Thursday, October 23, 2008


Somerset, England - It was just an ordinary day in February when Christian Puttock was going out to celebrate a birthday dinner with his wife and family. It became deadly when he was attacked and killed by a crazy neighbour who believed he was a paedophile. The neighbour is now being held in a psychiatric ward indefinitely.

Cardiff, Wales - Police broke down the front door and held pointed guns to the head of Simon Clemett as he held his baby in his arms. The police raided the home after mistaking his house for that of his next door neighbour, who was wanted on suspicion of murder.


One of the drawbacks of living in a country that has decided to underfund the public school system as standard policy, and where citizens complain about taxes while at the same time griping about lack of services, is the ever present 'school fundraiser'.

Thanksgiving is a special time in our family. All the aunts, uncles and cousins get together and we end up with quite the crowd. Of course nearly everybody has kids and every kid has a fundraiser for their school and we all end up buying from each other.

So in the end the fundraiser becomes a manner of everybody supporting everybody elses children. Sometimes I think it would be better if the schools just stopped fundraising all together. Its not like any children actually go door-to-door anymore selling to strangers, its all kept within the family.

I joked with my wife at the beginning of the school year. "How about I just go ask the Principle how big of a cheque she needs me to give her RIGHT NOW to guarantee that our kids don't bring home anything even resembling a fundraiser for the rest of the year?"

My problem isn't with fundraisers, its with family who cop a negative attitude and behave like this is some kind of burden. Its part of being a parent, and its part of being in a family.

For example, my kid was selling apples this year. It was a good price. A big ass bag 'o apples for $3. Probably would cost roughly the same to buy them at the grocery store. So don't give me a guilt trip for trying to sell you some damn apples. If you don't eat apples don't buy them. I'm not asking you to buy something you don't want or wouldn't buy anyway. Not my problem you don't consider fresh fruit part of a healthy diet. If your going to buy apples why not buy them from my kid so her school can buy a freakin' pencil or something?

My kid was selling spring bulbs (for the garden not for a lamp) earlier in the year. I heard someone whisper "I'm not buying apples, we bought bulbs already". Give me a break! I'm not asking you to become a gardener just for my kid. If you were going to buy some bulbs anyway to spruce up your garden why not buy them from the school. Like the apples it was a good deal, no more expensive then buying them at a garden center. Don't buy them just because my kid is selling them, buy them because you have a green thumb.

Then you have the "Did they buy from us? I'm not buying if they didn't buy from us" Seriously... buy what you would buy anyway just get it from a different source. Just don't give me attitude because your kids fundraiser is stupid magazines that I'm not interested in subscribing to. Next year why don't you recommend they sell apples. I love apples. I would totally buy apples. Or spring bulbs.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Fairplay, Colorado - The CEO of a large Seattle software company has been charged with the murder of 32 Bison. Apparently he was upset they straying onto his ranch from his neighbours property and he took things into his own hands. Police were called after a report from the Bison's owner that someone was shooting his herd.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Nearly a decade ago I was watching TV, watching riots on the streets of America. I turned off the TV, logged on (via dialup... argh the memories) and started getting the real picture. To this day I think the real success of the Battle in Seattle was not that thousands of protesters were able to successfully organize and shut down the WTO and their first attempt to hold meetings on North American soil. The success was not that millions of people were shown the true nature of a truly oppressive global organization whos only real goal is lining the pockets of elites at the expense of the everyman. The real success of this protest was that it was one of the first, probably the first in a long time, that was seen by millions of people outside of the media filter imposed by corporate America. This could be the first real protest of the digital age.

We knew that NBC, CBS, and ABC were all lies, and we didn't care. We didn't need them anymore. We had handheld digital camers uploading unedited digital video footage of police instigating the violence and corporate media feeding the public their lies. We could turn on CNN and see a headline stating the protestors had turned violent in front of some swank hotel, then login to IndyMedia to see unedited footage the same street corner and seeing peaceful folks who crossed four generations sitting in the street with their arms linked being pepper sprayed without warning.

We heard on the television about violent protestors trashing a Starbucks or a McDonalds, but could turn around and see a video of thousands of folks NOT engaging in any violence. We also had concrete evidence that nobody busted up that Starbucks until AFTER the police shot pepper spray and rubber bullets into the peaceful crowd.

It is hard to say how this all will be portrayed in the upcoming film, Battle in Seattle. Will it attempt to re-frame history via the lense of either corporate or counter-culture America? Or will it tell the human side of the story? I don't want to spoil it for you. You can find out for yourself on October 17th when Battle in Seattle opens in theatres in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Not only did the protests manage to shut down the planned meetings, a few other great things came of this world-changing event.

For starters we had the pleasure of former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra getting together with Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and record an awesome live album under the banner "The No WTO Combo". What can I say? I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Jello.


Brisbane, Australia - A ex-soldier who decided to erect a flagpole on his yard was surprised to learn that his new flag was found to be 'offensive' by his neighbour. The story doesn't mention the ethnicity or political affiliation of the neighbour (perhaps that he lives next door to an unemployed granola crunching hippy). An official complaint to the local municipality resulted in the order to remove the flag, citing concerns the pole may fall during a high wind and injure someone (sounds pretty weak to me).

Nottingham, U.K. - A man had multiple televisions, CDs, stereo, DVD players, cassette players, games consoles and speakers seized by local police after repeated complaints of excessive noise after midnight were reported and subsequent noise abatement notices were ignored. The man was also fined and has indicated he plans on moving.


I got this email today from L.S. in Toronto who has some issues with his landlord. This can always be a touchy subject and I almost hesitated posting the letter. Almost. More on that after the post.

L.S. writes:

My husband and I live with these horrible people of Asian decent. The father thinks he is still in Korea and acts like he is the king of Toronto. Apparently they moved to Ontario 7 years ago. We never knew people could act in this manner. He does not follow any rules, provides us no heat, and no air conditioning. There is noise galore from his family. They are like a bunch of animals running above us with no courtesy whatsoever.

They are greedy without providing light and no hot water, heat etc. They are in our faces constantly, about one thing or another. Their food also smells. When they don't like something, which is constantly, they scream and yell at us. The Korean grandmother who does not speak English actually kicked me and their daughter likes to push us around as well.

We don't dare do anything wrong for fear of eviction. At one point we had a garage sale on the driveway which is half ours and included in the rent, and the father comes out of the house scraming that he is the boss of the property and we have no right to do this, even though it was confirmed a day before with his family that it was okay.

These People are animals. Beware when you see a "Room for Rent" in North York. If you see this lovely Korean family who goes to church, beware! We were blindsided, it has been an ugly scene and not everything is being mentioned.

- A Very Unsatisfied Couple

Now it would be easy for me to say. "Hell Yes!" and I don't mean to discount the obvious discomfort being felt by L.S. but they do have some options.

It is one thing to purchase a home that is next door to a truly 'Stupid Neighbour'. You are stuck with a mortgage, your biggest single lifetime investment, the risk of losing your nest egg, etc. It is another thing entirely to have a bad landlord and to put up with it.

I can only assume that they have signed a lease or are unable for whatever reason to find a new apartment.

The only advice I can give is that things like providing heat, hot water, smoke detectors, etc. are legislated in Ontario and there are government agencies that you should utilize to ensure the landlord lives up to their obligations under the law. Noise bylaws apply to everyone, so don't hesitate to complain if the noise is excessive, even if the 'neighbour' is your landlord. If a friendly discussion does not improve anything make sure you send registered letters or something similar, so you have documentation of the attempts to address the situation.

From the sounds of things this apartment is probably illegal from a zoning perspective, so complaining could get the authorities to shut things down, which could be a good thing if you have signed a lease (the legal obligation evaporates).

Finally, and I almost didn't post this (for fear of alienating the few readers I apparently have) I have zero tolerance for folks who complain of cooking smells. Its pure racism, simple as that. Your food smells as well, we just are used to it. Talk to anybody who lives in a town with a Pulp & Paper Mill... they simply don't notice the smell. Its a cultural thing. Sesame oil has a very unique smell that Wonder White Bread folks like you and me are just not used to. Burn some incense or buy Febreze or potpourri or something.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Barefoot Bay, Florida - The neighbours of Andy Lacasse are upset about the election sign he has on his front yard. The problem? Judge for yourself. Personally I am speechless. No suprise he lives in a glorified trailerpark.

Hobart, Australia - A neighbour dispute over something that has probably been forgotten escalated quickly and several months later one of the involved has been found guilty of assaulting his neighbour with a garden gnome.

East Yorks, U.K. - A drunk idiot on a riding lawnmower ended up dead after crashing into a ditch and becoming trapped under the mower. Witnesses revealed he was not cutting the grass at the time of the accident but had actually just been aimlessly "driving around in circles". Toxicology tests revealted he was over 3x the legal limit to operate an automobile. What makes it even worse? He was drunk on wine coolers.