Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Progress With a Price

I was driving north across the Granville Street Bridge the other day.

I looked at the landscape, so radically changed in recent years by the blooming of a hundred concrete towers.

I still love Vancouver and am still happy and grateful to live here.

But I don't like much of what I see.

No doubt, this is all very good for the economy.

But it is ugly and I don't like it.

The Ministry of Heartbreak

It is heartbreaking to read the continuing nightmare of neglect to foster children from the Child & Family Ministry.

I feel a particular ache in this regard because my mother, may she rest in peace, took in foster children on occasion. One at a time, not nine. And she provided the most loving care and attention imaginable.

Of course, she didn't have to deal with this government's indifference.

The Ministry has been a rotating graveyard for politicians for at least a dozen years now.

And, while the cement is being poured and the monuments clutter the landscape, Children & Families continues to be underfunded and understaffed.

The priorities of this administration are clear.

It's unfortunate that their vision is so muddy.

Little Martyr on the Prairie

Mass murderers being praised at religious services as "martyrs?" Here in Canada?

This is a detestable example of the worst unexpected consequences of a muddle-headed multiculturalist policy.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Welcome to the New Canada, where Terrorism is sanctioned, stamped and approved.

Stephane Who?

It is one thing to criticise a federal budget; it is quite another to give any notice whatsoever, let alone credit, to a nebish like Liberal "leader", Stephane Dion.

What's with Don Cayo and the newspaper? Are they among the folks who, having forgotten the corruption of the Liberal regime, are still crying about Harper's election?

Guest Comment from John Deserves an Audience

Hi David,

I was a crew member for two of the shows (whole summers in fact) in which you appeared in what was in those days called "Theatre in the Park": "Guys and Dolls: and "The Pajama Game".

In fact, I spent several entire summers of my teen years at Malkin Bowl. I am still friends with many of the people I worked with in those years. Quite a few of us went on to careers in the theatre, including myself.

I am sure you remember the dressing rooms in the bowels of the bowl. My only interest in those rooms was the many hundreds of signatures on the walls of all the people who appeared in shows or worked on them over the decades. Amongst those scrawled signatures was one of "Robert Goulet".

All the signatures were lost in a tragic instance of bureaucratic well-meaning in the '80s when the parks board sent someone in to repaint all the interior walls. We who spent so much of our young lives in that place were devastated at the news.

I still think of that decrepit old theatre as a crucible of learning and sanctuary for a generation of musical theatre people (onstage and backstage) that are still practicing their craft. It was my Hogwarts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A More Personal Note on Robert Goulet

On a more personal note ( B-flat, I believe), I've always felt a curious and silly connection with Robert Goulet.

It comes from this.

When I was in my late teens, I was sitting in the dining room at the Charterhouse Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Goulet sat down practically next to me. I remember that he was shorter than me and impossibly handsome. He was already a big star in Canada, but this was before the "Camelot" role that made him famous. We struck up a warm and utterly forgettable conversation. He was pleasant.

Later, I learned that he had starred in at least one show at Theatre Under The Stars in Stanley Park.

I couldn't possibly have predicted, sitting in that booth in the restaurant in Winnipeg in about 1960, that I would star in "Guys & Dolls" (1972), "The Pajama Game" ('73), "Bye, Bye Birdie" ('75), and "Oliver!" ('87), also at TUTS.

Goulet wasn't my all-time favorite singer or actor, but he had a glorious voice and sometimes, with the right song, he was unbeatable.

As well, his famous story about landing the part of Lancelot in "Camelot," opposite Julie Andrews and Richard Burton is the stuff of show biz legend.

Lerner & Lowe had exhausted all usual sources looking for the right singer/actor for this role and were so unhappy with the results, after seeing literally hundreds of men, that they were about to go to Europe to continue the search.

A very sceptical Goulet rushes down from Montreal or Toronto, picks up the sheet music for "If Ever I would Leave You," opens his throat and the rest is history.

Robert Goulet Dead

Robert Goulet, 73


Associated Press

October 30, 2007 at 7:48 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES — Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in "Camelot" launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73.

The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said spokesman Norm Johnson.

He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being found last month to have a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis.

Goulet had remained in good spirits even as he waited for the transplant, said Vera Goulet, his wife of 25 years.

"Just watch my vocal cords," she said he told doctors before they inserted a breathing tube.
The Massachusetts-born Goulet, who spent the majority of his youth in Canada, gained stardom in 1960 with "Camelot," the Lerner and Loewe musical that starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as his Queen Guenevere.

Goulet played Sir Lancelot, the arrogant French knight who falls in love with Guenevere.

He became a hit with American TV viewers with appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and other programs. Sullivan labelled him the "American baritone from Canada," where he had already been a popular star in the 1950s, hosting his own show called "General Electric's Showtime."

Since YouTube has changed their format, I cannot simply show you a video. But you can click the link below to see and hear the video.

Adrian Mastracci Reacts to the Federal Tax Revisions

KCM, Insight on InvestingPerspective from Adrian Mastracci, Portfolio Manager

"Canada's economic update"For Immediate ReleaseVancouver, BC (October 30, 2007): Some brief comments on today's proposals by the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance:

There are a number of tax incentives that touch everyone: individuals, small businesses and corporations. It's a welcome approach to reducing the tax loads for the long term.

As an example, the lowest personal income tax rate will be reduced to 15% from 15.5%, effective January 1, 2007. The amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax will be increased to $9,600 for 2007 and 2008, and to $10,100 for 2009.

The Finance Minister estimates that these two measures together will reduce personal income taxes for 2007 by more than $400 for a typical two-earner family of four earning $80,000, and by almost $225 for a single worker earning $40,000.

The markets are likely to applaud the measures as positive steps.

If Canada's economic situation improves from here, look for the Loonie to rise further from current levels. Hence, our exporters may face more challenging times ahead in keeping their costs in check.

Small businesses, who provide the majority of jobs, will be happy to see lower rates. Especially, if the Provinces and Territories join the rate reduction bandwagon.The one caution is that today's measures are only proposals. They must be passed into law first.Of course, tax reductions from any Government in power are really a return of some of the revenues collected by the Government.

I welcome your questions, comments and opinions.


Adrian MastracciPortfolio Manager, R.F.P.,KCM Wealth Management Inc."Private-Client" Portfolio Managers & Financial Advisors Suite 1500, Box 1078, 885 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC, Canada V6C 3E8 Tel: (604) 739-4500 Fax: (604) 739-0234 Visit Our Website: <>

Let Youth be Served

Just when you're feeling like a dinosaur, a dodo bird, a relic from the junk heaps of the Dodge Cities of Christmases Past...well, along comes the conformation.

Susan Lyne, the former president of ABC Entertainment says, "Anything that is complex narrative story-telling - one-hour dramas, narrative miniseries, character-driven movies for television - advertisers don't believe there is an audience under fifty for these kinds of shows."

O.K. We know what that says about us - we've had the biscuit, we're over the hill, we're done, toast, gone.

But what does it say about the next gen?

Mindless boobs with the attention span of a spaniel.


Let's All Hold Hands Now, Class

"We tried to talk it over, but the words got in the way."

The lyrics from a sappy hit of yesteryear.

But appropriate for so much of what passes for public discourse these days.

An SFU egghead waxes large and loud about a teacher who refused to give her grade 3 kids a test.

He calls her a revolutionary hero. He says the teacher was defending these poor little victims from "psychological & educational vandalism."

He tells a graduating class that this woman's "character, conviction and willingness to act" should be "an inspiration to you."

All beautifully said. All politically correct.

All completely wrong.

We are tested every day.

But we mustn't give the little kids any tests, god forbid, because it might cause them some stress.

We pass kids from one grade to another who cannot read or write or compute.

But we don't want to test them.

You know why?

Because the test scores might reveal what lousy and ineffective teachers we are.

Public Information Lag

Will we ever be told why Victoria's Police Chief has been asked to step aside?

Monday, October 29, 2007


On Wednesday, Oct. 31st, at noon I will be the guest speaker at the Rotary Club, Chinatown branch at the Floata Restaurant on Keefer St.


Please join us.

Parenting - The New Surrey Crime

The headine says, "Car Thieves Take Surrey Tot for a Ride."

But that's not the story.

Not by a mile.

The story is that the idiot irresponsible father of a 2-year old girl leaves the child in his Lexus SUV while he goes into a so-called convenience store at 10 pm!

Why is he not charged with leaving his car running, abandoning his child, bad parenting, aiding and abetting a criminal act and generally being a danger to his community?

Two years ago, I encountered exactly this circumstance in the shopping district on West 10th Avenue, an infant alone in a van. I looked everywhere for a parent. I hollared. Finding no one, I called the police. Before they arrived, the genius "mother" emerged from a tanning salon with a magazine and a ciggie.

"Is this your baby?"


"I called the police."

"What for?"

The police arrived, nothing happened except that I was viewed by the woman and one of the two officers as a meddling alarmist old fool.

Next time I see a baby abandoned in a van, guess what?

I'm going to call the police again.

Chretien Calls Kettle Black

"Shoot the messenger" is one of the oldest, most transparent, and oddly effective political tricks in the book. I think it pre-dates the Greeks.

So why be surprised that Chretien has risen from his golf course to accuse Judge Gomery of being "media obsessed."

There are at least 2 great clouds hanging over recent Canadian history. One is the Air India murders and the other is the Sponsorship Scandals. Neither of these files is closed, neither nears anything resembling justice.

In the Sponsorship/Gomery case, Chretien and Paul Martin were certainly culpable. It is not possible that skulduggery of that order could have occurred in the Liberal party without their controlling knowledge.


A Californian (who else?) has come up with an enormou$ plan to get us into electric cars - thousands of recharging stations dotting the landscape.

Read the story here.

The problem with this idea, which has of course already attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in investment funds, is that it is based on the same flawed model as our current (ha!) electrical grids.

Somebody who controls the flow makes up some arbitrary value for so many units of something flying through the air and charges you and me on that basis.

This provides for untold fortunes for a handful of companies and total blind obedience for everybody else, who just assumes this is he way things are supposed to be.

What if I had a small generator in my basement or backyard? What if every condo building had one?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

City Completely Dysfunctional

A good friend spends much of his time these days around City Hall.

If I told you half of what he tells me, we'd all be sued.

Suffice it to say that the themes are consistent.

Nobody can get anything done.

No large projects are moving forward.

The Mayor has no idea about any of this or what to do about it.

The staff don't talk to the Mayor.

The Mayor, devoting all his time to re-election and getting drugs to addicts, is completely out of the loop at City Hall. His interest in the daily affairs of state is less than zero, and that is only matched by his knowledge of current affairs.

Nevertheless, the pathetic NPA have given this idiot a complete Pass; his candidacy will not be contested.

Which leaves COPE and Vision to come up with a winner, without splitting the vote.

Lord help us that they have the strategic wisdom to join forces and push the little fellow down the OUT ramp next November.

A banker sitting next to me at a fundraiser last Sunday had this comment after Sam received an underwhelmingly damp response:

"At first I was proud of this city that we could elect a quadriplegic as mayor. But it soon became evident that it's all about Sam. He's dreadful."

Playing to the Dangerous Doesn't Help

Doctors Withouts Borders withdrew from North Korea in 1998. Think about that.

Now the NY Philharmonic is considering a concert there after its upcoming tour in China.

This would be a dreadful mistake.

Read the editorial in the NY Times and tell me if you agree.

Our Juvenile Offender Programs are as Sophisticated as The Borstal Boy

The grass is always greener somewhere down the hill, and so called "experts" are fond of telling us how fabulously ahead of us the Europeans are in handling social problems (These are the experts who have never walked though the infested gauntlets in the main streets of Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Zurich and Dublin.)

Having said all that, do have a look at a little item in this morning's NY Times regarding the new approach that the state of Missouri has been using for juvenile offenders. It looks sensible and promising. I guarantee you we have nothing close to this in Canada.

My Answer to Peter Ladner's Oh-So-Cavalier Suggestion about Asking for a Refund From the City With no Services for 3 Months

I survived 3 months of no garbage pick-up.

That's a clear indicator that garbage pick-up could easily be once every TWO weeks.
But that's not going to happen is it?

Nor are any of the thousands of cost savings that are possible, because there is no political will to do so.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Children at Risk Sacrificed for Other Glories

Nine foster kids in one placement.

A home that has already been flagged for mistreatment.

A child dies.

Inter-office communications break down.

Check the list of fools who have held this portfolio - Ministry of Children & Families - in the last 10 years.

Not one person has known enough about children or children at risk or social work to do an effective job.

And how could they when there are huge staff shortages?

Of course there are going to be huge staff shortages...there are no foto ops, like the ones that come with Lance Armstrong and 2010 and the Trade and Convention Centre.

Gordon Campbell understands the underbelly of history. Years from now, people can look at the edifices he has strung together and say, "Wow. That was Premier Campbell."

They are not as likely to say, "Gee, that Premier Campbell saved children's lives."

The Doctors' Voices

In their respective health care editorials in today's Sun, Dr. Penny Ballem and Dr. Brian Day, each hit out of the park for me.

Ballem says we've got to stop creating "policy on the run."

Remember that she walked away from Gordon Campbell's team most precipitously.

Clearly this simple caution is loaded with criticism of a government that only makes policy as it suits their short-sighted, egotistical political aims.

When and where will be find the politicians who will go beyond these self-serving motives, to the larger considerations?

Then, Day says that we've got to stop block funding for hospitals. Many of us have been saying exactly that for years. Hospitals and their funding should spin exactly on the needs of patients.

Until we put that kind of system in place, we will continue to buy box car loads of stents and bedpans simply to complete budgets.

Air India - The Daily Report

And speaking of lawsuits...

The AG is suing Malik for the $6.4Million we gave him as a loan so he could get acquitted from the bombing he was involved in that only killed 331 people.

Of course, Malik has been and is a millionaire, rich in properties. So, why did we have to lend him money?

Well, we did and now we're asking that he return it. That's the good news.

The bad news is that we'll never get that money. But we will spend another million or two fighting with this guy in court.

And the really, really bad news, that will make you laugh until you cry is that Malik is suing us, the Province of BC and the government of Canada, for "malicious prosecution."

How about we all sue the government for malnutritious prosecution?

India is Hip

Hip replacements in India?

Now, that I didn't know.

It is rare that I actually learn a new thing reading the paper.

Mostly, I react to the news.

But in today's massive Health issue of the Sun, I actually was surprised to learn how many BC people are flying to India to pay for private surgeries.

Why not sue Gordon Campbell and Stephen Harper for re-imbursement?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hollywood North is, of course, A Cruel Ilusion

The local press loves to wax rhapsodic about all the great successes of the local movie industry.

But no one that I know has gotten below the shimmering surface of this nonsense.

It is difficult to get excited by Brightlight's announcement that they made $100 Million on one of their recent, desperately bad projects.

Yes, millions of dollars flow into the local economy and that's a good thing.

Thousands of truck drivers, caterers, cab drivers, costumers find work.

But let me tell you the truth about Vancouver actors.

The best of the best are starving.

Most Vancouver film and television actors, even those with long and exemplary resumes in the Biz, get little work. And the work they do find is tragically underpaid.

Brightlight and other local companies have been paying actors 25% below scale and getting away with it for years. "Small budget," is what they'll cry in their notes to agents and actors.

And, if longshoremen and city garbage collectors had a union like the one that pretends to take care of local actors, they'd all do a Jimmy Hoffa right soon.

I know of at least half a dozen actors who have said, "Thanks, folks, that's all." Most have moved on to completely different careers where they are, oddly enough, well paid and treated like human beings and not necessary evils.

The next time you read about Hollywood North, just remember that reading either a press release or a Valentine from a newspaper writer who is just blindly sick with love for Show Biz.

The poor sap.

The Guilty were Always Known. JUst Couldn't Close the Case - Air India Revisited

It's always reassuring to learn that what we knew all along is what we knew all along.

Thus, how happy and relieved are we to learn that a retired CSIS agent (More! More! Retirement suits this gang.) confirms that everyone knew from the first day that the Maliks and Bagris were the lunatics who murdered 331 people in the Air India massacres.

Little catch. Couldn't prove it.

Yes, we noticed.

$50 Million of courtroom and trail and heartache later.

What an invitation this case must be for all the bombers-in-waiting.

"Hey, come to Canada. You can blow up hundreds of people, and their police are so stupid, even if you're caught with detonators in your hand, they'll believe you were on your way to your daughter's Halloween party. Hahahahaha."

Any Cost Overruns on Anything is OK for 2010

From the day it was announced, we denounced the new Trade and Convention Centre expansion, knowing instinctively that the projected costs were as real as the Wizard of Oz.

Vaughn Palmer's coverage today details (the devil is in the details) the sheer incompetence and running comedy of this sideshow.

Here are two highlights:

"The Liberals...began building the foundation before designs were complete for the upper floors."

"They also budgeted for "know unknowns" and unknown unknowns."

Now, only satirists and science fiction writers can come up with stuff like that. But no, it's award winning Gordon Campbell, whose TV show, Uncle Gordo, kept children around the world howling for so many years. Remember the big floppy feet and the red rubber nose? Hahaha, weren't they great?

Of course, now that the costs have doubled - yes, doubled - we can all sit back and admit what we knew all along.

The machinery that drives almost all public policy in this province has 5 rings and some artificial snow. It's called the 2010 Olympics.

Campbell will do, push, shove almost anything to get his party to be lots of fun.

Lucky us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Iraq is a Criminal Activity

For the sheer criminality of Blackwater in Iraq, watch this astonishing NY Times video report.

If America had any honour, it would have pulled Blackwater and similar rogue mercenaries out of there weeks ago.

But that's some if.

If my aunt had balls, she'd be at Wimbledon .

The Law is an Ass

In the continuing coverage of the Massacre in the Surrey Apartment, two items stand out:

1) Solicitor-General John Les says, "We need to re-invigorate the notion of deterrence in the criminal justice system."

Duh, John?

Every reasonable Canadian has been saying exactly this since the Federal Government some two decades ago changed all focus in sentencing to the rehabilitation of the crook and threw out almost entirely any concern for the safety of the community.

So, now that you've caught up with the rest of us, John, watcha doing about it, Mate?

Of course, we know this was only another foto op and not a serious consideration. What happened, Sir? Run out of Booster Seats?

2) The ever predictable, horribly over-quoted SFU prof, Neil Boyd, says that Les' remarks are "hasty and ill-considered." He adds that putting people in jail longer is not a good idea.

What a hopeless over-simplification.

The truth is that putting petty criminals in jail for long periods of time or even short ones is often the dumbest thing we could do. There are many alternate choices and we can find many more for these sorry souls.

BUT, for the Gun People, the serious dedicated murdering criminals who have a committed set of anti-social values, long-term prison sentences are exactly appropriate. For them and for me and for you.

You're looking for rehabilitation for guys who execute 6 people in an apartment? Huh?

Does anyone have any sense anymore?

When the AG Lies, Where is Law?

What order of law can you expect when the top cop in the land is a bold-faced liar?

Attorney-General Wally Opaque tells the press gallery that he didn't go near the Booster Seats and certainly never had a foto op with the little devils.

But there on his website is a foto of the Honorable Member handing out one such Booster Seat, plus 20 more, plus his own personal message of Good Will: "The government has provided these seats, etc, yadda, yadda, blah, blah..."

This is what we used to call back in grade three - lying.

I said it yesterday. I say it again. These folks are so bush.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blame the Judges for 2 Innocent Deaths

In the story about 6 people killed in the Surrey apartment, there is one glaringly obvious factor which is not getting enough attention.

The four now assassinated petty criminals who were the targets of this mayhem were all "known to the police."

That's a too, too polite way of saying that, although they were all under 22 years of age, they had all been arrested and charged many, many times for many, many crimes, including the use of firearms.

So, why were they living Scott free in an apartment in Surrey? Why were they not in one of our illustrious Canadian penitentiaries where they so obviously belonged?

Two completely innocent citizens were murdered in this massacre.

I would argue that the lives and deaths of those two innocent men hang over the heads of the judges and courts who failed the community by not sending these criminals to prison.

Now, Wally Opaque isn't going to do anything, we know that.

And when Stephen Harper talks about getting tough on crime, he is demonized by the snivelling classes.

Is there any such thing as an Honorable Politican?

Politics is losing much of its fascination for me.

It has become so transparently a mug's game, a slime ball's home turf.

The Booster B.C. fiasco is the latest example.

2000 child booster car seats "given" (paid for by your tax dollars) to needy families. Sounds good. maybe.

Until you realize that they were all given by Liberals, each of whom rushed to the foto op.

Minister of State for Childcare, Linda Reid, who as we all know is doing such a remarkable job, said, "There's no politics in booster seats."

Except that no NDP ridings got them.

Buying votes by kissing babies is so bush.

Who $tole the E$$? Watch your E$$!

Did you all notice the day when Spanish Banks became Spanish Bank?

Well, thanks to an old friend of mine, the "s" is back!

This hysterical story is a textbook classic illustration of bureaucratic idiocy and money wasting.

Thanks to Robert Werner for bringing it to my attention.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Everybody Hates Him

And speaking of The Nutty Mayor, I was at a fundraising lunch on Sunday at a Big Hotel, and His Hatefulness was there, madly trying to be cute and charming.

What was interesting and encouraging was that, from a vocal and demonstrative crowd, he got decidedly lukewarm reactions and that Giusseppe, the banker sitting next to me said, "I don't like this man. It's all about Sam. He is dishonest and completely self-involved."

Gosh, I couldn't have put it better myself.
It is good to see that everyone has now seen through the mask.

Kenny Rogers for Mayor

The only "Sunset Clause" this city needs is the one that sends Councillor Kim Capripnats off into the sunset.

This genius says we don't want to close down housing. We want the housing manged in a certain way.

Since when is City Hall in the business of managing housing. You pass the laws and you enforce them.

Oh, sorry, I forgot, you don't like enforcing anything because it isn't nice.

The apartment buildings that are basically clubhouses for drug deals and other acts of lunacy will continue to thrive, despite the desperate please of neighbours for a little peace in the hood.

May we introduce City Hall to that great American cornerstone of philosophical deliberation, one Kenny Rogers, who once famously said (sang), "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, when to walk away..."

Gimme Another $200 BILLION for Iraq

The Iraq War is a corrupt well, down which billions of American taxpayers dollars are poured for corrupt contractors of every kind. It's a gold mine in revenues made, lost, hidden, diverted and overcharged.

However, Bush is now asking for an additional $200BILLION. This is the same man who just vetoed health insurance for children.

Yet, curiously, maddeningly, there are millions of Americans who believe that Bush is wonderful.
A story beyond comprehension.

American Mini-Portrait

An off-duty NY police officer shoots and kills someone with his 9mm Glock in an act of road rage.

This story is tragic, telling, a microcosm, terrifying and a commentary on way too many things.

But, hey, don't tell us we have a gun problem.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Victor Straddles the Cultures and finds VANOC Pathetic

Hey Mensch:

I was watching the Olympic television special last night, a joint celebratory production between VANOC and Beijing Olympic organizers staged in Vancouver. As it happened , I was watching it with Chinese friends. Here were some of the groaners.

1.Absurd Comparisons:

John Furlong, in his insipid style, said Vancouver and Beijing were kindred spirits because they are both ( ready for this) "emerging cities.' My guests were astonished.

Earth to Furlong. Beijing is not emerging. It is a dazzling city of 14 million people that has been around for 3000 years. Vancouver is neither dazzling nor a city. It is a town of 600,000 with a nice view that is emerging from being Canada's largest lumber town.

2. The Drum Competition.

Five precision Chinese drummers performed a synchronized session on ancient drums complete with acrobatic flourishes. One First Nation drummer banged a single drum with monotonous repetition.

Earth to First Nations. Before 2010, practice. A lot. Your drum show is rather bleak by comparison.

3. Dodging the Multicultural Bullet.

Mercifully, the Vancouver contingent did not not trot out the usual contingent of "multicultural performers" which usually consists of young people in unrecognizable costumes, running aimlessly around stage to the strains of a tuneless composition. We would have looked ridiculous because the Chinese show included several splendid acts by Chinese minorities.

Earth to Canadian Multicultural Braggarts. China has over 50 cultural minorities. They all have distinct identities. They are not hyphenated. They have not moved to China in the last 100 years or so. Don't try to play the multicultural card with the Chinese. They'll laugh.

4. The Entertainment Gap.

The Chinese brought in household name entertainers from the Mainland and Taiwan. Thousands of Chinese guests in the audience, as well as my guests, sang along with these familiar songs. Canada's entertainers were a couple of unknowns including a bimbo sporting a crotch level dress and trucker tattoos who felt obliged to tell the audience that the olympics were "about peace." Yeah dude.

Earth to Booking Folks:
Go for quality and dignity.


Canada Line Devastation Exposed in Hard Numbers

This is the CFIB report on Construction Destruction along the Canada Line.
Irrefutable statistics of loss and hardship that point to immediate action to compensate the businesses.


As you may recall, you participated in a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) on the impact that the Canada Line Construction is having on your business. Ninety-two businesses completed the survey from all along the Line.
We have released the results of the survey on Monday October 22nd. Here are some of the highlights:
- The average business owner has been at the current location for 11 years and has 6 employees.
- 74 per cent of businesses have seen a sales decrease. The average business along the Line is reporting a loss of $111,927.57.
- 37 per cent of businesses have had to downsize staff of an average of 2.8 employees.
- 74 per cent of businesses have depended on loyal customers to stay open, while 33 per cent have had to take our loans.
- Only 28 per cent expect the Canada Line to be beneficial to their business, while 46 aren’t sure and 26 per cent say it won’t benefit their business.
- 73 per cent of businesses are unsatisfied with consultations with businesses prior to the construction, and 84 per cent are dissatisfied with current support for businesses.
- 88 per cent of businesses say that a property tax rebate would be helpful or somewhat helpful for them to survive the construction.
The full report is available at:

We are expecting that the media will be looking for small businesses to tell their story. If you are willing for the media to contact you, please let us know and we will pass along your contact information accordingly.
Thank you very much for having taken the time to help us better understand the impact that the Canada Line is having on your business and help us make recommendations that reflect your perspective and experience.

Heather TilleyPolicy Analyst, BC

The Corruption$ of the Iraq War in the Billion$

NY Times writer, Frank Rich, has written a very comprehensive and damning piece about the depth of American corruption in the Iraq war. I spoken on this site often about this isse, but Mr. Rich nails it.

A regular commentator has suggested the piece. The devil is in the details.

When Will My $20 Book Cost $20?

It's not often I will agree with an agent of the Government.

But when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says that he would like to see retailers reflect the strength of the Canadian dollar in their pricing, of course, I'm cheering him on.

I am still waiting for a paperback book that costs $17.50 US to stop costing $23.95 CAN.

Waiting, but not holding my breath.

Happy Talk, Keep Talking Happy Talk

You'll forgive my dark and morbid sense of humor, but I thought this morning's report that having happy thoughts doesn't cure cancer was long overdue.

Of course, when we are faced with mortality -as we actually are every day, if we want to think about it - the idea that I can will myself or yoga myself into good health is no doubt comforting.

But cancer is cancer and cancer could clearly care less about the mood I'm in or which sack cloth and ashes or summer hat I choose.

On the other hand, there is no question that meditation, hypnosis, group support, flowers, walks, swimming and especially companionship, love and friendship can make our leaving of this world less painful, anxious and miserable. Happy really is better.

So do not dismiss all the happy therapies. They are invaluable; they just won't keep you around any longer.

Norah Jones Live Dont Know Why

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Choosing Snoozeville

The Blogger takes off, eh?

Have a lovely restful Sunday, Mates.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Quote & Foto of the Month

Two huge and tragic stories dominated the local news today - the multiple homicide in a Surrey high rise and the small aircraft crashing into a Richmond high rise.

From the first comes the quote of the month. Corporal Dale Carr of the RCMP said, "Generally, Surrey is a safe community, but at this time it is difficult for us to say who's safe and not safe."

From the second, comes the foto of the month. (Not this foto. Go to Page A5) Look, right there in the crowd gawking at the hole in the apartment building where the plane plowed into it is a man clutching his Starbucks coffee. God forbid, he should stare pointlessly at loss of human life without also eating or drinking. The Me Generation comes to the funeral.

We are the World - NOT!

Bob Rennie sells another dream in False Creek and, of course, has to call it "a world address."

Then, Peter Birnie, the Sun theatre critic, talking about a play in town says it is "worthy of any world stage."

Would this little fishing village grow up and stop crowing this nonsense, please.

Doesn't The Premier Know the Rules?

If various policing agencies are investigating the role of former deputy minister, Ken Dobell, as a lobbyist and the stink continues about Graham Bruce not declaring that he is a lobbyist...why has none of the mess clung to the common party in these two stories?

That would be your Premier Gordon Campbell.

Talking Back to Ben

There have been many responses to Ben Stein's editorial posted here yesterday.

Here is one that is equally worth the read.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ben Stein Sounds Off

I am not in total agreement with what this editorial says, but it does have merit and is well worth the read.


The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein


The Vancouver Sun is quite right to highlight the curse of speeding drivers in our communities.

Unfortunately these two simple facts remain after all the hand-wringing is done.

ONE: Every single day, I experience - and I'm sure you do too - lunatics passing me -often on the right side, illegally and dangerously - at top speeds in school zones.

Every day.

Several times a day.

We live in the ME era. If you're not in my SUV or talking to ME on MY cell, then you are not a real person, you don't exist and I needn't think about little you. The ME era is not only obsessed with SUV's and Cells, it is created and defined by SUVs and Cells. What, after all, is an SUV but a high-speed Family Room complete with electronic gadgets.

TWO: As reported on this blog about 2 weeks ago, the province of Ontario has changed its laws. If you are caught speeding, your car is impounded for a week, you are grounded from driving for a week and it costs you about $2,000 to get back on the road. What's wrong with that? I think it is first-rate.

But can you see the laid back, wet coast anything goes province of BC doing anything that reasonable or effective?

Every civil rights lawyer in the province would be in court with a writ and a suit and their hemp socks.

Teresa Brewer Dead

Here is the story from the Washington Post.

Joey Bishop Dead

The following comes from friend Dan Russell. I had Joey Bishop on my radio show at CJOR in 1983, which is the same year I met Dan, who was a young sport reporter.

Comedian Joey Bishop dies
Story Highlights
Comedian Joey Bishop dies at home in Los Angeles
With Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bishop was in Rat Pack
Bishop had late-'60s talk show; sidekick was Regis Philbin

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, has died at 89.

He was the group's last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998.

Bishop died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, publicist and longtime friend Warren Cowan said Thursday.

The Rat Pack -- originally a social group surrounding Humphrey Bogart -- became a show business sensation in the early 1960s, appearing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

Reviewers often claimed that Bishop played a minor role, but Sinatra knew otherwise. He termed the comedian "the Hub of the Big Wheel," with Bishop coming up with some of the best one-liners and beginning many jokes with his favorite phrase, "Son of a gun!"

The quintet lived it up whenever members were free of their own commitments. They appeared together in such films as "Ocean's Eleven" and "Sergeants 3" and proudly gave honorary membership to a certain fun-loving politician from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, at whose inauguration gala Bishop served as master of ceremonies.

The Rat Pack faded after Kennedy's assassination, but the late 1990s brought a renaissance, with the group depicted in an HBO movie and portrayed by imitators in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The movie "Ocean's Eleven" was even remade in 2003 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

Bishop defended his fellow performers' rowdy reputations in a 1998 interview.

"Are we remembered as being drunk and chasing broads?" he asked. "I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag. And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase 'em away."

Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred in two TV series, both called "The Joey Bishop Show."

The first, an NBC sitcom, got off to a rocky start in 1961. Critical and audience response was generally negative, and the second season brought a change in format. The third season brought a change in network, with the show moving to ABC, but nothing seemed to help and it was canceled in 1965.

In the first series, Bishop played a TV talk show host.

Then, he really became a TV talk show host. His program was started by ABC in 1967 as a challenge to Johnny Carson's immensely popular "The Tonight Show."

Like Carson, Bishop sat behind a desk and bantered with a sidekick, TV newcomer Regis Philbin. But despite an impressive guest list and outrageous stunts, Bishop couldn't dent Carson's ratings, and "The Joey Bishop Show" was canceled after two seasons.

Bishop then became a familiar guest figure in TV variety shows and as sub for vacationing talk show hosts, filling in for Carson 205 times.

He also played character roles in such movies as "The Naked and the Dead" ("I played both roles"), "Onion-head," "Johnny Cool," "Texas Across the River," "Who's Minding the Mint?" "Valley of the Dolls" and "The Delta Force."

His comedic schooling came from vaudeville, burlesque and nightclubs.

Skipping his last high school semester in Philadelphia, he formed a music and comedy act with two other boys, and they played clubs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They called themselves the Bishop Brothers, borrowing the name from their driver, Glenn Bishop.

Joseph Abraham Gottlieb would eventually adopt Joey Bishop as his stage name.

When his partners got drafted, Bishop went to work as a single, playing his first solo date in Cleveland at the well-named El Dumpo.

During these early years he developed his style: laid-back drollery, with surprise throwaway lines.

After 3 1/2 years in the Army, Bishop resumed his career in 1945. Within five years he was earning $1,000 a week at New York's Latin Quarter. Sinatra saw him there one night and hired him as opening act.

While most members of the Sinatra entourage treated the great man gingerly, Bishop had no inhibitions. He would tell audiences that the group's leader hadn't ignored him: "He spoke to me backstage; he told me, 'Get out of the way.' "

When Sinatra almost drowned filming a movie scene in Hawaii, Bishop wired him: "I thought you could walk on water."

Born in New York's borough of the Bronx, Bishop was the youngest of five children of two immigrants from Eastern Europe.

When he was 3 months old the family moved to South Philadelphia, where he attended public schools. He recalled being an indifferent student, once remarking, "In kindergarten, I flunked sand pile."

In 1941 Bishop married Sylvia Ruzga and, despite the rigors of a show business career, the marriage survived until her death in 1999.

Bishop, who spent his retirement years on the upscale Lido Isle in Southern California's Newport Bay, is survived by son Larry Bishop; grandchildren Scott and Kirk Bishop; and longtime companion Nora Garabotti.