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Friday, March 16, 2012

Map image of radioactivity in Pacific Ocean

This image illustrating the spread of radioactive seawater spewing from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster is the scariest things I've seen this year, and one of the most disturbing images I have come across in a long time.

For those of you who still believe that nuclear power is a good thing, please understand that the airborne radiation map would show a much bigger plume, covering most of the Pacific Ocean and North America.

Humanity CAN transition off of nuclear, off of coal and off of oil, it is just a matter of having the political will to phase-in geothermal, wind and solar at a rapid pace.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Steve Leckie and The Viletones - Reckless rock'n'roll revisited

Steve Leckie and Screamin Sam at Rock Against Radiation, Toronto 1980

Viletones and the Foundations of Punk Rock

by Yuya Joe College

When gauging the socio-political impact of pioneering Canadian punk rock band Viletones, it is first necessary to understand their context within the nihilist / reckless camp which includes Dead Boys, Sex Pistols, Richard Hell, Husker Du, Subhumans, The Damned, The Exploited and other bands whose primary purpose was to destroy everything in their paths. These were foundational punk groups that mostly emphasized personal politics, alienation, thwarted ambitions, and danger; diehard bands living and breathing anarchy, with anger and pain bleeding through their sometimes discordant, always raw music.

During Toronto's early punk days, Steven Leckie had invented a stage personna that was as repulsive as anything punk rock had to offer; however, confusing the character with the creator remains offensive even today. Leckie and Viletones paid the price commercially as they were pretty much blacklisted from radio and the Canadian music industry in general ... yet as artful music, Viletones songs stand the test of time.

On the early Vilteones recordings they sound a LOT like Joe Strummer and The Clash (BIG compliment!), however there is little to none of the social activism concerns of Strummer, son of a UK diplomat. When he was performing on stage as “Nazi Dog”, Leckie was only seventeen, eighteen years old and that contrived image succeeded in shocking the vast majority of those who came across it, either live or through the media. Though it took decades for Steven to live down the negativity associated with that particularly evil stage character he had created (filmmakers and novelists rarely suffer this sort of prejudice), the Viletones lyrics were not about white power (from what I can make out through the distortion, even the scarily-named Swastika Girl seems to be just a “boy infatuated with girl” tune, though I could be wrong) or anything resembling fascism, as they were songs of personal frustration and anger and unfulfilled “possibilities”, along the nihilistic/individualistic lines of The Dead Boys and The Sex Pistols, lacking the social politics of more collectivist bands such as The Clash and DOA.

You're seeing the world through cynical eyes
I'm seeing the world through the eyes of somebody new
Oh there's a hope left
There's a dream still in my heart
Look past the answers
There's a chance that there's no rule book for this love

All possibilities
Are landing at my feet
There's nothing I can see
But possibilities

from Possibilities - Viletones

Hamilton punk band The Forgotten Rebels had a lead singer named Mickey deSadist and wrote songs about bombing Iran (have times really changed???) and actually (ridiculously) gave a Seig Heil type salute in their stage show, yet they barely caused a ripple as pretty much everyone except the ultra-obtuse and socially constipated were aware it was a parody of fascism. With the Viletones, people weren't sure, as their intensity made everything seem very real, and the lines between their stage show and personal lives remained blurred for a long time. Even if Viletones were also perceived as satire, Canada and the music suits were not ready for anything appearing to be so extreme and offensive. Real anarchy scared the money men away.

The social / political camp of punk rock pioneers included the likes of The Clash, Billy Bragg, DOA, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag (anarcho / political) and eventually Green Day. My late 70s Vancouver band The Reactors were in this camp, as was my Toronto group Joe College and The Rulers, though both were minor players in their respective scenes. The beauty and vitality of punk was that it was all about the music and the lifestyle, and bands from all 3 political “ideologies” (or lack of same) regularly shared bills and toured together. If it was hard, fast, angry and fun, it was punk!

The late Stiv Bators of Dead Boys

The 3rd wing of punk rock's founding years comprised excellent Fun / Hedonist bands such as Ramones, Stooges, Teenage Head, New York Dolls, The Diodes etc, all awesome live acts who stood for rebellion whether there was a cause or not. They promoted anti-authoritarianism in general, worshipped youthfulness and fast-living, and repped the joyfulness punk brought to teenagers everywhere.

In summary, though they never achieved commercial success, Viletones placed Toronto on the punk map and helped kickstart a global revolution in music that saw the longhaired double-LP airy fairy concept album replaced with the heavy pounding guitar and rhythms of the 2-3 minute songs of teenage angst and rebellion, and the mosh pit was born to celebrate OUR music.

Steven Leckie and a more recent incarnation of Viletones

Hacked Assad emails from Syria show "Let them eat cake" attitude

by Robert Booth, Mona Mahmood and Luke Harding, guardian.co.uk

Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be several thousand emails received and sent by the Syrian leader and his wife.

The Syrian leader was also briefed in detail about the presence of western journalists in the Baba Amr district of Homs and urged to "tighten the security grip" on the opposition-held city in November.

The revelations are contained in more than 3,000 documents that activists say are emails downloaded from private accounts belonging to Assad and his wife Asma.

The messages, which have been obtained by the Guardian, are said to have been intercepted by members of the opposition Supreme Council of the Revolution group between June and early February.

The documents, which emerge on the first anniversary of the rebellion that has seen more than 8,000 Syrians killed, paint a portrait of a first family remarkably insulated from the mounting crisis and continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle.

They appear to show the president's wife spending thousands of dollars over the internet for designer goods while he swaps entertaining internet links on his iPad and downloads music from iTunes.

As the world watched in horror at the brutal suppression of protests across the country and many Syrians faced food shortages and other hardships, Mrs Assad spent more than £10,000 on candlesticks, tables and chandeliers from Paris and instructed an aide to order a fondue set from Amazon.

The Guardian has made extensive efforts to authenticate the emails by checking their contents against established facts and contacting 10 individuals whose correspondence appears in the cache. These checks suggest the messages are genuine, but it has not been possible to verify every one.

The emails also appear to show that:

• Assad established a network of trusted aides who reported directly to him through his "private" email account – bypassing both his powerful clan and the country's security apparatus.

• Assad made light of reforms he had promised in an attempt to defuse the crisis, referring to "rubbish laws of parties, elections, media".

• A daughter of the emir of Qatar, Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani, this year advised Mr and Mrs Assad to leave Syria and suggested Doha may offer them exile.

• Assad sidestepped extensive US sanctions against him by using a third party with a US address to make purchases of music and apps from Apple's iTunes.

• A Dubai-based company, al-Shahba, with a registered office in London is a key conduit for Syrian government business and private purchases of Mrs Assad.

Activists say they were passed username and password details believed to have been used by the couple by a mole in the president's inner circle. The email addresses used the domain name alshahba.com, a group of companies used by the regime. They say the details allowed uninterrupted access to the two inboxes until the leak was discovered in February.

The emails appear to show how Assad assembled a team of aides to advise him on media strategy and how to position himself in the face of increasing international criticism of his regime's attempts to crush the uprising, which is now thought to have left 10,000 dead.

Activists say they were able to monitor the inboxes of Assad and his wife in real time for several months. In several cases they claim to have used information to warn colleagues in Damascus of imminent regime moves against them.

The access continued until 7 February, when a threatening email arrived in the inbox thought to be used by Assad after the account's existence was revealed when the Anonymous group separately hacked into a number of Syrian government email addresses. Correspondence to and from the two addresses ceased on the same day.

The emails appear to show that Assad received advice from Iran or its proxies on several occasions during the crisis. Before a speech in December his media consultant prepared a long list of themes, reporting that the advice was based on "consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador".

The memo advised the president to use "powerful and violent" language and to show appreciation for support from "friendly states". It also advised that the regime should "leak more information related to our military capability" to convince the public that it could withstand a military challenge.

The president also received advice from Hussein Mortada, an influential Lebanese businessman with strong connections to Iran. In December, Mortada urged Assad to stop blaming al-Qaida for an apparent twin car bombing in Damascus, which took place the day before an Arab League observer mission arrived in the country. He said he had been in contact with Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon who shared his view.

"It is not out of our interest to say that al-Qaida is behind the operation because this claim will [indemnify] the US administration and Syrian opposition," Mortada wrote not long after the blasts. "I have received contacts from Iran and Hezbollah in my role as director of many Iranian-Lebanese channels and they directed me to not mention that al-Qaida is behind the operation. It is a blatant tactical media mistake."

In another email Mortada advised the president that the regime needed to take control of public squares between 3pm and 9pm to deny opposition groups the opportunity to gather there.

Iran and Hezbollah have been accused throughout the year-long uprising of providing on-the-ground support to the regime crackdown, including sending soldiers to fight alongside regime forces and technical experts to help identify activists using the internet. Iran and Hezbollah both deny offering anything more than moral support.

Among those who communicated with the president's account were Khaled al-Ahmed who, it is believed, was given the task of advising about Homs and Idlib. In November Ahmed wrote to Assad urging him to "tighten the security grip to start [the] operation to restore state control in Idlib and Hama countryside".

He also advised Assad that he had been told European reporters had "entered the area by crossing the Lebanese borders illegally". In another mail he warned the president that "a tested source who met with leaders of groups in Baba Amr today said a big shipment of weapons coming from Libya will arrive to the shores of one of the neighbouring states within three days to be smuggled to Syria".

The emails offer a rare window into the mind of the isolated Syrian leader, apparently lurching between self-pity, defiance and flippancy as he swapped links to amusing video footage with his aides and wife. On one occasion he forwards to an aide a link to YouTube footage of a crude re-enactment of the siege of Homs using toys and biscuits.

Throughout 2011, his wife appears to have kept up regular correspondence with the Qatar emir's daughter, Mayassa al-Thani. But relations appear to have chilled early this year when Thani directly suggested that the Syrian leader step down.

"My father regards President Bashar as a friend, despite the current tensions – he always gave him genuine advice," she wrote on 11 December. "The opportunity for real change and development was lost a long time ago. Nevertheless, one opportunity closes, others open up – and I hope its not too late for reflection and coming out of the state of denial."

A second email on 30 January was more forthright and including a tacit offer of exile. "Just been following the latest developments in Syria … in all honesty – looking at the tide of history and the escalation of recent events – we've seen two results – leaders stepping down and getting political asylum or leaders being brutally attacked. I honestly think this is a good opportunity to leave and re-start a normal life. I only pray that you will convince the president to take this an opportunity to exit without having to face charges. The region needs to stabilise, but not more than you need peace of mind. I am sure you have many places to turn to, including Doha."

The direct line of reporting to Assad, independent of the police state's military and intelligence agencies, was a trait of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria for three decades until his death in 2000 ushered the then 36-year-old scion into the presidency. Assad Sr was renowned for establishing multiple reporting lines from security chiefs and trusted aides in the belief that it would deny the opportunity for any one agency to become powerful enough to pose a threat to him. His son has reputedly shown the same instincts through his decade of rule. The year-long uprising against his decade of rule appeared to be faltering this week as forces loyal to Assad retook the key northern city of Idlib.

Much of Assad's media advice comes from two young US-educated Syrian women, Sheherazad Jaafari and Hadeel al-Al. Both regularly stress to Assad, who uses the address sam@alshahba, the importance of social media and the importance of intervening in online discussions. At one point, Jaafari boasts that CNN has fallen for a nom-de-guerre that she set up to post pro-regime remarks. The emails also reveal that the media team has convinced Twitter to close accounts that purport to represent the Syrian regime.

Several weeks after sam@alshahba.com email was compromised in February, a new Syrian state TV channel broadcast two segments denying the email address had been used by Assad. Opposition activists claim that this was a pre-emptive move to discredit any future leaking of the emails.

On Wednesday Assad announced new parliamentary elections to be held across Syria on 7 May. The move appears to be in response to Kofi Annan's demand following his visit to Damascus over the weekend for a ceasefire coupled with elections. Activists have described a referendum last month that paved the way for the poll as a sham.

There was further bloodshed on the ground. Opposition activists said government forces killed dozens of people near a mosque in the city of Idlib, with rebels killing at least 10 troops in the same area. In Homs, residents said the old part of the city came under government bombardment. They also reported a massacre of 53 people in the Karm el-Zeytoun area of south-east Homs.

The US president, Barack Obama, signed an executive order last May imposing sanctions against Assad and other Syrian government officials.

In addition to freezing their US assets, the order prohibited "US persons" from engaging in transactions with them. The EU adopted similar measures against Assad last year. They include an EU-wide travel ban for the Syrian president and an embargo on military exports to Syria.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rock Against Radiation, Toronto 1980

Randy, Joey and Dave of DOA

Jaimie Vernon: Life’s A Canadian Rock – Part 7


My initiation into the world of punk was going to be on a grand, Technicolor, scale. It was the summer of 1980 and the second wave of punk was now in full discordant swing. At Toronto’s City Hall there was a public awareness concert called Rock Against Radiation set for Nathan Phillips’ Square. And as part of my initiation, my new band Swindle was going to attend collectively so that I could be shown the street etiquette and absorb the punk ethos.

On the bill that day were Stark Naked & The Fleshtones, Joe College And The Rulers, The Diodes, The Forgotten Rebels, The Demics, The Viletones, and the Godfathers of Canadian hardcore: DOA (Note from Joe College: The Diodes were never on the bill and The Demics didn't play because they didn't bring amps and people were not into sharing that day - read Joey's book for the details). It was their set, and a rather angry lead singer/guitarist Joey Shithead, that opened my eyes to the energy and the fury that the genre, and its political armour, had to offer.

Truly, they were not Punkers. They were spittle dribbling, blood spurting, fist-flailing Punks with a capitol ‘F.U.’. During the band’s set someone hurled a rather sharp lapel button, with safety pin fully extended, at Joey Shithead’s dome-sized cranium and sliced open his forehead. Without missing a beat he wiped the blood from his face onto his guitar and kept playing; blood continued to drip into his eye and he never broke stride until the song was finished. Then he let loose with a venomous tirade. I was scared for the audience. I fully expected him to dive into the crowd and pummel someone. Instead, the band left the stage. Huh. Even punks had tantrums, it seemed.

Was this a lifestyle I could embrace? At that moment I wasn’t entirely sure I could make the commitment. To wit: I was wearing a polyester three-piece dinner jacket and vest from my Grade 8 graduation festooned with chains, buttons of the Beatles (and thankfully, The Clash – borrowed from our bassist Tim James) and a home-made button featuring our own logo. My T-shirt was a sleeveless ‘Night at the Opera’ album cover by Queen that I’d scribbled over with black magic marker. And I was sporting brown suede Hush Puppies. I knew it wasn’t entirely about fashion, but I must have been embarrassing to be around for Tim, vocalist Ivan Judd and drummer Jim Greeley who, in contrast, looked and acted the part. It also didn’t help that I bailed out after the DOA set to go to Ontario Place’s bandshell stage to meet up with my suburban friend to catch Larry Gowan and his Prog band Rhinegold in action again. My friends thought I looked like an idiot. My band thought I looked like an idiot. I was
outgrowing my old life and trying to grow into a new one.

Punk was a reaction to the repression of the British underclass by disenfranchised unemployed youth who, initially, had nothing better to do but collect dole and disturb the peace. But those who were tired of loitering and rioting with police took up guitars to battle the establishment. By 1976 an unstoppable rage had risen up from the back alleys and soon the punk movement was born (though historians will argue that, in America, the Ramones were already there by 1974). An intrepid bondage shop store proprietor named Malcolm McLaren seized the opportunity to turn unbridled angst into a fashion statement and his meal ticket – one that came complete with its own poster children: The Sex Pistols.

Steve Leckie and Screamin Sam of The Viletones

Johnny Rotten and crew had bristled against the status quo and bands like Status Quo. Both corporate rock and progressive rock were viewed as the enemy; self-involved wanking by rich kids who flew through the ranks of musicdom having never wiped their own arses, never mind their own blue-blooded, snotty noses. It was an elitism that excluded all but those who trained at the finest music schools in Britain. The Sex Pistols were the anti-music; and as the world soon found out – the anti-Christs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeP220xx7Bs

But Malcolm McLaren turned punk into another product. He franchised the entire movement with public spectacle, leather boutiques and catchy, bumper sticker sloganeering. He had done to punk what Andy Warhol had done to soup cans: turned the mundane into the obscene. Punk no longer had street cred. It had become a commercial marketing strategy between toothless yobs and suited Artist & Repertoire record executives in Hollywood. In the face of McLaren’s greed, Johnny Rotten was unwilling to allow The Sex Pistols to become corporate shills. The band could not co-exist in a world where it was merely another by-product. Rotten blew up the band in the middle of their one and only tour of America. True to their misguided, miscreant internal integrity, the Pistols had committed suicide to save themselves, and punk, from becoming the thing it was trying to fight: the Establishment. In less than a year, they had managed to offend an entire nation with their metaphorical pissing on sacred cows and it only took the release of one solitary fuck-you statement – their debut album ‘Never Mind The Bullocks’ and a little pop ditty called “God Save The Queen” – to do it. The band and the album had left an indelible stamp on restless youth worldwide – unmatched in the coming generations until Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana.

And so, It was left to the second generation of angry young men – who were saddled with Ronald Reagan’s new economic vision (read: recession) – to enforce the punk credo on a whole new level. This generation was never going to allow punk to be co-opted through corporate logos and brands. This generation wasn’t just angrier, it was educated, literate and politically aware. Guitars weren’t just a means of keeping hoodlums off the street, they were now being used as swords. The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, The Germs, and other California bands led the charge. And in Canada, D.O.A. was the new ambassador because it had survived the transition from first generation to second generation by being allowed to grow progressively more caustic without the interference of a major record deal.

The saving grace to the growth of the Canadian punk scene was that it was never watered down by commercialism. The country just wasn’t, and still isn’t, big enough to have an exclusionary star system or a government dividing its citizens along class and race lines (unless you’re aboriginal and then all bets are off). But the tide was turning as we shifted to a Conservative (and conservative) power structure at the same time as our neighbours to the south. The over-riding fear was that any moves made by the United States to escalate the Cold War with the USSR would undoubtedly sweep Canada into its wake.

Swindle was born on the tide of this change. Ivan, Tim and Jim were suburban kids looking for an outlet. The seeds of discontent were being sewn by the media. Would Ronald Reagan push the little red button to launch an inter-continental ballistic missile strike on the Soviets and offer mutually assured destruction following their own retaliation? Seventeen year-olds imagining Canada as the foul line between a Russian and American game of nuclear volleyball was a pretty real fear to live with on a daily basis. Especially when it threatens your cozy middle-class existence where everyone’s biggest concern is who would mow the lawn this week.

So how would I fit into this puzzle? Did I fit into the puzzle? I certainly didn’t fit into the clothes…or, as it turned out, the hairstyles. A near-fatal set of blood-clots at birth left me with some rather unsightly scars on my head for life, so I couldn’t even consider so much as a brush-cut, let alone a Mohawk – though, had I already embraced my punk rock alter-ego this would have been a worthy war-wound to parade. So a check list needed to be made and annotated:

1) Was I politically aware enough to deal with the subject matter that was becoming more progressively entrenched in the punk identity? Maybe. I was now writing songs for the band that directly addressed more socially conscious issues and less “Boy-meets-girl, boy loses girl, boy does header off the Bloor Viaduct” topics.


2) Was I angry enough? You betcha. I was a walking time bomb of rage. I was a toxic cauldron of hormones and resentment from years of living in near poverty on the fringes of the inner city under the tutelage of ill-equipped, and under-educated street-smart parents that were extreme disciplinarians who both had fathers that abandoned them early in life. In other words…where was the love?

I was 20 years away from some decent therapy and I wasn’t fucked up enough to toss it all away on booze, drugs and impregnating the girl next door. No, I was merely a repressed suburban kid who was internalizing everything. Toronto’s suburban gang warfare was still decades away so punk became the new urban warfare. And I gravitated to it like teenage girls toward an outlet mall.


Before taking on the world with musical and civil disobedience, I had to take the first part of July 1980 off for summer school as my Grade 11 math average had plummeted while my regular school grades remained constant. Couldn’t blame the bad math on my new musical interests, I had always been getting 2 + 2 = 5. My school friends and I caught wind of a job opportunity at the Canadian National Exhibition – Toronto’s annual fair – through the end of August. I jumped from summer school right into work. Most of my buddies ended up on day shift so we never saw much of each other. I, somehow, lost the job lottery and ended up pulling 2PM to 10PM shift, meaning a long, tiring streetcar/subway/bus ride back to Scarborough late every night.

I was grounds keeper along with a team of 30 other guys scraping breakfast, lunch and dinner pizza, popcorn and puke off the pavement around the Food Building, the Better Living Centre, The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, CNE head office and the Press building with an occasional foray over to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the gates of CNE Stadium if it got excessively busy (usually on the weekend). Once the Food Building was cleaned, the remainder of the shift was off the beaten path and was pretty easy to keep tidy. By mid day a few of us would hide in a shaded spot under the Gardiner Expressway behind the Horse Palace to shoot the shit, eat lunch, get sunburned and hit on the Conklin Rides carnie girls.

Our boss looked like future film maker Michael Moore and was as big a shit disturber. He was pretty easy going but was adamant that the management of the janitorial company we worked for were screwing us teenagers over for barely-minimum wage. This would come to a head when he and another manager decided that the final week of the CNE would have us in a state of ‘work-to-rule’. I ended up losing a lot of money and my first dislike for unions over this job action.

But I did get the opportunity to sneak into a number of great concerts when I was hauled in to help CNE Stadium’s work crews with clean-up: Chicago, Queen, The Cars, The Who and Alice Cooper. Well, I almost saw Alice Cooper except he never showed up minutes before his scheduled time to hit the stage, leaving opening act Zon to buffer the unrest beginning to take over the impatient crowd. As the audience began booing and showing their discontent, my team of janitors was told to get out of the building and back to our regular positions on the CNE grounds. And then all hell broke loose. Ivan and his very pregnant girlfriend, Sharon, were in the audience. Ivan witnessed chairs flying and other objects (who in the hell brings vegetables and fruits to a music concert?) and the crowd surged forward while policemen on horseback raged in to try and get the masses to stand down. The cattle were scooped up and tossed back into the arms of ground officers waiting with billy clubs and handcuffs. Sharon barely escaped with the help of folks giving her a hand over a security fence. There was thousands of dollars in damage and Ivan caught the entire fiasco on audio tape which we’d use years later as a backing track to a song he wrote about the incident entitled “Fly To A Flame”.

I missed it all and was safely on my way home from another tiring eight hours in the stifling Toronto heat. But, during my shift the next day I happened to be in front of the CNE head office where Alice Cooper and his entourage arrived in two black limos. As he walked to the office doors to quell the anger of the mayor, City Council and a team of CNE executives I asked him what had happened. In a low grovel he said, “Asthma”. Cooper’s family had moved from Detroit to Phoenix when he was young because the pre-fame Vincent Fournier had asthma. He hadn’t had a flare-up in years…until he arrived in Toronto the night of the show. He and the promoter were on the hook for $25,000. Fortunately, the second time I saw Cooper, in 1989, he was asthma-free. http://youtu.be/scrIUhGUQuo

On one of my last nights working the CNE, my parents had taken off on vacation and left it to my grandmother to pick me up from transit and deliver me home. As she rolled out of the driveway on a promise I wouldn’t destroy the house, I was left to my own devices. Soon, as planned earlier in the week, Tim and some of my gal pals arrived at the door for an impromptu party. My former girlfriend, and now Tim’s love interest, Cindy, was nowhere to be found. We had to run under cover of the parkette across from my house and help her escape out her bedroom window so she could join in the fun,

We kept the lights off and hung out in the backyard so that no one would see that we were drinking and getting into no amount of trouble. But I decided not to stir up neighbourhood curiosity and ushered everyone inside where we ended up playing strip poker in the living room – except that Tim and I were losing…badly. The ladies found this highly amusing and when we pointed out how unfair it was that they were clothed and we were semi-naked they promised to disrobe only if Tim and I stripped and streaked around the neighbourhood first. We did. It’s the fastest I ever ran in my life. But when we returned to the house, the ladies had locked the front door. We had to go through the backyard (which also faced onto the adjoining street) and we attempted to enter the back patio doors. Except the lady living behind us – and the mother of my sister’s best friend – had decided at that moment to walk the family dog. From the distance we could hear a taunting call, “Jaimie. I’m telling your Mom & Dad”. Tim and I pounded on the door and yelled at the girls inside. “Let us in. Someone saw us!” They opened the door and we dove in blindly. After shutting the door and the drapes we sat breathless giggling, and fretting about what the neighbour might say to my folks while trying to put our clothes back on. The party came to an abrupt end.

My folks never found out. She never told on me. And never could. In one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moments you hear about on the news, she was stabbed to death by her boyfriend a few years later. Murder had come to the community of Malvern twenty years before the infamous gang wars. Between the punk rock initiation, the job and this sobering real-life headline, I became an adult that summer.

We now have an email where all of us here at Don’t Believe A Word I Say can be contacted dbawis@rogers.com. Please use it to ask questions, tell us what you would like to read about, links you would like to share, and, let’s hear what you have to say.

- Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and is the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia. He keeps a copy of Lightfoot’s “Sundown” under his pillow at night.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wintornadoes, Thundersnow pummel Heartland of USA

Climate change deniers got smacked in the face with a punch of ultra-extreme weather the past few days, as dozens died from unprecedented winter tornadoes banging through the central United States.

Satellite images and storm damage photos from USA tornado storm March 2012

Kentucky death toll from tornadoes reaches 19

National Weather Service says tornadoes are record storms for March

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