January 9, 2007
There comes a time in every boy’s life where being on the winning team means everything.
No matter where that boy grows up, being identified as a winner is essential to his identity. He has to be a cowboy, a baseball star or a football hero.
In Canada, that young boy has to be a hockey hero. Not only does he have to be Wayne Gretzky or a Finnish star gone Canadian, he also has to be a part of the right team, whatever that may be.
That is even more true for fans of the Montreal Canadiens, the team that plays in the heart of French Canada and are the sports representatives of French Canada- no small matter.
There is an anecdote often repeated, about a young French Canadian fan, and his beloved team, the Canadiens, after a win against the evil, dastardly and hated Toronto Maple Leafs. When asked what the win meant to him, the boy gloated about the talent and moral superiority of his team. While winning was great, he said, the win special, because the winning goal was scored by French Canadian, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, with an assist from his younger brother, Henri Richard, the “Pocket Rocket.”
A win was a win of course, but when the winning goal was scored by a Quebecois, well, that made the win that much more special- and sweet.
There is an extraordinary and beloved short story, called ‘The Hockey Sweater,’ written by the much acclaimed French Canadian writer, Roch Carrier. By clicking on this link, you can hear Carrier read the story himself. The recording was made by the CBC, of a morning program.
In true Canadian style, the story is told slowly and elegantly, without the frenetic cacophony we are used to. The power of radio and the short story can be clearly understood after listening to the story.
There is a follow up story as well, a tale of another hockey sweater.
Call the kids, settle down for a bit and listen to the magic of radio, the magic of the short story and of an important time in the life of one little boy. You’ll be glad you did.
This post was originally published On October 29, 2005. We assure that ‘The Hockey Sweater’ sounds better with every reading. Life was very special before online shopping.
The acclaimed National Film Board of Canada animated version of “The Hockey Sweater,” can be found here.
January 9, 2007
We were asked by a reader about the well documented failures of the UN. Our reader asked why we need to focus on the past. Why, she asks, can’t we just move forward?
Admittedly I’m sticking to shallow waters because this discussion is way deeper than I am accustomed to. There are crises all over the world. There are people who choose to commit these crimes, people who choose to fight them, people who suffer at the hands of them, and those who choose to turn a blind eye. All of them are everywhere. Any one of us can be one or all of those types of people at any time in our lives. Perhaps who is to blame is not really important anymore. Perhaps what is important now, is what are we going to do about what is? How are we going to help? How much money needs to be raised? How many volunteers are needed and what are they needed for? How much lobbying needs to be done? Who is going to fight against this stuff instead of simply raising a loud voice and then turning a blind eye? Finding who is to blame is not the problem here. How to fix the problem and prevent it is. How can we help these people?
In a nutshell, our reader asks the same questions that all of us, have asked, in our frustration as we watch helplessly as events spiral out of control.
If there were an easy answers to those questions, our faithful reader would know them.
Here are a few examples of why dealing with the issues is very relevant.
Let’s use Israel as a first example. Today, that country will ease checkpoint and travel restrictions. Sounds like a fair enough proposition. To allow Palestinians more freedom of movement can only ease tensions in the region, right? Well, that may very well be true.
It is also true that may not be the case. With the regularity of Big Ben, the easing of travel restrictions always leads to increased terror and violence. This is what happened last year when resrictions were were eased- a Palestinian woman was caught trying to smuggle explosives into Israel, to be detonated in a hospital, by her own admission. That’s right, in a hospital, where she was undergoing long term treatment. She wanted to kill the very people that were caring for her. Nightly news broadcasts in Israel showed her trying to detonate the explosives when caught.
Now, suppose we faced the same problem on our northern or southern borders. Suppose we had suffered through or thwarted 24,000 terror attacks. Do you think our government ought to capitulate to those who suggested our borders were too restrictive and needed to be opened up even more?
Let us be perfectly clear as to what we are talking about: Israel has a population of 6,250, 000. In the last 5 years, there have been 25,000 terror attacks or attempted terror attacks in that country.
The US population is about 300,000,000- about 50 times the number of people living in Israel. In fact, the popyulation of New York City is greater than that of Israel.
To understand what Israel faces, in real terms, the equivalent number of attacks and attempted attacks on US citizens would number 1,115,000. Just how receptive do you think we would be to the suggestion that we open our borders, after over a million attacks or attempted attacks?
One might argue that the issue is one of politics only, and therefore, changing the realities on the ground might be sufficient enough for people to ‘wake up and smell the coffee.’
There is some truth to that- but that may also be no more than wishful thinking.
For some in the region, even talking about Israelis or Jews in human terms is a foreign notion. MEMRI and MEMRI TV have documented thousands of instances of state sponsored hate and racism, directed at the ‘sons of monkeys and pigs‘. A marathon runner was stripped of his citizenship because he ran a race in Israel.To their credit, most of the Aerab world are open about their beliefs. At least we know who and what they are nd their dysfunction is plain for all to see.
We have noted before that the vast majority of Muslims had nothing to do with the Holocaust.
(It is true there were notable Muslim personages associated with the Holocaust. That said, the vast majority of Arabs were rural. The great cities we see today did not exist and the illliteracy rate was even higher than it is today. The Arabs who did participate were in fact ‘educated’ and politically involved. Arab involvement in the Holocaust was nowhere near Arab world complicity in the anti Israel and anti Semitic atmosphere so prevelant today).
Today however, much of the Arab world have come to embrace that evil and identify with it with great zeal. Reams have been written about the ‘rightness’ of Adolph Hitler and newspaper editorials (remember, Arab media in the region is government controlled) pine away wishing that ‘If only Hitler had finished the job’ and promising to ‘finish the job Hitler started.’ Arab media is replete with stories of Jews baking holiday and religious foods with the blood of gentiles.
And all this is taught in Arab schools. Children are taught that it is good to ‘kill and be killed’ in the name of Jihad.
Imagine if a foreign country that the US had diplomatic relations with, taught their school children that Blacks were devils and evil, and needed to be killed. Imagine that the religion of those Black persons were excoriated and became the object of derision and hatred. Imagine our reaction to the celebration of the murder of Blacks, as we witnessed dancing in the streets. Imagine our reaction as CNN broadcast images of screaming, frenzied people, calling to GAS THE BLACKS!
(That is hardly an exaggeration. As Saddam was raining missiles on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem CNN broadcast images of wild and frenzied Palestinians screaming for Saddam to GAS THE JEWS!)
Then ask yourself where the UN stands on the matter.
Of course there are real issues that have to be addressed. No, we may not always be able to fix them- but we can identify them for what they are, and thus understand the motives behind their ‘politics.’ In doing so, we can do the right thing- and we can demand the ‘right thing’ from those that want our help.
The invitation to join the table of of civilized nations is civilized behavior. Unless and Until that behavior is forthcoming, we simply cannot ‘get along.’ We may maintain cordial and civil relations, but there is no equivalence, moral or otherwise, between nations that serve up hate and bigotry and dysfunction, and ourselves.
The time has come for the next installment of the SC&A Idiot’s Guide To The 110th Congress. The first intallment can be found here.
Much has been made of the Congressional ‘four day work week.’ There are many people who believe that members of Congress ought to work 5 days a week, just like the rest of us.
Those people are idiots.
Why would anyone insist that dysfunctional ideologues who are hell bent on destroying each other as opposed to representing their constituents, be given a platform 5 days a week? Why would anyone insist that these same lying, dysfunctional ideologues be given 5 days a week to deliberately place their own interests and the interests of their party ahead of the best interests of the nation?
Would you want a drunk, blind and stupid lawyer perfororming neurosurgery on you? Of course not.
Well, that is what happens every single day the Congress in session. Some of the most dysfunctional, greedy, immoral and narcissistic people in the world, all gather round to determine the path that will be taken by you and your children.
Just so we’re clear- these are the same people who believe that getting busted for innapropriate sex with kids can be rectified with 30 days in the Betty Ford clinic- and these are the same people who believe that innapropriate sex with kids can go on, and dealt with until disclosure leads to political gain (the Sanity Squad have addressed that monument to mediocrity, Congress, in riveting Politics Central podcast “Perverts, Narcissists And Thieves“).
Do you want these people determing our future 5 days a week? Don’t you think they can do enough damage to the nation 3 or 4 days a week?
SC&A are pleased to offer up a few thoughts.
We propose that Congress be in session 2 days each week.
We also propse that our elected hacks meet with representatives from the opposing party the other 2 days a week, to play golf or engage in other social activities. Members of Congress need to spend less time with their own dysfunctional party leadership and more time getting to know each other. Members of Congress need to learn how to get along and how to do business.
We propose that the party leadership only be allowed to communicate with members 2 hours per week- one hour in person and another hour over the phone- that’s it. Party leadership that violated the rules would be banned from holding any public office, anywhere, anytime (in other words, they would actually have to work for a living).
If such restrictions were in place, maybe, just maybe, partisan politics and ideologies would give way to bi partisan efforts by members that would address the real needs of the nation.
The nation’s capital is polluted with self serving perverts, drunks, addicts, racists, pimps and just about every other kind of misfit out there. If it’s going to be ‘business as usual,’ until things change, how about we limit business hours, for the sake of the nation?