jscully's blog

Eight is Enuff!!

Cottagers and tourists can take a hike, not into nearby Algonquin Park where terrorists disguised as bears and moose will surely lurk, but back to their homes in the city. They won't be welcome in this usually visitor-crazy Mecca called Muskoka. No, officials don't fear an outbreak of bubonic plague, although locals may consider it to have happened, for in exactly two years' time, this place will be swamped with 5000 media and as many security operatives, politicians and their hangers on. So stand by for the most vacuous, meaningless, most-heralded event of each year, the G8 summit. In 2010 it will be staged at the Deerhurst Resort – Spa, Golf Course, Heated Pool-Cool Pool, Three Restaurants, Four Bars, Much Waiting, High Prices, Low Service – and Country Club just up the road from me.

Men From Mars – But Which One?

I've been vindicated by a group of British school kids. After my diatribe against John McCain's book on "people who made a difference," and the awful Sir Winston Churchill, justification has come from of all corporations, Walt Disney, in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society.

Wave Goodbye — Please!

To coincide with the visit earlier this year of hopefully not-the-next-President of the United States, John McCain, the London Daily Telegraph has published an excerpt from his book, Hard Times: Great Decision and Extraordinary People Who Made Them.

The names are tediously predictable and have been written about a million times. So, even though he had a co-writer, it can't have taken him more than ten minutes to dash off another vital entry into our literary pantheon. Uncharacteristically, he has not named himself in this list of "great achievers" who include Winston Churchill, Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln, Anwar Sadat, Menachim Begin, and one woman, Channel swimmer, Gertrude Ederle.

Is That a Pizza in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

You've probably heard the story by now of the Winnipeg pizza parlour that delivers pornographic pictures with its pies. All undressed, no doubt. It's a mystery to me how anyone could be so desperate for a slice of action they'd order a porno pizza before taking matters into their own hands. Not a pretty picture. Don't even think about the mess… crumbs and cheese and salami, I mean.

I have some advice for the purveyors to the perverted: however understandably desperate you feel in Winnipeg, do not do this in Baghdad.

Why the Surge Became a Gift to the Taliban

The surge is a pullulating, throbbing, testosterone-exploding success. That's the verdict of the U.S. military and mandarin minds who have declared that the temporary addition of thousands of troops to the battle in Iraq has got the enemy on the run. The same dreamboats, or nightmare carriers, attribute the surge to the drops in coalition deaths and violent incidents in Baghdad in particular, and other parts of Iraq. Why, even the nascent golden boy of U.S. politics, the new keeper of the keys to Camelot – or should that be shamalot? — Barack Obama changed his mind, so impressed was he with the surge. If ever you want a reason to doubt his intelligence, using both definitions of the word, this is the issue with which to challenge him and anyone else who is convinced the tactic worked.

Writers - A Fat Lot of Good!

"What do you do?" The small, bird-like doctor with a British accent asked me with no apparent interest.

"I'm a journalist. A writer."

No longer a virgin. Yes! This was the very first time I had called myself a writer in public.

"What? So you write for fun?" he asked as though the lump sitting before him in an open-backed hospital gown - I can never figure out how to tie those things up — couldn't even write his own name.

"Well. Not just for fun. I've had a book published and I'm Writer in Residence this month for Open Book Toronto."

Nobody Knows the Broccoli He's Seen

The broccoli on his plate almost reached the ceiling. Stir-fried, not shaken. Behind the mountain of greenery was a unique Canadian character, successful multi-media artist – as in paint, pen and song, not Internet, iTunes and iPods – and political shit-disturber, Mendelson Joe, aged 65. We met for lunch at the China House, one of Huntsville (pop. 20,000), Ontario's two ethnic restaurants, both Chinese, both very north-of-Toronto-Canadian.

Joe shovelled in the broccoli by the bucket-load because, nearly twenty years ago, he self-diagnosed diabetes — combined with the knowledge that George Bush hates it – convinced Joe that this was the way to good health in or out of sorts.

Brief Encounter

"Hey John! There's a guy trying to track you down."

The blue mini-van pulled alongside me outside the small, neat village store. A cheery Peggy, the local librarian, yelled out: "He asked me if I knew you. He wanted to know if you gave talks and things like that."

"Who is he? What did you tell him?"

"I told him you do and he left me his card. Here."

Alexi: Not Dead Yet in North America

Solzhenitsyn's dead! Solzenitsyn's dead! So f'n what. That seemed to be the attitude of the U.S. and Canadian media who appeared more concerned with Morgan Freeman's car crash than with the death of the man who has been called "The Champion of Freedom and Justice" and "The Keeper of the Russian Conscience."

Open Book Anglican

The old 1930s pop song, "The Lambeth Walk," never took such a pounding as it did at this decade's Lambeth Conference of the world's Anglican Bishops in England. (The US prefer to be called Episcopalians). Man, did those heavily mitred big heads ever need a lesson in rhythm and pews.

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