Perhaps the biggest story of the day is that a monkey wearing a diaper got loose at an Ikea store in Toronto.
There is no shale gas news (despite numerous reports of serious problems and serious discontent about shale gas in the US), no mention of doctors meeting to demand that the government become more open and honest in its shale gas policy... In this latter area, I'm on the side of the government. It has been quite open in its policy. It intends to encourage shale gas development no matter what the evidence of its dangers, without paying the slightest attention to critics, without giving a damn about what the public wants. And it can rely on the Irving Press to lie, misrepresent or, more commonly, to play the three monkeys that said and heard nothing.
The front page carried a big story (continued for almost another page with photos on p.4 on how people in Riverview are making gingerbread houses - a must read. There was also, it's true, the story of a bus accident that, luckily, did not kill or even seriously harm any members of a hockey team from Cap Pele. But it was a much smaller story thatnthe one about gingerbread houses - and there were no photos.
P.5 has a big story that Alward will be showing his funny side on This Hour has 22 Minutes. One of his killer lines will be " The best part of Christmas in New Brunswick is you can cut down your own tree and nobody cares."
Not suprisingly, this is a a story that runs out of things to say early in the game. But it goes on - and on - anyway.
On, there is also a shocking story for those who are easily shocked, that Christmas trees are selling well. Who would have guessed?
Oh, and speaking of Christmas, there's a big ad that some copies of Ralph Costello's The Price of Honesty are still available for sale. God is kind to his servants.
The lead story in NewsToday is that jolly old Stephen Harper is permitting civil servants to have Christmas decorations in their offices. I was so worried about that. God bless you Mr. Harper.
I was intrigued to see that a mafia boss, Emilio Cordeleone, was found dead in a street of my childhood end of Montreal. (Mafia leaders are still fond of that rather scruffy end of town.) He had died suddenly of an overdose of bullets. Thankfully, we'll never see a significant mafia in New Brunswick. There's nothing to steal after our business and political leaders get through.
The business page tells us that Via Rail is dumping all but its very profitable passenger services. The result is to leave regions like the maritimes without adequate rail service - many of them with no service at all. There's a history behind this.
As travel by air and by car increased, Canadian Pacific Railways became anxious to get rid of the unprofitable passenger services that it had been required to provide under terms of assistance given to it by taxpayers over the years. It did so by providing increasingly unsatisfactory service until the federal government permitted it to drop passenger service. In place of the CPR, the government created VIA Rail as a crown corporation to maintain basic passenger services.
But Harper doesn't like crown corporations. He believes in private ownership only, and he believes in it as firmly as any child (or exceptionally retarded adult) believes in Santa Claus. So he has been cutting funding for VIA, and telling it to operate as if it were a private business. In short, to hell with the needs of people who don't live in dense, passenger regions.
Back-bencher Conserative MPs are complaining. They will have no success whatever.
The editorial writer shows a touch of humour - or maybe he's just dumb. Anyway, the story is that too many groups are running charities at Christmas time. And some are quite perverse. One, for example, gives children gifts that they can give to their parents. This is wild, rampant communism. Another wants to give winter clothes to children. Are they mad? Then there's the one that wants to give help to storm victims in the US. And - this one you won't believe - there is a group of perverts raising money to help out with registration costs for minor hockey players.
Then - get this sentence. "But in the end in comes down to a competitive environment that in our view is not well suited to the spirit of season."
This is the newspaper which praises corporations because, it says, they compete with each other. (They don't. But what the hell, that's what they say). Now it says that competition goes against the spirit of the (Christian) season.
In other words, our corporate bosses every day of the year behave in an unChristian fashion.
Well, maybe the editorial writer is not so dumb as I thought. But, if competition is against the spririt of the season, why does the TandT carry ads of competing stores?
Anyway, enough of this rush to help people at Christmas. It goes against all the spirit of the season. Get with it for the true spirit of this time of year. Read page D 1 on how to mix drinks.
Even Norbert shows a spark of humour.
He tells us that a leading professor of genetics says that there is no proof that a gene causes alcoholism. Norbert follows that with "The professor is correct." I'm sure the professor will be thrilled at that endorsement.
Then he examines a claim that genes can determine our political views. Yes, says Norbert, there is a link - once again reassuring professors that they can get some things right. He adds that this holds true whether you are Conservative, Liberal, or on the extremes. Yessir, Even them there extremists like - well that there Tommy Douglas who cursed us with medicare or that Stephen Harper who puts a hundred bills that have nothing to do with the budget into the budget so that nobody has time to discuss them or even know what they are. Than you got that there extremist Alward (or something) who claims a report saying we should not go ahead yet on shale gas meanswe should go ahead on shale gas.
Norbert, do you have the foggiest idea what the words Liberal, Conservative, extremist mean? Wasn't George Washington an extremist? William Lyon Mackenzie? (ever heard of William Lyon Mackenzie?) You want extremism? Read the platform of the Conservative party in 1935. Read the law that gives Obama the right to imprison or even assassinate Americans with no charge of trial.
On the op ed page, Craig Babstock continues his unbroken string of columns that say nothing in particular. Allen Abel continues to tell irrelevant stories about daily life among ordinary people in Washington. I have no idea why.
It was tough to write t his one today. You see, this paper has only two speeds. One is to lie so that we don't know what's happening. The other is to be trivial - so that we actually become trivial, ignorant of the world around us, ignorant politically,so we ourselves become as trivial as (D p. 1) the co-star who thinks Benedict Cumberbatch's voice is as sexy as Barry White's. Who could possibly care?
Today, it's in trivial mode. And that's quite deliberate.It and its boss don't want you to know or to think anything. - except the lies they tell. To anyone who reads newspapers, this one makes it plain it has utter contempt for us. Sometimes, that's bearable. It's not bearable when it comes from the likes of Norbert Cunningham, Rod Allen or Craig what's-his-name.
It would be interesting to hear what the journalism school at UNB thinks of all this. I hear that it's a good school. So I wonder. Where do they send their students for on the job training? Surely not to this contemptible paper.
Oh, US military and air forces are poised off the coast of Syria. So are the French troops that have been moved to Turkey. As in the case of Iraq, the excuses are being lined up - in particular, that Syria is about to use chemical weapons - a charge believed by nobody with any knowledge of the situation.
Where does this take us? Probably to a permanently broken Syria, ditto for Lebanon, then for Iran, a profound risk of a much wider war - and even of the big one. But don't worry about it.
Instead, watch for the next big story on making gingerbread houses.