Wednesday, July 27, 2011

People Don't Understand the Pressure on Me to Eat Perogies

Greetings Friends,

First, let me say that I do not begrudge Kim Kardashian her looks. I am all too aware that how we look is based on genetics. If I hadn't been born into my particular family, I wouldn't look the way I do. But, there's no going back on that; I'm stuck with myself for however much longer I'll live. Since I don't have a crystal ball, that could be many more years of looking the way I do. 

The problem I have with Ms. Kardashian is that she is one of those individuals who is famous for just being herself. She hasn't made a contribution to society (other than raising the bar on T&A) that warrants the fame she has, but alas, we all know her, and her family. Yes, I've occasionally watched her unabashedly scripted exploits on her "reality" show, and up until now, I really had nothing to complain about. 

I happened to spot a snippet on my favourite "news" source,, that K.K. has psoriasis. The tag line for the story, describing it as an "incurable skin condition", made it sound like she's a closet leper. 

The video clip from "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" that accompanies the story includes Kim's proclamation of, "People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect." I only had to read that once for it to make my head explode.

We all deal with pressure in our lives; sometimes that pressure can manifest itself in a physical ailment like psoriasis, or something exponentially worse, like a heart attack, stroke or cancer. Yes, unattractive skin conditions can be part of the bargain: eczema, psoriasis, acne, alopecia, hives. My personal favourite is when stress affects your intestines, leaving you emotionally freaked out and chained to the toilet. I'm sure people in that unfortunate situation would not complain if their only problem was a few patches of itchy dry skin.

People deal with stress in different ways. Some of us crawl under the covers and hide; some of us turn to medication; some of us do our best to swallow that stress by engaging in various forms of potentially destructive behaviour such as drug abuse. Some of us eat. HELLO - that would be me. 

I recently discovered these delectable perogies in my grocer's freezer that I am unabashedly addicted to. They come in a giant 2 kg bag in four scrumptious flavours: cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and potato, potato and onion, and potato, bacon and Parmesan (my personal favourite). I don't do anything fancy with them; just a quick boil and a dunk in sour cream is enough for me. I haven't yet seen a doctor for this ailment, but I have a feeling that if I continue my constant perogy bingeing, I might end up with a serious medical condition. The carbohydrate overload I am subjecting myself to might turn me into a perogy-woman; and with my family's cess, er, gene pool, that could quite easily transform me into a diabetic. 

The problem is, people don't understand the pressure on me to eat perogies. They're cheap, filling and delicious. Then again, so is chocolate ice cream and pizza. I have an addiction to junk food and it may end up killing me one day. My stressful life has never brought about an "incurable skin condition", and if it did, I don't think I'd be so willing to share it with everyone. I find myself wondering if Ms. Kardashian would be eager to share her plight if her problem were chronic yeast infections. Although, I did happen to catch a promo on E! for an upcoming episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" where mother Kris Jenner is outed for "peeing on herself". Can't wait for that one.

Reality TV has done such a stellar job of exploiting our foibles that many of them cannot be taken seriously anymore. When I watch shows like "Hoarders" and "Intervention", I see how truly destructive people can be. But these are "normal" people, not ridiculously wealthy detached-from-reality attention whores who are lucky enough to know Ryan Seacrest. Kim Kardashian is not in danger of losing her life or her home because of a little dry skin. Her delusions and a convenient script lead a segment of the population to believe that a case of psoriasis is capable of jeopardizing her life. I don't have enough time to explain what is so wrong with that. In fact, I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume my readers will understand.

Right now, I am content to go on eating perogies, family history be damned. Do you care? I didn't think so. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

T-Minus One Week

 Greetings Friends,

You can fry an egg on the sidewalk here in T.O. and hockey is about the furthest thing from everyone's minds (I'd personally kill for a patch of ice to lie down on, but that's just me). The most important hockey event of the summer will not be taking place here in Canada, but in Nassau County New York next Monday, where residents will be voting "yes" or "no" on a referendum that will either send the Islanders packing, or allow Nassau County to build them a new arena using tax dollars. 

The New York Islanders have been the most maligned hockey team in the NHL for over two decades. The on-ice product has been horrific; the ownership situation so putrid that all anyone can really do these days is laugh.They have been the laughingstock franchise for a generation of players who would rather wait tables than sign a contract to play there. And this team once hoisted the Stanley Cup for four consecutive seasons back in the early 80s. Despite all this they are still beloved by their fans, but patience has worn thin over the years and many die-hards have all but given up. Myself included.

I spent 17 years as a resident of Nassau County. I was a homeowner and a tax payer and Democrat in what has to be the reddest Republican bastion this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Republican machine has long had a stranglehold on Nassau County politics, and they've played a big role in the Islanders' fate over the years. Now, it's finally come down to the wire, where residents will get to decide whether they can handle an annual $13 tax increase to build the team a new arena. Thirteen dollars...You can't even feed your family at McDonalds for thirteen dollars anymore. 

Before I was a homeowner and a taxpayer and even a Democrat, I was an Islanders fan. This goes back to childhood. When a sports team gets you when you're young and impressionable, they get you for life. Much as I'd like to flip a switch and say, screw it, I don't give a crap anymore, I can't. I care about what happens to this team and what's going to happen next Monday with that stupid referendum. I call it "stupid" because it could have been avoided if not for all the controlling, narcissistic egos in the middle of this mess, collectively thinking that they're going to show each other who's boss. It's all boiled down to political posturing and a game of "chicken" that will end next Monday with either a future shovel in the ground, or the closing of the book on an era of hockey on Long Island. Yes, the parades and victorious seasons are a distant memory, but there was always something about that team that held my heart, no matter how stupid things got. The frustration and thousands of dollars spent on season tickets eventually got the better of me, but for a good many years, the Coliseum was my home away from home. I watched a lot of hockey there, saw many memorable concerts, and even worked my way towards a graduate degree next-door at Hofstra University while the Islanders were pretending to be a competitive team. 

Even though I no longer live in Nassau County, I have to admit it would kill me to see the team leave. I've joked with friends recently that I hope the team winds up in Quebec City, but I don't mean it. Their place is right where it's always been - on Hempstead Turnpike. I could easily make peace with watching them play in a new building; the Nassau Coliseum has seen better days. But I think watching them become the newest incarnation of the Quebec Nordiques would give me a permanent case of heartburn. It's different than the Atlanta-Calgary Flames/ Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets situation; two hockey teams failed in the city of Atlanta; the Islanders knew tremendous success, but still managed to bungle so much. If you never learn from your mistakes, you deserve what you get. I believe that wholeheartedly, but I still don't want to see the team leave. 

If I was still a resident of Nassau County, I'd vote "yes". Not because it would kill me to see the team leave, but because it would be the only "fuck you" I could muster against the Republican Machine. Their unyielding, unbending attitude (sound familiar?) is going to be their undoing. And when the dust settles, they're going to be the only ones left standing in the middle of a dust bowl that used to be a vibrant, thriving community. I left; so did many other people. And it wasn't because of my frustration over a hockey team. The middle class way of life World War II veterans built for themselves in places like Levittown, East Meadow, Massapequa and other enclaves no longer exists. Many people have been priced out of them by soaring property taxes and even more ridiculous home prices. The sad fact is, there is no such thing as a "middle class" anymore, especially not in Nassau County New York. And, I fear, not anywhere else in the United States. 

The Islanders situation is just a symptom of what's really wrong with life in America right now. And regardless of whether you vote "yes" or "no", there isn't much anyone can do to fix it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hacking Extraordinaire

Greetings Friends,

I must admit I've been waiting decades for a scandal of the magnitude of the News of the World phone hacking debacle to befall Rupert Murdoch. I've found that man distasteful since long before Fox News ever came onto the scene, and for very specific reasons.

Back in the late 80s, I went to work for a family owned publishing company; one of two U.S. concerns that placed coupon inserts in the Sunday papers. I was young, impressionable and extremely eager to make a living. I spent my days toiling as a secretary/billing clerk in the area of the office I designated as the "pound". It was funny how all the ethnic employees were relegated to the accounting/finance department while all the sales people looked for all the world like they were carved out of WASPY Connecticut cream cheese. You guessed it: blonde hair, blue eyes and preppier than the models in a J Crew catalog. 

About a year or so into my tenure at this company, we were told that the owners were selling to Rupert Murdoch. He was buying us, along with the freestanding insert, or FSI (that was what the coupons were known as back then) division of the other American company. I later learned that the third player in the world of FSIs was an Australian competitor of Murdoch's, so it was only natural that he'd want to snap up two-thirds of the coupon realm in order to squash this guy. I even met Murdoch, one night after hours in our hip little Chelsea office (back when Chelsea was rather downtrodden); I shook his hand briefly and was on my way. 

After Murdoch's takeover, we were merged with the FSI division of the other company and moved uptown to much swankier digs in Rockefeller Center, 3 blocks north of where the Fox News headquarters is today. It was a glorious time, and we were all very excited at the opportunities were were presented with as part of Murdoch's News America empire - consisting back then of Twentieth Century Fox studios, The New York Post, the fledgling Fox Network and a whack of glossy magazines that included New York, Mirabella and about a dozen or so others. People I'd worked with began jumping ship to more glamorous jobs at these magazines, and when we would go out for beers at some of the area bars after work, it was fascinating to hear what days were like working at hip, fast-paced publications. And then the walls fell...

About 6 or 8 months after we were ensconced in our hoity toity new digs, we got word that Murdoch's SkyTV venture in the U.K. (yes, he was the original majority owner) was about to go belly-up. The Brits weren't too keen on satellite television back in those days, and the venture was hemorrhaging money in a big way. Before we knew what hit us, there were massive layoffs, and Murdoch jettisoned all his New York-based publications, save for the Post. Many people I knew were out of jobs and devastated, wishing that they never left the relative safety of the FSI division. 

Before I finally left in 1992, things got pretty ugly. The accounting "mutts" were treated even more crappy than before; we didn't get raises or much of anything other than work. It became a toxic environment and a very obvious way-station for the Ivy League educated to springboard into the world of media and advertising. No one was willing to teach a "mutt" anything. The writing was on the wall.

After my departure from the News America FSI division, I kept following Murdoch with an insatiable need to watch him fail. Of course, Fox News and its "fair and balanced" bullshit has been under my skin since day one. After Princess Diana died in 1997, I hoped against hope that the British and European tabloid press would wise up and become somewhat respectable. Total respectability was too much to ask, but reigning in the gutter sniping would have been a jolly good idea at the time. Oh well...

When news of the phone-hacking scandal broke, I was simultaneously mortified, disgusted and amused. Mortified for the individuals who had their privacy violated; disgusted by the emerging details of political and legal corruption; amused by the fact that Rupert Murdoch and his tabloid empire were finally getting the comeuppance they deserve. By the way, Back in 1976 when Murdoch purchased the New York Post, he had to become an American citizen. Back then, foreign ownership of U.S. media outlets was not allowed. The abandoning of that edict seems to have created quite the shit storm, hasn't it? 

As I watch this story unfold, I keep thinking about my short tenure as a News America employee and how smarmy it now feels to have worked there. I am even contemplating removing the information from my resume, thinking that it will somehow reflect negatively on me, given the current brouhaha in the U.K. I haven't yet decided what to do. I'm waiting to see what will happen to the man who gave voices to Bill O' Reilly, Glenn Beck, Chris Wallace and the rest of the orangutans over at Fox News. In my opinion, he deserves to live out his days bereft of his empire, stripped of the privacy he denied many in order sell newspapers. It's barely fitting, but it's all I can think of right now. 

Those who think they can rule the world by controlling others are one of the lowest forms of humanity. They deserve to be in the gutter, with all those shameful, disgusting tabloid newspapers.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Greetings Friends,

It's Canada Day today here in the Great White North and Monday is Independence Day in the U.S. I hope you've all got some serious celebrating planned as we enjoy yet another year of freedom. I'm not being facetious - I mean that sincerely.

Go out and do whatever it is you love to do to celebrate your status as an American or a Canadian. If you're both, like me, you get to double-dip. Beer, hot dogs, apple pie, beaver tails and poutine abound. By Sunday night I'll probably be sorrier than a 16 year-old at his first kegger. 

Enjoy your celebrations, and please be careful with the fireworks. Remember to light a sparkler for Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. OK, so I couldn't resist one tiny bit of snark.

God Save the Queen and God Bless the United States of America.

Have a glorious weekend.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm Smaaaaaaht!

Greetings Friends,

Yesterday, Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman from Minnesota, announced her candidacy for President. Before I go any further, this isn't going to be a "Let's see Michele Bachmann square off against Sarah Palin in a mud pit with some canned corn thrown in for some extra fun" type of post. No, I want to be dignified. At least for a couple of paragraphs. 

When I heard that Ms. Bachmann formed the Tea Party Caucus within Congress, it immediately became impossible for me to take her seriously. It seems the grandest of all oxymorons to be anti-government yet make your living as a politician. That does not jive with the values of old-school Republicans. These Tea Party jokers are an aberration that are in the middle of their 15 minutes, and will hopefully go the way of Joe McCarthy and his followers.

I didn't really know who Ms. Bachmann was, other than the fact that she's fond of spewing extremist right-wing rhetoric while simultaneously manipulating the truth to suit her purposes. What I found out yesterday is that this is a woman with a post-doctoral degree in tax law who was a successful tax attorney before switching to politics. I was surprised to learn this. I have a bad habit of automatically assuming that everyone with an advanced education is smart. My bad. My really, really, REALLY bad.

Even though Ms. Bachmann has some impressive academic credentials, this doesn't mean she's smart. She has little knowledge of American history, and a blind spot when it comes to fact checking herself. Maybe she was so busy telling childish little white lies to her 5 biological children and 23 foster children that she forgot how to speak to adults. Or maybe, she's another one of those self-centred narcissists I'm so fond of, who tend to cut and paste the truth for their own self-serving purposes. I'm aware you have to have an outsize ego to want to run for president, but there's a difference between having the confidence to do the job and being delusional. And this is where she begins to resemble Sarah Palin.

Both Bachmann and Palin are nothing more than two "Look at Me!" people. They're like those sparklers I used to be so fond of on the Fourth of July: they crackle and light up the night with their pretty colours for a scant few minutes and then peter out to nothing. You light a few more, but then you eventually get tired of them and move on to something else. Palin insists on hanging on to the dregs of her notoriety, and I'm certain she's pea-green with envy over Bachmann's current momentum. Much as I don't want to make this into the sort of cat fight I mentioned at the beginning of this post (sans the mud and canned corn), that's exactly what it will turn into if Palin decides to throw her hat into the Presidential ring. No one, with the exception of the populations of Iowa and New Hampshire, is going to benefit by that. It's political theatre; nothing more.

Which brings me back to smarts. Fredo Corleone is the perfect analogy because he really wasn't smart. There's a type of smart that has nothing to do with education; it has to do with knowing who you are and where you come from. You can have a wall full of framed diplomas, but they don't mean shit if you're not a genuine person. Having common sense and being able to discern right from wrong is more valuable than a Masters degree, or even a postdoc in tax law. Being good with numbers is a valuable skill; knowing how to write is a valuable skill. But, these skills don't define who you are as a person. A sense of entitlement doesn't get you far in life.

Being genuinely smart often has nothing to do with where you went to school or what you studied. To be truly smart is an elusive quality. On paper, education can be quite impressive, but when the chips are down, it's often the buffoons of the world who teach us the most valuable lessons. I've been schooled by a few of them, so I know of what I speak.

Iowa and New Hampshire need to wise up.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Meanderings

Greetings Friends,

To make up for the fact that I haven't been posting much lately, I've decided to tackle a few topics that have been meandering through my mind; like the image of the Rio Cauto in Cuba. Cigar anyone? 

Aversion to Air Conditioning

Contrary to what some of you might be thinking, it can get pretty darn hot up here in the Great White North; not to mention humid. It's fixin' to be a scorcher of a summer here in T.O. and I find myself wondering how and/or why some Canadians manage to ignore the heat. On a particularly hot day a couple of weeks ago, I saw a woman in the subway station in the middle of the day still wearing her winter jacket. Mind you, I know mornings can be chilly, but a winter jacket (a ski jacket no less) in June? And why do some people just flat-out hate air conditioning? I've been told that's a European sensibility, but I'm sorry; this Eastern European cannot live without it. Some of my neighbours can't even be bothered to open their windows as the mercury makes its seasonal climb. What's with that? Crank up the A/C s'il vous plait - my preferred summer temperature is "meat locker". 

Farewell Big Man

Last Saturday, the music world lost a giant. Clarence Clemons, sax player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band passed away at 69 from complications after suffering a stroke. He was literally a giant, standing 6'4", and wailing on his saxophone with such soul, it was a thing of beauty. I must admit that I've never been the hugest of Springsteen fans, but I did always appreciate his music. My level of fandom did increase after seeing Bruce and the E-Streeters live, twice; once at Madison Square Garden and once at the Meadowlands arena in their home state of New Jersey. I've seen many concerts in my day, and I can honestly say I haven't been blown away by too many of them. Those two were up there with some of the best I've seen. R.I.P. Big Man; the band in heaven just got even better.

The Cult of Righteousness

I have nothing against freedom of religion. Worship whatever and whomever you'd like, but please don't be a hypocrite. What's good for the goose must be good for the gander, even when it's inconvenient. Faith should never be used as a shield, and individuals should never be so self-righteous that they feel the need to espouse peace, love and harmony when not ascribing to those virtues themselves. People are not perfect; neither is faith. Imperfect people choose to practice imperfect faiths, yet they want the world to believe they, along with their faiths, are perfect. Sorry, not buying it. Never did; never will. 

From Atlanta to Winnipeg (with a stop in Vancouver)

I didn't pay much attention to hockey this past season, but I must admit I am thrilled to see an NHL team return to the city of Winnipeg. The former Atlanta Thrashers will once again be the Winnipeg Jets (according to what I've been reading at the time of this writing). It was a mistake to put another team in Atlanta, after the original Flames team scurried off to Calgary 30 years ago. Once should have been enough for the Nebbishy Little Hobbit from Queens, but apparently not. There are a few more American teams I'd like to see return to Canada. I won't name names at this point, but I will say that the Canadian economy is in a much better place than the American economy right now. And, we do love our hockey, even though there are those who would attempt to destroy a city in spite of it. There's a difference between loving something and being an asshole. Unfortunately, it's always the assholes who manage to screw it up for everyone. And I'm not just talking about hockey "fans". 

BlackBerry Rehab

Word came last week that the company responsible for the "CrackBerry", Research in Motion (RIM), is faltering in a big way. Profits are way down and sales of the once popular device are waning. Could it be that we've moved on to new smart phone drugs? I've certainly seen many more iPhones in my travels lately than BlackBerrys. Experts opine that the powers that be rested too long on their laurels and let technology pass them by. Anyone remember Betamax tapes? 

Have a glorious weekend.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Postest with the Mostest

Greetings Friends,

The title of today's post doesn't make much sense, just like the fact that Canada Post has been on strike/locked out for the past 2 weeks. 

I'm pretty ambivalent when it comes to unionized labour; I've never had any experience or exposure to it in my life. My dad owned his own business and I've spent the majority of my working career under the thumbs of corporate ne'er do wells who may as well have been dictators. I've never held a union job, nor do I ever intend to. But that doesn't mean I feel there is no place in society for unions. In most cases, anyway.

You can always count on Canadians for a good labour disruption every so often. Two years ago, sanitation workers here in Toronto went on strike and there was garbage everywhere for weeks. Coincidentally, the strike happened during the summer, the worst time of year for allowing garbage to wallow in its own stink. 

Now, we've got Canada Post workers locked out of their jobs, with no mail getting through save for government benefit cheques. As I write this, Parliament is attempting to legislate the union back to work since there is absolutely no movement at the bargaining table. Here is the first test for the Conservative majority government: they're supposed to go on summer break as of Friday, but they have stated they would remain sitting until the strike is settled. The NDP (the official opposition party) is insisting that Canada Post workers not be forced to return to their jobs because they would be denied most of what they are asking for. 

Here's the problem: I agree with both sides. I think the Conservative government has every right to legislate postal employees back to work, but I also think that the two sides need to sit down and knock their heads together until they can reach an agreement they can live with. Much as we have gotten used to electronic communication, postal services are still vital to the economy, and this disruption has been a pretty big pain in the ass. I happened to be waiting for a parcel from the U.S. that earlier today finally landed in my hands via courier service from Montreal. Don't ask... 

I don't really know enough about unions to keep sitting on my soapbox about the pros and cons of their existence. What I do know is that neither side comes out a winner in any type of labour dispute. Just ask Jimmy Hoffa. 

What I also know is that protection for the working man is a good idea, but some unions take that too far. Professional athletes have no business being unionized - hence the current NFL labour dispute that involves protracted bickering over billions of dollars. That should not be allowed. If postal workers want to fight for higher wages, improved safety protocols and other benefits, more power to them. Millionaire athletes should not be afforded the same ability. If a mail carrier were to be paid by the number of letters and parcels he or she delivers, I'm sure they'd be richer than Alex Rodriguez. But that's not how it works. 

In the meantime, unions aren't going anywhere, and both sides of the table will never be at peace with each other. It's all part of the theatre we know as democracy. Or is it? 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Private Parts

Greetings Friends,

What hasn't been said about Anthony Weiner and his inappropriate texting over the past couple of weeks? I've said plenty, just not here. Honestly, he's just another repressed politico who felt the need to take to the Great Electronic Void to show off his, um...assets. But, really, who cares?

The thing that fascinates me more than the incessant need to share with the world one's "thing", is the reason why. Here we've got a six-term Congressman who seemed to be on the fast-track to becoming mayor of New York City (a job that is both a blessing and a curse in my opinion), who has instead become the latest late-night TV talk show punch line. He's married to a big-time Beltway insider (Hillary Clinton's top aide) and was, up until a few short weeks ago, a relatively innocuous politician. 

Could that be the reason why Representative Weiner chose to expose his wiener to his faithful followers on Twitter? Was life just too gosh-darn boring that he needed to spice it up a bit? Then, he has to lie about it by claiming that his Twitter account was hacked. Right now, "Weiner-gate" has been paused since he has entered "treatment" to supposedly help him  become a better person, as well as a better husband. There have been numerous calls for him to resign his seat, but as of now, he is on leave. Kind of like Gabrielle Giffords, except she didn't ask to get shot in the head by a lunatic. Anthony Weiner, like so many people, is the architect of his own misery. 

There are interesting parallels in this story that are worth delving into. Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, has been an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton since 1996. She was by Clinton's side during her own version of "Weiner-gate", although it must be said that Twittering photos of your junk is a far cry from getting blow jobs in the Oval Office. Of course, cell phone cameras did not exist back in Clinton's days in office, but had they, God only knows how much worse that scandal would have gotten. 

Clinton is mother to Chelsea, who was a teenager during that ordeal, and Abedin is purportedly pregnant with her's and Weiner's first child. I can only imagine how stressful this must be for Ms. Abedin, even though Weiner technically (as far as we know) has not committed any actual adulterous acts. He hasn't pulled an Eliot Spitzer, but should what he's done be deemed any better or worse because there was no actual sex involved? Does this fall under the looking-at-porn-on-the-Internet infraction so many men are guilty of, or is this something altogether different? 

I think it is safe to day that the combination of smart phones, technology and the Internet is pretty combustible. It takes an idiot not to realize that a single Tweet or Facebook posting can haunt you forever. many people got into some pretty sticky situations when MySpace was at its height of popularity, but Social Media has transcended that medium and become something all of us have the ability to screw ourselves on; literally and figuratively. In the wrong hands, or should I say, in the hands of someone with questionable risk assessment capabilities, social media could bring about personal Armageddon. 

Here's how I see it: Nothing in the world is totally private anymore. If you've got a modem and a smart phone in your possession, you have weapons of mass destruction. In this case, the destruction is personal. It can also be epic, but it depends on how far-reaching your destructive tendencies are.

In Anthony Weiner's case, I believe he'll probably have to give up his congressional seat, but I don't think that will mean complete annihilation of his political career. New Yorkers are a pretty forgiving bunch, and he might still be successful if he tries to run for mayor. As for his personal life, I can't help but wonder what sort of advice Huma Abedin is getting from Hillary Clinton right now. There are millions of women out there who have suffered humiliation at the hands of their indiscreet spouses, but how many of them have had to deal with it under intense media scrutiny? Maybe there is some DC insider scorned wives support group that secretly meets in an underground bunker. 

And why is it that we've never caught Sarah Palin having a nip slip? She can babble on and drive us all insane with misquotations and misinformation, but there's no getting rid of her. Yet, Anthony Weiner had to "seek treatment". 

The world is definitely off its axis. There is no justice and karma to speak of; and I'm not only referring to the politicians.

Monday, May 30, 2011

For Dana Brand

Greetings Friends,

Since it is Memorial Day today in the U.S., I felt it only fitting to write a tribute to Dana Brand.

Dana was a professor of English at my alma mater, Hofstra University. That was his day job. For many people, Dana was the dean of the New York Mets blogosphere, presiding over a world in which Mets fans gather to celebrate the highs and lows of being Mets fans; to commiserate over the team's foibles and missteps, and to savour its successes. But, it became so much more than that. Dana himself blogged regularly about the Mets, in a way that wove the fabric of baseball into our lives and taught us that it wasn't just about wins, losses and championships. Baseball is life, and life is baseball.

Dana passed away suddenly last Wednesday, at the age of 56, leaving behind a wife and a daughter, and legions of shocked and grieving friends. There have been many tributes written over the past few days by Mets bloggers, celebrating his life as a teacher, a Mets fan, and the author of two wonderful books, Mets Fan, and The Last Days of Shea: Delight and Despair In the Life of a Mets Fan. I consider myself a die-hard Mets fan, but I've existed on the periphery of the Mets' online community, save for avidly following Dana's blog - a link to which has been here at Ink & Paint since its inception. 

Dana was my teacher before he was a Mets fan. I met him during the spring 2000 semester at Hofstra, my second semester back in academia after a long absence. My goal was to finish my Bachelors degree, if for no other reason than to assuage my guilt for entering the workforce in 1987 with only an Associates degree in Broadcast Management and Technology. I didn't get a job in my chosen field, and for 12 years I toiled at jobs that were not at all rewarding. After being unceremoniously canned from the last of those jobs in January, 1999, I decided the only way I would ever feel good about myself again would be to return to school and complete my education. My rationale was to become as educated as possible, in order to avoid emulating the corporate hacks I had come to detest. Many close friends and family members did not approve of my decision to become a professional student. I had my doubts as well, after my first rocky semester. That all changed after I met Dana. 

The first time I met him, I knew he was different from any teacher I'd had during my life. My time spent in the New York City public school system was not what I would call "inspirational", and I left it without any one particular teacher having had an impact on me. Dana, on the other hand, had an impact on his students as soon as he walked into the room. He was a big man, over six feet tall, with a full beard and bushy, unkempt hair. He looked like an English teacher, and despite his size, he was not imposing; you immediately sensed that this big teddy bear of a man had many meaningful things to say.

During the first meeting of the first class of his I took (a survey course of American literature from 1900-1950), he handed out his syllabus and outlined what he expected of his students. It was all very straightforward, and I was looking forward to delving into the material. Before he dismissed us, he asked if any of us were baseball fans. A number of us raised our hands, myself included. He asked which teams we were fans of, and most of the class answered either "Mets" or "Yankees". I believe there was a smattering of out-of-town students who may have had other team allegiances, but I could see a dark look form on Dana's face and I couldn't understand why. Then he told us he was a Mets fan. For a moment, I felt certain he was going to ask anyone who was a Yankees fan to drop the class. He didn't of course, but you could tell right off the bat (pun intended) that he was serious about the Mets, and serious about baseball. I made a note to keep that in mind.

That spring semester was another difficult one for me, as well as for Dana. He lost his father during that time, and missed a number of classes. At the end of the semester, I had enjoyed his class so much that I knew I wanted to continue on with my plan to complete my degree. In fact, I was so inspired by Dana as a teacher, I did not leave Hofstra until December, 2007, with a Masters degree in English literature. And it was all because of Dr. Dana Brand.

Over the years, I managed to take seven or eight of Dana's classes. During that period, his love of literature and baseball became evident to me, and the more I got to know him, the more I began to appreciate the role of baseball in his life. I wasn't completely enlightened until I spotted the "Last Word" column he wrote that appeared in Newsday in August, 2005. I found it hanging in the English department mail room one day when I went to drop off a paper. "If You Prick a Mets Fan, He'll Bleed Blue and Orange" was a revelation, because I had similar feelings about the Mets, and often questioned my love and loyalty to them, and to sports in general. 

Of course, "If You Prick a Mets Fan,..." was the genesis of his book, Mets Fan, and the start of his journey to the pinnacle of Mets fandom. I followed that journey every step of the way, and he even thanked me in The Last Days of Shea for the insightful comments I left on many of his blog posts. 

It's impossible to sum up in so few words, a man who had such an impact on so many people. I was hesitant to make my own contribution because of all the eloquent tributes that have already been made. The ones I find particularly touching are by Howard Megdal, which can be read here; by Matt Silverman, titled, "A One of a Kind Brand", here; and by Greg Prince, here. Gentlemen, you knew him best as the reigning monarch of Mets Fandom, and I felt it only fitting to focus my tribute on the teacher who had the most profound impact on me as a student. Our words and memories, be they at Shea Stadium, Citi Field or in the classroom, have shaped who we are, and who we will continue to be on our separate journeys. What joins us together is the common thread of baseball, woven into our hearts by someone we will never forget. The world as we know it is lacking because Dana Brand no longer walks among us. I like to think he has gone to a place where his days will be spent revering and enjoying the things he loved most. 


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Crumbling Metropolitans

Greetings Friends,

The New York sports world was set on its ear earlier today by the online posting of this article, written by Jeffrey Toobin, appearing in the May 30, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. The article brings to light the frustrations of New York Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, with the current state of his team, along with his vast financial woes brought on by that Ponzi master, Bernard Madoff. 

Rather than re-hash the details of Madoff's legendary swindle, I want to talk about what it is that leads men like Fred Wilpon to bite the poison apple of sports team-ownership. There isn't one franchise in creation that could be considered a smooth sailing ship; well, maybe two or three exceptions: the New York Yankees, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Dallas Cowboys. OK, I gave you four examples. My knowledge of European football clubs is such that I do not feel qualified to weigh in on Man. U., Real Madrid, or the other biggies.

The more I think about it, the latest incarnation of the New York Mets is nothing more than the culmination of  Fred Wilpon's dream to reincarnate the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that was wrested from him and millions of other devastated fans, only to be relocated to Los Angeles. Dodger fans never got over the betrayal of their team picking up and moving clear across the continent. When Wilpon was approached, in 1979, by one-time New York Islanders owner, John Pickett, to rescue the Mets from the Payson family, I think it was all he could do to stop himself from becoming the saviour of Brooklyn. And he was, for a while, but things went sour a long time ago. Now he is on the brink of having to sell the team as a repercussion of his decades-long relationship with Madoff. In my opinion, he's getting off easy.

There's a certain amount of hubris that goes along with being a sports team owner, especially now when franchises are estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In order to pull off the success that eludes so many teams, you have to maintain a focus that can only be described as tunnel vision. In order to keep your eye on the prize (a championship), you have to not give a shit about anyone or anything else but yourself and your team. And, yes, that includes not giving a shit about the fans. For these guys, the fans are a given; they are the whipped masses whom they think will show up to cheer on their teams no matter what - in the face of prohibitively expensive ticket prices, $30 parking, $10 beers, $8 hot dogs and, gasp! seat licensing fees that don't even include the price of admission. Owners of sports teams have done more to piss on their fans than any other group I can think of. And yet, we respond with a heartfelt, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" like we'd be deprived of oxygen if we were incapable of rooting for our teams of choice. 

The thing is, Fred Wilpon is the "Richie Cunningham" of sports owners. On the despicable scale, he doesn't even register. He's behind a long line of screwballs who think they know best, and they will bankrupt themselves trying to get their point across. The number one scoundrel on the list is New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, who, along with a rather large supporting crew, holds the title of Captain Clueless on the Good Ship Nassau County. It would take years to regale those who are not in the know about this convoluted saga, so I am asking for a little trust on this one. Many Mets fans are also Islanders fans, so they surely know what I am talking about. 

As for the rest of you, I feel your pain; believe me, I do. I am not defending Fred Wilpon, nor do I envy the position he finds himself in. I'm sure the incendiary comments he made to Toobin about his team were said in frustration, because every billionaire approaches the prospect of sports team ownership with the best of intentions. Why wouldn't they? If they've been so successful in their current field, why wouldn't they be on the field of play? That's where they get themselves into trouble.

There is no easy solution to this dilemma. Being a sports fan is a wondrous blight on any individual who chooses to expose him or herself to the adulation and heartbreak. Of course, there is always much more heartbreak than adulation. Yet, we stick with it. Myself included.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Are We Growing?

Greetings Friends,

Anyone who knows me really well knows I love me some good bath and body products, skin care and fragrances. Some of my favourite products come from the Philosophy brand, of which I've been a fan since its inception. For the past 15 years, I've "grown" with the company, purchasing everything from its fragrances, moisturizers, and countless bottles of their shower gels, like the one pictured above. In case you're wondering, "cinnamon buns" really does smell like cinnamon buns. If someone blindfolded you and stuck a bottle of this stuff under your nose, you'd swear the real thing was in front of you. 

About a month ago, I became a Facebook fan of Cristina Carlino, the founder of Philosophy. Almost every day I find new age-y snippets from her in my news feed. Today's snippet was, "everyday we grow. have you grown in the past year?" By the way, all the text of Philosophy's product packaging is deliberately written in lowercase letters. I'm not a huge fan of that, but I'm willing to ignore it because I do love what's in the bottles and jars. As a matter of fact, the Divine Miss O (Oprah Winfrey) is also a huge Philosophy fan, and I do my best to ignore that as well. I'd like to think this was one "favorite thing" I discovered before she did.

Back to the snippet: Have you grown? That's a mighty loaded question if you ask me. In my case, the answer is definitely "yes". Unfortunately, I've grown a bit physically since I've been remiss in paying attention to my diet. I've also grown metaphorically, since I started a business, and have made a solemn vow to learn from past mistakes. Those are two very significant examples of growth. 

Unfortunately, growth is often accompanied by death. Certain things must be sacrificed in order for us to grow. Those things can be physical and/or spiritual, depending on the type of growth a person experiences. Maybe you've outgrown certain friendships; maybe you've outgrown your home - be it the actual roof over your head or the city in which you live; maybe the jeans you wore in your 20s no longer fit you; maybe you prefer to drink tea instead of coffee. Growth and change come in many forms, and we need to do our best to recognize them and accept them into our lives. I know - easier said than done.

As much as I'd like to give myself credit for my own personal growth, there is one element that is putting up a mighty struggle. That element is forgiveness. There are certain things I am having great difficulty forgiving, relating to others and myself.

Forgiveness is a tricky thing; there's the saying, "forgive and forget". Forgiveness is the easy part; forgetting is the bitch. You can forgive someone in your mind, but literally forgetting is like trying to scale Everest in stilettos and a bikini. It ain't easy, especially when you feel in your heart that the individual and the actions are about as worthy of your forgiveness as Osama bin Laden. Suffice it to say that it won't happen overnight, if it happens at all.

Growth is about moving on to new and exciting opportunities, and shedding the past. Animals shed their fur twice a year at the turn of the seasons. Humans aren't so lucky. Yes, we do our best to exfoliate, but the metaphorical fur we carry around is not so easy to get rid of. You'd think at some point instinct would take over, but sadly, it does not. Time is the only ally we have. Yet, it is both an ally and a rival. To truly grow, you have to embrace time and let it do its thing. Having a bottle of "cinnamon buns" in the shower doesn't hurt. Last time I checked, shower gel is calorie-free. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Tree Killers

Greetings Friends,

Statistics have shown that since e-readers hit the market, people have re-embraced reading. I'm not a fan of e-readers; I'd rather nurse my hernia and carry a book. I've never had a problem lugging a hardcover edition of any book with me. My motto has always been, walk softly and carry a big purse. Although, on size 10 feet, I'm not that soft of a walker. Regardless, my big feets allow me to handle a larger load than your average person, so toting a book has never been a big deal. But now that technology has threatened to send books the way of the LP and the CD, I'm growing quite concerned. How zen does life have to be? My records and CDs are in storage, but wherever I go, my books go with me. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it shall remain. 

There have always been reams of crap on the bookshelves, technology notwithstanding; but when people like Levi Johnston and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi are getting book deals, you have to wonder why. I don't have an answer; I'm not a publisher. I actually attempted to ask that question of someone who works for one of the big publishing houses and didn't get an answer. I'm not sure if he just couldn't be bothered, or if he was too embarrassed to acknowledge my query. I won't name names, but the individual works for the publishing house that brought us Snooki's tome. You can find that information very easily on your own.

I've always referred to worthless books as "tree killers". Now, I guess they can be considered gigabyte killers as well. If you're willing to let dreck such as Snooki's ghost-written tell all take up room on your e-reader, well you just won't have room for Madame Bovary or Pride and Prejudice, will you? Not that I believe the individuals who read the classics would bother reading anything having to do with Snooki. 

When I got wind of Levi Johnston's coming tell-all, I pretty well lost my mind. I have to worry about recycling every possible scrap of paper (I even get most of my mail online), and this guy gets to write a book? Hell, I love me some good Sarah Palin dirt, but I'm not willing to pay 30 bucks for it. Who really cares what the idiot who knocked up her daughter has to say? Apparently enough people to warrant a book deal. And it's not like he's gonna be starving...his ex-future mother-in-law has made millions. Yet, for writers, getting a book deal is about as likely as getting struck by lightning; although the way the publishing industry is conducting itself these days, if I was looking for a book deal, I'd be spending a lot more time outside. 

Like many things in life, what gets published and what doesn't has about as much rhyme or reason to it as why anyone would want to ghostwrite for Levi and Snooki. I won't even venture to guess why people want to read these kinds of books, because there has always been an audience for them. They are the latest in the genre of tell-all trash. I've read my share of those over the course of my life, and I will never pick up another one. It kills me that there are so many talented writers out there who have adopted rejection as a lifestyle, and getting a book deal has become an instantaneous rite of passage for anyone still in the middle of their 15 minutes of fame. How many trees have to die in order for this trend to go on surviving?

I'm hoping that books won't go the way of the dinosaurs. I love to surround myself with them. E-readers may very well save the trees, but if the humans who run the publishing world could resist the urge to flood the market with so much crap, we won't become a society that forgets how to turn a page.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Epidemic and Another List

Greetings Friends,

Just when you think you've identified all degrees of social ineptitude in existence, another one rears its ugly head. 

Selfishness is nothing new, but degrees of it never cease to astound me. I've been ignoring this particular scourge, but I am now ready to throw my hat into the ring. Selfishness has to be the worst personality trait there is; it can be a hard one to recognize and acknowledge. We are all guilty of it at one point or another, and those of us who manage to control our selfish impulses deserve accolades for our feats of strength. Few people manage to pull it off, nor do many of them give a damn if they are perceived as selfish. 

I like the list above, but my selfish nature is telling me to make one of my own. After all, it's my blog dammit, and I can be as selfish as I want:

Nava's Top Unforgivable Acts of Selfishness:

1. Lacking empathy. Let's remember that empathy differs greatly from sympathy. You never know if or when a similar set of unfortunate circumstances could befall you. 

2. Bloviating about yourself and your problems and then asking about the person on whom you are unloading as an afterthought. Enough about me; what do YOU think of me?

3. Treating another person harshly/disrespectfully in order to draw attention to yourself. The "poor me" tack only works if you're about five, have blonde ringlets, blue eyes, and big pouty lips. If that's not you, don't even try it. 

4. Assuming someone will pay for something significant without even an offer of reimbursement. This goes beyond not buying a round or picking up the cheque. If a friend asks you to "pick something up" for him or her, and there is never an offer of repayment, the writing is very clearly on the wall. 

5.  Assuming that everything in everyone else's lives has something to do with you. Attempting to impose yourself on others when you think they need or want your assistance is just plain wrong. If it's a touchy situation like an illness or death, make a polite offer and wait until you are asked. The "Mighty Mouse" approach of "Here I come to save the day" disguises an alarming level of selfishness and self-gratification. 

6. Getting angry at others when they cannot help you. If you find yourself in dire straits and a good friend is for whatever reason, not able to offer assistance, the offer of friendship should be enough. 

7. Attempting to inflict your beliefs/habits/opinions on others. Just because YOU think something is de rigueur doesn't mean the rest of the world has to. Enjoy whatever it is and allow everyone else to form their own opinions. 

8. Refusing to be happy for your friends and loved ones when something good happens. This is absolutely the pinnacle of selfishness. 

Bonus Round:

Pouting when you are not the centre of attention. If you're in a room full of people and you feel that you are not being given the proper amount of attention, go have your pity party someplace else; like in the basement. 

Making unkind or hurtful remarks without realizing you've hurt someone's feelings. If your mother never told you "silence is golden", then you deserve the silence you get when the offended party stops speaking to you.

Being a chronic "wheel spinner". If you can't ever get your shit together, don't hire a professional organizer; find a shrink PDQ.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Push Presents

Greetings Friends,

I thought we'd shift the conversation off of terrorist assassinations and politics for a while, back to pop culture ridiculousness. First let me preface the following by disclaiming that I am not a mother, nor do I plan on becoming one any time soon.

I've long been aware of the "push" present, given to a new mother after successfully delivering a child. Maybe for some mothers, it's a sushi dinner, or a good bottle of wine, but when you're Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe, it'd better look like what's pictured above, which, according to, is exactly what she got.

Earlier this year, dubbed 2011 the "Year of the Baby". Anyone who's anyone in Hollywood is with child, and the legions of camera Nazis are out in force on "bump watch". It's an extended odyssey from the pregnancy announcement, to the wardrobe choices, the actual birth and then the miraculous disappearance of the baby weight. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I wouldn't be worrying so much about whether Neil Armstrong actually walked on the moon, or if Barack Obama was really born in Hawaii, I'd want to know if all the "birthers" in Hollywood are paying armies of surrogates to have their babies for them, while they flash fake bellies at the paparazzi. Hey - stranger things have happened. How many women can actually say they've lost all their baby weight within days of giving birth, all due to breastfeeding? If you believe that, there are a few bridges I'd like to sell you. 

Body image has always been a touchy subject. Pregnancy usually doesn't help. Once a mere mortal woman has a child, getting her pre-pregnancy shape back can be a difficult, frustrating endeavour. Many women fail to get back to the shape they were prior to having a child, and have to live with the consequences for years, if not the rest of their lives. Watching women like Penelope Cruz, Miranda Kerr, Amy Adams, and countless other "celebutards" (I know that's mean, but this is my blog) parade around in couture scant weeks after giving birth is enough to give any woman a permanent case of postpartum depression. And flashing a 10 carat push present doesn't help either. 

Sometimes I think celebrities procreate to feed their over-weaning egos. Someone like Rachel Zoe seems to care more about how many Birkin bags she's got lined up in her closet, rather than how competent of a mother she'd make. I know all too well about the ticking of the clock, but I'm also a firm believer that not every woman is cut out to be a mother. I count myself among those ranks. And I don't think there's anything wrong with admitting that. Kids have never been in the cards for me, and I can honestly say that's a good thing. I love children, as long as they belong to other people. I've never felt the pangs of motherhood, nor will I. And that's fine. If I really want an ostentatious bauble or some other outrageously expensive trinket, having a baby isn't the reason I should get it. 

Parenthood is not an excuse to indulge in over-the-top consumerism. What's Victoria Beckham going to receive once she squeezes out kid #4?  I shudder to think about it. Instead, I think about all the families in North America struggling to put food on the table, and the other monumental day-to-day struggles raising a family entails. For most of us, they certainly do not include nannies, personal trainers, raw food diets and push presents. If that's what raising a family is all about, I suggest getting a dog instead.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Majority Rule

Greetings Friends,

After 7 years of minority merry-go-round, Canada is back to majority rule. Stephen Harper's Conservatives pulled off a stunning victory Monday night by gaining a 166 seat majority in the House of Commons. The Liberals were virtually obliterated, the Bloc Quebecois was literally eliminated, and the NDP finally received its coronation as a legitimate political force. Or were they just the party-of-last-resort for a large group of pissed off, sovereignty-starved Quebeckers? If I live to be 250, I don't think I'll ever understand those people. 

So where do we go from here? As I told all my horrified American friends, it's gonna be interesting as hell. You have to keep in mind, a Canadian Conservative and an American Republican couldn't be more different. But, the interesting thing about this current incarnation of Parliament is that the NDP, now the official opposition, is diametrically opposed to just about everything the Conservatives stand for. The two parties are in post-election insistence mode about how despite their differences, they will be able to work together for the greater good of the Canadian people. The cynical American in me is saying, yeah, right. The Canadian in me is willing to give peace a chance. But, it will be anything but peaceful. 

Historically, Stephen Harper is an obfuscating control freak of epic proportions. He has been called everything from a douche bag to a dictator, and some other not-so-nice names I won't mention here. Now that he's procured his elusive majority, it's anyone's guess as to how this will play out. And we're stuck with him until October, 2015. It would take something beyond catastrophic to pull the plug on majority rule.

Much as I'm looking forward to seeing this all play out, I must admit that I don't feel the same sense of gloom and doom that I did back in 2004. Even with Osama now swimming with the fishies, it's going to take a few more decades for America to recover from the past decade; if it ever does. 

No matter which country you call home, times are nothing if not interesting, and they will continue to be for a very long time. It doesn't matter where you are, or where you attempt to hide, politics will always find you. Resistance is futile. 


Monday, May 2, 2011

Obama Gets Osama

Greetings Friends,

Yeah, I know; it's the catchphrase of the moment, but what better way to describe it? I remember thinking back in 2004 that Senator John Kerry actually had a chance to beat George W. Bush out of a second term, and that "miraculously", W would pull a rabbit named bin Laden out of a hole somewhere in the nasty tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, right before election day, to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. We all know he didn't need to do that. And we all know the havoc two terms of W wrought on the world. Honestly, I didn't think it would matter so much if bin Laden was ever captured, given the rest of the atrocities that occurred during Bush's watch. But, last night proved that the downfall of the most hated individual since Adolf Hitler could galvanize a nation. As if there was any doubt.

I'm sure I don't need to verbalize that I am pleased with the fact that bin Laden got what he deserved. Of course, I sat glued to my television last night and early this morning watching the coverage on CNN; between Wolf Blitzer and John King (especially John King), I think they uttered the phrase "Osama bin Laden is dead" about 5,000 times over the course of two hours. You've gotta admire those two; they can repeat themselves into oblivion. 

It wasn't until after President Obama's brief statement that the tongues began to flap at warp speed. The American press wouldn't be the American press if they didn't attempt to be instantaneously gratified; not so much for the benefit of the American public, but for the benefit of their own egos. Earlier in the day, I watched video from the Correspondents Dinner held in Washington DC Saturday night, and really enjoyed the speeches given by Seth Meyers and President Obama. I enjoyed a few hearty belly laughs at the material directed at Donald Trump, and it was hard not to notice the slight bit of rancor with which Obama spoke, regarding the maelstrom of media attention the release of his birth certificate received. You can't really blame the guy - even if he is the leader of the free world. And who knew he had been plotting to kill bin Laden for the past 9 months?

Which leads me to my point: Now that the initial "ding dong the witch is dead" jubilation is winding down, the press actually seems a bit miffed that the Obama administration was able to keep such a tight lid on this operation. That sentiment really brings into focus the sense of entitlement the 24-hour news cycle has created on the part of the American press. No wonder Robert Gibbs couldn't get through one term as Press Secretary. I wouldn't do that job with a gun to my head. Journalism has gone from a serious craft to a never-ending battle of brinkmanship that literally never stops. Who in their right mind would want to deal with that for a living?

When it comes to covert operations, such as attempting to take down the world's most notorious terrorist, a line must be drawn; this isn't like interviewing the coach before the big game. There are some things that must remain classified at all costs. And if this operation wasn't the big Kahuna of classified, I don't know what would be. The media is just going to have to lick their collective wounds and move on. It's not all about them. Never was; never will be.

One thought I had last night relating to elections, besides the fact that today is election day here in Canada, is that the death of bin Laden is a major coup for Barack Obama. One of the more obvious by-products of a 24-hour news cycle is a never-ending election cycle. I'm thinking this event has sewn up his re-election to a second term. I'm not exactly "Carnac the Magnificent" here, but based on the potential Republican candidates at this stage, and the fact that Obama now has major foreign policy cred, it doesn't seem to be that far of a stretch. Then again, you never know how anything will get spun in the press. 

As I write this, I am still unsure of which party I am voting for in today's federal election. Stay tuned...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Donald Trump is an Idiot

Greetings Friends,

Could someone please tell me why this man is attempting to run for President? Is that ostentatious gold building on 5th Avenue and the Trump name attached to all manner of crap (my favourite new expression) not enough for him? Is this some sort of supplemental mid-life crisis he's having? I'm sure by the time he turns 80, his next Slovenian wife will barely be legal.

Right now the air is heavy with politics and romance; Wills and Kate are tying the knot on Friday, and on Monday, Canada goes to the polls. I'm confused as hell about who to vote for; the NDP is surging all of a sudden, especially in Quebec, where they're having delusions of sovereignty yet again. "X" marks the spot, but at this point, I have no idea where the "X" will land.

In the meantime, Donald Trump is taking credit for finally getting President Obama to release a copy of his birth certificate. Now, could he please tell us who really killed JFK and where Jimmy Hoffa is buried? I used to joke that Hoffa was cut up and stashed in my aunt's freezer, but I think "The Donald" might have the answer. He seems to want to take credit for everything, so why not those two enduring mysteries? We can finally get on with life, knowing that Obama really was born in Hawaii. If you don't believe me, click here to see for yourself. And please read the entire article, including the part where Trump says he's "honored" by all this. Will the man ever get over himself?

"The Donald" used to be a New York icon, famous for his gaudy building and his even gaudier Atlantic City casinos. Oh, and his bankruptcies. And his lavish lifestyle. And Ivana, "Don't get mad, get everything." Now he's become dog shit; meaning, if you're not careful, you might step in a pile of Trump because he's everywhere. He never used to bother me, but now with his sudden need to pander to the ignorant conspiracy theorist "Birthers" and the rest of his mishegas, he seriously annoys me. 

I have to admit, I'm always amazed at how well his children turned out; not like the typical offspring of the ridiculously wealthy. So why can't he take a lesson from his kids and stop all this ridiculousness? Stick to firing people in the boardroom and altering the landscape? Politics and someone like Donald Trump is never a good combination, especially when the United States is still teetering on the brink of ruin. You can't pull the plug on Congress; you can't bankrupt the government and start over. Well, maybe he thinks he can, but I wouldn't want to watch that happen. 

Maybe "The Donald" has something in common with Quebec; he's currently suffering from his own grandiose delusions. Maybe he's bored with his empire and his latest Slovenian wife and needs to bring everyone along for the ride. Or maybe, he's finally lost his marbles in a big way. Whatever the reason, I think the man is an idiot. The state of American politics is so sorry right now, the last thing the country needs is someone like him trying to stir the pot. I don't know what the answer is, but it will certainly never be "President Trump". 


Friday, April 22, 2011

Chop My Legs Off, Why Don't You?

Greetings Friends,

It's been a time of mourning lately, in more ways than one, and I've been mourning the loss of my last car for the past 6 months. I thought I moved past it, but when a trip to the bank and the drug store turns into a day-killer, I get pissed off all over again.

I "lost" my car in a very underhanded, dastardly fashion. I won't get into specifics, but let's just say that if I'd been thinking on my feet, I'd still have it. Since I wasn't, I don't, and it's over and done with. But some days, relying on transit is like trying to schedule winning the lottery. It never works out the way you think it will. For someone like me, who has had a drivers license since the age of 17, and her own car since the age of 24, not having wheels has metaphorically chopped my legs off. I haven't been a transit person since 1992, when I stopped riding the Long Island Railroad. I keep looking for that phantom set of car keys that I think are buried somewhere in my purse. It's hard, and I'm not happy.

Of course, things could be much worse; I literally could not have use of my legs. Thankfully I do, but why is it that every time I stand waiting for the bus (which never runs on time despite my diligence in checking the schedule online before venturing out), I feel as if all the motor vehicles passing me by are mocking me? It's like I'm the only person in the city of Toronto without wheels, and the joke's on me. I know that's not true, but when you're standing at the bus stop like a schmuck, and the bus is 30 minutes late, all manner of crap runs through your mind, and the one thing you're wishing for is: you guessed it - a car! 

The transit system in this city is not as good as it used to be, which sort of kills me, since there are only two major subway lines and bus lines on virtually every primary and secondary street in the city. So why did it take me 3 hours to go to the bank and Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday? For starters, I waited a full 30 minutes past the scheduled time for the bus. Second, I had the misfortune of getting the inexperienced teller at the bank, and third, I got "lost" in Shoppers for way longer than I should have. But the cherry on my cupcake was getting kicked off the subway on the way home, one stop from my destination. It was the second time that happened in 2 weeks and I am completely flummoxed by it. No reason given, just, "This train is going out of service." Plus, my fellow docile Torontonians don't even get pissed off. It's the New Yorker who starts mumbling and cursing under her breath; which further proves that I'll never be a true Canadian. I've got too much piss and vinegar for my own good. 

In the grand scheme of things, I can more than make do without a car. Will I get another one? Absolutely; hopefully sooner rather than later. Will I ever forgive or forget the circumstances that lead to my "losing" my last car? Not likely. I don't do well with underhanded and dastardly. All I will say is that what goes around comes around, and the persons responsible will receive karmic retribution at some point. And guess who will be laughing her ass off.

Have a great weekend and a Happy Easter.