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                                                      RON DEVION's ARCHIVES.

#197  THIS IS NOT A CHRISTMAS STORY (posted November 24, 2019)

                                                             CHAPTER ONE - PRELUDE

In the summer of 2019, friends from Parksville suggested we join them on a late-Fall Oceania cruise from Montreal to Miami.

During our retirement years, we have taken a number of cruises on large and small ships. The most enjoyable, by far, were riverboat cruises in Europe.

Our Parksville friends have been on Oceania ships in the past. Oceania is/was reputed one of the best...and most expensive.

Their Parksville travel agent coordinated all bookings with Oceania for the four of us.

When you reach that "age"...when even buying green bananas is considered risk-taking...planning another bucket-list adventure, six months into the future, demands meticulous attention to every little detail.

                                                           CHAPTER TWO - THE JACKET

Many retired folks (of my vintage) have dozens of ties of various widths, lengths and colours, dress socks and closets containing rarely-used dress shirts, a tuxedo, suits and sports jackets all dating back to the styles-in-vogue during our long ago "working days".

You may wonder why?

Well, these cherished garments are just like an old pair of comfortable slippers, not easily discarded.

Regardless of the condition of these out-of-fashion wardrobe items, adult kids and their kids, have zero interest in Grandpa's hand-me-downs.

Meanwhile, Grandpa stubbornly holds firm, believing it's not-yet-time to donate all the "stuff" to charity; convinced his classy outfits are still needed and worn as "obligatory-garb" while attending funerals, club luncheons, reunions, etc..

It was while purchasing the essential and expensive cancellation and health insurance that Grandma began a campaign..."your ancient wardrobe will not pass muster on Oceania. It's time to buy a new sports jacket".

Grandpa resisted..."there's nothing wrong with my navy blue blazer, with the brass buttons. I love that jacket". He knew, however, that eventual surrender was inevitable, otherwise he would certainly endure the alternative; a relentless seemingly never-ending campaign.

Victory in hand, Grandma dragged her captive to two men's apparel stores located in beautiful Sidney by the Sea...the only men's apparel shops in all of Sidney.

For the record, Grandpa has not purchased a sports jacket in several decades. And like most men, he really hates shopping because it makes him kind of grumpy.

At the first men's apparel establishment, nothing satisfied Grandma or her prisoner. The second was more promising having a wider selection of off-the-rack contemporary styled jackets. The price tags alarmed Grandpa ($700+) as he stood silently in front of a full length mirror, while the eager young sales person (John) and Grandma selected several garments to try on. John ceremoniously placed each one on Grandpa's upper torso, gently smoothing the shoulders offering "this one really looks good on you".

Apparel "experts" (John and Grandma) quietly enjoyed themselves commenting in a coded-language, Grandpa assumed was only understood by connoisseurs of haute-couture. 

It became apparent how much Grandpa's physique has rearranged itself over the decades.

Occasionally, the "experts" asked Grandpa for an opinion. His silence was evidence he wasn't prepared to offer one. Grandpa just wanted to get the hell out of there and go home, more convinced than before he didn't need or want a new jacket.

Forty five minutes passed before the "experts" concluded another course of action to deal with Grandpa's rearranged physique,  pivoting to Plan B...made-to-measure.

John smiled greedily and scurried away to return with a tape measure and a large pad of paper. He took meticulous measurements, again and again, noting each on the large pad. Grandpa thought either John is the most precise tailor he ever encountered or John didn't know what the hell he was doing. Turned out John was not a tailor.

This part of the ordeal finally ended. It was now time to select colour, type and weight of the material. John hauled out a book with hundreds of swatches. Grandpa uttered "colour blue, weight light!" Blood pressure slowly increased as the "experts" found it necessary to comment on each passing swatch. To stop this process Grandpa firmly stated "that one".

Believing this saga was nearing its conclusion and Grandpa could finally go home, John announced "it's now time to select the buttons, stitching and lining" and gently guided the old man to a counter to make his selections.

Grandpa took less than a minute to choose the buttons and stitching, then waited patiently for the "experts" to finish discussing their preferences for the lining...that nobody would ever see.

John completed the detailed order form when Grandpa said "I need the jacket finished quickly, we are going on a cruise in six weeks". "No problem Mr. Devion it will be back from Hamilton in three weeks. Then you can come in for alterations which can be done locally, in a week".

Hamilton? Alterations?

Grandma then asked the most important question "How much is this going to cost?" John, "the buttons $25, the stitching $25, the lining $50 plus the made-to-measure cost...total will be between $1,100-$1,200. Adding we normally charge $100 for any alterations but being a first-time customer I will waive that charge. We require a $500 deposit".

The voice in Grandpa's head whispered "After all of the measurements why would the jacket require alterations? Your first car didn't cost that much!" The "experts" smiled knowingly, they were in the presence of a fashion luddite.

Having spent the better part of an afternoon with John, Grandpa no longer cared about the cost or anything else. He just wanted to go home.

In the aftermath, turned out John's delivery deadline predictions were fiction. A month went by before the jacket arrived for alterations and then had to be sent back to Hamilton. Another week went by. Exasperated, Grandpa called the store and demanded to speak to the owner. A heated exchange ensued during which the owner accused Grandpa of threatening him and his staff and hung up. Grandpa's thoughts turned to retrieving the $500 deposit.

Following a phone call from (I'm not a tailor) John, on the day before we left on the cruise, Grandma picked up the jacket. Had Grandpa picked it up, there would have been casualties. John kept apologizing to Grandma for the unacceptable service, concluding with "for the inconvenienced caused, the cost of Mr. Devion's made-to-measure jacket has been reduced by $500".

P.S. The jacket still requires further alterations, apparently the sleeves are off. Grandpa no longer cares.

                                                           CHAPTER THREE - THE CRUISE

A week before the cruise departure, we received in the mail (via the Parksville travel agent) a 62-page personalized booklet from Oceania entitled "Preliminary Cruise Vacation Summary" plus airline documents and pre-booked shore excursion vouchers.

The cost of the cruise "package" included: 1) prepaid airfare, seats and checked luggage from Vancouver to Montreal, 2) shuttle from the Montreal airport to the ship, 3) prepaid airfare, seats and checked luggage, Miami to Dallas and Dallas to Vancouver.

Airfare, seats and checked luggage Victoria to Vancouver and Vancouver to Victoria was on our dime.

Everything appeared now to be in place for the anticipated restful, pampered, 16-day dream vacation of a lifetime...or so we thought as a series of unexpected "glitches" began to happen.

The first "glitch": Seats and checked luggage from Vancouver to Montreal was not prepaid by Oceania.

The first flight: Oceania booked us on Air Canada Rouge (French for red-eye) departing Vancouver at 11:25 p.m. arriving Montreal the next day at 7:00 a.m. What a hell of a way to begin a restful vacation. Air Canada has finally managed to create a unique no-frills flying experience. The U.N. international court would certainly conclude the "experience" Air Canada subjects its paying customers to endure is a form of cruel and unusual human torture.

Montreal airport: After retrieving our checked luggage we noticed a diminutive "mature" lady holding up a sign "OCEANIA". A dozen sleep-deprived strangers huddled around her. My name is Marie-Jose she announced in a familiar French Canadian accent. I will guide you to the airport location where the shuttle bus will deliver you to the ship at 11:00 a.m. In the meantime and to kill some time, Oceania will host the group to breakfast.

As we waited for the shuttle bus to arrive, Marie-Jose and I spoke in French, about the results of our federal election. She was delighted that one of her flock, from British Columbia, could speak French. We had a lively conversation for half an hour that nobody else in the group understood. She gave me a big hug as we boarded the bus, convinced that, like her, monsieur Ronald was a dedicated separatist.

Embarkation on the Oceania ship "Riviera" took place around noon at the Port of Montreal. That's when passports are confiscated and credit card information is provided to Oceania. Passengers then receive a "Oceania Cruises World Card" that functions as a stateroom key, concierge lounge key and onboard credit card.

The ship carries 1,200 passengers and 800 crew. Passengers came from 28 countries; the majority being U.S. and Canadian citizens. Our stateroom, on deck nine, was nicely appointed and conveniently located near the concierge lounge and laundry facilities.

The cruise itinerary: Quebec City, Saguenay, Quebec, Charlottetown, PEI, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts, Newport, Rhode Island, New York City, Miami, Florida.

Day two: Our Russian captain announced the weather on arrival in Quebec City, heavy rain with 80-90 kmh. winds. Passengers planning to go ashore do so at their own risk. One million Quebec homes ended up without power and the much anticipated Fall leaves colour show blown away by Mother Nature's storm.

The "emergency evacuation drill" was very unorthodox. Passengers assembled, comfortably seated in the theatre without life jackets, not at the muster stations with life jackets on. Did our Russian captain assume a boatload of overweight geriatrics knew exactly where their muster station was located on this large ship and would instinctively know how to put on a life jacket in a real emergency at sea?

Only four TV channels carrying news were available, MSNBC, Fox, Sky and a business channel. No Canadian news channel, despite half the cruise took place in Canadian waters. The impeachment hearings were available on MSNBC, which made conversations with Americans about what was going on in their country tricky and delicate. For example, as the ship was leaving New York, at dinner we sat next to a 78-year-old retired Marine captain (who served in Vietnam) and his wife who had been employed by the C.I.A.. The captain declared, Donald J. Trump, is the best American president in U.S. history, look at what he's done for our economy, while admitting when asked, he had no idea what NAFTA was. By the end of the meal we were ready to duel.

Game seven of the World Series was not available, frustrating a majority of passengers from the U.S. and Canada. Senior crew members who were asked why, responded "what is a World Series?"

Electronic devices remained on "airplane mode" to avoid exorbitant fees. The "free" internet service operated in super-slow-motion mode. It was obvious this was meant to encourage passengers to purchase the expensive onboard internet package.

Our pre-booked (morning) New York City bus tour excursion (scheduled to take two hours) occurred on November 11th. That day, the 100th U.S. Veterans' Day Parade took place in the heart of the city. No American president had ever attended this parade until the current occupant decided to be the first. Emperor, Commander-in-Chief and Vietnam draft-dodger, President Donald J. 'Crazy Pants' Trump, stood on the reviewing stand taking the salute. The city that never sleeps was turned into a gigantic parking lot. Our exasperated tour guide confessed he had never seen anything like it in 30-years of guiding tours in New York City. His bus was filled with geriatrics with no onboard toilet. As the hours passed the "experience" turned into a marathon of bladder control. Many were forced to leave the bus and disappear into the nearest restaurant, for relief...never to be seen again. Arriving at the next to last stop before returning to the ship, the guide left the bus for 20 minutes. When he returned we enquired where he had gone..."I had to go to the toilet", never thinking that the few passengers left on the bus had to go as much as he did. He lost any chance of receiving tips.

Several on the crew provided excellent service, however, many had difficulty with English, creating problems with ordering such things as room service.

Mucho gouging: A flute of California champagne cost $19.47 USD. We quickly decided that rather than being gouged on a daily basis, we purchased Oceania's wine, beer and champagne "package" ($559.30 USD X 2). Later, we discovered the "package" had restrictions. It could not be used whenever restaurants were closed; which meant during Happy Hour (4:00-6:30) and after 9:00 p.m. During the restricted hours we were gouged again. 

Our shipboard account was charged twice, for purchases made by someone else, e.g. martinis charged at half past midnight while we were fast asleep. Complaints had to be made at the reception desk. The clerk in turn forwarded emails to a manager. It took three days to have any conversation with said manager. He only agreed to reverse one of the charges...gouged again.

The food was terrific; especially at the four "specialty" restaurants (Thai, Italian, American and French). We dined there often. Grandpa's jacket was on full display. Ironically, jackets are not part of Oceania's dress code. A full schedule of onboard activities was available to passengers plus nightly entertainment in the theatre. However, the most popular "activity" for this crowd was the afternoon nap.

The sea adventure ended. We disembarked "Riviera" at 8:00 a.m. A shuttle bus took us to the Miami airport where we faced another "glitch". The American Airlines agent advised AA would not honour Oceania's complimentary checked luggage document. We had to fork over another $30 USD X 2.

Then, we discovered Oceania had booked our friends on an earlier AA (Miami to Dallas) flight. Our AA flight left Miami two hours later. We arrived at building "C" at the Dallas airport. The departure notice board indicated our connecting AA flight (Dallas to Vancouver) was boarding, in one half hour, from building "A". We panicked. How do we get to building "A"? An "elderly" airport employee noticed our distress, came over and asked for a boarding pass. His East-Indian accent complicated communication as he slowly explained building "A" was accessible by train, and he would personally take us there. We hurried up an escalator to the train platform. The train took off in the direction of building "A" and stopped. The kind gentleman said "No, not here, one more stop to go and please try to remain calm". At the second stop, the "elderly trio" jogged "elderly-like"; panting, wheezing and sweating for a half mile to the gate. Passengers were in the process of boarding. At any moment, any one of the three slow-motion "joggers" could have keeled over with a heart attack...as we staggered toward the passenger lineup. Our East-Indian saviour received a generous tip and wished us safe journey. He saved us from being stranded in Dallas. Of all the "glitches", this was Oceania's most injurious. Would Oceania have provided any assistance if we had missed the flight...because of their incompetence?

We arrived in Vancouver at 7:30 p.m.; proceeded through customs hauling luggage on the long hike to the Air Canada-Victoria check-in counter. The AC agent provided boarding passes and tagged our luggage which was placed on the luggage belt. Through security screening and another hike to the Victoria boarding gate. At 10:10 p.m., the AC flight left Vancouver for Victoria. At 10:40 we were standing at the luggage carousel. At 11:10, we were alone, having retrieved only one bag. All the other passengers had left with their luggage. The airport baggage agent "smiled knowingly", asked for the luggage tag for the missing bag in order to initiate a trace for wherever it went...Grandpa's assumption, likely back to Dallas. "Hopefully, your bag will be delivered in the next 24-hours, Mr. Devion. If not, give us a call".

A taxi took us home, exhausted, extremely disappointed with Oceania's sloppy attention to detail and customer service that spoiled a bucket-list vacation.

And guess what was in the missing bag?...but of course monsieur Ronald...IT WAS YOUR NEW MADE-TO-MEASURE BLUE JACKET WITH THE FANCY BUTTONS, STITCHING AND LINING NOBODY WILL EVER SEE.

                                                                      THE END

RON DEVION, NO GUTS, NO GLORY

#196 KEEN OBSERVATIONS OF AN "ELDER-PERSON" (posted October 23, 2019)


                                                              THE ROUTE-MARCH TO TWILIGHT TIME
Every morning, I struggle getting out of bed and into an upright position. This "delicate" maneuver is followed by a slow-motion shuffle towards the "throne-room" (again). During the journey, my brain receives a number of short, sharp jolts of spinal-cord electricity...a subtle message from my body-parts: "monsieur Ronald, we are all working very hard to get you to your destination, in time...before it's too late...but face facts man, we're getting old and falling apart. We strongly recommend next time you're in Costco, pick up some Depends". Now you're being cruel to monsieur Ronald.
                                          OBSERVATION #1 (HELP WANTED - LEADERSHIP POSITIONS)
After 40 days and 40 nights, 66% of eligible voters bothered to exercise their franchise and in the process, redrew the political map of the Great White North.
The result, a scrarrrry, scarrrry mish-mash of regional factions with conflicting priorities; a resurgence of separatism (Blocist's in the East - Wexit's in the West) and a palpable desperation for leadership to unify the country.
Mix in dozens of fractious provincial, territorial and aboriginal leaders, an independent J.R-W., a pipeline or two, a pinch of carbon tax, a drizzle of unfair equalization payments, a sprinkle of devout environmentalists, a dabble of die-hard separatists. Stir, very carefully, over a blazing (forest) fire and voila; you have all the fixin's of a witches-brew ready to explode at any time.
Posted on the door of the House of Commons: Challenging leadership positions available soon. Citizens seek smart, talented, thick-skinned, media-savvy, bilingual...women to apply.
Bye, Bye, Max.
Begone Andrew.
Justin...hanging on by his fingernails.
Elizabeth you're on probation.
Jagmeet full of energy and enthusiasm...patiently waiting to coalesce.
Monsieur Yves-Francois, you are a force to be reconned with.
Many vividly remember watching on TV: General Charles de Gaulle, on a visit to Quebec, shouting "Vive le Quebec Libre"; a planted remark that lit the fuse that almost broke up the country.
Daddy was Grand Vizier of Canada.
As Trudeau-the-elder's train was leaving the station, Alberta wheat farmers were protesting on the platform. Their Prime Minister gave them an Italian salute. An insult Albertans never forgot.
Methinks we may be watching a replay.
                                              OBSERVATION #2 (THINGS DO CHANGE IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS)
Those of us who "grew up" during the Great Depression and WWII learned early how tough the times were; especially for our "elders" who, with the stresses of everything they had to deal with, had little patience when dealing with smart-ass kids.
Back then, the penalty for "crossing a boundary" aka "being out-of-line", was swift and deliberate.
At home - the "old man" was sure to whack you on the side of the head, or worse.
At our all-boys school - it was guaranteed to get you a date with the razor strap (palms up), or the bamboo rod (bend over).
In the cadet corps - 100 pushups, a five-mile hike with full pack and rifle, or both.
On the street and play ground (sports) - the groundrule; everyone fend for yourself.
The objective of this "corporal punishment" system was simple and straight forward: Teach kids discipline and respect for their elders. - In other words "smarten them up" fast - so they can cope with what was coming at them, in real life.
These "methods" served to "train" several generations with mixed results.
Then, things gradually changed.
All of the "cruel medieval stuff" is now verboten and long gone.
The "new and improved" modern methodology: The objective remains simple and straight forward, but with a subtle twist. Contemporary smart-ass kids are now smart-ass midget lawyers.
Today's punishment is meted out as follows - It's "Time-Out" for you young person; no supper for you tonight, you are grounded for 24 hours, go to your room (the penalty box).
"Your room" is that personal-private-sanctuary with the sign on the door "KEEP OUT", where midget lawyers pass the Time-Out on their expensive electronic toys, "studying" and eating junk food from their secret stash.
Only time will determine which "method" produced the better results.
                                           OBSERVATION #3 (ENVIRONMENTAL ALARM BELLS)
Early Fall is a time when young families take the kids to get lost in the local corn-maze.
This year, Mother Nature delivered one of my old man's famous whack's on the side of the head; more dire warnings that flattened corn mazes with snow on the Prairies, weather-bombs in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes...in the middle of October.
Overwhelmed local resources left affected Canadians coping on their own (neighbour helping neighbour).
Canada remains sorely unprepared to deal with increasing emergencies and disasters. It's time to build a large contingent of trained personnel and an adequate emergency fund to provide timely assistance when needed.
                                   OBSERVATION #4 (CHALLENGES FACING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE)
As Boomers in large numbers begin to join the ranks of the retired...there's something not quite right about our society today - the way we interact with each other, the way we come together or don't come together as a community.
Many feel that there's been a surge in anti-social behaviour.
Many parents are worried their kids have way too much screen time, exposing them to problems ranging from online bullying to rising obesity rates.
Canada's social fabric is changing, fraying perhaps, ever so slightly. Charitable donations, volunteerism and membership in community associations are slowly but steadily on the decline. All part of what British historian, Niall Ferguson, refers to as "the great degeneration", a troubling erosion of civil society.
Is it inevitable? Can anything be done?
Our nation's youth face a mountain of stress-filled challenges; the unmanageable cost of education/skills training, skyrocketing credit card debt, the shrinking job market, the cost of living, etc.. Many cannot see the prospect of ever being better-off than their parents or grandparents...and that is tragic.
They need help from those who control the levers of power.
It's time to consider some form of "mandatory national service" on a federal scale.
Something flexible enough so that young people have enough options they can get excited about and don't feel they're being forced into something too narrow.
Something with a broad-enough timeline, perhaps mandating it happen sometime between ages of say 16 and 22 - whether it's in summer when school is off, or something done as part of a gap year between high school and entering the work force and going off to post-secondary education.
                                                HOW THIS WORKS IN OTHER DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES
I learned a lot about how Switzerland's mandatory national service works on a trip eleven years ago.
On a sunny day in late May 2008, our tour boat left Basel and cruised quietly across Lake Lucerne. Our tour guide spent the voyage taking his afternoon siesta.
The ship docked near the foot of Mount Pilatus. As we travelled up the world's steepest cogwheel railway to the peak, the tour guide told the legend of the dreaded dragons with healing powers that lived on the mountain in ancient times.
When we reached the observation platform, I noticed an array of electronic masts on the peak of the mountain and asked the guide what they were for. He explained these were fortified radar and weather stations used by their airforce. He casually mentioned that military aircraft and crew were housed inside the interior of the mountain ready to defend the nation. This was stuff right out of a James Bond movie. I stood waiting for sirens, the rock face of the mountain to open up and watch military aircraft fly out.
I asked him why, of all countries, Switzerland being neutral, needed military aircraft. He proceeded to explain something surprising and illuminating.
1) Switzerland has a military force of approx. 200,000 men (20,000 trained annually) in two service branches; army and airforce (230 military aircraft).
2) Switzerland hasn't done battle since 1815. Nevertheless, has "mandatory" military service for all able-bodied male citizens who are conscripted when they reach the age of majority.
3) Recruits must generally do 18-weeks of boot camp and then required to spend several weeks in the army every year until they have completed a minimum 245 days of service.
In this way, young Swiss men receive discipline, physical and job skills training, benefiting from their mandatory military service.
The Swiss population is 8.4 million; 2019 unemployment rate is 2.3%.
Other countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Lithuania and Israel conscript for economic as well as military benefits that include a) cultivating new skills (human capital) - b) new social networks (social capital) - c) new social norms and codes of behaviour (cultural capital).
Military service develops general skills useful in any sector, such as adaptation, managing and social skills. 90% of workers in Israel's technology sector have performed military service. So valuable are Israeli ex-conscripts skills that Silicon Valley firms compete to recruit them.
There is no doubt some able-bodied 19-year-olds view military service as a burden. But if it helps their careers and provides coping skills for life in a contemporary world, how can it not be worth it.
                                                                              IS THIS WORTH PURSUING HERE?
Wouldn't a "mandatory-national-service" period, for say 18 to 34-year-old's (along the lines of the aformentioned) be of benefit and help safeguard three oceans, seven time zones, environmental, economic and job skills challenges currently confronting the nation?
What might prevent the Feds from commissioning a study to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of such an option and releasing the results to taxpayers/voters? Blinders? Fear? Disinterest?
"All things are bound together. All things connect" - Chief Seattle
Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#195 RING AROUND THE ROSIE TIME...AGAIN? (posted Oct. 16, 2019)

The origins of the popular 'Ring Around the Rosie" nursery rhyme dates back to medieval Europe. Some scholars and folklorists saw similarities between the rhyme's cryptic lyrics and the circumstances surrounding the deadly plague that swept across Europe and killed millions of people. They posited the "Ring" referred to a circle, the red circular rash common in some forms of the plague.

Modern folklorists call the plague-origin theory "metafolklore" because it is essentially folklore about folklore.

Fascinating positing nevertheless.

The simplicity of the circle - a set of points on a plane that are all the same distance from another point called the centre - has endlessly fascinated humans.

From the sun, moon and planets, to the eyes that give us sight, the circle is everywhere in the natural world and stamped everywhere in the human-made world.

The first circular inscriptions have been dated to about 40,000 years ago, when ancient humans carved circular marks called petroglyphs into rock.

Do you remember that so-long-ago final math exam when you looked down and saw the question that made your mind go blank - 'What's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter?' The fear that caused your brain to freeze. The voice in your head repeating "you know this, you know this; just calm down, relax and think, Ronnie, think".

And suddenly the answer flashed across your mind's eye - the one mathematical constant most non-geeks know as "Pi"; 3.14159265358979 - an irrational number (i.e. it cannot be exactly expressed as a fraction or ratio) - so the digital sequence never ends or repeats itself.

Monsieur Ronald, you are joshing us again, right? You're suggesting there exists a digital sequence that never ends or repeats itself...impossible!

Josh you - never...except in jest.

Is "Pi", therefore, a word that represents infinity?

Yep. And now it has finally been "proven" a mathematical fact.

It took until the 20th and 21st centuries before mathematicians and computer scientists, using combined increased computational power, to be able to extend the decimal representations to many trillions of digits after the decimal point and provide proof-positive that "Pi" does in fact mean "infinite".

That is impressive indeed.

Yes, because proving a proof is really, really difficult, n'est-ce-pas. Remember back in 2002 when Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, attempted to elucidate the citizenry on the meaning of the word "proof" with the following:

"A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven".

And who would dare challenge the word of a legend whose explanations of complex issues, in either official language, regularly left listeners in a state of total befuddlement.

Did you know that the English word "encyclopedia" literally means a "circle of learning" and was originally used to indicate a well-rounded education?

And any "well-rounded education" worth being called "encyclopedic" always includes "life lessons" that every kid eventually learns the hard way.

For example: Despite being warned what will happen if you stick your tongue on a metal fence in the middle of a prairie winter or run around in circles too many times, every kid will do it anyway, at least once.

Similarly, leaders who because of hubris, choose to ignore advice from experienced professionals who surround them, will cause unpredictable chaos and confusion with dire consequences.

Hmm...who might monsieur Ronald be thinking of?

Clue #1: He's narcissistic, addicted to lying about things large and small (including his finances) bullying and silencing those who could expose them; his detachment from reality, including denying things he said even when there is video evidence to the contrary; his affinity for conspiracy theories; his demand for total loyalty from others while showing none to others; and his self-aggrandizement and petty cheating.

Clue #2: His impulsiveness and vindictiveness; his craving for adulation; his misogyny, predatory sexual behaviour and sexualization of his daughters; his open admiration for brutal dictators; his remorselessness and his lack of empathy or sympathy, including attacking a family whose son died while fighting for his country, mocking a reporter with a disability, ridiculing a POW, etc., etc..

Unless you've been living in a cave or monestary for the past four years, there's only one "self-proclaimed" stable-genius matching the aformentioned profile.

A man whose psychological impairments are obvious to all who are not willfully blind.

What is a stable-genius anyway?

Stable - means a person who is sane and sensible; not easily upset or disturbed.

Genius - means a person who has exceptional intellectural ability; exceptionally intelligent, creative, very clever and ingenious.

Attorney George Conway is the husband of the Emperor-King's loyalist counsellor Kellyanne Conway. He recently announced "you don't need to be a mental-health professional to see that something's seriously off with Trump." George labeled Trump unfit for office and supports his impeachment.

The "stable-genius" reacted immediately to the criticism in a tweet by describing George Conway "a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell".

This prompted knowing smiles from Ivana, Maria and Melania. The tweet had accurately described "their" husband.

60,000 mental health professionals have diagnosed Emperor 'Crazy Pants" with a type of insanity that is often compared to an alcoholic's lack of honesty and impulse control.

The psychiatric community has declared the "American El Duce" suffers from "Malignant Narcissism".

Psychologists say that his condition is a combination of mental disorders that cause one to distort reality and make violent, impulsive decisions.

This is the first time in history that so many mental health professionals have collectively diagnosed a living individual. Their conclusion, the current US president is too mentally disturbed to fulfill his office.

Someone with "Malignant Narcissism" is likely to get people killed, and psychologists who know this feel morally obligated to speak up.

Just in the past week...following a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, the mad Emperor-King ordered the pullout of US troops from Syria.

This impulsive decision caused an easy-to-foresee chain reaction of disaster so egregious, even many of his most loyal Republican backers were appalled.

Those who benefit from the slaughter of America's Kurdish allies in Syria are Russia, the Assad regime, Erdogan and will bring ISIS back to life in the region.

Trump's betrayal and abandonment of the Kurds now also belongs to Republicans who stubbornly continue to back him. How many more lives have to be sacrificed before they act to remove the madman.

The office is too powerful and the consequences are too dangerous, to allow a person to become president who views morality only through the prism of whether an action advances his own narrow interests, his own distorted desires, his own twisted impulses. When an individual comes to believe his interests and those of the nation he leads are one and the same, it opens the door to all sorts of moral and constitutional devilry.

Donald J. Trump - "Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7000 miles away."

Napoleon Bonaparte - "The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense: he is always satisfied with himself."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory


#194 GOTCHA WORDS AND PICTURES
(posted Sept. 23, 2019)

The sun begins the journey back to the equator, the first days of autumn grow ever-shorter, the blooms are off the roses, plump orange pumpkins lie in farmer's fields, red apples being harvested from the trees, leaves turning a brilliant red-gold waiting for a wind before falling from the branches to provide mother earth with her winter blanket and turkeys being fattened up for Thanksgiving Day.

Sigh.

Just the kind of idyllic scene that would motivate Theocritus to write one of his pastoral poems.

Sorry but I must disturb your reverie...there's a foreboding chill in the air...a down and dirty political brawl is unfolding across the Great White North.

A short tale of a "night to remember"

A long time ago, in a place far away, a handsome young man attended a party. The theme of the evening was the "Arabian Nights". So he decided to dress up as Aladdin; the hero of one of the most familiar narratives in all of literature.

The event was a success, everyone had a fun time.

Especially Aladdin, who has that "je ne sais quoi" something that draws ladies into his circle of conversation.

The young hero could not have predicted that on this night, the seeds of his destruction were being sown.

Years later, he became the Grand Vizier of Canada.

A picture then surfaced showing Aladdin, surrounded by a bevy of lovely concubines, his black face shining that million dollar smile.

That photo of a happy young man destined to follow his famous father to greatness, turned out to be his undoing.

Sadly, as often happens to handsome heroes in the narratives of literature, the wheels flew off his sunny ways wagon and crashed into the ditch...for all the world to see.

The End

Segue to...

Robert Fulghum (1830) publishes the children's rhyme "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me".

He clearly hadn't been the one on the receiving end of people who spend the vast majority of their time using hateful words.

Mr. Fulghum's valiant attempt to persuade a child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, refrain from retaliation and remain calm, is considered useless nonsense today. How do we deal with anonymous cowards on social media using hateful words as a cudgel to terrorize?

ITS TIME FOR A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE

Now that we've had a few days to "reflect" on the recent Brouhaha...

Specifically, photos of Justin Trudeau, in brown-face and black-face at costume events, two decades ago.

The Irony: the guy loves being in pictures and people love being in a picture with him.

Things have descended to where a photo can label a basically decent person, a "racist". A hateful word.

Justin has a blunder-prone track record for sure, but "racist"? That is really harsh, over the top and unfair.

And the penalty (demanded, exacted and delivered): The embarrassment of the Prime Minister of Canada having to face the cameras and apologize to the nation for his "transgression". And the whole world took notice.

Is it enough to save his job? That's up to the voters.

This most recent prime-ministerial "boo-boo" does not rise to the level of "L'Affaire SNC-Lavalin" ethics scandal (a real firing/resignation offence) for which he should have but did not apologize.

Another irony...that shouldn't be allowed to slip by unnoticed:

Those who are setting their hair on fire over this photo-faux-pas, didn't even bother to take an honest hard look at their own past behaviour, before shouting...J'Accuse.

Andrew Scheer (and others throwing the big stones) won't face the nation and apologize for their past "transgressions", rather preferring to remain silent-hypocrites shouting...J'Accuse and Resign.

Good luck trying to find a single candidate prepared to proclaim with a straight face..."I have never transgressed" - "I have never overstepped a code of conduct boundary".

Fat chance finding a Mother Theresa in this 'choose me' - 'choose me' crowd.

In the age of zero privacy and cameras everywhere, even "dressing up" on Halloween or attending a costume ball to raise money for a favourite charity or acting in a community stage play or some other "heretofore-normal" activity, carries huge risks for those in the spotlight of education, business, sports, media and politics.

What the hell is our society evolving into?

Have we forgotten that humans have always been "tribal"...and being tribal brings with it a natural fear of "the other".

Stop and reflect on the following for a moment.

Don't "all" humans have a natural inbred, hardwired, predisposition, inclination and tendency to firmly believe...my tribe is better than your tribe, my God is better than yours, my religion is better than yours, my country is better than yours, my gang is better than yours, my team is better than yours, my system is better than yours, my party is better than yours, my stuff is better than your stuff...and so on.

And over the course of human history this "tribalism" has resulted in never-ending "tribal warfare" somewhere on the planet.

The inescapable conclusion is neither easy to accept or deal with.

It means there's no ducking the reality.

Because of our belief-systems are hardwired into our tribal brain, everyone of us humans (sometime, somewhere) commits acts, without conciously realizing they crossed a line, that is interpreted by others to be hurtful, prejudicial and yes, even "racist"; though the act may have been committed without any malicious intent.

There's no denying every human carries the "baggage" of their tribe's DNA, conditioned by upbringing, education, experience and fear of "the other"; which determines how we react under stress.

Which means, unless, if, when and until we "all" make the effort to get to know, understand and learn from each other, only then will fear of "the other" begin to dissipate and hopefully (in some illusory-perfect-world) disappear.

Otherwise, "we" humans are in for a pile of trouble because mass migration will not only continue but accelerate, due to climate pressures forcing the "tribes" (seeking safety) to move closer together.

Which leaves all of us with limited options: Assimilate and cooperate or face tribal warfare and annihilation.

Ronaldo's Summary Conclusion

The recent 'politically motivated' muckraking (tempest in a teapot) brouhaha, served only to distract voters who are having enough difficulty trying to decide which "transgressor" in their riding to vote for.

So let's keep reminding each other before jumping to premature conclusions. Humans do dumb, stupid, nasty, hurtful, awful things, when "we" are young (and even) when "we" hopefully evolve into a so-called wiser, mature adult who should know better.

In the meantime a little rational reflection and perspective before accusing and labelling others, would go a long way to calming things down, n'est-ce-pas?

THE WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

Did you know Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer wants to destroy your public broadcaster? The public broadcaster you own and pay for.

In 2016, Mr. Scheer stated if he were to become prime minister, he would axe the news division of CBC/Radio Canada.

Mr. Scheer, December 2016: "I don't know why this government is in the news business in this day and age with so many platforms with so many ways to disseminate information."

What was that you said, Andrew? "this government is in the news business". No, no, Mr. Scheer, you couldn't be more wrong.

Surely you are aware CBC/Radio Canada is a crown corporation, operating at arm's length and "independent" of the government in power; owned by and responsible to the people of Canada with a principle role being "the news business".

If the government in power was "in the news business" we would be living in a dictatorship with state-run media like Russia, China and North Korea.

Hopefully, whoever becomes Prime Minister on October 22nd understands and accepts, any decision about whether CBC/Radio Canada continues to exist, and in what form, "must" rest with the people of Canada, not the next prime minister.

At this time, when politicians of a certain stripe refer to the media as "the enemy of the people and purveyors of fake news", it is essential in order to protect our democracy, that Canada maintain a strong, independent private and public media.

All Canadian media companies are under severe financial stress due to shifting advertising dollars. Every newsroom in the country has been affected and hundreds of journalists have lost jobs.

Which brings us to "Ronaldo's proposed fix"; a first-step on the road to a solution

For readers illucidation a few informative factoids, questions and answers:

You may not know (or even care) the annual taxpayer subsidy to support all English, French and Aboriginal language CBC/Radio Canada services is $28 per capita. And despite this paltry sum many Canadians continue to complain this is too much.

By comparison Canadian taxpayers pay/subsidize Netflix $120-$168 each year, without complaint. Why? Netflix provides relevant content, free of advertising.

Canadians appreciate and support CBC/Radio Canada's radio services. Why? Because it resembles what they like about Netflix; relevant content, free of advertising.

Canadians complain about the paltry $28 bucks. Why?

Because they don't appreciate/like/support CBC-TV.

Why?

Because CBC-TV is loaded with adds and "eye-ball candy floss" fluff programs (to attract even more advertisers) like "Family Feud".

Well it seems logical that if CBC-TV adopted the model their radio services are providing; relevant content, free of advertising the problem goes away. No?

Yes, if the "commercial" irritant "disappears" and the content improves by becoming "relevant", one must assume the audience and taxpayers respond accordingly.

OK, then. Why don't the people who run the place do that?

They can't.

Why? They don't have the money.

Which brings us back to Ronaldo's fix; a first-step on the road to a solution to help both private and publicly owned media companies:

- Increase the annual taxpayer subsidy for CBC/Radio Canada to $50 per capita (an additional $32 and less than half the annual cost of Netflix).

- All commercial revenue (in the Canadian marketplace) would then revert to private media companies to help them deal with their financial crunch.

The next elected government can make this happen. All it takes is guts and will.

OK, but what If that doesn't happen?

Then our fragile democracy is further endangered by a severely weakened Canadian media.

Do you care?

On a lighter note: Bet you didn't know the month of December this year will have five Saturdays, five Sundays and five Mondays. It only happens once every 823 years.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#193 ARE WE HAVING FUN YET? (posted Sept. 19, 2019)

Carrying on with the theme of article #192, this one is also offered as a "public service" for anyone who has not been paying attention to the latest political shenanigans occuring in the best country on the planet.

September 11, 2019 (the anniversary of 9/11) - Justin and Sophie leave their residence hand in hand (what a lovely couple, sigh) on their way to Julie's house, Rideau Hall.

- The purpose of the visit: (for anyone interested in the 'Compendium of Parliamentary Procedure')

On the advice of PM Justin, GG Julie issues a proclamation (published in the Canada Gazette) to dissolve Parliament. Dissolution terminates all business in the Senate and House of Commons, which triggers a general election.

Overjoyed Senators break out the champagne, camembert and crackers and look forward to another extra-long holiday with pay and benefits.

- The purpose of the visit: (for anyone interested in "hot" Ottawa gossip)

Arriving at Rideau Hall, being Quebecers, they greet each other "a la francaise"; in this case a lingering kiss on each cheek.

This PM enjoys kissing ladies...like his Dad.

Just before the formal proceedings begin, Julie takes Sophie aside and whispers...

I was shocked to see that photo of Justin at the G7 meeting in France. Melania shot your husband a smouldering passionate look before they exchanged kisses (a la francaise), with her crazy, jealous husband standing right next to them playing with his cell phone.

When the photo was uploaded on social media the internet lit up like a Christmas tree.

Were you upset?

Frankly, no. And I wasn't surprised. Ivanka was the first, but not the last, of the Trump-Tarts to signal a desire for a private summit with my husband.

If Justin ever goes beyond exchanging cheek kisses with that crowd, all hell will break loose.

Julie offers some GG advice... keep that one on a short leash, he's a babe-magnet.

The conclusion of the Rideau Hall formalities signalled that for the next 40 days and 40 nights the 'Great White North' is "ungoverned" by politicians.

A nation, rudderless, aimlessly drifting in dangerous waters for 40 days and nights...a perilous state of affairs for a country, right?

Actually it's not.

Really? Oh Ancient One you must elucidate us.

OK, if you insist.

We all know our system of government is based on the British model; the mother of all parliaments.

Yes, so.

And because of this, there exists an "invisible" cadre of folks (top civil servants) that keep the machinery of government working, during the interegnum of an election campaign and after.

Are you suggesting there exists a form of "deep state" operating in our country?

No, I'm not suggesting that we may have a state within a state.

But 48% of our southern neighbours believe in the conspiracy theory that one exists in America.

Their leader, Emperor 'Crazy Pants' is convinced a "deep state" is embedded in their country and is hell-bent to excise it and replace it with his own.

What's a "deep state", oh wise one? It's a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.

Holy crap that's scary.

You got that right.

But our system is more benign, right? Our Dudley Do-Right (s) would never stoop to doing anything so nefarious, would they?

Umm, well, according to recent news reports one of our most highly placed Do-Right's, with the highest security clearance, stands accused of espionage...so there goes the word "never".

But since our system is based on the one used by the mother of all parliaments, we obviously have a "foolproof" system of checks and balances, right?

Umm, well, again...those of us who have watched the BBC TV series (1980-1988) "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister" may have a more skeptical opinion of the British system being fool...proof.

The hilarious political satire British sitcom demonstrates how their system can be manipulated by actions portrayed brilliantly by two of the principal character actors:

Character #1: James Hacker, Baron Hacker of Islington, is Minister of Administrative Affairs, responsible for the British civil service. He eventually rises to the position of Prime Minister with the help of character #2.

Baron Hacker of Islington can best be described as a "dork".

Character #2: Sir Humphrey Appleby, is the permanent secretary representing the civil service. He reports and "works" for James. When James becomes British Prime Minister, Sir Humphrey is appointed cabinet secretary.

Humphrey can best be described as a very powerful civil servant. A master of obfuscation and manipulation who manages to protect his interests and those of the bureaucrats with ingenious wit.

Sir Humphrey says "yes minister" to his "elected boss" repeatedly, though he's clearly understood to mean "no".

His technique is to cleverly use unintelligible "bureaucratese", baffling opponents with long-winded technical jargon and circumlocution which confuses, confounds and manipulates his boss into making decisions that Humphrey favours.

It works so efficiently, he effectively controls the elected minister and ultimately Prime Minister Hacker.

Any need for more elucidation is superfluous.

Back to the Great White North

The leaders of Canada's main political parties competing for votes:

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party

Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party

Jagmeet Singh, NDP Party

Elizabeth May, Green Party

Yves-Francois Blanchet, Bloc Quebecois

Maxime Bernier, People's Party

All are making promises to spend billions of tax dollars, without providing any "credible" explanation of how or when the books will be balanced.

Fanciful promises using non-existent tax dollars. The very definition of dishonesty - behaving or prone to behave in an untrusworthy or fraudulent way.

Which leaves citizens who actually decide to vote with a conundrum. Do any of these leaders demonstrate an ability to "effectively" deal with the multitude of issues facing the nation?

Fact: A majority of Canadians are deeply in debt.

Fact: Regardless of who wins on October 21, the only thing overburdened taxpayers can look forward to is a continuation of the same old, same old...out of control federal spending, borrowing, growing debt and deficits.

The legacy of this 'prescription for disaster' is to leave behind an unmanageable burden on the backs of future generations.

"We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle" - Winston Churchill

There just has to be a better way.

AN EARLY TAKE ON HOW THINGS ARE SHAPING UP

Mr. Sunny Ways - Oops, I just stepped on another cow pie. As the sun sets, it gets really dark.

Mr. Bland - No, no and no. The antithesis of charisma. He's so unlike that other former Speaker who had "it" in spades. Sadly, he decided to resign. We will miss his dulcet tones..."Orrrdurrr, Orrrdurrr". Hopefully his next career will be as a soccer/football commentator "GOAL!...GOAL!...GOAL!".

Mr. Beard of the colouful turbans - Wrong leader. Green's will cut into his base.

Madame Vert - Experience, integrity. The most credible/capable of them all. Thankfully, keeping the climate crisis in the spotlight. Should gain five or six seats.

Monsieur Blanchet - Anyone who promotes/favours the breakup of the country should not be on the ballot.

Monsieur Mad Max - Will erode Mr. Bland's base.

RONALDO'S EARLY BUT FEARLESS PREDICTION

A "temporary" minority government, supported by a coalition with Greens, NDP or both.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#192 BEWARE OF POLITICIANS BEARING GIFTS (posted Sept. 1, 2019)

Boys and girls, ladies and gentle men, sadly, summer recess is over. September has arrived and time to get serious, again.

The BIG serious facing voting-age citizens this Fall is the October 21st election.

The following essay is offered on this Labour Day long weekend as a public service from a skeptical and aging concerned citizen.

AN ELECTION PRIMER

CHAPTER ONE - The "Game"

You can always tell an election is coming when politicians turn their focus, time and attention to the embattled voter/taxpayer(s).

The governing party always has the "early" advantage; they have use of the public purse.

However, they also have a vulnerable disadvantage, their "track record", which opponents will exploit to highlight incompetence, waste and failed promises.

(Analogy) - Building a Bee Colony

Parties engage a highly-paid campaign manager (the Queen bee) who uses an army of computer literate and social media savvy recruits (male drones and female worker-bees) to guide the party to the flower of victory...or a wilting defeat.

The 'Queen bee' relies on a time-tested election campaign "guidebook" to focus the enterprise.

This critically important "little red book" contains "tips" on how to use promises, pledges, lots of money and lies to dupe gullible voters.

For instance, tips on how to bribe voters with their money.

The Map to Glory

A few months before the writ is dropped, senior members of the party will forego their summer vacation to crisscross the nation.

In "targeted" cities, towns and hamlets, their task is to shovel bucket-loads of "promised money" off the back of a rented semitrailer painted in party insignia. Billions magically become available...to buy votes.

These are choreographed events to attract media and provide the ideal setting to push the campaign theme which should always be a message of "optimism and positivity" in a bright and prosperious future, providing you elect/re-elect "us"...and the catastrophe awaiting the nation should the nabobs of negativism be elected.

An example of a positive pitch:

Whoop-de-doo, happy days are here again...our great and prosperous country is flush with money, rolling in dough due to our diligent and exceptional management of your tax dollars and the economy.

Worker-bees are on hand to cue the rent-a-crowd "supporters" to enthusiastically clap, cheer and drown out any boos.

The guaranteed reaction of the targeted recipients, whom you have just made joyous by sprinkling them with magical monetary fairy dust, will be happiness. Consequently, they wouldn't dare say "where did the money come from, aren't the books bleeding red?"

To rookie candidates who might ask, "But that's lying or at best cheating, isn't it?", quietly advise the newbies "yes, kind of, but not to worry, you'll soon get used to that".

RULE: Never reveal, even to your most trusted confidant; you know, it's a shell game, a con.

If the gullible find out what's being shovelled off the trucks is actually "a tax I.O.U.", money the embattled taxpayer(s) will owe and have to eventually pay for...we are toast!

RULE: Never mention the word "deficit".

Some smart-ass reporter or opposition plant may shout "The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2019-20 is projected to be a whopping $19.8 billion. How can you be dolling out billions?"

Stand your ground, accuse the questioner of being a nabob of negativism, a fear monger and cue the rent-a-crowd "supporters" to make a lot of noise.

RULE: Duck, dodge, stall and obfuscate any and all "embarrassing" questions.

If this especially "awkward" question is asked, "Didn't the Liberals promise the books would be balanced by 2019?"

Adopt the technique of "plausible deniability" and shout back 'That was a rumour, a lie spread by the purveyors of fake news and our opponents'. Point an accusing finger at the cameras, shake your head and firmly say 'Everybody knows the actual promise was, we will balance the books over time subject to the proclivities of market forces over which we have no control'.

If you're really stuck and can't make up something plausible, answer the question with a question.

In real sticky situations that may prove difficult have the worker-bees cue the rent-a-crowd "supporters" to chant the campaign slogan, boo and jeer questioners into submission.

Always remember some voters listening to your spin are not sophisticated, and don't realize they are being conned. Some actually still believe in "the better angels of our nature" and that "this time things will be different".

If that brings a tear to your eye or pangs of conscience, you are definitely not cut out for this line or work. Otherwise focus on one objective: get elected using whatever means.

Because, if "we" are elected government, it won't matter. There's nothing voters can do about it, for four years.

NEW RULES: As an MP of the governing party, you are now a member of a team that speaks with one voice. Forget why your constituents voted for you or any notion of independence.

From now on you will stay on script, never stray from the party line, bob your head affirmatively whenever the leader speaks and heed all directives from the PMO.

The consequences for not maintaining this discipline are dire. Remember what happened to Jody "for not being a team player".

Deceipt: the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.

Cynicism: an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest.

CHAPTER TWO - The "environment"

The Fall election is occurring during an especially precarious, delicate, fragile and dangerous time caused primarily by a sleep-deprived, tweet-obsessed, paranoid nut job.

While Canada remains one of the wealthiest and best countries on the planet, the economy is just sputtering along, not performing efficiently or up to its potential, for a whole raft of domestic and international reasons.

Despite record low interest rates a majority of Canadians are drowning in debt.

One major impediment to economic prosperity is international.

Canada's "canolas" are being tightly squeezed; caught between two antagonistic superpowers.

- one helmed by the aformentioned nut job, obsessed with demonstrating he always holds the strongest hand.

- the other by a patient inscrutible leader, determined to prove that his country could rocket to worldwide economic dominance soon, and without the encumbrances of a modern democracy.

Cause and Affect

On December 1st, 2018, in the international transit area of the Vancouver airport, the RCMP arrested, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer.

The arrest was made at the behest of a foreign "Emperor-King"; call sign 'Crazy Pants'.

Meng was changing planes, enroute to Mexico, had no plans to enter Canada and had not broken any Canadian law.

Her indefinite legal detention, in Vancouver, made the inscrutable one mad as hell...at us. He demanded release of Meng Wanzhou and her immediate return to China.

Our fearless leader cited the Extradition Act and Canada's rule of law responding with a firm, no.

Consequently, China kidnapped two of our citizens, squeezed our "canolas" harder, adding to the boycott of canola, soy beans, beef, pork and restricting Chinese tourist visits to Canada, threatening more penalties to come.

Canada played a "flimflam" card in retaliation explaining,

1) The Extradition agreement with the U.S...made us do it.

2) Respect for the rule of Canadian law...made us do it.

Truth is...the aformentioned foreign Emperor-King 'Crazy Pants'...made us do it.

Meng's Canadian lawyers countered in court, pointing to Trudeau's "disrespect" for the rule of law by his own actions in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, specifically disregarding the law for political advantage in the upcoming election.

Appears hard to defend what Meng's lawyers believe is anything other than a hypocritical double standard on the part of the Canadian government.

Then, in January 2019, Canadian Ambassador to China, John McCallum, was fired by the PM for suggesting during a radio interview what many consider to be a quick and efficient resolution to the dilemma:

- send Meng home

- retrieve our incarcerated citizens

- which will quickly get trade with China back on track

Sounds rational and reasonable, n'est-ce-pas?

Certainly much better than the government acquiescing to a whacko's bidding, allowing itself to be used as a pawn by an American President in a trade war with China.

Consider if the situation was reversed and Canada wanted the U.S. to extradite one of Vlad's oligarchs visiting America who was charged with breaking a Canadian law. Would 'Crazy Pants' acquiesce and extradite him? Not in a New York minute, hour, day, week, month, year or decade. The mad Emperor-King would stab Canada in the back in a heartbeat.

Hopefully, whoever becomes the governing party on October 21st, takes McCallum's sage advice, returns Meng to China and in the process sends Donald Duck a message that we're finished being his patsy.

AND NOW TO CONCLUDE - AN OFFERING OF A "DELUSIONAL" IDEA

What if voters elect enough of "the best and brightest" candidates who have the guts to break away from traditional parties?

What if "the best and brightest" MP's were to work together, in a no-party coalition, to find practical solutions to the many "seemingly" irreconcilable domestic problems facing the nation?

What if the coalition of "the best and brightest" got rid of the Senate?

Wouldn't that, at the very least, be better than the status quo and give the country a fighting chance of maintaining a decent standard of living and prosper?

Yes, without a doubt, monsieur Ronald, it's a delusional idea.

The alternative:

- stop complaining about paying more and more taxes,

- stop complaining about government waste and,

- accept it's going to be the same old, same old...Ad infinitum.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#191 IN CASE YOU DOZED OFF AND MISSED IT (posted Aug. 24, 2019)

THE DAY - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST, 21st, 2019

Where: Lower North America...the capital "Bonkersville" D.C...precisely, the White House lawn.

What: Just another zany day in the ongoing comedy/tragedy soap opera - "El-Nutso Profundo".

Well, not exactly. This one was extra-zany even for regular watchers of 'Crazy Pants' press conference "performances".

As the 'Greatest One Ever' strode (imperially) towards Chopper-One, blades whirling ready to take him skyward (sigh), he glanced at the gaggle of news scribes shouting questions.

Like a moth attracted to light, the lure of all those microphones and cameras drew him like his irresistable predilection to young women.

Jaunting (imperially) towards the hated fake-news gaggle, leering warily, jaw thrust forward, ready to take them on...raising a (smallish) hand and pointing a commanding (smallish) finger at who would be allowed to ask a question, "you, not you" picking favourites, shunning others.

For 36 minutes 'It's All About Me" shouted rapid fire answers(?) that turned out to be an erratic, incoherent tirade full of boasts, self-aggrandizement, prevarication, rancour and insults. Then pivoting to blame every problem on the incompetence of others e.g., former presidents, all media organizations except Fox, Democrats, Jews who vote for Democrats, China, Allies, The Fed, Greenland, the Danish Prime Minister...and whatever else popped into his head.

But what really got everyone's attention...

Within hours of referring to himself as the "King of Israel", as the rambling "shoot from the mouth" press conference continued, 'Crazy Pants' looked skyward and proclaimed "I am the Chosen One".

The media gaggle stood gape-jawed as the "out of the blue" proclamation began to sink in.

The coiled tube earpiece worn by surrounding secret service agents crackled audibly, "Oh, oh, POTUS is off his meds again".

Watching intently on their electronic devices, his rabid cult-followers reacted with euphoria. Their exalted leader's audacious claim suggested he's "The Second Coming" - AKA "His Rapturessness".

Pardon? His what?

Well, it's complicated because it has to do with faith.

Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept. In the context of religion, one can define faith as confidence or trust in a particular system of religious belief.

Many of "His Rapturessnesses" hard-core base are American evangelicals who believe in "The Rapture".

The what?

I will elucidate.

The rapture is an eschatological concept of certain Christians, particularly within branches of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end time event when all Christian believers who are alive will rise along with the resurrected dead believers into Heaven and join Christ.

Other kinds of faith groups believe the bonus for "doing it to others" is seven virgins.

Wow!

Does this mean anyone not a member of this, that or whatever faith group is...S.O.L.?

From their perspective, that's the way the cookie crumbles and tempis for everyone else.

Holy crap!

You got that right.

Does this mean American evangelical "Christians" are willing to support and vote for a man who is morally and mentally unfit to hold the office of President of the United States?

To blindly follow an unstable individual who firmly believes in the concept that as President of a Republic "He is the State"? Like the guy who said "L'Etat c'est Moi"?

Appears so and it's important to remember VP Mickey Pence and his Mrs. are big-time evangelicals and note, Mickey always stands next to 'Crazy Pants' silently nodding in agreement.

Holy crap, X deux!

You got that right, again.

That's scary merde, monsieur.

Oui, X trois.

THE DAY - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st, 2019 (afternoon)

Where: Upper North America...the capital...the one where the unelected "camembert and broken crackers" gang (Senators) feast on the taxpayer dime.

What: The House of Commons Ethics Committee hold an extraordinary summer emergency meeting to hear testimony from the independent Ethics Commissioner about his report on the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Why: Commissioner Dion agreed to testify. He had reported being unable to conduct a "full investigation" because nine witnesses were prevented from sharing information. The Privy Council declined his request to waive cabinet confidence. The Prime Minister could, but also declined.

Mr. Trudeau stated he disagreed with Mr. Dion's conclusions (that he had broken the law) and would not apologize for his actions - improperly putting pressure on Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to intervene in the criminal case regarding SNC-Lavalin.

Signal - PMO to Liberals: Shut it down and make it all go away, fast!

Dutifully, the gutless bobble-head Liberal members of the committee complied and quashed every effort to have Mr. Dion or any of the nine testify, voting 5-4 against.

In the process Liberals tossed another election pledge into the trashcan - to govern on a principle of "openness and accountability".

The only party leader to attend the ethics committee meeting, Elizabeth May, an experienced parliamentarian not prone to hyperbole, commented on the record "The Prime Minister is guilty of an offence so grave that resignation is an appropriate response".

Powerful words that might motivate desperate Liberals to make a leadership change now, rather than risk losing power October 21st.

Here's a thought

Why not let a woman lead our country for a change.

There are several with "experience and integrity" who appear more capable than the current slate of male party leaders.

Here's three pearls of wisdom

The consensus after every election is that 100% of voters believe 50% of voters have lost their minds.

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.

Don't steal. That's the governments job.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#190 WHAT'S IN A NAME? (posted August 13, 2019)
Well, as always, it all depends...
PART ONE
In troubled times, we are encouraged by those who "claim" to know of what they speak to relax, chill out, take a time out and clear your mind of all negative thoughts.
The goal (they claim) is to seek and discover "our true inner-selves" through alternative medicine techniques such as meditation.
This advice comes from people like Mr. Deepak Chopra.
Who?
Deepak Chopra.
Ronald, you're joshing us again, right?
Nope.
Deepak is someone who "claims" he really-really-really knows of what he speaks.
Come on Ron, some of us actually know Deepak Chopra was appointed President and CEO of Canada Post by Stephen Harper, back in 2011.
And who could forget he's the guy who introduced the extremely unpopular plan to eliminate door-to-door delivery of mail and converting to "community mail boxes".
The guy who managed to turn a group (that always vote in elections) into an angry mob; by forcing them from the comfort of their home, in the middle of winter, to go outside to pick up mail.
Political Maxim: "Never piss-off old people."
It took the Liberals until 2018 to get rid of him.
Are you trying to suggest, Monsieur Ronald, Deepak Chopra, who single-handedly caused the stress and anxiety level of elder citizens to increase "exponentially", somehow twisted himself into a pretzel and morphed into a Guru of relaxation techniques?
Nope.
I'm referring to another Deepak Chopra.
There's another one?
Yep...likely several.
You're making this up, right?
Nope.
The Deepak Chopra I'm referring to is an Indian-born American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate, and prominent figure in the New Age movement.
He has become one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine.
In 1980, as a licensed physician, he became chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital.
He met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1985 (no relation to my favourite yogi - Yogi Berra) and became involved with the Transcendental Meditation movement which led to establishing the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center.
Like many others, he gained a following by being interviewed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show".
Chopra speaks and writes regularly about metaphysics, including the study of consciousness and Vedanta philosophy.
He is a philosophical idealist, arguing for the primacy of consciousness over matter and for teleology and intelligence in nature - that mind, or "dynamically active consciousness", is a fundamental feature of the universe.
Ronnie, stop pulling our leg(s), admit you just made that up.
Nope, but many suspect Deepak did.
The ideas this Chopra promotes have been regularly criticized by the medical and scientific professionals as pseudoscience.
Evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, has said that Chopra uses "quantum jargon as plausible-sounding hocus pocus".
Geez, do they mean this guy made millions by conning and duping people into believing this highfalutin bullshit?
Yep, yep and yep..."they" contend underneath all the ostentatious verbiage is a slick snake-oil salesman with a PHD (Piled High and Deep).
PART TWO - (A 'NAME THE TOWN' QUIZ)
Now let's try something 'His-Yoginess' Deepak would recommend.
Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, relax and clear your cluttered mind.
On the "blank" canvas of your now "blank" mind, paint an idyllic, magical, peaceful place...a scenic seaside town, on an island, on a peninsula.
If you're thinking 'Sidney by the Sea', on the Saanich Peninsula, on Vancouver Island; Stop, REWIND, because you're in the wrong part of the Great White (and melting) North.
RESET...let's begin again.
Close your eyes, deep breaths, relax and clear your mind of all thoughts.
On the canvas of your now hopefully-blank mind, think - idyllic, magical, peaceful, scenic seaside town on a peninsula, on an island.
This time please stay awake - the quiz will begin with a clue:
Name the Town - clue #1:
It's a historic fishing village on the Avalon Peninsula, on a coastal island, with a now-booming tourism industry and a new brewery.
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...sorry, we're drawing a "blank" (pun intended) on the name.
Oh come on, did everyone fail geography?
Not all of us, but a few more clues would be helpful, please Monsieur D.
OK, more clues from soft-hearted moi.
Clue #2: Not that many years ago, the "People's Network" censor brigade (language police) banned any reference to this Town; citing their no-no-words book of "sensitive" words in vogue at the time - deemed verboten...never, ever to be uttered on-air. Today's "political correctness" police.
Clue #3: The name is notorious, being the most "stolen" town-sign in Canada.
Clue #4: The Town's new 'Sister City' is...Hollywood.
Clue #5: No current resident knows where, when or how the town name originated.
Clue #6: Grade school students are cautioned by their teachers to be "extra careful" when searching the internet while doing a project on their hometown.
Clue #7: American late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, wants to serve the town as mayor. In order to attract attention to the town's "exotic" features and his campaign, he has picked a slogan "There's a Little D...O in Everyone!"
Clue #8: Nobody knew or cared about who Jimmy Kimmel was until his advance team arrived in their midst.
OK, enough stalling, it's time for the answer:
Bingo, drum roll, fanfare...finally someone got it...D-I-L-D-O!
"Dildodians" are over-the-moon with the sudden "world-wide" media attention, courtesy of mayoral hopeful and late night star, Jimmy Kimmel.
All this sudden attention follows on the heels of another Newfoundland and Labrador town success, depicted in the smash hit musical "Come From Away" that celebrates the legendary hospitality, kindness and welcome offered all visitors "from away".
1,198 "Dildodians" are now busy preparing for the coming tourism boom and the arrival of councillors representing other towns/villages/hamlets/truck-stops whose names "might make you blush", eager to learn how the town of DILDO won the promotional lottery that is sure to help "goose" their fragile economy.
Canadian exotic places like:
Spread Eagle (has a great view of Dildo Arm), Come by Chance - Newfoundland and Labrador
St. Louis du Ha! Ha! - Quebec
Dorking, Crotch Lake, Ball's Falls, Punkydoodles Corners - Ontario
Climax - Saskatchewan
Spuzzum and Stoner - British Columbia
Why would anyone (not) want to live there? There's no other place on the planet...quite like it!
PART THREE - (WEAPONS BASED TECHNOLOGY)
Netflix (just) released a 2-hour "must-see" documentary entitled "The Great Hack". A stunning piece of investigative journalism of how data company "Cambridge Analytica" came to symbolize the frightening "dark side" of social media in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Brexit, etc.. An expose of data harvesting, manipulation and mind-control by Facebook and Silicon Valley. A hard and alarming look at what's hiding in plain sight.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#189 MID-SUMMER MUSINGS (posted Aug. 8, 2019)

As the long days of summer dwindle down to a precious few, two lighthearted bons-bons that, hopefully, will momentarily distract from the madness all around us, initiated by the unpredictable and dangerous actions of the 'Four Horsemen of the (modern) Apocalypse':

Vlad, The Invader

Donald, The mad Emperor-King

Missile-Launcher, Kim

The Inscrutable Xi

MUSING ONE

"Fee-fi-fo-fum"...is the first line of a historical quatrain famous for its use in the classic English fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk".

Anyone who can remember the rest of the rhyme shall immediately proceed to the front of the class and collect one extra-large "gold-star memory badge".

Show-off.

Though the rhyme is tetrameric, it follows no consistent metrical foot; however, the respective verses correspond to monosyllabic tetrameter, dactylic tetrameter, trochaic tetrameter, and iambic tetrameter. The poem has historically made use of assonant half rhyme.

Pardon?

Pardon?...what the woman hiding in the dashboard of my car always responds when I ask her to do something.

Anyone who understands the aformentioned "tetrameric mumbo-jumbo" shall quietly proceed to the front of the class and sit in the first row; with the rest of the "nerdy-nerds".

The class front row always seems to include "Shakespeare aficionados" who remember the rhyme also appears in the play "King Lear" where the character Edgar exclaims:

"Fie, foh, fum

I smell the blood of a British man"

The archaic word "fie" is used to express disapproval.

Who knew? Who cares?

Only Shakespear aficionados...remember them, the smarty-pants show-offs who sat in the first row of every class.

MUSING TWO

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering...what the hell happened?

Oldsters (come moi) can only surmise the reason nobody told us what would happen as we age...out of a sense of kindness "they" must have wanted to keep the "big-surprise" a secret, so as not to spoil what happens in between...the bookends...fondly referred to as the period of life from "diapers to Depends".

You know you're getting old when...

You feel your body is being auctioned off one part at a time..."going, going, gone!"

You get out of the shower and you're glad the mirror is fogged up!

"Talk about getting old. I was getting dressed and a peeping-tom looked in the window, took a look and pulled down the shade." - Joan Rivers

It appears most of the ads are targeted at you. The purveyors of snake-oil products wanting to take your money by promising an easy fix:

Retrieve your long-gone "youthiness" by ordering our magic creams, lotions, potions and elixirs.

Guaranteed to deal with everything from "leakage", "dysfunctional this", "erectile that" and most other "inconveniences" encountered by mature adults who are "only slightly" beyond their best-before date.

Try our new and improved "Depends" (depends on exactly what?) and we guarantee you'll make it to Walmart and back without embarrassment.

Beat the crowds, join us for fine-dining at 4:30 p.m. Guaranteed to get you home before dark.

Get back in shape with Hula dancing at Silver Threads.

Learn something new and easy, take our afternoon Ukulele classes. Guaranteed you'll soon be skilled enough to join our community touring mixed orchestra. Great way to meet mature ladies.

Why wait and feel left out of a great party. See which of your "real" friends attends. We organize and cater your early "Why wait until I die" wake. We guarantee a fun-filled afternoon.

"I'm at an age when my back goes out more than I do." - Phyllis Diller

"By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere." - Billy Crystal

"You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred." - Woody Allen

At my age...

I've seen it all,

I've heard it all,

I've done it all,

I just can't remember it all...

Only the Scots could dream up a game that you can play well into old-age. A game where the person with the fewest points wins. A game that can easily make you crazy because the more you play the worse you get.

It did not take long for the Scots to realize the only way to remain sane and play this new game was to consume a shot of scotch after each hole.

Ergo, it did not take very long for golf's inventors to decide and accept that it was impossible to continue playing...after eighteen holes.

Make someone you like, feel special...write them a handwritten letter. Before you mail it ask a young person if they know what a handwritten letter is.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#188 IS REMEMBERING HISTORY IMPORTANT? (posted July 16, 2019)

Philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist, George Santayana, believed knowledge of history is so important he created aphorisms to (hopefully) influence humans to remember their history.

Two of the most often quoted:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

"Only the dead have seen the end of war"

July 1st Canadians, A Mari Usque Ad Mare, celebrated the nations 152nd birth; prompting yet another round of media speculation pondering why, especially the younger demographic, appear unaware and disinterested in pre and post Confederation history.

Is it because history is not "in vogue" these days?

Is it because school curriculums don't give the subject sufficient priority?

Even people applying for Canadian Citizenship must now pass a written test on their knowledge of pre and post Confederation history.

How many Canadians, born here would find this test daunting?

Absence of a proper grounding in civics and history may be directly connected to the abysmally low voter turnout for federal, provincial and municipal elections...which is not good for a healthy democracy.

During a presentation to 4th-year university students about my CBC career a few years ago, I asked the following (related) questions:

1) What is the connection between Canada's first prime minister and Louis Riel?

2) What dastardly deed was committed against Acadians by the British military?

Over a hundred students remained silent. Not one hand went up.

I may as well have been speaking Klingon.

How many of them could obtain a passing grade on the Canadian Citizenship Test?

My pre and post Confederation history lessons took place at Provencher Collegiate Institute in St. Boniface, Manitoba; a bilingual (French-English) all boys RC school.

All courses in grades one to nine were taught in French with a daily English and Latin class.

Grades ten to twelve courses were taught in English with a daily French class.

Consequently, Canadian history (pre and post Confederation) was first learned in French, from books written and published in Quebec (the conquered peoples).

Students reaching grade ten were then introduced to Canadian history in English, from books written and published in Ontario and the U.K. (the conquerors).

We were presented with books containing two "different" versions of the same events.

Heros in French history books were labeled as traitors in English books and vice versa.

Which told the true story? None.

Confused students were left to decide and ultimately come to realize "the real story" was not only illusive but relied on the particular bias of the author(s) and their masters.

As is often suggested - the "lasting" version of history is always written by the conquerors.

I graduated from grade twelve a life-long skeptic.

MEANWHILE - IN THE REPUBLIC OF TRUMP-LANDIA

Three days after Canada's birthday, Americans celebrated their 243rd Independence Day, marking the anniversary of the breakaway from the British King.

Taking his cue from the leaders he most admires (Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un and XI Jinping), "I'm the Greatest Ever" decided to depart from traditional July 4th celebrations and move the country another step closer to a dictatorship...his own.

Emperor "Crazy Pants" ordered his Generals to stage a grand military parade (including the biggest tanks and planes) to act as props for their Commander-in-Chief who stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial delivering a speech in praise of himself.

During the speech Trump (once again) demonstrated his absolute lack of even the most basic knowledge of American history while recalling the creation of the Army by the Continental Congress in 1775:

"The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do."

From his extraordinary super-brain, to his mouth, to their ears; this garbled nonsense was supposed to illicit a roar of approval from the crowd, followed by HAIL TO THE CHIEF.

His Generals cringed as their Commander-in-Chief appeared oblivious to an historical fact; Wilbur and Orville Wright invented and flew the first airplane in 1903.

However, facts never seem to matter or intrude as the Bullshitter-in-chief performs his ersatz intellectual sleight of hand which somehow continues to impress his cult followers.

What he could not have anticipated or control was his Gong-show being thwarted by Mother Nature.

She seized upon the occasion to dump buckets of rain on "Crazy Pants" and his grandiose spectacle.

Former Republican House Speaker, Paul Ryan, condemns Trump in a book to be released written by Tim Alberta of Politico entitled "American Carnage".

Alberta writes that the former speaker, who retired from Congress in 2018, could not stand the idea of another two years with the Republican president and saw retirement as the "escape hatch".

Reverting to his usual modus operandi (insults), Trump unleashed a tirade of tweets labelling Ryan a "lame duck failure". The bully's standard defence against the truth.

Those who are closest to "Crazy Pants" and the sycophants who surround him, understand that what's really lurking underneath the orange television makeup and dyed comb-over is a thin-skinned, mean, knuckle-dragging, racist thug - a dangerous vindictive man without a single "real" friend.

What will be left of America if and when the mad Emperor-King is finally deposed is anyone's guess.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#187 GRUMPY OLD FART OR YOUNG AT HEART? (posted June 26, 2019)

WHO'D OF THUNK IT

A national survey suggests Canadians are "happier" after age 55 and older.

Really?

Yep!

Older Canadians are "happiest" because they're in the place they want to be - RETIRED.

You made that up, right?

Nope.

According to a recent poll compiled by the firm Leger, using their 'Happiness Index', the East Coast came in first followed by Quebec and B.C. as the happiest provinces.

Really?

Yep! And who would ever challenge a 'Happiness Index'?

According to Leger, one of the things that sets Quebecers apart from the rest of us, is their "joie de vivre"..."joy of life"...mais oui, bien sur.

Leger does not clarify why Ontario had the lowest scores. But the crowd reaction at the Raptors celebration when Premier Dougie Ford was introduced, provides a clue.

Money itself is not what people believe makes them happy, rather, among the "keys":

Enjoy your family, enjoy the life you have, and enjoy the space you're in now.

Do you believe in the adage:

a) Growing old is what you make of it?

b) Fairy tales can come true,

They can happen to you,

When you're young at heart?

Or maybe you're slip-slidin' across the stage of life towards old age and worried about it?

Or maybe you're living through one of the decades, defined by our age-obsessed society, as "old-age; combating common aspects of ageing?

Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

Do you aspire ever becoming a nonagenarian?

A what?

A person who is from 90 to 99 years old.

I stumbled across a 2017 documentary that celebrates getting really old.

A member of that very rare and growing club, Carl Reiner, tracks down several nonagenarians to show how the twilight years can be rewarding.

Whether or not you're feeling like "a grumpy old fart", bored, or looking for something uplifting to cheer you up, I strongly recommend you watch "If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast".

This slice of nonagenarian living will make you smile, cry and feel better about enjoying "the space you're in now".

"What do you enjoy most about being 97?"

After a short pause he responded, "breathing!"

Peggy Lee, 1969:

"If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing,

Let's break out the booze and have a ball,

If that's all there is"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#186 REACH FOR THE BOTTOM (posted June 8, 2019)

Part One

On June 4th, in a Globe and Mail opinion piece, Konrad Yakabuski, informed readers:

"The CBC is launching a Canadian version of the U.S. game show 'Family Feud' in a bid to boost its advertising revenues by further dumbing down its schedule".

The new CBC-Radio Canada president, Catherine Tait, told advertising industry executives in Toronto, the CBC is making "a renewed commitment to growing commercial revenue" in order to become "masters of our own destiny".

To a Montreal business audience, she was even more explicit "We want to keep our diversified funding revenue model because we don't want to be vulnerable to shifts in the marketplace and government".

CBC's new head of English services, Barbara Williams, referred to the 4 X weekly scheduled 'Family Feud' show as follows:

"The factual fun format stuff is engaging, and it draws a big audience, and it brings people into our schedule, and from there you promote them into the other things they might not have known about - that's how TV programming still works".

Comments like that, to promote a new show, is expected if it came from an executive representing a private sector commercial TV company whose objective is chasing more eyeballs to make money for their shareholders.

But coming from the head of CBC English services is stunning, and may suggest that Ms.Williams either has zero comprehension of the primary role and responsibility of a public broadcaster or that, from her perspective, CBC's core mandate is irrelevant, unimportant and out of date.

This, coming from the most senior English services executive, along with the comments expressed by the CBC president "to focus on chasing more ad dollars" is foolhardy, ill-advised and "signals" that CBC television is heading in the wrong direction - down a rat-hole to oblivion.

Taking such a path will further endanger the very existence of the public broadcaster, especially at this critical time when all media is under threat and journalists are being referred to by some politicians and others as "the enemy and purveyors of fake news".

There's more than enough 'fake news' garbage on social media, influencing young and uninformed minds, to make it crystal-clear that legitimate journalistic organizations should be strenghthened not destroyed.

Democracy itself is threatened without independent competing media companies, staffed with qualified journalists, keeping citizens informed and providing a check on those controlling the levers of power.

Many hoped that those who replaced the previous CBC board of directors and president would have the foresight to present a plan to deal with the following question: What's "wrong" with CBC television?

Ironically, the answer Is staring the overseers in the face: Everything that's "right" about CBC Radio.

The formula is there, just copy it!

CBC Radio provides relevant content to listeners, without advertising interruption.

This makes CBC Radio "unique and distinctive" from all other radio providers in Canada and therefore worth subsidizing from the public purse.

Whereas, CBC television content is interrupted every ten minutes with several commercial ads, which gawls viewers watching news, current affairs and drama programs.

This makes CBC-TV look and feel like every other TV provider in Canada and is the main reason many taxpayers resent paying even a "measly" $34 annually to support the services provided by CBC-Radio Canada.

Following is Devion's "$34 worth of advice" offered to the CBC-Radio Canada board, president and management:

1) The recently released 3-year strategic plan is "uninspiring"; will not solve the aformentioned TV problem, and from a practical standpoint, CBC doesn't have enough money to pull it off, and you know it. Best to shelve this "DOA" plan now.

2) Past 5-year strategic plans kept changing and shifting priorities, especially in television. The result; constant confusion for the whiplashed, bewildered troops and shareholders wondering "where the hell are they going with TV now?"

3) The ill-advised strategic money problem "solution" - chase more advertising dollars - comes with a warning, "He who pays the piper calls the tune". Do you really want to risk losing further editorial control over parts of your schedule? Like what happened with the "disastrous" Rogers/CBC hockey arrangement (negotiated?) by your predecessors before their exit.

If you need reminding what happened, read Toronto sports journalist David Shoalts' book "Hockey Fight In Canada".

4) Best to go back to the drawing board before the fall election, and present taxpayers, candidates running for office and your staff a bold, daring, aspirational three-year goal.

Consider pitching the stakeholders something like this:

For an additional $20 per year, per capita from taxpayers, guaranteed for three years, CBC-Radio Canada promises to provide, relevant commercial-free content delivered as a "public service".

Obtaining support for this goal from stakeholders would also benefit the private sector commercial broadcasters (who are also hurting) because all commercial broadcast revenue would then be available to them.

5) Get this critical subject onto the October election agenda. Reporters from all media companies can ask candidates "what is your position is on this issue".

6) Communications: Your predecessors used a disrespectful/dishonest communication tactic: "Keep them in the dark and never complain, never explain". Do the opposite. Be upfront with stakeholders who pay the bills. Use the powerful media at your disposal to regularly keep the public informed.

Footnote: Forgotten what a Philistine is? Here's a refresher.

Philistine: A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.

Part Two

We began with CBC's upcoming "intellectually-challenging?" new quiz show. To test your skill let's try a question from a "better" quiz show called 'Jeopardy':

Alex Trebek: Readers, your category is People.

Alex: He lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtelty, no sensitivity, no self awareness, no humility, no honour, and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, his predecessor was generously blessed with.

He never once said something wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.

For us to lack humour is almost inhuman. He doesn't even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

And worse he is that most unforgivable of all things, a bully. That is except when he is amongst bullies, then he transforms into a snivelling sidekick.

He punches downward and every blow is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.

It's impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring into the abyss.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

We can only imagine what the Queen was thinking, standing next to a cowardly draft-dodger, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. A pompous embarrassment on full display in his ill-fitting penguin costume, posturing like an infamous Italian fascist dictator he admires.

On D-Day America sent their best...on the 75th, their worst.

Alex: Readers, over to you.

Any reader who answers incorrectly must immediately check their pulse.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#185 STRESS, GIGGLES AND GUFFAWS (posted June 2, 2019)

Recently, I watched a HBO documentary entitled "One Nation Under Stress" hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta which explained how stress is playing a role in reducing American life expectancy three years in a row, particularly in white working class Baby Boomers.

"We know what's driving up these deaths", Dr. Gupta explains, "opioid overdoses, suicide and liver cirrhoses." The number one stressor is money.

In the 1960's, America had the highest life expectancy in the world. Now the U.S. ranks near the bottom of developed nations.

What happened is revealed in this 'should-watch' documentary.

"Could it be that a society gets so stressed out that it actually starts to break?" - Dr. Sanjay Gupta

It's hard to ignore that the daily avalanche of bad news adds stress to our lives.

With summer right around the corner, many look forward to a much-needed vacation to provide a temporary antidote.

Glorious summertime. Time to relax, lighten up, chill-out and get away for a respite.

However, vacations are never, ever long enough; always too brief before it's time to resume the "daily grind".

But there's another, better antidote available for the rest of the year when it comes to relieving stress; more giggles and guffaws, just what the doctor ordered.

Whether you're guffawing at a sitcom on TV like the hilarious classic 'Mary Tyler Moore' episode "Chuckles the Clown Bites the Dust" or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good.

Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke.

A good sense of humour can't cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.

A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body.

Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.

Laughter can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.

Laughter can help lessen depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.

Laughter is the best medicine...so go ahead and give it a try.

Here's Two Little Ditties...to Lighten your Day

Ditty #1

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, The Pope and a small Mexican kid were on a plane. The plane was plummeting and was going to crash.

There were only three parachutes.

"I'm the only Presidential-lawyer here. I'll take a parachute" said Rudy.

"I'm the greatest-ever, smartest-ever in here, so I'll take a parachute" said Donald.

They both grabbed a parachute and leaped out of the plane.

The Pope said to the young boy, "Go ahead son, take the last parachute".

The boy replied "It's alright Your Holiness, the smartest man in the world just took my school bag".

Ditty #2

We've just come back from a holiday in Spain.

My wife didn't really enjoy it, because everyone could speak English and all the food was like the stuff we eat back home.

She said "Next time, I want to go somewhere where they eat wierd shit and you can't understand a word they say."

So I've just booked us a fortnight in Scotland.

Come on now...admit it...that made you smile and feel better...even if you're Scottish.

Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#184 ORANGE AND BLACK (posted May 20, 2019)

Re-creation of a Recent Event

Where? A mansion in Toronto.

When? Mid-May 2019.

Why? Read on...

Ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring...

Butler: Lord Crossharbour residence.

Female voice: This is a call from the President.

Butler: Pardon?

Female voice: The President wishes to speak to the Lord.

Butler: Which one?

Female voice: Which one what?

Butler: Which president?

Female voice: The greatest one ever, you idiot, now stop playing silly word games and put him on, the President doesn't have all day.

Butler: One moment, please.

Butler: Lord Black, a call for you, sir.

Black: Who is it?

Butler: Somebody called the great one.

Black: Why would Wayne Gretzky be calling me?

Butler: Who is Wayne Gretzky, sir?

Black: Never mind, give me the phone.

Black: Wayne, it's Conrad, how are you?

Voice: It's not Wayne, It's Donald.

Conrad: Donald who? My man-servant told me it was the Great One.

Voice: Yes I am and everybody knows it. I called to tell you, you're pardoned.

Conrad: For what?

Voice: For that little scheme you pulled off. The one that had you spend 42 months in a Florida slammer.

Conrad: Listen carefully, whoever you are, with the voice that sounds just like President Trump, I do not care if you are Alec Baldwin, Rich Little or some other imposter. I do not countenance being pranked. You and whoever put you up to this will be sued.

Voice: Conrad, stop yelling, calm down. It's really me, Donald Trump, the greatest President of the United States. It's about your book, the one I haven't had time to read. People who did, tell me it's super-flattering about me and suggested I should give you a pardon.

Conrad: What people?

Voice: Kissinger, Elton John, Rush Limbaugh and others. The guys who like to read thick books.

Conrad (suddenly realizing it really is Fat Donnie): Mr. President, please sir, excuse me. I assumed this was somebody from the CBC trying to trick and embarrass me on-air, one of their juvenile journalistic pranks.

The President: What's the CBC?

Conrad: One of Canada's media networks, like your CNN or MSNBC; full of left-leaning poltroons.

Donald (smiling): I used to play those tricks, back in the day, using a disguised voice to fool the newspaper reporters into writing something wonderful about me. It took them a long time to catch on.

Donald (beginning to rant): With the exception of Fox news, they're all fake news. I demand people be super-loyal and say nice things about me. Loyalty is really important for people like us. Being a TV star, I'm addicted and watch them all. I golf every week and my personal doctor tells everybody I'm in the best physical condition of any President in history. But I digress, what convinced me to give you a pardon was finding out you also were betrayed by a rat-fink; Radler ratted you out to avoid jail time. My former fixer/lawyer, a despicable, disloyal rat-fink, spilled his guts to Mueller. He's in the slammer writing a book about it. It makes me crazy that he only got three and a half years. Can't wait 'till my second term and one of my loyal judges gets to retry his ass...bye-bye Michael you rat. We will then burn all copies of his book.

Donald (as the rant continues his face colour morphing from light-orange to crimson-red): And, while I think of it, if we are to remain friends, never again mention the name of that no-talent, has-been, two-bit, so-called actor-comedian, Alec Baldwin! And who the hell is the other guy you mentioned, Rich Little? If he's also impersonating me, the greatest president ever, his name goes on the "list".

Conrad: Mr. President, please calm down sir, he's nobody important, not worth pursuing.

Donald: Sarah is preparing a press release announcing the full pardon. What do we call you? She's listening...

Conrad: Sir, my full name is Conrad Moffat Black. My title, Baron Black of Crossharbour, KCSG, or, The Right Honourable, The Lord Black of Crossharbour, KCSG. Either will suffice.

Donald: Geez, Conrad, that's a real mouthful of suffice. You're Canadian right?

Conrad: By birth sir, but not anymore. I was forced to give up my Canadian citizenship in 2001 and became a British citizen in order to become a Lord.

Donald: So that's how you pulled that off. After I win my second term, I'm changing my title from President to Emperor. Maybe I'll even add Lord to Emperor and give the new title a royal touch.

Conrad: Most appropriate, Mr. President. That would place you in the company of another famous man, Louis XIV, King of France who was quoted as saying "L'Etat c'est mois", meaning "I am the State", as you would be when you become Emperor.

Donald: I like that, thank you for bringing it to my attention. I'll use the quote at a rally.

Conrad: I am deeply moved by your kind gesture of a presidential pardon. I would forever be in your debt if it were possible for you to also lean on Justin and persuade him to restore my Canadian citizenship and my Order of Canada. It would be most appropriate now in light of your decision to wipe away the malicious, miscarriage of justice that stained my reputation and honour. Despite the judgement of the jury and the Appeal court, I hold no malice towards them, because the complexities of the case were well beyond their comprehension.

Donald: Consider it done. A gift from a budding Lord Emperor to a Lord. And Conrad, now that you're free to travel here, come have lunch at the White House. I'll show you the uniforms I've designed to wear at the inauguration, formal events and parades. My Cabinet all praised these as the best uniforms ever designed by a great leader, in the history of the world.

Conrad: I look forward to it Mr. President. Thank you again sir and please accept my sincere apology for the confusion at the beginning of our phone call. As the cover of my book proclaims, you are a President like no other.

Phone call ends.

Donald to Sarah: Geez, what a word-nerd. When he comes for lunch I'm going to need an interpreter. Quickly, remind me, what the hell does countenance, poltroons, malice and suffice mean?

Conrad to butler: Summon Lady Black of Crossharbour, my faithful man-servant, get our official Lords-robes out of storage. We are going to celebrate my vindication, just as I predicted, courtesy of a President, like no other.

Just one moral to extract from this sordid tale: Like Louis XIV, there is nothing this Emperor likes so much as flattery, or, to put it plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it is, the more he relishes it.

Hitler's buddy Benito Mussolini once observed "Facism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power".

Today's variation: The fate of the world now resides in the hands of Trump, his despotic pals and the one percent.

That should concern us all... echoes of the 1930's.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana, philosopher, poet, essayist and novelist.

Scary question:

How many madmen does it take to destroy the planet?

Scary answer:

With today's weapons, only one.

And that, dear reader, is not reassuring.

For a few days, take a deep breath, ignore the madness and enjoy what's left of the Victoria Day long weekend.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#183 ALL MANNER OF WEIRDITIES (posted May 9, 2019)

The weekly gathering of the Ladies Auxiliary of the 'Victoria Monarchists Society' was abuzz with anticipation; news that the latest royal has been named.

Society president, Mrs. Fionulla Tambling-Goggin quieted the assembly.

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, she declared.

The room fell strangely silent. The only noise coming from tea cups shattering as they hit hardwood and crumpling crumpets squeezed tightly by arthritic fingers.

Archie??? They mouthed in unison.

Mrs.Throckmorton shouted "Fionulla, surely you're joshing us, right?"

Ladies, please calm down. I've never been more serious, his name is Archie.

Vice-president Prudence Hossenfeffer struggling to rise from her seat, reminded members that president Tambling-Goggin was not well known for her humour, warning that the executive will not tolerate any untoward remarks, such as 'even Archie Leach changed his name to Cary Grant' or off-colour references to Archie Bunker and Archie comics.

The president ordered the assembly to rise, form a circle, join hands and sing, 'please God Save the Queen'.

What's the difference in business acumen between Warren Buffet and Donald Trump?

Warren Buffet has made millions.

Donald Trump has lost millions.

Hubris describes a personality "quality?" of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence, often in combination or synonymous with arrogance.

It typically describes behaviour that defies the norms of behaviour which, in turn, brings about the downfall of the perpetrator of hubris.

According to Greek mythology

Daedalus was a master craftsman who, amongst other things, created the Labyrinth and a form of winged flight.

Prior to testing his flying invention, Daedalus wisely warned his son, Icarus, of complacency and hubris. Telling Icarus that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea's dampness would not clog his wings nor the sun's heat melt them.

Icarus, believing he knew better, ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun. When the wax in his wings melted, he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned.

According to American mythology

In another place and time, a father called Fred instructed his son to use his considerable weath wisely.

However, like Icarus, Fat Donnie suffers from extreme hubris.

After losing more than a billion of his daddy's inheritance he became entrapped by his debts, falling under the influence, beholden to some very bad dudes.

These bad dudes are very smart and wily. They know exactly how to manipulate Fat Donnie's hubris for their own ends.

Against incredible odds, they managed to get him elected President of the Divided States of America.

Cleverly moulding "their" president into a mirror image of the chief Bad Dude, Vlad the Invader.

Because he owes the bad dudes big-time and fearing being exposed as a fraud, a coward and a puppet, he is forced to do their bidding.

In only 2+ years the Republican Party has morphed into the Trump Party. Federal Institutions now serve him/them rather than the people.

The 400+ pages of the 'redacted' Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and obstruction of justice against Trump and others within the campaign and administration is now public.

97% of Americans have not even bothered to read the redacted report. The other 3% is mostly lawyers.

The Trump Party trashed the report's conclusions, despite 700 federal prosecutors stating there is more than ample evidence of obstruction of justice to prosecute.

How much proof is needed when 700 legal experts say that?

For the answer, we quote a former Canadian Prime Minister and lawyer. Jean Chretien stated "A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."

And that, dear reader, clears up any confusion about proofs, n'est-ce-pas?

Based on overwhelming evidence contained in Mueller's redacted report, the inevitable conclusion reached by any rational reader: Fat Donnie is a dirty rotten scoundrel who surrounds himself with dirty rotten scoundrels.

Otherwise, it would not be possible for someone like him to sit on "The Iron Throne" for four years, let alone eight.

In order to sit on "The Iron Throne" and rule "The Seven Kingdoms" as Emperor, you have to be a dirty rotten scoundrel supported by and surrounded by a lot of other dirty rotten scoundrels.

Garbage In - Garbage Out

President Rodrigo Duterte has given Canada a May 15 deadline to take back tons of rotting trash sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 in containers delivered by a private Canadian company marked as recyclable scrap.

If the garbage isn't removed, Duterte threatened war with Canada.

In order to avoid a 'dirty' war and suffer loss of reputation as an environmental leader, Canada agreed to pay the full cost of bringing 69 garbage-laden stinking shipping containers to Vancouver.

Environment and Climate Change Canada, in charge of the process, remain mum on the cost to taxpayers or what happens to the garbage when it is dumped on a Vancouver dock.

The Canadian company responsible for the illegal mess no longer exists. However, this should not prevent the government from naming and shaming the owners (the dirty rotten scoundrels) of the company who stiffed the taxpayer.

OOP's, OOP's and OOP's, Justin's gang stepped on another cowpie - the Admiral Norman case.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#182 TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER (posted April 23, 2019)

Said an extraterrestrial alien (who has just landed on Earth in a spacecraft) to the first human it happens to meet.

"At this terrible time, it is my job to make you feel safe" - The President - addressing the NRA in 2018.

Question:

How many Trumps does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer:

Four - one to hold the light bulb and three to turn the ladder. However, they must pause until Emperor 'Crazy Pants' receives instructions from Vlad about which way to turn the ladder.

AND ELSEWHERE ON THE CONTINENT...

Question:

How many Publicani (think Greek) does it take to build a pipeline?

a) Short answer:

None, because they are incapable.

b) Quick answer:

Anyone who works in the mind-numbing slow grind of national/provincial/aboriginal/environmental politics will know there is no such thing as a quick answer.

c) Long answer:

A project the size of building a pipeline in Canada's contemporary confederated conflagration, requires the following legislated steps:

1) Approval - followed by consultation, 2) Costing - and consultation, 3) Planning - more detailed consultation, 4) Procurement - more intricate consultation, 5) Health and safety - much more specific consultation and finally - 6) The Self Congratulatory Celebration.

Whoopee, finally...job done!

Hold on a minute, on this side of the longest undefendable border there's not such thing as a "FINALLY".

Tradition dictates an obligatory Royal Commission to investigate why it took so long, called for by those who were against the project from the outset.

That's the Canadian way, n'est-ce-pas?

Dear Ronald, surely you jest?

Nope, nope and nope!

Your humble scribe rarely jests about stuff that requires bold, decisive leadership. Big stuff that's in the national interest.

Let's take a minute to review the progress (giggle) of a project that would/could/should/might benefit every single citizen born in 2015.

THE ONE MINUTE REVIEW

More than six decades ago, a pipeline was built by private enterprise to transport black-gold West from Edmonton to tidewater...wihout much controversy.

In 2016, the federal cabinet approved twinning the aging 'Trans Mountain' pipeline, adjacent to and along the very same approved route...and all hell broke loose.

Hell (in this case) is the 'Internecine Flapdoodle' that resulted triggering countless meetings, endless consultations and legal wrangling...costing defenceless taxpayers millions.

To date, No progress, repeat Zero progress (giggle gone) has been made on expanding pipeline capacity West to tidewater that would generate billions to meet the dire needs of the nation.

That's the Canadian way, n'est-ce-pas?

So what happened next?

Well, in 2018, the Feds surprised the nation by purchasing the existing pipeline, paying private enterprise $4.5 billion ($ they haven't yet collected from the overtaxed) and without providing any published cost/benefit case for doing that.

By the way, that doesn't include the estimated $7.8 billion to build the new pipeline.

Geez, that's risky as hell isn't it? Where's the risk when it's not your money you're gambling with?

Instead, those who govern us explained their multi-billion dollar surprise this way, "everybody knows it's in the national interest", while blissfully ignoring a "minor" impedement...the aformentioned glacial 'Internecine Flapdoodle'.

The "expected" celebratory moment (apparently the Feds anticipated a coming together, a joining of hands and Kumbaya singing from the Internecine's) quickly evaporated. The Provinces, First Nations and environmentalists resumed the fight for their own entrenched self-interest with renewed vigour, leaving "national interest" in the proverbial crapper.

That's the Canadian way, n'est-ce-pas?

Then out of the blue, a number of First Nations expressed interest in purchasing 51% of the taxpayer owned pipeline company.

You're kidding, right?

Nope, nope and nope.

Now the overtaxed are really confused, weren't all the First Nations against the pipeline?

And from whose pockets are the billions coming from for that, wonder the overtaxed?

This latest piece of bizarre news created additional confusion, especially amongst the purported 'no-pipeline-ever' allies; the "other" First Nations and environmental groups.

This ends the short version of THE ONE MINUTE REVIEW

Which brings us to observations from the unrepresented taxpayer who pay the bills for this insanity:

Wouldn't a "rational" taxpayer conclude the entrenched Internecine Squabblers will never, ever achieve consensus or "a practical way forward" out of this morass?

Wouldn't a "rational" taxpayer also conclude the "national interest" is best served by building pipelines from land-locked Alberta West, East and South? Wouldn't the practical result be: to significantly lower the cost to consumers of refined products, increase needed revenue for social programs and stop offshore oil imports from despots?

Might it be possible a prolonged stalemate could fracture our already fragile confederation?

And to top it all off, climatologists deliver the Coup de Gras, handing us a stick of dynamite with a long burning fuse...Canada is warming faster than the rest of the world, with the greatest warming taking place in the Northern regions.

If this was a Monty Python skit John Cleese would yell, "OH SHIT!"

Climate scientists have now delivered a piece of news that has our attention. News that things will dramatically change; redefine coastlines and force humans to higher ground. Focus' the mind n'est-ce-pas?

Therefore dear reader, the time has arrived to do the following...

1) Recite the angler's prayer 3 X daily - "There's hope as long as your fishing line is in the water".

2) In the face of disaster, it's always best to remain stoic, maintain a stiff upper lip and carry on, regardless.

3) Hold hands and join the chorus in singing Eric Idle's famous composition (cue the Kazoo's):

"When you're stuck on the world's stage

With lots of loonies half your age,

And everything is starting to go wrong,

It's too late to run away.

You might as well just stay,

Especially when they play your silly song!...

...ALWAYS LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE"...

And while you're on the bright side consider this, GETTING OLD ISN'T SO BAD...

- You can drive an electric vehicle, without a licence...on the sidewalk

- You get to be among the first hostages released

- "Game of Thrones" means finding one to sit on, in the next 120 seconds

- As your cruise ship is sinking you're safely aboard a lifeboat with the children and the Italian captain

- Saying you can't remember is not a lie

- Your joints are more accurate at predicting the weather than the weather channel

- You no longer have to spend money on sexy underwear

- You have less grey hair to count because you have less hair

- Your secrets are safe because your friends can't remember them either

And always keep in mind, "Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes"

Ron Devion - No Guts, No Glory

#181 GEEZERS, OLD FARTS AND LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE (posted April 14, 2019)

Thought du Jour

Think Old and you'll be Old. Think Young and you'll be...a delusional Old Fart!

Humans have no way of predicting when they will cross a dreaded 'red line', that inevitable threshold; the passage from being fit to being fragile. The proverbial 'cycle of life'...from diapers to Depends.

The only certainty; the current demographic army of 'old farts' is growing larger with each passing decade.

If you can remember watching television in its infancy, a time when platoons of network censors kept an iron grip on what adult audiences were allowed/permitted to see and hear, then face it...you're old.

The self-appointed arbiters who suppressed and prohibited parts of books, films, news, etc., considered (by them) obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

Their "standards" determined actors depicting a married couple could never be seen in bed together and which spoken words were verboten. The result; a portrait of every day life...as it never, ever was.

Then a few shows broke the mold of hypocrisy, like 'All in the Family' and 'Monty Python', and the days of the censors were numbered.

Today, audiences (young and old) are turning away from so-called "free" network channels filled with depressing news and bland entertainment, interrupted every twelve minutes by mindnumbing commercials; turning their attention and money toward channels like HBO and Netflix whose commercial free content is the antithesis of latter day censors.

The contrast in television content back then to now has never been more apparent as the epic series 'Game of Thrones' enters its final season.

The show's characters (who survived the first seven seasons) have seen their parents, children and even pets stabbed, disembowelled and beheaded. They've been burned and frozen. They've lost entire body parts. Some have been through death and back. Every episode is sprinkled with an overly-generous amount of jiggling naked bodies. Some scenes and language so stark as to force even the most jaded onlooker to cover their eyes and ears.

The result: contemporary television offerings that portray every day life...as it never, ever was.

Life in the slow lane

Most of us still shuffling along life's bumpy road have trouble remembering things, even jiggling naked bodies.

Then something happens that unlocks a lost memory that brings a smile. For 'elderly' girls, it may be that first kiss. For 'elderly' guys it's more likely, that first car.

Mine was a used '55 Chevy hardtop convertible; painted grass green and ivory white.

Even a picture of a '55 Chevy Bel Air V8 can stir this old fart's emotions of a time when life was sweet and full of promise. Man, in full control of machine, with nothing but open road ahead...when POOF...the blissful daydream ends as reality returns to my morning ritual.

On the kitchen table; a steaming mug of strong coffee, a neat row of five pill bottles, two bottles of eye drops and a collection of multi-coloured vitamin pills. Yum-Yum?

Not exactly the hardy breakfast of our youth, but today's essential chemical-mix of nutritious old-fart bonbons, prescribed by the dedicated women and men who practice their craft on my body and mind, enabling me to continue to sputter along life's highway...for one more precious day.

I continue to firmly believe and maintain that life's best medicine is a healthy sense of humour combined with a dollop of skepticism.

"Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever" - Walt Disney

What is the meaning of an old geezer?

A somewhat insulting term for an older person, especially one who is no longer cool, hip or with the times. An example of an old geezer is a grumpy old man who sits on his porch all day yelling at the neighbourhood kids.

Therefore, all geezers still slowly shuffling along the highway of life should strive to receive the following accolade, "He strikes me as a decent geezer".

"By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere" - Billy Crystal

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#180 ARE YOU "MAD AS HELL"...YET? (posted March 28, 2018)

Topic #1: Pickpockets

For a couple of days every Spring, my mood turns foul while working on a dreaded chore.

What, dear Ronald, could possibly upset your usually sunny dispostion?

Having to spend even half of one precious day of the 'sunset years' gathering and sorting a pile of documents & receipts demanded by an unjust tyrant (who mistreats "ordinary" citizens by subjecting them to unaffordable taxes) is a mean spirited cruelty inflicted on defenceless elders.

Pain, comparable to enduring a root canal, then having to pay for it.

Every Spring, Canada's version of the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham; the CRA marauders, arrive to rob us of our income.

Some studies suggest that when every form of tax inflicted on Canadians (by all levels of government) are added together, 85% of an "ordinary" person's income "disappears" into government pockets. Legal theft in the name of the Crown.

Most wouldn't mind paying a reasonable amount of tax, if there weren't so many examples of unwarranted waste uncovered each year by government auditors. Despite the "embarrassing" disclosures nothing ever changes...it's not their money.

But what really sticks in the craw of so many taxpayers is the realization that the system is neither equal nor fair.

The Uber-rich and powerful engage the cleverest tax accountants and lawyers to find ways and means for clients to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

I'm long past my best-before years but still stubbornly resist hiring a tax accountant. Unwilling to accept the reality that the CRA's rules, regulations, forms and schedules are beyond my aging capabilities to conquer.

The time has come to accept defeat.

How come, dear Ronald, you're not known to be a quitter?

A problem arose preparing the tax return which necessitated phoning the CRA for assistance.

When the agent answered, she provided a first name and ID number. This left me wondering why this was necessary because it's unlikely we will ever speak to each other again.

After several minutes explaining the problem, she quickly admitted it was beyond her pay grade and passed me on to a more "senior" agent who provided his first name and ID number. I purposely avoided asking why he had to do this.

The problem also stymied the "senior agent". He forwarded me on to a more senior top "expert" agent, which left me with the impression of being trapped in a CRA vortex called, "the upward shuffle-shuffle".

The "expert" provided the prescribed (and now anticipated) first name and ID number.

For the third time, I carefully explained the problem.

What followed was a half hour of "cross talk" between an old guy in Brentwood Bay and a top "expert" CRA agent in Newfoundland, six time zones away.

She spent several minutes explaining tax complexities related to the problem, that came across as gibberish to the old guy on Vancouver Island.

Attempts to interrupt her rapid-fire delivery were to no avail.

To further complicate the exchange of gibberish, and unlike the previous agents who spoke English with a lyrical/understandable Newfoundland accent, "Machine Gun Molly's" English was delivered with a heavy Asian accent. This made any comprehension on my part impossible.

Realizing the futiliy of continuing, I politely thanked her and ended the call.

This left the old guy alone, floundering in the land of "no answers" which left him but one option, "best guess".

Therefore, it will come as no surprise, if some day the Sheriff of Nottingham's maurauders show up at my door with an arrest warrant for "tax confusion" and dear Ronald will end up spending what's left of his twilight years in the Big House...on The Rock.

Topic #2: "Artificial Intelligence" in action

Canadians "purportedly" live in a Confederation.

"Purportedly" because a confederation is supposed to be...

a) An organization which consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance.

b) A "more or less" permanent union of provinces and territories with some or most political power vested in a central authority.

Over the history of our country, considered by many to be the best in the world, the Feds, Provinces, Territories and First Nations have been in a constant "push me - pull you" relationship; with each other and with the central authority.

Led by Quebec (always effectively playing the 'threat of separation' card) demands have been acceded and central authority has eroded to the point where a power shift has resulted in unintended consequences.

Over time this has created "competing" fiefdoms; unwilling or unable to cooperate with each other for the benefit of the whole nation.

And in the process causing systemic inefficiencies that waste billions annually.

Taxpayers continue to question why 'those who govern us' adopt political positions that defy common sense.

Such as.....

1) Enthusiastically embracing international trade while resisting interprovincial trade.

2) Resisting the logic of purchasing drugs through a central authority.

- For years companies like Walmart and Costco have used their "centralized power" to negotiate with suppliers and keep prices low for their customers. Why don't our leaders adopt this example?

3) What form of "intelligence", "logic" or "common sense" is influencing our leaders to resist building pipelines (West, East and South) to unlock billions in oil wealth trapped in Alberta?

Instead they opt to:

- Ship Alberta oil by rail and road; environmentally much less safe than transport by pipeline.

- Import oil by tanker to Eastern refineries from the most despotic countries on the planet.

4) In BC, the NDP government continue to aggressively resist twinning a taxpayer-owned pipeline to tide water.

- Instead, the NDP twist themselves into an environmental pretzel attempting to rationalize to "confused" voters why they are dangling massive tax credits to entice the LNG sector to build a...wait for it.....PIPELINE, yep a pipeline....to carry natural gas to a $40 billion liquified natural gas plant being built in Kitimat.

- And guess where the LNG will be transported...to Asia, in ocean going tankers.

Uh, just in case we missed something, isn't a pipeline a pipeline? Is there any difference/distinction between a BC NDP pipeline, an Alberta NDP pipeline or a taxpayer-owned Liberal pipeline? When they come for your vote, ask.

HYPOCRISY at its political best.

5) Why is a Quebec government allowed to prevent a pipeline East while accepting $13.1 billion in annual tax transfer payments?

- Especially when Alberta has lost 100,000 jobs (related to the oil patch) yet forced to contribute to the billions Quebec receives.

Now that's HYPOCRISY at its political best.

6) China kidnaps our citizens and now has our farmers by the canola's. HUAWEI, HUAWEI...ouch, ouch.

- Poor Justin is caught in the middle of a pissing contest between two dictators who have zero respect for "the rule of law". Given the legal dispute that will take years to resolve in our courts, what will our fearless leader do if either Emperor 'Crazy Pants', Premier Li or both decide to firmly press our other tender spots?

And what does the word HUAWEI mean in English? Is it "up yours" or "we give up" and send her home?

Topic #3: Beware of the Ides of March

- As we watch the Jody, Jane and Justin imbroglio grind on, who's in control of the ship of state? We are in a fog heading toward an iceberg. Is there a competent captain on the bridge to avert a calamity?

- Albertans are justifiably "mad as hell" heading to the polls in less than a month. Whoever wins the election will play a critical role influencing the future of our country.

- Many "experts" are predicting the world is heading for another recession.

ARE YOU "MAD AS HELL"...YET?

Question du jour:

What's the difference between baseball and politics?

Answer du jour:

In baseball you're out if you're caught stealing.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#179 POMP, VANITIES, RITUALS AND UNIFORMS (posted March 13, 2019)

Every weekday morning, Ernie Coombs, "Mr. Dressup", entertained several generations of children watching CBC Television with songs, stories, arts, crafts and imagination games, with the help of his puppet friends Casey and Finnegan.

Four thousand half-hour episodes were produced from February, 1967 to February, 1996.

Dressing up is a tradition for all ages...on Hallowe'en.

With tongue firmly in cheek...

Dressing up...like "Old Boys" who belong to fraternal organizations and lodges cloaked in mystery, holding secrets that only fellow "brothers" may know.

Note: Truth be told, many of these clubs were formed, primarily, as a way to be able to drink on Sundays.

But, why is it that men, especially "older guys", gather in these mysterious lodge halls, dressed up in exotic costumes that, frankly, make them look, ridiculous?

It's fair and reasonable to surmise one reason males join these organizations is because it allows them to dress-up in uniforms that make them look like extras in a comic opera (think, 'Pirates of Penzance') or movies (think, 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' and any of several Elizabethan frock-flicks)...without fear of embarrassment.

A sampler...because there are so many.

The Knights of Columbus - these guys wear 'fore and aft' chapeauxs, capes and swords..."en garde you non-believer!"

The Shriners - these guys wear silly hats and like driving little cars in parades.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks - what do these guys wear, antler hats and elk skins?

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows - anybody know what odd fellows wear?

Breaking News regarding 'The Loyal Order of Moose': the feud between Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Stor-Elvdal, Norway, ended with the representative Mayor signing a historic "Moosarandum Of Understanding".

Consequently, the simmering contest to determine "Who's Moose is bigger?" will be settled by an exchange; annual visits by Mayors and councillors of the respective towns (paid for by taxpayers), where each will measure the others "Moose-size".

Each year, the winner will be announced during the grand-banquet at 'The Loyal Order of Moose' Annual Convention. The champion town will display the 'Biggest Moose' trophy in the rotunda of their city hall for one year.

As a result of the MOU, the only "shots" allowed will be those exchanged during the grand-banquet: Premium whisky by the Saskatchewanians, Aquavit by the Norwegians.

A very unique organization

If, however, you are searching for something a little more exclusive and sophisticated, travel to France.

That's where you'll find 'L'Academie Francaise'.

The 'Academie Francaise' is essentially an elderly white men's club that sits around curating the fine distinctions in the French language. They are the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. OOH La La, what!

The 'Academie' was officially established in 1635, by Cardinal Richelieu, then chief minister to King Louis XIII.

Cardinals are:

1) "old guys" who parade around wearing lavish red-hued costumes befitting their station.

2) "young millionaires" who represent the city of St. Louis and wear baseball uniforms.

3) Red-hued passerine birds found in North and South America.

But you knew that bit, right?

The 'Academie' consists of (only) fourty members, known as "the Immortals". Cheeky, what!

Since its inception, there have been 732 "Immortals" of whom (only) 9 have been women. It (only) took 341 years for the "Immortals" to finally elect the first woman in 1980.

Among organizations lagging even farther behind the "Immortal" gang of chauvanists...the Vatican.

New members are elected by the members and hold office for life. Cheeky, times deux.

They are tasked as an official authority on the French language, charged with publishing an official dictionary of the language.

However, its rulings are only advisory, not binding on either the public or the government.

Which means what they do is (en Anglais) irrelevant, (en Francais) pertinent.

Today's total disregard for proper French grammar and spelling on social networks is making them crazy.

"Immortals" take their dressing-up very seriously.

They have to because a full uniform costs $230,000 and members are required to pay for their own. Robes alone cost $50,000.

What does an expenditure of $230,000 buy an "Immortal"? Hopefully, something to wear that will last for Eternity.

The "official" uniform, is known as 'L'habit vert', or green clothing. It was first adopted during Napoleon Bonaparte's time.

It consists of a long black coat and black-feathered 'bicorne' richly embroidered with green leafy motifs, together with black trousers or skirt. Since no Scots are known to be "Immortals" we assume the skirts are worn by the 9 women; or maybe not.

What's a 'bicorne' you ask - a hat worn by European and American military and naval officers (think, Napoleon, Horatio Nelson, General George Washington).

Further, members carry a ceremonial sword (l'epee)...in case they have to impale anyone trying to Anglicize the French language, e.g., "Let them eat Gateau!"

Shocking language stat related to the above

Since 2012, the percentage of Canadians fluent in both English and French has dropped.

Spanish, Cantonese and Punjabi are Canada's "new" second language.

Especially for Quebecers, it's time to press "Le Bouton de Panique".

The best one of them all

Of all the many fraternal organizations, lodges and clubs that ever existed, my favourite is called, "The International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons".

You're forgiven if you say out loud, "never heard of them".

Not so I counter, "you have, just don't remember."

Think back to the 1950's, that great Saturday night live TV sitcom, 'The Honeymooners'.

The antics of lodge brothers; bus driver, Ralph Kramden (Herbert John "Jackie" Gleason), and sewer worker, Ed Norton (Arthur William Matthew "Art" Carney). The stuff of television legend.

What you don't know about 'The Grand Exalted Brotherhood of Raccoons'

Motto: "E Pluribus Raccoon".

Initiation fee: $1.50.

Monthly dues: $2.

Uniform: A double-breasted military jacket with oversized epaulets on each shoulder, white shirt, dark tie and a hat with raccoon tail, cost all in $35.

Norton was the Grand High Exhalted Mystic Ruler. In recognition of this high-station, he wore three tails on his coonskin hat.

Official Club Greeting: The handshake involved touching elbows (first right then left) followed by a "wooooooo" sounding cry as they wiggled the raccoon tail on their lodge hat. They ended by chorusing, "Brothers under the pelt."

Official Club Song:

"From the hallowed streets of Greenpernt,

To the shores of Sheepshead Bay,

From the Verrazano Narrows,

To Canarsie across the way...

We have come together, one and all,

In fellowship to commune,

And to glorify the Grand Exhalted Brotherhood of Raccoons (Howl)"

Drinking Toast: fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes.

The member selected Raccoon of the Year receives:

1) Free burial with spouse at Raccoon National Cemetery in Bismark, North Dakota. (bring your own shovel if it's winter)

2) Throwing the first bag of water out of the hotel window at the Raccoon convention.

Therefore, who among all the manly-men out there, could or would possibly pass up or resist the opportunity to join such a company of idiosyncratic men; this glorious band of exalted brothers?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#178 MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN GO OUT IN THE MIDDAY SUN (posted Mar.7, 2019)

A song written by Noel Coward and first performed in The Third Little Show at the Music Box Theatre, New York, by Beatrice Lillie, on June 1, 1931.

As we near the end of one of the most brutal winters in memory, the following story is offered by way of conveying an important message.

We have all heard jokes related to winter weather in 'the Great White North'.

For example, growing up in Manitoba (the centre of the 'Great White North'), the joke went something like this:

"Our year is made up of seven months of winter, one month of poor sledding and four months of horseflies, mosquitoes and hot sunny days."

My generation took advantage of those precious "four months" by spending as much time as possible baking our bleach-white bodies morphing from a blistered-red to a "healthy" looking bronze, summer after summer.

We were young, invulnerable, immortal.

Those, like me, who are fair-skinned, remained blissfully unaware that what we were doing to our body was the antithesis of a "healthy" habit, not unlike smoking, another bad habit most people were addicted to, at the time.

We did not realize then that some of us would eventually be selected to deal with the "downside" of these bad habits...cancer.

The Message

As the days grow longer and warmer, please ask your loved ones to take the necessary precautions with regard to ultraviolet sunlight exposure.

What follows explains the reasons why.

In 1980, my GP referred me to dermatologists practicing their craft at a Toronto cancer hospital.

Three ladies in white coats pulled, poked and prodded my nose, closely examining the itchy red spot on the bridge of my nose, then huddling in whispered conversation I could not hear.

The tallest announced "we have concluded you have enough skin on the bridge of your nose to refer you for plastic surgery."

That was my introduction to living with skin cancer.

For 39 years, I have been treated by a platoon of dermatologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons and cancer specialists, who have greatly assisted in what has become, a lifetime battle.

My collection of scars from plastic and reconstructive surgery, to date: bridge of nose, scalp (three times), forehead, cheek, neck, ears and thigh.

A regular maintainance regime includes visits to Dermatologist for quarterly body examinations, application of liquid nitrogen and prescribed creams. As well, attending the Victoria Cancer Clinic for interviews with specialists who provided advice and guidance on other potential avenues of care, e.g. chemo, radiation.

My current plastic and reconstructive surgeon outlined my condition succinctly:

"Mr. Devion, you have what we call the Northern Hemisphere fair-skinned people's disease. Have you even wondered why Asian women wear broad brimmed hats and carry umbrellas, even when it's not raining? To protect their skin from the sun. Unfortunately, Ron, you could spend the rest of your life, living in a cave and never stop the re-occurring skin cancer. All we can do, as specialists in the field, is provide temporary stop-gap measures."

Her candor was appreciated.

Like the millennium old expression "The chickens always come home to roost", those four months every summer of my youth, have rebounded big time.

Always open to any "new" skin cancer treatment, my Dermatologist recently had me undergo "a peel".

Here is where you ask, what's "a peel"?

"A peel" consists of applying an acid solution to the entire scalp and face area.

It burns like hell for a couple of minutes. As specialist, Sarah, was applying the acid solution with a cloth, thoughts of women being better than men at tolerating pain flashed through my mind, while I gritted my teeth trying to hold back the tears.

Sensing I was still breathing, she proceeded with step two - the cool-down phase:

a) turn on small fan blowing air on face.

b) apply several cold compresses to head and face.

c) apply moisturizer to the "burned" areas.

Sarah's 'take home' instructions:

1) You can shower.

2) No shaving for awhile.

3) Apply moisturizer to face and scalp whenever skin feels dry and about to crack.

4) In approx. three days, "burned" areas will turn darker and a couple of layers of skin will begin to "peel" off the scalp and face.

5) She delivered this with a touch of humour; so as not to scare little children, neighbours and anyone who may think you have just escaped from the quarantined-measles-ward, hiding out at home, may be wise.

6) As a bonus, your wrinkles should disapear.

Upon leaving the Dermatologist's office, having paid $125, my face was already turning red, just like it did every Manitoba summer of my youth. I return for a repeat "peel" performance in three months. Oh, joy!

I cannot emphasize strongly enough the message of this piece. Please ask your loved ones to take the necessary precautions to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet sunlight and tanning equipment.

Related Footnote: Health Canada says prolonged use of a drug commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, Hydrochlorothiazide, could increase a person's risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer by a factor of four.

Thought for the day,

"Wrinkles mean you laughed,

Grey hair means you cared and,

Scars mean you lived!"

The wisdom of Will Rogers:

"The taxpayers are sending "politicians" on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it, except they keep coming back!"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#177 A PERSON OF PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLE (posted March 1, 2019)

Questions du Jour:

Who is being truthful? Who will voters believe?

1) In the Great White North - Jody Wilson-Raybould or Justin Trudeau and his inner circle?

2) In the Divided States of America - Michael Cohen (a convicted liar) or Donald J. Trump (an un-convicted liar)?

There are times when a politician comes along who makes voters...hopeful.

The testimony of Jody Wilson-Raybould before the House of Commons Justice Committee, was a riveting lesson in courage, integrity, and honesty, from a Canadian Indigenous politician.

Hoorah for that!

It's rare indeed to watch a witness being relentlessly grilled (for several hours) provide consistent clear answers, never stumble, never evade and remain calm, despite questions being repeated, again and again, in an attempt to trip her up.

In the process, she made a number of her "questioners" appear inept and out of their depth; especially Liberal committee members, who "ironically" became her principle adversaries, while most others, in the room and on television, could not help but be in awe of her detailed fact-based opening statement and answers.

By comparison, the Prime Minister's repeated comments "It was her responsibility to make the decision" and "I and my staff always acted appropriately" expose responses that seem less than candid.

Why did the PM sick several of his high-level staff, including (incredibly) the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, who is "supposed" to be independent, in an attempt to "persuade" the AG to change a decision she correctly made?

a) Their objective: to subvert the law for political purposes.

b) Their fear: If SNC-Lavalin leaves Quebec, the Liberals lose the upcoming election.

She was the recipient of a full-court press over a four month period and stood her ground.

When the AG insisted the pressure stop, Wernick was dispatched to deliver a message from the PM, which Ms. Wilson-Raybould interpreted as a "veiled threat".

Ms. Wilson-Raybould provided the committee and all who were watching/listening with a civics lesson about the role and responsibilities of the Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions. Also, how those who hold these positions "should" carry out their responsibilities; independently, respecting the law, and without fear of political interference and pressure.

Ms. Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke truth to power, without wavering or flinching and demonstrated rare courage in the face of an onslaught of political pressure that cost her a job she was so perfectly equipped to do.

The PM appointed a new AG and Minister of Justice, David Lametti, from Quebec.

Will AG Lametti do the PM's bidding and reverse the previous AG's decision and order the Director of Public Procecutions to offer a "Deferred Prosecution Deal" to allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid a corruption trial, or will he demonstrate respect for the law and respect the decision of his predecessor?

Justin Trudeau is staking his political future on backing a corrupt corporation headquartered in Montreal, threatening the government of Canada to leave the country if they don't receive a Deferred Prosecution Deal.

Sounds like blackmail, n'est-ce-pas?

As this snowball-from-hell keeps on rolling down the Hill, getting bigger with every turn, the bobble-heads dutifully line up behind the leader, ordered to tow-the-party-line or be excommunicated.

The "Sunny Ways" brand has revealed its dark side, for all to see. The result; another wheel just fell off their re-election bus.

Another serious question on another serious topic

How cold is it?

It's very cold indeed, nasty cold, "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey".

Even here, on beautiful Vancouver Island, we are experiencing the longest stretch of cold weather since records have been kept.

Undoubtedly, this delights the Rest of Canada that we, on Paradise Island, are also freezing.

This could/should be considered Mother Nature's payback for the smugness of past years, as we gleefully sent photos and snide comments of Greater Victoria's annual mid-winter flower count to family and friends freezing in the rest of Canada.

"Climate change is a Chinese Hoax. Putin told me, I told Xi, he told Kim, who told me and I believe them" - Donald J. Trump

Two Hopeful Notes

Spring begins Wednesday, March 20.

The Federal election, Monday, October 21.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

# 176 JODY, JODY, JODY - You ain't my Valentine, no more! (posted Feb. 15, 2019)

Imbroglio - An extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.

For three years, citizens of the Great White North have watched (with a modicum of smugness) daily news reports about the insane drama unfolding in our southern neighbours' house.

This week, courtesy of the Globe and Mail reporting, the Liberal re-election national-tour-bus blew a tire and ended up in a snow-filled ditch, somewhere along the trans-Canada highway.

As a result, our house is now in the news spotlight.

Trivia and other relevant "in case you were wondering" stuff

The debonair, suave, British born actor, Archibald Alexander Leach (aka Cary Grant), never actually said "Judy, Judy, Judy" in any of his movies. Everybody believes he did but it's a Hollywood myth.

Brits also like to use the term "cover your arse" when referring to activity done by an individual to protect himself or herself from possible subsequent criticism, legal penalties, or other repercussions, usually in work-related or bureaucratic context.

According to New York Times language expert, William Safire, "CYA" is the bureaucratic technique of averting future accusations of policy error or wrongdoing by deflecting responsibility in advance.

The Imbroglio...or...why did the 'Sunny Ways' election bus blow a tire?

Did the PMO apply pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould, while she was Minister of Justice and Attorney General, to have prosecutors negotiate an agreement with SNC-Lavalin that would allow it to avoid a fraud and corruption trial?

The cast of "characters" in our drama

1) SNC-Lavalin

Corporation, headquartered in Montreal, under criminal investigation; just one scandal among many linked to the global engineering giant in the past decade. Considered by some politicians, "too big to fail".

2) Justin Trudeau

23rd Prime Minister of Canada and former French and math teacher at the private West Point Grey Academy.

3) Jody Wilson-Raybould

A Kwakwaka'wakw politician, Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Granville, and former Crown Prosecutor for British Columbia, Treaty Commissioner and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada.

4) Principal actors in the PMO

Gerald Butts (Consigliere #1) - Katie Telford (Consigliere #2).

5) The Justice Committee

In case you may be curious about who currently serves on the Committee:

Chair: Anthony Housefather (Liberal)

Vice-Chairs: Michael Cooper (Conservative) Murray Rankin (NDP)

Members: Michael Barrett (Conservative), Randy Boissonnault (Liberal), Ali Ehsassi (Liberal), Colin Fraser (Liberal), Iqra Khalid (Liberal), Dave MacKenzie (Conservative), Ron McKinnon (Liberal).

Their 'Hot Potato': The Justice Committee's task is to bring transparency and accountability to the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Really? Good luck with that.

After a three-hour "partisan gabfest", covered on national television, the decision: hold their next meeting in-camera and invite three witnesses who were not involved in the imbroglio.

The odds that this committee will bring "transparency and accountability to the SNC-Lavalin affair" are Zero!

The PMO's strategy:

a) Throw Jody under the bus.

b) Smear her reputation.

c) Blame the imbroglio on Wilson-Raybould.

Rather than tell the truth and salvage the brand before its too late, Liberals decide to poke a stick at the Queen Bee of the First Nations hive. The tactic will backfire and result in being stung by a colony of thousands.

Message to Liberals: Do not mistake her silence for fear. When she is allowed to speak truth to power, you will fear losing the election.

February 14, 2019 - Valentine's, the day when lovers openly express their "FEELINGS" with poems, songs, flowers, cards and fancy dinners.

When the time comes and the bloom is off the rose, the tune suddenly changes.

According to Justin, to surprise and disappointment.

"Feelings, expressing my new feelings,

Feelings, Wo, Oh-Oh, Oh-Oh, you really hurt my feelings

I wish I'd never met you, Jody, girl

And feeling, I'll never have you again in my life"

Face it Justin...you picked a fight with the wrong lady.

"You are what you do" - Sting

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#175 SKULLDUGGERY IN PARADISE (posted Jan. 28, 2019)

The following story is not fiction because nobody could make this up.

Until very recently, few would recognize the name, Darryl Plecas.

Some 'oldsters' may recall the name Darryl from the quirky trio who regularly appeared in the 1980's 'Bob Newhart' sitcom. Every time the trio appeared in an episode, brother #1 opened with the line "Hi, I'm Larry. This is my brother, Darryl and my other brother, Darryl."

This Darryl is the guy who shouts "ORDER! - ORDER!" in our parliament.

He was appointed Speaker of the B.C. Legislature, September 8, 2017.

B.C. Civics Primer

Provincial Liberals are Conservatives - which keeps voters in a perpetual state of confusion.

The Liberals booted Darryl out of their caucus for accepting the Speaker's job, which was offered to him by the ruling "temporary" NDP/Green coalition. He now sits as an Independent MLA.

Confused yet? Get used to it, there's more.

Of significance to this saga, among his qualifications, Darryl holds two degrees in Criminology.

Now...pause for a breath and some context

Readers who live on the other side of the Rockies and have zero interest in Lotus Land shenanigans, can be forgiven for exclaiming "so what? - who cares?".

But do not turn away, read on and learn of a tangled web of intrigue, deceipt and corruption.

It's important to take note of where this is taking place...in a "quirky" part of 'The Great White North'; where crocus', heather and pink cherry tree blossoms bloom...in late January.

A place surrounded by water; 89 km. south of the 49th parallel; a challenging five-mile swim across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the border of 'Trumplandia'; perched above the ring of fire, waiting for THE BIG ONE.

These critical geographic clues, make some folks suspect, is the primary cause of 'unorthodox activities' occuring, behind the curtains, in our municipal and provincial precincts.

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. (Don't ask why somebody decided to put it there rather than on the mainland).

The legislative buildings are located in an idyllic venue, the picturesque Inner Harbour.

The 'British Columbia Parliament Buildings' were officially opened in 1898.

A British architect (but of course), Francis Mawson Rattenbury, won the competition to design the Romanesque-style buildings.

Nearby, sits another of Rattenbury's grand creations framing the Inner Harbour; the Chateau-style hotel, 'The Empress'.

Viewed by daylight or at night, both are stunning representations of architectural beauty, photographed each year, by millions of tourists.

Divorced amid scandal, Francis met an ignominious end. He was murdered in England at the age of 67, by his second wife's lover. Are you per-chance wondering which part of that ignominious ending hurt him the most?

So many bizarre events have taken place in Victoria since, it takes something really BIG to capture the attention of the locals.

More Context

Thirteen fiercely independent municipalities make up 'Greater Victoria' (population 368,000).

97 politicians, supported by handsomely-remunerated adminstrative staff, plus municipal services (police, fire, etc.) are deemed necessary to "manage" 13 separate, thinly populated fiefdoms.

That number is not a typo.

Beleaguered taxpayers are legally forced to pay for an insanely costly, inefficient, duplication of uncoordinated services.

The result: overuns and delays on every major infrastructure project with the delayed-impact of annual tax increases to pay for the screwups.

Demands for reform through (partial or full) amalgamation are ignored by those who benefit from the cockamamie bloated municipal set up.

I will not expound on another toothless/powerless overlay of bureaucracy (called the CRD) for fear of making local taxpayers weep in despair.

By comparison, 87 MLA's are elected to govern the entire province.

MLA's gather in Rattenbury's digs to debate, shout insults and pass laws to legally pick the pockets of overtaxed citizens.

Pause again to reflect...it's always about "following the money", isn't it?

Early on, the rookie Speaker was informed of leaks that carried a faint odor of rotten eggs. The kind of smell, in a century old building, is never good.

Darryl's investigative instincts and experience kicked into overdrive.

Inspector Clouseau (Darryl) and his manservant Cato (Alan Mullen), quietly began a search for the source. The game was on, sniff out the stink, find the culprit(s)...echos of 'The Pink Panther'.

What were they up to, some began to wonder.

November 20, 2018 - two legislative employees, the legislature Clerk (appointed for life, salary $347,090) and the sergeant-at-arms (salary $218,167) were mysteriously 'perp-walked' out of Rattenbury's House, escorted by local gendarmes. Frick and Frack expressed bewilderment and surprise at what was happening, exclaiming to the gaggle of pursuing media they had no idea what this was all about.

(NB: The annual salary of the Prime Minister of Canada, $344,800. Salaries appear somewhat wildy out of whack by comparison Chez Rattenbury's, n'est-ce-pas?)

Though all hell broke loose, Clouseau and Cato remained tight-lipped.

What have they been up to? Many now nervously wondered.

Rumours, speculation and gossip swirled for weeks.

Some, attempting to stop/silence him, accused Darryl of smear-tactics, sour grapes, retribution, going rogue and worse.

Clouseau a rogue? Nevaire..."Impossible", in both official languages.

The real rogues apparenty forgot Darryl sits as an Independent MLA. The best kind of MLA is a genuinely "independent" MLA.

Pressure mounted on the Dynamic Duo. Frick and Frack deny any wrongdoing. What's going on? Where's the proof, Clouseau?

January 2019 - KABOOM - Darryl blew the doors open with an explosive report about a systemic culture of entitlement going back decades. Covered up, silenced and swept under the legislative rugs by the perpetrators.

Numerous allegations of financial wrongdoing involving wood-splitters, trailers, truckloads of booze, fired whistleblowers, deleted documents, forced non-disclosure agreements, lavish overseas trips and personal expenses, inappropriate employment benefits and cash payments in lieu of vacation time, disappeared HR reports, $300,000 retirement benefits piled on top of fat pensions for the not-yet-retired, and more.

Millions drained from the trough in a colosal boondoggle involving Frick and Frack, and others.

Where was the oversight?

This was not a report about people stealing office supplies. This is big-time swampland stuff.

Critics of Clouseau and Cato fell silent.

A flurry of finger pointing, blame and excuses ensued as those who govern/governed and their handmaidens scurry for cover, attempting to hide from the intense media spotlight and coming lengthy legal proceedings.

To the Honourable Darryl Pecas:

This B.C. taxpayer thanks you for your conscientious diligence in bringing this scandal to the public's attention.

This B.C. taxpayer thanks you for ignoring those who tried to stop and/or co-op you into looking the other way.

Stealing: Taking another person's property without permission or legal right and without intending to return it. Not a difficult concept to understand for most adults.

Common C.... Y... A... words-du-jour

Alleged: (of an incident or a person) said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality.

Allegation: a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Terms used by journalists and lawyers that provide 'temporary' cover for the 'allegedly' innocent.

Transparency: will remain illusive and opaque as long as elected and non-elected "public servants" get away with making up their own rules/procedures/accountability.

And when caught, up to their elbows in the cookie jar, have the audacity to excuse their transgressions with the same tiresome, dishonest rationale, "I followed the rules as I understood them"..."Its always been done this way"..."Everybody is doing it"..."I was just following orders".

Question Period

How many of these white-collar crooks are ever fired?

Why is it always the whisleblowers that pay the price?

How many members of the 'entitlement clubs', in every province across Canada, did it - are now doing it, with impunity and without fear of reprisal? Like some rogues gallery all-stars Duffy, Clarkson, Oda, Dingwall, Radwinski and others, who long ago decided to park their moral compass outside the "club" door.

How do they/can they rationalize, to themselves and their families, their despicable behaviour; their arrogant attitude that makes them believe they are so special and deserving and therefore, entitled to their entitlements?

Do they ever stop to consider their actions (theft) is money that could better help poor and needy citizens?

Is a Fix possible?

Nope!

Why not?

Those who control the "game" find the trough/cookie jar too enticing; too easy to pilfer; even in plain sight of those being robbed.

Phony apologies and paying back the stolen money should never be considered restitution. However, measures like public shaming, seizure of assets and jail time would.

Punishment should fit the crime. Otherwise, there is no perceived justice.

However, because of so many examples of another form of justice at play; for the rich, powerful and privileged who commit crimes, public trust in the justice system is waning.

Irony: A literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the characters.

The Sad Conclusion

As mentioned, this story is not fiction and is far from over. The fiction is that some day, somehow, things will change.

The Sad Reality

"Plus ca change plus ca reste la meme chose". When trust is lost, bad things happen.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#174 THE OPPRESSOR'S HEEL (posted Jan. 23, 2019)

"By Oppressions' woes and pains

By your sons in servile chains

We will drain our dearest veins

But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low

Tyrants fall in every foe

Liberty's in every blow

Let us do or die!"

- Robert Burns (1759-1796) - the 'Bard of Ayshire' and the 'Ploughman Poet'

The excerpt is from a song by Robert Burns, written in 1793, called 'Scots Wha Hae' (Scots Who Have) commemorating the Battle of Bannockburn, fought in 1314.

A smaller Scottish army defeated the largest English army ever to invade Scotland, allowing the region to maintain its sovereignty from the Kingdom of England.

The lyrics are in the words of a speech given by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, to the Scottish army before the battle.

The Ploughman Poet is the most widely read Scottish poet in the world.

In 2009, the Scottish public voted Burns "the greatest Scot".

Each year, Robbie Burns' birthday, January 25th, is celebrated with lavish dinners featuring an array of traditional Scottish dishes and drink.

For the uninitiated, the national dish of Scotland is...wait for it...Haggis.

A "dish" containing a sheep's heart, liver and lungs minced with oatmeal, suet and seasoning; traditionally encased in the animal's stomach...yum, yum, yummy (?).

The Host, festooned in appropriate regalia befitting his Clan station, is tasked with a solemn duty; reciting the 'Address to a Haggis'.

Given the enthusiasm/energy of the Host and the length of his address, the audience can consume many ounces of Scotch.

This may help ease some delicate palettes of dinner guests who nervously await being served the aformentioned "delicacy".

To the chagrin of many Canadian Scots, Haggis is not listed in the revised Canada Food Guide as being permissable every January 25th.

- For all of human history, people have fled the oppressor's heel -

My grandfather, Hubert T. MacDonald, wrote in his book 'The Lords of the Isles and Their Descendants':

"In the great migration of MacDonalds from their homeland in Scotland to Prince Edward Island and Glengarry, Ontario, and also to the Carolinas in the U.S.A., about the year 1772, our part of that migration went to Prince Edward Island.

The only prize they strove after was freedom; Freedom from the oppressor's iron heel; Freedom to serve their God in the way their conscience directed them; Freedom to work and provide for themselves and their dependents unshackled by the iniquitous landlord and tenant system, then obtaining in the Highlands and Isles."

Today, mass migration appears to be accelerating, stoking fear of 'the other' and causing a rise of populism.

Many nations are no longer willing to provide safe haven for humans fleeing oppression, war, famine and the biggest new threat of them all, climate change.

A DIFFERENT FORM OF OPPRESSION

This week, the world's rich and powerful meet in Davos, Switzerland, taking stock of the challenges facing the planet in 2019.

The leaders of America, Britain and France are absent. Trump, May and Macron all stayed home, preoccupied with domestic crises.

Two critical "reveals" greeted the attending business and government leaders:

1) 26 individuals control wealth equal to half the planet's population of humans; 3.85 billion people. A staggering and alarming statistic.

2) 92-year old naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, eloquently outlined the danger of accelerating climate change, the absence of focused leadership or consensus and the urgency of action needed to avoid catastrophe.

"I was born during the Holocene - the 12,000 year period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, and create civilizations that led to trade in ideas and goods and made us the globally connected species we are today.

That stability allowed businesses to grow, nations to co-operate and people to share ideas.

In the space of my lifetime, all that has changed.

The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.

Without action on climate change, civilization will collapse and it is up to humans to use their natural problem-solving skills to find a solution. Human activity has created a new era, yet climate change can be stopped." - Sir David Attenborough

Are those who govern listening?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#173 WELCOME TO 2019 (posted Jan. 6, 2019)

Every New Year begins with the handoff of an ancient timepiece

At the stroke of midnight every December 31st, a battered old man turns the hourglass upside down. With trembling hands, he gently places it into the tiny up stretched palms of a newborn.

His task is to carry it for 12 months, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds and then pass it on.

The exhausted elder is glad to be rid of it, for 2018 brought much more bad than good to the planet.

The innocent child stares at the strange object, watching the first grains of coloured sand trickle through the narrow opening, not yet understanding that each one of the 31,536,000 grains represents one moment in the passage of time that will bring unpredictable events.

The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920 - H.L. Mencken

"As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron."

...and so, it came to pass

On Christmas Eve, 2018, the mad Emperor tweeted from his bedroom...

"I am alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point, the Democrats, not wanting to make a deal, will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!"

Update for the uninformed or unconcerned:

During the presidential campaign, the rookie candidate promised his rabid followers a great Trump border wall to keep out the invading hordes of Aliens, adding "and Mexico will pay for the wall!".

Trumps great wall has been estimated to cost between $22-25 billion USD, plus annual maintenance costs.

Former Mexican President, Enrique Fox, fired back, using an appropriate, obscene word of early 16th century Germanic origin, to clearly express the attitude of Mexicans, telling the delusional Emperor what he could do to himself.

Doubling down on the promise to his base, he pivoted, suggesting Americans would gladly pay for the wall.

Americans quickly responded with "No way Jose, Trump!"

No Democrats, and only a handful of 'fearful' Republicans supported the Emperor's nonsensical notion.

In a fit of frustrated peek, the Emperor declared he was shutting down the government at midnight, December 22nd.

Foregoing his monthly golf vacation and New Years Eve festivities at his Mar-a-Lago resort, as a gesture of a personal sacrifice for the nation, the angry man-child spent the holiday season holed up at the White House stewing and passing the time watching himself on television, phoning advisers and tapping out furious tweets castigating the Democrats for opposing his border wall.

All of which made him crazier, more determined and dangerous.

The "situation" now rose to the level of a classic political 'Mexican standoff'.

What is a Mexican standoff?

A Mexican standoff is a confrontation amongst three or more parties in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.

WHAT - THE APPRENTICE...take seven

WHERE: Washington, D.C. - Chaos Central

WHEN: The present

WHO: The three most powerful politicians in the 'Divided States of America'

WHY: To resolve the standoff and avoid a national disaster with international implications.

Donald: "I want my wall"

Nancy: "We're not going to give you your wall!"

Donald: "OK, then I will keep the government shut down for weeks, months, even years!"

Nancy: "Go ahead"

Donald: "I will, I really will...and it's my decision"

Nancy: "Yes it is, and remember what Chuck said...you will own it"

Donald: "Yes, but it will be your fault"

Nancy: "No, it won't"

Donald: "Yes it will, yes it will"

Nancy: "We have you owning it, on tape"

Donald: "OK, have it your way, until you give me my wall, the government stays shut down"

10 minutes later

Donald: "Mitch, it's me, your President and Commander in Chief. I want you to meet with Pelosi and fix this, pronto. I can't deal with this woman. Who the hell does she think she is?"

Mitch: "Yes, Mr. President. I'll get right on it"

24 hours later

Mitch: "Mr. President, Nancy and I met as you requested. We have worked out a compromise that will enable us to reopen the government"

Donald: "Fantastic, send it over and I'll sign it"

Mitch: (to himself) Geez, I hope he just signs it and doesn't read it.

4 hours later

Donald: (having quickly skimmed the document) ""What the hell Mitch, there's funding in there to keep the government running for a few months, some extra money for border security, but where the hell are the billions for my wall?"

Mitch: "Mr. President, the way we now have to work with the Democrats is in a spirit of compromise. We give them something, they give us something. Remember, they control the House. This compromise proposal is what will work to reopen the government"

Donald: "I don't give a rat's ass about the government, I want my wall"

Mitch: "Mr. President, with respect, the government cannot be interminably shut down. Hundred of thousands of government workers are not being paid. Some are protesting by calling in sick, people who run our airports. This compromise will buy us time to work on the Dems to get more money for your wall. Please sir, leave it to me, sign the document"

Donald: (face turning from orange to red/purple) "I'm the President damnit, not you McConnell, and your President wants his wall. You and Nancy can shove your compromise up your X%##&KK...I will not sign"

Mitch: (pleading) "But sir, please understand things have changed. We no longer control all four branches of government. We now have to negotiate with the Democratic leadership to get stuff done"

Donald: (shouting) "The loss was all your fault. You and Ryan. Your both losers. I like winners. If I don't get my wall money...splutter, splutter....uh, uh...wait for it.....I will close the Mexican border"

Mitch: (sighing deeply, almost weeping) "Mr. President, please don't do that. On top of the government shutdown that would be a catastrophe. I will get a bipartisan committee together, work all weekend, and if we can get an agreement on say a $5 billion downpayment for your wall, would you sign?"

Donald: "Do it, but don't call me back until you have good news"

Mitch: "Yes sir, thank you sir" (and to himself) I'm too old for this shit, it's making me crazy...like him.

Any bets? Who will blink first, capitulate and resolve another standoff in the mad Emperor's wild and crazy America?

MEANWHILE...IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH

The year began with Mother Nature bookending the country with more warnings.

Record rain on the Wet Coast, mountains of snow on the Rock and wacky weather in between. Constant reminders to everyone that climate change is a real and present danger and over time our greatest threat.

If you remember when Pierre Trudeau was reelected Prime Minister, he smiled at the TV camera's and said "Welcome to the 1980's"...you're getting old.

This year, his son faces the electorate for another run at the country's top political job.

There is growing discontent across the land providing his opponents amunition to defeat him.

However, Andrew (Mr. Smiles), Jagmeet (I need a seat), Elizabeth (party of only one elected), and malcontent, Max (no party at all), are unlikely to convince voters they have the answers.

It's clear the biggest challenge facing the Prime Minister will come from provincial premiers.

If Justin wins, will he be cheeky enough to utter "Welcome to the 2020's"

If only two 'critical issues' (that are costing all Canadians billions of dollars every year) could be resolved, it could end as a very good year for Canada.

They are:

1) The self-inflicted trade barriers, within our own borders.

2) Getting our most valuable natural resources to market, across provincial barriers.

This will only happen if our provincial/federal leaders drop their petty jurisdictional jealousies, bureaucratic gridlock and political indecision.

Does the current elected crop have the guts, fortitude and courage, risking their own reelection, to make the tough, ofttimes unpopular decisions that can benefit the nation as a whole?

I remain skeptical.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#172 MERRY CHRISTMAS...BABY (posted Dec. 16, 2018)

In the past couple of decades, we have become victims of a pernicious group of self-declared arbiters who announce lists of "stuff" no longer acceptable (to them) in the 21st century.

"They" issue stern alerts like the one that signals the arrival of the annual festive season.

Every year the list grows longer.

These are the self-appointed, anonymous, "Politically-Correct Police".

The POP zealots who sift, analyze and eventually select a custom or tradition, held dear for generations past, to add to their "banned" list.

Their goal: make everything as inoffensive, cheerless, bland, dull and spiritless as humanly possible.

This year, their Christmas focus - seasonal songs heard on the radio.

"They" declared the lyrics of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" as super-creepy and must be banned from being heard on all radios in 'The Great White North'.

Who or what is next for the chopping block? Are Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Mother Goose, the Easter Bunny, Cinderella, the Wizard of Oz, Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs on their radar?

Fearing a flogging in the public square and a loss of advertising revenue, the managers of our publicly owned airwaves reacted immediately and without hesitation to POP's declaration.

A chill went through the corridors of Rogers Media and Bell Media.

Even staid old Mother-CBC, self-declared defenders of our Freedom of Speech, cowered and, like the others, excised the super-creepy song from their Christmas (oh, oh, sorry can't use that word anymore according to POP) Festival Play list.

Leaving listeners wondering

Is this tune a clear and present danger to western morality?

Why would the keepers of our media choose to set their hair on fire over a Christmas classic?

Does their over-the-top reaction say more about a fundamental loss of rational common sense, possibly caused by the super-creepy times we live in?

Have they lost sight of the reality that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is an Academy Award-winning popular song written by Frank Loesser, in 1944, period? Nothing sinister was ever intended by its creator.

Are these "experienced" broadcasters so unsure of themselves that they are unaware they have been sucked into a "flapdoodle", perpetrated by the self-declared arbiters of what is or is not correct?

Distracted and made handmaidens of the Politically Correct Police, rather than doing their proper job of focusing on the really important stuff that impact Canadians...indeed a long list.

It took the reaction of the public to make Mother Corporation realize the foolishness of focusing on this nonsense, ultimately capitulate and issue the following statement:

"Last week, we pressed pause to consider the different points of view on playing "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Because we value our audience input, which was overwhelmingly (no kidding) to include the song, we have put it back on the two playlists where it had been removed."

Does this pablum make you feel warm and fuzzy all over? Are you overwhelmed by a feeling that the "pause button" is now in the hands of adults who won't panic next time another piece of nonsense arises?

We need confident, competent media decision makers, especially in control of our public broadcaster.

AN IMPORTANT LESSON - SOMETHING I DID NOT KNOW

Last week, I purchased a $25 Lotto Max ticket at the lottery kiosk in a local Mall.

A few days later, checking credit card purchases online, I noticed two unusual entries that aroused my suspicion that my credit card may have been compromised (hacked).

1) Cash advance fee, $3.50

2) Daily interest on the cash advance at 22.99%

Immediately called and spoke to a credit card agent, requesting an explanation and enquiring whether my credit card was hacked.

She took a few minutes to check and then asked the following questions:

"Did you purchase a lottery ticket at the Mayfair Mall lottery kiosk using your credit card?"

"Yes"

"Have you ever used a credit card to purchase a lottery ticket at a lottery kiosk?"

"No"

"Well, Ronald, when you use a credit card to purchase a lottery ticket at a lottery kiosk, it's categorized as 'gambling'. Consequently, the transaction is classified as a 'cash advance' or 'cash loan' for which you are charged a cash advance fee plus daily interest of 22.99% until the entire credit card balance is paid off."

"Ouch, that's not fair. I've used credit cards at grocery stores to purchase lottery tickets for years and never encountered cash advance fees or daily interest."

"Well, Ronald, the reason is when you're at a grocery store, the 'System' cannot distinguish whether the purchase is for groceries or a lottery ticket."

She added, "And never use a credit card in a casino because the 'System' will identify all transactions as 'gambling' and hit you with a cash advance fee and daily interest at 22.99%."

"Thank you for explaining something I did not know before. Thank goodness the lesson only cost me $3.50 + pennies in daily interest."

"Ronald, you're a very good customer. I'm going to void the cash advance fee and daily interest. Merry Christmas and have a good day."

"Merry Christmas to you and many thanks for the lesson."

And in the spirit of the season, whichever way you and yours choose to celebrate, all the very best of health and happiness.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#171 WHO IS THAT STRANGER IN THE MIRROR? (posted Nov. 27/18)

"You know you're getting old when you stoop down to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there"

"I was always taught to respect my elders and I've now reached the age when I don't have anybody to respect"

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old"

Quotes from the fertile mind of the late George Burns, American comedian, actor, singer, writer, whose career spanned vaudeville, radio, film and television.

He died at the age of one hundred, claiming he was too old to retire.

YOU MAY WANT TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS STUFF

Important Stuff

There are more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 16.

Folks in Eastern Canada are getting older than those in the West.

British Columbia has a demographic profile more similar to the East, with some of the oldest communities located here on southern Vancouver Island; Qualicum Beach 52%, Parksville 42% and Sidney by the Sea 41%.

It's the weather.

Canada spent $242 billion on health care in 2017, 11.5% of Canada's GDP, $6,604 for every Canadian resident.

Seniors (65+) consume the bulk of the health care budget.

There are twice as many women as men over 85.

Which explains why old guys are in such demand and very popular at places like "RestHaven-by-the-Sea", your local rest home for geriatrics.

Relevant Stuff

Do you recognize the face staring back at you in the bathroom mirror every morning?

Do you recognize the people you worked with, for decades, at retirees reunions?

Me neither.

Is your initial reaction "who the hell are all these old people? I must have accidentally wandered into the wrong gathering".

Thank goodness for name tags. Otherwise, we'd all be standing around in a room full of strangers.

It's inevitably embarrassing to be caught staring at a woman's chest when all you're innocently trying to do is read the name on the tag...while you're thinking she's thinking "he's turned into a dirty old man".

Seniors don't like being referred to as "seniors". It's a demeaning term.

We don't need reminding that our "best before date" is ancient history.

My preference, just call us "exceptionally mature".

We, the exceptionally mature and growing demographic group of society, are in a battle with Father Time, vainly attempting to delay crossing the dreaded threshold...from fit to fragile.

In a war of attrition, our objective is to remain independent for as long as body and mind cooperate.

We envy the few who never seem to age, outwardly frozen in time. The lucky ones who have won the gene pool lottery.

I'm a fully paid up long time member of a local "politically-incorrect" club, comprised exclusively of geezers. We meet monthly at the Senior's Centre in Brentwood Bay. Where else would geezers meet.

A recent guest speaker kept the group enthralled with an illuminating, informative and entertaining geezer-relevant topic; the state of Canada's Health Care System.

The presenter was Doctor Thomas William Noseworthy (CM MD MSc MPH FRCPC FACP FCHS OC), one of Alberta's Top 100 Physicians of the Century.

He imparted his extensive knowledge, expertise, wisdom and advice with a touch of humour uniquely possessed by Newfoundlander's.

He surprised his audience by suggesting the amount of $ currently being spent annually on our system is sufficient and adequate. The problem is not funding, rather how $ are allocated, emphasizing Canada's Health care system requires an urgent major overhaul.

Based on research, Doctor Noseworthy outlined several practical ideas; ways and means to improve the health care system meet the contemporary needs of a changing demographic.

However, unless provincial and federal politicians stop kicking the can down the road and establish this as an urgent national priority and goal, the system will ultimately implode.

Personal Stuff

My "newish" GP is also a geriatric specialist.

Doctor B. conducted deep-research before deciding the ideal Canadian location to practice her craft was here on southern Vancouver Island.

Her decision to depart "the land of the free and the home of the brave" was motivated by the election of Emperor 'Crazy Pants'.

She's a no nonsense taskmaster when tending her flock of mostly "fragile" folk and spends ample time with each patient listening to them before issuing advice, orders or referrals. As the Church Lady says "that's special".

During "consultations", we always spend a little time discussing other stuff.

She has a keen interest in learning about her adopted homeland e.g., comparing U.S. vs Canada medical systems, politics, Canadian history, etc..

Her three-year stint spent on a Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona allowed her to gain invaluable experience. She faced everything a M.D. could possibly encounter in the course of an entire career in medicine.

This "education" led her to focus on geriatric care.

Doctor B. ordered a two-for "special" which took place last month.

First, a friendly gastroenterologist administered his double-double speciality; endoscopy followed by a colonoscopy.

The easy or fun part is the procedure.

The not-so-much-fun part is called the "prep". Having to drink four litres of yuk and spend the night sitting on the throne. Then another exciting challenge presents itself, making it to the hospital the next morning and praying the throne is near the entrance.

Part deux of the two-for was performed by a friendly urologist administering his speciality, preceded by the following instructions:

1) drop your pants and undershorts

2) climb onto the examination table

3) assume the fetal position

4) try to relax while I administer the Italian salute (easy for him to say)

Sensing this guy might actually enjoy his job, Dr. Digit, removes his rubber glove with a theatrical snap and a satisfied look on his face, "get dressed, I'll be back in a minute for the speech".

Standing there alone, trousers around your ankles, dignity in tatters, feeling violated by what just occurred and overcome by a feeling of fragility.

Digit's speech is all about elevated PSA's, prostates and a message "that men your age shouldn't have any related surgically invasive procedure. You're more likely to die from something else."

While you're trying to digest that bit of medical wisdom, it ends with "see me in a year!"

YOUNG'UNS TAKE HEED

Pray thee not smile overly at my aformentioned descriptors, rather be forewarned. In time, you too will be "fragilized" by Dr. Digit's fickle finger of fate.

"I think you should be a child as long as you can. I have been successful for 74 years doing that. Don't rush into adulthood, it isn't that much fun" - Bob Newhart

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#170 CRAZY - CREEPY - TOPSY TURVY (posted Nov. 11, 2018)

Lewis Carroll's 1871 sequel "Through the Looking Glass" had Alice climb through a mirror into a world where she finds that, just like a reflection, everything is reversed, including logic.

A land where, up is down, a Red King and a Blue Queen do battle; where alternative facts and lies confuse and confound.

Just like in TRUMP-LANDIA, on a typical day...

November 7, 2018 - The day after the US mid-term elections.

Senior politicians representing the Red and Blue teams rush to podiums to declare their side won.

Addison Mitchell (two-chins) McConnell Jr., mumbles his way through his press conference, trumpeting (pun intended) Republican gains in the Senate.

Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi (one facelift shy of the wax museum Hall of Fame) hoarsely plods through her press conference, praising the impressive "Blue wave" Democrat gains in the House.

It was left to the media-savviest of them all, Emperor 'Crazy Pants', to once again deftly capture the days headlines. Holding an aggressive, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, snippy, testy, rambling, insulting, 90-minute press conference, claiming another best-ever fantastical victory for himself...because, and everybody knows this, "I'm a very stable genius".

Immediately following the press conference, in a stunning break with protocol, he orders suspending the "hard" press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta, barring his access to the White House "until further notice"...for doing his job.

One hour passes.

While the Emperor hides in the oval office, Chief of Staff, retired Marine Corps General, John (the Church Lady) Francis Kelly, is dispatched to inform US Attorney General, Jeff (Mr. Magoo) Sessions, "you're fired"...for doing his job and respecting the constitution.

Bypassing "normal succession" i.e., to appoint the Deputy Attorney General, Rod (Mr. Peepers) Rosenstein to replace Sessions, 'Crazy Pants' appoints his "Magoo-office-mole" - Magoo's chief of staff, Matt Whitaker - Acting US Attorney General.

The Emperor then strips Mr. Peepers of responsibility to oversee the Mueller investigation and gives it to his mole. Remember, he's a stable genius.

The strategic objective: Dig a deep hole, preferably underneath a decaying nuclear plant somewhere in Russia, and bury Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller's report on Russian collusion and related matters from ever seeing the light of day...before the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in January.

Reminiscent of Richard Nixon's Saturday Night massacre; the Watergate coverup imbroglio. Seasoned journalists are calling what Trump is doing ten times worse than what Nixon did.

Meanwhile...in Nevada.

Voters resoundingly elect Republican, Dennis Hof, to represent them in the Nevada State Assembly.

This, despite Mr. Hof being accused of sexual assault and rape.

Brothel owner (the Love Ranch Vegas) and reality TV "star", Hof, enjoyed referring to himself as the "Trump of Pahrump", "America's Pimp" and the "P. T. Barnum of Booty".

However, there was a minor problem that Nevada voters, possibly having consumed too much legal pot, either didn't notice or care about.

Weeks before voting day, Dennis Hof was found dead in his brothel.

Nevadians obviously prefer voting for a dead anti-tax, gun-rights Republican pimp, rather than any live Democrat.

While on the topic of guns, there have been 307 mass shootings in America so far this year.

The US Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as a single incident in which four or more people are shot and/or killed, not including the shooter.

"Real power is - I don't even want to use the word - FEAR" - Donald Trump, March 31, 2016.

FEAR without HOPE will ultimately ignite the American powder keg.

SHOW AND TELL STARRING TWEEDLEDUMB AND TWEEDLEDEE

Little kids are curious. Learning about others is part of growing up.

When a little boy says to a little girl, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours", everyone understands there is no ill-intent behind the request. It's a normal part of early learning.

However, its a different matter when adults use social media to expose their "shortcomings" (physical and psychological)...especially "mature" politicians.

2011 - Anthony David Weiner, a seven term Democratic congressman, introduced us to a new social-media term..."sexting".

Mr. Weiner was caught exposing his "shortcomings" to several women on his Twitter account.

He quietly "resigned" from Congress.

2013 - While running in the New York mayoral race, Weiner (he never gives up) did it again, using an exotic cover alias "Carlos Danger".

2016 - This time creepy "Carlos" involved a minor and the FBI got involved.

2017 - Weiner was declared a sex offender and sentenced to 21 months in prison.

It took six years to finally put this serial-sicko behind bars.

The parade of predator rogues continues apace as the 'Me-too' movement emboldens women to expose their harassers.

2018 - Our contender for the North American Sleaze Championship Trophy, holder of several senior government portfolios and veteran conservative, Mr. Tony (the Gazebo) Clement.

Last week, our champion informed his boss, Andrew (Dimples) Scheer, he has been "sexting" his privates...but trust me boss, it was only one time.

Without hesitation and with a compassionate heart, young Dimples believes Uncle Tony, allowing Gazeboman to remain in caucus.

24 hours pass - Media pressure intensifies. Uncle Tony confesses it happened more than once and he's being extorted by someone, "a foreign actor", demanding 50,000 Euros to keep quiet.

Alarm bells scream - "Kompromat" - Clement served on the ultra-secret 'National Security and Intelligence Committee'. Uncle Tony is a target of foreign agents.

Members of this committee, breaching a confidence, face 14 years in the hoosegow.

Many women offer their view of Clement, they find being near him "creepy".

Once again Dimples faces the media. The embarrassed rookie leaves the impression of a naive, indecisive, too trusting of party veterans and weak, leader.

The revelation that Uncle Tony's "reputation" was known to many, brings to light a serious problem with the quality and effectivness of the vetting process for ministers and those who serve on high security committees.

Kompromat...in the good old days

When television was young in the 1960's...

Intrepid CBC reporter, Larry Zolf, camera rolling, knocks on the door of Associate Defence Minister, Pierre Sevigny's home.

The door opens a crack to reveal it's Mr. Sevigny.

Zolf asks a leading question. The reply comes in the form of a bop on Larry's noggin delivered from the minister's cane.

Why would a senior government minister act so aggressively towards a member of the press?

At the time, Sevigny and George Hees were important ministers in PM, John Diefenbaker's, Conservative government.

George and Pierre resigned suddenly and mysteriously, just before the 1963 election.

Years later, it was publicly revealed that both honourable gentlemen were having a dalliance, aka Bunga-Bunga, with a German woman of dubious antecedents, a well known Montreal based prostitute, Frau Gerda Munsinger.

It was known by security services, Ms. Munsinger, had contacts with Russians and, as such, constituted a security risk...explaining the sudden exit of two high level government ministers before the '63 election.

The scandal finally broke out in the House of Commons in 1966 and the rest is history.

Today's sophisticated technology makes Kompromat easier and more dangerous for anyone entrapped - the reason why Emperor 'Crazy Pants' so fears the release of the Mueller report.

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything"

"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read"

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all ones lifetime"

All quotes are from a real genius, Mark Twain.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#169 NOVEMBER RAMBLINGS (posted Nov. 3, 2018)

As the curtain descends on the annual Fall colour show, only the most stubborn autumn leaves cling to their tree. Mother Nature pulls her winter blanket across the Great White North allowing the land to rest and rejuvenate itself.

"Cue the violins"

DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY

To allay fear and anxiety, humans have always sought whatever 'magic elixir of life' that might help provide some "temporary" relief from the daily grind.

There have always been humans aplenty ready and willing to supply the need, whether plants, potions, pills, booze, mystical gurus or whatever. The message they deliver is always the same "it will make you feel good and who amongst you doesn't want to feel good?"

The song 'Happy Days are Here Again' is usually remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's successful 1932 presidential campaign.

The song is also associated with the 'Repeal of Prohibition', which occurred shortly after Roosevelt's election where there were signs saying "Happy Days are Beer Again" and so on.

As of October 17, 2018, the Great White North became the only G7 Nation where it's "legal" to consume "recreational" cannabis.

You have to hand it to our government's clever use of the word "recreational", which connotes getting high on cannabis is "fun".

The same as asking any eight year old what part of school they like best. Most will answer "recess", referring to the "recreational" or fun part and not the more challenging "learning" part of the school day.

During the election campaign, Justin the Fair (champion of "Canada needs to party with marijuana") promised "this will come to pass during our first term in office".

Promise made, promise delivered.

But, despite months of punctilious planning and preparation, the result was anything but a smooth take-off on opening day.

It was so un-punctilious a launch that it stalled on take-off in a glorious thud, leaving a muddled mess of confusion.

British Columbia led the pack, opening with but a single legal government pot shop...located in Kamloops.

Axioms related to life's magic elixirs

- Things that make you feel good are always considered, by some, to be the opposite.

- Demand always overtakes supply.

- 'Bad Guys" are always the first to seize the opportunity, despite serious risks, to provide the supply and reap the rewards...until government(s) realize that by simply changing the law (make what was illegal, legal)...they can steal the booty from the 'Bad Guys'.

From the customers perspective, it's only a matter of who will pick your pocket; the 'Bad Guys' or 'Prince Justin's' tax collectors.

Once declared legal, there's no shortage of companies, corporations and individual entrepreneurs (the new 'Bad Guys') planning to take advantage of the financial bonanza.

For example, estimates suggest the cannabis-infused drinks segment could be worth at least $1.5 billion.

Consequently, Molson Coors Brewing Co. expects to secure a "meaningful" share of the cannabis-infused beverage market, when "edibles" are legalized in Canada next year.

This week, my dentist (Doctor Feel-Good) suggested I drive to Kamloops to survey what goodies are available to make my aching back "temporarily" feel better.

Happy Days are here again?

FEAR MONGERING

October 31, 1938. 'The Mercury Theatre on the air' presented a radio drama, directed and narrated by a very young Orson Welles. The story was adapted from H. G. Wells' novel 'The War of the Worlds'.

The genius of the adaption made the listening audience believe that Martians (Aliens) had invaded America and were attacking, using heat-rays and giant war machines releasing clouds of poisonous smoke.

The result proved especially effective since this was Hallowe'en night, panicking and scaring the hell out of millions. In the process cementing Welles' reputation as a brilliant dramatist.

In 1941, Welles produced, co-wrote, directed and starred in his first feature film, 'Citizen Kane'.

The film is an early example of mass media manipulation of public opinion and the power that media conglomorates have on influencing the democratic process.

October 31, 1938. Like the intended result of the 1938 radio drama, Emperor 'Crazy Pants' criss-crosses America, using everything in his arsenal to inflame and convince his followers that thousands of "aliens", laden with criminals, are about to invade the U.S. southern border, bent on serious crime on US soil.

As commander-in-chief, he promises to triple the number of armed troops to 15,000 to assist ICE and Border Patrol repel the invasion (code named operation faithful patriot).

Will this combustible, mad-dog crazy, racially suggestive, caustic and frantic strategy to sow fear, doubt and confusion in advance of the November 6 mid term election work...or backfire?

Can the "All about Me" bullshit artist, who never accepts responsibility for any of his actions while blaming everybody else for his country's shortcomings, pull it off a second time?

The answer by November 7th. In the meantime, remain optimistically fearful.

"The sad thing about true stupidity is that you can do absolutely nothing about it" - John Cleese

NETLIX AND CBC/RADIO CANADA

Like millions, I really like Netflix. Great content, no commercials, offered at a reasonable price.

Like millions, I like our public broadcaster's English and French language radio service. Great content, no commercials, offered at a very reasonable price.

Like millions, I no longer watch much of what CBC TV offers, primarily because the constant distracting commercial interruptions irritate and drive me away.

Millions of Canadians gladly pay Netflix $132 annually to receive their terrific array of offerings.

Many Canadians "grudgingly" pay a meagre $34 annually to support CBC services on radio, TV, online, in English, French and Aboriginal languages.

The "grudge" factor is directly related to the ads interrupting content. When it comes to the number of commercial interruptions, there is no distinction or difference between public and private broadcasters TV service. The irritation factor is the same.

A remedy is possible. It's neither rocket science nor brain surgery.

1) The grudge/irritation factor would disappear if CBC/Radio Canada dropped all commercial advertising from their English and French TV services.

2) The revenue CBC/Radio Canada extracts from the marketplace could then benefit the private broadcasters and gain their support to lobby government.

3) The public broadcaster would be released from any influence on its program content by advertiser(s). To paraphrase Martha "and that's a very good thing".

4) Increase the annual parliamentary grant to the public broadcaster to $60 per capita. An additional $26 per capita, per year...half of what Canadians gladly pay to Netflix.

Seriously think about this. Is an extra $26 per year worth it to protect and defend Canadian culture, history and values on Canadian owned airwaves? Or are Canadians prepared to risk the likes of a Donald J. Trump taking control of our airwaves?

Quiz

Anyone who can name the members of the CBC/Radio Canada Board of Directors should immediately go to the front of the class. Anyone who can't is forgiven for being honest.

Clue

Twelve individuals who have the power and influence to pull off the goal outlined above, if they are prepared to inform and involve Canadians in helping convince the government.

Michael Goldbloom, Lennoxville (Chairman of the Board)

Catherine Tait, Ottawa (President and CEO)

Guillaume Aniorte, Montreal

Edward Boyd, Toronto

Harley Finkelstein, Ottawa

Suzanne Guevremont, Montreal

Rob Jeffrey, Halifax

Rene Legere, Moncton

Jennifer Moor Rattray, Winnipeg

Francois Roy, Montreal

Sandra Singh, Vancouver

Marie Wilson, Yellowknife

NB: Three from the West and nine from the East...hmmm.

If you think this is important, take a minute to communicate with your CBC Board member and MP. Help persuade them this is right and get this done.

"Nothing will stop you being creative more effectively, as the fear of making a mistake" - John Cleese

Reminder: Change your clocks (unless you live in Saskatchewan), get a flu shot, buy a poppy and honour our veterans on November 11.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#168 I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW (posted Oct. 14, 2018)

A song, originally recorded by Johnny Nash, reaching number one on the Billboard chart, in 1972.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all the obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright

Sun-shiny day.

But, what if you can't see things clearly anymore?

A medical condition most of us encounter as we age, in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision.

The condition is called a cataract.

In cataract surgery, the lens inside your eye that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens, called an intra-ocular lens, to restore clear vision.

It took nine months before I got to the top of a long waiting list.

My left eye lens was replaced this week, in a painless procedure that took no more than 20 minutes.

I now see clearly out of my left eye. The clarity is remarkable. My right eye now appears slightly blurred, which I didn't notice before. I now eagerly await corrective surgery of the right eye, in a few months.

CLARITY THROUGH THE LENS OF SCIENCE

The work of scientists, in all fields of study, continues to solve opaque mysteries through research. Breakthroughs that expand human understanding and knowledge.

A simple, easy way to keep learning things and "exercise" your brain is by watching TED talks.

Some of the most interesting, informative and talented people on the planet share their insights on TED talk presentations; available on any electronic device.

Occasionally, someone whose field of expertise, personal courage and achievements is so unusual, stands out in a crowd of brilliant individuals. Such a person is Dan Ariely.

Who is Dan Ariely?

- A burn victim, who used the extraordinary pain he endured during his recovery to change burn patient treatment.

- A fascinating, interesting, intelligent and humourous teacher.

- A Duke University Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics.

- Head of an organization with the "insightful" title 'Centre for Advanced Hindsight'.

He spends time teaching two different audiences, "I give lots of long lectures for very little money. When I go to corporations, I give much shorter lectures for much more money."

Dan and his researchers specialize in...

- Why humans are so irrational - by advancing the study of hindsight.

- How people are hard-wired to make bad decisions, even lie and cheat, especially when money is involved.

- Provide a rationale to explain irrational decisions humans make.

- Explain behaviour that is considered normal and rational that has serious consequences in a complex, fast paced, interconnected world.

- Explain how human irrationality can be weaponized against us.

- Discover new facts to find ways to improve the human condition rather than make it worse.

One example of his many observations

Conflict between honesty and dishonesty.

Many of us can relate to this one.

You get the question "Honey, how do I look in this dress?"

You care about honesty, but you also don't want to offend your significant other, and you want to have a good evening.

You are now faced with three goals that are not compatible, and you have to decide which one wins.

So what happens? Honesty loses its priority in "the hierarchy of values".

CLARITY "THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, AND WHAT WAS FOUND THERE" - The CRITICALLY important U.S. midterm election

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 the midterm elections take place in the middle of Republican Donald Trump's first term.

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.

The U.S. Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (including two independents). Of the 35 seats being contested, 26 are held by Democrats.

The framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid ever again being ruled by any unhinged, cruel, dominating King, so they set up the following system.

Three branches of government that can limit the powers of the others.

This way, no one branch becomes too powerful. Each branch "checks" the power of the other branches to make sure that the power is balanced between them.

Republicans currently control all branches of government, including the Supreme Court.

However, elected Republicans refuse to exercise their sworn duty to check the power of this president, because they fear him and his loyal base of cult followers that could destroy their reelection chances.

This sets up the perfect conditions for a President with "tyrannical" tendencies to operate without fear of any of the "intended" checks and balances.

June 16, 2015 - In a grand, staged for television production, surrounded by hundreds of paid "extras", Donald and Melania made their entrance, riding down an escalator, to announce the candidacy, as a Republican contender, of Donald J. Trump.

The Washington establishment considered him a political novice, a joke, not to be taken seriously. Few gave him any chance.

"A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact." - Daniel Kahneman

He crushed every and all opponents, using a masterfully thuggish, down and dirty muck-raking campaign of labels, insults, lies, anger, menace, hate and fear, with more than a little help from his handler and mentor, Vlad.

The "not to be taken seriously joke" won the presidential election on November 8, 2016 and became President on January 20, 2017.

Two years of the Trump presidency has made crystal clear the following:

- He has no political philosophy i.e., what makes a government legitimate. He does not embrace the beliefs held by Republicans, Democrats or Independents.

- He espouses 'The Trump Doctrine':

Doctrine #1: Its all about me, me, me!

Doctrine #2: I only respect power and money.

Doctrine #3: Climate change is a Chinese hoax, just like the Russian collusion hoax.

Doctrine #4: Its all about me, me, me...and the 1%.

Doctrine #5: There ain't no doctrine #5!

- Beliefs: I am above the law.

- Distrusts: allies.

- Admires: befriends and emulates dictators.

- Exhibits: an unprecedented, abnormal moral bankruptcy, bereft of empathy.

- Fired: all key advisors, replaced them with ass-kissing sycophants.

A tyrant is defined as a cruel and oppressive ruler; a dictator, despot, autocrat, authoritarian, oppressor, bully, megalomaniac.

All dangerous goods carry a warning label.

On November 6th - Americans who vote and don't succeed in electing at least one branch of their government to put a check on Trump's erratic, unpredictable behaviour in a divided America, will set up conditions for their nation to deteriorate into chaos.

If they don't stop him now, it may well be too late.

In a democracy, "freedom of the press" exists to serve the governed and not those who govern.

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters" - Albert Einstein

P.S. #1: On the weekend, Sidney by the Sea, B.C., was host to 450 rowers from 24 nations for the 2018 FISA world coastal rowing championships; a North American first. The sport of coastal rowing is popular in Europe, but little-known in Canada and will make its debut in the Pan Am Games next year in Lima, Peru.

P.S. #2: On October 17th, The Great White North goes to pot.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#167 ABSURDITIES (posted October 2, 2018)

Boo - WADA - Boo

Here's where you ask...WHAT'S - A - WADA?

WADA is the acronym for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

WADA is a creation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

By the mid-1990's, the IOC could no longer hide the reality that more "dirty" athletes were competing in their Summer and Winter Olympics.

Nations, hell-bent on winning at all costs, pressured their athletes to ingest ever-more sophisticated chemical concoctions to by-pass urine and blood tests.

"Clean" athletes either succumbed, despite the threat to their health and wellbeing, or accepted their chances of a medal performance was unlikely because the doper has an unfair advantage.

Some background on WADA

WADA was established on November 10, 1999, in Lausanne, Switzerland, as an independent agency working towards eradicating the improper use of drugs in sport.

WADA is responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code, adopted by more than 600 sports organizations, including international sports federations, national anti-doping organizations, the IOC, and the International Paralympic Committee.

WADA's funding is sourced equally from the Olympic Movement and governments of the world.

Canadian taxpayers contribute $1.9 million annually to WADA.

WADA-HQ is based in Montreal.

Spaniard, Juan Antonio Samaranch, was President of the IOC from August 1980 to July 2001.

NB: Samaranch was an enthusiastic supporter of Spanish fascist dictator, General Francisco Franco, and served in his government. According to the book "The KGB Plays Chess", he was recruited as an asset by the KGB in exchange for Soviet support for his candidacy as IOC president.

Juan Antonio was challenged trying to find somebody among IOC delegates brave enough to head WADA.

Canadian swimming champion, lawyer and prominent spokesman for ethics in sport, Richard William Duncan "Dick" Pound, became the first president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and vice-president of the IOC.

Pound was reluctant to take on the job but eventually agreed. It has been rumoured Samaranch promised he would lobby for Pound to become IOC president when he stepped down.

When the time came, Juan Antonio, lobbied IOC delegates to support, Jacques Rogue, despite Pound having done an execellent job as Head of WADA from 1999 to 2007. So much for fascist promises.

Fast forward to 2014...

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of Russia and former KGB officer (Emperor 'Crazy Pants' handler and mentor), was spending $50 billion USD on the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

With the world distracted watching Vlad's Games, he was playing another more serious game. Russia made several incursions into Ukrainian territory. Russian soldiers without insignias took control of strategic positions and infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Russia then annexed Crimea.

Echoes of another dictator's actions in the 1930's that eventually led to WWII.

Russian state involvement in systematic doping was finally exposed. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Moscow lab director, blew the whistle on the scheme.

Russia's state-run doping program helped 1000 athletes in 30 sports fudge their doping tests.

An investigation and damning report by Canadian Western University law professor, Richard McLaren, followed, including the how, when and where this was done, including KGB involvement.

Acknowledging McLaren's findings, WADA suspended Russia in November 2015.

In September 2018, WADA reinstated Russia's doping control agency.

HUH???

Yep, WADA reinstated Russia.

Despite howls of protest from around the world, the IOC, whose current membership includes WADA's current president, has a history of overlooking the transgressions of influential member nations. Reacting true to form. Really?

Yes, indeedee!

"WADA's decision to reinstate Russia represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history" - Jim Walden, attorney for Grigory Rodchenkov.

When a regulatory body is unwilling to meaningfully crack down on the kind of industrial-scale cheating carried out by Russia's state-directed performance-enhancing program, it is appropriate to ask whether it still has a raison d'etre.

Why then should our government continue writing $1.9 million annual cheques to pay for WADA?

Why then should our government(s) even seriously consider being conned into writing multi-billion dollar cheques to pay for the 2026 Winter Olympics at venues proposed for Calgary, Edmonton, Nakiska, Canmore and Whistler?

A morally bankrupt and corrupt organization (the IOC) is unworthy of receiving Canadian taxpayer charity.

WHAT'S A PENNY WORTH?

For your thoughts...

The idiom "A penny for your thoughts", used to inquire into the thoughts and feelings of another, especially when the person appears pensive or conflicted, is from a time when the British penny was worth a significant sum.

It was used in 1522 by Sir Thomas More in 'Four Last Things'.

For your money...

Canadian banks regularly report quarterly profits in the billions, using depositors' money to loan to others.

Every month, my bank thanks me for my loyalty by depositing one penny into my checking account.

This is nothing more than an underwhelming act of fictitious profit sharing.

The federal government withdrew the penny from circulation in the fall of 2012.

Recently, I asked my friendly bank teller the following:

How much does it cost the bank to deposit one penny into my checking account?

If the penny is deemed worthless currency by the government and the bank cannot give me a penny because pennies are no longer in circulation, what is the point of this action by your employer?

Unable to answer, she suggested with a smile, it was a mystery beyond her pay grade to explain.

I refrained from asking whether her boss could.

SQUARING AN ENVIRONMENTAL CIRCLE

How do BC politians, once in power, twist a "sacred policy" into a pretzel?

The BC NDP remain in power courtesy of three elected Greens, led by climate scientist, Andrew Weaver.

The NDP and Greens claim to be steadfast, unwavering, dependable protectors of the environment.

To demonstrate their redoubtable commitment to this "sacred" policy position, both have taken a stand against the federal and Alberta government, to never allow the twinning of a pipeline from Alberta to tidewater on the Pacific coast. Stating the environmental dangers are dire.

When the BC Liberals were in power, they approved twinning of the pipeline and proposed several LNG projects. NDP opposition MLA's howled in protest, discounting the related jobs and wealth generation these projects would benefit all Canadians.

Then, without consulting taxpayers, the Feds bought the pipeline company for $4.5 billion it didn't have and without explaining an additional $7.8 billion will have to be spent if twinning the pipeline ever proceeds.

The apparent logic being followed: "When you're in a deep hole, the way out is to dig deeper".

Suddenly, fairy dust got sprinkled on the BC NDP and they became converts. Overboard went one of their "sacred" policy positions. Now morphing into steadfast champions in favour of LNG projects...let the good times roll.

What will the three Green amigos do now? Bring down the NDP or drink the cool aid and cave?

And that dear reader is how BC politicians practise "pretzel politics".

Up next, more madness in BC politics. A referendum on three "impossible to comprehend" 'proportional representation' options vs maintaining 'first past the post'.

Voters remain uninformed and confused.

Recently, a PHD expert and university professor, who has studied the subject for 15-years, couldn't explain to an audience of retired professionals, the value or benefits to our democracy of the three options. She strongly suggested we stick with first past the post.

Recent provincial elections are demonstrating political change is rolling across the land

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#166 ONE HUNDRED AND ONE AND COUNTING (posted Sept. 21, 2018)

"A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a proof, it's because it's proven" - Jean Chretien...linguist extraordinaire.

2018 marks the 101st anniversary of the fastest and most exciting winter game in the world.

The National Hockey League (NHL) was organized on November 28, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal.

Aldous Leonard Huxley said "Facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored".

From their mouths to our ears...

"Truth is whatever I say it is" - Emperor Crazy Pants...pathological liar.

"Truth isn't truth" - Rudi "the illusionist"...personal lawyer to the Emperor.

"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true" - Yogi Berra...malapropism expert.

Controversy over where the game of hockey came into being can provoke a heated debate between Francophone and Anglophone students of hockey history.

Whether the game evolved from a frozen pond in Quebec or the Maritimes???, doesn't change the fact...it's our game.

For the record:

Hockey originated "around" the year 1800, in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

Bet you didn't know that.

The boys of Canada's first college, King's College School, adapted the exciting field game of "Hurley" to the ice of their favourite skating pond and originated a new winter game.

Back in the era of the "original six", the device invented by, Guglielmo Marconi, was given a prominent location in most Canadian homes.

For marketing purposes, this "magic box" was always disguised as a fancy piece of furniture.

In our rented apartment on the second floor at 554 DesMeurons street in St. Boniface, Manitoba, it was located in the living room.

On "coolish" (minus 40 F.) Saturday nights, our radio was tuned to the CBC.

Eagerly awaiting the following: "Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and in Newfoundland."

(NB: Newfoundland was a separate Dominion within the British Empire before joining Canada in 1949...thanks to, among others, the dogged efforts of Joseph Roberts "Joey" Smallwood.)

The voice of hockey for fourty years, belonged to Foster Hewitt; Canada's premier play-by-play broadcaster.

For a few hours, his distinct voice painted word-pictures of action on the ice, igniting the imagination of young boys intently listening to the exploits of their heroes.

The "original six" comprised: Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Every kid had their favourite team and player(s).

Living in the predominantly French speaking community of St. Boniface, my team was the Montreal Canadians. My hockey hero, Maurice "the rocket" Richard.

If you lived across the Red River, in Winnipeg, (considered "enemy territory") the assumption was, your team had to be the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This created a natural rivalry, francophone vs anglophone.

Whenever we met in sports competiton, on their side of the river or ours, it was war.

The "original six" team rosters were filled with highly skilled Canadian players.

Unbeknownst to fans, team owners treated their employees as minimally paid serfs, while they raked in millions.

Any player who complained, regardless of how skilled, was blacklisted.

Player equipment/safety, in a highly dangerous game, was minimal and of no concern to the owners. The lord/masters knew there were plenty of equally skilled players eagerly waiting in the wings to replace the injured.

The owners' stranglehold was finally broken by a handful of courageous players like, Ted Lindsey, of the Detroit Red Wings and, Doug Harvey, of the Montreal Canadians who formed the NHL Players Association in 1957 after the league refused to release pension plan financial information.

Today, there are 31 teams filled with the best players from around the world, all millionaires, playing with the best safety equipment available.

Billionaire team owners trade players like chess pieces for championship advantage and profit.

Today's primary "safety concern" in sports is brain injury caused by recurring concussions which team owners and their league surrogate commissioners, have been slow to confront despite mounting player concerns. For obvious reasons...their bottom line.

Who would doubt that in Canada hockey is more popular than religion?

To mark the 101st NHL anniversary and recognize one of its contemporary icons, the following electronic letter was sent to Governor General, Julie Payette (my favourite astronaut), Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and our local member of Parliament, Green Party leader, Elizabeth May:

"Sour Grapes?

Am I alone in wondering why the Order of Canada selection committee hasn't honoured an icon of our national game, Donald S. "Grapes" Cherry.

Over eight decades he has managed several careers: professional hockey player, car salesman, construction worker, NHL coach, television personality/star, actor, business owner; and in 2004, selected #7 on "The Greatest Canadian" CBC TV program.

Over a 38-year career on television, "Grapes" continues to generate controversy about both hockey and politics.

Less well known is his generosity; giving time and money to several charitable causes, first responders and unswerving support of Canadians in uniform.

Combining a "unique" use of English, dress style, strongly held opinions, passion for our game and chutzpah, "Grapes" has fashioned a persona like no other on television.

On Saturday night, millions of Canadians tune in to watch and listen as Ron Maclean and Don Cherry do their schtick...hockey fan or not.

Time for the OC Committee to honour Donald S. Cherry before he leaves the stage, or, will political "sour grapes" prevail.

Signed: Ron Devion, retired, former Head of CBC Sports, Brentwood Bay, B.C."

How many readers are aware a department called "The Chancellery of Honours" exists and works for my favourite astronaut?

Within 48 hours, an email response was received (in both official languages) from 'The Chancellery'...cue the royal trumpeteers.

"Thank you for your comments recommending Donald S. "Grapes" Cherry appointment to the Order of Canada. You will be pleased to note that we have an active file on Mr. Cherry, to which your comments have been added.

The Chancellery of Honours strives to protect our sources and to avoid disappointment if a nominee is not elected. To further enhance the confidentiality of the research process, nominators and others who write to the Chancellery should not inform the nominee and other sponsors.

Your interest in the Order of Canada is most appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Signed: Order of Canada, Office of the Secretary to the Governor General"

To keep denying a Canadian icon the Order of Canada just because of his strongly held opinions and "occasional" wanderings into politically incorrect minefields (that have offended some) is frankly "un-Canadian".

Underneath all the bluster is a kind, gentle, passionate, old soul who loves animals (think Blue), supports and promotes women's hockey, lends his considerable persona to several charitable causes, most significantly organ donation awareness, and keeps us attentive and entertained, every Saturday night, with his words and what he is wearing.

His generosity alone makes him worthy.

Besides, who's perfect...we all have our best and worst moments.

Others with "issues" far more grievous, e.g., Alan Eagleson, have received the honour.

P.S.: Please heed the royal WARNING. As the Chancellery note cautioned, do not inform the honours nominee ("Monsieur Grapes") or other sponsors who have, in the past, made a similar recommendation. The risk of a CRA full-audit of the next three income tax returns isn't worth it.

In the meantime, let's keep this "our little secret" and hope it happens before his 85th birthday, on February 5th, 2019.

From humble beginnings to the seventh greatest Canadian and still on top of his game. Impressive by any measure.

Time to right a wrong.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#165 THE ART OF THE CON (posted Sept. 13, 2018)

HERE WE GO AGAIN

It always begins like this..."It's almost free"...

Keep your eyes focused on the bright shiny object...tick...tock...tick...tock...very good,..tick...tock...now relax, slowly close your eyes and sleep, the best sleep since Mike Lindell invented the 'My Pillow'. (just kidding)

On the count of three, I will snap my fingers...

"You will vote yes in a plebiscite which gives us a "blank cheque" to spend billions of your taxpayer dollars.

With your democratic pledge (your Yes vote), we will give the International Olympic Committee (IOC) an undertaking.

A guarantee, in the form of a bid and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The MOU will form the basis of a guarantee that the Canadian taxpayer will underwrite two thirds of the cost plus any cost overruns, of staging "their" Games in "our" country.

Of course, this will require the IOC to favour our bid over any others.

To help us "win", there will be cash and in-kind inducements (wink-wink) distributed to "special" IOC delegates and vote "influencers". Understand, there is nothing 'untoward' about this. It's standard operating protocol for the IOC and, for obvious reasons, will be kept strictly secret and "under the radar" from the prying eyes of fake news media snoops.

Trust us, this will be a wonderful investment in the future of our country.

Trust us, this will return untold riches to future generations.

On the count of three, I will snap my fingers. You will wake up and have no recollection of these instructions."

And thus, brainwashed taxpayers are duped (again and again), aiding and abetting their compliant politicians to enable a corrupt international organization to pick their pockets.

Really, taxpayers are that gullible?

Yep. But consider what they are up against. A time tested, sophisticated con-game that has left many nations facing financial devastation after swallowing the lies.

This time it is the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The committee, "exploring" a Calgary bid (that was presented to city council) is relying on a set of assumptions that include using existing upgraded facilities, an upgraded Saddledome plus new builds in Calgary, and help for selected competitive events at venues in Edmonton, Nakiska, Canmore and Whistler B.C..

"You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig"

Bid committee's, the world over, have a unconscionable habit of low-balling costs, inflating revenues, then timidly accepting the IOC's one-sided contractual arrangments that guarantee the IOC assumes zero risk.

A tactic used to lull taxpayers into believing their pig is like no other; unique, efficient, revenue neutral and more beautiful than any other painted pig.

This is where bid committee's invent their version of voodoo mirage economic models depicting fanciful costs and revenues which combined with a sophisticated propaganda campaign, will convince wide eyed politicians and skeptical taxpayers (the real suckers) to buy their pig story.

Billions of taxpayer dollars spent for a few weeks of world class competition, entertainment, parties, fun and pride...and "it's almost free" is the constant drumbeat.

The draft plan for the 2026 Calgary bid is currently estimated to cost $5.23 billion, including $610 million for security costs, in today's dollars.

Yes, boys and girls, they want us to believe they can pull off a Canadian made miracle. They want us to "trust" their bargain basement cost estimates.

Apparently a bargain when compared to everything tallied-in for the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Winter Games, $7.7 billion, 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea, $12.9 billion USD and the eye-popping $50+ billion USD 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Facts:

Governments and organizing committees are notorious for keeping final net cost to the taxpayer a state secret...for obvious reasons. Anyone who believes the "purported final numbers" have swallowed the hook, the line and the sinker.

The draft Calgary bid cost estimates, demonstrate this pig has no lipstick, no clothes, no reality.

If this bid goes forward supported by Calgary's city council and federal and provincial governments, Canadian taxpayers will have purchased the equivalent of several more pipeline companies that will never reach tide water.

If there is any common sense left, this pie-in-the-sky boondoggle will be stopped now.

If this amount of money is sloshing around (uncommitted) in government coffers, there are a hell of a lot more important priorities to spend it on. However, one only needs to check the out-of-control deficits to conclude we can't afford this extravagance.

The IOC is hardly alone in playing this con game e.g., corrupt FIFA and billionaire team owners are very adept at hoodwinking politicians into paying for their infrastructure, with taxpayer dollars.

Let those who make the millions in profit and always somehow avoid any risk, pay.

Ignore their threats to take their ball and go elsewhere. Let them.

To be subsidizing the uber-wealthy who are living so far above the average Canadian's standard of living is frankly, insane.

Worth remembering:

The only Olympic Games in modern Olympic history staged without taxpayer support; the L.A. Summer Olympic Games superbly managed by Peter Ueberroth.

Roman politicians staged elaborate games featuring competition to the death.

The motive: To keep their citizens from rioting.

Roman citizens did not understand the enormous cost of staging their games was a trade off, and there is always a trade off. Money spent on temporary distractions rather than food and other necessary amnenities is wrong.

The irony: Nothing much has changed over the centuries.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#164 CROSSING THE RUBICON IN CRAZYTOWN (posted Sept. 7, 2018)

Crossing the Rubicon river was an event in 49 B.C. that precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ultimately led to Julius Caesar becoming dictator for life and the rise of the Imperial era of Rome.

Caesar had been appointed to a governorship over a region that ranged from southern Gaul to IIIyricum, but not Italy.

As his term of governorship ended, the Roman Senate ordered Caesar to disband his army and return to Rome.

He was explicitly ordered not to bring his army across the Rubicon river, which was at that time a northern boundary of Italy.

In January 49 B.C., Caesar brought the 13th legion across the river, which the Roman government considered insurrection, treason, and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate.

Today, the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" is an idiom that means to pass a point of no return.

Why does this story resonate as eery?

As America inches ever-closer to "the point of no return", three recent events spilled into public view:

- The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best selling author, Bob Woodward's book "Fear - Trump in the White House" (release Sept. 11), exposing the inner workings of Trump's "well oiled machine" as a chaotic and conflicted White House mess.

- The scathing, anonymous New York Times opinion piece.

Suggesting a palace coup is afoot to "fire" the real-life unstable skipper, Captain Queeg, played by reality star Donald J. Trump (nervous, sleep deprived, a twitching tweeter finger and shouting "who stole memos from my desk? I want names!"

A valid comparison to the make believe, Captain Queeg, the unstable skipper of the U.S.S. Caine, played by movie star Humphrey Bogart (nervously clicking his ball bearings and shouting "who stole the stawberries? I want names!", in the 1954 movie 'The Caine Mutiny'.

- The rushed Senate confirmation hearing to approve Emperor Crazy Pants' pick to fill the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat with 53-year old, Brett Kavanaugh.

The selection of Judge Kavanaugh is controversial for several reasons.

The most critical, troubling and alarming, to many, are his views on the limits of presidential power.

In past writings, he referenced the famous Nixon interviews series, conducted by British journalist, David Frost, with former President, Richard Nixon.

Frost: "Would you say that there are certain situations where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation, and do something illegal?"

Nixon: "Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."

Frost: "By definitions?"

Nixon: "Exactly, exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating the law. Otherwise, they're in an impossible position."

Frost: "The point is - the dividing line is the president's judgment?"

Nixon: "Yes, and, so that one does not get the impression that a president can run amok in the country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as CIA's covert operations are concerned, as far as FBI's covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress."

What could this mean, in the opinion of Judge Kavanaugh, should he be confirmed? With Republicans in control of all branches of government, unwilling to exercise the checks on the president (their sworn duty) and should removal from office for competence or the growing number of criminal "indiscretions" reach the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, make removal of the Emperor...unlikely?

Like Nixon, Trump believes, as president, he is sovereign, infallible, above the law and supreme.

Like Caesar, unless he is stopped by elected representatives of the people, he will "cross the Rubicon", to the delight of his mentor/controller/hero, Vlad the Invader, dictators and despots he admires and his hard-core base cheering him on at weekly rallies.

A volcanic tantrum erupted with tirades and noise, triggered by the New York Times piece causing:

1) An ever-growing parade of supplicants "not me, wasn't me, mine fuhrer".

2) Loyalist Rand Paul ranting "Don't trust any of the treacherous deep state actors, haul out the lie detectors and test them all."

3) The Sheriff of Trumpingham ordering his deputies to post the following proclamation in every town square of the Empire:

"Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Your elected Emperor and Commander-in-Chief of everything, offers a fantastic reward for anyone/someone providing names of person or persons responsible for writing the lying New York Times opinion piece.

Anyone/someone withholding knowledge of who these gutless, treasonous conspirators plotting to displace me, your greatest-ever president, will be ferreted out of your hidey-hole by my loyal secret police.

Should you choose to remain silent cowards, then along with the aformentioned scumbags you will be dragged before 'the Emperor's Court of the Manor' and forthwith convicted of treason.

Citizens of my empire, rest assured this is no idle bluff, the 'Emperor's Court of the Manor' will make the 'Inquisition' and the 'Lawless Court' (formally the King's Court of the Manor of King's Hill), resemble paragons of justice."

The world is enduring a modern version of the old Chinese curse "May we live in interesting, unpredictable, perilous times."

Consequently, our government should not be rushed into concluding a trade deal with a frightened, unhinged loose canon.

Much wiser to wait for the fall mid-term election results. In the meantime, best to stall, prevaricate and have patience.

Tick...tick...tick...tick...

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#163 SEPTEMBER NINE (posted Sept. 3, 2018)

Like flipping a light switch - click - August slips away as we celebrate the Labour Day long weekend. Signalling a return to life's routine for the next nine months on the Gregorian calendar; named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

As the sun continues its journey south, the breeze off the Pacific Ocean cools the air and nights grow longer, the curtain descends on another summer.

Vacations end, Fair's close their gates, students return to school and adults resume the daily grind.

This weekend residents of Greater Victoria, in their thousands, decended on our small municiplality (Central Saanich - pop. 16,800) to attend the 150th Saanich Fair.

The annual event, the oldest continuous agricultural fair west of the Great Lakes, is hosted by the North and South Saanich Agricultural Society.

Why there has to be a North and South Society, rather than one combined agricultural society, remains a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma of quirky traditional local independence.

Grandma and Grandpa attended for the 28th time. We hobbled around the grounds to observe this year's crop of every variety of farm animal, equipment, produce, and competition on display.

As usual, the big draw for us; buy two $4 Langos, find a bench in the shade and eagerly consume the delicacy.

This is where you ask...what the hell is a Langos?

A Langos is a very popular Hungarian street food speciality. A deep fried flat bread made of dough with flour, yeast, salt and water. A big flat donut (without a hole). Once cooked, you sprinkle whatever suits your taste buds e.g., sugar, cinnamon, garlic, salt. Common nicknames, depending on the size, beaver tail and elephant ear.

As you gently sway back and forth in the hammock, enjoying the quiet solitude of the last idle afternoon, communing with nature, your mind wandering aimlessly, take time to ponder some of the really serious questions of life:

Why is the calendar filled with "special" days?

Who decides that certain days of the year will be singled out as "special"?

If you have a suggestion, is there an application form to fill out?

To whom do you send it, Hallmark cards?

Are all 365 days already taken?

If a day is selected to celebrate an international, national, provincial and municipal event on the same day, which one takes precedence?

Depending on your age, what is the most important day of the year?

There is no confusion if:

Ask a child: Christmas Day...because I get presents.

Ask a teen: My Birthday...because I get presents.

Ask an adult: Mother's Day!

As with everything there are always exceptions.

What adult would disagree with one day a year be called Mother's Day?

The person we wish to honour/remember on at least one day of the year, our Mom.

The person who fed us for nine months until she pushed us out into the world crying. Who would leave the safest place ever without crying?

The person who nurtured, cared for and loved us most, during our formative years, Mom, and in exceptional circumstances, Dad.

Ask any grandparent, "God's gift for raising children is grandchildren".

The joy of receiving unrequited love, reciprocating in kind, spoiling them rotten and when they become cranky, leave them for the parents to deal with...is indeed a gift.

Ask any grandparent, there's nothing quite like it.

But rest assured it doesn't last...they eventually morph into know-it-all teenagers.

All of the aformentioned leads this grandparent to ask "How come there is no Grandparents Day on the Gregorian calendar?"

As Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC TV show 'Hardball' asks his guests on every show, "Tell me something I don't know".

I just discovered, "International Grandparents Day" is celebrated; this year, on September 9th.

Who knew? Not Grandpa moi.

The history of Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day, celebrated on the first Sunday after Labour Day, was not started by Hallmark, as many believe. It was through the efforts of one very dedicated woman, Marian McQuade, that President Jimmy Carter proclaimed it a national holiday August 3, 1978.

Her idea was for the holiday to be an incentive for families to visit with elderly family members living in nursing homes. But quickly grew to encompass much more. She emphasized the wisdom, life lessons, and family history grandparents can offer their grandchildren and other family members...connecting generations.

The month of September was chosen as a symbol of the "autumn years" of life.

Thank you Marian and Jimmy.

HOW TO DRIVE A BULLY TYRANT NUTS

For an entire week, 'Emperor Crazy Pants', fidgeted, fussed and fingered his tweeter pad in frustration, unable to regain control of the news cycle.

What was driving him mad; every TV network, except 'Fox Nooses', ignored whatever nonsense he tweeted out. Instead, paying homage to a real American hero, Senator John Sidney McCain III.

The Senator left instructions. Only two individuals were not permitted to attend any of the events to honour his passing; Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

This was classic McCain, adept at payback for the moron who insulted his military service during the presidential campaign, even in death.

Tributes from family, friends, presidents, Democrats, Republicans and democratic world leaders, expressed with crystal clarity, the striking difference and dissimilarity between the two men; one a hero, the other a coward.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory