Many of my friends acuse me of being a perpetual complainer, irratable and a basic grouch with a short fuse. One woman even calls me "Mr. Everything is Shit". Thank-you, thank-you. However, I tend to see myself as a sensitive person who has no tolerance for self-righteousness, ignorance or just blatant stupidity. Certain little things that the average joe will let pass just get on my nerves. Sometimes the most infitemisal things can set me off for the whole day. For example, what happened the other morning just made me shake my head well into the evening.
I turned on the television to catch the local weather report. They had the weather lady broadcasting the weather report from the Montréal biodome in front of the outdoor river otter enclosure. At first I thought this was a very cute idea. Emphasizing the cold day that we were about to be confronted with and contrasting it with the fact that the river otters would be quite comfortable and in their element. Nice play up. 10/10 so far, except that the two otters in the background enclosure seemed to be getting more and more agitated and fidgety as the nice lady progressed with her presentation. The camera then panned into wider shot that revealed their keeper lady with a fresh fish dangling from her hand. The reporter lady after finishing her report then asked the keeper lady about the curious little creatures who were getting restless by the second at the sight of the fish that the keeper lady had dangling from her hand . She proceeded to explain the intelligence, resourcefulness and hunting prowess of river otters. "Hunting prowess? Resourcefulness ?", I asked myself as the parodox continued to unfold before my eyes. I began to feel powerless as the crazy woman kept on about the wonderful survival abilities of these magnifent creatures as they were being held hostage by a dangling fish that wouldn't stand a chance agianst them in the wild. Well it didn't stand a chance against them here either, because it was dead. Unable to contain myself I shouted at the TV pleading with the crazy lady "Give them their goddam fish! Give them their goddam fish you heartless wench you're driving them nuts!" as I watched helplessly. Finally, it was the weather lady's turn dangle her fish. At this point I was getting ready to call the SPCA to tell them to turn on the TV to channel 5. Finally the evil women gave the poor otters their breakfast. I might add that these otters did not eat the fish, they inhaled the fish. The otters did not have liesurely meal.
I guess the whole point of the exercise was to inform audiences that Montréal was in for a cold day and not to stress the hunting skills of river otters, which were certainly not put to the test that morning. I dunno. I notice silly things like this and sometimes they just bug me. I just dunno maybe it's only me.
Coincidentally, that same morning I came across an article in the London Daily Telegraph that put me at ease with my dispositions and intolerences. It described a study conducted by Harvard University scientists on grumpiness. Here's an excerpt :
"Researchers now believe that being aggressive, intolerant and short tempered could be a sign of more advanced nature. A more childlike attitude to behaviour such as tolerance and sharing could, in contrast, be an indication of not being as developed, the new study suggests... Researchers looked at two different kinds of monkey - the familiar chimpanzee and the less evolved but much more easygoing Bonobo, two of the closest living relatives to human beings. Chimpanzees are accepted as more evolved than bonobos in terms of appearance, behaviour and social structure. But chimps are also much more aggressive, particularily as they get older. Bonobos took longer to develop the same skill level shown even among the youngest of the chimpanzees that were tested."
So now whenever I exhibit "grumpy" tendancies I can just apologize to people and say that it's not my fault that I'm a bit higher up on the evolutionary ladder . Rick Wakeman often feels the same way I do. Here's one of my favourite clips of Rick complaining about Christmas from the BBC TV show Grumpy Old Men :
The big bang describes the instant of creation. Somehow all matter, space, time &energy exploded to form one singular timeless sinularity. Because time did not exist prior to this event, scientists have assigned a point at which the universe begins to differentiate known as Planck time, also known as the universal clock and defined as 10 x -43 at which time gravity becomes a separate force breaking away from the still unified basic forces of nature. At 10x-36 seconds separation occurs and causes the universe to expand more than it has in roughly 15 billion years by 10 x -32 seconds. Quarks and anti-quarks now form and begin to annihalate each other upon contact leaving a surplus which will ultimately combine to form matter.
" The cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. The journey for each of us begins here. We're going to explore the cosmos in a spaceship of the imagination, unfettered by ordinary limits on speed and size drawn by the music of the cosmos harmonies it will take us to worlds of facts and worlds of dreams. Come with me." - Dr. Carl Sagan from " Cosmos "
When Stephen Hawking`s book A Brief History Of Time was published for the first time in 1988, I was studying mathematics in university with no clear-cut professional goals. A friend of mine threw the book at me one day and said, " here Ian, go nuts with this". Of course, the first thing that struck me of course, was the picture of Mr Hawking on the cover sitting his wheelchair against a starry backdrop of space. Severely handicapped with Amytrophic Lateral Scerlosis ( ALS ) he has limited body movement and must use a computer in order to speak. Considered to be the greatest theoretical physists since Albert Einstein, he theorized that if time and space had a beginning it was necessary to unify general relativity with quantum theory into a single theory of quantum gravity.
As a consequence of this unification, black holes would not necessarily be black but would emit radiation, evaporate and disappear. Another conjecture implies that the universe has no edge or boundary when measured in imaginary time and they way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.
If this makes your brain hurt then you`re not alone! Although A Brief History Of Time was written for non-scientists and became a worldwide bestseller, not many laymen can make it through to the later, more exciting chapters. I managed to make it all the way through and it made me feel very small and kind of insignifigant. He wrote another book in 2001 entitled The Universe In A Nutshell which is along the same lines but more accessable because of all kinds of cool computer generated images. There is also a movie called A Brief History Of Time. I rented it with my girlfriend once and she just though it was all gibberish and went to bed. I stayed up and watched it by myself 5 times with the cat. Alone in the dark. We then ordered for pizza with extra anchovies. The cat didn`t eat the crust.
Contrary to usual perceptions that Canada was rarely prepared for wartime emergencies civil and military authorities had anticipated that there would be Italian ships trying to break out into the Atlantic should Italy declare war in 1940.
Flight Lieutenant Leanard Birchall and his crew were dispatched to Gaspé, Québec from their base in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to standby for further developments and be available for patrols along the St Lawrence River. Their aircraft was an obsolete Supermarine Stranraer flying boat biplane which were the only maritime patrol assets that the Royal Canadian Air Force possesed at the time.
Birchall was ordered to shadow the Italian freighter, the Capo Noli, which had left Québec City on June 1st 1940. He located it and shadowed it up the Cabot Strait by which time Hitler had persuaded Mussolini to delay his entrance into the war until June 10th. Birchall and his crew re-located the Capo Noli 235 miles out on their patrol 12 miles from Rimouski, Québec near Bic Island on June 10th.
He was hesitant to conduct an attack an unarmed vessel but circled threateningly, forcing it to run aground on Bic Island. Whether or not it was the French-Canadian river pilot who, under previous orders ran the ship aground, the actions of Birchall and his cew certainly percipitated the evnt. Birchall`s radio operator contacted their base in the Gaspé who in turn sent a signal out in Morse code the to a Royal Canadian Navy auxilliary, the converted trawler Bras d``Or, which was armed with a 12 pounder 3 inch gun as well as a few depth charges. By the time the Bras d`Or arrived on the scene the Italians had set fire to their vessel in an attempt to scuttle her and took to the lifeboats with Birchall still circling menacingly. Perhaps assuming from pre-war propaganda that they could be shot they returned to the vessel and doused the fire. They then became the first Canadian POWs of the second world war.
Later in the war Birchall was stationed in Columbo, Ceylon ( which is now Sri Lanka ) this time flying a Canso flying boat he was able to give warning of a Japanese suprise attack on the island before being shot down and taken prisoner by the Japanese where he endured severe hardship. The actions of Birchall and his crew forced the Japanese to abandon the attack after which he became known as the Saviour of Ceylon. After the war he rose to higher rank in the RCAF eventually assuming the position of commandant of The Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. He passed away at the age of 89 in Sept. 2004.
The above story was related to me by a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy some years ago. Although there were numerous incidents during the later stages of the war particularily with German U-Boats on the east coast and Japanese fire balloons on the west coast, this incident remains perhaps one of the least known early exploits of Canada`s armed forces on Canadian territory during the opening stages of World war Two.
The problem with my local newspaper,The Montréal Gazette, is that it is stale. No competition. The journalists here stick around like some bad disease that just won`t go away. I guess the good part is that you can`t beat it for the entertainment value. If I`m in a bar or coffee shop waiting for someone I can kill time by correcting my Gazette much like Mr. Bevington, my English teacher in high school, did with my expository and descriptive essays. He`d tear them to shreds. Red marks everywhere. So I get to play Mr. Bevington with my daily Gazette correcting grammar, punctuation and spelling. Sometimes I wonder, does the Gazette have spell check? I mean how long have we had computers?
Anyway, the column I have the most fun with is that of the woman pictured above Susan Schwartz and don't dare call her Sue. Her columns allow me to retreat from the bad news of the day. White collar fraud, Canadian soldiers dying senselessly in Afghanistan or some frusrated idiot killing his whole family and then doing himself in with a .357 Magnum but her column reads like articles out of a high school newspaper which reminds me of the innocence that I once thought the world possessed. Her run on sentences are the stuff from which legends are born. Sometimes I have to stop reading in order to catch my breath ! And this is the thing that really bewilders me, she has an undergraduate degree in nuerobiology and comparative psychology ( insert sound of Ian bashing his head against a concrete wall here ). Somewhere along the way some sort of transfomation occurred with this woman. She morphed into a feature writer with the Gazette. I guess she did the right thing.If she were to quit the Gazette tomorrow life just wouldn`t be the same.The whole synchronicity of the planet would be thrown out of wack.The Gazette needs her and so does the whole planet. And she is a damn good speller ( sometimes). Who needs spell check when Susan is on duty? Sometimes you need someone like Susan Schwartz.
Anyway, I was full of delight when a friend related a story a while back that has stuck in my mind. He was being hounded on the phone by the Gazette`s sales dept. trying sell him a subscription which was out of Susan`s dominion. So I`ve finally decided to turn it into a short narrative. Hope you like it.
Nathan lived a happy life in his small 2½ basement apartment along with his cat and broken bathroom water pipes. He had a good job at the university and ladies by the score. He was content. Life was good. Until one day when the phone rang. He froze. After 5 rings he picked up the reciever with apprehension. He said nothing. Dead line. Then the sales pitch arrived,
" This is Chelsea calling from the Montréal Gazette and we`re presently offering selected..."
Nathan interrupted, " I`m not interrested in a Gazette subscription ", and hung up and unknowingly tossed down the gauntlet of challenge.
For weeks the Gazette worked Nathan hard. Trying to break him. Wear him down. They offered him a deal. 15¢ a copy! Including the Saturday edition. It was as if they knew his work schedule, his personal habits. Every time he would step out of the shower the bloody phone would ring. He would be about to put a piece of food into his mouth and the phone would ring. Chelsea from the Gazette.
The pressure was on and Nathan knew it was time to bring out the heavy artillery.He read a book about the exploits of General George S. Patton. He was ready for battle. He waited by the phone one night. He could sense when it was coming and picked it up even before one ring. In a deadpan voice he said into the mouthpiece " I can`t read". Chelsea from the Gazette couldn`t believe how this could be so.
" But sir according to our file you have a degree in computer science and work with computers at the university " she said.
" Doesn`t matter, I still can`t read. Don`t tell them.I might get into trouble for lying on my resmé and lose my job if they found out". Said Nathan " You wouldn`t be trying to sell Helen Keller a collection of Mozart`s six greatest symphonies would you? So stop trying to sell a person who can`t read a subscription to a crappy newspaper" . He then gently replaced the reciever back to it`s cradle.
Nathan was a free man again.He celebrated the emacipation with his cat and the most expensive bottle of cognac that money could buy.
Back in the 1960s when I was growing up in a small town muscle cars were the rage. My Godfather`s son had this `68 Plymouth Road Rumnner that he was constantly working on. I have no clue what he did to it but the thing sure could move! One of the project cars that I`ve considered is the `65 Plymouth Barracuda. I thought I`d share some of my ideas on how to turn this pussycat into a firebreathing monster that will annihalate anything out there. All comers. Bar none.
First off be prepared to spend a lot of time in scrap yards searching for special parts and bring lots of $$$. Some of this special equipment includes the following: special camshafts,special intake and exhaust manifolds, high compression pistons, turbochargers fuel injectors and racing spark plugs.
OK, you`re back from the scrap yard and few thousand dollars poorer. The first thing that you want to consider is COMPRESSION. I cannot over-emphasize this. Very important especially when you want to go very fast.It is advisable that you don`t raise the compression ratio by more than 11 to 1 and the usual method to accomplish this is to plane the gasket surface of the cylinder block until you attain this desired compression ratio. Still with me? Next increase the diamater of the intake and exhaust valve ports. Make sure that both ports are as identical as possible. Now we`ll move on to the carburator. I`d go for multiple carbs.Dual four barrel carbs or six two barrel carbs, take your pick, just make sure that when using multiple barrel carburation, that the specs for each carburator are the same.
There are a wide variety of fuels that you can use in your modified engine ( not all of them legal ). If you use regular pump gas you won`t go as fast and speed is the name of the game here. The magic word. These fuels will make you go like a bat out of hell: methonol, benzine, nitropropane, and benzol.It will probably be advisable to do away with the carburators and go for a fuel injection system if your going to use these fuels in order to avoid wrecking your engine.You`ll also have to equip your frankenstein Barracuda with a supercahrger or turbo-supercharger.I would recommend the turbo-supercharger since it uses the pressure of the exhaust to rotate the blower rather than forcing an air/fuel mixture into the chamber resulting loss of power to drive the car faster.On a last note, I would equip your hot rod with a magneto for sustained fast driving. Just rip out the distributor and replace it with the magneto. And make sure your spark plugs have the correct range. A colder type of plug might have to be substituted. Finally replace your camshafts with a racing cams, that way the cams will be lifted higher and stay open longer. Et Viola! You`re off to the races. Don`t drink & drive and watch out for cops on those lonely stretches of freeway. Next installment will examine transmission and tips on how to become a chick magnet with your 1965 Barracuda hybrid.
( Next Installment : Transmission )
I Can`t fathom for the life of me how someone can`t be amused by a little Japanese man dressed up in a rubber monster suit stomping the crap out of minature recreations of Tokyo and sometimes Osaka.Despite the siliness of it all ( and these films can get pretty silly ) I think that underneath it all these films were trying to send the world a message. The first Godzilla film was released in 1956 just when the arms race was kicking into high gear and I think that they were trying to warn the superpowers against employing nuclear weapons in an actual war. And who better than the Japanese? They had first hand experience on the recieving end.They are the only nation to be attacked not once but twice with these devastating weapons.The original film ( called Gojira in Japanese ) starts off with Godzilla hibernating peacefully in his little atol in the middle of the Pacific Ocean not bothering anyone until he is rudely awoken from his beauty sleep by nuclear weapons testing. As a result he becomes very upset and heads to Tokyo, goes on a rampage and levels it. The film might be construed to be an apology of sorts for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor as well, since it was the first Japanese post-war film to be released in the United States.
In any case, I feel the children of today are missing a lot when they watch all these special effects laden movies such as Transformers, Wolverine and Harry Potter that leave little for the good ole imagination. I meam how many freakin`explosions and computer generated special effects do we have to see." I hate that" reflected one of my idols Kenpachiro Satsuma the guy who got to dress up in the Godzilla rubber suit in a 2002 interview. Don`t ask me how I found the interview. I just did because sometimes I just don`t have a life. Anyway, give me the man in the cheap rubber suit stomping the crap out of small plastic models of Tokyo any day.
I added this section to my old crappy website a few months before George's untimely death and deecided not to change anything. My tribute to one of my fallen comedic hereos.
Back in the early seventies there was this album your parents did not want you to hear. George Carlin's Class Clown. It was one of the first comedy albums to contain profanity and one of those albums that your best friend's older brother would play for you when the parents weren`t around. And it was real cool because you could hear an adult say words like fuck,shit,piss and cunt.
Apart from his stark takes on religion,American culture and psychology he occasionally came out with musings that were completely bizarre and surreal. The folowing is from his book Napalm & Silly Putty that for some reason has always meant something to me. I kind of think that sleeping is akin to giving up. A waste of time. Something you can do when you're dead and George sort of put in perspective for me in his 2002 book Napalm & Silly Putty:
People say," I'm going to sleep now", as if it were nothing. But it's really a bizarre activity. " For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I,m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command of everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life". If you didn't know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell your friends about the movie you had seen." They had these poeple you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK. And then once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconcious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except in their minds they would have adventurous experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lie there, completely vulnerable to their enemies , their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another ; or, if one of their mind adventures got too real they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren't unconcious anymore. An then they would drink a lot of coffee. So, next time you're at a science fiction movie and see someone sleeping make believe that you're in the science fiction movie and whisper, " The creature is regenerating itself".
Thanks for that one George.
I have a good friend who is a Vietnam veteran. He doesn't talk about it that much, at least the details. He avoided the draft by volounteering. He's got war wounds and spent a number of months in hospital after his return. He related the following story to me and gave me permission to reproduce it on my website on the condition that his name not be used. This is a story about his encounter with Lyndon B Johnson just before he shipped out. LB was inspecting the troops just before they boarded the plane and this is what my friend had to say to him:
" Sir, I am going to go and fight in your stupid war even though I don't believe in it. The reason I am doing it is because I must uphold the Constitution of the United States Of America. You have my respect as Commander-In-Chief. But when I come back in a wooden box then you can just go and fuck yourself. The hell will be yours. God bless the United States Of America".
Johnson didn't say a word but gave my friend a brief stare and continued on down the line to continue his inspection before sending the boys off to futile deaths. My friend was the only survivor when his whole platoon was wiped out when the helicopter he was flying in was shot down by small arms fire.
According to the latest statistics ( 2013 ) there are currently 162,143 millionaire households in Canada accounting for 20 % of the country's wealth. I'm kind of glad I am not among them. Most of them are self-made and then there are are the lottery winners. I'd like to say something about the lottery winners before I move on. Winning the lottery does not solve one's eternal problems, for example, it will not cure a tumour on your pancreas or bring your pet goldfish, Douglas, back to life. In fact, I would think it compounds life's hardships. I've seen enough horror stories on programs such as The Fifth Estate, The Journal, 20/20 and 60 minutes about all the misery that comes with surreal lottery winfalls. Family breakups, jealousy, wrecked marriages, drug abuse, long lost relatives and strangers seeking handouts, I could go on. Between 70 and 95 % of lottery winners are in dire straits 3 years after they hit the big money. The self-made man or woman gradually accumulates wealth and learns the ropes as they progress whereas the lottery winner ppreviously working at the local textiles plant will go out and blow the dough on expensive cars, houses and shit without the knowledge as to how to handle such mystical sums of $$$$$$. The chances of hitting 6 numbers out of say, 49 numbers are well... put it this way, you might as well go and sit at the end a runway at London's Heathrow airport and wait for an airplane part to fall on your head. The house wins all the time baby. If I ever became wealthy I would want it to be a result of my sweat and toil not from some lucky numbers I picked at the corner store.
Enter entreprenuer Kevin O'Leary ( Dragon's Den, Shark Tank & Lang & O'Leary exchange). I recently read his book The Cold Hard Truth About Men Women & Money, not that I want to be filthy rich like him ( net worth about a half a billion smackers ), I was just curious about someone who is obsessed with money which I liken to those who are are obsessed with pornography.
Ever the inquisitive one, I none the less found out from O'leary's book that there's no get rich fast scheme and anybody who doesn't have the patience, perseverence and wisdom will not become rich if that's your mission in life. Myself, I want to always maintain some kind of purpose in life that money cannot fulfill such as having air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat after that everything is the icing on the cake such as beer then after that maybe a nice loyal dog. Here's a few quotes from O'Leary's book which I highly recommend regardless of his abrasive personality.
'' Don't spend too much. Mostly save. Always invest.'' Well that doesn't sound like too much fun Kev. Become a hermit and live on cat food sandwiches and water. Makes enough sense though.
'' Every single job that is created in the private sector by a Canadian entreprenuer is the essence of our future. We keep forgetting that government is on the back of the entreprenuer. We pay every dime of it's cost. And lately we've beeen vilififying business leaders and industries. That's insane. That's the backbone infastructure of our country. We should cover it, support it. We should encourage more people to become entreprenuers. '' Yeah Kev, unfortunately everyone wants a oiece of the action.
'' I'm a vocal critic of too much government and it's evidenced by all the money we waste. I'm tired of it as a taxpayer. I want to rebel against it as a taxpayer, and I want people to join me. Look, I have a lot of compassion for people who are stuck by illness or have deficiencies, which make their lives hard. And I don't believe in having able-bodied men and women supported by a state when they should be working. People need to be motivated to get out of the house and get a job. Even if it's picking up garbage or planting trees. I did All those jobs. '' Yeah Kev, and $ 10,000 start-up money from your mom for your first endeavour, SoftKey, helped a bit didn't it?
I guess I can't fault the guy he's done some good with his investments SoftKey helped lots of kiddies how to read. Go to Kev's website here and learn more about how to get stinking rich.
Then there's this clown...
Know who he is?
Yeah, I know, Exscuuuuse moi. Actually sounds like some name on a Monty Python sketch. Whatever. He is God of the oil rich country of Brunei which is roughly the size of Prince Edward Island which occupies a fraction of the island of Borneo. He is reportedly the second richest carbon 14 - based unit on the planet, possibly the universe. Although his net worth is not really known it is safe to say a few hundred billion dollars give or take taking into account fluctuating oil prices.
What does he do with all his loot?
Among other hobbies one of his favourite pastimes is collecting high end cars. His car collection is worth close to $4 billion and he houses it in a 5,000 car garage. Included in his collection are 362 Bentleys, 367 ferraris and for running small errands he has 177 Jaguar beaters. I used to collect hot wheels when I was a kid. The whole list would not even fit on my crappy website but I found this list on the internet. Check out the link below :
I mean, this guy can be saving the world. But.... I dunno.
Then there's Bill ( seen above talking to his buddy Steve). He's worth about four times more than His Majesty but at least he used his brain to make his money and not from some swamp that he happened to be living on that started gushing Texas tea in 1963. At least Bill who has been referred to as " the most generous philanthropist in the world " and has given billions of dollars of his hard earned cash through his foundation to help out with global healthcare and developmental programs as well as educational and library funding in the US. A journalist recently asked Bill,
" What's in your house that's not in mine ?"
" You wouldn't find it that weird ", Bill replied.
" A Trampoline. I always wanted a trampoline".
Money never changed bill just like it never changed this famous family :
An adaptation by Ian Gledhill
200 years ago there was a terrible dragon who demanded sacrifices of young maidens. Travelling through this land was St. George and his squire who was instantly recognised by a wise old hermit. He told St George that the King`s daughter was tied up and left for the dragon to eat. If he slayed the dragon the king would give him his daughter`s hand in marriage and bestow upon him the crown of his kingdom upon his demise.
The good hermit showed St. George the way and told him that the valley was full of fresh fruit trees. Should he become faint or injured, the fruit possessed a magic ingredient which would instantly revive him.
At first it seemed that the dragon would prevail but his loyal squire kept reviving him with the fruit and helping him back on to his steed. Avoiding the dragon`s fiery tail he thrust his sword through the dragon`s heart and the whole valley became a lake of blood giving notice to the nieghbouring district that the terrible dragon had been slain by the brave English knight.
"Sports is a juvenile replacement for war "
- Temperance Brennan, fictional forensic anthropologist
In this photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, a stray dog and its puppy sit behind the railings in the middle of a highway outside Sochi, Russia. As the Winter Games are getting closer, many Sochi residents are complaining that their living conditions only got worse and that authorities are deaf to their grievances.
I'm not really into nationalism or flag waving. For me it's really just a thing of the past. As these words are written the 2014 Winter Olympics are set to open in three weeks time in Sochi, Russia on February 7. I am sick and tired of the over-glorified Canadian media coverage already and have even reverted to watching American newscasts in order to glean some real news that may have a just bit more relevance to my everyday " life". To tell the truth I find the terrorist threats more newsworthy than the freaking Olympics themeselves. They're just plain boring if you think about it. Nobody gives a crap about figure skating other than during the Olympics unless of course there's a career shattering fall to make it more interesting. It's not even a freaking sport. A dog show is more of a sport. Figure skating with it's biased judging it's just as pre-determined as pro wrestling. At least as phony as it is, pro wrestling can be amusing. In downhill skiing you watch different guys go down the same hill over and over again. Excepting some spectacular go to the hospital wipeout it gets dreadfully tedious. Bobsledding and the luge are just as monotonous unless you're actually on the things flying down the track at 150 MPH like a maniac with some sort of bizarre death wish. Curling is just a little less boring than golf I'll have to admit. And then there's Tennis. I know, I know it's not a winter Olympic sport but there's no sense to it just the same . It's an activity that I guess could keep cats amused for hours, watching a ball going back and forth back and forth. I dunno. Is it just me? Is there something that I'm just not getting here?
The amount of attention being accorded to the Olympics on CBC is just a deviation from the real problems that we have to face both here in Canada and in the world. Canada is gliding on past glories without giving the issues of the day any careful thought. Today the Harper's fat Canadian government is destroying our environment in praise of the mighty dollar, violent criminals are being let out of our jails because they are not criminally responsible, workers are being let go by the thousands, so called senators jet setting at the expense of taxpayers, housing and real estate costs are through the roof, freight cars full of toxic materials are going off the tracks blowing up and killing people, the mayor of our largest city is a crackhead alcoholic, our veterans from Afghanistan are committing suicide and then there's, gasp.... Justin Bieber. There's so much reality to veer away from and sweep under the carpet. That's why CBC likes to focus attention on the goddamn Olympics.
I nonetheless watch CBC news on a daily basis not only just to see how horrible a news show can get, but for the remote possibility that I might be able to catch something that is relevant. The other night ( Sunday January 19, 2014 ) I got lucky. Something that actually had some redeeming signifigance appeared on The National which is the CBC's " flagship" 24/7news program. Peter Mansbridge was interviewing recently retired Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield. Chris had some insightful visions toward life itself from his unique perspective as a man who has conquered space and referenced all this hype about the Olympics. Here's a clip:
"Don't look back, that's not where you're going ---- yes, accept things that have happened in the past, but pay attention to where you're going in the future and focus on that, because that is your life." -Chris Hadfield
I'm not the only one who is sick of these idiotic reality shows that are rotting out our minds with everything from naked people running around in the jungle to pawn shop junk. Prior to moving on with my own ranting I found that guitarist David Gilmour of Pink Floyd notoriety has accused Simon Cowell's reality shows of ruining a generation of youngsters, insisting kids no longer want to workhard for success not to mention inability to tie their shoelaces or do long division . Dave insists that many teenagers now want a career in the music industry but do not want to put in the long hours the way he and his contemporaries had to. In a recent interview ) early 2016 ) with a British newspaper he says, " Now it's celebrity culture for the sake of it. The X Factor - Ghastly. People want their 15 minutes of fame. But they haven't come up the hard way like we did. I don't know who the young bands are, there's nobody I like. When we started we worked hard for what we believed in and didn't need anybody to tell us who we were or what and how we were doing it. "
Well, Dave might sound like a grumpy old man but I tend to agree with him not only because I'm a grumpy not-so-old man but because he hits the nail on the head.
The main reason that I watch these reality shows fom time-to-time is because I am fascinated with stupidity. I ask myself, "Let's see just how dumb it can get". What happened to educational TV shows that we used to have? Like The Gong Show with Chuck Barris or Cosmos with Carl Sagan. I guess the Gong show wasn't very educational but it was fucking hilarious and there were a few people that appeared on that show that actually made it big. You also had Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. It ran from 1972 to 1981 and the who's who of rock from the seventies appeared live with no retarded lip syncing. You had everyone from BB King to KISS.
Of course there was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom which was interesting until we found out that for one episode they took an alligator out of the zoo, cranked it up on tranquilizers, let it go in the Florida everglades and then " captured " it. Well that was the end of that. Television is just no longer as honest as it used to be. I dunno guess I'm just old and grumpy. I'll have another beer as I sit here in my rocking chair with old Duke at my feet and just watch the Sun go down and the planet go to rat shit. Here's The Popsicle Girls from The Gong Show from 1978. One of the finest and most refined acts ever.