Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Readers to the Barricades

I buy most of my books online from Amazon.

One-click checkout.

And - presto!

Five days later, my book is in my mailbox.

Why would I stand in line at Chapters/Indigo to give them 20-50% MORE?

I buy the second most books from Book Warehouse because it is Book Warehouse...i.e., cheaper than Heather and her picks.

I buy finally from those rare and disappearing one-of book stores where people actually know their stock and products and can actually hold a conversation. There is one in Kerrisdale (Hager Books, 2176 West 41st) and actually several in Ganges on Salt Spring Island (Watermark Books is especially good.)

All of this is in aid of agreeing with this morning's editorial in the Globe, which calls for an end to the ludicrous system of book buy in this country that serves only to inflate the price of books for you and me.

The editorial correctly argues that this is an unnecessary and punitive trade barrier.

End it.

At Rest

Ever wonder what your elected government is doing these days?

The answer is simple.

And they even boast about it.

The answer is...nothing.

Case in point.

Ontario police chiefs go en masse to the Ontario legislature to seek a number of changes to the Police Services Act.

The changes are interesting, but not the subject of this item.

The subject is the lovely response from the government.

Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Rick Bartolucci made it clear during a meeting with the chiefs that he has no plans to introduce changes during the remainder of the government’s mandate – the next election is in October, 2011.

In other words - go piss up a rope.

We are using the tried and tested true methodology of Jean Chretien - Do Nothing so no one can ever accuse you of doing anything bad - This is how to get elected and re-elected and then elected again.

So there you have it.

Canadian governance in a nut shell.

Don't ask us who have been elected and are collecting fabulous salaries and expenses and are spending public tax funds at astronomical rates to actually do anything 'cause we are not going to, so there.

Gerry V.

has hit a number of nails on the head with his comment yesterday about the deadly and costly over-prescription of psychotropic pharmaceuticals. In particular is the pronounced use of anti-depressants and other poisons among women. When will some women's groups rise up in united voice to stop this clear enslavement of women? This barbaric attempt by male doctors and by society in general to "calm" women's miseries with happy pills?

Just wait, David. It shouldn't be long before bitterness is declared a disorder if not an outright disease. Thats right. If you get laid off from your job or go through a nasty divorce, you could be suffering from "Post Tramautic Embitterness Disorder". Look for it in the newest DSM.

I personally like the "Intense Explosive Disorder" which explains why some people have hissy fits or fits of rage. Treatment for such a rare condition? Yep, you guessed it. Valium.

By the way, the most commonly prescribed drug in B.C. is Tylenol 3. Lipitor is number two. Seroquel, an anti-psychotic medication, is number 7 on the list.

In North America in 2008 the most commonly prescribed drug was hydrocodone. The number 2 drug was lipitor. Out of the top 50 most commonly prescribed drugs, 10 of those 50 were antidepressants or anti-psychotics. That represents 20% of all prescription drugs prescribed in North America in 2008. That's 20% of a conservatively estimated 65 Billion $ industry. These stats were provided by the AARP.

What's somewhat interesting is that twice as many women are prescribed these drugs compared to men. Now you can draw many conclusions from this statistic, but it makes me wonder if maybe this is why women live 10 years longer than men on average. (That last statement was made with tongue in cheek)


The news of Lena Horne's death reached me just as I was finishing yesterday's morning blog, so I put in the YouTube video below.

Today, please read the NY Times bio, which, by no means definitive, is pretty good.

Lena has so much more than a singer and a movie star.

She was a one-woman force for good in the world, a dynamo.

She says that she learned everything she ever knew about singing from her great friend, Billy Strayhorn, the genius who wrote and arranged so much of Duke Ellington's signature music.

Lena struggled with and against and broke every color barrier in American life.

She was fearless and emotionally rich and complex and all of that was revealed in every note she sang.

Reconfiguring "Stormy Weather" into the version that she sang much later in life and the one you can see and hear below, she said it took her an entire lifetime to fully occupy and understand the song.