I'm not entirely sure what Drew Hayden Taylor is saying in Let's Ban The Bible (NOW, November 29-December 5). I only read half his column before he lost me.
But surely the Catholic school board, like it or not, is well within its jurisdiction to decide what books to have in its library. Do the Jewish day schools carry Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion?
Despite what Taylor says, Philip Pullman's books are anti-Catholic. The Evil Magisterium is a thinly disguised Catholic Church. And a key plot in the series of books is the fight to kill a character known as God.
Faux fur ball
If you're still wondering why people from northern Ontario and other provinces and territories hate Toronto, go no further than Fur Flyer (NOW, November 29-December 5).
Reality check: people outside of Toronto are generally not part of Paul McCartney's vegan forces and do not consider trapping, hunting and farming cruel activities.
In the 1970s, Greenpeace and others lobbied Europe to end trapping. Many native Canadians lost their livelihoods and left the bush camps because fur prices collapsed. Many of worked off season at mink farms on either side of the border. I have fishing buddies who did just that.
Thanks to demand from China and Russia, fur prices at the North Bay fur auction are finally going up. Maybe natives will be able to return to the land before it's all logged.
Doin' the grind
Tim Perlich describes Richard Hawley's Coles Corner as disappointing and then goes on to trash Hawley's latest release, Lady's Bridge (NOW, November 29-December 5).
I've managed to turn several friends on to Hawley, largely on the merits of Coles Corner, and I find it amazing that anyone who had actually heard and listened to it could do anything but adore it.
I can only guess that Perlich is burdened with some sort of critical agenda that doesn't allow him to enjoy good music. Too bad for him.
Worse, it's a real disservice to your readers looking for tips on good music, who aren't especially concerned with the overweening need of some reviewers to grind the critical axes they picked up as undergrad lit crit wannabes.
There's no biz like showbiz
RE Letter to the editor Scene Stir (NOW, November 15-21).
Wow! Right on, J.D. I could not agree more!
But I feel for bookers in this city who are booking the country's premier live music clubs, on some of the priciest real estate in the country.
They must ensure a good draw each and every night so beer is sold and rent is paid. Some would say this is not difficult, but I think these people sell a good booker's job short. Bookers can't just trust every band that comes in and says it's the next Beatles. They have bills to pay.
So, they focus on bands that draw. The policy is, if you don't bring 75 people out, you don't play the venue again. Ever.
That's terrifying to a young band, but also inspiring. The band with the most friends wins, but friends and talent, as would seem obvious, are not mutually inclusive.
J.D.'s assertion rings true: the bookers in this town seem to navel-gaze, focus on the overhead and don't seem too interested in fostering what could be a cool scene, because it would require leaving their cozy offices and seeking out the local talent.
Wayne Roberts describes those who believe that global warming is not human-created as "climate perverts" (NOW, November 29-December 5). Harsh! Perhaps us "perverts" should register as offenders with a federal database.
After all, people should be made aware of our whereabouts at all times, because we could move to a neighbourhood and infect the residents with our brand of fantasy-prone environmentalism.
Nuts to this bike saddle
I love your yearly gift guide, especially that you so often try to think outside the box for gifts. Also great is the fact that you try to promote local and Canadian made.
I was disappointed that the best you could do for your bicycle saddle suggestion in the first portion of the Gift Guide was the Brooks Saddle (NOW, November 22-28).
Big deal, so they're classics, apparently. I've found them to be okay, but it's still a traditional saddle design.
I would like to suggest the Spongy Wonder (www.spongywonder.com). I've been riding on one for four years and have never looked back.
Sure, it looks weird, but, boy, is it comfy, for both sexes. It helps prevent prostate and nerve damage in the rectal area. Check it out. Spread the word, save some crotches.
Ban shock machines
Thanks for your good summary- critique of the so-called "safe, sub-lethal" tasers that have already caused 18 deaths and over 100 serious injuries in Canada and 287 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the United States (NOW, November, 22-28).
A word of advice: please use the word "electroshock" for what the shrinks and shock promoters fraudulently label electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.
Both tasers and shock machines should be banned. Both frequently cause harm, trauma and death.
Giving CFL the boot
I read your piece on the differences between the NFL and CFL (NOW, November 22-28), and, although I don't watch either (I watch U.S. college football religiously), I needed to add my two cents.
I keep hearing how much more exciting our kicking rules are. I don't know any football fan who tunes in to watch a bunch of punting. That usually doesn't make for exciting football.
You can watch those majestically spiralling punts all you want. I'll wait to see what happens when it lands.
K.C. John Irwin
Grey day on the ball field
If you watched the Grey Cup, you witnessed a relatively new phenomenon that seems to have come on suddenly and, at least to some, quite unexpectedly: the Canadian Armed Forces, rifles at the ready, parading up and down in uniform before the game.
This curious sight was completely contrary to what many of us were raised to identify as the essence of Canada, the quiet, humble nation.
From the yellow-ribboned cars to the chest-thumping enthusiasm, some Canadians seem glad of an excuse to beat the drum. Others are clearly bothered by it, while some are simply confused.
What can we see of ourselves and our country in that mirror?
RE How can we resist? (NOW, November 22-28). Canada cannot pretend to support and uphold international law while denying sanctuary to those fleeing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
I am saddened and ashamed by the failure of our current immigration/refugee system and our Supreme Court to understand this and their insistence that languishing for years in a military prison is not persecution.
It's time for new legislation in Ottawa that clearly outlines our commitments and responsibilities under international law.
Providing sanctuary to those fleeing from acts they believe are unlawful should be addressed as an immediate priority.
Grits on board on this one
Thanks for writing about the plight of U.S. war resisters (NOW, November 22-28). I attended the November 20 meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and I just wanted to correct a few details.
It was NDP MP Olivia Chow who, after consulting other opposition members in the committee, including Liberal members, moved to defer her motion and call for hearings on giving Iraq war resisters special status to stay in Canada. This was carried.
There was no conflict between Liberal members and Chow on this question, as described in the article.
War Resisters Support Campaign
Kirsty Pazek's letter Hummer Dinger (NOW, November 8-14) refers to a certain "gas-guzzling, materialistic, eco-stabbing, offensive" Hummer driver whose other good works she later discovers.
Then the driver is someone she admires. And everything's okay. I'm glad Pazek has such unhypocritical moral standards.