Remember When George W Bush Was The Worst Thing Happening To America?

Once upon a time George W Bush made me throw up in my mouth. From weapons of mass destruction lies to the Hurricane Katrina debacle, his administration peppered every measure of decency with hypocrisy. Personal frustration gagged at every Bush simper, bumbling attempt to feign good old Texas boy sincerity and puppy dog eyed protestation of honorable intent. Who knew that one day remembering Bush meant oddly nostalgic recollections of Bozo the Clown.Who knew Trump’s Insane Clown Posse would control the Big Top.

In 2006 Neil Young’s album Living With War sang Bush protest. “Lets Impeach The President” balked at lies, abuse of power, racial injustice, fear mongering and war.Eleven years later, calls to impeach Bush teeter on laughably quaint reminders of a simpler time.


In Canada by Chris Hadfield

Oh man, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield kicks astronaut ass. Hadfield officially catapulted himself to a place alongside Tommy Douglas, Romeo Dallaire, Neil Young and Stompin Tom Connors as one great Canadian. Ponder “In Canada” performed by Chris Hadfield and his brother Dave – you don’t have to be Canadian to realize Canada’s astronaut is cooler than any astronaut in the world.

Blue Dot Movement

Champion of environmental issues, bastion of CBC television’s The Nature of Things, tireless educator and easily one of the most recognizable faces in Canada –  David Suzuki launched his Blue Dot Tour in St. John’s Newfoundland. The Blue Dot Movement reflects 78 year old Suzuki’s unwavering conviction – change is possible. In this case, “change” means Canadian Charter of Rights amendments giving the “environment” constitutional rights. In what may be his last hurrah, Suzuki will make 20 stops across Canada between now and November 9. More than a lecture – Blue Dot stops feature Suzuki supported by the likes of Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Feist, Bruce Cockburn and Robert Bateman.  A who’s who of Canadian activists – a movement aimed at gaining grassroots support. Over 100 nations recognize constitutional rights of citizens to clean air and water. Canada does not.

Canadian government “spokesman” Shane Buckingham (from Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq’s office), preferred a “party line” emailed response when asked for comment by a Globe and Mail reporter. The best the government came up with was assurance protection under the National Conservation Plan would be extended, along with “efforts” to cut emissions and “stringent” air quality standards. Excuse me?

A great link to countries with constitutional rights of citizens to clean air and water….

Click to access constitutional_provisions_related_to_environment_conservation___final.pdf

David Suzuki has taken some bad press – press bent on smearing his name, and side tracking his message. Right wing tongue wagging over his speaking fees run rampant across Conservative prairie provinces. Drawing parallels to America’s billion dollar, anti climate propaganda machine, is a sobering Canadian reality. Depressing as that is, don’t allow your “Canadian” to be extinguished. We’re better than that.

David Suzuki with Neil Young
Kick ass David Suzuki. Stir the pot, raise awareness, stand your ground, stand for change, stay the course and keep on being the voice of Canadian reason. Stephen Harper’s shocking government is intolerable to this Canadian. Change is possible – all it takes is for enough of us to believe.


Harvest Moon Time

The full moon closest to the fall equinox is the ” Harvest Moon” – those of us in the northern hemisphere can expect a behemoth moon rising shortly after sunset tonight. Harvest moons appear larger because of the ecliptic orbit of our moons path in relation to the earth. The same phenomenon that sees the moon rise 20 minutes or so earlier than  normal, forcing us to view it through thicker atmosphere – accounting for characteristic orange monster moons.

The harvest moon is familiar to just about everyone – our moon has many names, depending on the time of year. January brings the wolf moon; named by native Americans and medieval Europeans for the howling of hungry wolves in the dead of winter. February sees the storm, snow and hunger moon rise in the icy sky. Native Americans called the last full moon of March the worm moon after worm trails that appeared in the thawing snow. The Pink moon of April is for blossoming trees, also known as the sprouting grass, fish, and egg moon. May’s flower moon or corn planting moon is followed by the strawberry moon to native Americans or rose moon to Europeans. Native Americans saw the full moon of July as the buck moon, for male deer shedding their antlers. The sturgeon moon of August for plentiful fish, also called the green corn, grain, and red moon. September’s harvest moon is followed by the hunter’s moon in October. November has the beaver or frost moon, finally the cold or long night moon of December.

I went outside for an early howl at the harvest moon. Clouds wrapped every corner of the sky, and still the moon cast my shadow. Second thoughts on considering my neighbour’s baby, compounded by scrutiny from the old woman in the window of the retirement home, stifled my bravado. Instead I did a little moon dance while humming Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.

A link to sunrise/sunset locater…

The link that will answer any astronomical question…..

Earthsky link to Harvest Moon,,,,,

Romeo Who?

I’ve written posts about Canadians I admire; Tommy Douglas, Neil Young, even Stompin Tom Connors. It’s much easier to write about those we admire than someone we consider a hero. Admiration is subjective, open to opinion, unfettered by titles or designation. Once admiration is surpassed by “hero” there is some explaining to do; with hero comes responsibility.

Unfazed, I’ll ponder on – Romeo Dallaire is a Canadian hero. Romeo who?

General Romeo Dallaire headed the United Nations peacekeeping efforts in Rwanda from 1993 – 94. His meagre peacekeeping force of 3000 soldiers where forbidden under terms of the UN peacekeeping mandate to take up arms, or be anything other than a presence. Desperate for help, Dallaire begged the UN to send 2000 more soldiers. Instead the UN cut his force to 500 soldiers following the murder of 10 Belgian peacekeepers assigned to protect the president.In the days that followed Dallaire’s forces witnessed the extermination of 800,000 Rwandan men, women, and children in the most horrific genocide in modern history.

Dallaire wrote of the horror he witnessed in a 2004 book called Shake Hands With the Devil. I’ve tried to read it two or three times; I have to put it down – I find myself weeping uncontrollably, his story too much to take. Despite odds stacked against him, Dallaire managed to save thousands of Rwandans; he will go to his grave despairing over those he couldn’t help.

“I had one person come in to my headquarters during the genocide asking statistics on how many people were killed last week and how many yesterday and how many do you expect to be killed today and how many weeks of this killing you think is going to go on. And my staff officers brought him to me and I said, “Why these statistics?”

He said, “Oh, you know my country is assessing whether it will come in and the government believes that the people, the public opinion, could handle for every soldier killed or injured an equivalent of 85,000 dead Rwandans.”

Think about that response for a moment – collateral damage deemed acceptable at 85,000 Rwandans for every UN soldier.

Romeo Dallaire was a soldier; a man of conscience who followed orders despite the toll it would take on himself and his men.

“The impact of the trauma of Rwanda had physically affected my brain and had put me in a state where there was no capability left of any desire for life, any desire to even consider life. I was even debating whether I should exist as I held on my shoulders, and still today, the belief that as commander of the mission in Rwanda I had failed the Rwandans. I had failed in my duty as the UN mission commander to assist the Rwandans to be able to move to a peaceful application of democracy in a rather short period of time.

Dallaire suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and attempted suicide in 2004. That same year he testified at an international human rights tribunal against Rwandan Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who was convicted of genocide. Has worked as an advisor to the Canadian government on War Affected Children, and prohibiting small arms distribution. In 2005 he was appointed to the Senate. 2006 saw Concordia University name him a Senior Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. An advocate for soldiers mental health issues, Dallaire is open and outspoken about PTSS. Dallaire researches and lectures on conflict resolution and child soldiers.

“Are all humans human or some more human than others?” – Romeo Dallaire

Romeo Dallaire is a Canadian hero. A man few have even heard of who personifies decency and strength. Nick Noltes portrayal of Dallaire in the movie Hotel Rwanda barely scratches the surface of Dallaire’s bungled Rwandan nightmare. Dallaire and his 500 UN soldiers couldn’t have prevented the genocide -we’ll never know another outcome if the UN had responded to his pleas, or the world had bothered to notice.Romeo Dallaire is a hero because he never gave up, overcame his demons, and strives to make a difference in this mixed up world.

Pondering Cover Songs

Every once and a while I stumble upon a great cover of some song I love. “Covering” another artists music is tricky; especially if the song is well known, or the artist has a unique voice or style. Tribute bands can scrape together a living playing rock for booze fuelled patrons in bars across the country; most likely decent musicians, but lacking the creativity or inexplicable quality to set them apart.

Often the most appealing “covers” are those performed by an artist who simply plays “tribute” by singing something from their heart and soul. No pretention, no mimicking, no effort. It’s no secret Neil Young is one of my favourite artists, I would place him at the top of my list. This lovely cover of Old Man by Elen Wendt put a smile on my face.

Missing George Bush

In part because Neil Young is my hero – a Canadian who sings of impeaching George Bush – in part because I actually miss the insanity of the Bush years, and in part because this simplistic little melody cracks me up. I hasten to add my mirth is more of a “holy crap” moment, remembering George Bush days.

Pondering Neil Young

I was fortunate enough to attend a Neil Young concert last night. More than a few things got me pondering……

The first thing to strike me was the audience. Unlike so many shows I’ve attended by performers of Neil’s era, the audience was not what I expected. Rather than ageing hippies, lawyers, and accountants I was met by fresh young faces. A new generation of followers every bit as expectant as I was.

A young girl beside me exclaimed “oh my God, Grandpa hands” when a close up of Neil’s hands playing the piano was shown. A few minutes later she was weeping as he sang Needle and the Damage Done. Quite remarkable.

Neil Young turned 67 yesterday. In my opinion the greatest artist Canada has ever produced. Those “Grandpa hands” were exquisite, they spoke to the heart in ways no words could define.. It was beautiful. He appeared to be enjoying himself. Rather than churning out an old hit list Neil simply kicked ass. He played what he wanted, how he wanted, and for as long as he wanted. His guitar still rings in my ears.

So here I am pondering – what is that one quality that separates musical legends from the pack? I don’t even care about the answer – it doesn’t matter.  In many ways that is the answer. The only thing I can say for certain is that Neil Young still has it. At 67 he filled a stadium with generations of fans. Not too shabby for an old man.

Photo: Holy crap. Neil Young was amazing. GA floor tickets - I'm in heaven.
Photo by notestoponder

Help – Ann Coulter Exploded My Mind

A few short months into my blog, well meaning conviction to keep politics and religion out of the mix met its match today. Please forgive my weakness – Ann Coulter appearing on CNN with Piers Morgan tore resolve into a thousand piece. My head exploded and I need help.

Grumpy to begin with, driving home  from work I heard that Meatloaf endorsed Romney. Asking myself what I cared about Meatloaf didn’t help, purely on principle I felt my mood darken.Walked in the door, flicked the television on, unprepared for Ann Coulter’s caustic jibber-jabber. She was defending her use of the word “retard”. Blood pressure rising, attempts to calm myself with thoughts of the upcoming Neil Young concert failed miserably. A brief solitary debate questioned the logic of my rage – not as a Canadian (despite the fact such nonsense would never air in Canada), but as a person grounded in inclusion, sensitivity and common sense, I screamed “you stupid bitch” at the TV screen.

Ann’s use of the “R” word comes from a tweet she made.” I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard ”

For starters Ann – you couldn’t have been more ignorant or abusive if you tried. In case you didn’t receive the bulletin – in 2010 the U.S. Congress made it law – the words “retard” and “retardation” to be replaced with “intellectual disability” in all health, labour, and education laws. Federal law aside, I ponder what kind of person would defend their position as venomously as you do over simple human decency and compassion. My goodness, what point are you trying to make?

Once upon a time I was able to take all this with a grain of salt. Now a creeping dread invades my world. I may be crazy but have to laugh knowing it was Ann Coulter who broke the camels back.

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