Every year since Christ was in pampers I have written my annual Dubious Achievers rundown for one of the local papers. But this year, and lo and behold (I wanted to use the word ‘lo’ because you don’t get to very often, they decided for forego running it. OK. Their call. But, in a spirit of generosity I am going to share it with you, for free, as my gift.
Considering some of the dubious happenings and personalities of 2013 it might be well to look back a century and see what was going on in 1913.
Well, considering the fact it was the last year of genuine peace in the world for virtually anybody’s lifetime within living recall, it might have seemed that it was all swell.
It was the year, for example that:
– Britain’s House of Lords rejected an Irish Home Rule Bill. That’ll teach those Paddies, by Jove.
– Finally, prizes are included in Cracker Jack boxes.
– The US Congress ratified a graduated income tax program and the hell began
– George I of Greece is assassinated. Miss him yet?
– Ebbets Field is opened for the Brooklyn Dodgers – go dem bums!
– US troops massacre 2,000 men, women and children in the Philippines. The more it changes, etc.
-Stainless steel is invented. New fridges and stoves for everyone.
– Construction of the Panama Canal is completed.
– Ford Motor Co. introduces the first moving assembly line back when there was a place called Detroit.
– The first crossword puzzle is published giving me something to do on a Sunday morning.
OK, that was a century ago. No screaming hell, was it? Let’s now take a look and see how we’ve progressed sure in the knowledge that after the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to LA life would never really be the same. And certainly after the summer of 1914 it never was to be.
But, our year just past was 2013 and even though last year there was that Mayan warning that attested that the world was coming to an end in 2012, we seem to have made it through, as far as we know and hence moved into 2013. So, let’s take a look at the people and events that generally detracted from our joy and made the year just past even more disagreeable than it needed to be.
People and Things We Didn’t Really Need, or Major Dubiosities:
– Rob Ford: The porcine mayor of Hogtown made great fodder for the media as one drunken and possibly drugged disaster followed the former and on and on unapologetically. Oh well, at least this was a politician not hiding behind a facade of decency. But, poor egotistical Toronto, Ford and the Leafs.
– Justin Bieber: There was a time when Canadian boy singers looked and acted like Paul Anka, not like this tattooed, shirt-doffing, rude, ego-fuelled little graffiti spreading jerks who needs to be, as my father would have said,,knocked down a few pegs.
– Miley Cyrus: To be remembered for introducing the word twerking to the world and not only defining it, but showing how it’s done. Evidently it’s all about the tongue and I won’t go to the part of the anatomy that it’s really all about. Another trollop of dubious charm from the Disney stable. Just as well lovely Annette passed on this year.
– the entire Republican Party Tea Party Caucus in the US: Here’s a plan: Let’s bring our own government to its economic knees for the sake of a reactionary principle that holds that ‘po-folk’ shouldn’t get their health care subsidized like they do in pinko countries like Canada.
– Fox News: Third degree burns caused by burning trousers in the stuff they pass off as factual. And all representative of aged (and some would attest ‘evil’) media baron Rupert Murdoch’s desire to not only report the news but to control what happens.
– Kim Jong Un: The North Korean wacky, scary strongman who courts the idea of having World War Three as his legacy. But, Dennis Rodman thinks he’s great, so what do we know?
– Canada’s Senate: But more about that later.
– Vladimir Putin: Just when you thought it was time to kiss the old Soviet Union and its draconian attitudes goodbye along came this guy who wrapped it all up in some sort of macho crap and is decidedly a dangerous sonofabitch. Have fun at the Olympics, kids.
– Lance Armstrong: Everything you suspected about the doper was true-true-true.
– Bashar Al-Assad: Swinish Syrian dictator, vicious and horrible to his own people and that’s about the best that can be written about the guy.
– The ‘Selfie’: This is the dawning of the age of unmitigated egocentricity.
Sometimes it seems a bit difficult to narrow it down in terms of dubious achievers of Canadian origins in that arguments can be mounted that virtually every Canadian in the public eye in the past year, with the possible exception of Ann Murray, has been markedly dubious. But here are the biggies:
– Rob Ford: Let’s turn the mike over to Mrs. Ford and ask her how she felt about having an excruciatingly personal comment about her sex life broadcast to the world? Poor thing. “That Rob, he’s such a cut-up.” Kind of like a really appalling uncle at Christmas dinner when he’s half in the bag.
– Steverino: The PM still has his fan base but Mr. Warmth didn’t much endear himself with lovers of the environment and haters of oil tankers in the past year. But, you know what’s apparent? He doesn’t give sweet tweet what you think. He’ll never be known as Mr. Warmth and that doesn’t seem to bother him.
– The Pamela and Mike Show: There are others in the Senate to be sure, but these two high-profilers seem to be the most egregious abusers of your tax bucks and their respective sense of entitlement baffle most. Hmm, and they both were media stars. You would be excused for thinking they should know better. You’d be excused for realizing you were wrong. Oh, and then there was Brazeau who was shunned by the Ottawa Parliamentary Press Gallery when he tried to pass himself off as a scribe. Yet the Senate goes on and on with no signs of reform or quitting the Canadian scene. Sigh.
– Canada Post: Starting next year it’ll cost you $500 to send a letter. Oh, sorry, read that wrong – I think. Canada Post, everybody’s favourite Crown Corporation works on the same business model as BC Ferries in the sense that if you’re not getting much traffic then the obvious answer is to charge the public more. That’ll show the bastards in the public.
– Thomas Mulcair: Mr Cranky-pants is a dedicated and hard-work pol, but his demeanour makes the Grinch look warm and cuddly. Sort of the ‘anti-Jack L.’ in his bearing. And he has his work cut out keeping that ‘other’ Justin at bay.
– Justin Trudeau: The gaffe-prone mini-Pierre hasn’t quite matched his old man in inflammatory comments, but he seems to be working on it. Is he taking Canada by storm yet? Well, perhaps not in the manner he’d like to be taking Canada by storm. It seems our own ‘Kennedy Dynasty’ is working out about as well as the US Kennedy Dynasty. And perhaps it’s well to consider the fact there are two sides to every gene pool.
– Alison Redford: After some earlier nastiness with our own Christy, the Alberta Preem who could be seen as Ms. Pipelines R Us made nice and the ladies had just a lovely girls-only meeting and are purportedly now BFFs with the proviso Alberta gets to keep its oil royalties and leaving Ms. Clark having to explain herself to pipeline antagonists in this province.
– Making the lyrics to ‘O Canada’ more gender friendly: Who cares. Most people don’t know the current lyrics in any case.
– CBC loses ‘Hockey Night in Canada’: If this means the rest of us lose Don Cherry, then bravo!
– Christy’s place in the sun: The premier defied all the odds and assuredly all the lameass pollsters and put the rout to the contesting NDP in the provincial election.
– Adrian Dix: The NDP leader defied all the odds and got utterly creamed in the aforementioned provincial election. Oops. Really big oops. The jury remains out on this one to a degree but Mr. Dix certainly learned that maybe one’s handlers should be granted some expertise.
– Pollsters: All of the polls predicted an NDP rout in the provincial election. Well, there was a rout, but it was all Christy’s. Bit of a credibility gap has arisen in the realm of polling and they ended up doing much the same with the Nova Scotia provincial election.
– Environment: Still pretty much up-for-grabs whether it’s grizzly-bears or coastal tanker shipping and this only adds to the distress caused by Ottawa’s utter disregard for the coastal fishery. Frack ’em all, I say.
– Beastly Ferries: Working on the business model that dictates that if you up fares and slash service the passengers will come running to you – just to play those slot machines, of course. Meanwhile, the bonuses keep on a rollin’ in.
– Beastly Hydro: Works on a similar business model to the aforementioned with the bonus of imposing ‘smart-meters’ on the public whether they want them or not. Meanwhile, erstwhile meter readers will soon get to join their compadres in the postal service as they become increasingly redundant. But, again, the bonuses for the brass keep getting sweeter and sweeter.
– Amalgamation: Has been a Comox Valley buzzword for decades and now a bunch of former mayors have come forth to tell us they think it’s a whizzbang idea. So, if they think so now why didn’t they press the matter when they were in a position to do something about it, one wonders?
– Taxes: Not much to say about this other than that the local pols want to dig deeper and deeper into your pockets.
– Nouveau Courtenay: You’ve probably been there. It’s also known as ‘Big Box Land’ and it sits astride the busiest and most perilous intersection on Vancouver Island. Eventually the whole of Courtenay is going to be shipped up to the top of the hill, which won’t matter much since the bottom of the hill largely consists of moribund shops and ugly gaps where structures used to be.
– Ancient Courtenay: See the snide comments in the foregoing item.
– A foggy day at Comox Airport: For some reason it seems the feds don’t think airplanes can come and go from our multi-million dollar terminal when there is a haze in the air despite the fact they did so for decades a priori. Trees are the impediment, it is asserted by officialdom. OK, then top the damn trees and to hell with those who object. Too much money at stake in foot-dragging over the matter.
– Homeless: A permanent shelter for the homeless remains mythical and possibly always will. And Courtenay remains determined it won’t be anywhere near Maple Pools.
– New Hospital: Eventually the critics ran out of broadsides to lob at the issue of our spiffy new health centre that is being erected, that’s right, in Nouveau Courtenay. Depending on your perspective it’s going to be either something wonderful or something dreadful.
– The E&N: Remember how we once had a clunky yet charming little train? Remember how many times we’ve been told it’s coming back? Very, very soon? Still waiting.
And that’s about the size of it for 2013. May next year be even more fun-filled. Oh, and a reminder to enjoy the remaining days of those evil incandescent light bulbs if you haven’t stocked up. That’s because Ottawa, which has only your best interests at heart, has decreed bulbs that cost you a few pennies were evil and must be replaced by safer? mercury filled versions that cost megabucks and give off a questionable light. But, we have been told and we always obey.