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  RON DEVION's ARCHIVES.

 

#281 SNAP, CRACKLE AND POP (posted May 18, 2024)

The sound emanates from my body attempting to rise from bed in the morning.

It's my arthritic bones trying to realign themselves. A movement no longer possible without an electric shock passing through every fibre and nerve end.

The voice in my head screams: "Geezus, that hurts!"...and it wasn't a prayer.

At the edge of the bed, hunched over gently leaning forward, a movement that initiates a slow-motion shuffle in the direction of the "reading room", praying we make it in time. The voice in my head: "Hurry, hurry, hurry", like a curling skip on steroids.

Whew, we made it, this time.

Monsieur Ronald is "MAD AS HELL"...it suddenly hit me that on May 25, 2036 (twelve short years from May 25, 2024) yours truly will be 100 years old. And there's not a damned thing anybody can do about that.

I'm "MAD AS HELL"...at arthritis, spinal stenoses, a pinched sciatic nerve, skin cancer and chronic pain.

The voice in my head whispers: "Ronnie, we're still here, courtesy of a terrific platoon of medical wizards and their magical pills, potions, lotions and elixirs. Remember what the neurologist candidly explained (sans medical-speak) at our last visit, you're old, we can't fix you anymore, so deal with it."

Translation - "All the Kings men and all the Kings horses can't put old Monsieur Ronald together again. I'm screwed, so deal with it."

I thanked him for finally giving it to me straight.

Responding to myself: "That's precisely the issue, getting old SUCKS! They keep saying these are 'the Golden Years', and it's all BULLSHIT!"

Voice: "It is and always was bullshit. But you're angry and looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope. We are and have been very lucky. We have made it farther than many, with our marbles relatively intact. Rather than being confined to a home for the elderly, tied to a wheelchair, and permanently drugged into 'Zombieland', we live comfortably on a beautiful Island, in a safe neighbourhood with a loving and supporting wife. So stop moaning, groaning, bitching and complaining. Let's enjoy the time we have left."

Thanks, I needed that.

Voice again: "And consider this, if we can hang in there for just two more years, we will have outlived all of our maternal and paternal ancestors. And Cher Ronnie that's a worthwhile goal."

"Oh, I almost forgot, it's our birthday next Saturday, enjoy."

                                              AND NOW THIS

Are you among the growing legions who believe our world is falling apart?

OUI!

Are you among the growing legions who no longer watch/listen to newscasts because all "News" is bad news; depressing, distressing, prompting fits of anxiety?

OUI! (My platoon has a pill for that)

Are you among the growing legions who are desperate to "getaway from it all"?

OUI!

Go somewhere, anywhere, that will wash away the world of woes, if only for a couple of weeks.

Oh, OUI, OUI please!

You're thinking an exotic Island like Hawaii, Santorini, Bora Bora, right?

OUI.

Why don't you consider visiting one at home?

Monsieur Ronald, we don't have any exotic Islands in Canada.

Sorry, but we do.

Reminder to Dear CanuckleLander(s):

The 'Great White North' is flanked by three exotic Islands. Two in the East surrounded by the Atlantic and one in the West surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Each is culturally, geographically and topographically so different and distinctive, that it's like visiting three different countries.

                                 TIME FOR: "DID YOU KNOW?" STUFF

America was first discovered by humans 15,000 years ago.

Recently discovered ancient scripts suggest around 1,300 BC, Chinese explorers discovered America, long before the Europeans arrived there.

John Cabot was not the first European to arrive in Newfoundland in 1497 under the banner of England's King Henry VII.

Scandinavian warriors and explorers "Vikings" (Leif Erickson, son of Eric the Red) visited Newfoundland and Labrador 500 years before Cabot.

Regardless of when the Chinese, the Vikings, John Cabot or Columbus arrived in North America, there was always someone there to greet them. And we are finally now acknowledging what really happened to them. (aka - Reconciliation)

The city of St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The city of Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island.

The city of Victoria (on Vancouver Island) is the capital of British Columbia.

 

   Monsieur Ronald has a special affinity for all three of our Canadian exotic Islands

1) Vancouver Island - For the past 34 years my wife and I have lived here and love it.

2) Prince Edward Island - The birthplace of Canada's Confederation, July 1, 1867.

The birthplace of my mother, Margaret MacDonald, was born in Summerside.

My ancestors, The MacDonalds, arrived in PEI from their homeland in Scotland, in 1772.

3) Newfoundland and Labrador - Monsieur Ronald was made an "Honourary Citizen" of "The Rock" on September 28, 1987. Details below.

                                       THIS STORY IS TRUE

Newfoundlanders refer to visitors as people "from away". A few fortunate "from away" folk can be inducted into "The Royal Order of Screechers" and become an honourary citizen.

The honour confers this special status only on those who pass a test, the origins of which have long since been forgotten.

During a television program conference held at CBC St. John's, a "Screecher Ceremony" for visiting CBC executives was held in their main television studio.

The presiding "High Priest/MC" and his assistant were appropriately attired in full Norwester fisher rain gear, ordered the noviciates to kneel and listen to an oath he read from an ancient looking scroll.

His "Newfie" accent made it almost impossible for the visiting "from away muckee- mucks" to comprehend what the hell he was saying; but strangely this added a certain solemnity to the proceedings.

Each inductee was ordered by the "High Priest" to chew on and swallow what he described as a local delicacy, "delicious horse-doovers" (deep fried cod cheeks) and then kiss a large, very slimy fresh codfish and down a shot glass of screech (the local fire water).

As each noviciate completed their task, all were required to down another shot of fire water. A bucket was available in case anyone had to heave a "horse-doover".

There were six in our group of kneelers. (Readers from CBC will recognize the names Joan Donaldson, Trina McQueen, Saleem Ahmed, Gerry Janneteau, Marv Terhock and Ron Devion.)

Consuming six shots of screech, in rapid succession, soon produced an unusual paralysis of the body.

The MC announced in Newfie-speak "Come me Boy-yos, time to stand up."

A few alcohol-tolerant were able to immediately stand and weave our way to a table to sign a certificate and recite the pledge of allegiance:

Question: "Is Ye an honourary Newfoundlander"

It was impossible not to slur the response..

Answer: "Indeed I is Ol'cock, and long may your big jib draw!"

We could not tolerate sunlight or loud noises for 24 hours.

The End

P.S. For those who don't know screech or never had the courage to enjoy some.

The origin of screech dates back to the age of British sailing ships, navigating the Triangle Route, carrying barrels that alternated containing molasses and rum. The barrels built up a deposit of strongly sweet sediment at the bottom. Ingenious Newfoundlanders discovered that if they melted out the deposit, using boiling water and mixed it with fermented or grain alcohol, it produced a dark, cheap, potent 40% proof rum beverage, guaranteed to knock your socks off.

NB: You can special order screech at your local liquor outlet.

If you've never been to Newfoundland, put it on your bucket list. You won't regret visiting "The Rock" and its very extra-special people. 

"Long may your big jib draw"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#280 IT'S APRIL...AGAIN! (posted Apr. 7, 2024)

The dark days of another Winter are behind us.

Mother Nature brings forth another Spring, providing all living things with a time for renewal.

Cue the violins; Spring has sprung.

"We" of 'The Great White North' are supposed to be feeling hopeful/joyful/rejuvenated at this time of year, right?

But instead we're out of sorts, stressed, kind of down, depressed and grumpy.

Why so glum?

Monsieur Ronald peers through the fog of gloom to identify one very pernicious April culprit...

It's Fools' Month (again), when "We" of the middle-classes get mugged, robbed by the very people we elect to look after our wellbeing and keep us safe.

Their heartless Tax-Marauders cometh, picking our pockets clean (again)...and for what?

Did you know - "Taxes" were invented by those who rule (monarchs & politicians) to pay for an absurdity...WAR.

Did you know - In 1914, Canada was a tax-less wonderland where there were no income tax collectors. No wonder there was so much immigration.

Did you know - Unlike the United Kingdom and the United States, Canada avoided an income tax prior to the First World War.

And then in 1917, this "no-tax paradise" was no more. Sir William Thomas White, Canada's Finance Minister, was ordered to implement the "Income Tax Act" to pay for World War One.

Not wishing to go down in history as the principal "villain" who imposed this dastardly tax  on unsuspecting Canadians, Willie suggested to the cabinet the tax-decision should be "reviewed" after the war.

His "recommendation" was ignored.

Why?

Governing politicians soon realized they were "looking a gift horse in the mouth".

Canada has had an income tax ever since.

The poor taxpayers, *many of whom were preoccupied with the war, did not realize then that upon returning home "they" would have to pay a tax for the conflict. A cruel form of double-jeopardy.

First World War - 1914-1918

*650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the war from a population of eight million.

66,000 gave their lives

172,000 were wounded

NB: Newfoundland joined Confederation on March 31, 1949, becoming the tenth province.

The tax collection "system" (systemic robbery) has evolved to now include a bewildering array of "additional taxes"; provincial taxes, municipal taxes, sales taxes, plus taxes on taxes, on absolutely everything.

They even tax you when you're dead, as anyone who has acted as an Executor handling an estate can attest.

And despite collecting billions upon billions, those who govern us have managed (mismanaged) to increase the Federal and Provincial debt to a staggering, mind-blowing $2.1 TRILLION.

Forty one million Canadians are on the hook to pay this off...somehow.

If you're up to it, do the math. It's an insane amount of debt off-loaded onto the backs of future generations.

And finally, the Coup de Grace - "Income Tax Return forms" that would make Albert Einstein tremble and weep.

Since 1917, the pile of "forms" taxpayers are required to file (under penalty of jail-time) have been "modernized", "sophisticatized", "confusetized", "convolutedtized" and "computerized". This is progress???

A set of tax return forms made so complex and beyond comprehension of any human, including the so-called CRA "experts" who attempt to answer questions and the best tax accountant money can buy. Giant computers are required to process volumes of calculations. This is progress???

Why?

Is this in the name of some clever "political conspiracy" to keep taxpayers bewildered, unable to calculate the total amount of taxes we are forced to pay?

Is it to keep "We" the poor middle-class suckers (oops, sorry) the beleaguered taxpayer in the dark, like mushrooms, constantly being fed "bullshit" by politicians who haven't the brains or the balls to simplify the "system"?

Are they incapable or unwilling to introduce a simplified flat-tax everyone pays, including the Uber-rich who can afford to hire the best tax accountants to hide their wealth offshore and avoid paying "their fair share"?

Those responsible for the CRA continue to claim they don't have the "resources" to catch wealthy tax cheaters.

Yet they have whatever resources are needed to track down "defenceless" middle-class taxpayers with punishing tax schemes like the recent "bare trust" fiasco.

If you don't know what the "bare trust" fiasco is about, just ask your enraged tax accountant when he/she present you with a bill for all the wasted time filing "bare trust" forms about how you are trying to help an ageing parent or family member. Send the bill to your MP.

The "tax collection systems", used forever by monarchs and politicians will continue with the same motif - the recurring theme - "Rob the Poor to protect the Rich" - and squander the ill gotten billions on more absurdities.

A couple of messages to those who govern us:

1) "You can't dig yourself out of a hole". $2.1 TRILLION is one hell of a huge hole. Unless you're all idiots, stop digging.

2) There's a reckoning coming - the time when people like you are called to account for your actions, promises and obligations.

Who will save this floundering ship?

Or are we just helpless passengers on a doomed ship of fools?

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#279 ANOTHER STORY, MONSIEUR? (posted March 14, 2024)

First some good news - Spring has returned to the Northern Hemisphere.

Spring never ceases to feel like a miracle; as the trees begin to bud and the flowers push through the earth's surface that brings undeniable Hope that feels like falling in love for the first time.

Oh to be young again, sitting at that outdoor cafe on the Champs Élysées, sipping a glass of red wine on a warm Spring afternoon.

It's early morning in Brentwood Bay, on the southern tip of beautiful Vancouver Island.     The scene outside the kitchen window presented by Mother Nature is breathtaking. The sun reflects a clear blue sky off the calm waters of the Saanich Inlet.

Monsieur Ronald is smiling at the 45-year-old memory of Paris in the Spring, while simultaneously staring at an array of nine pill bottles, two cartons containing eye drops and some vitamin supplements his health care platoon recommend he take daily.

And still recovering from a second spinal injection procedure at the BC Pain Clinic that (hopefully) provides "temporary" relief from the pain spasms radiating down his legs, plus grieving the recent loss of another family member and friend.

His smile fades as the voice in his head shouts "Ronnie, getting old sucks!"

You got that right!

The smile returns as thoughts of the "upside of ageing" fill his mind...

"Blessed are those who spoil and snuggle, hug and hope, pray and pamper, for they shall be called grandparents".

"There's no other love that's as special as the love given by a Grandma and Grandpa".

The voice in his head quietly whispers "That sure makes us feel good, right Ronnie? It's a beautiful Spring day in the neighbourhood, let's go do something positive."

                                     SWITCHING GEARS TO..."FABLES"

Question du Jour: What is a Fable?

Answer du Jour: Fables are characterized by their moral lessons. Short tales to teach young people the difference between right and wrong, give advice on proper behaviour and manners, and offer maxims to live by.

The most famous "Fabulist" is a guy called Aesop.

A Greek storyteller who was born in 620 BC and died in 564 BC. Living until age 56 was considered quite elderly back then.

Many will remember his top-five tales:

"The Crow and the Pitcher"

"The Hare and the Tortoise"

"The Fox and the Hedgehog"

"The Frogs Who Desired a King"

"The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs"

There's a "Modern Fable" that contains a critical moral lesson for American voters to heed in the upcoming US election; George Orwell's novella "Animal Farm" published in 1945. The main theme of the novel is the desire for power.

This desire is closely related to the second theme of corrupt politics.

The animals in the story want more power. This starts with the idea of "The Revolution" (akin to the January 6, 2021 US insurrection) but eventually leads to the pigs wanting more power and less equality.

Orwell observed the atrocities of both Stalinism and Nazism and wrote "Animal Farm" as a warning against totalitarianism.

It's clear Donald Trump's bedtime stories excluded Aesop's Fables or any of their moral messages. Without fail, he always does the opposite of the good or right. He openly offends every Commandment, law, custom, principle and ideal, yet millions of so-called Christians look away and refer to him as the "Second Coming".

INSANITY!

Should Trump and his gang of thugs seize power, Canada and all other democracies are in grave danger.

Millions of Americans appear oblivious that Trump is another Hitler; an evil, demented, dangerous madman.

During the darkest days of WWII two leaders, Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided millions with "Hope" by using their extraordinary oratorial skills and collaborative actions, that ultimately saved humanity from totalitarianism.

America is in dire need of a Churchill or Roosevelt to wake them from their stupor, before November 2nd.

Where are they?

                                    AND NOW THIS, GAMING THE "GAMES"

"Gaming the System" - means rigging, abusing, cheating, milking, playing, working the system; using rules and procedures meant to protect a system to, instead, manipulate the system for a desired outcome.

Be it politics, big corporations, big government, organized crime, whatever, to uncover corruption behind the proverbial curtain - "Follow The Money".

Today's Hobson's Choice Quiz: Which international sports organization is the more corrupt? The IOC or FIFA?

Forty-five years ago (during my time as Head of CBC Sports) Monsieur Ronald had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Eye-opening reveal.

However, should a broadcast rights holder report observations of any "shenanigans" behind that curtain, automatic withdrawal of accreditation and denial of access to the "Games" resulted. The unwritten enforced rule "promote the event and stay away from reporting anything negative".

NB: Owners of professional teams (e.g. Toronto's Harold Ballard) operated similarly. 

Pierre de Coubertin, Father of the modern Olympic Games, French educator, historian,  aristocrat, and co-founder of the IOC, would be outraged at the conduct of his 20th and 21st century successors.

The IOC has become synonymous with overspending, corruption and autocratic regimes, as their members continue to con countries into hosting their international spectacle.

Any country getting into bed with this bunch of mobsters gets stiffed.

This year's "Victim" France - The Games of the XXXIII Olympiad will take place July 26 to August 11, with the "City of Light" as the main host city and sixteen other cities across France, plus one sub-site, Tahiti in the South Pacific.

Security costs will be "ginormous". Olympic Games are a primary terrorist target.

Message to French taxpayers: You've been stiffed.

Ten years ago, your government fell prey to the IOC's con-men hustle, swallowed their cool-aid and made a deal with "Le Grand Demon".

Your government signed a contract that absolves "Le Demon" of any liability for cost overruns; leaving "YOU" with "L'addition" when the mobsters and their circus leave town.

Long time ago, the budget for "Paris 2024" was "guesstimated" to be $8.2 Billion USD.

Your IOC "friends" committed to contribute a "maximum" $1.7 Billion USD towards the Games costs, while retaining a generous slice of Games revenue to perpetuate their ongoing existence and highflying lifestyle.

This left "You" fully exposed, and therefore responsible for bearing "the balance of the costs plus any overruns", and to use (via your Host Organizing Committee) the sale of television rights, ticket sales, sponsorships and whatever to pay the bills. Good luck digging yourselves out of the hole.

Last July, responding to a question about the current state of the Games budget, Monsieur Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 Organizing President, stated "We continue with enthusiasm and serenity in a bid to achieve this goal".

Mafia boss Tony Soprano: "Tony, enthusiasm and serenity is the quickest way to take a swim in the Seine, tied to a barrel filled with cement."

Fact: The only modern Olympic Games that never received any taxpayer support, Los Angeles 1984. 

Fact: The final costs underwritten by taxpayers for any modern Olympics have never been publicly disclosed. It's guarded as a "state secret" to avoid a taxpayer revolution.

Fact: Organized crime developed Casinos in order to legally steal your money.

"There's a sucker born every minute" - P. T. Barnum

And that dear reader "is another story".

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is the future, today is the present. Enjoy every day as if it's your last."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#278 TALES FOR THE MIDDLE OF THE MIDDLE MONTH OF WINTER (posted Feb. 21, 2024)

                              Part One - What the hell happened?

So the story goes, Rip Van Winkle went to sleep for 20 years. When he awoke, the familiar had disappeared - gone; leaving him disoriented and fearful.

If someone fell asleep in January 2020 and woke up today, the world would be unrecognizable (in the memory of that person) from the one that existed only four short years ago.

Dramatically illustrating: In our post-pandemic era of AI controlled state-of-the-art "Gadgets", the pace of change is so rapid mere humans can't keep up.

Fact: "Gadgets" now control and addict vulnerable humans.

Addicted means - physically and mentally dependent and unable to stop without incurring adverse effects.

We have become so dependant on these "devices" to communicate, get information and remain in contact...24/7; we experience anxiety and stress when we don't have them close by at all times.

Data suggests that use of "devices" (e.g. cell phone) reinforces dopamine pathways, a neurotransmitter that is a "feel good" chemical involved in our reward-seeking behaviours. When this pathway isn't reinforced, we actually experience chemical withdrawal in our brains.

When the cell phone isn't there, symptoms of withdrawal include anger, irritability, difficulty concentrating, repeated focus on not having the device, restlessness, sleep problems and craving of the device, such that it interferes with ability to complete things like schoolwork and job related activities.

There's growing concern (bordering on fear) that super-intelligent AI robotic "Gadgets" will (eventually) no longer need humans; the zookeeper and the animals reverse roles.

1500 technology leaders pleaded to "Pause Giant AI Experiments" in the out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds "that no one - not even their creators - can understand, predict, or reliably control".

Their plea to developers and governments of today's AI systems to be "more accurate, safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal" were ignored.

Warp-speed development of AI in labs is being fuelled primarily by human greed and power, with little thought for the implications on society, i.e. AI has the risk of great harm to humanity.

                                      Part Two - How old is too old?

A question many are discussing of late, prompted by two "Geezers" competing for an impossible job.

We all know people of the same "chronological age" who haven't aged to the same extent.

Your "biological age" is based on how healthy you are overall - i.e. your "physical and mental fitness".

Ageism - refers to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or oneself, based on age.

An Ageist - is a person who shows prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's age.

Many cultures venerate their elders e.g. Aboriginal, Asian, Greek, etc.

Whereas, in Western cultures "obsessed with youth", ageing is often depicted in a negative light.

As a population grows older and necessitates a redistribution of societal resources, an ageing population stokes intergenerational tensions.

Those 60+ slowly become an "inconvenience" as they transition from "perceived contributor" to "perceived consumer" of limited societal resources.

An unconscious prejudice and discrimination towards those with a halting gait, a wispy voice, an occasional memory lapse, a shaky hand, an aching back, shrinking reserves of energy, sensory organs in decline (sight, hearing, taste) and a brain that doesn't process information as well as it used to.

This week we're being reminded what David Foot predicted in his best-selling book "Boom, Bust & Echo". 400,000 "Boomers" born between 1947 and 1966; are now between 77 and 58 years of age.

And as Mr. Foot accurately predicted those ageing "Boomers" are "naturally" consuming more health care resources...creating additional demands on a system exposed during the pandemic as being grossly inadequate.

Question du Jour:

How will the intergenerational tug of war for scarce societal resources be resolved?

Monsieur Ronald's answer:

1) It will never be resolved by politicians.

2) The resolution will be made by a super-intelligent giant AI robot by the name of Elon using that famous Shakespearian line from one of his plays "First thing we do is get rid of the politicians!"

How old is too old? Two elderly ladies sitting on a park bench "I'm getting so old all my friends in Heaven will think I didn't make it."

                           Part Three - What you will never see on FOX News

            Official Results of the 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey

154 presidential historians (members of the American Political Science Association) were asked to rank every president using a score of 0 to 100.

Abraham Lincoln topped the list with an average score of 95.0.

Joe Biden was 14th best with an average of 62.66, two spots above Ronald Reagan.

Drum roll...."I'm the smartest", Emperor-in-waiting, Donald J "Crazy Pants" Trump...wait for it...scored an average of 10.92...dead last!

Orange Jesus tweeted on his Truth Social website "It was fixed" - "All historians are Democrats" - "I won, I won, I won" - "I never lose, never ever" - "My great MAGA sneakers now available only $399 USD" - "I'm still the smartest president ever"

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius

"Illegitimi Non Carborundum" - "Don't let the bastards grind you down".

Ron Devion No Guts, No Glory

#277 THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS tick, tick, tick... (posted Jan. 27, 2024)

On January 23, 2024, a select group of nuclear, climate and technology experts assembled to unveil "The Doomsday Clock", revealing the hands stand at "90 seconds to midnight".

Few rational beings would disagree that humanity is looking down the barrel of a "shitload" of monumental problems.

Most would place the reelection of Emperor-in-waiting, Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump at the top of the list.

Despite facing 91 criminal indictments (his idea of a badge of honour), Orange Jesus' steamroller ride to the Republican presidential nomination appears all but settled.

Who believes the U.S. Supreme Court will stop the January 6 insurrection leader before it's too late? Will the justices join the multitudes willing to blindly turn their democracy over to a madman?

And this time 'Crazy Pants' will ensure he's not surrounded by any in his administration or the bureaucracy who might dare to serve as "guardrails" and constrain his unpredictable, unhinged urges.

News Flash - American Evangelical Christians are facing a serious financial and morale dilemma. On Friday, their so-called "mini-messiah" (and serial sexual predator) was ordered to pay $83.3 million USD on top of the $5 USD from a separate trial, to one of his victims. HOLY OH! OH!

Despite angry denials from the "second-comer" claiming "its a witch-hunt" (and you know what they do to witches) the "supreme council of the righteous" has ordered that the weekly "Tithe" be increased by 15%, until further notice. Larger collection baskets will be available to accommodate the increase. Be generous, Donald is our saviour. Amen.

Trump was right when he proclaimed "I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they would still vote for me."

Can it get any crazier?

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" - Bachman Turner Overdrive   

                                           AND UP HERE

How will those responsible for defending "The Great White North" react to the dictator (next door) ready to take whatever he needs/wants, by force if necessary? Top of his target list, our abundant resources; fresh water.

Can we defend ourselves given the current depleted state of our military? Sadly, not at this time, courtesy of successive governments kicking the defence budget ball down the road.

                                           DID YOU KNOW?

A) By the end of WWII Canada had the world's fourth largest Air Force and the third  largest Navy.

1.1 million Canadians served in the three branches of the military services out of a population (in 1945) of 11.6 million. 

B) Today, a tiny country (half the size of Vancouver Island) has a contemporary military force "significantly larger" and better equipped than Canada's.

Flying time from one end of that country to the other, 15 minutes. 

You're kidding?

Nope!

What country?

Switzerland.

Switzerland?

Impossible Monsieur Ronald. Switzerland does not participate in war, is not a member of NATO and is committed to remaining "neutral" in times of war.

Correct.

Then, why does Switzerland need a military?

For "defence" and developing the "skills" and "welfare" of its citizens. 

More about that later, but first...

                                 Some "Fun Facts" about Switzerland

Switzerland was formed in 1291. 

Their constitution (modelled after that of the United States) was adopted in 1848 and substantially revised in 1874.

The Swiss blend of federalism and "direct citizen democracy" is unique in the world and is considered central to the country's political and economic success.

Switzerland is regularly judged to have among the worlds highest standards of living.

Switzerland is the nexus of the diverse physical and cultural geography of Western Europe, renowned for both its natural beauty and way of life.

Cue the violins - A landlocked country of towering mountains, deep Alpine lakes, grassy valleys dotted with neat farms and small villages, and thriving cities that blend the old and the new. (Sigh - Be still my beating heart)

Now try getting the image of a young and beautiful Julie Andrews, arms extended, gambolling across a windswept grassy meadow, singing "Climb Every Mountain".....out of your head.

What's extraordinary, despite it's carefully guarded neutrality-stance, Switzerland has a militia; a permanent citizen-army and airforce comprising 147,000 personnel for "Defence Purposes"; based on a system of mandatory "universal conscription".

Conscription?

Yep!

Incroyable.

             Let's pause and compare Canada's "Defence-Status" to Switzerland's

Population: Canada 41 million. Switzerland 8.9 million

Canada needs to defend the second largest land mass on the planet, three oceans and is committed to the defence of North America and NATO.

Switzerland needs to defend(?) a land mass that extends 135 miles (220 km) from north to south and 220 miles (350 km) at its widest extent west to east.

Canada has 95,000 active military personnel; with ongoing recruitment problems.

Switzerland has 147,000 active military; continually replenished through conscription.

Canada's defence budget is 1.29% of GDP. Being lower than the agreed 2% of GDP, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and women hobble along coping with "over the hill" ships, aircraft, insufficient army equipment.

And lest we forget, the four still-in-service scrapped WWII submarines the government got conned into purchasing from the Brits in 1998, costing billions to maintain. They are in dry dock more than underwater.

The state of our current military is...embarrassing doesn't cover it.

Canada won't be able to defend itself until elected politicians wake up to the realization the world is as dangerous as it was in 1939. 

                                        The Swiss Conscription Program

Switzerland has mandatory military service.

All able-bodied adult males are conscripted when they reach the age of majority.

Teenagers interested in "preparatory courses" can commence as early as 16.

After finishing basic training, men remain a member of the Armed Forces Reserve for nine years while completing six three-week refresher courses over that time.

Every able-bodied Swiss male begins performing military duty at age 20 as a member of the national militia and remains active until age 42; officers remain active until age 52.

Swiss women may serve as volunteers in the women's military force.

Monsieur Ronald, where are you going with all this?

                    CHASING SOLUTIONS FOR OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND

No system is perfect. But given the growing pile of issues facing Canada, it would be prudent and timely for the federal government to examine the advantages & disadvantages of introducing a mandatory service program.

Why? 

Many young people are increasingly concerned about the future (and who isn't) and find themselves "at sea" about what to do.

Facing a world on the cusp of AI strip-mining millions of jobs, the value of a university degree no longer guaranteeing a job, carrying a truckload of debt, finding affordable lodging. The dream of ever doing better than their parents out of reach.

The side effects: Eroding confidence, a sense of hopelessness, increased addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling), crime and homelessness.

What are millions of AI unemployed supposed to do with their idle time? 

                                         QUESTION DU JOUR

Would a two-year mandatory conscription service program provide our youth with valuable skills and health benefits, and shore up Canada's defence deficiencies?

Such as:

Discipline

Comeraderie

Respect

Direction

Physical training

Trades training

Advanced technology training

Advanced educational opportunities

Leadership training

Income/medical/dental/food/clothes/lodging

Isn't this a solution worth pursuing? Got a better idea?

                                               THE END

In 1949 Albert Einstein warned that the time would come when the very rich so controlled the means of communication that it would be almost impossible for ordinary people to make informed decisions; and so democracy would be broken.

We now live in the time Einstein warned about.

Tick, Tick, Tick...

Cheer up, as Yogi Berra said "It ain't over 'til it's over!"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#276 FOR THOSE HAVING A BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR (OR NOT?) (posted Jan. 12, 2024)

                                  Question: How old is old?

If everything goes as predicted, in ten months two "old-geezers" will compete for the most demanding/challenging job on the planet.

Ironically, the more competent of the two is considered "too old" for the task, while the other is certainly "too dangerous".

Before proceeding further, let's clarify some relevant terminology:

"Old-Geezer" - Humorous and mildly disparaging; an odd, eccentric or unreasonable elderly man.

"Fuddy-Duddy" - Mildly derogatory but sometimes affectionate (think Elmer Fudd); a person who is fussy while old-fashioned, traditionalist, conformist and conservative.

"Old-Fart" - Contemptible or tiresome person; especially one who is stuffy or close-minded.

Sidebar: Since we're discussing "Old Gas-bags", a few "fun-facts" (based on impeccable research performed on volunteer faculty and students at leading North American universities).

1) There's a lot of farting going on.

2) The "average person" farts between 10 and 20 times per day which produces 500 to 1500 millilitres of gas per day. That's a lot of hot air impacting our fragile ozone layer.

3) Now, pause to contemplate what eight million humans contribute to the 'climate change' crisis. You may wish to reconsider your harsh and likely inconsiderate attitude toward all the other "animals" and what they are contributing. (Cows, bulls, sheep et al also fart a lot, deal with it!)

4) The "Good-News": 99% of the gas you produce does not smell. Whoopee for us!

5) The "Bad-Joke": "I'm Farty and you're Farty-too!"

                              Now, back to the "Question du Jour"...

In 1900, gerontologists considered "old" to be 47.

Today you're considered "youngish-old" at 65, "Middle-old" at 75, and at 85, you're a member of the "oldest-old". Congratulations, if you've made it that far.

Three score and 10 is the number of years of life set out in the Bible. Trump received a Bible as a gift when he met the Pope; used once for a photo-op but never read.

Modern technology and Big Pharma promise to add at least a decade and a half (think some of us will be half-human/half-AI robot).

I find myself reading the obituary pages with ever greater interest. Curious about how long "they" lasted and what brought "them" down. Curious about how many were "Older Than Me" or "Younger Than Me".

Dwindling capacities go with aging. "Bodily decrepitude" said Yeats, "is wisdom". "We" Octogenarians have accumulated somewhat more of the former than the latter.

Know anyone over 75 who sleeps through the night?

Experiencing some diminution in the memory department? Where the hell are my glasses? Car and house keys? I'm standing with the door fridge open and don't know why? Can't remember my best friend's name.

Lost your enthusiasm for travel, especially on planes? Lineup to the toilet is too challenging; can't hold it much longer. Forgot to wear my diaper.

We're told after the age of 60 one loses half an inch in height every five years.

Now at 5'4" Monsieur Ronald is five inches shorter; continuing to shrink on the way to becoming a "Munchkin".

Another diminution is tact, patience, tolerance; long lines, automated phone menus, CRA, offshore "customer service" agents, new technology, et al.

Giving the finger to a stranger, especially when driving is no longer a reckless act, regardless of the admonitions uttered by navigator Madame Ronald.

When old friends/neighbours get together the 'first ritual' is - How's your back? Knee? Heart? Hip? Shoulder? Eyesight? Hearing? Prostate? Hemorrhoids? Digestion? The "recital" can run and ruin an entire lunch.

Philosopher George Santayana claimed to prefer old age to all others. "Old age is, or may be as in my case, far happier than youth. I was never more entertained or less troubled than I am now."

Amen to that.

Santayana said the reason that old people have nothing but foreboding about the future is that they cannot imagine a world that's good without themselves in it. (The "good old days" when we/they were young).

Getting too old to do a job isn't a matter of chronological age; it's a matter of being lucid enough to know when you should exit the stage before you no longer have what it takes to do the job well. Leave on a high note.

Talking to young people about the future (as they see it) will buoy your spirits.

                Segue: The Presidential Candidate of Vengeance - "Orange Jesus"

Emperor 'Crazy Pants' is the "great unknown" of 2024.

Ironically, many American evangelical Christians believe "God anointed Donald Trump to rule".

He recently shared on his "Truth Social" website a fan-made video declaring he was divinely chosen to lead the country.

A different kind of political speech is taking centre stage at Trump rallies - "The Opening Prayer" - invoked by all-in evangelical-pastors who swallowed his cool-aid, hook, line and sinker passionately selling the message of misinformation to the adoring crowd.

Example: "There's great excitement in this place, Lord. And rightly so. But this is just a taste of what's coming when you send your son as king of kings and he sets things right."

The prayer illustrates the incongruous relationship between the growing number of evangelical voters and their "chosen one" who violates (with impunity) the Ten Commandments.

The Republican's "chosen one" praises authoritarian leaders including Hungary's Viktor Urban, China's Xi Jinping, North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and his mentor and puppet master 'Vlad the Invader' Putin.

It's beyond incomprehensible the strangle hold 'Crazy Pants' has on the Republican party and religious right.

If, and only if, Trump is elected president, the domestic and global repercussions will be seismic, will dwarf any other event of this year, and will only grow into 2025 as he actually takes office.

A second Trump term would be far more radical than the first, committed to stretching legal and governance boundaries and to pursuing retribution for the prosecutions he has been fighting since losing office.

Many pillars of American democracy, including an independent judiciary and central bank, would be imperilled. Trump's protectionist and isolationist tendencies would also terrify NATO while creating an opening for China and Putin.

As a global threat Donald J Trump is unrivalled.

NB: The probability that Trump will win the electoral college is currently 40%.

God help us all.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#275 MYTHS AND LEGENDS (posted December 16, 2023)

                                            IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR ...again!

That "time" when "contemporary-humans" pause, look back, and look ahead one year, attempting to predict the future.

How are "we" doing?

William Shakespeare told us in 'The Tempest' "What's past is prologue". The future has a history.

The good news is that it's one from which we can learn; the bad news is that we rarely do. More often than not we choose to ignore "futures" that force us to face uncomfortable truths.

Monsieur Ronald's rule of thumb: "Expect the unexpected."

Have you ever wondered "why" we look back and look ahead, at this particular "time" of the year? During December?

Yes indeedy Monsieur R., some of us most certainly have, others not so much.

First question: Who invented "time" and why?

According to archaeological evidence, the Babylonians and Egyptians began to measure "time" at least 5000 years ago, using sun dials and introducing calendars to organize and coordinate commercial activities and public events, to schedule the shipment of goods and, in particular, to regulate cycles of planting and harvesting.

                                       JESUS, SANTA CLAUS & DECEMBER 25

Monsieur, "Christmas-time" is really about something mystical, magical, miraculous, spiritual and religious...right?

Nope! It was, and has always been, all about "Commerce", i.e. making and selling stuff.

Ouch!

But who decided December 25th would be Christmas?

Emperor Constantine.

You're kidding, right?

Under Constantine's rule, the Church in Rome began celebrating Christmas on December 25th, in 336 A.D..

Really?

Yep!

And P.S. - The Bible makes no mention of when Jesus was born.

What?

Do you mean a bunch of old guys wearing togas had a meeting and just made a best-guess?

Yep!

The big reveal. Most biblical scholars generally accept a date of Jesus' birth as being "somewhere between" six and four B.C., the year in which King Herod died.

News for a lot of Christians?

Yep!

OK, another "relevant" question for Monsieur: Who came up with Santa Claus and why?

The abridged version:

The character of Santa Claus is believed to descend from Saint Nicholas (a Greek) who became Bishop of Myra, in the Diocese of Asia which was part of the Roman Empire. Saint "Nick" lived in the 4th century and reputedly gave away his inherited wealth to the poor.

The Dutch are credited with transporting the legend of St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas) to New Amsterdam (now New York City), along with the custom of giving gifts and sweets to children on his feast day which is December 6th.

In 1875, Louis Prang, the father of the American Christmas card, printed a series of post cards with Santa Claus in a red costume (a first).

Why did Mr. Prang do that? To sell more cards, of course.

In 1931, the Coca-Cola company commissioned Haddon Sundblom, an illustrator of Swedish descent, to depict a paunchy, smiling Santa Claus, dressed in red, with ruddy cheeks and an elfish look carrying a sack filled with toys.

Why, (during the Great Depression) would the Coca-Cola company do that?

For a Winter ad campaign to sell more soft drinks, of course. The ad first appeared in December 1931 "to remind people (especially kids) they could drink Coke all year round (not just on summery afternoons).

Mystically, magically, sales of Coke took off and profits reached "spiritual" levels from then on.

                                                EPILOGUE

Monsieur Ronald has been around for 87 Christmas'; so many to look back on, too few to look forward to.

Memories of Christmas' past that span 'The arc of my life':

- Waiting for Santa Claus

- Being Santa Claus

- Looking like Santa Claus

Thoughts to ponder:

"For those of us who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion" - Albert Einstein

"One life is enough for me" - Albert Einstein

"If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present" - Roy T. Bennett

"Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely" - Roy T. Bennett

All the very best to you and yours for the "unexpected" year to come. Buckle up and hang on!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#274 THE LAND OF OZ (posted November 29,2023)

The Land of Oz is a "magical country".

Oz consists of four vast quadrants, the 'Gillikin Country' in the north, 'Quadling Country' in the south, 'Munchkin Country' in the east, and 'Winkie Country' in the west.

Each province has its own ruler, but the realm itself has always been ruled by a single monarch, Princess Oma.

Sound familiar?

                              NOW, A TALE ABOUT OUR VERY OWN "MAGICAL" LAND OF OZ - "CANUCKLELAND"

And - Two distinct parts located in a vast land mass once called "Turtle Island" by its original inhabitants (aka North America).

The inhabitants who live there now have come from afar:

- "Occupiers" who "squat" on separate pieces of Turtle Island; one in the northeast, the other in the northwest.

- "Tribes" from other lands so different from each other, yet similar in their struggles to survive, who found a way to live within the bosom (think Dolly Parton) of a diffuse, democratic-confederation, spread across six time zones surrounded by three oceans. That's really huge!

To properly comprehend how unique and special the two solitudes are, one must spend considerable time in both.

One with distinctive echos-of-France, the other with distinctive echos-of-Texas.

Both were ruled for decades by an unholy alliance - religious leaders (Church), politicians (State) and foreign corporations (Influencers) - tied at the hip to ensure control of the masses "the common people".

Quebec "Munchkin Country" Canuckleland East

Maurice "Le Chef" Duplessis, a conservative, nationalist, populist, anti-unionist and fervent Catholic, ruled Quebec for 18 years (1936-39, 1944-1959).

Duplessis and his Union National party's regime was considered regressive and corrupted. Corruption and patronage reached legendary proportion.

Alberta "Winkie Country" Canuckleland West

William "Bible Bill" Aberhart, a deeply religious Evangelical Christian, helped found the Social Credit Party. In 1927, he founded the "Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute" (CPBI). His theology was sectarian, separatist, apolitical, otherworldly, and eschatologically oriented.

"Bible Bill" realized very early (1925), that the power of his Sunday sermons on radio station CFCN which  enabled him to broadcast his "prophetic religious preachings" to listeners throughout the prairies and part of the northern United States, was a perfect launchpad into the world of Alberta politics.

The Social Credit Party of Alberta under Aberhart's leadership ruled the province for a record nine consecutive elections; from 1935 until his death in 1943. His protege, and student at CPBI and evangelical radio preacher, Ernest "Really Earnest" Manning followed until he resigned in 1967.

Ordinary Quebecers and Albertans were "dirt poor".

Until the start of the second half of the 20th century Francophone Quebec workers lived below the poverty line.

Albertans fared no better until...on a freezing February morning in 1947, the ground rumbled when grease-covered roughnecks opened creaky valves, and a mix of crude oil and gas spewed flames 15 metres into the air.

Leduc No. 1, 35km south of Edmonton, struck a rich deposit of oil and forever changed the course of Alberta.

It was the "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960's that provided the impetus that forever changed the course of Quebec history.

These events led to progress for both provinces, enabling dramatic reforms to their political, educational, health and social systems, as well as creating public institutions to increase the economic autonomy and exploitation of their natural resources.

Quebec has led the way in obtaining increasing powers from successive federal governments by whatever means necessary. Quebec voters elect politicians who are masters at "the power game", constantly reminding federal parties they will never cease power unless Quebec gets what Quebec wants. Their most effective tool has been threats of possible "separation" from the federation.

Alberta voters have been paying attention. Alberta's recently elected United Conservative Party leader, Danielle Smith, is taking a page from Quebec's playbook. On Monday November 27, 2023, she deployed sovereignty legislation under the "Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act", for the first time.

Sidebar #1) The federal government didn't start taxing its citizens with any regularity until the First World War. Even then, it was seen as only a "temporary measure" to help military and aid efforts. Politicians lie and have never stopped picking our pockets clean since.

Sidebar #2) In 1957, Canada introduced the "Equalization Program"; our government's version of the famous "Legend of Robin Hood"...only in reverse.

Monsieur Ronald, what is Equalization? The federal government's transfer program for addressing fiscal disparities among provinces.

Pardon?

The allocation of Equalization payments is based on a measure of fiscal capacity, which represents the revenues a province "could" raise if it were to tax at the national average rate...blah, blah, blah.

Pardon?

Please monsieur, simplify.

OK. Remember when the Sheriff of Nottingham and his marauders rode into town to tax the poor, and Robin and his colourfully attired "Merry Men" left their forest hideaway to rob the King's booty and return it to the villagers?

Yes.

Well, our so-called "Equalization Formula" doesn't equalize. Its been (purposely) made overly complicated to confuse and confound, and produce a result that is unfair, unjust and pits West against East...because one province receives the lion's share of the tax transfers.

The "Haves", purportedly the "rich" provinces, are forced to give to the "Have-Nots", purportedly the "poor" provinces, according to a convoluted "equalization formula" introduced in 1957.

And the proof dear reader, is in this pudding.

Following is a list of provinces classified as "Have-Nots" and the benefit they receive in transfers, from the "Haves", in fiscal 2023-2024:

Quebec             $14 Billion

Manitoba           $3.5 Billion

Nova Scotia       $2.8 Billion

New Brunswick  $2.6 Billion

PEI.                  $561 Million

Ontario             $421 Million

Alberta contributed the largest transfer share based on their abundant oil and gas reserves...which are under the ground; followed by British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland/Labrador.

What really, really galls (pisses off) the so-called "Have" siblings in Canuckleland:

A) Quebec is classed as a "Have-Not" province; purportedly so "poor" they must receive $14 billion in transfers, mostly from Alberta.

B) Alberta and the other three provinces are classed as "Have" or rich provinces.

C) The Quebec government will not allow a West-East pipeline to be built in their province to enable the import of Alberta (Canadian) oil and gas, "preferring" to import from elsewhere. The Saudis love Quebec.

"I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford. Then I want to move in with them." - Phyllis Diller

Canucklelanders should take this message to heart:

A comment made by Benjamin Franklin at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence,  "We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately". It meant that the colonies must unite to have any chance of independence and act as one nation, or else face certain defeat by the British in the Revolutionary War.

Question du Jour: Will Canucklelanders hang together or separately? Will the eastern "Munchkins" and the western "Winkies" make good on their threats and leave Canuckleland? Will the "Quadlings" from the south, invade Canuckleland and steal our resources? 

Stay tuned.

                                                               AND NOW...THIS

Ever wonder how naturally-gifted elite athletes just breeze through top-rated U.S. colleges on scholarships, become millionaires in their early twenties, and then come up with this stuff...

Senior basketball player attending the University of Pittsburg: "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."

Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D: "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."

And they vote.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#273 EXISTENTIAL MOMENTS (posted Nov. 15, 2023)

Existential moments entail a paradigm shift, a jarring, visceral reframing of reality. The very nature of reality is experienced in a new way. We are sucked into a realization that the rules of the game are not what we had imagined.

Question du Jour: Who is third in command in the U.S. government?

Answer: Mike Johnson.

Who?

Mike Johnson.

Mike Johnson?

Yes!

Monsieur Ronald, you're joshing us again, right? Hockey fans know, Mike Johnson is the former right-winger who played for five teams during his professional career; the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes, Montreal Canadians and St. Louis Blues.

And now you say he's third in command of the U.S. government???

Umm, no, not Mike the NHL right-winger. There's another Mike; a far-out right winger and new number three in the succession of the U.S. government by virtue of being recently elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Clarification appreciated. But why should Canadians be concerned about an American nobody here has ever heard of? 

A few important reasons:

The "unique relationship" between Canada and the United States forged by a shared geography, similar values, common interests, strong personal connections and powerful multi-layered economies.

We "share" a deep and long standing defence and national security partnership. Of critical importance for us, the U.S. assumes the major burden for our security.

The U.S. "order of succession" specifies that the office of President passes to the Vice President. Should the Vice President become "incapacitated", the power and duties of the presidency passes to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Therefore, it's critically important to Canada who the Speaker is, especially during these perilous times of turmoil and division in America.

Should anything "untoward" suddenly happen to "incapacitate" both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the aforementioned Mike Johnson assumes the power and duties of President and Commander in Chief.

Now you want to know "Who the hell is this Mike Johnson we've never heard about?"

His Bio:

Mike presents a genial demeanour while harbouring extreme views.

The least experienced Speaker in 140 years.

A darling of Emperor 'Crazy Pants' angry MAGA mob who holds irrational political views.

A hardcore conservative cultural warrior motivated by Christian fundamentalist beliefs. 

A climate-science skeptic, anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-gun Christian nationalist who wants a return to 18th century values.

A diehard fundamentalist who believes every religion, other than "their brand" of Christianity, is false.

Supports ending American military aid to Ukraine.

Voted against certifying the 2020 election.

Voted against establishing a national commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Does not believe in the separation of Church and State.

Believes the Bible supersedes the Constitution and that Donald Trump has been sent by God to save the world.

Recommends a 'religious litmus test' for politicians, thereby creating a "biblically sanctioned" government led by the Chosen One; a vengeful dictator and narcissistic ego-maniac, utterly lacking in morals.

My conclusions:

The leader of the House of Representatives is a certified "WingNut".

He's Donald Trump's politically-powerful puppet inside the Big tent. (Think Trojan Horse)

Donald J Trump should never again be placed into the top job in the White House and handed the nuclear launch codes.

The scariest part:

If the 2024 election were held today, Donald Trump would win the electoral college by nearly 50 votes. Trump's allies are pre-screening up to 54,000 pro-Trump loyalists as a type of "government-in- waiting" if Trump wins the 2024 election.

Biden's age (80) and the state of the economy are the top concerns for voters.

Americans swear an oath to uphold the constitution while placing a hand on the Bible, not the other way around.

Will enough American voters realize what peril their democracy faces?

                                               AND NOW - CHEZ NOUS

If the federal election were held today, "Skippy" Poilievre would be Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, "Little Potato" stubbornly refuses to accept voters want him gone.

Canada's interests would be best served if Justin swallowed his pride and stepped down now.

Bring in someone new and much better-equipped to deal with the complex issues facing Canadians e.g. Mark Carney.

                                              "They" who steward "Our money"

Outsourcing: The practice of hiring a party outside a company/bureaucracy to perform services or create goods that were traditionally performed in-house by the company/bureaucracy's own employees and staff.

Bet you didn't know this: In fiscal 2022-23 federal spending on "outsourcing" was a mind-blowing $15.7 BILLION.

An embarrassingly large shit-load of taxpayer-money spent by a government that assumes no one will notice...until nosy investigative journalists smell the odour of scandal and start asking questions of these so-called "stewards of our money".

Opposition attack dogs were quick to smell blood; demanding an investigation.

"Nothing to see here" chirp the PMO, no need for concern. Your "Government Operations Committee" is on the case holding hearings into how the cost of the "app" for international travellers grew to exceed $54 million. (considered by those who govern a paltry sum in the scheme of things)

                                    The Shell-Game WHODUNIT 

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) outsourced the "ArriveCan" app-project to IT firm GCStrategies to build and update the app.

CGStrategies, a two-person firm "incapable of doing any IT App-work" subcontracted the contract to IT firms CORADIX, Technology Consulting Ltd. and DALIAN Enterprises Inc., in exchange for a commission (15-30 per cent) of federal contract values.

The CGS twosome pocketed $11 million for doing "no work" on the app.

How they pulled off the caper: The layers of an elaborate subcontracting-scheme neatly hid key details of who was getting paid for what.

The parliamentary hunt was then on "who the hell hired these crooks"?

A rash of bureaucratic finger pointing, accusations and threats continues while the federal government Chief Technology Officer testified he "has no idea who hired GCStrategies to work on the ArriveCan app". Nobody seems to know, yet.  

Where was the oversight? Who benefited? Who was fired? Who was charged? Call the cops!

The RCMP is wading into the bureaucratic morass trying to figure out who did what and who got what. Don't hold your breath for results.

Meantime, in an apparent attempt to distract/coverup from more potential scandals, "Little Potato" tasked Anita Anand, Minister in charge of the Treasury Board, to order all federal departments to submit proposed cuts in an attempt to achieve a saving(?) of $15 billion...over the next five years. Don't hold your breath for results.

Oxymoron: A figure of speech that combines contradictory words with opposite meanings like "old news", "deafening silence", "organized chaos", "seriously funny", "bureaucratic efficiency".

A perfect oxymoron: During Anita's paradigm savings scavenger hunt (find $15 billion to cut) journalists find out "the stewards of our tax dollars" paid a large consulting firm $669,650 to advise them on "how to cut back on outsourcing"...of outside consultants.

Cue the beleaguered Taxpayer chorus: Dumb dee Dumb-Dumb!

They actually did. Albert Einstein's definition of insanity.

Outrageous incompetence allowed/enabled/tolerated by those who govern while millions can't afford basic food and lodging. They have no shame.

A free suggestion from the farthest western-region of the realm:

Letter to: The Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Treasury Board,

From: The Grumpy Taxpayers of British Columbia.

Dear Justin and Anita,

Our ladies subcommittee met at my home this morning to discuss your search for savings.

We humbly request you stop wasting "our money" hiring outside consultants. Please stop that nonsense.

Our members came up with a solution to your search. It's immediate, easy and costs nothing to implement. The $15 billion you are looking for can be saved(?) in one year rather than five.

In 2022-23 fiscal you spent $15.7 billion on so-called outside expertise. All you have to do is stop doing that.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Gladys Quigley, President, Grumpy Taxpayer of B.C.

                                      MONSIEUR RONALD'S TRUISM'S

"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule"

"Remember when Halloween was the scariest night of the year? Now it's election night that's the most terrifying"

"Don't steal, don't lie and don't cheat. WHY? The government hates competition"

Amen to all that.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#272 A SCARY, SCARY STORY (posted Oct. 25, 2023)

What's the definition of extremely frightened?

Scared shitless!

When we were kids we loved to be scared, especially at Halloween.

Most kids love the thrill of being scared, but don't know why.

We look to science for the answer.

Science explains it's the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that prepare the body for a fight, flight or freeze response, increase the heart rate, dilate pupils and redirect blood flow to the muscles. A natural high.

Halloween, that dark "imported celebration", brought to North America by the Scots and Irish who were "obsessed/possessed/haunted" by scary stories passed down through the generations; fairy and folk tales, myths and legends, influenced and inspired primarily by their compulsory religious indoctrination.

Indoctrination: The process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

Imagine a group of innocent, impressionable little kids in grade school; Scottish or Irish girls and boys sitting in a circle listening attentively to this story.

The "teacher" is an adult man (they're told to call him "Father") or an adult woman (they're told to call her "Sister").

The teachers are dressed entirely in black creating a sense and mood of foreboding.

"There's an invisible man who lives in the sky. "HE" has a long white beard and wears a white robe. "HE" knows everything and sees everything. If you don't do what "WE" tell you to do, when "WE" tell you to do it, "HE" will know. And then you will have to be punished and maybe even sent to a bad, terrible place, forever!"

Can you think of a more effective way to scare a bunch of little kids shitless?

And what would happen to little Sean or quiet Margaret Mary, if by chance they let their infectious-curiosity overcome their shyness and dared to ask:

"Father/Sister, you just said the man in the sky is invisible. If you can't see him, how do you know he has a beard and wears a robe?"

If a stern response wasn't plausible, they persist with more rational/reasonable questions curious kids would ask, like "Father/Sister, is the invisible man with the white beard Santa Claus?" followed by this...

The exasperated "teacher" selects an appropriate disciplinary "tool" from the school's handy/dandy and very elaborate "Corporal Punishment tool kit" and applies it with vigour in front of their classmates.

This "demonstration of authority" effectively conveys to the frightened onlookers the "real" lesson-du-jour; "Never question authority figures, just follow orders."

That was the way of things "in the good old days", for those of us sent to religious "educational" institutions for our compulsory indoctrination.

Over time, things dramatically changed. Corporal punishment was thankfully banished.

Today, many teachers are actually more scared of students.

The pendulum always swings both ways.

"Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." - George Bernard Shaw

                                  BEWARE...THEY BAIT THE TRAP

Hackers keep busy dreaming up new and more clever ways of stealing our money and identity.

The 2023 hackers hit parade favourites:

Grandparent scams

Imposter scams

Mail fraud

Money mule scams

Money transfer or mobile services fraud

Mortgage closing scams

Romance scams

Monsieur Ronald ran afoul of a new one recently. While Google searching an obituary online, suddenly a prompt appeared covering up the obituary notice.

The prompt looked "familiar" (one we've seen before) called a CAPTCHA that asks "If I'm a robot" with a box to click.

CAPTCHA is a free service from Google that's "supposed" to protect websites from spam and abuse.

Clicking on the box made the prompt disappear allowing me to read the obituary notice. Suddenly another prompt appeared (on the top right corner of the screen) advising "computer is being hacked" and quickly disappeared.

This was followed by other prompts every few minutes "system is infected", "Trojan is attacking", etc..

Concerned, I called Apple technical support. A very helpful Apple-lady based in Tennessee walked me through a step-by-step process to delete what she explained was "a potential malicious hack" that had not (yet) managed to penetrate the Apple protective measures installed on my computer.

Once it was removed, she explained this is another tactic being tried by hackers who plant malicious malware that can then infect electronic devices of anyone searching obituary websites.

So be warned, next time you're searching the obits to see if your name is listed, beware of a bait trap.

                                   QUESTION - SHOULD WE TAKE UFO'S SERIOUSLY?

More and more people are becoming convinced everything has gone to rat shit; that everything is coming apart in the world; that nothing works anymore and those who govern appear hopeless, clueless about what to do about it.

And all we helpless bystanders can do is watch it all happen. The adult version of "being scared shitless".

There are some who are searching for otherworldly help.

Like, Chris Rutkowski, who believes we must take UFO's or Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP's) much more seriously. Recent high-profile UAP incidents reported by the US military has brought renewed attention to the mysteries of UFO's.

Who is Chris Rutkowski you ask?

He's a Canadian scientist and researcher obsessed with UFO's. Since the '80's, he's produced the Canadian UFO Survey, an annual collection of sightings from all across the country. 

Up to 1,000 sightings are reported in Canada every year. Most are explainable, but two to five per cent defy categorization.

"The possibility that aliens are visiting Canadians is remote," he explains. "But it's not zero. Like any scientific buff, I believe the truth is out there."

Which begs another interesting question: Will it be aliens or AI that replace us?

                           AND NOW FOR SOME REALLY PROFOUND EARTHLY OBSERVATIONS

"A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it."

"Have you ever noticed when you're driving, that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac."

"Light travels faster than sound, which is the reason some people appear bright before you hear them speak."

"What's the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don't know and I don't care."

"How do you make holy water? You boil the hell out of it."

Amen to that!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

 

#271  MONSIEUR RONALD'S AUTUMNAL RUMINATION'S (posted Sept. 24, 2023)

                                                          BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW...

August 2021, in the middle of a pandemic and while millions were struggling, those who govern us surreptitiously changed the law to make it legal to bet on individual sporting events.

Bill C-218, a private members bill, won support from all four main parties in Parliament.

Those who are elected to protect us swallowed the line peddled by lobbyists representing those who would benefit most, "By implementing such a law you will have an opportunity to regulate, control gambling and take the money out of the hands of organized crime".

The federal law allowed provinces to regulate sports betting as they see fit. It also gave provinces the OK for MORE gambling on sports. The lure of a massive new source of tax revenue, drowned out any voices concerned about potential "victims" of more gambling; the young, the gullible and the millions living on the edge of bankruptcy.

As predictable as night follows day, an avalanche of gambling advertising ensued featuring sports and entertainment "celebrity role models" shilling for the primary beneficiaries of what would become a runaway billion-dollar gravy train:

Organized crime networks

Corrupt sports-controlling groups e.g. IOC, FIFA

Billionaire team owners

Millionaire athletes

Sports Leagues e.g. NFL, NBA, PGA, NHL

Colleges, universities

Media conglomerates

The hired confidence-tricksters delivered the message: Betting is a fun leisure pastime that enhances the enjoyment of watching your favourite sport. Anyone with a phone can legally place a bet on any element of a sports event and make a quick buck.

Nary a mention or warning that gambling is highly addictive and 95% of bettors lose.

"There's a sucker born every minute". A phrase popularized by P.T. Barnum, American circus promoter/owner of the mid-19th century.

A "sucker" or "mark" is somebody who has been cheated or has fallen for some kind of scam.

The phrase is also used by grifters to explain how marks and suckers are manipulated, by using a combination of the "victims" naivety, compassion, vanity, confidence, irresponsibility and greed.

How many federal and provincial politicians were aware they were being cleverly "played" or "suckered" by lobbyists working for organized crime? That by making decisions to encourage more gambling and gambling advertising, they were turning millions of Canadians into easy "marks" and "suckers" of criminals?

Did cash in brown envelopes and anonymous campaign donations influence their decision?

Regardless, the mob got what they were after.

Since the change in federal law and provincial gambling regulations, a massive 75% increase in gambling revenue has taken place, year over year.

In 2022, gambling revenue in Canada totalled $12.54 billion U.S. dollars.

                                                      FOOL ME ONCE...

In the past three months, the public image of an angry, aggressive, nerdy-looking, stiff political-lifer was magically transformed into a calm, confident, well-coifed, well-tailored, Cool Dude.

This was followed by a slick laser-focused multi-million dollar ad campaign reintroducing the lifer as a caring, thoughtful, helpful, loving and loveable family man who has, heretofore, been misunderstood, mischaracterized and mistreated by the perceived to be biased, liberal, left-wing media.

In two quick brilliantly-timed strategic moves, the Blue Team vaulted ahead of the Red Team by several percentage points in the polls.

The work of the Blue Team backroom wizards is impressive.

By rebranding their client as "The Great White North Freedom-Fighting-Alt-Right Superhero, Champion of the Anti-Vaxxers, Convoy Disrupters, Climate Change Deniers, the Righteous and the Downtrodden, they have managed to convince many doubters that he's capable of defeating his stumbling adversary whose gaffes, ethical breaches, snafus and unfulfilled promises, have voters seeking a change.

What's also helping their cause are rumours, whether true or not, that an increasing number of Liberal caucus members now bring to meetings sheathed-knives hidden under their colourful togas. Et Tu - Chrystia? Anita? Francois-Philipe? Melanie? Pablo?

The Blue backroom magicians must now keep the momentum from flagging. What surprises might they be planning next?

Whispers of ideas leaking from behind the Blue "War room" curtain, include...

A campaign theme song to be played at rallies.

We're informed it's already been recorded. Shot in the beautiful Alberta foothills, with wild horses feeding on grasslands and the majestic Rockies in the background.

Its also been audience tested several times. They loved it, because...

1) It "humanizes" their man even more than the ads, especially blue collar workers.

2) It "emphasizes" links to his prairie roots "I'm not from the Golden Triangle".

3) It's "pleasantly-folksy", reminiscent of Stompin' Tom Connors Canadiana.

He sings the song (pretty good voice) while playing a ukulele, dressed to the nines in cowboy attire. To really appreciate the scene in your mind's eye, picture cowpokes sitting around the campfire after a hearty meal of baked beans and bacon - Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles" hit movie.

We're told the song is loosely based (plagiarized lyrics and music) on the 1980 Mac Davis hit.

A few teaser lines to give you the idea...

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when I'm perfect in every way,

Can't wait to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day,

To know me is to love me, I'm really a hell of a man,

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, always doing for you what I can,

That Justin some say is real handsome, but I'm catching up you'll agree,

He'll take your family's last dollar, I'll get rid of the C-B-C,

Oh Lord he's too rich to be humble, vote for him and you'll live in a tree,

I come from humble beginnings, who's better to run things than me?

Praise the Lord and pass the...barf bag!

                                                          FOOL ME TWICE...

An analysis of what American voters look for in a candidate for high office: Experience, honesty, morality, compassion, competence, trustworthiness and leadership ability.

Take note of what doesn't appear on the list; anything to do with the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), a total score derived from a set of standardized tests or subtests designed to assess human intelligence.

Apparently, from the analysis and the perspective of U.S. voters, intelligence isn't a primary prerequisite.

It's easy to look up the IQ of every American president in history; from the highest IQ to the lowest...with one exception.

The system: IQ "ranges" and IQ "classifications" are expressed differently. For example:

IQ Above 140, you're a Genius, Below 70, you're a Moron

IQ Above 175, you're very Superior, Below 74, you're an Idiot

The IQ system makes it simple for voters to confirm (once he/she is in office) whether their president or prime minister is a genius or an idiot.

Which one of the 46 U.S. presidents in history is not on the IQ list...and why?

It's no surprise: Donald J. Trump, who bragged "I'm a very stable genius."

But why is the 45th U.S. president, the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and potentially the 47th president-elect in November 2024, not on the IQ list?

Michael Cohen provided the answer. Mr. Cohen was Trump's former personal attorney and longtime (convicted) fixer. During his testimony under oath to the House Oversight Committee on February 27, 2019 he explained: "I'm talking about a man who declares himself brilliant, but directed me to threaten his high school, colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores."

Was that information of concern to anyone in the Republican (sorry) MAGA-MAGA Party?

Nope, nope and nope.

Today, as like right now, the president with no IQ is the runaway Republican (sorry) MAGA-MAGA Party candidate; leading by 40 points. Go figure, I sure as hell can't.

Their candidate's credentials:

I, Donald J. Trump, "The smartest man in the world" present to the American electorate the following list of my fantastical qualifications for the office of 47th president of the United States:

Been there done that.

My two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.

I speak at a fourth grade level.

I read at an eighth grade level.

I prefer books with coloured pictures.

I have a short attention span because I have a photographic memory.

Psychiatrists, psychologists (including my niece) and other mental health professionals declared me "a clear and present danger, unfit to hold the office." What the hell do they know?

I've only been impeached twice. Once elected, I'll un-impeach myself, both times.

I incited an insurrection against my own country. That's real leadership.

I face countless criminal charges including racketeering, stealing state secrets, etc. No big deal and not to worry. "Whatever the president does is not a crime." Nixon told me that.

Eight out of ten White American Evangelical Christians believe I'm the saviour. To know me is to love me.

In 2016, my kind of Americans, 62,979,879 voted for me. Crooked Hilary got 2,500 more votes, but that doesn't matter because it's the Electoral College votes that really count. Ain't democracy great.

In 2020, more of my kind of Americans, 74,222,958 voted for me, me, me, me. Sleepy Joe won because the fix was in. We tried to unfix the Electoral College thing but it backfired. But I'm still the president, everybody knows that. The naysayers can't handle the truth, tough-titties. In 2024 I'll be back, thanks to my kind of Americans!

                                                   THE SCARIEST PART

Let's assume most Americans have an IQ that falls in the 95-104 range. Which means they have an IQ "classification level" defined as "average intelligence".

Why then are millions of U.S. citizens with presumed normal intelligence, living in a democracy with a standard of living superior to most countries, so freaking desperate they're willing to vote for an idiot...again and again and again? And not just any old garden-variety type, but an off-the-IQ-chart Looney Tunes kind, who's hell-bent on waging a campaign of revenge and retribution against his own people?

That's the definition of insanity. A society under the hypnotic spell (brainwashed) of a madman. Echos of another European society, not so long ago.

This nightmare may/could/will become a reality in thirteen months: A 77-year-old certified crazy person with a track-record of ruthlessness, cruelty, and criminal behaviour, who only cares about himself, gets back into the White House. This out-of-his flipping mind delusional man/child will then have his tiny little hands on the controls of the world's most powerful military-machine, again?

Puppet-master Vlad the Butcher eagerly awaits his obedient pupils' return.

                                        AND NOW SOME GOOD NEWS FROM CANUCKLELAND

We don't we have an IQ list of our Prime Ministers.

Why?

Best we never have one, ignorance is bliss.

For the reason, you need to search the name, William Lyon MacKenzie King, on Wikipedia, and scroll down to the heading "Personal style and Character".

In case you're not a Canadian history buff, a brief bio. of Mr. King: Canada's Liberal Prime Minister for three non-consecutive terms 1921-1926, 1926-1930, and 1935-1948. The only PM to have obtained a PHD. His moniker "Weird Willie", find out why.

In conclusion, it's a mad, mad, mad world, buckle up and hang on!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory  

#270 SUMMER'S OVER, DEAL WITH IT (posted Sept. 13, 2023)

VROOM, VROOM, VROOM

For millions, their car is their safe haven - a rare place to find privacy in a world where there is none.

Not any more...

Cars are now computers on wheels - which means they have an unmatched power to watch, listen and collect information - about what you do and where you go.

That information is then shared with or sold to data brokers, law enforcement and others.

Canadians spend about 380 hours a year driving.

Out of 25 car brands studied by 'The Mozilla Foundation':

56% will share data with law enforcement in response to an informal request.

84% share or sell personal data.

100% earned the Foundation's "Privacy not included" warning label., 

For example, the Nissan "Privacy notice" says the company can share sensitive personal information, including driver's licence number, citizenship status, race, national origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, precise geolocation and health diagnosis data.

Today's cars generate about 25GB of data per hour - and that data is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

There's no safe haven any more...everybody's watching, listening and collecting your personal information, and nobody can or will stop them.

                                                  FROM THE LAND OF THE ABSURD

This summer, long-time (18 seasons) Green Bay Packers quarterback, 39-year-old Aaron Rogers, signed a contract to play for the New York Jets.

In the first game of the regular season, on September 11, Mr. Rogers played a total of 1 minute and 34 seconds before the game-clock was stopped following a season-ending injury (a torn left Achilles tendon).

Fans who were persuaded to buy seasons tickets at premium prices, based on the anticipation the superstar would bring them their second-only Super Bowl, stood in stunned disbelief as disabled Rogers was assisted off the field of play.

Will a 'Go-Fund-Me' page be started for poor suffering Aaron?

Umm...methinks not!

He will earn $37.5 million for his "very brief time" leading the Jets offence.

To be more precise and what makes it even more absurd...

It means he will be paid about $399,000 per second of game time, or nearly $24 million for that minute alone.

Per snap, Rogers will make $9,375,000 before he was injured.

The four snaps included a running play, an incomplete pass, a defensive holding call and a sack.

Rogers made just one official pass before his injury, meaning he will earn $37.5 million for that one pass, which went incomplete.

All of which reminds Monsieur Ronald of the old song "Nice work if you can get it"

                                                   BACK TO THE (POLITICAL) FUTURE?

If you're old enough, you may remember when a relatively young Albertan (39), was elected the youngest Prime Minister of the Great White North.

This happened despite having a reputation for clumsiness and awkward mannerisms plus being relatively unknown.

"Joe Who?" managed to defeat one of Canada's most charismatic prime ministers, Pierre "Big Potato" Trudeau.

Our 16th prime minister's reign lasted less than a year (June 4, 1979 to March 3, 1980) when his Progressive Conservative minority government was defeated by the aforementioned charismatic Liberal leader, who famously declared in his victory speech "Welcome to the 1980's".

Among reasons attributed to Joe Clark's rapid removal as PM, was the embarrassing snafus that kept occurring on his first venture abroad; the infamous tour of the Middle East.

Snafus such as, lost luggage and accidentally walking directly into a bayonet-wielding soldier in the house guard he was inspecting on the Golan Heights, didn't fill voters with confidence about their rookie PM especially when compared to the internationally sophisticated and savvy "Big Potato".

Fast forward to present day. PM Justin "Little Potato" Trudeau's personal snafus are piling up on so many fronts that caucus-grumbling is circulating. They now believe he's become a liability for the long-in-the-truth minority Liberal government's chances to retain power.

Voters have tired of "Little Potato". Many want him gone.

Meanwhile, eagerly waiting in the wings is another "youngish" Albertan preparing to replace another Trudeau.

Leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Pierre Poilievre.

A native of Calgary, with a French surname a majority of Canada's Anglos have difficulty pronouncing, who speaks both official languages fluently. (check!)

Married to an immigrant, Anaida Galindo. (check!)

Two young children. (check!)

Handlers have been busy (behind the curtain) working on correcting a few of "Skippy's" more evident "Achilles heels":

"This Pierre" is a life-long professional career politician. (bad!)

"This Pierre" has a reputation as an angry, aggressive political attack dog. (bad!)

"This Pierre" has a vice-grip on a hard-right "movement" (the former federal Progressive-Conservative Party) that preaches fear and disdain for "things cultural', climate change, elites, the media, abortion, journalists, federal institutions, regulations, vaccinations, the public broadcaster CBC/Radio Canada, Et al. (bad!)

"This Pierre", with the knowledge that no party can achieve majority government status without support from Quebec voters, agreed it was wise to hold his party's policy convention in Quebec City.

Holding the convention in a province that continues to refuse to import Alberta/Canada oil (via an West-East pipeline), opting instead to accept imports from foreign sources, and while continuing to receive millions annually in transfer payments from Alberta is seen as either tactically/strategically brilliant or a gamble that could backfire with angered western voters.

Is it possible "this Pierre" wants to win a majority government regardless of the long-range cost; i.e. prepared to acquiesce to Quebec's never-ending demands from federal governments using taxpayer dollars from 'the rest of Canada'?

To ameliorate the aforementioned (more apparent) 'chinks in Pierre's armour', the backroom girls and boys have been very busy reinventing/transforming/disguising his public "persona" to make him appear more "prime-ministerial".

During the summer we witnessed phase one, "The Immaculate Conception".

Phase two is now up and running, "Reimagining our loveable Skippy":

The "movement/party" is spending over $3 million on radio, TV and digital platforms in an ad-blitz featuring a trio of slickly-written and produced laser-focused ads, shot in both official languages.

The three ads are nicknamed:

Ad #1 - "Leave it to Beaver" - soothing music, hearts, flowers, togetherness exhibiting "the perfect Canadian family".

Ad #2 - "Putting the pieces back together" - the broken Canadian puzzle that only Pierre will fix.

Ad #3 - "Axe the Tax" - What voter would disagree with cutting taxes?

According to pollster Nick Nanos, the reality is that the Conservatives only need about 36-per-cent support to win the election.

If the election was held today, "this Pierre" would win.

In ancient Latin, the word persona meant "mask". The word can also refer to a character played by an actor. While a persona is not considered a lie or a falsehood, its meaning implies that it is only part of the truth.

Covid's nasty cousins are back.

Whatcha gonna do when it comes for you? Time to wear a mask again.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#269 THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER (posted August 25, 2023)

                                         You've heard the expression, but do you really know what it means?

The phrase actually has nothing to do with our furry little friends.

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the "Dog Days" occurred around the time when Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky (the Dog Star, located in the constellation Canis Major), appears to rise alongside the Sun in late July in the Northern Hemisphere.

They believed the heat from the two stars is what made the period of approximately 40 days in July-August the hottest of the year; a time that could bring fever or even catastrophe (e.g. violent storms, excessive heat, drought, lethargy).

Homer's 'The Iliad' refers to Sirius as Orion's Dog rising, and describes the star as being associated with war and disaster.

Both references eerily reflect our current times.

Consequently, "The Dog Days of Summer" - is precisely the appropriate metaphor -  to identify today's torrent of issues confounding society e.g. the impact of human-made climate change, political indifference to take any effective action, Covid's return, and so many, many more.

Sadly, when bold, decisive action from political and business leaders is needed, it's lacking at a most perilous time for the planet.

Don't be surprised if you're in a "funk". It means you've been feeling sad. Everyone's in a funk sometime. It's understandable/OK to feel that way when you're going through a tough time.

Bet you didn't know who came up with the word "funk"? James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.

As an antidote to "being in a funk", performing artist Florence Welsh was inspired to write "Dog Days are Over".

"Dog Days are Over" is one of 'Florence + The Machine's' best loved hits and features in a key moment on the "Guardians of the Galaxy" Vol 3 soundtrack.

My generation listens to another song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for similar reasons.

The lyrics of both deliver a message of HOPE. No matter what hardships we are facing, we will reach a point when "Dog Days are Over". Two songs that encourage the listener to run towards happiness and leave all of the hardships behind.

Feel better now?

                                             SWITCHING GEARS FOR SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT

GOUGING - The act of charging someone too much money for something in a way that is dishonest or unfair.

QUESTION du Jour - Are shoppers being gouged by Canada's grocery monopoly?

Let's examine two of the big companies that control the grocery business in Canada: Loblaw and Empire.

Micheal Medline (the guy who controls Empire Co. Ltd.) recently stated "We have definitely not profited from inflation, and a return on capital is certainly not out of line".

Hmmm...really?

Let's examine their net income, by year:

Loblaw   Cos. Ltd.          Empire Co. Ltd.

2019  $1.1 billion         $387.3 million

2020  $1.1 billion         $583.5 million

2021  $1.9 billion         $701.5 million

2022. $1.9 billion         $745.8 million

Why have prices for everything in their stores increased but never decrease?

Fact: Over the past year grocery prices increased 9.7%; bakery prices 15%.

When asked by a parliamentary committee, the grocery monopolists rationalize price increases by pointing the finger at others in the supply chain.

While subtly suggesting anyone who really understands their "tiny-profit-margin business" would understand it's not their fault.     And they proclaim for people to insinuate that these "paragons of virtue" would ever stoop so low as to take advantage of the inflation environment to "gouge" their customers is preposterous nonsense.

And then, the media exposed the skullduggery afoot that been's going on behind the corporate monopoly curtain(s) for years.

In June, against the backdrop of sky-high food inflation, major bread producer 'Canada Bread' admitted to PRICE FIXING. Oops!

Previously, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (the corporation) publicly admitted it was part of what it called "an industry-wide scheme to fix bread prices...for 14 years". Oh-Oh!

Michael Medline quickly informed the media Empire Co. Ltd. did not take part in the price-fixing scheme.

Meanwhile, Bank of Canada "experts" continue attempting to achieve a "fictitious" 2% inflation target by raising interest rates, as food and lodging inflation remains punishingly high, pushing millions of Canadians ever closer to the brink of insolvency.

And guess what happened to the "paragons of virtue" who were caught with their crooked fingers in the dough to make more dough? (puns intended)

A (minuscule) fine of $50 million is assessed. A gentle slap on the wrist is sufficient punishment for price fixing?

How many of the corporate thieves involved in the industry wide price fixing scheme were sentenced?

Not one.

Which begs the question: What would happen to you if caught stealing from them?

A fictional example from "the good old days" in France - Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel 'Les Miserables' received a 19-year-long sentence served in a hell-hole for stealing bread to feed his sister's starving children.

While Bank of Canada "experts" continue attempting to achieve a "fictitious" 2% inflation target by raising interest rates, food and lodging inflation remains punishingly high, pushing millions of Canadians ever closer to the brink of insolvency. Mortgages have increased 20-25%. In major Canadian cities rents have increased 18%.

Meanwhile, Canada's housing and immigration policies are at odds. Population growth is controlled primarily by the feds while home building is primarily controlled by provincial and local governments.

Federal government policy to attract more than 450,000 immigrants per year (who immediately need lodging, food, health care, mentoring, etc.), while millions of Canadians can't find affordable lodging, is an out-of-whack irrational policy at a time of urgent homeland need.

P.S. Just in case you've forgotten: "We", the taxpayers" own the Trans Canada Pipeline, thanks to our federal overlords.

The Liberals purchased the pipeline for "Us" from Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. in 2018 for $4.5 billion, using "our" tax dollars.

Since 2018, billions more have been plucked out of taxpayers' pockets as the projected price tag to finish building the pipeline ballooned from $12.6 billion, to $21.4 billion, to "the latest guesstimate", $30.9 billion. Wowee, that's mucho billions!

And guess what, construction is stalled in a dispute with First Nations.

On Wednesday, PM "Little Potato" confirmed the government is in talks with potential buyers. So taxpayers need not fret???

Justin said "I'm very excited so many Indigenous groups are interested in purchasing the TMX pipeline".

Which begs a "key" question: Where are First Nations going to find $30.9+ billion to purchase "our" pipeline?

In this era of "Reconciliation" would it surprise anyone that the Liberal minority government might be considering "loaning" First Nations "our" tax dollars to purchase "our" pipeline? That's called squaring a circle.  

Feeling better now?

                                                WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN AI COMES FOR YOU?

The realm of AI is vast and ever expanding at warp-speed, fundamentally transforming the way we live and work.

Ignoring warnings from 1000 experts to take (at least) a six month hiatus to reassess the pros and cons of AI before going off half-cocked, companies worldwide are in a stampede to transition from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI.

The prize, reap substantial financial savings from massively reducing their human workforce.

AI won't replace humans, but humans with AI will replace humans without AI.

AI and automation will replace most blue-collar work and "make" products for minimal marginal cost. AI will also replace many white collar jobs.

How will millions of AI-unemployed earn income to live? How will they survive without assistance from others?

Canada recently lost Hugh Segal, former senator, principal secretary to Ontario Conservative premier, Bill Davis, and chief of staff to Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney.

As senator, Mr. Segal (a fiercely partisan Red-Tory) championed a cause to which he was passionately dedicated; establishing a "Guaranteed Annual Income" for all Canadians.

In 2016, Ontario Liberal premier Kathleen Wynn asked Mr. Segal to advise her on creating a basic-income pilot project.

Based on his recommendation in 2017, the Wynn government launched a three-year pilot program involving 4000 residents in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay Ontario.

Doug Ford cancelled the pilot project when he became Progressive Conservative premier a year later.

Needless to say, Mr. Segal was incensed that his project was killed before results could be assessed.

Monsieur Segal's "Guaranteed Annual Income" project idea should be resurrected in order to assess it's practicality in helping to partially solve the impact of the coming Tsunami of AI-displaced workers and others.

Unless somebody can come up with a better solution.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#268 MENDACIOUS DECEIT PEDDLERS (Posted July 16, 2023)

                                                          SUMMER BREAK - TIME FOR A DO-OVER?

Behind the political curtain is a cadre of generously compensated men and women skilled in the art of misrepresentation.

They are the "Handlers and Groomers" who carefully monitor, scrutinize and assess the voters' perceptions of their "Clients".

Their job: Package and sell the client to a highly skeptical audience.

Their objective: Make he/she "appear" to have "the right stuff".

Their game: Pull-off a sophisticated con i.e. "make perception reality" or "what you see, ain't really what you see...or what you actually get".

Their task is made easy or difficult, depending upon what the client possesses in the way of personal "attributes"...

Warm?

Friendly?

Honest?

Loyal?

Trustworthy?

Dependable?

Open minded?

Good luck finding these "qualities" in anyone seeking high office.

Bonus Points?

If the client - lucked out in the gene pool lottery - "Yo' Daddy's rich...and yo' Momma's good lookin" - great hair, naturally photogenic, independently wealthy, handsome - e.g. Justin Trudeau.

If the client - stands out from the rest in a unique way - wears colourful turbans, sports a ultra-long salt and pepper beard, wears spiffy three-piece suits, has an exotic name, astute/comfortable in both official languages - Jagmeet Singh aka Jimmy Dhaliwal.

If the client - clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about "the Rest of Canada", but exudes an air of savoir faire and cultural sophistication, confidence, comfortable jousting with reporters in either English or French, is debonair and somewhat aloof...but really, really wants to run his own country - this person doesn't need or want Groomers - e.g. Yves-Francois Blanchet.

However, if the client - comes across as up-tight, anal retentive, angry, nerdy, know-it-all, has a mouth that constantly roars, likely to wear a suit at a barbecue; then dear reader, groomers have a real challenge. They must attempt to perform an immaculate conception transformation miracle.

The best time for Groomers to work on "major overhauls" is during the summer break.

The make-over theme for this one: "Nerdy no more!"

Mister Peeper's spectacles gone. Suit and tie gone. Stern demeanour gone. Plus add anger management lessons to the schedule.

Visible changes begin the transformation. Contact lens', stylishly slick hair-do, tailored sports jacket covering a black T-shirt. Incorporated into the client's oral presentations; a relaxed calmness plus the occasional smile.

Presto-Chango -  The dude in the cool duds on TV is none other than the leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Pierre 'Skippy' Poilievre; new "persona" on full public display. 

He stares directly into the camera lens, squinting (those damn contact lens') with an uncharacteristic calmness, addresses the national audience with a familiar refrain, "Our country is in a state of ruination under the Liberal/NDP unholy-entente. To be more precise, Canada's gone into the shitter. It will only recover when the Conservatives take power. I have a plan which will be revealed in the fullness of time. Thank you."  Handler's "Please, no questions at this time, the leader has a full schedule". Cue the music, exit stage right. 

Question: Will the stunning make-over fool (sorry) persuade sufficient numbers of voters into switching teams at the next election?  

An advisory: "Voters Be Wary" - In ancient Latin the word "persona" meant mask. Like all masks, there's the "real" person beneath.

Sidebar note to the Prime Minister: Dear Justin, After a decade, it's time to step down and let someone else lead the Liberals. Thank you for your service and goodbye. Sincerely, Monsieur Ronald

 

                                              UNDER THE HEADING - "YOU COULDN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP"

It's always been presumed wiser minds than ours carried out extensive research to arrive at the conclusion, the national inflation rate should be two percent.

Who knew the 2% inflation target, widely accepted by most central bankers today, did not come from any academic study?

What?

There never was anything scientific about it.

What?

The 2% inflation target is nothing more than pure unadulterated 'Kiwi-bullshit', dreamed up by a New Zealander during a 1989 television interview.

Mr. Don Brash was at a loss when asked by the interviewer what an inflation target should be. So to cover his lack of knowledge on the subject, he decided to "pluck one out of the air".

What?

Now's the time to ask - "Who the hell is Don Brash?"

Prior to accepting the prestigious position of Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (he served from 1988-2002), Mr. Brash was the managing director of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Authority.

It's not hard to believe that running the Kiwifruit Authority had nothing to do with setting national inflation targets and was way outside Brash's area of expertise.

At the time of the interview, he knew zip about the subject and the answer he gave was to cover his backside (CYA) and avoid embarrassment.

It's hard to believe but true, that over time, the "fictitious" 2% kiwi 'fruit-elixir' target, concocted on the spot by Mr. Brash, became the Kool-Aid of choice (the gold standard) by those who manage most of the world's central banks.

Incroyable? - Yes "because you can't make this shit up".

Critics conclude this 2% inflation target "fiction" is one of the most destructive policy decisions of all time, which has only worsened since. No proof has ever been offered of how an inflation target can be met, simply by stating it as a goal.

Which brings us to today and the impact this "concocted Kiwi nonsense" has on 'ordinary folks' living in "Our Home and Native Land".

In January 2022, Canada's interest rate was 0.5%.

Since then, in an attempt to slay the dragon of inflation, our Bank of Canada "experts" have raised interest rates an unprecedented ten consecutive times, to the current 5.0%.

Despite "our experts" repeating and repeating and repeating this action, inflation stubbornly persists.

The result of a recursive policy that has inflicted very serious financial hardship on millions of Canadians, with no end in sight.

A recent report by the insolvency firm MNP Ltd. - "More than half of Canadians say they are $200 away or less from not being able to pay their bills at the end of the month, as higher interest rates and a rising cost of living have stretched budgets".

Question: If raising interest rates is the magic weapon to combat inflation, why is the cost of food and shelter (rent/mortgage) - the most basic necessities for humans to live - increasing rather than decreasing?

Good luck getting an answer from the central bankers that makes any sense to a normal person. 

Every three months the Bank of Canada governor holds a press conference, purportedly to explain to Canadians (answering reporters questions) about what they are doing and why - a quarterly status report.

However, because their answers are always conveyed using indecipherable central bank gobbledegook, that nobody understands, Canadians are left in the dark wondering - are "they" covering up something "they" don't want us to know? Like chasing a 2% "bogus" inflation target that serves no useful purpose for millions of Canadians trying to survive "on the brink".

NB: A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence, or other embarrassing information.

What do central bankers and 'The Wizard of Oz' (the little man hiding behind the curtain manipulating people) have in common?

They tell stories; fairy tales, and with an intellectual arrogance that suggests only "they" save the world from catastrophes.

They pretend to possess esoteric knowledge without acknowledging the same capacity for error as any other. 

As we have learned in the recent past, central banks are manipulators of markets, routinely doing things (such as fixing prices) that would send other people to jail. 

Fess up, the 'System' itself is Non Compos Mentis. Nothing more or less than a giant guessing game, with thousands of constantly moving parts, played by "money changers" masquerading as financial savants, who hide behind a curtain just like the Wizard of Oz.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting different results" - Albert Einstein

Sounds eerily familiar to increasing interest rates again and again and again, expecting different results...which, as Mr. Einstein suggests is...NUTS.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#267 SUMMERTIME AND IT'S HOT, HOT, HOT (posted July 5, 2023)

In the blink of an eye, we're already more than half-way through another year.

                                       PART ONE - IS THERE ANYWHERE ELSE YOU'D RATHER LIVE?

July 1st - The 156th birthday of "THE GREAT WHITE NORTH".

Words in our modern Constitution - "Peace, Order and Good Government".

Not as rousing a slogan as "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" (with accent on the e), but it seems to work better than most.

Canada Day factoids:

On June 16, 2023 Canada's population reached 40 million.

Our population is equivalent of 0.48% of the total world population. (Huge country, tiny population)

We rank #39 in the list of countries by population.

Population density: 4 per sq. km (11 people per sq. mile).

Total land area: 9,903,510 sq. km (3,511,022 sq. miles).

81.3% of the population is urban (millions of sq. miles unoccupied by any humans).

Median age of Canadians 41.1 (that's a problem).

In 2022, Canada welcomed 437,180 immigrants (which helps solve the problem).

 

Meanwhile, our closest neighbours are sadly feuding (again)...

July 4th - The 247th birthday of America.

Words in their Constitution - "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" (for whom is a matter of opinion).

U.S. population, in 2023: 336 million. (millions more waiting to get in)

In 2022, America welcomed (a modest) 286,000 legal immigrants.

A very scary prospect: The spectre of Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump as re-elected president (next year) is everyone's nightmare.

And even more bizarre: The twice impeached, convicted sexual assaulter of women, serial liar, et al, is the clear front runner for the Republican nomination. A delusional con-artist who sees himself as the Messiah of the 'born again' Christian Right, could actually win the November 2024 presidential election while serving time for stealing ultra-secret documents. While in the slammer will his lifetime Secret Service detail have to provide 24/7 protection?

Once sworn into office he can (legally) pardon himself. Meaning, he gets out of jail to carry out his promised revenge campaign, destroy the Republic, issue thousands of pardons to insurrectionists and others. The prospect is beyond "NUTS".

Only the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution can prevent this madness from happening. It's now up to the Attorney General of the United States to charge Donald J. Trump with leading and participating in the January 6th insurrection. Will he?

 

As a country, Canada has come a long way in a very short time...

There was a time, not so long ago, when many Canadians believed in order to succeed they must move to "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave".

That feeling of insecurity/lack of self-confidence/inferiority/envy has slowly passed. There are now so many reasons why we will never go back to that, provided by daily (fear-filled) news reports coming out of America.

Meanwhile, here in 'Canuck-Land' there's no shortage of things to bitch, moan and complain about.

And we're not shy about pointing 'The Fickle Finger of Blame' at others; without stopping to consider how fortunate we are.

Is there another patch of dirt on this fragile planet where you'd prefer to live?

If there is, please explain where and why there's a "better" place to live than "The True North Strong and Free".

Question du Jour: Has all the bitching, moaning and complaining about others not fixing the myriad problems, while contributing zero ideas, helped to solve any problem?

Fact: Millions would trade places with us in a heartbeat.

 

                 PART TWO - MORE STUFF YOU MAY KNOW, MAY NOT KNOW, OR NOT GIVE A RAT'S-ASS ABOUT KNOWING

1) Pickleball

It may come as a surprise to many -  Pickleball was invented by three guys from Seattle, way back in 1965.

The game has exploded in popularity.

It has absolutely nothing to do with pickles.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America.

The game's equipment has enraged neighbours (noise) and upset tennis players (courts have been invaded by mobs of pickleballers).

The unintended consequences of Pickleballing: Induced sprains, strains and breaks are contributing to a spike in medical treatments creating millions of medical costs annually.

The top Pickleball injuries - by body part:

Wrist 13.2%

Lower leg 12.9%

Head 11.9%

Lower trunk 11.6%

Ankle 6.1%

Knee 5.9%

Shoulder 5.4%

Upper trunk 4.5%

Finger 4.1%

Face 3.5%

2) Micromobility devices (Be wary if you own one)

Their small size and low cost relative to gas-powered vehicles has made micromobility devices an attractive transportation and recreation option for millions. That's especially true for those living in urban areas where parking and traffic are challenges for drivers.

The burst of popularity is so recent that there isn't much solid data about how many e-bikes, scooters and other devices are sold each year. Of concern, there's currently not much regulation of e-bikes and scooters (safety standards, insurance, etc.).

The unintended consequences of these devices: Lithium-ion batteries power many rechargeable devices that are part of our modern lives including electric vehicles of all kinds, from cars to scooters to e-bikes and hoverboards.

"Small, lightweight and powerful but they're also prone to overheating and catching fire, because we have so much energy packed in that small volume. If there is a problem then they're very flammable" said Michael Hecht, professor of engineering at the University of Maryland and director of the Center of Advanced Life Cycle Engineering.

Fires from exploding e-bike batteries are multiplying in the City that never sleeps.

3) Some "newish" 'cost of living' buzzwords

'Shrinkflation' - The act of companies reducing the size of their products without reducing the price - hits consumers where it hurts.

Revising the song lyrics to - Start spreading the "Bullshit": WestJet CEO promises "airfares will not increase" as a result of cancelling low-fare carriers - hits consumers where it hurts.

Reality check - Prices will increase - service will decline; ensuring air-travel continues to be the most unpleasant experience possible.

Those who rule over us continue to resist any foreign competition which would reduce prices. Why?

                                               A FEW THINGS FOR CANUCKS TO PONDER THIS SUMMER

a) Words of wisdom from a skin-cancer victim, who continues to pay the price: While outdoors, please wear a broad brimmed hat and apply sun screen.

b) Let's stop saying "sorry". We continue to confuse visitors who accidentally bump into us and our stereotypical Canadian response is "sorry".

c) Let's stop "apologizing" for things that happened in the past. The past is the past. Nobody can undo what happened back then. Attempting to rewrite history accomplishes nothing other than laying a guilt-trip on those who weren't involved.

Let's accept the reality - "Shit Happens", to every generation, every culture, everywhere, all the time.

If, for no other rational reason than the preservation of our mental and physical health, self-confidence and overall sanity, let's resolve to practice these three very simple ABC's, from now on.

Amen.  

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory   

#266 IT'S ALL ABOUT...TIME (Posted May 25, 2023)

                                                    PART ONE - Ageing 

According to a recent poll reported by The Wall Street Journal, there's a typical age when most Americans start feeling like their youth is...slipping away.

It may surprise many, it's 42.

There may be an average age that youth fades, but what ageing feels like is unique to every person.

For some, the slide into 40 merely confirms a sense they've had for awhile that they're growing older.

Others stay in denial about the approach of middle age until they experience a jolt of reality - sometimes a health scare, sometimes comments from younger colleagues.

The oldest members of the "millennial generation" are reaching their early 40's and experiencing this very phenomenon.

There's a gap between the age when Americans stop feeling young - 42 - and the age they start feeling old, which is 52.

The silver lining: There's a great deal to celebrate about getting "older":

Happiness actually spikes in our '70's.

Many reach "Big Life Milestones" in those later years that makes feeling young and feeling old much more fluid.

                                                      PART TWO - Ageism

Humans have a propensity to classify and categorize everything.

Psychologists suggest it's to help our brain store and sort out an incredible amount of information.

Example: As we travel along life's potholed highway, labels are used to describe the various stages/passages of the journey; however long or short it may be.

It's sometimes called "The Cycle of Life" or more aptly "From Diapers to Depends":

Newborn, baby, child, kid, youngster, teen, young adult, adult, senior, elder, geezer, old fart, old gas bag, old crock and finally............??????

(Peggy Lee sang these words in 1969 "If that's all there is my friends, let's keep on dancing") 

All of these descriptor-labels are generally accepted as inoffensive terms of endearment.

However, when someone uses the term "ancient" to describe the oldest of (us) folks, a red-line is crossed into terminology territory that borders on an offensive insult.

We, of the oldest cohort, having paid our dues, deserve, nay demand, respect.

Monsieur Ronald, you appear to be in a state of agitated discombobulation.

Has somebody, per chance, suggested you are...Umm...Ahh...Oh! Oh!..."ancient"?

Oui, and in a backhanded way on our Public Broadcaster no less!

Sacre-Bleu, incroyable; on the public airwaves of holy moly Mother Corps???

Yep! And it felt like a slap across the face with an empty glove, or more aptly, being struck in the cojones region of my anatomy.

OUCH!

Golly, Gee, Mr. D., when did this happen?

The dastardly deed occurred on the May 7 "Sunday Morning" CBC Radio show, during a 15-minute interview segment with Ms. A.M., former Managing Editor of CBC's London bureau and longtime Royals correspondent.

The guest, Ms A.M. (77), was colourfully describing her observations of the ostentatious, grandiose show of British pomp and pageantry (cast of thousands), i.e. the May 6 enthronement of King Chucky III (74) and his bride #2, Queen Consort Camellia (75)...or as they fondly call each other, "Fred and Gladys".

NB: Chucky's facial expression during much of the ceremony suggested he was being dragged to the guillotine by Sir Sean Connery (007), with the full support of my maternal ancestors (MacDonald's of the Clan Ranald).

When the host asked Ms. A.M. about Chucky's slimmed down working-royals coterie, she cheekily referred to Princess Alexandra (86) The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, Prince Edward (87) The Duke of Kent, and Prince Richard (78) The Duke of Gloucester, as "a couple of ancient cousins".

Hearing "ANCIENT" - as in antiquated, archaic, antique, obsolete - left me stunned and aggrieved.

Monsieur why did hearing that particular "word" affect you so profoundly?  

Because, mon ami, and this may come as a shock, Edward and Ronald are the same age.

To label us "ancient" is an egregious ageism-slur. To label one is to label all!

When one's honour is besmirched, throw down the gauntlet. Satisfaction is demanded. A duel is called for.

                                         THE ANATOMY OF A DUEL - An Affair of Honour

In a typical duel, each participant, known as a principal, acted through a trusted representative called a second. It was a second's initial responsibility to try for a reconciliation without violence. However, if that failed, the offended party demanded a duel. 

                                                The Duel at Kensington Palace

Conveniently, both principals reside in London.

Prince Edward will represent and defend the honour of "Old Farts" everywhere.

Venue: The grounds of Kensington Palace where the Duke and Duchess of Kent live at Wren House.

When: August 28 - UK Summer Bank Holiday.

Time: Early afternoon. The Contest must be concluded prior to nap-time and before tea-time.

Weapons: Red, White and Blue coloured 'Beach-Ball' sized Balls. (i.e. large and soft)

Equipment: Protective head gear + clear plastic face shields mandatory. (no sharp or pointy ends).

Motorized scooters, motorized walkers, motorized wheel chairs, strictly prohibited.

Rules: The principals (Ms. A.M. & Edward) will face each other at a distance of between 10 and 20 paces, for five 60-second rounds.

Whenever the Duke hits Ms. A.M. with his balls, and vice versa, one point will be awarded. (That awkward sentence should probably be reworked).

To allow time for the seconds to resuscitate/revive their principal, a rest-and-recovery period of 10 minutes will follow each 60-second round.

In the event either/neither combatant shows up, the contest will be declared a draw. The 'no-show' will be labelled "Poltroons", forevermore.

                               QUESTION DU JOUR - ARE THESE OLDSTERS ANCIENT?

There may be some who agree with Ms. A.M.'s labelling of older folk as being "ancient".

That would suggest they also believe the following (examples) are/were antiquated, antique, archaic, obsolete.

On Saturday May 6, 2023, another significant event took place at an arena in Omaha, Nebraska that drew the attention of a large television audience.

It featured two really old guys - Warren Buffet (92) and Charlie Munger (99).

Sitting side by side (without notes) for five hours, the oracles told stories, doled out advice, guidance, wisdom and values they have held fast, during an extraordinary 58-year-long relationship at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. They answered more than 60 questions from audience members and those watching on television.

(Google YouTube: 'Berkshire Hathaway 2023 Annual Shareholders Meeting' - you won't be disappointed.) 

US President Joe Biden (80).

Winston Churchill (80) when he retired as British Prime Minister.

Golda Meir (75) when she retired as Prime Minister of Israel.

Comedian George Burns (99) when he stopped performing.

Enough said?

                                          PART THREE - Never piss-off old people

Fact: In Canada, the 65+ cohort is growing six times faster than the cohort 15 and younger.

A rapidly growing legion of citizens (Seniors, Elders, Geezers, Old Farts, Old Crocks, Et al) who live in every nook and cranny of this great land.

A cohort that quickly gets crotchety, frustrated, and angry when ignored.

Provoke us and we will storm the "Bastille's of Power".

Were you frightened by the Freedom Convoy protesters last year?

Rest assured, you haven't witnessed "scary" until confronted by platoons of marching "Raging Grannies" and their male counterparts descending upon your headquarters.

Note to municipal, provincial and federal politicians: Piss us off at your peril. WE VOTE.

                                      PART FOUR - Laughing can make you live longer

"An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her."

"I see people around my age mountain climbing. I feel good getting my leg through my underwear without losing my balance."

"Once you reach a certain age you become unimpressed with a lot of shit."

105-year-old Lady's advice:

"For better digestion, I drink beer,

In case of appetite loss, I drink white wine,

In case of low blood pressure, I drink red wine,

In case of high blood pressure, I drink scotch,

When I get a cold, I drink Schnapps.

When do you drink water?

I've never been that sick!"

Methinks this centenarian's intoxicating pearls of wisdom are worthy of a toast.

"Cheers, Sante!"

                                                        THE FINAL PART

Monsieur Ronald, eighty seven (87) today - and no longer impressed with a lot of shit.

Older, yes. Specifically, smack dab in the middle of the "depends" stage of my journey.

It's perfectly OK (now) to refer to old Ronald as the 'Old Geezer', the 'Old Crock'; whatever term of endearment you deem appropriate to select from the aforementioned list.

However, should a "Freudian slip of the tongue" occur that causes you to (ever) refer to Monsieur R as "ANCIENT" (i.e. antiquated, antique, archaic, obsolete) anticipate receiving a strongly worded note from his second declaring..."BEACHBALLS AT DAWN!"  

Umm, no that's a tad early for this ageing "Old Fart". Let's make it after lunch and before nap-time.

Until we meet again...A la prochaine.  

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#265 MAY "STUFF" (posted May 5, 2023)

We who live in 'The Great White North' having survived yet another six months of "hibernal solstice" (i.e. shitty weather) consider the month of May the arrival of Spring and the prelude to Summer.

To celebrate another springtime renewal, Monsieur Ronald presents a little known gem-of-poetry, appropriately entitled "An Ode to Spring"; written by an obscure master of wording manipulation, Mr. Archie Bunker, of Queens, New York.

(The voice you will now hear in your head is that of the inimitable character actor, Carroll O'Conner, patriarch of the Bunker family and star of the groundbreaking television show "All in the Family")

"Spring has sprung, the grass is riz,

 I wonder where the boidies is

 The boid is on the wing,

 But that's absoid

 From what I hoid

 The wing is on the boid!"

Experts will immediately recognize Archie's masterpiece of wording manipulation...ain't no Sonnet.

Students of that particular genre of word-smithing know a Sonnet is a fourteen-line poem, written in iambic pentameter, employing one of several rhyme schemes, and adhering to a tightly structured thematic organization. Wow, that's impressive, no?

 

                      STUFF YOU LIKELY DIDN'T KNOW AND NEVER WANTED TO KNOW...ABOUT MAY

World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday in May.

Really?

Yep!

According to the "consulting editor" for 'Nude and Natural' magazine, Mark Storey, "No particular organization owns World Naked Gardening Day (thank goodness), and it's not actually one large gathering of horticulturists in Seattle, who strip down and shear some shrubs together." (thank goodness X deux)

Can't get the picture out of my head.

However, Mark does point out WNGD is fully endorsed by The Naturist Society, Clothes Free International and other fun-loving groups like The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR).

The NRA formally turned down an invitation to join.

There are no specific rules for participating in WNGD; but first-timers should heed advice from people who've done it before (been there, done that):

1) Don't plant roses or spiky plants.

2) For the sake of your neighbours avoid trimming the hedges in your front yard.

3) Think twice about using any power tools.

4) Make sure you're wearing sunblock.

5) Forget about finding a way to carry your cell phone.

6) Make sure anyone you invite is aware of the dress code.

7) Don't tell you're dermatologist.

 

                     THREE WORDS THAT WILL SPOIL ANY VACATION "MAYDAY!, MAYDAY!, MAYDAY!"

What's the origin of Mayday?

Mayday first appeared in the English language in 1923 and was most often used by boats and aircraft.

Frederick Stanley Mackford is credited with coining the term.

As Senior Radio Officer at Croydon airport in London, he was tasked with creating an easily understood distress signal.

At the time, the Croydon airport most often communicated with the French airport, Le Bourget.

Stanley landed on Mayday, the phonic equivalent to m'aider, which in French means, "help me" or venez m'aider, "come help me".

Always hailed three times "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" is acknowledged globally.

                                                       AND NOW TO PIVOT

WHO COULD FORGET THE CLASSIC 1966 WAR/COMEDY MOVIE "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING", TO DESTROY US. DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY OUR VERY OWN NORMAN JEWISON.

TODAY'S VERSION, ON THE SAME THEME "THE MACHINES ARE COMING, THE MACHINES ARE COMING", TO DESTROY US. PRODUCED BY VERY MANY VERY SMART HUMANS.

In this era of ChatGPT and other sophisticated AI, the 'Genie' (that super-intelligent, efficient, human-made black box) is out of its containment-bottle and beginning to run amok.

In the next decade, AI machines will replace countless blue-collar and white-collar workers.

It's becoming apparent that nothing or nobody can prevent the inevitable end-result as society begins to comprehend machines can do almost everything better, faster, more efficiently than any human.

The bottom line of any business run by humans has always been, profit ($) and power.

"Three great forces rule the world: Stupidity, Fear and Greed." - Albert Einstein

 

                                   Some stats to back-up what's happening and what's coming

Size of global AI in US$

2022 $119.8 billion

2030 $1.6 trillion

Already, 54% of Canadian companies use AI

Portion of companies that use AI tools to filter and rank job candidates: 90%

Share of current work tasks that could be automated by AI:

Office and admin 46%

Legal                  44%

Engineering        37%

Financial             35%

Management.      32%

Sales.                 31%

50% of knowledge workers will use a virtual assistant by 2025.

Today's example: At the core of the Writers Guild of America strike is AI technology.

Their primary concern: Already in 2023, a Chat 'black box' machine can write a very good script for a movie or television show. Therefore, in future, why would a producer need/want to hire human writers when machines can do it better and faster?

                                                              POLITICS

Anyone notice Pierre Poilievre (aka Peter P. Rabbit, translation of his name from French to English) is attempting to soften his angry-man image. He tries to smile more often during Question Period and television interviews. However, singing New York, New York and awkwardly smiling while explaining the country is going down the rat hole is having the opposite affect.

Emperor-in-waiting, Donald Crazy-Pants Trump, is hiding out in Scotland and Ireland while his rape trial proceeds in a US courtroom..."She wasn't my type".

He also claims having lost the invitation to the coronation of Chucky III.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#264 "OH, SHIT, WHAT HAVE WE DONE" (posted April 4, 2023)

It's been suggested humans are either too smart or too stupid for our own good considering the reality we are the only species capable of destroying ourselves and everything else on the planet. 

In 1938, three chemists working in a laboratory in Berlin made a discovery that would alter the course of history; they split the uranium atom. The energy released when this splitting or fission occurs, is tremendous enough to power a super-bomb. But before such a weapon could be built, numerous technical problems had to be overcome.

In August 1939, a brilliant scientist, Albert Einstein, wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt to warn him that the Nazis were working on a new and powerful weapon; an atomic bomb. Fellow physicist, Leo Szilard, urged Einstein to send the letter and helped him draft it. 

In July 1940, the "US Army Intelligence" office denied Einstein the security clearance needed to work on the ultra-secret "Manhattan Project". The hundreds of scientists on the project were forbidden from even consulting with the brilliant scientist on the grounds his left-leaning political views were deemed a potential security risk.

During WWII, scientists on both sides of the conflict were in a "mad" race to create a super-weapon capable of massive destruction. Those working for the American government's 'Manhattan Project' managed to come out ahead in the 'insanity-contest'.

The world's first nuclear explosion occurred on July 16, 1945, when a plutonium implosion device was tested at a site located 210 miles south of Los Alamos, New Mexico. The code name for the test was "Trinity".

On that momentous day and for the first time, their brain attempted to process what their eyes had witnessed and a paralyzing fear and anxiety washed over them; the scientists fully comprehended what they had created.

Several prominent and prescient members of the 'Manhattan Project' team decided it was essential they advise the Truman administration not to use the atomic bomb against the Japanese.

Only this exclusive group of scientists had knowledge their "Frankenstein monster" - the deadliest bomb the world has ever known - presented a present and future danger to the very existence of humankind.

They recommended an alternative: demonstrate the weapon in the desert or on a barren island. They believed if the world could see what the US possessed and their firm resolve to use it to end the conflict, the Japanese would surely surrender.

Their plea was ignored. President Truman gave the order to proceed.

August 6, 1945: The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

August 9, 1945: The second was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

By the end of 1945: an estimated 200,000 people had died in the two cities.

The world was plunged into a never-ending nuclear arms race.

As of early 2023, the world's combined inventory of nuclear warheads is roughly 12,500.

"Oh, shit, what have we done."

                                    FAST FORWARD BACK TO THE FUTURE

There's now a "mad" AI race underway, in a quest to produce a machine with superhuman intellectual properties.

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) developed over the past seven years by OpenAI LP is the most significant development in the 65-year history of artificial intelligence.

It was "released" last November and already attracts 100 million users a month.

This "intelligent" black box recently passed the management exam in Wharton's MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania with a grade B minus, scored 710 out of 800 on the SAT's and aced the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and bar exams.

Impressed?

ChatGPT can write computer code and computer malware as well as letters, poems, reports, speeches, short stories, powerpoint presentations; has composed hundreds of pieces of journalism for Associated Press and other outlets; and has upended the academic world by writing essays and research papers galore.

Impressed...yet?

The current and future capabilities of this "machine" so alarmed more than 1000 AI  researchers and executives, that last week they called for a six-month MORATORIUM on the development of advanced artificial intelligence systems.

Their open-letter states: "The danger of ever more powerful 'digital minds' than no one - NOT EVEN THEIR CREATORS - can understand, predict or control." And added: "AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can post profound risks to society and humanity."

Sound familiar to 1945?

Early 2023 saw the introduction of a generative AI-gizmo that can "deepfake" any human voice, recreate the image of any person; impossible for humans to distinguish from the real person.

To paraphrase Martha Stewart "That's scary shit!"

Richard Boyd, president of Tanjo Inc. an expert in AI and famous for having built an AI version of his late father: "Once we invent the machines, the machines will outstrip us. The only question then will be, will the machines keep us around?"

Of this Mr. Boyd is certain: With machines pretending to be human and chatbots performing so much of our human work - calculating, listening, fighting, writing, lawyering, doctoring, making stories and music and pictures - it will be 'purely human' that will become rare and valuable. "I think we'll get to a point where we really value authentic human art, authentic human writing and music, that sort of thing. That is, if it can be proven to be so." 

"Oh, shit, what have we done...again."

                            AND...WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT OF "SCIENCE"

From the mouth of NASA astronomer, Bill Cooke: "Uranus could be tricker to spot. You'll probably need a pair of binoculars. It's a rare chance to spot Uranus, which usually isn't visible. Look out for its green glow."

His audience (taken aback and attempting to stifle a snicker): Ummm, ahhh, oh dear, really? Mr. Cooke would you care to elucidate?

That's the problem with the English language. Hearing it vs reading it can easily confuse an audience, especially when an expert tries to explain something to a group of novices.

Cooke's verbal explanation was obviously received by his audience as some kind of astronomical 'inside baseball' fart joke.

His intent became clear during his elucidation - it was a reference to the five planets being lined up near the moon on March 28, 2023 - Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars...and of course, Uranus.

                                 WAY BACK WHEN - THE PERILS OF PAULINE

Kids of Monsieur Ronald's vintage (bottom of the ninth with two out) spent our Saturday afternoons (and 5-10 cent allowance) at the neighbourhood movie theatre.

The principle attraction was 'serials' sandwiched between two movies, cartoons and newsreels, plus the (unlikely) opportunity to win a prize in a draw (e.g. bicycle) for those who attended the presentations for 39 consecutive weeks.

Serials would generally include attractive heroines, action heroes, and villains in melodramatic sequences (20 minutes in length) that often ended with a suspenseful (and manipulative) cliffhanger ending - that promised to be continued next week to bring the ticket-buying audience back for more.

The heroes and heroines would courageously fight for justice and honour, and the diabolical villains with evil devices would struggle against them. Action sequences would predominate with chases, jumps off buildings or trains, terrifying falls, narrow escapes, fist fights, close calls and hair-raising situations, and other death-defying stunts involving runaway trains, fires, sawmills, other natural disasters, and explosions. In all serials, the truth was often exaggerated or stretched in order to keep the hero alive from week to week.

All of these plot-elements were contained in the hundreds of serials made back then to keep us kids enthralled and our imaginations firing on all cylinders.

                          AND NOW - THE PERILS OF UNCLE DONNIE

It's impossible not to draw a direct-line between what attracted us kids many, many moons ago and what attracts us old-farts now...the melodrama playing out at our southern neighbours house.

However, the difference is terrifying - the diabolical villains with evil devices (Crazy Uncle Donnie and his gun-toting, fascist followers) are real and the events of the ongoing soap-opera impacts us all.

Is Teflon-Donnie really an "untouchable" in the eyes of the American justice system? Prior to November 2024 we will find out.

Of all the legal travails Donald J. Trump faces, the only case that can "guarantee" he can never be elected president (again) - 'THE BIG ONE': the attack on the US Capitol (by his zealots) that disrupted a joint session of the US Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results on January 6, 2022.

Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits anyone who has previously taken an oath of office from holding public office if they have "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States.

A Happy Easter to all and may the Easter Bunny fill your basket full of hopes and dreams for a more peaceful future.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#263 MARCH MADNESS (posted March 8, 2023)

                                             Does your job suck?

Is your boss a jerk; or worse...a creepy, harassing a..hole?

Are you desperately seeking a change of employment?

Or maybe need a second job to make ends meet...something not too demanding?

Does your skills-set include an aptitude for:

Meeting strangers?

Hanging out with old people?

Attending meetings about meetings?

Prevaricating and imputing?

Debating, discussing, gossiping?

Travel to exotic locales for meets with international counterparts?

 

If the aforementioned characteristics fits you like your proctologist's rubber glove (snap), and have friends or relatives in high places with political influence, this might just be your salvation:

There are fifteen unbelievable, fantabulous job-openings (right now) offering:

Basic annual salary $164,500

Free housing allowance of up to $26,500

Job comes with an office, staff, money for research and general office expenses

Free rail and air travel

Generous sick leave and vacation leave benefits

Several holiday breaks every year

Highfalutin job title

Mandatory retirement at age 75, with an indexed pension.

 

Successful candidates will join an exclusive 105-member club where...

Members set their own rules, have no accountability and (best of all) no boss

Nobody can force members to do any (real) work

Members cannot be fired

Members' work-venue is super-flexible. Wherever they happen to be, at any time, is peachy-keen OK under the self-imposed club rules. Members may do their "work" in The Red (colour of embarrassment) Chamber, at home, the cottage, in Florida, Barbados, France, Mexico, Italy, where several members prefer to "toil"...especially during our harsh Winter months.

 

Precisely, what the 105 members of the Senate Chamber of 'Sober Second Thought' contribute to the Canadian economy or Canadian democracy is a closely guarded state secret.

To ensure the secret is never revealed and their gravy-train will ever be derailed by an enraged mob of angry taxpayers, new members are quietly ushered into the Chamber where a senior-member (appropriately attired in the clubs oath garb - a white bed sheet and serious-face clown mask) administers 'The Mad Hatter's Oath of Secrecy' (similar to Catholic clergy) "Loose lips sink ships, institutions, governments and in particular endangers our pecuniary privileges."

OH-OH, somebody's been talking to the media. 

This week investigative reporters from the Globe and Mail newspaper revealed - The Senate has sat for (only) 104 days since November 2021. Twenty five senators, on average, have missed each of the 37 legislative votes over that time. Several members have cast fewer than four of 19 votes since Parliament resumed sitting in the Fall of last year. Skipping votes is on the rise. Some members even complained about the workload, being exhausted and in dire need of a vacation.

It's outrageous/galling that just as the annual CRA heist to pick our pockets begins, and while millions of Canadians try to survive pay cheque to pay cheque, are forced by their government to pay $126.7 million (this year) to support a bunch of free-loading, unelected, politically connected hangers-on.

It's ironic that March is supposed to be 'fraud prevention month'.

Long forgotten is the PM's promise to reform the Senate. Just more insipid codswallop (translation: BULLSHIT!) they assume we'll forget.

If, as we've been conditioned to believe, the Senate is essential to maintaining our democracy, these people should not be appointed by the governing party leader.

Senators should be elected by and accountable to the people. Otherwise, disband this useless, expensive, unnecessary, embarrassing government appendage.

 

                                           QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"Anybody that says words hurt, has never been punched in the face" - Chris Rock, comedian, at the first-ever event shown in real time on Netflix, March 4, 2023, about the infamous slapping incident involving him and Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars.

"In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your *retribution - Donald J. Trump, Emperor-in waiting 'Crazy Pants', in a two-hour authoritarian diatribe filled with falsehoods and inaccurate claims at the Conservative Action Conference (CPAC), March 4, 2023.

*Retribution: Punishment imposed for purposes of repayment or revenge for the wrong committed.

The Master Bullshitter is back, campaigning for reelection in November 2024.

We are increasingly inundated not only by lies and disinformation fed to us by politicians, business leaders and social media.

"The deadliest bullshit is odourless, and transparent." - William Gibson

                                            TOOTH FAIRY INFLATION

The Tooth Fairy payout for a single tooth:

1940 - 5 cents

1964 - 25 cents

1998 - $1.50

2023 - $7.50

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#262 MONSIEUR RONALD'S MIDWINTER POTPOURRI (posted Feb. 23, 2023)

                                                           OUR WONKY EXASPERATING TIMES

Wonky: Crooked, off-centre, askew, unsteady, shaky, not functioning correctly; faulty.

Exasperation: The feeling of being annoyed (pissed-off), especially because you can do nothing to solve the problem.

Like it or not (to paraphrase the old chestnut) we live in exasperating times. Times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also some of the most creative in human history.

                                                 'AUNTIE BEEB' - SILLY AND POMPOUS NO MORE???

Then: In the 1930's BBC newsreaders wore dinner jackets to read the news...on radio. Everyone else wore suits and ties, including the engineers buried away in the Control Room.

To turn up in a sports jacket - or worse, without a tie - would have been considered (by the 'muckety-mucks') completely unacceptable.

One member of the Maintenance staff was told off for not dressing smartly enough. The next day he turned up in a kilt - he was a Scot and the kilt borne the tartan of his Clan (which he had a right to wear) and was to him the correct formal dress. His bosses didn't like it, but there wasn't a thing they could do about it.

Now: Last week the current BBC News Director told staff - in pursuit of more 'authentic' reporting that 'hopefully' will appeal to younger online-audiences - the more rugged 'sweaty and dirty' look is the new dress code. She explained to a gathering of journalists "It's a bit like...be as sweaty and dirty as when we're in the field is actually more 'trustworthy' than if we look like we've just stepped out of an awards ceremony or fine dinner party."

From the ridiculous to the sublime...go figure!

                                                       WORKING FROM HOME - A NEW FAD?

Working from home is becoming more prevalent following the pandemic.

But it's hardly new...just ask Grandma.

As of January 26, 2023, the median annual salary for a 'Housekeeper' (in Vancouver) is $46,481; with a range between $37,848-$54,709.

In British Columbia a 'Housekeeper' earns $18.80 per hour. 

Whereas, a person who stays at home, caring for a family (just like Grandma did for years), and working from early morning until bedtime, receives zero compensation.

This is blatant discrimination, allowed to continue/tolerated here, in 2023...why?

Discrimination: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, age, sex or disability.

                                                                   UNCONTROLLED FRAUD

Concerned about the increasing number of phone calls and internet messages received (day and night) from con-artists targeting the elderly and vulnerable?

International and domestic scammers who use clever deception plus the so-easy access to our telecommunications infrastructure which enables them to trick innocent victims out of their money, personal information, property, etc..

And despite (whatever number of) complaints and petitions to various government agencies, and to Canada's Big-5 telecom corporate-oligopolies, who 'pretend' to protect the victims from these unscrupulous scumbags, nothing ever changes.

The phrase "Never piss off old people" should mean more than a tongue-in-cheek slogan.

It should represent senior-citizens who paid their dues angrily reacting to being preyed-upon while 'The System' ignores us and 'looks the other way'.

Isn't it time to heed Howard Beale's words in the 1976 movie 'Network':

I want you to get mad!...and SHOUT,

I'm a human being, goddammit! My life has value!

I'm as mad as hell,

And I'm not going to take this anymore!!

It's time to send your MP and the PMO a message "Enough with the promises, the studies, and the BULLSHIT! If you want my vote, fix this or get out of the way."

                                                                      INFLATED GROCERIES

Canadians are forced to pay 11%+ more for their food, while the 5-largest grocery store chains (Canada's grocery oligopoly) control 80% of sales while making record profits.

It's time to send your MP and the PMO a message "Enough with the promises, the studies, and the BULLSHIT! If you want my vote, fix this or get out of the way."

                                                                         THE BETTING CRAZE

Sports betting has skyrocketed. Experts warn it's a "ticking time bomb".

Canada and the U.S. are in the midst of the largest and fastest expansion of legal gambling in history, at a time when people can least afford it.

In eight short months, Canadian governments have become addicted to the revenue while ignoring the obvious dangers.

Marketing for betting platforms has hit a fever pitch, from banner ads and billboards to primetime TV.

Nearly half of Canadians think gambling has gotten out of hand.

Sadly, there's no way governments can put the genie back in the bottle.

                                   AND NOW SOMETHING YOU LIKELY DIDN'T KNOW OR EVEN CARED TO KNOW

According to data collected by 'Yelp', between 2019 and 2022, the 'Hobby' that increased in popularity the most is PICKLEBALL. 

The relatively new activity increased a whopping 275%.

Municipal politicians have received several complaints from neighbours about...the noise.

The #1 complaint - 'participants' are having too much fun being so loud in their enjoyment of the game - ironically, not from the sound of the ball hitting the paddle.

For any 'hobbyists' interested in stats of other 'hobbies':

Axe throwing increased by 68%

Glass blowing 33%

Cheese tasting classes 18%

Fitness and instruction 9%

Art classes 8%

And (sadly) in last place in the survey, Pole dancing at 3%.

However, some 'experts' suggest pole dancing is not a 'hobby', rather it's a legitimate sport, with both athletic and artistic elements (like other Olympic sports) and, consequently, should be considered as a new 'demonstration sport' at the upcoming Paris Summer Olympics.

These 'experts' remain confident male-audience response would be so positive that pole dancing could become a competitive sport at the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics and future Games.

And what are the odds the IOC muckety-mucks would ever turn their back on a guaranteed television sponsor-audience money magnet winner the likes of women's beach volleyball?

Zero.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

 

#261 JANUARY MUSINGS (posted Jan. 24, 2023)

READERS' QUESTION DU JOUR.

Bet you've never stopped to think about this...until now.

What?

Why does January, the very first month of the year, SUCK?

Pardon?

January! It SUCKS, it really, really does! It has for decades.

Monsieur Ronald, what a strange thing to say. Are you off your meds?

Non, non, Mon Ami. And I'm not delusional or senile (yet). Still faithfully taking the prescribed dosages recommended by my GP; 11 pills in the morning with breakfast, one with lunch, two following dinner, two eye-drops at bedtime and one tiny blue one that's supposed to help me sleep.

Geez, that's a lot. You're a walking/talking pharmacy. That chemical stew must affect you, yes?

Been taking them so long I'm no longer sure.

Sorry, monsieur, I distracted you by being critical of your doctor's efforts to keep you shuffling along life's potholed highway, courtesy of chemistry.

Apology accepted.

Let me bring you back to your 'strange' observation about January. I profoundly disagree for the following reasons:

January is when 'Gregorians' and 'Lunars' celebrate New Year. There's no happier, more positive, upbeat or fun celebration to welcome another new year. And, at the perfect moment, when revellers' have a renewed spirit of optimism and hopefulness about the future beating in their hearts. What could possibly be wrong, weird or strange with that?

What are you smoking, friend? You're spouting New Year's Eve propaganda from the Chamber of commerce. Delusional malarkey, myth, bull-crap. Never happens.

Have you already forgotten we've just come through one of the shittiest years of our lives; filled with chaos, fear, trepidation and anxiety? The reality is the new year celebrants are pissed, just desperately trying to have a good time for a few hours. That's all there is to it.

Well, umm, now that you put it that way. But who wants to be reminded of last year? It's gone, over, past, finished.

Please don't get me wrong. Of course everyone would prefer entering any new year wearing rose-coloured glasses, thinking polyannish thoughts and hoping the future won't be a repeat of the past.

BUT, sadly (pun intended) 'the system' won't even allow a few hours one month of the year, to relieve built up stress by acting a little differently. 

Which brings me to my rational observations about January:

It's the month when all of our electronic devices bring an avalanche of news reports headlined "According to the psychiatric community"...

And it's always Breaking news: Approx. 10% of the population will suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that causes symptoms similar to depression...in January.

Breaking news: January is the gloomiest month of the year.

Breaking news: Anxiety is the most common mental illness affecting some 300 million people around the world.

And the follow up, i.e. 'The Coup de Grace' of downers:

*Breaking news: Back in 2004, UK psychiatrist, Dr. Cliff Arnall, dreamed up 'Blue Monday'. He created a bizarre formula to rationalize his claim that the third Monday in January is the 'bleakest day' of the year. Oh joy.

Did this "news" help cheer anybody up on a gloomy winter morning? Is anyone having fun? Do these messages of doom make you want to stick your head in a bucket of ice cubes or hide under the bed?

*(Turns out this is/was pure unadulterated scientific bunkum. Perpetrated on the public by an unscrupulous shrink...as a marketing stunt to help a local travel company sell holidays.)

Therefore, dear readers, I rest my case...January 'SUCKS'.

Wouldn't it be better for everyone's mental health to just relax, not worry, try to be happy and face reality as it really is:

A) Everything is moving at warp-speed, beyond the capabilities of most of us to keep up or comprehend.

B) Accept that we are just 'innocent bystanders' in a world of accelerating change, with nobody (really) in control of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms that will continue to significantly impact every facet of human life in ways we can't even imagine.

And despite all the advisories/cautions/advice from health researchers; booze, pot, mushrooms, antidepressants et al, will continue to skyrocket, because governments are as addicted to the tax revenue as people who seek temporary relief from their pain are to the drugs.

Monsieur Ronald's 'handy-dandy' remedies to fend off the blues:

1) It's hard to stay gloomy when you're laughing.

Laughter in response to sadness is a terrific coping mechanism.

Laughter releases endorphins similar to exercise, reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and increases dopamine (aka -'The feel-good hormone).

2) Believe it or not, taking a shower can be the most therapeutic and healthy way to combat feeling blue.

3) Turn off all electronic devices. Place them in a drawer for an entire weekend. Spend the time talking to people you really like. Monday morning you'll feel relaxed and refreshed.

                       A BRILLIANT FUTURIST YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF - JOHN SEELY BROWN

If you seek an insightful peek into the future, check him out @ https://www.johnseelybrown.com/

"We've invented artificial intelligence machines to help us solve problems quicker but in the process have created something so frightening to many that the machines may well replace us." - JSB

"Anything that can be automated, will be automated." - JSB

                                           NOW FOR SOMETHING TO HELP US ALL COPE IN 2023

Some wisdom dispensed by the wisest Tibetan monk of all time...

"The path to inner peace begins with four words. Not my f...ing problem!"

P.S. As we await the outcome of the billion-dollar+ brouhaha between Canada's giant integrated media conglomerates (Rogers/Shaw/Quebecor) and the government watchdog agencies, remember this: Canada is one of the most profitable countries in the world in which to run a wireless telecommunications company.

And Canadians pay the highest rates. Why?

The newly appointed CRTC chair, Vicky Eatrides, (the agency that regulates telecommunications in Canada) said last week, "I want to make it clear that lower cellphone and internet bills is a top priority."

Translation: Pursuing this priority during my 5-year term is unachievable. What I just said is CRTC flapdoodle propaganda to distract taxpayers from what's really going on.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory. 

 #260 A MIXED BAG OF STUFF...TO END A SHITTY YEAR (posted Dec. 17, 2022)

                                                         PART ONE - THE FESTIVE SEASON?

In the 'good old days' Roman pagans celebrated their 'holiday season' between December 17-25.

They call the holiday Saturnalia, in honour of the deity Saturn.

A week long period of lawlessness and debauchery that the poet Catullus called "the best of days".

In the 4th century, Christianity decided to import the Saturnalia festival...hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Hmm, wonder how much lawlessness and debauchery was necessary to convert them?

Over the centuries, Catullus' "Best of Days", that annual lawlessness and debauchery festival honouring the Roman agricultural God of Sowing or Seed, gave way and replaced by the debauched contemporary festival honouring Commerce and Greed. Sigh!

                             PART TWO - A CAUTIONARY BERNIE MADOFF TALE OF GREED AND CORRUPTION

One of the world's most generous philanthropists, American investment guru, Warren Buffet (aka The Oracle of Omaha), regularly cautions investors large and small "never invest in a business you cannot understand". Sound advice from an expert that sadly not everybody pays attention to.

Canadian investment guru and self-confessed risk taker, Kevin O'Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful), of 'Dragon's Den' and 'Shark Tank' fame, couldn't resist accepting an offer (just under $15 million USD) from Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO and Founder of FTX, to function as a spokesman and shill for his cryptocurrency trading company.

Mr. Wonderful was so...umm greedy...considering this was a slam-dunk opportunity to get rich quick...that he invested $9.7 million of his own money. Several other big-name celebrities had already signed-on to endorse the firm e.g. Tom Brady and his former wife, Larry David, David Ortiz, Jimmy Fallon. All had clambered aboard for the same reason.

None of the big-name investment-promoters had conducted even cursory due-diligence.

Crypto firms have no balance sheets, profits or revenue statements to examine. Consequently, determining the intrinsic value of crypto investments is akin to risking your life by driving down a major highway in a blizzard behind a semitrailer.

Also, cryptocurrency companies like FTX are unregulated, run by a very few mostly 'invisible' individuals of dubious scruples who pull the levers behind an opaque "offshore" curtain of interconnected computers.

Suddenly, the billions FTX controlled disappeared and the firm filed for bankruptcy. Investors lost billions.

The 30-year old Wizard of OZ, Sam Bankman-Fried, is currently in custody in the Bahamas, facing a multitude of charges awaiting extradition to face justice in America.

                                                         PART THREE - THE CHRISTMAS FLOWER

Poinsettias are native to Mexico, with their Aztec and Mayan names roughly translating to "leathered flower" and "fire flower".

It wasn't until the first Spanish settlers arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, that the flower they called "flor de nochebuena" or Christmas Eve flower was used to decorate nativity scenes.

In the early 19th century, it spread throughout North America and Europe under the name poinsettia.

Mexican growers have to pay fees to grow and sell most varieties of the plant, thanks to breeder's rights fees owned in the U.S. and abroad.

Go figure!

                                                        PART FOUR - HARBINGER OF OUR TIMES

Economic historian, Adam Tooze, popularized the term "Polycrisis" which refers to "not just a situation where you face multiple crises, but a situation where the whole is even more dangerous than the sum of the parts"...leading to a paralyzing feeling of despair.

As this man felt on a long ago Christmas.

American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ("Evangeline", "The Song of Hiawatha" and "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere") wrote the following, on Christmas morning, 1864.

He was still grief stricken from the tragic loss of his beloved wife Fanny and word had just come that his son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded in battle.

The great poet reached for his pen:

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old, familiar carols play; and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men."

"And in despair I bowed my head: 'There is no peace on earth', I said, "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men."

"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men."

Henry's message then is the same as it is today: Never, ever give up hope.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...and a better 2023.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

 

#259 THE NIGHT LADY LIBERTY ALMOST DIED (posted Nov. 9, 2022)

 PART ONE -  A SYMBOL OF HOPE

She represents 'Libertas', the Roman Goddess of Liberty.


Dressed in a robe and wearing a crown consisting of seven points representing the seven continents and seven seas of planet earth.

At her feet lay a broken shackle and chains.

In her right hand, a torch. Her left hand holds a tablet with the date of the US Declaration of Independence in Roman numerals..... July 4, 1776.

From 1892, she was the first thing millions of immigrants fleeing from oppression and servitude saw, before arriving on the shores of 'The New World'...the Land of promise.

To those who gazed (in amazement) at Lady Liberty for the first time, she represented freedom, democracy, hope, opportunity.

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) was an American author of poetry and prose who wrote the sonnet 'The New Colossus' (in 1883) which was inspired by the Statue of Liberty.  

Inscribed (in 1903) on a bronze plaque in the statue's pedestal are Emma's remarkable, memorable and inspiring words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbour that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" Cries she

with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

                                               PART TWO - REPORTS OF MY DEATH ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED

Pollsters, pundits, experts all, whether Blue, Red, Green, Orange or Purple, predicted the Lady was on life support. It was inevitable they concluded, the coming 'Great Red Wave' would do her in.

And from their perspective, it was time to prepare the obituary. 

The Coroner would report the cause of death: Negligence and Misadventure. 

Post-mortem notes would explain her demise was exacerbated by a previously unknown virus (Trumpuss-mononegative-virales) that likely infected the body, sometime in 2015. This deadly virus is similar to a biological 'Free Radical'. In simple language, a 'Free Radical' is a type of unstable molecule that is made during normal cell metabolism (chemical changes that take place in a cell). 'Free Radicals' can build up in cells and cause damage to other molecules, such as DNA. 

'Antioxidants' are the molecules that fight 'Free Radicals' in the body. Sadly, in the epic battle for the soul of democracy, the MAGA radical molecules overwhelmed the DEMMS antioxidant molecules and Lady Liberty was unable to fight off the deadly virus.

She succumbed sometime after November 9, 2022.

OOOPS! Not so fast.

So confident of a sweep was Emperor-King 'in waiting' 'Crazy Pants' Trump, who hinted "On Tuesday, November 15, I just might descend from on high (taking the golden Mar-a-Lago escalator) to announce my candidacy". The millions who see this ego-driven orange-faced NUT, bereft of morals or empathy, as their thwarted-redeemer and have been yearning for a second coming, rejoiced. Go figure!

OOOPS! Not so fast, again!

Then, the people voted and the overinflated 'Red balloon' popped, making a very loud fart sound -  "Prrrrrrrrrrrrrt!" - heard around the world.

Lady Liberty smiled.

                              PART THREE - IN CASE YOU WERE OTHERWISE PREOCCUPIED AND MISSED IT

On Tuesday, America took the 'Rorschach Test'.

They took the what?

The Rorschach Test!

What the hell is that?

It's a psychological test developed by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, in which subject's perceptions of 'inkblots' are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation.

Inkblots? You're joshing us, right?

Nope. Monsieur Ronald does not josh.

OK, OK, don't get your psychological pantaloons in a knot...it's about inkblots!

Excuse the brief interruption. This illuminating dissertation will now continue...And when the 'Rorschach Test' is used with the 'Exner Scoring System' (also known as the 'Rorschach Comprehensive System') developed by John E. Exner, the 'Rorschach Test'...is even more effective.

Really?

Yep!

Mr. Smarty pants, effective...at what precisely?

At measuring mental stuff like depression, psychosis, anxiety, personality, emotional stability.

The Rorschach Test, when taken in conjunction with the 'Exner Scoring System', identifies those who are:

a) Certifiably Nuts.

b) Borderline Nuts, 

c) Not Nuts, or if you prefer, No-Nuts.

As Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt once famously said, "If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will certainly follow."

Ouch!

Readers who may harbour doubt about the scientific validity of Drs. Rorschach and Exner's test results, are invited to take the 10-question inkblot-test. It's not difficult and only takes a few minutes. Google: The Exner Scoring System Test.

Your score may include some surprises.

P. S. If any of you thought the 'first coming' of Trump was NUTS enough, wait for the sequel...assuming 1) 'Crazy Pants' can beat his new Republican challenger, Ron DeSantis and 2) avoids a long-overdue comeuppance.

                                                   PART FOUR - AND NOW TO (HOPEFULLY) LEAVE YOU SMILING

Never forget wise words that remind us all that "Hope Springs Eternal". Like the four selected nuggets of wisdom below.

Words uttered by one of America's preeminent 20th-century philosophers; author of the best selling novella "Jockstraps aren't for everyone". A baseball-icon considered (by many) to be the best-ever "Catcher-of-Balls". Inventor of 'Yogi-isms' (colloquial expressions that lack logic). The one and only wordsmith Emeritus, Monsieur Yogi Berra.

"The future ain't what it used to be"

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours"

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there"

"I don't know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads" 

These diamonds (pun intended) should fill your heart with 'hopefulness'. And may even bring a tear or two. If not, check your pulse.

A timely quote from Monsieur Mark Twain

"Never argue with an idiot. You'll never convince the idiot that you're correct, and bystanders won't be able to tell who's who."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#258 DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (posted Oct. 18, 2022)

                                                            DIRTY ROTTEN LITTLE SECRETS

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"; a line spoken by a minor character named Marcellus, in William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Act 1, scene iv.)...symbolizes the stench permeating many of today's institutions and organizations whose leaders condone covering up malfeasance.

"Nothing to see here" is an expression used by people in positions of authority who abuse power to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence, or other embarrassing incriminating information from ever reaching the public.

Two such organizations are right here in our own backyard - Hockey Canada and the Catholic Church - have been covering up physical, sexual and mental abuse of kids...for years.

The leaders are hell-bent (pun intended) on protecting their "Brand" at all costs, using whatever means necessary, regardless of how many kids are scarred for life.

Their reprehensible 'criminal' conduct has no limits and includes 'sheltering' predators and silencing victims by whatever means.

Why has this blatant injustice been allowed (by our system) to continue for years?

The mind-set of those in-charge of these organizations has been - let the expensive lawyers and PR firms who are expert in the art of 'Deceit', manage the fall-out. It has always worked in the past.

From past experience they know the scandal soon fades from the news (i.e. from public consciousness) and the stench will eventually dissipate and quietly goes away.

Sadly, there's no evidence of guilt or shame being expressed about the horror they've unleashed. In the meantime, the monsters (their conduct shields) continue to prey on more innocent kids.

Why aren't these unscrupulous, unprincipled individuals not dragged into a court of law along with the predators to account for their actions?

Something is rotten in our country that needs to be stopped now.

Message to the PM: In the name of decency, do your job and deal with it.

                                    IS IT POSSIBLE...'OUR' NATIONAL POLITICS ARE SUDDENLY...INTERESTING?

The Great White North is in for a down-and-dirty showdown between two young men who have spent their entire working careers being paid by the taxpayers.

One is 43, raised in Calgary.

The other is 50, raised in Montreal.

Both are fluent in Canada's official languages (English, French and Political-Bullshit).

Both have spent their entire adult lives training to become 'experienced politicians'. God help us.

If this showdown was a boxing contest rather than an election...

Ring Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome to Beaver-Landia Arena in the heart of the nation's capital, for this evening's much anticipated contest. A battle for all the marbles. The Lightweight Championship of the Quebec-Nation, Ontario, and 'The Rest of Us', who don't really matter much to politicians seeking a majority government.

Introducing the challenger, wearing neon-blue tights with the prominently placed smiley face, standing 6'5", weighing in at 75kg or 165.347 pounds (for us old people)...Pierre 'Skippy' Pawl-eeee-Evvv...Pawl-eee-Evvv.

The challenger's hobbies include verbally trashing and insulting opponents at every opportunity, shilling for Bitcoin, firing the Governor of the Bank of Canada, practising smiling and not looking too nerdy, cutting funds for the CBC's English operations (but never Radio-Canada's) and talking and talking and talking...on and on and on and on...

Loud chorus of boos and cheers from the audience.

And now, the two-time defending champion, wearing the neon-red tights with the equally-dimensioned maple leaf and fleur-de-lys flags, born on Christmas Day (Oh!Oh!), standing 6'2", weighing in at 75kg, 165.347 pounds (for us old people)...Justin 'Little Potato' Troooo-dough...Troooo-dough.

The defending champion's hobbies include Boxing (Oh,Oh!), smiling (sigh), Acting (of course), Haircuts & Beards (whatever's in style), Rock climbing, Skiing and on, and on, and on...enough already...his daddy was rich and famous and his mommy was good looking.

Loud chorus of boos and cheers from the audience.

As a public service, the writer will make no prediction on the outcome of the contest, other than to offer the following:

1) The election will happen when the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, tires of supporting 'Little Potato'.

2) Voters want change, real change.

3) Skippy presents a formidable challenge to the Liberals. He won the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada by a mind-blowing 68.15% of the vote on the first ballot. His win was so wide-sweepingly convincing, winning 330 of 338 ridings across Canada, as to remove any doubt about who now controls the Federal Conservative Party.

4) Monsieur Ronald posits Poilievre's views are so closely aligned with those of Donald Trump, who controls the Republican Party, that his vice-grip control on the policy direction of the Conservative party is not in the best interests of our country's democracy.

                                                     AND NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT

A note about surnames: Historically, surnames evolved as a way to sort people out in a group - by occupation, place of origin, clan, affiliation, patronage, parentage, adoption, and even physical characteristics (like red hair).

FYI - 'Skippy's' surname translated into English is 'pea-hare'.  Poi=pea. Lievre=hare.

FYI - 'Little Potato's' surname translated into English is 'water hole'. Tru=hole. Deau=water.

Keep your eye on this: The U.S. mid-term elections take place Tuesday, November 8. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. The shadow of Emperor-King (in-waiting), Donald J. 'Crazy Pants' Trump looms large over the outcome. Should his rabid followers prevail in winning both, the world will be witnessing the beginning of the end of the great American democratic experiment. And then God help us all.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory  

#257 VICES AND VIRTUES (posted Sept. 8, 2022)

"I drink to make other people more interesting." - Ernest Hemingway

When you read the name Hemingway - Think a great read, 'The Sun Also Rises', 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', 'The Old Man and the Sea'.

American novelist, short-story writer, journalist (including at the Toronto Star) who, in 1954, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Like much of humanity, Ernie was afflicted by stress, anxiety and pain, which addicted him to booze.

But, this great 20th century writer was hardly alone in his craving for the 'demon sauce' to provide him (if only temporary) relief.

For example, a recently published report about alcohol consumption, reveals that British Columbians downed more booze during the pandemic than in the past two decades.

So, what's the big deal? Everybody must understand by now, that when times are tough we frail humans seek relief from whatever's available; like alcohol, pot, etc..

Yes, but this big reveal is staggering (pun intended).

Residents of 'Lotusland', aged 15 years and older, consumed the equivalent of 9.32 litres of pure alcohol between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Oh dear, that's a lot of hooch!

Another way of putting it - 'we' drank the equivalent of 547 cans/bottles of 5% beer or 104 bottles of 12% wine - in twelve months.

Hmm, Oh my, Umm, well then, that really does seem like a lot when expressed that way.

Yep, it really, really, really is...a lot!

And especially when you take into consideration another just-released report by three scientists at the University of Victoria's Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research, WARNING of the risks associated with consuming as few as...three drinks...per week.

Hold on, that has to be a mistake, only three drinks, per week?

They must be kidding, right?

Nope, and sorry, but it wasn't a misprint, scientists don't kid.

Sadly, for 'us' frail vice-ridden addictable creatures, their report clearly and without equivocation recommends that somehow/sometime 'we' have to stop downing 104 bottles of wine or 547 cans/bottles of beer (per year) and reduce our consumption to an eye-dropper, miserly three drinks per week...or face the consequences.

And, frankly speaking, the chances of that happening anytime soon are less than winning next week's Lotto Max.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I almost forgot to explain the word Lotusland - 'Lotusland' refers to Homer's Odyssey, in which the hero, Odysseus, visits a land whose inhabitants are befuddled by a narcotic lotus. The term was coined by the late Vancouver Sun writer, Allan Fotheringham, aka "Dr. Foth". 

You might think that nobody pays attention to scientific reports anyway, so who cares?

There are some who do and can use them to their advantage like...the BCGEU, the largest union in BC representing 33,000 provincial government workers. Some of their members are actually paid by government (us taxpayers) to read scientific reports like the aforementioned and they certainly took notice of this one.

In their dispute with the employer, they targeted BC Liquor Distribution Branch wholesale and distribution centres as their #1 strike target. This strategic move quickly choked off the supply of booze and pot at retail outlets, which panicked the thirsty taxpayers into a buying frenzy that soon emptied shelves, reminiscent of the great toilet paper stampede.

We humans really are strange creatures.

Like magic, in two short weeks the government's resolve collapsed like a house of cards.

But you folks out there in the 'Rest of Canada'...do not even dare to consider tut-tut-tutting 'BC-Boozers', because there's another report which makes all in 'Beaverland' equally culpable.

Here's the top ten countries ranked by the number of times "respondents" from each country said the got drunk...last year:

1. Australia: 26.7

2. Denmark: 23.8

3. Finland: 23.8

4. United States: 23.1

5. United Kingdom: 22.5

6. Canada: 22

7. Ireland: 20

8. France: 17.5

9. Sweden: 16

10. Netherlands: 15.7

NB: Results from Russia, China and North Korea remain a state secret.

Boozers from the Great White North can try to stand at attention and holler (hopefully) without slurring, "We're #6, We're #6.

                                              TWO ELDERLY POLITICIANS WALK INTO A BAR...

Bartender asks the one wearing a bow tie, "What's your pleasure sir?"

Response, "Young man a double Johnnie Walker Scotch will suffice to temporarily tame my affliction, which I refer to as 'The Black Dog'. In serving my country to the best of my abilities, this particular libation has served to calm my nerves, especially in times of stress." 

Bartender looks at the one with the longish red tie and orange complexion "And you sir?"

Response, "I don't drink coffee, tea, alcohol or smoke. Make mine a Diet Coke. Having no afflictions, my goal has always been to serve myself to the best of my great abilities. I crave only money and power."

These words come from the mouth of a U.S. Commander-in-Chief, who faked an injury on five separate occasions to avoid military service while bragging to his lawyer "You think I'm stupid, I wasn't going to Vietnam."

Which one would you wish to lead your country in a time of conflict...the boozer or the cowardly teetotaler?

Trump famously said, "I'm the smartest man in the world."

Churchill famously said, "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."

And the insufferably smug Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery famously said to Churchill, "I neither smoke nor drink, and I am 100 percent fit." Churchill replied, "I drink and smoke, and I am 200 percent fit."

Churchill died at age 90, a couple of years after Montgomery.

                                   NOW FOR SOME OTHER STUFF YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT

For the past two decades North American newsrooms have been mercilessly gutted on the alter of 'the bottom line.'

As local newsrooms and local news coverage shrivel up, to what extent does democracy shrink with it?

According to a recent AP survey, one of the most talked-about applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in local newsrooms, where staffing shortages are pushing editors to consider machines that can churn out stories.

The AI machines wouldn't be tasked with hard-hitting journalism, but with 'plug-and-chug' stories where numbers can be dropped into a template. Think minor-league sports games or company earnings reports.

But news outlets are also looking into AI for some more complex tasks that might be susceptible to bias and require a human touch, including comment moderation and story recommendations.

Isn't there enough bullshit floating around without the need for this...or is it too late?

And while we're on the subject of news...

Picked up the morning paper last week to find an insert advising subscribers of an increase in home delivery cost effective October 1st. The note included a surprise "A reminder that your subscription cost is now tax deductible."

Is Monsieur Ronald the only print subscriber of two daily newspapers unaware of this tax deduction? Why has it not been widely publicized by government? Or is it just more bullshit to distract from another unwanted increase when inflation is already running amuck?

Just asking.

As the shadows grow longer, stay safe. It's going to be an interesting Fall.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#256 THINGS ARE REALLY WEIRD RIGHT NOW...EH? (posted Aug. 16, 2022)

A few late-summer nuggets for your consideration...

Monsieur Ronald posits that we are living through a time of 'super-weirdness'. 

Or, maybe some may believe, it's all a hellish nightmare and the human race will (hopefully) wake up and realize it was just a bad dream.

Simon says, "Sorry, it's real and it sucks."

But why is it happening?

Is it too easy to blame it on...a few unhinged power-mad evil 'crazies' who lead legions of armed lemmings towards certain catastrophe?

Or is it, as a Swedish philosopher posed, "The human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a post-human stage". Suggesting, at some point in the future, our technology would be so advanced that we will be replaced by 'Artificial Intelligent humanoid machines'...of our own creation.

The ultimate irony, and a really cruel joke. In the end, we unintentionally destroyed ourselves. OOPS!

                                                     WAS THIS...YOUR SUMMER OF DISCONTENT?

Getting away, somewhere, somehow is what millions longed for and desperately needed this year.

Did you manage a respite this summer?

Hoping for a break, a rest that would help wash away the trials, tribulations and grinding misery of being cooped up for the past couple of years.

But rather than a relaxing vacation, what 79% of travellers ran into was a wall of frustration caused by a government and a tourism industry that was woefully unprepared for a flood of predictable pent-up demand.

Travellers experienced massive travel chaos; passport snags, long waits, hard-to-find availabilities, jam-packed terminals, lineups everywhere, poor customer service, cancelled or delayed (overpriced) flights, lost luggage, no refunds...ad nauseam.

Everything imaginable conspired to make your 2022 holiday respite as miserable as possible.

Leaving everyone feeling...

 - that nothing works anymore,

 - that everything is broken,

 - that 'those in charge' are at a loss or incapable of fixing things...more likely both.

Why did it all fall apart so rapidly? And despite all of the technological advances (promising better efficiency at lower cost) introduced into our private companies and public institutions in the past decade...nevertheless, a massive cascading collapse of 'The system' occurred at the worst possible time.

As 'they' point the finger of blame at each other, rest assured we will never find out...the WHY?

It's not a myth, but a scientifically proven fact, that humans live through phases that change them (in body and mind) every seven years.

0-7 years: Physical, emotional, and social development influenced by your immediate environment.

7-14 years: Fast physical development and growing psychological autonomy.

14-21 years: Emotional and sexual development.

21-28 years: Mental and emotional refinement.

28-35 years: Physical and mental peak.

35-42 years:"Mid-life crisis" stage.

42-49 years: Personal reinvention.

49-56 years: Spiritual awakening.

56-63 years: A deeper understanding of life.

63-70 years: A growing comfort with life.

70-77 years: Maturation into the true self.

77-84 years and onwards: Stage of passing on knowledge.

Students of history understand that our world also goes through similar cycles.

But, it's our species, the one with a conscience and a supposed superior-intelligence, that sadly, hasn't been able to progress beyond the "Mid-life crisis" stage, and remains the only species capable of destroying planet earth.

Consider this: In the past seven years residents of Mother Earth have experienced a series of devastating and certainly 'weird' events that have turned everything on its head:

 - a pandemic

 - extraordinary climate change

 - the election of a mad, egotistical, immoral, pathological liar 'emperor-king', who in four short years almost brought down a democracy and whose ongoing actions may yet cause a civil war...right on our doorstep

 - and with echos of Hitler's 'Lebensraum' reverberating yet again, we (helplessly) watch Trump's mentor, idol and handler, Vlad 'The Invader', push the world to the brink of another world war.

(NB: Lebensraum - German, meaning the territory that a state or nation believes is needed for its 'natural' development and will take by force of arms)

Of such times in history...

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote "The loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."

William Shakespeare wrote "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Winston Churchill said "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Churchill's message was always to never lose hope. We can never lose hope. There's someone out there that will find a way forward for humankind. She's out there...somewhere.

"A democracy that can't protect itself against illegal abuses of power isn't worth the name."

                                                AND NOW...SOMETHING TO LIFT THE SPIRIT

As the precious days of summer dwindle down and long days get shorter, signalling our summer will soon turn to Fall.

Most who live in the Great White North love their summers and are not looking forward to cooler temperatures, dark days and nights or having to get back to whatever the daily grind happens to entail.

But before that happens, every August, something magical happens here in Brentwood Bay, where we have lived for the past 32 years.

Mother Nature takes out her colour palette and paints the sky at sunset.

A stunning array of gorgeous hues begins to light up the sky that reflect off the clouds and waters of the temperate marine fjord of the Saanich Inlet.

A quiet comforting and soothing experience that lasts about an hour...and is never the same two nights in a row.

If you're in search of a small dose of solace in these troubled times, here's Monsieur Ronald's suggestion: Wherever you are at sunset, stop and look skyward, observe a celestial experience that will leave you in awe, and with a spiritual gift of hope in the future, courtesy of Mother Nature.

And if that's not your cup of tea, consider these nuggets of wisdom from three 'wise guys':

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." - Mark Twain

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schulz

Enjoy the rest of summer and stay safe.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#255 MID-SUMMER RAMBLINGS (posted July 17, 2022)

                                                PART ONE - GOOD LUCK TRYING TO SQUARE THIS CIRCLE

February 24, 2022: Putin invades Ukraine (again).

March 5, 2022: Canada slaps sanctions on Russia over Ukraine invasion.

July 9, 2022: Foreign Affairs Minister, Melanie Joly, solemnly declares "Canada is unwavering in its support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity...Canada will not relent in pressuring the Russian regime."

Umm, well, on second thought, maybe 'unwavering' was a little bit over the top because...

July 10, 2022: Canada 'adjusts' sanctions imposed on Russia, granting German industrial giant Siemens-Energy an exemption under Canada's Russia-sanctions, allowing Russian state-controlled 'Gazprom' to send gas turbines to Siemens-Canada facilities (in Montreal) for regular repair and maintenance...for the next two years.

And that sanction 'adjustment' just happens to advantage 'Vlad the Invader' Putin.

No, that can't be true monsieur, our fearless leader wouldn't betray our friends by doing something that, umm, stupid. Would he?

Yep, seems he did.

Maybe it was Boris' original idea presented to Trudeau at one of his parties.

How does this advantage Russia?

By using a political 'sleight of hand' maneuver, Siemens-Canada will send the repaired gas turbine equipment to Germany, whose government will then turn it over to Russia...and Presto, Putin wins this chess game and we look weak.

Ukraine's ambassador to Canada reacted immediately, explaining the obvious "The revenues from gas and oil are directly supporting the Russian military. To wave even for two years (sanctions), and showing 'Gazprom' (Putin) can get what it (he) wants, is a dangerous precedent. Russia is weaponizing energy." And she's right, Canada caved to Putin's blackmail gambit.

Now the plot thickens.

How will 'Justin of Sunny Ways' extract himself and his adoring 'Joly' (our) Foreign Affairs Minister from this sticky political conundrum and salvage Canada's reputation? Saying "sorry" to the 'Big Boys' in NATO won't cut it.

In-depth research, by Monsieur Ronald's crack research team, has uncovered that our PM, on a 2016 trip to China to strengthen business ties with Canada, earned the affectionate and somewhat-quaint nickname "little potato".

Apparently, the name Trudeau sounds familiar to the Mandarin word 'potato'.

So the story goes, because former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau established diplomatic ties with China and is affectionately referred to by China's leaders as 'big potato", ergo son fils Justin is affectionately now called "little potato".

Therefore, dear folks of Beaver-land, how is our "little potato" going to respond to loaded media questions like...

Sir, with respect, why did you make such an irrational decision?

Did this idea come from Boris?

Whose side are we really on, sir? NATO or Vlad the Invader?

With respect sir, are you not concerned about the damage this causes to Canada's reputation?

PM 'petit potato' dare not admit or even try to rationalize such a bad, flawed idea on national television...dare he?

Would he, at the very least, first consult a mentor, like former PM Jean Chretien for advice?

Would Jean suggest he might use a variation on his famous explanation of 'A Proof'?

Justin, all you have to do is stare directly at the TV cameras and solemnly declare "A sanction is a sanction. What kind of sanction? It's a sanction. A sanction is a sanction. And when you have a good sanction, it's because it's adjustable."

Then repeat in French and quickly end with "thank you, merci a tous, no more questions (pause) at this time (pause) please, have pressing business to attend to"...and get the hell out of there fast.

There's an ancient Chinese proverb that goes something like this 'Lying, is like passing gas (or adjusting gas sanctions) it always leaves a foul odour that lingers and immediately identifies the perpetrator'.

                                                      PART TWO - TIME STANDS STILL FOR NOBODY

If life is like a game of baseball and each inning is a decade, Monsieur Ronald is in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Feeling fortunate to still be in the game; albeit now with ever more fading memories of being on the active player roster.

And just a tad sad that the younger players no longer stop by for a bit of advice or a tip on how the game was played (when I was their age) back then in the second, third and fourth innings.

My body knows it can no longer run the bases, sustain the injuries and heal quickly, and that even a walk won't get Ronnie to first base quickly, anymore.

But thankfully my brain remains stubbornly unwilling to face facts. 'It' firmly believes we will see the ninth inning, and maybe with some luck, our game may even go into overtime...because the 'kid' still lives up there and remains forever young. And every morning 'it' asks the same question "Who the hell's the old guy in the mirror?"

                                    PART THREE - TO LEAVE YOU WITH A SMILE - QUOTE-ABLES FROM NOTE-ABLES

"My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?" - Charles Schulz

"My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil." - J.P. Getty

"I'm so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying." - Oscar Wild

"No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar." - Abraham Lincoln

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." - Mark Twain

"Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes." - Jim Carrey

"We are here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know." - W.H. Auden

"The future ain't what it used to be." - The great Yogi Berra

"The ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in any language is priceless." - Anonymous

See you at the ballgame.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#254 SUMMER REFLECTIONS (posted July 2, 2022)

                                                            "My Country 'Tis of Thee"

Patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to one's country.

An excess of patriotism in the defence of a nation is called chauvinism; another related term is jingoism.

                                      Patriotism is expressed on one 'special day' of each year...

In The Great White North where the Beavers live, we celebrate on July 1st. Canada is now 150-years young.

Next door where the Bald Eagles reside, they celebrate on July 4th. The U.S. is 246-years old.

                                          A few related bits and factoids about us, Up Here and Down There...

Beavers and Bald Eagles (a.k.a. Canucks and Yankee-Doodles) share a land border close to 9000 km long, which is the longest border in the world.

Despite some differences, we co-exist as neighbours, friends and allies...most of the time.

Beavers and Bald Eagles are alike and yet the exact opposite (all at the same time). To paraphrase Martha Stewart "And that's a good thing."

"America, My Country 'Tis of Thee" is an American patriotic song which served as one of the de facto national anthems of the United States before the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner".

The melody used is the same as that of one of the de facto national anthems of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen or King".

"God save the Queen or King" is one of the de facto national anthems of Canada.

"O Canada" is Canada's national anthem. Originally it was called "Chant National" and written in Quebec City by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier (words in French), with music composed by Calixa Lavallee and first performed there on June 24, 1880.

June 24, Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, is Quebec's (now to be referred to as a Nation) version of Canada Day.

Quebec's very beautiful and stirring anthem is "Jean du Pays" sung every June 24.

On this long weekend of celebratory gatherings (on both sides of our stiffening border) it's difficult for many ordinary Canucks and Yankee-Doodles to put on a genuine 'happy' face.

One of my neighbours expressed it this way, "Geez, Monsieur Ronald, everything's coming unglued, turning to rat shit. The people who rule over us don't seem to know what to do. I'm quite worried."

Given what's been transpiring, it's difficult to counter her gloomy analysis of 'the current state of things' with something positive.

Monsieur Ronald has always tried to be a 'look on the bright side', 'glass is half full', upbeat kind of guy.

To help others cope with the prevailing gloom and doom, he finds it best to exude an air of optimism, especially when the situation appears most hopeless and desperate.

To suggest others try a different way to think about or observe the situation.

To consider an alternative perspective because the view is different, depending upon which end of the lens one looks through. Look through one end and catastrophe appears on your doorstep. Look through the other end and it's off in the distance, allowing you time to hopefully find a solution.

Consider this when worrying or complaining about 'OUR' problems. Take a moment to compare 'OUR' situation to what's happening to millions of others who live elsewhere. You should soon come to appreciate how blessed with the good fortune 'WE' are living in Canada.

We live in a vast, sparsely populated, first world, wealthy, welcoming, democratic country with the enormous added benefit of 20% of the planet's drinkable water.

Then ask yourself the question, "Where, at this time, would I rather live anywhere else, but here?"

                                       A PERPLEXING QUESTION - In search of truth, whom can we trust...or not?

In this era of spin, alternative reality, conspiracy theories, bald-faced-lies, politically slanted news, social media-malarky and just plain-old-bullshit, who can citizens rely upon to give us the facts please, just the real facts? 

Government? Media? Corporations? Religious leaders? If none of the aforementioned then who?

Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of public institutions and a functioning democratic system rest.

Without trust we are destined to drift into the world of Margaret Atwood's 'Handmaids Tale' and George Orwell's '1984'.

In order to believe something is true, rational individuals rely on 'evidence' sufficient to establish belief in its truth.

We now turn to a famous Canadian leader who explained how one obtains 'evidence' to establish truth. He stared into the cameras and said "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."

Anglo Canadians remain awestruck to this day by the Jesuitical logic offered up (in Canada's other official language) by the 20th Prime Minister of Beaver-land. Jean is now a retired elder-statesman who continues to dispatch wisdom and knowledge - en Anglais - whenever given the opportunity.

We need more like him to lead us.

                                                                Stuff you may already know...or maybe not

Canada's national motto is "A Mari Usque Ad Mare". How's your Latin?

America's national motto is much more ethereal, "In God We Trust". Their choice can help us 'stereotypically polite' Canucks understand why in Heavens name (pun intended) our southern neighbours would suddenly take notice of a television performer in the summer of 2015 and despite his total lack of experience or background for the job, decide to entrust him with their fate.

It goes without saying religious people believe in God.

However...when millions of Evangelical Americans come to believe 'He' descended down a golden-escalator, in a US shopping mall, on June 16, 2015, something bizarro is afoot. The 'Chosen One' was greeted by an adoring rent-a-crowd, paid $50 apiece to look adoring. This kicked off a staged-for-television surreal afternoon where 'He' announced (along with other things) in an anger filled speech that because 'He' is the smartest man anywhere, and Mexicans are rapists, 'He' decided to run to be their next president and save them from "that woman", Hilary Clinton.

The sense amongst the attending media...there's no way this guy is going to make it.

But the 'others' watching on television - zealots, religious fanatics, white supremacists, racists, et al - believed this man, with the orange television make up, was the real deal, i.e. the 'Second Coming', and therefore, how could he lose?

And he didn't.

The ensuing four years saw American politics descend into madness, depravity, nepotism, ineptitude, graft and corruption, culminating in the 45th President of the United States, Emperor 'Crazy Pants' Trump, being impeached twice, initiate an attempted coup to keep himself in office and refuse to accept Joe Biden as the duly elected 46th president.

So far, more than 800 people involved in the insurrection have been charged; the largest prosecution in the history of the US Department of Justice.

Search warrants and subpoenas issued by investigators now move ever closer to those in the former president's inner sanctum who helped plan the coup, including involvement of congressional Republicans.

The Jan. 6 House Select Committee's televised Hearings (to date) have revealed extensive criminal activity took place in Trump's White House, in an atmosphere of anger, temper tantrums, fear and intimidation.

Some of the laws broken include incitement to violence, seditious conspiracy, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

A June 30th poll indicates that 48% of American adults believe Donald J. Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the US Capital attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

However, only 10% of Republicans say he should be charged. That's a scary number when reminded that 74,222,558 Americans voted for Trump, in 2020.

The odds are slim that (in the end) the ring-master of the attempted coup will ever face justice, proving Donald J. Trump is above the law in the U.S.. 

What is more alarming is Trumps vice-grip on the Republican Party and its voter base. His uncanny ability to influence the outcome of the November 2022 mid-term elections.

What if he decides to run again?  Which Democrat can beat him?

If elected he becomes even more dangerous to the world order as the 47th President, Emperor-King of the 'Divided' States of America.

An aphorism is a concise, terse, iconic, or memorable expression of a general proof (as explained by our own Jean Chretien). E.G. "Shit Happens", anything that can go wrong will go wrong and inevitably at the worst possible time.

                                                        A few riddles to ponder on a Summer's day...

Why is the man who invests all your money called a Broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic call Rush Hour?

Why are they called "apartments" when they are all stuck together?

And don't forget, we live in a great country...HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#253 LIFE - IN A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (posted June 7, 2022)

"It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world" is the title of a 1963 Hollywood movie starring the great Spencer Tracy and an all-star cast of the best comedians in show-business at the time.

It was hilariously funny.

It provided a much needed 'tonic' for the stressful times in the 1960's.

A mad, mad, mad, mad world is what we are living through today. It's neither hilarious or funny.

"May you live in interesting times" is claimed to be a loose translation of a traditional Chinese curse.

Who said "May you live in weirdest times"? Nobody - but it sure as hell appropriately describes what we are living through today.

We desperately need a large dollop of the 'tonic' the movie audiences were served 59 years ago.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest comedians who ever graced the stage, George Carlin, is no longer available to provide the ingredients of that kind of 'tonic' (laughter mixed with wisdom) we so badly need to ease some of the stress.

His comedy was as poignant and deep as it was hilarious.

Carlin not only made audiences laugh, he challenged them to think independently and critically.

His quotes about 'Life', which spanned a five-decade career, showcased his wit, ingenuity and genius.

His 'potty mouth' and sarcasm were part of his signature charm.

                                                 A sampling of a comedic master's work...

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."

"Life gets really simple once you cut out all the bullshit they feed you."

"We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years."

"In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem."

"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?"

"War is rich old men protecting their property by sending middle class and lower class kids off to die."

"How is it possible to have a civil war?"

"Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist."

"Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money."

"Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

"Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do 'practice'?"

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a maniac?"

"There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it."

"A good motto to live by: 'Always try not to get killed."

"Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath."

Admit it, he made you smile. The guy was a genius. We need more like him.

                                                        MONSIEUR RONALD'S POLITICAL QUIZ

Question: In the recent battle for the hearts and minds of eligible voters who reside in the 'centre of the universe' - Ontari-ari-o! -    (A place to stand...in line @ 'fill in the blank'; A place to grow...old impatiently waiting for the Leafs to win another Stanley Cup) that resulted in the lowest turnout EVER, how did Dougie Ford manage to win so convincingly?

Answer: Simple. His handlers told him "Keep your mouth shut!" Uncharacteristically (for a politician) Dougie did.

Two-term re-elected Premier following the election: "Look, there is no one more surprised than me that Ontario has apparently liked what I've done over the past four years. If I really try, I can kind of understand it. The Liberals and the NDP ran dog-shit campaigns and Ontario always likes voting for a different party provincially than they do federally."

To paraphrase the late Mr. Carlin "In Ontario anyone can become Premier. That's the problem."

                                                      MONSIEUR RONALD'S REFLECTIONS DU JOUR

The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering "What the hell happened?"

Laugh often, long and loud. Thank you George, you are missed.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#252 SCARY STUFF (Posted May 19, 2022)

For those who don't pay much attention to politics...and those who do...Monsieur Ronald offers a perspective on two politicians (Conservative birds of a feather?) to keep a wary eye on.

                                                       THE BIRD AT THE NEIGHBOURS' HOUSE...

Jim Jordan (58), is a hard-right Republican Congressman from Ohio. A former collegiate wrestler and, from 1987 to 1995, a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Jimmy "the mouth" is a stalwart, unapologetic, obsequious sycophant of the exiled (temporarily?) 'Emperor-in-waiting', Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump.

Jordan is an all-in zealot prepared to say and do anything to please his Emperor.

He's a proud founding member of the Conservative 'House FREEDOM Caucus'.

His style - combative, loudmouthed, aggressive, annoying, intimidating, irritating attack dog.

Congressman Jordan actively participated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. The very next day (January 7), he voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, breaching his oath of office. ("FREEDOM"?)

                                                        THE BIRD AT OUR HOUSE...

Pierre Marcel "Skippy" Poilievre (42), is a hard-right Conservative member of parliament.

Raised in Calgary, in an Alberta ravaged by Pierre Trudeau's 'National Energy Program' and the PM's infamous Italian salute to Prairie farmers which seeded Western alienation that found political shape in the Reform Party, influenced his political beliefs.

As a kid, was a competitive diver, wrestler and hockey player. (There appears to be a strange attraction between wrestlers and conservatism)

Finished fourth in a class of 60 studying International Relations at the University of Calgary. 

First elected to the House of Commons in 2004 at age 25, representing the riding of Nepean-Carleton southwest of Ottawa.

His style - combative, loudmouthed, aggressive, annoying, intimidating, irritating attack dog.

He has been described as "probably one of the more generally infuriating individuals on Parliament Hill" and someone who "savagely attacks opponents without regard to nuance, or even basic facts."

"Skippy" is considered the front runner in the 2022 Conservative party leadership election.

On the issues, he muses about:

"Building Canada through FREEDOM"

Normalizing cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. He wants to make Canada the "blockchain capital of the world".

Replacing the governor of the Bank of Canada. ("FREEDOM" to interfere with the independence of that office)

Defunding the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; while promising to "restore FREEDOM of the press". Suggesting the government could save one billion dollars by doing so and proposing converting CBC's headquarters into affordable housing and other federal buildings into condominium housing. Paradoxical eh! Just as Putin kicks CBC out of Russia, "Skippy" wants to kick CBC out of Canada.

"I'm proud of the truckers and I stand with them". Remember the "FREEDOM Convoy" protesters, the conspiracy theorists who advocated insurrection and terrorized citizens in Ottawa and elsewhere, who claimed they were battling, in addition to vaccine mandates (enacted by the provinces), high grocery prices, small businesses in peril, depressed and isolated teenagers, a political and media elite that ignores anyone they don't like, etc., etc.?

"Skippy's" leadership campaign is described as being centred on "FREEDOM" and reducing the cost of living.

Mr. Poilievre says he wants to make Canada the "freest country in the world".

Really?

What other country in the world is freer than ours?

Do not underestimate this young man. He's whip-smart, clever like a meticulous lawyer and gifted at finding just the right catch phrase to lob in this age of "instant" - Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. When a master shit-disturber speaks, people listen, especially people who are frustrated and angry.

                                                                QUESTIONS DU JOUR

Will "Skippy" be elected leader of the Conservatives on September 10, 2022?

Will "Skippy" be the next Prime Minister of Canada?

If he is, will PM Poilievre turn the country into "Skippyland"?

Is "Skippyland" just a Canadianized version of Jim Jordan's "Trumpland"?

Be wary of any politician who casually throws around the catchall phrase "FREEDOM" to encourage and motivate fringe elements to violence, vandalism, obstruction and terrorism.

HMMM...a sound people make to express hesitation or when they are thinking about something and don't know exactly what to say.

HMMM indeed!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#251 "YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US, PLEASE STAY ON THE LINE...(posted April 28, 2022)

                                        A) QUESTION DU JOUR: TRUE OR FALSE?

This is the "declaration" that we hear on the phone, solemnly expressed by a disembodied electronic voice, followed by elevator music (on a loop) that's been selected by a tone-deaf, musically-illiterate committee.

The boring "musical interlude" is occasionally interrupted by an announcement, "Our operators are still busy answering other calls and will be with you shortly".

Define shortly!

Finally, three ring tones are heard. A new disembodied voice directs the now attentive you to "press one for X", "press two for Y" or "press three for Z".

But there's a problem; none of the offered "selections" addresses your specific issue.

What to do, what to do?

Since you're now deep into their electronic maze you take a daring leap of faith and press three.

The "press three" line rings four times. Five seconds pass as you listen to "total silence". Then a dial tone buzzes in your ear.

Disconnected? After patiently waiting this long? Can't be, can it? What the hell is going on?

That's when it dawns on you. You've just been given the "Italian Salute" electronically by a machine, courtesy of technological innovation. You've been blown-off by an uncaring giant corporation or worse, by a taxpayer funded government agency that calls itself "Service Canada". Service???

You have come face to face with REALITY, theirs.

That solemn "declaration" (repeated ad nauseam) is nothing more than 100% pure, unadulterated BULLSHIT!

The old touchstone-standard that used to be 'priority one 'CUSTOMER/CLIENT SERVICE', has gone the way of the Dodo bird, sacrificed on the altar of technological innovation and corporate greed.

Monsieur Ronald, a question please. Why are you so riled up about this?

Because, dear reader, since the end of March, Monsieur Ronald, has been dealing with the affairs of an estate as Executor. Carrying out the many responsibilities that the Executor job entails includes contacting several companies and government agencies. Turns out most of their phone and online systems SUCK (translation: they are neither efficient, effective or timely).

Something as simple as trying to inform a "real human person" that actually works there, of the passing of my sister-in-law, became an exercise in exponential frustration. What should (logically?) take no more than 15 to 30 minutes, took hours and days.

Applying technology to areas better served by real people has made customer "service" worse.

The cause: The number of Canadian based personnel dealing with customer service (who are/were better paid) have been replaced in favour of outsourcing these jobs to lower paid countries.

And now a quirk of fate story: Younger generations may find it hard to believe that in "ancient times"...Yesterday, when I was young...

The milk-man, bread-man, and ice-man delivered directly to our homes, using a horse-drawn wagon (environmentally conscious by today's standards, what?).

The (family)doctor came to our homes when you were sick.

The local grocer allowed poor families to "run a tab", paying him when they could.

Shopping at major department stores (e.g. Eaton's, Hudson's Bay) was where you received good service from salespeople.

Since "Ancient Times" (a.k.a., "Yesterday, when I was young") a multitude of technological innovations and advances has made life better.

However, some simple basic things are not better.

For example:

Finding a salesperson to serve you (even to take your money) is a challenge.

A million British Columbian's (1 in 5) have no family doctor.

5.2 million Canadians don't have a regular health provider.

Social media has made us less knowledgeable, less trusting and more afraid.

Something to ponder: Wouldn't it make the collective 'us' happier and less stressed, if the collective 'we' insisted that the collective 'they' paused and took the time to consider the possible 'unintended consequences' of their innovations before assuming technology will magically make everything better?

I believe there are some simple things from my 'Yesterday, when I was young' that are worth preserving.

                                                 B) A Distinction without a Difference

NATO (correctly) continues to supply Ukraine with arms, training, medical supplies and other support.

Who, in what's left of the democratic world, still believes Putin's campaign of mass murder and atrocities will soon end...until and unless NATO decides to put boots on the ground and fighter planes in the air?

Fact: 'Vlad the Invader' will not be deterred unless "removed" by his own people.

His threats of nuclear war "unless NATO backs off now" is only delaying the critical decision NATO will eventually have to make.

What purpose will waiting serve? Because like Hitler in the late 1930's, the mad Russian dictator will not be satisfied with only taking another little piece of Ukraine's sovereign territory, he wants it all and won't stop there.

It's now time to confront the madman.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

 THERE'S A SENSE THE WORLD IS COMING UNGLUED (posted March16, 2022

Dear Reader - Be forewarned - Monsieur Ronald is in a grumpy mood (i.e. seriously pissed off), frustrated and angry as he writes this.

The reasons:

a) Lost one precious hour of sleep this week because of the dreaded switch to Daylight Saving Time.

b) The current state of the world along with having to accept that me/'we' can't do anything about it.

c) It's Income Tax time when the Sheriff of Nottingham's CRA comes to pick our pockets clean.

d) Another so-called 'Trucker Convoy protest' rolled into downtown Victoria this week. The usual 'mandate-refuseniks' and 'the rules don't apply to us crowd' bent on hell-raising. The leader threatens to occupy the area around the B.C. Legislature for the next three months. Oh joy, just in time for the start of the much needed tourist season.

                                                               PART A - THE EPITOME OF EVIL

The world watches on television...

A man sits alone at an ornate table in a Moscow palace, in apparent self-isolation.

His icy stare is aimed directly at a collection of men sitting awkwardly (at attention) in a semicircle, several metres away.

Facial expressions betray fear and foreboding...fear that their ruthless leader has lost it...gone mad.

He drones on about injustices perpetrated upon the nation by enemies real and imagined, and of his grand plan to restore the motherland to its former geographic size, glory and respect.

He demands each of them (in turn) stand at a microphone in the middle of the room and pledge an oath...to commit mass murder upon the inhabitants of a neighbouring sovereign country.

He threatens to unleash nuclear war on anyone trying to stop him. A replay of what another madman did in 1938-39, which led to WWII.

The difference is, this madman has 5,977 nuclear warheads and, if cornered, will use them.

As the daily carnage continues (into its fourth week), an unlikely Churchillian-like figure (ironically, not a seasoned politician, rather a popular television performer) has emerged to demonstrate a unique style of leadership not seen in the 21st century.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, using his effective communication skills, personal courage and bravery, has managed to rally his nation to take on and stymie a superior Russian military force, thereby allowing three million (mostly women and children) time to escape across friendly borders.

His commitment "We will never surrender" and the strong defence his troops have mounted (so far) has stunned the Kremlin.

The U.N. "debating society" remains impotent to act effectively in these circumstances.

Should/will NATO intervene, inside the borders of the Ukraine, and risk WWIII?

Or will NATO wait until the madman invades another country in his master-plan that mirror's what another lying-madman did in 1939?

Morally, can NATO continue to hold back its forces while Putin's military might and paid mercenaries commit mass murder and war crimes?

If NATO doesn't move to stop the blood bath, how can it remain a credible deterrent in the eyes of other adversaries like China, North Korea, Iran or Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump and his Republican zealots?

                                                       PART B - APROPOS OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

Benjamin Franklin, during his time as an American envoy to France (1776-1785), published the proverb "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". He suggested (in 1784) that Parisians could economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight.

Then in 1895, New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, proposed modern Daylight Saving Time (a two-hour daylight saving time shift) to give him two more hours following his work shift to collect his beloved insects.

And then along came an English builder, outdoorsman and avid golfer who disliked having to cut short his round at dusk, William Willet. Willie is credited for conceiving the one-hour DST concept in 1905. He managed to persuade a Liberal member of the British parliament, Robert Pearce to introduce the first Daylight Saving Time Bill in the House of Commons on February 12, 1908.

However, Pearce's Bill died on the Order Paper.

Debates for and against raged on until (of all places) Port Arthur, Ontario, became the first city on the planet to enact Daylight Saving Time, on July 1, 1908. (The dastardly perpetrators of this deed are unmasked right here for your edification).

Port Arthur's first step down that slippery slope was followed by variations of DST being adopted (or not) in various parts of the world.

Canadian dairy farmers vociferously opposed DST because they know cows have to be milked at the same time every morning. And, as farmers are prone to do, they tend to ignore changes, especially those proposed by politicians.

Ever since that small city in Canada (and other jurisdictions) first adopted Daylight Saving Time, inconsistency, confusion, controversy, debates, research, reports and polls concerning the advantages and disadvantages dragged on and on. Some have suggested DST is the real reason Port Arthur changed its name to Thunder Bay in 1970.

And again, for the umpteenth time, on March 13, 2022 Canadians dutifully rolled clocks ahead one hour. Sleep deprived citizens having lost another precious hour of sleep time remain grumpy (for days) just like Monsieur Ronald.

Finally, a ray of (common sense) sunshine appears on the horizon. On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed legislation (The Sunshine Protection Act) that will make Daylight Saving Time permanent beginning in 2023, ending the dreaded twice-annual changing of the clocks.

It's assumed Canada will follow suit. Regardless, 93% of B.C. is in favour and will change with the U.S..

It's anticipated the so-called Truck Convoy protesters and their followers will claim credit for initiating the welcomed change.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#249 ATTRACTING ATTENTION IN A CROWDED SPACE (posted Feb. 23, 2022)

                                                     "LOOK AT ME. LOOK AT ME".

Toddlers learn quickly that if they create a scene they can end up getting what they want.

Some grow up to become attention-seeking adults.

A few become "Narcissists" believing they are better than anyone else with the most important things to say...think Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump.

The fastest way to stop an attention-seeker is to show no interest. They will not bother continuing if no one is paying them the attention they are craving.

Events and causes also compete for attention.

Recent examples: The 'Beijing Bubble Olympics', Vlad the Invaders perilous 'Ukrainian Fandango' (dutifully and enthusiastically supported by Trump), and the self-described 'Trucker Freedom Convoy'.

Fact: Most Americans know little about nor pay much attention to their northern neighbours. More to the point, they don't much care about anything that happens beyond their own borders.

As the 'Trucker Freedom Convoy' rolled toward Ottawa gathering up more frustrated/angry "protesters", suddenly the American mainstream, cable and social media platforms, paid attention to what they perceived as "Canada's version of their January 6th insurrection.

A now "familiar" gaggle of "usual suspects" materialized in the mob; vaccine-mandate-refuseniks, anarchists, conspiracy theorists, seditionists, racists, religious zealots, white supremacists + a sprinkling of like-minded "ordinary-folk" that somehow managed to very quickly block borders, disrupt traffic, commercial trade, and occupy the centre of the nation's capital...to the shock, horror and surprise of law abiding Canadians.

Political leaders were caught completely flatfooted and unprepared. WHY?

Municipal, provincial and federal leaders all looked to another level of government to do something to stop the chaos.

Nobody in authority had the gonads to take the lead, allowing mobs to hold areas of the country hostage.

It took three weeks for the minority Liberal government to (finally) enact the Emergency Act giving authorization to a coordinated police force to deal with the crisis.

The police handled the task quickly and effectively.

The Act was formalized by a vote in the House of Commons on Monday. Liberals, NDP and Greens voted in favour. Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois voted against.

During the long debate that preceded the vote, many resorted to form; shouting, reading speeches prepared by others and pointing fingers at who to blame for the damage to the economy, the cost and the country's reputation.

A question for those who voted against the Emergency Act: By voting against the Act you chose to support the Freedom Convoy leaders' principal objective...ANARCHY. Are you cognizant that ANARCHY is the absence of government. A state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of government authority.

SHAME ON YOU.

         Under the heading - VINO ET VERITAS - IN WINE TRUTH...which means a person is more truthful when inebriated.

                                                        You couldn't make this up...

A staunch Conservative party hack and "Honourable" Senator (from Nova Scotia) who toils in our comically named "House of Sober Second Thought" (aka The exclusive 'Mad Hatter's Club' where camembert is always warm and the crackers are never broken) was captured on camera last Saturday night. The "Honourable" was standing right in the middle of the 'Red Zone' melee in downtown Ottawa...BLASTED.

He chose his 15 minutes of infamy to give voice to his enthusiastic support of the mob; let loose a couple of choice F-BOMBS and GD's while insulting the women of Canada (including his wife) by calling them "Karens". He finished his "speech" by thanking the "protesters" for coming, recommending they not leave Ottawa, and proclaiming the citizens of Ottawa to be rich and lazy.

Worth noting the "Honourable" Senator (who along with other appointed Club members dine at the public trough) make a "miserly" annual salary of $160, 800, plus pension and benefits.

Monday, he delivered a "humble" apology (where else) in the chamber of 'The House of Sober Second Thought', without either offering to resign or contribute towards the damage his mob caused.

The "Honourable" Senator will collect a generous pension in nine years, at age 75.

SHAME ON YOU.

                                                 WHO STANDS TO GAIN FROM THIS IMBROGLIO?

Monsieur Ronald suggests it will likely be, Pierre Marcel Poilievre, Right Wing Conservative and leadership aspirant with a reputation as Canada's Jim Jordan, the American Mouth that Roars and devoted Trump loyalist.

                                          AND NOW SOME WORDS OF WISDOM FROM MARK TWAIN

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." 

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason."

"Few things are more irritating than when someone who is wrong is also very effective in making his point."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#248 CITIUS - ALTIUS - FORTIUS + BUBBLEUS (posted Feb. 3, 2022)

February 1: Begins the Lunar New Year - also known as the Chinese New Year - the Year of the Tiger.

In Chinese culture, the tiger is the symbol of bravery, wisdom and strength.

February 4: Begins the XXIV Winter Olympic Games, courtesy of Host Big Brother Xi and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Big Brother Xi is a ruthless dictator and a paranoid control freak. 

The IOC is a multi-billion dollar "BUSINESS" prone to scandal and bribery. Some of their members are so adept at the 'sweetheart deal' and 'kickback/payback' transaction game, they could teach the Mafia a master class on the economics of corruption.

Big Brother Xi and the IOC joined together in 2015 in a classic "Devil's bargain"; to entertain the masses with the greatest Circus Maximus on the planet, to keep us all distracted from the skulduggery afoot.

Monsieur Ronald wonders, are you among those who have been "excitedly" waiting (with bated breath) for the Beijing Bubble-Games to begin?

The most restrictive Games in Olympic history. Big Brother Xi's personal brand of Olympic competition; No cheering, No clapping, No hugging, No yelling, No nothing, and absolutely without exception, NO FUN!

The entire Games are sealed in a "closed loop system" - a bubble completely cut off from the rest of the city; including a no-contact order even with the sparse number of "officially authorized" venue spectators.

This degree of "confinement" requires pervasive surveillance and rigorous government enforcement by an army of security personnel; Big Brother Xi's secret police.

Participants will be confined to the "closed loop" from the moment they touch down until they fly out. Throughout their stay, they will compete, work, eat and sleep without making any contact with the wider Chinese population.

The Chinese government has decreed the use of an app called MY2022, required by all foreign attendees of the Beijing Olympics.

For international users, MY2022 collects personal identifiable information, including users' demographic information and passport information as well as the organization to which they belong.

The app is required for anyone entering Olympic facilities "to monitor their health", every day.

Foreign attendees have been advised to leave their electronic devices at home and to use "Burner Phones" (temporary disposable devices) due to cybersecurity concerns conducted by Brother Xi's secret police.

Attendees should assume that every text, email, online visit, and application access can be monitored or compromised. There should be no expectation of data security or privacy while operating in China.

Just in case you are unaware and/or (possibly) couldn't care less, new competitive events will debut at these Games:

Women's monobob

Men and Women's big air skiing

Mixed team relay in short track speedskating

Mixed team ski jumping

Mixed team snowboard cross

Freestyle skiing mixed team aerials...

EXCITED now?

                    AND ON THE HOME FRONT, A SLICE OF IRONY - OR - THAT DIDN'T QUITE WORK OUT AS PLANNED

While a mob of vaccine-refuseniks raise hell in the nation's capital, demanding the PM resign unless he acquiesces to their irrational demands, and after Erin O'Toole met the refuseniks (for another photo op), Conservative caucus members held a 'secret' vote forcing the resignation of their leader (Erin O'Toole). Et tu Brute? Go figure.

While his son, Justin of Sunny Ways, (correctly) refuses to meet the rabble rousers, but otherwise takes no action to stop their hell raising, Monsieur Ronald posits - if Trudeau the elder (the late "Just watch me" PM) was in charge, he undoubtedly would have handled the situation promptly and likely with troops and tanks.

2022 has started out as a witches brew of toil and trouble. A time of great peril and risk when the absurd becomes real and the horrible becomes commonplace.

Three worrisome examples:

1) Dictator for life 'Vlad the Invader' may likely hold his 125,000 troops back from invading the Ukraine and starting another war, until his pal 'Big Brother Xi's" Olympic Circus Maximus is concluded and all the foreigners go home.

2) Dictator for life 'Kim the Missile Lobber' has launched six ballistic missiles in four "weapons tests" since January 5th.

3) Former democratically elected and democratically deposed, Emperor Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump, now residing in exile at his Mara-Lago palace, continues to recruit more and more rabid cultists to aid and abet his goal of returning to the White House and declaring himself dictator for life.

                                                FOUR PERSPECTIVES ON THE SAME EVENT

A Pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An Optimist sees a light at the end of the tunnel

A Realist sees a freight train

The Train driver sees three idiots standing on the tracks.

And remember, regardless of those groundhog predictions, keep on smiling because Spring is just over the horizon.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#247 WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS...(FILL IN THE BLANK) (posted Jan. 13, 2022)

1) In their time, these two American artists opted for...LOVE.

In 1962, Burt Bacharach composed a simple piece of music. He was collaborating with lyricist, Hal David who was stymied and could not finish the lyric for another two years. The subtext of the words was the controversy and disagreements among Americans about the quagmire of the Vietnam War. The song was finally released in 1965 and became an immediate hit (#1 in Canada) to the surprise of its creators.

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love

 It's the only thing that there's just too little of

 What the world need now is love, sweet love

 Not just for some, but for everyone..."

Words that were right for the time.

A bit of Canadian trivia: Burt Bacharach studied music at McGill, in Montreal, and received a Bachelor of Music in 1948.

2) In his time, the man historians consider "the greatest statesman of the 20th century" opted for...PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE.

In the Fall of 1942 (the third year of WWII), the Allies (finally) achieved their first victory of the war.

At El Alamein (in Egypt), British General Bernard Montgomery's forces defeated the Axis forces under the command of German General Erwin Rommel (the Desert Fox).


Following the battle, Winston Churchill declared that the victory at El Alamein marked "Not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but, the end of the beginning."

His famous speech celebrated the victory but also signalled that much more pain and sacrifice will happen before this war was over.

3) In his time, this literary English language genius opted for a (Hobson's) choice...GRIN and BEAR IT or TAKE UP ARMS.

Sometime between 1599 and 1601 William Shakespeare wrote 'The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'. Hamlet is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature.

"To be or not to be? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them."

Powerful words that resonate today.

                                                          ...AND NOW 'OUR' TIMES

'We' live in a time when BULLSHIT baffles BRAINS. A time best described as CRAZY!

The world staggers under the weight of a sea of troubles.

Pick your favourite: The Pandemic, vaccine-refuseniks, climate change, threatened democracies, misinformation, conspiracy theories, mistrust, rumours, lies, divisiveness, the Trump cult, dictators running amok, etc..

Feeding most of the BULLSHIT into this caldron of trouble is the most amazing technological innovation of the last century - THE INTERNET. Unregulated "social media" platforms ride the internet using algorithms and artificial intelligence to influence and manipulate humanity.

Yet, countless millions continue to voluntarily feed the unregulated platforms with a steady stream of information about everything they do; without considering:

a) Where their personal information is ending up.

b) Appreciating the social media companies use the information to develop detailed/sophisticated profiles of their "volunteers" that are sold to anyone willing to pay.

c) Understanding their photo ends up on facial-recognition databases.

Why aren't more curious and concerned about this legalized theft?

Do they not wonder how GOOGLE knows they were shopping online yesterday, and why suddenly, their Facebook page is loaded with ads directly related to that activity? Or how NETFLIX knows what entertainment they like?

That regularly feeding your personal information means these companies (and those they sell your information to) know you better than you know yourself.

Some interesting/worrisome trends:

86% of American adults get their news from a smart phone, computer or tablet.

US Newsrooms cut 883 jobs in 2021.

44% of Canadians use mainly online media to access news.

10,000 Canadian Newsroom jobs have been lost in the past five years. (source Canadian Media Guild)

This trend is giving the social media platforms more opportunity to spread more BULLSHIT and sell it as NEWS.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

Some believe the world is slowly (like a melting iceberg) drifting into a dystopian place imagined by George Orwell in his book 1984; totalitarianism, mass surveillance and repressive regimentation of people and behaviours within society.

On January 12, 2022, Justin Trudeau, appearing on national television, encapsulated how we all feel about the current state of affairs, with two words "THIS SUCKS!"

In "the good old days" (the Middle Ages), they celebrated the end of the plague with wine and orgies.

Monsieur Ronald sure as hell hopes someone is planning something really great and spectacular when this one ends.

And to end this heavy epistle, here's a nutritional tip for anyone attempting to shed some ounces following the holidays.

"By replacing your potato chips with grapefruit as a snack, you can lose 90% of what little joy you still have left in your life."

 Amen to that and to borrow a line from the late, great Jimmy Durante "Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#246 LEFTOVERS FROM ANOTHER TURKEY OF A YEAR (posted December 25, 2021)

It's difficult trying to find something "uplifting" to write about to end this..."turkey of a year".

                                                      PART ONE - BEWILDERED

For the better part of two years, life's routine has been turned upside down as the world reacts to a virus and its bedevilling, unpredictable variants.

Most of us who live in 'The Great White North' have dutifully tried to follow the ever-changing smorgasbord of rules, instructions and guidelines emanating from separate Canadian health jurisdictions.

Federal, provincial and territorial authorities compete for our attention using daily press conferences, but push differing messages.

As a result, the populace is kept off balance trying to decipher which of the many messages to follow. More specifically, asking the authorities the question "WHO's on First?" (pun intended). A reference to the Abbot and Costello classic sketch about baseball and semantic confusion that mirrors today's jurisdictional confusion. You can enjoy it on YouTube.

Lineups to enter entertainment venues seeking relief have been replaced by long lineups to access COVID injection sites and test centres.

Is it any wonder folks are STRESSED and FRUSTRATED? Is anyone surprised records are being broken for the sale of alcohol and drugs?

Is our health system now so politicized and fractured across 13 jurisdictions that establishing a centralized national messaging authority to bring order and clarity related to COVID-19 protocols (and future pandemics) is an impossible challenge...beyond the competence and maturity of our leaders?

Before we turn into a nation of alcoholics and drug addicts, consider another time-tested stress reliever...LAUGHTER; the fun one that doesn't leave you with a hangover in the morning.

Whether you're guffawing at a sitcom or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon or listening to a favourite comedian rant about life, laughing/chuckling/smiling...does us good.

Laughter is the quick pick-me-up and has long term benefits. It improves your immune system, relieves pain and improves your mood. Getting those endorphins percolating triggers happiness and keeps you young.

As a 'laugh-appetizer' and to start your therapy, Monsieur Ronald recommends screening (on YouTube) the 1976 Dean Martin Roast, hosted by the one and only Don Rickles and an all-star cast of really funny people.

                                                    PART TWO - GOODBYE 2021, HELLO 2022

It is human nature always to find fresh cause for optimism - "HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL"

At this time of year; pundits, prognosticators, crystal-ball-gazers, horoscope-writers and seers, predict events of the year to come.

The most famous prognosticator of them all, French astrologer, physician and reputed seer, Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) - otherwise better known by his Latin name "Nostradamus". Skip his prediction for 2022, it's a real downer.

Time for a couple of chuckles...

1) Horoscope joke

Husband - "I always read my wife's horoscope to see what kind of a day I am going to have."

2) Crystal Ball Gazer joke

Donald Trump visits a fortune teller.

The teller read his palm, flipped her tarot cards, and stared into her crystal ball with a pensive look on her face.

"What are you looking at" Donald asked nervously."

"I have seen your future Mr. Trump and I can tell you that you will die on a holiday in New York."

"How do you know that?" Trump reacted angrily.

The fortune teller sat quietly for a moment before slowly turning her eyes to meet his.

"You see Mr. Trump, any day you die will be a holiday in New York."

Question du Jour

Do you consider yourself to be a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person? The type you identify with can determine whether you tend to be optimistic or pessimistic about 2022.

George Bernard Shaw opined "Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane - the pessimist the parachute."

Some good news for the optimists out there.

You should be happy to learn (according to a December IPSOS poll), 77% of adults across 33 countries are optimistic that 2022 will be a better year (for them) than 2021. 

Also worth pondering before you classify yourself: The way some folks decide depends on their "perspective", i.e. which end of the telescope they peer into to view what's ahead on their pathway of life.

For example: By looking through one end of the James Webb Space Telescope (launched on this Christmas Day), a person will be able to see farther into the universe than humans have ever seen. They will be able to look back more than 13.5 billion years in time, and see the faint infrared light from the very first galaxies.

But if they were to look through the other end, planet earth will not even appear...as if, it and we, do not even exist in the here and now. Which provides (we) mortal earthlings with a sobering perspective on our perceived importance of where we fit in.

In the vastness of the cosmos, we don't make much of an impression...in fact, no impression at all.

Albert Einstein opined "Out yonder there is a huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. To me the contemplation of this world beckoned like a liberation."

Carl Sagan opined "Even through your hardest days, remember we are all made of stardust."

                                               PART THREE - THIS NEEDS FIXING IN 2022

Fact: Canadian cable/internet/telecom bills are notoriously among the most expensive in the world.

Why?

Did you know while customers are being gouged, CEO's of the Canadian monopolies that control the industry receive outrageous annual compensation packages?

Three examples

1) Shaw Communications CEO, Brad Shaw saw his pay increase from $6.87 million in 2020 to $11.94 million in 2021. Shaw is in the process of being sold to Rogers for $26 billion.

2) Rogers Communications CEO, Joe Natale, received $11,704,000 in 2020. In December of 2021 Natale was ousted, the result of a family feud over control of Rogers. Joe exited the building with a (miserly) severance package...up to $200 million. He'll be joining the food bank lineup soon.

3) Telus CEO, Darren Entwistle, pocketed $12,920,900 in 2021 to lead the trio.

Did any of these monopolies accept government COVID related handouts?

Despite constant complaints from thousands of customers about fees and poor service, why has the federal government and their toothless watchdog (the CRTC) refused to stop the gouging?

Ask your MP...WHY?

                                                      AND NOW TO LEAVE YOU...SMILING

This note was found in the cookies and milk plate on Christmas morning...

"Dear Santa,

Even though I know the truth, I want you to know how much I enjoyed believing in you for the past 10 1/2 years.

Love,

Annie xo"

At 6:00 a.m. on this 85th Christmas morning gazing out of the living room window to be greeted by the perfect image for this day. Overnight Mother Nature had deposited a skiff of white snow over beautiful Brentwood Bay. The scene she created was worthy of a Robert Bateman painting and convinced monsieur Ronald that his glass is indeed, half full.

FROM THE SOUTHERN TIP OF VANCOUVER ISLAND, A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HERE'S TO A BETTER, HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER NEW YEAR FOR ALL.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#245 SEASONAL SCRIBBLINGS ABOUT "IMAGINATION" (posted December 4, 2021)

                                                      A CHRISTMAS TALE...about St.Nicholas

Let's begin with something we all know is true: SANTA IS REAL!

There are historical records about Saint Nick (The Wonderworker) going all the way back to the 3rd century.

And anyone who has seen 'Miracle on 34th Street' understands the following:

The fact that the postal service delivers letters to the North Pole proves that the federal government recognizes a Santa Claus!

And in that movie it was proven in a court of law! (If you haven't seen it yet please do, it's a Christmas classic)

But we also know, as kids get older they begin to ask questions about Santa and how his magic really works.

Somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10 most children begin to wonder whether Santa is real. (Oh, Oh)

We adults started the story, and it's our job as adults to finish the story.

It's time to let them in on one (of many) 'grown-up secrets'...and gently help them begin to lose the version of Santa they knew.

Let's end this tale with something we all know is true even if we are too old to believe in the red-suited man handing out gifts all night: Talking about the spirit of Santa - generosity, kindness, happiness - that can help keep the magic alive, no matter our age.

Christmas is about helping others less fortunate than ourselves and that's how we keep the spirit of Santa real.

                                                                A GENTLE SEQUE: HO, HO, HO...OH NO!


Among the many unexpected and consequential surprises of the ongoing pandemic...

BING: HEADLINE 'Globe and Mail' - Canada is facing a major labour shortage! 

BANG: HEADLINE 'The North Pole Gazette' - Enrolment at Santa schools is down!

BOOM: HEADLINE 'Victoria Times Colonist' - Yes, Virginia, there's a real Santa shortage.

Demand for appearances by Santa Claus at parades, parties and other events has skyrocketed this holiday season, while (horrors) the number of trained and available Santas has gone down. (South?)

Companies that provide Santas are scrambling to meet the demand for gigs that pay from $25 per hour to work online from home, to $100 per hour to appear at private parties...and you don't even need a real bushy white beard.

For those seeking part time seasonal work what follows is a typical (2021) Canadian 'Santa School' ad...

                                                 IMAGINE THIS TERRIFIC AND TIMELY JOB OPPORTUNITY...

1) WE SUPPLY EVERYTHING required to transform you into character,

2) WE PAY YOU to create the Santa magic,

3) YOU BRING JOY to children of all ages,

4) And a full Santa costume (including a bushy white beard) is provided.

How could any self-respecting potentially-employable Kris Kringle wanting to begin a show-biz career possibly resist this come on?

                                       A few factoids (from hiresanta.com) about "professionally trained" American Santas...

The average working Santa is in his mid-60's and weighs 248 pounds.

335 jolly American fat guys 'departed' (for the North Pole?) in 2021. Sorry, Virginia, sadly fat Donald wasn't one of them.

A number of trained Santas decided to sit out during the ongoing pandemic. They were (apparently) fearful of being exposed to hundreds of "germy" children.

And, Virginia, despite all, here on the western edge of The Great White North, in the capital city of British Columbia, last Saturday night (during another atmospheric river of rain) jolly old St. Nick himself made his first appearance in the annual Victoria Christmas parade...signalling the start of the holiday season 2021 and a much needed respite.

                                                                        IMAGINING THE FUTURE

When my generation were kids, our imagination was stirred by reading comic books, listening to dramas and plays with spectacular sound effects on CBC/Radio Canada and watching serials of superheroes at the local movie house.

Fantastic stories and tales from the imagination of gifted writers that kept us on the edge of our seats week after week, that provided an escape from the Great Depression and World War Two.

Amazingly, much of what the writers imagined about the future has come to pass.

                                                                  CURIOUS ABOUT THE FUTURE?

Monsieur Ronald recommends reading 'Homo Deus' - A brief history of tomorrow - by Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, Ph.D in history from the University of Oxford.

It will shock and entertain, but will not disappoint those who think about the future.

                                                                         QUOTES DU JOUR

"The dot-com boom was crazier on the valuations...but overall, I consider this era even crazier than the dot-com era."                         - Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger (97 years young) speaking at a conference in Australia.

"I prefer liquor store robbers with hungry kids to companies that locate offshore to avoid taxes." - Warren Buffett

"I believe it is wrong that rich people, like myself, could pay less in federal taxes, as a portion of income, than the middle class."       - Warren Buffett (91 years young), American business magnate, investor, philanthropist; chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett have been friends for over 60 years and business partners since 1978. During that time they've both become billionaires while building Berkshire Hathaway into a $630 billion (USD) investment giant.

In 2006, Buffett announced he would give 83% of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, making it the largest charitable donation in history.

                                                  AND NOW SOMETHING ELSE TO KEEP YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT

Fat Donnie's, (a.k.a., Emperor 'Crazy Pants') mentor, Vlad the Invader, is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand East, as his troops mass at the Ukraine border in preparation for...Christmas? or something much more sinister?

                                                                                  WISDOM

"There's no such thing as a grouchy old person.

Truth is, once you get old, you stop being polite and start being honest."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#244 PLAN? WHAT PLAN? (posted Nov. 22, 2021)

                   "THE FIRST PRIORITY OF GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF ITS CITIZENS"

As a compromise, the 200 countries attending COP26 in Glasgow finally agreed to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius "as a goal to reach", by 2030.

Some consider that progress.

But those of us who live in "Beautiful British Columbia" (as advertised on our vehicle licence plates) are now firmly convinced that waiting until 2030 is...BEYOND not good enough.

But Monsieur Ronald, why the sudden expression of concern, 2030 is a mere eight years away?

Mon Amis la raison is because B.C. suffered a fourth weather disaster that can only be described as the final 'Coup de Grace', providing sufficient evidence to convince even the most ardent climate change denier.

Last week's unprecedented 'atmospheric river of rain', following abnormally high rainfall since the end of September, hit the provinces southwest mainland and Vancouver Island, flooding homes, hospitals, schools, farms, infrastructure grids, damaging roads, highways, bridges, railways, displacing thousands and cutting us off from the rest of the country.

The Trans Canada Pipeline shut down and choked off fuel supplies. Essential supplies to communities are cut off from regular supply chains creating rationing and hoarding.

Recovery will take months and billions of tax dollars.

The province's fragility in the face of Mother Nature's wrath was fully exposed by the three preceding weather bombs earlier this year; the killer summer heat dome, the extreme prolonged drought and 1,600 fires burning 8,700 square kilometres of land including the entire village of Lytton.

It appears our beautiful province has been randomly chosen by Mother Nature to be Canada's 'canary in the coal mine'.

For those much younger than Monsieur Ronald, the term 'canary in the coal mine' refers to a person or thing which serves as an early warning of a coming crisis; a wake-up call.

Miners' canaries were once routinely used in coal mining as an early warning system. When canaries were singing, everyone knew the environment was safe. When the singing stopped, it was time to "get the hell out, pronto".

West Coasters already live in a danger zone called 'The Pacific Ring of Fire'. It's the region around much of the rim of the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur that is 40,000 km long and 500 km wide.

Therefore, lurking in the subconscious of all who live along the 'Ring of Fire' is the knowledge that at any time 'The BIG ONE' could occur.

The last destructive earthquake happened on January 27, 1700. Experts constantly remind us a 7.8 magnitude (or higher) quake striking here is overdue. Their main message "Everyone must prepare accordingly".

Consequently, logic and common sense would dictate that given all the forewarnings by experts, our government(s) would have, at the ready, a coordinated emergency plan to deal with the impending 'BIG ONE' that could also serve any similar catastrophe i.e. like last weekends 'river of rain'.

But alas and alack, it turns out those who are elected to serve us somehow don't (appear to) have one.

What took place before and after last weekend's (ongoing) disaster, finds the/our "responsible government(s)" apparently taken by surprise by not only the seriousness, but the extent of impact of the forecasted 'atmospheric river of rain',...that turned out to be the fourth climate weather-bomb in a row this year. Enough already!

Ergo, those responsible have been (either) publicly exposed or caught red-handed without a plan, any plan to protect the safety and security of its citizens. Either way 'they' have abrogated their number one responsibility and that's unacceptable.

What kind of government(s) leaves its citizens safety and security to chance...unprotected?

The question to ask your elected representative now is...WHY? AND, WHERE'S THE EMERGENCY PLAN?

                                                                         Chuckle du Jour

A skeptic went to visit a psychic.

He knocked on her front door and she yelled "Who is it?"

So he left.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#243 SLIP SLIDIN' DOWN THE PATH TO PERDITION (posted Nov. 5, 2021)

"Perdition" began life as a word meaning "utter destruction".

"Perdition" was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Anglo-French "perdiciun" and ultimately derives from the Latin verb "perdure", meaning "to destroy".

All empires and emperors think they're special; but all empires eventually come to an end.

This bit of trivia may come as a surprise...

The late Lieutenant-General, Sir John Bagot Glubb (1897-1986), a.k.a. 'Glubb Pasha', British soldier, scholar and author, examined the life cycles of empires (since 859 B.C.) - Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, Arab, Mameluke, Ottoman, Spain, Romanov Russia, and Britain.

What he discovered was they lasted (on average) a mere 250 years...or ten generations.

The reality: Empires always die, often slowly but overwhelmingly from overreaching in the search for power.

Worth noting: The America of 1776, will reach its 250th year in 2026.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, everything about the 'American Empire' points to its inevitable downfall.

                                                             Food for thought...

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing -

 When you see that money is flowing to them who deal, not in goods, but in favours -

 When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect   them against you -

 When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice -

 You may know your society is doomed."   Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

Ripped from the headlines under the category: "Shit happens", "Murphy's law" (anything that can go wrong will go wrong) and "Very scary merde", three of the biggies...

Biggie Un) Presented at COP26, the latest report of researchers from 70 institutions on five continents: The world will burn through its "carbon budget" in 11 years without big emission cuts.

Hopefully, another effective way of explaining and scaring world leaders into immediate action: "The amount of CO2 humanity can emit (in the next 11 years) before the earth will warm MORE than 1.5 degree Celsius.

Biggie Deux) As of 2019: There are (approx.) 3,730 active nuclear warheads and 13,890 total nuclear warheads in the world. Many of the decommissioned weapons were simply stored or partially dismantled, not destroyed.

Nine countries possess nuclear weapons: Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. Russia has 6,255 warheads, the U.S. 5,550 and China will have 1000 by 2030.

Biggie Trois) The comeback of Emperor 'Crazy Pants'; Evangelical Christians, QAnon crazies and millions of other rabid followers are deftly devising the return of the one and only self-professed "cognitively-there" former president whom they call 'The Saviour'.

Regardless of the fact: 'The Saviour', lost the popular vote in two consecutive presidential elections, was impeached twice, openly incited a mob to invade and attack Congress on January 6, 2021, to overturn a national election result, and is facing more criminal and civil jeopardy than Richard Nixon, he remains the massive front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Regardless of the fact: In a 2011 speech, Donald Trump, explained his single top rule in life is "Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times harder. And I really believe that!".

Regardless of the fact: His primary 'revenge-targets' once elected will be American law and American democracy.

With the Democrats fighting amongst themselves (about the policy priorities of the Biden administration) will Americans decide, in their frustration and division, to elect as their 47th president, a vengeful and (today) a significantly more "experienced" and therefore more dangerous 'dictator' to rule over them? Remember the Republic will be 250-years-old in 2026.

NB: This would mean the latter half of this decade will be ruled by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Four ruthless dictators; Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-Un and Donald 'Crazy Pants' Trump.

Select (either) 'biggie' #one, 'biggie' #two or 'biggie' #three: Is anyone prepared for the malicious destructiveness of what is to come?

Some Mark Twain wisdom to lighten the mood...

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

"A lie can travel half way around the world while truth is putting on its shoes."

"God created war so that Americans would learn geography."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#242 WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK (posted Oct. 23, 2021)

From a famous old English poem (1797) "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The author effectively employs 'Irony', in this poetic tale about the final survivor on a ship who is surrounded by an ocean of water he couldn't drink.

Never read it? Look it up, it's a great read.

Water, air, food and shelter are essential for human survival.

During a period of rapid climate change impacting humanity, it's worth appreciating 'The Great White North' has in millions of lakes, 20 per cent of the world's stock of fresh water, all inside the borders of the second largest country on the planet.

Think about it this way...we don't need oil, gold, or gems to survive. But without water, humans cannot survive.

Canadians may not always realize how lucky and blessed we are. We 'own' one of the most precious, valued elements of life itself - drinkable water in vast quantities; that potentially can provide incalculable wealth...if our leaders manage it wisely.

But our luck also makes our country of 38 million citizens extremely vulnerable.

Because of our good fortune, our southern neighbours who are suffering extreme drought, especially in their Western States, may soon have to decide (in their own self-interest) to come and take our water...unless our political leaders can find a practical and mutually acceptable way to share this precious resource.

Many wars are all about taking/stealing someone else's resources. Pray tell, should the Americans decide to take/steal 'our' water, how would we stop them?

Therefore, why not be smart and negotiate a mutually satisfactory water trade-deal with the neighbours.

For example: Sell some excess fresh water by exporting it South, using pipelines and ocean going water-tankers and in the process bring in $billions of USD (annually) to help pay for social programs + significantly improve relations with our biggest trade partner and ally.

Wouldn't this be a hell of a lot better for Canadians than what our political leaders are currently doing...giving our water away for 'free' to corporations?

Beginning in 2016, under the 'Water Sustainability Act', corporations are charged $2.25 for every one million litres of water they extract from our lakes.

The Great Government Giveaway: One million litres of our precious fresh water, for $2.25. If that isn't 'free', what is?

The Big Question: Who the hell would agree with the terms and pass such a one-sided Act?

The only plausible Answer: Monsieur Ronald believes it has to be 'someone' who was paid off. Otherwise this Act makes no sense. Nobody in power is that stupid.

The B.C. government's water-deal with a corporation: In 2016, the B.C. government decided to negotiate a deal with the Nestle corporation. Nestle pays B.C. $2.25 for every one million litres of water they extract from British Columbia's groundwater. In other words Nestle pays B.C. .00000225 cents per litre of water and then...

The Big Bait and Switch: The Nestle Corporation puts 'our' water into a litre plastic bottle and sells it back to us at an average cost of $1.50.

The Big Headline: 'Taxpayers screwed by their own government'.

The only apparent "sustainability" created by the 2016 'Water Sustainability Act', is not sustaining water but rather the maintenance of huge corporate profits for the likes of Nestle.

The Big Irony: Today, the average cost of a litre of gasoline across the country is $1.50. Consequently, we complain like hell about being screwed by giant oil companies. Yet, we 'passively' accept paying $1.50 for a litre of bottled water by other giant corporations (like Nestle's) who are screwing us big-time...with 'our own' water. Bizarre.

What are the chances the ridiculously unfair and one-sided 'Water Sustainability Act' will ever be scrapped by our political leaders? Zero. What are the chances a new Act that actually advantages Canadian taxpayers will replace it? Zero.

Why? Did anyone hear even one word about this Act or anything about 'our' water resource during the recent election campaign?

The Greek Philosopher and Polymath Aristotle would call this Act "Reductio ad Absurdum" (Latin for "reduction to absurdity"). A technique used throughout history in mathematical and philosophical reasoning (and practised by governments and corporations) to disprove a statement by showing that it would inevitably lead to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion.

The 'Water Sustainability Act" of 2016, is a classic example of "Reduction to absurdity". At its core is simply a 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' fandango between government and certain corporations and NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

Quote du jour:"All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to remain silent."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#241 DO WHAT 'WE' SAY 'YOU' MUST DO, AND NOT WHAT 'WE' DO (posted Oct. 8, 2021)

In 1716, an English actor and dramatist, Christopher Bullock, uttered the (now familiar) quote "Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes".

Nobody doubts the former while some doubt the latter because...most of you have likely forgotten all about the furor caused by the release of "The Panama Papers", five years ago. The unprecedented leak of millions of documents that showed the myriad ways in which the rich and powerful exploit secretive "offshore" tax regimes.

The outrage demanded reforms by government. Nothing happened.

These people, the real rulers of the planet, are they 'untouchable'?

The primary defence put forward by those who aid and abet the untouchable ruling class is 'there is nothing unlawful about using "offshore" companies to avoid paying taxes. It's only a question of ethics'.

The underlying message for everyone else is 'only the poor and middle class (suckers?) pay taxes. Stop complaining, shut up, accept that's the way it is and learn to live with it'. The real reason nothing changes.

Then along comes the sequel:

October 4, 2021, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries) release "The Pandora Papers". 11.9 million confidential documents with hundreds of names: world leaders, powerful politicians, celebrities, athletes, religious leaders, billionaires, kleptocrats, mobsters, drug traffickers, money launderers - who shield their fortunes from prying eyes, high taxes and law enforcement.

These are the world's elite ruling class; the untouchables.

They park money in trusts, shell companies and holding companies "offshore", established in jurisdictions that typically offer low taxes and a high level of anonymity, such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, the Cayman Islands and a handful of U.S. states, like South Dakota.

South Dakota??? - OFFSHORE??? - wait a minute Monsieur Ronald, surely you jest?

Nope, absolutely no jest...South Dakota!

If you're fed up paying more and more taxes while the 'untouchables' get a pass...you don't even need to look "overseas".

You can hide your assets right next door, at the neighbour's house.

First, there's some important stuff you need to know...

South Dakota has become the world's foremost tax haven - right up there with the Cayman Islands, and ahead of old-fashioned locations like Switzerland.

Like most tax havens, South Dakota has no income tax, no inheritance tax and no capital gains tax. It allows for extreme-secrecy when law enforcement comes knocking, and protects assets from being claimed by creditors, ex-spouses or just about anybody else.

Here's how it works...

1) By setting up a trust, the "settlor" - think some billionaire wanting to keep his assets secure - gives those assets to a trustee in South Dakota to look after. The trustee then invests the assets for a "beneficiary" who is often a direct relative of the settlor. Neither the settlor nor the beneficiary ever needs to set foot in South Dakota or even be able to find it on a map.

2) All three parties - the settlor, the trustee and the beneficiary - can legally claim that the money isn't theirs.

In case you were wondering, South Dakota started carving out its position as the most laissez-faire state for financial services in 1981, when it abolished upper limits for credit card interest rates.

In 1983, South Dakota became the first state to allow perpetual trusts - money that can remain untouchable for centuries, with no one ever paying inheritance tax on it.

Since then, South Dakota has continued to pass laws making its trusts more attractive to the world's ultra-wealthy. It allowed trusts where the settlor and the beneficiary can be the same person. It also sealed all court documents setting up trusts, making it impossible to know, in the absence of Pandora-style leaks, who might have one.

How much money is being hidden in the havens?

Currently South Dakota trust companies hold about $360 billion USD. No one knows for sure how much money is kept in all tax havens "offshore". Estimates by economists range from $5 trillion to $32 trillion USD.

Tax expert, Harvey Bezozi, told the Guardian "South Dakota offers the best privacy and asset protection laws in the U.S. and possibly in the world."

WOW - How many people know what really goes on in quiet little South Dakota?

And what's going on here...in The Great White North?

The Pandora Papers identify (by name) a number of prominent Canadians who have been avoiding paying their fair share of taxes.

Five years ago, when the Panama Papers were released, there was so much public outrage, the government was forced to react.  PM 'Sunny Ways' promised to track down the cheats and make them pay. He even provided CRA with extra funding to hire specialized auditors to get the job done. In the ensuing half-decade, CRA was unable to uncover any ultra-rich Canadian who has been using "offshore" tax havens to cheat the tax-man; none, not one, zero, nada, zilch.

Are we supposed to quietly accept this blatant bullshit? If we do we are "suckers".

This time, courtesy of the Pandora Papers, the government and CRA have been given names.

Will the same Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the CRA produce results or more excuses to protect the 'untouchables'?

The next time the Sheriff of Nottingham and his minions 'cometh to pick thy pocket', remember to send a note along with your tax return demanding an accounting of how many ultra-rich tax cheats have paid their back taxes and fines.

And in conclusion, Monsieur Ronald continues his search, trying to find one American citizen who can explain why the United States needs two Dakota's. If you can find one who knows, let me know. 

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#240 BITS AND PIECES (posted Sept. 24, 2021)

Welcome to Fall 2021.

What has changed since the Fall of 2020?

NOTHING!

                                                                       THE FOOLHARDY GAMBLE

On a warm summer evening, on a train bound for nowhere, American country music singer, Kenneth 'Kenny' Donald Rogers, offered this advice..."If you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it..."

You've got to know when to hold 'em

Know when to fold 'em

Know when to walk away

And know when to run

You never count your money

When you're sittin' at the table

There'll be time enough for countin'

When the dealin's done...

Sadly, in 2021, the advice was ignored by a foolish young man who tempted fate; deciding, for selfish reasons, to gamble $610 million (of other people's money) to get himself reelected with a majority...and lost. 

Question: In the process, what changed at the parliamentary poker table? NOTHING!

Consequently, another major judgement blunder means it's time for the young 'Prince of Canada' to do the honourable thing and step aside.

The last thing Canadians want, need or deserve is another $600+ million election...in 2022 or 2023.

                                                            A BAD PENNY...ALWAYS RETURNS

A proverb that has lived long in the English language derives from the notion that some coins were 'bad', that is, they were debased or counterfeit.

Similarly, a disreputable prodigal person or corporation...(somehow) will always return.

SNC-Lavalin continues to haunt the Liberal minority government, ever since former Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybold, refused to buckle under pressure from the PMO and PM to grant SNC-Lavalin a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).

Following an investigation, the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner ruled Justin Trudeau contravened section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring Wilson-Raybold.

Despite the finding, she was excommunicated from the Liberal caucus and no longer is a member of parliament.

And just like the proverbial bad penny, SNC-Lavalin continues to generate embarrassing headlines implicating the Liberals.

September 21, 2021 - SNC-Lavalin and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges plunging the Canadian engineering giant into another legal maelstrom related to bribes paid on a $128 million contract for the refurbishment of Montreal's Jacques Cartier bridge in 2002.

September 23, 2021 - The Director of Criminal Penal Prosecutions invited SNC-Lavalin to negotiate a DPA that will allow the company to avoid a trial in exchange for paying a fine and third-party monitoring of its activities. Worth remembering SNC-Lavalin was denied a DPA two years ago (during Wilson-Raybold's watch).

NB: This is the first time a Canadian company has received such an invitation.

Question: Why does this particular Quebec company continue to receive 'special consideration' from the Liberal minority government?

Until someone in government answers the question, the smell of something rotten permeates everything and everyone involved in 'L'Affaire' SNC-Lavalin.

                                                                UNWELCOME DANGEROUS TACTICS

The Anti-Vaccination crowd has taken to protesting in front of hospitals, schools and other locations across Canada.

This is happening just as critical care hospital beds become filled with fully-unvaccinated patients, forcing doctors to make triage decisions, i.e. who receives care and who doesn't.

The attempts to bully, harass and influence health care workers, teachers, kids in school and others using selfish, self-centred tactics is wrong, crazy, unhinged and must stop.

Many in this group don't trust science, will never accept the notion their anti-vaccine stance is dangerous for the rest of society.

Consequently, introducing 'proof of vaccine' cards is one very effective way of protecting the rest of us, because it restricts movements of the unvaccinated.

In the meantime, anyone who chooses to target hospitals and schools should be arrested, charged and fined.

                                                           GREAT NEWS - THE EXCHANGE IS COMPLETE

September 24, 2021 - After the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei chief financial officer on December 1, 2018 at the Vancouver airport, she is on her way home.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are released from a prison-hellhole in China on their way home to Canada.

                                                                       FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Food is more expensive today than it has been in most of recorded history" - Dr. Alastair Smith, Senior teaching fellow, Warwick University, England.

Global food prices were up 33% from a year ago.

                 Food facts:

Broccoli contains more protein than steak

Apples give you more energy than coffee

Pecans are rich with antioxidants

Pistachios are actually fruits

Caesar salad originated from a Mexican city

Raspberries are a member of the rose family

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#239 RUTHLESSNESS, MANIPULATION AND DECEIT (posted Aug. 29, 2021)

It's fair to state that Minority Parliaments (of the past) have generally served Canadians well...because, in order to function effectively cooperation and coordination between the elected political parties is essential.   

During times of crisis what Canadians need from our elected government(s) is focused collaborative leadership from the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Citizens have endured living in crisis piled upon crisis and confusion; the ongoing pandemic, exhausted medical workers, climate catastrophes (forest fires, drought, heat domes), educational classrooms in disarray, struggling businesses, the Reconciliation imbroglio, out-of-control debt/deficits, the Afghanistan debacle, etc..

Instead of focused cooperation and coordination between levels of government, the opposite has occurred.

Rather than spend all of his government's time and energy managing the unprecedented series of crises', our Prime Minister demonstrates he's just another deceitful politician, focused on himself, lusting for 'total power'. 

Justin of 'Sunny Ways' chose to risk everything - in the middle of his mandate - his goal, whatever the cost, get reelected with a majority.

Two weeks into this unnecessary 36-day election campaign, it has become evident that voters are enraged, seriously pissed off, and in no mood to listen to hollow, unaffordable promises from him or any of the other contenders.

This Machiavellian ill-timed decision is right out of the pages of 'The Prince', and may (justifiably) result in Trudeau's demise as leader of the Liberals and his Party being relegated to Opposition status.

                                                LESSONS FROM THE 'MASTER' OF MODERN POLITICAL SCIENCE

What is science?

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3000 to 1200 BCE.

What is politics?

Politics is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that studies politics and governments is referred to as political science.

What is political science?

Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of political activities, political thought, political behaviour, and associated constitutions and laws.

What is the most popular political science book of all time?

Politicians, mandarins and apparatchiks posit the most-popular/must-read is a handbook, written in 1513...titled 'The Prince'.

What is it about this particular book that draws so many people to read it?

Because it's all about how to gain and retain 'ultimate' power.

Who authored this 'must-read' political book?

Niccolo di Bernardo die Machiavelli; an Italian diplomat, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance. He has been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.

One of Machiavelli's goals in writing 'The Prince' was to win favour of Lorenzo de Medici, then governor of Florence, and the person to whom the book is dedicated, and thereby land him an advisory position within the Florentine government. However, things didn't work out for the author. He ended up being tortured for conspiring against the Medici family.

'The Prince' remains relevant after 508 years.

The slender political treatise is one of the most influential and controversial books published in Western literature; a searing meditation on the means some people use to get and maintain power and to guide 'leaders' on how to survive in the world as it is and not as it should be.

The impact of the book over five centuries has been to confront its countless readers, in the starkest terms possible, on the most important questions about politics and morality.

                                                     Examples of Machiavelli's 'advice' to princes/leaders...

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are."

"Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed."

"The first method of estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him."

"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in this who gain by the new ones."

Someone exhibiting 'Machiavellian' tendencies is considered sneaky, cunning, lacking a moral code, ruthless, manipulative and deceitful. Anyone in particular come to mind?

But whatever the underlying philosophy, the political 'advice' contained in 'The Prince' seems to work. Why else would politicians and mandarins of every stripe still look to the book for guidance?

The limits of 'luck' may have run its course for the son of Pierre Trudeau whose six-year error-prone track record and recent decision to choose self-interest over responsibility to manage the crisis facing the nation, raises serious doubts about his judgement.

Should Justin Trudeau remain 'Prince' of Canada even if the most Liberals get elected?

Why? 

Any Prime Minister who decides to plunge the country into an unnecessary, expensive election (during a crisis) must, before doing so, seriously consider the consequences. He either didn't or didn't care! 

All Justin Trudeau managed to achieve by another 'error-in-judgement' is to increase the cynicism about politics and politicians.

                                                      IRONY - ACCORDING TO POLL TRACKERS

1) If the election was held today, a little known rookie, Erin O'Toole, would lead a minority Conservative government. Really?

2) If our voting system allowed voters to vote for a party leader considered 'the best of the current lot', JAGMEET SINGH JIMMY DHALIWAL, of Burnaby, B.C., would be the next 'Prince' of The Great White North.

P.S. Jagmeet could not get a job working for the Quebec civil service. How's that for irony!

                                                                AND IN CLOSING...

Machiavelli neither abhorred nor celebrated power. He insisted that those in authority should govern well, understanding that politics is about the balanced, intelligent course.

His determination to "tell it like it is" and to deliver his message in an unvarnished way earned him much criticism, but his contribution to political thinking has been, quite simply, outstanding.

"Politicians like diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason." - Mark Twain

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#238 A TRAGEDY WORTHY OF A SHAKESPEARE PLAY (posted Aug. 13, 2021)

                                  A HIGH STAKES GAME OF GEOPOLITICAL CHICKEN-CHESS

Protagonist #1: Rookie Emperor/King 'Crazy Pants'; paranoid, vain, delusional, serial liar and self proclaimed "smartest man in the world".

Protagonist #2" Supreme-Dictator 'Big Daddy Xi'; intelligent, inscrutable, experienced, cunning, clever and ruthless.

The Pawn: Justin the Fair of 'Sunny Ways'.

The Protagonists' Goal: World domination.

The Saga begins...when the Americans and Chinese are mired in a no-holds-barred trade negotiation.

To gain the advantage over his opponent, 'Crazy Pants' sets in motion a complex plan that ultimately places the leader of 'The Great White North' between a BIG rock and a BIG hard place.

"And let me speak to the yet unknowing world

How these things came about. So shall you hear

Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,

Of accidental judgements, casual slaughters,

Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,

And, in this upshot, purposes mistook

Fall'n on the inventors heads." - HAMLET

Following are monsieur Ronald's 'Coles Notes' version for anyone who hasn't been paying attention to the ongoing saga...

November 30, 2018: The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) receive a notice from the FBI requesting a Chinese citizen, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, be detained by Canadian officials upon arrival at the Vancouver International Airport. Her flight is scheduled to arrive the next day. She is en route to Mexico from Hong Kong without intent to enter Canada.

December 1, 2018: To what has the appearance of sheepish compliance, Canada Border Services officers detain Meng as she enters the 'transit area/zone of the airport. They question her for three hours while awaiting the arrival of FBI agents.

When the FBI arrive, the RCMP arrest Ms. Meng for fraud and conspiracy pursuant to the extradition treaty between Canada and the U.S.. Thus setting in motion the plan devised by 'Crazy Pants' and his handmaidens.

NB: In the event you've been living in a monastery of late, Meng Wanzhou, is the daughter of Huawei founder, Ren Zhengfei. Huawei is a Chinese multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Her formal title is Deputy chair and CEO of Huawei. Father and daughter are extra-extra close with 'Big Daddy Xi'.

From December 7 to 11, 2018: Meng and her legal team attend a bail hearing in Vancouver. She gets released with conditions + $10 million bail + required to surrender her passport. Turns out she possesses eight passports; the type normally issued only to employees of the Chinese government. The plot thickens.

For the duration of the interminable legal processes, she is "incarcerated" in a Canadian style Gulag; a $14-million dollar Vancouver mansion she just happens to own. Welcome to Canada Ms Meng. And please let our authorities know if there is anything else we can do to make your temporary stay in our great country any more comfortable.

Retaliation by China is swift, but surprisingly not against 'Crazy Pants'.

'Big Daddy' wisely does not risk provoking the unstable, unpredictable rookie-dictator, who just might be willing to start WWIII rather than show weakness to an adversary.

He cleverly targets a more vulnerable, manipulable pawn, Justin the Fair of 'Sunny Ways'. Thus begins the squeeze play...on Canada.

Immediately following Meng's arrest, in an act of brazen diplomatic hostage-taking, the People's Republic of China arrest Canadians Michael Kovrig and Micheal Spavor, charge both with espionage and lock them up.

Unlike the treatment shown Ms. Meng, they are incarcerated in a Chinese hellhole.

As Meng's Vancouver extradition proceedings grind on (now into August 2021) 'Big Daddy' tightens the screws on his powerless pawn, who, to date, receives little noticeable help from Trump's replacement, 'Uncle Joe':

BING: A quickie sham-trial for Michael Spavor. Sentence, 11-years in a Chinese slammer.

BANG: Michael Kovrig awaits his quickie sham-trial and sentence.

BOOM: Serving time for drug trafficking, Canadian Robert Schellenberg, is retried and sentenced to death.

Going on three years, the kidnapped Michaels' have suffered physical and psychological torture at the hands of a brutal dictatorship that ignores the rule of law.

"Big Daddy's" recent escalating actions against Canadian citizens signal he's prepared to negotiate an exchange - Meng for the Michaels' - providing the exchange takes place BEFORE the B.C. judge makes her decision on whether or not to extradite Meng Wanzhou. Otherwise, 'Big Daddy Xi' will undoubtedly order something more ruthless.

                                                    SERIOUS QUESTIONS

1) Does Justin have the gonads to go 'mano-a-mano' with 'Big Daddy Xi' in a deadly game of geopolitical chicken?

2) Is 'Sunny Ways' cleverly waiting to make a deal with 'Big Daddy' during the upcoming election campaign and thereby cement a majority victory for the Liberals? Or is he much too young to remember what happened to Jimmy Carter in the Iran hostage crisis?

3) Is the PM prepared to stick to his position that China must respect Canadian extradition treaties and allow our courts to decide the fate of Ms. Meng?

4) In five months time, hundreds of Canadians will arrive in Beijing, China to attend the Winter Olympics that start February 4, 2022.

If Meng is extradited to the United States by Canada to face American justice, is there any doubt this ruthless dictator will take more Canadians hostage even when the whole world is watching on television.

Is the Prime Minister of Canada prepared to take that risk?

5) Is the Canadian Olympic Committee prepared to boycott the Beijing Winter Games if the Michaels' are still in a Chinese hellhole?

"Never take a knife to a gun fight" - Sean Connery in "The Untouchables" - 1987.

Stay tuned.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#237 MID-SUMMER MEANDERINGS (posted July 25, 2021)

A prominent American forensic psychiatrist was asked how to detect a mental deficiency in people who appear completely normal.

Nothing easier, she replied. Ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble.

If the person hesitates, then you're on the right track.

What sort of question?

Well, you might ask 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them.'

Which one?

                                                       AND THEN, THIS HAPPENED...

Where: Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia.

When: July 1, 2021, afternoon.

What: A large crowd gathers on the lawn in front of the provincial legislature.

Why: Were they there to celebrate Canada's 154th birthday in the traditional Victoria way; to assemble and create Canada's largest human flag? Nope. Something more sinister was afoot.

The gathering comprised different 'protest' factions; there to attract attention and promote their cause, campaign or grievance. Some were there to create mayhem, raise hell and break stuff.

(Presumably this faction wants to mimic a growing trend in cities across the country. Self-professed 'peaceful' protesters vandalizing public property for an objective/end game that remains puzzling to many.)

The hell-raisers move toward the statue of Queen Victoria...to pull it down? Their presumed intent is thwarted by a cordon of police who surround the statue.

As frustration grows they spot another statue nearby. They surround the statue chanting excitedly. They cheer as the statue is unceremoniously hauled off its pedestal and tossed into the Pacific Ocean. Lots of selfies, mission accomplished, now let's go home.

At this point in the story, you have to be wondering: This must of been a really bad dude to deserve that treatment. And who was the dude depicted on the statue?

This is where things get bizarro.

The statue is/was none other than the aforementioned maritime explorer, Captain James Cook. It stood directly across from another landmark, the Empress Hotel. Two famous Victoria Inner Harbour icons that faced each other for 46 years.

What could these mindless acts of vandalism possibly achieve or hope to achieve?

In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill paraphrased Spanish philosopher George Santayana's aphorism "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

Society cannot begin to understand the times we presently live in, without first understanding our history.

Was there anyone in the gang of vigilantes who possessed actual knowledge of James Cook and his legacy of accomplishments? Someone who might have known a little bit about the man, such as...

George Vancouver served as a midshipman aboard HMS Resolution on Captain James Cook's second voyage (1772-1775) searching for Terra Australis.

That George Vancouver also sailed with Cook's third voyage (1776-1780) aboard HMS Discovery during the first European sighting and exploration of the Hawaiian Islands. (reread psychiatrist quiz above)

That in 1792, in command of HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham, Captain George Vancouver entered the Straight of Juan de Fuca, between present day Vancouver Island and Washington State.

That James Cook and George Vancouver are among Britain's greatest explorers and navigators.

Is this not a legitimate enough reason to recognize and acknowledge their accomplishments with place names, statues, whatever, as part of maritime history?

Or is the objective/end game of this vigilantism to expunge, erase, tear down everything associated with whatever names happen to be on their latest 'enemies list'?

Cook, MacDonald, Ryerson, Vancouver, Cartier, Dundas, Duplessis or whoever's next "they" choose to despise - made to disappear from the historical record of the Great White North.

To what end? Do "they" even know?

Monsieur Ronald, like many senior citizens (aka Cranky-Old-Farts) strongly oppose anyone going down the 'slippery slope'.

This mindlessness could lead to what happened in Germany 88 years ago.

On April 8, 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union proclaimed a nationwide "Action against Un-German Spirit" which was to climax in a literary purge or "cleansing"...by fire. Their campaign became known as The Nazi book burnings.

Too many Germans either looked the other way or just passively accepted what was going on right under their noses.

The end game of this premeditated action eventually resulted in World War Two.

When has censorship ever advanced human knowledge?

"Accept the fact that some days you're the seagull, and some days you're the statue."

                                           AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Don't you just hate it when you can't figure out how to operate the new iPad or that new computerized gizmo and the 'Family Tech-Expert' is asleep...because she's five...and it's past her bedtime.

This next (personal) tale is about two seniors, currently wrestling with new technology and no five-year-old to ask for "HELP US, PLEASE, WE'RE OLD, CONFUSED, BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED."

Have you purchased a new kitchen appliance...recently?

Our 14-year-old electric kitchen range (we used to call them stoves) bit the dust. It was like losing an old, comfortable pair of slippers that provided comfort and security every time you slipped them on. Our old stove is sorely missed...more than we realize. Life in our kitchen was so simple for 14 years.

Consequently, Madame Ronald, resident range-master extraordinaire, began the search for a replacement online.

Monsieur Ronald, clueless in such matters, wisely and purposely, did not participate.

Her challenge: Find an appliance that fits the space constraints, reasonably priced, that must be delivered within one week. Like an Olympic hurdler, the task was done in three days.

The following week two burley guys show up at the front door.

Task #1: We watch (teary-eyed) as the burley guys wheel out the body of old Kenmore Elite. She served us faithfully for 14 long years. May she rest in range heaven.

Task #2: The burley guys wheel in a shiny new Samsung electric range, model # blah, blah, blah.

Task #3: One burley guy plugs in Miss Samsung and moves her into the space (perfecto fit).

Task #4: Monsieur Ronald signs the delivery confirmation slip and the two burley guys are out the door and gone...before we remember to ask "where's the start button?"

We stare at this stranger in our kitchen for a few minutes. We know she's plugged in but why is there no sign of life, not even a blinking light?

The range master hands clueless the "quick starter guide" that came with the new appliance and orders "start her up".

The "quick starter guide" is two pages; a diagram of where the surface burners are located, partial instructions on how to use the dial knob, how to open and close the oven door and pictures of an air fry tray (whatever that is). Not one word about "how to start her up".

Where is the detailed user guide manual?

Call the salesperson to find out. He advises the user manual is available for downloading on the Samsung website. Without it you'll be lost, because your new appliance has more computer chips in it than your car.

The experience of locating and downloading the user manual on the Samsung Canada website was comparable to contacting your internet provider, the CRA or your MP seeking assistance. An hour passed before the 204 page user manual was on my computer.

Then the fun-part started. Delving into the technological abyss of a new Samsung range has left two senior citizens struggling to comprehend the operation of this high-tech machine. We've been at it a week. Sadly, we're on our own, navigating our way through the morass of dials, knobs and screens, without a five-year-old expert to help.

Two examples:

#1: Setting the clock time, date and year was as difficult as setting the clock in a Lexus.

#2: According to the manual, you can give voice commands to this range. We're taking a pass on setting that up (even if we could master the instructions) for a good reason; Siri doesn't follow instructions in the car, why would she in the kitchen.

We fondly remember the good old days. Your new stove was delivered. It had a visible on and off switch and you were good to go. Sigh!

                                    AND LASTLY, SOME SUMMER BONS BONS TO CHEW ON

1) Guy got his wife to help him put some posts in the ground for their new fence.

He gave her the hammer and said "When I nod my head you hit it"

He didn't remember much after that.

2) Never ask your wife when dinner will be ready while she's mowing the lawn.

3) Drive carefully...it's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

Enjoy your summer. We've all earned a break and a long hug.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#236 THE ONLY CONSTANT IN LIFE IS CHANGE (posted July 10, 2021)

                                          THE LEGEND OF EVERYTHING (NORMAL) CHANGING

In 1819, American author, Washington Irving, published a short story about an amiable farmer and his wife (Dutch-Americans) who live in a village at the foot of New York's Catskill Mountains.

Like many colonials, they are loyal subjects of King George III.

Every day the wife nags her henpecked husband about his laziness. It's driving him crazy.

To get away from his wife's constant nagging, he wanders off into the mountains with his dog Wolf.

There he meets a mysterious stranger with a long beard wearing antiquated Dutch clothing and carrying a keg. He asks the farmer for help carrying the heavy keg filled with liquid.

They arrive at a hollow where a group of dwarfs are playing a game and drinking liquor.

The farmer is offered a drink of the liquor as thanks for helping carry the keg.

He soon falls asleep...for twenty years...missing the American Revolutionary War and everything else that has happened in America over two decades.

When Rip Van Winkle wakes up, he's an old man; alone, in a country no longer ruled by a British King; confused, bewildered and scared.

The message of Washington Irving's tale: Rip Van Winkle's (normal) world changed...gone, forever.

                                          THE REALITY OF EVERYTHING (NORMAL) CHANGING

Unlike in the story, humanity's nightmare happened over a much shorter span of time and we weren't asleep.

Governments and medical experts promoted measures for collective protection, in a crisis so dire that it prompted unprecedented cooperation that resulted in historic rapid vaccine development to control a killer virus.

Much of humanity went into voluntary isolation. Virtual contact became normal.

As vaccines are injected into millions of arms while humanity keeps a wary eye on the new threats, Delta and Lambda COVID-19 variants, we are encouraged by those in authority to slowly emerge from our "caves" and individually left to ponder, like Rip Van Winkle, "how much of my (normal) world has changed...gone, forever.

Worth considering: The pandemic crisis prompted unprecedented cooperation amongst nations. This should give us all hope that it could happen again, this time to save the planet.

                                                              IT'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY

No, monsieur Ronald, is not experiencing another senior's moment.

Yes, monsieur appreciates Christmas is still six months away.

And, he also knows the next federal election is scheduled for the Fall of 2023.

But, if you're a cynic like Ronnie, it's been impossible not to notice...

Just in time for Canada Day, 'Justin the Fair of Sunny Ways' emerged from his Rideau Cottage "cave" sporting a pre-pandemic look.

Discarded is the pandemic 'Rasputin-Greybeard' look, replaced by the 'Sexy-Dude' look.

Take note: The new haircut. The return of the more adorable 'curly-cue' dangling strategicly onto the high forehead. The handsome smiling visage.

No more 'PM Gloom and Doom Grimm-Pants'. Welcome to..."Happy Days Are Here Again".

PM new-look utters another bilingual mensonge that provides the first clue about what is really afoot:

"The Liberals do not want an election in the middle of our mandate and during an ongoing crisis. I'm looking forward to spending the summer break with my family. Bonjour a tous."

Really?

Not really, the game is on...full throttle.

Like being shot out of a cannon 'Sunny Ways' jets away in all directions - from sea, to sea, to sea - offering all and sundry a truck load of unaffordable Christmas bonbons.

Summer-Santa will be especially generous and pay special attention to folks in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia...this year.

Want a high-speed train? No problem, vote for us.

Want affordable child care? No problem, vote for us.

Want millions to retrofit your steel plant? No problem, vote for us.

Want a bailout, a handout, an interest-free loan? No problem, vote for us.

Want a sky-train? No problem, vote for us.

Girls and boys, all you have to do is tell Summer-Santa what you want. No problem, vote for us.

QUESTION: "Prime Minister, how are we going to pay for all of your election promises on top of the already out-of-control debt and deficit? Aren't we broke?"

ANSWER: Deafening silence.

Frankly, the Liberals don't actually give a damn about that stuff. It's not top of mind. What they only see is a political opportunity to win a majority now, in the Fall of 2021. They appear prepared to hang onto power even if they have to bankrupt the country to get it.

Monsieur, what kind of a political party would do something irresponsible like that?

All of them given the chance!

Liberal polling tells them they can win big. The Blue Party leader has no traction with the public. The Orange Party leader will support the Red Party when it serves his agenda. The Green Party leader is about to get turfed. The Separatist Party leader will continue to demand/blackmail them all to ensure Quebec gets what it wants.

Political Quiz du Jour (explains a lot): Since Lester B. Pearson, how many prime ministers are not from Quebec? Name them? 

For the Liberal Party it's a simple crass political decision, Carpe Diem! Cease the day, cease the opportunity and screw the consequences.

                                           FINALLY, MONSIEUR RONALD'S, THOUGHTS DU JOUR

"Once you reach a certain age you become permanently unimpressed by a lot of shit."

"Some 20-something smart-ass invented a senior's GPS. It not only tells you how to get to your destination, it tells you why you wanted to get there."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#235 IT'S SUMMER TIME; TIME FOR SOME SERIOUS REFLECTION (posted June 25, 2021)

And the right time for some useful, or maybe useless advice, depending upon what kind of a day you're having...

#1) Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.

     That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

#2) There are two excellent theories for arguing with women.

      Neither one works.

#3) Good judgment comes from bad experience...and most of that comes from bad judgment.

#4) Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.

      Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

#5) And last but not least...Always remember you're unique.

      Just like everyone else.

                                                                         FOLLOW THE MONEY

Arguably the world's most famous investor, Warren Buffett (90-years-young) is among the world's Uber-rich.

Since 1965, together with his business partner, Charlie Munger (97-years-young), they built Berkshire Hathaway Inc. into a $600 billion + (USD) conglomerate.

When Buffett speaks a hell of a lot of people pay attention.

A few of his comments:

"Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor, is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic."

"Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars."

"If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don't care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster."

"Honesty is an expensive gift. Don't expect it from cheap people."

"Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do. Society has a use for my money - I don't."

And true to his philosophy, since pledging 15-years-ago to give away his fortune to charities from running Berkshire Hathaway Inc., to date, he has donated 50% of his wealth.

Also, through the years, this extraordinary individual continues to publicly criticize the U.S. tax system and has made it crystal clear the wealthy should be paying more; often repeating the fact he actually pays a lower tax rate on his income than his secretary.

Needless to say his criticism has not endeared him to other U.S. billionaires.

Here's how it works:

The ultra-rich buy 'sophisticated advice' from 'savvy' tax lawyers and accountants on exactly how to take advantage of the loopholes and avoid paying taxes (e.g. hide your wealth offshore).

In addition, the rich and powerful get 'special-privileged-access' to those who govern by making generous "donations" to political parties.

Simply put, the end result means those who govern ensure the 'Tax-Game' is rigged in favour of the Uber-wealthy.

Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, "Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours and we both get what we want".

A neat and tidy 'entente-cordial' arrangement that ensures the tax paying "suckers" always get screwed.

Monsieur Ronald, surely it doesn't work that way here in The Great White North, does it?

Our government(s) have agencies that are mandated to protect us, right?

Well, umm, yes but no and nons.

Yes, we certainly have agencies that are supposed to protect us from tax cheats e.g. the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

But, no and nons, the CRA is not/does not actually protect us from the biggest cheats.

Elucidate please.

Before every election, politicians solemnly promise that if we elect them, "they" will do much better than the "last bunch of incompetents" and clean up the systematic tax cheating.

Yes, that's true monsieur, but have any of them delivered on their "solemn" promise?

Well, let's take a closer look at the current Liberal government record.

What follows is based on current data recently provided by the CRA to the House of Commons.

There has been a 3000 per-cent increase in spending on the CRA's "High-net-worth Compliance Program". A rather significant increase nest-ce-pas?

Between 2015 and 2019, 6,770 audits of ultra-wealthy Canadians has taken place. Impressive, right?

Of the 6,770, forty-four cases on individuals whose net worth topped $50 million were "carefully" examined. What about the rest?

Of the 44, only two were referred to federal prosecutors. What, two?

And guess what happened? No charges were laid. NONE.

SACREMENT! NONE?

Yes folks, the CRA's efforts over the past six years to combat tax evasion by the super-rich resulted in ZERO prosecutions or convictions. NONE.

Yes folks, our federal government and it's crack CRA compliance team want us to believe there's not one ultra-wealthy Canadian who is a tax cheat. NONE.

Yes folks, "they" want you to believe not a single one of the 6,770 is hiding their wealth in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Singapore. NONE.

But "they" can't hide from the reality that just like in our neighbour's house, there's a tax code for the ultra-wealthy and there's a tax code for the rest of us, law abiding citizens who dutifully pay taxes year after year after year - "the suckers".

And God help any "sucker" when the full force of the CRA descends upon them "for being late".

Here's what our Prime Minister had the audacity to say this week "We continue to fight tax evasion and avoidance - we want everyone to pay their fair share."

Bullshit! Not everyone sir!

Message from Monsieur Ronald "Shame on your "Sunny Ways" bullshit. Shame on the CRA for not pursuing Canada's largest and most egregious tax cheats."

If "you" don't want to find them all, prosecute them all, and publicly shame them all, resign.

Your excuses are no longer believable or acceptable.

There's an election coming. When "they" come asking for your vote, don't forget this.

"GO HABS, GO"

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#234 CONFEDERATION - A MILE WIDE AND AN INCH DEEP (posted June 10, 2021)

                                                               ARE WE NUTS OR WHAT?

Living on the far western reaches of 'THE GREAT WHITE NORTH' on Vancouver Island, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, 58km south of the 49th parallel, 'protected' to the East by the majestic Rocky Mountains, to the South by the Olympic Mountains...and distant from those who 'control' us (residing in the 'Golden Triangle' Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto), produces a tendency to observe political 'happenings' from a very different perspective.

For what it's worth, following is monsieur Ronald's perspective on a significant political 'happening' that endangers our country to slowly, imperceptibly 'slip-slide away' without a whimper from our distracted political leaders.

Over several decades, led by the province of Quebec, the power and authority of Canada's central government has eroded and devolved to the provinces.

NB: This was brought into stark relief during the management (?) of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everybody and nobody is in overall charge. No one entity is driving the bus. Collectively, every jurisdiction (in charge) is riding off in all directions at the same time, producing public distrust and confusion.

Over time, Quebec has managed its list of 'historic demands' with political sophistication utilizing a 'stick and carrot' methodology i.e., "Give us what we want and we won't leave". (political blackmail)

There's no denying Quebec's 'clever' strategy and tactics, beginning in the 1960's, has delivered impressive results (so far):

- The Quebec Pension Plan (separate and distinct from the Canada Pension Plan)

- Shared power over immigration

- Surrender of federal tax points

- Refusal to sign the proclamation of the Constitution Act of 1982

-  Refusal to support the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

- Assert power over federal institutions

- Decide which judges are named to the Supreme Court

- Apply provincial language legislation to federally regulated businesses

- Collect federal taxes

- Prohibit religious garb

And now, in 2021, what's next on Quebec's list of demands?

No guessing required; its Bill 96.

Question: What is Bill 96?

Answer: Le Premier Ministre du Quebec (Quebec's Prime Minister), Francois Legault (leader of the Coalition Avenir Quebec Party), introduced Bill 96 aimed at protecting and promoting French. However, the Bill includes the constitutional plan to declare Quebec 'a nation' and make French its only official language.

The legislation invokes the not withstanding clause to shield it in advance from court challenges. (The Checkmate move)

Interestingly, a recent Nanos survey found that four out of ten Quebeckers and 73 percent of Canadians oppose the plan.

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons...Legault's handmaiden, separatist Bloc Quebecois leader, Yves-Francois Blanchet, tabled a motion seeking support for Quebec's proposed constitutional amendments.

In order to pass without debate, the motion needed to face "NO" vocal opposition from MP's.

Incredibly, federal party leaders, including the Prime Minister of Canada approved the motion, in advance.

Justin Trudeau so fears losing his seat he's prepared to acquiesce to more demands from Quebec.

The only member of parliament to yell out "NAY" after the motion was read out, was former Liberal Justice Minister and now Independent MP, Jody Wilson-Raybold.

Wilson-Raybold added "dismaying how political partisanship/pandering leads MP's to abandon core legal norms plus common sense and try to avoid debate on critical constitutional matters. Silence equals cowardice, not leadership. As a proud First Nations woman I'm always ready to discuss Nationhood and language."

With an election coming, gutless federal politicians demonstrate by their silence they are afraid to debate the constitutional issues at stake, even when the end-game is the potential breakup of the country.

How much more fraying of our constitutional fabric, our union, our confederation, can continue to occur before it's torn into separate shreds?

Are our political leaders willing to risk being invaded by either our southern neighbours (the U.S.), or our northern neighbours (Russia), or be divided up between the conquerors needing our water and natural resources?

Ironically, this is happening in 2021 (under the radar of most citizens) when Canada was voted "The Best Country to live in, on the planet". 

Are we nuts or what?

                                                         AND NOW SOMETHING A TAD LIGHTER

Who would have guessed that Dame Julie Andrews (DBE) and Monsieur Ronald are the same age.

Who could ever forget Dame Julie's performance as 'Maria' in the movie 'The Sound of Music'...that tune-filled heartwarming story of the Von Trapp Family that despite critics panning it, turned out to become a top-grossing movie beating out 'Gone with the Wind'.

The movie depicted a young vivacious Maria (Julie) dancing, prancing and jumping around in the hills and valleys of Austria, singing joyful songs like 'Climb Every Mountain', 'Edelweiss' and 'My Favourite Things'.

What if NETFLIX commissioned a remake targeted specifically at "the over the hill gang"?

Close your eyes.

Let your imagination wander.

Imagine...Dame Julie, now 85 years-young...no longer capable of dancing, prancing, or jumping around the hills and valleys of Austria, but still able to sing the classic 'My Favourite Things', with updated lyrics...

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinning,

Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinning,

And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,

When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache,

when the hips break,

When the eyes grow dim,

Then I remember 

the great life I've had,

And then I don't feel so bad.

AGING MAY HAVE SLOWED ME DOWN BUT IT HASN'T SHUT ME UP!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#233 YIKES, I'M LXXXV (posted May 27, 2021)

When: May 25, 2021, morning

Where: Chez Devion

What: Another milestone

The Players: My Brain and My Body

Brain: (whispering) Ronnie, wake up. It's morning kiddo. Congratulations, we made it, we're LXXXV.

Body: (incredulous) No Way.

Brain: (enthusiastic) Way.

How do you feel this fine morning?

Body: How do I feel? I'm LXXXV years old. Let me spell it out from my perspective: Everything that should be stiff, isn't. Everything that shouldn't be, is. Everything else either aches, creaks, groans or crackle's. The plumbing is problematic. We need two pair of glasses to see properly and half the time you can't remember where you left them. Kapish?

Want more examples?

Brain: Umm, no. I get it. But sadly, I don't think you do.

Have you forgotten that I've been with you every step of the way, but recently you've become a "glass half-empty" grumpy geezer.

Yes we're old, get over it.

My job is to keep us rolling down this pot-holed highway of life, until we're done. Kapish?

Simply put "that's the way it is" but never forget, we're in this together; partners and teammates for life.

Let me try to put it into perspective (for you) with two analogies.

The first is related to an automobile:

We rolled out of the factory in 1936, all shiny and new. However, it took 20+ years, with help from many others who cared about us, to make this car run efficiently. We were very fortunate because it continued to run well for another 40 years, thanks to plenty of help and guidance from mentors, loved ones and expert "body" mechanics.

And now, after 85 years, the 1936 Cord 810 model HOTROD, is a broken down rusting jalopy; running for the most part on vapours while being held together with electrical tape and bailing wire.

The miracle: Our ancient jalopy is still running (albeit not fast) with expert help from a platoon of mechanics (medics) prescribing pills, potions, lotions, eye drops and vitamins + the ever loving support of Mrs. D., a loving family, and friends. (And, as Martha Stewart says, that's a good thing)

The second analogy is about a gruelling sports event: We've been running a life-long decathlon. And, guess what, we're now half way through the eighth event. And if I can be boastful, that's pretty damned good (especially) for ancient geezers.

And, despite dealing with spinal stenosis, arthritis, skin cancer, perpetual neck and back pain, gimpy knees and sore hips, we can still ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes, lift five pound weights for 10, shuffle down the street and back (most days) and care for our tiny "farm"; tending the tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, flowers and shrubs (all in pots), we're still here, chugging along and, feisty as ever. (And that is a good thing)

Body: Yes indeed, it certainly is. Thanks for the pep talk. My funk has lifted.

Brain: Great. It's now time for 'Carpe Diem'. It's 'our' special birthday and we will a) celebrate, b) reflect on our past and, c) contemplate our future.

Body: You're hallucinating again. Contemplate our future? We don't even buy green bananas anymore.

Brain: OK smart ass. Let's get those body parts coordinating for our first physical challenge of the day...getting out of bed.

I want you to work with me now...gently swing your legs off the mattress to bring our body into an upright sitting position.

Body: Things are looking up, that only took three tries.

Brain: Now place both feet firmly on the floor and gently rise to an erect standing position. Be very careful, if you do this move too fast, I get dizzy and we lose our balance (again).

Body: Always the smart ass. Sitting up there, all high and mighty, issuing orders while I have to do all the heavy lifting.

Brain: Yes. That's precisely why I'm in better condition than you.

Body: Don't be too boastful Mr. High and Mighty. I've noticed you're forgetting more. Like yesterday, you left me standing with the fridge door open and no instructions. What the hell was I supposed to be doing with the newspaper I was holding? We stood there so long a shooting pain, like being hit by lightning, travelled from the back of our neck, down our spine to our toes. I'm beginning to worry about your memory.

Brain: You're right. It's occurring more frequently. Something's amiss with the neuron circuit connections. I'm working on a synapses bypass.

Regardless, we must move on despite our deteriorating faculties. We're an inseparable duo.

Body: You're right. What's next.

Brain: It's time for the forward motion movement move, which require you to focus...

a) propel each leg forward, from the bedroom in the direction of the 'throne room',

b) position our body, comfortably, on our porcelain throne,

c) patiently wait for something good to happen.

Body: No problem in that department. In fact, everything happens much too fast and too often, these days. That's the reason I rely on your memory about identifying where all the pit stops are located in the neighbourhood.

Brain: Understood. Now let's go onto our morning scavenger hunt. Finding the newspapers that are randomly tossed (by the delivery persons) into the courtyard, never near the front door especially when its raining.

Once located, slowly bend and try to pick up two newspapers. (It's prudent to have a cellphone handy in the event we are unable to unbend and need to call for assistance)

After breakfast, Brain and Body enjoy their highlight of the morning...a long warm shower.

While showering, Brain says to Body: Been thinking about our mobility-assist equipment. We currently have three canes, a pair of 'walking' ski polls and a walker. I think it's time to start shopping for one of those "cool", fast and fancy old-fart scooters.

Body: Why?

Brain: Well, before our next birthday, we have to face the "dreaded" driver's licence physical exam and memory test. What if Dr. B. should fail us? She nearly did the last time. I think she's out to get us.

Body: Geez, you may be right.

Brain: Listen, we should thank our lucky star for all the blessings we've received so far...

1) How well Mrs. D. looks after us.

2) Our family.

3) The spectacular view we see every day outside the living room picture window; Brentwood Bay, the boats in the marina, the blue sky reflected off a calm Pacific Ocean, the Malahat mountain in the background.

4) Observing local wildlife in action: the varieties of birds, bees, deer, racoons, rabbits, lizards, squirrels, and (very occasionally) transient bears and cougars.

5) The afternoon siesta that recharges the batteries in preparation for...

6) The 4:00 p.m. cocktail hour.

Really, why at our stage in life, would we complain about anything when we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

The highlight of today was the virtual ZOOM birthday party with family in Ontario, that made this day, very special.

Body: I really miss the hugs.

Brain: It's sad that we have to grow old to appreciate we needed help when we were very young and need the same kind of help (again) when we are very old. That mirrors the chestnut saying "Diapers to Depends or the cycle of life".

We're considered now 'revered ancients' and should accept, every day is a bonus.

Don't fret about the future. When our turn comes, I have it on good authority we will return "to Stardust".

Body: It's been a great day. Good night Brain and thanks again for the pep talk. I will really try to be more cheerful.

Brain: Good night Body. I'll wake you up in the morning.

                                                                    GRINCH'S OF THE WEEK

Shame on the big banks, who decided to raise their fees (during a pandemic), while making billions in profit every quarter. There's a special place in hell for placing greed ahead of Canadians that are hurting.

Shame on the Liberal government, who will do nothing about it. There's a special place in hell for gutless politicians.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#232 MONSIEUR RONALD'S MAY MUSINGS (posted May 12, 2021)

                                                      THE QUESTION - TO BE OR NOT TO BE

With a little more than 10 weeks to go before the Opening Ceremony, the Tokyo (2020) Summer Olympic Games saga continues.

1) Up to 80% of the Japanese population want the Games cancelled or postponed (again).

2) Tokyo's COVID-19 "State of Emergency" was just extended to May 31st.

3) The IOC and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee repeatedly say "the Games will not be cancelled and will be safe and secure." (Umm, maybe or maybe not)

4) Thomas Bach has cancelled his trip to Japan. (If it's not safe enough for the IOC president, who is it safe enough for?)

5) Whatever the IOC and Japanese government (on the hook for the bill) decide, platoons of lawyers await the decision anticipating the financial bonanza that will come their way. (lawsuits are 'at the ready')

While medical authorities "advise" borders remain closed and travel be restricted to "your neighbourhood only", the world's best athletes continue to train under the added stress of...uncertainty.

Stay tuned, tick, tick, tick...

                                                                 AND SPEAKING OF BORDERS...

It wasn't Johnny Cash who sang "because it's mine, don't cross the line"...but the lyric comes close.

Many animals use scent-marking to advertise their territory - they urinate in strategic locations - to communicate their social status and ownership. It's suggested that markings serve to attract females and warn off competitors.

For Homo sapiens: Our technique is to mark 'personal boundaries' - rules or limits that we create to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards us and how we will respond when someone passes those limits.

The term is "personal space". Our brain computes a buffer zone around the body that is hardwired into our DNA. 

There are several things humans can do when someone invades our personal space. Ironically, virus (COVID-19) has imposed a new kind of personal boundary zone that may be difficult to discard when this nightmare ends.

Nations mark their boundaries with borders; lines that separate countries, states, provinces, cities and towns.

A border defines an area that a government controls.

Borders change. Border disputes happen when people fight over natural resources.

Many times, land is divided among governments after a war - and it's always the victor(s) who determine the borders.

When it comes to redrawing borders, scores of diplomats can spend years painstakingly hashing out every inch of the dividing line.

However, sometimes, it only takes a little bit of human ingenuity, some grit and a dab of naivety to effectively change a border between countries.

                                                        Like, in the following (real) story...

A Belgian farmer became so frustrated by a 200-year old stone border marker that was impeding his tractor movements that he decided to move a (300 to 600 pound) stone, seven feet into French territory.

He either did not understand or just didn't give a damn that his act was a 'tres gros' territorial 'No-No'.

According to the 1820 Treaty of Kortriijk, moving a stone redraws the border between Belgium and France.

A matter so serious that it could lead to war.

Likely the farmer assumed nobody would notice his transgression because his farm is located in an isolated area, near the village of Bousignies-sur-Roc, 260 km northeast of Paris, i.e. way off the beaten track.

However, even the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, couldn't have deduced what would happen next.

Last month, a smallish group of Frenchmen were walking through the woods near his farm and they weren't on some random hike.

These nosy-guys were following their northern border checking each marker against a map showing the stones' original locations; hell bent on preserving French sovereignty.

Quite by happenstance, two of the nosy-snoops discovered one stone had been moved.

Sacre bleu they proclaimed, Belgium has invaded France and nobody noticed.

Nay, it was much more serious. Belgium had "stolen" 2.2 metres of French territory...and nobody noticed...a gross violation of the sacred Treaty of Kortriijk, nest-ce-pas!

Would conflict ensue? 'Belgies' tossing waffles at 'Frenchies'; 'Frenchies' tossing croissants at 'Belgies'.

Countless would expire (of obesity) in such a horrible conflagration.

Seeing the humorous side of the situation, Burgomasters on both sides of the border agreed, "making Belgium larger and France smaller is not a good idea. We will work quickly and quietly to find an honourable way to avoid a new border war."

However, if the Belgian farmer does not return the stone to its rightful location, a Franco-Belgian commission will be set up to resolve the dispute.

What happens if there's no resolve? Well then both sides will have to begin preparing for the Waffle-Croissants War of 2021.

Talented French and Belgian bakers are being told to stand by and await further instructions.

Horror of horrors and merde. Can the big bun fight of the 21st century be averted? Stay tuned.

 

                                                            MONSIEUR, HE'S GONE, RIGHT?

Who?

The crazy guy, next door.

He was deposed as a result of a democratically held election, right?

Well, ummm...

The elected representatives of the Party of Lincoln, The Grand Old Party (GOP), accept the result, right?

No and non, sadly they do not.

The reality is, the GOP is no more; replaced by The Party of Trump (POT).

From his Mar-a-Lago lair, the recently deposed Emperor-King continues to promote an odious war culture of white nationalism.

Any elected Republican bold and brave enough to speak out publicly that Joe Biden is the legitimate president and refuses to promote 'The Big Lie' (e.g. Romney and Chaney) are called traitors, relics and cast out.

The POT party's new political weapon, to regain control of government, is voter suppression.

47 states have introduced bills aimed at restricting ballot access. The only three states that have not yet introduced a voting bill with restrictive provisions are Delaware, Ohio and Vermont.

It's hard to believe now that it only took four years for 'Vlad-the-invader' Putin's puppet to become the Don Corleone of the (former) Republican party.

Any Conservative who wants to be nominated to run in 2022, requires the "blessing" of Don Corleone.

Only then, when formal acknowledgment of loyalty is given and accepted, will the megalomaniac anoint them to run "for his party". A photo of HIM standing next to a prospective candidate is available for a $10,000 donation to his legal defence fund.

However, in giving fealty to the delusional man-child, those elected must subordinate their oath of office and any notion of decency, honour, principle and country. All but a very few have already taken this sad, dishonourable and dangerous step.

In four more years, will the United States of America morph from republic to dictatorship?

A question worth serious consideration given our proximity.

As neighbours, that's some scary merde to ponder.

 

                                                 ARE YOU BEWILDERED BY THE WORD 'WOKE'?

A word that has trended into contemporary mainstream parlance and used in the context of political awareness or political correctness.

A slang word that refers to awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice.

Recently its been used as a term to criticize identity politics or to reference millennial "snowflake" attitudes.

Some believe that 'Woke' stifles honest debate and discussion, freedom of expression, even in our institutions of learning and that 'Wokes' are on a crusade to re-write history and re-interpret the past, using today's norms.

The past "Is". It happened, period. Nothing useful will come from trying to change it or erase it.

Anyone old enough to have experienced the Great Depression and WWII and is still alive, would suggest to the 'Wokes' "learn from the past and move on because your crusade is a slippery slope."

"There's nothing wrong with being 'woke', but it's very important for everybody to stick up for your history, your values, and your traditions and the things you believe in." - Boris Johnson

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#231 STUFF - GOOD, BAD AND STUPID (posted April 21, 2021)

These so-called "interesting times" we are currently living through are more aptly described as "shambolic times".

With each passing day, it's becoming more difficult to recall what life was like, before the pandemic changed everything.

Remembering when 'normal' was so routine, it was considered (by many) to be 'boring'. How we yearn for those familiar, boring times to return.

The waves of virus has altered priorities; focusing on the really important things in life, family and health.

Canadians receive a daily dose of COVID updates. Information and advisories coming from federal, provincial and territorial authorities are confusing many because they are inconsistent and constantly change.

The absence of a common consistent message leaves the impression everybody and nobody is in charge; no one body is driving the bus, and 'collectively' everybody (in charge) is riding off in all directions, at the same time, i.e. shambolic leadership.  

As a result, ordinary people stop paying attention.

As that grand master of malapropisms, famously known as "Yogi-isms", baseball Hall of Fame catcher, manager and coach, Lorenzo Pietro "Yogi" Berra, cautioned decades ago, "If you don't know what you are doing, you'll end up in a bad place."

And who among us wishes to end up in Yogis bad place?

                                                    A warning for those who refuse to get it...

1) This thing can kill you.

2) Nobody is immune, nobody.

3) Don't travel, stay close to home.

                                                                THE STUPID STUFF

Venue: Chez Devion

Time: 6:45 a.m.

Ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring...jolted awake from a deep sleep...thinking, a FAMILY EMERGENCY!

Pleasant male voice: "Hello, I'm calling on behalf of a volunteer organization."

Monsieur Ronald: "What?"

Male voice, cheerfully: "We would like you to join us."

Ronald, now wide awake: "Pardon, join you?"

Voice: "Yes"

Ronald, anger rising: "You've got to be kidding. I don't know where you're calling from but you just woke me up!"

Voice: "I'm very sorry sir, please excuse me but we would like you to join us reading a verse from the Bible, to start your day."

Ronald, now curious: "What organization do you volunteer for exactly?"

Voice: silence.

Ronald, ready to explode: "Listen very carefully pal, I'm only going to say this once. If I join you in reading a verse from the Bible, a lightning bolt will come down from the sky, directly from Thor's hammer, to strike you dead. Comprende! Call this number again and even Jesus won't be able to protect you from what Thor and I have in mind for you. Comprende! I pray the rest of your day sucks." End of call.

We've all been bothered by early morning and dinnertime calls from scammers, cons, fraudsters, telemarketers, fake charities, pollsters, etc..

However, to be harassed at 6:45 a.m. by religious cultists was a first for Monsieur Ronald.

For obvious reasons, you likely don't want to be reminded that on September 30, 2008, following the passage of Bill C-37, the CRTC announced the operation of a "National Do Not Call List" (DNCL); in our other official language "Liste National De Numeros De Telecommunication Exclus"...to prevent cranks, cons, telemarketers, crooks, fraudsters, scammers, religions, et al, from harassing Canadians by phone.

Bill C-37 put a stop to some of the illegal activity, right?

No and non. It actually got much worse in the intervening 13 years. Offshore groups joined the domestics in using phones and online devices to prey on the elderly and the vulnerable, robbing them of millions.

Why hasn't the CRTC caught and prosecuted the miscreants?

Because, like several other CRTC regulatory initiatives, the Bill C-37 "DNCL" is a useless, costly disaster.

And good luck trying to find one MP who cares enough to actually do something about it.

                                                                    THE GOOD STUFF

It's not all gloom...the Great White North has something to celebrate.

For the first time, Canada takes top spot overall in the 2021 Best Countries (to live in) Report, a ranking and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report; BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R; and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Japan and Germany finished #2 and #3, respectively, while Switzerland, the previous #1 overall country, falls to #4. Australia remains as the #5 overall country followed by the United States, which rises one position to #6 overall.

So smile, we live in the best country on the planet.

                                           A STORY TO REMIND US ABOUT THOSE "GOOD OLD DAYS"

A group of Canadians traveled by tour bus through Switzerland (country #4 above).

As they stopped at a cheese farm, a young tour guide led them through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat's milk was used.

Shepherding the group outside the processing plant, she pointed at a lovely hillside where many goats were grazing explaining, "These are the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produce."

She asked the guests, "What do you do in Canada with your old goats?"

A spry elderly gent standing at the back shouted, "They send us on bus tours!"

Hopefully, we will all be doing that again and soon.

Anybody remember? What's a federal or provincial balanced budget? And, get used to hearing about trillion dollar deficits.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#230 TELL ME A STORY GRANDPA...'OUR' STORY (posted April 3, 2021)

American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer, Samuel Langhome Clemens (1835-1910), better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, proffered, "Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry".

"Writing a memoir is like living your life, all over again" - Dame Julie Andrews, referring to her second memoir entitled "Home Work".

Anyone who has written one (or more) memoirs will agree it involves lots of time, effort and a great deal of discipline; especially with regard to decisions about what to leave out.

                                                                   Stories...'our' Family

During his retirement years, my maternal grandfather, Hubert T. MacDonald, wrote a book entitled "The Lords of the Isles - and their Descendants"; a short account of the MacDonald Clans in Scotland and their immigration to Canada and the United States.

The book was published in 1945, before the end of WWII.

My grandpa writes in the book's preface "The compiling of genealogical tables is as old as the human race itself, and of infinite value to succeeding generations; for bereft of genealogical data, it is literally impossible for any man to explain who he is."

"In the great migration of the MacDonald's from their homeland in Scotland to Prince Edward Island and Glengarry, Ontario, and also to the Carolina's in the U.S.A., about the year 1772, our part of that migration went to Prince Edward Island."

The reason the MacDonald's left their beloved homeland was "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 the Isles."

Sixty one years later (during my retirement years) I inadvertently followed in my grandfather's footsteps and wrote the first of two memoirs.

The notion of writing about my life began to take shape one summer afternoon on a trip to Toronto to visit our family.

Our (first) grandchild, Zoe Alexandra Taylor (then four and a half years old) was holding Grandpa's protective hand as we strolled on a sidewalk in the Beaches area.

Grandpa was happily fielding Zoe's questions, most of which started with "Grandpa, why does..............?"

The answer(s) always seemed to be followed by another...Why?

On this sunny afternoon Zoe was giving Grandpa's memory a workout he would not soon forget. 

Suddenly, out of the blue, she asked a show-stopper "Grandpa, where did I come from?"

A ready answer did not come and hoping my mumbling would suffice, the question was left hanging.

The question was much to complex to answer at that moment, given her father is adopted.

Consequently, the answer to Zoe's seemingly innocent, easy but profound question, could only come from our side of the family.

This led to eighteen months of research and writing before Grandpa came up with 'his' answer, in the form of a personal memoir entitled "from Stardust".

The book, self-published in December 2006, came to the following conclusion...the answer to Zoe's show-stopper question is, "everything in the universe comes from Stardust".

The arrival of another granddaughter (our third), Danielle Ashley Devion (on September 29, 2007) necessitated writing an update to the original memoir...because Danielle would never understand why she was not included in the first bit of family history, written by her Grandpa.

The sequel called "from Stardust, Book II" is dedicated to our three sweethearts; Zoe Alexandra Taylor, Caitlin Daniele Devion, Danielle Ashley Devion, and their descendants.

The second book was self-published in 2012, and reviewed by Barry Kiefl (president of Canadian Media Research) and Cleve Dheensaw (writer for the Victoria Time Colonist newspaper). 

                                          What follows is an excerpt from Book II - 'WHY I NEVER DRINK TEA'

My auntie, Marion MacDonald, lived in a large suite in the Royal Alexandra Hotel in North Winnipeg.

The Royal Alexandra was one of the grand railway hotels built across the West by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Auntie Marion was unmarried, an accomplished educator and Principal of Elmwood School - the first woman in Manitoba to attain this position.

Once a month, my mother took my three sisters and me to visit Auntie Marion. 

Given the grandeur of her 'digs', we were obliged to dress in what was referred to as our 'Sunday best' - shirt, bow tie and itchy pants for me, and dresses for my sisters. It was considered 'all very proper'.

Auntie Marion always served tea on a silver tray with Carnation milk (yuk!) in exquisite fine China cups, along with an assortment of cookies imported from England.

Prior to our arrival, mother instructed us as follows: Behave, sit upright in a chair, hold the teacup with the small 'pinkie' slightly raised, and do not eat too many cookies.

Conversation was of little interest to children. This was the last place we wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon and our impatience to leave must have been palpable.

This obligatory ritual turned me against tea...for the rest of my life.

Fast forward several decades to the 1980's. Auntie Marion is living in retirement in Vancouver. Young nephew Ronnie is CBC's Director of Television for the province of British Columbia.  

Regular monthly visits with Auntie Marion included fine China cups full of tea, laced with Carnation milk (double yuk!), and of course, imported cookies from England, all served on a familiar silver tray.

The public broadcaster's, 'big TV Kahuna', dutifully drank the tea, without complaint; remembering always to sit upright with 'pinkie' slightly raised, while making sure not to eat too many cookies. 

Young nephew Ronnie relished the 'talks' with his favourite aunt who was a reliable source of wise advice and counsel.

In a letter dated June 27, 1973, Auntie Marion, first daughter of grandmother Margaret and grandfather Hubert MacDonald, wrote of her summer-long holiday, taken years prior, visiting the east coast and the memories triggered by her return to Prince Edward Island.

"I set off one day by bus to visit Souris, where I had been a boarder at a convent there. The Parish Priest, when I was a student was your Grandfather's uncle, Father Ronald MacDonald who was known as the silver-tongued orator of the Island - a real giant - big brown eyes, silver hair and size 13 shoes.

I attended Prince of Wales College, Charlettown and your uncle Dan and your Grandfather were students at St. Dunstan's, a catholic boys college at the time, but currently a university.

Another bus tour took me to Summerside via Kensington - a small town nearest to Clermont where the first four of our family were born. I caught a glimpse of the little farm home where your grandparents settled after their marriage in Boston.

About three miles from Summerside we came to Reads Corner where the family home was reached after passing along a lovely avenue of birch trees. Earl, Leo, Ronald and Bernard were born at this home.

About a mile from Summerside was our last "Island" home where your Mother and Edward were born. The family doctor pronounced her "a perfect baby" (I think she is still perfect.)

Your Grandfather was ahead of his time in many ways, regarding new ideas in farming - crops and domestic animals. He had prize winning Ayrshire cows and always - beautiful horses. He improved each farm he had and moved on to his next purchase. 

But P.E.I. offers no opportunities for a large family - Hence, we have relatives all over the U.S. and western Canada to which we finally came and started farming in the Brandon area where we had a cousin in the real estate business.

In Summerside I was especially interested in seeing the Convent where Josephine, Sister Geraldine and I attended public school.

Your Uncle Dan used to have a sailboat on the bay there and in winter he skimmed over the frozen Wilmot River (at the foot of our farm) in an iceboat, which he and his friends had built.

On leaving Summerside the bus returned to Reads Corner and turning right, proceeded to Charlettown, via North Bedeque and Central Bedeque, thus completing a circle tour.

At the former place, North Bedeque, is where your Grandfather's old home was - a lovely place fronting on the water. Seeing all the old places and remembering former times was a very traumatic experience".

Auntie Marion's words provide invaluable information about the MacDonald family's time living in Canada's smallest province.

Everybody has a story to tell. Sadly, there are too many that are left untold, unrecorded and lost to future generations.

                                                     Three favourite quotes about life

1) "Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing" - Seneca 

2) "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough" - Mae West

3) "Sing like no one's listening,

     Love like you've never been hurt,

     Dance like nobody's watching, and

     Live like it's heaven on earth" - Anonymous

                                                                  And finally...

Dear Easter Bunny,

This year could you please fill my eggs with health and happiness and vaccines and deliver them to everyone I love.

Thank you.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#229 TRICKS, FOOLERY, PRANKS AND LIES (posted March 28, 2021)

In 1708 a correspondent wrote to the British 'Apollo' magazine asking, "Whence proceeds the custom of making April fools?"

He was enquiring about the origins of that 'special' day when friends, strangers, the powerful and powerless fall prey to well planned and exquisitely timed tricks and practical jokes.

The day the unguarded and gullible are sent...on a fools errand.

The question, who started the custom and when, is one that many people are still asking today.

Really?

Yep!

The puzzle continues to confound cultural historians. Many theories have been put forward about how the custom began. Unfortunately, none of them are very compelling.

So, the origin of the "custom of making April fools" remains as much a mystery as it was back in 1708.

There are four 'plausible' candidates that claim to have invented 'April Fools' Day.

1) France: Back in 1564, while 'reforming' their calendar (moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1st), those who failed to keep up with the change became victims of a prank called "Poison d'Avril", or "April Fish"...which remains the French term for April Fools'.

2) Great Britain: 13th century - According to folklore April Fools' Day links to the town of Fools located in Nottinghamshire.

3) Germany: April 1, 1530 - Speculators bet a fortune on a meeting where lawmakers were going to change financial regulations favouring them. The meeting did not take place. The greedy speculators were ridiculed and the tradition was born.

4) The Netherlands: April 1, 1572 - Dutch rebels captured the town of Den Briel from Spanish troops led by a guy who called himself Lord Alva. The 'unexpected' victory led to the independence of the Netherlands from Spain. The rebels claimed the reason they defeated a superior force was because "Alva lost his glasses". Every April first, to commemorate the victory and humiliation of the Spanish commander, pranks abound.

Regardless of who takes credit, the tradition is now practised in most cultures. For this one day, behaviour that is normally frowned upon, i.e. lying, deception, playing pranks on the unguarded and gullible becomes acceptable on the first day of April and ends (per the prescribed rules) precisely at 12 o'clock noon.

                                                         Meanwhile, in another place and time...

June 16, 2015 - An egotistical serial liar steps onto a golden escalator in the atrium of a tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City and begins descending into a lobby packed with cameras and a rent-a-crowd paid $50 to "excitedly" wave signs.

It's safe to say now, the 10 or so seconds that followed are the most consequential escalator ride in American history.

A pudgy elderly man, perfectly backcombed, face covered in orange television makeup, launches into a hate-filled angry tirade announcing his candidacy for president of the United States.

                                             Quietly behind the curtain and unbeknownst to most...

A hard-right Svengali, Steve Bannon, had been carefully and skillfully grooming and moulding the ageing man-child, carefully preparing him to play the role of a lifetime. A cruel would-be Emperor King ready, willing and able to dismantle and reshape the institutions of the federal government.

Bannon realized (early on) that his pliable 'student' possessed an uncanny ability to 'perform and entertain' the masses, especially on television and at rallies, which reminded him of two other madmen, Hitler and Mussolini. Stevie recommended Trump copy Benito's mannerism's, considering Adolph's delivery too 'over the top'.

Like minded 'others'; zealots sympathetic with Bannon's cause (loyal enablers and sycophants), were quickly recruited to surround the would-be Emperor-King and enable a transformation so bold, daring and swift that it surprised and amazed a nation and an unsuspecting democratic world.

Those found unwilling to serve the cause were dismissed as disloyal then cruelly ridiculed by 'the greatest one ever'. 

Followers, fed a daily dose of lies and nonsense by Fox News, eagerly joined the movement. The likes of Evangelical Christians (?), NRA gun nuts, racists, conspiracy enthusiasts, white supremacists, militias, Nazis, biker gangs, Q'anon lunatics, et al, eagerly endorsed their great leader. The self-professed "Smartest man in the world".

Bannon's pupil performed so spectacularly that 76 million voted for him in November 2020, endorsing the mad ruler to continue dismantling their democratic republic.

Go figure?

The shear number of votes effectively silenced any opposition from elected Republicans, who cower in fear of Trump's army. Despite some of them also being targets of an attempted coup by 'his' mob, hell bent on murdering his most loyal supporter, Mike Pence.

Go figure?

                                                              The sad and ironic result...

Lying, deception and cruel dirty tricks are now the accepted political norm, turning every day in America into...April Fools' Day.

                                                              The seriously scary stuff...

Donald J Trump, in exile at his Mar-a-Lago palace, continues his total control of the Republican Party. As a consequence, remains one of the most dangerous men on the planet.

Trump admirers, China, Russia and North Korea now begin to test the new American administration.

As millions wait for their first shot of vaccine, the COVID-19 variants begin a Third Wave.

                                                         Monsieur Ronald's Prediction du Jour

The Liberal minority government will unveil the first federal budget in two years on April 19. Shortly thereafter, Justin of 'Sunny Ways' will call an election and win a majority government.

                                                             Monsieur Ronald's Quiz du Jour

Question: Who said "The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God."

Answer: On March 19, 1882, the first stone was laid for the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudi.

Question: How long did it take to finish the basilica?

Answer: The basilica has been under construction for 139 years. It's projected to (hopefully) be completed by 2026, in time to mark the centennial of Gaudi's death.

"A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning" - Kenyan proverb

"There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out" - Russian proverb

"After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box" - Italian proverb

                                                                And last but not least...

That Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."

Monsieur Ronald's response, " Geez, enough already. Cut us some slack. We're playing the hand we've been dealt...by you."

Happy April Fools' Day Thursday, pranksters...be wary!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#228 THE MARCH...OF TIME (posted March 13, 2021)

At last, it's our turn, the 85+ cohort in British Columbia.

Wednesday March 10, at noon (precisely): Monsieur Ronald, starts calling the 1-833 number to get in line for an appointment to receive the first vaccine shot.

The call is immediately answered...JOY!

An automated voice thanks me for calling and provides a list of instructions followed by a pause and, "all of our agents are busy, try again later" and automatically hangs up...HUH, WHAT?

Unwilling to be foiled by the province's contracted answering service(?) Telus, Ronald calls again, and again, and again, then gives up for the day.

Thursday, Friday...when suddenly, after listening to the frustratingly familiar list of auto-voiced instructions and pauses, something new happens. The voice quickly instructs "for X press one", "for Y press two", for Z press three". Which one do I press? I decide to throw caution to the wind and risk getting cut off again and press three...

After a short pause, calming musical selections, courtesy of Telus, begin to play. Tick, tick, tick...then, Eureka, at 10:17:09 Pacific Standard Time, the sound of a real human voice says "Good morning, who am I speaking to?"

I'm momentarily speechless, overcome by the shear thrill of actual human to human contact. Ten short minutes pass as I provide required information. The agent then says "Mr. Devion your vaccine shot is booked for the afternoon of March 18, have a pleasant day."

Suddenly it was Christmas in March as my brain focused on a song...

Happy days are here again,

The skies above are clear again

Let us sing a song of cheer again

Happy days are here again"

                                                        TIME AGAIN TO...PICK THY POCKET

It's that time of year when the Sheriff of Nottingham and his 'minions' cometh to pick thy pocket.

This pocket-picking-time will be especially hard on millions of Canadians whose income has and continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19. The Sheriff will extract a portion of the benefits received from the treasury (e.g. CERB, CRB, etc.)...to tax back, despite employment opportunities remaining grim.

The CRA will never explain why they so enthusiastically pursue those who are struggling (the poor and middle class) while failing to go after the Uber-rich, who hide their wealth offshore to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes? Curious isn't it?

And none of the governing elected politicians ever force them to. Curious isn't it?

                                           TIME FOR...ANOTHER PEEK BEHIND THE TWEED CURTAIN

Way back in 1954-55, a stipulation for employment with CBC was 'swearing allegiance to the monarch'. In order to become an employee of a Canadian Crown Corporation, it was required protocol.

Quaint, nest-ce-pas.

This stipulation stuck in the craw of 'young Ronald' who considered the application of this job requirement demeaning and a blunt in-your-face reminder that 'colonials' must always consider themselves 'subservient' to a caste of 'special people' living in another country, an ocean away.

Consequently, this is the main reason 'old Ronald' cannot resist commenting on 'Le Grand Scandal du Jour'.

Monsieur, which scandal are you referring to, there are so many.

The one about the elite beings who live in Brexit Land. The caste of special people that belong to a secretive organization called 'The Firm', who decided to cast out, excommunicate, ostracize, exclude and shun one of their own and his family.

Monsieur, why would they do that to Prince Harry, the Queen's grandson, Archie, the Queen's great-grandson, and Harry's wife, Meghan Markle?

Did Harry murder someone?

Nope, all Harry wanted is to be free from the constraints of palace life and the media hounds, live overseas; while continuing to serve as a representative of 'The Firm'.

But 'the palace' ruled out the option of being half in and half out of royal life.

Consequently, in the eyes of those who run 'The Firm', Prince Harry did something much worse than murder.

On March 7, he and Meghan aired royal 'dirty laundry' on U.S. television, viewed by millions. The two-hour special, hosted by Oprah, the House of Windsor was depicted as uncaring, cruel, racist and trapped by those who run 'The Firm'.

In that organization, that is the biggest 'NO-NO, BOO-BOO' any member of that exclusive Club can commit and is cause for banishment.

Monsieur, does it mean what Harry and Meghan did is worse than the 'despicable' conduct other members of that family committed.

Oui!

Royal "Despicable's" continue to receive all royal privileges and are protected by 'The Firm', in exchange for denials about their indiscretions, silence and service.

That's hypocritical isn't it? Yep, it's plain and simple HYPOCRISY writ large.

A few interesting bits:

Harry and Meghan were not paid for the interview.

Oprah Winfrey's production house Harpo Productions earned millions from rights to the interview.

CBS charged $325,000 for each 30 second commercial aired during the two-hour special.

And reaction poured in as a result of the revelations during the Oprah interview that rocked the very foundation of the palace. 'The Firm' eventually released a statement denying the allegations insinuating it was all Meghan's doing.

The mystery: Which senior member of the family told Harry 'the palace has concerns about the skin tone of baby Archie? Harry has ruled out his grandmother and grandfather. British media is on the hunt for the royal culprit.

Other reactions:

Boris: I never comment about the weird stuff that goes on over there.

Justin of 'Sunny Ways': No comment. I had enough trouble getting rid of Julie Payette.

Erin O': We Conservatives are stuck on this one, between a rock and a hard place.

Yves-Francois: We Blocks believe the allegations are further proof the monarchy should be abolished. Just give us back our country. Vive le Quebec Libre!

Jagmeet: The NDP's want the monarchy gone. When the Queen passes, we want a republic like several other commonwealth nations are considering.

And last but not least...

Mrs. Throckmorton Smedley-Jones, representing the Oak Bay women's auxiliary, Monarchist League (Victoria Branch): "Shit! Shit! Shit!". As your president, an urgent extraordinary Zoom chat-room meeting will take place next Tuesday, to determine "How will we face the world again?". Attendance obligatory unless you are hospitalized or booked for a vaccine shot.

                                                                           QUIZ du JOUR

Question:

When and what famous man said "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you."

Answer:

On March 10, 1876, inventor Alexander Graham Bell said those words in the worlds very first telephone call to his assistant Thomas Watson...who was in the other room.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#227 RONALD'S MARCH MEDLEY (posted March 5, 2021)

                                                          MEDLEY NUMBER ONE

Nostalgia is often triggered by something reminding us of a happier time, taking pleasure in reminiscing about the 'good old days' and the times shared with loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Remember that long-ago time (2015) when life was so boringly routine?

Strange how much we miss it. That time before the insanity of Trump and COVID-19.

The realization that there's no going back and a future which will be unpredictably different.

Remember the original Mazda 'Zoom-Zoom' commercial? Hard to believe it was released way back in...2015.

It's worth watching it again on Google. Listen to the kid whispering 'Zoom, Zoom, Zoom', the music, pictures of cars and feel the release of a wave of nostalgia as you pine for those 'good old days' of 2015.

The word Zoom has taken on a new and important influence in our lives.

Zoom, the chat-room, has gone from no one having ever heard of it, to being a central instrument in our lives.

But many still aren't comfortable with the change; this new technological face-to-face mode of communication.

So many pitfalls. Zoom is allowing people to embarrass themselves in ways they couldn't even imagine just months ago.

Prime example #1: What happened to American lawyer, blogger, author and 'former' legal analyst on CNN, Jeffrey Toobin. Look it up on Google and cringe.

Example #2: Stand up and the people you're talking to will notice you forgot you're not wearing pants.

Have you become a victim? Do you have a bad attitude about Zoom?

Help is at hand. There are online 'training' sessions available to assist the 'unprepared' avoid their 15 minutes of infamy being 'exposed' to millions on social media.

                                                        MEDLEY NUMBER TWO

                                                   Some stuff you may not know

1) Did you know up to 80% of Japan's population want the '2020' Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, cancelled or postponed, again?

The 'delayed' Games are scheduled to start July 23, 2021.

The "official" cost is $15.4 billion. Two government audits suggest the "real" cost is almost twice that much...and counting. 

The new president of the Tokyo organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, said "The biggest challenge is the countermeasures against COVID-19. Nobody can foresee how the situation will be this summer."

Which leaves thousands of athletes continuing their training under a cloud of uncertainty.

2) Did you know it was Francois-Marie Arouet who said "Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"?

While the quotation may seem familiar, the name Francois-Marie Arouet is not, because he wrote using the 'nom de plume'...Voltaire.

Monsieur Arouet was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

3) Did you know that according to the Journal of Business Research, personnel with a beard are perceived as having more expertise, perceived to be more trustworthy and, subsequently will increase a companies sales? The report makes no comment as to whether this disadvantages members of the female sales force...and who would dare make such a claim?

And last but not least...

4) *Did you know there is no universal term for a collection of assholes?

                                                       MEDLEY NUMBER THREE

                                      "The vaccines are coming, the vaccines are coming"

Trust Monsieur Ronald when he states there are very few advantages of getting really old and being categorized (by science) as being among the most vulnerable.

However, 'We' of the aforementioned vintage, have been apprised by those who govern us, to anticipate receiving the first vaccine shot, this month...hopefully.

Or, trust us, for sure, next month...umm...depending upon the following variables...vaccine availability from suppliers, vague contract terminology, distribution logistics, weather, number and location of vaccine centres, number of vaccinators, federal and provincial relations, politics, the Belgians, the Scots, the Indians from India, etc., etc..

Regardless, we have been assured by our great leader, Justin of 'Sunny Ways' not to worry. Despite the ever-changing 'plans', the PM will provide an update each and every weekday morning. These updates will be interpreted and decoded, by those who govern us provincially, each and every weekday afternoon. We are asked to remember patience is a virtue and that they are flying the airplane while it's being built.

Except for some...While the rest of us wait, media reports continue to out thousands of vaccine queue-jumpers; the rich, the powerful, the self-entitled miscreants and fraudsters, a.k.a. the least vulnerable. Those (*see #4 above) who use their wealth, stealth, power and celebrity to get themselves inoculated while the peons dutifully and patiently wait in line for their turn.

Monsieur Ronald proposes this is what should happen to the vaccine-queue-jumpers when they are caught cheating the system:

Fined $10,000 

Names placed on a national 'shaming list' to be published in the media.

By comparison: If you are standing in line, say outside a Costco, with 150 other masked strangers patiently waiting to get in and some 'self-important', 'self-entitled', 'selfish-asshole' walks to the front of the line...what do you thing would happen? What do you think should happen? Would you make it happen? Would you calmly but in a loud voice tell the jerk "the line starts around the corner"? Never turn your back on some small problem just because it's none of your business or because you aren't bothered.

                                                                 TO END THE MEDLEY

A worthy quote from one of the most influential people on the planet, Jimmy Wales, who created Wikipedia "Money is not the goal, real value comes from education."

A Zoom joke: Bernie, Joe and Donald are on a Zoom call.

Bernie: "I dreamed last night that God spoke to me. He said that he wanted me to be president."

Joe: "That's funny. I had the exact same dream."

Donald: "I don't remember talking to either of you."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#226 THE PAST IS WRITTEN IN INK, THE FUTURE IN PENCIL (posted Feb. 6, 2021)

Have you been doing some deep-thinking during the many hours, days, weeks and months of 'voluntary incarceration'?

Have you spent some of that 'idle time' pondering the mysteries of life and other puzzling questions?

For instance...What do philosophers...actually do?

Philosophers offer views and theories on profound questions in ethics, metaphysics, logic, and other related matters.

Really?

Yep!

And you might also have guessed that before the months of 'voluntary incarceration', 'Old-Fart-Retirees' (like monsieur Ronald) regularly pursued the 'fine art of philosophy' (with friends and acquaintances), plumbing the deep reservoir of hard-earned knowledge, experience and wisdom to extract therefrom solutions to all of the world's problems. Now ageless-philosophy "experts" are forced to confer and exchange their ideas via ZOOM.

Did you know that philosophy is the ultimate "transferable work skill" for the young and the old?

The emphasis on reason and argumentation is excellent preparation for any young person seeking a career in law, religion, business, international diplomacy, social work, medical management or writing, as well as post-graduate education.

'Old-Fart-Retirees' know stuff...lots of stuff and that stuff is readily transferable.

But, rather than take advantage of this vast pool of knowledge, experience and wisdom, younger generations choose to ignore it.

Sadly, our 'youth-focused-culture' consider 'Elders' "Over the Hill", "Out to Pasture", "Irrelevant old Fogey's"; exclusively old-fashioned in attitude, ideas, manners, etc..

And even more sad, too many, eventually, are quietly shuffled off to the nearest-cheapest "Geezer Glen Manor" or "Almost Heaven Home" warehouse to be over-medicated, ignored and forgotten.

A growing societal demographic that's being made to feel useless and a burden rather than useful/helpful citizens to help younger generations.

                                                                  TWO PHILOSOPHERS AND A CIRCLE

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher who became one of the most influential of all modern thinkers.

His attempts to unmask the motives that underlie traditional Western religion, morality, and philosophy deeply affected generations of theologians, philosophers, psychologists, poets, novelists and playwrights.

George Santayana (1863-1952) was a Hispanic-American philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist who became a prominent figure in the era called "The Classical American Philosophy".

Santayana was a fierce critic of Nietzsche's German idealist philosophy. But George did share a belief with Friedrich, that the past and the future are connected.

Santayana's famous "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" mirrors Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal recurrence "Time is a flat circle".

A 'concept of time', that every event is just an iteration of a past event; an infinite loop.

That patterns get repeated and we humans are doomed to repeat our mistakes.

Everything we have done or will do, we will do over and over and over again - forever.

We "Older Folks' understand "time goes faster than you think". A concept younger people rarely believe until they get to be about the same age. But by then the knowledge comes far too late to make a significant difference.

Some call it "The tragedy of youth" or "The irony of youth"...because as they age they discover their parents have suddenly become significantly smarter.

                            WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND (OR) ONE'S ACTIONS WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES

Nietzsche and Santayana kept cautioning fellow humans to "remember the past".

The message is clear, what happened before will happen again e.g. the 1918 pandemic and the 1930's rise of fascism are both being replayed today.

However, and despite all of the advances in knowledge and technology, it appears humanity has again failed to "remember the past" and are repeating the same mistakes; "SOW THE WIND AND REAP THE WHIRLWIND".

                                                                                QUOTE DU JOUR

"Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile" - Mark Twain

Monsieur Ronald's Netflix recommendation: "The Public" directed, written and starring Emilio Estevez, supported by a great cast. The theme is very timely. The movie begins a little slow but hang in there, it's well worth watching and the end will surprise and make you smile.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#225 AN ISLAND VIEW OF THINGS (posted January 31, 2021)

There was a time when there weren't any humans inhabiting the Americas.

It's postulated, human migration across the Bering land bridge to North America began about 13,000 or more years ago.

Ergo, all presently here now, are descended from immigrants...so let's stop feeling guilty and arguing about who got here first.

OK? We have enough other stuff to worry about, nest-ce-pas!

In ancient times (a year ago) citizens of 'This land is MY land' settled into their 'normal' mid-winter routines; tens of thousands of 'Snowbirds' escaped the 'Great White North' for warmer climes, leaving the hardiest behind to freeze their butts, for (hopefully) only three more months.

Then, in February rumours began, circulating about a virulent virus that travelled from a bat colony to the city of Wuhan, China; a place most had never heard of.

From there, how did 'IT' infect the first human, silently creep along motorways and flight routes to kill nurses in Italy, farmers in Brazil, retirees in Seattle, captured the attention of medical experts worldwide.

As weeks and months rolled by, lies, conspiracy theories and the 'blame game' spread as fast as the virus' toll; increasing fear and anxiety and distracting nations from cooperating and concentrating on stopping the deadly threat and its increasing mutations.

Those who are elected to rule and protect us, implemented more and more restrictions on the movement of people to curb the spread, which has now reached a point where we are 'ordered' to "stay the hell home!"; perpetuating social and geographical isolation and a destructive anti-social public attitude...

"Stay the hell out of my province, my city, my suburb, my town, my hamlet, my bubble!"

In three provincial capitals; St. John's, Charlottetown and Victoria, the message is "Stay the hell off my Island!"

Turns out, it took less than nine months for COVID-19 to seriously tarnish that Canadian stereotype; our reputation as easy-going, friendly, and polite people to morph into "If you're not from here, F... Off!"

You may have heard the claim "people who live on Islands live life differently from mainlanders" and wondered, 'is it fact, fiction or chamber of commerce/tourist board promotional blarney'?

Are the people who live in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Vancouver Island happier, because they live on Islands?

Monsieur Ronald suggests the answer is a definite yes, and offers the following elucidational rationale...

First, the surrounding water acts as a 'protective' moat.

Two of the aforementioned 'largish Islands' are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.

The other, six time zones to the West (where monsieur Ronald and the Mrs. reside), is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, that covers one third of the Earth's surface and is twice the size of the Atlantic Ocean (proving ours is bigger than theirs).

Bet you didn't know that or this...

People who live on an Island learn to slow down which helps them (us) stay happier and healthier.

Relationships are more tight-knit, neighbours help neighbours, community (the backbone of Island life) matters and the physical and psychological benefits of being near water promotes environmental awareness and...as a bonus, fresh seafood and fresh air is always in season.

This tempting tidbit may entice a visit asap, however, until COVID-19 and its progeny is defeated, the opportunity to discover the beauty and people of these Canadian paradises remains, by government decree, off-limits; i.e. "If you're not from here, F... Off!"

And please remember, until the deadly virus is eventually conquered, 'there was a time when there weren't any humans inhabiting  the Americas' and unless we follow the advice of medical experts, it could happen again.

A QUOTE...FOR THE TIMES

"People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a 'common purpose'. 'Cause pretty soon they have little (red) hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they're going to visit at 3 a.m. So, I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at; you can see the universe in their eyes. If you're really looking." - George Carlin

May the Great Groundhog wake up Tuesday morning and provide a favourable forecast that Spring is on the way. 

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#224 HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW (posted January 23, 2021)

                                          RISK VS REWARD - PART ONE

Eight years ago, a nation is awarded the "privilege" of staging a party; the "Biggest Party" on the planet, in 2020.

According to auditors, $25 billion USD has been spent on preparations, 80,000 volunteers trained to assist performers and guests from 206 countries, and millions of tickets sold...suddenly unforeseeable circumstances (the pandemic) forced a difficult decision..."delay" the big party, for one year.

Tawagoto!...Shit! (in Japanese).

Japan organizers and International Olympic Committee "MuckeeMucks" huddle and decide the XXXII Tokyo Olympiad will take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

Health experts suggest holding the Olympics (this year) is "a recipe for disaster", "defies epidemiological logic" and "a classic breeding ground for any infectious disease".

Tawagoto!...Merde X deux!

Japan's Olympic Committee chairman, Yasuhiro Yamashita, informs IOC chief, Thomas Bach, "There is no PLAN B".

Oh, oh...$25 billion spent and no PLAN B??? Tawagoto X trios!

Given the current state of vaccine (supply vs demand), is a broad inoculation rollout even possible by July, to avoid making the Games a medical catastrophe?

                                If it was your call...WHAT WOULD YOU DECIDE?

a) Delay until 2022?

b) Cancel the Games and contemplate the "honourable" alternative below?

c) Commit Harakiri? Ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword.

Holy Tawagoto, deciding on c) is gonna really hurt (Ooo, Ooo, Ouch, Ouch).

                                             RISK VS REWARD - PART TWO

Two years ago, a nation awards the "privilege" of becoming the Governor General to a woman whose extraordinary accomplishments include; engineer, scientist, musician, chanteuse, astronaut.

How could anyone (ever) be more qualified to become the temporary "Queen of Canada".

Don't bother with a thorough background check; this pick is beyond perfection, it's even beyond wunderbar...nest-ce-pas?

What could possibly go wrong with Justin's selection, blessed by Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (Brexit aside) and 15 other Commonwealth realms?

Indeed, what could possibly go wrong.

Well, umm, according to the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, Dominic LeBlanc, "Clearly, the vetting circumstance missed some worrying things that came to light frankly because of journalists, because of reporters last summer. The first time we saw some of the workplace concerns were only last summer".

Translation: Government-speak for 'the journalists are to blame, not us! Damn those snooping reporters.

Monsieur LeBlanc's remark ranks as this year's (so far) most underwhelming understatement from a minister of the Crown.

A confidential report (which cost taxpayers $391,000) revealed a toxic working environment at Rideau Hall.

And specifically, what are the "some worrying things" mentioned by minister LeBlanc that even a cursory vetting would have revealed?

1) Ms. Payette left as head of the Montreal Science Centre in 2016 in the wake of employees coming forward alleging verbal abuse.

2) Similar complaints were made when she served on the Canadian Olympic Committee.

3) In 2011 she had been charged in the United States with assault against her husband.

4) Also in 2011, she had accidentally struck and killed a pedestrian in Maryland.

And with all of this now out in the open, thanks to those pesky reporters, what to do?

The PM can't fire the Queen of Canada. Ask Her Majesty to can Julie?

Better yet, Justin decided to have a meeting/talk with the Queen of Canada and suggest she might resign and graciously accept the following taxpayer-paid perks for life...

$149,484 annual pension (adjusted)

Lifetime expense program (up to $206,000 per year)

It's always the ordinary middle-class taxpayer who can least afford it, who assumes the risk and gets stiffed paying for "the doggie in the window".

Is it any wonder why so many ordinary people are so pissed off about government waste...and don't get me started on the Senate.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#223 WELCOME TO 2021 (posted Jan. 12, 2021)

As the clock strikes 12, a be-draggled, battered, world-weary old man, hands trembling, turns the hourglass upside down and places it into the outstretched arms of a baby.

She is clear-eyed and smiling at the sad face and bloodshot eyes looking down at her; innocently unaware that the sand pebbles in the top half of the hourglass represent not a gift but a shit-storm of unsolved and unresolved problems facing humankind.

The next twelve months will be a supreme test of her abilities.

                                                        TRANSITION 

Soon it will be the 21st day, of the 21st year, of the 21st century; precisely, January 21, 2021.

In Numerology, the number 21 is symbolic of success, completion and the fulfillment of desires.

Whoopee!

The numerology number 21 is an inspiration and creative self-expression number.

Whoopee X deux!

House number 21 is considered to be a lucky address in Feng shui.

Which is just peachy-wonderful providing your house/apartment/condo number happens to be 21, otherwise you're S-O-L.

It must, therefore, be conclusive and concluded (in, ahem, theologically-numerological terms) that 21 is and has to be an optimistic, hope-filled lucky number...hopefully.

With that fuzzy feeling of optimism warming the cockles of our collective heart(s), and knowing that on January 21, Uncle Joe and Auntie Kamala will take over and begin the healing process after witnessing a deranged, delusional, madman, the U.S. Emperor/King, Donald John 'Crazy Pants' Trump, his enablers and cult followers wreak havoc on democracy.

If 21 is lucky (for humankind) by the time Miss 2021 hands the hourglass over to Miss 2022, the sound of jackboots and insurrection will have (hopefully) dissipated, vaccines will have (hopefully) overcome COVID-19 and climate control measures will be the world's #1 priority.

Just in case you're wondering, seven is the most lucky number in the world.

Given its popularity, maybe it's no surprise that there are seven days of the week, seven wonders of the world, seven continents, seven seas, and many important ways that the number seven is used.

And, therefore, according to the ever-optimistic octogenarian, monsieur Ronald, there's more reason to hope rather than despair, that in seven months Miss 2021 will have made sufficient progress that a rainbow may appear on the horizon.

In the meantime, if you're looking for some light entertainment, humour and wisdom, take a peek at a new Netflix series "Pretend It's a City", featuring the one and only Fran Lebowitz (with Martin Scorsese) riff sardonically on subjects of money, transportation, health, books, the #MeToo movement, etc..

The shows should distract you from the current madness...for a little while.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory  

#222 TRADITION (posted Dec. 31, 2020)

The concept of tradition...the notion of holding on to a previous time.

A 'folk custom' with symbolic meaning with origins in the past.

Suddenly and without warning an invisible and deadly intruder massively disrupted our 'traditions' of social interaction.

For example, this New Year's Eve: No gathering, No dancing, No kissing, No hugging, No singing, No nothin'; i.e., there's no 'HAPPY' in this NEW YEAR's greeting.

For the sake of maintaining but one good 'old times tradition' + our collective sanity - as we cross the Rubicon into 2021 - monsieur Ronald offers up a (hopefully) temporary antidote:

Sit back and relax, breath deeply thrice, close your eyes and let your imagination take over...

Join hands with the (imaginary) person next to you.

Next, everyone form a great circle around the dance floor.

Accompanied by "the sweetest music this side of Heaven", provided by maestro Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians orchestra, everybody sing (loudly) that traditional 'New Year' Scots-language poem written by Robbie Burns in 1788...

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne?

 

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we'll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

 

And surely you'll buy your pint cup!

and surely I'll buy mine!

And we'll take a cup o'kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

 

We two have run about the hills,

and picked the daisies fine;

But we've wandered many a weary foot

since auld lang syne.

 

We two have paddled in the stream,

from morning sun till dine;

But seas between us broad have roared

since auld lang syne.

 

And there's a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand o'thine!

And we'll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

 

When the tune ends everyone rush to the middle, while still holding hands...as we all say goodbye and good riddance to the worst year of our lives and allow a 'momentary' feeling of hope, joy and goodwill to take hold, imagining what a brand new year may bring.

May it be a cup o'kindness, good health plus vaccination for all against the COVID-19 intruder.

"You can't have people making decisions about the future of the world who are scientifically illiterate. That's a recipe for disaster. And I don't mean just whether a politician is literate, but people who vote politicians into office." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Never take for granted those small things life gifts to us everyday, for we never know when it will be taken away from us.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#221 HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS (posted Dec. 12, 2020)

The proverb has been in use since time immemorial.

It has been attributed to Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher better known as 'Pliny the Elder' (A.D. 23-79).

Sadly, Pliny died in Pompeii while attempting to rescue stranded victims during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

'HOME' is where one is most emotionally attached - to have affinity for one's 'HOME' over every other place.

                                                  WORKING FROM HOME

Prior to the pandemic, most Canadian employees (82%) worked primarily from an external workplace.

Today, that's down to 27%.

As the world adjusts to the new working environment, organizations are trying to develop 'best practices' for remote working and returning to the workplace.

But, rather than most employees being eager to return, 64% say they wouldn't be or aren't sure they'd be comfortable returning to the workplace in the next three months.

Taking into account regional/industry differences, most employees now want flexibility to choose between working from home and the office.

Employees are split around whether productivity has increased, decreased or stayed the same.

                                                 The Main Challenges

On the employee side: Dealing with work-life balance, maintaining productivity and communicating with co-workers without traditional in-person interactions.

On the employer side: Maintaining morale and company culture, adjusting to changing customer needs and connectivity in a virtual work environment.

Good leadership provides an edge in troubled times. Empowered leaders establish practices that foster trust and engagement to give people the support they need to stimulate creativity, collaboration and innovation.

                                               THE FAUSTIAN BARGAIN

Faustian bargain: A pact whereby a person/corporation/government trades something of supreme moral or spiritual importance, such as personal values or the soul, for some worldly or material benefits such as knowledge, power, or riches.

Faustian bargains are by their nature tragic or self-defeating because what is surrendered is ultimately far more valuable than what is obtained.

The people who (currently) manage Canada's public broadcaster stand justifiably accused by employees (present and past) and many shareholders (taxpayers) of ignoring the crown corporations primary mandated role and responsibilities.

In a desperate attempt to attract more advertiser/sponsor dollars they have entered into a 'Faustian bargain' that has led to the dumbing-down of their program offerings and risk to their journalistic reputation.

Shows like 'Family Feud Canada' and 'Fridge Wars' serve no mandate purpose, only cater to sponsor needs.

The TANDEM project sacrifices journalistic integrity for $.

                                 Who's responsible for these Faustian decisions?

An appointed board of directors (12) is responsible for the management of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The President of CBC/Radio Canada (Catherine Tait) is appointed by the Governor General of Canada in Council, on the advice of the prime minister.

As a crown corporation, CBC/Radio Canada is directly responsible to Parliament through the Department of Canadian Heritage (currently, the hon. Steven Guilbeault).

A recent CBC/Radio Canada online-staff-meeting with top executives about ongoing plans for a branded content division (TANDEM) resulted in a swift and specific reaction from journalists and others "How can we trust you? This will tarnish the CBC!"

President & CEO, Catherine Tait, and other managers insisted "It's not fake news, it's advertising" convinced no-one, while pleading with staff to keep the internal strife 'in-house' and away from the "CBC haters".

Presumably, working from home (Brooklyn, New York), Ms. Tait's plea was quickly ignored and the internal imbroglio broke on social media within minutes.

As mentioned, in order to foster trust and engagement, 'good leaders' listen and give people the support they need to stimulate creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Qualities currently absent at the senior management level of 'Mother Corps'.

As an aside: Who is footing the bill for Ms. Tait's "secondary residence" in Ottawa? - known as - stiffing the taxpayers - 'a la Mike Duffy'.

Monsieur Ronald recommends it's now time to oust the 'Faustian bargainers' and replace them with leaders that comprehend the role and responsibilities of a public-service media corporation.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS...O CANADA, MY HOME AND NATIVE LAND!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#220 CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE (posted Nov. 13, 2020)

On this Friday the thirteenth, what life was like before the pandemic is fading from memory.

We begin 'a Winter like no other' having to choose between two equally unpleasant courses of action.

As Canadians grudgingly adjust their new daily routines, trying to decide to choose or ignore medical advice to wear a mask, social distancing and wash hands, positive tests and deaths continue to rise.

We frantically search for guidance, to find a pathway to go back "to the way it was", only to be blocked by an insidious virus that confounds and confuses science.

We are caught in the grip of the five stages of grief:

1) Denial and isolation

2) Anger

3) Bargaining

4) Depression

5) Acceptance

Acceptance that there's no going back, from now on everything will be different.

Consequently, we search for any form of distraction. Many find it by watching the daily U.S. black comedy soap opera "Our Cartoon President".

The recent Remembrance Day episode (Veterans Day in the U.S.):

Venue: Arlington National Cemetery - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Weather: Pissing down rain.

Presiding over the solemn ceremony: A coward. A five-time draft dodger, who called Americans who died in War "losers" and "suckers".

This was the first time he emerged in public (from the golf course) since his failed reelection bid.

Standing unsteadily at attention, saluting, and visibly stressing about his hairdo and makeup being destroyed by Mother Nature's tears.

Glued to 'El Douchebag's' side, his loyal earnest stooge, Mickey-the-Pence, in service of his Emperor, soaking up the rain like a sponge. Notably absent was Mickey's fly-companion, smart enough to seek shelter.

Two losers, unwilling to concede defeat, absent any demonstrable empathy for the fallen, not wearing masks, ignoring social distancing - 'Douchebag the coward' and his stooge, scurried away, in shame.

                                 IF ALL ELSE FAILS HE'LL BURN THE HOUSE DOWN

Beware of the perils of Emperor 'Crazy Pants' interregnum between now and January 20th.

His capacity to sow chaos and for disruption is far from over.

Unhinged, angry, vengeful. A man who believes the Constitution gives him "the right to do whatever I want as president". A loose canon ball on the deck of a divided nation, supported and motivated by 72.4 million voters.

Get ready for a whirlwind of recrimination, executive action and efforts to make governing more difficult for President-elect Joe Biden.

Few who have occupied the Oval Office, have had the disregard and disdain for the institutions of the presidency and federal government, opening new fronts for bedlam.

Monsieur Ronald has read the tea leaves, peered into the crystal ball, and consulted the horoscope to foretell the future:

1. 'Crazy Pants' steps down. Mickey the Pence (and his Mrs.) become President. President Mickey pardons Donald and his family from future prosecution. (Get out of jail free card in Monopoly).

2. Trump and his family take a 'Farewell, but we'll be back' tour of America's red states and stiffs the taxpayers with the bill.

3. Trump forms a media corporation to displace Fox News with funds donated by his supporters.

4. 'Trumpism' carries on unabated, fuelled by Trump News propaganda, rallies, speaking engagements, books, etc..

5. Trump runs, under the Trump Party banner in 2024, unopposed by any Republican who can steal his base.

6. The drama continues and he's not going away. He believes anything is justified in pursuit of his personal ambitions; money and power.

"Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." - Albert Einstein

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#219 BEWARE, THE FICKLE FINGER OF FATE (posted October 13, 2020)

In case you're still trying to figure out how our southern neighbours determine who will be their next president, monsieur Ronald offers this 'timely' civic's primer; as we witness momentous history in the making.

                                                     How does the U.S. 'electoral college' work?

The number of electors from each state is roughly in line with the size of its population. There are 538 electors in total. California has the most electors - 55 - while a handful of sparsely populated states like Wyoming, Alaska and North Dakota have the minimum of three. Each elector represents one electoral vote, and a candidate needs to gain a majority of votes - 270 or more - to win the presidency.

Generally, states award all their electoral college votes to whoever won the poll of ordinary voters in the state. For example, if the Republican candidate won 50.1% of the vote in Texas, they would be awarded all of the state's 38 electoral college votes.

This is why presidential candidates target specific "swing states" - states where the vote could go either way - rather than trying to win over as many voters as possible across the country.

Thanks for the elucidation monsieur, but what, if anything, does your civic's primer have to do with 'The Fickle Finger of Fate'?

Point taken; unless you consider the eventual outcome is beyond any "reasonable" predictability (think 2016).

For example..."Shit happens" and its less-vulgar cousin "Stuff happens", are simple existential observations that life is full of unpredictable events. In other words, bad things happen to people seemingly for no particular reason.

Some believe it's the result of an unseen and unforeseeable force that controls the direction of all living things.

Others contend attempting to find a plausible rationale is a "mug's game"; a futile and frustrating exercise and we should just accept that sometimes, it's just "The Fickle Finger of Fate".

Ironically, monsieur Ronald (very recently) experienced an event that prompted writing this article. 

                                 To properly understand this story, a bit of 'relevant trivia' about bedsheets is necessary...

Most of us will spend a third of our lives in bed, if we are lucky.

And thanks to the genius of one sharp lady, Bertha Berman, most of us will never awaken with the bottom sheet in a tangle, coiled around our legs like a linen python.

And pray tell, who is Bertha Berman?

Mrs. Berman, an African-American from Forest Hills, New York, invented the fitted bedsheet that was patented on October 6, 1959.

Her design featured a detachable band that encircled the sides of the mattress, keeping it in place and allowing the sheet to be easily removed for washing. This eliminated the need for flat-sheeted corner tucks, the so-called hospital corners that were as hard to master as they were unreliable.

Bertha's bedsheet was an improvement, and other designs followed.

Bet you (also) didn't know it was Alberta's, Gisele Jubinville, who wanted a better one.

In 1992, our very own sharp lady, Gisele, patented the design we know today - a sheet with deep pockets on the corners that wrap under the mattress.

Her "innovative improvement" is (sadly) the cause of monsieur Ronald's trip to the emergency ward of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

                                           What follows is the story of how that happened...

Like so many 'Fickle Finger' events, this one begins innocently on a sunny Fall Sunday afternoon; October 4, 2020.

Monsieur Ronald was "busy" watching his beloved Seattle Seahawks on television.

Meanwhile, madame Ronald was "busy" removing the bedsheet for washing. Following the dryer-cycle, she called to her husband for help to place the clean fitted bedsheet back onto the mattress.

His reaction "It's the 4th quarter, can't that wait?" Her reaction "No, it will only take two minutes out of your (busy) afternoon."

The Two-minute drill: Ronald is instructed to stand at one corner of the mattress while the 'drill sergeant major' stood diagonally across while carefully explaining the tricky part of the bedsheet-manoeuvre which involves placing the deep pockets precisely and simultaneously-together, under the corner of the mattress.

Madame sergeant major suspects her 'bedsheet-novice' isn't really paying attention and may actually be listening to the audio of the football game because he has attempted the complex "bedsheet-manoeuvre" several times, without success.   

The novice suspects Bertha's 'invention' and Gisele's 'improved model' may actually be their revenge-plot against all "undomesticated" men, particularly their husbands.

In fact, Ronald's struggles had to do with arthritic fingers that made it impossible for him to master holding the "bedsheet pocket" with one hand while lifting the mattress with the other.

However, manly-pride suddenly took over, triggering one final attempt (a bad decision). A jolt of pain stimulus is transformed into a nerve impulse that travels like an electrical shock through the body. Instinctively, the right hand retracts itself from under the mattress, revealing a middle finger pointing at the ceiling, as the back of the hand hit the mattress hard, magically resetting the dislocated digit. All remnants of manly-pride collapses as a scream and several curses are momentarily stifled.

A quick search of Google Doctor determines the best course of action is to immediately go to the nearest Emergency department.

Based on his experience, monsieur Ronald offers the following advice to anyone who has the misfortune to have to visit an Emergency department during the pandemic; bring a book, your health card and anticipate the following:

Upon entering: Wear a clean mask, apply the hand sanitizer, truthfully answer the list of COVID-19 questions.

Once inside: A nurse will take your temperature, blood pressure, details of the injury and provide an estimate of how long you are likely to be in the waiting area, reading the book.

Eventually: An X-Ray technician will take pictures and send you back to the waiting area to continue reading the book. Several chapters later a doctor introduces himself as you embarrass yourself explaining how the injury occurred. You notice he's still smiling as he examines the X-Rays, compliments the hand on the excellent job of resetting itself, applies a splint and tension bandage and sends you and your throbbing digit on your way with the following advisory "It's unwise and unsafe, especially while driving, should you decide to deliver the 'Italian salutation' for the next six to eight weeks."

Just in case you are unaware: The 'Italian salute' and it's cultural cousins, 'Le Doigt d'honneur' and 'Flipping the bird', is an obscene gesture that communicates your moderate to extreme contempt; delivered by raising the "middle" finger of either hand.

Citizens of 'The Great White North' communicate all three to Crazy Uncle Donald and all of his enablers (foreign and domestic).

Vive le Canada libre.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory  

#218 AUTUMN - AUTOMNE - FALL...like no other (posted Sept. 29, 2020)

Anglophiles call Autumn "Fall" because that's the season in which leaves of many species of trees found in temperate parts of North America and Europe fall.

The time of year when Mother Nature takes out her paint-palette and brush to provide those of us who live in the northern hemisphere with the breathtaking colours of Autumn/Automne leaves.

Think the song "Autumn Leaves", with a small 2020 pandemic twist...

                       The falling leaves

                      Drift by the window

                     The autumn leaves

                        Of red and gold

 

                      Can't see your lips

                   No more summer kisses

                    The sun-burned hands

                         I cannot hold

 

                  But I miss you most of all

                          My darling

                    When autumn leaves

                         Start to fall

 

                                                 WHAT COMES BEFORE THE FALL - "Pride Goeth Before The Fall"

In Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', the protagonist ultimately fails and degenerates into a corrupt, merciless tyrant who chooses to embrace evil.

His flaws determine his fate. Pride, vulnerability, vaulting ambition, and over confidence brings him to change into a sinister evil tyrant.

The saying "pride goes before the fall" means an arrogant person will (eventually) get his comeuppance.

It was so for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

If, when and how Trump gets his, is yet to be determined. Will the latest reveal that their billionaire business 'genius' president is a tax cheat do it? His followers don't care.

 

                                       WHAT A DIFFERENCE - FALL 2019 VS FALL 2020

The 'pandemic reality' now writ-large and impacting all of humanity is forcing everybody to rethink, reinvent and ultimately relearn everything, as we slowly evolve and adjust to what will (eventually) become a new-normal work-life-health balance.

If we didn't understand that reality at the beginning of the pandemic, we certainly get it now.

 

                                            A sampling of the pandemic's short and long term impacts

- The price of food rose by 4.6%, while the price of food at work or school fell -3%

- The price of bicycles rose 5.7%

- The price of medical care rose 5.3%

- The price of cable/satellite TV rose 5.2%

- The cost of men's suits/jackets/coats and women's dresses each fell -17%

- Snowbirds stay home this winter

- ZOOM sucks

And in the longer term:

- Flexible work programs

- Working from home online, "office centricity is over"

- Fewer commutes

- Part time classroom/part time online learning

- Leadership matters 

- Fast track additional mental health supports

- Fast track additional 'Gig work' supports (e.g. arts and culture sectors)

- Fast track additional elder and child care supports

- Establish a 'permanent' universal guaranteed basic income (along the lines of CERB)

- Prepare a more realistic/practical plan to deal with growing climate challenges

 

                                 OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S HOBSON'S CHOICE - MEGA PROJECTS

Most Canadian taxpayers are well aware of the host of pipeline and rail proposals that have failed to gain traction amid legal challenges from environmentalists, politicians and some Indigenous groups that have had a devastating impact, especially on the Alberta and national economy.

Conversely, few taxpayers are aware of another mega-project that has been in the planning stages since 2015.

A massive rail link aimed at allowing a new route to the Pacific, unlocking new markets for Alberta's oil sands-derived crude and other products.

A $22 billion railway between Alaska and Alberta known as A2A to transport oil and other resources which would link south-central Alaska ports with Fort McMurray, Alberta.

A project led by A2A president, the former head of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, J. P. Gladu; whose supporters include Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, Alaska Senator, Dan Sullivan, Alaska Representative, Don Young and the Trump/Republican administration.

Indigenous communities will be offered an equity stake of up to 49% in the line that would give Alberta's oil sands producers a new  oil export option and service for other freight in either direction on the 2,570 kilometres of track that will extend through Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and northern Alberta.

The federal government is very close to making a decision on whether to 'green light' a billion dollar high-frequency rail service between Quebec City that will certainly benefit Quebec, Ontario and the national economy.

It remains to be seen whether environmentalists, politicians and some Indigenous groups who opposed the pipeline and rail proposals that would have benefited western provinces and the national economy, exercise similar vigour and challenge the high-frequency rail service mega project.

If the 'usual suspects' mount a legal challenge, will Justin & Co. back the billion dollar project that will benefit Western Canada and the national economy with the same enthusiasm they demonstrate for the Quebec/Ontario rail mega project?

Or, will Justin & Co. calculate Quebec/Ontario votes (in the next election) outweigh all western votes and risk exacerbating growing  alienation?

 

                                                                QUESTION DU JOUR, IN TRUMPLANDIA

"Do you think Crazy Uncle Donald will ever relinquish the presidency?"

"Of course!"

"When?"

"Immediately after the coronation!"

(Warning alert) This bit of black humour could soon morph into a sickening reality.

Monsieur Ronald, surely you josh us, oui?

Non, non et non!

Elucidate, s'il vous plais.

If you insist...

Merci.

Last Saturday, president Trump introduced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

NB: The nominee is much 'admired' by staunch Conservatives and millions of Evangelical Christians for her strong ideological positions on abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the 2nd amendment (guns).

Immediately following the announcement, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (and fawning Trump golf-caddy) Lindsey Graham, assisted by Trump's most influential and crafty Republican enabler, Senate majority leader, Mitch 'McFudgeit' McConnell, promised to ram & rush the approval process of his (third) nominee. 

Trump has continued to repeat that regardless of the serious health risks posed by the virus for Americans who vote in-person and their growing preference to vote by mail, millions of mail-in votes should not be counted...and unless he wins, the election is rigged.

Consequently, it may be left to the Supreme Court to decide whether Uncle Joe or Crazy Uncle Donald will be sworn into office on January 20, 2021.

The last time the Supreme Court intervened to rule on a presidential election was on December 12, 2000. In a 5-4 decision, the Court declared George W. Bush winner over Al Gore. It's difficult to comprehend how, in a democratic republic, a single vote can decide who becomes the most powerful person on the planet while simultaneously ignoring the candidate who gets the most votes.

However, this time America's supreme scales of justice are even more tilted to favour the incumbent.

Unless something totally unprecedented and unexpected occurs to thwart the Republicans diabolical scheme, the result will be viewed by millions of voters as another "win" for the evil Emperor-King-in-waiting and his KGB handler, 'Vlad the Invader'.

And the world will bear witness as all hell breaks loose in the major cities of the Divided States of America.

In three months we celebrate Christmas 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. At a time of year when humans usually pause to search for solace, peace and comfort, it might be helpful to ponder the 1843 novella 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens and the final words of his character 'Tiny Tim' as the young lad gave the Christmas dinner blessing "God bless us, every one!".

Amen to that hopeful thought courtesy of Mr. Dickens! 

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#217 THE DAY 'WE' (ALMOST) KILLED THE CBC PRESIDENT (posted Sept. 11, 2020)

                                                                        A TRUE STORY

Sadly, among the many, many casualties of the invisible deadly virus (COVID-19) is the Canadian Football League (CFL) and its championship final, the Grey Cup/Coupe grey.

The season-ending game is considered one of the few remaining events that ties the country together for one day each year. Millions of Canadians gather together to party and watch, on television, the classic East vs West rivalry for the Canadian professional football championship.

                                                         SOME BACKGROUND, TO SET THE SCENE...

From 1955-1995, monsieur Ronald, spent much of his time toiling in the ample bilingual-bosom of 'Mother Corps'; Canada's public broadcaster, CBC/Radio Canada. One (bosom) was English the other French. Which (bosom) would be given preference depended (largely) on the mother tongue of the respective presidents appointed by the PM to serve a five-year term.  

In the latter half of the 1970's, monsieur Ronald was having a blast, enjoying the third year of a fun-assignment; Program Director of CBC-TV's flagship English language television station, channel 5, CBLT, Toronto. Befitting the exalted designation 'flagship', CBLT staff and 'petit-fromage' (moi) were crammed together on two floors located above a 'Mac's Milk convenience store' on Church street, one block from Harold Ballard's cathedral of hockey, Maple Leaf Gardens. 

(NB: In the early 1970's, prior to the CBLT assignment, monsieur Ronald was a part of Norn Garriock's network management team; affectionately known inside CBC television circles, as "GARRIOCK'S FLYING CIRCUS". Norn was a terrific boss, mentor and friend.

Out of the blue came a phone call from the 'Grand-Fromage' of CBC television, Norn Garriock..."Ron, we want you to head up the sports department". The tone of his voice signalled he was not asking, this was an order. 

"We have a problem. The head of the sports department (John Hudson) suddenly quit. He's gone to Labatt Breweries. Labatt is increasing their involvement in sports ownership.They hired John to help develop a plan for Canada's first cable sports network. We want you to replace him...next week!"

The stint as head of CBC Sports was back in "those good old days"; when CBC was the leader in Canadian sports television, providing 500 hrs. of network sports programming annually.

During my time there, and before leaving for another assignment at CBC Vancouver, we managed to increase the annual sports program output on the network to 700 hrs. The large audiences attracted to sports television always brought with it concomitant revenue from advertisers seeking to associate their brand with high-quality CBC sports programming.

Coincidently, with my time with CBC Sports, Saskatchewan born Albert Wesley "Al" Johnson (a career pubic servant and civil servant) was serving as president of Canada's public broadcaster, CBC/Radio Canada.

President Johnson (never could call him "Al") struck me as the kind of guy who would, if he had the choice, attend an arts event rather than a sports event; especially a football game...unless by virtue of his job it was obligatory.

                                                  FACTOIDS TO ADD CONTEXT TO THE STORY...

What: The 67th Grey Cup/Coupe Grey

When: November 25, 1979

Where: Montreal, Olympic Stadium

Stadium Attendance: 65,113

Temperature: Freezing cold 

Teams: Edmonton Eskimos (West) vs Montreal Alouettes (East)

Television audience: Millions

Who won: Edmonton Eskimos, 17-9

                                                                          THE STORY

Back then, at every Grey Cup/Coupe Grey, CBC hosted (at a hotel) a pre-game champagne breakfast (called Canadian sunshine) and post-game banquet for sponsors and VIP's.

The guests are shuttled to the game site (in rented buses) accompanied by CBC brass, sometimes including the president.

The weather conditions that day were typical of a late Montreal November. It was -20 degrees. The kind of day that would freeze the balls off of a brass monkey. The field surrounding the stadium was knee-deep in snow.

As the VIP buses approached the site, our guests clutching their complimentary thermos (comfort flask) containing a secret 'Hot Toddy' recipe, and bilingual '67 Grey Cup/Coupe Grey toques, we announced the bus they were assigned to would leave from the parking area below the stadium promptly (repeat promptly) one half-hour following the end of the game. 

CBC President "Al" Johnson was on my bus.

Following the end of the game, the buses pulled away from the stadium and proceeded to the main roadway...at which point I noticed President "Al" was not on my bus. 

I contacted one of my staff, Glen Gelette, who was on the other bus, enquiring if the president was onboard his bus. He looked around and responded "No, isn't he on your bus?"

My heart sank...where the hell was "Al"?

Glancing back toward Olympic stadium from where we had come, I observed the figure of a man in a hooded parka wearing nerdy glasses attempting to run in knee deep snow, frantically waving his arms.

My heart stopped when I recognized who it was and ordered the driver to stop.

As the 'hooded parka' finally reached the roadway, the president put both arms on the front of the bus, gasping for air..."Al" is asthmatic.

My CBC career was over...no if, and or but.

The bus driver opened the door. The president slowly climbed aboard still gasping for air and frantically searching his pockets for his puffer.

Sucking on his puffer, eyes bulging through fogged-up nerdy glasses, CBC/Radio Canada's 'Tres-Grand-Fromage' finally drew in enough air to speak, "Ron, thank you, thank you for stopping. At the end of the game I went to the nearest washroom, coming out and turned the wrong way. By the time I got all the way back to where the bus was parked, it was gone. Thank goodness you saw me running through the snow and stopped."

It's sometimes amazing and mysterious how things turn out. Being thanked for almost killing the CBC president was totally unexpected.

P.S. I don't recall ever seeing President "Al" at another Grey Cup/Coupe Grey.

Hopefully, in these troubled times, this story brings a smile as it does for me remembering it.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#216 HEIL TO THE THIEF (posted Sept. 5, 2020)

WHERE: The White House...A Fact-Free Zone

WHEN: Thursday, early morning

MOOD MUSIC: On the White House lawn the US Marine Band is playing the favourite tune of the most incompetent person ever elected as leader of the free world. The familiar music is formally called, The Presidential Polonaise, aka Hail to the Chief. It sounds something like..."Dumb, dumb, dee, dumb, dumb, dee, dumb, dee, dumb, dee, dumb, dumb, etc., etc."

SETTING: Presidential bedroom where a solitary rotund man is seated watching several television monitors...

Emperor-King 'Crazy Pants' calls his attorney general: I want you to find the fu....g rat-finks who leaked these stories to the media!

Attorney General Barr: I'm sorry Mr. president, sir, which specific stories are you referring to?

'Crazy Pants': Geezus, Willie-Billie, my loyal consigliere, don't you watch television? You're supposed to be my personal attorney and protect my ass. I'm talking about the stories that are spreading like the wildfires in California...

The stories about the things they say I said that I never said...

I said John McCain (who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war being tortured by the North Vietnamese) "Is not a war hero, I like people who weren't captured"...you have to deny I ever said that!

I said "Americans who die in wars are losers and suckers"...you have to deny I ever said that!

I said "wounded veterans be kept out of parades"...you have to deny I ever said that!

I cancelled the visit to the American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because the rain would have certainly dishevelled my hair and ruined my makeup and casually said to one of the generals "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers"...you have to deny I ever said that!

I called more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood "suckers" for getting killed...you have to deny I ever said that!

I disparaged a Gold-Star mother and father because they are Muslim...you have to deny I ever said that!

And some other stuff they say I said that I never said.

AND REMEMBER, BARR, I NEVER TOLD YOU TO SWEAR THOSE STORIES ARE FAKE...TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND!

His orange makeup turns a crimson red. He SHOUTS...Willie-Billie, you have to DENY, DENY, DENY!

Get out there and tell our loyal Aryan supporters it's all damn lies, spread by the purveyors of fake news; my enemies, the media. Those losers are the enemies of all patriotic, law and order Americans. I don't give a shit how many sources they claim they have. Find these rats and leakers, get rid of them. I want them gone now. They want me to apologize, never! 

A command, issued by a gut-less, vengeful, hateful leader; who in reality is: 'The Coward-in-Chief', 'The Draft-Dodge-in-Chief', 'The Bullshitter-in-Chief'; who's fealty is to 'Vlad the Invader'. Vlad knows his frightened stooge is a fraud, with no sense of duty, honour or empathy, whom he can easily manipulate to achieve Russia's objectives.

YOU CAN PUT LIPSTICK AND MAKEUP ON A PIG, BUT TRUMP IS STILL A PIG.      

Real Hypocrisy: 82-million Evangelical Christians, knowingly trade their religious principles and values to back an immoral president whose only values are money, power and loyalty to his 'surrogate father'...Vladimir Putin.

If this most recent revelation doesn't get the 'stable genius' removed from office in the November 3rd election, the American republic is doomed. 

                                              Something else you may not know about Trump

Donald Trump's American coat of arms belongs to another family. It was granted by British authorities in 1939 to Joseph Edward Davies, the third husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the socialite who built the Mar-a-Lago resort that is now Trump's hideaway.

The Trump organization took (as in stole) Mr. Davie's coat of arms for its own, making one small 'adjustment'; replacing the word "Integritas" (Latin for "Integrity") with the word "Trump". The 'adjustment' on the stolen coat of arms might more appropriately have been Trump's motto, "Screw thy neighbour".

Retired U.S. Marine Corps general and former White House Chief of Staff for Donald Trump, John Kelly, has this to say about his former boss: "He's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown. I don't even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had."

The current occupant of the Oval Office is a lying, despicable thug. Heil to the Thief.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#215 AMERICA AND AMERICANS (Posted August 16, 2020)

Many Americans know little and care less about the rest of the world, and believe that given the opportunity, most other nationalities would migrate to America.

The current President of the United States knows even less, and cares even less about Canada or the rest of the world.

He believes most other nationalities 'unworthy' of being allowed to migrate to his evolving creation, 'Trump-Land'.

This from a self-declared "stable genius", who has considerable difficulty reading a prepared script (e.g. "Thighland") let alone comprehend its contents.

This from a man who calls countries he knows nothing about, "shitholes".

This from an American president who has to be informed people who live in Puerto Rico, Guam and The Virgin Islands are United States citizens.

This from the Emperor-King of clangers and gaffes...who just happens to be the leader of the free world.

Yet, somehow, none of this seems to faze his 82 million loyal evangelical followers...but it certainly does scare the bejesus out of monsieur Ronald.

Most Canadians are very knowledgeable about America, care about our neighbours and the 8,891 km (5,525 miles) of un-militarized border we share.

Thousands of Snowbirds migrate South to live in America during the winter months.

Prior to March 21, 2020 around 300,000 people routinely crossed the international border, every day.

"May these gates never be closed" is inscribed on 'The Peace Arch', erected in 1921, on the border of Blaine, Washington and Surrey, British Columbia. A testament to the close ties between Canada and the US.

For almost 100 years, those words were heeded - until the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut the border, indefinitely.

Who would have thought a majority of Canadians (recently polled) want it to stay shut.

Fuelling our unease is a fear...that America has gone crazy.

Our neighbours are caught in the iron grip of a fork-tongued menace; an unhinged autocrat and his gang of fanatical gun-toting supporters.

With an election in less than 90 days, his enablers are prepared to do anything (repeat anything) to remain in power after January 21, 2021, regardless of the outcome of the November 3rd election.

Unless...millions of other Americans prevent that from happening.

The selection by Joe Biden of Kamala Harris as his running mate, is a masterstroke.

There's nothing more frightening to a misogynist, racist, bully, bigot, thug, five-time draft dodger, ignorant moron and serial liar who lacks empathy and simple kindness...than being confronted by a tough, experienced, smart, 55-year old, part black-part Indian AMERICAN WOMAN, with an exotic first name who grew up going to both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple.

Oh, Oh, Oh my...Uncle Donald...guess who Uncle Joe has picked to come after you big-time...

                                        KAMALA DEVI HARRIS, born October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California

Graduate of Howard University, the University of California; Hastings College of the law.

In 2003, elected District Attorney of San Francisco.

In 2010, elected Attorney General of California, re-elected in 2014.

In 2016, became California's third female senator as well as the second African-American woman, and the first South Asian American, to serve in the United States Senate.

As a senator, she supported healthcare reform, federal rescheduling of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform.

She gained a national profile for her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings.

Her Mother: Shyamala Gopalan, breast cancer scientist, who emigrated from Tamil Nadu, India in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at UC Berkeley.

Her Father: Donald J. Harris, Stanford University emeritus professor of economics, who emigrated from British Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at UC Berkeley.

Parents are divorced.

Her Husband and potential 'second gentleman': Douglas Emhoff, is a partner at global law firm DLA Piper, specializing in entertainment litigation and intellectual property.

The couple got married in 2014 and chose to honour each other's culture's - Mr. Emhoff wore a garland as a nod to Ms Harris' Hindu roots, and she broke a glass to honour his Jewish heritage.

Her connection to Canada: When she was 12, Harris and her sister moved with their mother to Montreal, where their mother accepted a research and teaching position at the McGill University-affiliated Jewish General Hospital.

Harris attended a French-speaking middle school, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, and then Westmount High School in Westmount, Quebec.

Vive le Canada.

The Biden-Harris ticket is solid and has the right stuff to defeat 'Trump-ism'.

However, as previously mentioned, the domestic and international forces behind Trump will stop at nothing to ensure he remains in office.

Fact: There are more guns than people in America.

US population: 328 million.

US citizens account for 393 million firearms (46% of the worldwide total of civilian held firearms).

61% of Republicans own at least one firearm.

Given the situation, is America on the brink of another civil war?

Our neighbours' house is on fire and sadly, all Canada can do is watch.

In five months time, will a majority of Canadians still want the border to remain closed?

Combining this with an out-of-control pandemic and climate challenges and we're in for a hell of a ride. Time to buckle up folks.

Worth pondering: The pandemic has given us time, time to pause and focus, on the things we most care about.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#214 SUMMERTIME AND THE LIVIN'...AIN'T EASY (posted July 29, 2020)

Six months of livin' with COVID-19 has left everyone concerned, conflicted and like Grandpa Castorini, "confused".

Umm, monsieur Ronald, who is Grandpa Castorini?

He's Grandpa Ronald's favourite character in one of his favourite movies, "Moonstruck", directed by Canadian, Norman Jewison, and released in 1988.

What's the movie about?

It's a madcap romantic comedy about a widowed, 37-year-old, Italian-American woman (played by Cher) who falls in love with her fiancé's estranged, hot-tempered brother.

The plot is 'spiced-up' by several intertwined romantic entanglements involving a cast of eccentric Italian-American characters.

The romantic foibles are finally exposed near the end of the movie in the breakfast-table scene with all the main characters present, when Grandpa Castorini (played by Feodor Chaliapin) is asked what he thinks about everything that's happened to his beloved family and friends. He sputters..."I'M CONFUSED".

And so say we all.

So far, there is no light at the end of this tunnel of uncertainty; no collective guidance or leadership. Hence, no roadmap to illuminate a way forward to reduce humans' anxiety.

This new invisible virus has stymied all of humanity.

The slogan "We are all in this together" is bang-on accurate.

However, political leaders are doing the exact opposite. As the slogan suggests, the logical/common sense course of action to deal with the worldwide pandemic should be/must be for nations to collaborate, cooperate and work together for the common good. Otherwise, there is no effective way to control the spread of this virus.

We may not always like one another, but we need each other now, more than ever before.

                                          THE PRESSING QUESTION: CAN IT BE DONE - WHO WILL LEAD?

Based on a sighting over Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island, Friday July 24 @ 10:15 PDT, with goodwill and selfless leadership, it can be done...

A celestial object shining like a bright star rose from the northwest horizon. It only took a few minutes to pass overhead to then disappear below the southeast horizon; travelling toward mainland North America.

The object was the International Space Station (ISS). Seeing the ISS with my own eyes was a first for me; especially given it has been aloft in the heavens for more than 15 years and orbits Earth sixteen times each day.

This is one remarkable and rare example of humans collaborating, cooperating and working together for the common good. Precisely what is needed now to defeat humanity's common enemy, COVID-19, before it defeats humanity.

To help relieve some of the stress we are all experiencing, monsieur Ronald recommends the following:

1) Watch (or watch again) "Moonstruck" the movie.

2) Watch the excellent six-part documentary series (on Netflix) "Monty Python the Truth, Almost", the 40-year legacy and    history of the Python comedy troupe.

3) Baseball and hockey (in a bubble) is back; only on TV, for now, kind-of...maybe.

Reductio Ad Absurdum...Emperor 'Crazy Pants', while disparaging the medical views of Dr. Anthony Fauci, is now promoting the views of a new pandemic expert, Dr. Stella Immanuel, extra-terrestrial practitioner of Voodoo medicine, dispenser of hydroxychloroquine, parking lot pastor and founder of the Firepower Ministries Church.

Hallelujah, we are saved.

Feel better now that Mary Trump's crazy Uncle Donald has everything under control? 

"We are livin' in absurd times" - monsieur Ronald 

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#213  IT'S GETTING HARDER TO KEEP UP WITH ALL THE SHENANIGANS (posted July 11, 2020)

                                                                  ...At Home and Away

                                                          CHAPTER ONE: CRAZY UNCLES

Most people have one. They come in all different kinds of varieties.

The ones who are stuck in a by-gone age, continually saying and doing things that are no longer acceptable.

The ones who can't remember stuff, who constantly call you by the wrong name and can't remember "who you belong to".

We often love these uncles despite their craziness; we smile through the awkwardness and try to be loving...but nobody would put them in charge, right?

Or would they?

What is shaping up to be a dirty, nasty slugfest between the oldest president to enter office, Uncle Donald (74) and his even older challenger, Uncle Joe (77), questions about age and cognitive function are taking centre stage.

Donald relishes his role as America's crazy, politically incorrect uncle.

Whereas, Uncle Joe is a veritable gaffe machine. His recollections become jumbled stories of actual occurrences all mixed together. And he comes off as awkward, and sometimes a little creepy.

The big question for the contest front runner, does Uncle Joe have enough remaining in the tank (mental faculties) to run the country?

America is going to decide in November which crazy uncle to put in charge of their country. And for the rest of us to ponder, are these two the best America can offer the world?

Crazy Uncle Donald recently attacked the mental acuity of Crazy Uncle Joe; while aggressively defending his own mental fitness.

In another one of his infamous 'All about Me' rants on Fox News, Uncle Donald bragged that doctors who administered him a cognitive test were quite surprised that he "aced" it.

"I actually took one very recently when, you know, the radical-left was saying, 'Is he all there?', 'Is he all there?' I aced the test. I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center, in front of doctors (really?) and they were really surprised. They said, 'That's an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anyone do what you just did."

The news of his unprecedented accomplishment quickly spread through the ranks of his 82 million evangelical followers who were overcome with irrational joyous-ness at this 'miracle'. 

The 'One' they claim was sent to them by God had, yet-again, demonstrated his superior intelligence; simply being capable of identifying animals in pictures, draw a clock, and perform basic word-recall exercises, was proof enough for them.

Amazing, for the second time in two years, their leader had "aced" the extraordinarily complex 'Montreal Cognitive Assessment' test.

At every opportunity, two of the most fervent evangelical faithfuls, loyal to their very core as any servants of Uncle Donald, Mickey the Pence and his Mrs., proclaim their firm belief that 'IQ-wise' their president is a rarest of human specimens.

Refusing media requests for release of the test results, the White House provided the following rationale "The tests are being audited"...presumably by Uncle Donald's personal physician...who just happens to be, Uncle Donald himself, the self-proclaimed stable medical savant.

Meanwhile, and just in time to spice things up, on Tuesday July 14, Uncle Donald's niece, Mary Trump PH.D. (55), a clinical psychologist, officially releases her tell-all book "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."

A toxic brew of the Trump family, led by patriarch Fred Trump, a prominent New York real estate developer who ruled his household with an iron fist under a dark, oppressive cloud of psychological and emotional abuse.

This tell-all memoir is a playbook for an average (Uber-wealthy) family soap opera episode containing all the required ingredients for a must-watch-binge Netflix series; backstabbing, petty grievances, misogyny, alcoholism and lifelong trauma.

Especially galling for the president is being unable to stop the release of this insider's "professional diagnosis" of what makes her dear Uncle Donald tick.

And while the curtain goes up on this personal Trump family drama, Emperor Donald is attempting to get rid of his popular and knowledgeable nemesis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci continues to ignore intense political pressure and remains the only medical expert attached to the White House pandemic task force, to publicly challenge and counter the president's COVID-19 medical bullshit.

"Depend upon it, Sir, when a man, such as you, knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully" - William Dodd

                                     CHAPTER TWO: CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME, N'EST-CE-PAS

In baseball, it's three strikes and you're OUT! But not so much in politics.

For the third time, PM Justin Trudeau has been caught displaying extremely poor judgement.

During a cabinet meeting to decide the awarding of a contract to administer a $912 million to the WE charity, the PM did not recuse himself despite knowledge that family members were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate in WE charity events.

OOPS!

This was followed by the revelation that Finance Minister, Bill Morneau's family also has WE charity ties. Mr. Morneau also did not recuse himself from participating in the decision.

OOPS times deux!

When such an obvious conflict of interest and ethics violation stares two senior members of the government right in the face, one would assume even the most naive political rookie would think twice before staying in a room where $912 million dollars of taxpayer money is being doled out.

But did it never cross the threshold of any modicum of common sense consideration/contemplation on their part, until Justin and 'Slick Willie' were caught red-handed with arms (up to the elbows) in the goodie jar? And only then was the contract cancelled.

Not one of the 33 federal cabinet ministers would comment about the big 'BOO-BOO', citing cabinet confidentiality.

Isn't government transparency wonderful.

Sadly and worth noting: Among the casualties sideswiped by this gross display of bad judgement; the financially strapped students who were to be paid for doing volunteer work during the summer break.

Liberals remain indignant, what's all the fuss stirred up by the nosy media about anyway? Surely the middle class peons (who are paying for this) will understand that our motives are pure, righteous and we are always working in their best interests.

Will there be any fallout for this twin-transgression? Will it be three strikes and you're OUT, this time? Or will it take four...or maybe five...or...?

                                   CHAPTER THREE: TO BE, OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

The famous opening phrase of a soliloquy from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'.

Today's 'To be, or not to be' question: Will competitive sports return (in any satisfactory form) and still be able to continue to entertain and provide a much needed distraction from the ravages of this insidious virus?

Greek, Etruscan and Roman rulers (of centuries past) understood the need for spectacles to distract their subjects from focusing on the hardships of their lives.

Back in those days, rulers paid for and held 'Games' on a variety of occasions as an important pastime and to maintain social harmony; e.g. funerals, victory celebrations and religious festivals.

Athletic competitions were staged in massive spectator structures, such as circuses, stadia and gymnasia (e.g. Circus Maximus). The greatest amphitheatre of them all was the Colosseum holding about 50,000 spectators.

Games were a huge feature of Roman life, as their modern counterparts are today.

Only time will tell whether the ever-changing plans (caused by the uncertainties of COVID-19), for shortened seasons, spectator-less arenas and venues plus the need to protect athletes and officials from the virus will satisfy the public's obsession/need for these events or permanently damage their appeal to mass audiences.

In the meantime we can dream. So Google the 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer and sing along...

Take me out to the ball game,

Take me out with the crowd;

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,

 I don't care if I never get back.

Let me root, root, root for the home team

If they don't win, it's a shame.

For it's one, two, three strikes, your out,

At the old ball game.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too" - Yogi Berra

"In these uncertain times only one thing is clear, we ain't going back to the way things were, six months ago" - monsieur Ronald

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light" - Aristotle

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#212 WHEN ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA (posted June 29, 2020)

                                                      DEATH OF A SNAKE OIL SALESMAN?

Critics say Emperor 'Crazy Pants' has spent years selling a bill of goods to the American people and believe they are no longer buying his bullshit.

Donald John 'Crazy Pants' Trump trails Joseph Robinette 'Sleepy Joe' Biden Jr. by double digits and, seemingly, is on course for a historic defeat in November's presidential election.

'Sleepy Joe's' advisers want him to remain in his basement because it's proving to be a winning strategy...so far.

But isn't that what most thought back in 2016; when everybody except Michael Moore and Steve Bannon believed Hillary was a shoo-in?

Is complacency setting in with 'Dem-leaning-voters'...yet again?

There's a madman in the White House with nothing to lose; not worried about the stability or safety of his country, surrounded by people who've abandoned any constraints on the way in which they'll use the federal government, the executive branch, to say things, do things, pretend to do things.

An ego driven grifter who can neither be written off nor underestimated.

Trump's path to victory depends on the skillful use of a grab-bag of dirty tricks; voter suppression, mass disinformation, foreign interference, and unabashed use of executive branch power to shape events, and perception.

In short, the power of the presidency.

With four months to go until the election, the Emperor is now more desperate, unstable, unpredictable and consequently, more dangerous.

Anything can happen.

His mentor/handler 'Vlad the Invader' might quietly suggest, in order to maintain control of the White House and Senate, that his loyal obedient 'pupil' could, by fiat, executive order or some other legal shenanigan, decree - The November election is postponed, indefinitely - using the growing pandemic crisis as a pretext.

There's certainly no guarantee that many Republican voters will pay heed to that old Italian Proverb, "He that deceives me once, it's his fault; but if twice, it's my fault." And remove Trump for the survival of their democracy.

Another mad Emperor played his violin while his city burned; this one plays golf while his leaderless nation staggers.

 

                                                 MEANWHILE IN THE GREAT WHITE HOMELAND

Canada's gonads are being squeezed by two angry pit bulls, in a political tug of war over Chinese telecommunications senior executive, Meng Wanzhou.

Backgrounder:

On December 1, 2018, Canada detained Ms. Meng in the international zone of the Vancouver airport.

Meng was en-route to Mexico from China, transiting through the Vancouver airport, and not entering Canada.

Tipped off by the FBI, Canada Border Services Agency officers "detained" Meng until FBI agents arrived. She was "interviewed" for three hours.

NB: Meng and Huawei are charged (in the US) with bank and wire fraud in relation to skirting American sanctions on Iran.

Under the extradition treaty that exists between the US and Canada, Meng was arrested and placed under 'house-arrest' in one of her Vancouver mansions.

Meng's Canadian legal team are working their way through Canadian court proceedings (which take years) to determine whether she will be extradited to the US to stand trial.

A few days after Ms. Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport, China retaliated by kidnapping Canadian citizens, Michael Krovrig and Michael Spavor (the two Michael's), tossing them into a notorious Beijing jail, without being charged.

Recently, they have both been charged with "espionage", punishable by life in prison.

NB: According to John Bolton, Trump refers to Ms. Meng as "The Ivanka Trump of China" and wants to use this high-level "prize" as a bargaining chip in ongoing trade negotiations with China.

PM Justin Trudeau has repeatedly stated his government cannot, and will not, intervene in the Meng case, citing the independence of Canada's justice system.

And the political pressure continues to mount:

China recently intimated a prisoner swap; Meng in exchange for The Two Michael's.

Their intimation is based on statements by former Liberal Justice Minister Allan Rock and former Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour, who cited a legal opinion from Brian Greenspan, a Toronto lawyer who has decades of experience in extradition cases, stating Ottawa is wrong to claim it doesn't have the legal authority to intervene in the Meng case. According to Greenspan, the federal Justice Minister "may at any time withdraw" support from an extradition case, which triggers a court-ordered release of the extradition subject.

In 2019, former Liberal PM Jean Chretien floated the idea of having Canada's Justice Minister exercise his legal authority to stop the US extradition as a means to normalize diplomatic relations with China.

And it wouldn't be the first time the Liberals used "political interference" in the prosecution of a case. Remember l'affaire SNC-Lavalin last year?

All of this leaves Canada stuck between a rock and a hard place with its gonads in jeopardy.

Timely definition: An unresolvable dilemma is a situation in which a person receives contradictory messages from a person who is very powerful, requiring a choice between equally unfavourable options.

Consider this, if it was your gonads being squeezed by two of the meanest bullies in the schoolyard, how might you resolve this quandary considering the available options?

Choice #1: Ignore judicial independence, bite the bullet, choose the political option and send Meng home, pronto.

Choice #2: Send Meng to Trump and watch how quickly he sends her home once he gets his trade deal with China.

Choice #3: Pray that 'Sleepy Joe' wins the election and doesn't care about Meng's extradition. 

Choice #4: Continue to maintain the moral high-ground, Canada's judicial independence, and continue to endure the agony of having the gonads squeezed by both bullies.

                                                         AND NOW, TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD

     Grandpa Ronald's observation:

I see people around my age who are still able to climb a smallish mountain.

I feel good just getting one leg through my underwear without losing my balance.

 

     Some wise heavenly advice:

A sign posted near the entrance of some churches in France (translated):

"It is possible that on entering this church, you may hear the Call of God.

 On the other hand, it is not likely that He will contact you by phone.

 Thank you for turning off your phone.

 If you would like to talk to God, come in, choose a quiet place, and talk to Him.

 If you would like to see Him, send Him a text while driving."

 

                                                                TIMELY QUOTE

"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present" - Golda Meir, teacher, stateswoman, politician and fourth Prime Minister of Israel.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#211 THE NAME-SHAME GAME - PERSPECTIVES (posted June 12, 2020)

                                    Scene from Shakespeare's play - a boiling cauldron, three witches...

Witches: "Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble".

Macbeth: "How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! What is't you do?"

Witches: "A deed without a name."

The (witches) toxic mix: a mad Emperor-King and his enablers - the devastating impact of COVID-19 - protests and chaos triggered by police brutality.

3:00 a.m. - The White House - The unhinged King sits on the edge of his bed, alone. The only light, a flickering glow from several television monitors. Without orange makeup, his face a ghostly white. Transfixed, he stares at the pictures muttering 'tear it all down, tear it all down, tear it all down'.

Trump's guru, Steve Bannon's extreme ideology (destruction as a precursor to a golden age) contempt for science, reason, facts, institutions and professional experts; spreads...like the pandemic.

There's a restless frenzy afoot. Demands that names of those whose past actions breach contemporary standards of correctness, be removed from any and all institutions, organizations, schools, hospitals, universities, street signs, statues.

Names that once represented (for some) revered leaders, heroes; while (for others) represent vile, despicable villains.

Who should decide what is torn down, defaced, vandalized, expunged, erased, suppressed; protesters? petitioners? politicians? mobs?

Frankly, nobody should.

Are these actions not a form of censorship!

And be replaced by what other names that may be shamed in future? Good luck finding one leader without flaws.

In reality, doesn't it depend on where you're from and which side you support, that ultimately decides who fits your definition of hero or villainous rogue?

From the very short list below, who would you select to label hero or villain?

Sir John A. Macdonald, Edward Colston, General Robert E Lee, Winston Churchill, Captain Vancouver, Henry Dundas, Queen Victoria, Louis Riel, King Leopold II, Christopher Columbus, Pope Pius XII, Joseph Stalin...the historic list of choices is endless.

Should the name on a statue, building or street sign ever justify civil unrest?

What has ever been achieved by erasing or whitewashing history and to what end?

What happened, happened.

Isn't it wiser to heed George Santayana's famous quote, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

These dead and long-gone 'hero/villains' (whatever your point of view) lived in another time and place, and presumably conducted themselves according to the norms/standards that existed at the time.

What extraordinary wisdom gives another generation the competence and knowledge to judge their actions, using very different contemporary norms and standards?

If any of them could go back (using a time-machine) how many would act differently and have the courage to buck the norms/standards back then...and deal with the consequences?

Shouldn't these names be left to represent a moral lesson for everyone to learn from the past?

                                                      Shakespeare also wrote, "What's in a name?"

A reference to his Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet bemoans Romeo's last name of Montague, her family's sworn enemies.

What did Juliet mean when she says, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet"?

The quotation is a profound one that suggests that names themselves do not hold worth nor meaning, and they simply act as labels to distinguish one thing or person from another.

                                             And, someone else wrote, "Walk a Mile in His Moccasins"

From a Mary T. Lathrap poem published in 1895, "Judge Softly"; later titled "Walk a Mile in His Moccasins".

This idiom means that you should try to understand someone before criticizing them.

The aforementioned poets perspective is a plea to leave these things to represent a moral lesson for everyone to learn from the past; a step in humanity's march forward.

                                                     A personal lesson about Canadian history

Monsieur Ronald studied Canadian history (a long time ago) while attending Provencher Collegiate Institute, located in  St. Boniface, Manitoba.

Provencher 'was' an all-boys catholic bilingual school. Thirty boys were enrolled in the French classes, thirty in the English classes.

The staff comprised lay teachers from Grades zero to five, and a mix of Jesuits (from Quebec) and religious brothers (from Canada and the US) teaching Grades six to twelve.

Our group initially learned Canadian history in French, from books written and published in Quebec.

From Grade nine on, we learned Canadian history in English, from books written and published in England and distributed  to schools from (very Anglo) Toronto.

We were surprised and astonished to discover the heroes and villains written about in the English version were the exact opposite from those depicted in the French version.

Somehow, in the span of nine years, heroes were magically transformed into villains and vice versa by bias and spin introduced by the authors. Which helps explain a lot about today's ongoing 'Two/Deux solitudes'...Quebec vs the 'Rest of Canada'.

However, this conundrum left us facing a serious problem. Since there was no actual "correct answer", which one would get us a pass on the final exam; the French or English version?

TRUTH: There's no such thing in any history book. The story is meant to remain elusive...because history is always written by the conqueror who is attempting to "assimilate"; silence the language, culture, traditions, beliefs, and history of the vanquished. The "winner" dictates the lasting narrative.

RESULT: Being exposed to two very different versions of Canadian history left those of us following 13-years of study, toil and trouble at Provencher Collegiate Institute, life-long skeptics about a lot of stuff; not the least of which is history and religion.

CONSEQUENCE: Monsieur Ronald firmly believes there should never be an attempt to bury, whitewash or censor the past; rather read everything available and form your own opinion.

                                                          And finally, dear reader, a new word...

Who called mad Emperor-King 'Crazy Pants' a 'COCKWOMBLE'?

Pardon monsieur, a what?

'COCKWOMBLE' (noun) - a person, usually a male, prone to making outrageously stupid statements and/or inappropriate behaviour while generally having a very high opinion of their own wisdom and importance. (synonym) - a shit-for-brains.

The people of Scotland popularized the word after Donald Trump congratulated them on voting for independence (Brexit).

Scotland actually voted to stay in the EU.

Monsieur Ronald is mighty proud to have Scottish (Macdonald of Clan Ronald) blood coursing through his veins and, therefore, can legitimately proclaim the 45th President of the Divided States to be a 'COCKWOMBLE' extraordinaire.

Amen.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#210 THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT (posted May 30, 2019)

                                                       Clear and present dangers...

As if dealing with COVID-19 isn't enough...

Just past midnight, May 29, 2020...

The mad Emperor-King gazes out of a White House window carefully watching the angry crowd shout his name.

The Praetorian Guard, in full riot-gear, form a human-barrier to stop the protestors advance beyond the chained- together 'bicycle barriers'.

The atmosphere; electric, tense, unpredictable.

Beyond the human security barrier, a recently constructed 15-foot wall surrounds the White House grounds.

Behind the wall, more heavily-armed Praetorian Guards prepared to shoot to kill - to protect the madman whose tweets helped spark nationwide protests of George Floyd's murder by police.

The Emperor-King's gaze turns away from the window to Fox News coverage of the mayhem occurring in several cities across America - mobs burn and loot, without police interference.

Mixed among the protesters - white supremacists, KKK, white nationalists, militias, racists, anarchists, Neo-Nazis and foreign agitators - hell bent on instilling fear; using crowd frenzy to create chaos.

Feeling secure inside the White House, protected by the Praetorian Guard, a smiling Emperor-King tweets away...as a simmering powder keg of anger, hate and division explodes across the nation.

                                           Noteworthy for what is coming in America...

Ex-White House strategist Stephen Bannon's ideology/philosophy, embedded in Trump's brain: the destruction of the modern nation-state system's administrative structures...i.e., tear it all down.

Bannon was CEO of Trump's 2016 shock election victory and may be recalled to assist in digging 'Himself' out of a hole largely of 'His' own making.

Bannon is among the leaders of the ultra-hawkish advocacy group 'Committee on the Present Danger-China (CPD-C) recently resurrected in 2019.

Bannon's obsession with China's growing stature and his support of the alt-right (i.e., fascistic) positions on non-white immigration suggests he is tailor-made for the final months of Trump's 2020 effort to remain in the White House.

Bannon is close to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and very close to Stephen Miller who is the quiet architect of Trump's immigration policies, Muslim travel bans, and coherent legitimizer of Trump's broadly white nationalist or white supremacist 'America First' views.

Nevertheless, the return of Bannon (unofficial or official) signals the intensification of the bare-knuckle methods and messaging that may make the 2016 campaign seem candy-floss mild by comparison.

Sadly, a lot of things have come unhinged in our neighbours' house in four years.

Should we plan for a flood of American immigrants asking for asylum in the Great White North?

Is it any wonder that alcohol, drug, guns and ammo sales increased by 55% in March?

Yet, a nation that can successfully launch a spacecraft into space with two men aboard one day later (May 30th), can hopefully find ways quickly to resolve their bitter divisiveness, before it's too late.

As if dealing with COVID-19 isn't enough!

Buckle up folks, it's going to be a rough summer.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#209 FROM MILLIONS TO BILLIONS TO TRILLIONS TO... (posted March 18, 2020)

And then, "It growed like Topsy" - a quote from the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's cabin" by American author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, published in 1852. There's a legend this book triggered their civil war.

                                                        There was a time when...

 - Kings, Queens, Emperors and Tyrants, without sufficient 'wealth' in their treasury, were constrained from declaring war on their perceived enemies.

 - Governments required gold (stored in places like Fort Knox) to back up the value of their currency and treasury. This acted as a constraint from going into debt to pay for "things"...like war.

 - Individuals, companies, organizations and institutions who did not, or could not pay their debts, were dealt with by the courts.

And then someone-somewhere came up with an 'Eureka' work-a-round; a way to pay for stuff 'they' otherwise could not afford. A financial methodology; a 'shell game' effectively used to purposely confound and confuse that enabled 'passing-the-buck' on to others. A diabolical innovation; the birth of twin debt-monsters - Income Tax and Credit Cards.

Income Tax came into existence in Canada on July 25, 1917 - to pay for the First World War.

Income Tax came into existence in the US on August 5, 1861 - to pay for the American Civil War.

Noteworthy: The omni-present connection between war and Income Tax (to replenish treasury coffers).

The first universal Credit Card (which could be used at a variety of establishments) came into existence in 1950.

Inevitably, the twin-monsters caused debt to grow and grow - "It just growed like Topsy" - by millions, then billions, trillions and inevitably, sometime soon...quadrillions.

Confronting the sudden onslaught of the uncontrollable worldwide pandemic has made many citizens, companies and corporations no longer care about the exponentially growing debt, so long as "their" needs are cared for by governments.

And consequently, the way government has managed the crisis (so far) highlights the absence of any limits or constraints on the increasing debt-load and the crushing financial burden left for future generations.

And, therefore, dear reader there may be no better time than now for elected politicians to "seriously" consider the following notion...

                                                    The idea of a "Guaranteed Basic Income"

The idea has been floating around since 1516 (Thomas More, "Utopia") - provide everyone with the means to afford basic-needs. Then, the poor won't need to resort to stealing (to survive) and become criminals.

Those who advocate against such a utopian-concept might pause to consider this - once convicted, these "criminals" are housed in prisons, fed, and have all their health needs cared for...paid for by guess-who? The overtaxed middle-class taxpayer! That's better care than many seniors warehoused in nursing homes receive.

For decades, politicians and planners have argued over whether Canada should replace the existing social-safety-net, the federal employment insurance (EI) and provincial welfare programs, with a 'guaranteed basic income' aimed at lifting all Canadians out of poverty.

Thinkers on both the left and right have long embraced the belief that poverty is wrong and we should end it.

For the right, in cold economic terms, poverty is inefficient; an impoverished population is a drag on economic growth.

For the left, want in the midst of plenty, is immoral.

Ironically (and more or less by accident) the COVID-19 emergency demonstrates how easily and quickly a (temporary) version of a 'guaranteed basic income' can be implemented.

In only a few weeks, the creation of the Canada-Emergency-Response-Benefit (CERB) offers just about anyone dislocated by the current heath emergency $2,000 a month.

Proving that even in today's fractured political environment with a ruling minority government dependent on support from the other political parties, when pressed, elected politicians can work collaboratively and effectively to move legislation quickly through the people's house and get financial help into the hands of hard-pressed citizens.

It's predicted that going forward, tens of thousands of workers will be casualties, joining the ranks of the unemployed as a result of the pandemic's impact on thousands of self-employed, small and large businesses across the economic spectrum. And, at the same time the cost of just-about-everything will rise.

Given the public's (likely) current pre-disposition, there will never be a more opportune time for elected politicians to do something big, bold and beautiful; continue to work collaboratively and implement the creation of a permanent 'Universal Guaranteed Basic Income'...and damn the torpedoes!

From the devastation and upheaval caused by COVID-19 could there be a more laudable (worthily) goal than lifting all Canadians out of poverty...by 2021? Unless that is you may have an alternative to suggest.

UMMM, pardon me monsieur Ronald, I'm totally confused.

Pourquoi?

Well, monsieur Ronald, you seem to be suggesting all government has to do to achieve the laudable-worthily goal is print more money.

Non, non, non, mon ami, that's the old fashioned way to do it.

Pardon?

It's much more sophisticated now. Today, "money" is created algorithmically in the Cloud...comprende?

No, monsieur Ronald, I do not comprende. It appears you're describing "manna falling from Heaven". 

Actually that's an appropriate descriptor.

The only difference between the manna of biblical times and now is government uses contemporary technology to create the "manna".

Think of it as just another form of the old "shell game" used for centuries by those who rule to confuse, confound and legally pick your pocket.

You mean we're being screwed...again?

You got that right! 

Any more questions?

No, thank you, monsieur Ronald. I now comprende and have a headache.  

                                        FOUR MAXINE-ISM'S TO BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY

1) "If you ain't laughin', you ain't livin'!"

2) "A household hint - stop dusting and you can use your coffee table for a message board"

3) "Most people you see in lingerie stores, you wouldn't want to see in lingerie"

4) "Even doctors make mistakes, mine asked me to undress"

In the meantime hang in there...Be calm. Be kind. Be caring. Be compassionate. Be considerate. Be safe.

Keep busy. Keep active. Don't let your mind or body atrophy.

We are all in this rickety life-raft together; just keep on rowin', smilin', singin', lovin' and hopin'.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#208 HMMM...SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW? (posted May 11, 2020)

                                                 LADY JUSTICE, IS ANYTHING BUT BLIND...

The Chinese justice system operates under the control of the Communist Party.

The Russian justice system operates under the control of 'Vlad the Invader'.

And now, the American justice system operates under the control of Emperor 'Crazy Pants'.

With the world's attention focused on the latest crisis (COVID-19), Trump's mentor, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, conducted the biggest military drill since the end of the cold war. A three-day combat training exercise involving 300,000 troops...in the Arctic.

The Russian "Defence" Ministry explained the "exercise" (started April 25th) was held "as a commemoration ahead of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War".

Oh really?

Not really.

Perpetually skeptical monsieur Ronald, posits the actual message being conveyed by 'Vlad the Invaders' Defence Ministry, is rather a warning to NATO (particularly Canada and Norway) and to his compliant student, US Emperor/President/King (and self-proclaimed stable genius) Donald J. 'Crazy Pants' Trump.

HMMM...indeed.

Vlad wants Russia to be the military power in the Arctic region...full stop!

Humans (in pursuit of power) are the only species capable of destroying planet earth.

                                    MESSAGES...from "our" canary in the coal mine...

Mother Nature continually reminds humans..."destroying planet earth is not a survivable objective".

And every so often to get our undivided attention, SHE provides a 'whack on the side of the head'...delivering a clear and simple message "Keep doing what you're doing and you are all KAPUT".

Few national leaders pay serious attention to HER warnings about climate change.

So, SHE decides to "up-the-ante", sending a message nobody on the planet can ignore - COVID-19.

Mother's (stern) warning: There's no "going back" to the way things were, before.

Mother's (critical) question: Are you humans wise enough, nay scared enough now, to use this crisis as a wake up call, an opportunity for your leaders to join together in a spirit of mutual-survival, to redesign your world, the economy, the way you humans interrelate, live, work and protect your precious planet?

Otherwise, your inherent destructive destiny will be fulfilled.

Monsieur Ronald, you're an incorrigible DREAMER.

Lessons:

This pandemic has defined the really essential and frontline workers, vital for the core functions of the economy and society. Industries they support represent (but are not limited to) medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defence, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works.

The "Great Lockdown" has identified that many of the frontline workers, who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, comprise a large share of the labour force that is (on average) less educated, has lower wages, and has a higher representation of minorities.

This helps explain, in just one segment of the economy where they comprise the workforce, a staggering 82% of the COVID-19-related deaths in Canada involved residents of nursing homes and seniors residences.

Canadian leaders have a lot of work ahead to draft legislation to redress the disparities and injustice brought to light by the impact of the virus on the less-privileged but critically important workers in our society.

                                       MEANWHILE...AT THE WHITE HOUSE OF MIRRORS, NEXT DOOR

Despite the emphatic protestations of Emperor 'Crazy Pants', the world's richest country has been by far the worst at coping with the pandemic.

Although the US has less than 5% of the world's population, it currently accounts for about 24% of total confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 32% of all cases.

America's credibility and global leadership has been buffeted by imperial overreach (the Iraq war), a rigged economic system (the global financial crisis), political dysfunction (the incontinent presidency of Donald Trump, a gerrymandered Congress, a politicized Supreme Court, fractured federalism and captured regulatory institutions) and now, staggering incompetence in tackling COVID-19.

The cumulative blow is devastating, even if it is not yet fatal.

Trump is now goading his (guns and ammo toting) supporters into insurrection. Come November, even the basic democratic criterion of holding free and fair elections could end up being flouted.

Weak, fractured societies, no matter how rich, cannot wield strategic influence or provide international leadership - nor can societies that cease to remain models worthy of emulation.

Stay tuned.

                                                       WE HAVE NEVER NEEDED THIS MORE...

Eric Idle's song "Always look at the bright side of life", performed live at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, reminds us all to remain stoic and maintain a "stiff upper lip" in the face of adversity.

So, sing along...it will lift your spirits, you will smile and feel a lot better...

"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 ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE...DAH-DAH, DAH-DAH,DAH-DAH-DAH-DAH-DAH..."

"The only constant in life is change" - monsieur Ronald

Keep on smiling, stay safe and six feet apart.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#207 WHERE'S THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL? (posted April 24, 2020)

 

                                                     Regardless, always look on the bright side,

                                                     And remember that song we used to sing at wakes,

                                                    "Always look on the bright side of life, ta-dah, ta-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah".

                                                                  POEM DU JOUR

                                                     Spring has sprung,

                                                     The grass has rizz,

                                                     Wonder where the neighbours is?

 

                                               HOW ARE YOU HANDLING SELF-ISOLATION?

Bored? Going bananas? Cabin fever?

Perplexed trying to fathom/help the kids with their math online homework?

Self-barbering? (not that easy)

Banging pots and pans for one minute, precisely at 7:00 p.m.?

Talking to the appliances and flower pots?

Planting a vegetable 'Victory' garden?

Trying to bend the curve of your expanding waistline?

Bagpipe lessons annoying the family yet?

Waiting your turn for a government handout?

Household chores you've put off for decades?

Binging on television seeking shows to take your mind off...everything?

Are you a regular viewer of the American soap opera "Adventures in Cuckoo-Land", the ratings hit starring the host of "The Apprentice"?

America's Emperor-president-king personally controls every aspect and detail of the so-called "pandemic briefing" to ensure the show is all about 'Him', and to make 'His' loyal followers feel 'safe and secure' as they watch 'Himself' demonstrate 'His' uncanny mastery of everything about COVID-19 while constantly reminding them how great 'He' is.

The 'rabid' cult are constantly awestruck by their Emperor's brilliant stream of consciousness; the depth of an amazing medical comprehension, the wisdom in suggesting Americans should consider using some magical potions/lotions/elixirs he read about somewhere or watching Fox news.

What comes directly from his magnificent brain and out of 'His' big mouth to their ears, why not try...

Hydroxychloroquine?

Inject disinfectants like bleach or Lysol?

Or somehow introduce ultra-violet-light...directly into your body?

"What do you have to lose?" proclaims 'the greatest one ever'.

The medical experts in the room mutter silently "Your life, you moron".

Lately, "doctor" Trump has resorted to "demanding" the medical and scientific experts on the "pandemic task force", who have publicly disagreed with his preposterous medical malarkey, stand at the podium and "clarify" their comments in such a way as to conform with those of the 'Bullshitter-in-Chief'.  

Refusing to kowtow to the bully's pressure, only Doctor Anthony Fauci, standing tall (pun intended) at the podium, continues to tell it like it is...the truth and nothing but the truth...to the frustration of the onlooking "doctor" Trump.

Trump is bereft of any empathy or sympathy, thin-skinned, vengeful, unable to accept criticism, responsibility or accountability in handling a crisis.

Trump firmly believes his "knowledge" is superior to the scientists, doctors, researchers and economists advising him, and would rather rely on gut-instinct to guide his unpredictable decisions. Which makes him dangerous, really dangerous.

Trump is fond of saying "Like never before, I've done such an incredible job". Before what?

His former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, proclaimed "God wanted him to be president". So did Vladimir Putin.

'Vlad the Invader" has cranked up his disinformation-machine in order to get his compliant student a second term.

                                                                    Ironic strange bedfellows

Trump, a thrice-married, swindling, profane, materialistic, self-styled playboy, serial liar and five-time draft dodger appeals to 80 million American Evangelicals. These are the same religious hypocrites who went apoplectic over Bill Clinton's indiscretions, who now capitulate to the most immoral president in living memory. Go figure?

Even scarier, according to an Economist/YouGovPoll (taken between April 19-21) 75% of Republicans trust Trump's medical advice while only 22% of Republicans trust Doctor Anthony Fauci.

Hopefully, Andrew Cuomo will allow his name to be entered as a write-in candidate for president and remove Emperor 'Crazy Pants'.

"You can't fix stupid but you can vote him out in November" - Amen to that!

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#206 BUCKLE UP FOLKS - IT'S ONLY MONTH TWO (posted April 5, 2020)

                                                       We certainly live in interesting times.

In times of crisis, natural leaders surface and incompetent frauds are exposed.

A current example: It's impossible to ignore the brilliant leadership on display daily of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, (calm demeanour, knowledgeable and clear explanations) compared to the ineptness of president, Donald Trump.

If the Democratic Party and their current front runner Joe Biden are wise, they will enlist Andrew Cuomo as their nominee.

In what is now certain to be a battle fought primarily on television, Cuomo possesses everything necessary to beat Trump.

Sadly, Joe is no longer up to the task.

Monsieur Ronald is asking...

Are you (already) going bonkers cooped up at home?

Has grocery shopping become your thrill of the week?

Are you desperately seeking innovative ways to pass the time? A new hobby perhaps? Psychiatry 101 online? Cooking lessons online? Reading War and Peace online? Having a face to face conversation, not online?

Has time lost all meaning for you?

Do you even care what day of the week it is?

Are you contemplating doing something really radical (like growing a full beard) career ambitions be damned?

Assuming it's still open, are you comfortable wearing a mask when entering your bank?

Are you (already) so bored and desperate that you eagerly await the daily pandemic briefings on both sides of the border?

                                                         In The Great White North...

Canadians gather round their electronic hearth in the morning to listen and watch their Prime Minister, Premiers and medical experts update citizens on the latest COVID-19 news.

                                       And on the other side of the (currently) undefended border...

Americans gather round their electronic hearth in the afternoon to listen and watch the Bullshitter-in-Chief attempt to read scripted remarks, ad libbing incoherent, incomprehensible personal comments on a variety of subjects he knows less than nothing about.

                                                       Just in case you missed it... 

The Monday, March 30th, White House "pandemic briefing" was another bizarro spectacle.

It included a gaggle of business leaders who used the opportunity to promote their products (a free nationally-televised infomercial) and to explain how they intend to help eradicate the deadly virus.

The 'Greatest One' invited his friend, Mike Lindell (the MyPillow guy) to the podium to speak first and set the tone for the others.

It was apparent MyPillow-Mike was nervous and especially awestruck being in the presence of 'Himself'. He gushed...

"God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on. Taken out of our schools and lives, a nation turned its back on God.

I encourage you to get back in the Word, read our Bibles and spend time with our families.

Our president gave us so much hope. Where just a few short months ago we had the best economy, the lowest unemployment, and wages going up, it was amazing.

With our great president, vice president and this administration and all the great people in this country praying daily, we will get through this and get back to a place that's stronger and safer than ever."

Hallelujah, praise the greatest president in the history of America, nay the world...and for the most comfortable pillow you will ever own, use promo code G12; buy one get one free. Amen.

Mickey the Pence standing next to his adored president beamed with religious fervour...praise the Lord...but where's the ammunition (ventilators, masks, tests, etc.) to fight this virus?

Thankfully, at every one of the "pandemic briefings" medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and others are available to clarify and explain reality and facts about the deadly scourge.

Unfortunately, the ever present self-proclaimed 'stable genius' overseeing proceedings, can't resist interrupting the doctors, seizing back the microphone to demonstrate his extensive knowledge and experience of all matters which results in confusing the critical messaging the experts are trying to convey to the public.

Anyone openly disagreeing with Trump, quietly disappears; fired for doing their job!

This president is incapable of answering relevant questions from the White House press corps without lashing out and blowing a gasket; casting those who dare ask as the enemy and purveyors of fake news.

What the daily pandemic briefings expose for the world to see - the leader of the free world cannot keep his emotions/anger in check, and whose bloated arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, pride and vanity indicates an inability to lead in a crisis, any crisis.

As each day passes, the lead actor in this Greek tragedy exhibits behaviour that is more and more disturbed, scattered, strange, erratic, weird, unhinged and dangerous.

This White House acquiesced to the demands from the NRA, adding firearm makers, retailers and shooting ranges "essential", giving them the same status as hospitals and pharmacies. Absolutely crazy batshit nuts!

By contrast Canada's list of "critical essentials' includes liquor and pot outlets. Vive la difference.

Have you got a stash of underwear? You don't want to be left with your knickers in a knot do you?

Pourquoi Monsieur Ronald?

We learned last week there may be a shortage.

Really? Yep.

'Jockey' shorts in the U.S. and Stanfield's in Canada announced they are converting a portion of their manufacturing lines from making long johns, briefs, bloomers, butt-huggers, knickers and drawers in order to produce needed protective equipment and clothing for front-line health workers...praise the Lord, that's ammunition!

Winston Churchill was fond of saying "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else"

Ergo: Are American voters (now) wise enough to rid the world of Donald Trump before it's too late?

                                                                         FOOD FOR THOUGHT

What if - Emperor 'Crazy Pants' suddenly decides to invoke his 'magical mythical powers' and postpones the November election (indefinitely), using the ongoing pandemic crisis as the excuse?

What if - What Uncle Bernie has been preaching and dreaming about for years, actually happens?

That - the "system" is undergoing a massive overhaul now; an evolution caused by current events and there's no going back?

That - 'Socialism' is no longer considered a 'dirty word' as individuals, small business and corporations large and small, line up to receive a taxpayer handout/bailout to survive?

That - into the foreseeable future the "new normal" is democratic-socialism writ large?

Impossible?

How many jobs will exist when this is over?

We should find out in about 18 months when a vaccine is available.

                                                      We are certainly living in interesting times.

Stay safe, stay home, look after each other and wash your hands 50 X a day.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#205 UNCHARTED TIMES (posted March 28, 2020)

When this crisis ends...and what the world will look like when it does...is anybody's guess.

The future has never felt so "unknowable".

What appears likely, the routines and rhythms of daily life, previously considered "normal" a mere two months ago, are gone.

Those of us with enough "mileage" to remember the Great Depression and WWII, maintain vivid memories of the stress, shortages, rationing, sacrifices and misery experienced by people the world over.

This time, we are in a war but bereft of leaders. No Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill to lead in the fight against the invisible enemy that could kill us all.

These two great 20th-century wartime leaders have been succeeded by two comic book characters.

America's President, Donald John Trump "Cadet Bone-Spurs never reporting for duty", whose daily 'Bullshit Baffles Brains' briefings are beyond absurd, and his UK sidekick Prime Minister, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson "Bonking Boris" (no kidding that's his name).

Neither of these clowns possesses the humility to even accept the advice of medical professionals; the only trustworthy sources of information in dealing with a pandemic.

                                        AND NOW...A SEQUE...TO TEMPORARILY TAKE YOUR MIND OFF ALL THE BAD STUFF

The first Olympic Games (The Ancient Games), considered a pagan festival, were staged in Olympia, Greece, in 776 BC.

In Ancient Greece, athletes didn't worry about sponsorship, protection, or fashion - they competed naked. Yes, indeed, buck naked. (The International Association of Nudists and many, many others...mostly males but not exclusively...continue to vigorously lobby the IOC...to please, please bring this honourable "tradition" back and guarantee your television audience will increase exponentially).

Back then, the games lasted five or six months. (Now that's what's called...a real party!)

"The Olympic Truce" (ancient Greek meaning "laying down of arms") was announced before and during the Olympic Games, to ensure the host city state was not attacked and athletes and spectators could travel safely to the Games and peacefully return to their respective countries. In other words, a suspension of war.

A very sane idea that should be made an IOC condition for awarding and holding future Games.

The first "modern Olympics" were staged in Athens, Greece, in 1896.

The five rings of the Olympic symbol - designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the modern Olympic Games - represent the five continents of the world.

The six colours - blue, yellow, black, green, red and white background - were chosen because every nation's flag contains at least one of them.

The official languages of the games are English and French, complemented by the language of the host country.

"Tarzan" competed in the Olympics - Johnny Weissmuller, an athlete-turned-actor who played Tarzan in 12 movies, won five gold medals in swimming in the 1920's.

From 1912-1948, artists participated in the Olympics - Painters, sculptors, architects, writers, and musicians competed for medals in their respective fields. Another idea worth resurrecting, n'est-ce-pas?

The Olympic Games have been hosted by 23 different countries.

The following sports are (sadly?) not part of the Olympics anymore - solo synchronized swimming, tug of war, rope climbing, hot air ballooning (a sport taken over by politicians), duelling pistol, tandem bicycle, swimming obstacle race, plunge for distance (whatever that is) and live pigeon shooting. This latter "sport?" was a one-shot of the 1900 Olympics in Paris...curiously, the same year women were "allowed" to compete in the Olympics...coincidence?

The modern Olympics were cancelled during the First and Second World War.

One of several event-casualties of the current pandemic is the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The current plan: to stage the Games in 2021, but still refer to them as the 2020 Games...weird.

By then, if we all pull together and follow the advice of the medical professionals, this virus can be vanquished, and the biggest sporting event on the planet can become a welcome and much needed 'victory celebration' for the world...provided the clowns get out of the way.

In the meantime, stay safe, look after each other and please share your stash of toilet paper.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#204 WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? (posted March 8, 2020)

                       In the space of "one" short month, the bottom fell out of human "normalcy" big time...

No more handshakes,

No more hugs,

No more toilet paper,

No more gatherings,

No more crowds,

No more travelling,

No more kissing,

No more sharing,

No more fans/audiences at games,

No more meetings,

No more touching,

No more high fives,

No more social interaction...

Because we're under attack from a super bug, COVID-19.

                                                               NEW RULES DU JOUR

Bowing is good, but touching is a no-no,

Carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is good (if you can buy one),

Coughing, only into your sleeve, please,

Washing your hands for 20 seconds, 50 times a day is good,

Try to not touch your face (it's harder than you think),

Regular cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that people touch frequently is good (such as toilets, doorknobs, handrails, phones, keyboards, etc.) with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach,

Stay home if you're feeling sick...

Because we're under attack from a super bug, COVID-19.

                                                                  MARCH MADNESS

                                                     What scares you most these days?

Emperor 'Crazy Pants' and his silent partner 'Vlad the Invader',

Airplanes,

CRA forms,

Cruise ships,

Chinese, Italian, Korean, Seattle restaurants,

Corona beer from Mexico,

Republican Evangelicals or Evangelical republicans,

Climate change,

Strangers wearing masks,

Seasonal flu X 2,

Illegal protests, blockades, anarchy,

The stock market,

CRA audits,

The economy,

Public toilets,

Panic (as in buying stuff)

Quarantines.

                                                                    FEELING ANXIOUS?

Not to worry...the self-proclaimed medical savant, Emperor 'Crazy Pants', believes he and his expert-delegate 'Mickey the Pence', have everything under control.

'His Imperial Highness of Perfectness' boasted to reporters during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he met actual doctors and scientists who are feverishly scrambling to contain and combat the deadly illness..."I really get this stuff. I really get it."

Citing "a great super-genius uncle, who taught at MIT", he professed, "It must run in the family genes. People are really surprised I understand this stuff every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability."

"Maybe" indeed, but it's not in science, medicine, history, geography, morality, the constitution, the law and much of everything else...with the exception of umm, umm, umm...how do you spell lying as in not telling the truth?...LYING! 

Rumours continue to circulate that his doctorate in perpetual B.S. was awarded by that phantasmagorical college of illusory knowledge, Trump University, whose motto was "It's worse than you think".

The medical professionals standing around "him" could only roll their eyes and smile uncomfortably.

Feeling better and more secure now, realizing a delusional incompetent boorish fraudster and his ass-kissing religious fanatic stooge are in charge of containing a pandemic?

                                                                    LEAP YEAR 2020

                                            Ever wonder who invented Leap Year...and why?

"Leap Day" dates back to the year 46 B.C.. Back then, Julius Caesar, took the advice of the learned astronomer, Sosigenes of Alexandria, who knew from Egyptian experience that the solar year was "approximately" 365.25 days in length.

So, to account for that residual quarter of a day, an extra day - a "leap day" - was added to the calendar every four years.

Ergo #1: The new "Julian" calendar was used throughout the Roman Empire.

Ergo #2: If you are 84 and born on February 29, this year you celebrated your 21st birthday.

Which brings us to...'The Ides of March'; March 15th.

The unlucky day Julie was bumped off by his "friends" and the day in which the Roman Calendar marked several religious observances and especially notable as the deadline-day for "settling debts".

One might surmise this is the genesis which gave politicians the idea to tax our incomes and the major reason why we ordinary folk are so much more miserable in March; attempting to fathom a mountain of incomprehensible CRA forms, filing tax returns to enable governments to legally pick our pockets.

                                                                     Random Observations

 - 'Tax Day' - is the day ordinary folks send their money to Ottawa and wealthy folks send their money to the Cayman Islands. Do you find it somewhat curious that CRA agents spend their time primarily chasing after the ordinary folks?

 - "The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing"            Jean-Baptiste Colbert

 - On filing tax returns - "This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher" - Albert Einstein

Happy International Women's Day everybody.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#203 DID YOU KNOW STUFF (posted Feb. 17, 2020)

DID YOU KNOW?

The first Valentine's Day was in the year 496, and is thought to have originated from a Roman festival.

The Romans had a festival called 'Lupercalia' in the middle of February - officially the start of their springtime.

The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is believed to be in the poem 'Parliament of Fowls' (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer. Honouring the first anniversary of the engagement of fifteen-year old King Richard II of England to fifteen-year old Anne of Bohemia. 

DID YOU KNOW?

There's a part of the Great White North that mirrors the festival of 'Lupercalia' where by mid-February; sap is flowing, shoots are sprouting and flowers begin to bloom.

A place where, while the ROC (Rest of Canada) and much of the US is still in the cold clutches of winter, residents enjoy springlike temperatures.

An idyllic haven that has been awarded (by amazon.ca) the distinction of being "Canada's most romantic city" for seven consecutive years. Ummm...until this year, when the romance ranking plummeted to 10th place...prompting local Burgermeister's to cry "foul play is afoot".

The 2020 top spot was awarded to the 'Paris of the Oil Patch', Fort McMurray, Alberta. 

Outraged members of the local Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Association demanded an immediate recount, claiming the result "preposterous" and rigged (as in oil-rigged).

Fort McMurrayites, including four thousand Newfoundlanders, countered with "Make sparks fly next Valentine's Day, book your cozy Igloo while they last". Town council unanimously adopted the official 2021 Valentine's Day slogan; the immortal words of Mae West "Is that an icicle in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"

The aforementioned 'little slice of heaven', located precisely 58km South of the 49th parallel, is the capital of 'La-La Land, B.C.', where 'Protests-du-Jour' begin and spread across the Great White North, like a human-to-human transmitted virus, and from where the ROC (Rest of Canada) first heard the word 'Wet'suwet'en' that lit a fuse on a powder keg of grievances.

The length of the fuse is unpredictable.

DID YOU KNOW?

A handshake is a globally widespread, brief greeting or parting tradition in which two people grasp one of each other's hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the grasped hands.

The history of the handshake dates back to the 5th century B.C. in Greece. It was a symbol of peace, showing that neither person was carrying a weapon. Some say that the shaking gesture of the handshake started in Medieval Europe. Knights would shake the hand of others in an attempt to shake loose any hidden weapons.

DID YOU KNOW?

A hug is a form of endearment, universal in human communities, in which two or more people put their arms around the neck, back, or waist of one another and hold each other closely. If two or more people are involved, it is referred to as a group hug.

Depending on the culture, a hug can indicate support, comfort, and consolation, particularly where words are insufficient.

It is a custom in French, Spanish and Latin American cultures for male friends to hug as well as slap each other on the back in a joyous greeting.

A similar hug, usually accompanied by a kiss on the cheek, is also a custom among Western women at meeting or parting.

Hugging has been proven to have health benefits increasing levels of oxytocin and reduce blood pressure.

The origins of the word are unknown. The verb "hug" was first used in the 1560's related to the Old Norse word "hugga, which meant comfort.

1000 years ago, the first white people to reach North America's shores, the Norse (Vikings), established a temporary settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

As was their custom, they likely would have attempted a "hugga" greeting on meeting the first Indigenous People to come in contact with Europeans, the Beothuk People of Newfoundland.

That contact tragically set the stage for their eventual extinction.

                                                          IF ALL ELSE FAILS...LAUGH

When caught between a rock and a hard place, flailing about in a proverbial irreconcilable conflict 'flapdoodle', citizens expect/hope common sense from their elected politicians to prevail.

The "Conflict Du Jour" has the potential of causing a constitutional crises without precedent in Canadian history.

This 'flapdoodle' of competing self-interest agendas pits

 - elected aboriginal leaders against hereditary aboriginal leaders (the Wet'suet'en)

 - federal elected leaders against provincial elected leaders

 - provincial elected leaders against each other

 - provincial elected leaders against provincial aboriginal leaders

 - federal and provincial parties against each other

 - federal, provincial and aboriginal elected leaders against hereditary aboriginal leaders

 - protesters against protesters

In this witches' brew of political madness "reconciliation" is impossible.

While platoons of "leaders" and protestors practise their political knavery, who, if any among them, represents the majority...the ignored-law-abiding-taxpayer, many of whom are surviving pay check to pay check.

With no practical resolution in sight, the national economy grinds slowly downward into the proverbial crapper - no offence to Thomas Crapper who did many humans a great favour, by inventing the flush toilet.

Optimists may be alone in believing this ragtag crowd can or will reconcile the rancour.

When all else fails there's always delusion.

The Prime Minister's comment "the situation is worrisome" boggles the mind. For law-abiding taxpaying citizens, it's a hell of lot more serious than "worrisome". 

"My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger" - Billy Connolly

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

#202 DOUBLE, DOUBLE TOIL & TROUBLE (posted Feb. 11, 2020)

                                "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal" - Richard Milhous Nixon

And it came to pass.

Mitch McFudge-it and his senatorial followers decided to make Donald J. Trump, the first Emperor of the divided American Empire.

The republican-controlled senate concluded all actions taken by their president are "in the national interest" and, therefore, cannot be deemed "illegal".

The verdict, arrived at during the impeachment "trial", means a president cannot break the law, as long as the office-holder believes the action is "in the public interest". An absurd and abhorrent argument pushed by Trump's legal team.

The sham-trial bothered the conscience of a single republican senator, Mitt Romney, who bravely ignored the wrath of his president and party to vote "guilty" to the first article of impeachment. 

A monomaniacal version of "the public interest" argument used by authoritarians like Putin, Erdogan, al-Assad, Jung-Un.

Emboldened, Emperor 'Crazy Pants' immediately began another phase of his rule...revenge - retaliation - retribution - purge:

As "enemies of the people", acts against the president are acts against the state and considered treason, subject to prosecution.

For example, "enemies of the people":

Anyone who dared tell the truth during the impeachment,

Anyone who uses unflattering words against the Emperor,

Anyone who insults the Emperor,

Anyone who improperly treats the image of the Emperor.

 

                                                 WORDS THAT ONCE STOOD FOR SOMETHING 

Many readers will know the most quoted words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty are from a poem written by New York-born Emma Lazarus in 1883, titled 'The New Colossus':

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

However, most readers will not know...a top US immigration official has revised the quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, in defence of a new policy that denies even food aid to "legal" migrants.

Effective October 15, 2019, the head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services formally added these new words to the inscription "who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

Ken Cuccinelli announced a new public-charge-law requirement that limits "legal" migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in future.

Mr. Cuccinelli stated immigrants are welcome "who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition".

Asked if the policy appears to change the definition of the American dream, he said "We invite people to come here and join us, as a privilege. No one has a right to become an American who isn't born here as an American".

It's stunning, in only four years our neighbour's house has become unrecognizable.

Mike Bloomberg can depose this Emperor.

 

                                                        TROUBLE BREWING CHEZ NOUS

Have you noticed our PM returned from the Christmas break transformed (by his image-makers) from a young matinee idol into a Rasputin lookalike?

Are "they" trying to convince voters salt and pepper facial hair will magically transform him into a more experienced and wise leader?

Good luck with that.

(Factoid: Justin is the first sitting-Canadian-PM in over a hundred years to sport a beard)

Wow, that's big-time transformative magic.

Our PM is touring Africa and the Middle East while Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests in support of pipeline opponents, are sprouting all over the country.

Despite injunctions and arrests, protesters are blocking roads, bridges, the legislature, the Port of Vancouver, rail lines in Ontario and Quebec with no end to civil disobedience in sight.

Two oil-laden trains have "mysteriously" derailed.

These emotionally charged protests have the potential to cause a serious and extreme outbreak of conflict; between warring factions, law abiding citizens and damage an already fragile economy.

Time for the PM to concentrate on the powder keg at home.

"Double, double toil and trouble" (Macbeth) - William Shakespeare

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

 #201 STUFF THAT SUCKS (posted January 23, 2020)

#1 THE WEATHER

Elucidation required?

Nope. For confirmation one only need look out the window.

#2 THIRD MONDAY IN JANUARY

Blue Monday is the name given to the third Monday in January, claimed to be the most depressing day of the year.

In 2005, Dr. Cliff Arnall worked out how a variety of factors come together in perfect sync in the Northern Hemisphere on this day every year.

Doctor Cliff's "magical" formula used many factors including weather conditions, debt levels, time since Christmas, time since failing new year's resolutions, low motivational levels and other snake oil elixirs mixed together to arrive at his determination.

Rumours he was paid by travel agencies to publish his conclusion in January, have been vociferously denied.

Dr. Blues then attempted to compensate by declaring his formula was also able to precisely determine that the happiest day(s) of the year in the Northern Hemisphere are June 21 to 24.

Which brings us to...

#3 'CRAZY PANTS' AND EVERYTHING HE TOUCHES

Our southern neighbour has (or had) three branches of government created to provide checks and balances against an elected President becoming a King or a Dictator.

Impeachment is supposed to guard against the abuse of presidential power.

Fact: 'Crazy Pants' is impeached.

OK...so what happens next?

He is given a trial in the Senate to determine whether he will be removed from office.

OK...if he loses who replaces him?

The VP, Mickey the Pence and his one and only Mrs. P. (who will function as the "real" president).

Evangelicals are praying 'Crazy Pants' gets turfed.

Will that outcome make a difference?

Many suggest it will actually make matters worse, i.e. "better the devil you know".

How's the trial going?

Well, the way it's set up by the guy who controls the Senate, Mitch McFudge-it, this trial is beyond weird; no witnesses, no documents and a predetermined outcome by a jury made up of 53 Republicans of 100 senators.

Monsieur Ronald, this suggests the trial is a sham.

You got that right.

How could this happen in the so-called best democracy on the planet?

Here's how...

Senate Republicans behave like the functionaries of an authoritarian political system in which words have no meaning and actions have no consequences, at least for their powerful leader, Emperor 'Crazy Pants'.

With the complicity of the Republican Senate majority, 'Crazy Pants' is hence claiming the right to violate even the most basic requirement of his office, and to vastly expand what constitutes acceptable presidential conduct...complete freedom from scrutiny for his conduct.

"Ignorance and power is the most ferocious enemy of justice"

Democratic trial managers led by Adam Schiff are doing a masterful job making a strong case to remove 'Crazy Pants' immediately, despite the gross constraints imposed by Mitch McFudge-it to fix the outcome.

If the fix is in, can anything salvage a disaster?

The case made by Democrat trial managers "could/may/might" channel enough "public anger" at the injustice of this sham, to result in a Democratic seizure of the Senate in the Fall and remake a broken institution as an instrument of public good rather than a rubber-stamp legislature for the would-be authoritarian in the White House.

Otherwise, come next January, citizens of the Great White North could be living next door to a dictatorship ruled by an unstable Emperor.

#4 HARD LESSONS LEARNED ON THE HIGHWAY OF LIFE

We've all encountered (at some time or other) "persons" who believe themselves to be immortal. Who also believe they know everything and are convinced anyone over thirty is "old", incompetent and irrelevant.

Before you smile knowingly, that was once you and me...a long time ago.

Remember...we were the "Teenagers" then.

That time in our lives when we couldn't wait to get older and morph into an "adult".

An "adult", living a fantasy life, enjoying "freedom" from the grossly unfair and mean constraints imposed by those incompetent, irrelevant, "old" people, who knew nothing of our "struggles".

Ironically, we weren't even smart enough to understand our "wish" would too soon come true.

It took us "smart-ass-teenagers" by surprise to all of a sudden realize we didn't know much of anything facing us in real life.

That it would take a lifetime to comprehend the "smartest thing" is to use each and every "precious" day to learn something you don't know.

Because getting really-old sneaks up on you suddenly and fast.

Two words of advice for anyone on the precipice of old-age...brace yourself.

Getting old is worse than you think. It sucks big-time and nothing you have ever learned or experienced can adequately prepare you to deal with it.

Comedian George Burns lived to 100 and offered this:

"Old age is when you resent the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated because there are fewer articles to read"

John Mortimer - "There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward"

Anonymous - "Grandpa, it's really wonderful that after 62 years, you still call Grandma darling, beautiful and honey".       "Sweetheart, truth is Grandpa forgot Grandma's name five years ago and now I'm scared to ask her"

However, do not despair, there are advantages to getting older, here are a few...

People get out of the way when you drive down the street.

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

Things that you buy now will not wear out.

You can watch for the obituaries of people you don't like.

Your spouse still snores, but you can't hear it.

You are less likely to be subjected to a strip search.

Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

Your grandchildren are impressed that you lived in the twentieth century.

Kidnappers and stalkers are not very interested in you.

If you wake up in the morning it's a good day regardless.

You don't care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don't have to go along.

Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man. Isn't that the darnedest time for a guy to get those odds?

Your doctor stops telling you to slow down.

Getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.

You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks in the room.

And finally, you are proud you can sing along with elevator music.

And it's worth remembering:

As we navigate the bumpy/lumpy highway of life, some things suck...get used to it and get over it.

This week the world lost one of the Monty Python Flying Circus troupe greats; writer, director, performer, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, Terry Jones.

Let's all join his colleagues in singing Eric Idle's famous sendoff..."Always look on the bright side of life..."

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory

IT WAS REALLY "QUITE BUMPY" (posted Dec. 28, 2019)

Monsieur Ronald's fingers (aka his ten "pinkies") struggle ever-more with computer keys. Arthritis; the enemy of dexterity is making work on the (200th) article somewhat difficult.

                    REFLECTIONS ON ANNUAL TRADITIONS 

The white-bearded old man in the tattered white robe staggers to the side of the crib.

He is scarred, bruised and bedraggled.

His trembling hands hold an ancient hourglass.

He looks down at the baby. A faint smile (of relief) crosses his weather-worn visage.

As the last bits of sand pass through the narrow glass neck, he slowly turns the timepiece upside-down and gently places it into the tiny upheld hands; whispering "It's now your turn little lad...good luck. I'm outta here...!"

                                                                 FESTIVE SEASON CELEBRATIONS 

Did you celebrate "Festivus" on December 23rd?

Pardon?

"Festivus", the word that was popularized in the 166th episode of the NBC sitcom "Seinfeld". The term has come to describe yet another way humans celebrate "the annual festive season".

                                                     MEANWHILE IN THE "CITY OF GARDENS"...

Genteel ladies and gentle men of the Monarchist League (Victoria Branch), dressed to the nines, shuffle their way through the side entrance of the grand old storied hotel "The Empress".

Mere yards away and kitty-corner to the chateau-style hotel sits another architectural marvel, designed by Francis Rattenbury, the British Columbia Parliament buildings (The Leg., as it's known locally).

On the front lawn of "the Leg.", Queen Victoria looks down (sternly) from her stone perch. Her subjects look up wondering, why the look?

These two imposing structures welcome visitors to the impressive Inner Harbour of B.C.'s capital city. The vista offers a memorable glimpse back to another place and time. A place where British monarchs reigned and Francis Rattenbury was murdered (at age 67) by his second wife's lover.

The "Empress" manager (appropriately attired in a formal Prince Albert black frock and white gloves) greets the Queen's adoring flock and ushers them into the sophisticated lounge of his hotel; where traditional afternoon tea on fine china has been served since 1908.

NB: "Sophisticated" refers to tea-prices - from $82-$122 (per) includes a three-tier stand filled with goodies. Considered by tourists to be a real "bar-goon" for the quintessentially Victoria experience. 

Scones, pastries, clotted creams and strawberry preserves with fresh lavender from the rooftop herb garden. Original blended teas and the exceptionally rare "Tong Mu Phoenix Lapsang Souchong" blend. All certified by the "Ethical Tea Partnership".

The room decor, gentle piano sounds and subdued conversation, establishes the perfect ambiance to dream of long-gone Edwardian times.

Chapter President, Mrs. Fionulla Guilded-Sleeves, the third, (the third Mrs. Guilded-Sleeves) rises to address the gathering...

"Members, we are in this grand room to once again hear our Queen deliver her annual address. Please stand, if you are able, for the singing of 'God save the Queen'.

As tea and goodies are consumed, much gossip is exchanged..."My neighbour, Mrs. Balwin-Smyth, who knows the Reverend's wife, told me the reverend told her, he swore he saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex jogging on a trail in North Saanich. He was walking their dog. He stood at attention, gap-jawed, as they ran passed. Now it may not be true. There's been so much speculation about where they are vacationing in Canada, he may have imagined it. He's quite old you know."

The time of the broadcast draws near. Excitement and anticipation fills the room.

Since 1957, the Queen has sat down at the end of each year to deliver her verdict on the 12 months just gone, but only ever tacitly acknowledges the history-defining events that shape a turbulent world. It is a masterful annual display of wink-wink, nudge-nudge genre of communication.  

In 1992, following the marriage breakdowns of Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, the publication of a tell-all book by Princess Diana, the Sarah Ferguson Toe-sucking saga and a fire at Windsor Castle, the Queen gently confronted the elephant in the room..."As some of you may have heard me observe, it has, indeed, been a sombre year...an annus horribilis."

Like the rest of us...a normal human family...nothing to really see here.

This Christmas, via a five-minute television broadcast, the public got a glimpse into what the 93-year old monarch thinks of the antics that have shattered a decade of relative royal stability.

In Queen-speak, the phrase "quite bumpy" was a rare and blunt public acknowledgement that all has not been well inside the royal family.

As their monarch stared directly into the eyes of her loyal subjects in the stately Empress tea room, the mood darkened. The silence deafening.

Bookended by nasty car crashes - literally and figuratively - 2019 did not quite reach "annus horribilis" status but the House of Windsor sailed dangerously close.

The assembled monarchists took solace in the words of the Queen's press secretary from 1988 to 2000, Dickie Arbiter, "The monarchy has evolved over 1000 years. It has had all sorts of circumstances running against it, but it has survived. It survived 1992, it survived the abdication in 1936, it survived 2019." They can always count on "good old Dickie" to cheer them up.

Among the casualties of 2019, Prince Andrew is radioactive and likely spent Christmas in the Tower.

And who'd of thunk it...a once unloved figure, the Prince of Wales is now emerging from his mother's shadow and growing in public popularity. He has displayed rare stability and authority over a turbulent 12 months for those around him.

Joy returned to the Victoria Monarchist League folks when intrepid reporters from the Victoria Times Colonist reported, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and baby Archie are vacationing in Greater Victoria.

A TC report confirmed by the owners of the swankiest and most exclusive French restaurant in the area, "The Deep Cove Chalet", in North Saanich, that the royals are in the area.

Security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex called the restaurant to make a reservation for Harry and Meghan. Co-owner and executive chef, Pierre Koffle (from France) answered the phone. Pierre is well known (by his regular customers) for his "unusual" eccentricity. Having heard the security demands, he promptly turned down the request for a reservation and hung up.

Co-owner and Pierre's wife, Bev Koffle, remarked "Anyhow, you know what Pierre's like. We'll see what happens" she laughed, adding she wants them to enjoy their time here.

Only a cheeky French man would tell royals to take a hike...n'est-ce-pas?

Wonder who is picking up "L'addition" for this royal vacation?

May we all enjoy a better 2020.

Happy New Year.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory   

#199 MERRY CHRISTMAS SUCKERS! (posted December 14, 2019)

(This is an update or followup to Views article #198)

What's the difference between lying, misleading and deceiving? Not much.

"FRESH THINKING" FROM OUR LEADER?

In a daring act of fearlessness, chastened PM 'Sunny Ways' finally got around to issuing "mandate letters" to his retooled cabinet on...wait for it...December 13th...yes folks...that 13th...Friday the 13th.

"Fearless Fosdick" would be impressed (look it up, young'uns).

The fear of Friday the 13th is called, "Friggatriskkaidekaphobia" or "Paraskevidekatriaphobia".

Really?

Yep...now say that 10 times really fast.

In Western superstition, Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day. 

Friday the 13th occurs during any month that begins on a Sunday. Who knew?

The Leader of the minority government decided to throw caution to the wind and "go for it"...issue the mandate letters on the unluckiest day of the month preceding the "festive season"; the one time of year when custom demands gifts are exchanged.

Of all the days in December why would Justin pick the unluckiest one; and unlucky for whom?

What will middle class taxpayers find in their Christmas stocking?

What little goodie (purchased with our money) could make middle class taxpayers somewhat joyful?

The excitement has been building since the election.

Middle Class Taxpayers (in particular) have been waiting to find out about a new ministry called, "Middle Class Prosperity".

Has our fearless leader found, among the ranks of the elected, a "very special someone", whose competence and skill set is so extraordinary, she can make the middle class prosperous?

Will "Wonder Woman" make Happy Days dawn (at last) across the Great White North?

The mandate letter will tell us, right?

Umm...well...it really depends.

On what?

On how "sophisticated" your sense of humour and/or sense of irony...really is.

Whether you bothered to read Minister Mona Fortier's mandate letter (in either or both official language), it's impossible not to miss a striking similarity with the mandate given to the British "Minister of Silly Walks", the Very Extraordinary and Honourable, John Cleese.

Monty Python would be impressed (look it up).

According to the mandate letter assigned to the "Minister of Middle Class Prosperity"...

Madame Mona is tasked to lead work at Finance Canada to better incorporate "quality of life measurements into government decision-making and budgeting, drawing on lessons from other jurisdictions such as New Zealand and Scotland."

To ensure that her department has the "analytical and advisory capabilities that it needs to support and measure the impact of an economic agenda focused on growing the middle class and those people working hard to join it."

She will help Finance Minister 'Wiley' Morneau ensure that the government's "overall economic and fiscal plan is built into cabinet decision-making."

And on and on it reads...more meaningless "blah - blah - blah - blah" blather.

If this bureaucratic clap-trap gobbledygook was ever intended to inspire confidence and ensure beleaguered middle class taxpayers "quietly" accept a never-ending duty and responsibility to keep on paying the bills for this insanity...it's time for a tax rebellion.

"There's a sucker born every minute". A phrase associated with mid-19th century American showman, P.T. Barnum and often used by gamblers and confidence men.

Who doesn't believe that those who govern us take for granted that there's no shortage of easy "marks" to be conned, fleeced and scammed.

 "Middle class tax suckers" who can easily be "taken". So easy in fact, all "they" have to do is make superficial or cosmetic changes to their spin malarky by disguising the true nature of the bureaucratic gobbledygook and the suckers will buy into it. Basic human nature; continue "selling" unworthy buckets of merde and the middle class will keep on paying for it.

Are you weary of being "suckered"? I am.

If you're hoping the election of 98 "newbies", with their principles and morals still relatively intact, portends a potential wave of change is possible; in the parlance of Joe Pesci, "You can foggetaboutit!". Party Whips will quickly whip them into line; quietly explaining their naive predilections have no place here, "There's a way "stuff" is done around here. If you want to survive and get noticed by the Leader, you tow the party line, period!"

Once newbies get a whiff of the irresistible aroma of the trough in their nostrils, its bye-bye principles and morals.

Just contemplate for a moment the image of former "principled" Attorney General, Judi Wilson-Raybold, being dragged out of her suite of cabinet offices, kicking and screaming, "They are mine, mine, they've been blessed"...and relegated to one of three broom closets allocated for the use of no-party "Independents", located in the windowless basement of the House of Commons. How the mighty have fallen.    

Whoever believes, once elected, politicians will ever change their ways and do the right thing with our money should stop voting.

Once elected the difference/distinction between lying, misleading and deceiving no longer seems to matter.

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig"

Monsieur Ronald's fearless prediction: There will be another federal election before 2020 is history!

Merry Christmas.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#198 SUBLIMELY RIDICULOUS STUFF (posted Dec. 6, 2019)

As the last days of the calendar year dwindle down to a precious few, it's worth pondering the most memorable speech in the classic 1976 movie "NETWORK".

Howard Beale (actor Peter Finch) wanders onto the set of his former TV studio; soaking wet, eyes bulging, staring wild-eyed into the camera - "We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy.

We sit in the house, and all we say is...just leave us alone.

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! (voice rising) I want you to get up right now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell...

                           I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" 

A befitting sentiment to end 2019, n'est-ce-pas.

                                                          SEQUE #1 - UNITY AND HARMONY???

December 2, 2019 - Hilton Airport Hotel, Mississauga, Ontario: A hastily organized meeting of the 'Council of the Federation' is held.

What is the 'Council of the Federation'?

The Prime Minister of Quebec, Premiers and Territorial leaders.

Thank you for that tidbit.

Why were they hastily assembled?

Some had met separately with the PM and wanted to compare notes on what he promised to do for each of their respective jurisdictions. However, their "primary objective" was an attempt to reach a consensus on at least "one priority message" to convey to the new minority government.

That sounds like a good idea. It certainly might convey a sign of renewed collaboration, between them and the 'Federales', especially if the message was something like this: "We provincial and territorial leaders vow to resolve interprovincial trade barriers which will reduce taxes and improve the overall efficiency of the Canadian economy".

Oh, wouldn't that be a marvellous turn of events...unity, harmony, collaboration...a love-fest at last.

The leaders had dinner (on the taxpayer's dime) the night before the formal meeting.

As dessert and liqueur was served, the mood was mellow. The Premier of Manitoba tapped his glass to get their attention. "I would like to suggest the Council adopt a song, an anthem, that could be sung at the beginning of future council meetings".

"Do you have one in mind", asked the Premier of Newfoundland. "I do indeed"; "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when we're all perfect in every way". The Premier of Alberta shouted "it's perfect, that would drive Justin crazy".

The Prime Minister of Quebec interjected "I cannot accept any song that includes the word 'LORD', j'amais, messieurs! However, if we can agree to that and sing it in French as well, then it's OK with moi!"

Following the formal meeting, the media assembled and Chairman Moe (on behalf of "the Gang that can't shoot straight") announced, "The Council of the Federation has reached a consensus. We insist the Government of Canada give us more money and butt out!"

                                                        SEQUE #2 - SAME OLD, SAME OLD

Monsieur Ronald, are you losing all hope our leaders will ever do the right thing?

Yep.

Care to elucidate?

Sure, here's a few examples why...

Have you noticed the (BIGGER) Federal Cabinet includes a brand new ministry?

It does?

Yes indeed...and just what those in power believe is what overtaxed citizens of the Great White North need...a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.

Pardon?

Who voted for that?

Nobody!

Who knew Canada's middle class is prosperous?

Apparently, the PM and the person tasked with overseeing the new ministry, The Honourable Mona Fortier.

Monsieur Ronald, is it possible "we" voters elect these people to inspire us, dazzle us with brilliant concepts and ideas that, at times, may be beyond the comprehension of mere middle class peons?

Nope.

It's actually because of this kind of nonsense, committed by those who govern us, that "we" middle class peons become lifetime debt-slaves for the stupid decisions they make.

Ronald, what does a Minister of Middle Class Prosperity actually do and what will this ministry cost us?

Glad you asked. I Googled the Federal Government website, clicked on "mandate letters" and guess what I found?

The new mandate letters are "forthcoming".

Holy merde. A new ministry was created without a mandate or budget?

Oui.

Why?

None of the 'Federales' seem to know why.

That's crazy, isn't it?

A new ministry without a mandate or identifiable cost is not only crazy, it's absurd, ludicrous, foolish, nonsensical, daffy, irrational, wacky, stupid, loony, preposterous, dippy and nuts!

                                               SEGUE #3 - DID "THEY" GET THE VOTERS' MESSAGE? UMM...NO!

December 5, 2019 - House of Commons, Ottawa: Our GG, Her Excellency The Right Honourable, Julie Payette, engineer, businessperson, pilot, astronaut, scientist, speaks six languages, plays piano and has sung with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and others, delivered the Throne Speech, opening a new session of Parliament.

Madame Payette is known for strongly held opinions and a propensity for publicly voicing them...a big no-no for anyone holding the GG position. She is likely more comfortable riding the pointy-end of a rocket than holding her tongue.

Having to read a speech full of government-speak bon-bon's, without being allowed to have any input, must tax her frustration level to the max.

Some might even suggest, given her incredible accomplishments, she's in the wrong job.

If Julie was PM, she likely would not stand for tax dollars supporting another nonsensical government waste.

Did you know the cost of "The Red Chamber" - "The Mad Hatters House" - "The politically appointed pork-barrel Camembert and crackers crowd" - "The Club whose members don't know where their principal residence is located"...has increased 33.4%, in the past five years?

Sacre Bleu, merde, poo-poo, that's insane!

Oui c'est fou!

It's especially galling when it's impossible to find an elected politician, prepared to explain to beleaguered taxpayers (with a straight face), what the actual benefit, value for money or whatever measure they might trot out, to try and convince taxpayers they should pay for the lifestyle this bunch of cronies enjoy.

Are you MAD AS HELL yet? If not and that doesn't stick in your craw, you should be.

Ron Devion, No Guts, No Glory 

#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