Thursday, May 31, 2007

Der Go da Judge!

The USA's Supreme Court is favoring corporate America over The Little Guy or Gal. Lovely.

Read about it here.

Sports Reporting at its Best

Sports "reporting" is a questionable activity at the best of times.

Can you say "filler," boys and girls?

But two items in the NY Times this morning pretty well define the issue.

In one, we learn that brain concussions can lead to depression. DUH!

In another, we are asked to consider the age-old question that has baffled philosophers for centuries: Was the Randy Moss trade to the Patriots a Bad Move for the Patriots? Double DUH!

Just what Tom Brady and the Patriots need - a hot-shot, fungo-mouthed, totally selfish, boy-child dingaling.

Now where are the Big Golf Questions? And how many California Angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bravissimo! And pass the dice...

The President and CEO of the BC Lottery Corporation is Vic Poleschuk.

The Corporation is under serious fire for mismanagement, since it's been revealed that ticket sellers win more often and more money than you and I.

Mr. P. will not resign.

Mr. P.was recently awarded the "lifetime achievement" award by the Public Gaming Research Institute, an entity which magically resists being Googled. In other words, where and what is it exactly? Something Vic's mom made up in the back yard next to the lemonade stand?

Great Scott

We're keeping our Scott Young survey up for another day or two.

First, the good mayor of Port Coquitlam is now about to "finish off" his miraculous 45 day rehab. Get him into Ripley's asap.

Second, one respondant to our survey, added in the "other" category, that the good mayor is now "The Queen of De Nile."

More! More!

Etta, Chaka and Gladys - Ain't Nobody Business

Not to mention B.B. King, with whom I once spent about 3 hours for an interview in a North vancouver Hotel room. There was one amazing guy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


'Harm reduction' doesn't work

Editorial: National Post
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Last week, it was announced that the Conservative government will soon unveil a new national anti-drug strategy. The plan is said to feature a get-tough approach to illegal drugs, including a crackdown on grow-ops and drug gangs. And while it will also (wisely) include tens of millions for rehabilitation of addicts and for a national drug prevention campaign, it is said to retreat from safe-injection sites and other fashionable "harm-reduction" strategies introduced by the previous Liberal government.

To which we say: Good. This editorial column has long urged a softening of drug policy on marijuana and other non-addictive recreational substances. But heroin and similarly addictive drugs are a different story. Moreover, safe injection sites don't work. And they send the wrong message, too, promoting disrespect for the rule of law by having government facilitating the consumption of illegal substances.

Safe-injection sites (SIS)-- typically inner-city facilities where addicts may go to shoot up with clean needles under the watchful eye of medical specialists --are often said to work wonders. Benefits claimed on behalf of Insite, Canada's one and only SIS in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 2003, include reduced needle sharing, reduced spread of deadly diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, fewer needles discarded in surrounding neighbourhoods and fewer addicts overdosing in alleys. Lives have been saved, advocates claim, the "well-being of drug users improved," and all without increased street dealing around Insite.

Too bad most of the proof to back these positive claims come from SIS proponents or the academics who devise harm-reduction theories. Police here, and in Europe (where they have lots of experience with SISs) tell a very different tale.

When Insite applied to have its three-year licence renewed last fall, the RCMP told Health Canada it had "concerns regarding any initiative that lowers the perceived risks associated with drug use. There is considerable evidence to show that, when the perceived risks associated to drug use decreases, there is a corresponding increase in number of people using drugs."
That has certainly been the case in Europe. Currently there are more than three dozen major European cities on record against SISs. Most have had such facilities and closed them because they found that drug problems increased, not decreased.

After an injection site was opened in Rotterdam in the early 1990s, the municipal council reported a doubling of the number of 15- to 19-year-olds addicted to heroine or cocaine. Over the 1990s, the Dutch Criminal Intelligence Service reported a 25% increase in drug-related gun murders and robberies in neighbourhoods housing one of that country's 50 official methadone clinics or addict shelters. Zurich closed its infamous needle park in 1992, after the police and citizenry became fed up with public urination and defecation, prostitution, open sex, panhandling, drug peddling, loud fights and violent crimes.

Since word of the Tories' new strategy began to leak out of Ottawa, the well-meaning people who work at Insite have stepped up their campaign to save their facility, which Ottawa has said must close this fall. We sympathize with these supporters. No doubt, they have genuine concern for their charges, who are troubled souls caught in a downward spiral of abuse, crime, disease and pain.

But as much as we admire the good intentions behind SISs, drug consumption is the wrong business for government to be in. A government that funds safe havens for injecting illegal drugs on one hand will quickly find it is working against its efforts to reduce drug dealing on the other.

© National Post 2007

School Daze, Part LCMVCCM

You can always count on school boards from Das Hinterlandt (Chilliwak-Mission-Abbortsford) to do the ugly thing.

The latest is to punish a child for a political argument the board is having with the boy's mother.

Kids are all going on a field trip to The Big Smoke. Highlights will include the Museum of Anthropology, the planetarium and the aquarium. That's 3 good ums in our book.

But mom refuses to pay the fee. She has the money, but it's a belief thing, a political principal.

Fine, OK. So duke it out with Mom already and leave the kid alone.

No, that would be too Solomonic, too sensible. Instead, let's make the little kid's life a misery, boot him off the bus and get back at Mom that way.

I've heard of hiding behind mother's skirts, but hiding behind Johnny's sneakers?

Thus, we have added to our list of oxymorons (Catholic University, happy marriage, military intelligence, Liquor Control Board) this: "Chilliwack Education."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Guest Blogger takes on The Nutty Mayor

Remember Chauncey Gardner. He was the simple minded soul played magnificently by Peter Sellers in the movie "Being There" from a book of the same name.

Chauncey, a humble gardener, accidently became a national celebrity and seer by mumbling such inanities as " We have Spring and Fall, then we have Winter, then it is Spring again". Politicians and journalists would rapturously probe the deep meanings of Chauncey's pronouncements. It was a splendid satire on celebrity, politics and media.

Chauncey lives here in Vancouver.

His name is Sam Sullivan.

His most banal pronouncements on drugs, city planning and economics, that range from simplistic to outright stupid to dangerous, are reverently reported by a fawning media. It proves the old adage that states " media are like puppies, excitable, poorly trained and they suck up to authority".

But whereas Chauncey was an innocent ingenue, Sullivan is a sinister, bitter man. His delusional theories and pathologically inflated ego will leave a legacy of pain on this city. His blatant attempts to turn the Mayor's office into a presidency ( State of the City Address my royal purple ass) goes unchallenged by most of the media.

As Truman once said of a political rival " He's a stupid man, but he's not a nice stupid man".

The Boulevardier

Whose Cousin Owns the Biometrics Lab?

A dentist I used to visit had a sign on the front desk. The sign said,


I told the receptionist that we had a wonderful dog, Ralph, a Samoyed, and that the next time I came in, I'd be happy to bring Ralph, who was always so accommodating. He'd leave a deposit, alright.

This Life Peak Experience comes to mind when I read in the morning paper that soon we will have to carry DNA, biometrics or "other biological identifiers" to go shopping in Bellingham.

My response to this highly effective and sensible new initiative from America's Homeland Security Toy Factory is that I would be happy to DUMP SOME DNA IN THEIR LAPS.

I now join the millions of Western democrats world-wide who mutter into our beer, "The terrorists are winning..."

While grannies and academics and sports teams are having their eyes poked out by cheesy, ineffective laser beams at airports and bus depots along the Canada and Mexico borders, real, actual, lunatic, madmen terrorists are quietly embedded in local culture, eating Royales, watching ball games and waiting for their moment to explode.

Whose cousin owns the biometrics franchise? Is it a Carlyle Group subsidiary? Halliburton? Cheney's nephew?

Survey Said...

The Sunday Survey will now to removed; but, oddly enough, it will re-emerge with different content, next Sunday. Our respondents were consistent: 25% said Sunday is best for making love; 25% said it was best for making lazy circles in the sky and 50% said it was great for everything.

Our DOPE survey will stay on the blog (to your right) for a few more days. Take it - you'll like it!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

John Legend - PDA live at Royal Albert Hall

We're going to see John Legend this evening at The Centre, so I thought a little preview wouldn't hoit...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good News First

The doctor prescribed two medications.

I paid the Safeway pharmacy $93.36 for the two, took them home, read the patient info sheets and was sufficiently horrified. The list of possible side effects, which went on for pages, included losing your dick and being trapped in a small cell with Ryan Seacrest for the rest of your life.

I went back to the doctor.

He agreed that this treatment was optional.

I went back to the Safeway pharmacy. They agreed that they could take the medications back because I hadn't opened either of the packages and the pills were all secured in blister packs.

Did I have the bill?

Mysteriously, I did not. Where the hell was it? I tore the house apart. No luck.

Meanwhile Louise, the head Pharmacist at Safeway, had already assured me that even if I couldn't find my bill, she would re-imburse me. How kind and generous is that!!!

Yesterday I went into the doctor's office and asked the nurse/receptionist if she had found the bill. She got my file and searched for it. No luck.

I was maybe 20 feet along the street when the nurse came flying out after me.

"Mr. Berner, Mr. Berner. I found it!"

Thus, the story ends well. Money returned, bill on hand for verification.

But much praise and thanks to both the nurse for her diligence and especially to Louise at Safeway for resolving this tiny, human problem so graciously.

Emperor's Clothes

How can we take the new "Green" initiatives seriously when everything in the marketplace denies the need?


This morning's paper comes with an 8-page, 4-color, high-gloss flyer from Chrysler.

I counted 28 vehicles on display. Not one of these monstrosities is a compact or hybrid or fuel efficient machine. They are all huge, gas-guzzling, polluting muscle trucks, SUVs and the like.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Clearly we don't believe for a moment in the necessity of conservation and sustainability.

The preacher at the pulpit is drinking and fornicating in the back room. Not news, I realize.

The New Mothers

An idiot leaves her baby alone in a parked car in Kits and goes shopping. Ditz in Kits.

Firefighters arrive and the woman is "warned" by the police.

Why not charge her with criminal negligence? Because we don't want to fill up our jails? Because we don't want to deprive the child of such a caring, thoughtful parent?

Last summer, I was in the middle of exactly this situation.

Spotting an infant alone in a van, I called 911.

About 5 minutes later, as I waited for the police, the "mother" stepped out of a tanning salon. When the police arrived, one officer stood with me and one with the lovely mother. Apparently, the officer with the mother thought I was as funny as the mother did. Apparently, I was a busy-body old fool minding other people's business. Apparently, leaving an infant alone in a van is a sit-com. Who knew?

How is this any different from the cardiologist and his G.P. wife who left their 3 children under the age of 4 to go have a quiet romantic dinner while on vacation in Portugal?

Why not just dump your babies face-down in public toilets? That's being done too, so it must be alright.

You're A Perv, But you are OUR Perv.

Professional "Colleges" are a scourge.

I speak of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Nurses and the College of Teachers, each of which has proven time and again to be most interested in maintaining the status quo at all costs. They pull up the drawbridge, fill the moat with more alligators and tell the world to mind its own business.

The only problem is...their business is our business.

And when these self-protecting, secretive cabals keep good doctors, nurse and teachers who have immigrated to Canada from working, they are harming all of us.

And when they fail to discipline or rout the miscreants and dogs in their midst, they again harm all of us.

The case of the nutty sex perv who has been teaching teen-age girls in Abbotsford, Chilliwak and Mission is a prime example.

The fool has been flagged time and again since 1995 for "inappropriate" behaviour, warned by various school boards, slapped on his very long, inquisitive wrists, but the College of teachers has never had the guts to step up to the plate and say, "Sir, what you do is not permitted in our midst. Goodbye, sayonara, auf vederzein, ciao, take a hike."

They claim the fault here was "an administrative error."

These groups always have that kind of claim.

New legislation should - and it does not - include a closer and more open relationship with the Colleges. They might try coming out of the Dark Ages and into the light.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Unroyal Dismounted Muddied Police

What a sad spectacle our national police have become.

Underfunded, undermanned, asked to cover millions of acres of parks when they can't get their cars started in suburbia.

Daily now are the revelations of incompetence, bungling, collusion, cover-ups.

Now, this atrocity in Smalltown, BC. A young, inexperienced officer shoots a prisoner in the back of the head. The prisoner's crime is that he had a beer at a hockey game.

We don't know how all this went down; we weren't there. But apparently the officers and other officials who were there, weren't entirely there either.

The body of the shot young man was allowed to sit and decompose in the detachment office for 2 days before it was finally delivered - in an unrefrigerated vehicle - to the pathologist for an autopsy. Further, the pathologist's work was shoddy at best, negligent if truth be told.

What are we to do? How will Canada ever regain self-respect and self-confidence in this once proud organization? Throw more green at the red and blue?

Where is the leadership?

Bob Dylan - I want you

Why not 3 songs? Did I mention it's his birthday?

Bob Dylan - Maggies Farm (Live)

Hey...It's his birthday!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Canada in Flight - A Charming Story

ITEM: From the morning paper: "A former Air Canada cleaner says security was so lax at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on the day of the Air India bombing in 1985 that he wandered undetected around the doomed airplane for 10 minutes - even sitting down in the cockpit - in the hours before takeoff from Toronto."

ITEM: From the morning paper: "A Canadian pilot, who was once rejected by the Canadian forces, was honored Wednesday by the Queen and the Royal Air Force with a medal for bravery under fire in Afghanistan."

These comedy/horror shows cannot be written. Only real life works this devilishly well.

How Insane Can Religion Be if You Give It Half a Chance and Half a Brain?

The Pope in a speech in Brazil declared recently, "Christ was the Saviour America's Natives silently yearned for."

He thus alienated several millions of God's children, who happen to not share his persuasions.

How did he know this? Could we get the address book of his email?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Says Who? The Drug Drek Continues

The National Post has a major, front page story today headlined "Tories to Shun Safe Drug Sites."

Almost everything in the details of this article is either flat wrong or wrong-headed.

First, the paper reports that the federal government will now allocate a new $64 Million over two years for treatment, enforcement and prevention. As Harm reduction is not mentioned, everyone and his dog who has been sucking at the harm reduction tit for the last umpteen years is freaking out. One such fool who works in HIV-AIDS cries, "There is is no money for harm reduction, which is quite ominous..."

Well, it's not ominous at all. First, there are already millions of dollars allocated for harm reduction and that waste will continue. Second, harm reduction is ALL that has been funded until now, so stop your whining. And third, harm reduction has accomplished nothing other than more harm.

Then it is reported that drug treatment could get $32 Million, including money for research aimed at treating crystal meth addicts.

There are two things wrong with this little gem. First, $32 Million for treatment - when there has been ZERO money for treatment for 30 years is a pea in the pissoir. It is just short of next to the shadow of a whisper of nothing. Second, we don't need to spend more money on research on any addictions. We have had all the answers staring us in the face for 50 years or more now. All we need is the courage and then political will to get to work. And third, money assigned for treatment should go, oddly enough - wouldn't you think? - to treatment not to research, which is not treatment it is research.

Finally, the article claims that we already spend in Canada $385 Million a year on treatment, prevention and harm reduction. THIS IS NOT SO. If we spend that money, where may I ask are the BEDS??? Where are all the treatment centres that families are quickly turning to in desperation? Where?

This subject is maddening for all the lies, stupidity, misinformation, opinionation based on intellectual masturbation and claims made by people who have accomplished nothing in terms of saving lives, but much in building handsome little empires funded by tax dollars.

T-t-t-timing is ever, everything...

Just a question...why is the National Post running excerpts from a book by Conrad Black about Richard Nixon? Why now? To cash in on Mr. Blacks' current notoriety, as h stands before a Chicago court and the world press?

Can we call this tacky? Can we say we don't care to read the stuff?

Counter Intelligence

The fact that the Anti-Poverty Committee are goons is not up for debate.

They debase the idea of protest by adding the elements of violence, destruction and personal attacks. And they discredit those of us who have been immune to or against the hysteria of good cheer for the Olympics from the beginning. Many thousands of British Columbians could care less about this expenditure of almost $2 Billion and the secrecy in which the spending is shrouded. Many of us would rather put tax money to work on health, schools, roads, police. But we aren't smashing fax machines or stalking private citizens to their homes.

What makes the APC interesting - while still disgusting and counterproductive - is that they are like you and me and most of this juvenile, adolescent culture we call Canada.

This is the only city in the world where drivers either don't understand or willfully ignore traffic circles - even police cars! If a building has a NO PARKING sign painted on its side, you can bet a fleet of middle-aged rebels will be stationed below it. People regularly walk across red lights and expect drivers to be ware of them. Fifty year old men and women wear "distressed" jeans - the only thing about them, being how distressed we are to have to bear witness to this embarrassment. The Pirate Syndrome, a new category of psychological disturbance that I have invented, was in full flight again at the end of this moribund hockey season, school teachers and bank clerks aflutter with the flapping of their Canucks flags against the side windows of their Toyota Camrys. Yeah, Yeah, Johnny Reb. Yawn...

The APC are hooligans and bums looking for a brawl. A shame, because there is much to protest about this bread and circuses fiasco called 2010. But pouring water on the secretary's blackberry won't cut it. The APC is the best PR campaign the Vanoc could hope for.

The King And I - Shall We Dance

And speaking of little lost is the voice of Seattle's Marni Nixon, who also sang for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady," and Natalie Wood in "West Side Story,' so seamlessly in each case that one never suspected it wasn't Deborah Kerr or Audrey or Natalie singing. I saw Yul Brynner do this role on stage here in Vancouver, when he was suffering from cancer. You would never know it. He was beyond magnificent.

Gordon Macrae

Here's one of the great songs sung by one of the great singers. NO accident that he was the star of both "Oklahoma" and "Carousel" from which this song is taken.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Sound of...?

The votes are in.

Thank you bloggists.

99% of you prefer the written word here to the audiofile. In other words, our audiophile isn't such.

I will do both on and off as I see fit for the next little while. When I've improved the mike and sound...well, we'll see.

Meanwhile, thanks for your feedback.

Close Encounters of the Furry Kind

Hello mensche.

You may remember the days I describe below. Listen with your heart. Here is my story for today.

Today, a squirrel visited me, peering into my kitchen window from my porch rail . He was, perhaps, a great-great-great grandchild from a cherished time. I looked at him, sipped my tea, and remembered.

Drift back with me, 40 some years. A time when life kissed your skin every morning. And you never kissed it back. Because, like me, you thought life's morning kiss was only a pillow away. Now we know. Not so.


When I was in university, vigorous and vacuous, ( weren't we all) I lived in a series of depressing hovels. One was a house full of students with a biker landlord who had heinous doberman we hated. The house had a closed back porch and the dobie would sleep, growl and drool on that porch, lunging at us (me) when we stumbled, drunkenly, up the back steps at 2 am. We would fall. We really hated that dog.

One day, I was studying in the kitchen, a communal slop house where all 19 students ate by stealing each other's food from a common fridge. The porch was visible outside the kitchen window. On that day I looked up from my books to see the demonic dobie corner a squirrel on the porch. He crowded the squirrel into the corner, closer and closer. There was a clothes pin basket in the deepest part of the corner. The dog came closer. I put down my sandwich and thought, "poor little squirrel". The squirrel jumped into the little basket of clothes pins, his last refuge before death by dobie. The squirrel trembled.

Then he jumped out.! He went for the dobie's lower lip and bit hard. His 4 claws raked the jaw. The dobie screamed ( dogs do that) and ran, bleeding and pissing while the squirrel held on and then dropped at a time of his choosing, watching the dobie slip in his own piss. I have, since that day, retained a respect for these pimped out rodents. They are sewer rats in fur coats. Something like politicians.

A boulevardier

When is a Fight not a Fight? When it's "Consensual."

Wasn't it just a week ago that a video of 2 teenage girls fighting furiously was all the rage on the net? The girls were from some woebegotten school in that centre of civilization, Nanaimo. Although the fight was vicious, nothing of consequence followed. That is, no school sanctions, detentions, evictions, talking-tos. Why? Because this was considered a "consensual" fight.

Which is to say, that the school, like most of our public institutions, has abandoned any hope of moral or civic leadership. They don't want to leave their position, frozen in time, of being "nice" and "Caring."

Today's headline is all about a 13-year old child dying in a knife fight that took place at 5 in the afternoon on a holiday weekend in front of the Science World.

Was this tragedy a result of a "consensual" fight? You bet. Relativism at its best.

And what consequence will flow as readily as this child's blood?

No doubt we will perform circus acts of elasticity in "understanding" the little shit who did the stabbing.

The grief counsellors have already parachuted in, as have the criminoligists, citing the "low statistical probability" of such an event, which is, no doubt, of tremendous help to the family.

Not far away, on the same remote planet, the police wanting to take down a protester, disguised themselves as a reporter for "24 Hours," thus, in one swell foop, disgracing themselves and the media. Nice work, boys.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is about to consider the case of "Chief," the wonder-dog, who sniffed and found drugs in school kids' backpacks. No matter that the drugs are illegal and harmful and that they have no place in the school environment. The "issue" is that Chief may have put his little paws all over the children's Charter Rights.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gone sailing...

There are 3 reasons (spurious at best) for this short, written post this morning:

First, I don't know about you, Kids, but I didn't see a thing in the news that caught my attention. CSIS knew there was going to be a bombing on Air India. The Premier gets a 54% pay raise. The mayor hires a politico to do a job that can't and won't be done and is unnecessary, and he can't say what the salary or terms of reference of the job are even though he's the guy who did the deal. Wolfowitz finally quits. Bush and Blair are still kissing and smiling.

In other words, same old, same old.

Second, I've noticed that my numbers of hits and visitors on the blog have declined precipitously (and I can't even say, "precipitously!") since I started doing the audio thing.

Is it the quality of the audio? Is it my shrieky teenage voice? Do you prefer the written word? Have you finally realized what an old crank I really am?

And Finally (YEAH! YEAH!), I off to Winnipeg early tomorrow morning for the 90th birthday of a good friend, which means that I won't be posting anything over the long weekend.

In the meantime, you could COMMENT and tell me how you feel about the AUDIO versus the WRITING and so on.

Here's what I hope. I hope the next 4 days are sunny and warm wherever you may be and that you enjoy the good company of people whom you consider good company.

Back on Tuesday. Salute! Che vediamo! Ciao....

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Nessun Dorma - Placido Domingo

and speaking of old chestnuts...

Posting Late Today

Off to an early meeting this morning. The real deal will arrive in a few hours...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007




Here's a fun and lively piece from a group I've just learned about from "Crookks and Liars." This'll get your m orning going...

Another Guest Editorial from V.

The lady and the tiger episode resulted in a horrid tragedy, witnessed by her children. William Blake told us, 200 years ago, about the complex disposition of Mother Nature. "Tiger, tiger burning bright". We never learn.

We did learn in the ensuing media coverage ( responsible I might add) that owing to variances in municipal bylaws, people who want to keep a tiger,puma, rhino in their backyard or basement need only to take their menacing menagerie to the next town that lacks bylaws if things get ornery.

The solution, we are told, is for the province to ban the practice of keeping exotic ( can you say killer) animals. Ban. Outright. Sounds good.

Then we hear from the Minister of Agriculture and Fools. Pat Dumbell.

His solution is to "license keepers of killer ( sorry, exotic) animals and perhaps requiring them to have training".

Out of the pool, somebody peed!

See, here's the deal.

First, licensing is government code for revenue. It's code for inspectors as in bigger government. Hello? We will never collect revenue from a muscle-shirt cavemen who wants to keep a lion in the living room. Can you say ban!

Second, Mr. muscle-shirt will not attend training and if he does, who will train him. Who will pay for the trainers?

No matter the crisis, government's first impulse is to look for a revenue opportunity, offset by a bigger government response.

Note to government.

Nobody wants tigers in the basement.

Ban! Simple. The legislation would be less than a paragraph. No extra bureaucrats involved in inspecting, training and issuing fines. Your cleaning lady could write the law

Last word. Today, on the Big Flea ( Top Dog) I heard a lady from the American SPCA say " There are more Indian Tigers in American basements than living in the jungles of India".

Oi vey!

The madness continues.


A boulevardier

Guest Editorial from V.

When watching Tim Dailey's riff on the arrogance of New York's priapic slogan, I couldn't help but think about British Columbia's modest official motto, no less, "The Greatest Place on Earth"." Oh really", I whispered. " Sorry I wasted money on world travel."

I live with a Chinese woman. She saw this slogan one day and asked if we really believed that.

Think of it. China. Five time zones. Deserts to tropics. Temples to mega malls. I blushed. I said I had only visited a mere 41 countries and I wasn't sure but maybe somebody in Victoria knows something I don't. I added that since 49 per cent of the people in Vancouver are visible minorities, I hope they don't feel ashamed of their homeland just because we have a wanker's slogan. She assured me that she will still love her birth country and that perhaps there should not be a competition where we declare ourselves in first place.

We love to diss the "Ugly American".

But could you imagine standing up in a cafe in Venice, Lyon, Brussels, Vienna or Stockholm and announce to the patrons.

" Hi, I'm a modest Canadian from British Columbia and I live in the GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH. Aren't you dorks sorry that you live in inferior places? Now let's drink beer and watch hockey."

Maybe before 2010,when the world visits BC, we might consider a slogan with a little modesty. Does Greece have a motto that says " We brought democracy to inferior, sweating classes". Would Iraq have a slogan that said " We had medical schools when Europeans were living with their pigs." Does China have a 2008 slogan that says " Your grandchildren's income depends on our economy and by the way, we were a magnificent culture when your race had bones in your noses."

Or maybe BC First Nations could adopt a slogan such as " You separated us from Nature, but we never signed a separation agreement."

David, if you have a media mailing list, please pass this on. In BC today, the oracle is Bill Goo. I call him BobbleBill. . Why? Because he bounces from radio, to TV, to BC business without anybody stopping to say, " Bobblebill has a shiny surface but he's either dense or empty". Pick both.

A Boulevardier

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Audio Rant Below

Brian Williams, Kate Couric, Stone Philips, Hudson Mack, Air India, Parks Canada, Checks & Balances and the very, very teensy tiny Bush Library...

Broadcasters Et Al

The News From Venice

CURIO. "Closed for depression". This is the curiosity-provoking notice thatappears on the newspaper kiosk along Fondamente Nove in Venice. Beneath the signis an explanation -- the news dealer claims that he's had a nervous breakdown."I can't go on," he says. "I have to give tourists hundreds of bits ofinformation every day, responding to the most cockeyed queries. An example?Where is the pink castle? (the Doge's Palace). Where is the bus stop for Murano?(Murano is an island). Where is Fontana di Trevi? (Fontana di Trevi is inRome)." The explanation continues with irony and humour but also cogency: "I amone of many Venetians who is the victim of tourism, trading in a commodity thatuses my time but provides no source of income. Ask my nerves!" Other shopkeepersare more practical. They display signs saying "No info, please."Wish to comment on this article?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The audio file below is my first official audio posting for the blog.

The subject is a very typical Berner rant about various concerns about driving, texting, children, socialization, isolation, and multi-culturalism.

The microphone and sound quality will soon improve.

Happy Sunday Driving

James Taylor and Carole King

In honor of Mother's day, everybody is playing Carole King's "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman," but I thought this classic take with James and Carole together was so lovely...

Saturday, May 12, 2007


The 3 Filemobile posts below are all test runs.

The good news is that the one immediately below is my first successful effort in recording from a mike attached to the computer and uploading the finished piece directly to the blog.

May this be the start of something grand!

May Test

May Second Try


Try this....yet another test

I Can Relate

The video posted below is incredible.

An actor named Mike Daisey is performing a monologue at the American Repertory Theatre.

A Christian group, apparently unhappy with the bawdy, racy content and language, not only get up and leave, but they pour water on the actor's notes and desecrate his work space.

I have been performing a one-man show called, "Shylock," for over 11 years now. Before that, I used to perform a one-man show called "T.E., or Telling Everything."

It is wonderful to watch this young man in the video below react honestly and spontaneously to the outrageous, bad behaviour that is thrust upon him.

All of this was contributed to the blog by my friend, Bob Turner, who knows a thing or two about performance himself.

Mike Daisey Audience Protest, Walkout and Attack

A Christian Group walks out on an actor...this is extraordianry for so many it all.

10,000!!! TEN THOUSAND 10,000!!!

10,000, 10,000, 10,000!


That's 10,000 hits, visits, peeks at the blog since we started in late December. And that's wonderful.

All right, it's not a Coke or Toyota ad campaign, and it's not Al Gore or Clinton.

Bit it is great.

Thanks so much for your visits.

We'll do more and they'll soon be slightly different in form, but the content will continue to be eclectic, funny, angry, maddening, opinionated and musical.

Have a great weekend!

They Think They are Loving Parents. They are Wrong. They are Irresponsible, Selfish Fools, and They are the Modern Template.

He is a cardiologist. She is a general practitioner.

They are both doctors, health care workers. They are both professionals. No doubt, they are smart and they work hard and they are not suffering financially.

They take their 3 kids to a resort in Portugal. A daughter is almost 4, the twins are 2 years old.

The father and mother decide they'd like a little quiet romantic time. Nothing extravagant, just a dinner by themselves.

Do they get a baby-sitter? No. Can they afford one? Yes. Did they bring the nanny from England with them to the resort? No. Could they have? yes.

How do I know they have a nanny? How do I know they could have brought her?

Because he is a cardiologist and she is a G.P. They are professionals with 3 young children. Somebody must be at home while they're earning the loot to but the next Land Rover.

So. Mom and Dad leave their 3 kids at a rented apartment and go out to eat by themselves.

When the disaster strikes - as it must - they sob to the cameras that they "checked on the kids every half hour."

The disaster in this instance is called "kidnapping."

But here are some of the other swell things that can happen IN A FUCKING NANO-SECOND - when you leave 3 kids under the age of 5 alone and unattended in a rented apartment:

- choking on a pencil, a bottle cap, a candy, a lug nut

- fire

- falling out a window

and that's just for openers.

Of course, nobody deserves the horrible nightmare in which these two idiots find themselves. Of course, we all sympathize for a plight that none of us would want or know how to endure.


I suggest that these so-called parents are the poster boy and girl for the thoroughly modern version of humankind, western, free-market, democracy style.

No doubt they text message on their blackberries while driving and shout asparagus instructions to each other over their cells while shopping.

My son and I discussed this case yesterday after breakfast. He recalled the many demonic instances of our over-diligence when he was a child and his mother and I were young parents. We laughed, and we counted our blessings that we were still here to laugh.

This Little Bear Went to Market

We have a peculiar sickness in this country.

While in truth we are often cold, reserved and inhospitable, we are at the same time obsessed with "niceness." We cannot stand to say "No" to anyone about anything and we hate to encourage police, the military or any kind of authority that might appear punitive and old-fashioned.

Thus, in our latest public fiasco, the federal government has told Park Wardens to stand down. No guns, no handcuffs, no body armour, no pepper spray, no law enforcement period. This directive comes days before the season opens at National Parks across the land.

The RCMP, who are grossly underfunded and understaffed and under-equipped, and who know NOTHING about Parks and the issues therein, are being told that they will have to police the parks.

But drunkenness, illegal hunting, smuggling and other fun summer activities are rife in our national Parks.

Parks Canada has been told by a court that they must equip park wardens with sidearms (because their failure to do so has violated safety provisions of the Canada Labor Code) or remove them from law enforcement duties.

Instead of doing the obvious right thing - arming and training the wardens for, among other things, their own safety - the idiots at Parks Canada has dis-armed and emasculated the wardens.

If you go out in the woods today, you'd better not go alone....

Lyle Lovett - Church

This should get you set for the weekend...

Friday, May 11, 2007

O.J. Simpson Kicked Out of a Restaurant

This self-explanatory bit of Americana is...what? Bizarre? A statement about Our World?

Guest Editorial from V. - Most Important!

The provincial government has come down on the farmer whose van was involved in the needless, heartless deaths of those Indian women who perished in an unsafe van ,while on their way at dawn to process food for our tables. Fine Mr.Falcon, but not enough. This is a far bigger problem than one farmer.

See, here's the thing.

I don't want to buy my broccoli , from a store that buys its broccoli, from a farm or greenhouse that abuses or causes the death of its workers.

I think most decent people feel the same.

So we need to take a page from the great Cesar Chavez who fought so gallantly for farm workers in California.

I want to see a vigorous inspection system for farms. One that tells me they are treating their workers right, protecting my health, and protecting the environment. Maybe BC Fed could do this.

Then I want all stores , large and small, that sell farm products, to have their supplier list reviewed by the inspectors. Stores that buy farm goods from farmers who respect workers, public health and the environment get a window sticker. Losers don't.

If there's no sticker, I don't buy my broccoli there. Neither would you.

Cheaters would try, but a scum list could be published for those that attempted to forge a sticker.

Yes, I can hear the yeahbut crowd saying " What about food from Mexico, China, Thailand,California etc.". I can't change behaviors in those countries. But I sure as hell can do it here.

I hope you or I never ate a single tomato that came from that man's business. I can't be sure.

But if we did, those dead women were working for us when they died. How does that feel?As the commercial says " Can you hear me yet?"

I never want this to happen again. It's not enough to make one person the official sin eater, no matter how guilty he was.

Let's fix this. Let's demand that it be fixed.

Hola Cesar Chavez. Your work continues. It is our job now.


A Boulevardier

Claims and Damn Claims

Why does the press publish lies? Or uncontested claims?

In a tiny announcement about the hiring of more child care workers here in B.C., the Sun announces - as if this is a fact - that "one in seven B.C. children suffers from a mental disease."

This is utterly false.

This is not true.

Where is the evidence for this?

There is none.

It is simply what the Caring Industry wants governments to believe. The issue is money.

Why would anyone believe a statement so evidently wrong? Why would anyone casually print it?

Whisle Blowers Beware

The intersection of 2 stories in this morning's press should raise some alarm.

An Environment Canada employee was led away in handcuffs by the RCMP because he is alleged to have leaked information about our government's plans to scuttle any involvement in the Kyoto accord.

And the Supreme Court is now 0 for 3 in hearing appeals from fired whistle blowers. Two are Health Canada scientists who complained that major health decisions were being made politically rather than based on any good and reasonable science. One was an RCMP officer who complained about corruption at the Canadian High Commission in Hong Kong.

All three were fired or severely punished for their transgressions.

The Court has refused all their appeals and, as is tradition, given no reasons for its decision.

How are we to protect our public institutions?

Poison The Pear

(Now, that's a curiously suggestive photograph, isn't it?)
The Letter writers get it right, and the government gets it wrong - again.

An obscure bureaucrat, hidden away in the bowels of Obfuscation & Mismanagement Directive, has dusted himself off and emerged into the light long enough to declare that Canada will INCREASE the amount of pesticides allowed on fruit and veggies because our current rate - already 1400 times higher than European standards! - has become a trade irritant with the United States of Consumption.

The fool's name is Richard Aucoin. Good name, as many ordinary Canadians are now questioning how much money (Oh Coin!) the chemical lobbies have filtered into federal coffers for this decision.

Mr. A is the head of our Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Which I guess makes him Mr. Pest, or Monsieur La Pest.

God forbid we should count on our governments to protect the foods we eat, instead of worrying about what Mr. Bush thinks...assuming that Mr. Bush is capable of thinking...

John Lennon Beautiful Boy(darling boy)

Do you all remember the lovely scene in "Mr. Holland's Opus," the movie for which Richard Dreyfuss was again nominated for an Oscar? It is a rare thing when an actor can make us forgedt for a brief moment John Lennon.

Here is Lennon singing his beautiful lullaby...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Collision in Air and Road

Two horror stories collide.

The themes are malfeasance, incompetence, laziness and lying.

One story is Air India. The other is the deadly crash of the farm workers' truck 2 months ago.

They are the same story.

Today we learn that the dog handler and his famous bomb-sniffing dog were not allowed to do their work clearing the doomed Air India flight for take-off.

Even worse, we learn that both Transport Canada and the RCMP told the 2005 inquiry that the dog had been there and that everything had been searched. THIS WAS A COMPLETE LIE.

Someone asked, "How could this have happened?"

The same way that so many things happen in Canada - laziness, indifference, sloth, ego.

In the case of the farm workers' crash, the vehicle should have been pulled off the road a dozen times for safety infractions. But we can't do that because all of our money is invested in the Olympics and giving addicts needles and drugs. Why would we spend money on inspectors and ask them to do a good day's work? It's just human life. Oh. Wait. It's just female, immigrant, Indian life.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

This loverly foto showed up just about everywhere yesterday and this morning.

The caption on Crooks and Liars read, "You know things are going well in Iraq when the Vice-President has to wear the largest flak jacket ever when he steps of the plane in Baghdad."


One man owns more airplanes than Air France and BA combined.

He is the biggest, richest owner of aircraft in the world.

His name is Steven Udvar-Hazy and his fascinating story can be found here.

A Symphony All At Once!

Speaking of which....

All of those YouTube videos that failed over the past few days, have now magically appeared!

So scroll down and find another Tom Waits piece, John Lennon, and Al Jolson!!!

Shrinks Paid to Pill-Up Kids...Nice.

Was it only yesterday (Yes, it was. I checked.) that I was ranting about doctors taking money from Big Pharma to prescribe poison to their patients?
Well, it gets worser and worser.
At last, the press is reporting what we all knew already.
Psychiatrists - those fake, pseudo-doctors - are taking Big Bucks from Big Pharma to prescribe poison to CHILDREN!
And these self-righteous bastards sit over cocktails in the evening and tell each other how swell they are.
They are pimps and crooks.
Read the detestable tale here.

Waiting for Tom

YouTube is amazing, but, like all of us, not perfect.

Of late, all of my attempts to post videos to the blog have simply failed.

Yesterday, I tried 3 times to share a Tom Waits original with you. (To say Tom Waits and "original" in the same breath is redundant, n'est ce pas?) No dice.

But here, today, you have below, a Jim Jarmusch film with Waits turning a Sinatra classic on its ear.

tom waits _ it's alright with me

Tom Waits - On The Nickel

Imagine - John Lennon


Here's one of my fall-time favorite moments from a very corny movie that has had an enormous influence on my life. I was 4 years old when "The Jolson Story" was released in 1946. I saw the movie and how could I not be drawn by a story of a Jewish boy who loves to sing.

Larry Parks was nominated for Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the man, who for many years, was called "The World's Greatest Entertainer."

In this lovely moment from the movie, Jolson's Rabbi father encourages him to sing after the singer has taken a kind of false "retirment."

I post this for my sweetheart. We are celebreating tomorrow our One Year Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, Baby...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pill Takers Beware!!!

Shocking experience this morning. Lesson learned.

My normally reliable Safeway Pharmacy blew it Big Time in attempting to refill a prescription.

The particular formulation is one of the statin drugs used to get better cholesterol numbers. Thank God I'm a naturally chatty person. The pharmacist gave me the refill and I started talking about how simvastatin almost killed me 2 years ago with dreadful muscle ache side effects, and that I was so please with now using this older version, called pravastatin.

The pharmacist looked at me like she's just seen Jim Carrey naked.

Guess what?

They had given me the wrong scrip!!!

Fortunately, I still had 2 pills left and the bottle with me so I could compare and match the new prescription.

LESSON FOR ALL: Check, then double-check that you have been given the right poison.

Fire the Writers! Some Comedies Just Write Themselves

So we ask you to do something, and then you do it too well, so we stop talking to you.

Ecco the City of Vancouver.

For years, the City has been giving an east side neighbourhood trucks and bins to clean up their area. The neighbourhood won awards for their diligence.

Now, the City says that the 'hood is throwing out too much "personal" trash.

Result, the City is taking away the trucks and bins.

In fact, the City is threatening anyone who tries to throw out "unauthorized" garbage" with...wait for it..."a dumping infraction."

A dumping can't make stuff like this up!

Only the City can satirize itself so successfully.


When will we remove psychiatry - that most witchy pseudo-science - from our criminal justice system?

In the latest travesty in which a head doctor hijacks a courtroom, someone claiming to be an "expert" in sleep disorders, changed the entire outcome of a dangerous driving case in a local court.

A woman fell asleep while driving at 6:30 in the evening and killed a 5 year old.

The psychiatrist convinced the judge that the driver was suffering from "undiagnosed chronic insomnia."

How does he know this?

Why would the judge and a set of appeal judges give this man any credence?

Cheques & (Bank) Balances

There is a disturbing trend in editorial writing these days.

This morning, The Vancouver Sun has published yet another piece decrying public disagreement with official policy. A consistent pattern has emerged in recent months in which the city's largest daily journal objects to debate or opposing opinions, favoring in each case, the status quo.

Today they say ,"Critique of Olympic Planning is Redundant and Wasteful."

And they may be right about the way this study was funded and other particulars. But isn't this the core of democratic process - checks and balances?

So a group was gifted $109,000 to rate VANOC's performance?

When VANOC is shrouded in secrecy and spending is astronomical and historical precedent tells us that Olympic Games are often in the red, why not ask questions?

The Fifth Estate can do better.

Doctor, Doctor. Gimme More!

Did you know that it is legal in America for a doctor to receive payment from a pharmaceutical company to prescribe the pharma's drug products?

And because it is legal and highly profitable, moral and ethical considerations never enter the equation.

Click here to read the startling and detestable story. Then ask yourself to what degree does the same behaviour appear here in Canada. I don't know the answer. But I do know this. While I am happy to see many reforms in our health care system, including the embracing of some private components, the example herein points clearly to the disaster of free-market health care delivery.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What's a Girl to Do?

Poor little Christy Clark.

She felt "the injustice" of her MLA pay.

She quit politics to spend more time with her infant son.

And shortly thereafter, came out of mammahood to run for mayor.

Cry me a river...

Bang, Bang, You're in Jail

The Conservative Government has passed a bill which will call for more prison time for crooks with guns. Not much more, but some.

The NDP watered down parts of the bill saying that the bill as originally worded by the Conservatives would not pass the Charter of Rights Guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

They were probably right.

But what does that mean?

It means that in Canada, punishing a bad guy for owning, buying, stealing, using, waving a gun is defined by law as "cruel and unusual punishment."

And you wonder why we're in trouble...