August 26th 2002
Some bright spark went out into a cornfield outside Ottawa and flattened a few rows into geometric circles a while back. This allowed the press and various paranormal believers to have their say in the local news for a day or two.
Of course this had nothing whatsoever to do with a film that launched the week afterwards and is currently still on circuit. Oh No! That would be too much of a coincidence. Wouldn't it!
Anyway lets leave the marketing types to their little games and talk about some corn field manipulation that is far better when it comes to visual presentation and much cleverer in its presentation.
Slightly north of London Ontario there is a farmer who has set up a maze on part of his land which depicts a map of the entire world.
OK this would be enough of a site at the best of times but not content with merely letting air travelers see this masterpiece he has also made a maze inside the continents so that people who travel out there can get lost in the land of their choice.
I noticed from the aerial picture that one of the mazes paths ends in what is probably meant to be Johannesburg. Pretty apt I thought.
So what type of person decides to do something that, lets face it, is very time consuming and only able to be seen for a short period of time?
This is the brainchild of Ernest and Nelly Hofer who own the farm just outside Newton and sort of north-west from Cambridge. About two or so hour's drive from Toronto I would imagine.
The sculpture, and I really believe that it should be called that, covers a 14-hectare field on their farm.
The map itself is composed of corn for the continents and barley and oats for the oceans. The corn stalks get to a height of two metres which no doubt is why the Hofers decided that they needed to carve a maize into the continents as well.
That and the fact that you need an airplane to get the full sightseeing effect I guess.
Which is probably a good time to mention that the Hofers fly. No doubt around and around their own little farm. Again and again.
This is probably the main reason for doing something like this as well. After all if you are able to fly then carving messages into the fields you own would seem quite appropriate. In fact we are informed that the whole effect is best seen at an altitude of about a kilometer. Still you can imagine the outlines while you walk.
And certain individuals would be able to at least see out across the land.
“From sea to sea”!
The Canadian Motto being quite appropriate I guess for all those basketball player types well over two metres tall. Maybe the Hofers could hire them as spotters for all the children running around the maze making their own paths through the mielies. And dammit, I am going to call it a mielie field and refer to them as mielies from now on!
Anyway apparently the Hofers are from Switzerland and on a return trip to Switzerland came across a walking maze that they decided would be a good inspiration for one back home.
Except that they wanted to have a message!
Ah yes! How quickly we become Canadians. The whole idea of having a maze with a message seems so completely Canadian doesn't it!
Well yes. Except that the Hofers haven't really gone too overboard in that regard. Must be the Swiss background. Neutrality and all that!
So last year their cornfield was a representation of the Ontario Coat of Arms. The message was ONTARIO. Yes well!
Anyway ambition being very strong here this year it was the world they wanted. Which is an interesting leap isn't it? One year Ontario. The next the world! No in-between here.
Planning for this began in December and come spring the planting of the seeds was done with the help of a GPS (global positioning system for you non nautical types!)and a bucket of paint. The paint being to mark out the positions of the continents actually.
The maze is made when the mielies are still small plants. The maze is marked out and cut out at that stage.
So if you have this urge to walk around the world in a day then head out to the Hofers farm and go and see the work of art they have for you.
Cost by the way is $6 for children and $7 for adults (much older children!) or you can get a family pass for $24.50
But you had better hurry because the whole shebang is harvested in October!
By which time the Hofers hope to have had more than the 6000 odd people who saw last year's effort.
And no doubt have rescued half a dozen little Johnnies lost out in the maze somewhere in Africa!
August 19th 2002
What do you do if you are a founding member of the Ethics in Business Committee, a rising star in politics and the poster girl for all the feminist wannabees floating around Toronto because you have reached the top of, and head a, massive public corporation?
You get yourself fired for ripping off the system in a manner that defies belief.
Then you get hold of the media, a lawyer and start an exercise in spin doctoring that has the ordinary taxpayer shaking their heads as they try to work out how their taxes were used to set up this person for what seems like a life of luxury. Even after the firing I might add!
Right now if I was a Capitalist I would be hanging my head in shame. All those greedy little piggies not only snuffling at the money trough but also gorging themselves sick in a display of corporate greed that defies belief.
In case you are wondering, it isn't only the Americans who have managed to show the really dark side of the Capitalist economy.
The Canadians aren't far behind when it comes to ripping off the masses either!
In fact Corel and Nortel are prime examples of Canadian CEO'S making obscene amounts of money while they bled the organization and investors dry! All the while blaming others for their incompetence. Then bailing out with millions shortly before their inability forced massive problems within their looted bailiwick!
Anyone remember the “Peter Principle”? Seems it is alive, well and currently inhabiting many of the local boardrooms in and around Bay Street!
So what was this earth-shattering event that led to so many people becoming very angry, very quickly, over the last week or two?
The Progressive Conservative Government of Ontario (don't you just love that oxymoron still?!) was intent on privatizing large portions of the utilities that the local taxpayer has had the odd hand in helping to set up. I'm still trying to work out why it is that Governments, local, regional or national seem to feel that it is their God given right to do what they like with my money but hey at least the have a modicum of accountability here.
Anyway of them was a public utility named Hydro One, which basically controlled the electricity that the people of Toronto were getting.
Of course this didn't sit well with the left wing types who would far rather be able to control all the trough themselves and so some questions began to asked about the whole selling-off process.
A lot of this centered around the Chief Executive who it was discovered was earning a very tidy little salary thank you very much!
Very tidy indeed!
We aren't talking hundreds of thousands either. We are talking millions here! Including small little amounts like 6 Million Dollars pension. Car allowances of $140 thousand a year and use of a limousine that amounted to thousands of dollars during her tenure as Chief Piglet. Not to mention the million dollars or so a year salary. And payment to seven local “clubs” in order to “conduct business”!
Too be fair it was apparently only two clubs she was allowed to join but somehow the extras “just passed through”.
You will have noticed the car allowance as well as the limousine, being astute types. Probably you are thinking that this is eminently reasonable for a CEO to be chauffeured from meeting to meeting?
Well, actually the limousine seems to have been used for all sorts of other interesting activities rather. Not the least being taking the cat to the vet and the child's nanny shopping.
Did I forget to mention the “trophy child”?
Our dearly beloved porker in true “feminist” fashion suddenly woke up at forty or so and decided that she needed the maternal life-enhancing bit to “add” to the other trappings of her lifestyle. Unfortunately, either time had marched on or at least one of the parties involved on the marriage was infertile, which meant that in her haste to present the “whole package” the next best option was adoption.
Which was dutifully arranged. Two in fact.
Ag Shame eh!
Before you begin to feel sorry for the lady think about this. The limousine was supposedly part of her negotiations so that her “children's” nanny wouldn't be inconvenienced. In other words “I've got the adornments now someone else can look after them and not bother me in my far too important life”
She also seems to have borrowed a bit of the companies' money to redecorate the house. In another of those so simple oversights that these high-powered people always have, she forgot to pay back the money for quite some time. Like just before the heat was turned up a bit higher. Makes you wonder about all those headhunter ads that want financial acumen as part of the package when they call for applications!
Anyway the upshot is that she was fired.
The latest saga in this little fight is the announcement that she is currently suing everyone that she thinks was involved for millions for unfair dismissal and of course for sullying her name.
Not that her activities might have done that of course.
At last count it was about 35 million she was asking for.
I'm waiting to see what she looks like when appears at the court case. We've had the demure business suit complete with obligatory “gold cross” so far. This was there to show her as a religious person. No doubt one who failed to realise that one of the commandments is “thou shalt not steal”!
But the most telling point of the lot will be when the “children” are dragged out for the obligatory photo-op.
As a dyed in the wool cynic it will come believe me.
Still the most heartwarming part of this debacle has been the realization that woman can be just as hard heated, avaricious, greedy, self important swine as men. True equality is unfolding.
Just spare a thought for those poor children.
August 11th 2002
OK! So it is the silly season but sometimes I wonder whether heatstroke can be a collective thing.
We've been having the normal high heat and humidity that occurs every summer here in Ontario accompanied of course by the seasonal whining over the high heat and humidity and cost of electricity, normally, of course, as a result of everyone staying indoors with the air conditioning turned up to maximum to cope with the high heat and humidity!
So with this heat wave, the start of summer holidays and Popestock coming to town what is the first thing that occurs?
Well, all the local Municipal workers decide that this is the right time to go on strike. Over whether they should have “jobs for life” or not!
And..No!…I'm not making that up. Toronto is thinking of privatizing services such as refuse collection. Which may mean job losses. It shouldn't but there is the possibility that it could happen.
Now the local union very cleverly had a clause inserted when the old cities of Toronto, North York and Etobicoke amalgamated, which basically set up municipal workers in a sort of jobs for life position. Similar to the municipal workers back in South Africa I suppose. So when the collective bargaining came up this was a bone of contention.
Despite some warning Mayor Mel managed, once again, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and the next thing you know there was no more rubbish collection taking place. There was also a whole host of other municipal activities that were curtailed but the most visible in the “sense assaulting” manner was that of the garbage collection.
Within days it became very apparent that Torontonians have an uncanny ability to produce vast quantities of nasty smelly detritus.
It also became apparent that they don't like to have nasty smelly garbage on their own property, nor for that matter in the general vicinity of their neighbourhood. Some interesting illegal activities taking place. The cities surrounding Toronto suddenly finding that the refuse in their area was increased dramatically.
Oddly enough one of the aspects that struck me was how badly Canadians do the whole re-cycling thing. For a politically correct society they stink at recycling!
There was a distinct lack of awareness as to how to recycle, compost or even sort out garbage. Hopefully this strike will at least have made a lot more people aware of what to do. And how to do it!
In the meantime what exactly were the Toronto City Council debating?
Well first off, the major item of contention was whether the signboard erected at a new clothing retail store was offensive or not!
FCUK has opened a new store up on Bloor Street with the usual signage above the door and a whole host of “guerilla” advertising tactics that trade on the name. The name itself apparently stands for “French Connection UK”. Hence the shortened FCUK form. Of course it is also the brainchild of the youthful brain-dead “snigger, snigger we are so clever” idiots that currently form the so-called marketing experts but that is another story and even so doesn't merit a full council debate that forces the other crisis to be ignored! Yes we all know it trades on the swear word so common amongst Canadian youth.
Yes we all know it is an immature and puerile marketing ploy.
And yes we all know that the spotty little oink behind this piece of stupidity is probably in line for all sorts of peer awards for brilliance in “pissing off the man” but should it really take up Council time away from more pressing matters? No!
After all this is the council that contains the one councilor whose sparkling addition to debate is to ask for a raise in the speed limit on the 401 because:
“ We must respect the law. Everyone is traveling over the speed limit so we need to raise the speed limit to stop people breaking the law”!!
You can't make this stuff up people!
These types actually exist here in Toronto! Unfortunately they get far to much airtime and in some cases even become Mayor! If they don't they hover around on the council fringes making damn nuisances of themselves as they put forward pet projects and other ancillary pieces of action designed to create chaos and lengthen any political process.
This includes, I might add, the request to help 170 women residing in the Toronto Homeless shelters to go to a spa for a day! To help them overcome their sense of worthlessness or some other psychobabble claptrap!
Hello people. Am I the only one that questions the need to send homeless women to a spa?! There are millions of women here in Toronto who will never see the outside of a spa as they slave away trying to make ends meet on a daily basis and here we have the dregs of society being given a perk that is way out of proportion to its necessity! And to answer the question already coming may I point out that these are people who choose to remain on the streets out of choice, not necessity necessarily!
But this is Toronto where any minority with a cause can make a bloody lot of noise and get away with murder all for the sake of “being fair”!
Which is why the biggest cause here at the moment is the issue of legalizing “Gay” marriages. Once again a “couple with a cause” went to court, and don't they all eventually, and managed to find a Judge who was amenable who decided that it was “unconstitutional” to deny gays the right to a legal marriage. At the moment we await the Governments response to the Judges comment that they had two years in which to do something about this ruling.
In what was another piece of “lets shoot ourselves in the foot” stupidity The Star ran another survey designed to “prove” that Torontonians were solidly behind this cause.
Only by a 70 to 30 percent margin they weren't and so the spin-doctors had to go to work again. Interestingly this shows just how out of touch the politicians and assorted social re-engineering types can be sometimes. No doubt we will have to go back to the steady propaganda drip that worked so well with “multiculturalism”!
Personally I believe that this is merely a clever ruse by lawyers to open up a more profitable line of divorces later. Can you imagine the snot-and-trane involved in divvying up a gay couples worldly possessions? The time? The amount that can be charged?
And so lastly I must happily report on an article that I wrote some time ago and which has recently had a happy ending.
The Canadian Army was to receive the desert camouflage uniform at last. At a cost of $7 million enough uniforms were due to be delivered to outfit the forces last week. Unfortunately it was the day before the Canadian Forces were due to leave Afghanistan and come home but ..hey…it's the thought that counts! Right?!
This has been the second hottest July on record.
And the second stupidest!
August 4th 2002
I wonder how fervently the atheists were praying for rain on Sunday during the Popes visit?
For a while there it actually looked as if their prayers were being answered as the skies opened up during Saturday night with a fine display of thunder and lightning followed by incessant heavy rain. No doubt to the snickers of all the irreligious out there.
Interestingly enough the rain stopped and the sun came out as the Pope arrived to do the Sunday Mass and address the hundreds of thousands who came to World Youth Day. A sort of minor miracle if you will, but one that makes you wonder just how connected the Pope actually is!
In a country that, despite being nominally Christian, seems hell bent (pun intended) on deriding everything that is Christian, I was rather surprised to see that Toronto had not only put in a bid for the World Youth Day but that it had been successful and would in fact host the event!
Judging by the vitriol unleashed by the politically correct and all their leeches I wasn't the only one surprised either!
It was interesting watching the level of hate rising in the weeks and days prior to the Popes actual visit. I am still astonished at how a country that professes to be “Christian” seems to spend so much time and effort to deny, denigrate, condemn and mock anything to do with the Christian religion. All the while falling over backwards to promote every other religion. In fact I am baffled at why it is that the hatred displayed toward Christianity here doesn't get the same attention that any other religious intolerance does.
Mind you it is probably because the ones shrieking loudly about tolerance toward other religions are normally those being most intolerant of the Christians.
I raised my eyebrows at the attempt to create a situation that was fomented in the pages of The Star where it was mentioned that a Hindu spokesman had complained that calling it “World Youth Day” was an insult to the other religions and the “multicultural” spirit of Toronto. Aside from the loony left not much other attention was paid to this asinine fool who has obviously been suckling on the bitter teat of multicultural tolerance for a little too long.
Obviously going all out to promote the left wing agenda The Star ran some poll asking readers whether it was good to have World Youth Day etc. A resounding 75 % said yes thereby leaving quite a bit of egg on the collective editors faces. Which meant that they had to go back to moaning about the effect on the traffic, the poor people at abortion clinics feeling “threatened” and of course that convenient standby… the Priest who meddles with boys.
Amazingly they even managed to drag up an “atheist” priest!
This shouldn't really be that surprising actually because the unbelieving political priest seems to have been a stock item in most of the Anglican churches for some time! Why should the Catholics feel left out of the shenanigans?
An interesting sideline of this whole event was that the “shaky lady” made an appearance again, ripping off Pilgrims with her little act. Only this time she wasn't as lucky as before. The press was tipped off to her little act again and the whole charade was splashed across the news. Including her attacking two news photographers. Amazing turn of speed for a supposed wasted old lady!
In fact this was her undoing later in the week when she attacked a woman who pointed out to a visitor that the $50 he was about to give to her was in fact being scammed. The generous benefactor then decided that he wouldn't give her the $50. At which stage the “shaky lady” attacked the other woman with her cane.
Bad move. This is Canada after all and in fairly short order she was charged with assault, had her cane confiscated and was banned from the downtown core. The court case is now coming up.
Despite all the attempts to downplay and denigrate World Youth Day it became apparent after a while that there was a subtle change in the attitude toward reporting the event.
In the last week before Youth Day and while hundreds of young Pilgrims descended on Toronto the stories that took over a fair percentage of the papers were actually “good”. Stories that reflected the average person, their beliefs and the faith that they had in coming to Toronto to be part of the proceedings.
The Star even gushed when the Pope landed and went about Ontario blessing various people and generally acting as a pop star. Much to the disgust of the left wing loonies who vented their spleen in the Letters page the next day in carefully orchestrated bile!
None of their hatred stopped the steady and happy move toward an upbeat mood that seemed to permeate Ontario for a change. Suddenly the crooks in business, the lying politicians, the nanny state's guleiters, all were relegated to also-rans in the news focus.
It was actually quite invigorating to see the hundreds of thousands of people celebrating and, for once, enjoying the freedom to show their faith.
Bear in mind that the vast majority of these pilgrims were youngsters, it is even more interesting to think that there is after all a broad groundswell of youth who are not the smart-arse scum depicted in television. Or the foul-mouthed bums that prop up the local malls walls.
It was estimated that close to a million people attended the Popes Sunday Mass. Rain and all! And bear in mind that many of them slept out in the Downsview fields all night or left in the middle of the storm to get there on time and you have a good advertisement for faith for a change.
Not to mention that here at “Popestock” there appeared to be no criminal activity at all! Truly a miracle there!
Mind you there wasn't much other activity either given the uproar over free condoms that were being handed out. And for some reason or other I didn't see much “blue smoke” hovering around the area either.
It was quite a moving ceremony, which was broadcast live on television. I'm not sure how the Pope finds the energy to keep to the schedule that he does given his age and infirmity. But he did and it was perhaps this, more than anything else, that seemed to endear him to the crowds.
For a moment there we had the most pleasant few days.
Even a cynical, non-religious old fart like me was touched by the whole spirit of the World Youth Day.