Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The way I see it

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the similarities between this video and Progressive Bloggers over the past while as the "puck" moved from Kick Ass Blogger Awards to the demise of Bill C-484 to the Harpercrite's current election posturing?

I'm just sayin'.....

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Just imagine what athletes could do if we actually funded them well"

The title to this piece is taken from Cam Cole’s commentary in the Ottawa Citizen today where he criticizes the Canadian government (and by inference all Canadians) for our “pathetically small” investments we make in our world-class athletes.

Well my question is why should we make any investments in them at all?

The number of medals Canada wins (or doesn’t win) in the bi-annual sponsor-fest known as The Olympics has not one iota of relevance for me or any other Canadian not directly affected. It doesn’t improve our standard of living. It doesn’t provide work to the unemployed. It does nothing to house the homeless. And no one out there seriously believes that the true measure of a country is how many gold, silver and bronze medals its athletes take home every few years. All The Olympics do is provide 2 weeks of 24-hour television coverage every 2 years of sports we would never pay to go and watch (weight lifting, equestrian, synchronized swimming to name just a few), and enough gnashing of teeth and angst-ridden editorial comments by the national print media when we don’t win our fair quota of medals to fell a few hundred thousand trees.

The entire Olympic movement has devolved from a celebration of amateur athletics to a huge political-commercial venture that impoverishes host countries (Don’t you think China could have used that $40 billion more wisely?) while enriching sponsors, television networks, and sundry others associated with the games. In fact, any use of the term “amateur athletics” and The Olympics in the same breath is simply laughable.

I say take the tens of millions we invest in the Canadian Olympic Committee and put it into true amateur sport. Build and staff arenas and swimming pools so that Canadian youth can enjoy sport for fun and fitness. Build more soccer pitches and ball diamonds. Increase funding for sports in schools. Actively encourage true amateur competition in all sports.

And if MacDonald’s and Coca-Cola and CBC and all the other sponsors still feel the need to host a periodic “world-class” sporting event let them pay the athletes to compete, the same as the NHL, the NFL, the NBA, and all other professional sports franchises.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There is a real world out there...

For the past month or so I have been lurking in the shadows, watching the blogosphere react to the Cons latest questionable actions related to the in-and-out scandal, the religious wingnuts’ (is that an oxymoron?) attempt to get Chief Justice McLachlin removed from the bench with, presumably, a scarlet letter of some sort attached to her robes, and the Harpercrite’s own musings about a dysfunctional Parliament (another oxymoron?).

While fun and amusing in a watching-a-train-wreck sort of way, it is all so tedious and predictable. Religious fundamentalists of all stripes will never be satisfied or silent until all of society adheres to their own little warped and twisted view of what constitutes acceptable behaviour coupled with suitable obeisance to their imaginary god(s). And politicians are simply elected idealists who have morphed into opportunists who will tell any lie, break any rule, abuse any trust to continue to manipulate the levers of power. Fakes and phonies all.

Contrast that to a couple of weeks ago when I had an opportunity to mingle with some real people – people who had no pretences, no hidden agendas, no ulterior motives, and who wanted nothing from me but respect and friendship. I was in Sturgis South Dakota for the 68th Annual Black Hills motorcycle rally, along with 450,000 other pilgrims, for it is, in fact, a pilgrimage for many of the people who attend year after year. These were men and women who crossed continents and oceans for one reason only – to be in Sturgis for the rally and ride the Black Hills of South Dakota. I guess that’s actually two reasons, but whether it was the guy who allowed as he’d “had some trouble with the law”, the UPS pilot, or the Wisconsin firefighters, what you saw was what you got, most everyone got along, and all had a great time.

There is no comparison between the two worlds, and right now I know which one I’d rather occupy. So I guess I’ll go back to lurking for a while, periodically reminding myself that not everyone is a cheat and liar and that there are still real people out there, living real lives, outside the political bubble.