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World Statesman of the Year - Top 10 Reasons

Stephen Harper was in New York to accept the World Statesman of the Year award from some obscure organization called the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, founded by an equally obscure New York City rabbi.

He had been invited to address the United Nations General Assembly, but for some reason he is passing on that opportunity. It did not go so well the first time around. As Homer Simpson once said "If you don't succeed the first time, just give up".

Here my top 10 reasons why Stephen Harper has been awarded World Statesman of the Year.

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One Day In The Life of Sarah Schmidt

Up until recently, Canada exported industrial asbestos, a known carcinogen, to developing countries. It's use is banned in Canada and many other places because of the risk of cancer.

But in Québec, the land of political pandering. Christian Paradis is the federal member of parliament for the area, a cabinet minister and one of the very few Conservative MP's in Québec.

It's time for a discussion on hypocrisy by our politicians and, more importantly, by some of Canada's mainstream media enablers.

The blog title is little oblique. There was this Russian writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago. He won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1970.

I decided to add this great YouTube video as an update. Can't wait till Stephen Harper uses his prodigious musical abilities to preform a cover of a Freddie Mercury song at the next CPC convention.

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Cultural Learnings of TRT for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Russia

This will be the last entry in the The Reluctant Traveler Diaries for St. Petersburg and Russia. 

If you are starting with this blog, you may have missed some important background information of why TRT ended up in Russia. Then again, you probably did not miss anything at all.

Part I - To Russia With Love

Part II - The Palaces of St. Petersburg

Part III - Just Another Palace

We have used up all the good pictures now and spent most of the time talking about tourist things.  It's now time for a little cultural trash talk.

Oh those Russians!

Update: Someone has removed one of the best YouTube music videos ever. I enjoyed it every time I viewed it. Substituted another link here, which has shadows of the original video. Real music begins (and vignettes of the original video) at 3:15 into this link.


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Just Another Palace

There are 17 palaces listed on the St. Petersburg website and most of them open to the public. Some are museums. We only visited the insides of three palaces, which was enough.

And then we saw Peterhof. We didn't go inside, just walked around in the gardens. WOW!


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The Palaces of St. Petersburg

This is a photo album blog about St. Petersburg, Russia, the second in the TRT Russia chronicles.

It uses Lightbox, a brilliant piece of javascript by Lokesh Dhakar.

What this means is that you can click on any image (one click, not two) on this page to view a large photo of the image.  Click to the right to go to the next photo, click on the left to go to the previous photo in the album. Click on the background to return to the blog.

There are 27 photos in all -- enjoy!


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To Russia With Love

The Reluctant Traveler (TRT) returned from a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia not so recently. It is time to file a report.

TRT has never dreamed of going to Russia, except maybe in those fitful dreams where one is frantically on the run from some kind of monster metaphor. It is the land of Putin dodgy dictators, the KGB cops who are more feared than the criminals, rigged elections, and mysterious billionaire oligarchs.

But this adventure all began some time ago when MLW watched a YouTube video of a famous Russian folk song by a 90's rock band...

There were about 8 lines to choose from at Border Control, a pleasant change from Chicago O'Hare, where they shout at you if you try to choose a queue.  The total wait was about 45 minutes, which was also faster than in Chicago O'Hare.


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Harper's Kitten

Harper's KittenWhistler's MotherWith today's post, we are proud to announce the inauguration of the Goo Gallery.

This famous portrait (though not as famous as Whistler's Mother) can be found all around the internet. Sadly, I am not aware of its providence, otherwise I would give credit where credit is due.

This is a worthwhile addition to the Goo Gallery

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Headaches, Healthcare and Drug dealers

bulldogHeadache (6K)

It's been a whole year since my last blog.  Maybe this will make up for the long absence.

This started out innocently enough. On a recent trip to Calgary, I went to the local pharmacy to  check on the prices of 3 prescription drugs I use; one is taken once a day, another taken only when I need to; and the last one, a needle, only in an emergency

The Calgary prices were outrageous. So I set out to find out why. That was almost 2 months ago.  The blog turned into a manifesto. I hope it's not too boring.

Included are 69 links, 2 dozen images, 3 sound bites from long forgotten songs, and a couple of talking heads.

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Christie Blatchford and sloppy seconds

harper-government220 (10K)

One surprise in this last election was the blanket support the mainstream media gave the Harper Government™.

It shouldn't be a surprise. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) spent a small fortune in advertising on their year-long Michael Ignatieff character assassination campaign.

And the Harper Government™ served up of buckets taxpayer dollars to various media organizations to promote the phony Canada Economic Action Plan.

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Cold cuts and leftovers

Now that I have finished praising Steven Harper, it's time to serve some cold cuts and leftovers.

cannon1 (8K)

One of the best bits of news (for me anyways) was the resounding defeat of Lawrence Cannon. The media had a bit of fun with this, and why not?

This is a story about an incumbent candidate (always the favorite) with the prestigious title of Minister of Foreign Affair, representing the Conservative party, heavily favoured to win.

And he lost! Lawrence Cannon, defying all odds, once again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! A repeat of his magnificient failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council, another Canadian first.


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