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on the manic media-driven merryground of world events. as filtered by the Montreal Gazette, as filtered by me. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled Bill 104 unconstitutional. A little background here : Bill 101 made it compulsory for immigrants to Quebec to attend French schools, but if you put your kids in a private English elementary school which did not receive provincial subsidies, they were eligible to attend high school in English. It was on the basis of this provision that we immigrated to Montreal from the Adirondacks ten years ago. The problem was that opportunistic schools sprang up that you could send your kid to for a year to get your English eligibility certificate, and there was a wave of defections from the French school system by parents who wanted their kids to have English. This loophole was closed by Bill 104 in 2005, which ruled that going to an unsubsidized private school no longer qualified you for a certificate. This kind of shafted us, because we educated our three boys in English from kindergarten to sixth grade, at St. George’s School, which was fantastic, all you could ask for from an educational institution, but then the boys were forced to go to French high school, and they are now, after some initial difficulties, at the venerable College de Montreal, founded by the Sulpetians in 1767, and doing fine. But it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, reinforcing the distinct impression Quebec society gives you that immigrants are second-class citizens. Our rights of prior estoppel or droits aquis were violated, i.e. the laws upon which we based our decision to come to Quebec were changed, and we could make a stink about it. But French is the language and culture of la belle province, and if we’re going to be living here, we may as well get with the drill. It’s a beautiful language. Compare grapefruit and pamplemousse, for instance. Which is more elegant, graceful, and mellifluous ? Pamplemousse wins hands down. Learning other languages opens the doors of understanding and prevents Alzheimer’s. And besides, as I told the boys, French girls are much hotter. Which they have already discovered. However, I think this linguistic fascism is self-defeating. It makes Quebecois who don’t know English prisoners of their language. Not knowing English in the modern world is a major disadvantage, and condemns you to mediocrity and parochialism.
The FBI has put Russian crime boss Semion Mogilevich, on its ten most wanted list and has offered a hundred thousand dollar bounty for whoever brings him in. The Ukrainian-born Mogilevich defrauded Canadian investors in a Philadelphia-headquarted bogus magnet company called YBM Magnex of $650 million and faces 40 U.S. counts of racketing, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, and other alleged economic crimes carried out in dozens of countries around the world. Mogilevitch– there’s a foto of his long potato-faced mug topped with a shlyapa, is one of the most powerful and ruthless gangsters of all time.
There’s a new book by Australian enthropologist Peter McAllister called Manthropology : The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. McAllister argues that prehistoric aboriginals were able to run faster than the currrent world record for the 100-yard dash, that Tutsis in 19th century Rwanda had to jump their own height as a rite of passage into manhood and that there are fotos of them soaring above pith-helmeted German colonials that show them shattering the current world record for the high jump. In fact I have this book and will scan the foto and post it soon. People were much stronger and more muscular in the old days before the industrial revolution, followed by the informatic revolution, turned most of us into obese couch potatoes. There is undoubtedly something to this. The myth of progress is dealt another blow.
3,771 kids have been badly injured by cars on the island of Montreal in the last ten years. The drivers around here are completely out of control. One of them ran over our beloved dachshund Cleo right in front of our apartment a few months ago, and that beautiful joyful and exuberant and up for anything consciousness was snuffed in the snap of a finger. Some kids were hit while they were walking or out playing, others were hit on their bicycles. Parents have taken to driving their kids everywhere to keep then safe, which is contributing to the obesity epidemic, which now afflicts one child i four in Quebec.
A new study finds that couples who do household chores together have more sex. Doing chores together brings forth a sense of connection, says one family therapist. Also the woman is more apt for reward her guy for being a good helpmate. This is similar to another study that finds families who eat meals together are less likely to have kids who turn into potheads.
Animal-rights activists are trying to stop a race between a man a timber wolf and a rugby player wearing a new model of Timberland running shoes made of “eco-conscious” materials. The Gazette has been running a lot of animal abuse stories lately. This could be because the child abuse and pedophilia and incest stories, the bread and butter of the rag a few years ago, are dwindling, most of the victims of the Catholic priesthood and the English Protestant all boys school system having come forth. The Gazette itself is in shakey circumstances, like all newspapers in North America (but not Mexico or Argentina or Brazil, where I was iin August. They are still they are going strong, major outlets for venting.) The Aspers who own it have gotten themselves in a possibily inextricable financial bind. If the Gazette bites the dust, it would be personally a huge blow, the sort of flux we don’t like.
Obama’s White House has been accused by Tennessee Republican senator Lamar Alexander of having an enemies list like Nixon’s. The list includes Fox News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But they are enemies. Fox is a de facto arm of the Republican party and is out to get Obama, and the chamber of commerce, particularly Nike and Apple, are vigorously opposing his efforts to do something about global warming. And these people will stop at nothing and have carefully worked out really devious strategies for sabotaging the administration. But the White House is also quite Machiavellian, as my only dealings with it to date, early this year, made dismaying clear. They weren’t straight with me, which seems to be a problem with many who seek
clarification on policy.

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