Let’s talk about the rise of the gay athlete (female division)

Some people don’t want to read or hear another word about gays. They’ve had their fill.

Their reasons vary, whether it be religious belief, pure bigotry, or some cockeyed notion of a global gay agenda that seeks to brainwash our children in the manner of Adolph Hitler and Soviet communism (hello, Maggie Court). They just want the LGBT(etc.) community to shut the hell up. (And, hey, while they’re shutting the hell up, they can also put the brakes on that once-a-year, half-naked Pride strut nonsense. “Why do gays need a parade? There isn’t a straight parade!”)

Well, it’s hard to shut the hell up when:

NYC subway workers had to scrub the offensive scrawl off Megan Rapinoe posters.

* The very week the U.S. National women’s soccer team wins the World Cup, a vandal defaces New York City subway posters of Megan Rapinoe, simply because she prefers the company of women, specifically Sue Bird.

Can any among us imagine someone desecrating a poster of, oh, let’s say fabulous fancy skater Tessa Virtue because she’s straight? As if.

Yet apparently Rapinoe is fair game for a shaming with scrawl. It would be one thing, I suppose, if she was a meek lesbian who just shut the hell up about it. But that’s not Rapinoe. The American co-captain has to be as loud as her purple hair. She screams at the world. Can’t win without gays, says she. So someone with an axe (to grind) in one hand and a Sharpie pen in the other comes along to scribble “shemale” and “screw this ho” on half a dozen of her posters.

It’s also hard to shut the hell up when:

* Homophobes bookend Pride month by burning rainbow flags outside a NYC gay club.
* Two lesbian actors are struck by stones for kissing on a street in Southampton, England.
* A lesbian couple is mugged by five teens on a North London bus.
* Two gay men are attacked by knife-wielding teens in Liverpool.
* Posters with anti-gay messaging are displayed in downtown Peterborough, Ont.
* A sheriff’s detective in Tennessee delivers a sermon at Scripture Baptist Church calling for the arrest and execution of gays.
* Findings in the Out On The Fields study show that 84 per cent of 9,500 people interviewed have witnessed or experienced homophobia in American sports; 83 per cent of gay males and 63 per cent of lesbians remain completely or partially in the closet in youth sports due to fear of discrimination and/or bullying.
* Every gay in the five major men’s team sports in North America is afraid to come out of the closet.

Dutee Chand

If none of that was happening—or, in the case of out gay male athletes, not happening—the LGBT(etc.) collective likely would shut the hell up about their sexuality.

As it is, damn straight we’re going to bang the drum about the U.S. women winning the World Cup, because five of the Yankee Doodle Damsels, plus coach Jill Ellis, are out lesbians. They’ve become “hometown” heroes who reach across borders.

Ditto Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen, the first gay couple to compete together during any Wimbledon fortnight. It didn’t matter that the Belgian women failed to get past the second round in women’s doubles. There was a there there.

Ditto Dutee Chand, India’s fastest woman and an out lesbian who recently skedaddled to the 100-metre gold medal at the World University Games in Naples. Initially scorned by family and friends for her choice of partners, Chand is the first Indian to strike gold in the 100-metres at any global track event.

Marnie McBean

Ditto Marnie McBean, a lesbian installed as Chef de Mission for Canada’s entry at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“On the Canadian team the goal is to make sure everybody is competing in the event that they choose to compete in as their authentic selves,” the former rowing champion told Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star when introduced as the Chef de Mission.


For too long, gay athletes have been looked upon as lesser-thans. That, sadly, remains the default position in men’s team sports. So the boys hide and suffer. But that’s not how the women are wired. Gay female athletes aren’t viewed as a distraction or a drag on their straight teammates’ talents and efforts. They stand beside them, flexing their muscle and flourishing under the most intense spotlights. Right now, the U.S. women’s soccer side is Exhibit A, and the team they beat in the World Cup final, the Netherlands, would be Exhibit B with five open lesbians.

These gay women are being celebrated.

And somewhere there’s a gay kid—girl or boy—who’s reading the good news about these champions rather than dire news about gays being stoned or knifed.

That’s one of the reasons we continue to write and talk about the sexuality of these gay athletes. Even gay kids need role models and reachable skies. As McBean submits, everyone should feel comfortable competing as their authentic selves. Not just on our playing fields, but in life.

Once that day arrives, we’ll be happy to shut the hell up.

Captain Canada (Caroline Ouellette), Captain America (Julie Chu) and baby Liv makes it a forward line

First of all, the birth of Liv Chu-Ouellette is a beautiful story that should be celebrated.

Little Liv, who arrived on Nov. 5, is healthy and her parents are full of joy. Nothing else should really matter.

Except, in this case, there’s a delightful sidebar. Like, Liv has two moms, and they’re both very good at hockey. One, Caroline Ouellette, captained Canada during its gold-medal crusade at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and her other mom, Julie Chu, is a former captain of the United States national women’s team who was wearing the Stars ‘n’ Stripes in Russia.

Julie Chu, left, Caroline Ouellette and baby Liv.

That’s right, little Liv’s moms are Captain Canada and Captain America.

Although they’ve butted heads for many years on the international stage—one getting the upper hand at the Olympics and the other at the world championships—both moms are teammates with Les Canadiennes de Montreal in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (Ouellette was preggers with Liv when they won the Clarkson Cup last spring) and both coach the Stingers at Concordia University.

Let us not, however, think of this strictly as a feel-good sports story. It’s a life story, first and foremost, with a hockey backdrop.

The fact we’re discussing and celebrating the birth of a daughter to a same-sex couple is another noteworthy testament to the progress the LGBT collective has made and, even though many people (mainly gospel sharks) pooh-pooh the notion that same-sex parents can raise children properly, evidence from numerous studies endorsed by the American Psychological Association suggest that kids of lesbian couples are as well-adjusted in most critical social areas as their heterosexual peers. Eve and Eve works just as well as Adam and Eve.

Among other things, here’s what the APA has stated:

  • There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation (Armest, 2002; Patterson, 2000; Tasker & Golombok, 1997); On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.
  • Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.
  • Research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish (Patterson, 2004; Perrin, 2002; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001).

So there’s that.

This is also another example of the deep chasm that exists between women’s and men’s sports vis-a-vis gays. While any gay male skating in the National Hockey League today remains deeply closeted, two of the world’s premier gay female players are out, proud and having babies, happily presenting daughter Liv to followers on an Instagram account.

I think we know what would happen if the respective captains of the Canadian and American men’s entries at the Sochi Olympics—Sidney Crosby and Zach Parise—posted a pic of themselves with their new-born on Instagram or Twitter. That’s right, the Internet would break. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men and not even Donald Trump could put it back together again.

At a time when horror stories of sexual harassment and the ongoing hissing contest between two men with nuclear weapons are prevalent, feel-good tales with happily-ever-after endings seem scarce. Caroline Ouellette, Julie Chu and baby Liv have given us one.

Bless them.

A simple thank you just doesn’t seem enough

Unfailingly at this time of the year, I wonder what level of courage and bravery one must summon in order to go to work in the morning, or in the deepest part of the night, knowing that there’s a very good chance you’ll be shot. Dead. Or blown to pieces.

Canadian soldiers did that in World War I and II. Also in Korea.

They knew the bad guys would be spraying bullets and lobbing grenades in their direction. That they’d be required to navigate their way from Point A to Point B, aware they might trigger a land mine at any moment. But they did it. They crawled out of their foxholes—weary, hungry and scared—and they heard the whistle of German bullets fly past their ears and steal the breath from a comrade in arms. He was dead, and there were many thousands like him. Still, they soldiered on.

I simply cannot wrap my head around that horror.

Which is why saying thank you to our war veterans seems so inadequate. But perhaps that’s all those who remain with us want. All they need.

So thank you.

Two dozen reasons to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day

Am I thankful on this Canadian Thanksgiving Day? Absolutely, and let me count two dozen ways…

  • I’m thankful that I’m not a roasted turkey on a dinner table with someone holding a large knife standing over me.

  • Speaking of turkeys, I’m thankful that the folks down south have Donald Trump and we don’t.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh

    I’m thankful that Thich Nhat Hanh has written so many wonderful books.

  • I’m thankful that I’ve heard Alison Krauss’s voice.

  • I’m thankful for the mountains that greet me each morning when I raise my window blinds.

  • I’m thankful that it’s safe for two women in love to stroll down the street in my city, hand in hand or arm in arm, and it’s perfectly acceptable.

  • I’ll be even more thankful when the day arrives that my gay male friends can do the same thing.

  • I’m thankful that someone thought it would be a swell idea to put pineapple on pizza, because I want a medium Hawaiian with extra cheese to be my last meal.

  • I’m thankful for subsidized housing for seniors, otherwise I might be on the street.

  • I’m thankful for management and staff at Bart’s Pub and the Taphouse on Yates, because they have always treated me with kindness, warmth and respect.

  • I’m thankful for Mike the cabbie and John for the giggles they give me each time they sit with me at Bart’s.

  • I’m thankful for Ashley, an unexpected and precious gift of a young lady who came into my life late and brought a special joy.

  • Wilma Rudolph

    I’m thankful that I got to watch Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg play tennis, Wilma Rudolph run, Secretariat run, Gale Sayers run with a football, Sandy Koufax throw a baseball, Bobby Orr play hockey and Tiger Woods strike a golf ball.

  • I’m thankful for my dearest friends in Victoria, especially Cullen, Terry, Lucy, Brian, Sean and Bruce, who have always been there, and Beverley and Davey in Winnipeg.

  • I’m thankful for my squadron of doctors, who keep an eye on my wonky kidneys.

  • I’m thankful for Jane and Mariola, whose warm smiles and continued kindness make my fear of needles disappear whenever I visit their lab.

  • I’m thankful for the angel who visits me and keeps me safe.

  • I’ll be more thankful when she tells me that my niece Darcia is safe.

  • I’m thankful that my brother Mick came back into my life.

  • The Beatles

    I’m thankful that John, Paul, George and Ringo decided to make music together.

  • I’m thankful that there’s a roof over my head, clothing on my back and food in my fridge.

  • I’m thankful I don’t drive a car anymore. It’s dangerous out there.

  • I’m thankful for Terry, Helina and Attila at Paparazzi Nightclub in Victoria for hiring me when no one else would.

  • I’m thankful that the good in life still outweighs the evil, even though you wouldn’t think it by reading and watching the news some days.

Can white sports writers tell a black story properly?

The only way you can walk a mile in another person’s shoes is if you can fit into their head.

I mean, those of my vintage can tell young people about the violence, the fears and the music/cultural revolution of the 1960s, but you can’t do Woodstock unless you were at Yasgur’s Farm. You can’t relate to the horrors of a president of the United States being gunned down in broad daylight, half his head blown off, unless you felt the hope that John F. Kennedy gave so many of us in our youth.

I can tell one of my climate-coddled friends here on the West Coast about a Winnipeg winter—I survived about 40 of them before fleeing—but until they feel the harsh, immobilizing, bitter bite of a minus-40C wind chill at Portage and Main they won’t get it.

Similarly, if you aren’t a person of color, can you truly understand what the fuss is all about at sporting events in the U.S.?

It seems to me that the protest movement started by Colin Kaepernick last year and re-activated in his absence by National Football League players numbering in the hundreds this season has veered off-message. That is, I read and hear about the American flag, the Star-Spangled Banner and the U.S. military (as fighter jets roar overhead) daily, yet the plague and evil of racial injustice—which is what taking a knee or raising a fit is about—is lost.

It reminds me of the O.J. trial. It was supposed to be about the double murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend. Instead, the trial was hijacked by high-priced barristers in $1,500 suits who took it in an entirely different direction and made it about racism, in large part because of a racist Los Angeles cop, Mark Fuhrman.

In the case of the NFL players’ protest of racial injustice and police brutality against black people in America, we can’t blame Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz or celebrity mouthpiece Robert Shapiro for the misdirection of topic. We might look at the messenger, though.

In the week-plus since U.S. President Donald Trump went off the rails in Alabama and began ranting about any “son of a bitch” NFL worker who kneels during the American national anthem should be “fired,” I have read numerous newspaper articles about the pre-game protests and, almost without exception, the writer was white.

Now, I understand that racism is an everybody issue. At least it should be. But if it’s black people being targeted and (mostly) black people doing the protesting, why are white people telling the story?

Because sports scribes are white.

I mostly read Canadian newspapers and sports journalism (newspaper print division) at the elite level in the Great White North is exactly that—a group of great white northerners. As a collective, our sports writing is whiter than a saint’s soul. It’s whiter than NASCAR. Whiter than the National Hockey League. Yet the flowers of jock journalism on this side of the border wax philosophically about the non-diversity of the NHL vis-a-vis the players’ unwillingness to take a knee alongside their NFL, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball brethren.

So I ask this: How credible can white sports journalists be when covering racially charged stories if they are not of the issue? How about women’s stories? LGBT stories? How many stories will they miss because they lack the cultural knowledge to ask the meaningful questions of black or gay athletes?

When the openly gay football player Michael Sam appeared in the Montreal Alouettes lineup in a game vs. the Ottawa RedBlacks in August 2015, one of the country’s prominent jock journalists, Steve Simmons of Postmedia, denied it happened.

In reality,” Simmons scribbled, “pro football still awaits its first openly gay player.”

It was an astonishing piece of rejective writing. There existed unassailable evidence that Sam had been on the field for 12 plays. A sellout crowd and a national television audience would testify to that under oath. Yet Simmons stood firm.

I don’t think it will be remembered,” he said on TSN’s The Reporters with Dave Hodge.

When baseball player Kevin Pillar or hockey player Andrew Shaw call a foe a “faggot,” Canadian scribes deliver, at best, a politcially correct comment then move on like there was never anything to actually see. That’s because they aren’t gay and they don’t see and feel the hurt.

Chris Hine, however, can write from, and to, the very heart of the matter, because the Chicago Tribune hockey scribe is openly gay. As are a few other jock newsies in the U.S.

Some of the sports scribes in Canada can pull it off. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star, for example, has a high social awareness quotient. He wrote a terrific piece on the current protests as it relates to black players in the NHL. It had feeling. It conveyed the loneliness of the NHL’s few blacks working in a white man’s world. A good writer can do that, regardless the issue, simply by talking to those who live the issue.

Overall, though, the highest level of Canadian sports writing is a sea of white faces, the most non-diverse group in mainstream media (no blacks, no gays, one woman) delivering a message about racial injustice. And it isn’t much different in the U.S.

Little wonder the protest story has lost its way.

U.S.A. is the “greatest country” for breast implants, prisoners and not much else

While National Football League players and other athletes took a knee and United States President Donald Trump took a pass on everything that’s really important in the past few days, I repeatedly read and heard that the United States of America is “the greatest country in the world.”

Excuse me? You mean “world” as in planet earth? Third rock from the sun? Terra firma?


I mean, the only people who believe the U.S. of A. is the cat’s meow when it comes to countries are the people who actually live in the self-anointed land of the free and home of the brave. The rest of us? Not so much.

No doubt the U.S. of A. has its endearing qualities. Off the top of my head, I can think of two—Jimmy Stewart movies and Patsy Cline tunes.

Americans talk like they invented and bottled freedom. And, to be sure, they have the freedom to choose one liar over another in their presidential election, Vlad (The Bad) Putin’s influence notwithstanding. They’re also free to take a knee, pack a sidearm, brew weak beer, make fun of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, root, root, root for the Cubbies, and give the Yankees the Bronx cheer. But celebrity justice, the world’s largest collection of Elvis impersonators, a scavenger (bald eagle) for a national symbol, and an addiction to war aren’t exactly what I’d call selling points.

Let’s be clear. I’m not here to bash America. Love the place. Had wonderful times there. Love the people, especially in the Midwest where the constituents remind me of good Canadian prairie stock. But that “greatest country in the world” stuff is a bit much. The U.S. of A. is the global great like Homer Simpson is a card-carrying member of the Mensa Society.

In its annual rankings of the best countries in the world, U.S. News and World Report lists Switzerland, Canada, the U.K., Germany, Japan and Sweden ahead of the United States.

  • Forbes magazine has the U.S. at No. 23 on its list of best countries to do business.

  • In the Freedom in the World rankings from Freedom House, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, Iceland, U.K., Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Japan and Germany rate higher than Uncle Sam.

  • In a U.S. News and World Report survey of millennials, Canada was chosen the best country in the world. The U.S. was fifth.

  • Best country to live: Australia first and Canada second (America wasn’t in top five).

  • Best country for dating: Brazil came out on top (America wasn’t in top five).

  • Best country to start a career: China, Germany and then the U.S.

  • Best country to be an immigrant: Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Norway. (U.S. seventh.)

  • Lifestyle9 rated the best countries in the world to live: Monoco is first, Canada fifth, the U.S.A. 11th.

  • Best quality of life in the world (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development): Norway, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada. The U.S. came in at ninth.

  • Best health care: Andorra, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway (U.S. 35th).

I searched over, under, sideways and down (apologies to the Yardbirds) to find a source that listed the Republic of the United States as the “greatest country in the world” and I discovered the grand sum of zero. Only in select categories does the U.S. top any list—plastic surgery, breast implants, filthy rich people, death by violence, small arms imports/exports, and prisoners.

Oh, there’s one more: Taking a knee.

Donald Trump—you, too, have the right to remain silent

Put down that brick, mortar and trowel! Construction on the Great Wall of Trump, intended to keep rapists and druggies confined to Mexico, can wait.

Kim Jong Un and his nuclear weapons? Put the Rocket Man on hold.

Donald Trump

Tearing apart Obamacare? Tax reform? Revamping NAFTA? Stamping out international terrorism? All minor inconveniences compared to the heavy issue that has just landed on the doorstep of the humble shack at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.—ridding the sports world of bums and creeps who dare tweak the presidential beak.

Oh, yes, U.S. President Donald J. Trump has declared it open season on Colin Kaepernik, Jemele Hill, Stephen Curry and those of their ilk.

Just last week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a paid Pinocchio for the Apprentice President, wailed against the evils of ESPN co-anchor Hill, demanding her ouster from the cable station’s dinnertime SportsCenter program. Hill had been a naughty girl, don’t you know. Basically, she called the POTUS a POS, and we can’t have sports personalities exercising First Amendment rights.

So fire her!

Steph Curry has no desire to attend a White House function to be saluted along with his National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors teammates? Fine. Trump issues a hissy-fit tweet that the “invitation is withdrawn!” No White House for you!

And we also have El Presidente in full howl and delivering off-with-their-heads urgings during a group hug in Huntsville, Ala., a sermon that was shallow in scope and dizzying in narcissism. Seems Agent Orange is unamused by National Football League players who kneel or sit and munch on bananas (hello, Marshawn Lynch) during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, so he’ll have to deal with that pesky Kim Jong Un and his nuclear play things at a later date. More urgent is the uprising by large lads in pads who are equally unamused by racial inequality in Trump’s America.

Colin Kaepernick

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” the Commander-in-Chief huffed and puffed on Friday, attempting to blow the NFL house down. “You know, some owner’s gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired. And that owner, they don’t know it—they’re friends of mine, many of them—they’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country, ’cause that’s a total disrespect of our heritage, that’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for, okay? Everything that we stand for. And I know we have freedoms and we have freedom of choice and many, many different freedoms, but you know what, it’s still totally disrespectful. And you know when the NFL ratings are down massively—massively!—the NFL ratings are down massively…the No. 1 reason is they like watching what’s happening with yours truly.

“You know what’s hurting the game? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking a knee when they are playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave.”

Trump failed to mention that Americans also have the right to remain silent. He should have tried it.

I mean, seriously, the president of the United States of America advocating the dismissal of professional athletes for exercising a Constitutional right? Kind of like Pope Francis excommunicating Catholics for kneeling in prayer, wouldn’t you say? (Not that I think Trump is pope-like.)

Tommie Smith, centre, and John Carlos, right.

Sports and politics aren’t meant to blend together. The games people play are intended to be a diversion, something to provide an escape from the realities of an oft-nasty and angry world. And, I suppose, Trump unwittingly accomplished that very thing by diving gob first into the playground with his off-the-rails rant against the NFL and the way it conducts business. After all, if the POTUS is talking sports, he isn’t talking about blowing North Korea and the rest of the world the hell up.

The thing is, crapping on out-of-work quarterback Kaepernick and pooh-poohing increased safety measures to reduce or eliminate scrambled brains (he stopped short of suggesting the game has become sissified) isn’t productive. Chances are we’ll see an increase in the volume of players kneeling this weekend.

I wish sports and politics were separate entities. Games should be games and life should be life. But it’s never been that way and never shall be. The 1936 Olympic Games were about Hitler’s Germany. Tommie Smith and John Carolos turned the 1968 Olympic Games into a political statement. Terrorists turned the 1972 Olympics into a horrible tragedy. There have been boycotts of varying degrees at half a dozen Olympic Games. And tell me sports and politics didn’t meet during hockey’s 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.

But I’m okay with Trump imposing his political position on the NFL…just as long as he doesn’t expect Colin Kaepernick, Jemele Hill and Stephen Curry to apologize—or be fired—for doing the same thing.

Things that are on my mind this morning…

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

Random thoughts in the wee hours before dawn’s early light…

I keep reading about the United States being the “land of the free?” What makes the United States the “land of the free?” What freedoms do Americans have that we don’t enjoy in Canada? Oh, that’s right, they get to play with guns and we don’t. How’s that working out for them?

I no longer use the phrase “You know you’re getting old when…” I now say, “Now that I’m old…”

As the day when there are 66 candles on my birthday cake approaches, I surrender to the reality that time is running short for me to take my first selfie. That is not, however, on my bucket list, so I shall be ashes in an urn before I engage in that self-serving ritual. I’ll continue to talk about myself, write about myself and look at myself in the mirror, but snapping a selfie is a non-starter.

I really like my dentist, but why does it cost so much to have her peer into my mouth? How do we know dentists aren’t ripping us off?

I find it interesting, also odd, that I can fly clear across an ocean to England for less money than it costs me to fly most places in Canada.

Someone told me that Americans would never be so dumb as to elect Donald Trump president. No? Then explain the voters in Minnesota electing a professional wrestler as governor and the voters in California doing the same with a body builder.

The Spice Girls: Did I miss anything?
The Spice Girls: Did I miss anything?

While watching Mel B on one of the late-night gab shows recently, it occurred to me that I could not name one Spice Girls song. So you tell me, have I missed something?

Someone once said, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be,” and I agree. Whereas certain of my childhood friends go on Facebook to reminisce about the good, old days, I sometimes wonder if I even had a childhood or good, old days. They drop names I don’t recognize. They write of events I don’t recall. For example, the other day someone posted a comment about walking to high school in a group that apparently included moi. I have no recollection of that. I remember almost always walking to and from school alone or with one of the Lowery girls.

I witnessed the rarest of sightings the other day: Two people sitting in a pub, talking to each other instead of playing with their smart phones or tablets. That was nice.

I was a 10-minute walk from the Royals on Saturday, so I had a choice: Make that 10-minute walk and watch Kate and Will deliver the Royal wave, or sit in the pub and order another pint. I’m pleased to report that that other pint tasted real good.

Why was security on highest alert when Kate and Will arrived in Victoria on Saturday? Were the motorcycle cops and those men in sun glasses and long, black limos afraid one of our homeless citizens would insult the Royals by asking for spare change?

If the cost of rent continues to soar in Victoria, I might soon be one of those homeless citizens begging the Royals for spare change.

I missed the Royal wave from Kate and Will.
I missed the Royal wave from Kate and Will.

I have nothing against the Royals. I have something against fawning over faux celebrities. Or any celebrities, for that matter.

I tried to watch The Voice last week, but I can’t get past Miley Cyrus. I’m not sure what it is about Billy Ray’s little girl, but she’s a most irritating bit of business. Her nails-on-chalkboard voice is grating and those teeth that look store-bought don’t seem to fit her mouth or face. She’s over the top with her rebel-with-a-cause schtick, too. I’ll pass on The Voice this year now that I know she’s a coach.

On the matter of The Voice, the adolescent bantering between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton became painfully tiresome about three seasons ago. How often do those two mooks have to call each other an “idiot” before the audience and producers decide the schtick is just childish and not funny?

I was a fan of country music in the 1980s, when I hitched my horse in Calgary. That was a wonderful decade for the genre, with the emergence of George Strait and Clint Black and Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and Randy Travis and Reba and Alabama and Dwight Yoakam and Roseanne Cash and Ricky Van Shelton. So what happened? When did Nashville become a haven for the vocally challenged? I mean, you’re telling me that Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan are mega-stars? George Strait and Alan Jackson were right when they sang Murder on Music Row. It’s a crime what’s happened to country music.

I really like Renee Zellwegger. She makes me laugh.

Welcome to the mea culpa Olympic Games

It’s official. We no longer can say anything without bruising someone’s sensibilities and setting off a three-alarm fire of political incorrectness on Twitter and other social media.

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

I mean, say “good morning” to someone and you’re apt to be accused of discriminating against afternoons, evenings and night time.

You think I’m kidding? Consider the goings-on at the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. There have been more mea culpas issued than gold medals. One broadcaster had to apologize for talking about a female swimmer’s coach/husband instead of the female swimmer; another apologized for referring to lesbian beach volleyball player Larissa Franca’s wife Liliane as her husband; another talking head apologized for referencing a Chinese swimmer to a pig; the Olympic committee apologized for raising the wrong Chinese flag; former U.S. Congressman John Dingell apologized “in advance for my Olympic tweets;” singer Demi Lovato offered her “deepest apologies” for laughing at her mother’s bad joke about the Zika virus; American gymnast Gabby Douglas apologized for not putting her right hand on her heart during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner; organizers apologized to fans for lengthy lineups and waits; one broadcaster apologized for suggesting that American gymnast Simone Biles’ parents weren’t really her parents; a BBC broadcaster apologized for a homophobic remark about gays on the tennis venue kiss-cam; the Daily Beast apologized for an article outing gay athletes; the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, apologized for faulty facilities; a CBC broadcaster apologized for misidentifying two American swimmers whose bodies were 99.9 per cent submerged; organizers apologized for thefts in the Olympic Village; organizers apologized for playing the wrong Nigerian anthem; the San Jose Mercury News apologized for an insensitive headline about African-American swimmer Simone Manuel; the Chicago Tribune apologized for an insensitive headline about trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein; Lebanese judoka Nacif Elias asked “for forgiveness” following an epic rant on the heels of his disqualification; some Americans demanded an apology from their decathlete champion Ashton Eaton, who wore a red Canada hat in support of his Canadian wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, in the heptathlon.

And I apologize for the length of that paragraph.

But it underscores my point: No matter what you say, no matter what you do, you’re going to have someone’s knickers in a knot.

No wonder Grumpy was so grumpy—Snow White wouldn't date him.
No wonder Grumpy was so grumpy—Snow White wouldn’t date him.

It’s to the point where I think Clint Eastwood wasn’t far off the mark when he told Esquire that this is the “pussy generation.” Naturally, the award-winning actor/director was assailed for using a crude term that refers to the vagina and implies weakness, but one must be careful in any criticism of Clint. He is, after all, an 86-year-old man and we wouldn’t want to be accused of ageism, would we?

Of all the examples of political correctness run amok re the Olympic Games, the silliest had to be the critique of this headline in the Toronto Sun: Pretty Penny. It was in reference to Canada’s teenage, multiple-medal winning swimmer Penny Oleksiak. Some read Pretty Penny as blatant sexism. Oh. Come. On. It was a simple play on words, for cripes sake. But we don’t want to go there. Not in 2016. There can be no references to a female athlete’s appearance. It doesn’t matter that Penny is a pretty 16-year-old girl with dazzling eyes and a lovely smile. The politically correct police tell reporters that they’re in Rio to record the times of Oleksiak’s swimming events. Just the facts, ma’am. Nothing more.

What a shame.

I swear, it’s just a matter of time before these politically correct ninnies take aim at some of our most beloved literary works. Like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. WTF is up with that? Snow White is the fairest in all the land, yet the best she can do is cook and clean for Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey? Talk about your sexist stereotyping. But wait. Snow White is not without her biases and prejudices. Clearly, she has a hangup about small men. I mean, she could have dated one of the seven dwarfs. Didn’t happen, though. She died rather than date a dwarf. Little wonder Grumpy was grumpy.

I think Snow White owes Grumpy an apology.

%d bloggers like this: