A concerned reader brought the following concerning news item to my attention: "Moins de chasseurs à cause des mères monoparentales, dit le sénateur Boisvenu".
As my French has gone the way of my regard for Tom Selleck (as a man - as Magnum I still regard him frequently) and my youthful idealism, I turned to Google Translate and discovered that that jumble of delightfully nonsensical-sounding words means something along the lines of: "Fewer hunters because single mothers, said Senator Boisvenu". 

As you know, I have always believed that single mothers have a lot to answer for. They threaten to unravel the moral fabric of the nation. They are obviously an affront to all decently-married people. They also often have to work really hard to raise children alone, making the more morally-upstanding and decently-married of us appear shiftless and lazy. 

I have to thank Conservative Quebec senator Boisvenu for alerting me to this latest threat, and to Google, for translating this alert: "Noting the presence of more and more of mothers in society who are single parents, Senator Quebec has stated that 'hunting is no longer a tradition handed down from father to son,' adding that now, 'who is 14-15-16-17-18 years no longer have the reflex to purchase a firearm.'" "'We see that the number of hunters has made dramatic,'" he concluded.

Senator Quebec, though, is not simply mourning the loss of a tradition; he is bringing attention to a new menace. "He said that if the deer are not slaughtered in the Eastern Townships, there are good times and bad, between 5000 and 8000 collisions between animals and cars. 'It leads to other problems in terms of mortality,' he said." So single mothers, then, by not passing down a reflex for the purchase of firearms to their sons, are directly responsible for road fatalities in that it is through their negligent mercifulness that the deer remain alive to kill.

We can only hope that single mothers, now aware of this situation, will take responsibility for it, defend tradition, and save lives by purchasing weapons for their sons and teaching them to stalk and kill.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 
The other night, my husband and I were on our annual drive to collect what turned out to be an only-marginally-deformed Ikea Christmas tree (last year's was truly defective, but this one has only one funny empty patch that can be camouflaged by way of strategic bulb placement), and we were listening to that radio station that's been playing Christmas music since June (the one that features DJs who sound increasingly exhausted, rattled, defeated and drunk).

We were driving along, happily criticizing some familiar Christmas standards, when we heard a song. A song unlike any other song. A song that was released in 2000 and that I somehow missed until now. A song that caused us both to lapse into a stupefied silence and then dementedly and desperately struggle for words as though trying to speak English for the first time in the middle of an emergency.

The song is called "Christmas Shoes", and it's by a Christian group called New Song. It may well be the most stunningly appalling song ever written. If it were only half the song it is, it would still probably be the most appalling song ever written. And it keeps getting worse - that's the most amazing thing about it. You hear one verse and think, "surely that has set a new standard of awfulness and the next verse cannot be any more astonishingly awful" and then you hear the next verse. And it is worse. You start with a poor and raggedy child who wants to buy shoes for his mother. Then you find out his mother is very sick. Then you get the raggedy child looking forward to his dying mother MEETING JESUS. Then you get the narrator claiming that God has made this urchin's mother terminally ill to help the narrator appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. Then, when you think your brain can hurt no more, there is a children's choir. 

Here's a link to the youtube video. It's actually worth going to the website itself to read the comments section and to realize that you are on one side or the other of a great and unbridgeable divide. You will either be one of those people who questions why a young ragamuffin would want to buy his dying mother footwear, why the be-turtlenecked (I was going to go with "en-turtlednecked", but decided the "be" sounded more sophisticated) singer is sitting on a giant tree, and why anyone, ever, would listen to such a song by choice, or you're one of those people who can barely type your response to the video through the tears you're crying over that poor, poor boy who wants to make sure his mother is well-shod for Jesus.
You will be, if not in good company, at least in company whichever side you're on. Patton Oswalt has transformed his amazed horror into a Christmas stand-up routine.
And if you're one of those people who can think of nothing more moving than a man in turtleneck and blazer singing Christian things about death and a terrifyingly didactic and heartless God, you might enjoy both the BOOK AND MOVIE based on this song. 

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 
If you are an immigrant who wants to move somewhere people will welcome you and help you avoid doing all those irritating, immigrant-y things you're sure to do, have I found the destination for you! Gatineau, Quebec.

The problem with immigrants, you see, is that when they come to Canada, they bring with them their hopes, their dreams, their experience and their potential, but they also arrive burdened with all kinds of strange and foreign ways. In a display of remarkable thoughtfulness, Gatineau has produced a "guide of values" for new arrivals that points out which of those foreign ways would be most objectionable to their new friends and neighbours.

Who can deny the well-known tendency of new Canadians to neglect personal hygiene, have problems with punctuality, insistently offer bribes, and cook smelly, smelly food?  Certainly not the good bureaucrats of Gatineau, who counsel recent arrivals against doing just those things. 

Gatineau's attitude appears to be that if these dirty, tardy, corrupt, smelly people have it explained to them that while such qualities might go over like gangbusters in their countries of origin, they will not endear them to their good friends in Gatineau, these immigrants will happily stop being so determinedly dirty, tardy, corrupt and smelly and become truly Canadian.

It appears, though, that washing frequently and consuming scentless dinners does not quiet everyone's fears about immigrants. Recently, Lowe's came under fire for pulling its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim", a show that bravely asserts that Muslims live in America, they aren't particularly unhygienic, and they tend not to be consumed by racist blood-lust.

This ludicrous and implausible show moved the Florida Family Association to write to Lowe's (an advertising sponsor) complaining it is "propanda" that "hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." Their viewpoint must be rational and indisputable, because no organization the word "family" in its name has ever been known to champion hateful, unreasonable, or ignorant causes. Lowe's clearly agreed, as they proceeded to pull their ads from the show. 

So welcome to North America, new immigrants! Try not to prepare anything stinky or bribe anyone with anything stinky or attack your children, but absolutely do not refrain from bribing people or violently assaulting someone now and again, because then the rest of us will know you're concealing a sinister agenda. 

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 
It's a regrettable and undeniable fact of childhood that other children often suck. They are mean, and intolerant, and critical, and stupid. Some adults seem surprised by this, and say things like: "But children are so innocent and small! I find this implausible." Other adults say things like: "Young people are less able to understand and process their emotions. They are probably insecure and confused." 

I propose, however, that some young people are heartless, bullying sadists not because they are unformed and inexperienced, but because they are, after all, little people, and big people are often heartless, bullying, and sadistic. 

And, because school should be as terrifying a place as possible, sometimes the big people bully the little people and nobody cares.

A fourteen-year-old developmentally-disabled girl in Ohio told her parents that she was being bullied by her teacher and a school aide. Her father complained to the school, and the district superintendent determined the girl was lying and in an email explained that "it came to a point where I had to remind the man that his continued false accusations were bordering on harassment and slander."

Her parents, who unaccountably insisted on believing their daughter, fitted her up with a recording device, and what that device recorded should make everyone entertain the possibility that schools might be as scary as sharks, plagues, and great heights.

Aide Kelly Chaffins can be heard saying: "Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb? Oh, my God. You are such a liar...You told me you don't know. It's no wonder you don't have friends. No wonder nobody likes you. Because you lie, cheat...steal."

Not to be outdone, teacher Christie Wilt chimes in with this observation about a test the girl had just completed: "You know what, just keep it. You failed it. I know it. I don't need your test to grade. You failed it."

Chaffins, perhaps concerned that she will not emerge as the more abusive of the two, later asks the girl if she does chores, and when the girl says "no", comments: "Don't you find that a little ridiculous? How you gonna do a job? You should be embarrassed. I just am in awe. Makes you worthless." Oh, and when the girl "misbehaved" they made her go for pleasant walks on the classroom treadmill.

When the tapes were made public, it emerged that this was not the appropriate manner in which to address a vulnerable young person. Chaffins tendered her resignation, and Wilt was forced to confront the unbridled wrath of the education system, in that her "intervention specialist" license was suspended for a year and will only be returned to her if she completes a grueling eight hours of bullying awareness and child-abuse reporting classes.

Thankfully, the district superintendent seems to have learned a valuable lesson. He conceded that insulting and demeaning a developmentally-disable student "fell short of our mission" and pledged to "work very hard to never let that happen again." "We need to provide proper training and restate our expectations of how we treat children so that this never happens again", he indicated, suggesting that his pedagogical philosophy is based on the delightful premise that unless you tell teachers they're not allowed to call students dumb and lazy, they'll do just that.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident.