new vein in his arm.
This particular visit was doomed from the get-go.
First, Roger took a header walking over the step.
Finn bolted from my grasp to rush to Roger's side. Presumably to kill him.
Then Sophie attacked Jennette, who was trying to get Roger off the ground. It looked like a scene from A Clockwork Orange, with Finnigan trying to lie on Roger while Sophie tore at Jennette's perfectly pressed jeans.
Roger was gushing blood so I rushed into the house in search of bandages. All I could find were paper towels and a beer. (Don't you hate when, in an emergency, you cannot find the First Aid kit?)
By the time I got back outside Finnigan was racing around the backyard, Roger was still on the ground and Sophie was hopping from chair to chair. It was absolute mayhem.
It took about ten long minutes to get Roger sorted but the dogs were still in full flight.
In an effort to calm them, I decided to feed them.
Feeding this group -- along with the elderly pug Gordon -- isn't easy. It requires expert timing to ensure no dog fights take place.
For his part, Gordie usually spends feeding time under my desk.
But hey! We had company, so the ritual was broken.
I put Finn and Sophie into the house, while I brought Gordie onto the deck for his own protection.
As I opened the door, I felt a rush on either side as Finn and Sophie fled the house in their Batman and Robin-like quest to double team Gordie and ruin his dinner.
Gordie, God bless 'im, managed to hold his own for a few minutes but not before Finnigan bowled him over. All Gordie could do was growl, bark and right himself.
And shit himself.
In front of the company.
And then Finnigan ate it.
Oh, mudder of God, kill me now before I die of embarrassment.
Eventually, the dogs settled down. Sort of. Gordie fell asleep on Roger's foot. Finnigan began to trim the tree, leaping eight feet off the ground. And Sophie bounced from knee to knee, panting and slurping.
Our hopes for a quiet visit were shattered. The company politely fled the scene.
This is all to say that my plans for a big birthday bash for myself have been put on hold.
Until I am 70 and all the dogs are dead.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Smelly, smelly, smelly pug

You know everyone is looking at him, shaking their heads, wondering: when is she going to have him put down?
He's old and smelly and he's moulting like an ancient bird but I still see a spark in those red rimmed old pug eyes. Mostly when he's eating. Often when he's sleeping. Always when he has his little nose nuzzled into the crook of my right arm while I'm watching television.
Gordie is pretty much on his last arthritic legs.
I may be sentimental, but I'm not stupid.
But it doesn't mean he has to go to the Green Mile just yet.
I'm giving him one last good summer while he can still lift up that familiar button nose and smell the barbecuing meat, and have a taste if it's his want. Or roll around and put his nose to the feisty young Sophie who sometimes gets him going in that old familiar male way.
Gordie is a dirty old man. And that's just fine by me.
I thrill to hear his bark but it's raspy.
I get all jiggy watching him lap down two gallons of water.
And I despair every time he decides he doesn't want kibble. Or when he whines for no particular reason.
We've been together a long time, Gordie and me.
We finish each other's thoughts.
He got me through a lot of bad times. He lapped away my tears and snuggled me when I was alone and wondering what the hell I was still doing on planet earth.
He's put up with the new man in my life. He's learned to live with the gaggle of newbie dogs who arrived to take the place of the old ones.
He's even had to make sense of a toddler who likes to pull his tail.
But he's tired and it's nearly his time.
This morning, I fed and watered him then took him out for a lay in the sun.
I brushed away the dandruff that has spotted his once shiny coat, then rubbed Bag Balm into his crannies and his Jurassic, cracked nose. I put artificial tears into his troubled eyes.
And I thanked him for 12 years of shitting and pissing and barking and puking.
For making me worry through three serious operations, a bout of pancreatitis and the yanking of nearly a full head of teeth.
It's all been worth it.
It's time to coddle him and praise him and rub his cold feet.
And thank him for loving me just as I am.
Warts and all.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Up with toddlers

The ritual family gathering wouldn't be complete without something horrible happening.
Like a toddler falling down the stairs.
It's been years since we've had a little one running around and they are easily misplaced. One minute they're in the corner, the next, they have their hands in the dog dish and the very next they're taking a header down the stairs.
That's what happened at our Father's Day celebration yesterday.
The baby Skylar must have gotten into her mama's Red Bull, for she certainly had wings.
I've tried hard to babyproof our house, but there's always something that's missed.
Like the plants placed lovingly on a teetery table just waiting to be pulled down. Or an errant cellphone or remote just waiting for sticky hands.
Of course, there is also the perfect canine storm: Sophie the pug, just the right size to push down a two foot todder; Finnigan the extra-large labrador with an everready tail to launch her into space; and Gordie the demented pug who shits himself whenever he get the scent of the newbie child.
Eventful, ever eventful.
But toddercise was just what was needed on this stressful weekend of death and taxes. On Saturday, we sadly dispatched a family friend and then returned home to get the small business taxes finished and off to the revenuers.
So Sunday with Skylar was a welcomed event.
Even if she did get herself a goose egg.
I'd take ten minutes of Skylar in whatever mood she's in just to escape the dreariness and sadness I've experienced of late.
Up with toddlers.

Friday, 14 June 2013


I get up at least four mornings a week to bust a gut at The Athletic Club.
Exercise has become an important part of my life, along with juicing and the baking of strange manifestations that resemble bread but are, in fact, almond and garbanzo laden nutbars.
I'm still over-weight -- I don't think it's even possible for me to win the battle of the bulges -- but I consider myself in good physical shape.
I am strong, I am invisible, I am middle aged woman.
Unfortunately, I am no match for a toddler.
Yesterday, Nick was going for a job interview so I agreed to take his 15-month-old daughter for a few hours, and that meant a trip to Pleasant Park, a sprawling little bit of heaven in the middle of the city.
How hard could it be?
Compared to the other grannies, I'm ripped.
I envisioned a good half hour pushing her on the little swing, talking to the other mums and grannies while our little charges played together in the sand.
The reality didn't exactly resemble that particular vision.
It's been two decades since I've supervised a toddler, and I'd forgotten what a chore park duty can be.
Instead of "watching" Skylar, I spent an hour spotting her on a jungle gym while she negotiated ramps and slides, ignoring my pleas to take my hand, deciding instead to take a header down the slide, and run up and down a ramp that had no hand rails.
Whatever side I was on, she moved to the opposite. It felt like I was doing interval training.
Or boot camp.
It didn't help that a precocious 6-year-old named Sedonia was egging her on, expertly blocking me like Michael Ohr in the Blindside.
I saw my future and it involved a 10-hour wait at CHEO for plaster.
But I must admit it was a better workout than the gym.
My mind and body were fully engaged, as I tried desperately to save Skylar from imminent death or a Sidney Crosby career-ending concussion. The experience left me with strained muscles I didn't even know I had.
Nothing can prepare a grandmother for this kind of experience. She's not a medicine ball thrown by a trainer. She's the Punisher.
Now, I'm not saying she was bad. She was, in fact, a delight who charmed all the mums with her burbling banter. They all pointed to her as she negotiated a ramp, teetering in her God damned $50 baby boots I'd bought from the gay men at the children's shoe store.
"She is so cute," said one hipster mom who coddled a quiet toddler sportingTommy Hilfiger.
"She's very active."
Then the mom who was so skinny I couldn't imagine where she kept her organs said this: "I see she had something blue to eat."
Ah, yes. The blue popsicle stains.
Nick had forgotten to clean her up after her afternoon treat.
And I was being judged for it.
Sheepishly, I begged off, offering myriad bribes to Skylar to get the hell out of the park before we were swarmed by hipsters carrying gingham-clad pristine little angels on $300 slings from Baby Gap.
I needed respite.
My back hurt. My glutes screamed.
And because I'd worn the wrong shoes, and forgotten my orthotics, the fasciitis on my right planter was now the size of a mango.
By the time Nick got home, I was spent, prone on the couch while Skylar smiled and ate another blue popsicle in her chair, humming contentedly as she watched an endless loop of Caillou.
Caillou, for the uninitiated,  is a little asshole who is always hiding his mom's slippers and teasing his sister. I try to keep Skylar from Caillou, just so she doesn't get any ideas. But after the park, Caillou was my new best friend.
I could finally see why mums are grateful for the little idiot.
Peace in their time.
This morning I took my broken body back for some physiotherapy.
I told one of the young trainers that I had been wasting my time on the elliptical.
"Maybe the club should offer toddlercize in the daycare room," I snarked.
Bust the belly fat! Toss a toddler.
He just looked at me.
Trainers have no sense of humor.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Season 2

Sorry, I can't write now.
I'm watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
The new season.
Think Jerry Seinfeld meets Mel Brooks.
Here's a preview from last season. The new season starts today.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dalton McGuinty - Love the way he lies

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Hey Daltie: Don't let the big wooden door hit you on the ass on your way out.
Kathleen Wynne, good luck with that!

Ground Zero: When the only answer is suicide

It's been over five years since Michelle departed our lives, and since then, I have been drawn to any headline, every story and whatever I could get my hands on regarding mental health, depression and suicide. Over the years, I kept returning to one burning question: what saved me that Michelle could have benefitted from? If I deserved a second chance, why not her? -- Nicholas Gagnier, Ground Zero

Michelle, the girl that my son was writing about in his new poetry anthology, was a constant presence in our house during high school. She was shy, waiflike, with a healthy head of blonde hair. She was always polite, rarely a bother, but was clearly troubled. Scott drove her home once after finding her crying in our bathroom. All she could say was "sorry".

Like all the other kids, Michelle proudly graduated high school and then set off to pursue her dreams. But things didn't work out for Michelle who battled demons on multiple levels. About a year later, we heard the news that Michelle had taken her own life.

The news sent shockwaves through the tight group that used to call our house "the Bus Stop". And it shook me to the core. Could we have done anything? Should we have alerted someone that she was having troubles? Why didn't the Bus Stop Gang intervene?

There are no answers when someone takes their own life. Only questions.

Michelle's death so troubled Nick that he had her name and the date of her death tattooed on his forearm. But instead of taking to his bed, he took to his computer and banged out pages and pages of poems, purging his emotions, his questions and his anger.

A couple of years ago, he began to share his poetry on Wordpress. He amassed a following and the Wordpress collective began to trade poetry. Ground Zero is the result of that collaboration and includes poetry from Michelle herself.

The journey now completed, the book is being sold on as both a Kindle selection and paperback. Part of the proceeds will go to the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, whose staff helped Nick through his troubled youth.

If you know a young person who is struggling with a mental illness, perhaps you might purchase a copy. Maybe it will help. It certainly can't hurt.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Taxpayers pay millions for media training that politicians ignore

Consultants in Ottawa and Toronto have made piss pots full of money doing media training for politicians. These one-on-one sessions cost the taxpayer thousands of dollars, yet the basic messages are simple and can be found in any public relations text book.

Never have more than three messages.
Stay on message.
When you make a mistake, admit it.

Too bad none of our federal, provincial and municipal politicians are practising what the "experts" are preaching. They lie. They cover up. They run from the cameras.

Dalton McGuinty, take a bow. Stephen Harper take a plane out of town. Mike Duffy take your unfortunate wife on a cruise and have her photographed in an unflattering bathing suit. Rob Ford retreat to your private bathroom and have some blow.

You can run. But you cannot hide.

Daltie, Steve-o, Mikey, Robbie Boy listen to your media trainers.

Your lying, cheating, obfuscating ways will not just get you in trouble.

People will vote you out of office.

Don't let the ornately-carved door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Dalton McGuinty: You've got some 'splainin' to do

Dalton McGuinty, where are you?
As your constituent and former supporter, that is exactly what I would like to know.
I don't make enough money to keep me above the poverty line, but you have no trouble spending all that money you receive as a member of the provincial legislature. Not to mention collecting a king's ransom in pension dollars.
Yet you have not graced the legislature with your face more than two times this year.
What the hell are we paying you for?
If you don't want to be our MLA, then get the hell out of the legislature. Retire already.
Not only is your absence an insult to your constitutents, it will kill any chance of anyone Liberal getting elected in Ottawa South.
On the gas plants and deleted emails, you've got a lotta 'splaining to do, mister.
Pick up the phone. Call this reporter back.
He's left you a thousand messages.
You need ot.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

West Park closes: Kids take drugs someplace else

My old high school was built around a swimming pool in the middle of a public park in St. Catharines, Ontario. This year, it will go back to seed as its doors close after 40 years.

Takes me back. I was part of the second year of West Park, a tough little school with a bad reputation.

The school was located on Western Hill, a pretty rough part of town. On the other side of the tracks were high schools like Denis Morris and Sir Winston Churchill which graduated famous folks like supermodel Linda Evangelista and CTV's Roger Smith. On our side of the tracks, kids got shipped off to the military. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

The rumors were rife in town that girls had to carry switchblades in their purses to fend off hoods. I, myself, carried lip gloss, a comb and a wallet. To my knowledge, no one was ever gutted and found floating in the canal where our crews famously rowed on the Henley Regatta course. All I ever saw in those waters were Port Dalhousie whitefish (another story entirely).

While West Park did attract an assortment of characters, including one guy who grew his nails two feet long, it was just like any other high school. Its halls were filled with a mixture of city kids who grew up in a rough neighborhood and country bumpkins like myself who had to be bussed in every day. Think the American south, and we were the black kids.

Because it was a new school, most of our teachers weren't much older than we were. As a result, there were lots of affairs and a couple of marriages. Nobody thought anything about this at West Park, but then  nobody thought much about the drama teacher who overdosed on pills and fell down the stairs. Or the gym teacher who dressed like a wooly mammoth.

We didn't have a band but we did have an audio-visual club run by Dennis Tuff who was solely responsible for getting the heads out of the asses of a number of boys, all of whom went on to make something of themselves. Dennis was a legend at West Park having barely survived a car accident when he tried to avoid hitting a dog. The dog was fine but Mr. T. spent months on the mend.

At West Park, we did things differently. Instead of having a glossy yearbook, we put out a shitty one with ghostly photos and weird typeface. That is because the students made the yearbook from scratch, including doing their own printing. That's why it was so awful but that was also why it was so cool. Mr. Graham Smith was responsible for giving kids the chance to try and fail. And they failed spectacularly.

Like most schools in our day, we had great dances. There were no deejays or rappas back then. Just heavy metallers like Crowbar and folkies like Valdy schlepping themselves around trying to make a buck. Our student body was a bipolar collective with half the kids dropping acid while the rest of us made homemade halter dresses.

Because many of our teachers were weirdos, we learned a lot of stuff that wasn't on the curriculum. I'll never forget Mr. Eising who threw away the staid old history books and taught us about the plight of Canada's aboriginals from a sociological perspective. Ralph was such a great guy. I babysat for he and Nellie until they went off to live on a commune. I'd heard Ralph took his life many years ago. What a waste of a good mind.

I loved my school and had several mentors including Vaughan Osgan who is now my Facebook friend and who will, no doubt, be reading this. He still gives me shit on a regular basis about my pinko views and rails against political waste and corruption. Mr. O encouraged me to start a school newspaper he called The Daily Rag which was a combination of Madd magazine and Vanity Fair's Proust questionnaire.

Strange, I know, but you can imagine what a weird duck I was in high school. While other kids were off humping behind the gymnasium, I was rushing home to watch Dick Cavett.

I was one of the geeks, a kid who joined every club, who served coffee in the teacher's lounge, a brown noser to the enth degree. I wouldn't have had any friends at all if it weren't for the AV club where geek met freak and magic happened.

I can't say I miss high school, not one little bit, but I am disturbed that my school is being mothballed. Such a waste of an incredible space, swimming pool and all. I heard the school finally had a reunion on Saturday, to which I was not invited.


Still, the closing of a school is like having your house burn down. There is no place to go to visit your memories.

Oh well, RIP West Park, you old sod.

Kids will have to take drugs someplace else.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Newspapers should be read, not heard

I tried and failed to read the Ottawa Citizen -- again this morning.
The much ballyhooed digital edition takes two minutes to load. Once you finally get it on the screen, you must gingerly navigate the splash page lest you accidentally click on, or hover or, a stupid ad for new homes or Via Rail. Trying to read the damned thing feels like it's ten years ago and I'm on dial-up.
And I hated dial-up.
The other thing I hate about online newspapers is the video component. I go to a newspaper website to read. I don't want to be distracted by some video shot by a bored photographer who has been given video to do, double duty.
It's not horrible if the video starts when you click on it. I put videos on this blog all the time, but I don't expect anyone to have to watch them if they don't want to. The videos on these sites are distracting, badly shot, give no insight whatsoever, etc. etc.
The other annoying thing about online newspapers is The Journalist Interview.
Truly, I don't give a shit about how you got the story, or why you got the story.
I just want to read the damned story.
Leave me the fuck alone.
The trouble with print newspapers these days is that they are being run by people who don't know anything about multi-media, people who are being coached by kids who went to multimedia school just to annoy the rest of us.
If I want social media, I'll use social media.
That's why I subscribe to Twitter.
I don't want anything to interfere in my Saturday paper read.
I don't pay you a damned buck for video, so don't give me video.
That's why I have cable.
I pay good money to a security company to keep my Internet experience pop-up free. What gives newspapers the right to use pop-ups when I pay to keep them off my virtual lawn.
I'm going out to buy the damned paper.
Wait, oh, I get it.
The strategy is to make digital newspapers so annoying, the reader yearns for the Real McCoy. Right?
Seriously. Stop the pop ups. Stop the videos. Maybe I'll come back.
Thank you.
A serious newspaper reader.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Donut Day: Another missed Canadian opportunity

Fun facts about the American celebration of National Donut Day.

  • National Donut Day is celebrated on the first Friday in June.
  •    More than 10 billion donuts are made every year in the U.S. alone.
  • The largest donut ever made was a 1.7 ton jelly doughnut, which was 16 feet in diameter and 16 inches high in the center.
  • Adolph Levitt invented the first donut machine in 1920.
  • The Dutch are credited with bringing doughnuts to North America with their olykoeks, or oily cakes in the 1800s.
  • The Guinness World record for donut eating is held by John Haight, who ate 29 doughnuts in just over 6 minutes.
Now consider this: Per capita, Canada has more donut shops than any other country. Yet we don't celebrate the donut day here. Another missed Canadian opportunity.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Bobby Kennedy died 45 years ago. So did our innocence

I remember being sick to my stomach riding my bike to my public school after my mom told me the news that Bobby Kennedy had been shot dead the night before.

His death was 45 years ago today.

I was only 11 years old. It was the first time I realized that the world was a scary place.

I get the same feeling in the pit of my stomach often these days.

I want to be 11 again.

The day before Bobby Kennedy died.

McGuinty Liberals: Stinkin' to high heaven

Boy, the NDP is looking pretty good of late.
Dick Wolff should give Tom Mulcair a call should he decide to resurrect his franchise as Law and Order: Special Senate Unit.
Frankly, though, it's hard not to look good in Ottawa when you don't have any Senate seats.
And now the Ontario Liberals have given the NDP another gift.
This gas plant thing is a hot mess that's getting positively nuclear now that it's been revealed that McGoo's crew and staff in the energy ministry have been pressing the "delete all" buttons on all of their computers hoping that they won't smeared with the shit that the ex-premier left for Kathleen Wynne to clean up.
His stall is mighty dirty. She's going to need an extra pair of rubber boots.
Again, the NDP haven't been in power in Ontario for decades, so none of the manure will stick to them. My kids were tiny tots when Bob Rae was premier, when Rae Days were all the rage. Look it up, children. His complete debasing of the Ontario government must be in the history books SOMEWHERE. I'm sure it's being taught by the older teachers.
Doesn't matter what happens. People are fed up with the foxes guarding the henhouse.
Ontario needs to be under new ownership.

In honor of Premier Dad, I present this for your listening pleasure.


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Smoking crack is good for tourism: Rob Ford

Parliament Hill: Sex and the pity

The federal NDP deputy leader, Megan Leslie, says she's shocked at the "casual sexism" on Parliament Hill.
“The first day I came to Parliament Hill in 2008, an MP told me I had a ‘fine body.’ I was startled and offended,” she wrote in the June 3 edition of Blacklock’s Reporter, an Ottawa-based subscription news outlet which reports on Parliament Hill.
Thanks, Megan, for the trip down memory lane.
Things seem to have gotten better on Hill, if the worst she gets is a compliment on her bod.
Good thing she wasn't there when John Turner was patting bums and the Deputy Streaker was prancing down the halls in Centre Block with a square of towel pasted to his genitals.
The Hill has always been an "if I have a nice body will you hold it against me" kind of place.
Especially during holiday season. Or after the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner.
Or during voting at leadership conventions.
A big part of the issue is the acceptance of public drunkedness as the norm.
I've seen elected representatives in various states of undress and drool. I found one guy passed out in the bushes in front of Centre block (Ndipper)  and witnessed a Liberal (also the Deputy Streaker) commanding his press secretary to do a table dance in the Parliamentary Restaurant at 3 p.m. on a Friday.
The Hill, basically, should employ an addiction specialist instead of a budgetary officer.
It can be a lonely place and public policy debates don't always fill the void for MPs who are a long way from home and on a permanent road trip.
Over my many years on Parliament Hill, I've been grabbed, nuzzled, had a drink poured on my head and been chased down O'Connor street by a drunken MP. I was even burned once with a cigarette by an MP from Megan's own party who was pressing a particularly deliberate point over beers at the press club.
Ah, the tales that could be told by veteran assistants in MPs' offices.
There's a code of survival for women on Parliament Hill.
Sadly, it often involves waiting them out until you're too old or fat for them to care about you anymore.
Also, making sure there are witnesses. Lots and lots of witnesses.
Other tips.
Always travel in a group and avoid the little anterooms that I believe were designed especially for foul play.
Keep yourself to a two drink minimum.
Never travel to a second location.
And always carry a Smartphone.
Blackmail can be a woman's best friend on Parliament Hill.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Harper Government doesn't want kids to listen to New Kids on the Block!!! Pass It On

As if the Herpes government hasn't done enough to piss off Canadians, today it was announced that the New Kids on the Block have had to postpone their trip to Ottawa because of The Herpes Government's immigration department.

It seems that The Herpes Government has a whole new group of Canadians who will detest them. My daughter and her friends were "over the moon" as she put it because Donnie Wahlberg and his weinerfest were going to serenade them.

Now she's going to have to wait one more sleep to see the boys and their friends.

Showing up a day late, the NKOB make Justin Bieber look positively early.

RISE UP! The Herpes Government Doesn't Want You To Listen to This Music!!!!


Saturday, 1 June 2013

CTV dumps Don Martin rant about Duffy on legal advice

I guess CTV was none too happy about Don Martin's commentary on Friday, in which he tore a new asshole on Mike Duffy's expensively tailored rear. The video, which I posted last week from Youtube, has been yanked. Nobody is saying why. Update: The National Post is reporting today that the video was yanked after CTV got legal advice.

Maybe Duffy threatened to sue Little Don for slamming him. Maybe the video reinforced what many of us have been thinking: that CTV has been embarrassed by Duffy, who is a long time former employee and network star. Or maybe it's a personnel vendetta, which slipped out in Martin's diatribe. Whatever the reason, copywright infringement or further embarrassment heaped on CTV execs. It's gone.

But wait! has a transcript. Here's part of it.

But in the last year, Mike Duffy has become the all-Canadian poster boy for political fakery. Auditors have proven him to be a fake Prince Edward Islander, pretending to represent a province he considers too dangerous for his fragile heart. Expense claims show he falsely claimed to work as a senator in 2011 when campaigning as a Conservative shill, filing improper receipts for doing both simultaneously. And when his bogus housing subsidies were exposed, he faked being so broke that a relative stranger named Nigel Wright, who was the prime minister’s chief of staff, had to bail him out.

And this, from the National Post today.

Martin’s rant was prefaced by him saying Duffy stopped being his friend after a contentious 2009 interview with the CBC in which the tuxedo-wearing senator pegged the well-liked NDP MP Peter Stoffer as a “faker.”
The CTV host followed by calling Duffy a “political sorcerer” who has faked a number of things during his career including; being a neutral political journalist, being a Prince Edward Islander, being a genuine conservative and finally, being broke enough to require a bailout from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s now-former chief of staff, Nigel Wright.
“The sole preoccupation behind Duffy’s conduct is to do what is best for Mike Duffy. That is behaviour he’ll never fake,” was how Martin ended the segment.

Don Martin, the host of Power Play is, officially, my new hero.