Category Archives: humour


CanadaLand blog

CanadaLand blog

“Je Suis…” confused whether it’s about the right to say what you want without consequences, the right to ideas freely expressed — judiciously — or the right to not be assaulted by hatred or stupidity wearing a flowery cartoon dress.

Someone recently noted somewhere, and I paraphrase here: I’m getting whiplash with my head going one way to read this and then the other way to read that.

Somewhere in this jumble, I may arrive somewhere else and find personal peace and enlightenment.

Huge flash mobs around the globe flipped a collective bird to terrorists, and a high five to “free speech”. Power to the people. Awe-inspiring.

Why it was just the absolute perfect time and place for some of the world’s worst offenders against free speech to line up and show their mugs for “photo ops” at the Paris #je_suis_charlie rallies. Protective colouring for the Saudi ambassador, among many.

Consider that his nation recently carried out a public flogging of a blogger for the crime of “insulting” the ruling family.

Russia, Nigeria, Israel, etc etc showed up with their smiling faces as well.  Only, there’s a report they didn’t actually “lead” the Paris rally but arranged for official photo ops to take place on a heavily-policed, barricaded-to-the-public, empty side street.

How… um… brave of them.  With fair weather friends like this, who needs enemies of free speech?

Talk about brave… #Canadaland blog featured an overly long rant by Jesse Brown and Jen Gerson, of the National Post. They went on and on about how gutless everyone else was for NOT re-posting the insulting cartoons of Muhammed from the pages of Charlie Hebdo.

How brave of the them too, as neither one will lose their jobs, be flogged, or face anything except maybe — and I stress MAYBE — a mild tongue-lashing from a nobody like me for intellectual puffery.

Brown and Gershon came off sounding like two wannabe-cool kids in a playground dissing everyone else for not wearing what they were wearing. Silly, childish, pretentious, and so wrong on so many points.

Great rebuttal by #Anne_Thériault, totally worth a read at for the full monty.

What the world needed after all that was a return to the present, and reality.  Like the soothing balm of the #Golden_Globe_Awards. Whoo-hoo!

Red pill? Or the blue pill?

*(Correction: National Post writer is Jen Gerson – not Gershon. Apologies)


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Hail to Freedonia!


F*ck me pumps

Really? 2015? Seven months? A friend likes to quote that great philosopher, Marx (Groucho not Karl):

“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”

True. So true.

To which I says: “Look to the future of Christmases Past.”™  (mind the trademark)

There was a show on TV once upon a time that combined skit comedy with social and political satire. It was called “Laugh-In” and was considered a trailblazer for reflecting the “blood humours” (in the medieval sense) of the time.

A last gasp of the late 60s and early 70s, the “Cold War” and looming threats of nuclear obliteration, “sex and drugs and rock & roll”, free love, and Vietnam.

You weren’t really there if you remember it. I had to check with an online encyclopedia to confirm all that.

Today it’s Groundhog Day and we’re all trapped in a perpetual 9/12; AIDS and ebola; zombies and vampires; ecstasy, meth and Kardashians, oh my; Afghanistan and Iraq, Iraq and Afghanistan again; and tsunamis of one kind or another. The Canadian dollar is worth the same as it was against the USDollar in the 1970s.

The genius called Colbert is the new late night Johnny, but The Daily Show remains young Americans’ number one source of news and their window on world events. My every keystroke is monitored for impure thoughts by some mindless super cop and its supporting and equally mindless mobs of minions.

People like Michael Brown are guilty until proven white. Please, may I erase my mental hard drive? I don’t like this place anymore.

Plus ça change.

So whatcha been doin’, Shmohawk? Writing. Seriously. I mean serious writing. You know, knuckling down to purge me soul of angry demons by slinging them onto the screen, much like I’m doing here. Only this is fun. That other stuff is hard work.

I hate it. I love it. It’s complicated.

I have a friend who’s done three books in that same time. Good for him, says I. I hate him. I love him.  This too is complicated because he’s a good friend, a best friend (I almost wrote “fiend”). In fact, he’s one of the constants in my meandering writing life.

Envy is a nasty bitch wearing too much makeup, a tight dress and high heels. But sometimes…. Oooh.

Not today though. Today, I have work to do. Begone, you nasty thing.

2015, eh.  Here we go again.

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gone but never forgotten

(not exact representation)

(not exact as shown)

You must’ve heard by now that Margaret Thatcher is dead at 87 years of age. The former prime minister of Great Britain slipped away into forgetfulness. She was the first woman to head the British government and was responsible for either the United Kingdom’s economic renaissance or the selling of its soul to corporate greed.

There you have it. Not everyone agrees that she was Britain’s greatest prime minister, or that this is the most appropriate place for this subject.  To which I retort – well, yeah. Continue reading

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Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canadian politics, humour, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights

what?! not possible!

“I googled “shmohawk,” the radio host says looking skeptically over the microphone. She says she did an online word search for “shmohawk” and came up with this description: “a horrible driver.” The look on her kisser says: “what’s going on?”  Google: "horrible driver"

I can only sputter – cuz it ain’t how I’ve described da Shmohawk here on my own blog.

There’s lessons to be learned from this exchange, mes amis. So listen up.

First, never believe everything Google tells you.

Google's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" referenceSecond, follow Google’s reference to “a horrible driver” and the trail will lead you to a skit on Larry David’s TV show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (YouTube video here).

Larry David’s character (no relation) shouts “shmohawk” to some dumb ass behind the wheel of another vehicle on the road. He may or may not tell you that “shmohawk” and “shmuck” mean the same thing.

Third and lastly, one Yiddish dictionary (Bubby Gram) describes “shmohawk” thus:

Shmuck: Literally, “jewel” Another of the many Yiddish words for “penis.” (perhaps the same meaning as “family jewels.”) Although it has the same general meaning as putz, a shmuck often refers to someone with greater power or social/emotional status; someone who’s intentionally nasty or uses their power for ill, whereas a putz is more ineffectual, easier to dismiss because he’s beneath consideration or has no real effect on your life. (It’s the difference between “jerk” and “total a$$hole.” — It’s a very subtle difference, I grant you, and the line is often blurry.) Note: I recently had an almost Talmudic discussion with my brother-in-law about this subtle difference between a putz and a shmuck, and he summed it up perfectly: “One is erect, the other is limp.”

© 2003 – 2012 Adrienne E. Gusoff/ All rights reserved – It’s not nice to steal!!!

Another Yiddish dictionary had a simpler description of the word “shmohawk”: a trouble-maker or a male appendage. I prefer this one.  I’ve used it in my profile (“About Shmohawk“) at the top of my blog.

There I am, Google: Da Shmohawk

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open letter: gimme some sugar

Fightin' Whities TV

Fightin’ Whities TV

The Canadian media really should consider creating a special award for Indigenous peoples. We deserve it.  We make it so much easier for reporters and producers of the news to fill their pages and newscasts, real and digital. Continue reading

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Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Canadian politics, Climate Change, human rights, humour, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism

a cheery little xmas story

ugly tree

ugly xmas tree

Years ago, more than I care to count, I confess that I was a federal civil servant. That’s not the worst part. I got that job at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. But wait. That’s still not the worst.  The worst is yet to come.

Maybe I should begin with the good part of this tale. I actually felt lucky when I got the job because of where it was. A nice woman named Barbara Shaw took a shine to me, hired me into her Audio-Visual shop. There, I honed my photographic skills, learned more about audio recording and mixing, and was introduced to multi-media (slide shows and video production). I also was lucky enough to work with a few nice people.

Michel was second-in-line and loved the remote film projects he got to work on. Next came Bucky holding court in the studio, half blind and a jazz drummer. Finally, “Raw Bear” (aka Robert) in charge of the photography, slide and visual arts side of things. Down the hall was Howard and the Indian News. I took over the not-so-glam job of news monitoring, a duty the rest of the guys willingly, too willingly it seemed, let go.

I set timers on video and tape recorders every night, and the next morning reviewed local and national newscasts for anything to do with the Department’s mandate. The minister, every minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, didn’t want to be caught with his pants down at Question Period. Also as part of the job, I got to read the daily print clippings. My political spidey sense became more acute. My critical analysis of the Canadian news media took shape.

At first, the sum total of recorded news items each morning might be one fluffs-and-feathers piece. These usually, often, almost always began with the sound of drums and chanting. Always those damn drums and chanting. I read way too many newspaper and magazine clippings with headlines or stories that contained phrases like “dancing up a storm” or “whooping it up” somewhere for something. If it weren’t for that strange thing call a Mohawk sense of humour, I might have become suicidal thereby completing the tragic stereotypical process.

But I survived.  And I digress. This is supposed to a cheery little Christmas story.

So one day in December, during what turned out to be my last few months at Indian Affairs, Raw Bear and I decided to accept the Assistant Deputy Minister’s invitation to partake of some holiday cheer in his offices up on the 21st. floor. This was THE 21st. Floor, usually out of bounds to lesser beings such as we.

There was only other time I’d taken the elevator up to that floor. I dropped off some news summaries because some faecal matter had struck an electric aeration device and the Minister’s Office (caps required) demanded immediate attention. Usually, one of the other guys  responded to such directives. That one time, given my suspicious racial background and therefore dubious security status, the gods on 21 decided to take a chance and give mew the job of delivery boy. I felt so freaking honoured I wanted to puke. But, again, I digress.

So there we are, Raw Bear and I. We’re chuckling and stifling laughs as we prowled the food table. “White food,” I said, looking down at the usual bits of cheese and crackers. “Where’s the Injun food,” I add?

“Maybe they couldn’t afford baloney,” Raw Bear replied.
“You mean Indian steak?”

So we scoured the tables looking for something, anything more edible. We slipped over to the drinks area where someone was dispensing wine and beer, all the while looking about completely amazed at the cavorting of normally dour and dull civil servantry. This was not just another day in the belly of the beast.

I’d never seen so many comely but poorly paid secretaries… uh, I mean clerical staff, groping or hanging off each other as well as senior managers of a more lecherous bent. Suddenly, Raw Bear and I felt the joyous mood in the room become decidely cooler. We could feel pairs of eyes boring into the backs of our necks. We were definitely in someone’s scope.Then a tap on the shoulder and a whispered command to both of us: “Follow me.”

Raw Bear and I had quietened somewhat. Well, okay, I’d gone a whole lot quieter. Raw Bear had seniority while I was still on the endless cycle of six-month appointments that was the fate of most Indigenous folk at the Department. I knew one poor schmuck who had been on similar appointments for nearly 18 years. I repeat: nearly 18 years!

“Shhhh,” I whispered. “This looks serious.” This just made the slightly inebriated Raw Bear giggle even more.

We were escorted into an adjoining room and told to stay. We stood there looking at each other, wondering what the hell was going on, scanning the walls for about a minute but feeling it much longer, when the owner of the office came in. There he was. Rob Brown, the ADM himself.

Mr. ADM entered and shut the door behind. He didn’t even both with a “Merry Christmas.” He went straight to the point, which is why he got paid the big bucks: “I want you both to face the wall, and put your hands up against it.”

I wish I’d had an out-of-body experience at that moment. I wanted so much to see the exclamation points and questions marks popping like bubbles above our heads. We turned to look at each other. Then we both turned around the other way to face the wall. Dutifully, me and Raw Bear  assumed the position. Y’know: That position.

By this point, being slightly pickled, we were both giggling at the whole ludicrous, ridiculous, surreal situation. We were giggling like a pair of school girls while this highly priced ADM is running his hands up and down our arms, armpits, waists, and down our legs to the ankles. And just like that, it was over.

“Okay,” he said. We were clean. Not quite innocent but not proven guilty either. Mr. ADM then turned to the door and went through it.  Stunned, Raw Bear and I stayed in “the position” for a second or two before finally breaking into full blown guffaws.

Stunned, we rejoined the party.  But the implications were starting to gnaw at our party spirit. Yes, our libidos went limp. We had another drink but soon decided the thrill was definitely gone.

I saw a friend, Monik, deep in shmooze mode on the other side of the room. We didn’t want to interrupt so we waved goodbye to her, headed out the door and down the hall to the elevators, shaking our heads all the way down to our floor at the pat down.

The next day, I ran into Monik. I asked if she knew what happened to us at the party? She seemed more shocked than surprised. As the tale unfolded, Monik’s expression slowly turned fron concern into a smile. What was so goddam funny, I asked? For me, the funny left town on last night’s bus to Toronto.

My civil rights, my labour rights, my human rights as an individual in Canadian society – all had been violated by my boss, the ADM of Indian Affairs. I know that shouldn’t have surprised me – me of all people! So why was Monik on the verge of busting a gut?

That’s when she confessed.

There was a little toy Christmas tree with tiny decorations on a table near the food and drinks areas. ADM Brown noticed that some of these decorations had grown feet. There we stood, me and Raw Bear, hanging around that area, just a-giggling away. Ergo, ipso fatso, we must be the guilty parties. That’s why the dragnet came out, the die was cast, and so on and so forth.

There is a moral to this story. Maybe two.
Never, ever trust any senior official at Indian Affairs.
And beware Abenakis bearing gifts.

Happy Kwaanzaa!

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couldn’t help it

As a general rule, I try to stay within the bounds of Indigenous news and comment. I also try to avoid jumping on the next big story that comes along to attract cheap eyeballs at this site. But… I couldn’t resist this little cartoon at Harper’s Magazine’s website. Click on the link below to see what I mean.



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