Posts By: Bernie Bates


Ma turns to Pa and says, “All you see on TV today is sex and violence. It makes a person wonder, what in the hell is this world coming to?”

The short answer is better coverage. With the help of instant communication devices and James Earl Jones’ CNN, we are caught up in a web of sensational news.

Moments after shots are fired we hear the reports. The only filter offered is when a commentator says, “The video you are about to see is graphic and may not be suitable for young children.” Then before junior can close his eyes the TV splashes the image of some poor soul getting splashed like a bug on a windshield.


There was a time that it would take days to deliver bad news to the public. Then along came the advent of cars, trains and automobiles. Leap forward to today where every network is vying for your ears, eyes and dollars.

There was a time at the turn of the century when the dime store novel was all the rage. People in the east could read about the Wild West. Soon there were rival publications vying for those dimes. So they created things like the fastest gun in the west, damsels in distress and the red skinned savages.

Bang. Bang, you’re dead.

The one-ups-man ship is still with us today. The more gore the better the ratings are – and we’re the ones to blame – we eat that stuff up under the guise of being an informed individual. But in my opinion, we’re still looking for the dime store thrill of Bang. Bang. You’re dead. The only difference is the savages of today are religious extremists.

Have we become so numb to the nightly news that death has just become a sidebar to the latest sports and tomorrow’s weather?

Ask yourself whether the weather is more important to you than a bomb in Bagdad?

Pa turns to Ma and says: “Ah let those nuts kill each other. We should bomb them all.” The truth is Pa didn’t say that, it came from a store manager whom I considered to be a descent, educated individual – as it turns out he was the savage.

Pa, isn’t the only person I’ve heard rant and chant death to them all! When I hear such bravado it makes me think that the word ‘mankind’ is an oxymoron and those who spout hatred are just plain old morons.

How do ordinary Canucks, here in good old peaceful Canada, get so riled up? Is it because we hate injustice and have such great empathy for our fellow man that we are willing to kill a few fellow men just to prove it? Is it because we, holier than thou, see it as us versus them or are we being whipped into a frenzy by television’s fast breaking news events, the repetitive rehashing of a story and slick packaging?

Here’s a bit of good news; this war will pass into history just like all the wars before them.

Not that long ago the world hated Huns, Nips and red skinned savages. Today Germans, Japanese and First Nations people are seen as allies that live in relative peace.

With so much violence on TV what are Ma and Pa going to watch? All that’s left is reality TV, info-commercials and sex.


Please feel free to contact Bernie Bates at:



“Call it in the air: heads or tails?” That’ll be your fate, right? Or do we even have a choice in the great scheme of things?

These and other questions can be found in the back of your mind. We’ve all pondered the end of life as we know it.


What event will it take to pull the trigger on all out war? Will it be terrorism, an economic tsunami or maybe another cyber attack on Sony – or worse – The Simpsons?

Have you prepared for the poop storm that’s coming our way? The reason I’m asking is because the stars, in my opinion, are beginning to align, and I’m not referring to comets, meteors and asteroids – Oh, my!

The price of gas is falling faster than road-apples from an Arabian stud, at a time when certain oil producers can ill afford it – countries like Iraq, Syria and Russia. I’m sure that Ali Baba and the forty wives will be able to ride out the aforementioned storm in complete comfort, but what about the rest of them?

Now ask the voice in your head: if there is a loser in this game, then who’s the winner?

Are you feeling like a disposable pawn, yet?

It is widely known in coffee shops everywhere that Russia is built on corruption, like a pyramid of cards, and it’s all about to come crashing down. I’m willing to bet my butt that Mr. Putin is hurting and feeling the squeeze. I’ll also throw this into the pot; at the very least I think he’ll try to bluff his way out by threatening war in the Ukraine. I’ll also re-raise my bet that he’s not above playing Russian roulette with the lives of his fellow comrades.

Look at it this way; pretend that you’re in a high stakes poker game with the mafia, and you’re holding a mitt full of sh*t. You’ve just bet more than you can afford, you shove all in, and try to bluff. But they call – what do you do then?

I’m sure that Mr. Putin has seen the videos of what happened to Gaddafi, Saddam and Osama. As I see it his only other move is to kick the table over and make a break for the back door, and hope that some country is willing to harbor him and his billions.

I wonder if Las Vegas is giving odds on whether or not Putin will land on his head or his tail.

Then there are the wild cards: Isis, Kim Jong-un and a bunch of nuclear powered clerics who aren’t dealing with a full deck. Not to mention an outgoing American President who would love to dump this world wide chess mess in the laps of a Republican House of Representatives and senate.

“Well played, Mr. Obama. Well played.” Is that how historians will one day praise him or will they just shuffle him off as being politically lucky?

Speaking of luck, how’s yours? If you happen to work in the frozen wastelands of northern Alberta, you’ll be a lucky ace to draw a paycheck in the coming year.

I know it’s only a penny ante game to the big oil boys, but the falling gas prices make me feel like the prince of pumps, king of the road and a joker who’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Check mate!


Please feel free to contact Bernie Bates at:



Summer is almost here, and so too is the need to drive. Get your car shined up, gas up and giddy-up.



Only a short time ago the price of gas was cheaper than day old bread, but with the road trip season coming up, it will take a lot more bread to get down the road. It’s almost as if gas prices are being fixed to coincide with driving season.

I keep telling myself that one of these days there will be a big government announcement: ‘New car uses poop as fuel’. Just think of how symbiotic it would be? We could enjoy a good meal and recycle it on the way back to the grocery store.

I wonder what will power our cars in the future? Will it be batteries, cold fusion or grease from Mickey Ds? There’s a fortune to be made for a smart cookie who is cleaver enough to stop that from happening. I’m sure that the last thing that OPEC wants is for some egghead to discover free energy by mixing sweat, Red Bull and hand cream.

You can mark my words that one day soon we humans will wise up and stop using fossil fuels. Oil spills, smog and vapor trails in the sky will be things of the past. The reason for my optimism is because human nature, like nature itself, will evolve, heal and grow.

This third rock from the sun has been shot repeatedly, suffered extreme heat and ice ages. In only a blink of time man/womankind has climbed out of the trees and is now reaching for the stars. We’ve honed our skills through war and our need to provide a better life for our offspring.

Even a few generations ago our forefathers had to walk to school then our grandfathers drove off to college and now the answers to life’s questions are at our children’s fingertips and a click away. As the old hippy saying goes: “Far out, man!”

You know what’s even more far out, man/woman? Cars are also evolving right along with us. Today’s cars have blind spot alerts, rearview cameras, voice command systems, and this is just the beginning. Soon cars will become automatic, autonomous and anatomically correct for your butt size.

In the not so distant future the sound of a roaring motor will just be as foreign to our offspring as the whistle of a steam engine is to us. The smell of gasoline and burning rubber will only exist in museums and in the memories of old men in old folk’s homes.

Then again – before I make all you gear-heads cry – tomorrow’s personal transportation vehicles will be more powerful than any grease-monkey could have ever imagined.

I’m sure that our ever increasing need for speed and humanities desire to catch up with time will lead to some amazing machines. Just imagine hopping into your very own hotrod and zipping off to New York for pizza – in thirty minutes or less?

But, back to today’s reality and that gas sucking, four wheeled money pit in your driveway. Only our sex drive is more expensive than our love affair with the automobile. First there is the original price tag then maintenance, insurance, cleaning, tires and fuel. The only upside is that you can always get a new model.


Please feel free to contact Bernie Bates at:


Old Native Predicts Early Spring

As some of my readers may know, I’m a wise old Indian – well I’m at least two of those things.

All three of these personal stats have given me a very unique prospective on life. The first thing we should talk about is the Indian in the room – it wasn’t easy growing up being brown.



If the priests didn’t get you, it was the red-necks trying to get with your sister, and don’t get me started on those wild cowboys.

From time to time I’ll meet an uninformed member of society, who begins to rant about how good the government treats us “Injuns.”

Just for the shock value I pretend to agree with them: “You’re right, it’s not fair! The government gave us free land to live on, taught us the missionary’s possession and offered us all of the tax free cigarettes we could smoke – what’s not to love?”

I never tell these numb noggins the truth because it’s just easier to let them live on Rumor street, Bliss city in the state of Denial. As we all know facts and fools are like mixing oil and water. If I do take the time to calmly explain the truth to this type of person, it’s like telling a charging pit bull to sit, stay and roll over.

Then there are the enlightened hippie types who just want to hug me and express their sorrow for what their great, great, great grandfather did to me. These sad, remorseful folk say things like oh you poor, poor man – but they’ve never once given me any money?

Age has given me the ability to laugh at being brown. There was a time when I would have gone on the warpath with the feeble minded, fork tongued pale faces. But times have changed over my many moons of a life.

A good gage of how things have changed over the years is by noting the names we’ve been called. It has evolved from: “the only good Injun is a dead Injun” to “I’m proud to be part Native on my great, great, great grandmother’s side.”

Over time people have progressed from calling us godless heathens, to Injuns to the less derogatory greeting of, “Eh, chief.” Then more politically correct names like Indians, Natives to First Nations people. It makes me wonder what they’ll call us in the future.

Over time society has started to take a second look at the heathen’s way of life and how they used to live in harmony with nature. Instead of nuclear powered electricity, indigenous people used the nuclear powered sun for their light source. Natives used local plants and animals instead of trucking in loads of expensive beads and trinkets from far off lands – and water came from clean, clear creeks.

Personally, I hope Natives reconnect with the land and once again begin to understand mother earth’s secrets. For example: moss only grows on the north side of a tree, in case you get lost. If you want to start a fire, dry grass is just under the snow and mating season happens only once a year. Well, at least two out of three are worth noting.

I’ve also noted over my lifetime that winters have changed. If things continue at this rate spring will arrive after a very cold autumn.


Please feel free to contact Bernie Bates at:



It is said that youth is wasted on the young – but what if you’re young at heart?

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I sure don’t act my age. I love to joke around, horse around and as fidgety as a kid who needs to pee.

Some folks are quite happy to stand around, lay around or be home bound – but not me. The lure of what’s around the next corner tugs at my very nature. The horizon beckons me like a moth to a porch light.

I’m also a people person. I love to watch people as they stroll by, and in my mind I try to imagine what type of person they are. You can tell a lot about Joe or Jane Doe just by the way they carry themselves, their expression or the cloths on their back. I’ll wager that you too have played this game of guessing who’s who.

On the other hand, just like you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never assume what’s in the hearts and minds of others. Let’s say you notice a white haired lady who is dressed to the nines and wearing a snooty scowl on her face, would you ask her how old she is? How about a burly man with tattoos, would you ask him not to curse in front of your lady? And of the two, who do you think would be more likely b*tch slap you?

I’ve been in sales most of my life, and I’d like to think that I can read people pretty well. To be successful in the sales game you have to be able to read a person within a heartbeat of meeting them. Their face, body and voice will have certain ‘tells’ that will tell you their mood and how you should interact with them. Some white haired old ladies may like to be teased with naughty innuendos. Then you might meet some big gruff, tough guy who won’t even tolerate the word poop to be said in his presents.

My wise old uncle once said to me: “it’s better to sit quietly and be thought a fool, than it is to stand up and open your mouth and prove it.” Its words of wisdom like this, that are passed down from generation to generation. Even animals teach their young what they can eat and what can eat them.

Throughout the ages every family has passed down knowledge so that their offspring won’t have to suffer the same hard lessons that they did. Take for instance a man who works at a menial job from dawn to dusk – he wants his children to get an education so that they may have an easier life. Most soldiers don’t want their children to face bullets and bombs – so that they may have a life. I don’t know about you but I’d rather make love than be shot at.


If the National Rifle Association lobbyist had their way every person on the planet would own an assault rifle – yet mental health is a low priority in our halls of government. It makes about as much sense as issuing drivers licenses to blind people.

It would seem that the only lesson The NRA and Islamic radicals have learned is: Shot first and ask questions later.


Please feel free to email Bernie Bates at [].


Should I Stay or Should I Go

My dad would get drunk and smack my mom in the face. He’d scream at her, then turn to us kids and tell us to go to bed.

I felt so damned helpless to see her slumped on the floor bleeding. I can still see it in my mind’s eye – it’s something that all the tears in the world can’t wash away.

To this day I cringe at violence, loud voices and confrontation.

Then one day dad hit my mom in front of a real man. The man quickly grabbed my dad’s arm and put him to the ground. Then he began to scream and curse at my father.

I learned a lesson that day: stay and fight or be damned to live in fear.

Bernie Bates Pic_Nov2014
Here’s my question to you; where do you draw the line? What would you do if you were confronted with a scene of violence against a woman? How about a child or an animal?

Would you, as they say: “man up”?

We see it happing every night on the six o’clock news – with film at eleven!

Yet, John Doe turns to Jane, on the couch and sighs. “That’s terrible! Why doesn’t somebody do something?”

I know there is only so much one person can do. Plus, how does one get started? Where do I go, and who has the time anyways?

All good points to consider before you stick your neck out, speak out and stand out from the crowd.

There’s a quote that comes to mind. “First they came for the Jews” – Pastor Niemoller. Mr. Niemoller, didn’t speak up when the Nazis tried to bully the world. He also laments that when the Nazis came for him, there was no one left to speak on his behalf.

While I’m on the subject of notable, historical quotes. I can not forget: “I am Malala.”

Malala was shot in the head, in an attempt silence her crusade for education. Just like Hitler’s Nazis, the ignorant Taliban extremists failed to stop the human spirit.

On the other side of the political coin, we should be just as wary of officials who don’t stand up, put up and who never seem to shut up.

I’d like you to count in your mind how many politicians have come and gone and we still have homeless people. We’re still fighting the prohibition of a weed. And local children are going hungry while your local grocery store is throwing food out.

Do you know why these seemingly chronic problems still exist in such a civilized, modern and rich society, as Canada?

Take for instance the common sense approach to the problem of marijuana.

We could tax the living hell out of it, just like alcohol, cigarets and gas. That simple act would free up police and court time. In turn that would free up space in the prisons that could be turned into shelters for the homeless.

As we all know people get the munches after they’ve smoked a big fat joint. That would put a stop to food wastage. Because you just know a hopped-up pot-head will pay good money for day old donuts.

And here’s the best part, our politicians could cut our taxes!

Don’t laugh. It could happen, if we just stood up and said, “ enough!”




Please feel free to email Bernie Bates at



How many times have you heard someone jokingly say, “I hate skinny people”? For some people this is a weighty issue – no ifs, ands or big, wide butts, about it!

I would say that I could stand to lose a few pounds or in metric terms that would be, “a couple of kilos”, but who the hell says that?

The only thing holding me back is procrastination, random excuses and procrastination.

Losing weight is no easy fix. First you have to stop eating real food and start choking back green stuff that is better suited for cows, rabbits and Hollywood starlets. The next thing you have to do is get off your ass and onto your feet, out of the shade and into the heat.

When it comes to dieting the part that gets too me is the tradeoff between savory to bland, juicy to grainy and delicious meat for something that smells like it came out of a wet gumboot.

Just like a lot of you regular folks; I was raised on meat and potatoes. That’s another part of my weighty issue. It’s true that you are what you eat. Not only is it what you eat, it’s also how much you munch and even at what times you raid the refrigerator.

Then there are special occasions where food is a huge part of ethnic traditions. Massive amounts of finger licking good grub is forced upon you – and you can’t say no without hurting Nana’s feelings.

The year starts out with the traditional holiday feast of roast beasts. Then comes new years, birthdays, BBQs, parties, business gatherings and Nana’s annual face stuffing contest with guilt pie for desert – can’t you just feel your belt pinching?

The human body is designed to eat and expel in order to exist. Only a short time ago humans had to work for their daily bread. Today, food can be had while you sit in your car or by simply dialing a number. But the latest, laziest and fastest way to stuff your pie-hole is as simple as lifting your finger and clicking a chocolate mousse – or whatever your plaque pumping heart desires.

Let’s not forget the magic gene – the one that pops out of your jeans – by simply rubbing it. In other words: if your Ma and Pa were short and stout, chances are you too are shaped like a little tea pot. That’s part two of my diet woes. Genetically speaking; my jeans are tight.

Now that the warmer weather is here we’ll be seeing more boobs, bellies and mounds of milk jello. I feel ashamed of myself for letting my love handles get out of hand, but this time I have a great excuse.

As it turns out I’ve been walking around with a broken neck for the past year. I thought I was just getting older and paying for my days as the rough and rowdy rouge.

Have you ever bitten down on aluminum foil? That’s what it feels like if I move the wrong way. It makes sleeping all night almost impossible and because I was ignored by the medical community and told to take a number; the result is I haven’t been moving around as much as I should. So, if you see me at the beach, please don’t laugh at my moobs.


We all have something that we believe in with all of our heart and soul. Something, out there, that gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow. We as mere mortals need to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel – “Go Canucks Go!”


We all have an affiliation with one group or another. A few examples would be your nationality, age group and sex. The list of variables goes on and on. Are you a right-wing-nut or a commie-leftist? Are you pro-life or a knocked up pro in need of a little help?

Do you think politics should stay out of religion or should religion stay out of politics? Do you believe in a god, spirits, nature, energy, ghosts or voodoo? Do you believe the Canucks will win the Stanley cup in our lifetime?

Did you hear about the here-ever-after? It was in all the good books!

There in black and white print, it promises you: ‘life’ after ‘death’! A pretty damned bold statement, wouldn’t you think? But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what people will hold holy.

Have you heard of holocausts, lynching and honor killings? How about ethnic cleansing, jihads or crusades? There are also weirdos, whackos and soccer hooligans that will kill for their beliefs. I’m glad, as an atheist, Canuck fan – I don’t have to murder another human being to prove a point.

I don’t care what a person believes in, as long as they’re not pushy about it or ask me for twenty bucks. If you pray to the heavens, and it helps you get through the day – I say: “God bless your little old soul”! Hell, for that matter; you could believe in stardust, fairy dust or Elvis the king almighty and I’d still say: “Thank you. Thank you very much!”

As long as your beliefs make you happy and you don’t hurt anyone else – go for it!

Maybe I should start up a place where people could gather, maybe share a few refreshments and express themselves freely. A place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. I’ll call it ‘The meet market’.

Who am I kidding? Atheists are notorious for their participation in procrastination and indifference to public displays of hurrah. A person would have better luck opening up a house of ill-repute than a church for realists.

I don’t claim to know the answers to life’s questions – does anyone? I don’t know if there is or isn’t an all powerful being that controls the stars and this flee-circus, we call Earth. I don’t know what happens to me after my candle goes out – does anyone?

I do know there isn’t a monster under my bed or a pot of gold at the end of rainbows. I know for a fact that I hate the taste of vinegar, the high pitched sound of a screaming brat and being cold.

I have friends who believe that the so-called soul is just another way to say energy. Other friends believe that they will die and be reborn. Some of my bros think we are just endlessly recycled carbon. Then there are the nut-jobs who think that aliens have instructed the government to watch you – right now – as you read this newspaper!

Let’s play: “Who am I?”

Just make a list like thus: I’m a Native, Canuck, writer, artist, ex-cowboy, left-handed, heterosexual and I believe in recycling.


There is an entire generation of people out there that don’t appreciate the feeling you get from a new, crisp newspaper. There is just something about the smell of ink and coffee in the morning that can’t be replaced.

Technology rolls on and it’s constantly at our fingers tips; from that first electronic buzz in the morning to tweeting a good night to John-boy, Sue-Ellen and Grand-pa. These plastic devices may be able to tell you the news in a flash of bits and gigabytes – but, can it swat a fly off your desk?

There is something to be said about a fresh newspaper straight off the presses. It becomes your physical connection with the world around you. It’s yours to hold and choose what interests you, plus, it doesn’t ask you to click ‘like’.

Newspapers have everything from hard hitting headlines to sports and comics. You can use a newspaper to make a wall between you and those who would disturb your peace and quiet. Newspapers can shelter you from a sudden downpour, shield your eyes from the glaring sun or hide your shame from the paparazzi. The printed page can line bird cages, clean windows or they can even be rolled up to smack and whack the idiotic.

If all that wasn’t enough reason to buy a daily rag; people who have a newspaper tucked under their arm are perceived as being smart, important or destined to the throne of crap town.

There was a time when newspapers stood as pillars of truth – too, bad they didn’t stand the test of time. The winds of change are ever relenting. However, I highly doubt that anyone will ever hold a computer tablet above their head and cry out: “Read all about it!”

Holding back change is like trying not to pee – eventually the damned dam is going to burst. If you don’t adapt and evolve you’ll have the marketability of a vinyl record. Coincidently, if not for hip-hop DJs scratching records backwards, there would be a whole generation that would never have heard the crackle, hiss and pop of a vinyl recording.

The sad part about instant technology is that it’s a pick one and disregard of the rest of an artist’s efforts. Easy come, easy go.

I don’t think that the newspaper will disappear completely from our society – but they too, must change with the Times, Post and Global Mail. Today, edgy and witty win the demographics. That creates a problem: how does a newspaper print with passion, grit and wit without a crossing the line of good taste?

When the word sh*t, is printed in the newspaper – readers are smart enough to know what vowel is missing. And it’s sh*t like this, that ties the hands of writers and newspapers from telling it like it is; in a language that is entertaining, colorful and used daily by people like you. But, as sure as the world turns; some petty, politically correct twit will write a scathing letter to the editor.

You would think that it was mostly little old ladies who are give editors grief – untrue. Ironically, the people who think that their sh*t doesn’t stink are the ones who want to sensor what the other ninety-nine readers may consider to be funny, entertaining and true.

I’m proud of what I write and the newspapers that find it fit print.



The reason that communist Russians are back is because their backs are against the wall.

Ironic, wouldn’t you say?

Is the Ukraine going to be the birth place of world war III?

I think we’re way past due for a big one, anyways. Our history will repeats itself, that’s just a fact of human nature. If you ask me it’s all just one big pissing contest.

Most of us lucky Canucks live in sleepy, peaceful Lalaland – we don’t know the sounds of war – one day we may wake up to a loud bang.

If there was to be another world war – look where Canada is situated on the globe. We’re right between the two biggest dogs on the planet – that bits the big one, eh?

It may not happen today or even next year, but the hammer (and sickle) is coming down.

Good old communism was supposed to be a glorious; all for one and one for all. But it would seem that party is over. It also seems that the motherland wants to expand her family even if it means crawling into bed with sleazy, greasy bad guys.

As we all know it’s not about boundaries or lines in the sands of Israel. It’s about money, and money makes fools of some and dictators of others. The one common denominator, throughout history, has been, and always will be, corruption.

The real answer to war is a question: who benefits?

Land is worth money, natural recourses and even people are worth money. If you can control the people and make them do your bidding – wars are worth big bucks.

It’s not only the Russians who are guilty of expansionism. England has her colonies, eh? The Yankees stole half of Mexico, the Spaniards raped South America – how far back does this pattern repeat itself – yet here we are on the brink of another fiery hell.


One day after passing a car accident, I asked myself, why did this fender-bender happen? Did the person turn at the wrong time? Was speed a factor, maybe there was a loose nut on the steering wheel or maybe it simply came down to IQ?

The list of factors goes on and on.

If one of the drivers had only enjoyed a second cup of coffee, a longer goodbye kiss or maybe even a quick muffin – all this broken glass, cops and ICBC could have been avoided.

The point is, when it comes to the equation of war, there are always many factors.

Who fired the first shot? Who was shot, how many were shot, why were they shot and where?

If this was a poker game, and Mr. Putin was pushing all his chips in – he’s either not dealing with a full deck or he’s bluffing – knowing full well no one has the economy to call his bold move.

The wild card is; all it will take is for some rogue nation to flinch, twitch and with the push of a nuclear button we could all be bombed, busted and broke, by dawn’s early light.

Speaking in terms of high stakes gambling; who else is in the game, and what are they holding? Could China chime in? Maybe Muhammad bids a mountain of cash and we fold?

Are you a betting man or woman? Do you think Putin will pull the trigger?

Are you willing to bet your bottom?


Bernie Bates is a writer and an artist Email him at: