Me, My Daughter and My Stetsons

This conversation:

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My Stetsons, which I haven’t worn yet, a year since they were purchased.

She: Daddy please don’t tell me those are your boots.

She: And the tag says $100

Me: lol

Me: I didn’t pay that for them.

Me: lol

She: You used to pick me up from Harold Napper School in a Raiders bomber jacket and Clarks (shoes).

Me: You are killing me Brandi.

She: WHAT IN HELL HAPPENED?

Me: lol

Me: I am still that guy, lol.

She: Alberta has done a number on you.

She: Anyways. With boots like those, you will find a Calgary woman in no time.

Me: Nobody has done any number on me. And do not show the photo to anybody. Lol.

She: I am showing Dani as soon as she wakes up.

Me: Hahaha…Don’t you know it? It was an actual Calgary woman who selected them or let us say, suggested them. But as I said to you I have not worn them.

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The Price of Privilege

Invincible Summer

“Everybody knows the dice are loaded.” – Leonard Cohen

As a journalism student in university in Montreal I used to wonder how Leslie Roberts got on television. There was nothing to indicate that he had a college degree or had studied journalism. Likeable guy if nothing else, it wouldn’t be unfair to say he got his entrée into media through his family connections.  Roberts came from a family with a long history of involvement in journalism. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Roberts has resigned as Global Television’s senior news anchor and Executive Editor of Global Toronto, following a Toronto Star story alleging that he was the co-owner of a PR firm, Buzz PR, a public relations agency. Worse was the allegation that Roberts had regularly mentioned or invited as guests on his show, clients of Buzz PR.

“I regret the circumstances, specifically a failure to disclose information…

View original post 290 more words

The Price of Privilege

“Everybody knows the dice are loaded.” – Leonard Cohen

As a journalism student in university in Montreal I used to wonder how Leslie Roberts got on television. There was nothing to indicate that he had a college degree or had studied journalism. Likeable guy if nothing else, it wouldn’t be unfair to say he got his entrée into media through his family connections.  Roberts came from a family with a long history of involvement in journalism. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Roberts has resigned as Global Television’s senior news anchor and Executive Editor of Global Toronto, following a Toronto Star story alleging that he was the co-owner of a PR firm, Buzz PR, a public relations agency. Worse was the allegation that Roberts had regularly mentioned or invited as guests on his show, clients of Buzz PR.

“I regret the circumstances, specifically a failure to disclose information, which led to this outcome,” he said.

I borrowed the title for this post from a New York Times story about a hedge fund manager who was shot and killed by his thirty year-old son after the father lowered his monthly allowance. There is no violence in the Leslie Roberts story except that regarding a man shooting himself in the foot.

I was looking at my university transcript and one of the compulsory courses I had to do was “Ethics and Responsibility in Journalism.” But you need not have done that or any other course to have found something wrong in interviewing someone from an outfit that you owned. It was a clear conflict of interest.

After the Toronto Star story broke, Roberts, agreeing that “it didn’t look good,” said he had resigned from Buzz PR. He should have immediately resigned from Global Television, which a few days later said they had ended their association with him following an investigation “conducted with Global News Journalistic Principle and Practices and business conduct standards.”

This represented an epic failure on the part of Global Television: it should not have taken the Toronto Star to learn of these conflicts of interest. Had Roberts’s failure been limited to the non-disclosure of his ownership stake in Buzz PR it would have been bad enough. But he doubled down and had guests on his program who were clients of his PR company.

Jamaicans have a saying, “de higher the monkey climb, de more he expose,” which means the higher your ascent in life, the greater your responsibility and the higher your risk as well. But Leslie Roberts’s self-inflicted wounds could have been avoided. Any first year journalism student could have counseled him against his disastrous actions.

The Summer of My Contentment

I was talking with an eighty-year-old friend who runs a second-hand store in Hamilton. We talk about literature and cinema and she gave me a biography of Burt Lancaster. She likes to read the stuff that I write. On this occasion I offered two pieces. She liked one and not the other. The one she didn’t like made her sad and depressed she said.

In the piece I had done a cost benefit analysis of my life and had come to the sad realization that had I been a business I would have had to close the doors. It would not have made any (business) sense to continue. To what end? This was the winter of my discontent. Steinbeck country.

One year removed. Two months of utter chaos -madness, really- and then a break in the weather. I nabbed my third job today and I am in the best position I have ever been. But I cannot celebrate this achievement. I can celebrate the moment because things are so ephemeral. There are three planks to my present state of mind: positivity, humility and gratitude. It’s the oil that makes my engine run. Humility because life makes and gives no promises. But I am keeping my eyes on the prize. I have a few goals in mind: one important one is acquiring a hectare of farmland to plant a little callaloo and raise some goats and live offa the fat of the land.

Oil Slick

The bird formerly in hand has now been caught. Got the job after all. Oily, dirty job. Good job . A great job in the oil country. So, this bird has not flown. It did not go to meet its maker.

The news gets better too. A sibling from the yard is coming to join me here in Alberta. A transition for us both. Almost like old times. Good times.

Riffing on Raymond Carver’s Cathedral

Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is just one of the greatest short stories ever written and I have continued to learn new things about the story by listening to podcasts and college lectures available on iTunes. Perspectives I had not previously considered. “Cathedral” is simply the gift that keeps giving.

When I started riffing on the story it was as a big fan of Carver’s with a background of having studied the man’s work in university. Nevertheless, my blog on “Cathedral” wasn’t really an academic paper. So it came as a surprise to receive the following missive from a Chinese student:

“I like your writing very much, I am a student from China, Dalian, Liaoning province. One month ago, My writing teacher gave me a HW, read the Cathedral and writing a paper about 2000-2500 words, I can speak flown Chinese, but my vocabulary is poor, so I search the source in the Internet, and then I see your paper, My original topic is “ignorance is the blind of soul”, but I think your thought is much better, so I capy some of them and paste on my paper, it is cheating, right? so I get a XF grade on my course, I got punished, it is means that my hard working for a year was gone, whatever pretty grade I got in the next one year I still cannot go to America, I don’t have the chance to achieve my American dream, I was planing to go to aboard and apologize to you face to face even though it sounds like stupid and incredible, you are one of the great writer I have seen, its my true thoughts, I write this email was aim to do a apologize, I hope you can forgive me, than you anyway.”

Confusing Tarry

My response: oh, I am not upset. I am honoured Confusing Tarry likes the piece. Sorry about the Fail grade. I am sure things aren’t as bad as you think and you will later get an opportunity to go to the USA and pursue your “American Dream.” No need to apologize! No need to make a trip to Canada to apologize to me face-to-face. We cool like that.

For no particular reason this Billy Preston tune just popped into my head while reading the message: