Monday, 14 February 2011
I might as well be among the first to offer an extended middle finger to none other than Gordon Sumner, better known to White Rastas everywhere as the venerable music icon, Sting.
Gordo and his wife of some 30 years, Trudy Styler are featured in last month’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar in a series of provocative photographs accompanying an article in which the two discuss their apparently still passionate love life.
Don’t get me wrong; any musician in this day and age who can remain faithfully married to one woman deserves some considerable credit. However, I just can’t help thinking that I can’t be the only person who is simply not interested in the slightest about how horny a sixty year old celebrity might be.
This isn’t even the first time Sting-a-ling-a-ding-dong has made his sex life something he considers worthy of sharing, as evidenced by his previous boasting a few years back about the hours long Tantric sex he and his wife routinely engage in, apparently with all the necessary apparatus and pretentious symbolism of a Cirque du Soleil performance.
I’m no spring chicken myself, but at least I have the common decency to recognize that my sex life (such as it is) has about as much appeal to the average person under 75 of a medically induced coma, and I don’t entertain even the most cursory expectation that any particular magazine, apart from ‘Middle Aged Masturbator Weekly,’ would give a shit.
Yet here is Sting and Trudy pawing one another in the photos and gleefully recounting what they do to keep one another from growing bored with their aged and shriveling genitalia; I know, I can barely even type it without feeling queasy.
Whatever happened to the old ‘less is more’ screed, especially as it relates to sex among seniors? I know it happens, but do I REALLY need to have it detailed in an article that attempts to make age spots seem sexy? Is this what ‘The Dream of the Blue Turtles’ was really getting at?
The real fear for me is that this kind of attention may entice more aging celebs to climb on board the lusty seniors band wagon in order to make their own octogenarian libidos the subject of yet more cringe worthy articles; God help us all if this inspires a photo spread of Joan Rivers and her selection of sex toys made from discarded shreds of the last vestiges of actual human skin tissue left over from her 78 plastic surgeries.
Some things are just better left unseen.
Copyright JQM 2011
Sunday, 13 February 2011
It has come to my attention that fans of xanga may well be younger than many pairs of my socks, and might therefore not even be aware that before the advent of cellphones and tablet devices, many of us were forced to grow up in a pre-historic world that relied on television and cinema to provide us with entertainment and information that was thankfully devoid of Snooki and Lady Gaga.
With that in mind, I’ve taken it upon myself to offer these relics of a bygone age to demonstrate that prior to MTV and Twitter, some of us were content to get by without minute by minute updates on the state of Justin Bieber’s hair.
For those who have grown up in the world of Blackberries and television on demand, I present ten of the most amazing moments ever captured on film which I suspect you’ll be viewing for the first time in your lives.
Hold on to your Uggs bitches….
The Great Train Robbery 1903
The first true blockbuster of the new medium of film produced by the Thomas Edison Company, The Great Train Robbery is considered a milestone in the annals of film history because of its numerous innovations that included action sequences, stunts, close ups and the infamous final scene that shows the protagonist aiming a pistol at the audience and firing. Prior to this film, movies were little more than a series of unconnected vignettes and not actual stories with a plot, all of which changed with the appearance of the first popular Western, and entertainment has never been the same since pardners.
Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic 1927
These incredible silent images of Charles Lindbergh departing from Roosevelt Field in New York, arriving to a tumultuous welcome in Paris, and receiving a ticker tape parade on Broadway upon his return to the United States are some of the most historic ever captured on film, and help to lessen the impact of Lindy’s later embrace of Fascism and racism. His trans-Atlantic flight paved the way for intercontinental air travel and ushered in a new age of global access.
The Hidenburg Disaster 1937
The maiden trans-Atlantic voyage of the gigantic Nazi dirigible S.S. Hidenburg seemed to have been flawless until the massive airship suddenly burst into a catastrophic Hydrogen fuelled fireball before a stunned crowd that included film and radio crews assembled to cover the historic event which effectively brought an end to the age of the lighter than air passenger aircraft.
Neville Chamberlain and ‘Peace for our time’ 1938
With Nazi Germany’s advanced militarization looming as an impending juggernaut threatening the whole of Europe, Neville Chamberlain, the naïve and idealistic Prime Minister of Britain returned from the Munich Conference of 1938 with a signed declaration of peace from German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Despite Germany’s raw aggression and obvious totalitarian ambitions Chamberlain foolishly believed that the document would protect England and Europe from the bloody ravages of chaos only recently experienced in World War I. The result was that Britain was lulled into a false sense of security that allowed Hitler to complete his invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland, and thus begin World War II. Less than two years later, Chamberlain was removed from power and would die a broken man, while Winston Churchill became the new British Prime Minister, and the world was plunged into one of its darkest periods in the modern age.
Joe McCarthy shamed 1954
After months of paranoid show trials during the height of the 1950’s ‘Red Scare,’ when junior U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy used America’s fear of Communist infiltration to further his career by destroying the lives of countless individuals, lawyer Joseph Welch had finally had enough and called McCarthy on his blatant disregard for morality and put an end to one of the lowest chapters of American history. Would that such a man were present to tell George W. Bush to go to Hell before the ill fated disasters that putz would unleash.
Martin Luther King Junior, ‘I have a dream’ 1963
The seminal speech of the Civil Rights movement delivered by the man who became the symbol of strength and dignity in the face of institutional prejudice and bigotry, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a people longing for hope in the face of oppression and conquered the status quo with the power of his eloquence and the truth of his convictions. For those who have no such heroes today, this is what it is to be a giant among men.
JFK Assassination 1963
The famous Abraham Zapruder home movie of U.S. President John Kennedy’s last moments on Earth, this high resolution close up of the two fatal shots that killed him are among the most stunning images ever captured on film, and set in motion the mother of all conspiracy theories.
The impact of the first presidential assassination ever filmed cannot be understated, especially to those for whom Kennedy’s youth and vitality seemed to be a harbinger for a new age. Watching this man’s head explode is just messed up.
Lee Harvey Oswald shot by Jack Ruby 1963
Not to be outdone, the accused killer of JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, is gunned down on live television by Jack Ruby a topless bar owner in Dallas, Texas just days after Kennedy’s assassination, further shocking a grieving United States already reeling from the loss of their president, and fueling the greatest conspiracy theory of them all.
Neil Armstrong steps foot on the moon 1969
Before people became jaded and blasé about space exploration, it’s difficult to describe the feeling of watching (as I did) live television pictures of a human being setting foot on another stellar body for the first time in history. These grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin implanting the American flag on the moon captivated the entire world and made a reality of the dream of space travel long before the concept of stellar exploration was sullied by corporate leeches more interested in making money than advancing science, more’s the pity.
Canada defeats the Soviet Union in the first ‘Summit Series’ 1972
For anyone over 40 who witnessed this incredible coming of age moment for a nation longing to emerge from the shadow of the United States, Paul Henderson’s goal to win the first ever intercontinental hockey series against Communist Russia will forever remain the single proudest and most enduring memory of what it is to be Canadian.
Now lay your lists on me people; but for God's sake, no Kardashians, I beg you.
Copyright JQM 2011
Monday, 25 October 2010
Revelations that the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been receiving large sums of money from Iran has once again turned the spotlight on the reliability of his leadership at a time of growing concern for the United States and the Obama administration as to the durability of their partnership.
As the US mission in the beleaguered nation prepares to enter its tenth year, pressure continues to mount from Congress and the American people regarding the viability of a military operation whose rationale has fluctuated between retaliation for the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the increasingly destabilizing environment of the nuclear state of Pakistan.
What has never been openly discussed about ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan, is the massive amounts of profit to be had from an expansive pipeline designed to transport the vast reserves of Central Asian oil and natural gas through the war torn country.
Indeed, the TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) pipeline has long been a dream of foreign petroleum conglomerates from a host of nations, including the former Soviet Union, which has lured them to the region for decades.
With the announcement of the ‘discovery’ of Afghanistan’s supposed wealth in minerals earlier this year, it appears the stakes for these natural resources and the means to extricate them from this troubled land has only increased, though that is unlikely to deter those who have long coveted them.
All of which has made the task of dealing with Hamid Karzai that much more difficult for the Obama administration and the United States, whose reliance on this man as their ally presumes that his agenda and theirs are one and the same.
The well documented corruption in Karzai’s regime continues to demonstrate that no matter the consistent rhetoric from US and other foreign officials regarding their support of his leadership, both internal and external efforts to rid the Afghan government of this counter productive element that has crippled advancement of ISAF progress has met with little success.
The collapse of the Kabul bank earlier this summer is merely one of the latest indications that corruption is endemic.
Recent reports that the Afghan Elections Committee has declared nearly 25% of votes cast in last month’s Parliamentary elections as invalid due to fraud, further highlights the insidious immensity of the problem.
Now comes the disturbing news that after months of suspicion refuted by the Iranian government, the Afghan regime has indeed been receiving huge sums of money from Iran in a relationship Karzai has pronounced as ‘transparent.’
Many Americans must be wondering about this alleged transparency, especially as it relates to the Afghan government’s ongoing ceasefire negotiations with high level representatives of the Taliban in an attempt to end the armed conflict for control of the country.
What, for example, have US and international forces been fighting and dying for, if not to ensure that the Taliban and its extremist compatriots such as Osama bin Laden and Al Queda, could not continue to operate with impunity in Afghanistan, from which to plan and launch attacks on the West?
How can ISAF continue to place their trust in an Afghan ‘partner’ that is actively receiving funding from a regime branded a terrorist sponsoring state and which is rife with corruption? What are the implications of a Taliban inclusive government in Afghanistan whose influence on Pakistan has long been identified as a destabilizing force for both nations?
What will the likely result be when US and ISAF forces begin their withdrawal timetables in 2011?
All of these questions remain unknowns at this time, but one thing does appear clear; the government of Hamid Karzai will almost certainly be part of ongoing issues that will plague the Obama administration before U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has ended, and probably long after.
Copyright JQM 2010
Wednesday, 01 September 2010
Long time syndicated radio host 'Dr.' Laura Schlesinger recently used the racial epithet commonly known as the ‘n-word,’ no less than 11 times in a conversation with an African American woman who called into her program seeking advice on how to deal with her White husband’s friends who frequently made inappropriate racial comments in her presence. In attempting to demonstrate how the woman was ‘too sensitive,’ Schlesinger went on to use the word nigger numerous times to suggest that Black people are hypocritical when it comes to the use of the word, as elements of Black culture such as rappers and comics use it freely and without censure from society at large. The resulting negative backlash against Schlesinger prompted an apology from her the next day, but was not enough to salvage her reputation in the eyes of the public, numerous sponsors or her producers, and just two days after the contentious broadcast, she announced on Larry King Live that she was 'voluntarily' ending her radio career.
Schlesinger’s position on the use of the word echoes that of many outside the Black community who see a blatant hypocrisy among those African Americans who cite its historically negative connotations even as they find no fault with the use of the word among members of their own community.
There is certainly no evidence to suggest that the use of the n-word among African Americans is either universally sanctioned or censured; opinions vary widely in the Black community as to whether it is empowering to seize the word as their own, and thus dissipate its racially charged power, or the alternate view that the continued use of a word fraught with historical oppression merely reinforces its considerable negative ramifications.
The incident has drawn sharp rebukes against Schlesinger from the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, as well as support for her from the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, and has included in the discussion such wide ranging issues as freedom of speech, the state of race relations in America and the use of public broadcast forums to air extreme views on sensitive subject matter.
Few words in the English language have the kind of long standing and immediate evocations that can induce such powerful reactions among so many people of different cultures. It’s impossible to ignore that the n-word was among the most commonly used means of demeaning an entire race of people in the United States for well over 3 centuries, but it’s equally hard to refute that its apparent adoption by contemporary African American culture has not led to a redefining of the word or a lessening of its impact as a racial slur.
The real tragedy of this incident may be that the n-word will continue to produce racially tinged responses wherever and whenever it is used, no matter who utters it, and no amount of debate seems likely to change that.
Copyright JQM 2010
Tuesday, 02 March 2010
The final day of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics is dawning, with the nation awaiting a classic showdown of hockey supremacy in the form of the Men’s gold medal game between arch rivals Canada and the United States.
A week ago, with the medal count looking very different than it does this morning, Canada’s much trumpeted and controversial ‘Own The Podium’ campaign was enduring a litany of criticisms that it had failed to produce the Olympic hardware that it was specifically designed for.
‘Arrogance,’ many said, ‘unrealistic,’ ‘overreaching,’ ‘doomed to failure,’ were among the chants coming from both domestic and international skeptics for whom the program was a contentious and decidedly un-Canadian effort to dare secure more medals for this country at a Winter Olympics than ever before.
The Federal government created OTP as a multipurpose enterprise; to infuse our athletes with more funding, to build and upgrade training facilities, to inspire the nation to believe that we could compete and win at the highest level, and to give our Olympians the best possible chance to win more medals than ever before.
Yet, after the first week of competition, with Canada sitting 4th in the medal count, such was the backlash against Own The Podium, event CEO Roger Jackson in typically Canadian fashion, was quoted as saying the program was ‘…probably unachievable.’
Admittedly, OTP was a brash departure from how this country has traditionally approached international athletics; that is, by not funding them and then sedately applauding the modest achievements of competitors who defy the odds and take home some hardware.
Many countries took offence at the idea that a host nation would dare to create an environment for their athletes that inspired confidence and ambition, particularly those for whom the Winter Games have traditionally meant a prodigious medal haul.
The reality is that Own The Podium represented Canada’s first serious effort to offer our athletes the same level of support many other nations have long provided their competitors, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.
As of this morning, Canada has tied a Winter Olympics record for the most gold medals by a host nation with 13, and currently sit 3rd in the medal count with 25, behind Germany with 29, and the U.S. with 36.
That’s right folks; CANADA HAS WON MORE GOLD MEDALS AT THESE GAMES THAN ANY OTHER NATIION, EVEN POWERHOUSES LIKE THE UNITED STATES, GERMANY AND RUSSIA.
Clearly, we’re not going to pass the Americans in total medals won, but with the Canada-US gold medal hockey game still to be played, we can set a new Winter Games record for most gold won.
What this means is that the Own The Podium campaign has been an unmitigated success, something for which all Canadians should feel an immense pride in. Pride in our government for recognizing our athletes deserve the best funding, the best facilities and the best sense of ambition this nation can provide them with; pride in the incredible achievement of our athletes to believe that they are among the very best in the world, deserving of Olympic champion status; and pride in ourselves as a nation that can stage a world class event, despite weather conditions that were less than ideal, despite unwarranted criticisms from near and far, because Canada is a nation that has always believed in itself, no matter what the rest of the world may believe.
No one at these Games better exemplified what it means to be a Canadian better than Joannie Rochette, who fought through heart wrenching adversity and emotional anguish to earn a Bronze medal in Women’s figure skating.
Who will ever forget her determination, poise and self assurance to continue competing just days after tragically losing her mother on the eve of the event?
Can anyone truthfully say that they watched her performances without silently offering her all the love and support for which this country is renowned? Was anyone not crying with her at the end of her routines? If so, I strongly recommend you check your pulse, because Joannie gave these Games a quintessential demonstration of the fortitude, grace and beauty that this country can summon no matter how dark the hour; she not only Owned The Podium, she owned our hearts as well.
Could you ask anyone to do more than that?
Own The Podium has served notice that when it comes to sport, this country has shed its reserved and compliant nature to emerge as a proud and deserving member of the elite tier; the true North, strong and Golden.
Copyright JQM 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
After years of painstaking planning, construction, advertising and anticipation, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics finally opened on Friday February 12.
Athletes, the media and sports enthusiasts from around the world gathered at B.C. place for a nearly 3 hour spectacle that showcased the unique, multicultural element these games have vowed to represent.
Unfortunately for the city of Vancouver and its Olympic Organizing Committee, the games have been subject to a slew of criticism.
The most heart wrenching has been the attention drawn to the Whistler Olympic track following the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumartitashvili who was killed during a training run on the eve of the opening ceremonies.
The newly constructed facility is the site of the Luge, Bobsleigh and Skeleton events and had already generated suspicions regarding its safety before the horrific accident which claimed the life of Kumartitashvili, having seen the track record of 153.937 kilometers an hour broken no less than 5 times in Olympic training runs.
Following the crash the International Luge Federation and the IOC conducted a review of the track and determined that the fatality was a tragic accident, that the track would be modified but was indeed safe and that the competitions would proceed.
This despite the numerous crashes that have occurred during training runs, including 7 on Wednesday February 17 alone, leading to sharp criticism that the athlete’s safety concerns are not being properly addressed.
God knows how the IOC or the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) would respond in the unfortunate event of another serious accident.
Then there is the issue of snow, or more accurately, the lack of it, which has drawn the ire of many who suggested that Vancouver was not a suitable venue to host the Winter Games to begin with.
It’s no secret that the region is prone to mild winters and low snowfall, but to experience rainfall in the Rocky Mountains that has delayed skiing events that already looked suspect for their lack of snow, only exacerbated claims that Vancouver would be at the mercy of Mother Nature, leaving the efficacy of the games very much in doubt.
Obviously the weather is not something that can be controlled, and every contingency plan has been adopted to ensure that the athletes and their events can be given the best chance of success, but it’s been hard to shake off the slings and arrows of international jeers which televised images of mushy, green streaked mountaintops and spectators in shorts, T shirts and raingear have generated, especially when much of North America has seen record snowfall this winter.
There was also the problem of the lengthy delay in resurfacing the ice at the Richmond Olympic Oval, site of the speedskating events.
The Men’s 500m suffered an unusual delay due to problems with one of the two Olympia brand ice resurfacing vehicles used between races to keep the ice in top form. While competitors and spectators waited, coaches and athletes complained bitterly about the amateurish inability of the venue staff to maintain the ice.
Normally two machines are used to clean and resurface the ice, but initially one machine broke down, then the second. A third, smaller Olympia at the site was called into operation, but this too suffered mechanical problems, prompting an hour delay between heats, before one of the machines finally emerged to clean the ice, and had organizers scrambling to call in a Zamboni machine from Calgary for the remainder of the events..
In many European nations where speedskating is a hugely popular event, the delay suggested a noticeable lack of planning.
The sporting director of Dutch speedskating Arie Koops was quoted as saying, "When skaters are not prepared for a race you don't send them out. It should be the same with the resurfacing machine. If one machine was broken, they should have prepared the third. It was standing there in the garage. I have never seen anything like this."
Previously Dutch national team coach Wopke de Vegt had leveled his own charges that the Olympia machines were simply not reliable enough to produce the high quality ice surface necessary for Olympic and World Record times.
These may seem trivial concerns to Canadians, for whom the primary ice issues surround the Hockey and Curling events, but in the Netherlands, whose speedskating team is a powerhouse expected to win a number of medals, it’s taken very seriously indeed.
The Olympic games are rarely held without controversy of some sort, nor have they been spared from tragedy. No matter where or when the spectacle occurs, they are not immune to all the foibles and uncertainties of our times.
What is certain is that the Vancouver Games are proceeding with all the tenacity and pride that Canadians have always shown in the face of adversity, and should, with a little help from Old Man Winter, emerge as an event worthy of praise and tribute to the glory of sport.
Copyright JQM 2010
Thursday, 11 February 2010
For years now I’ve been attempting to make a living from writing; everything from advertising copy to adult themed material, and have been one meal of plain rice away from starvation the entire time.
Having wasted years of my youth in fruitless pursuits, dead end jobs and poverty line subsistence, it’s become clear that even armed with an English B.A. this planet is not in the slightest interested in acknowledging my existence in literature at even the most cursory level.
I’m sure there may be some who might consider the life of a struggling author to be the stuff of artistic apprenticeship, in the tradition of so many other literary folk heroes who died for their passion, but believe me when I tell you there’s nothing heroic about living in penury well into middle age.
I’ve battled depression, a profound sense of worthlessness, guilt and loneliness over the years, as most of my friends have achieved far greater levels of success than I, and have been rewarded with personal and professional recognition, adulation, lasting relationships, financial stability and emotional contentment; all of which I have managed to avoid.
When I was young, I used to frequently say that all I wanted when I was older was not to have any regrets, and ironically that appears to be the one enduring thing I will take to my grave.
Regrets in all manners and forms; poor choices, lack of ambition, abject laziness and an unfathomable capacity to fail have combined to stunt my growth emotionally and professionally to the point that I often don’t have the slightest sense of optimism answering job ads, no matter how ideally suited I might actually be for them.
The endless rejections, which in the computer age amount to just never getting a response, is so frequently and mind numbingly disappointing, that it’s sometimes difficult to even muster the enthusiasm to apply.
It’s not as though I’ve ever craved the kind of success that would make me a household name or rich or famous; I’ve only ever wanted to make a living, which has proven to be been immensely difficult, almost impossible.
It doesn't help that my older brother is a cardiovascular surgeon, my younger brother is a pilot, both married to beautiful and wonderful women, with two kids each, happy, contented and financially well off.
Me? Single, poor and lonely, with no prospects and no future it seems.
There are days I feel like ‘Today could be the day my luck changes; I’ll find that one job out there and make the right impression on the right person and someone out there will recognize something in me that they will value, and my life will move in a new and better direction.’
Those days are rare however; mostly I just send out dozens of applications for writing gigs every damn day and wind up just as poor and underemployed as the day before.
Then there are the short stories I send out to magazines and publishers; I might as well be asking people to point and laugh and call me a gigantic loser.
Am I alone in this?
Are there any other writers out there who are striving like Hell and getting nowhere?
Or is everyone who can string two sentences together making a career of their writing talents except me?
I'm sure there must be, but for some reason it feels like I'm the only one.
It's a sad and beautiful world baby.
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Here in Toronto, we have a wonderful public television channel called TVOntario. For 30 years it's had a popular program called 'Saturday Night at the Movies,' which used to be hosted by a serious film buff and cool old bird named Elwy Yost, who has sadly passed on.
I can't tell you how many wonderful films I have seen since I was a kid on this stalwart program, but it has been one of my best friends for a long time.
This Saturday I was delighted to find it playing a film I've only seen a few times since it screened in 1983; Local Hero. It's a quirky and touching little movie about a Houston oil executive (Peter Riegert) sent on an exploratory mission by the eccentric owner of the company (Burt Lancaster) to purchase a Scottish fishing bay for the development of a massive refinery.
It's among the quaint and eclectic townspeople that this big city suit discovers how meaningless his life is, and how simple and beautiful theirs is.
The film is a sweet and rewarding piece of film making, which remains a hidden treasure, and one that has a special place in my heart.
I went with my first girlfriend to see it; a beautiful, intelligent, artistic and magical young woman whom I have not seen in 25 years. Watching the film brought back incredibly vivid memories of how happy I was in her company, and how naive and immature I was about how I thought my life would turn out. I went from thinking I would light up the world to feeling the weight of the world crush my spirit countless times.
The theatre was nearly empty, even though the movie had gotten very good reviews, and we were both totally charmed by it. When it was over, we went out and had dinner at a little Thai restaurant, the first I'd ever been to, and ate a wickedly spicy meal by candlelight, talking about music and art and cinema and what we wanted to do with our lives. Afterward, we drove from downtown to the suburbs where we lived, and made love for hours like young people are wont to do.
It was perfect; romantic, tender and passionate.
I remember the scent of her perfume as I kissed her cheek; Anais Anais. I wonder if they still make it, or if women still wear it? It was a lovely, light and utterly feminine scent I've not had the pleasure of inhaling since.
She had the most wonderfully soft skin and radiant smile, and I always felt more confident and competent when we were together. Even after all these years, the thought of her warm and supple body, the rounded contours of her fabulous hips and her deliciously sexy legs brings a warmth to my heart that is still pleasing, no matter how long ago it was.
I absolutely adored her, but I wasn't as evolved emotionally as she was, and we grew apart because I showed not the slightest inclination or aptitude to ever doing so.
The film reminded me of how important it is to have something to believe in, something that can make life worth living through all the bitter hardships and insufferable pain that comes with disappointment and loss and heartache.
And it also reminded me of how lucky any of us are to ever be in love, and how it should be treasured and protected, because you never know how fragile and tenuous it may be until it's gone.
It's the same with all the girls I've been fortunate enough to have been with; they have all left an imprint on my soul that is at once haunting and satisfying, as sweet as they are sad and as intangible as they are unforgettable.
I suppose that's just the way it is with lovers from our past; they only exist as phantoms until an old movie or a song or a place we visited stirs them from our subconscious and they materialize from out of the fog.
So, what films bring back memories of your lost loves?
Monday, 18 January 2010
The scale of the destruction in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince,Thursday January 14, 2010
In the wake of the devastating earthquake that has decimated much of the Caribbean island nation of Haiti, the Canadian government was among the first in the international community to offer immediate assistance and aid.
On January 13, the day after the destructive quake struck, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Minister of National Defence Peter McKay outlined Canada’s response to the massive humanitarian crisis that was unfolding by the hour in the beleaguered country.
These initiatives include:
- $5 million for urgent humanitarian assistance
- a federal government pledge to match individual Canadian’s donations to eligible charities up to $50 million, meaning a potential of up to $100 million the Haitian relief effort; allocation of these funds will be conducted by the Canadian International Development Agency through established development and humanitarian agencies in Haiti.
- the Canadian Armed Forces dispatched a C130 Hercules transport with food and water supplies and communications equipment as well as the Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team and the Reconnaissance element of the Canadian Forces and the Disaster Assistance and Response Team (DART), comprised of 19 members, some with medical training and approximately 100 Canadian forces personnel.
- a C-17 heavy-lift transport carrying a Griffon search and rescue helicopter and basic and medical supplies, search and rescue and medical personnel, security equipment and engineers
- Royal Canadian Navy ships HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Halifax have departed for Haiti, and are expected to arrive within a few days.
Both Cannon and McKay have held numerous briefings to update the status of the Canadian relief effort and to relay the still fragmented information coming out of Haiti as to the increasingly perilous situation on the ground.
National Defence Minister Peter McKay and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announce Canada’s Haitian Relief efforts, Wednesday January 13, 2010
The International Red Cross estimates that some 45,000 to 50,000 people may have perished in the initial aftermath of the earthquake, with many more still trapped beneath mounds of rubble and debris, which indicates that these numbers are almost certain to rise as Haiti continues the hugely challenging and daunting task of digging out from among the nation wide ruins.
The scale of the devastation and the already fragile infrastructure of the poorest nation in Western hemisphere has prompted a global response from leaders all over the world, offering whatever assistance they can in response to the televised images of the calamity.
The Global humanitarian effort includes contributions from the United States, Brazil, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, Israel, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and scores of others.
Many national leaders, chief among them U.S. President Barack Obama, made solemn statements during media appearances in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, to reassure the Haitian people that their plight would not be ignored.
Which only makes the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's’ conspicuous absence this past week that much more blatant and shameful.
While it’s true that the Canadian government has responded with the swiftness and diligence the world has come to expect from a nation long revered for its compassion and humanitarian ideals, the leader of the country has been rarely seen or heard, apart from a briefing held with senior cabinet members that included Haitian born Governor General Michaelle Jean, in Ottawa on Wednesday, January 13, 2010.
Governor General Michaelle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a briefing for Canada’s Haitian earthquake response
Politically, Mr. Harper has strictly followed the old adage of ‘Deeds, not works shall speak me,’ never more evident than during his penchant for suspending Parliament with the little used but now infamous action of prorogue, which he has managed to employ 3 times in his short tenure as Prime Minister.
As Canada’s leader, he will surely receive the bulk of the credit for coordinating the nation’s Haitian relief efforts, and rightfully so.
Nevertheless, as of today January 15, 2010, three days since news of Haiti’s devastation reached the outside world, Mr. Harper has yet to make another announcement regarding his government’s response, issuing no statements, holding no additional media briefings or press conferences to answer the innumerable questions regarding Canada’s humanitarian effort.
Mr. McKay and Mr. Cannon have clearly been sent forth as Mr. Harper’s chosen media representatives in the wake of the crisis, presumably because the Prime Minister is busying himself with the minute by minute operations that would normally have been hampered by the nagging business of his daily attendance in Parliament.
How fortunate for him in that case, that such trivialities as answering Opposition inquiries during question period or the boorish insignificance of daily press briefings have been presciently brushed aside in order to free up the Prime Minister’s itinerary to deal exclusively with the Haitian disaster.
It would seem he is so inundated with the minutiae of organizing Canada’s response, there has been no time for the P.M. to face the nation or its hordes of hostile media representatives, who may well dare stray off the topic of Haiti and press Mr. Harper on other matters, which he has already made clear he is not prepared to engage in until March.
Mr. Harper’s supporters are praising him for the speed and efficacy of Canada’s response to the Haitian disaster, and well they should; it has been both timely and attentive
However, it is not without some irony that his decision to prorogue Parliament last month seems to have rendered the Prime Minister disturbingly reluctant to face the media and outline his government’s efforts to aid the Haitian people, fearing it seems that he may well have to answer to many more issues than the immediacy of Haiti’s earthquake relief.
Deeds indeed, Mr. Harper, shall speak thee.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
It's with much sadness that I report on the death of Teddy Pendergrass, one of the all time great soul singers, at the far too young age of 59.
This man's effortlessly rich and stirring voice captivated millions with his smooth and sultry elegance and timeless sex appeal.
Despite being paralyzed in a car accident in 1982, Teddy Pendergrass continued to record and tour, including an inspiring appearance at Live Aid.
For those too young to have experienced his unique musical magic, suffice to say that countless couplings continue to be exercised with the sublime sexual potency of his voice in the background.
He will be missed.
Gil Jarreau; journalist, broadcaster, pundit, sage of our times, the last of a bygone breed that dared challenge the status quo, and defiantly altered it by sheer strength of will, and some questionably legal tactics.