Archive for March, 2009


Hockey Analogies: Defending Quebec

OK, let me get this one out of the way right off the bat – the Rheostatics just dedicated a show to it… I’m talking about the sexual connotations of various hockey terms. You’ve got your five-hole, your hooking, and your high sticking to name but a few. I’m cetain the Rheo’s mined many a-more in this, er, shaft than I just have, but you get the idea.

Speaking of the Rheostatics, a rock band is much like a hockey team. Your singer is your centreman, and lead guitar and keyboards are your wingers (& it’s always nice when your wingers chip in a few goals). The bass player is your defenseman, be he or she of the stay-at-home variety (like me on bass), or if they jump up into the rush and maybe even pinch every now & then. Finally, the drummer is your goalie. And who do you blame if you have a bad game/gig? – You got it! (The goalie is also a little nuts, & is always the last one out of the dressing room – much like a drummer, who’s got the most gear to load in the band.. and nobody ever helps him!)

And speaking of goalie’s, as I write this I am in Quebec City. Martin Brodeur has just equalled Patrick Roy’s all-time NHL wins record – in Montreal, no less (& with Patrick on hand)! (Martin surpassed the record a few nights later in New Jersey.) I’ve always said that the best goalies in the world are Quebecoise. The fact that Quebecers Marty & ‘St. Patrick’ are both statistically the best ever bears that out. Beyond these two -to name but a few- you’ve got your Jacques Plante, your J.S. Giguere, your Marc-Andre Fleury, and the goalie who’s name is on the top NHL goalie trophy awarded yearly – George Vezina.

So what makes Quebec goalie’s so damn good? Well, I have a theory – it’s because their culture has been under seige, surrounded by the English language, and bombarded by American & English Canadian culture. They’ve had to defend their identity vigorously for centuries. They’re tailor made to hold the fort, steer that slap shot harmlessly into the corner, and snag that snapshot labelled for the top corner of the cage. And, of course, stack those pads – don’t let it go five-hole!


Free Market = Anarchy

First of all, all this glass-is-half-empty talk in the media around the current economic downturn is just a license to be negative & indulge in dark notions. There. Now that’s out of the way I can get on with the reason we’re here.

A free, unfettered market fails in saving man from himself. Human greed is overwhelming, deep seeded & cannot be overcome (as a species). Corporations in general are headless, heartless & spiritually devoid anti-human entities. (I once saw a documentary that compared corporations quite aptly with textbook psychopaths.) Corporations are robotic constructs beholden to shareholders blinded by greed, and for those in their employ it’s a matter of survival of the fittest. If the employee’s own good is sacrificed by the greater good, then it’s culturally OK -nay, encouraged & expected- that the greater good be sacrificed. This regime is not sustainable & will devour everything & everyone. Corporations would rather pay $50 million later than $10 million now (say, in a case concerning environmental impact). It’s all about instant fiscal gratification – it’s not even good business. In the meantime -in this example- our environment gets destroyed.

I’m no economist, but it seems clear that unleashing the bankers (under G.W. Bush) & letting them run wild is what caused the stock market to crash à la 1929. Fortunately, in one sense, our Canadian bankers are much more conservative, and hence our banking system is much more stable. Having said that, good luck getting a loan from a Canadian bank even in the best of times…
You: “Can I borrow $1000?”
Cdn bank: “I dunno – do you have $1000?”

A free, unfettered market equals a descent into chaos, madness & tribalism. It could even be characterized as devolution. In this dog eat dog world of finance, one thing seems clear – if my banker doesn’t have a mohawk, he ain’t worth his salt.

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March 2009
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