A Good Idea at the Time

This article is rated PG! Not for the usual reasons— just keep it away from easily influenced minors in case they get any notions of duplicating the stupidity!


A few weeks ago we met with friends and at one point I mentioned some of the things I turned to as entertainment in the slow days of a teenage summer.  The focus was always the “practical joke”, which to a teenager is an excuse for almost anything, under a mistaken belief that adults will forgive almost anything if we excuse it by saying, “It was a joke!”   Now an adult, and a homeowner, I can see that it would be quite a leap for the victims of some of our pranks to see it in that light.  “It seemed like a good idea at the time!” remains our only poor excuse.


As a youth I once read a book called The Real Diary of a Real Boy, and although now I question whether it was a real diary or of a real boy, the antics in that book were a measure to me of what was “normal”, and as long as I fell short of that boy, I felt I was moving in an acceptable realm.

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Warming up to Suzuki

It’s funny how quickly change takes place when the right time rolls around.  For the last thirty years, maybe fifty years, maybe even back to the Industrial Revolution— I don’t know– people have been trying to draw the attention of the public to the polluting of our world.  No one paid them much attention, whether they were hippies in tie-dyes or Moses look-alikes carrying placards in the streets, but suddenly fear of Global Warming has focused our attention and snapped us around quite sharply, and politicians, entertainers—whoever–  are clamoring to show people how “green” they are.


No one dares voice opposition at this stage.  If you aren’t fully into Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming, you are a Neanderthal at best.  A few brave souls seemed to be hanging on with meek suggestions that we could be looking at large weather cycles that have swept through our history over the last number of centuries, but their voices are fading from our hearing.  David Suzuki, long regarded over the last thirty years as a pain in the butt who could ruin what might have been a good day with his proclamations of doom, has become a darling of the Canadian public, even appearing in curious TV commercials to convince homeowners that unplugging everything in the house will get them more beer in the long haul (but warmer beer, however). Continue reading

The Good, the Bad, and the Terrifying

Statistics just out on Canada’s crime situation are being introduced as both good and bad news.  The good, perhaps surprising to many of us, is that overall Canada’s crime rate is down.  The bad, not so surprising, is that incidents of youth crime, particularly violent youth crime, are up almost across the board.  Little PEI, for example, while scoring a significant drop in overall crime of 11% (better than any other province), took a hit of +38% in youth crime, indicating that other crime must certainly have fallen solidly.

Particularly frightening to most of us are the growing incidents of “swarmings”, where temporary gangs of young people, often mixed male and female, attack people at random, seemingly only for the sport of the horrifying event.  Swarmings take place on a twice per week basis in Toronto, but in spite of that, due to the very large population, the city is cited as being one of the safest locations in Canada.  More alarming are swarmings in smaller centres, such as Fredericton, where three incidents have taken place since May, and Halifax-Darmouth has had its share.

The level of violence in these swarmings is shocking.  Baseball bats, pipes, 2 x 4 lumber and other weapons are mentioned, as is the too common and inexplicable assault of jumping on victims heads on the pavement.  The average citizen recoils when even reading the details of these assaults, unable to find comfort in a “it won’t happen to me” attitude since these attacks seem only motivated by being on the wrong street at the wrong time. Continue reading

A Trip to the Calculator

Last week I read some comments from people responding to an online  “Topic of the Day” regarding Sidney Crosby and his contract for 43.5 million over the next five years.   Most were supportive of the Cole Harbour boy and the fantastic success he is having in NHL hockey.  Only a few made comments suggesting that the dollar figures were a little out of line with other areas of “employment”, while some Cole Harbour people optimistically suggested that he use his new wealth to build them a hockey arena.

Crosby is, by all appearances, a fine young person who has taken his sudden success in stride.  “Success” was a common word being used in the comments, and I was a little struck by the way its use at times seemed to suggest that he had achieved “success in life”, at the ripe age of 19.

We measure success so much by money, and although all would agree that Crosby is a uniquely talented player, it seemed that he had not reached the bar until the contract (with its yearly figure apparently tied to his sweater number– 8.7 million a year for number 87) made it real.   You are not officially a success until the ink dries on the deal. Continue reading