Friday, August 13, 2004


It was one year ago tomorrow that Ontario and much of the Northeastern US were plunged into darkness at 4:11 pm. 50 million people were without power for up to a week afterwards and the already beleaguered city of Toronto took another hit in the “black summer” of 2003.

I just finished reading Souvenir of Canada 2 by Douglas Coupland (my favourite author) in which he presents the following essay contending that the rest of Canada is feeling somewhat more benevolent towards Toronto the these days. Have a read then I’d like to hear comments from those in the West who have had issues with the “center of the universe” and if that has softened as Coupland suggests.

"Toronto was once the city that Canadians loved to hate. Why? Simple. One day, as happened with Microsoft, the numbers came in, and Toronto was suddenly the biggest dog on the block. I remember the year it happened, sometime in the mid-1970's, when Toronto's population eclipsed that of Montreal. I was with my uncle and we were driving south from the Gatineau Mountains into Toronto. Somewhere on the 401, we saw the highway sign with the new population numbers - white letters on green. It felt like a real moment, and it was.

Most of the nation's commerce and culture is regulated and multiplied within Toronto's grid. In a book, I once described Toronto as "the Yellow Pages sprung to life in three dimensions, peppered with trees and veined with ice water," and I think that definition still, to some degree, sticks - in a good way. When you factor in its suburbs and what social scientists call its "conurbanation," Toronto is a massive economy unto itself, larger than that of most of the world's nations. You simply can’t deny its power. Human hearts are jealous; Toronto was an easy target, up until 2003.

In 2003, Toronto was blindsided by the SARA virus, a sci-fi plague both from hell and the distant and awful future. A few months later, after limping through the wreckage of its economy, the city melted down during a catastrophic power failure. The year 2003 was an awful time for its citizens, and for the first time in its history, the hearts of Canadians went out to Torontonians and have largely stayed with them since then. Toronto has been humanized and, because of its vulnerability, at long last has won a form of affection."

P.S. Take a look below at the groovy signature I got when I met Doug on his book tour for Hey Nostradamus!

The best autograph I've ever seen! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Man Sues God...and Loses

This is an old news item from AP but i just came across it for the first time and I had to pass it along...

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- In the matter of Drusky versus God -- God has won. A Pennsylvania man's lawsuit naming God as a defendant has been thrown out by a court in Syracuse. Donald Drusky, 63, of East McKeesport, Pa., blamed God for failing to bring him justice in a 30-year battle against his former employer, the steelmaker now called USX Corp. The company fired him in 1968, when it was called U.S. Steel. "Defendant God is the sovereign ruler of the universe and took no corrective action against the leaders of his church and his nation for their extremely serious wrongs, which ruined the life of Donald S. Drusky," the lawsuit said. Drusky wanted God to return his youth and grant him the guitar-playing skills of famous guitarists, along with resurrecting his mother and his pet pigeon. If God failed to appear in court, federal rules of civil procedure say he must lose by default, Drusky argued. But U.S. district Judge Norman Mordue threw out the case earlier this month. Mordue ruled that the suit -- which also named former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the major U.S. television networks, all 50 states, every single American, all federal judges, and the 100th through 105th congresses as defendants -- was frivolous.

And we wonder why there's a backlog in the legal system!

Friday, August 06, 2004

That's A Good Question

Bill Clinton was in Toronto yesterday signing copies of ‘My Life’ for thousands of adoring fans. According to an exclusive media report, “he was even giving out hugs!” I bet he was…

Anyway…I would fall on the conservative side of the voting spectrum (although I try to be open to the strengths and weaknesses of all parties), however, Clinton was interviewed for the CBC last night and he made a really good point about the U.S. involvement in Iraq. I’m not getting involved in that debate right now, but he asked the question why, after September 11, was the tracking down of Bin Laden/Al Qaeda not a priority? Why did Saddam Hussein suddenly become public enemy #1? And why were the Pakistani’s left to hunt for Bin Laden with only 10,000 US troops for support while there are 130,000 in Iraq where there are no WMD’s? All good questions I say.

If you want a good laugh, go to JibJab for a great video that takes shots at both sides!

A couple of weeks ago at a worship concert, Brian Doerksen said that it was his opinion that God had specifically called Canada as a nation to be a peacekeeper to the rest of the world. I had never thought of us in that light and it gives me a whole new perspective on the military and what our role in the world is as Canadians. Although I still believe our military deserves more federal funding, it needs to be as a support to our peacekeepers around the world to equip them in their role, not to bolster our military might.

New offensive weapons – no. Helicopters that don’t crash 10 minutes after lift off – yes.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson: 1908-2004

Since it probably won’t get a lot of press anywhere else, I thought it important to note the passing of one of the early masters of photography, a pioneer of modern photojournalism, and one of my favourite photographers. Henri-Cartier Bresson was a true purist in that he refused to use anything other than natural light and believed in capturing "the decisive moment." In his own words:

“’Manufactured’ or staged photography does not concern me. And if I make a judgement, it can only be on a psychological or sociological level. For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity and the master of the instant, which questions and decides simultaneously. In order to "give a meaning" to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry.

To take photographs means to recognize both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's hearth on the same axis.

As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is means of understanding, which can not be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shooting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It is a way of life.”

Is photography art? Yes. It is art observing life which, in many ways, itself is an art form. Bresson was a master at both.

"Photograph is nothing; the life in it; that interests me." Posted by Hello