Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Victor Channels the Dell-Vikings!

During back to school week, the kids take over the street and we who are not raising kids, become aware of their presence.

Watching the kids this week, it occurred to me that something has been lost. Something our generation treasured. Simply, it was listening to music together.

I watched the kids walk by with their Ipods and other PLDs (personal listening devices) plugged into their ears. Alone in the sound.

Kids listen to music while alone today. Sure, they hear music as a group when 50,000 of them go to a concert, but in truth, in those situations, they hear neither the music nor one another.

We listened to music together. We nattered about it. The record bar, as it was called, was a small corner of a department store, where we could gather as a pubescent group and listen to a record, at no charge, while practicing flirting. Hamburger joints had juke boxes and we would wait, six or more in a group, until some guy fed a quarter for four songs and then we would call out requests. Remember the chant ( Aw c'mon, play D5). We would ride, six of us, in a friend's car ( 52 Studebaker) and a song would come on the radio. Somebody would shout. " I like this song, turn it up!" The driver would say " hey man, you're blowing my speaker! ( Speaker, as in singular, there were no plural speakers in 52 Studs). Or sometimes, in teenage exuberance, we would dole out 85 cents ( a fortune) for a new 45 and call our our friends to come over and listen to our new Ricky Nelson record. We played it 17 times. In the basement. Our parents would finally yell "Turn down that noise!"

That's all gone. Today, music and earwax are all part of the same experience for a 14 year old. Maybe it doesn't matter. But I'm glad I was there then.

Some Small Hope for Addicts

Rob & Susie Ruttan are to be congratulated for their extraordinary work in bringing some new treatment resources for young addicts to B.C.

The Ruttans have been the moving force for many difficult years now behind a group of parents know as "From grief to Action."

While struggling with their own family melodramas and horrors of addictions, the group has consistently pleaded their case for treatment with governments at all levels.

Their efforts were finally rewarded.

Last week, they were able to announce that Portage, a residential treatment program that began in Quebec in 1973, will open a facility for 43 young addicts in Keremeos next year.

This is great news, indeed.

Portage is a long-term program and it works.

The provincial government will kick in $2.5 Million a year to operate the resource. This amounts to around $50,000 per person per annum, which is remarkably cheap. The reason, of course, i s that this is not a "medical" response filled with unnecessary and expensive doctors and nurses.

Like most good residential programs, Portage is run primarily by recovering addicts who know the score.

All of this is good news.

What would be much better news is that the province was providing $25 Million a year for 10 facilities like Portage for 430 people. Not only can we afford it, but we cannot afford NOT to spend this small amount of money.

It is also somewhat sad to see the Ruttans declaring in this morning's Letters to the Editor in the Sun that the young people whom they have been championing did not choose to become addicts.

We understand that these are grieving parents. We understand that they care.

But now their job is to "care" less, get out of the way and let the treatment people who truly understand the dynamics of addictions carry the ball.

The Portage people will make it very clear to their clients that they did, in fact, CHOOSE their addictions. Nobody else chose for them, and nobody else will choose sobriety for them. That concept is the very heart of recovery.

One from Column A, please

To Harrop, the wonderful catroonist of the Sun:

"Shooting or Non-Shooting?" says the maitre d'.

That's my joke. First starting telling it 5 years ago on air about Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsway.

Oh well, they say ideas are "in the air."

The Veils of Politics

The Sun editorial today regarding the chief electoral officer of the land, Marc Mayrand, is spot on.

Like it or not, Mayrand has been reading the law regarding how voters may identify themselves exactly, strictly and accurately as it is written.

Now, you and I may not be happy with men or women voting in Canadian elections from behind masks, veils, sheets, scarves or any other concealing device. I am not happy with this allowance.

But there is clear remedy for this: Either change the law by an act of parliament such that faces must be shown, or, respecting the religious choices of some, provide female adjudicators to whom veiled voters may reveal themselves to be who they claim they are.

The Prime Minister and others should be quiet until they know what the law is.

Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder - For Once in my life live

Tonight you can see a Tony Bennett special biography on PBS TV. It will air here from 6-7:30 on the Detroit station (Cable 43) and from 9-10:30 on KCTS 9 (Cable 27)

Here is my all-tome favorite balladeer with the incomparable Stevie Wonder.