Friday, November 06, 2015

A Canadian Ceremony

Justin Trudeau and Friends arriving at Governor-Generals' house 2015 (Fram Dinshaw photo)

Someone asked me what I thought of the coverage of the swearing-in ceremonies of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada and his cabinet.

The impression many people came away with was of something akin to a coronation—heard that term more than a few times.

That's not so.
We aren't that dull a country that we can't have our own version of what, in the large, self-fixated body to the south of us really does seem like a coronation, complete with prayers and flyovers and salutes and such, with hundreds of thousands of people crowding Washington's pleasant streets.
Not like Washington - President Obama's inauguration

And compared to an actual coronation—even in the Twentieth century an obsolete, outright archaic set of rituals that held meaning only for about a thousand people who were edified by their role in the ceremony and understood easily-missed gestures, while impressing the hell out of everyone else—it was more like an afternoon tea with the new neighbours.

1902: Crawling to King Edward VII's Feet in Fealty - painting by John Henry Francis Bacon
All right, so we don't particularly care for the hocus-pocus choreographed by a court at times desperate to prove its legitimacy to its British subjects (yes, subjects, not citizens).
and not like the United Kingdom 1952: Elizabeth II's coronation procession

Kudos for using antique leftovers from earlier reigns. And turning it into a tourist attraction—brilliant stroke if not to one's taste.

The Tourists, Oh The Tourists! (Alessandro Casagrande photo)

And maybe we also don't care to have the American way, with its sharp divisions between the branches rolled out like a turkey wrap in the very religion that is not permitted to taint the government.

The ceremony was Canadian. No fawning peons, no militaristic showoff.  Tho unlike every other swearing-in it was open to the public.

Men in Suits - Pierre Trudeau and several of his Cabinet, 1968 (The Canadian Press photo)
And if a senior journalist lost his objectivity for a while and was seen to drool over the access provided to him, let's be forgiving. It's been an unpleasant decade for journalists, scientists . . . nearly everyone. Now the windows are open and fresh air is sweeping through.

Between sighs of relief and the afterglow of the election, there is just one thing we should bear in mind. Currently there are impossibly high expectations, driven by the conclusion of the election campaign and the realization that one doesn't have to be like Communist Russia north of the 45th.

The fact that the PM, a couple of party leaders and a number of premiers will be out of the country for a while can only be good in allowing the media focus to fall on other subjects. Journalists, especially media who publish their opinions for pay—should give this government a fair chance as they have done for every other government. This one is different only in that we now live in an obnoxiously wired world where every faux pas is immortalized. There is a learning curve for everyone. I don't agree with people who think that being a cabinet minister requires a long political road to that job. That can cause one to become dull and insensitive.

Sometimes one has to engage in lateral thinking and bring wildly different perspectives and experience to the table. That's what happened here, on Wednesday. Let's stand back and wait to see what these talented and worldly people can produce. If they fail it won't be the end of the world—they'll be replaced and someone else will tackle the job at hand.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Sunday, November 01, 2015

A Mighty Weight Off our Shoulders. . .

Justin Trudeau, St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, dishing out biscuits at Cafe Gatti, St Catharines, Ont.

"Great persons are able to do great kindnesses" Miguel de Cervantes,  Don Quixote

One generally likes to envision one's leader as a great person, but we in Canada have done without for far too long.

In the aftermath of the federal election there has been a lot of anger from the losing side, who have sat at the feet of their idol Stephen Harper, and who feel that the winners somehow robbed them, and who believe that every journalist is a pinko Liberal-supporting crook who should keep his mouth shut.

Those who excoriate the media should bear in mind that most of the news media in Canada - not just print - now is under corporate ownership and most were obligated by their corporate owners to editorialize in support of paranoid egomaniac Stephen Harper in the election just past. We saw such stupidities as the Globe and Mail, which long called itself Canada's National Newspaper while it had not a single bureau west of Toronto, supporting the Conservatives - but they could not bring themselves to add Harper to the mix.

Individual journalists are not automatically on the liberal end of the spectrum but one's occupation requires one to be skeptical and not to take "news" handouts or pronouncements of authority for granted. It was that way when I began many decades ago and it continues, even though individuals who are more right-of-centre are more likely to be hired by corporate media.

Harper is not a "nice" man; his double-dealings to become leader of the merged Conservative Party of Canada and the Reform Alliance were quite convoluted - leaving David Orchard and Preston Manning in the dust. Considering that this created a party with clout it was obviously acceptable in many party members' eyes. But that does not mean that journalists and commentators could not do so - and they did. If you don't like that I'm sorry but it is part of the job.

While he shed Manning like a snake writhing out of its useless skin, he managed to retain a number of Reform characteristics. As per Orchard: "Manning's so-called Canadian Alliance attempts to import directly from the United States a brand of right-wing evangelism, package it with a Canadian name and declare the product to be Canadian conservatism". . . Harper was not just successful but conscientious in using those tactics, as he was successful in hiding his evangelical leanings.

I read an article, years ago, Harper had written when he was young and currying favour in order to consolidate his support; he sounded sane and coherent, had a persuasive point, and I actually thought here is someone with whom I might like to work. Seeing his performance certainly set me straight. I'd rather dance with a cobra.

Orchard quoted Edmund Burke's definition of a conservative "[having] A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve."

But Harper did not fit that definition - rather, he exhibited decidedly stalinist leanings in his need to micro-control absolutely everything. Oh, he restrained himself fairly well until he had a majority but then - like a girdle unsuccessfully trying to contain a 300-pound person - he flew out in all directions at once. What many Canadians did not immediately understand was Harper's millennialism, his apocalyptic  vision which - as with many of his ideas - was imported from the U.S. and his proprietary sense - that Canada belonged to him and was his to do with as he pleased: secret arms deals, secret trade deals, outsized focus on the energy sector, with job-crushing reaction to the oil slump.

Troubling: his paranoia-riven personality erupted, unchecked, in such idiocy as building huge new prisons when the crime rate was clearly going down. Prisons that remain empty, because, in order to present a "balanced budget" before the election, the Correctional Service of Canada's budget was curtailed.  By institutionalizing mandatory minimum sentences for relatively small crimes he was arrogating to himself the power of judges to apply their discretion, based on the evidence heard in their court. The Ontario Court of Appeal struck down mandatory minimums as being unconstitutional. Like the insanely obstinate robot in the Terminator he dusted himself off and was at it again before the election, intending to introduce mandatory minimums for fraud.  He surrounded himself with largely third-rate MPs. People who would not squawk too much when they watched the cost of a discredited aircraft, the F-35, rise into the stratosphere. Again, the need to micro-manage. And he trashed the reputation of Canada abroad.

More troubling: his often stated intent to annihilate the Liberal Party, the Constitution, and Justin Trudeau. That someone so fixated on destruction of an idea would surround himself with equally rabid sycophants and put in place unconstitutional and illegal mechanisms to further this goal was frightening - the sort of behaviour we have deplored for a century in countries and leaders that we collectively abhor. In preparation for this year's elections, Harper raided the contingency reserve and claimed a "balanced budget".

Even more troubling: the denial of science, the denial of one's right to one's own ideas, the denial of science by suppression of scientific facts, the muzzling of an entire public service that serves the country, not the party, cancelling the long-form census, thereby denying the use of facts in assessing societal needs, and aligning unequivocally with a man who has cynically used paranoia to drive some citizens of Israel to unseemly callousness - firebombing a sleeping family with young children, killing the father and their son, and accepting that as an appropriate punishment for people who had done no wrong to anyone. Blatantly stole material such as photos from websites and repurposed them without permission. That he double-crossed the veterans of this country seemed not to give him any sleepless nights, despite his using their existence as a hook for his base, when expedient. Over all, when confronted with previously published quotes of ideas he was trying to hide, he simply denied them.

Entirely unacceptable: Illegality and Amorality. Voter suppression, robocalls, misdirection ...he could put Machiavelli to shame, he could. Harper imported the underhanded and frequently amoral, possibly illegal tactics of the American rabid right, the truthers and the Tea Partiers. The electorate did not know about this until it began coming to light in the Cons' majority government, when Harper created a Constitutional crisis by proroguing Parliament twice, named senators who were ineligible because they did not live in their province - and whose spending was on a shocking level. One of those - former TV frontman Mike Duffy, was secretly paid off by "universally respected"  Nigel Wright, Harper's then-chief of staff, who claimed, in court, under oath, that Harper knew nothing. If that's the case, the micromanager clearly lost his grip. Pass the salt - buckets of it. He was the only Canadian prime minister ever found to be in contempt of Parliament, misspent millions of public dollars on trashing Trudeau and maintaining a 24/7 media studio documenting his "achievements" - which will be lost for a long time in the wave of contempt that has now swept him out into the doldrums.

His shocking lack of response in defending the rights of Canadians incarcerated abroad rankled, as did his sniffy delineation of "old-stock Canadians" somehow more entitled than immigrants, with no regard whatsoever for our indigenous peoples. Well, he does trace his line back to an immigrant to the Atlantic provinces in the 1700s - but ask any Native person how old stock that makes him.

That there were well over one thousand missing and murdered Aboriginal women seemed not to disturb his arrogant persona; note that these figures may be higher but they are legitimate, being provided by the RCMP. It was cutesy-poo that he liked cats, going so far as to transform part of leaky, energy-starved, unkempt 24 Sussex Drive into a cat sanctuary, but as an old stock Canadian he couldn't give a damn about those women or their families.

He attacked a Supreme Court judge when all she did was point out that a nominee for the court was not qualified. I have no doubt that he - who, in a prior decade, railed against "MPs' gold-plated pensions" - will not be an honourable man and refuse the pension as per his oft-stated "principles". Three years ago, a reader in Lotus land - as Canadians affectionately call British Columbia - expressed his conviction that Harper would end them. Turns out that when he saw the figure - $224,000 per annum for the remainder of his life - burning into the paper he'd written it on, he salivated so hard he put the fire out.

Journalist Michael Harris enumerated the repellent turns Harper took in his nearly-500-page book Party of One. Near the end, feeling begrimed by it all, he visited the legendary writer Farley Mowat, who told him "“Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada,” "

Not only did he ignore the provinces for years, starving them of tax resources that were rightly theirs, but he cutely told Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams “You’re not going to fuck with my country.” context: beginning at 9m50s.

Internally and externally, Canada became somewhat of a joke, not as innocuous as it might sound - we had become "Harperland".  And in response to Harper's pervasive contempt, Canadians who did not like the outline of Harperland began to make their distaste known. Even the usually astute Andrew Coyne wondered at the time why the reaction to Harper was so out of proportion - it wasn't, really.

By the time this interminable election campaign, clearly designed to bankrupt the Liberal party, began, his constant pronouncements of half-truths and attacks on divisive issues was raising numerous flags. And his supercilious, dripping-with-oil use of "friends", interspersed every few paragraphs in his speeches, became an irritant even my clearly conservative friends wanted to mute. A recap of his regime, a blight on our history, was published in The Atlantic Monthly when it still appeared that there might be a three-way tie.

But the gods smiled upon us

No one is claiming that Trudeau is a gift from Olympus, though he is rather more attractive that Harper, whose fixed half-smile and beady eyes expressed his inner being to the outer world. Trudeau is young and optimistic, open and inclusive. He will be beholden to some interests, as is anyone who reaches that lofty goal. He will make mistakes - that is a fact of life. But he will never behave as irrationally as Harper did; he simply does not have that disposition.

But the point is not about who is liberal, conservative, libertarian or just plain Con.  It is that Harper's failings were of such a magnitude that the country ejected him in a life-or-death spasm, a Heimlich manoeuvre, if you will, so that we can breathe again and begin to undo the strangling strands of his distrust as expressed in recent law.

 (c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Submit! Submit I Say!

. . . just not under a pseudonym and just not without telling the intended publication that you are using a nom de plume. . . .

The upshot of the "Best Poem of 2015" fiasco, and the unmasking of  the "Chinese-American" Yi-Fen Chou as  surly-faced, balding Frustrated and Angry White Guy -Middle-Aged American Michael Derrick Hudson - seems to be that one is not permitted to have an in"appropriate[d]" persona for publication - take that, George Eliot! and Acton Bell!  and George Sand! and Isak Dinesen!

Anne Knish! stay in the bakery, btw! Deanna Dwyer! Madeleine Brent!  Edith Van Dyne! get out of those pages, they're for men only!  Henry Handel Richardson!  John Sedges! Lorenzo Da Ponte! Diedrich Knickerbocker! use your real name or sign up for therapy!

Go back to fiddling with keys and kites, especially during thunderstorms, Martha Careful! Polly Baker! Alice Addertongue! Caelia Shortface! Silence Dogood! and Busy Body! Oh No, Onoto Watanna! you can't adopt a Japanese identity, not even if you're half Chinese and half Canadian (the most inclusive society on the planet, despite its current jackboot-shod CRAP [Conservative Reform Alliance Party] leader trampling on our Constitution) Rhys Bowen! Robin Hobb! Sue Denim! Vera Haij! up against the wall! who the hell are you!?

The above are instances in which there has been a definite 21st-century no-no: "misappropriation", cultural or other, in most cases either sex or nationality have been cribbed from elsewhere. What is it about the fever pitch with which this act is "debated"? (One can't really debate or discuss nay longer, a twitter storm is liable to fly up one's nose and blow the top off one's head before one can say I'm not Martha Careful - he is!)

I am not getting into that debate here except to say that the more facts are at hand, the fewer people seem to believe. Thank you, internet.

I am sick unto death of  jabberings about who owns what and why, whether there is a lot of back-patting by writers/editors who submit to one another's publications, whether "approximately 99 % of  the poets are professors" (Best Poems of 2015 editor Sherman Alexie, weighing in on having been had by the aforementioned FAWG).

But I want to make one point that should satisfy everyone and level the playing field at the same time.

All submissions - whether for inclusion, for a grant, for a prize competition - all submissions should be blind. Should have one intermediate step in which the author is given a randomly generated number by someone not involved in the judging at all. That way no tender sensibilities will be scoured, feathers ruffled etc. And Sherman Alexie can forget he ever said that he paid closer attention to the poem because of the "Chinese-American" name and "I tossed the poem on the "maybe" pile that eventually became a "yes" pile".

How about it? The only point of contention would be when #H. A. L. 9000" is unmasked as a machine.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Der Leader's Excellent Accomplishments

Kiss me - I mean, Trust Me!
You're young, you live in Canada you will be voting in October.  Maybe you've not voted before, or you are wondering why there should be a change at the top when the talking heads in Ottawa - at least those on the government benches - tell us all that everything is great.

So that you can appreciate the importance of your voice, let's see what Der Leader has done since he's been in office - the first lot consists of scandals, assembled by - - where you can find details for each, and to whom I am eternally grateful.

The second lot, which is not complete, is provided by Andrew Coyne - - of the National Post (strange, but true, considering the Post's wide blue stripe, and shockingly true, given Mr Coyne's previously admiring perception of Der Leader.)


PMO Tied to Senate Hush Money Scandal

Harper Found in Contempt of Parliament

Against Court Order, Refusal to Share Budget Info

Conservative Cabinet Staffers Granted Immunity from Testimony

Conservatives Falsify Reports and Documents

Repeated Duplicity in Afghan Detainees Controversy

Repeated Duplicity on Costing of F-35 Fighter Jets

Harper Minister Lies, Blames Statistics Canada for Killing Long Form Census

Conservative MP Admits He Lied to Parliament

Conservative House Leader Admits to Mockery of Question Period

Harper Maligns the Supreme Court Chief Justice

Conservatives Engage in Abuse of Process with Omnibus Bills.

Harperites Deliberately Sabotage, Stymie Committee System

Harper's Own MPs Protest Muzzling

Conservative Bill Rewrites History to Protect Mounties from Potential Criminal Charges

Harper Minister Caught in Advertising Scam with Public Funds

Corrupt Conservative Cronies

Access to Information System Impeded

The Silencing of the Public Service

Loyalty Oaths Imposed on Public Servants

Harper Government Sued by Justice Department Whistleblower

Conservatives Block Accreditation for Opposition MPs

Tactic Borrowed from North Korea's Dear Leader

Clampdown on Freedom of Speech of Diplomatic Corps

Aquatic Science Libraries Decimated

UN Blasts Canada's Treatment of Immigrants

Harper Government Denies Khadr Basic Rights

Illegitimate Prorogation of Parliament, Twice

Undue Interference with Independent Agencies

Billions Borrowed without Parliament's Permission

Lapdogs Appointed as Watchdogs


PMO Attempts to Cover up Video Leak Putting Troops at Risk

The 'Harper Government' Labelling Deception

Conservatives Place Party Logos on Government of Canada Cheques

Record Amounts of Partisan Political Advertising, on the Public Purse

Conservatives Stack Their Own Ridings with Infrastructure Funds

$50 Million Spending Deception as Documented by the Auditor General

Patronage Run Amok

Undermining Statistics Canada, Killing Data

Government Muzzles Science Community

Like Never Before, Limits Placed on Media Access

Harper's Team Tries to Ban Journalist for Asking Question

Harper Minister Sucker Punches CBC Budget

Suppression of Research

The Vic Toews Porno Smear

Harper's Fallen Soldiers Blackout

Protesters Put under Blanket Surveillance

Rights and Democracy, Other Groups, Dismantled

Harper Government Spied on Aboriginal Critic, 'Retaliated'

Revenue Canada Loosed to Attack Charities

Conservatives Use Unheard of Tactic to Force through Anti-Union Bill

Harper Smears Liberal Sikh MP, Insinuating Tie to Terrorism

Veterans' Advocates Smeared


Conservatives Run Undercover Sting Operations

Conservative Convicted on Robocalls Scam

Harper's Ex-Parliamentary Secretary Jailed for Breaking Election Law

'Reprehensible' Dirty Tricks Campaign against Irwin Cotler

Conservatives Bar Crosbie Candidacy

Election Violations Prompt Resignation of Cabinet Member

Conservatives Attempt Election Campaign Frame-up

Harper's Office Deploys Interns for Dirty Tricks

Citizens Ejected from Conservative Rallies

Conservatives Make Campaign Event Attendees Sign Gag Order

Conservatives Unfix Their Own Fixed Date Election Law

Guilty Plea on In and Out Affair

Cons' Elections Bill Strips Power from Elections Canada

Harper Minister Smears Head of Elections Canada

Copyright Grab for Attack Ads

Conservatives Use Terrorists' Propaganda in Attack Ad

Record Use of Personal Attack Ads

SO MUCH for the abuses of power demonstrated by Der Leader (yes, a close cousin to Dear Leader of North Korea)

but now for more: selections from Der Leader's enemies list - as before, details at the link

1. The Opposition.
2. The bureaucracy.
3. The courts.
4. The Senate.
5. The media.
6. The premiers.

Moving down the list, we find:

17. Environmentalists.
29. Scientists.
46. Elections Canada.
63. The Auditor General*.
87. The Parliamentary Budget Officer*.
102. The Ethics Commissioner.
175. Their own backbench*.
209. The U.S.
217. China.
238. Europe.
245. The Wheat Board.
428. Canada’s police commissioners. See: long-gun registry.
621. The former head of Statistics Canada.
912. Mrs. Rose Fairchild, 421 Marlow Ave., Kitchener, Ontario. It’s a long story…

*Tory appointees

 (c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

By Palmyra I sat and wept . . .

Short and sweet.

The greasy and sweaty dark lards overrunning the Middle East like so much Hussein's Revenge are foul ideologues of very small mind and an apparent Freudian fixation with their adjunct appendages.  Clearly they only really feel good when decapitating, burning, drowning, blowing up or otherwise destroying (unresolved rage - Mommy never loved them!) what they can't control.

These amped-up psychotics have escaped the nursery on planet BadBoy and now run as rampant upon our earth as those weird black slugs with hard shells that tried to invade the compost bin earlier this year.

They are deluded, believing that GOD is watching them (paranoia) and approves (megalomania) of their actions. That there is only one GOD (there's not a single one) and that this GOD wants them to do this (at least you love me, Daddy, Puhleease!)

That this GOD doesn't want them to look into any mirrors (yup, they're an upchuckingly ugly bunch of ugly sods), doesn't want them to draw or use pictures of all GOD's creation (artistic ability - zero; comprehension - maybe two? minus?) and wants them to provide their sick-puppy offerings of the supposedly GODless:

the heads of the old, the young, the inbetween, the burnt offerings, the smithereens of temples, churches, carvings, drawings etc -

but they'll loot the temples, first! BAAL where the hell are you???

The sooner these miserable, pusillanimous, weak-arsed, gutless, spineless excrescences are removed, the better.

Suggestion: W. and Jeb - since your family was instrumental in the entirely illegal attacks upon Iraq, under the pretense of destroying "weapons of mass destruction" - turned out not even to be mideast poutines, but baby formula - you get your arses out there and fix it. You Republicans are always yabbering about taking responsibility, so go for it.

Just don't expect anyone to thank you for it.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Better Late . . .

Sometimes when one has been working full-tilt for some time, it seems, the eyes cross involuntarily, the mind shuts off and does three-dimensional sudokus, and pixels and bits and such fall through the cracks of inattention.
My apologies. This blog should have been posted in November 2014. Note that I won't put pix of  RoFo, DoFo, Jian Ghomeshi on the same page with these soldiers.

This just-concluded week has been a strange confluence of personalities in Canada, when  three personality types clamoured for our attention: the graceless incompetent, the narcissistic self-promoter, and the self-effacing, duty-bound soldier ready to give his life for the country.

A lifetime ago, when everyone over 19 was suspect, 'war' was made a dirty word - as was, by extension, 'soldier', largely due to a sense that the Vietnam conflict would (and did) demand endless cannon fodder.  It did not help when National Guards in various states, called out to defend establishment assets, brought real guns shooting real bullets that killed real protesters.  But that was long ago now and one feels old merely remembering those society-rupturing days when some soldiers (and others) overstepped the line.

But no such event took place on Monday, 20 October 2014, when  Martin Couture-Rouleau deliberately drove into another man and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, killing the latter, because they were soldiers. Couture-Rouleau had been too impressed by rhetoric spouted by the nominally Islamic group Islamic State. IS are psychopathic bullies who have got their hands on real guns with real capabilities that would have astounded those National Guardsmen; their hatred infects people who may already be marginalized by lack of opportunity, mental illness or other factors.  Couture-Rouleau had just lost custody of his son.  He  vented his anger against the establishment by harming very obvious supporters thereof - soldiers in uniform.

On Wednesday, 22 October 2014, a young man named Nathan Cirillo, an Argyll Highlanders reservist from Hamilton, was guarding the War Memorial in Ottawa when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot him several times, point-blank, in the back.

The killer then entered the Parliament Buildings where he was shot by Kevin Vickers the Sergeant-at-Arms.  The killer was mentally ill, ticked off by the establishment, a loner, a drifter, a drug user who had probably no feelings of self-worth, and who did not care what happened to him, as long as he could take someone out with him.

Cpl. Cirillo did not stand a  chance, though many witnesses tried to keep him alive until modern medicine could restore him. 

Patrice Vincent was 53, a 28-year serving member of the Canadian Forces. 

Cpl. Cirillo was 24, father of a five-year-old boy, whom he was raising as a single parent.  He worked out, valued his membership in the regiment, loved his child, loved his dogs, and was unarmed when his life was taken by someone who is largely a blur.  The government is eager to use him as a poster boy for imposing draconian measures that will infringe on more of our rights. 

Zehaf-Bibeau 's mother, who loved him, and who had seen his decline, and frustration, is trying desperately to make the ruling party see, beyond their blinkered, closed minds, that he was not radicalized. Some of the IS drivel found fertile soil in his disorganized mind, with shameful consequences. But that is not radicalization.

Cpl. Cirillo's death struck us Canadians particularly hard.  He was so young. He was full of life, and happiness.  He had a plan which included serving in the Forces. His boy is so little, so elfin, bewildered, without a mother.

When Cpl Cirillo's body was driven to Hamilton traffic stopped, everywhere.  People got out of their cars, stood attentively, waved or saluted, waved flags, and cried. Grown men, old women alike, we cried for his vanished potential, for his fragile little boy - and for his dogs who wore the unmistakable visages of pain and loss and bewilderment, waiting for him who would never return.


Over the weekend of 25-27 October 2014 what appeared a relatively minor, mysterious flap at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation became dynamite, largely due to social media: the host of a very popular radio show, Jian Gomeshi, was terminated.

Gomeshi did not help matters when he posted an open letter on his Facebook page, in which he claimed a jilted lover was responsible, along with a media freelancer, for alerting CBC to his sexual proclivities which included bondage, submission, and sado-masochism.  He stressed that consent was "carefully" "negotiated", and a slew of other glib phrases that read, to this reader, like lame excuses.

He is in the media - has been a long time - which have long been discussing the limits of violence in hockey and such.  He presumably was awake and alert when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that in hockey one can not consent to violence or harm being done to oneself.  And, the court said, this was true for any other situation, including sex.  So - tying someone up, okay; slapping, punching and such - definitely not.  Moreover the court had ruled that consent itself may be revoked at any time, that a person changing his/her mind was not bound by earlier consent.  Gomeshi may be suing CBC for a large amount of money, but clearly he has already lost many of his fans, who supported him before they read his letter. Meanwhile, charges have caught up on him and a date in court awaits.


Meanwhile, on Monday, 27 October 2014, while many gabbers were hotly discussing the fate of JiGo, municipal elections were held in Toronto that brought John Tory to the seat of mayor, despite Doug Ford's attention-grabbing, mouth-foaming, head-about-to-explode campaign.

If you have been in a mine for the last year, or in the rain forests of South America, you require background: Doug Ford, a councillor, stepped in as mayoral candidate when his brother Rob Ford, current mayor, was found to have cancer requiring treatment.  And RoFo is the media-hogging drug-snorting/sniffing/swilling man who claims something called "Ford Nation" as his own. Wasn't that a car manufacturer's tagline?

There is a pathetically obsolete aura about DoFo and RoFo which might elicit sympathy, were it not for their flaming hypocrisy, their desperate public denial of private wealth, as if "saying it" were, à la Jean Picard, "making it so".

It was a telling moment when, immediately after DoFo's loss, RoFo commandeered the stage, not to issue conciliatory sentiments but a vitriolic, poisonous diatribe against "them" and a challenge to the ludicrously termed "Ford Nation" to begin the 2018 campaign to return the inept, incompetent, untruthful, drugged-out, arse-grabbing nitwit to the mayoralty.  He may have had a streak of appeal based on the boyish "aw shucks" and "gee whillikers" charm that many have claimed to have seen in him - most often when seen in contrast to his charmless "stop squawking so I can rip yer throat out" brother.  But illness and its awful consequences - drugs, pain, weight see-saws, hair loss - have squelched that guttering flame.

And there you have it.  Three types of lives... and you can determine which deserve(s) honour, and which do(es) not.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Saturday, June 06, 2015

Transgendered? it helps to be Rich

Annie Leibovitz image of Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner

There is a tragic dimension to this story of Bruce  - now Caitlyn - Jenner.  It is the hundreds, if not thousands, of transgendered people who do not have $100-million from which they can pay to have all hair removed, skin peeled, breasts implanted, noses straightened, eye sockets enlarged or reduced, along with eyelids, botox injections, hip implants, arse implants, dental work, sculpting whatever has been left out, wigs costing thousands of dollars made from the finest European hair, undergarments that further the illusion of shape, and clothing that enhances areas for which the same is desired.  No, most transgendered individuals don't have the money, the access to the first-rank surgeons, cosmeticians and so on.

They do not have the wherewithal to buy the best clothes that fit correctly around shoulders and hips that may still be too awkward from decades of use as males. Or the shoes that fit properly, and are stylish, and don't make they feet look like ducks' feet.They haven't money for the surgery that will remove a prominent Adam's apple - or even reduce it to unobtrusive proportions - the wish of quite a few men, even straight, who are burdened with one.

Pilot Karen Ulane* -  no surgery to reduce the Adam's apple.

They don't have the money to hire trainers and teachers and companions to assist in their transition from male to female or vice versa. They are more likely lonelier, feel more despair, know deep-down that there is a degree of delusion to turn the wish into fact. They don't eat at top-notch restaurants, don't have families of "stars" and all the attendant sycophants who will always reassure them that they look as good as they hoped, if not "perfect", a much-overused word.

They have to wait in line for surgery; in Ontario they are at the mercy of the staff at CAMH. They are humiliated by having to ask third parties to verify that they "presented as" male or female - terminology reminiscent of Biology 101. They will never skip the line, and their treatment by the media (which currently are casting a benign gaze upon the issue, where until recently it was vituperation, venom and disgust) while currently mostly positive, will change with the wind, we media types being notoriously fickle. Who knows what will be the next juicy morsel to occupy the front pages?

Yes, it is heartening to see in the Jenner story proof that we are casting aside some of the more deeply rooted prejudices. But it shows the degree to which personal wealth make a difference in the quality and nature of treatment.

All one can say is this: Do not give up hope and find strength from others

* Karen Ulane (1941-1989) deserves a big thank you: Ulane v. Eastern Airlines became the federal legal precedent for transsexual legal status under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

PS - more readable font for y'all.
(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Sleepy - But Never a Yawn

All the dirt on Sleepy Hollow (from
Hello FOX.

You control the purse strings on such a degree of entertainment that it must, sometimes, be difficult to keep apart the winners and the losers, even if they're on the spreadsheet.

I always wonder what motivates a network - is it all only "return on investment" in the form of viewers? The way to gather the info on who is watching hat seems rather antiquated, if a few years after my time, so I don't understand the reasoning at all. You cannot  - in raw numbers - measure the entertainment and engagement values of any given show.  It makes one wonder whether there is perhaps a bit of horse trading as well. And if so, it is not something to which the viewer is privy, unless an insider spills ye proverbial beans.

There's a vehicle called this girl, or the girl, or the dotty goofy girl - so lame, so trite, a trope redone ad nauseam here, there, and everywhere. Requires goofy girl to roll her big eyes and look cute, a bit helpless. But cute.

Why is it on the air? are there really so many more viewers who take comfort in it? is it because everything is so predictable?

Then there's Sleepy Hollow which is literally engaging in trial by fire tonight - so everyone fire up your TVs. Sleepy Hollow is more than I enumerated below - it has silliness, it sometimes over extends itself, but it is


Terrifically well acted by everyone

An elastic concept that could last years, if the producers had any assurance that developing certain plots or story lines over seasons rather than episodes would not suffer death by cancellation.

An entertainment that has more than the usual lineup of cute white girl with big eyes, the standard assortment of goofy/serious/ambitious/wise-but-misunderstood white/whitish fellas, and, tucked away somewhere for the weekly dose of profundity, the Wise Old Owl, whether male, female, or anthropomorphic voice-over.

And . . . .last but not least -

it's not always squeaky clean. It is easy to underestimate the effect of a bit o' dirt, FOX. The sweaty, messy but still essentially clean hero/ine is more attractive than the squeaky one, because nothing is as characterless as a freshly-washed body. Could it be that it is this that is making you hesitate?

To which all I can say is - bring on the sweat! the twigs in the hair, the makeshift outfit, mismatched shoes, whatever. It speaks to actions, lustily engaged in. Of an idea, or a topic, so compelling that appearance takes second place.

If you pull the plug on Sleepy Hollow, while retaining the umpteenth cute girl with big eyes I'll have to go elsewhere for my entertainment - along with all my Sleepy compatriots.

Remember: It may be sleepy, but it's never a bore or a yawn.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Friday, January 09, 2015

So You Want to be Martyrs -

The brothers who coldbloodedly massacred the journalists and policemen and others in Paris on 6 January 2015 have expressed their desire to die as martyrs. Just a short note to them:

Someone has twisted your religion as surely as others twisted Christianity to birth the Inquisition.  You are not going to be martyrs.  You will be remembered as extremists who could not assimilate in the real world and who consequently poured yet more blood upon Islam, for which you will never be forgiven by the millions of Muslims who lead peaceful lives. They are going to suffer the backlash against Islam, not you - you will be dead, or incarcerated. And the rest of the world will revile you for the two-bit killers that you are. The two of you are on the run. Like the rest of the gutless wonders who are willing to "die for an idea" (as long as notoriety and plenty of virgins in Paradise are provided) - you are too cowardly.

The cartoonists and editors you murdered - they are the courageous ones.  They did what you haven't the balls to do: they died for an idea. Which is bigger than yours, by the way. No matter how frequently governments or religions have tried to mold their subjects into obedient automatons, an idea has overturned their applecart. Sometimes it takes a bit longer. Other times it is swift and explosive.  The idea?

That every individual has the right to freedom of thought and freedom of speech. You can't kill that idea. You thought you could squelch it by killing those who had dedicated their lives not just to the idea but to the expression of that idea.  But the idea lives. The idea is growing stronger than ever, in part as a consequence of your stupid miscalculations. 

Did the murders give you any peace of mind?  Probably not: you are on the run.

For the sake of argument, let's say you die "a martyr's death" and you arrive at the gates to Paradise.  What do you think Allah will say?

Allah: My misguided children, you are at the wrong gate. You need to go down.

The brothers: We want in, O Great One. Where are our virgins? We were promised much food and as many virgins as we can deflower. Don't you appreciate what we just did for you?

Allah: No I don't. You blacken my name with this intolerable killing. I have half a mind to return you to life so that you can warn off the others.

The brothers: But - but - and Mohammed - what about him, we did it for him, too! We avenged the slurs against the Prophet!

Allah: Moe can't come to the gates right now. He's busy. He's reading Charlie Hebdo - do you hear him laugh? He will be very upset that you tried to kill the magazine by killing its staff.

The brothers: Well - they're dead. You won't see the magazine again.

Allah: You fools. You can't kill an idea. How do you think we got Islam into so many people's heads? No. Time for you to go to Hell. And I have relieved you of your names. You don't deserve them. You are less than the dirt under your feet.

 Je Suis Charlie:

Stéphane Charbonnier, aka Charb, 47 - “It might sound a bit pompous but I prefer to die standing than live on my knees.”

Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, 75 - formerly at Le Canard Enchaîné and Hara-Kiri.

Georges Wolinski, 80, Legion of Honour 2005.

Bernard Verlhac, aka Tignous, 58 - Five Years Under Sarkozy, 2011.

Bernard Maris, 68 - former scientific adviser to Attac, the international movement working for social, environmental and democratic alternatives in the globalization process.

Philippe Honoré, aka Honoré, 73 - self-educated artist from age 16.

Michel Renaud - former journalist from Clermont-Ferrand, a visitor.

Elsa Cayat - psychoanalyst, author and columnist.

Mustapha Ourrad  - an orphan from Algeria sent to France by his friends, self-educated, respected for his erudition and self-deprecation.

Ahmed Merabet - Muslim, a beat bobby shot in the groin, then point blank in the head as he lay on the pavement.

Franck Brinsolaro, 49 - police officer, Charb's bodyguard since 2013.

Frédéric Boisseau - a maintenance worker who was in the reception area when the attackers burst in.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant


If you Wanna Be Noticed - Mention a Nazi

Neo or Old School, doesn't matter.  Let me just say that the readership of my blog jumped 500-fold a couple of days ago, when I ran a story mentioning the neo-Nazis Heath Campbell and Bethanie Zito, who had better hide from their boy Adolf Hitler Campbell once he's an adult and looking to square things with the 'rents.

Weird, huh?

 (c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Dear Fleet Labs . . .

About your feminine cleanliness ad, the one in Woman's Day, with the advice for us poor stoopit women to cleanse that there thing between our legs first thing in the morning.  Gosh! I'm so glad you told me - I'd never have thought that neglecting my vagina could be the cause for all that grief when I ask for a raise. And here I thought it was just due to my boss being a hardarsed thug stuck in the Fifties.

But you have set me straight: I stink. My crotch stinks. The stink from my crotch is offending the Editor.

Why did I never think of that?

Oh, how I feel for all those poor men; how I must have offended them when I asked for more remuneration - running through my qualifications and accomplishments - and all they could do was to sit there, in my miasma, trying not to let their noses twitch and their eyes water.

YOU HAVE SAVED ME from a life of drudgery at my five-year rate forever. I'm gonna wash extra careful, three times a day from now on. I am so grateful I think I will spend my entire raise on (your trademarked product which I am not going to name).

It's never too late to improve oneself.

 (c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Monday, January 05, 2015

The Facts Please!

As if the tabloid sites that have successfully migrated online were not liberal enough with "the truth", we now have to contend with such trash as Stuppid dot com (sorry, I won't provide a link) which recently published this "true story": That a couple of neo-Nazis were intending to burn a cross in front of a Chicago sperm clinic which had given them black sperm by error.

The article threw around words such as "ghetto monkey", claimed the daughter's name was "Watermelon" and went on " “The neo-Nazi community don’t want me now. My daughter’s a disgusting little half-breed with baboon lips and she’s going to hell cause she ain’t pure. But part of me still loves that little half-human, cause she’s mine and all, but this ain’t good.” " All of this springs from the fevered brain of someone at Stuppid who deserves to have his/her head reamed out.

The boyfriend was cited as "John Steelhammer".  The late Mr. Steelhammer was, in fact, a politician from Oregon in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The "mother" was stated to be "Molly Cram" - a name that appears on several genealogy sites.
It ain't me, babe.
It is the image that grabs most of the people who land on the page, and who then send it on to other sites: A tattooed swastika-wearing goon and bottle-blonde girlfriend who are unmasked, via, as Heath Campbell and Bethanie Zito, well-known neo-Nazis and now broken up.
 These delightful people were in the news not long ago after Mrs. Campbell evaded police who were there to arrest her for assaulting her roommate - Bethanie Zito.  Both women have children by Campbell, whose son is named Adolf Hitler Campbell (news junkies might recall that Zito's daughter, named Eva Lynn Patricia Braun, was taken away by child welfare authorities soon after she was born, and that Campbell became news when a store refused to write "happy birthday Adolf Hitler" on his son's third birthday cake))

I don't care what anyone names their website, or what they put on it, as long as they are clear about their nature.   But I do care about truth, facts, and truthful reporting of these sometimes slippery concepts.  It is all too easy to slip in the odd little factoid or distortion. It is still too easy for mistakes to find their way into print.  But to present as news - as facts - idiocies sprung from a third-rate brain is a bit much.  Let us not forget that the web rewards those who are impatient, and that favours the young, who don't necessarily yet have the savvy to separate fact from fiction.

Meanwhile, here is the Chicago couple who live with the sperm bank's error.  An altogether cheerier picture than of the menagerie cited above, though their story also has a number of unpleasant wrinkles. The child's face is not shown; she does not deserve to have her young life ruined by intrusions. Amanda Zinkon, Payton, Jennifer Cramblett (photo via


While languishing in hospital earlier this summer, contemplating the miserable depths to which oatmeal may sink (excepting St. Michaels' Hospital in downtown Toronto, who have got oatmeal by the short and curlies and whose cafeteria is worth a detour for their oatmeal alone) someone left a comment for this post as follows:

"Third rate brain? I know the guy who wrote that story and he's a major novelist and teaches fiction writing at a major U.S. college."

Don't know who the author is. Can't comment on his writing as neither name nor work were provided. But  . . . teaches fiction writing at a major U.S. college.  I rest my case.

The article was labelled as a "true story". Unless the thought police have been by your cranium and readjusted your ability to distinguish "truth" from "non-truth", you - and everyone else, would expect "true story" to equal "factual". Kay Orr, I would assume you to know the difference as well. As for the novellist and fiction teacher, I'd hope that, if he were teaching my offspring fiction, he would know the difference between fact, fantasy, fiction, hysterical reaction, hallucination etc.

(c)2015 Daisy Morant

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Act well your part

“Act well your part; there all the honour lies.” Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

image (c)
When we are asked how we want to be, we usually issue a platitude such as "oh I just want to be happy", since happiness is great, isn't it? look at all the comedians who always make us happy with their routine! Laughing all the while!

 Most comedians are not 'happy'; most actors, to varying degrees, do not like, or want to be, themselves; musicians and dancers turn their backs on the world and lose themselves in music; writers create worlds they'd prefer to live in, peopled with persons they'd rather know; many mystery/crime writers find it useful to put their own murderous thoughts to paper - creativity is driven by our failings.  Some of us even find the exposure of our Achilles heel to be gratifying, financially as well as personally.  But not everyone is fortunate enough to find a creative outlet, and many people who grapple with mental imbalance have been unable to find it or have sufficient courage to make use of it.

Every creative person has tornadoes of butterflies in the gut before the opening of the show, the release of the book, the rise of the curtain.  We live with the certain knowledge that we will fail, and are surprised when we don't, because everything that drives us to create also makes us believe that we cannot possibly succeed at it.

Comics/comedians seem to have a particularly thin layer of calm over their frantic desperation, a frantic rejection anxiety that seems to make their delivery manic - which audiences then applaud. So: are they laughing because one is funny, or because one is making such an idiotic spectacle of oneself? the question can't be far from their minds, can it.  If they also act - as Robin Williams did, terrifyingly so - in a negative role (the killer in Insomnia), bring to life a murderous persona, would this not further complicate the thoughts stumbling over one another in one's head???

Look at the picture. We do not need to look closely to see the man's pain, etched in his face. It is not the face of a happy man but one who seems ever at the brink of tears. We should remember him - all of him, from the best to the most troublesome - because it was the totality of the man that we responded to.

 (c)2014 Daisy Morant

Friday, July 12, 2013

What We Owe Lac-Mégantic

CP photo (c)Ryan Remiorz

The devastation wrought upon the heart of Lac-Mégantic has come about because of greed, unconcern for one's environment and one's fellow human beings, and perhaps carelessness as the immediate trigger of the accident that sent a freight train of 73 tanker cars fully loaded with crude oil on its hellish mission in the early hours of Saturday, July 6, 2013.  This picturesque town situated on a lake in the Eastern Townships of Quebec will not be the same.  The trauma, the hurt, inflicted upon the survivors is so deep that one wonders how they will recover; for the residents who were killed one can only wish that it was quick.

There will be a push to rebuild the town, which has lost its memory - literally, as its library and archives were destroyed in the atomic-sized blast. There will be wrangling as to style of buildings, and what constitutes a fitting memorial to the dead.

Here's my suggestion:

Make the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railroad, owner of the track that led the tank cars into town, build new housing for the displaced, but not where they used to stand.  No, the scarred downtown should be bought by the railroad and donated to the town after they have installed a park.

Only green spaces, and the natural world, can heal a wound such as this, inflicted by everything technological. A park that covers the entire site, with a walled garden in which one may sit on benches and contemplate not only the people who died there, but the reason for their needless deaths.  Yes, it will be a very large park, but it has been a very large disaster, Lac-Mégantic doesn't just look as if there had been fires, it carries the same degree of devastation as Hiroshima - or even the Tunguska Event, when a meteor exploded in the air over Siberia and devastated the area utterly.

It is the same sort of devastation, with only the occasional chimney left standing, a bit of the arch over the library entrance, a few poplars stripped of all but their heartwood.

It will cost sooo much money! some will say.  Yes, money is what got everyone into this inferno: the rush to make as much money with a little expenditure as possible.  Let the railroad return some of that money that it made by ignoring the state of the rails - deformed, flaking steel, yet!  Make them plant trees and flowers, shrubbery that will attract birds, insects, butterflies, that will make one feel at peace, if only for a little while.

It isn't too much to ask.  The railroad has stolen their souls.  Let them give back something that will mend the spirit of Lac-Mégantic.

(c)2013 Daisy Morant


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Friday, July 05, 2013


The marvels of electronic communication bring a long list of emails to my inbox.  Sometimes one is so lulled by the regular appearance of vacant positions that one overlooks an aspect that struck me today as if it had been a cold, wet slap of Atlantic sea water:

nobody mentions "career" any longer.

Apart from the fact that the publishing industry is being decimated - to its detriment, no matter what anyone might put forth as an "improvement" - there still is much work that needs doing.

But, as is very clear from the new terminology, "job" is the new buzzword.  Don't bother thinking of your position as an editor as some sort of pathway, boy, it's just a job.  And it won't pay as well as it might have, and it won't offer you a decent pension, and it won't provide job security via a union, because you are just a cog in a machine now.  You will be treated with as much respect and dignity as such a cog deserves, which is minimal.  Because not only are you just a cog, you are an expendable cog - there are hundreds more just like you.

This is what a "business approach" will bring you.  Do you remember, a few years ago, when we were exhorted to think more like business people, in order to modernize operations, minimize duplication and all the rest of the buzzword thoughts that were held up like icons of the new religion - which is what business has deliberately molded itself to be.  The other buzzwords are thrown at us whenever we need reminding of our new place.  The company is passionate about its work.  It is inspired by its stakeholders. Collaboration is the way to reach shared goals.  Meaningful experience will help us to develop - into what, is never said - most likely a more pliable, company-minded cog.

Tell me how this is different from the Victorian experience.  You can't because it isn't.  Then, too, people were treated as expendable, used until they were used up, and tossed out the door.  Then it was a case of industrialization having displaced hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers; now it is a matter of computerization having displaced hundreds of thousands - nay, millions - of professionals.  And throughout it all we are supposed to say yes this is great and wonderful and a distinct improvement.

How so?  Having realized that they can pay their workers substantially less, companies now hold the upper hand but are cutting their own throats without realizing it.  The less you earn the less disposable income you have; the cost of shelter is so outrageous that many people have nothing left for niceties.  But there is the lure of the credit card: it will enable you to buy that $600 Hermes scarf that will boost your self-esteem.  It does need boosting, does it not? hasn't it been crushed by the new realities of the workplace?

There are always naysayers who will claim in all seriousness that we are innately devious and dishonest, that we would try to get away with bloody murder if we could but, not being so inclined, take it out on the poor employer instead, through "misuse" of hard-won rights.  Business supporters, especially in the political milieu, are quick to jump on us for "slacking off", for disloyalty to the company, for daring to leave when we no longer like the work.  Excuse me, but I didn't see where one must sign a loyalty oath, or promise, in bloody writing, to adhere to the company like the slaves it expects us to be.

Business has done this to itself.  There will be great pain and more social distortion and disruption before some more reasonable, equitable mechanism comes into being.
If business thought more clearly and with less self-interest about the contributions of its employees, and the manner in which they ought to be treated, they might find that they have a happier environment with fewer disgruntled employees who are sick less frequently - pay attention! one can be violently ill from being ignored and abused, and will be no less unwell than if one had the flu.  Offering employment with a potential career path will be perceived as more desirable than "a job".

After all, how do you characterize those chores you have do?  just a job.

(c)2013 Daisy Morant

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Whither δημοκρατία*? *democracy

This afternoon Egyptian President  Mohammed Morsi has been tossed out of office by the military.

An overwhelming number of Egyptians - and many foreigners, including myself - didn't like him and/or the way in which he was proceeding but he was a democratically elected head of state.

This will put democratic thinkers into a twist. If we do not like our prime minister - and I don't - should we riot in the streets until the Canadian Forces throw him out on his ear? 

Wait till I stop laughing.  For one thing, our oh-so-lily-white democratic (maybe - one could argue the point, we are after all not a democracy but a parliamentary monarchy with a foreign crown-wearing head and a rubber-stamping stand-in who ain't the PM) - well, let us call it democratic - our democratic history coupled with our once-slavish adherence to the crown means that there's much forelock-tuggery and arse-kissery left in the Canadian character.  Can you imagine Canadians en masse rioting to expel Harper?  Exactly.

But what of south of the border?  The U.S. of A. is a roiling cauldron, compared to the crockpot of Canada.  There people are not only free with their opinions but also their plottery and snarkery and gun-waving threatery any time a president dares to tread on a toe.  One has the suspicion that their broader puffery in all things political is probably a safety valve of the sort Canadians don't have and don't think they need.  They have a similar safety valve in Egypt, in a manner of speaking.  Countries of Anglo-Saxon/Germanic origin are more phlegmatic, not as liable to go over the top and into chaos.  One wonders if the army was gauging the mood of the populace until it reached the right temperature - a few degrees shy of critical - after which they felt they had to act.

Probably prevented the patient from expiring from a fever.

But the question remains:  What next, when a country's constitutional mechanism has been upended?  To whom do the other democratically elected heads of state around the world owe loyalty and allegiance?  What will they say when they laud the army - wunnerful, wunnerful, just don't do that here? Is even one of them going to shake his fists and call them subversives? who will wrap himself in the flag of democracy when democracy has just been used as a >ahem< toilet tissue?

Can democracy continue to work in a world where the number of citizens is in the billions, and the number of different ideas as to how things ought to be is in the billions as well???  How will one reach consensus?  How will one define a majority? this preoccupies many a vote-rigging helpmate of a shady politician, first requiring much polling and then the political will to distort appearances to suggest that things are not as they are. 

We aren't toga-wearing inverts prancing around the agora of the Greek democratic city-state (they wouldn't let women in, either, so how democratic where they, hein?) No - we are overwhelmed, frustrated, overburdened, sleep-deprived people trying to accommodate the technological changes of the modern world so that technological changes do not bend us out of shape.  We have high mortgages, thick waists, thinning hair, rebellious, fractious children, boring partners, insane neighbours, Hitleresque low-level bureaucrats, scheming politicians and crass and greedy businesses.  We are pulled in a billion dirctions at once and only our internal gravity keeps us together. 

We aren't citizens in a newish democracy feeling our way through the quag, the mire and the muck. Instead of rioting we are more likely to think "gawd, if I show up in the riot I'll lose my job" or "I'd go carry a sign if I weren't so tired" or "just another x months till the next election, I mean, how bad can it get?"

It can get very, very bad indeed.  It can get so bad that we do not recognize our country.  But that is not very likely - yet.  Between possibility and probability there lies an entire universe. At least, let's hope so.

(c)2013 Daisy Morant

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Hate Mail

I don't like my MP, Rick Dykstra, thank you.  I have my reasons, which I will not get into.  But I dislike being manipulated by special interest groups even more.  And when they stuff the kind of bloody crap in my mailbox that you see here

they can go to hell.

The law of the land suits these people only as long as it upholds their views; the moment it veers away they resort to the kind of tactic that backfires against them even as it - let me use a current word here -  angrifies them.

There is a process.  It is called Parliament.  If you want to change the law that is where you should go.  Pillorying and slandering and manipulating people doesn't work; it will blow up in your faces.

As for sharing your opinion with me, you are entitled to do so within the parameters of what the law allows; hate mail is not permitted.  This is inflammatory hate mail directed against a member of Parliament who will be dealing with the consequences of his actions in the next election.

* * * * 

Comments are closed.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

eBay: Swine Among the Pearls

Let us now turn to eBay, surely the champion "department store" of the gullible, where sellers from China can pitch "Charming! 8-9mm Black Akoya Cultured Pearl Necklace 18" for  $3.38 and have a buyer fall for it.  The fact that some buyers have virtually no experience with online shopping is not mitigating the fact that eBay turns a blind eye to fraud on its site.

Real Akoya Saltwater Cultured Pearls

Akoya, in case you are clueless, are the very pinnacle of Japanese cultured pearls, at least, they can be, when made by such companies as Mikimoto, and you can expect to pay a hefty price, unless you find them at an estate sale or have similar luck elsewhere.  Eighteen inches of eight to nine millimetre Akoya black pearls will set you back at least two thousand dollars and the thought that you could possibly find them on eBay, undercut by the Chinese wholesaler, for three dollars and thirty-eight cents is not just laughable but pathetic in a sort of is-this-person-retarded-or-just-stupid way.  

Yayayaya I hear you, it no longer is polite to say "retarded" but guess what, it is very clear in describing the unfulfilled nature of the intellect, so retarded it will stay.

Again.  One might think a person with such expectations could be retarded, but that would be an insult to those who actually suffer from intellectual deficits.

Ignorance, greed, stupidity and more come to mind as well.

An assembly of slightly larger black pearls, also 18 inches long, is currently listed at five thousand dollars plus, which is a bit above competitive.  However, that seller offers the option of a counteroffer, so it will probably go for $4,500 or thereabouts - depending on the seller's desperation. 

But back to eBay.

This mega company presents itself as squeaky clean! Champion of the buyer!  Will not tolerate deception!

It will descend like the Hammer of Thor upon a hapless seller who has earned only four stars, rather than the mandatory five - you didn't know that, did you?  Apparently all sellers now are to earn five stars in every category of feedback or there are penalties. 

But if you are a mega seller like those shifty Chinese fly-by-nighters, you won't care.  Listing two thousand items at any time represents a fat chunk of fees to eBay, which won't complain.  And thus we are at the heart of the matter.  Ignorance among the buyers is one gear that keeps eBay earning high profits.

A few years ago I was sold beer bottle glass as "imperial topaz".  I had complained, but to no avail.  I began to email the seller's other customers who had left feedback and got their horror stories by return mail.  They made sad, but instructive, reading.  When I looked more closely at the images accompanying the listings I discovered that the same photo were used for all of them, although the listings themselves assured buyers that they were looking at actual photos of the merchandise.

The seller at that moment was calling himself bellepig.  Reporting him to eBay did no good.  So I set up bellepig as follows:  because he had a "satisfaction guaranteed" policy I bid on about a dozen of his "gemstones".  When I won them, I informed him that these stones were as fake as those which he had already sold me, therefore I was not going to be satisfied, therefore I was not going to pay him.

Bellepig went through some contortions before he reported me as a non-paying bidder; they would make hilarious reading were it not for the underlying threats. 

Why did I go this route?  Because there was no way to report to eBay that a seller was selling fakes.  Once the seller reported a non-paying bidder, though, an actual person from eBay got involved in shepherding the case through its "court".  I sent him a report including information like specific gravity, refractive indices etc. all of which supported the fact that bellepig had been rooting around in the beer garden, not the topaz mines.

Bellepig was kicked off eBay but you can be assured that he was back on, with another front man and another identity, almost immediately.

eBay now makes it even more difficult to report sellers of fake items because its reporting system is so set up as to weed out almost everyone with a legitimate complaint - but that is another story.

Which returns us to the hopeful buyers of two-thousand-dollar necklaces and such, who expect to be sold the real thing, for anywhere from eighty-eight cents to seventynine dollars and ninetynine cents for    


The picture that accompanies this listing shows cheap, dull, barely-lustrous freshwater pearls that can't have been long in the oysters, that have blebs and other deficiencies, and the interior beads of which - it is quite clear - have been shaped to give the baroque effect.  And this seller offers free shipping, so you can ask the buyer of this yard-long strand of one-half to three-quarter inch "natural" "South Sea" "AAA" "pearls" whether s/he is expecting the real thing.

More importantly, is this buyer going to be leaving good, five-star feedback? thus further enriching the entirely undeserved reputation of this crook?

Yes, this buyer appears to be readying herself for a wedding followed by a new household; over the past few months she has been stocking her post box with not just furnishings but also the sort of things one wears on one's honeymoon and gives as gifts to one's bridesmaids.  Let's hope they don't know much about pearls.

She will return to this crooked seller, as she has, a number of times,as when she purchased "natural" "peridot" "faceted" beads.  The only trouble with those is that they appear to be glass, because they most certainly are pressed, not faceted.  Faceting leaves sharp edges; pressed or molded or poured glass cannot attain such sharpness; the softness of the edges always gives it away.

Well, one hopes that she isn't selling these items as the real thing in a shop.  One may quite happily delude oneself, but it isn't done to pull the wool over others' eyes for profit.

At least, not in our world.  In the Chinese world things are never what they seem.  Where we pride individuality the Chinese value the ability to copy an image, an idea, unchanged for hundreds of years.

eBay, however, straddles the juncture of these two worlds.  Badly and uncomfortably, I would say.

(c)2013 Daisy Morant

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