Tag Archives: humour

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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Filed under humour, 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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Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, humour

racism, discrimination, and mohawks – oh my

You're Number One!

Fickle Finger Award

Joe Quesnel (sometime Métis, Mohawk or whatever) takes another swipe at Indigenous rights in the National Post. I would add “as usual” to that sentence but it becomes tiresome after awhile, about both. I honestly cannot remember when either the National Post or this Quesnel had anything good to say about Indians or Indigenous peoples of any kind. Oh – except that time when both developed (rather pitiful) woodies after the Git’ksan dangled the possibility of mass voluntary assimilation in front of them.

Of course, why is this news now? Why would the NatPost print an opinion piece right now about something that faded from the headlines weeks ago. What more could Quesnel or the NatPost add that would take the story that one step further to justify its printing? Well, nothing, actually. Unless one considers that it took that long for Quesnel to read what knowledgeable and informed bloggers (unlike himself) had been writing for some time already.

Only reason I can figure is that the National Post editorial board figured that it’s been too long since its last denigrating, demeaning, issuance of bilge about Indigenous peoples. Possibly, the right-wing make-work project that is Joe Quesnel came up in discussion; as in: “We ain’t heared from him in a dog’s dump, eh?” Thus, the dog dump that wound up in its proper place – on the pages of the National Post.

Long story short… this is why they are my nomination – a dual nomination – for the first-ever NEW Fickle Finger of Fate Award (aka the “You’re Number One” Award). To that monument to self-delusion and self-hatred, Joe Quesnel, and to that bastion of bile, the National Post… well done, y’all! Congrats. You both deserve it.


Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Canadian politics, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism

a new award

Well, sort of new. Remember the Rowan & Martin show…? Goldie Hawn got her start there. Some guy popping out from behind a potted palm wearing a World War Two German military helmet saying: “Very interesting. But not funny.” Y’know – Laugh-In?

I liked bits and pieces of that show, including the weekly “Fickle Finger of Fate Award.” The hosts would come across something insane, something they felt we should know about, something to let the perps know that we all knew what they’d said or done.

The NEW Fickle Finger of Fate Award

The NEW Fickle Finger of Fate Award

Thus, on the verge of the Federal Government’s Speech from the Throne (read by the Gov-General but really an edict from the Prime Minister’s Office) and the Conservative Government’s Budget… I hereby unveil the “Number One” Award (aka the NEW Fickle Finger of Fate Award).

I suspect we already know who’s the odds-on favourite to snag this first offering, but why don’t we keep it between Price-Waterhouse-Cooper and the Academy for the time being.

Just know that whoever is the lucky recipient from hence – YOU will forever be NUMBER ONE in our books.

Suggestions for future recipients most welcome. Let’s make this a weekly event, so keep those suggestions coming.


Filed under Canada, Canadian politics, humour

news two-point-oh-oh

h/t to Rick Harp for finding this bit of viz. Thanks to him, I now know what I’ve been doing right all of these years. From the walk&talk, to the raised eyebrow and head nod, to the obsequiesce comments that don’t make any sense in the invu clips. It’s all there. Now I can hang up my Journalism 101 badge and end it all. Because it’s all in that one damn piece. (sigh)

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great line

Rick Mercer

A "borrowed" picture of Rick Mercer

This is by Rick Mercer, a comedian, humourist, and funny guy in Canada. I think he comes closest to the biting kind of political satire that Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report) specialize in.

Here’s Mercer’s rant on Stephen Harper, who has p*ssed off just about everybody in all areas of the political quandrants by proroguing Parliament for another couple of months (probably so he can avoid answering opposition questions on torture in Afghanistan, stack the Senate while Parliament is empty, spend taxpayers’ money like drunken fools without anyone asking serious questions, and pretty much avoid the media.

Harper aka Pinochio

PM Stephen Harper

Enjoy the >full rant here:

This is a man who could argue that he is Canada’s greenest PM simply because he’s the only one who has gone out of his way to give potted plants key portfolios.

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Filed under Canada, Canadian politics, Environment, humour

ladies and gents, djimon hounsou

With an excellent primer written by Binyavanga Wainaina (a really good writer and journalist) on how NOT to write about Africa (which BTW is not a country).

Quiet on the set…. a-a-a-and action!

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Filed under Africa, humour, journalism