Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

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Facebook Canada

Ubiquitous “social media” website that, like overuse of marijuana, causes severe mental deterioration.

Facebook is deeply committed to mangling the English language. Its first and most successful assault on English was to turn the meaningful noun “friend” into a parody term referring to any person you may or may not vaguely know who has decided “to friend” you. If the absolute stranger-“friend” turns out to be a sort of stalker, you are permitted by FB to “unfriend” him, her, or it. Other Facebook usages that have succeeded in draining meaning from the language are “like,” “share,” “status” and “hide.” Pressing the “hide” button on some non-friend’s photo of a cute cat gives you the illusion that you have banished the non-friend and the cute cat photo to some netherworld from which they will never return. However, their disappearance is temporary at best, and when you next scroll down your “news feed,” there they are again. Various mouse-clicks or screen-touches will falsely reassure you that you can restrain them (e.g., prevent them from “sharing” photos with you) or, in extreme cases, “unfollow” them. We now “unfollow” various non-friends whom we have not yet “unfriended.”Jaguar-Nachwuchs im Berliner Zoo

What is the content of Facebook? Ranges from the aforementioned endless photos of very cute cats to endless self-promotion, usually by obscure poets, stand-up politicians, and desperate house husbands. Speaking of poets, one of our FB “friends” is a Vancouver poet who posts lots of cute pictures of himself. At Dooney’s, we prefer cute photos of poets to those of cute cats. If Facebook Canada carried more photos of cute and uncute chimpanzees, we don’t know if we would prefer photos of poets to photos of chimps.

In addition to self-promotion and cuteness, FB also specializes in preaching-to-the-converted. As it happens, we have lots of friends, vague acquaintances and total strangers who are “political junkies.” They fill the “news feed” with hyper-links to articles in publications that you’ve already read with your morning coffee. If these news feed clutterers are leftists, they hyper-link you to infinite material designed to convince you that PM Stephen Harper is leading us on the road to fascism, or that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Senator Mike Duffy are very weird people. But you already know that. Wouldn’t this choir of preachers-to-the-converted better utilize their time becoming “friends” with people who didn’t already agree with them? On the other hand, we’re grateful to harmless obsessives who send us obscure baseball factoids or hyperlink us to six or seven YouTube versions of some nearly forgotten jazz standard.

When you open FB, it always asks you, “What’s on your mind?” Some days, you just want to tell it, “I feel like a motherless drone.”

Some very few people who are not on Facebook Canada report, amazingly enough, that they are not suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

BTW, there is no Facebook Canada because FB is everywhere… and nowhere.

 

 

Federal Communications Directors

Not exactly Stephen Harper’s favourite type of person unless they tell him what he wants to hear, which is very little from anyone, especially questions from the mass media or tongue-clattering from his caucus.The man running the country isn’t listening…

Federalism

Belief once widely held in Canada that a national government ought to have the determination, programs and constitutional powers to defend its citizens from noxious foreign manipulation and bullying, while guiding them around their own political laziness, stupidity and vile personal ambitions. Is that old fashioned and silly?

Figure Skaters

Oh, why not admit what we all know: Figure skating is the official sport of the gay community. That this is common knowledge, and that one million Canadians will watch any televised figure skating event the television networks run probably testifies more accurately to the degree of preconscious acceptance of homosexuality than the more official legal bench-marks sought by gay activists. Today’s homos are about as frightening to Canadians as Rotarians. And about as interesting.

Finance

Within the banking sector, “finance” is the practice of lending large amounts of money to anyone willing to pay the interest charges–unless they are Canadian citizens and small business owners. For governments, “finance” means squeezing taxpayers, selling our grandchildren’s birthright, or borrowing to maintain a minimum level of security for citizens who don’t need it. New Conservatives would like financial dithering to replace everything else we’re interested in as the official culture of Canada. Finance is not to be confused with meaningful commercial activities, which involve capital investment on physical machinery, and hiring workers.

Findley, Timothy

Former actor,  avid gardener who became Canada’s most revered chronicler of Toronto’s Rosedale, particularly for those who prefer their revered homosexuals not to write about their homosexuality. Findley wrote novels of decreasing quality and increased floridity until death silenced him. RIP: there were much worse people all around him.

 

 

Fira

Foreign Investment Review Agency, set up by Trudeau to screen the nature and wisdom of incoming foreign capital. Trudeau believed that investment in industrial production was a good idea, but that incoming capital aimed at buying up existing industries and diverting profits out of the country wasn’t. This agency, never very aggressive, was quickly defanged by Mulroney, and is now called Investment Canada. It consists of two overpaid clerks with wide grins on their faces and rubber stamps in their hands.

First Nations: (as Evolved)

First, wakefulness and a rediscovered sobriety. Second, mandatory Oka-style dress for anyone under 40, Third, Chief Joseph-style public rhetoric. Eventual goal: real estate.

First Nations: (originally)

Canadian euphemism for pre-European immigrants who were forced to stay drunk for ten generations while Euro-style governments, various religious organizations, and trade corporations stole their land, eradicated their cultures and abused their children.

Fisheries

A federal cabinet post given to politicians willing to dedicate themselves to the eradication of all marine and aquatic life in and around Canada. Now usually combined with Environment, Forestry or whatever else the federal cabinet has decided is too far from Ottawa to be taken seriously.

Flaherty, Jim

Former chief Mike Harris government thug, with fellow Harper Cabinet minister Tony Clement, and current Harper government Finance Minister. Flaherty’s likely goal is to run up a deficit the size of the U.S. one, without giving any of it to women or the poor.

Flexibility

A government procedure that replaced long range planning in Canada somewhere between 1975 and 1985. It means “responding to the results of the latest political poll,” or “finding ways to screw around and be screwed without removing one’s dark blue business suit or betraying visible pleasure”.

Flying Truck Wheels

We deregulate the trucking industry, let American truckers weaken our indigenous trucking industry with unfair competition that leave the individual truckers unable to afford proper vehicle maintenance. Then when the wheels start to fly off their vehicles and kill people, we blame it on the truckers and feel righteous about running harassing safety checks that regularly take away the trucker’s livelihoods. I mean, geez, guys. If we really want laissez-faire capitalism, we can’t start whining just because a few truck tires whistle by our heads once in a while…

Fonyo, Steve

Person-of-One-Leg who hopped across Canada in 1984-85. Unlike Terry Fox, (who was probably at least a third as nice as the media made him out to be, thus placing him above the Buddha and just below Jesus Christ) Fonyo drank, swore, was prone to outbursts of temper, and didn’t like his father very much. He ended up on the nasty end of several misdemeanor criminal charges a few years after his run, and he’s living somewhere in Canada as a relatively normal not always likeable human being nobody in the media ever wants to hear from again. That makes us forget that he was a courageous young man with immense drive, and that we owe him a backhanded debt of gratitude for saving us from having our highways clogged with asymmetrical self-realizing pilgrims on what would inevitably be increasingly bizarre personal quests for self-validation, celebrity and research funds they want to supervise in person.

Ford, Rob

Rob_Ford_MayorDefinitely in the YCMTSU (You Can’t Make This Stuff Up) category, Rob Ford, the strapping 150-kilo-plus lad who brought the Etobicoke Hillbillies lifestyle to a major Canadian city is the 64th and current mayor of Toronto the Good. In ha-ha real life, Ford, a bullying, allegedly hard-drinking, allegedly crack-cocaine using, allegedly bum-pinching, allegedly fund-manipulating right-wing municipal politician is the favourite son of an upstanding Etobicoke suburban bourgeois family that made its fortune running the town’s Deco Labels and Tags printing firm. Father Doug Sr. was a member of the Ontario legislature during the Tory regime of Premier Mike Harris; brother Doug Jr. is a Toronto city councillor. In a recent episode of the long-running sitcom known as Toronto City Hall, or Pigs Can Fly, two alleged drug dealers allegedly offered to sell the Toronto Star newspaper and gawker.com website an alleged smartphone video that allegedly shows the mayor puffing away on alleged drug paraphernalia while allegedly making racist and homophobic remarks.

Ford’s only current competition for size, behaving badly, and headlines is a former media reporter, Mike Duffy, who was appointed to the Canadian Senate by the Stephen Harper government, and then got into trouble over losing his lunch money or daily allowance or somesuch fiscal pittance. The Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff cut a $90,000 cheque to allow the miscreant senator to pay off his debts, and then promptly became the PM’s ex-chief-of-staff once the news got out.

Hey, wait a minute. Is this really Toronto the Smug, Canada the Well-Governed? And why are rob ford torontothose charming high school cheerleaders at the edge of the football field waving their pom-poms, shaking their booties, and crying out, “Etobi-COKE! Etobi-COKE!!”?

Ford, Rob (2.0)

 

Isn’t the solution obvious?

What to do with Rob Ford, about-to-be former mayor of Toronto-the-Good-and-Laughable, alleged crack cocaine user, alleged alcoholic, alleged racist-homophobe-you-name it, alleged manipulator of campaign funds, alleged bum pincher, and undoubted Etobicoke, Ont., hillbilly gone to City Hall to darken and overfill its doors?

Senator-in-Waiting Rob Ford.

Senator-in-Waiting Rob Ford.

Easy. Although he may be overqualified for the institution, appoint him to the Senate! 

Foreign Policies

Independent Canadian ideas about the rest of the world are now as common as hen’s teeth. From Confederation until the end of WWII, Canadian foreign policy was dictated by the British Foreign Office or anyone who resembled David Niven. For a short period after WWII until the cancellation of the Avro Arrow by John Diefenbaker in 1959 and the related Bomark missile debacle in 1960, Canada practiced a relatively independent military policy, and may have had one or two independent ideas about the rest of the world. In the 1990s, Canada’s foreign policy consists of FTA, NAFTA and a general willingness to lie down and moan convincingly whenever NATO, GATT, the IMF/World Bank or the U.S. State Department feel the urge.

Forests

Once a renewable resource, but with Canada’s universal failure to renew them it’s tempting to think of forests as pre-tundra–and with the massive overcutting of the last few years, as banana plantations.

Fortier, Michael

Stephen Harper’s unelected Arch-Duke of Quebec has the unenviable job of trying to figure out how to bribe Quebec without the money passing under the table. This is harder than it sounds—witness the fact that it hasn’t been done successfully since the early years of Pierre Trudeau’s stewardship.

Foster, David

Musical arranger and producer frequently cited as an example of what Canadians can do in the international culture market. This turns out to be overblown musical pudding so heavily crusted with electric violins and other technomusical sentimentalities that it can send suicidal secretaries over the edge after only eight or ten bars. Foster is really the new Lawrence Welk.

Fox, Terry

B.C. resident who lost a leg to bone cancer in 1977 and conceived the truly nutty idea of hippety-hopping from coast to coast to draw attention to inadequate cancer research funding. He gave up in Northern Ontario in 1987 when the cancer metastasized. After his death he became a national and international symbol of, er, continued inadequate funding for cancer research.

Francis, Diane

Maclean’s Magazine columnist, Financial Post editor and professional media cheerleader-of-choice whenever a right-wing government does something cruel or stupidly ideological enough to require media justification. Francis’ basic line is always the same: You aren’t being nearly cruel and stupid enough to inspire investor confidence. If she ends up as Stockwell Day’s Ontario Girl Friday, as some are predicting she will, this dictionary predicts they’ll become Canada’s very own cross-gendered Laurel and Hardy within a matter of months, and will be divorced within a year.

Frank Magazine

Ottawa’s defunct and much-lamented answer to our national nasty gossip deficit. Frank’s main weakness, aside from a financially-inspired disinclination to investigate anything, was that it couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be Britain’s Private Eye magazine, Spy or The National Enquirer. Still, any magazine that had so many enemies in high places must have been doing something right and it was the only public instrument in the country that wasn’t totally cowed by the threat of libel chill. Even those who hated it now wish it would return, so there’d be something to talk about in the bars after sessions of parliament.

Fraser Institute

Well-heeled West Coast think-tank filled to bursting with monetarist enthusiasts bent on creating a new generation of overweight social Darwinists in the mode of Michael Walker and David Frum. The Institute’s supporting clientele tends to be corporations or over eighty years old legal wards of the Conservative Party. The Fraser Institute is easy to ridicule, but the truth is that it has more political energy and organizational talent than the entire left side of the political spectrum in Canada. It ought to be taken very, very, seriously by anyone who doesn’t want to see us end up clouting one another with 2x4s.

The Fraser Valley

Richest stretch of former farmland on the West Coast now being Wise Use-d into bedroom communities for Vancouver’s service industries and pockmarked with Bible-thumping enclaves of fundamentalists who have seen Jesus and can’t distinguish him from Preston Manning. Fraser Institute executives do not live in the Fraser Valley.

Free Trade

Code term for a vague plan to make life easier for financial sector personnel and nasty, brutish and short for everyone else. In practice, Free Trade in Canada has involved dropping financial, cultural and trade protections against the U.S. without asking for anything in return. Whether this tactic was motivated by Brian Mulroney’s stupidity or his life-long neurotic desire to lick U.S. political and corporate Gucci loafers is still unclear–unlike the effects of the agreements his government signed. The current Liberal government is now furiously tyring to extend the existing agreements to every other country on the globe large enough to have a decently-organized crime syndicate.

French Language Charter

Draconian set of regulations passed by the Quebec legislature aimed at protecting the French Language from the English-and apparently from civility, common sense and people like Mordecai Richler. The craziest thing about the French Language Charter is that it worked, and has given Quebec the “distinct” economic and cultural identity it always craved.

Fresh Water

Canada has over 100,000 cubic metres of fresh water available each year to every one of its citizens. By comparison, Libya has 160. So, why aren’t we cleaner? Why do we want to drink imported beer and designer water from France? Why aren’t we more worried about being invaded by thirsty Californian suburbanites–or by Libyans?

Frum, David

Quintessential Aggrieved White Guy and grimacing post-teen right-wing hepcat who thinks that social entitlements are character corrupting. He and his sister Linda are the best arguments going that smacking your children when they behave like jerks ought to be reconsidered as a parenting strategy.
See, [AGGRIEVED WHITE GUYS]

Fry, Hedy

Longtime Vancouver-centre Liberal MP and unofficial village idiot of Western Liberal Party circles. Among her many embarrassing gaffes during her tenure as Canada’s Secretary of State for Multiculturalism included railing against cross burning episodes in Prince George, B.C. despite both hard evidence to the contrary and the word of the city’s Mayor, and more generally, mistaking anti-racism for racialization. While she did not appear to be deliberately malevolent in her actions (or inactions), blunders such as the Prince George incident underscored the inherent dangers of having people in power who don’t pay attention to details, and of Petering stupid people: there weren’t cross-burnings in Prince George(and why would there be, since there was only ever one or two black people in the entire town?) but there is a major problem with racism-and racialization–in Canada. Fry’s grand-standing screwups overshadowed the real issues that needed, and still need to be addressed.

A later goof, getting Canada’s age wrong in her official 2002 Canada Day message to constituents, demonstrated either her inability to learn or a penchant for hiring staff who are as detail-oriented as she was-or both. I guess we should all be grateful that politics took her away from her medical practice. Re-elected in 2011, she is now the Liberal Health critic, and given the state of the party, likely a candidate for party leader.

Frye, Northrop

Speed typist and biblical scholar whose articulate belief in literature as the gestural zone of polite middle-class amateurs normally incapable of gestures made him, for a time, the Bob White of University English professors across Canada. His opus, while not toxic in and of itself, has led to a functional separation between those who create literature and those who process it for industrial reasons, and has virtually ended any serious study of domestic literature in the country. Unless it involved Marshall McLuhan, whose centre at the University of Toronto Frye was reputed obsessed with crushing, the Great Professor was an extremely decent and witty man. But then, isn’t that what he should have been, given the degree of respect and privilege he was accorded?

FTA

Acronym for 1988 politicalcultural agreement between Canada and the U.S. aimed at providing executives and other technical functionaries of the multinational corporate sector with dual citizenship and guaranteed rights to taxation-free profits in both countries. Subsidiary elements of the formal Agreement included the right of Canada to retain higher levels of social entitlement and cultural funding without the financial means to sustain either and the orderly and staged erosion of Canada’s industrial base and socio-cultural institutions under the euphemism of “harmonization of programs and standards”. The U.S. obtained the right to continue trade harassment without remedy or reason, even though it was not required to provide compensatory climate control within Canadian cities unable to protect the newly-equivalent Canadian homeless sector against Canada’s harsher winters.

Fulford, Robert

Radio critic recently resurrected by the media to represent the elderly and the four-square-behind-the-Family-Compact, Fulford may be the only old guy in the Canadian media who hasn’t lost his confidence in the face of the Internet and Mall Culture. He bears a close physical resemblance to Mr. Weatherbee from the Archie comic strip, and he critiques according much of the time. That’s a shame, because he has a highly entertaining mean streak, he’s consistently intelligent, and despite appearances, he isn’t an [Aggrieved White Guy].

Funding Agencies, Corporate

Among the few things all current Canadian governments agree on is that Canadians shouldn’t continue to expect cultural funding from the public sector, and that they should seek alternate funding. They recommend, not always euphemistically, that artists learn to beg for this from the corporate sector’s Funding Agencies. Never mind that so long as the corporate sector in Canada consists of branch plants of offshore multinationals, “alternate funding” has roughly the chance of a snowball in hell. Corporate branch plants suck profits out for their shareholders, not redistribute them to surly natives, and their Funding Agencies, by their actions, make it clear that if they want to hear people in branch plant countries like Canada playing violins, they’ll wait till they’re working the street corners with a monkey and a tin cup.