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.


Monday, April 18, 2011

For Geraldine

Greetings Friends,

This past week has been a tough one for me; I lost someone to whom I was very close. Her name was Geraldine, and she was first cousin to my mother. She died last Tuesday, having lost a bravely fought battle with a rare form of bladder cancer.

I sat down a bunch of times to try to pen something that would do her justice, but I failed miserably, so I've decided to stop trying. You can add obituaries to the list of things I don't write particularly well.

Instead, I've decided to share a memory with all of you.

It was the summer of 1978. I was 11 years-old and decided I wanted to go to summer camp with all my cousins. They made it sound like so much fun and I couldn't wait to get there. When I got there, I was so thoroughly homesick that I called home collect about a dozen times begging my mom to come get me. She was steadfastly stubborn in her insistence that I complete the 6 weeks she paid for, and said not only would she not bring me home, she would not come to see me on visiting day. Instead, it was Geraldine who showed up on visiting day, ignoring her own children in order to comfort me while I sobbed in her arms. I've had to put up with incessant teasing over the years about my homesickness that summer, and it was the only summer I ever went to camp.

Geraldine was the kind of person who never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Her reaction to my hysterical bout of homesickness was to say that summer camp was not for everyone. In the ensuing years, she was privy to many a mishap and slip-up. Whether it was her own kids or another member of the family, she never judged us; she rode out the storms and was always looking forward to calmer days ahead.

Her home was always open to everyone. It didn't matter if it was for a holiday, or just a quick visit; she was always ready to receive whoever wanted to visit her. Her door was literally always open, and now that she's gone, it's sad to realize that I'll never be able to just walk in and see her again.

When Geraldine found out there were no treatment options left for her, she decided that she wanted to remain at home with her husband and family by her side. It was tough to see her bedridden and getting progressively weaker as the days and weeks passed. There was a period over the winter when I went six weeks without seeing her. The changes she underwent during that time, both physically and emotionally, were nothing short of astounding. I immediately felt great sadness for letting so much time pass between visits, but I knew in my heart that this was not the Geraldine I wanted to remember. The Geraldine I knew made the most amazing chicken soup, could talk for hours on end about anything and everything, and was always there to encourage us no matter how insurmountable we thought our problems were. She was truly one of the most kindhearted, genuinely good people I have ever known. There were never any ulterior motives or hidden agendas in Geraldine's closet; she personified the saying, "what you see is what you get".

I've often lamented that there are many things I hope to live to see in my life. Add to the list a cure for cancer. Not just some cancers; all cancer. To bear witness to what it does to people and to see them have to suffer in ways you never thought possible is one of the most unbearable things in life. I hope with all my heart that Geraldine is in a better place now. With a little luck she's having a kaffee klatsch with my mom, her mom, my grandmother, and assorted other relatives who are no longer with us. Sadly, my family is dwindling, but I think we're all going to pull together and be there for each other, despite the shrinking number.

My family and I are very grateful to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care for taking such incredible care of Geraldine during her illness. I encourage everyone to follow the link to find out more about this program, which is affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital here in Toronto.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrity vs. Privacy

Greetings Friends,

I'm sure everyone has some degree of "Royal Wedding Fever" now that the blessed event is only 2 weeks away. I'm certainly planning on watching it. Hell, I haven't been going to bed until 2 or 3 in the morning for weeks now, so what's the point if the "wedding of the century" coverage will begin at 5 am in my part of the world?

I watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer way back in 1981. I was 14 years old and absolutely enthralled with Diana's story. I wasn't a particularly avid royal watcher, but who wouldn't want to be the shy young girl who gets swept off her feet by a real-life Prince Charming? Too bad she didn't have the storybook ending we all hope for; Charles turned out to be anything but a prince, and we all know what happened to Diana.

I've started and abandoned a few essays about the topic of the paparazzi and the right to privacy. There have been many American celebrities who have challenged some of these relentless photographers, but under the auspices of the First Amendment, there's not a lot you can do to stop them. In Diana's case, she played a sort of cat-and-mouse game with them, giving them what they wanted when she wanted, and running from them when she didn't. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her, or is like for anyone for that matter, to constantly have to deal with someone pointing a camera in your face wherever you go. Some celebs say they eventually get used to it. The high price of fame means you sacrifice your privacy in the bargain, but is it really worth it? In 1997, when Diana was killed, I thought the paparazzi would ease up a bit, but if anything, their aggressiveness has gotten exponentially worse. Now, with a camera on board every mobile phone, everyone has the potential to be a paparazzo. As I often wonder about concussed hockey players, when will the day come when one of these intrusive shutterbugs pays the ultimate price for trying to snap a picture? I'm convinced this is also an inevitability.

In the meantime, You've got the Kardashian family and countless other reality "stars" living their lives in front of cameras, not to mention reveling in their overexposure. When I see someone like Kate Gosselin getting snapped at the local Target in Assbackwards, PA, I think to myself, why would an anonymous person gladly put up with that? The fact that she's now raking in millions notwithstanding, I can't get past the act of prostituting your children for the cameras as a viable living. Millions of people live anonymous lives and manage to get through their days without worrying about a random photographer jumping out of the bushes as they grab their mail in their bathrobes. We've witnessed countless celebrity meltdowns at the hands of these photographers, who have been known to cause car accidents, nervous breakdowns and the occasional fisticuffs. If the encounter does happen to get physical, it's always the celeb that gets the shit end of the stick, because these photographers are technically just doing their "jobs". Yes, we know that a public figure gives up a great degree of privacy, but the line in the sand has become non-existent.

As Kate Middleton prepares to say "I do" to Prince William, 30 years after Charles and Diana did the deed, I can't help but wonder what her life will be like once she's officially "Princess Catherine". Will the life of her deceased mother-in-law provide some sort of guide for handling the paparazzi, or will Princess Catherine eventually be driven to distraction by their presence? I certainly hope her story has a happier ending than Diana's. Happily ever after is unrealistic, but happy enough despite living your life in front of the cameras is probably the most she'll be able to expect.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Ink & Paint Celebrates a Year!

Greetings Friends,

It's been one year since I started this blog and I'm happy to say it's still going strong.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my loyal readers and all the people who have been supportive throughout this journey. The road has had some bumps and potholes, but fortunately, it has been a pretty terrific ride most of the way. The journey is far from over. Here's to a bigger, better and brighter future!

Enjoy your weekend.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why So Serious?

Greetings Friends,

Tiger Woods might not find the above image to be funny, but I think it's hilarious. Last week, a local magazine PhotoShopped Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's head onto a similarly porcine body. He's only been in office 5 months and already, you'd think he was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the big blizzard. Mayor Ford supposedly took the lampooning in stride. Good for him.

There are times that call for seriousness, and other times, we could do with a bit more irreverence. I used to never miss an episode of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report". My day wasn't complete until I got an earful of what those two men had to say. They always managed to take the edge off, no matter how much stress I felt, and after a few good belly laughs, sleep always came easy. It didn't matter that the underlying messages were serious; the ability to satirize them is an art form - not something everyone can accomplish. That brand of humour is also not for everyone. It happens to be for me.

There comes a point in time when you are in danger of taking yourself too seriously. It doesn't matter what your occupation, but if you begin to feel that civilization will crumble without your contribution, it might be time for a holiday. I like to refer to this as the "Star Trek Convention" effect. If you happen to find yourself at one once or twice over the course of your life, there's nothing wrong with that. When you attend several over the course of a year and feel the need to dress as a "Ferengi" while simultaneously speaking fluent "Klingon", there might be a problem. It may be time to get a life. William Shatner had the right idea. 

Some people have a habit of rendering themselves indispensable.Whether it's performing a certain task or offering up opinions or advice, certain folks feel the need to do or see things only one way: theirs. Everyone else can go play in traffic for all they care. I used to think office know-it-alls were the only ones capable of this sort of behaviour, but life and experience taught me that these people are everywhere. No matter where you are or what you do, there's always going to be someone or some group that has the market cornered on serious. And it's no surprise that the more serious they are, the less you want to have anything to do with them.

I revel in irreverence. I adore it. I aspire to be more irreverent every day I am alive. There are times when seriousness is required, but I find those times to be fewer and fewer the older I get. Let the "Trekkies" have their fun. Let the know-it-alls think they know everything. I will never take them as seriously as they take themselves.

By the way, the reason I don't really watch Stewart and Colbert anymore is because they are not on basic cable here in Canada. Sacrilege. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Had Enough Yet?

Greetings Friends,

Never let it be said that the United States is a wallflower. It can also never be said that any Canadian election will ever be viewed as a world-changing event. Another cold, hard fact about life in the information age is that the American election cycle never ends. Are we tired yet? Have we had enough?

This morning, President Barack Obama announced his intention to seek re-election in 2012. He's filing his papers with the Federal Election Commission and is gearing up to raise what will probably be record amounts of money to run his re-election campaign. It's hard to believe that time has passed so quickly, and that it's time to do this all over again.

As excited as I am about the upcoming Canadian election, I have to admit to feeling somewhat ambivalent about the 2012 presidential campaign. As I previously stated, it's a hell of a lot easier to wreck a parliament than it is to bring about change in federal constitutional republic. Here in Canada, I find myself rooting for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to gain his elusive majority. When you have to contend with minority government rule for too long, it starts to resemble, um, how can I say this delicately: having a squeeze without a squirt. That's sure to land me a spot on CBC's "At Issue" panel, don't you think?

While Canada will probably know who its leader will be in the wee hours of May 3, 2011, Americans will have to sweat it out until November, 2012. In the meantime, there isn't a moment's peace, a chance to take a breath, or even a chance to put through meaningful legislation without the public and the punditry going to war over it. I'm starting to believe that politics is going to replace professional sports in terms of capturing the interest of Americans. After all, there really is no off-season. It's not like having to pine away for baseball during the bleak winter months. Politics never goes away. It's always in season, and it never retires. 

How about that Obama 2012 yard sign pictured above? You too can own one if you visit Obama's Web site, watch his video and make a donation.

Is it me, or was 2007 only yesterday?