A few ideas that haven’t grown into columns

By George Brown

My desk is a bit of a mess at this time of year, covered with sticky notes with ideas for stories and columns.

Here’s a few ideas that haven’t grown into columns but at least this gets them off my desk:

Lights brighten spirits

Congratulations to the chamber of commerce and the folks at the Beatty Heritage House for a job well done with the Santa Night and Festival of Lights. Despite the cold weather and a flat tire on the hay wagon, it was a fun time for the dozens of families who came out to visit Santa Claus and enjoy the kickoff to Christmastime.

And the Nobel prize for hope goes to…

Notwithstanding U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t (as far as we know) campaign for the Nobel Peace Prize, he certainly doesn’t deserve this accolade.

Nominated just days after he took office Jan. 20 and chosen nine months after his inauguration, he is the leader of a nation at war on two fronts, chasing the ghostly terrorists who attacked the United States Sept. 11, 2001.

The Nobel committee must have the same PR advisors as Tiger Woods. Or a crystal ball. Selecting someone for this prize based on what you hope he will do or what he says he will do is the height of mockery.

President Obama should be embarrassed to receive this award. The Nobel committee says it is honouring his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.” Why couldn’t they wait until he’s actually lived up to his hype?

It’s more likely the European committee gave him the Nobel Peace Prize because she’s not Dubya.

Go Leafs Go

So which poorly performing NHL team would you rather be a fan of these days: the Edmonton Oilers or the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Both have started to come around and unlike the Leafs who can be counted on to lose a Hockey Night in Canada game in overtime, the Oilers have been winning OT games — or at least Shawn Horcoff has. That just clouds the fact that Edmonton has a tough time winning after playing 65 minutes of hockey.

The Leafs can score in a wide-open game but their best goalie is like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz — no heart. But they have Phil Kessel who looks like the superstar the Leafs have been missing since 13 left.

If they give prizes for hope perhaps the Maple Leafs should be awarded the Stanley Cup now.

Going, going…

Canadians haven’t had a chance to reject whatever Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff stands for but just a year after anointing him with snake oil, Liberal MPs are ready to do just that.

Rumours coming out of the dark corners of Ottawa’s favourite restaurants seem to indicate that yet another Liberal leader will be pushed out the door. Iggy was kind of forced on the party and he does not have the open loyalty of his MPs and senators. The Liberals are caught in a time warp or wormhole as they try to bridge the gap between their old guard, which has been rejected by Canadians, and the maturation of their next generation of young MPs.

The end of the stimulus?

What will the Harper government’s next federal budget look like? This past year they gave away billions, so is this the year we begin to pay it all back through tax increases?

What is the government’s plan for the next five years now that we seem to be exiting the recession?

And who paid for all of those Economic Action Plan signs that adorn highway projects and buildings across the country? Municipalities? This summer would have been a good time to be a Conservative-friendly sign company.

Stoned to death

I have a magazine on my desk about the music of the Summer of Love. It’s an interesting look at the influential music of 1969. What we seem to forget in the purple haze of that year was the violence.

Make Love not War may have been the anthem but it wasn’t the practice. Amid the war in Vietnam, 1969 ended with the death of a concert-goer at the Rolling Stones Altamont concert.

And maybe too, a bit of a generation’s idealism.