Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Boerishbwoy Anthems

1) Bob Marley - One Drop
2) Buju Banton - Close One Yesterday
3) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
4) Ben Harper - Amen Omen
5) Bob Marley - Jamming
6) Jack Johnson - The Horizon Has Been Defeated
7) Sizzla - I Wonder
8) Buju Banton - Murderer
9) U2 - Pride
10) Damian Marley - Stand a Chance
11) Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
12) Bob Marley - Redemption Song
13) The Roots - Distortion to Static
14) Buju Banton - Untold Stories
15) Bob Marley - Bad Card
16) Wyclef Jean - Gunpowder
17) Bounty Killer - Look
18) U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
19) Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come
20) Toots Hibbert and Ben Harper - Love Not Gonna Let Me Down

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Originally, this post was going to be a review of Syriana, which, incidentally, is an excellent movie; but fate decided to intervene.

Now some people go to the movie theatre to enjoy films and some people, like the infantile imbeciles who sat behind my beautiful date and me, go to the movie theatre to giggle into their hands and carry on snickering commentaries. I don't know if the line to see Chicken Little was too long or if the local Blockbuster ran out of copies of Gigli. I'm not sure if, in some kind of weed-induced dyslexia, these hee-hawing halfwits mistook the word Syriana for the question Dude, Where's My Car? I'm not certain if "Thanks for the delicious strawberry juice" translates into some kind of hilarious joke that only obtuse muttonheads can understand, but to most people it just isn't a funny phrase.

I am sure that you got more out of the the air bubbles you slurped out of your drink for five minutes then you did out of what you seem to think was some kind of hilarious comedy. I do know that the subtle characterization, the masterful storytelling, and the superb acting were entirely wasted on you and your phlegmatic friends. I am certain that if the back of my seat could have kicked you back it would have been merciful and not kicked you in the head, so as to avoid any further brain damage.

Oh, and you don't always have to sit in my vicinity. I try to avoid you and your friends by not going to see movies with Adam Sandler or movies that are advertised using the word "outrageous" or which start out with "from the people who brought you White Chicks" but somehow you always find us. Please stop stalking us. Thank you.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Real Questions Asked About Canada after Vancouver won the Olympic Bid for 2010

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow?(UK)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto-can I follow the Railroad
tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact
for a stuffed Beaver. (Italy)
A: Let's not touch this one.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of
them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da
is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is
every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees Contact us when you get here and
we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which
is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday
night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you
sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female
population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name.
It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of
anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself
with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

ESL Knock Knock

"Knock knock."

"What's that?"

" . . . . no, no, you say who's there?"

" . . . . ."

"Knock knock."

"What's that?"

"No, who's there?"

"Yeah, who?"

"No, who's there?"

"How you mean?"

"Knock Knock."

" . . . "

"Who's there?"

"Who's there?"




"This is a joke?"

"Yes, and you ask boo who?"


"It's how the joke works."

"So, knock, knock."

"What's that?"

"No, who's there?"

"Who's there?"


"Boo . . . who?"

"Don't cry, it's only me."

" . . . okay."

"It's a knock knock joke."

"Okay, so who is crying?"

"You are, you said boo who."

"You say me to."

"I told you to."

"Yeah, you told me to."

"It's a knock knock joke, that's your line."

"I don't understand."

"You know, boo hoo, it's like you're crying."

"This is a joke?"

"It's a knock knock joke, I guess knock knock jokes don't translate well."

"No, they doesn't."

Sunday, December 04, 2005


- I was looking at my blog links . . . like do de do de do Deboer, Dijkema, Donkersloot, Guthrie, Harsevoort, Koyzis, Greydanus, Groen, Joustr . . . wait a second, how did I screw up the alphabet like that?

- I went to a United Church today and all the people were old, except for me.

- Vicente likes Fifty Cent.

- I made marble cheesecake yesterday and it turned out.

- There are some more additions to my blog links to make. First, the long overdue addition of Estime Ntwari, my brother-in-law, and Graziella Keranda, my sister-in-law. These aren't blogs but they do give you a bit of an idea of what these fine young people like. Second, Marcel Mutoni, a new Ottawa friend whose writing has thoroughly impressed me.

- I do not like cold weather.

- Thinking of seeing Syriana tonight.

- Yesterday I went to the local Maxi (le moins cher) and they played O Holy Night back to back to back and then they went into the French version back to back. Aaaaargh.

- Bah Humbug.

- Greek students are not offended by "Xmas"

- Vicente has a detachable spinning belt buckle that says "G-Unit" on it and functions as a lighter.

- I lied about the spinning part in an effort to be funny. In fact, his watch has a spinner on it.

- Marcellin should drop the "in" add "us" and change his last name to Wallace.

- Is it possible to insert gifs onto blogs?

- Big Gulps huh? Well see ya later.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

For All the Napoleon/Usher Fans out there:

The Secularization of Lewis

Tilda Swinton, who plays the witch in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, was asked about the book's religious metaphor. "What religious metaphor?" she replied, "a lot of people know that C.S. Lewis was a very well-known Christian apologist, and for them the religious allegory will be important but there are many millions of other people for whom it is not."

"I think that when people see the movie, they will see what the filmmakers have done here is to make a genuinely faithful adaption of a C.S. Lewis children's story --- but, you know the Christians are welcome," she continued.

"Oh, gee thanks," replied Lewis as he rolled over in his grave.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


When four-fifths of your class is comprised of overly patriotic Mexicans and the other fifth is Colombian and the theme of the week is agriculture the following question is inappropriate:

What is a crop they farm in Colombia?

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Day I gave Money to the NOI

Walking through downtown Toronto is always an interesting experience. One time I saw Batman. I was in grade nine and a man carrying some groceries and wearing a plastic batman mask attached to a short black cape was crossing the street. What could I say? I just waved and called out, "Hey Batman!" Batman waved back, of course, and continued on his errand. Not many people can say that Batman has waved to them, but I can.

Recently a woman accosted me in Toronto and started muttering about the invasion of the pink monkeys. I am not lying. Pink monkeys. She must have been faking psychosis so that people would give her money. I mean, pink monkeys is so cliche. That's the first thing they'll start talking about when their playing crazy on one of those improv shows. Maybe not, but I was under the impression that most schizophrenics hallucinate about spiders, aliens, and the CIA. Pink monkeys aren't frightening. They're just something Timothy Leary or Lewis Carroll might write a children's book about.

I am one of those people who gives money to panhandlers. People always tell me that I am just feeding their drug or alcohol habit, but apparently only thirty per cent of the money goes to drugs and alcohol while the rest goes to survival. If I give two dollars that means I've spent a good $1.40 on a worthy cause. Not many charities can guarantee that seventy per cent of your donation will go to the actual cause . . . although I suppose not many panhandlers are going to guarantee that to you either.

Last summer a smartly-dressed man in a nice suit stopped Laurianne and started talking about books. I love books and so I started to listen. Laurianne started to politely leave but I continued the conversation . . .

"So you're starting a library?"

"Well, we're raising money to add these books to *insert library here*. We want black youth to have good African history books so that they can appreciate their history."

"That's a worthy cause . . ."

"Here's a list of books that we would like to add to our collection."

I glanced over the books quickly. I had never heard of any of them but, then again, I had only read a few books of African history.

"-- John."

"Just a second, Laurianne."

"Well," I dug in my pocket, "here's two dollars for the books."

"Thank you sir," he handed me a newspaper and a couple of flyers.

"No problem, thank you." I smiled. Here was an investment I could be proud of. Educating young people on their history. I didn't have any drug habits or drunken binges on my conscience.

I began rifling through the newspaper on the subway. "Hey, Laurianne?"


"What is Louis Farrakhan doing in this newspaper?"

"You do realize that you just gave money to the Nation of Islam?"

"Uh." I thought of the wonderful bag of chips that I could've bought, "they don't take money from white devils do they?"

"Apparently they do."

"Oh," I paused, "Do you remember any of those book's titles?"

"No," she said, "I was busy walking away."

"Right." *sigh*

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One of the greatest bands of all time, U2, recently performed here in Ottawa. I didn't go to their concert because I have difficulty planning that far ahead and I do not want to do any of those ridiculous things radio stations try to make you to do to win tickets.

Last year, I lived with a number of rabid U2 fans. I attempted to affect a demeanor of U2 antipathy to try to create some controversy. This is difficult to do because U2 fans will generally join in when you start telling Bono jokes and, well, U2 has such infectious tunes that it is difficult to pretend to hate them while the Joshua Tree is blaring from your speakers.

I'm not a huge U2 fan. I only have two of their albums and I tend to laugh at some of Bono's earnest pretension. Nevertheless, the volume knob of my car stereo is inevitably turned upwards whenever the soulful strains of a U2 song are played.

Also, I may not be as big a U2 fan as some, but at least I know what they're singing about most of the time. What am I talking about? Well, just listen to what one U2 fan wrote in the Ottawa Citizen about their supposed favourite U2 song: "My favourite is Sunday Bloody Sunday because the words speak to me. I know what U2 means about Bloody Sunday . . ." I'll interrupt the quote here, for a moment, to prepare you for the monumental superficiality of this fan's understanding of this song. As anyone whose favourite song is Sunday Bloody Sunday should know, Bloody Sunday refers to the killing, in Ireland, of 13 peaceful civilian demonstrators on January 30, 1972. Ahem, the quote continues, "I also hate Sundays. Sundays remind me of homework, school, long week ahead, and dreaded Mondays."

You would think that the line "bodies strewn across a dead end street" would hint at a different interpretation for this song than a simple complaint against the tedium of Sundays. I do not mean to feed my massively obese superiority complex more egotism by putting this peon down, but I think he should be relegated to listening to the unsubtle lyricism of Celine Dion or Mandy Moore.

I don't really believe that, but it's a shame that Bono's lyrics were wasted on this poor soul. Ah well, it is better to have him playing Sunday Bloody Sunday to depress himself further over the terrible day he is having than it is to have him pumping anything by Fitty, Ashlee, or any of pop music's other dry and talentless offerings.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


The word "circumcision" alone is enough to make most people squirm, but when the adjective "female" is placed uncomfortably in front of it, it is sufficiently disturbing for many people to excuse themselves from the conversation or to quickly change the subject. This is one thing which makes Senegalese director, Ousmane Sembene's, Moolaade so outstanding. He manages to inject the serious topic of female circumcision with a certain amount of humour which, I would argue, is no easy feat.
In a small village in Burkina Faso, a group of young girls are about to undergo their circumcision. Two girls run away while four others seek protection from Fatoumata Coulibaly (Collé Gallo Ardo Sy), a woman who refused to have her daughter circumcised seven years earlier. Fatoumata's own botched circumcision forces her to suffer greatly during intercourse and also forced her to deliver her only child by Caesarean Section.
I spent much of the movie trying to figure out what Moolaade meant. I found that my uncertainty of the meaning of this word and my own cultural disorientation made this movie that much more engaging. Without giving the full meaning of the word, Moolaade is the reason a Muslim African woman can stand up to the elders of her village. This is one of the many delights of the movie, a woman using ancient tradition against ancient tradition.
Ousmane Sembene has created a brilliant film on the clash of modernity and tradition and the battle of tradition against the forces of globalization. His conclusions, rooted in a feminist veneer and an inevitable, but African-tinged, concession to progress might surprise some. Sembene's movie leaves the viewer with much to think about. If one watches the movie and concludes that it is merely a cinematographic condemnation of female circumcision then they were not paying attention. Sembene deftly manipulates the plot, leaving images that will not leave your memory for some time. The image of a large pile of chattering radios burning in front of an ancient mosque could not be lost on even the most dwarse audience member. Although there are a few out there --- some of the sour reviews at imdb.com caused me to scratch my head. I mean, I find it disingenous to harp on the poor plot development of the movie while admitting that you only watched half of the movie.
The movie is not graphic at all, and yet the mere sight of the short blades used to perform the act caused me extreme discomfort. The terrified yelps of a suffering girl made me cringe as did the explanation of why she could not urinate. The movie itself has little explanation on the procedure, but a young woman I watched the movie with was able to offer some helpful and nauseating details. I admit I knew little about female circumcision before the movie, but perhaps the occasional educational commentary from said young woman changed the overall impact of the film for me.
Some of the acting in the movie is poor but the major characters are believable while the principle character, Fatoumata, shines. This movie received rave reviews and deservedly so, in my opinion. The colourful cinematography is entrancing and the cultural exposition is enthralling.
Having been exposed to Sembene's work, I would like to watch some of his earlier work.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I have just finished watching Moulaade for the first time and I would like to send a big thank you out to my good friend, Piet Harsevoort. A fine piece of cinema. More thoughts to follow . . .

Sunday, November 13, 2005

by John den Boer

The man’s face is pale and blank
His hollow eyes strain to see
and I smell the odorous rank
of human mortality
Emaciated ribs jut
from the man’s sunken chest
Crimson blood drips from a cut
which yellow gangrene molests
His thin body convulses
as his swollen belly gasps
His weak heart barely pulses
as his swollen throat rasps
I watch him with contempt

but his face reveals no shame
As his bony arms attempt
to support his rakish frame
The man’s anaemic lips flutter
and his mouth, it forms a word
which his lips weakly mutter

. . . but the man cannot be heard.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

More on the Job . . .

Last week Friday was supposed to be my last day of work at the golf course. I have to admit, working at the golf course was fun in the summer but fall is a different story. With snot running down my face, the wind biting into my skin, my fingers red and chapped, I would cut the greens or the rough so that the one golfer of the day could have a semi-enjoyable game of golf. I understand that it was important for the grass to be cut so that the course is in good condition for the spring, but I felt pretty useless and working in the cold and wet is absolutely no fun.

I was worried. I had optimistically set off to Ottawa upon receiving my degree, confident that I would quickly gain a job. Two months of slightly humiliating and uncomfortable unemployment quickly passed and I finally found a job as a greenskeeper at a golf course. As much as I enjoyed the job it was a little humbling to be cutting grass when I felt my degree qualified me for so much more. Yet I worked and enjoyed the sunshine and the camradrie. I even took up golf and, although it is hard to admit, I enjoyed it (maybe Mr. Ware can tell us what the Scots were thinking).

I began attending All Nations Full Gospel Church in Ottawa. Although I did not agree with all that they taught I thoroughly enjoyed their powerful praise and worship, their mighty prayers and their fervent commitment to always seek God first. I joined a Bible study under brother Harry. The study usually only involved Harry and I but it was good place to bring my concerns forward. At the first study I volunteered that I was seeking a better job and brother Harry said that he would pray that this would happen.

Meanwhile, back in Hamilton, my own family prayed for the very same thing.

Last Friday was supposed to be my last day but my boss asked me to work on Saturday. Having just received a speeding ticket, I quickly agreed. On Saturday he asked me to work Monday and I agreed, thinking that it was important to have as much money to tie me over against my rapidly advancing unemployment. On Monday my boss asked me to work Tuesday and, to be honest, I was a little annoyed because I wanted to sleep in and then begin my job search but I agreed because I didn't want to give in to the lethargy. On Tuesday my boss asked me to work Wednesday and I almost said no, but I agreed because Tuesday was actually pretty fun (because I did a lot of shovelling which is a brisk and enjoyable physical activity). On Wednesday my boss asked me if I would work on Thursday but I said no because I really wanted to start looking for a new job.

It's a good thing I said no because when I got home on Wednesday Laurianne quickly informed me that I had an interview the next morning at 7:30 am. Laurianne had taken a test that day to teach English as a second language. During the interview she selflessly recommended me for the position and gave such a sincere and enthusiastic endorsement of me that the director immediately scheduled an interview for the next morning.

So, I went to the interview the next morning smelling fresh and looking criss (and probably slightly nervous). I had carefully prepared answers in my mind while trying to review the parts of speech in my head. I patiently waited for the interview and test to begin while the director explained how the learning centre worked. I waited some more while she explained the weekly schedule and then I waited some more while she began to talk about the students I would be teaching . . .

The students I would be teaching? The only question she had asked me was how I was doing and she had not even looked at my resume. Laurianne had told the director so much about me that she already felt that she knew me. I sat in numb and joyous amazement while she continued to expound on my duties as a teacher. I had a job! I had not even had one day of unemployment. Not even one day.

Skeptics can explain this away, but I know that the only reason I have this wonderful job is because of the power of prayer. God is good. I am a man who has more sympathy for the apostle Thomas than most people. I always cringed when sermons directed righteous anger against poor Thomas who presumably witnessed the death of Jesus with his own eyes. I mean, it is a perfectly natural reaction to doubt that a corpse had risen especially when the first messenger is a former prostitute and the second or third is Peter who, you have to admit, is one of the more romantically inclined disciples, someone you'd expect to go off the deep end.

Praise God, because he is generous to fools like me and my friend Thomas and gives us an extra measure of grace. I thank the Lord for this job and I pray that I might honour him as I work to the best of my ability.
I have a new job! (Or "yob" as my Mexican students would say)

There's another learning centre nearby, our rivals if you will, some little place called something like, um, Redeemer Christian High School. Redeemer, eh? We should challenge them to some kind of soccer game because I am certain we have enough talent to annihilate those Dutchies.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


- Remember, I invented these updates.

- My feet are cold.

- Today was my last day of working at the Golf Course. Hopefully, I can find something else, and quickly.

- My fingernail is still messed up.

- I mean, I probably didn't invent these because there was probably someone who did this before me but since I don't know about this alleged person then they don't exist.

- That's right, they don't exist because I don't know about them. Chew on that, Descartes.

- I think my thumbnail is starting to go too. This can only mean that I have some kind of fingernail disease which spreads verrrry slowly.

- The CBC's documentary on the Quebec Referendum was quite good. It really helped jog my memory.

- My neighbour grows weed.

- Lauriane and I have been together for three months.

- They really don't make a big deal about Luther and his theses here in Gatineau.

- John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is my name toooooo, whenever I go out, the people always shout singing "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt la-la la-la la-la-la . . . "

- (that was in my head all day.)

- Laurianne and I have been together for three months and apparently I still can't spell her name.

- I'm not saying that my neighbour doesn't spray his lawn, I'm saying that he grows cannabis in his house.

- Do do do de do de do-do.

- Why do French-Canadians love what's-her-name so much?

- No, I'm not talking about Celine Dion but that is a good question --- Why do French-Canadians love her so much?

- Man Huynh also loves Celine Dion.

- Man is from Chatham, not Quebec.

- Man is not French-Canadian, despite his Gallic-sounding name.

- Norah Jones!! That's it, why do they love her so much?

- My neighbour could also be using those hydroponic lights for a science experiment, right?

- One day, I went to pick up Laurianne from her friend's house and there was a man being serviced in our parking lot.

- This update is rated 16 ans+, by the way.

- Why are so many kids named Tyler or Tyson these days and why do they always go to the grocery store with their mothers at the same time as I do?

- Jerry Seinfeld, funny guy.

- Yogourt is better than ice cream. It is - I'm right and you're wrong.

- World Cup, coming up. Woo hoo.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A poem to remember Rosa Parks:

A Colored Child at the Carnival

by Langston Hughes

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want a ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put on the back--
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go round!
Where's the horse
For a kid's that black?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I forgot to add Chris Crookall to my list of linked blogs. So, welcome Chris and I will come to your Bible Study, eventually.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You may have noticed that my list of linked blogs is growing.

The first addition: Jono and Janice Barnhoorn. Jono and Janice are Redeemer alumni who taught English in Korea (South, if you must know) and have returned to Canada (via B.C.) where Jono is studying linguistics (kind of like someone I know). These are my peeps (peeps is the new lingo the kids are using nowadays to represent their "people." I'm just trying to say that these are my "people.)

The second addition is Cousin Rod and Cousin Becky Snoek (nee Barnhoorn) . . . I always wanted to do that . . . Cousin Rod and Cousin Becky are teaching English in Japan where they blend in quite well what with their blonde and flame red hair. "Hai Wakamarisu," whatever that means.

The third addition is Todd Guthrie who I lived with last year is probably the best Halo player in the world, but that's okay because I'm better at Morrowind. Todd Guthrie has cleverly named himself Tresneaky. The people I lived with last year are all very clever . . . Scott with his hippie hair and admirable self control, Phil with his acrobatic sandal-tossing, Daryl with his stumpot (sp?), me with Boerishbwoy, Aaron with his clever "Picturegy" blog and now Todd with his cleverly titled blog. Hey Todd! You don't have to write an entry every day, eh?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

grrrr, lost another brilliant post to the gaping greedy jaws of the evil black-hole forces of the internet. Grrrrrr.

Too bad.
Just Don't Do It
The other day (by other day I mean some random day about six months ago) I was watching a documentary on the the clash between city bylaw officers and citizens in some random American city. At one point, a tow truck driver was hooking up the cables to begin to tow away an illegally parked car when an irate owner drunkenly stumbled out of the nearby bar.
"I can't believe this," said the drunken man (I'm paraphrasing, of course, for although my memory is remarkable, it is not that good), "this is a Nazi city we live in."
The tow truck driver just smiled and continued to do his thing.
"You hear me, you're a Nazi," he said to the tow truck driver who was black and would definitely have met a gruesome end at the hands of the Nazis. I grinded my teeth in annoyance.
Recently, Robert Mugabe stood before the U.N. and compared President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to Hitler and Mussolini. I suppose Bush would be Hitler and Blair would be Mussolini, but the comparison breaks down pretty quickly from there, considering that Hitler was devilishly smart and Bush, while earnestly sincere, is a mere puppet. Hitler was also a captivating orator while Bush can barely read his teleprompter. Most importantly, Bush, while being a slightly corrupt ideologue, is a man whose sins and shortcomings pale to insignificance when compared to the loathsome and murderous evil wrought by Hitler.
Like teeth being scraped slowly across a chalkboard, the comparison of simple every-day annoyances to one of the greatest evils of twentieth century grates on my nerves.
Was your professor slightly reticent with his marking? He's a marking Nazi. Does your boss give a lecture every time you go slightly over the alloted break time? He's a break Nazi. Did the meter maid give you a ticket? She's Hitler.
National Socialism was responsible for the outbreak of a war that killed over 50 million men, women and children. Hitler presided over one of the worst genocides in history, arguably the worst genocide of history, the deliberate killing of six million Jews. National Socialism gutted and raped Europe and its totalitarian regime brutally repressed any who objected. Hitler wanted to reshape the world according to his abominable racist vision and he would have murdered millions more if he had been given the opportunity.
Bush, while misguided, is no Hitler. I would argue that this is one clear case where it is better to have a notoriously inept and misguided leader with good intentions than a notoriously capable and wicked leader with dark and loathsome intentions. I would fight to live in a corrupt democracy any time any place rather than live under a Hitler-style dictatorship.
When you compare your stubborn landlord to Hitler or the Nazis you are, in all actuality, saying that demands for pre-authorized cheques can be morally equated with mass genocide, mass destruction, and mass repression. That isn't funny. Hitler deserves better. If you're going to compare him to anyone, compare him to, say, Chairman Mao, Iosef Stalin, Pol Pot, or even Kim Jong-Il. Let's be serious because we all know that Hitler wouldn't have just refused to cash your cheque without a photo-id at your local bank, he would have also stolen your account, all of your possessions, and would have slowly killed you, your family, and all of your pets if you dared to oppose him.
Just don't do it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Welcome to the Blogosmos, Picturegy.

I was going to get right into what I had to say but then my breath was taken away by the brilliance of my title. I'll repeat it for those who missed it "Welcome to the Blogosmos, Picturegy." At first glance this title seems rather plain and ordinary, perhaps even confounding but let me explain to you why this title should be nominated for the Pulitzer (assuming they hand them out for brilliant blog titles and assuming further that there is some electronic gadget which allows the Pulitzer people to give the award to a few inanimate letters deep in the caverns of the internet.)
First of all, I have replaced the common reference to the entire blogging world - blogosphere - with a much better, much snappier replacement - blogosmos. Let's just say that the word "blogosphere," if we want to be etymologically correct, should only refer to the gaseous region above a blog. This region does not exist and, therefore, has no need to be labelled. If we seriously wanted to talk about the entire blogging world we would say something like the "blog-a-terre" (which sounds stupid and just a little bit French.)
Blogosmos, on the other hand, comes from the grand fastening of the words blog and kosmos together. Blog originated in 1998 as a grand fastening of the words web and log while kosmos is the Greek word for universe. Therefore, instead of welcoming Picturgy to the non-existant gaseous region above the blogs, I am welcoming him to the blog universe.
The second bit of brilliance in this title I am not responsible for. No, the second bit belongs entirely to Aaron Gysbers. Aaron, has taken the word "picture" and his last name, Gysbers, and grandly fastened them together into the word "picturegy." Aaron has a fondness for photographs (hence the use of the word picture) and (here's the bit that will make you see Gysber's true brilliance) he likes to be referred to as a "guy without spurs." Picture + Gy - sbers = Picturegy.
Welcome, Aaron, welcome.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I was just helping my wife with her homework for her female studies class and I came across this poem while I was helping her research sex tourism in Thailand. Tragic.

With No Immediate Cause
by Ntozake Shange

Every 3 minutes a woman is beaten,
every 5 minutes a woman is raped,
every 10 minutes a little girl is molested
ever 3 minutes, every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes . . . every day

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Spice Rack

So, the other day I found a spice rack. A nice solid wooden structure with a beautiful dark brown finish and room enough for a large variety of spices. With this spice rack, I reckoned, I could probably hold enough spices to cook a diverse group of dishes that would satisfy all the possible cultural groups that appeared at my table as guests. I could prepare tasty well-spiced meals for Italians, Indonesians, Japanese, Persians, Pakistanis, Greeks, Jamaicans, East Africans, West Africans, South Africans, North Africans, Arabs, and even have enough room for the gruelling epicurean demands of Dutch guests . . . well, ok, I'd have the sprinkle of salt that the Dutch occasionally dash upon their potatoes.

Excited, I brought the spice rack home to show my beautiful wife.

"What is that?" she demanded.

"A spice rack, " I said, surprised by the hard edge in her voice.

"We already have a spice rack," she stated increduously.

"Yes," I admitted, "but this one is bigger." Actually, I only said "yes" the part about "this one is bigger" I kept in my head.

"We don't need a spice rack," she said, her hand on her hip.

"Yeah," my enthusiasm was drowning in her logic, "but we could use this to store other things."

"Like what?" she asked.

"Uh," my mind worked - cd's? No, too big. - soup cans? No, we don't eat much soup. - Figurines? No, we don't have figurines that small. Something! Yes, that's it!, "We could find something to put on it."

"Where did you find that thing?" her beautiful brown eyes tearing the spice rack apart as if it was personally responsible for the invention of menstruating.

"I found it," I shrugged.


I had found it in the dumpster at work. I imagined that if I told her that this was the case she would not only throw it off the balcony, but me as well. This, despite the facts that I had wiped it down with industrial paper towel and that the thing had been nestled snuggly on a clean-looking piece of cardboard. Women, however, do not understand this sort of thing. All they hear is the word "dumpster" and they immediately associate that word with all the nasty stinky rotting disgusting smells that they had witnessed when rushing past dumpsters to wash their hands. Because, you know, women are always washing their hands (with both soap and water!)

"You know," I said, "I found it."

"Take it back to where it came from," she said, her voice implying that the spice rack had ascended to earth from the dark depths of hell itself.

Frankly, I was a little hurt. After all, this was a nice solid wooden structure with a beautiful dark brown finish and I had found it and had not paid a dime for it! "Don't you think it's nice, though?"

"No," her eyes had shown more mercy towards my worn and rancid-smelling work boots.

"Fine," I muttered, "I'll . . . I'll . . . " I sighed, how could I? "I'll throw it out."

"Good, because it is not coming into this apartment," she turned and went inside.

I looked at the beautiful spice rack one last time, said my goodbye and reluctantly placed it beside our recycling bin.

When garbage day came, I somehow forgot to place the spice rack with the rest of the trash. And so the spice rack stands proudly and beautifully on our metal balcony awaiting its day of redemption.

Do not worry, my spice rack, your day will come, your day will come. I just need a plan.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I simply love political cartoons. I love the exaggerated features, the ridiculous statements, the parody, the irony, and the art. I can look at a political cartoon that I completely disagree with and laugh because the artist has done such a good job in rendering his idea of how stupid a situation is. The cartoon on the right is by Nick Anderson, the 2005 Pullitzer Prize Winner. His art speaks for itself . . . The cartoon on the left is by Matt Davies. Enjoy!
Piet Harsevoort has published a review of "Run Lola Run" on his blog (it appears in this month's Crown). I've never seen the movie, but I am pretty intent on seeing it now. Thanks for sharing, Piet, and I look forward to the future reviews.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


When I first arrived in Gatineau (the city formerly named as Hull) I managed to misplace myself on the twisting roads of this fine Québec city. On the way home from work I decided to avoid the busy Maisonneuve thoroughfare by turning left on Papineau. I thought I might get through to St. Laurent ( the 4th century martyr patron saint of librarians, brewers, paupers, students and cooks who gave all the churches money to the poor before the Romans could steal it) by turning left onto St. Jacques (Ledoyen, priest martyred during the French Revolution). This was an incredibly dwarse decision, considering that I actually needed to turn right. I corrected my mistake and made my way to St. Laurent (which might actually refer to a Laurentius or his brother Laurentinus who were martyred in the third century in Carthage) I thought it would be quicker to get to St. Redempteur (Thomas Rodriguez de Cunha martyred by Muslims in 1638 somewhere in Malaysia) by turning onto St. Hyacinthe (which could refer to a soldier martyred in Rome in AD 120, to Emporer Trajan's chamberlain who starved to death rather than eat meat offered to idols, to a man was killed after he cut down a tree dedicated to an idol somewhere in north-west Turkey, to an apostle to Poland who famously carried a crucifix and statue of Mary safely away during an attack on his monastery, to a man who was martyred with St. Alexander and St. Tiburtius in AD 690 in Italy, to the servant of St. Philip whom he was martyred with, to a man martyred in southern Italy alongside St. Quintus, St. Felician, and St. Lucian, to a missionary beheaded in Vietnam in 1773, to a Dominican priest who was burned alive in 1622 in Nagasaki Japan, or to a noblewoman who humbled herself and served the aged poor in Italy in the early seventeenth century.) Unfortunately, St. Hyacynthe was a dead end, so I turned right onto St. Henri (which probably refers to St. Henricus Gallus of Albano who was a French bishop and cardinal in the twelfth century). I decided to turn back onto St. Laurent. I looked to my left as I travelled a long and saw that St. Florent (which probably refers to a French deacon beheaded by barbarians in AD 451 in Rheims) also ended in a dead end. I finally found my way northwards and turned left onto St. Étienne (which is the French version of St. Stephen who, you may know, was the first Christian martyr) and then right onto St. Hélene (the mother of Emporer Constantine the great who supposedly found the relics of the true cross). After twisting on a few more streets I found myself on Sacré Coeur which I followed to St. Redempteur and past St. Joseph (the father of Jesus and the patron saint of Canada) and to my house.

Monday, September 19, 2005

creativity . . . stunted . . . erg. lOsing ability to form cogent sentences . . . grammar apart falling. punctuat.ion !rules longe?r no apply ,,,,, h.,e;lp m"e spel ba:d kent sh;peel $kent schpeel l)ong grrr eeeennnneeeee

Isn't she cute?

Verona - Flower girl and my new cousin

Friday, September 16, 2005

Here at boerishbwoy, we've noticed that people around the world vote, watch their leaders, and even have political opinions. Through these political opinions we can determine which side of the political spectrum they are on. That is, we can figure out if they are "left-wing" or "right-wing." The following chart will bring clarity to what these titles mean and demonstrate how much insight these titles can inject into the political debate. If either of these categories do not describe you, then you have a problem, my friend. Take a long hard look in the mirror, try to conform to one wing or the other or forever risk losing your political relevence.

Left - Commie, Pinko, Bleeding Heart, Godless Liberal
Right - Fascist, Fundamentalist, Nazi, Capitalist Pig
Favourite Meal:
Left - Tofu and soy-milk (with maybe a light salad)
Right - Beer and hot dogs (with maybe a medium-rare steak)
Favourite Musicians:
Left - Kenny G, Enya, and Peter Gabriel
Right - Toby Keith, Wagner, and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Left - Hackey Sack, Chaining themselves to doors, and reciting poetry
Right - Hunting, pummeling mailboxes with bats, and drowning kittens
First Victims of Capital Punishment:
Left - Trotskyists and other betrayers of the revolution.
Right - Pedophiles, Murderers, Drug Dealers, Pimps, Prostitutes, Thieves, Jay-walkers, and the like.
Iconic Figurehead:
Left -

Right -

Uniform of Choice:
Left - Birkenstocks, Tie-Dyed T-shirt with an anti-corporate slogan or a pro-marijuana message, Beret, Hemp Sweater, Ponytail, and spectacles.
Right - Flannel Overcoat, Tight Jeans, Leather Cowboy Boots, and Cowboy Hat
Boxers or Briefs:
Left - Commando
Right - Briefs, baby, briefs.
Left - Circusses, Butchers, Racists, Televangelists, "The Man", Racist Butchers, Office Monkeys, Religious Fundamentalists, Politicians, and the suburbs.
Right - Miscegenists, Protesters, Abortionists, Homosexuals, Atheists, Professors, Evolutionists, Minorities, Crack-Smoking Hippies, and Vegan Restaurants.
Left - Marijuana, Minorities, Homosexuals, Vegan Restaurants, Evolution, and chocolate
Right - Beer, Whiskey, Circusses, Butchers, Televangelists, the suburbs, and chocolate

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kanye West, a successful hip hop artist and producer, has become notorious for his recent comments on a live aid broadcast for Katrina. A somewhat nervous-looking Kanye strayed from the prepared script by noting, first of all, that federal aid seemed to be arriving "as slow as possible." Kanye also said, "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family it says they are looting if you see a white family it says they are looking for food. . . . We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war now fighting another way and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us."
There was five second delay for the broadcast but the censor had been instructed to bleep out any expletives and not any uncomfortable political criticism. That is why the world was able to hear Kanye clearly say, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
There was an uproar in the media over Kanye's comments. Many white people were incensed, claiming that race had nothing to do with the slow response. One conservative radio host even dubbed Kanye a "black-face klansman." Nevermind the ostracism that a black-faced klansman would fall victim to at all of the klan rallies, the question is was race a factor in the slow response?
I think it had a role but I don't believe that it was the deciding factor. George W. Bush is notorious for his long vacations and for his, um, how do you say, complete and utter disregard for news in any form? Bush is the man who proudly stated that he does not read newspapers or when he does read them he "glance(s) at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who . . . probably read the stories themselves." Newsweek recently reported in "Katrina: How Bush Blew it"http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9287434/, that his aides were somewhat hesitant to break the news to the often "cold and snappish" president that he would have to cut his five-week vacation short by two days.
So, no, Bush did not deliberately ignore the storm warnings in order to leave thousands of blacks dead, homeless, and desperate. Bush, it seems, was just oblivious to what was happening. Oh, he knew there was a bad storm alright, he just "misunderestimated" its size and intensity. Bush, aware that the levees were broken, cut his vacation short but nevertheless flew to San Diego (New Orleans is the other way, eh Mr. President?) where he accepted a guitar from country singer Mark Wills. What kind of callous cold-hearted leader could stand around smiling and strumming a guitar while his country is undergoing a horrible natural disaster?
Bush, of course, is not the only one to blame here. There were municipal and state-wide failures. The federal failures, however, are so glaringly obvious and embarrassing, that even Bill O'Reilly should be able to see them (he can't, but he should). Bush withheld funding for the levees in the first place (although the storm probably would have busted through anyhow) and he responded with pathetic nonchalance. Not only that, but the recently sacked FEMA chief, Michael Brown, was horribly unqualified and hired only because of Bush's cronyism.
Still, can we say that race played a factor?
We cannot know the hearts of those in government but we can read their actions. From their actions it seems that poor blacks and whites in New Orleans don't matter a whole lot. One Republican senator was even overheard saying that the "New Orleans housing problem has been solved." American response has, for the most part, been highly supportive of the victims of Hurrican Katrina. There are those, however, who blame the victims. There are those who claiming that the blacks have been made soft by welfare and are unable to bail themselves out because they always expect the government to help them. There are those who say that blacks are animals because they loot and rape as soon as police disappear. There are those who claim that black poverty would be solved if they would just learn to stop having teen pregnancies. So, while it is questionable if race played a factor in the slow response it is definite that racism is still a factor in America today.
Does George Bush not care about black people? God only knows. I think he does care about black people, and I think he does care for the poor white and black residents of New Orleans. Just not enough. Kanye should have said "George Bush is oblivious and doesn't care enough about black people to read a newspaper or watch the news."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Little tidbits heard or overheard on the golf course by a certain greenskeeper:

"See, it's kind of like the Crusades except that the Muslims are attacking us and we're not really Christian anymore."

"So I bought six oranges and he tried one and didn't like it and wouldn't even touch the other ones. Can you believe it?! At least try another one before you abandon them!"

"*grumble* At least they're not cutting the grass today."

"Yeah, but the lightning was over towards the west and the wind is coming from the east so we should be fine, right?"

"Little warmish, eh?" = 40 degrees w. humidex

"But what I like about Jack Layton, his moustache!"

"Are there any balls in that tree you just chopped down?"

"Is that a fire?" woman points to a smallish bit of black smoke in the distance "I hope a barn isn't burning, that looks like a big one."

"So . . . I should go to the pro-shop at the front like the sign says?"

"Unintelligable Scottish brogue . . . doon't ya thenk? Ha ha ha ha!"

Monday, September 12, 2005

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

There's something about Psalm 23 in the King James Version that just makes it that much more meaningful to me. What a great passage.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Are you serious? Are you absolutely serious? I mean, I was a little confused when you were defending him on his Iraqi war. Sound bites from previous justifications and pretexts were lost to your mind, buried under the new justifications put forward by the government like an Orwellian Ministry of Truth. You forgot about or dismissed the historic ties between the US and Saddam, the non-existent link between September 11 and Saddam Hussein, the weapons of mass destruction, the declaration of the war's end, the statements about the ease of implanting democracy, the scandalous Halliburton contracts, and, of course, the suspicious links between those in power with those in oil.

I admit it. I was confused. Nevertheless, I was willing to listen to your arguments and, I have to admit, I was not angry. No, I could not be angry because I knew that, despite the stability he gave Iraq, Saddam was a ruthless killer. Any man who admires Iosef Stalin, as Saddam does, cannot be a good leader. I wondered to myself if it was better to have a savage despot enforcing order or to have civil war. I don't know, because I cannot, unfortunately, see into the future. My hope was that, despite my initial opposition, the United States would successfully foster a peaceful and prosperous state out of the shambles of Iraq. My suspicion, however, was that a government that had to resort to lies and corruption to justify a war was not fighting in order to create a model democracy. If the purpose was so noble, why was it hidden beneath lies? I struggled not to fall into economic reductionism, but all I could see was the oil-hungry tycoons in the Bush administration. I wondered if, perhaps, an ignoble sowing could bring about a noble reaping. A war made my existence possible and a war gave me my wife. Could a war bring stability to Iraq? I hope so, I really hope so. War is such a terribly ugly abomination that it is tough to find the good in it. Tough, but possible.

So, yes, I was confused but not angry. I could understand how someone could be a follower of George W. Bush. I could never have followed myself, but I could understand.

Now, my friend, I am angry. I ask you again, are you completely serious? Do you actually consider him a good leader after this? Can you, without drinking copious amounts of alcohol, actually give a rational explanation to the reaction of the American federal government after this disaster? Can you explain why an unqualified man, a Bush supporter, could be put in charge of FEMA? Can you explain the federal cuts to the levees? Can you tell me why Florida was hit by several hurricanes and the federal response was immediate and even excessive and why the response in New Orleans was retarded and pathetically weak ? Can you please give logical explanation for Bush's departure in the opposite direction, to San Diego, upon learning about the hurricane? Can you tell me why he couldn't cut his vacation short for the thousands dying in New Orleans? Can you honestly tell me that you are not angry when those in the American federal government claim they don't want to play the blame game and then go on to blame the local officials?

They failed, don't you get it?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hello Hello,

Let me reintroduce myself. My name is John den Boer and I, as you might already know, am master of this blog. When is say that I am master of this blog it really does not mean much anymore for the blog has seen better days. For, as we all know, a dog can be master of a tennis ball but that balls is still ratty, covered in spit, and falling apart at the seams. Now, my blog is not ratty or covered in spit, but it could be said that it is falling apart at the seams. Indeed, if my blog was an empire, this would be the stage of the empire known as the "decline." Sometimes when an empire declines it, in the words of Edward Gibbon "falls."

Here's what Gibbon has to say about my blog:

"The blogging world, after their blogs had been reduced into mere supplemental reading to Boerisbwoy's brilliant blog, imputed the triumph of Boerishbwoy, not to merit, but to fortune. The inconstant goddess who so blindly distributes and resumes her favours, had now consented (such was the language of envious flattery) to resign her wings, to descend from her globe, and to fix her firm and immutable throne on the banks of the internet . . .
The decay of Boerishbwoy has been frequently acribed to the translation of the seat of marriage; but this history has already shown that the powers of Boerishbwoy were divided rather than removed. The throne of Laurianne was erected in the East; while the West was still possessed by a series of distractions who held their residences in John's mind, and claimed their equal inheritance of John's time and activities. This dangerous novelty impaired the strength and fomented the vices of a double reign . . ." Edward Gibbon, The Triumph of Barbarism and the Fall of Boerishbwoy.

Ah, but what Gibbon forgets is that, occasionally, when an empire declines, it manages with gasping breaths to reassert itself before the inevitable and pitiful "fall." Such is the hope of Boerishbwoy -- a hope in a renaissance of sorts. A rebirth of regular blogging and a reassertion of Boerishbwoy's cyber-dominance.

What has changed in Boerishbwoy's world? Well, for one thing, he has now joined his house with the house of Burundi's royal family. Yes, that is correct. Mr. John den Boer is now married to his beautiful African princess, Laurianne Munezero.

What else has changed? Mr. den Boer now lives in Gatineau, in a nice apartment at 77 Boul. Montclair.

Why was his blog down for so long? A previous posts, a fairly weak attempt, tried to address this issue. The truth is, after this post, John did fully intend to fulfill his promise to "be a better blogger." Unfortunately, in a fit of uncontrollable creative energy, John decided to change his template. This resulted in the blog losing the all-important comments as well as the numerous links to other blogs. Despairing, John retreated to his world of cutting grass at a golf course, preparing for marriage, reading books, and illegally downloading music from the internet. (Actually, it was all legal, it just sounds more dramatic if it we put "illegal.")

Why has Boerishbwoy suddenly reappeared? John was drawn back into the blogging world after Dr. Koyzis "floated a trial balloon" in John's general direction. Admittedly, when John fired his not-so-sharp thoughts at the trial balloon he missed repeatedly, but he remembered again the beauty of the blogging world and of wrestling with ideas and of just putting down idiotic thoughts onto his own scrap of cyber-territory. Taking some time, he finally figured out how to restore the comments and re-insert some of the links he had lost all that time ago.

Behold, Boerishbwoy rides again.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My last entry was created on July 22nd, 2004. A lot has happened since then and I am faced with the gargantuan task of updating a blog that is almost, but not quite, dead. Mostly dead, if you will. Once a blog is mostly dead, it isn't easy to raise it to life. Nevertheless, if anyone can complete the necromantic task of re-quickening this blog, it is boerishbwoy. Yes, yes. Yawn. Okay, here we go.

Well, I am currently living in Ottawa. I am unemployed, eating peanut butter and spaghetti and hunting for a job (sometimes all at the same time.) I am having fun despite any setbacks. July 30th is my wedding and I am excited. I'll try to be a better blogger, I promise.

Who deh?