Sunday, July 27, 2008

ZIP IT!!!

I am not an anti-social person by any stretch of the imagination. The restraining order against me greatly prohibits my contact with others, but when the restrictions are relaxed, I am a great guy to be around. Anyone one who knows me is aware that good manners and etiquette are one of the most important values I hold dear -and manners, as I define them, is being polite to people, especially when the other person is making it very hard to do so. Politeness is artificial good humor, as Jefferson once said. Manners are the last remaining vestige of what historians refer to as the western honour culture, and anyone who has recently received rotten customer service at the local burger joint by the green haired, multi-pierced kid behind the counter knows exactly what I'm talking about. Keeping this in mind, there are people with whom I find it difficult to hold to my own personal code of ethics - I call them bus buddies.

Bus buddies are people who lack basic social skills who sit next to you on a bus, plane, train, or shuttle. They - like people who overshare the details of their usightly skin conditions - also lack something that I call the verbal filter. The verbal filter is that little stop sign we all possess that prevents us from making inappropriate comments during day to day conversation.

Example: Say you're in the middle of a job interview, and your potential employer asks you what negative qualities you posses. Now, maybe you like to start off your morning downing jello shooters and mowing your lawn in the nude. For most of us, our personal filter would clamp our tongue shut before we volunteered that information and were promptly escorted from the building by security. Some people don't have - or choose not to use - their own personal information filter.

Bus buddies are the dread of every frequent flyer, and I seem to attract them the way Barney Frank attracts muscle bound Italian boys.

Claire and I flew on a major American airline carrier - I lose the term "airline" loosely because it seemed more like a school bus with wings. Claire was seated to the right of me, and my bus buddy was waiting to pounce on the left. Something creeped me out about the guy, and the moment I made eye contact, I found out why. For the next 3 hours he shot questions at me like he was skeet shooting at a clay pigeon - "Whatchya reading?", "What's it about?", "Where did you get your tattoo?", "Did you see the new Batman movie?", "Do you wish you had a motorcycle like Batman?"

I am a patient person, but I felt like weeping.

Anyway, I should take a breather to re-examine the old gratitude meter. I got to go to Miami and spend time in paradise with the lovely miss Claire and her folks. It can get hectic out there. Always take a moment during the day to think of your kids, or your loved ones, and realize just how lucky you are.

Cordially

Joe

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Me in Miami

It's 1:20am Thursday morning, and the lovely Miss Claire and I are preparing to jump in the car to take a 5:00am flight out of Halifax with a stop over in Newark, then off to Miami - the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in Miami to be exact. Those of you who are regular readers know I am not a heat person, so while I am thrilled, I am not exactly looking forward to the oppressive molten lava heat of Florida. I can't wait to go to a little spot called "La Hacienda" for Cuban sandwiches with black beans and yellow rice. Apart from that, the trip will comprise of the compulsory pilgrimage to West Palm Beach where I can horrify the locals with my impressive Canadian body mass index, brought about by countless weekends sitting on my ass and stuffing dill pickle chips down my gullet. My family crest has a picture of a remote control on it - we are more familiar with the words nap and fried shrimp than we are with words like jog and move it will ya?

Anyway, in regards to the last post.

Do you feel a little dirty? Like you've been used? Like the time uncle Larry sat you on his lap at Christmas time and, through his gin soaked breath, told you the joke about how milk and cookies aren't the only things that Santa chews on when he comes down the chimney? You didn't quite get the joke, but you that felt something very wrong had just transpired. When you went to bed you made sure you locked the door - a habit you still fastidiously re-enact to this day. Well, you should feel a little dirty, because I did use you. My last blog post, though every word was heartfelt, was meant to be inflammatory. I could have called it "the problem with Canada", or as my fellow blogger and former economic editor is fond of saying, "Cuba North", but I purposely named the article "I Don't Want to be Canadian Anymore", thinking that my knee jerk liberal-minded countrymen would fly into a unified spasmatic fit of sputtering outrage, staging a protest outside my super fly downtown apartment after they had politely asked for a permit from the proper municipal authorities - instead I got silence.

Well, not exactly silence. Not the type of silence you get from your wife when she finds out you came home so drunk you wrote your name in piss on the new white shag carpeting. Not that of silence. Instead, I got agreement (which to me is a political type of pseudo-silence). I would casually bring up the article in conversation and instead getting of Jap-slapped, I got suggestions of other things I should have added to the list....and these people aren't exactly card carrying members of the vast right wing conspiracy. Most of them are liberal with some libertarian leanings who feel that our judiciary and busy body bureaucrats are overstepping their grounds. I was rather relieved there are more people out there who seem to realize that the jack-booted thought police are running amuck on freight train heading toward a personal opinion near you.

Sorry I have to cut this short, but we really have to get going. See you on the way back, and please be patient - the Obama piece is coming.

Have a good weekend. In case I didn't mention it...we'll be in Miami...suckers.

Cordially

Joe

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I Don't Want to be Canadian Anymore

Before you begin pecking furiously away at your keyboards like a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters, please take a breath - and please refrain from being so clich├ęd and unoriginal as to send an email or post a comment filled with righteous indignation telling me that if I don't like it here, I should move somewhere else. I get a dozen of them a month, and your sputtering outrage will be more yawn-inducing than watching an E-Canada interview with a bottle of maple syrup.

There are many things I love about my country. I'm grateful that we've finally elected a solid conservative government (note the small "c") who realize the importance of lowering the tax burden on middle class Canadians and corporations, re-vitalizing our long neglected military, mending fences with our American neighbours, and affirming with a clear voice our unwavering commitment to the security of Israel from Islamic extremists like Hamas. The late Liberal government refused to label Hamas a terrorist group until they had blown up enough children to make even John Wayne Gacy squeamish - well, if the great state of Illinois hadn't given him the juice back in '94. The bravery of our soldiers in Afghanistan makes my heart swell with pride, and I believe that we have just about the friendliest folks on the planet. Yet, despite all of this, there are troubling trends occurring in my country. Trends that cause me to pause, finding myself contemplating the impossible: I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

1- The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal: Recently, Dean Steacy, the principal "anti-hate" investigator of the Human Rights Tribunal, said the following; "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." Our Government is eroding our right to express individual opinion - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

2- The Alberta Human Rights Commission: The Commission recently ruled that Pastor Stephan Boissoin could no longer speak about certain of his views at the pulpit, privately, or even in a personal email. His crime? Writing a letter to the editor of his local paper that offended someone he didn't even know - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

3 - Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court: Justice Tessier allowed a 12 year old to sue her father after he decided to not to allow her to participate in a school trip as punishment for continuing to visit an internet dating site on which she was posting pictures of herself. Justice Tessier ruled that the father had no right to discipline his daughter and forced him to allow her to go on the trip in her written decision. Our government and our courts are now infringing on parental rights - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

4 - Blame America First: In a recent CanWest News Services poll, over 40% of Canadians described Americans as "evil". In Quebec, the number clocked in at an astounding 64%. I have to admit this causes no small amount of cognitive dissonance considering most Canadians blather on about how tolerant we are. After 9/11, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien had the audacity to imply that the 3000 people who were butchered by the Taliban had it coming - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

5 - The Persecution of Mark Steyn: McLean's magazine recently printed an exerpt from Mark Steyn's brilliant book "America Alone", in which he warns of the rising number of honor killings occurring in our own country and the United states by radical Islamic extremists. Enter stage left - The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Mark Steyn is now being dragged before the committee for offending the sensibilities of a few people who seem to think that killing your daughter for wearing make-up is just fine and dandy. This may lead Mr. Steyn's illuminating and humorous book being banned in Canada. We are now becoming a country that is stripping away freedom of the press and banning books - I don't want to be Canadian anymore.

I can only imagine the can of worms I have opened with this column. I can already see my inbox dripping with outrage and maple syrup. If we don't wake up to what's happening in our own back yard, you may no longer have the privilege of writing in to tell me what a royal ass muncher you think I am. But that's ok...If you're really upset, you can always send a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. They'll shut me down in no time.

In the end, it's of little consecquence. If Obama is elected President, the cradle of liberty will be little more than a carbon copy of our fascist government, and then I'll have no place left to move to anyway.

Anyway, while you're lowering your blood pressure, enjoy the latest from the beautiful Regina Spector, singing The Call.

Cordially

Joe