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Never Enough

October 19, 2007 @ 15:52

There's an interesting development at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus.

There's a push on by the campus's 500 Muslim students to get their own restaurant that serves nothing but halal menu but it's being met with resistance and therefore has created a bit of a controversy.

In Canada with out multi-cultural society it's drilled into us to accommodate and understand and whenever possible meet half way, but it seems that doesn't necessarily apply to all.

The controversy began last May when the student-subsidized Bluff's Restaurant, owned by the student union and located in the student center, began offering halal-certified meat options to cater to Muslim customers. But apparently that wasn't good enough.

Because Bluff's serves alcohol, the 500-student Muslim association has refused to endorse the restaurant for its membership and they want their own space and this has started debate on campus on how far secular institutions should go to accommodate religious communities.

Needless to say, it's one of those no-win situations for anyone who might argue against a separate restaurant because it makes you ignorant, intolerant anti-Islamic a western bastard and generally a rotten person.

But again, what ever happened to the spirit of good will and accommodation?

It seems straight forward to me. There is one restaurant and it didn't serve halal foods and now it does, and even though it still serves alcohol I think this can still be viewed as a compromise, an accommodation, it was meeting a religious group half way.

The Muslim students get their halal menu and the non Muslims still get to enjoy alcoholic beverages. End of story right?


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No Right No Wrong

October 19, 2007 @ 15:51

Yesterday when I wrote the piece "Top Beavers Of All Time" I included a note saying music taste is subjective and it's so true, because the results I got on my blog and the reaction in today's Toronto Star proves it.

People actually get annoyed with other people for making certain selections but you just can't do that when it comes to opinion on the arts.

I had a few people e-mail and question my choice of "Gordon" by Barenaked Ladies and "Glider" by Ian Thomas.

There's no other explanation other than I like them because like any of you, I received them in a special way.

I like the Barenaked Ladies and I especially like Gordon because it brings back memories of me and my kids.

Back in 1992 when that album was released I loved it and so did Mel and Dan. Whenever we'd get in the car for a long trip the first thing they'd ask for is for me to put Gordon on the CD player. We knew all the songs and all the words and I'll never forget those times.

As for "Glider" back in 1980 I bought my first good stereo. It was a Technics system, 50 watts a side with a turntable and cassette deck. It came with huge Advent speakers.

Just after I got it, one day I was leaving the CFNY studios and Ivar Hamilton had put a bin outside the music library with a bunch of albums that were of no use to him or the radio station. One of them was Glider.

I took it home and put it on that new stereo system and immediately like it, especially the song Pilot. It sounded so good and I liked all the songs. I liked it so much that just a couple of years ago my wife stumbled upon the hard to get CD and bought it for me.

I'm not going to argue that these are the best Canadian albums in general because I can't, nobody can. That would probably takes us into technical areas that few of us can address.

But from a basic standpoint, for the average music lover, the only right answer is the answer that comes from you heart.

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Step Up To The Sidebar

October 19, 2007 @ 15:50

If you look to the right hand side of you'll notice several pictures along the sidebar.

For a while I had included several other blogs that I recommended but eventually they became too many and several of the blogs weren't being updated every day so I removed them.

I'm going to slowly return some of them but I have two criteria before for blogs that will be added to my sidebar.

The site has to be updated every day and offer more than "what I did today" kind of fluff, and it can't be an outlet for cheesy e-mails and generic You Tube stuff - there are a million of those sites.

I've designed to be current events, issue oriented commentary website and I'd like to hold true to the format with my sidebar links and that's why I've returned Mike Stafford and Mike Boon.

Stafford's am 640 blog is always interesting and well written, while Boon often flicks my memory switch with his pop culture postings.

In the coming weeks I'll probably add more but right now if you want more, go to my links page.

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Looking For Solutions

October 18, 2007 @ 10:49

In case you didn't know, yesterday was International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and there was a rally in Toronto fronted by two thousand members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan was there yapping about the "conspiracy of silence" surrounding the poor conditions of the First Nations, who he said are treated like "second-class citizens" and ignored by politicians who lack the will to address the situation.

"The plight of the First Nations is a national disgrace," Ryan said. "The plight of the First Nations has got to be the front line in the battle against poverty in this country."

In one respect he's right, First Nations poverty should be addressed, but who should be responsible for addressing it?

How often do we hear aboriginal groups declare they are outside the government of Canada, that they're responsible for their own people and their own society and they want nothing to do with the rest of the country?

It's a tune they've been singing since the first day they unlawfully occupied the housing development in Caledonia and it's the song they sing every time they want to lay claim to something else out of deep history.

Enough of the conflict, we need solutions.

How's this for a solution? The government of Canada gives First Nations total independence but with that comes the responsibility for all its people.

First Nations can continue to earn money from cheap cigarettes and liquor and they can continue to share casino money and an independent arbitrator will settle outstanding land claims.

I may be way out of line here, but you either admit you're Canadian and accept the benefits or you take on all the responsibility that comes with declaring yourself independent, you know, much like we tell Separatists in Quebec.

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Top Beavers Of All Time

October 18, 2007 @ 10:47

There's a new coffee table book coming out next Thursday called "The Top 100 Canadian Albums." It's written by a guy named Bob Mersereau who polled nearly 600 musicians, critics, DJs and retailers to come up with the rankings.

Here's the top five.

1. "Harvest," Neil Young (Reprise, 1972)
2. "Blue," Joni Mitchell (Reprise, 1970)
3. "After the Gold Rush," Neil Young (Reprise, 1970)
4. "Music From Big Pink," The Band (Capitol, 1968)
5. "Fully Completely," The Tragically Hip (MCA, 1992)

Here's my top five and remember music is subjective so I make no apologies.

1. "After the Gold Rush," Neil Young (Reprise, 1970)
2. "Robbie Robertson," Robbie Robertson (Geffen, 1987)
3. "Avoid Freud," Rough Trade (True North,1980)
4. "Glider," Ian Thomas (GRT, 1979)
5. "Gordon," Barenaked Ladies (Sire, 1992)

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The Peter Bloom Band

October 18, 2007 @ 10:46

Remember Scary Bald Headed Pete?

He was a key part of the Humble and Fred Show between 1996 and 2000. He brought "Uncle Vince" to Toronto and offered countless characters and parody songs to our show and he was the creator and writer of the now infamous piece, "I am not Canadian."

Pete is a very talented man and besides being a successful voice actor in Toronto he's also an excellent singer and song writer.

Pete has just released an album called "Random Thoughts" (from a paralyzed mind) and it's excellent. Here's a link to the sample page of his website.

Please, have a listen and then navigate.

He's a good boy.

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Bender Over Hoser

October 17, 2007 @ 10:11

I don't know about you, but as a Canadian I'm sick of being screwed.

I realize we been quickly thrown into a new economic world with the meteoric rise of our dollar, but at the same time it's also displayed how we've been getting boned over the past several years.

The latest story comes out of Grand Forks, North Dakota where a snowmobile dealership has been told to stop selling Ski-Doos, Sea-Doos and ATV's to Canadians who want to take advantage of the strong Canadian dollar.

The director comes from Quebec based Bombadier who'd prefer Canadians keep getting rammed up the ass rather than let a free market take place.

How about this? A snow machine that costs ten thousand dollars in North Dakota costs upwards of fourteen thousand in Manitoba, so why wouldn't a Canadian head south to save some money.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. At first Bombardier placed a 7.5 percent surcharge on all sales to Canadians, and then slapped a flat rate three thousand dollar surcharge on Canadian purchases.

Bombardier claims the rules are in place to protect Canadian dealerships, but the American dealer points out that when the American dollar was strong, nobody stopped Yanks from heading north and buying in Canada.

How about this question, with a dollar at par why is there such a discrepancy in cost?

It's bullshit and Canadian consumers shouldn't put up with it and apparently it's only going to get worse. American car dealerships along the border have been given the same directives aimed at making it difficult for Canadians to take advantage of their strong dollar.

What happened to the free market system. What happened to free trade. If the big conglomerates are so worried about the spending habits of Canadians, then they bloody well better lower their prices in Canada.

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Don't Be Loonie

October 17, 2007 @ 10:10

Meanwhile there are some amusing stories coming out of upstate New York where American merchants have paid no attention to the fall the American dollar.

Although let me say right off the top, why any Canadian would take Canadian dollars into the States and try to pass them is ridiculous.

Anyway, some Canadians have assumed that because our dollar is worth the same or more than the American dollar they should be able to tender a loonie in the States like an American does a greenback in Canada.

But it doesn't work that way and its become quite evident with the refusal of American merchants recently to offer anything more than seventy cents for a Canadian dollar, if in fact they take it all.

This has annoyed many Canadians but think about it people. Americans aren't tuned in the way Canadians are because they don't have to be. Within their own little world they don't know or care about what's happening to their dollar.

It's still a dollar to them and what's happening "up there in Canada" is of little consequence because from my experience, the vast majority have never bothered to even visit this country.

They just come through twenty years of laughing at our dollar and it'll take some time before they realize times have changed.

If you're going to the States, change your money or use a credit card.

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Thankyou Father

October 16, 2007 @ 09:05

Father Rohwin Pais is a hero of the Jane - Finch community. Father Pais spoke out against the violence in that community yesterday while conducting the funeral service of Rachel Alleyne.

An innocent bystander, Alleyne became the latest victim of brazen crossfire last Tuesday during a backyard party at a Driftwood Ave. townhouse.

The backyard was crowded and twenty shots were fired, Rachel died, but unbelievably there were no witnesses.

Father put it this way yesterday. "As a member of this community, I will hang my head down in shame. How have we let our community come this far on this road of violence and destruction?"

"The community" needs more people like Father Rohwin Pais.

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The Pretend Gay Priest

October 15, 2007 @ 10:25

I love this story. A Vatican priest has been suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man but he says it's all a big mistake.

Monsignor Tommaso Stenico says he's not gay and he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.''

Stenico said he had met with the young man and pretended to talk about homosexuality "to better understand this mysterious and faraway world which, by the fault of a few people - among them some priests - is doing so much harm to the Church.''

He said he had never been gay and was heterosexual, but remained faithful to his vow of celibacy.

That's funny! I've heard some great excuses before, but this one takes the cake. Give Tommaso full marks for creativity, but it gets a guy to thinking.

How far did this research really go?

Is he up to date on glory holes, and how much did he learn about probing a puckered star fish?

To tell you the truth I feel sorry for priests. I realize they choose that life on their own free will, but let's be honest, for many who choose this life, and it's proved time and time again and Monsignor Tommaso Stenico admits it, there's got to be something wired wrong.

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