Friday, 27 December 2013

One Year Later, 28 December

So we are now at the close of 2013, in terms of world events well we had the usual disasters, wars, massacre of population and very little Peace on Earth. One Supreme Pontiff resigned not the first to do so in the history of the Holy See replaced by the first Jesuit ever to reach that exalted position. The new Pontiff  is a very good PR man and knows how to catch people by surprise, in a way the old Polish Politician Jean-Paul II could not, despite all the Media hype. We have also come to learn of his role and lack of action in the whole child abuse scandal. Of his powerful friends who were deeply involved and were he failed to act because he was pursuing a political agenda closely tied to Polish Politics. A moral failure on his part in my view which does not deserve his elevation to Sainthood. Luckily Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) will also be elevated to Sainthood, a much more deserving choice.

Then the Civil War in Syria, we came close to a military intervention again in a conflict the West did not understand and had little interest, though for reason of public policy politicians had to show the masses they cared. Once the matter of the chemical weapons was settled, the West lost interest and the Civil War continue apace. As for our so-called friends in the Syrian Opposition it looks like Russia knew all along that they were not trustworthy and President Assad is the devil we know, a classic case of I told you so, the Russians are laughing now and the Americans well have poor quality intelligence but then again that is not new. The series of articles in the New York Times of 29 Dec 2013 explain the whole Benghazi affair and the many failures of the CIA, yet again.
Then there was Egypt and Morsi and the Brotherhood. The Egyptian crisis will continue for some time to come, not to mention the many crisis in the whole region, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Qatar.
Iran elected a new President it appears some change may be at hand, will see. Hopefully no war with Iran it would be a huge mistake. The so called Arab Spring that was not really a change for democracy, how can you have democracy with extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity, illiterate people, lack of basic sanitation and clean water and corruption. It looks almost like a luxury this democracy thing. In North America we are very naive, too often thinking that people want to copy us and our culture.

There were other conflicts in Africa, Mali and Central African Republic where France and their President are playing old Colonial Masters coming to help the poor Africans. Would it not be better to simply let Africans settle their own score? Am sure they are quite capable without the help of France.

In Canada well we saw more GOP and Tea Party Politics thanks to our born-again Evangelical, Rapture seeker Prime Minister, several of his ministers have shown how out of touch they are with reality, spitting on the poor, the elderly, the disabled, Veterans, pensioners, the public service and poor children, in the immortal words of Minister James Moore, ''It is not my responsibility to feed my neighbours children'' or in the words of Minister of Veterans Affairs, Fantino, ''We have no responsibility to our wounded Veterans'' or better still Minister of Justice, Mackay ''the homeless should sell whatever they have so they can pay their fines". This same government is now involved in a political scandal which is destroying the faith we might have had in our democratic institutions. For years Canadians lived in this dreamy stupor believing that we did not have corruption in Canada, we now know that we are a very corrupt country where many political appointees are on the take and have Mafia connections. Canadians have also woken up to the fact that our Governor General cannot do a thing about any political situation, no matter how dangerous it might be given the near dictatorial powers Mr. Harper has given himself, that being a flaw in our own Constitution of 1867. The GG's role kiss babies and eat cake, basta.

I will not go into the depressing situation with the Mayor buffoon of Toronto the former metropolis of Canada, a role the city held for a brief period between 1977 and 2006, before being replaced by Calgary.
Toronto today is bankrupt and is the fruit bowl of Multicultural Policies that simply do not work in the real world, no matter how hard Canadians wish to believe in our national myths.

I will not bore you with the rest of the news which had little to make anyone smile. I am sure you have your own favourite news story.

But let's look instead on the brighter side of things, this year has been my first year in retirement. I volunteered with our National Museums, spending over 360 hours working as a volunteer.
I learned a great deal and it has been an interesting experience.

We travelled in May to Salzburg to the Pfingstfestspiele Music Festival. We had like in years past a wonderful time and we are returning in 2014. Then in August we travelled to Stratford Ontario for the Theatre Festival, a first for me, fell in love with this lovely city.

During our stay in Stratford we met with fellow bloggers we had been corresponding with. Meeting people in person after speaking and commenting on the internet is always a bit daunting but it was a rewarding experience and met like minded fellows and made new friends. See their blogs at
and We will most likely meet them again this August at the Festival.

Then in November we flew to Rome met with many old friends and then on to our cruise on AZAMARA which took us to Spain. It is our second cruise with this line and we love it.

Spending 23 days in Europe and visiting many famous sites was a pleasure. We discovered Valencia, Gibraltar, Séville and Granada. The beauty of the Alcazar and the Alhambra, treasures of our past. This trip was our gift to ourselves on our 35 Anniversary, (1978-2013). At the end of our trip we met in London with our friend D.N. who suggested a wonderful fish restaurant J. Sheekey and entertained us with a delightful conversation on music and the arts. I am always in awe of his prodigious memory for details. We stayed in London with my fiancée C. at her very central flat near Baker Street. She also took us to a great restaurant Brasserie Zédel.

On this blog I am ending the year with 92,000 clicks, thank you for all the comments. This is our 3rd year in Ottawa we have re-connected with friends and have our old regular circle back.

Being retired is not difficult and life takes on a different look, I now have other priorities which have nothing to do with work and more to do with what I like and want to do. I do not regret for one moment having retired. As for 2014 I do not have any resolutions, I do not really believe in them. Will see what this new year brings.

In Capri at Dr. Munthe's House



  1. One thing's for certain: if the French had not flown in at the precise moment they did, the whole of Mali could well be ruled by Islamic extremists. The drive towards Bamako was a fait accompli, and the Malian army was in too much disarray to stop it. Which is not to say that the French handled the aftermath well.

    Do you actually like the new Pope or do you just think he's a PR manipulator? Personally I find it amazing that he's said what he has, even if at core the Catholic Church will not budge on key issues (ie women priests).

    1. OMG! I wrote this last night and now realize I need to amend it. As for your questions, the French intervention in Mali or anywhere in Africa always looks like from an optic view as putting the natives on the right path and knowing how French Foreign Policy works with a sort of Louis XIV approach to resolving conflicts, is not for the best, though I agree in Mali there may have been no other solution.
      As for Pope Francis, I agree I very much prefer his style and way of speaking, reminds me of John XXIII and that in itself is far better than what we had in the 2 previous pontiffs.

  2. I enjoyed this; thank you for the mention. May 2014 be a splendid year for you and all yours, including the pooches.

    1. Thank you and the same to you both!