Politically Correct

By the time I post this blog, we will have gone to the polls to vote in one of the most important by-elections in Ontario in many years.  The Ontario Provincial government is controlled by the Liberal party with a slim minority.  The Premier bought our local, long-term, female Conservative representative with a five-year job as head of the Health and Safety Bureau, at half again her representative’s salary.  He had hoped to get a Liberal elected, or at least a third party NDP member, to solidify his stance.

When he did this, one of his own long-term members resigned because of stress, partly caused by the chance of an imminent, non-confidence election.  So both parties are down one vote, and the balance is still precarious.  Whoever is elected in these two ridings will determine how Ontario is run for the next decade or more.

American elections can get crazy.  This election is serious enough, but still just qualifies as silly.  Many people complain about the fact that women don’t make up half the politicians, as they do the population.  The bitchers seem to imply that men are somehow preventing women from having an equal representation.  It’s possible that most women just don’t want to lower themselves to take this thankless and befouled job.

One of the three major party leaders is female.  Two of the three major party candidates are women, including the party with the lady boss.  Generally these three parties are the only ones seriously considered.  One of the two big parties will probably win the seat, although votes lost to #3 might change the final result.  If enough votes go to the NDP party, from voters dissatisfied with the top two, we might end up with a minority government in which the NDP tail could wag either the Liberal or Conservative dog.

On Friday, Aug. 31, the local paper finally printed a page listing candidates for other than the big three.  There are seven more people who will be listed on the ballot, three of whom don’t even live in the riding, for a total of ten.  The only place I know that has that many choices, is Italy.  Of the seven, two more are female.  One is running for the Communist Party.  Americans need not worry.  This is Canada, and this is a kinder, gentler Communist Party than the one Joe McCarthy tried to root out.

Of the five men, one represents the Libertarian Party, which supports government-funded religious schools.  The guy from the Freedom Party, on the other hand, wants to stop public funding of Catholic schools, and allow private liquor sales like they have in the U. S.  One man represents the Pauper Party.  As you might guess, he is a fiscal conservative, deeply and rightly concerned with runaway spending and mounting debt.  While finance is a major concern, it is not the only one and, like the lady from the Green Party, which fixates on the environment, they’re both a one-trick pony.

We have one man running as an Independent, offering not much more than financial conservatism.  He may not believe in Area 51 and Elvis still being alive, but I get the feel of a conspiracy theorist.  The final candidate is the most colorful, in both senses.  The other nine are all various shades of white, from snow to paper.  This guy is black.  He comes from a small city the other side of Toronto, 75/80 miles away.  He represents the Peoples Party, and speaks of helping the poor, something this region still does not have like Toronto does.  He can be seen in YouTube videos, wandering the streets of Toronto, wearing long white robes, angel’s wings or a fake white beard, loudly and colorfully approaching passersby.

Ordinarily, cards are mailed to voters at least a month before the election, to tell them that they are eligible to cast a ballot, and giving the location of their voting booth.  This time, the cards arrived in the mail on a Thursday, and we vote the following Thursday.  The premier also chose a *strange* date, Sept. 6th.  Primary and secondary schools, community college and two local universities are just beginning fall term.  Parents are busy and students old enough to vote are in the middle of moving in and getting class schedules.  I believe that the premier is hoping that only die-hard Liberal voters will bother to come out, to support him.

Because this is a pivotal riding, in a pivotal election, everybody and his dog wants to know my opinion, or influence my opinion.  The phone calls are unendingly maddening.  This is Decima Poll – Harris Poll – Rogers Poll, etc, etc, etc.  If the election was held today, what party would you vote for?  Who would make the best premier?  This is the Liberal candidate.  Please vote for me.  This is the Conservative candidate; please remain on the line for a telephone, town-hall meeting, where you can ask a real live candidate, real live questions.  This is the female leader of the NDP Party.  Who the F**k cares?  You’re not running in this riding.  My wife’s having a heart attack!  I need to call 911!  Get to Hell off my telephone line!

*Okay, we did our civic duty and went out and voted today.  The beige-skinned elections *greeter* stopped us before we even got to the school gym where we voted, and demanded to see our registration cards.  He examined the two, separated them and handed one back to each of us.  He told us that we voted at table 231, “See it right there?”  No! We’re old folks, and we’re still out in the hall.  Let us step inside.

The male returning officer made a small fuss that I had the wife’s card and she had mine, so we told him it was his buddy in the hall that got them mixed up.  He had to tell the young female Negro assistant that she should look for us on the list under S.  Still learning the alphabet I guess.

They elected another Liberal to replace the one who retired in the other riding.  Our riding, which has been staunchly Conservative for years, rejected both of the leading parties, and elected a socialist NDP.  The government still rules with a minority, but the Conservative party has less authority, and has been told that their confidence and support needs work.  This is going to get interesting.

Have A Drink On Me

Careful now!  Don’t trample anybody!  All I’m going to talk about is tea.  All you Americans can kneel facing Starbucks now.

Tea is actually enjoying a resurgence now, even in the United States.  Because of movies and TV, the ubiquitous coffee has been adopted by many Canadians.  Specialized teas, like special wines, mean that more and more folks are trying it, and staying with it.

The wife and I watch a lot of transplanted British TV, including some English police shows.  One takes place in Cambridge, and the police Inspector gets tea wherever he goes.  I could understand a female ex-policewoman, now living in a dock warehouse where she repairs boats, brewing him up a *cuppa*, for old times’ sake, but a society doyenne, living in a mansion big enough to need four servants, personally making and serving a pot, with biscuits, stretches credulity.  The catering services must be kept busy.  You can see steam rising from the cups and mugs.  That’s real live tea, take after take.

How people make and take their tea varies widely from person to person.  The British blogger, from whom I took the inspiration for this post, insists that his milk and sugar be added to the cup after the tea is poured.  The strength of brew/length of brew-time is also quite different across the tea-sipping spectrum.  An office manager I worked with claimed he drank tea, but used to go to the vending machine and pour himself a Styrofoam cup of 180 degree F. water, and dip a tea-bag in it twice – maybe three times, if he was feeling adventurous.  Weak tea??!  Dear Lord, the bag’s not even wet.  You need boiling water to make tea!

I shared an office with a Russian, who introduced me to Russian-style tea.  He had a tall cup which was like a glass, with a handle.  He also had a stainless-steel drinking straw with a sieved bulb on the end.  He poured loose tea-leaves into the glass, added boiling water, stirred with the straw, and then sipped his tea through it.  If he wanted a second glassful, he’d add a pinch of new tea-leaves and another cupful of boiling water.  When you sip tea from a cup, you take the coolest portion off the top, and mix it with air, to further cool it, as you take it into your mouth.  I know from experience that drinking hot liquids through a straw concentrates the heat and can easily burn your tongue.

Since the wife is allergic to milk products, she whitens her occasional coffee with non-dairy powder, or flavored liquids.  As Tim Horton’s continues to achieve the strangle-hold of being the Catholic Church of Canadian coffee-shops, one of the most common orders is for a double-double, a double shot of creamer and a double shot of sugar in the take-out coffee.  When we picked up a new container of Coffee-Mate powdered creamer the other day, we saw that they had come out with a new Double-Double blend.  No more fumbling for two dispensers.  This one does the double job in a single try.

My mother was Scottish, and believed in good strong tea.  When she began to make supper, the first thing she did was boiled water to make tea.  Then she’d start peeling the potatoes.  By the time the meal was served, you could almost tap-dance across the top of your tea, and you were well wise to stir in lots of milk and sugar, and then remove the spoon.  I’m sure there were days I could make one stand up in the cup.  If you didn’t take it out, you risked getting only the handle back, the rest being dissolved by the tannic acid.

I grew up used to strong tea, and was allowed to drink it from an early age.  In high-school I acquired a girlfriend whose family lived in an old brick farm-house, which had an add-on frame kitchen out back.  In the kitchen was a wood- or coal-burning stove.  Dad had to be to work at the factory by seven AM, so he was up by five-thirty.  He’d get the stove burning hot, to warm the kitchen in the winter.  They owned a 12-cup coffee percolator, but no-one in the house drank coffee.  They pulled the guts out of it and used it to make tea.

Dad would put a couple of tablespoons of loose tea-leaves in cold water, and put it on the stove to boil.  He’d pour himself a cup or two with breakfast, fill his thermos for break, and set the pot at the back of the stove and leave for work.  Mom would get the kids up after he left, add a bit of fuel to the stove, another tablespoon of loose leaves to the pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil again.  Mom and the older kids would have tea with breakfast, and then off to school.

Mom might have a cup or two during the morning and then, just before lunch, she’d add more fuel, more loose tea, and more water, and boil again.  Dad and the kids came home for lunch and the pot nearly went empty.  Add more leaves and water.  Dad took another thermos for afternoon break, and Mom had a mid-afternoon cup.  Are you starting to get the sequence here?  Suppertime, more tea, more leaves, more water….and leave it to warm on the back of the stove.

The girlfriend and I would go skating or tobogganing.  Even just a cold walk home after a movie and Mom would insist that I come in and have a hot cup of tea to warm me before I headed home.  This was before Chernobyl, but I’m pretty sure this stuff glowed in the dark.  Then they’d rinse out the pot and start all over again the next day.  Tea and biscuits, anyone?

I Apologise

I recently apologised to a British blogger, for Justin Bieber.  Apparently the blogger was male, and older than 13.  While I was at it, I also apologised for four older female Canadian singers.  It’s a bit late for retroactive apologies, because they’ve all come, and almost gone, but they’re still being played on the radio, and they still irritate me.

It’s not that they’re poor singers or performers.  They’re all adequate to good; it’s more the Kardashian famous-for-being-famous, off-stage persona that bites my ass.  They all seem to believe that they are as special as they think their fans feel they are.

Celine Dion

Empress Celine and pedophile regent Rene….it’s mostly Rene’s fault.  He was sniffing around the poor little Québécois trailer-trash since she was 12 and he was 38.  He didn’t marry her until it was legal, but, don’t worry, nothing sexual happened until then.  She had some talent, and he kept telling her how special she was, till she believed it.  Police officers refer to this as *grooming*.  One of 14 dirt-poor children, she’d have done anything to escape the family farm.

He was accused by a hotel maid of rape.  The wife said, “Oh he wouldn’t do that!  He just got married.” as if that somehow cancelled his overactive feeling of sexual entitlement.

I got a chance to see the photos of the wedding when Celine and Rene finally got married, and my eyes still itch. Czarina Catherine of Russia didn’t have as flamboyant a ceremony as that.  We could have bailed Greece out of debt with the amount of money that was wasted on that ego-trip.  Her sense of inadequacy must be huge, and Rene, the enabler, just keeps playing to it, as long as he gets his cut.

Avril Lavigne

Actually, Avril is the least objectionable of the bunch, and has come the farthest toward becoming a decent performer.  She started out with that fedora (?) and a guy’s tie, making more people than just me think she might be just a bit lesbian.  Her handlers have got rid of the protester props, and taught her how to dress.  They’ve got her hair cut in a more mature style as she ages, and they’ve got her a *boyfriend* to hold up to the general public, so I’m sure she’s hetero.

Several publications referred to her early persona as a Punk, and she became quite incensed, claiming she wasn’t Punk.  If she dresses like a Punk, talks like a Punk and acts like a Punk, then she’s probably just another petulant French-Canadian bitch, even if she does have a song titled Punk Princess.  Her later songs have a bit more mature meat to them, but some of the early ones….Aye-Yi-Yi!  Sk8ter Boi?  Is that some kind of French-Canadian *woody* joke?

A female entertainment columnist described the song Complicated as just about dorky boys being dorky, but when you look at the lyrics, it’s more about a cultural naïf not realizing that there are different ways to dress and act for different people and social situations.  And that, I’m With You, song??  Standing in the dark, waiting in the rain, I don’t know who you are, but I’m with you??!  Doesn’t sound like good life-choices to me.  More like an underage bar pickup nobody wants a witness to.  Are we back to the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name?  Nah, she’s got a boyfriend!

Alanis Morissette

Little Miss, Isn’t I Moronic, brought us perhaps the only song written about irony, and the ironic thing was that she didn’t know what irony was.  After her handlers gently explained the difference between irony and a song full of gripes, she held a press conference to explain that the entire song shouldn’t be regarded as Ironic.  Rain on her wedding day, a black fly in her coffee?  Bitch, bitch, bitch!  Ten thousand spoons, and all she needs is a knife.  Next time plan better, and have one when you need it, or get off your lazy ass and go get one.

Meeting the man of her dreams and then meeting his lovely wife??!  Irony is having the opposite of what was intended, happen.  Fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t even give this guy a mercy fuck.  Some other woman took him under her wing, spent time and energy, and civilized him, teaching him how to dress, and not pick his nose in public, and now you want him and can’t have him.  Isn’t that ironic?

Her singing isn’t bad until she gets towards the end of most of her songs.  Then she goes into this high-pitched ululating, ayee, ayee, ayee!  I looked at my dog one day, and he had his paws over his ears.

Shania Twain

I’ve saved the best for last, Shania the liar.

I don’t like Country music, even the Country-Lite that she serves up.  That said, she sings well, has a good presentation, and mostly good songs.  All except for that, That Don’t Impress Me Much, fiasco.  Brad Pitt and rocket scientists don’t impress her?  What does?  Bad boy plow jockeys?  Not a lot of farmers or cowboys come out of Timmins.  I guess it’s tough to write about hard-rock miners.

Getting past her act, the thing I hate about Shania is that, every word that falls out of her mouth is a lie.  Start with her name, Shania Twain.  She was born Eileen Edwards.  She says she’s from Timmins, Ontario.  Yeah, well, that may be where she was when she hit it big, but she lived in Windsor until she was six.  That’s where she’s from.  I can understand dumping the Eileen Edwards name for show business; lots of people do the same.  She claims she adopted Shania to celebrate her native heritage.  Sweetie, see above.  You’re a white girl from Windsor.

She presented this tight-as-Daisy Dukes shorts and low neckline act, and then called a media conference to tell everybody that she had no sex-drive, she put all her energy into her songs.  Two months later, she held another, to announce that she was pregnant.  Well, somebody had a sex-drive.  She popped the boy-child out, and named him Eja.  It looks like it should be pronounced Ee-Jay, but she insists that it’s *Asia*.  She claims that she’s just an ordinary Canadian housewife, and then grabs her strangely-named kid, and takes two years off in a French castle.  Yeah!  Lots of ordinary Canadian housewives do that.