Let's Be Doing It
It's The American Way
December 15, 2012 @ 09:46
I hate guns; I can't stand to be around them. They make me nervous and I'd love every gun on earth to be gathered up, melted down and turned into something useful.
I'm totally in favour of strict gun control and I shake my head at those who argue against it because they like to hunt. Shooting an animal in the head, any animal has never been my idea of a good time.
I think anyone who can put a deer in their crosshairs and pull the trigger shouldn't be arguing against stricter gun control, they should be arguing for better health care, like psychological analysis.
Which leads me to my point.
Yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut had very little to with gun control and very much to do with a nutball. There are nutballs all over the world but there seems to be a higher concentration violent nutballs in the United States.
It's a by-product of their culture. Their violent, ignorant and politically polarized culture. I truly believe nutballs of equal nuttiness would react in much different ways north and south of the border.
I think the Canadian nutball would be less inclined to go for a gun, not because they aren't as readily available, which they are, but because they've grown up in a different culture.
The American has grown up in a much more violent society with a completely different attitude towards guns than a Canadian. For an American, reaching for a gun is more of an option.
I know what you're thinking. I'm actually arguing for more gun control. But I said that off the top, I'm in favour. I just don't think it would make much of a difference in a situation like we had yesterday, because the culture is never going to change in the States and there will always be guns available - regardless of their legality.
To me, it's like trying to get rid of mosquitos. You can spray for a while, but they'll always be there.
Guns are in their blood, guns are part of who Americans are, and no matter how big the lobby against guns becomes, the lobby for guns will always be there pushing back and pointing to their constitution.
Idiots like Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh will fire up the right and inspire the imbeciles within the NRA and it will be decades before anything will change, and even if it does change, all it takes is one new government to reverse everything, which has happened in the past.
Less guns on the street in the United States is a pipe dream because there are already enough illegal and un-registered guns to supply those who want them for years and years to come.
Hard drugs are illegal in the United States, but they're still there for anyone who wants them. Just like drugs, make guns completely illegal but it won't stop a nutball from getting one.
How successful has the so-called war on drugs been?
Adam Lanza used his mother's guns yesterday, but if this master plan was in his head, I don't think the ready availability would have necessarily stopped him, it would have made him go to other sources - of which there are plenty.
To think that stricter gun laws would have prevented what happened yesterday is terribly simplistic and naïve. It's much deeper than that in the United States but unfortunately that country doesn't have the moral integrity to deal with it.
The culture is too ingrained and the polarization of the two sides is so deep that a consensus is completely out of reach.
Do I have a solution? No, and the reason for that is maybe there is no solution. The situation in the United States is so far gone that the best solution might be concentrating more on mental health than gun control - because as much as some hate to hear this, it still takes a finger to pull a trigger.
Unfortunately, psychological assessment often comes too late.
What A Week
December 7, 2012 @ 19:36
'Welcome back. I know I've said this before, but this time I mean it. With the lousy weather having settled in, and for the moment Humble and I not doing a terrestrial radio show, I have more time on my hands.. so.. I'm going to get back to it.. I'm going to post at least one thing a day.'
Well that didn't last too long. I guess you are busy.
Fair enough Gary, I said one thing and then I did another. But I really do have an excuse.
Last Sunday, just as I was about to sit down and write, we got a call from my son in law Josh that my daughter Melanie had gone into labour. Needless to say, we jumped in the car and headed for the hospital where were waited anxiously for the next seven hours.
Then, about 8:30 eastern time, Sunday, December 5th all of our lives changed. Melanie gave birth to a beautiful seven pound, 14 ounce baby boy.
John Richard Arnold. John, because Melanie and Josh like the name, and Richard after my father who Melanie adored.
Excuse me for excusing myself Gary, but his arrival has taken up most of the week and it pushed blogging to the background again.
As much as I appreciate your concern, I can't really give a shit.
As I've said many times before, the blog is free so I don't really owe anyone anything. I appreciate that its widely read, but it's something that can easily get knocked down my priority list.
But all that aside, let me describe what a wonderful week it's been.
Baby John was expected on Monday the 3rd, so he was actually a day early, however from what we had been told about first pregnancies, we assumed he might arrive later than sooner.
But he had different plans and by Sunday night we were all rejoicing in the typical things. He had five fingers and five toes, his heart beat was strong and his breathing was perfect.
A healthy baby boy was now part of our world.
From as far back as I can remember, Melanie has always loved kids and she always looked forward to the day she would become a mother. It was so much fun to watch her and Josh prepare for the big day and when it arrived it was something I'll never forget.
Delyse and I, along with my son Danny and his girlfriend Sophia sat in the waiting room for a couple of hours wondering what the hell was going on.
It was nerve wracking.
Then the moment arrived that we were all waiting for, Josh came around the corner and said, "would you like to meet your grandson?"
That's all it took. My emotions ran wild and I tried to hold back the tears until I at least saw the kid.
And what a sight that was.
To walk in the room and to see our grandson lying on his mother's chest, just minutes after he was born was almost too much to comprehend.
Something like, "hello little guy."
It really was surreal. From the moment we found out Melanie was pregnant I kept wondering what that first moment would be like, and so did Delyse.
Well let me tell you, it was every bit as great as I thought it would be. To look at the child of your child with assurance that everything is OK and he's healthy and he's strong is like nothing I've ever felt before.
And since then, it's only gotten better. Every night this week we've been at Melanie's house. Delyse has actually stayed there.
We've all just stood around staring at John, taking it all in and falling more and more in love with him as each minute passes.
It's hard to believe how seven measly pounds of humanity can represent so much, change so many lives and cause so much reflection and love.
Delsye and I don't know how we're going to handle it. Because John is a newborn we can be at the house every night and pitch in, we have an excuse, but that's not going to last forever and eventually we're going to have to go a day or two without seeing him.
We've got to remember he's not our son, he's our grandson and he won't be living with us. He'll be with his mom and dad, and oh what a lucky kid he is from that standpoint.
Melanie can't help but kiss him constantly and the look of pride on Josh's face is something not easily described.
These are two good people who I'm sure will raise a good child.
Last night as I held him I kept thinking about the first time he sits up, the first time he recognizes me, the first time he says Papa, the first time he walks and the first time he catches a ball.
And then I caught myself, because I've got to watch myself. I can't get too far ahead of myself because I remember how quickly my own kids grew up.
I'm going to step back, take a breath and enjoy every minute along the way. Not be in a hurry for anything because it all moves so quickly on its own.
This feeling of love is powerful. John's arrival has made me reassess everything this week.
I love Melanie more for what's she's been through, I love Josh more for what he's helped accomplish, I love Delyse more because she gave me Melanie and I love my son Danny more because he too is part of the whole wonderful package.
When I look at John I see an extension of a family I'm very proud of. He's our own flesh and blood.
It's been a great week, and I'm sure it will be the beginning of a great life.
The life of John Richard Arnold.
Waiting For John
November 26, 2012 @ 17:35
Since my daughter Melanie and her husband Josh surprised us with the great news last spring that we were going to be grandparents, we've been on pins and needles.
It's hard to explain unless you've been through it. The anticipation of being a Papa is like nothing I've ever felt before.
I fathered two kids, but what got me through that was ignorance. I don't think I ever really appreciated the responsibility I was about to take on when Delyse was pregnant with Melanie, and that was probably a good thing.
If I had stopped down at the time and thought about the all the things I was about to be responsible for, I probably would have left the country.
But there were no reference points.
Other than a dog and a 1973 Ford Pinto, I had never been responsible for anything really, so I assumed it would be no big deal - and even though it was a big deal, my immaturity was very helpful.
It wasn't till long after my kids were somewhat grown that I looked back and realized what we had accomplished. And that's why the anticipation of being a grandparent is so different.
Now I do have reference points and I realize what's at stake here and I'm scared shitless, and for so many reasons, not the least of which is how this whole thing has been compounded.
Not only do I have to worry about a child that's coming into a much different world, but also I have to worry about whether he'll get here safely and what that might do to the kid who's having the kid.
By the way, we already know he's a boy and his name is John Richard.
When I see the size of Melanie's belly I wonder how on earth that bump is going to see the light of day without a whole lot of painful pushing and screeching and I hate the thought of all that painful screeching being done by my sweet Melanie.
No matter what age, you never want your kids to suffer disappointment or sadness let alone pain.
That's where I'm at right now. I'm nervous about this arrival, and although I'm sure everything is going to be alright, I'm still a little freaked out by it all, but way more freaked out than I was awaiting the arrival of my own kids.
I can't wait till we get the contractions call, and I really can't wait till John is here and I'm holding him in my arms and Melanie is fine and looking forward to the paramount job that she and Josh have in front of them.
I've already made the vow; I'm going to concentrate on John Richard like I've never concentrated on anything before. Again, when you're raising your own kids you're so busy you forget to really appreciate what you're doing and before you know it, they've grown up.
I constantly find myself looking back over Melanie and Danny's lives trying to remember certain moments only to be frustrated by my inability to do it.
The way I look at it, based on averages, I'll be lucky to have 25 years with John and even less with grand kids still to come... so I'm going to make the most of it.
When I think of the moment I first lay eyes on John I can't help but get emotional and sentimental and to some extent wistful.
It's going to be an adventure and I promise, definitely over the next few months, and hopefully over the next few years, I'll continue to write about it.
Eating Our Own
November 26, 2012 @ 17:15
Justin Bieber grew up not far from Toronto in the town of Stratford and from what I can gather is a proud Canadian.
If you've taken the time to see his documentary "Never Say Never", which you should, you may have noticed that his bedroom is / was decorated with sports paraphernalia, most notably the Toronto Maple Leafs.
So I can only imagine how the phone call went when Bieber was first approached to perform live at Grey Cup half-time.
It was the 100th Anniversary of the Cup, the Argos were playing and the game was being held not far his home-town. He was probably thrilled and readily accepted, because as a Canadian he wanted to be part of it.
After all, he wasn't doing it for the money. He's arguably the most popular pop artist in the world today and there's absolutely no way Grey Cup organizers and sponsors could come up with the money necessary for him to make the trip to the Rogers Centre for two songs.
He did it for the spirit of it all. I'm convinced of that, and that's why I found it so disappointing when he was booed.
Here we had a national celebration that always involves musical artists and this Canadian kid, who's become an international superstar agreed to be there.
It should have been a highlight. It should have been appreciated. Instead it becomes a boofest by a bunch of lunkheads who really didn't grasp the magnitude of it all.
Some have argued that Beiber wasn't a good fit for the Grey Cup, but I really don't get that. There were kids in the crowd, there was hundreds of thousands of kids watching at home, and speaking from my own perspective, up until yesterday I had never seen the kid perform, so I was actually enlightened to see what its all about.
Not only that, but look at the list of performers who've been part of the Superbowl in recent years.
Beyonce, Madonna, Janet Jackson, P Diddy, N Sync, Britney Spears, Nelly, Christine Aguilara, Toni Braxton and Boyz to Men.
Were all of these artists a bad fit? Does football necessarily mean head banging rock, or does a Grey Cup or Superbowl represent a big event that calls for big acts regardless of their genre. I vote for the latter.
I thought bookending Gordon Lightfoot and Justin Beiber was a great idea. The extreme old and the refreshing new of what this country has to offer.
I know its not good practice to stereotype but I can only imagine who the culprits were yesterday. Those who fit into a group that feel they're "supposed" to boo Justin Bieber.
I found the reaction terribly disappointing. You know, for as great as we are, we sure like to eat our own.
Not In Canada
January 30, 2012 @ 06:22
I was the thrilled with the outcome of the Shafia murder trial in Kingston, because it gave a Canadian statement to the disgusting practice of honour killing.
It told the world that in Canada, women matter and they matter every bit as much as men.
I know in a lot of twisted and backward countries around the world that's a little hard to comprehend, but in Canada, you can't treat a female like a dog. You can't "put them down" because they misbehave.
It's another reason why I have no time for religion, because make no mistake about it, honour killings are always tied to religion and the putrid things that come with it.
Where's the honour in caring more about some fairy tale freak in the sky than you do about your own offspring?
The honour of some brain washed no mind father who cares more about his reputation than the actual lives of his daughters?
Where's the honour in choosing death over understanding?
There's no honour - and that's why I'm so glad Mohammad Shafia, his wife and his son will have their asses rammed in prison for the rest of their lives. That's where they belong because in Canada we don't subscribe to killing kids because they have minds of their own.
This isn't some shithole wasteland that refuses to enter the 21st century. This is a country that by law recognizes women as equal citizens.
And you know something? Even that isn't completely fair because if anything, women are superior to men. Women are not only the backbone of this country; they're the backbone of the goddamn planet and it starts with family.
On a world wide scale, what's the percentage of women raising families on their own compared to men? I bet the discrepancy is staggering.
Women do the work and men take the credit. Men take the lead, but really they follow.
Men are credited with strength but its women who are strong. They bare children and deal with monthly plumbing and then go through menopause - all while carrying on.
Men can't even imagine.
And that is so sad.
Mohammad Shafia is going to have a tough time in prison. In Canada fellow prisoners don't take kindly to child killers but I sincerely hope he isn't killed.
Instead, I hope he has to play the woman and he suffers a lot.
**Listen to the latest edition of HumbleandFredRadio.com**
What An Asshole
January 23, 2012 @ 19:08
At first I really didn't believe it. When I heard that Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas skipped a visit to the White House for political reasons, I really thought it was a joke.
Then I found out it wasn't.
Thomas it turns out is a staunch Conservative and raging Republican, and has a keen interest in politics, but he claims today's move had nothing to do with picking sides.
It's become a tradition. Some months after the Stanley Cup is awarded, if it's an American team, they're received by the President at the White House. It's got nothing to do with politics, it's just a harmless tradition that most players look forward to.
After all, how often do you get a chance to meet the most powerful man in the world and walk around his house for a few minutes? It all happens pretty fast, so there's no time for politics, it's more a respect thing. The President respects your accomplishment and the players acknowledge that respect by showing up.
But not Tim Thomas. Nope. He issued a statement later in the day witch basically said that he's pissed off at all government, both parties, and he exercised his right as an "individual" to stay away.
What an asshole and what a shame.
Today, instead of the story being the Boston Bruins visit to the White House, the story became Tim Thomas "not" visiting the White House.
He's joined the club of all those half brain Hollywood actors who pull politics into places it doesn't belong - and to make matters worse, Thomas is a self confessed mega-fan of American idiot Glenn Beck.
And what good can come of today? I don't think there are too many people praising Tim Thomas for his balls today, but I bet there's a whole whack questioning his commitment to his teammates.
The guys he won the Stanley Cup with. The reason and only reason they were at the White House today.
**Listen to the latest edition of HumbleandFredRadio.com**
Where Was God Last Night?
January 15, 2012 @ 14:30
Last night was a great example of why religion can be so bloody stupid, especially when you take it out of the mind and heart, where it belongs, and put it on the playing field.
For the past week the Tim Tebow God shit has been off the richter scale because of their surprise victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I would hope that no one other than those who may have suffered a brain injury really thinks that God had anything to do with it, but the God circus that it created was unbelievable, most notably the John 3:16 connection.
What it did, mostly in the United States of course, was escalate the debate on whether someone should be criticized for overt displays of faith in public.
Personally, to the extent that Tebow does, I think they should be. In fact I find it so horrifically self absorbed that it borders on creepy.
Especially during a game.
As ridiculous as I find it to thank the Lord after a game, at least the outcome has already been decided. During a game is sickening, and that's what Tebow has continuously done, overtly prayed on the sidelines during the game like God is going to take sides while the ball is still in the air.
I know Godians will argue that thanking the Lord after a game is more for their physical safety than anything else, but what's your excuse during the game?
Last Saturday, during the game Tebow must have been praying for a so called miracle, praying that God would help the Broncos win... and wouldn't you know it, as coincidence and nothing else would have it, he got his way.
But this started a shit storm of God talk that I'm sure had millions of the weak minded actually thinking there was connection, and worse than that, promoting it.
Ironically all it does is back fire on them, and it will every time. Because it leads to this question, where was God last night?
If He was so instrumental in Tebow's accomplishments to date, where the hell was He last night when the Broncos were getting their balls handed to them?
How the hell does He all of a sudden not show up? It's not like He was working on a famine, drought or atrocity somewhere because those are still going strong around the globe.
Who knows, maybe He only hands out only one football miracle a day... and it was used up on the San Franciso 49ers.
**Listen to the latest edition of HumbleandFredRadio.com**
I'm Glad I Don't Live In Quebec
January 15, 2012 @ 09:09
As someone who has live his entire life in Southern Ontario and who as seen and felt the affects of political correctness, I'm totally blown away with the unchecked bigotry in Quebec that has engulfed the Montreal Canadiens.
When I first heard that there was an issue because newly named coach Randy Cunneyworth couldn't speak French I thought it was a joke... because none of it made sense.
A coach's number one priority is to communicate with his players and there isn't one member of the Canadiens who speaks French only. In the dressing room, where a large measure of a hockey team's fortunes is determined, Cunneyworth has no problem delivering whatever message he has.
You'd think that's all a true Hab fan would care about.
But no, it's become a huge issue and the flames were fanned by a shockingly bigoted French media that claimed "the coach of the Montreal Canadiens should speak French, not only for cultural reasons, but to keep an open dialogue with the media."
It's not Randy Cunneyworth's job to communicate with the French media, its French media's job to communicate with Randy Cunneyworth.
I'm willing to bet there isn't one member of the French media that can't speak English, yet they make an issue of language through blatant intolerance, and the scary thing is, they're speaking for a lot of wing nuts.
There have been pre-game demonstrations outside of the Bell Centre by staunch Quebec language kooks. People who could care less about Randy Cunneyworth or the Montreal Canadiens, but people who are more concerned with cleansing their society.
And this was before the Habs plunged into their current losing streak.
It was highlighted again this week when the Habs traded Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames for power forward Rene Bourque.
Considering their roster of pip squeaks Bourque was exactly what the Canadiens needed but that didn't matter to the bigots. As one Montreal reporter stated, "Bourque is a good player, but Montreal was hoping for a good "French" player".
You see, Rene Bourque has a French name, but he can't speak the language, so that too has become an issue. I'm sure if Bourqe performs, his language won't ultimately matter, but the fact that it's even talked about is disturbing.
And rivaling the bigotry in Montreal is the stupidity.
The days of having the French market cornered are over. Under a draft system, the only control you have is when it's your turn to pick. You take the best player or you take the best player who can speak French?
Would these people prefer a lesser player simply because he speaks their language? Some actually would and they make no bones about it.
They argue that the French language in Quebec must be preserved and protected - but when they apply it to a hockey team that really only needs to win games - they expose themselves for what they are.
**Listen to the latest edition of HumbleandFredRadio.com**
We Can Be Very Forgiving
January 14, 2012 @ 12:45
Earlier this week while going through my news feed on facebook I came across a segment on the Howard Stern Show about the thievery of the band Led Zeppelin.
Right off the top, I'll admit I've never been a Led Zeppelin fan. I've never been one for strident / hard rock and today the very sound of Classic Rock on the radio, any classic rock, nauseates the shit out of me.
To me, Classic Rock on the radio is like watching an Andy of Mayberry marathon. A couple of episodes are alright, but I'm quickly bored and need to escape before I get depressed.
It's alright by the campfire in small doses, but I'd prefer my radio enlighten me.
I've never really understood the fascination with Led Zeppelin, and that's before I learned that a good measure of their work was actually somebody else's work.
Their screechy uneven sound is something that I've always found more aggravating than appealing. Stairway To Heaven was a small exception, but it turns out even that was a rip-off.
When I hear The Ocean I want to drive ice picks through my ears and run to my Beatles collection
I don't even know how old the segment on Stern is, but it really doesn't matter. There is no time limit on thievery or proof and I'm not about to explain it all. Go here and have a listen for yourself and then go here for more proof.
The point of this essay is this. After I posted the link to my facebook I was amazed at the comments and e-mails I received actually defending Led Zeppelin.
I guess I really shouldn't be surprised. It's human nature to defend, at any cost, something you have a vested interest in.
Taste is subjective and I'm not about to criticize anyone who adores Led Zeppelin because we all receive art differently. One mans Van Gogh is another mans finger painting.
But I find it extremely amusing when people, having had proof laid in their laps, still want to defend them.
They use the excuse that all bands "borrow" music, and that may be true. Influence is something that's hard to resist, but when you steal material word for word and pretend it's your own till you're exposed, it's slimy. Especially when you begrudgingly allow credit that was due at the outset.
But again, it's human nature. The same way my mother in law is willing to over-look Tiger Woods behavior because she absolutely adores the guy. The same way I'm sure there were Philadelphia Eagles fans that were ready to defend Michael Vick because they wanted him back on the football field.
OJ Simpson got way more support than he deserved. I think you get my point.
But the Led Zeppelin response floored me. We still don't know absolutely for sure if OJ cut off his wife's head, but we sure as hell have blatant proof that Led Zeppelin stole other peoples work.
And as I stated above, there is no timeline on theft. One guy commented this morning that at this point it doesn't matter. "Let's just enjoy the music they gave us."
I beg to differ, it does matter.
Here some other comments, with the position that Led Zeppelin wasn't alone, which for some crazy reason makes it OK.
"Plagiarism is part of music."
All are pointless arguments given the circumstances. Again, influence is one thing, but ripping somebody off word for word like Led Zeppelin did is another thing.
And please, don't respond to this by defending Led Zeppelin "the musicians" because I'm sure there are musicians I like that you hate.
This is all about integrity and apparently Led Zeppelin had none.
**Listen to the latest edition of HumbleandFredRadio.com - we talk about it.**
Signal For Sale?
January 12, 2012 @ 08:09
There could be a very interesting development in Toronto radio over the next few months that could not only see the demise of am 640 as we know it, but also an escalation in the sports radio wars.
Even if Bell Media and Rogers hadn't bought MLSE, it's no secret that Corus Radio wanted out of the hockey business. It never turned into the revenue generator they thought it would, and what money it did make was not enough to off-set the cost of running other day parts on the station.
When am 640 was MOJO, it made sense to have hockey. A guy's station with guy talk married to hockey play-by-play and hockey talk. Back then the station actually had an identity, something it has sadly lacked since somebody came up with the brilliant idea to drop the guy theme and adopt a mish-mash of something-or-other.
Since then, the station has done virtually nothing forcing Corus Radio to pour huge amounts of money down a bottomless pit.
But that could all change in imminently. Sources tell me that Bell Media has inquired about purchasing the 640 frequency from Corus Entertainment and using it for TSN Radio, currently occupying the shitty 1050 signal.
This could be a lucrative way out for Corus. Rather than continuously feeding a dead dog, or switching to an all-traffic format (which has been discussed). they can grab a few million off Bell and then use the am 640 studios as a production studio or maybe even a studio for where the business is really going, an internet station with super low overhead.
Give the room to Mike Stafford and let him go wild!
Bell is committed to a sports format and it makes a lot of sense now that they've grabbed a piece of MLSE. They'll have content they don't have to pay for, but it's hard to sell that content when 1050 on your dial virtually disappears in many parts after sun down.
It's a technical thing. For reasons that are beyond my explanation the lower you go on the am band the better the signal and the ones up the dial go all fuckin' weird at night.
In this case, 640 is beyond huge. When we were doing the MOJO thing we'd get calls from places like North Bay. 640 would instantly put TSN Radio on an even playing field with The Fan when it comes to reach.
It makes sense on so many levels. Even if Corus wanted to renew their hockey contract, they couldn't because the guys who now own the team own their own radio stations. The content on their own properties is worth way more than they'd ever get from Corus.
But more than anything else, it represents an attractive option for Corus. Over the past couple of years I've heard inklings about a desire to literally flip the switch "off" at 640. Unless you have niche programming like all sports or all news and are prepared to throw lots of money at it long term, am signals are useless.
Unless of course you have one that somebody else wants.
Hello TSN 640?