Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Matriarchy Has Landed
Re: Women’s Studies is still with us. Jan 26, 2010

The feministas have been extraordinarily successful in establishing The Matriarchy. Last month I obtained the following stats from the Kawartha Pine-Ridge Community School Board:

Elementary school teachers, 225 males, 1006 females
Secondary school teachers, 401 males, 452 females
Vice Principals, 17 males, 37 females
Principals, 31 males, 55 females

Given that day care centres are overwhelmingly run by females, it is safe to conclude that children from birth to adulthood, are in the ‘nurturing’ hands of females. Females now constitute the majority of students throughout the university system, and near parity in math and engineering.

[Deleted: Unfortunately, The Matriarchy, has been ungenerous towards males – reflected by the unprecedented drop-out rates for males.] When the feministas called for equality, they actually meant domination.

[So let me ask the men a question; what benefit is marriage to any one of you?]

We Are All Majid

Majid Tavakoli, the prominent student leader at AKUT was arrested on December 7 (Students Day) after giving a courageous speech to a crowd of 1500 protesters at his school. He was severely beaten during his arrest and taken to jail, and is reported to be under pressure and subjected to torture.

Iran's state-sponsored media have allegedly reported that Tavakoli was disguised as a woman when he was detained and have widely published close-shots of Tavakoli wearing so-called women's clothing (as a means to undermine his courage and damage his reputation among his peers). Using women's clothing to demean Tavakoli is also an insult to all Iranian women who have bravely fought in the green movement and have struggled for equal rights in Iran for years.

Iranian students worldwide are reacting in outrage and while demanding the release of Majid Tavakoli, are asking the state media to put an end to this pattern of behavior. Iranian male bloggers have initiated a Campaign for men to wear women's clothing in support of Majid Tavakoli, as part of a greater movement reacting to the state's mistreatment of political prisoners and student activists.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cobourg Flood

Click on image to enlarge

Produced by

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cobourg's Biggest Political Protest

Deb O'Connor
Anti Proroguement Rally Rocks Downtown Cobourg

Today's rally, held in front of a locked door at MP Rick Norlock's Cobourg constituency office, was an unqualified success, as up to 150 people of all ages, shapes and sizes joined together to express their displeasure at the prorogation of Parliament by Stephen Harper's government. With so many there, at some points the roadway was impassable for cars. more on The Burd Report. (See video of rally at bottom of this posting.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cobourg Chainsaw Massacre in front of Victoria Hall

It would have been better if it was a chainsaw massacre, but the town's work crews decided to give the Christmas trees the ax. As you can see, it was a hatchet job.

The trees were embedded into the frozen ground, so they couldn't be pulled out. I sure hope the town has some effective liability insurance in case some individual trips, falls and impales themselves.

Really, couldn't these trees have been cut down with a saw, making the stumps flat?


Where is the local msm? Are they curious? Perhaps they checked it out and avoided it. Where is the Burd Report on this? It's happening about three blocks away from BR Central. So who will have the curiosity to knock on the door to ask what this is all about? Will this escalate?


In the fall of 2008, the Cobourg Daily Star bought the first serial rights to publish the story below. As the months went by, I would send an occasional email to the editor asking if it will be published. I was found unworthy of the courtesy of a reply, not even an acknowledgement of the query. The months and months and months went by, then a year, then some more months and months, but nothing.

The curious part was the editor bullshitted me that they liked the story below, that the paper didn't have anyone to write stories of Cobourg in yore, so this was to be the first. Sure. Right. Yep. Bullshit. The paper has no writers or columnists who grew up in Cobourg and know it that intimately. It is a pity that the local paper has no writer with roots in Cobourg, who knows the landscape and/or zeitgeist of the 50s & 60s in Cobourg. Obviously the local papers have no interest in caring about the older demographic who no longer see themselves reflected in the local paper. So today, I returned the money the editor had paid, and lo and behold, the first serial rights belong to me.

For some privileged reason, the story was found to be unworthy of publication. Perhaps it is without any redeeming merit, that is to say, my writing is mediocre. Perhaps the story is boring and will have no interest for Cobourgers to read and so does not deserve any wide distribution. Anyway, I believe the story has some small entertainment value, at least for the four or five people I personally know. If anyone else would have enjoyed this story, I'll never know. We know only that the editor of Northumberland Today did not consider this sort of story, or this sort of writing worthy of their readership.

For a time we were the Sewer Brats, meeting every Saturday afternoon at the Midtown Restaurant, to debrief ourselves on our illicit adventure of the day.

We were boys of single digit age. The dam holding back the accumulating reservoir of raging hormones was yet to come to spillover crisis. To a boy, we had our distinctive club cologne -- Scent of Sewage. We hadn’t a clue why seagulls circled so low around us as we walked up from the harbour. Really, not a clue.

Our kid kommittee sat in the restaurant booth, all filthy fingernails, dirty hands, scruffed clothing, disheveled hair, grimy-grinned, and wide-eyed, vulturing a shared plate of fries and Cokes all ‘round. Oh, and our toes morphed into cute raisins inside our waterswamped shoes.

We had just emerged from the subterranean depths of Cobourg’s Midtown Creek culvert and King Street storm sewer system. The portal was on Covert Street.

Yes, that was our playground one summer in the late 50‘s.

It became a favourite hangout for two or three “gangs” of hormoneless boys. Indeed, one of our Sewer Brat members, with an entrepreneurial bent, later charged fees to other boys who wanted a tour of the system. But back to the origin of this boyish tale.

We had outgrown trikes, red wagons, shoot-em-up-cowboys, our Daniel Boone rubber bowie knives dull as newspaper editorials and Davey Crock… was just that -- Disneyness for mere children.

We were ripe for unofficial anything that was outside the reach of some well-meaning adult armed to the smile with white-toothed idealism and bearing a binder of government-committee-approved activities which invariably resulted in unskinned knees and soft-soled feet. All the little trained seals who answered the call of the mild, returned home, clean-faced, to the silent applause of Parental Control Centre. “Houston, we have no problem”.

CLEAN-FACED! This was a crime against grime. Any boy without the honour of bearing a grass-stain skid-mark was doomed to Dorktown holding a Ward Cleaver Award of Pleasantville insignificance.

The Sewer Brats heeded only the call of the wild, something without cub scout badge merit. We were restless, not riskless. The conditions of our play had to be dirty, smelly and dangerous because we were most emphatically NOT GIRLS!

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the Democrazy Republic of Boy held for all wrong-living bad boys -- Amendment 1: No Girls allowed. Amendment 2: No girls allowed. What could be more girl-free than culverts and sewers. Life was gloriously wild and free. Danger and victory went hand in hand. Defiance before compliance. We were meeting the probationary conditions for manhood.

Our initial exploration of the Midtown Creek waterway was the culvert under the Catholic School yard. It was only a block-long. We could see indirectly the light coming in from both ends. This afforded us an achievable goal with a sense of safety, a training-wheel trial. But it also encouraged us to take the bait of bigger better things -- the culvert that went for blocks underneath the downtown.

On the first attempt, we entered as far as the light permitted us. Our umbilical cord to safety was stretched to the limit when darkness began to embrace us a bit too completely and we saw no light at the end of the tunnel. We didn’t emerge from the womb to end in a tomb, so we backed out.

Up to the Midtown Restaurant, the kid kommittee held a power lunch of chips deep-dipped in Heinz. All belched up on Coke, we resolved that next Saturday we would bring candles to better penetrate deeper into the dank heart of darkness -- the storied light at the end of the tunnel would be ours.

The second Saturday we were well positioned to emerge at the harbour exit. Barry got the matches, Ray got the candles, a whole full box of candles, birthday cake candles. Man, we knew what we were doing. Yep. We were boys. Yep. So in we went, leaving-it-to-beaver town behind us.

We received a quick on-site tutorial that a single birthday candle provided insufficient light to guide four boys slouching towards bethlebedlam, so the solution was for each of us to have a candle; after all, we had a “whole full box”.

We received another on-site tutorial about skinny little pink and blue birthday candles having a best-before-date of mere minutes of illumination for the unenlightened.

The impromptu education continued unabated when Barry, the match holder, stumbled on a pipe hidden under the water, and went down like a casualty in a bad western movie. Without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we turned back, lighting one candle from the other, hoping, oh man we were hoping, silent within ourselves, because we couldn’t admit fear. It would be a violation of the primary policy of boyhoodlum.

Once again, over a power lunch, the Sewer Brats autopsied the misadventure and once again resolutely resolved to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel next Saturday, come heck or hell water. Multi-tasking was the disorder du jour, so in parallel simultaneity with our resolute resolving, we did the usual autopsy on the cadaver of chips bloodied with Heinz in a hygiene-free zone. Man, it was good to be a guy!

The third Saturday saw us armed with a flashlight and two tall Christmas candles, blazing red. What could stop us now? We made it all the way to stumble bummer site which compelled us to back out the previous week. It was there that the flashlight revealed to the Sewer Brats that they were not the first to enter into this Domain of Darkness -- stage-right, chalk-scrawled on the wall was BUMP.

In a few more minutes we were to find that we were not the only ones in that culvert. Light does not bend around corners to illuminate niches and nooks. Furthermore, innocence prevented us from imagining human predators lurking in the dark. But a mouth came out of nowhere, blew out the candle, pushed us into the water and submerged our flashlight.

The sound of fleeing feet sloshing into the darkness echoed back to exacerbate our humiliation. The spears of our epithets failed to penetrate the armour of their whooping laughter. For a seeming eternity our hands brailled the wall back to Covert Street and the Midtown meet.

Who was it? Barry suggested it was the Depot Deadheads. Jim said it was the Burnham Bullies. Our name, the Sewer Brats, was at stake. The boy policy of SHOW-NO-FEAR camouflaging REAL FEAR prevailed. Next Saturday we would go full membership: five all-wet warriors.

Each of us had candles, each had matches, and two flashlights to cinch our fragile bravery. When we reached the site of the previous week’s humiliation, we found the niche that had concealed the predators. It was eerily illuminated with subdued lighting emanating from above.
A round shaft fit-for-one led up to a storm sewer grill on the King Street curb outside Cortesis’ Billiard Academy. Once in a while someone stepped over the grill to jay-walk. Oh, what could be more fun than needlessly exciting idiot adults by hollering up the shaft.



Sadly no one took notice. Our mischief evaporated into a mild cuss. We was shafted.

So on we slouched and sloshed, around a slight bend and behold, there it was: the light at the end of the tunnel we had been striving so tenaciously to reach. We arrived at our goal, stepped out of the creek and scaled a 20-foot mountain of coal to shout our victory against the forces of darkness.

Off we paraded to the Midtown Restaurant to formally dissolve the Sewer Brats Club. Well-anointed in Scent of Sewage, we looked to the heavens and, in our freshly-minting minds, we saw that our achievement had earned us an entourage of circling seagulls.

It was a great day to be a boy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Community Vehicular Reclamation Project

Click on image to enlarge

Augusta Street, the main north-south artery through Kensington Market, has seen a wide assortment of activist art over the years. For downscale artistas, cheap rent is the prime appeal of Kensington Market.

Art for arts sake? Not in this neighbourhood, where the denizens regard the prospect of a Starbucks as a vile invasion and occupation from the right-wing yankee corporate class.

Kensington Market was a 10 minute walk from my garret. My community life was enriched by the clever permutations of art that had shown up from time to time. In 2006 the "garden car" was installed by Streets Are For People. The bumper sticker philosophy of ONE LESS CAR was cleverly morphed to ONE MORE GARDEN. Street Art literally.

This automobile was gutted of engine and interior; all the better to fill with soil to nurture a tree, some grass and an assortment of seasonal flowers. A small sign was attached requesting the car not be towed, and so it wasn’t.

The vehicle was an expression of the “Community Vehicular Reclamation Project” an ad hoc org of artsies continuing the initial struggle of hippies of yore. The painting of the car is reminiscent of the Haight-Ashbury psychedelic poster lettering – same ole retro-rut.

Queen Street West was and continues to be the cutting edge avenue for the avante garde arts scene, while Kensington Market continues its retro-course. I was more often drawn to art that indicates where it is going rather than the art of Kensington Market that indicates where art came from.
Nevertheless, it is not as simplistic as that. Living in the centre of Toronto's creative district has perqs unavailable anywhere else. I especially recommend the Parking Meter Parties along Queen Street West between Bathurst Street and Dufferin.

This has become an annual fall event, when alternativistas pay their coin to park their bike, skateboard, or just set up a card table in the parking space and play a game of canasta. Others bring guitars, easels, etc. and set up studio. Here is a video of a group playing just down the street, and then there is TOM SMARDA.

This the part that I participated in, a riff from Critical Mass. Every month, bicyclists congregate en mass and for a handful of hours the streets are OURS. Vive le car free day.

The 'garden car' is towed away every fall, stored for the winter, and brought back by the city in the spring. The removal is done to facilitate snow plowing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Susanna Moodie?

"The Cobourg Public Library's sixth annual 'Share Your Stories' writing contest will honour two dedicated local teachers who died tragically last year.

The library has created the Broomfield-Kernaghan Award, in memory of Michelle Broomfield, a Grade 2/3 teacher at Baltimore Public School, and Suzanne Kernaghan, a Grade 2 teacher at Cobourg's Terry Fox Public School, who both died in a car accident on Jan. 13, 2009. The award will go to a Grade 1 to 3 student who shows great passion and creativity." MORE
I wonder if the name of Susanna Moodie has ever occurred to anyone in Cobourg to have any value whatsoever. Susanna Moodie, the author of Roughing It In the Bush, and anti-slavery activist, arrived in Canada via Cobourg, and built a homestead just outside the the then-town limits.

Her value, as an author of early pioneer life, as well as poetry, was enhanced when Canada's greatest woman poet, Margaret Atwood, celebrated her life in the seminal anthology of poetry, The Journals of Susanna Moodie. It's not that the library is without reference material; it has lots.

No matter. Countless town councils ignore her contribution to Canadian culture, as do the schools, and libraries. No street or park or any public acknowledgement of her cultural presence in Cobourg, yet Cobourgers accept that a suburban developer names streets by fiat after his daughters.

Does the library have any kind of award named after Susanna Moodie?