October 29th 2002
So everyone thought I was joking when I said that once the smokers were dealt with the anti-smoking nazi's would find some other target to set their sights on?
Events over the last few weeks have proven just how true those thoughts have become.
Slowly, and, as with the war against the tobacco companies, insidiously, the same forces that are hell bent on saving everyone else from themselves have now set their sights on the food industry.
OK it is seemingly only the fast food industry at the moment.
This makes sense because once again the Nanny-Nazi's can use its perfidious effect upon the youth as the “real reason” they are getting involved!
But don't be fooled for a bit on that score. As more and more ripples spread it will be the food industry as a whole that is affected.
In fact I have before me a report that states that Seattle has already established an “Espresso Tax”!
Apparently the City of Seattle has levied a 1c surcharge on every cup of coffee served in the city. This “espresso tax” is supposed to go toward education of the children of the city “after an administration deduction”!!
You will note the interesting use of “children's education” to justify what is really a tax grab on the part of the authorities. You will also note the cleverly worded justification for probably stealing a large portion of the monies collected. Administration fees indeed! No doubt the majority of the monies collected will be quietly placed in the cities coffers as yet another way to fill the trough.
And the rest will help toward building a Starbucks franchise inside the local schools.
I am of course, ambivalent about this particular issue though.
For those of you still unaware, Seattle is the home of Starbucks Coffee. That chain of overpriced stores that seem to have bought up every street corner in North America.
The Tim Horton's of the USA if you will.
So forcing them to pay 1c on the “grande” price they charge is probably still leaving a 1000% profit on each cup anyway.
The problem with this whole issue is twofold. The first being that if it wasn't mid October I would seriously have believed this was an April Fools joke. The second being that without doubt some fool in the Canadian Government is going try to do the same to the local coffee outlets.
Although given the average Canadians love affair with their local drive through that may be the quickest way to get kicked out of office!
No. Maybe going after the fast food industry will be safer.
After all everyone has been told repeatedly that North Americans are too fat for their own comfort.
There's an “epidemic of obesity” afflicting the land.
“America's long romance with fast food, soda and junk food has morphed into an abusive relationship” as Newsweek put it in an article entitled “Fighting Big Fat”
In other words this is all being put forward as a medical issue and a psychological one at that.
The poor souls out in North America have been “abused” by Big Business and of course as everyone knows once that happens you have a victim. And once you have a victim you have a lawyer and about a million self-help groups whose main aim is to help themselves. Mostly to the money invested in the guilt industry.
If you think I am being overly melodramatic here consider the following statement:
“Fat kids are to the junk-food industry what second hand smoke was in the war against tobacco. Everyone can agree on personal responsibility until they realise there are passive victims here”!
Ah yes! Responsibility!
Of course that would be the answer if it wasn't so cleverly removed by bringing in the children early on. How quickly the lawyers and activists learned from their war on tobacco.
Of course, children are “passive victims” as they were with second hand smoke. And once again it isn't the parent's responsibility either. It is the nameless people who control the food industry and the advertising industry or, as the lawyers currently learning how to litigate against the food industry have taken to referring to them, “ Big Food”!
It was Big Tobacco. Now it's Big Food!
Which is an interesting corollary
There is a closed door strategy session this fall for over 100 lawyers “interested” in learning how to process claims against “ Big Food”.
Sharks circling as the scent of blood becomes apparent.
This is probably as a result of that stupidly frivolous lawsuit bought about by the New York guy who is suing a couple of fast food chains for millions because” I had no idea it (fast food) could be damaging to my health”
Like the smokers who didn't know that smoking was bad for them.
I seriously doubt that there is anyone out there who honestly thinks that the crap that fast food outlets dish up is “good for you”! It might be tasty, and filling, and cheap and easy to obtain but “healthy”? No way!
I also doubt that “Little Johnnie” is a passive victim here either by the way.
Broccoli, carrots or a Big Mac? Of course “Little Johnnie” was only seduced by Big Foods advertising when he chose the processed cardboard!
Everyone knows that children are only interested in fruit and vegetables and good healthy eating. The poor misunderstood Darlings.
And so with the “interests of the children” in mind the activists are girding their loins again.
Currently being bandied about are proposed bans on junk food advertising to children, tax changes on “junk or fast” food and “warning labels” on some foods! To smokers this will all sound depressingly familiar. How long before overweight people will be told that they are a drain on the health system and must pay more? Or hypocritical Doctors refuse to treat them? Or they are told that the smell of greasy fried foods is lingering on their clothes. Will they set aside rooms for fast food eaters? Will it be banned from offices? Will junk food consumers be forced to eat outside?
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of all this is what will the alternative be? With smoking it was “give up”. Unfortunately you can't stop eating. And fast food is actually cheaper, more efficient to prepare and easier to obtain than healthy food now!
Which is probably why there is an epidemic of obesity.
It is going to be an interesting few years.
Perhaps I should set up a french-fries smuggling operation now, in preparation?
October 15th 2002
On Monday the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Dishonourable Jean Cretin had the Governor General read out his intended bloodsucking legacy to the Canadian electorate.
On Tuesday, and no doubt to his intense chagrin, all the supposed benefits of his attempt to soak the public were eclipsed spectacularly by an event triggered by the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
As a public broadcaster heads will no doubt roll later when Chretien exacts his revenge but obviously the uncivil servants pretending to manage CBC weren't expecting such an uproar as well.
After all like true uncivil servants they have come to expect a level of acceptance amongst the public that generally allows them to carry on with their way of life unhindered.
As for answering to the taxpayer, who are after all their actual owners and bosses, well don't make me laugh!
Currently celebrating their Fifty Year Anniversary, CBC is engaged in a backslapping orgy of money spending frivolity.
Lots of money spending.
Which is rather amusing when you look at what sparked off the public revolt.
It wasn't the CBC spending money but NOT spending money that had the average Canadian up in arms!
On Tuesday it was reported that Ron McLean was leaving CBC after a pay dispute with the hierarchy.
Yes well you may ask that.
McLean is a hockey commentator on Hockey Night in Canada. His main claim to fame being that he has played the straight man to Don Cherry on the Coaches Corner segment of the program.
As an aside here, they say that you can truly lay claim to being Canadian if you can whistle, or hum, the tune to Hockey Night in Canada! Yes. Well.
Anyway, Don Cherry is the most arrogant, self opinionated, pompous ass I have seen for a long time. I suppose that someone needs to play straight man to him if only to prove that some form of intelligent life actually exists among the Hockey crowd.
Apparently Cherry is paid $700,000 for his weekly drivel.
Which is a hell of a lot for someone who in reality seems to be quite good only at coaching teams to defeat! If the Mississauga Ice Dogs are any example that is!
Yes! He is a character. I admit that.
Part of the reason people watch them is because of his outspoken ranting. At everything! Cherry even managing to get the PC crowd up in arms over his comments about foreign players!
Which given that the left wing loonies wouldn't be seen dead watching ice hockey means that someone must have told them about it. Probably the powers that be at the CBC, which is riven with politically correct, left wing, bleeding heart, tree huggers.
So it seems odd that CBC would renew Cherry's contract for that amount and then ignore McLean's attempt to get an increase from $470,000 to $550,000.
Let's leave aside the obscene amounts that these two get to basically work one or two nights a week. That's another rant entirely.
Focus instead on the type of power that says a ranting, racist, ignoramous gets paid twice as much as the person who provides a modicum of respect to the show.
On the arrogance that says it is all right to spend taxpayers money on self-promotion that will probably only be seen by the people it promotes.
On the stupidity that ignores public opinion and dismisses an icon serving the Canadian public for over seventeen years.
The powers that be turned down McLean's bid and effectively let him go.
This all took place on Monday.
On Tuesday Canada rose up in anger and, as one, proceeded to vent their spleen on the CBC.
OK. It probably wasn't every Canadian. It merely felt like it. Every newscast led off with this as their first story. The newspapers had this as the headline. Call shows were inundated with angry listeners.
Even the damn leader page Editorial Opinion in the Toronto Star had a comment.
I mean come on here people. When the left wing broadsheet is making a comment about ice hockey we are talking serious angst amongst the Canadian psyche!
It replaced any piece of serious news for almost three days. Until the powers that be at CBC were forced back to the negotiating table and another round of talks were undertaken.
By McLean's agent I note! Very self important Hollywood that is!
On Thursday night everyone was smiles and the press releases were issued. We are still not sure what McLean was offered, or settled for, as suddenly everyone got very coy! But we do know that he is back on the show and Canada as a country heaved a collective sigh.
The greatest tragedy this country has seen for years was averted.
Peace reigned and the Canadian public could go back to ignoring the other crowd of uncivil servants in Ottawa who were trying to throw away their money with even more abandon than CBC.
So now we know something about the average Canadian.
You can basically screw them sideways silly but don't ever mess with their ability to watch Ice Hockey!
God forbid that Joe Canadian should miss his mayhem on ice!
Which explains just about everything in this country except how Don Cherry gets his neck into those high collars he wears!
That more than anything else is a supreme mystery still!
October 8th 2002
The rest of Canada hates Toronto.
In most cases with a passion born out of jealousy because of the riches and bargaining power that Toronto possesses.
After all without the Liberal vote from the GTA area the bunch of stiffs in Parliament currently screwing up the Canadian economy, reputation and culture would have been relegated to the garbage pile where they belong many years ago.
Torontonians love to refer to themselves as “The Centre of the Universe”. However many living in 905 country outwards will change “centre” to “A#$%hole” in private and in keeping with our PC times merely mutter “Hogtown” in public!
If it weren't for the fact that I pass through the “Centre” every so often, I would be inclined to agree with them.
The one saving grace for those people who are unable to snuffle at Hogtowns trough with the best of them is that Toronto also seems destined to incorporate all the idiots of Canada as well.
Well those that don't sit in Parliament in Ottawa that is. And even some that do!
After all this is the city that continuously re-elects Mayor “foot in mouth” Mel. Not to mention all the left wing councilors whose main aim in life appears to be to throw away as much money on as many dubious “feel good” projects as possible!
Need money to give away free crack kits to junkies? Approach your friendly local councilor. Want to ensure that the homeless are able to panhandle fully fed and liquored up? Approach your friendly local councilor.
Which is how one of the more eyebrow raising furore's took place this week.
A few years ago Home Depot, a huge home improvement chain store, bought some land down on the Toronto shorefront. Prime real estate in fact. They applied to Toronto City for development rights and were turned down.
While waiting for the mandatory appeal, squatters moved onto the land and turned it into a tent city.
Out came the usual suspects and much noise was made about their “rights” and who was in the wrong and what the city needed to do to rectify this situation. Which was throw away more money on this dissolute lot.
In fact it is always to throw away more money.
Toronto is famous for throwing away money.
Normally at the usual suspects who act as a middleman in ensuring that the money is channeled through them. Which probably explains why there seems to be no attempt to actually help the people who are supposedly the recipients of this largess. Why solve the problem when so many people live off the proceeds?
Last week Home Depot had had enough and without warning they sent in the removal squad. In a short space of time the squatters were rounded up and removed. Only being allowed back, one by one, to collect their belongings.
Incidentally in one interesting case the belongings included a huge stash of Dagga that promptly ensured the squatters arrest!
Which was a fairly good explanation as to why Home Depot sent in the bailiffs.
This supposed “Homeless” tent city was rapidly becoming a local drug-dealing haven. A place for prostitution. A place for thieves to hang out and trade.
In short there were very few of the supposedly “poor, homeless victims of society” that the usual suspects would have everyone feel sorry for.
The few genuine homeless that were living there were very philosophical about the whole procedure. I heard quite a few of them that were interviewed on TV say the same thing:
“well, we were there illegally. It was only a matter of time!”
They understood were they stood and that they were in the wrong.
Not so the bleeding heart industry that depends on them!
All hell broke loose as the “spokespeople” for the homeless frothed at the mouth and raved about unfairness and the brutality of it all.
As far as I could see the major grievance that they had was that they weren't informed about the eviction, thus ensuring that the whole process went off smoothly and they couldn't attempt to martyr themselves for the cause!
Which didn't stop them trying I note.
Out came the placards and the demands. Mostly hoisted by people who sleep at home at night and not the homeless themselves who, having accepted their fate, moved on.
That is until they realised that the craven fools on the Toronto Council had voted to pay them to be housed! In a piece of supreme stupidity the Toronto Council decided that everyone evicted from the site would be found accommodation, have the first and last months rent paid and the rest of the rent subsidised!
Not bad for people who were actually lawbreakers!
Personally I would pass a law that allowed anyone to squat on a councilors property. I bet that would see a proper attempt to clean up this mess quickly.
Or not come to think of it.
But what a slap in the face for all the people who struggle to get by, live in poverty and DON'T break the law!
Later this week we were treated to the spectacle of the Toronto Council voting to force Councilors to spend taxpayer's money on their office!
Yes you got that right! They voted to force Councilors to spend taxpayer's money!
It seems that one Councilor had reported that he had spent $2.04 of his allocated $40,000 on office supplies.
He even used some of his own money to buy the equipment he needed to run his office during the year.
Was he applauded? Was he congratulated for being frugal?
Not a chance!
The Council got together and voted that all councilors must use up their allocated funds! He was even made out to be bad because he hadn't grunted at the trough like the rest of them!
The saddest part of this whole farce was that most local taxpayers merely shrugged and carried on without even making a token effort to get upset.
Which explains a lot about the Toronto Council and why they find it easy to spray taxpayer's money around on every stupid feel good project that crops up. On themselves as well it seems!
And why the same buffoons get back into office on a regular basis.
I suspect it goes a long way toward increasing the animosity that other Canadians feel toward Toronto as well.
With good reason!
October 1st 2002
There has been something nagging me for a while.
I like humour. I would in fact prefer to watch a comedy than any other movie or TV show that is available.
Actually I do…come to think about it.
Anyway whenever I watch the local comedy something has been lurking in the back of my mind. Annoying me.
Then the other day, while watching Marc Lottering, it struck me what was wrong with the local comedic talent.
For a country that is supposedly bilingual I have yet to hear a comedian telling a joke in a mixture of the two official languages.
Sure, I have heard jokes in English and French. Some that I even understood. But I have yet to hear a comic stand up and tell something with both official languages being used to make a point.
Like just about every joke in South Africa.
Think about it everyone. Think of all the jokes you told. Or tell! How many of them had a mish mash of both English and Afrikaans in the tale? Virtually everyone. Even when you told a joke that was “officially” in one or other of the languages, as a group we would almost always add in a word or two in the other “official” language..ne?
This revelation was so big that later that evening when I was at another meeting with a group of friends of mine, who are all Canadian, I asked them to please tell me a joke that involved both languages.
Not one could!
So I propounded my theory about the difference between our cultures and that at least sparked a lively debate, most of which seemed to be about the shock that the Canadians had at having to think about this bit of news! And the various feelings that both language groups in Canada had about each other.
Shades of the old Boer War I tell you!
Well maybe not, because, as I am still trying to say, all South Africans have the ability to do two things in both Official Languages.
That is, tell jokes and swear!
Sometimes both together!
I can remember an Afrikaans friend of mine once telling me that he only used English to swear because it was so much more emotive. Which considering that I was using Afrikaans to swear for the same reason was quite telling!
We decided that we were the luckiest people in the world for being able to express ourselves in a tweetaalig way. And then went off to create kak somewhere!
As a quick aside here I must point out that being able to sound off in Afrikaans when I am annoyed is a great stress reliever on the odd occasion. Not to mention smiling at someone and telling them they are a doos.
In this country they actually assume this is some sort of cultural greeting and smile back. Some even thank you!
Sorry about that. Bad day at work! Where was I?
Ah yes! So as a group South Africans have the ability to use many of the local dialects to import a funny story. Before I left South Africa I can remember one or two of the local comedians even using the odd Zulu or Sotho word as well.
Although maybe a joke in all eleven official languages may be pushing it a little!
So bearing all that in mind how was the Marc Lottering show? Well if you haven't heard the man yet may I suggest you go to his website and listen to one or two of the clips there?
The humour is typical South African.
So politically incorrect that it would have the Canadian Tannies frothing at the mouth if they could understand it.
Which, as we have already discovered, they wouldn't, because they can't even speak the other official Canadian language, never mind understand Englikaans delivered with a Cape Flats patois!
As someone who has spent many years in Cape Town it was a pleasure to be reminded of so many characters that seemed to populate the area.
From the indifferent “Pick and Pay” cashier to the Skollie trolling for business for the Sea Point Taxi, I was transported back to a place and time that, despite leaving behind, obviously had a deep impact on my psyche way back.
There is a joke that I remember from some years back as well, which had a punch line that went like this:
“Ag Baas jay maak my sommer so homesick!”
For the first time I understood the logic in that comment. Even in the context, which was actually fairly racist I might add!
We had two hours of non-stop entertainment that probably had many of the “Canadian born Seffrican” children in the audience baffled! But for those of us still old enough to remember what the different communities were like it was a refreshing interlude in reality.
And because we are South African after all, it was great to note that that Marc left no race, creed or colour untouched in his barbs!
So different from the politically correct, sanitized boring humour that we see on the comedy channel ad nauseum here.
In either official language I might add!
Sometimes I miss that.
Sometimes I wish that Canadians would lighten up.
At least I can thank Marc Lottering for giving me a break from reality for a while
Those of you in New Zealand and Australia might want to catch his show, which I believe is headed out that way.
I wonder whether I could become the first bilingual Canadian comic?
English and French people!