Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

Dictionary entries are filed alphabetically: choose a letter to view entries.
The dictionary contains 611 entries.


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Hackers And Hewers

Mythic Canadians devised and held on to by theme-obsessed historians and journalists who seem to have missed the fact that Canadian resource harvesting is now the most technologically advanced (read labour-free) on the planet. There are reputedly a 18-20 hackers and hewers in the woods north of Peterborough harvesting scrub hardwoods for Toronto’s wood-fired pizza ovens.

Haggard, David

Former IWA Canada president and recent turncoat Liberal candidate for New Westminster-Coquitlam. Widely noted for his vigorous defence of labour rights and even more vigorous consumption of everything in sight. As one BC political strategist noted, on any given day the belt on his pants is the hardest worker in Canadian politics.

Halloween

The Night of Misrule was once the single annual occasion in Canada when small children were permitted to make themselves sick eating candy and adolescents were allowed to settle scores with grumpy adults and test pipe bombs, the tensile strength of egg shells and other minor IRA ordnance. Now a night of social terror controlled by apple/razor perverts and UNICEF do-gooders.

Hampton, Howard

Ontario NDP leader chosen because he was the opposite of Bob Rae in everything but gender. The only question about H.H. anybody in Ontario got excited about was whether he was more like Gomer Pyle or hockey great Gump Worsley right after being nailed between the eyes by a slap-shot. Unlike Bob Rae, who is also a fishing enthusiast, Hampton actually knows where the fish are in Northern Ontario.

Hannon, Gerald

Middle-aged homosexual journalist, part-time Ryerson professor, part-time father-figure prostitute who periodically disturbs the public calm by giving a living demonstration that the marketplace can accommodate anyone and anything–thus raising the hackles on fundamentalists of nearly every dispensation, including the gay community.

Hargrove, Buzz

Leader of the Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents 148,000 non-auto workers along with the 90,000 who actually do make cars. Is he an out-of-control megalomaniac and raider responsible for the labour movement’s slo-mo death-by-bickering? Or is he cutting a path past the moribund NDP by shaping the CAW into a social and political movement. Either way, the man has smarts, vision and isn’t afraid to take a punch from any political direction to give voice to what is left of the left.

Harnoy, Ofra

Cellist and the all-round fool-destroying blonde bombshell everybody hoped Leona Boyd might grow up to be.

Harper the Video Game

Code of Terror 6.

PM Stephen Harper.

PM Stephen Harper.

Is it just us, or has the Stephen Harper government, ruling Canada ever since 2006 (it feels like ever since 1906), really gotten worse (and worse)? Certainly, our Facebook Feed is filled with FB “friends” alerting us to the latest outrages of the long-serving Canadian prime minister, often hysterically screaming warnings of “Fascism!”

We admit that most of our FB “friends” think sort of the same way we do, and sometimes we wonder why they expend so much energy persuading us of the evils of Harperism when we already believe it (what used to be known in more placid times as “preaching to the converted”) rather than figuring out how to, as they say in Facebookese, “un-elect” a government that only commands about 35-40 per cent of the vote at best. We suppose it’s easier to complain than to do something, and it’s probably “unpolitic” to point out the terminal stupidity of the combined electoral majority opposition unable to combine itself into a parliamentary majority (can you say “C-o-a-l-i-t-i-o-n”?).

The Harpstapo?

The Harpstapo?

We find the cries of “Fascism!” offputting, precisely because the Harper modus operandi is not a matter of the Harpstapo smashing down the door and stomping on your face with jackboots. Indeed, it’s the opposite. The method consists largely of bland, incremental, legislative chipping away at democratic norms and conventions rather than visible truly insane dictats. Whether it’s get-tough-on-crime bills, eliminating census forms, curbing the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer, and willfully ignoring or distorting the constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, it’s irritating but not draconian. So, in the past decade, we’ve had unnecessary crackdowns on miscreants when in fact crime has been in decline; less statistical information because of a paranoid desire not to have our privacy invaded by the census in an age of surreptitious total surveillance; a good deal of fooling around with democratic elections while pretending to defend democracy; and ignoring the court’s efforts to make the lives of prostitutes safer, and instead arresting customers and declaring sex services immoral, neither of which makes prostitutes’ lives safer.

The latest outrage is Bill C-51, the extension of existing anti-terrorism laws. It’s a response to the murder last year of a Canadian soldier outside Parliament (and a shooting up of the legislative chamber itself) by a mentally disturbed man who was shot and killed by the parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms. What’s objectionable about the bill is that it’s “overbroad” as is said in legalese: it gives the government too much power, the additional power is unnecessary, and is dangerous because the proposed law is written in such a way that it might incriminate perfectly legitimate protesters against, say, pipelines or climate change, who are clearly not terrorists. That is, genuine political protest might be curbed in the name of “terrorism.” That’s a bad idea.

Almost everyone, from the Globe and Mail editorial board to columnists in the Ottawa Citizen and National Post to old social democratic warhorses to Green Party leader Elizabeth May have run up the Mayday flag against the latest Harper overreaction. Citizen columnist Terry Glavin astutely notes, “It’s a bit of a stretch to say, as some people are sayng, that Canada is on the cusp of establishing a ‘secret police force’ to engage in surveillance, preemptive arrest and other such dirty work in flagrant trespass” of civil liberties. He adds, “But perhaps only a bit.”

The Globe and Mail editorial headline declares that the “Anti-terrorism bill will unleash CSIS on a lot more than terrorists.” (CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.) “Why does the bill exist?” asks the puzzled conservative national newspaper. “What is it fighting? And why is it giving intelligence officers powers that are currently reserved” for the police? Senior NDP politicos Ed Broadbent and Roy Romanow, former Sasketchewan premier, demand bluntly, “Parliament must reject the anti-terror bill… This bill should be withdrawn, or defeated in Parliament.” They call it “an intemperate terrorism bill that will remove reasonable restraints on Canadian security authorities… and [that] attacks the civil rights of all Canadians.” Green Party leader May says the PM “is now planning to concentrate the powers of the state into his own hands while converting the Canadian spy agency into a secret police with virtually unlimited powers.”

As the more temperate Glavin puts it, “This country is not about to be subsumed into one of the imperial provinces of Oceania from out of the pages of [George Orwell’s] Nineteen Eighty-Four. ‘But to be corrupted by totalitarianism,’ Orwell wrote, ‘one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.'” One doesn’t even have to live in a blow-’em-up-good video game.

Oh, Canada.

Oh, Canada.

Harper, Stephen

Founding member of the Reform Party, Head of National Citizen’s Coalition 1997-2002, Leader of the Canadian Alliance 2002-2004, Leader of the New Conservative Party since 2004, Current Prime Minister of Canada 2006-. More asthmatic than charismatic, Harper is a slightly agoraphobic product of the Calgary Syndrome ,which makes people in Alberta think the presence of oil in their backyard makes them more intelligent than people in other parts of the country, and the National Citizen’s Coalition, which does missionary work for the Fraser Institute, mandatory missionary-position sex and other moral postures that Oral Roberts preaches but doesn’t practice. In the total leadership vacuum created by Paul Martin’s civil war against anyone associated with Pierre Trudeau and his memory, and given the NDP’s ongoing inability to get interested in anyone who hasn’t lost an arm in an industrial accident, Harper will likely keep his job as Prime Minister unless he steps hard on his own tongue, sustains brain damage from falling over backward off his piano stool while signing Neil Diamond songs,  or is caught having sex with Anne Coulter.

Harris, Michael

Golf dufus and lead thinker, after Newt Gingrich, in Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution. Harris should be the most hated man in Canada for his Marie Antoinette social policies. That he managed instead to get himself re-elected to a second term is yet another a testimony to the intellectual bankruptcy of the left. His attempts to appear thoughtful in television commercials are among the several truly hilarious regular events in Canadian media. Last book read was Mr. Silly by Roger Hargreaves. Check the book out of the library if you’re curious to know what kind of thought entertains powerful conservative premiers …

Health & Doctors

There’s no necessary relation between these two things any more. We merely live longer, and the doctors employ every known medical device except nurses, hospitals and timely surgeries to ensure that we do. In the next few years these two words are likely to be associated with things like private health insurance, decline of medical coverage, closure of hospitals, jettisoning of nurses, and user fees.

Hilary Weston

Irish-born former fashion model and trophy wife of Canada’s second richest man, Galen Weston. Tall, patrician and elegant, she has served as Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor with distinction—and without spending a whole lot of time in the country.  She has also served on the boards of innumerable corporations and charities, recently making herself a major cultural force by funding the country’s most generous literary prize, the Hilary Weston Prize for Non-fiction. She’s the poster child for, ah, how many prizes, foundations, and charities beauty, money,  and power can get your name on.

Hockey

Game of choice for semi-literate male cement-heads that supposedly reveals the Canadian national character: Young men dressed in plastic-reinforced polyester suits sliding around on sheets of ice at blinding speeds chasing a disk of circular black rubber, slashing themselves and imported Europeans with aluminum-fiberglass weapons, and punching one another in the face at the slightest provocation. Until recently, the management and marketing of the sport has been the most incompetent in the history of professional or amateur sport, and the players union was operated as a divine right monarchy by a man who once tried to start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union during a tournament game in Moscow. The game is of no intrinsic interest to the United States, notwithstanding the recent flight of NHL franchises southward.

Hollinger

Owned by loquatious, circumlocutious, long-winded man-of-many-words UCC educated communications mogul Conrad Black, who’s out to downsize the number of sentences written by Canadian journalist, presumably to make room for his own Black controlled about 60 percent of Canada’s print media before he sold it to Izzy Asper.

Homeless, The

Current focus of the greatest densities and volumes of partisan bullshit in Canadian society. Depending on who has the hose stuck in your ear, Canada has anywhere from 500 to 500,000 of these conspicuous illustrations of post-Soviet capitalism’s abject failure to redistribute enough wealth to hide the system’s inherent unfairness and cruelty. What’s most despicable about the current haggling over the homeless is the universal inability to recognize that homeless people are miserable and unhappy, and that homelessness is demeaning and physically hazardous to everyone.

Homolka, Karla

Jailed sex murderer who was the gasoline for Paul Bernardo’s rapist-as-entrepreneur engine. The easy way to deal with this woman was to whine that she wasn’t adequately punished, and campaign for stiffer sentences for criminals. Amore relevant response might have been to have a close look inside her Disney icon-besplattered jail cell, which offered a chilling glimpse of our fate if Mickey Mouse and the global economy succeeds in replacing culture and civility with sentimental greed, entrepreneur-grade self-absorption and the universal consumer shopping mall.

Howe, Gordie

Archetypal Canadian, 1950s & 60s: Shy, slope-shouldered, large. His wife Colleen is interested in money, but Howe just wanted to play hockey. Great stamina and elbows. “I’ll stop you and break some bones if you try to get around me, and then I’ll score enough goals to win and get what my wife wants.”

Human Resources

Euphemism for surplus persons. Until the last decade, surplus persons were officially thought of as unemployed or as students studying obsolete subjects in universities and trade schools. This same resource is now mainly being deported from province to province as welfare rates are ratcheted downward and entitlement criteria are made more onerous.

Hunter, Robert

Journalist, Environmentalist, Novelist, Writer, now deceased. Hunter’s rare distinction was that he managed to taste most of both the right and wrong things that presented themselves to an intelligent, politically liberal/left white male during the cultural smorgasbord of the last quarter of the 20th Century, and he survived relatively sane and phobia-free into the 21st. A puritanical NDP smear campaign sunk his attempt to win the Toronto Beaches provincial riding in a recent by-election. He’d have made a very, very interesting Minister of Environment.

Hurtig, Mel

Nationalist, Anti-American, Anti-poverty author, Anti-Globalism Warrior. Hurtig brought us the Canadian Encyclopaedia a few years ago, for which we ought to be more grateful than we are. Because Hurtig’s upper middle-class priggery too often convinces him that the upper middle class spendour he enjoys constitutes everyone else’s reality, and that choosing to buy a Saab instead of a Buick is a serious blow against American cultural imperialism (and that he has a sacred obligation to share such insights with Canadians who drive Honda Civics and Chevy Cavaliers), we aren’t grateful at all. Hurtig’s chronically too-certain judgments have ensured that the string of political entities he has mounted over the years have the political appeal of a tea-sipping gathering of tenured professors talking retirement in Toronto’s Rosedale.