19
Oct 19

Behind bars“The truth shall set you free,” advises the old canon.

Unless you’re a criminal, that is.  Then the truth will land you in prison.  That’s how the justice system works, most of the time.

Roughly 40,000 convicts are presently locked away in the fifty-three federal and provincial prisons scattered across Canada. The vilest of the perps (the murderers, the rapists, and the pedophiles) are punished with lengthy consignments to the most secure of these institutions; eight federal maximum-security prisons are needed to house them all – and almost all of them are men.

Women commit crimes too, but at far lower rates and attended by much less violence and predation, a fact reflected by the lower security and gentler living conditions typical of female prisons (there’s not a single dedicated maximum-security institution for women in Canada).  The Institutional Mother-Child Program even allows incarcerated mothers to raise their children in prison until the age of four. Read the rest of this entry »

16
Oct 19

splintersWhen “hanging chad” popped up in the headlines in November of 2000 I assumed, at first, that a hardened criminal named Chad was about to be strung up for murder or some other heinous crime.

But the chad in question wasn’t a convict; it was an innocent circle of paper meant to be punched from ballot cards by Floridians voting in the 2000 presidential election.  Sun-baked citizens encountered some difficulty popping those bits of paper free, however: thousands of chads were left “hanging”.

Seniors were to blame, I’ll bet.  Retirees make up a higher percentage of Florida’s population than in any other state.  Imagine Mildred and Ernest, frail and bent, vision dimmed by cataracts, ballots clutched in arthritic, trembling hands, vainly stabbing at the paper circles. Read the rest of this entry »

14
Oct 19

monkey assBefore legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens died on September 11 at the age of 91 he penned a farewell letter, to be shared after his death.

In it, this advice:

“Be humble.  I always believed the higher a monkey climbs in the tree the more people below can see his ass.  You don’t have to be that monkey.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, perched at the pinnacle of Canadian politics, has become that monkey, sadly. Read the rest of this entry »

6
Oct 19

Choose I’m a very tall man.

That short claim will elicit a chuckle or two from those of you who know me.

But it’s really just a matter of perspective.  The key to tall-hood, according to the Ordinary Man – found amongst the pages of that timeless classic The Phantom Tollbooth - is to surround myself with midgets:

You see, to tall men I'm a midget, and to short men I'm a giant; to the skinny ones I'm a fat man, and to the fat ones I'm a thin man.

Speaking of perspectives, some time ago my daughter joined debate club.  A host of volunteers are required to run regional competitions, and in the democratic way in which these things are decided at my house I was informed that I would be a judge. Read the rest of this entry »

4
Oct 19

Birds of a Feather

I’ve taken to watching TED Talks, lately, in my little home exercise room, to stave off the boredom of staving off the middle-aged bulge.

I ran out of interesting things to watch on Netflix long ago.  I talk intermittently and bravely of canceling it, since it’s no longer of any use to me, but there’s zero chance of that happening.  My kids won’t let me.  I’m the boss at my house, but my children make all the decisions.  I’m all hat and no cattle; or, to put it in political terms that non-redneck Canadians will understand, I am to patriarchy what Justin Trudeau is to feminism – we’re both faking it. Read the rest of this entry »