Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Finally, spring, summer or both!

After what we should call a never-ending-winter, today should be the beginning a full week of sunny days, even though the temperatures are going to remain cool for the season. So, I guess we can call this “spring.” Summer will have to come later and that's alright with me. I'm in no hurry to sweat and have to worry about air-conditioning anything.

The reality however is that spring in Utah's high-country barely exist if it even does. We leap from winter into summer and are expecting the trees to get their leaves out in no time and daffodils or tulips to show their very best face in spite of repeated snowfalls and lingering morning frosts. With this said, I'm ready for summer and if I only get spring, I'll be content!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What constitutes experience?

I know, we're all supposed to learn from experience. It seems to me though, that the most costly experiences whether it be pain, grief or money are only the ones that make the deepest mark upon us and that we won't forget. Yet, it shouldn't have to be that way; mistakes with minor consequences should all be tallied and remembered no matter how little they affect us. That of course is theory and most of the time, we want us to prevail, be right and be above the laws of nature or men, as long as there's no visible scar or consequence and no significant pain.

Based on that observation, I come to think that we would be much wiser if we were more honest, more accountable with ourselves and began to take into serious consideration every error in judgment and every bump in the road that make us deviate from our goals, even if these incidents are barely perceptible. That's what I intend to experiment with, at least during the coming week!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lucky me!

I've always thought that luck – or lack thereof – played a huge role, albeit seldom acknowledged when the outcome is positive – on someone's life. I'm talking of luck in general and as it pertains to someone's overall life, career, happiness, etc. Today, I would like to thank Lady Luck, or whoever is in charge in high circles, for having been particularly good to me when it comes to accidents and their consequences.

Ever since I was a toddler I was confronted more than seven times to potentially deadly misfortunes, of which I mostly escaped unscathed. While I won't get into the details of each of these incidents, I consider myself enormously lucky, a breed apart, as if a God or some Guardian Angel were working full-time, watching out for me. It is said that cats have seven lives, which suggests an awful lots of lucky breaks for just one single pet, so I've begin to believe that I somehow used up that “feline limited guarantee.”

While comforting til these seven lucky breaks are not exhausted, I am now starting to be concerned and don't look forward to number eight. This means that I better slow down a bit, smell the roses more, and do all the safe, good things, a wise and prudent old man would do if he wishes to grow even older. That sounds like an appropriate program to me and this is what I will endeavor doing from now on!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stem-christie to the rescue!

Yesterday was the first day of the season when ski conditions that were almost spring-like; there was a thin layer of corn snow that allowed everyone to ski the entire expanse of Mineral Basin on that ideal, “creamy” material from 9 am until about 10:30 am, and these same conditions could soon be found again on the opposite, North-facing side of the mountain. After twelve-noon, the magic was gone and the bottom began to break making for challenging if not treacherous conditions outside of the few runs that were groomed.

I kept on skiing out out, in the unkempt snow though, using my good old stem-christie that allowed me to get by in pretending I was “skiing on eggs,” by just staying evenly balanced and featherlight on my two skis while making the least possible “waves” that would have “dug” me in for good. When you want to “tread lightly” on very tricky snows, ski stealthy and don't be ashamed in making liberal use of stem-christie!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Courage and non-violence

After watching a number of TV shows commemorating the 50th anniversary of the US Civil Right marches and other events and seeing unfold before our eyes the recent North African revolutions, it becomes hard to discount the effectiveness of non-violence for advancing social progress in the most tyrannical systems.

This said, the key ingredient that makes non-violence so powerful is the immense courage of its participants. The non-violent revolutionary is in fact more courageous than the most seasoned, brave and armed (!) soldier that our army has to offer... It is in fact the genuine unsung hero of society. A powerful thought that deserve our just attention on this Memorial Day weekend...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ninety-five percent pain, five-percent fun...

Yesterday morning, I decided to make a few last turns in Deer Valley and decided to ski one of the Daly Chutes at Empire Canyons. My sights were set on Chute #5 that I have never skied, so since the snow had perfectly set overnight, I decided to boot up, from Empire Lodge to the ridge. The lower portion is easy, but climbing up Chute 8 on my ski boot tips both challenged my balance and was a grueling ascent, the harder part being – as it always is – the area near the cornice that is always vertical and demand even more hoisting than there's energy left in the climber.

As I climbed and kept my eyes opened, I had to admit that Chute #5 was past its prime and was no longer skiable without ropes, so I settled on Chute #4, the next best option after Chute #6 which had far too many saplings and bushes sticking up... Fifty-two minutes later, I was ready to launch. The cornice looked formidable but for the most part, except in some shady area, the snow was creamy and just right. The descent took me not much more that two precious minutes, but God! Did I savor each one of my turns..

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anticipation, key to superior skiing

Over three years ago, I was promoting an fundamental element of skiing, called “anticipation.” I wont rehash the technical elements built inside that topic, read that particular blog if you wish, I simply wanted to underscore how important it is to becoming a strong skier. The subject was brought back to me in observing a photo-montage featuring Cyprien Richard, one of the best giant slalom specialists at the moment.

The main point, is that it permanently needs to be brought front and center in the skier's mind. Unlike most skiing movements, this one isn't intuitive, especially under duress. It's seems almost impossible to cultivate it into a life-long ski habit, particularly when fear, technical difficulty and fatigue enter the equation. It almost always is an element of last resort that, like a grenade or a pack of dynamite, will make the seemingly impossible or doubtful turn happen. So once you master a minimum of technique, the three only words you must sear into your skier's brains are “remember to anticipate!” and then, forever, “never forget to remember.” That later part is the hardest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Social freedom

This could begin with freedom of religion or superstition, race and gender equality, full reproductive rights for women as well as fair and open view of gay and transgender orientation. What I want to discuss today is freedom of religion. I fully agree with the idea, even though I'm not religious. I just want to underscore a few points. First, we should do with any theocracy on the face of this earth; from Iran and Israel to Utah, among other places. Then, there should be no tax break at all for being religious, like there's no tax break for watching TV or listening to rock and roll music. If not, we, the non-religious are unfairly taxed. Pretty easy.

Next, the government shouldn't poke its nose into religious matter and claim that we are, as a nation, “on God's side.” I don't think God – if there's one - cares in the least. There should also be no religion-inspired legislation, like sharia law and finally, if I can't enter my bank branch with a hat and sunglasses on, burkas shouldn't be allowed in the streets on normal days of the year. Perhaps just on Mardi-Gras. That's all!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two-state solution?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is a non-starter simply because it will never work. Look at it this way: Two overpopulated, impoverished Arab enclaves separated by an affluent, overly armed and dominant Jewish state. This is a recipe for continued tensions and pent up anger, which can only lead to an eventual explosion of horrific consequences. Israel doesn't want it and, if the Palestinians seem to think they might be better off that way than under their current state of occupation, this is just a delusion away from the despair they're deep into at the present time.

To diffuse tensions and to normalize life for all people involved, the only viable solution is to create one single state that tolerates different ethnic groups, cultures languages and religions as well as also encourages the lower strata of society to better themselves thanks to a fair and healthy emulation amongst all inhabitants. Of course, it would be hard for Israel that would have to renounce sectarianism and undergo the biggest change, but in the long run it would also be the most sustainable solution.

I'm not making that up. Multi-ethnic societies can work; it's been tried and has succeeded in Singapore for instance. The current plan just exists to buy time and quick the can further down the road. It's impractical, doomed to fail and the solution resides in having both communities sharing a common prosperity in a juster society. This will be the best guarantee to promote a lower birth rate for Palestinians, prosperity and peace for all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rapture rupture

When the rapture failed to happen yesterday, I got lucky and connected with Jesus on Skype, early this morning. Here's how our conversation went...

Go11: Hello Jesus! So no “rapture” yesterday?
Jesus: Nope. I actually heard about that news, last night on the internet, well after it was supposed to happen. To be frank, I had even never heard of Harold Camping!
Go11: I wasn't under the spell either; I went skiing in Snowbird and at one time, an avalanche roared down in Alta and I thought it was it!
Jesus: Don't worry, we won't do the “rapture” thing! It would be energy-inefficient to lift up all these people into heaven. We're into sustainable operations these days. We'd make sure they die first, then we'd transfer their souls electronically into heaven. That's quick, easy and no one gets hurt!
Go11: So was the rapture story in the bible untrue?
Jesus: I wouldn't say that, but we need to keep up with times and be responsible citizens.
Go11: Just between you and me, and while I have you on the line, can you tell me when the end of the world is scheduled, if you can of course?
Jesus: Frankly, we haven't the foggiest idea. That's a big project and we need first to make up room for all these new guests. I don't see it before the next couple of centuries, well after the world population stabilizes at around 18 billion or so. At that point, we may simplify the program and get everyone in, not just 2 or 3 percent. Besides, that "trial and tribulation" exercise is far too much work!
Go11: Good, I feel much better. Have a good day Jesus!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The powerful and the pauper

Now that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is indicted and that we won't know much about the next directions of that bizarre story for another couple of weeks, we'll hopefully get a break from the French media that – like the rest of the political class in that country – have been worried more about the fate of their flamboyant politician than the utterly embarrassing and life-changing situation of his alleged victim.

This shows, if it needed to, that power and fame are everything in the world we're living into. People tend to project their dreams and emotions on the rich and famous and don't give much attention to the multitude that are scratching a living around the foundations of our glittering society. A really sad moral story that, because of that nature, will make the unfolding of another sordid soap opera fascinating to watch...

Friday, May 20, 2011

A better, more substantive speech

It's with undivided attention that I watched President Obama's speech yesterday. While I would have liked him to be more specific with regards to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia by placing them in the “bad guys” camp, I was pleased to finally hear him clarify his administration's position over using the 1967 Israeli-Palestinian borders, as a basis for a peace agreement.

Predictably, the Israeli government rejects this condition and this will further deadlock the conflict that could go on and on, and is likely to take years before it's resolved. This tends to comfort my sense that, at the end, when the dust settles, this battle may only be solved, or resolve itself, under the form of a one-state solution...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Judgment Day on May 21!

That's right, Harold Camping, a preacher from Oakland, California recently reminded us of the Second Coming of the Lord scheduled for this weekend. The man looks experienced, so he must be right. The much publicized event is scheduled for about 6 pm, with 2 per cent of the world's population, including myself, immediately "raptured" into Heaven; most of the rest of you already have reserved seats “downstairs.” My only problem is that I plan to be skiing in Snowbird and my attire to get upstairs might not be the most appropriate and I also wonder if they'll let me take my skis or if they have rentals up there.

My other question is whether that massive rapture is scheduled at 6 pm Pacific Time or local Utah time. I'm a bit confused, but I plan to check once more on the web this Saturday morning. I'll also pack a sandwich, because I never count on the food they serve on those flights. To be honest, I'm a more excited by this weekend skiing than by that big trip, but it's free and I'm a bit curious. Oh, please, don't tell Jesus!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Renegotiating mortgages?

US Banks that hold mortgages were supposed to lessen the burden on borrowers by, among other means, reducing the principal owed. This is obviously not working and causing the slump in real estate to fester and prices to keep on falling. This is also quite understandable; banks don't want to take the brunt of the real-estate bubble and see their equity reduced on their real-estate loan portfolios.

There's in my view a much better way to address a situation that increasingly appears like a stalemate and keeps on paralyzing the American real-estate industry and the robust recovery that relies on a resolution of that crisis. Bank should be able to temporarily lower their equity in loans that are at risk, under the condition (that would be spelled out in the mortgage note) that any capital gain, up to the discount offered by the financial institution, plus some necessary “padding,” would be recaptured through future capital gains realized when the property is sold.

This provision could also apply to short sales and would therefore help first time buyers gain access to ownership with a discount that would be re-payed if and when capital gains materialize. Financial institutions would only be exposed to losses when a property is unable to generate sufficient appreciation and this is why I was suggesting some extra points over and above the nominal difference to pay for these potential shortfalls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring skiing, early 70s...

This picture was taken just 40 years ago yesterday. On that shot, I'm at the top of Pointe de Vorlaz, my hometown's highest summit at about 7,667 feet. With three other buddies, we had climbed the peak early that morning and descended some 1,500 feet vertical in slushy, spring snow conditions after taking a long rest at the top, admiring the surrounding vistas. I thought this was great, but had yet to know Utah!

Monday, May 16, 2011

He said, she said...

The situation Dominique Strauss-Kahn managed to finds himself into is rather complex. What was shocking to me is that most of the French personalities interviewed immediately after the incident became public, said they felt sorry for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, his family and his political supporters. No one said they felt sorry for the maid. Remarkable!

For the time being, the IMF boss is facing three possibilities: He could really be guilty, he could have been set up or the maid could be lying, or both parties (he and the maid) could even be equally guilty, but that possibility would be a long stretch and the by-product of legal proceedings. With the excellent lawyers he has retained, he might be able to get Scot-free regardless of whether he's guilty or not. I'd say that if he's found guilty, he'll get a suspended sentence or a mistrial. Regardless of the outcome, he can kiss his chances of becoming French President good bye and will be lucky if he can finish his term at the helm of the IMF.

If you asked me what are the odds of all these outcomes, and with his checkered track-record and reputation, I would say that he is 60% likely to be found guilty, 20% of being cleared an another 20% of sharing the blame with the maid (thanks mostly to some clever maneuvering from his legal team.) We'll see and check my prognosis against actual results when the dust will have settled.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pipeline, finally!

Yesterday was not a great day for doing “Pipeline” as I had long planned in Snowbird, but it had to be the day. The temperature was fairly high, the snow a bit mushy and the skies overcast, at least early in the morning. Since last year, I was mesmerized by the 27 degree slanted “couloir” that is in part quite steep and that runs across the north face of Twin Peaks, at Snowbird. Seen from the ski runs, the chute looks forbidding and this must be what creates the attraction int the first place.
For years, I had noticed the spot forever, but it's last year that I got interested, when I heard that Junior Bounous, Snowbird's director of skiing who is now 86, skied that hairy run when he was already 80! As I would found out this Saturday, the hardest part of the descent is the 45 minute strenuous climb, with skis on the back, that lead to Twin Peaks western summit. As is often the case in mountain climbing, the top of the descent is a bit intimidating for the neophyte, but the descent is not really a problem and ends in the beautiful snowfield at the opening of the gulley. A spectacular run that I will re-do very soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cry baby!

Our House Speaker John Boehner is a very mean guy that never misses one opportunity to say terrible things about Barack Obama and his way of running the country. To me, the man is mean and has not one single “good “ bone in his body, yet he can be an emotional wreck.

Ask him to say anything good in public – like a commencement address as he just gave to the graduating class at Catholic University today – and he begins crying. My conclusion is fairly simple; the man can't say anything good without crying and can only say negative, hurtful things in order to for him to keep his cool. What a dysfunctional politician he is! I strongly believe he should have his head seriously examined at his next annual check-up...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Raising (impossible) expectations

We live in a an increasingly crowded world in which resources are dwindling, yet we train everyone to expect more.
From education to self-fulfillment, to better housing and a vast array of better material possessions, all the way to maximizing fun and having the best possible time while on this planet. Yet, the reality and the promises are mutually exclusive and the results can be seen all around us, from broken marriages, to depression, crime and substance abuse.

We've lost the ability to compute the basic stuff and if things appear not to be adding up, we make up a response that suits us while it can or while it lasts. Political leaders have neither the smarts nor the courage to tell us the equation isn't balanced and religious leaders already know that the impossible is part and parcel of the delusion they sell their faithfuls. So who's left to tell us? I'm afraid, no one but ourselves if we only have the guts to face reality...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keeping an open, political mind

Profoundly, I stand as an independent on the US political landscape. What would define me the best is being a fiscal conservative and social liberal. I will explain by beginning with the fiscal side. First. I think that the government should not spend one penny more than it takes in. We should trim everything that's ought to be reduced like the military budget, the excesses and other fraud that take place with Medicaid and Medicare and then, if we have to, raise taxes.

On the social side we ought to let people live the life they want to live without intruding into it. That would apply to family planning, sexual orientation and separation of church and state. We should also reform our electoral system and make it impervious to influence from big money. This plan is not complicated at all and I suspect there are millions of Americans who feel the same way I do. Yet, there is no one, among our political leaders that stands for that simple system. This makes me think that sadly, our politicians are what I've always suspected; a bunch of idiots unable to get a job in the private sector!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Perfect balance

We hear it so many times: “My boots aren't stiff enough, they're too stiff, etc.” Most of these comments apply to the fore and aft support and to a skier's response to the resistance – or lack thereof - felt in either of these directions. I would contend that good skiers never should have to feel that stiffness as long as they stay in the “sweet spot” or right in the “middle” of their equipment. I would call this the ability to “float” within that happy medium stance that a well-trained balance can provide.

Once reached and in theory, this degree of perfection doesn't require any boot support; it's a “state of grace” in which the rear of the boot or its tongue become just safety devices, “in case...” The trick is that since skiing is a sport of motion, it's often very hard to always stay perfectly balanced when we're are bumped by the numerous transitions that can be found in the snow and the terrain, yet alone while just gliding away. This observation comes alive while skiing tracked powder which results in a multitude of interruptions that all want to rob skiers from their perfect balance, and the day skiers can begin to float imperviously under these adverse conditions, they've finally begun to “get it!”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mountain luxury hotels: the beginning of the end?

Today, I read that the Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch, near Beaver Creek in Colorado, is in foreclosure. At $61 million, it's believed to be the largest foreclosure in Eagle County's history.
To make things worse for that Colorado county, the Ritz-Carlton's $443,286.24 property tax for 2010 hasn't been paid. So-called luxury hotels abound in the Rocky Mountain West. Park City counts three of them: St. Regis, Montage and Waldorf-Astoria.

Can these upscale palaces survive for long? Probably not; their business model won't sustain discounted rate and an 85% occupancy over just four months of the year for very . Further, the über-rich ranks have thinned out and the spendthrift paradigm has vaporized from the time these behemoths were planned in 2005 when unbridled growth was the call of the day. My sense is that our mountain real estate is still lagging in relation to the rest of the country and we might still be two or three years away from a real estate bottom in Park City...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Upgrade, tidy-up or perish!

The picture of Osama bin Laden watching TV struck me at revealing two key elements of survival. First, upgrading one's audio visual equipment can pay huge dividends, lessen one's personal fatigue and help stay current. The terrorist should have had a new, larger, flat screen TV, that would have prevented straining his eyes on a tiny screen and along with featuring a “Picture-in-Picture” (PiP) feature that would have come in handy for extensive channel surfing.

The other problem that might caused the fugitive's demise is the “spaghetti bowl” of wires seen next to his audio-visual equipment and running on his dwelling floor. Not only doesn't it look tidy, but I bet Osama must have tripped into it and fell face down when the US commando irrupted into his living room. I hope some of my dear readers will learn from that experience and, sooner than later, will upgrade their old TV and put all these messy electric cables away!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring, this weekend only!

After a long, cold and snowy winter we caught a glimpse of spring yesterday and this Mother's Day morning with seasonal temperatures making it the first couple of days of the years totally not suitable for skiing. Saturday, I wanted to climb and ski Daly Chute #5 in Deer Valley, but the snow was far too soft to make the descent both safe and pleasant. This warm weather won't last as snow is again in the forecast for Monday through Wednesday of next week!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Aiming for “Pipeline”

The Pipeline chute in Snowbird is hard to miss if you're a mountain lover and if you crave for skiing in gnarly spots. It just stares at you and begs for a visit. That's a late ski season project of mine, and I'd like to descend it sometime this month of May. This year, the snow cover is so generous that the chute looks like a super-highway: Smooth, open and inviting.

To get there though, you need to register with Snowbird's ski patrol, carry a shovel, a beacon, bring a buddy and hike the 700 feet vertical that push you to the ridge. Fairly easy requirements that I should be able to comply with next weekend when the weather gets a tad colder and Mother's Day has been celebrated as it should...

Friday, May 6, 2011

A frustrating but worthwhile search...

Let's make that story short and sweet. Back in the late 80's, I purchased a Black & Decker air station to inflate my bike and car tires. Up until a few years ago, it worked very well until the nozzle broke. I was lucky to find a replacement one that worked okay and then this Tuesday, as I was putting my snow-blower away for the season, I thought of re-inflating its tires that appeared to be a bit flat. I then realized that the same nozzle was bad, again.

I immediately looked everywhere on the net to find a replacement to absolutely no avail, went to tire and hardware stores and could only find a retrofit part that work only for the car Schrader valves, but not the Presto's that we have on our mountain bikes. I was distraught and ready to go crazy (you see, I don't need much,) until I switched my approach, looked into bike tires suppliers and after another exhaustive search, found that brand new “AnyValve Head” by Blackburn that should work on both types of vales and besides carries a lifetime warranty. My obsessive determination paid off and I can't wait to receive the new nozzle and put it to the test...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Overpopulation and denial

This Tuesday, the United Nations announced that the world's population, long expected to stabilize at around 9 billion in the middle of the century, will continue to grow and is likely to hit 10.1 billion by 2100. This means, we're not finished growing yet! What's remarkable is that it only took 12 years to get us from 6 to 7 billion and that Africa is going to grow from 1 to 3.6 billion, guaranteeing some heavy traffic across the Mediterranean Sea in years to come...

Do I believe the population will stabilize at 10 billion? Nope. I firmly think that unless we become convinced that overpopulation is the number one problem we face, as humans - not global warming, shortage of water or fossil fuels - we're all running off a cliff. Overpopulation is the root cause of all these problems. This, of course, is a “taboo” subject and the sad reality is that the more we are on this planet, the more we'll consume, a godsend for our old-style form of capitalism and for religions that advocate making more babies to multiply their flock. Time to bring the subject into our mainstream conversation!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meanwhile, south of Karachi...

This is the confession of a young, female shark, roaming the warm waters of the Arabian Sea: “Since my youngest days, my mother always told me to look for American warships, particularly around each weekend. I have followed her advice and the fare has always exceeded my expectations. That was until last Sunday when I saw the crew on deck ready to dump the kitchen garbage; they said something like 'Omaha' and I immediately thought it was that great piece of steak, my favorite, in fact.

They dropped that big parcel and boy, was I ready for it! Without wasting a second, I pounced and hit something that wasn't tender, tasted old and stunk. I was so disappointed. I'm not going to patronize the American Navy any time soon; instead, I'll turn to the Russian fleet or even the Indian or the Chinese's...”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thinking while skiing...

As a matter of fact, I can't indulge into deep thinking while I ski. I have tried it and it won't work, so I don't use skiing for brainstorming or for resolving difficult issues. In fact, when I ski, I'm not thinking at all. Sure, I do pay attention and stay highly concentrated at all times and this is perhaps why I can't think about anything deep or complex when I'm standing on my boards. What about on the chairlift, then, you might ask? Well, when I'm riding up, I'm resting from the intense concentration I just expanded while skiing, so beside observing in a highly detached mode what goes on around be, whether it's the skiers below, the scenery in front of me or the sky above, there is no active thinking going inside my brain. Call that a form of “idle concentration” if you like.

Do I get hunches or special inspirations while I'm on the snow, like we do in the shower? Not really. I would say that skiing is a way for my to empty my brain and to relax, let's call this “meditate.” Which brings me to a question my doctor asked when I had my annual check up a few weeks ago: Do you follow any kind of meditative regimen? I simply said no, not knowing any better and not thinking that my main opportunity to meditate was when I was on my skis or picking dandelion. Interestingly, in years past, I used to listen to my iPod when I skied alone. For the past season or so, I have unconsciously given up the practice. I enjoy the serenity of concentrating on something purely mechanical like skiing or doing some menial work in my garden. My way to transcend...

Monday, May 2, 2011


What a weekend! After the Royal Wedding and the Pope's Beatification, we nailed Osama! I was one who had “predicted” that bin Laden has been dead for a long time and last night's news have proven me “dead” wrong. I always thought keeping the man “alive” was a trick played on us all and apparently, yesterday, Osama bin Laden was killed by about twenty US Navy SEALS, in a covert American operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, just north of Islamabad.
I believe what my government tells me even though I didn't get a chance to check that the corpse was Osama's before they threw him overboard. Well I was wrong, and you might now say that the rumor I had circulated about that bad guy dead, was just a bit premature! I guess I was overly prescient...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beatification of a born-salesman

Our dear John-Paul II beatification has been a lightning rod for numerous debates. My sense is that the Vatican really pushed that one as fast as it could, found a “convenient” miracle and elevated our most charismatic Pope in years, near Sainthood. That ultimate recognition will come in time and to me, it's a well deserved promotion to someone who's been a formidable ambassador to the Catholic faith.

His magnetism and his “salesmanship” allowed him to get away by remaining a staunch conservative and not touch anything anything that should have been changed to bring the Church into the 21st Century, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the rash of sex scandals that have shaken the institution towards the end of his reign. Too bad Pope Benedict let Mugabe attend the event! A man most of us could “relate to,” Jean-Paul II also came with a priceless and wonderful quality: He was a skier!