Stuff Happens, week 35: Refugees keep coming; Liz sets employment record

The European refugee crisis continued unabated this week, and the numbers are staggering. For example, Germany has announced that it will accept 500,000 refugees. Every year. For several years. Germany is a big country, with 81 million people, but a half-million refugees every year for several years is an awful lot of people, particularly if those people don’t speak your language or share your customs. It’s almost as if Germany is trying to make up for some past misdeeds. The refugee crisis has become one of the dominant issues of the Canadian election campaign, with the NDP and Liberals trying to upstage each other in the sympathy department (“We’ll bring in 10,000 refugees” “Well then, we’ll bring in 20,000 refugees.” “OK, we’ll see your 20,000 and raise you 10,000.”), which the Conservatives remain steadfast in their view that only refugees that have passed stringent background checks should be allowed in. Could be terrorists risking their lives to leave Syria and travel to Canada, after all. Too bad the Cons weren’t quite so diligent in vetting their own candidates. Two of them had to quit this week, one because he was revealed to be a douchbag who made obnoxious crank calls (including pretending to be mentally disabled) and airing them on YouTube, the other for inexplicably taking a whiz into a homeowner’s coffee cup while doing repair work. Another Conservative candidate, an oily looking character named Konstantin Toubis, re-posted a nasty, anti-woman, Russian-language articles on his Facebook page, then tried to claim he was posting them because he was opposed to what was being said. Good one, Konny!

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated a milestone this week: she is now the longest serving monarch in British history, clocking in at 63 years, seven months, two days — and counting —  surpassing Queen Victoria. I loathe the monarchy, and everything it stands for (unearned privilege, the notion that someone is superior simply due to the luck of their birth, inherited wealth, etc.), but I have to admire the old gal just a bit. When she goes to a better place (or in her case, a lesser place), the monarchy won’t be the same. The public still loves the Queen, but affection is in limited supply for Prince Charles, next in line. The next gen of royals, the likes of Princes William and Harry, are hot properties, but mostly for their tabloid value. Nobody will bring the dedication to the cause (whatever the cause is) that Queen Elizabeth has brought to the job. She will most certainly die on the job, but if the royals can find a way to mummify her and prop her up and wave, a la Weekend at Bernie’s, she could go on forever.

Here in Edmonton, a city where nothing seems to get done either on time or correctly, found its scapegoat this week. City manager Simon Farbrother got the axe, most likely for doing such a poor job of keeping city council in the dark about delays in the LRT and various other projects. Simon will recover from his firing, however; his severance package will be in the neighbourhood of $800,000. Which is a pretty nice neighbourhood.

Also in Edmonton, the Journal is into hyper-Connor McDavid mania. McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers’ alleged can’t miss superstar, suited up in something called the Young Stars Classic (a.k.a. junior hockey exhibition) game in Penticton, B.C. This non-event was good enough for a front page picture, and the front page of sports, ahead of a critical home game for the CFL Eskimos. The Journal is not alone in small-town sports hype. Even the lordly Globe and Mail is into it right now, with the Toronto Blue Jays suddenly the hottest team in baseball. When a Jay’s game was rained out this week, the banner story on the front of the sports section, complete with a photo of a tarp-covered diamond, was “Still 1 1/2 games ahead!” Yes, with an exclamation mark! Still with newspapers, the Journal is touting its revamped look to debut on Tuesday. My guess is that it will look exactly like the Calgary Herald. We shall see.

RIP: Martin Milner, 83, a popular star of TV shows from the 1960s, Route 66 (he was Tod) 1960-64, and and Adam-12 (he was Pete Malloy) from 1968-75 … Judy Carne, 76, one of the ensemble of comic actors from the hugely popular Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In show in the 1960s and 1970s. Carne was the ‘sock it to me’ girl who would say the ‘sock it to me’ line, then get doused with water. You had to be there … Brad Anderson, 91, creator of the Marmaduke comic panel … Cody Ledbetter, 43, briefly a QB with the Eskimos.

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