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How To Get Your Way

November 29, 2007 @ 09:43

Here's a fine example of how to get your way in Canada 2007. A Toronto District School Board meeting had to be shut down last night because a few people in attendance didn't like the agenda.

The proposal for an Africentric school was never meant to be part of last night's agenda but that didn't matter to a group that wanted it to be.

Apparently the paper work wasn't completed for a discussion to take place so this regressive proposal which will take us back to the days of segregation didn't make it to the table and this created quite a stir.

There was yelling and screaming and "rapping" with obscenities in it. One woman screamed "it is our children who are dying in these schools" another bellowed "why don't you want our children to be educated" and a few others occupied the seats of trustees.

After attempting to bring the meeting to some semblance of order board chair Sheila Ward was forced to shut everything down.

Isn't that wonderful?

It seems that Africentric schools are no longer a proposal or a privilege or an interesting concept, it's become a right that will be promoted through unruliness and overly dramatic rhetoric.

I read accounts of what happened in the newspapers this morning, and then I heard the audio on radio reports and it sounded ridiculous - and it begs this question - if this is the behaviour that comes with the issue simply not being on the agenda, what will happen if the schools don't happen?

According to the board Africentric schools were never meant to be part of the agenda last night and they have no idea how some people thought they were and they apologized vehemently for the misunderstanding.

But that wasn't enough and it created a reaction that leaves you wondering why there isn't the same passion put into parenting and being accountable for the behaviour of your children.

And of course the night ended with a typically Canadian response. The Toronto District School Board caved in and vowed a "special" meeting will now be held on the issue in January.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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Look After Your Own

November 28, 2007 @ 09:59

We get word this morning that the Toronto District School board has released yet another "report" and it says students in Canada's largest school board feel alienated.

In a nutshell the report points out that seven out of ten kids are non-white and they don't see themselves reflected in the curriculum and of course now there's been a connection made between alienation and achievement.

The TSB will now scramble to make things all better by introducing "an aggressive staff development initiative" to help teachers bring a range of cultural perspectives into class.

There will be meetings and forums and think tanks and more meetings and I'm sure some expensive lunches and dinners along the way.

Meanwhile somebody has to come up with a game plan that will involve all students and all cultures and that should be a tall order. How do you do that? How do you bring "all cultures" into the curriculum without getting bogged down along the way?

Call me crazy, old fashioned and ignorant, but I don't care. If people want their kids to learn about their "culture" it should be done at home.

It works, and I speak from experience.

My wife's family moved from South Africa in the 1960's and they left to escape Apartheid. My mother in law couldn't remain in a country where her children were given ceilings. They could only go to certain schools in South Africa and then only certain Universities.

They had these restrictions because they were classed as "coloured", as matter of fact, my wife's South African birth certificate has the word "coloured" stamped right across it.

My in-laws wanted more for their kids with no limits and no restrictions so they found their way to good old Canada through England.

They came to Canada with nothing. They lived in a small apartment on Midland Avenue in Scarborough with nothing more than a few mattresses on the floor, but they were happy to be in Canada and rather than bitch and complain and find fault, they made Canada work for them.

They both got jobs and my wife and her two brothers went to school. It was back in the days when most classes were lily white so don't speak to me about alienation in 2007.

My wife Delyse was a visible minority with an English accent and at 12 years of age she was plunked right into a class room on a cold day in February.

But funny thing is, it all turned out OK. A strong family unit saw this family furnish their apartment, then move to a better one and then buy a house and then buy a business.

The kids went to school and her parents didn't complain about the curriculum because they were just happy to be in a great and free country. They were more than happy to adopt the ways and customs of their new country.

When it came to heritage the kids would ask questions at home and get all the information they needed, in fact my wife got enough information about South Africa in the 60's that she has no desire to visit the country in which she was born.

The point is, we sure waste a lot of time in this country today looking after the peripheral needs of so many and I hate to keep bashing a dead horse but I have to; it all comes back to the home.

There are so many bleeding hearts hell bent to supply excuses for every squeaky wheel in the country it becomes regressive.

Look after your own and the rest will look after itself.

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Not Enough

November 27, 2007 @ 09:26

Give Michael Bryant credit for actually going to the town of Caledonia, but it look like nothing will come it.

The new Aboriginal Affairs minister did something the Premier refuses to do, he showed his face to people who've had their lives turned upside down for the past 637 days.

Bryant met with several groups and had several discussions and admitted innocent people are hurting, but came away says he expects Caledonia town council to get back to him with a town revitalization plan.

What the hell does that mean?

Nothing will start to move in Caledonia until Six Nations protestors are given a strict time table to get off land that doesn't belong to them, or short of that, until they're physically removed.

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Big Dough

November 26, 2007 @ 08:35

I'll be honest, I almost didn't bother to write this posting because it involves some people in the broadcasting industry who I admire, but after giving it some serious thought, I just had to.

Something called the "College Of Sports Media" has opened in downtown Toronto and it describes itself as "Canada's most elite institution for radio and television sports broadcasting."

Wow. That's something.

They have a website that's up and running so you can go there to get all the details except how much it costs but according to Chris Zelkovich in Friday's Star its $17 thousand dollars. Apparently, it's a 17 month course at a thousand dollars a month.

Wow. That's something.

I'm of two minds when it comes to this. And neither is that encouraging.

I can understand a kid wanting to take this course because it appears to be a fast tracking, intensive course that gets right to the point, unlike the community colleges that continue to be co-coordinated by people who never really had much success in the business and who stretch very little instruction over way too much time.

I've always felt that any college broadcasting course that lasted more than two years is a waste of time, and over the years it was re-enforced by the kids who came through these courses and then interned on the Humble and Fred Show.

In many cases most of they couldn't believe how they learned more interning for a couple of months, than they did at college for three years.

It was my experience that most of the kids in the colleges took radio and/or TV broadcasting because it looked cool and they didn't know what else to take.

I've stood in front of classes of thirty kids where maybe ten were really into it, ten weren't sure and the rest could give a shit, and it was reflective in the pathetic papers they turned in.

If there was any consensus among the kids, it was this. None of them felt they were getting their monies worth, so from that standpoint I can see a kid being attracted to something like the College of Sports Media.

But at seventeen thousand dollars?

What concerns me about this is how restrictive it could be. A two or three year college course might cost a kid upwards of seventeen thousand dollars but only if they need housing and food to go along with it. If they live at home, it's not even ten thousand.

Not only that, but they have summers in between to raise the money to pay for the next year and they get invaluable college life experience.

Seventeen thousand in seventeen months is way beyond what most kids can handle so you know who will end up in this course, rich kids or kids who will end up with humongous loans and this has got to affect the eligibility process.

There's another broadcasting course in Toronto outside of the colleges that continuously tells kids with little or no talent that "they have what it takes to be Canada's next great broadcaster" and often his is done during an initial phone conversation.

But hey, there's rent to pay and bills to pay, they need tuition money to stay afloat and that's what concerns me about the College of Sports Media.

Given the facilities that have been built the overhead must be astronomical. What if the response isn't that overwhelming but bills have to be paid? Who gets in that maybe shouldn't get in? Who is led to believe they have a future when really they don't?

Hey, don't get me wrong by the time someone is finished high school or they've reach their early twenties they should be able to make intelligent decisions and given the fact most kids are coming out of the community colleges having twiddled their thumbs for two or three years something like the College of Sports Media must look pretty attractive, but there is so much to consider.

With big corporate take-overs, convergence, networking and the new era obsession with the bottom line, there are a lot less jobs in the broadcasting industry than there used to be and I feel bad for those kids who sign up for these programs when they don't stand a chance.

And believe me; the majority don't stand a chance.

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A Toronto Treasure

November 23, 2007 @ 10:49

After the Bill Watters Show on Thursday night I decided to stay downtown and soak up some Grey Cup atmosphere.

First I went up the street with Bill and Neighbour John to the CFL Awards at Roy Thompson Hall.

The show was great, but I have to say the attendance was disappointing. Even though it was hosted by Dan Aykroyd and the night was a tribute to the late John Candy the city seemed to ignore it.

I don't know if was the wrong venue, or whether the tickets were priced too high, or whether people just didn't show up because of the weather, but it had to be a bit embarrassing for the league.

After that we went back to the convention centre and I went down to the Grey Cup Classic party and had to endure about an hour of Loverboy before the great David Wilcox performed.

Yes this man is definitely a Toronto treasure. I used to go see him in bars in my late teens and other than having no hair now, he hasn't changed a bit.

His bluesy rock repertoire and his amazing relationship with a guitar are something you have to see to believe.

It had been close to 10 years since I last law Wilcox live and I just stood there in front of the stage without moving for over an hour.

It was fantastic.

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Jenny Grows Up

November 20, 2007 @ 09:36

I used to watch Beverley Hills 90210.

Back in the early 90's I was drawn to 90210 by the girls. I was in my 30's and the girls were in their late teens, but it was OK. I was approaching middle age, but I still noticed a good looking female when I saw one.

Tiffini Amber Theisenn was stunning with those eyes, Gabrielle Carteris was perky , Shannen Doherty was dirty (in a good way) and Kathleen Robertson was Canadian.

Heck, I was even attracted to Tori Spelling. She may have had a puppy dog face, but her body was quite remarkable.

But of all the girls on 90210, my favourite was Jenny Garth. She had it all as far as I was concerned. She was cutie pie, she played a nice and considerate girl on the show and her wholesome image was contained in a healthy and curvy body.

A few weeks ago I was channel surfing, on one of the many Canadian specialty TV channels - that was licensed by the CRTC despite offering nothing more than American re-runs - I happened upon an old episode of 90210.

Almost immediately Jenny's face popped up on the screen and I couldn't help but thinking, "what ever happened to Jenny Garth."

Well smack my ass and call me Henry, last night I walk into the house after hosting the Bill Watters Show on am 640 Toronto and my wife was watching Dancing With Stars, and guess who was spinning her now 35 year old body on the dance floor?

Jenny Garth. And I've got to be honest, she still looks pretty good. (not that she shouldn't considering she's only in her 30's, but have you seen Tori Spelling lately?)

Jenny still has that cute face, she still has that warm disposition and she appears to have kept herself in good shape. In fact Jenny told Us Weekly magazine recently, "I'm So Comfortable with My Body, I Can Go Out There Half Naked!"

I got the same feelings for her last night that I got 17 years ago. Only this time it was little more acceptable.

A lot of guys in their 50's are doin' chicks in their 30's…. aren't they?

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Recycling With Neighbour John

November 20, 2007 @ 09:35

Neighbour John checked in with an excellent point regarding yesterdays posting about recycling.

A good measure of the garbage we get in a week we don't ask for.

Forget about all the merchandise that is needlessly over-packaged, what about all the crap that Canada post delivers?

What about all the flyers and pamphlets and advertisements that most of us routinely take from the mail box and drop into our grey box. It's a great revenue generator for Canada Post, but it's nothing more than a pain in the ass for the rest of us.

That's where the recycling issue becomes questionable. On one hand you have your regional government insisting on recycling and putting the onus on home owners, yet on the other hand you have the federal government cramming your "superbox" with junk mail.

No wonder "some people" get so pissed off they take the mail right out of their box and shove it right back into the mail slot.

Here's Neighbour John's comment from yesterday.

When people stop putting dog crap in a baggie, then a shopping bag, then a garbage bag, I may think about recycling,
90% of my gargbage I do not ask for (Sears, Bay, Victoria Secrets catalogue, special women's hygiene product initiatives.
What's with that?
I used to love the Eaton's catalogue, but I digress.
I just take all my crap to a dumpster at work; it only costs $180.00 a month.
Do you really think we produce less garbage? Maybe we should start with the source.
If you want to save the planet stop, packaging, reading, shopping, washing, fertilizing, phonebooks, newspapers, watering, showering, cleaning, and watching Formula One.
I've been recycling since I was ten, started at two cents a bottle then went to five cents, now it is ten cents, baby c'mon 98% recycled and nobody asked us to do it!!!

Neighbour John

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No Shame

November 19, 2007 @ 09:12

I hope the hundreds of people who protested the taser killing of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski feel good about themselves.

If their point was to make those police officers involved in Dziekanski's death feel shitty I'm sure they were successful.

When you think about the all the things cops have to deal with across this country on a day to day basis, the thousands of sticky situations and life threatening moments, you wonder why people would choose to protest one terrible mistake.

And yes I know. One death is one too many and the video confirms an alternative method of apprehending Dziekanski could have been used, but mistakes happen and when you stack them up against all the wonderful and decent things our cops do, why the furor?

What happened to Robert Dziekanski in Canada happens routinely to people all over the world on a daily basis in scum bag countries; human rights violations take place that would blow your head off.

But because this country is held in such high regard, because it's so decent and proper and we have no history of such behaviour, we're held to a higher standard.

I laughed when I saw and heard reaction from other countries around the world and the supposed shame it brought upon us.

It's sad and terrible and regrettable and the incident should be reviewed, analyzed and dissected so it never happens again.

But for those cops involved, there is no shame.

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It Works

November 19, 2007 @ 09:11

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to recycling. Sometimes I wonder if all the things in my blue box, green box and grey box all end up in the same big hole when I'm not looking.

But I have to admit, I've come around lately.

In Peel Region where I live, there used to be no limit to how many bags of garbage you could put out to the street, then about three years ago they instituted the three bag limit.

To be honest I never fully understood the "bag limit' idea because it appeared to be grossly unfair and encouraged "dumping."

When the three bag limit was first introduced my daughter was away at college so that meant most of the time it was just me and my wife and my son in the house.

Meanwhile, next door at Neighbour John's there were two adults and six kids contributing to their garbage load. How is it that fair?

I never had much of a problem with three bags and I've got to be honest, because of that I probably wasn't as conscious of recycling as I should have been. It was easier to ram cardboard and glass into a green garbage bag in the house, than to walk it out to one of the bins.

It wasn't until a "two bag" limit was introduced in Peel a few weeks ago that I finally grasped the strategy behind it. All of a sudden two bags weren't enough for me, but when I analyzed what I was doing, it all made sense to me.

If you properly separate you cardboard and glass and dump other slop in your green bin, it's amazing how little "other" garbage you have, and two bags is more than enough for my family.

Not only that, but there's no restriction on how many grey or blue boxes you use and the Region is more than happy to supply you with as many as you need or want.

I can't speak for Neighbour John, I'm sure with his large family its still a challenge, but there really is something to be said for separating all your crap.

Unless of course they take it somewhere and dump it all into the same hole.

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November 15, 2007 @ 09:31

A disturbing video has been released showing the tasering of a 40 year old Polish man at Vancouver airport on October 14th.

He was tasered twice by the RCMP and then died and this has opened debate on whether tasering him was necessary and if taser guns should be used at all.

His name was Robert Dziekanski's and he had arrived alone from Poland through Franfurt but for some reason he spent ten hours in a secured area.

The video shows the man becoming agitated and throwing computer equipment and furniture around.

Eventually the police arrive and it's not long before they taser the guy not once but twice.

The video is disturbing and its easy to come to the conclusion that the cops over-reacted, but as usual that's easy to say in retrospect.

Don't forget there are elevated standards of law enforcement at airports and going into a situation police are never really quite sure what they are dealing with.

Robert Dziekanski died at that's unfortunate, but if he'd lived the RCMP would be probably be getting credit for a job well done during a tense situation at an airport.

There was no intent to kill the man only to subdue him and it went terribly wrong.

The issue isn't whether a taser should have been used in this case, the issue has become whether a taser should be used at all if it can kill someone.

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