Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Hate -- Original Song #38

As we approach the sad 30th anniversary of a brutal hate crime that left a stain on my beautiful city, I find to my surprise this song of mine, written many years ago, absent from the history of this blog. No longer. RIP, Joe

Well you know something's been eating me
Concerns something that fell from your mouth last week
I heard you say, "He's one of those"
Made me think of a youth named Joe Rose

They killed him on a bus you see
Along with their humanity
And I doubt this song will change a thing
But maybe I'll feel better if I sing

I don't know why they hate so strong
But it just keeps going on

Rose's dad doesn't understand
He loved his son like any man
But the boy was gay so they hated him
In this city whose motto means live and let live
And it's wrong to think all bird are doves
But those who hate can also love
And if there's one thing I can't trust
It's when you separate folks into them and us

I don't know why they hate so strong
But it just keeps going on
I don't know why they hate so strong
But it just keeps going on
I don't know why they hate so strong
But it just keeps going on
I don't know why they hate so strong
But it's gone on far too long

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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

My grand-daughter was born December 3, 2018

She will not reach 12, apparently, before life on this planet is doomed to be inhabitable for humanity.

I take that very seriously. As soon as I became a father, that kind of thing started to matter - vibrantly; excruciatingly. Until then, it served as ...what? An excuse for nihilism? Bottoms up!

With my wife, I share a four-cylinder, gas-guzzling SUV, but at least we live in a highly energy-efficient condo in Montreal, heated (and powered) exclusively from renewable hydro-electric power, thanks to Robert Bourassa and other prescient Quebec politicians. We use public transit as much as possible, walk, or use shared services to economize, and understand that our gas costs more if we fill up on the island of Montreal, so we only take the car when we really have to.

And I expect this will be the last internal combustion vehicle we own - and appropriately so. Energy usage will not decline, but here in Quebec, I feel that we really understand that reality as a fundamental concept, alongside the practicality of maximizing our facility to harness whatever renewable energy resources we can access.

I have listened to the voices telling us the oil in Alberta and Saskatchewan will replace higher carbon-footprint coal used in China currently (to manufacture products we buy to assuage our Dollar-store need to consume, consume, consume extra plastics to make our lives more fulfilling - and yes, that rabbit-hole I have plunged myself into on many occasions myself). I call bullshit on that "need" to get the tarsands product to tidewater. Justin Trudeau is nominally championing that in order to (lamely) show he is not like his dad; as if he could somehow square that policy with being on the right side - i.e.: the non-suicidal side.

What to do?

I like JT because he espouses ideals that are high-mindedly progressive towards correction of bias and prejudice generally. But for all our sakes, this is the time to realise there is a bigger, more pressing crisis that requires his leadership. Time to stop playing nice and put his clout to the one issue that merits war-like attention: arresting climate change.

After all, what planet does he presume his kids and mine might inhabit?

- 30 -

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Every Canadian should read Bob Rae's column in the Walrus

It is all about Canada-USA relations, and in particular, this uncomforting reality:

"It’s time we understood just how far apart our two countries are and act accordingly"

The whole text is here.

Interestingly, it comes just hours after the publication of this warning for the EU from the Guardian:
EU must 'prepare for worst-case scenarios' under Trump, top official warns

From that article, from European Council president, Donald Tusk:

“More and more people are starting to believe that only strong-handed authority, anti-European and anti-liberal in spirit, with a tendency towards overt authoritarianism, is capable of stopping the wave of illegal migration.”

“If people believe them, that only they can offer an effective solution to the migration crisis, they will also believe anything else they say. The stakes are very high. And time is short.”

Time for all of us to stop ignoring the painful truth. If you're not with Trump, you're not only against Trump,...

you're at war

- 30 -

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Stoke the Fire / Untermenschen (repost)

Stoke the Fire (performed live circa 2011)

Caught in machinations
Beyond your power?
Busy earning a living
You stoke the fire

And you wonder how they
Could let it happen
No time to question
How big is your picture?

Successive generations will be quick to damn us
Maybe they'll understand us

Recipe for murder:
Divide the horror
Give the people a scapegoat
Then point the finger

Gain complicity
Reward efficiency
Give the people procedures
They'll die to please

Perhaps the question to ask is: Does it really matter
Who pulled the trigger
Who filled the gas tanks
Who stoked the fires
That burn us



Monday, June 18, 2018

I'm with Lloyd - the USA is not a safe third country right now

I enjoyed another fantastic Father's Day in the company of my children, but all the while I fought back tears whenever I heard more of the sordid tales of asylum seekers' treatment at the hands of the US Department of Homeland Security. It's full-on psychological torture to the parents and to the kids to whisk them away from the only thread of security they know: one another.

So when a great humanitarian like Lloyd Axworthy has had enough of this to speak out forcefully, I believe all Canadians must listen.

Here is the entirety of his and Allan Rock's opinion piece from The Globe and Mail:

Canada and the United States added a new dimension in 2004 by agreeing to regard each other as, in effect, safe havens. Each barred asylum-seekers arriving from the other at official points of entry, reasoning that no credible claim of persecution could be made in either.
But things have changed. Donald Trump’s administration’s harsh approach to migrants has created fear and uncertainty among asylum-seekers in the United States. Sadly, the United States no longer offers them a safe haven. Beyond demonizing migrants, Mr. Trump’s appointees have adopted inhumane practices.
Asylum-seekers are being detained at astonishing rates in the United States, often in deplorable conditions. Despite having no criminal record, many are jailed while their applications for asylum are pending, mostly in private prisons. Human Rights First reports that three-quarters of asylum-seekers in U.S. immigration proceedings are detained at some point, compared to 16 per cent of refugee claimants in Canada. Recent reports about the treatment of migrant children, in particular, demonstrate just how unsafe the U.S. immigration system has become: U.S. officials recently admitted that they “lost track” of nearly 20 per cent of the children formerly in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Despite this fiasco, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions recently announced a policy of separating asylum-seekers from their children, some as young as toddlers. The United Nations calls this an “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and a serious violation of the rights of the child.”
Consider Ms. L, an asylum-seeker who fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo with her seven-year-old daughter. After they were detained upon arrival in the United States, Ms. L’s daughter was taken from her and sent to a facility more than 2,000 miles away. They were jailed across the country from each other for four months. Ms. L. fled brutality only to have her daughter taken from her arms by U.S. officials: Who could blame her if, feeling unsafe, she wanted to cross into Canada to seek protection?
And those fleeing from the United States to Canada have good reason to fear harm if the United States returns them to their countries of origin. The vast majority are from war-torn states with high levels of violence and human-rights violations. Most are at serious risk of persecution and torture in their native lands. In fact, more than 50 per cent of the refugee claims made by persons who enter Canada irregularly are granted.
Some Canadians have demanded that the “safe third country” prohibition on entry be extended to cover the entire border, not just official entry points. But surely that is the wrong approach. It would seal off any chance to escape for those many who are being mistreated and put at grave risk of return by a U.S. administration with vastly different policies from the one we dealt with in 2004.
In our view, a much better solution would be to suspend the “safe third country” arrangement until conditions in the United States change. The United States is no longer “safe” for asylum seekers. And, unlike 2004, we can no longer regard our duty to them as met simply because they are within U.S. jurisdiction. Just as our government responded with strength to Mr. Trump’s absurd trade sanctions, we should make crystal clear that we will not be complicit in his mistreatment of refugees.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have earned Canada a well-deserved reputation as a humane refuge for the forcibly displaced. And Canadians, in communities across the land, have opened their hearts and their homes to sponsor and support refugees. Let’s make sure that our policies at the border reflect “the Canadian way” and are worthy of the values we cherish.

Canada is a huge land. Stinkin' huge. We have ample space, resources, and no reason to turn people away who need refuge. I know we are lucky here. The people whom we welcome are my neighbours and co-workers and children's best friends. They are not at all unlike my ancestors who fled potato famine or religious intolerance or economic destitution just a handful of generations ago. We can always welcome a few more. We are one humanity, and we need to act like it.

- 30 -

Friday, March 30, 2018

Preying on Me - Original Song #37

I was living in the Mile End
Lovely place to find a friend
Course you know no one there
Is just like me

English, French, Greeks
Indigenous and artists
Lots of folks I call the blister-hearted
And that includes the Hasids

They’re always doing lots of prayin'
They gotta do a lot of prayin'
Gotta do a lot of prayin'
For sinners like me

And meanwhile on the internet
Trolls are spinning
Dark dark webs
They’re telling all these scary tales
Once upon a lie

They spread hate to create bigots
Then they churn and circulate all that made-up shit
Like that ain’t what toilets are for

The trolls are doing lots of preyin'
Yeah they’re doing lots of preyin'
They’re out there doing lots of preyin'
On the young and the weak

Now morons out there in the war rooms
Making plans to cloud us in mushrooms
They can't believe they can't play with
All their nuclear toys

They're doing lots of playing
Armageddon games they're playing
And Christ, it never ever stops preying
Preying on me

Now that brings me back to those Hasids
They aren't too caught up in our consumerist greed
And they may not be your creed
But I think they seem to know what we need

We need to do a lotta prayin'
There ain't nothing left but prayin'
I'm really down with all the prayin'

- 30 -

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Requiem for the Hangover of a Canadian Immigrant - Original Song # 36

Eleven months in
Still finding your place
You cheer for the Habs
Watch The Amazing Race

The kids have made friends
Learned some French, ate Subway
But you cannot find work
And you have just four weeks’ grace

Lo and behold
It’s Canada Day
The PM looks lost touring a tipi in the rain
The natives around you
No flags do they wave
Just beers and grilled beef
And a look of disdain

Don’t fly your flag so mighty
So high
Don’t mix bloody Caesars
With ginger and rye

Know that at the root
Of every symbol is some lie
Don’t mix bloody Caesars
With ginger and rye

The cure for your hangover
If you haven’t yet clued-in
Comes from filtered Florida OJ,
Picked by Mexican migrants
Mixed with Brita-filtered water
(Thanks to the Germans)
And a Samsung-brewed coffee
Picked by Indonesian kids

If the Maple Leaf still means
Anything worth a fight
It’s writ ‘tween the lines
Of that Charter of Rights

So don’t hang your patriotism
On a populist rant
On a tax-payer’s gripe
Or an immigrant’s back

- 30 -

Monday, April 17, 2017

Amazing CHé

Amazing CHé
How sweet the sound
Of Habs fans leaving their seats

In the K, he was lost
But with the CH, was found
We give praise to Bergevin

'Twas Captain K that taught
The PP to click
Leko and BBQ, my fears relieved
How precious did that CHé appear
The OT I first believed

Through many Rangers, and Arrogant Fuckface
Our boys have already come
'Tis TFS that brought us play-offs thus far
And CJv2 will lead us CHome

Lord Stanley has promised a Cup to the team
That 16 playoff wins secures
It will the CH goal and passion be
As long as the game endures

When we've been there in 24 other years
Parades shining in the June sun
We've measured days left to ride TFS's saves
Boys, now, let's get it done

Amazing Shea
How sweet the sound
Of Rags getting soundly checked
For PFK, we had love
But now, BBQ and CHé
And the return of SuperPleXXX

Thursday, March 16, 2017

If Y(emelin) Should Fall From Grace with Claude (apologies to the Pogues)

If Y Should Fall from Grace with Claude
After being cleanly beaten
If Y’s muscled off the puck
And his passes fail completely

Let him sit Claude, let him sit Claude
Let Y sit up with the press where the hotdogs come with fries

This Cup was always ours 
Was the pride of Montrealers
It belongs to the Habs
Not to any of Buttman’s fuckers
It’s coming back here boys, coming back here boys!
Dump the Buttman in the south where the hockey fans run dry

Keep GCHuck at C
Let those Forum ghosts direct him
If he shoots from open ice
KidA or LB will deflect them
Into the goal boys, into the goal boys!
Win this town a twenty-fifth Cup
Where the Frenchmen used to fly

If Y Should Fall from Grace with Claude
After being cleanly beaten
Harley’s raring to go
And he passes pretty cleanly

Let him sit Claude, let him sit Claude
Let Y sit up with the press where the hotdogs come with fries



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winter's Coming (apologies to Arcade Fire and their Neighbourhoods #1 (Tunnels)

And if the snow buries my CH neighbourhood
And if Che is flying
Then he'll saucer a pass
From his stick blade to PatCHes
Yeah, a pass, from his stick blade to PatCHes

KidA has climbed out of the cellar
And skated up the middle
The middle of the ice
And since there's no one but the goalie around
He'll stay in the blue paint long
And forget how how he used to blow
And then his skin gets thicker
From spraying that goalie with snow

You changed all the lead
In that rebuilt hand
As the puck comes in
KidA shovels it right in

Then Julien tried to fix our PK
Cuz Price had forgotten the way to
The way to shut teams down
But somehow, TFS remembered his goalposts
And how to cover his five-hole
And his catlike trapper hand
Then, the D remembered how to skate strong
And how to cover the man

MB changed all the smurfs
Getting knocked around
As the trades came in
King and Thor came thundering

Purify the CHolours, beef up the 4th line
Purify the CHolours, put scorers in the top two lines
And spread the ashes of Arrogant Fuckface
Over this CHeart of mine!


- 30 -