Monthly Archives: June 2013
My grandfather, George Benson Swayne, was a great man. Perhaps not in the sense of having accomplished anything you’d notice on the world stage because he lived in a smaller world, a town of barely 20,000 people but in that town he was highly-regarded and well-respected.
He worked for CP Rail for most of his career taking a decade off to sit as mayor. He served three consecutive terms and was elected by acclamation to each. He could have served a fourth but declined to run.
I didn’t know all that back then, of course, his only role in my life was that he was my grandfather and I loved him dearly. He smelled of White Owl cigars, Old Spice and sometimes a bit of my grandmother’s Elizabeth Arden cologne. He had a bit of an effeminate side which meant my grandmother’s and my mother’s perfumes were never safe when he was around.
If he danced with a woman who was wearing a backless gown, he took his decorative hankerchief from his suit jacket pocket and placed it over his hand so as not to embarrass her by having his hand touch her bare skin.
He loved peppermint humbugs which he always shared with me; loved to play cards and would play any game with anyone young or old at the sound of a shuffle and told me the same riddles and jokes every year from the time I was able to talk until he died when I was in my teens.
That was in 1967 and I miss him to this day.
I was deeply touched when my daughter named her son after my grandfather after telling me that even though she had never met him, she felt she knew him from all the stories I told her about him.
I still remember how people would come up to my grandfather after church where he would sing the hymns loudly and completely off key or when we walked together along Main Street just to shake his hand and pay their respects. Often, men would simply tip their hats to him as we walked by.
He was a quiet, soft-spoken gentleman who brought meaning to the word ‘gentle’. He also defined the word integrity for me.
He was precisely the kind of person we need in politics and very seldom see anymore; a simple, honest man who understood and lived the meaning of the words duty and service.
We’re not seeing too much of that in too many mayors in Canada these days – they’re dropping like flies caught up in spider’s webs of corruption of their own making. Continue reading
After writing my article on Tuesday, I thought I’d take the rest of the week off – kind of a mini-vacation to kick back and relax after a hard few months of writing and relaxing. That’s basically how my days go. I write – I relax. I putter around outside – I relax. I make dinner – I relax. I deal with the dog which isn’t relaxing and have to start all over again.
The dog is psychotic and annoys the relax right out of me. I’m convinced the little bugger secretly supports the New Democratic Party just to aggravate me because I know they don’t do anything for him. It’s Maggie and I that make sure he gets all the entitlements to which he feels entitled.
Anyway, I figured I could use a few days of not thinking or at least not writing what I was thinking and I was pretty sure most of you would benefit from a little break from the ongoing rant that has become my life or at least that part of my life that isn’t Maggie and the kids and kids’ kids.
As most of my regular readers know, I write a lot about stupidity – especially institutional and political stupidity. I chose that field of study not only because stupidity annoys me even more than the dog but because there is just so much of it that I didn’t really have to do much to ferret it out. It’s like crab grass on your lawn. It’s easy to find, easy to identify and virtually impossible to permanently eradicate which meant I would have an ongoing series of topics to write about for the foreseeable future.
I figured with Parliament shut down for the summer, the Senators behaving themselves while the RCMP continued their investigation into Senate naughtiness and the floods in Alberta pretty much under control – there wouldn’t be much to write about and the world wouldn’t miss me for a few days.
I was only half right. There is always something to write about and some of it has worked its way right under my hat to the point where I won’t be able to continue to relax until I vent. Continue reading
I want you to know that I try and I mean that most sincerely. I get up every day with the intention of being patient, tolerant and pleasant but I don’t mind admitting, my friends, that no matter how hard I try it just gets more and more difficult.
Consider the latest rounds of stupidity, hypocrisy and outright mean-spirited nonsense of the past couple of days – and try to remember that this is Canada and these are Canadians, who think they are being terribly clever, as we stroll together over the next few paragraphs.
The Prime Minister is being pilloried on social media because he wore – get ready for it – a military flight jacket that had been given to him as a gift by the military. He wore it while doing an aerial tour of the flood zone in Alberta on an Air Force helicopter. I’m not fully up to speed on the correct fashion statement for occasions like this but it seems to me that there aren’t too many other situations where a flight jacket would be as appropriate.
I’ve been fairly critical of Prime Minister Harper of late but it’s over job performance and ethics. I don’t care what he wears to work. Getting all worked up over a jacket is like getting all worked up over the Prime Minister’s plane being repainted and who would be stupid enough to do that? Continue reading
When I read news stories like this, it makes me wonder how a society can be so advanced and yet have so completely lost its sense of values and direction.
Lisa Roberts and her 15-month old son are homeless and she is eight months pregnant. She and her son spend their days in libraries or in parks and their nights huddled under blankets sleeping in playgrounds. She is on welfare and is eligible for just over $1600 / month in benefits but cannot find a place to live for less than $800 which leaves little for food, transportation or child care.
She lives in the GTA where the waiting list for affordable housing is as long as twelve years and the shelters are full to over-flowing.
Landlords are reluctant to rent to people on welfare, especially those with small children because it has been their experience that they lose money and often have significant damage done to their property.
As tragic as Lisa Robert’s situation is the real tragedy is that her situation is not unique. Continue reading
There is a very old joke about a man asking a woman if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. When she replies, “Of course”, he asks if she would sleep with him for $100. She looks at him with outrage and replies, “Of course not! What do you think I am; a whore?” To which he replies, “We’ve already established that, we’re just haggling over the price.”
I was reminded of that when I read Michael Coren’s article in today’s Sun News. Mr. Coren is quite incensed by the amount of money Justin Trudeau charges to speak. Mr. Coren points out, somewhat piously, that when he speaks, he asks those who hire him what they can comfortably afford as if that somehow makes him different from Justin Trudeau and all the others who charge more.
Quite frankly, the difference is lost on me.
Of all of the Sun News Media television news commentators, I tend to like Michael Coren the most. He is usually fairly balanced in his opinion and not as strident as some of the others. But we are miles apart on this issue.
It is a typical example of assembling unrelated facts together to prove a negative. Continue reading
So – I read the other day that the United States Government has purchased 30,000 guillotines. Yes – I said guillotines; 30, 000 of ‘em. I don’t know if it’s true or not because I’m not too familiar with the source of the story and seldom trust reports from the distant edge of reality but if it is true – phew – it would seem that a lot of heads could soon be rolling in the U S of A.
According to the report that was widely circulated on Facebook and various anti-Muslim sites, Congress authorized the purchase for “governmental purposes” earlier this year. The report further stated that 15,000 were being stored in Montana and another 15,000 in Georgia and that their primary purpose was to publicly behead Muslim terrorists in order to desensitize Americans for when the government started executing many of them later on.
The first thing you have to wonder is which Americans? Continue reading