Stuff Still Happens, week 28: A summer to regret

Remember when summer was carefree? Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows? Hot times in the city? Walking on sunshine? Sunny days?

Well, not this year.

The summer of 2016 has been riddled with tragedy and horror. It gets harder and harder to write this blog; every week, it is a litany of man’s inhumanity to man.

This week witnessed another atrocity directed at France, where 84 people where killed in Nice when truck mowed down people watching the Bastille Day fireworks. The perpetrator of the crime is a Tunisian native, living in France, who, it appears, was a lone wolf who committed the crime independent of orders from any terrorist group. Police did not have the loser on their radar; he was Muslim, but not observant, and not known to be active in a mosque.

Meanwhile, in Turkey …

The Turkish military attempted a coup this week, and it says something about the Turkish military that is failed miserably. Turkey is kind of a democracy, although it is now led by a president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has become autocratic in his rule. The attempted coup seemingly had little or no support from the public, so it ended with the ignominious site of Turkish soldiers laying down their arms and giving up. Almost 300 people died needlessly.

Meanwhile, in Britain …

Completing a tumultuous few weeks in Britain, Theresa May is their new prime minister. With her slightly askew teeth and terrible fashion sense, she looks like a character from any old school British comedy I’ve ever seen. And in a moment straight out of Monty Python, she named Boris Johnson as her foreign secretary, basically the minister of external affairs. Johnson is famously rude and nasty to Europe (and to just about everyone else), and led the Leave side in the Brexit vote. The French foreign minister said Johnson “lied” a lot to the British, and the spokesman for the US State Department had to restrain a laugh when he was asked about Johnson. Boris once likened Hillary Clinton to a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”. He also said Barack Obama was “part-Kenyan” and had an “ancestral dislike of the British empire.” Great choice, Theresa.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland …

All eyes will turn to perpetual punchline Cleveland, as the Republicans gather, reluctantly, the crown Donald Trump as their nominee. This week, Trump named some buy named Mike Pence as his running mate. From what we know about Trump, it seems likely that he named a running mate only because he had to. The convention is a fiasco in the making; major players in the Republican party has found better things to do (one of them said he would be watching a garbage dump fire instead), and just to fill out the speaking roster, all of Trumps oily children will be speaking. Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday may well be the most watched political speech in recent history. Will he read a prepared speech, or just wing it? This could be great.

“O, Canada … let’s just make up some words ….”

No one outside of The Tenors groupies (that would be approximately three people) had ever heard of Remigio Pereira before Tuesday. By Wednesday, he was at the top of the national newscasts and on the front pages. Singing the national anthem before the baseball all-star game, Pereira inserted his own lyrics (while holding up a crude hand-lettered sign that said “All Lives Matter”)  from “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North strong and free,” to “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.” That’s even worse than the official rewrite. The other tenors immediately fired Pereira, so there is now an opening on The Tenors. Hey, Burton Cummings … looking for a new gig?

Least surprising news of the week

A new survey has found that the number of PhDs or MAs who are low income learners is soaring. A whopping 12% of PhDs and MAs were classified as low income earners in 2014, compared to 7.7 per cent in 1997, a 60 per cent increase. Who would have thought a PhD in comparative Hungarian literature wouldn’t pay off?


Nate Thurmond, 74, basketball hall of famer (Golden State, Chicago, Cleveland)



By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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