Posts By: Bernie Bates



Ever since some artist made his or her mark on an ancient cave wall, art has said: “I was here!”

These primitive etchings not only meant that people lived there; they also relayed their culture, the climate and what was important to them. As primitive as we perceive these ‘cavemen’ to be, they knew enough to pay homage to the animals that gave them sustenance.

Today, the only artwork we pay homage to is portraits of dead politicians on our money.

To prove the validity of art reflecting society, answer these two questions: Name the president depicted on the American one dollar bill? Now name the man on a Canadian one hundred dollar bill.

Yep, you’re a Canuck, eh. I’ll bet that only one in a hundred got that one.

To me this reflects just how different our two societies are. Even though we live on the same continent and speak the same language – Canadians aren’t the gun-ho, rah rah, flag wavers like our Americans cousins. Not to say that Canadians aren’t patriotic – we’re just chillin’ in the great white north, eh?

I’m sure that most of you knew that good ol’ George Washington was on the almighty Yankee dollar, and I’ll bet a loony that very few of you knew the one hundred dollar question – the man is Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden.

Artwork used to be very obvious when it depicted the riches and glory of a society, but rarely did you see the blood spilled on the canvases of history. That is until the advent of the camera.

The art of photography brought truth to historical events. Not only can this art form show humanities glory days it can also show us the gory side of mankind.

The unrelenting and bias camera means that the state can no longer dictate what we can or can’t see. No longer can those in power tell an artist what to portray.

Many societies throughout history have erected monuments and effigies to gods, heroes and their statesmen – but time and weather can erode even the hardest stone and beliefs evolve over time.

The Berlin wall is a great example of good over evil, truth over lies and freedom over oppression. On one side of the wall it was cold, grey rock covered with barbwire. On the other side of the wall people used it as a canvas to paint: “I am here!”

Art, itself can affect people in different ways. A Jackson Pollock abstract could move someone to tears, yet the person standing right next to them will look at the splashes of color and wonder, ‘what the hell?’

Art has changed and evolved with the times. Renowned master Leonardo da Vinci painted the Sistine chapel. Andy Warhol became famous for drawing soup cans back in the 1960s. Today’s best know artist is Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons. This edgy, ‘tell it like it is’, cartoon series is really a reflection of you, your family and what’s happening in your ‘Springfield’.

There will of course be those people who will be standing right next to you thinking, ‘what the hell?’

The beauty of art comes in many different forms. Architecture, gardening even the human body can be a sculpted object of living art.

Art is all around us every day, even the illustration to this column drew you in, didn’t it?

Smoking the Peace Pipe

It’s about time the knot-heads started talking to the pot-heads. This war on weed has got to stop. It’s time to smoke the peace pipe.


When world leaders such as Clinton, Bush and Obama have admitted to smoking a big fat one – yet they’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with the moral moron majority – when it comes to the legalities of a smokable martini.

One word comes to mind: hypocrites!

My advice to you is to never follow the righteous, for they will become corrupt, in time. The reason is simple; mankind’s worst vice is greed. With that said; if you want to seek the truth follow the payola.

Brick by brick, piece by piece, communism and the Berlin wall fell, and so too are the laws against marijuana. Those long-haired, pot smoking hippies of yore, are now old grey grandparents and great grandparents. If they’re not dead, ask them what it was like when the war on drugs started.

If you were to take a poll of these old souls, you’d find that in general they are just everyday sweethearts. These old pot-heads didn’t become reefer mad nor did they turn into heroin junkies. Chances are that ninety percent of those long-hairs, just grew up and stopped lighting up.

Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work any better than the idiotic laws against sex – silly politicians. The only way to stop horny people from screwing is to put a bullet in their hump-happy heads.

Free people want what they want, and all the laws, police and prisons can’t stop the flood of humanity. It’s as silly as asking you to stop scratching your ass when you have an itch.

People, in general are smart enough to know what is acceptable and what is excessive. Society, just like nature, is self regulating. An example is the loud mouthed drunk. Do you hang around people like this or do you shun their boisterous behaviour? How many of you allow cigarette smoking in your car or home? How many employers want to hire a stoner? How many parents want their sweet young daughter to marry a stoner?

This is where economy comes into play; said stoner, needs green money to buy green bud. This forces a choice for the stoner: just how stoned do I want to get? Versus, the human vice of greed.

Only greed and time will dictate the answer to drugs in society.

The world’s economy is in deep due, due and passed due, too. In the past, governments have taken over businesses, such as alcohol, tobacco and lotteries. I predict they will also get into the drug game. You can mark my word on it too, if you want to make a wise investment for the future.

Do you want proof that the door to drugs is finally beginning to open? Medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up faster than Starbucks, and getting a medical marijuana card is easier to get than a passport.

But the big news of the day is that the federal government of the United States is allowing banks to accept deposits from the sale of a product that according to federal law, is prohibited.

There is that one word again: hypocrites!

Just think this whole thing probably started when some Indian threw a dried up old weed on the campfire and everyone began to laugh like crazy!




The Grinch who stole Christmas was a heartless villain, we must all agree. But he had a rough childhood and that’s why – can’t you see?

In the end the Grinch rediscovers the spirit of Christmas and grows a heart.

It’s too bad I can’t say the same about the politically correct zealots, who seem to be in charge of our ever changing culture.

There was a day when the masses said, “Merry Christmas, to one and all!” But under the new rules we’re encouraged to replace that traditional greeting with phrases like; happy holidays or season’s greetings. You know, so as not to upset other cultures, who maybe new to this great land of freedom.

Personally I’m all for welcoming the new-be’s to our home and native’s land. Canucks encourage these peoples to bring their cultural festivities; so that we all may enjoy them together.

So my ‘Q’ to you is why can’t we say, write or display: Merry Christmas in public places without some dudly-do-right pointing out the fact that the word Christmas has the word Christ, in it?
Give me a break!

For Christ’s sake!

Even, I, as a supposedly goddamned atheist, thinks that excluding the traditional greeting of Merry Christmas is ludicrous. So what if it carries a religious overtone?

To myself, it is the spirit in which it is said, that really matters. Words are wonderfully powerful instruments of human communication. But to give them too much power is just as wrong.

Once upon a time, Merry Christmas, was just a happy sentiment. Today, some use it as a weapon in the war of words.

As a person of native heritage, I know first hand what it’s like to lose a tradition. Sadly, I can’t even speak my own language, because there is no one to speak with anymore.

Yet I support the use of Merry Christmas as a greeting. Even though it was the Christians, themselves who systematically dismantled my culture. And in the spirit of the season I can forgive those who’ve trespassed against me and that gives me peace.

Don’t get me wrong, I still prey that one day humanity is ruled by people who aren’t delusionally fixated on a mythical idol. My Christmas wish is that one day, Christmas, is just a day when humanity reflects back on itself, and gives thanks that they aren’t as backwards as we are today.

I have another ‘Q’ for you: who do children think of on Christmas eve? If your answer was Santa Claus, give yourself some cookies and milk. As adults Christmas, means buying presents. Little thought is given, these days, to the reason for the season.

As Christian lore goes; December the 25th, is a day to rejoice in the birth of their messiah. A day when three wise men, from the middle east, finally agreed on something.

Christmas, to me, is a time of year when people are nicer to one another. A time when we connect with a smile, a nod and a wink.

It’s during this time of year is when I get a glimpse at what life would be like if we celebrated the spirit of Christmas every day.

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

And to all the politically correct zealots out there, I hope you get a lump of coal and a heart.




Unless you live under a rock or maybe it’s just anal thinking that is stopping you from realizing we are becoming Americans.

Maybe more accurately: Americanized.

O Canadians, from far and wide, are a proud bunch. We enjoy free health care (when we can get it), an abundance of natural resources and a rich ethnic diversity that co-exist in a peaceful manner.

Canucks are basically a happy lot who buy a house lot and are content with their lot in life. Ninety-nine percent of Canadians are descent, carefree and almost pompously polite.

Canadians have a great reputation around the world. We’re kind of looked upon as being the peace loving kid in the global schoolyard. But don’t mess the Canuck kid, he has a very big brother.

You know it. I know it. The whole damned planet knows we’re apart of the United States of America – whether we sing it out loud or not.

As they say: “when the USA sneezes we catch a cold.”
Ah, ah, choo!

Want proof of our Americanization? Do your own grass-roots pole. Ask ten people at random to name the president of the United States and his predecessor? Then ask them that same question regarding our Canadian prime ministers.

Your results will be sad, and prove that we’ve become ‘North’ Americans.

Our top singers, actors, syrup and Pamela Anderson’s flow south to further their careers and become famous.

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And as an added bonus, you can come back to Canada and shoot your movies much cheaper – because of generous tax incentives.

Oh, Canada!

Canadians are a generous people, too. We pay more for products as soon as they cross the forty-ninth parallel. Magazines, cars and even a Canadian flag costs more in our home and native land.

With the Christmas shopping spree just around the corner – price, matters.

I’d say, “buy Canadian”, but that would work about as well as: “Just say no!” or “Stop playing with that son, you’ll go blind!”

With a gloomy economy and costs that will rise as sure as the sun, it’s a good thing that we’re chin up, optimistic Canadians – in all our sons command..

With glowing hearts we see thee prices rise in the true north strong and not so free trade agreements. Every time I see the two prices on a magazine, it feels as blatant as a slap in the face. The other thing that come to mind is the childhood taunt: Nah, nana, nah, nah you paid more.

The border between The US and O Canada is the longest unprotected border in the world. It also has other notable customs. For instance the gun culture in the United States. As soon as you cross into the US, it would be wise not to tell a little old lady from Pasadena, “Go suck an egg, eh!” You just might wind up picking shell fragments out of your butt. Eh?

Another strange and odd thing about our American cousins is how they see us. I don’t know how many misconstrued stories I’ve heard about the way our neighbors to the south see us.

Here are a few misconceptions they make about Canada: There is snow as soon as you cross the forty-ninth parallel (so pack a parka). All Canadian police are modeled after the cartoon Dudley-Do-Right, and that the rest of us loggers have heavy accents, eh!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!


Let’s Rock and Roll


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This theory also applies to human interactions. I like to think of us as little asteroids floating along bumping, grinding, rocking and rolling.

You just never know who you are going to bump into. It could be a happy happenstance or an Earth shattering occurrence.

Some asteroids are fast, some are bigger and some are hot. But we’re all basically heading in the same direction.

Imagine that even a small nudge, in the form of a small smile, could make a world of difference. Your smile or frown could make or break someone’s day.

From that moment on that person heads off in a different trajectory – and who knows who they’ll interject with.

Envision that one day you cross paths with someone who’s in a cross mood. Your smile and kind eyes could change that person’s attitude.

Somewhere in the future – in this scenario – that person stops and allows a small child to cross the street safely. Then that same little girl grows up and invents a Viagra for women. And in doing so, she will pass along many happy endings.

And it could have all started with your smile.

I think you’re smiling right now.

Young asteroids tend to bump into a lot of hot asteroids on their journey. Then one day they bump into that special rock and they begin to orbit together. Soon after that they begin to have little pebbles as they glide through life.

Some asteroids gather huge swarms around them until they become as big as planets. These lucky duckies have bonds that will last them a lifetime and in some cases they are admired for an eternity.

While other asteroids will change their trajectory by as little as a millionth of a degree – but over time they just drift away.

Coming together like red hot shooting stars and giving off sparks is lots of fun, but you have to look at the big picture.

Ask yourself this; how am I effecting this other person? A more important question might be, where am I going?

A young man walked up to me in the bar, he explained that he was celebrating his thirtieth birthday. Then he asked me, as an older man, what would I do differently, if I had to start over again at thirty?

I told him to live for himself – and if by chance some heavenly body comes along for the ride – then all the better.

Ain’t love great in the grand scheme of things?

But for every up there is a down.

I dislike feeling down and people who are downers; you know these poop disturbing, balloon popping, nose pickers. It would seem that every office, organization and government posting is issued one.

So if by chance you’re feeling a little too good about your self, try getting a straight answer to one of society’s many problems.

Get in touch with any level of public authority and ask them the five ‘W’ s (what, where, when, why and who) about whatever bee is in your bonnet.

I guarantee you’ll get 1-800 – numbers and the five ‘I’ s. Ignore, implicate, idiocy, impunity and “I didn’t do it!”

Speaking of ‘I’s. I hope this bit of wit has changed you for the better. I hope you pass along a smile, a grin or maybe you could let a child cross the road safely.


What Do Women Want?


Half of you readers may think you know what women want. Is it a nice dinner out, flowers and candy? Are women made of sugar and spice and everything nice? These questions and many others have been asked throughout human history in the hopes of discovering what women want. To date; humanity has come up with nothing, nil and nada

Just consider the amount of time that has been spent on answering that one question. It really wouldn’t surprised me if aliens traveled across the cosmos in quest of that very answer. Generation after generation and countless man hours have been spent in the doghouse pondering; what the hell? Even the brightest minds with super-computers and modern day technology can’t come up with a viable theory to explain womanhood. We know more about space than the depths of a woman’s soul.

Don’t think for a second that it’s only men who are working on this monumental project. Women, too have tried in vain. Unfortunately they too failed to unlock the mystery of the female mind, heart and soul – zip, zero, zilch. That makes me theorize: there is no real answer. It’s like trying to draw a picture of air – you know it’s there – but you can never grasp it. In essence, it’s an essence. Try to figure that one out.

Can you imagine the frustration we poor misunderstood men must suffer. Considering the complexities of a woman’s mind, mood or mental malady? Women themselves don’t even know the answers. Yet men are always painted as the bad guys, whenever we forget something like birthdays, anniversaries or what to get for Christmas? Not to say that men are stupid, but the male Homo erectus, is a simple creature with simple needs. Just feed us, let us play with our toys, your toys – and we’re happy puppies – no big mystery.

Men and women handle life’s moments much differently. Instinctually, men are reactionary beasts, whereas women tend to be the emotional thinkers. Most men will take or give a beating – at some point in their life – then walk away and let it lie. Most women, who’ve had a spat, will examine that tiff from every angle, and fifty years later they’ll remember the exact date, time and that it rained slightly that spring morning. Men have problems remembering what they had for lunch last week.

It is said that if you don’t learn from the past, history will repeat itself. So you’d think that men would’ve learned; that a mad woman is always right, sex is a privilege not a right and put the damned the seat down on the toilet. But it’s not only the fault of men. It’s a proven fact that the weather in Alberta can change very quickly, but not as rapidly as a lady’s prerogative. This all gives credence to my theory: there is no real answer to what women want. Again, it’s like the weather and as stable as a cloud in the sky – the answer my friends is blowing in the wind.

To try and prove my theory, let’s do a little experiment. I’d like you, your spouse and your friends to write down on a piece of paper, a paragraph on what you think women want; then exchange them. I’ll wager that the answers will be like snowflakes and women – no two will be exactly the same.