Today we are all Ukrainian

Growing up, I thought of myself as a hyphenated Ukrainian; you know someone whose grandparents were born there and immigrated overseas to make new lives.

Later, as I grew up and started getting experience of actually living overseas and being immersed in different cultures, I realized I was about as Ukrainian as a perogie made out Manitoba durham wheat and Taber potatoes. There wasn’t much Ukrainian content in me at all, other than the foods I grew up wth, my surname, and a few of the more interesting words.

Today, watching the horrible events going on throughout the Ukraine, I am once again Ukrainian, but this time in the sense Kennedy was when he called himself a Berliner.

I hope you are, too.

May peace soon settle upon that troubled land.

Nothing to Hide

Nothing to Hide

“I’ve got nothing to hide.” You hear it all the time. Yet another government agency oversteps the law and breaks the constitution by infringing on our privacy rights and some idiot will excuse them, blaming the victim. “S/he shouldn’t object if s/he’s got nothing to hide,” the idiot will usually say.

Most countries have laws protecting privacy. In the US, there’s the Fourth Amendment. In my own country, we have Section Eight. No, not the Section Eight Klinger kept trying to use on MASH to get out of military service on grounds he was crazy. Section Eight of the Charter of Rights in Canada protects the individual against unreasonable search and seizure by their government. Like the recent case where a government spy agency intercepted Canadian airport passengers’ Wi-Fi communications. Not one person, not with warrants – every bleeping communication from every passenger in that airport. You want crazy? That’s crazy. What’s even crazier is that the average citizen yawns and go back to eating Cheese Puffs while watching American Idle (sic).

Thank you, Edward Snowden, formerly of the NSA, for releasing information at least trying to keep the spy agency’s honest. Hello, 1984, we want our future back.

Nothing to hide? Great. You’re a true patriot. Here’s what I want you to do, then. Send me your passwords to all your private accounts. What’s that? You don’t trust me? I’m a stranger and you don’t know what I’d do with the information? Why would you object if you’ve got nothing to hide?

I got news for you. I’m no different than that faceless bureaucrat working for the three-letter agency. You don’t know him and what he’s going to do with it either. Anyway, who wants someone rummaging through your underwear drawer, even if all you wear are plain white Stanfields?

Nothing to hide? The only thing being hidden here are the laws and rights in our constitutions.

Ooops, I did it again…

The Best Hockey Nicknames

I started off thinking I’d try and be clever and say something like, “Oops, there aren’t any.” After all, how creative are today’s crop of nicknames that simply add or subtract a letter or two? Shorten a last name, tack on an “s,” “y,” “r” or an “o” and that’s supposedly a nickname. Anyone whose name is Campbell becomes “Soupie.” Those with some Native background in their heritage become known as “Chief.”


There used to be some great nicknames back in the “golden(?)” days of hockey. Remember Georges Vezina, “The Chicoutimi Cucumber”? Henri Richard, the “Pocket Rocket”? Lorne “Gump” Worsley? Max Bentley, the “Dipsy Doodle Dandy from Delisle”? Yvon “The Roadrunner” Cournoyer? Hector “Toe” Blake? Walter “Turk” Broda? Frank “Mr. Zero” Brimsek? “Freddie the Fog” Shero? Larry “Big Bird” Robinson? Chris “Knuckles” Nilan? Andre “Red Light” Racicot?

There are a still a couple of good ones from the present era:

Pat Verbeek: the Little Ball of Hate; Jonathan Toews: “Captain Serious.” Jamie McLennan: “Noodles.” Vladimir Konstantinov: “The Vladiator.” Mark Recchi: “The Wrecking Ball. Nikolai Khabibulin: “The Bulin Wall.” Al Iafrate: “Wild Thing.” Ken Linseman: “The Rat.” Johan Franzen: “The Mule.” Paul Bissonnette: “Biz Nasty.” Sydney Crosby: “Sid the Kid.”

But how many of those are actually playing right now? Come on, hockey. Give us a couple more good monikers.

Oops…I guess there aren’t (many) after all.

A Confession

I have a confession. I am in love. I am in love with …. Sook Yin Lee. I have never met Ms. Lee; I have never listened to her music; I have never seen her in any of her movies; I never even saw her when she was a VJ. Nevertheless, I am in love with SYL’s persona on CBC’s DEFINITELY NOT THE OPERA. Even here half a world away, I download the weekly podcast and she makes me smile, make me think … makes me hope.

Thank you Sook Yin Lee.