Friday, January 30, 2015

It's Not Always Doom And Gloom

Looking over my last few posts, I was struck by a concentration on the negative. I then thought, well, enough of that, let's explore something more on the positive side, something that has nothing to do with crazed jihadists, tumbling economies, or the Wynne Government in Ontario. (The last two are not mutually exclusive).*

To serve as a foundation for what is to follow, I give you the following, taken from Niccolo Machiavelli's text, The Prince:

    "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous
     to conduct, or more uncertain of success, than to take the lead
     in the introduction of a new order of things."

Using this statement as a rubric, I then researched a number of polls where Canadians had cited their two most esteemed and memorable figures. Many votes were given to Pierre Trudeau, Wilfred Laurier, Lester Pearson and of course, given the national sport, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. All fine and dandy, but these names didn't come close to the two top citations.

To wit: Tommy Douglas and Sir John A. Macdonald.

Sir John came in second, and was commended for his desire to found a country from coast to coast, using his steel will to cajole and persuade doubters and using steel rails to bring the new country together via the Canadian Pacific Railway. I also believe his rating was this high because of an awareness, however dimly felt, that without Macdonald's perseverance, there would not have been a Canada.**

In first place, and justifiably so, was Tommy Douglas, who fought for a government run, single-payer health plan in his province of Saskatchewan. He succeeded against tremendous opposition from Saskatchewan doctors, but our Tommy was well used to heavy opposition fire, being a committed socialist surrounded by a slew of laissez-faire political rivals.

He succeeded, and not long afterwards, the Prime Minister of Canada at that time*** created legislation that made Douglas' plan a national reality. Canadians have been grateful ever since and, it must be said, are the envy of their cousins south of the border.

There. I feel much better now.


* The Ontario Liberal government continues to create shock and awe. As her entire financial edifice continues to crash and burn, Kathleen Wynne suddenly takes up the cause of sex education in elementary schools, up to and including definitions of when sexual activity is "consensual". I despair. -- L.S.S.

** Many commentated that it was a pity that Macdonald drank too much. My answer to that: so did everyone else. At that time, to drink the water could (and at times did) prove deadly. - L.S.S.

*** John Diefenbaker, in 1962. Diefenbaker was always conscious of what the electorate wanted, at least until the AVRO Arrow fiasco. -- Ed.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Most Effective Weapon

Where tyranny is involved, the news these days is not great. Indeed, |thinking of this I can remember Lord Strunsky, my late husband's father, citing a rather dark time at the start of the Second World War. He would then imitate a famed BBC announcer's voice by stating "This is Alvar Liddell, bringing you news of fresh disasters."

And so it is today, what with the atrocities being committed by such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the like, all in the name of a religion founded on mercy and compassion. Not only do these creatures border on the sub-human, they cannot even read the dictates prominent in their prime text, the Qur'an. All very sad.

The "warriors" of these sects want to be seen as invincible martyrs for the cause, and boast of their total fearlessness. This almost holds true, save for one thing that they really do fear.

The best example of that thing in my opinion can be seen in the policies of that paragon of Nazism, Adolph Hitler. One policy was a "hit list" of those he most wanted exterminated. If you expected expect that at the top of such a list would be Churchill and Roosevelt, along with Stalin (a late entry) you would be right.

But not at the very top.

There you would find the comedic pianist Victor Borge, who always referred to Hitler as "Herr Schickelburger, the inept house painter," and portrayed the great leader as a total clown, and not a very good one at that. 

Hitler, whose ego was way too large for his demented psyche, was enraged. He was also, retaining a tiny bit of sanity, conscious that if Borge's work ever became widespread, there was a serious danger that his insane approach to governance would be exposed, and he would lose most of his followers (save for the truly warped, such as Himmler, Goering et al.) Hundreds were given the task of rooting out Borge, and the man had to flee from Denmark to England for safety.

So it is with the Islamic jihadists. They were truly disturbed when the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon featuring Mohammed, and immediately attacked, killing as many employees as possible.

Then the whole thing blew up in their face, with millions around the world marching in protest of the killing and suddenly far more aware of the danger of giving any credence to such "warriors". Now they could be seen for what they were -- murderers in total fear of being mocked.

Unfortunately, this sad tale is likely to continue. It will be, I fear, some time before a host of mullahs and imams, joined by priests and rabbis, (and yes, the Pope) join with Voltaire and state "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Good To Be Back, And An Update.

I must confess that the "hiatus" referred to in my last post went on considerably longer than I expected. I had hoped my vorpel sword would be going snicker-snack* around the first or second of January. Events, however, intervened.

I think my sojourn in Tahiti with the Comte De Rienville was to blame. It was there I came down with what I suspect was beri-beri (otherwise known as the undertaker's disease)* although the physicians I consulted, both in Tahiti and France, thought otherwise. I heard, for instance, mumbles about such afflictions as dengue fever, bronchitis or even, hard to believe, mumps.

The latter I deem ridiculous. My cheeks did not swell, and I am as about as far from playing in the National Hockey League as you can get.

Whatever. The upshot of all this was that it became impossible to write coherent stuff. Verbs wanted to hurl themselves into the passive periphrastic when it wasn't called for, adjectives wanted to become adverbs, and the pluperfect tense was nowhere to be found.

Moreover, the desire to plunge a satiric knife into the minds of those who follow the orders of imaginary "friends" such as Allah or Mohammed to kill all those who disagree with their zeitgeist, well, this desire waned. If I didn't know before that I was ill, I did now.

Gradually, however, things began to right themselves, and I tentatively write this, hoping all remains in order. I think it does, and in future missives will try to adhere to a schedule of writing these posts on the Thursday or Friday of the week, so that it becomes a means of welcoming Saturday morning. 

That's the plan, anyway, and I haven't been completely out of it. I know this because je suis Charlie.


*cf, Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland. But you knew that already --- L.S.S.

** The use of that unfortunate phrase would appear to indicate that that The Lady is definitely on the mend. --- Ed