another bipolar 2 moment...

..."this", in this instance,
meaning the world we live in....

- to be continued - 

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Demotivational Despair TGIF Situation

it's Friday once again, and just because
it's been a pretty good week - love those
Canadian Olympic Golden Girls - doesn't
mean one can go without one's weekly
dose of irony and attitude!

alors, encore... some of the finer
motivational parody posters
I've Stumbled into this week....




stay tuned....


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A Newbie's Guide to Canadian Government - The Greens

... a quick and easy guide for Canadians
who may have forgotten that we even
have a government with parties
and everything...
and for people watching from abroad
who may well be wondering "W.T.F. Canada?"

the Green Party

Greens have experienced considerable voter buy-in over the years in Europe, but in Canada, they are a niche brand in the national market. Their roots run back to a modest platform shared by a few candidates in the Maritimes in 1980, who unofficially known as the Small Party, and Green (Canada) Ltd. was founded in 1983.

Twenty-five years later, this super-cute party idea have captured the hearts of nearly 7% of Canadian voters and they now field candidates in every riding across the Canada.

Unfortunately, Canada's 'first past the post' voting system means that while the Bloc can translate 10 % of the popular vote into as many as 54 seats in Parliament, the Greens have yet to elect a single member. The closest they have come so far is when a member sitting as an independent decided to 'go green' but before he could sit in Parliament as the first Green member, an election was called and he was defeated.

"How" one might ask "how could a political party dedicated to the proposition that Green is the New Black fail to capture the imagination of voters who think so too?"

How indeed?

It may be that the Greens are Too Progessive - in the best left style, their firing squads usually form a circle, instead of the traditional straight line. This can give their leadership conventions the ambiance of Paris during the Terror.

It may be that the voters don't take them nearly as seriously as they take themselves.

It might seem the Greens have been almost radically ineffective as a political party - an "epic fail" - but this would be neither fair nor accurate.

Despite the fact that 93% of the voters refuse to give them a hug, they have had a substantial impact on Canadian political ecology, one that could be usefully compared to the impact of kudzu on gardening south of the Mason-Dixon line or the cane toad on pets in Northern Australia.


Like other invasive species, the Greens compete for available resources food anywhere they appear.

Their efforts over the years have ensured that a number of Conservative candidates have been elected in ridings where they would otherwise have gone down to defeat.

In a curious case of "payback's a bitch", Green leader Elizabeth May lost to Conservative Peter McKay in Central Nova, even though more people voted against McKay than for him.
The final tally?
Conservatives: 18,240... Greens: 12,620...NDP: 7,659.

- you love this kind of irony
- you feel like spoiling your ballot,
   but you want it to be counted.

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A Newbie's Guide to Canadian Government - Le Bloc

... a quick and easy guide for Canadians
who may have forgotten we have a government
with parties and everything...
and for people watching from abroad
who may well be wondering "W.T.F. Canada?"

the Bloc Quebecois


Bloc' are the appendix of the Canadian body politic - ie - on a good day, useless and inert; on a bad one, something requiring rapid expensive professional attention.

In one of those ironies Canadians enjoy so much, their leader Gilles Duceppe happens to be the longest serving leader of a party in Canada's Parliament. 

Pourquoi this is ironique, you ask?
Bonne question!

Alors, because in theory as the farm club of the Parti Quebecois, Le Bloc are dedicated to the deconstruction
of Canada
as we know it... 

...via Quebec's reincarnation as a 16th century Euro-boutique-style nation, with a reputation for table dancers, strong beer and interesting cheese... and the potential to be a powerful new player in the global market for commemorative postage stamps.

Despite decades of discussion, the details of this blessed event remain a pink and fuzzy thing in any tongue. Among the 'oui!' votes yet to be counted are the Cree, Innu and Mohawk people, who have not to date indicated a mad desire to be part of le nouveau paye. 

Without them - and their traditional territories -  Quebec The Country will be little more than a few arpents along the St. Lawrence River, with an enlarged deficit and alienated neighbours. 

Electorally-speaking then, Le Bloc are a very expensive abstention. Given their vow to never participate" in a federal government, they could more accurately be seen as Canada's only federally funded provincial lobby group.

If there is an upside to this otherwise sad scenario, it's the promise that in the event of the creation of a sovereign Quebec, the Bloc will disband and become dust in the wind. 


In that event, of course, the question of M. Duceppe's eligibility for a federal pension - and whether or not that constitutes 'participating' in a federal government, remains an open question.


Sorry. If you don't live in Quebec, you can't vote for - or against - the Bloc.
If you do, your decision, oui ou non, is probably a fait accompli, n'est-ce pas?

- next- cherchez Les Vertes! -

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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook

 the 2010 Winter Olympics


you know what i wish? i wish there was a way to mute out any given bunch of commentators and just hear the sound one would hear in that rink, or on that hill- the edges of the skis on the snow, skates on ice, picks hitting the boards...

i wish the commentators would shut up once in a while. it's like the ancient fear from the early days of radio about 'dead air' and people touching that dial have become embedded in the DNA of media culture... 

but perhaps now that people are watching colour images on giant screens in HD, it's possible that people might not change the channel because they don't hear someone talking for 10 seconds.

... especially when the odds are that voice is repeating something that's already been said 6 or 7 times in the last half hour.


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A Newbie's Guide to Canadian Government - Conservatives

... a quick and easy guide for Canadians
who may have forgotten we have a government
with parties and everything...
and for people watching from abroad
who may well be wondering "W.T.F. Canada?"

The Conservatives

this ain't no party.
this ain't no disco.
this is business.

After several years of stormy courtship, an aging Bay Street dowager and a slick young Cowtown grifter finally consumated their lust for power. Soon after that untimely congress,  the issue of their loins appeared and was christened 'the Conservative Party of Canada'.

Splicing the DNA of the (formerly) Progressive Conservatives and the Reform party (formerly the Canadian Alliance) with the nasty side of the American Republican Party,  Canada's newest national brand brought small-town, strip-mall thinking into the 90s. The 'Full Nanaimo' was front and centre on the national stage.

The timing was awesome. With the Liberals into the decadent phase of their electoral moon and well overdue for a spanking, Canada's newest brand was well-poised to run up the middle. 

Endorsed by less than 40% of Canadian voters, in a few short years, Mr. Harper has already assumed an attitude of supreme power. By ignoring the law, Parliamentary tradition and even the will of the people, he has had an impact well beyond his alleged mandate, nationally and around the world. 

His 'bring it on' attitude towards global warming has other  countries leaving the room when we step up to speak.

Women and children in Canada are in worse shape economically and legally than they were 2006, and their situation is not expected to improve anytime in the near future.

His unquestioning support of Israel has single-handedly reversed decades of Canadian diplomatic policy in the Middle East in favour of his own personal preference .  

For the first time since Confederation,
our international reputation and our
influence is in a steady decline.

Once known for our sense of fair play, modesty and innovative solutions, Canada has exchanged decades of hard-earned credibility for a role as an American satellite, the classic Chihuahua running along behind the big dog, barking 'me too, me too'.

The contemporary Canadian Conservatives (sic) are not so much a political party as a cult. At the centre is a Supreme Galactic Leader, source of all love, money and whatever... and from day 1, the Supreme Galactic Leader has  been Stephen Harper. 

Like Torquemada and any given ayatollah, Mr. Harper is perfectly certain of his divine purpose: the questions once traditional in Canadian democracy are now heresy; any suggestion that he may have made a mistake is an abomination in ears of this WallMart Mussolini.   

While loyal followers await his appearance on slices of toast, other Canadians have learned to live in fear of the sociopathic side of his Harpieness. He has made it clear that he is capable of anything, and he will not be constrained by outdated conventions like 'democracy' or 'balanced budgets'.

Given his active dislike of Canadians, public appearances - hockey arenas, Parliament, the family room - are almost as difficult for Mr. Harper to do as it is for others to watch. He can, and does, manifest on occasion...

... sometimes in a cardigan,
petting a kitty-kat...

and sometimes at Tim's, where his pantomime of a Canadian having a coffee can make even the most apolitical Canuck cringe with embarrassment.

For obvious reasons,
He prefers to keep these manifestations to a minimum...

On ceremonial occasions, He appears in a business suit, usually with his set of 143 matching finger puppets, known officially as 'the Conservative MPs'.

His contempt for Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Parliament and other essentials of the democratic process are the stuff of legend.

For a party that pays fat lip service to its allegedly Christian roots, the Conservatives have a very liberal attitude to hypocrisy...

- in opposition, Mr. Harper raved against the appointing of senators. In power, Mr. Harper has appointed more senators than any other Prime Minister in Canadian history - 33 new (Conservative) senators  in less than 3 years...

- promising fiscal restraint, the Conservatives spent the 13 billion dollar surplus they inherited from the Liberals well before the recent goobal financial meltdown crisis began. Since then, they have spent more money - faster - than any government in Canadian history.  

Even these amazing achievements pale beside the one no Canadian would have believed was even possible- He's made Brian Mulroney look like statesman, a real stand-up guy.

Some feel Mr. Harper's greatest achievement is yet to come- that his current cultural blitzkreig of 'deny, defy and crucify' will disgust and alienate just enough voters that his thirty-something per cent of believers will be enough to  give him the majority he so clearly  believes he is entitled to...

... at which point he can really
get down to business...

- You think President For Life has a nice ring to it.
- You have always envied the special status
   Puerto Ricans enjoy in United States.
- You want the trains to run on time.
- You'll rest easier knowing those lazy
   grandkids are going to have shitty lives. 

- next... Le Bloc! -

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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook

the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
as seen from a distance

Tonight's episode-
Meditations on Ice & Hockey

as i write this, there are some kind of intimidated as in psyched-out Finnish* women on the ice with Canadian women playing hockey.
the first goal is scored by the Canadians and it is beautiful hockey. around the back, perfect backhand pass right on the tape and it's done like dinner.

these women have a good understanding of that Olympic fundamental- we are here to know the best.


did i say Euro-rules out loud? was i supposed to mean Olympic Rules? it's one of those great divides. Europeans seem to feel the way we play hockey is closer to barbarism than the Marquis of Queensbury.

To many Canadians, EuroHockey Rules read like something that bubbled up from some EEC sub-committee on Sport in a basement in Belgium somewhere.
EuroRules, seen from this end of the kaleidoscope, can be filed under The UnNeccessary, The Aggressively Lame and How Much of That Did You Drink?


IT may or may not be OUR GAME, and I don't know which is worse. THIS - these Olympic games - is not our game, and no one should be surprised if from time to time, something is lost in translation.

It was good to hear the Great One today, as opposed to seeing him in a million cutaway shots. he was on CTV, sitting in that beauty room down by the bay and the Wayner is reminding me of that Aislin cartoon- the one that ran after Rene Levesque and the PQ were elected

where Rene's standing there with a coffee and a smoke looking right at you and saying "OK- everybody take a valium".


so how much do-re-mi does Sam the Sham
see when they play Wooly Bully
for 20 seconds before
the next face-off?


it's a real relief to have the logo situation on the boards
and in the ice sorted, however briefly.

i can't help it. i grew up playing hockey when boards were white. logos were found by the scoreboard, around the pay phone and in the dressing rooms, not on the boards, and not in the ice.

is Olympic life what it used to be like in the Soviet?

one big logo?


so where did this "Own the Podium" crap come from?

was it the same past-their-prime vunderkinder
who came up"the Best Place on Earth"
for British Columbia?

it smells like the same team spirit to me.

perhaps we can dial the whole thing down
a little for the next one?

"Time-Share the Podium"

you heard it here first. 



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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook

The 2010 Winter Olympics 

we may have found a cure for 'Annoying Olympic Announcer Syndrome!


APTN rules! 

we are watching cross-country and the announcer is speaking Dene. i have never listened to someone speak in Dene for half an hour. it reminds me of sitting at a sunny cafe, drinking espresso and ouzo in Spetse watching the fishermen get ready to put their boats out at dawn. 

there is something very relaxing to me about listening to people speaking together in a language you don't really understand. the disappearance of words as information makes language into music, and lets you dial up another sense or two.

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The 2010 Winter Olympics 


you know what i wish?
i wish there was a way to mute out any given bunch of comentators and just hear the sound one would hear in that rink, or on that hill- the edges of the skis on the snow, skates on ice, pucks hitting the boards...

i wish the commentators would shut up once in a while.
it's like the ancient fear from the early days of radio about 'dead air' and people touching that dial have become embedded in the DNA of media culture...

but perhaps now that people are watching colour images on giant screens in HD, it's possible that people might not change the channel because they don't hear someone talking for 10 seconds.

especially when the odds are that voice is repeating something that's already been said 6 or 7 times in the last half hour.

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The 2010 Winter Olympics 



finally curling!

Russia and the USA, women's teams, and it comes down to the last rock on the last end. wow!
after the frenetic over-medicated commentaries of some of the other sports, it's a pleasure to hear quiet, under-stated intelligent voices.

the pace of the game is steady and the intensity is a slow burn that builds end by end. there are also, suddenly, more brunettes than there were on the ski hills.


hockey! switzerland! shoot-out!


it was a great game. what a pleasure to watch people play hockey like it matters again. what a pleasure to see teams play very different styles instead of usual NHL generic whatever...

one of the big advantages the Swiss brought to the ice was their ability to play the rules and the refs.  their sense of how far they could push that edge and when was much keener than anyone's on Team Canada. sure, the Swiss took more penalties, but they should have had 3 times as many.
did they know all along they had little to fear from the Canadian power play?

the Canadian team stayed pro, and refused to be baited, but the Swiss played their edge well and stayed competitive despite their B level offense. 

both goalies were brilliant, but Hiller was half the reason it wasn't a Canadian cakewalk. he was hot all night long, and the Swiss got a couple of lucky bounces - like a slapshot that was going way wide until it hit a Canadian skate and turned into the tying goal. 

the shoot-outs were weird... none of the shooters seemed to have clue one about what they were doing before they got to the crease at either end, until Crosby's second try...

even before that pretty shot, though, the controversy was already underway.

why weren't we creaming these guys?

what the hell?

- hmmmm... maybe the 'experts' have their heads stuffed so far up their own podiums that they had no idea how good the Swiss team actually is?
- maybe the fact that the US team only beat them 3-1 should have been a wake-up call?
- maybe... just maybe, if we didn't start from the idea that Gold is 'ours' by some divine right, and chauvinist crap like "It's Our Game" and "Own the Podium", it might be easier to imagine someone else playing well and/or getting a lucky bounce (like Swiss goal #2)?

when you start by assuming we're number one, there's no way to win. the best one can do is a tie, and the odds of a Major Fail go through the roof.

you're also more likely to miss the fact that you got to see a great game of hockey last night, with more excitement in a period than
you'll get in month of Saturday nights during the regular season and hey... Canada won.


Canada, hockey, Swiss, Switzerland, Olympics, 2010, curling, skating, gold, bronze, silver, Vancouver,

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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook 3

The 2010 Winter Olympics 

it's a good thing there were helicopters available and money was no object this month or we might have been doing these games in the mud. 
coming as these games do - in the wake of Canada welching out on Kyoto, and our shameful performance in Copenhagen -

am i the only one who thinks there's something funky in the fact that we are now hosting a winter Olympics in the spring? 


who's got game?
if you're talking to me, i'm saying Latvia. holy doodle - watching their men's hockey team go head to head with Russia was one of those sports moments that redeems the olympics for me.
i don't think there was ever any question about who was going to win, but the Latvians just kept coming, and coming and coming.
and they kept coming back all the way to the end of the game- never giving an inch and making the Russians earn every step.
thanks for a great game, guys. you rock!


and talking about game...


why are people getting on the case of the Canadian women's hockey team?
it seems some people have an issue with them winning big... what in my youth we would have called 'creaming' their opponents so far.

meanwhile, the US women's team say right out loud that they deliberately turned down their game so they wouldn't score so many goals in a similar situation.

when did it turn into 'a bad' to work hard
and build a great team?

a great team should play their best every time they step on the ice. if they do that, then win or lose, they're still a great team. it is not "more sporting" to hold back - it is the antithesis of 'sporting'. 
it is not a kindness- it is condescending and patronizing, a pink warm and fuzzy kind of contempt. 

i'd rather get creamed than be an object
of pity. at least when you get creamed,
it's honest.


what is up with those Royal Bank ads? why is a company who has actually supported Canadian Olympians for so running such incredibly lame ads?

they look like the sort of thing you'd see between the whistle and the face-off on a scoreboard, not in HD... a Smurfy Tribute to Magritte.


what comes between me and figure skating i think is that it's so Euro-classical. i know this is a lot of people's cup of tea, and i'm not suggesting that i want it off earth now, but i'm also not going to get into it anytime soon.

that Euro-classical thing is locked into a definition of excellence that doesn't elude me so much as vex me.

it comes out in high relief when in the context of downhill skiing - every bit as competitive, but not nearly so much about a belief in both the possibility and the desirability of control as it is about flying... pushing closer to where the edge might be, closer to it than anyone else. 

snowboarding requires every bit as much consciousness of one's body and of space as figure skating, but all the competitors look like they are having fun. i think they are, and it makes boarders fun to watch, regardless of their nationality.

in that, it's the antithesis of the Euro-classical tradition. it's a new world sport.
a new world attitude.

and the beat goes on....

Latvia, Russia, hockey, Olympics, Canada, women, sportsmanship, win, lose, gold, silver, bronze, podium, Kyoto, snow, Vancouver, BC, Olympics, 2010

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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook 2

The 2010 Winter Olympics 


if Day 1 was all about 'expectations', on Day 2 there seems to be a course correction.  the word today seems to be something like  "goodie-goodie". there are so many Moms onscreen and so much "gee whiz, you know everyone's a winner if they try their best" from the commentators that i have to switch over to The First 48 for 2 hours to keep from going into a diabetic coma.


i miss the cbc, but i think letting CTV bid them out on these games was a good call. 

as Fortuna would have it, these games are now a party we can't afford happening while millions of people in Haiti need water and food and shelter desperately. when they are over in 10 days or so, the BC government's recent cultural clearcut will go into full effect and the hangover begins. doing a good job on these games would be putting a spit shine on the ones who did this in BC, our president-for-life and their fellow travellers.
CTV's coverage is already making me cross and it's only day two. it's like watching actors do Canadian reality TV - too high-pitched or way too Nice, and nothing in the middle but damp air. except for the guys who sound like they've been seconded from the wrestling channel. they just always sound the same.


part what's making me cranky is Too Much Skating. prime time seems like nothing but skating. figure pairs, figure solo, speed skating 5 metres, speed skating 100 metres. skates, skates, skates. whatever. 

stay tuned...

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My Little Gold Olympic Scrapbook

The 2010 Winter Olympics
are finally here!

after so many years of planning and waiting
and spending and hype, the Games have begun! 

it seems like a dream... and though I'm no fan of corporate culture, I am a big fan of people who work hard and try hard and so I'm watching more TV in a day than I usually do in a week... fascinated by the passion and energy of the athletes competing, and notably less impressed by the presentation...

these events always go by so quickly, I wanted to keep my own journal of observations and special memories... there have already been so many!


well thank god buddy won that frickin' gold, eh? i thought the whole country was going to pop a blood vessel if it didn't happen PDQ. he seems like a good man, and his love for his brother is really inspiring. i'm glad the rest of the athletes in red and white can now play their own game without that hanging over them all.

but i sure would have appreciated having The Moment last a little longer it did before VISA was running The Moment as a feel good commercial moment, putting themselves between The Moment and i. unseemly haste. sometimes, just because we have the technology doesn't mean we should...


it seemed Day 1's word
was "expectations". i'm not sure if that was or is the mood of the country, or if it's only the commentators who are suddenly so shallow.

Vancouver, Olympics, winter, 2010, Canada, sports, gold, silver, bronze,
skiing, hockey, luge, downhill, skating

- and on to DAY 2! -

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