Categories for Musings

Review: Recipe For Hate “a complex, multilayered mystery”!

“The Canadian Review of Materials is published weekly from September through June and is an all-volunteer online publication which features reviews of books and other materials that are authored, illustrated and/or published by Canadians and that are produced for/of interest to children and adolescents. CM’s reviewers are teachers, teacher-librarians, public librarians and university professors…”

And here’s what they say about Recipe For Hate in their review!

“[Recipe For Hate is] a complex, multilayered mystery that highlights the energy and passion of youth while pointing a finger at issues like police misconduct, irresponsible journalism and the rise of the alt Right.”

Not bad! Other reviews, to date, are below:

  • Quill and Quire: “Kinsella skillfully blends convincing depictions of both the punk scene and the racist underground with the hoary trope of a band of kids setting out to solve a mystery. The novel is a suspenseful page-turner that also gives considerable food for thought, anchored in realistically drawn characters and an eye for significant detail.” 

  • Publisher’s Weekly: “Adult author Kinsella (Fight the Right) sets this riveting murder mystery in Portland, Maine, in the late 1970s…Tension starts high and stays there in this unflinching page-turner, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the early punk scene and a moving testament to the power of friendship.”

  • Globe and Mail: “Portrayals of rebellious and non-conforming teens can feel reductive or contrived but Kinsella nails it without any stereotyping or embellishment. Though this authenticity will have big teen appeal, the novel is also part police procedural, part detailed history on the emergence of punk and part gritty murder mystery, all elements that skew more adult. Classification aside, it’s absorbing, jarring and raw.”

  • Toronto Star: “Warren Kinsella is known mostly as a political operative and pundit, but he also has estimable punk-rock credentials (as punk historian and as bass player in SFH, which bills itself as Canada’s best-loved geriatric punk band). This YA novel is loosely based on real-life events, and concerns the murder of two teenagers in 1979 in Portland, Ore., then the epicentre of the punk scene. It will be of interest to anyone interested in punk culture — not just the music, but the fanzines, art and writing of the period.”

  • Booklist: “Kinsella’s book explodes off the page from the start…a dark and engrossing tale of punk-rock heroes fighting for justice.” 

The Kinsellian Pine Box Theory™️

You get to leave power in one of two ways.

One, you get to leave on your own two feet, at a time and place of your choosing.

Or, two, you leave in a pine box.

The latter happens when politicians start to believe their own bullshit. The latter happens when politicians gorge themselves on the pap that is being served up to them by their servile stafflings, the ones who depend upon said politicians for a paycheque. The latter happens when a politician starts to lose touch with real people, and is only hanging out with Deputy Ministers and people who are on the payroll.

Kathleen Wynne, who I like as a person – even though she didn’t even deign to respond to my long-ago offer (and that of not a few others) to help – did not leave when she could have and should have. By default, she chose the pine box.

It isn’t going to be pretty.

Gordie’s funeral was today

It was uplifting and unbelievably sad, all at the same time. Jim Watson and I eulogized our friend, or tried to. I was okay, until the end. It was hard.

Some coverage, here. I am officially spent.

While the funeral drew politicos of many stripes, the duo of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and lawyer, strategist and pundit Warren Kinsella were the self-declared “Liberal quota” on the eulogy stage.

The pair recalled their friendship with Brown during their youth at Carleton University.

“We would always greet each other with ‘Senator,’ no matter where we were,” said Watson.

Kinsella recalled how Brown, in their student government days, had a motion passed declaring Carleton “a communism-free zone.”

“I would now advise, on behalf of Gordie, that any New Democrats who received a degree from Carleton University after 1984 possess an illegal document and should turn themselves in to the authorities,” he joked.

Kinsella and Watson also recalled the group stealing a fake cruise missile from a peace protest camp on Parliament Hill.

The Hot Nasties: back after 38 years!

The Hot Nasties were a first-wave Calgary punk band who (improbably) have had their stuff covered by the likes of the Palma Violets and Nardwuar, and praised by the frontmen for Fucked Up and the Pursuit of Happiness.  When we were together, however, we didn’t have any famous friends.  We put on some shows, we put out a couple records, and – properly – we flamed out in 1980.

Nearly four decades later, we’re back!  Ras Pierre and me – along with Bjorn von Flapjack III, Rockin’ Al Macdonald and Jake Kirbie – are the new Hot Nasties, and we’ve put together a happenin’ four-song EP, The Ballad of the Social Blemishes EP.  It contains live versions of Teenage Lament and Fashion Show at CJSW in Calgary, the all-new Hey There Girl, and the new new tune, The Ballad of the Social Blemishes.  It’s about our departed pal, Tom Wolfe, who was the manager of the Blems and our high school co-conspirator.

The record is available on the world’s greatest punk label, Ugly Pop, here.  It’s a bargain and will be worth millions when me and Ras Pierre commence our dirt nap.

Herewith, too, is the world premiere of the video for that song – featuring a swaggering Ras Pierre, a bespectacled me, a sleepy Rockin’ Al, Rachel Notley’s former Chief of Staff John Heaney, and a leaping and cavorting Terry “Lost and Profound” Tompkins.  That’s Tom Wolfe at the end, after our epic show at Bishop Carroll in 1978.  Bjorn gave the video a very powerful ending.

We miss Tom and salute him. Now, go pogo!

Ontario Campaign 2018 begins!

And here, to celebrate, is a snippet from my column next week:

Doug Ford – who I know and like, full disclosure – is not a professional politician.  He may have been a city councillor for a single term, but he is as far from a professional politician as one can get.  He does not have anywhere near the experience that Ontario Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath have.  Not even close.

Unlike the other two, he has never led a political party before.  Unlike the other two, he has never ruled a caucus before.  Unlike the other two, he has never participated in a leader’s debate before last Monday.

But he’s still winning, and he’s winning.  Media polls even suggest he has a twenty-point lead.  Internal party polling, meanwhile, suggests that the Grits are heading towards third party status.  And perhaps no party status at all.

How could such a thing happen to the once-mighty Ontario Liberal machine?  Three reasons.  One, Kathleen Wynne needed to take a walk in the proverbial snow way back in 2017.  Two, the Grits needed to jettison the profligate Martinite crew around Wynne – the ones who destroyed the federal Liberal party a decade ago.  Three, they needed to be infused with new blood and new faces. 

They didn’t do any of those things.

Traditional political campaigns do not work against populists. 

Populists possess an extraordinary magical power: they are able to transform an attack on them into an attack on those who support them.  And that is why virtually everything Kathleen Wynne said to Doug Ford in that first leaders’ debate last week – that he doesn’t understand how government works, that he doesn’t have experience, that he doesn’t get it, that he is out of his depth, blah blah blah – ricocheted off of him and onto the unhappy people who support him.  And thereby wedded them more closely to their man, Doug Ford.

An attack on Doug Ford, you see, is an attack on them

I love the smell of elections in the morning

Or something.

Ontario Election on June 7, 2018

May 8, 2018

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced that the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, has accepted the Premier’s advice to sign a Proclamation dissolving the 41st Parliament of the Province of Ontario, effective as of 2 p.m. today. Pursuant to the provisions of the Election Act, the Lieutenant Governor also called for the issuance of writs for the general election to be issued Wednesday, May 9, and naming Thursday, June 7, as the date of Ontario’s next general election.