Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Week After Ribfest Departed Victoria Park

August 29, 2011

Parks Management was on the case to repair and maintain the grounds the moment everything Ribfest was removed. Kudos for that. The grounds had taken quite a pounding for the previous 8 weeks or so and proved its overall resilience. The entire grounds were aerated and seeded. It was supplemented by a good soaking of rain. The yellow patches have almost got all their green back. Other rough areas are showing green life returning. Other barren areas still show the grunge, grass by a tree is still shiny and slick with oil.

Compared to last year, there were virtually no scars from the tires of heavy vehicles. It rained last year and this year, but the heavies were handled quite gingerly.

Click on image to enlarge

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The TREEDOM of VICTORIA PARK takes another hit

Click on image to enlarge
The tree was already compromised by rot, and the fury of the storm that swept Cobourg August 24 took advantage of the weakness. Several high canopy trees have been taken down this year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Last year Cobourg Town Council received several recommendations that addressed the annual contamination of Victoria Park with industrial amounts of cooking oil and bacon grease from the monster cooking rigs that serve Northumberland Ribfest.

One of the simplest of those recommendations was the request for a platform, or tarpaulin or any other prophylactic device to prevent this annual contamination. Prevention! – what a concept!

There was a recently floated suggestion to allow for permit-only bbqs confined to the Lion’s Pavilion. There is a reason for that. It has a non-absorbent floor. Prevention. But Ribfest gets a free ride to crap anywhere it wants on the lawns. Why was no effort made to prevent this gross spillage of cooking oil and bacon grease? It’s not that Council and the Ribfest organizers didn’t know about it; they did. That was last year.

Look at the attached photos of the fifth annual contamination. The Ribfest organizers did what to prevent this happening again? Nothing that I can see. Every resident of Cobourg should go down to bear witness to the injury to Victoria Park. Observe how long it takes to recover. Visit it every other day or once a week, but check it out. Members of the Parks Advisory Committee should certainly make a walk past twice a week for their own observances.

Question; are those cooking oils and bacon grease biodegradable in a matter of minutes, like rain, like tears, like the natural disorder of natural things? It’s not fertilizer nor coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice drinks, slushies, ice cream carelessly dropped by a nonchalant child. No, no, no, this is big time real contamination done by adults.

These adults chose not to address the annual grease dump in this Great Green Heritage District this year for reasons known only to them. They don’t answer to me, but they should have a civic responsibility to answer to the larger community for this continuing contamination of the lawns. Cooking oil and bacon grease cause harm.

Look at the pictures. Note the oil-slicked grass around the base of a tree that sat behind the cooking rigs. Sloppy sloppy work. Completely preventable. All it would take is the requirement of a tarpaulin or some sort of competent containment.

Repeat after me, “Cooking oil and bacon grease cause harm.

Look at the pictures. See in some the green grass lovingly trampled by partiers. This is some tough resilient grass. Paramount quality. Fit for daily frolics by countless children. Yellowed grass gets its green mojo back in a couple days. Easy to live with that. But not with dead grass but live root that gets its green back much much slower. Not days, but weeks. There are more and more places were the grass is sparse, where the soil is soaked barren with ugly guck.

Repeat after me, “Cooking oil and bacon grease cause harm.

Look at the pictures. Dozens of plastic bun bag clips litter the ground, along with two splinters of a broken plastic glass, four depressions caused by a support device left unfilled (golfers with class restore divots.) The park loves bare feet, especially children. There should be no area where children should fear to frolic. “No, no, Johnny, don’t play over there, the ground’s greasy and grimy -- you’ll ruin your clothes.” Every day exuberant caterpillars of children weave their way from daycare to the park.

Repeat after me, “Cooking oil and bacon grease cause harm.

Look at the picture of the crude boil around the manhole cover. No one in Cobourg is permitted to pour their cooking oil and bacon grease on public lawns let alone near entrances to the storm sewer system. How could such hazardous waste be permitted near that?

Victoria Park is no second level or neighbourhood park. It is top of the top, a crown jewel, a star, The One and it deserves the respect of an environmentally protected area. An easily preventable injury has been done to the lawns for the fifth year in a row. While some patches grow back in days, too many others take weeks. A woman’s black eye will get its colour back before some of those contaminated patches green up. It can no longer be cavalierly dismissed with a grass-grows-back attitude.

Repeat after me, “Cooking oil and bacon grease cause harm.

Before entering Victoria Park next year. will it be too much to ask that those mobile monster grease pits be diapered?

Click on image to enlarge

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Click on image to enlarge
There is no more need to negotiate with the organizers of Ribfest. This photograph was taken Tuesday Aug 23, 2011. They have caused more damage to Victoria Park than a summer full of outsiders. Town Council was told about this possibility happening. Nothing was done. Cobourg Town Council has demonstrated that it is nothing more than a sock puppet for the Rotary Club. And the Parks Advisory Committee needs to explain why they do nothing. No monitoring. Year after year, the grease and oil is spilled, and a proud cottonwood tree that took how many generations to reach its majesty was brought to its knees by a mere cook-off. How pathetic is that. Where is Councillor Larry Sherwin?

I wrote the following above: "...was brought to nits knees by a mere cook-off"

That was inaccurate. Two trees have died -- both of them from Dutch Elm disease. Two trees have died -- both of them are elms, not cottonwoods as I asserted. Every other large tree in the park is a Cottonwood, but not the two that died. Rather than take down the posting above, I let it stand so that my errors are exposed for transparency.

However, I will be posting pictures soon of the usual industrial strength grease and cooking oils on the lawns.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


It was stanza room only last Thursday evening as the Cobourg Poetry Workshop assembled another monthly poetry reading gala at the faux grand salon at Meet at 66 King Street. It is a wonderful place where the local better poems and garden set gather to indulge in refined eloquence blended with the finest pirouettes of soliloquy.

The feature poet was Mick Burrs, the poet formerly known as Steven Michael Berzensky. In 25 words or less, Mick was born in the USA, became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war and arrived in Canada to enrich us with poetry ever since.

Mick delivers his poetry in a subdued voice; the strength of his words do not require volume. Much to my personal delight he turned tovarishch and introduced the richness of Russian poets Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova, then launched into his own poetry, especially a short poem of Stalin, in which he briefly delineates the cruel horrors of his deeds then ends the poem with Stalin’s hand lovingly stroking a grandchild’s hair.

(Can we imagine today how lovingly Muammar Gaddhafi might be embracing his children each night, strongly, as if it were the last time that he could hold them?)

The evening began with some Chinese language lessons of the first order. John Stubbs provided a handout to the audience which presented excerpts of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao Tzu. The handout was a brilliant device because it contained not only the Chinese characters, but also their transliteration as well as a translation in such an eloquently colloquial manner that the audience could get it. This was supplemented by Wayne Shlepp who read the Chinese in his own voice with impeccable clarity.

The evening concluded with a powerful and emotional performance by Deborah Panko, a Cobourg poet who has been acquitting herself since letting her inner poet chirp and sing and pirouette on very branches of poetic expression. Deborah’s voice is unique and distinctive from the illuminati literaturistas of the Local Lot. She has a full bodied laugh indistinguishable from a mortar.

The poetry reading at Meet at 66 King was sublime compared to the rowdy poetry reading two evenings earlier at Art Bar in Toronto. It was the last time that Art Bar will be holding its venue at Clintons on Bloor. Next month it will be at Paupers Pub, just down the street. But I’ll tell that story later this week with video to match.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The retro-progressives of Deb Oh Oh and Bland Christie are in fine form publishing their presumptions about the VIA faux-bomb incident, focussing their tut-tuts and tsk-tsks on police conduct.

Pete Fisher wrote the following, “Cobourg Police Sgt. Nancy Saunders said the man allegedly made a comment to train staff that there was a bomb in his luggage. His luggage was removed from the train and his wife was directed to open it and go through the items while officers stood a safe distance back.”

That is all there is in the public domain about the incident. Now let’s have a look at the take by locally renown DebOO and her never-ending self-serving crusade against poverty and evil white dudes who are very unswarthy.

1. “the officers decided to use the man's wife
2. “the police decision that it was appropriate to use the man's wife to uncover a possible bomb. How can that be right? If his companion was his child or auntie, would they be asked to volunteer for the job too? Why was his wife? What's going on?
3. “…urges the missus to file a complaint. It's atrocious that a family member of a suspect is treated in this manner by our officers, and so casually too.
4. “this type of callous behaviour
5. “Shame on them for showing such poor judgment.”
6. “the wife being used in lieu of a bomb squad.”

Throughout her presumptuous self-righteousmess, the reader is led to believe that the woman was somehow coerced to perform this act reluctantly, aka against her will. DebOO asserts that the police had so callously used the wife that the wife should file a complaint about her atrocious treatment. Concluding that the police were very very bad (atrocious) DebOO wags her scolding finger -- Shame on them.

BLAND CHRISTIE ups the presumptuousmess a notch. He asserts, “The Cobourg police acted in a manner that requires an investigation. No common sense was used. The woman was publicly humiliated not once but twice. First in being made -in full public view- to do the job of the police and open the luggage and afterwards to take a taxi to the Cobourg police station. The police acted as bullies.”

All the facts have been obtained and a judgment rendered: “The police acted as bullies.” Bland Christie, who applies common sense in every instance, concludes that “No common sense was used.

Hmmm let’s try something out. A scenario that does not assume the worst of the cops.

Suppose the man and wife were expressing differences to each other. Perhaps he was half-cut or stoned or both. He allegedly had some pot. So the guy is a jerk and makes a stupid remark to train staff using the words “bomb” and “luggage.”

The train staff begin to implement some protocols, stopping the train in Cobourg and calling the cops. Meantime, the stressed out wife, who had to put up with her jerkass husband for the last 73 minutes on the train, and now this, pleads with the train staff to ignore the goof. She packed the suitcases herself, she declares, and there is no bomb, no bomb, she says.

But the train staff go all automaton protocol (as delineated by Dan The Bland work-to-drool union censor) and on come the cops to arrest the man. While on the train, the wife pleads with the cops that there is no bomb, that she packed the bags and she volunteers to open the suitcases to prove her point and after a bit of discussion the banal plausibility of the wife’s story convinces the police to “direct” her to open the suitcases. The stressed out wife proves her point – NO BOMB. Whew all around.

Insofar as the police not driving the wife to the police station along with her husband, she was not charged with anything. The Cobourg police have no mandate to provide taxi service to any adults. The woman is fully capable of taking care of her affairs by herself. It is her decision whether she continued on VIA or stayed in Cobourg.

If Bland Christie & his sock puppet, DebOO had their way, the train would have stopped in a field away from population, disembarked all the passengers in a deadly heat and vehicled them to a nearby air conditioned shelter to wait out the hour after hour after hour while the “experts” arrive and sniff the train, baggage car included. Once every protocol is signed off, the passengers can be vehicled back aboard to continue on their journey, perhaps in a few cases, to learn that they missed their flight.

The retro-progressives of BURDBLAND would have imposed a fascist experience on everyone. Yep that blandinista with as much intelligence as stale beer, stomps his righteous fascist boot: “The arresting officers should by now be suspended until an investigation is completed. The train employees should be suspended and should be giving full statements.”

The stupid fart gratuitously threw in some mud on Pete Fisher – “Pete Fisher should searh (sic) his soul and find out what makes hero worshipers like him tick. In short, this whole debacle stinks to high heaven.” Sock puppet, DebOO coos and disses the Fish in tandem. She also indulges in racial profiling (“the man does look a little swarthy in the pix”), presuming that all “bombers” are swarthy, a stereotype that is inaccurate. But then again, she does have an obsession with the unworthiness of white skinned people, feeling a need to constantly bring up skin pigmentation to support and identify stereotypes to score political points.

The only souls that need to be searched are those of the ménage a trios of the circle jerkistas nesting in BURDBLAND. Gobble gobble gullible!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Click on image to enlarge
I arrive in the field back of the town hall of Poet Hope, (the secularistas call it Port Hope). I was looking for Stuart Ross. I was downwind and immediately noticed that something didn't smell write. It smelled like one part you're-not-from-these-parts-are-you and nine parts exuberant innocence. It was in that aromatic ambiance that Stuart Ross presented his chapbook, which had that new chapbook smell, COBOURG VARIATIONS.

(Cobourg is my home town. I tell you that so that you know where I'm coming from. Cobourg has a very long and rich poetic history. There are many dead poets all over town that have been forgotten by the prose bags that do all the hard work to make Cobourg feel good. Cobourg is renown for holding its poetry readings in a fabulous faux salon thereby earning a national rep as the better poems and garden set.)

So there is Stuart Ross launching his first writings inspired by his very presence in Cobourg and he does it where? In Poet Hope, which is a comparable town only eight tokes away from Cobourg. This is a very troubling situation, because Stuart wants to continue to live in Cobourg for his foreseeable future.

This information is going to circulate throughout the local literary circles and triangles.

COBOURG VARIATIONS is a frolic. Stuart asserts that there are four dogs for every human in Cobourg. He is correct. Before you get the idea that Cobourg is an open dog pound, you should be aware that Cobourg has the most literate dogs this side of history.

Stuart did a splendid piece called 28 LINES ABOUT COBOURG. It is a treat to see how he arrived in Cobourg and took down its details and recylced them into a place much more wonderful.

The best part of COBOURG VARIATIONS is the price. Stuart delivers a density of imagination that deserves a higher price.

Friday, August 12, 2011

JAMES COCKBURN: a Father of Confederation, first Speaker of the House

Click on image to enlarge
Cobourg resident Rob Franklin portrayed James Cockburn in a play written by local historian and journalist, Rob Washburn with Rob Franklin. A brief video of James Cockburn was produced by the Cobourg Museum Foundation. The local community maintains a hardscrabble site about James Cockburn.