Friday, August 5, 2022

Politicians Are Responsible For Our Health Care System

Let's place blame where blame is due...

Seemingly you won't find a politician anywhere who will admit to causing the health care crisis in Canada. But history has a lesson to teach us: continual, decades-long budget cuts have long term consequences.

Circa 1973: the Davis government in Ontario started following the trend of "re-organizing" their health care spending, defunding institutions such as the Rideau Regional Center in Smiths Falls ON, dumping all 2,500 mentally and physically challenged residents onto the streets, who then had to depend on inadequately funded group homes and various hospital's out-patient facilities throughout the area. And that’s just one example of many other budget cut projects throughout Canada. Geeze, I wonder how the urban homeless street-people problem started? It's actually a no-brainer; ask any soup kitchen volunteer.

Following the corporate model of hacking and slashing at a budget with the purpose of finding more "efficiencies" through re-orgs, etc. is a fool's errand when it comes to health care, and only suits the short-term quarterly report mentality. Thinking that we can continuously do more with less with "fiscal restraint" is like saying we can eventually do everything with nothing.

The current health care crisis happening across Canada with over worked and burned out staff wanting to retire begs the question: why is no one recognizing the source problem of decades-long under-funding? Our health care system needs serious RE-funding if we want to save it from collapse. I'm not suggesting we re-institutionalize health care recipients; only that we should apply adequate funding to our current system that is circling the drain thanks to a half-century of blood-letting, which only encourages the refinement of a two-tier health care system, Tommy Douglas be damned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Book Review: Rick Mercer's "Talking To Canadians" - a Memoir

There’s always a first time. A first time to buy a memoir, and a first time to read one. And—a first time to actually review one.  My gosh, I haven’t done a book review in 10 years, let alone of one that wasn’t fiction. My pen name/nom de plume/fake online character “George Wolf” of the POD world (Print On Demand) was a self deprecating drunk who reveled in handing out D minuses to scores of vanity press authors who knew nothing of basic publishing rules, such as “don’t rely on self-editing”.  So, all these firsts culminate in the joy of handling a professionally written, edited, and published physical book—no Kindles here; I love flipping real pages. And this book’s a gem.

Rick Mercer’s memoir “Talking To Canadians” is an engaging read to say the least; as Canada’s court jester, his candour and humour shine through like nobody’s business... I lost count of the number of times he made me snort out loud, laugh hysterically, and yes—shed a few genuine tears.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, Rick Mercer is a writer/actor/producer/comedian from St. John’s Newfoundland that is best known for his stints on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and The Rick Mercer Report. His other accomplishments are too many to list here, but include a whole shitload of political satire that even had the country’s leaders falling all over themselves to get on his shows.

As a typical Canadian he’s polite, so his put-downs are rare... unless of course you want to classify harpooning America’s lack of knowledge of Canadian politics and geography as insulting. The memoir itself is a generously respectful and intriguing account of his life from childhood to the end of his stint at The Rick Mercer Report.  He leaves no stone unturned when heaping love and gratitude on all the people that touched his life in the various stages that it took him to become the success he is today.  

The memoir picks up pace the more you get into it, as it lays the groundwork for understanding the amazing successes and milestones he accomplishes.  From performing 150 one-man shows touring across Canada, to snagging an interview with Jean Chretien at a Harvey’s, to putting together two separate shows overseas to entertain our Canadian troops in the middle east, his account of how he got all this done held me spellbound.  And had me laughing my pants off.  To paraphrase Mr. Mercer, if he had pinched himself for every amazing feat he pulled off, he’d be black and blue all over. (Sorry Rick, I’m too lazy to look up the exact quote.)

You can google him to list all his awards and accolades, and there are many (25 Geminis for example).  Yet his humility and down-to-earth way of relating to the reader leaves you feeling like you know each other.  He’s a national treasure, and an iconic personality in the entertainment business and beyond.  I felt privileged reading his memoir, but he wrote it as though we were sitting around a pot belly stove eating a bowl of seafood chowder.  The last chapter left me wanting more.  Another first for me...

So Rick, what’s next?


Jim Hutchison is a wannabe author and reviewer who resides in Fox Cove-Mortier, Newfoundland with his wife Moira and Pumpkin the cat.  


Monday, July 5, 2021

The Mythic Jesus: Let’s Get Our Facts Right

1,700 words

I’m an atheist. To me, there is a thorough lack of evidence for the existence of an Abrahamic God as described in the scriptures of the Christian faith. There is also a lack of consensus amongst biblical scholars as to the accuracy and veracity of these writings, which is enough for me to remain an unbeliever. It’s all myth, allegory, and an attempt to literalize a book written and edited by a church wanting to control the uneducated with the Fear of God. And his chosen priesthood, of course.

That said, there is “fake news” out there asserted by many who state that the explanations for god and Jesus are rooted in Egyptian mythology; that Jesus himself is just a plagiarized version of a multitude of these gods, particularly Horus. This is primarily based on the writings of Gerald Massey, a self-taught Egyptologist, and made popular in the movie Zeitgeist.

I’m not arguing that Jesus actually existed—but what I am doing is disclosing the facts behind falsehoods that make atheists and agnostics look bad. My point here is to disregard these sources of misinformation if we want to appear credible.

The source of this theory: *
Where did the idea of the mythic Christ originate? Much of it began in the writings of two amateur Egyptologists named Godfrey Higgins (1772-1833) and Gerald Massey (1829-1907). Both wrote extensively on the idea of the mythic Christ. They claimed one parallel after another between the Bible and pagan mythology, making it appear as if the biblical writers borrowed stories wholesale from ancient tales. Almost all scholars today recognize that this approach is fundamentally flawed. For nearly all of the supposed parallels these two men discovered, scholars today say without hesitation that no genetic connection exists between the Bible and the myths these two men examined.

Neither Higgins nor Massey was a scholar or academic, and both were self-taught religious enthusiasts. More importantly, neither is remembered in the history of scholarship today. Writers such as Dorothy Murdock—a vocal proponent of the Christ myth theory—laments that these supposed intellectual titans have been forgotten. She heaps effusive praise upon Massey in particular (2009, pp. 13-26), calling him a “pioneer.” In truth, neither one of them had any ideas worth remembering. They are virtually unknown in modern Egyptology.

In all of the cases of his “crucified saviours,” unlike Jesus, none were actually crucified, and none of them died in behalf of the salvation of others. Indeed, some of them never died.


Adonis dies when he is gored by a bull on a hunting trip.


In a moment of madness, Attis commits suicide by emasculating himself.


The text is unclear, but it appears Baal is slain in personal battle with Mot, the Canaanite god of death. 


Bacchus is the Roman equivalent of Dionysus, whose body is almost completely devoured by the Titans, who leave only his heart.


In the Norse myths, Balder is invincible to all known objects, except for mistletoe. One of the gods’ pastimes is throwing objects at Balder, who cannot be harmed. Loki crafts a magical spear from this plant and tricks the god Hodur into throwing it at Balder, killing him.


Supposedly a Japanese figure. Either Graves had a bad source, or he simply invented the name, as no figure with this name exists in Far Eastern literature. It may be that he meant to say “Beddou,” who is a Japanese figure some have equated with the Buddha. Regardless, there is no record of the crucifixion of this individual, if he even existed in any of the literature.


This is uncertain, but appears to be the name of the Buddha in some places in the Far East. The literature states that the Buddha died at 80 of a natural illness, though some say he was poisoned. Either way, he never died on a cross, and Buddhism has no need of a personal savior, anyway.


The Greek god of wine and the grapevine had a tough childhood. When an infant, the Titans devour his body, leaving only his heart behind. He is later reborn.


Hercules dies when he is burned alive on a funeral pyre. 


Hermes never dies in the Greek myths.


Horus never dies in the Egyptian myths.


Krishna is mortally wounded when a hunter accidentally shoots him in the heel with an arrow.


Mithras does not die in the Persian myths.


In one account, Orpheus is torn apart by Maenads, the female followers of Dionysus, for failing to honor their master. In other accounts he either commits suicide or is struck by one of Zeus’ lightning bolts.


Osiris is killed when his brother Seth drowns him in the Nile. Seth later recovers the body and dismembers it.


Originally called Dumuzi by the Sumerians, Tammuz is taken to the underworld when his lover, Inanna, is given a deal where she can be released if she finds a substitute. She is enraged that Tammuz is not mourning her death, so she chooses him to take her place in the realm of the dead. There is no mention of crucifixion.


Thor dies in Ragnarok, the final battle that will end the world, when he is bitten by a giant serpent.


According to one ancient source, Zoroaster was murdered while at an altar.

Massey cites numerous other parallels of Jesus actually being a plagiarized Horus without any indication of the original references in the Egyptian texts. The following few milestones in the bible’s writings of Jesus’ life show how wrong he was...

Jesus’ Birth:
He (Massey) states Horus was born on December 25th of the virgin Isis-Meri. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east, which in turn, three kings followed to locate and adorn the new-born saviour. At the age of 12, he was a prodigal child teacher, and at the age of 30 he was baptized by a figure known as Anup and thus began his ministry. Horus had 12 disciples he traveled about with, performing miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water. After being betrayed by Typhon, Horus was crucified, buried for 3 days, and thus, resurrected.'

According to the Egyptian legend, Horus' father was Osiris and his mother was Isis (but there is nothing to connect this name with Mary / Meri). Osiris was killed by his brother Set who wanted his throne. Isis briefly brought Osiris back to life by use of a spell that she learned from her father. This spell gave her time to become pregnant by Osiris before he again died and she later gave birth to Horus. Horus then killed Set. The combination of Osiris and Horus became linked in Egyptian mythology with the idea of death and rebirth. As in all pagan religions, there was a connection with the seasons (winter = death, spring = rebirth) and with the sun setting and rising. In the Egyptian myth it became associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the new harvest each year in the Nile valley.

According to this myth Isis was not a virgin, there is no link to the name Mary, however there is a death and rebirth story in line with the nature gods of paganism and fertility rituals. While this may be of interest in understanding the ancient religions of the world it has absolutely no bearing on the events recorded in the Bible. Horus was supposedly born during the month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), and not on December 25th, a fact that does not make any difference to the claim that both Horus and Jesus were born at the same time since the Bible never says that Jesus was born on December 25th!

When stories detailing the birth of Horus are examined, there is no star or three kings who come to visit him. Trying to link this to Christianity fails in any event as the account of Christ's birth in Matthew has magi (wise men, not kings) coming to Jesus with their actual number not being stated.

Jesus’ Baptism:
He states that Horus was "baptized" by Anup and started a "ministry." The only accounts remotely related to Horus and water are the stories told of Osiris (his father who is sometimes combined in ancient accounts with Horus to form one individual) whose body was cut up into 14 pieces by his enemy, Set, and scattered throughout the earth. Isis supposedly found each part of the body and after having Osiris float in the Nile; he came back to life or became the lord of the underworld, depending on which account is read. 

Jesus’ Death & Resurrection:
The claims of Horus being buried for three days and resurrected are not to be found in any ancient Egyptian texts either. Some accounts have Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and going to be the lord of the underworld. But, there is no mention of a burial for three days and no mention of his physically coming out of a grave in the same physical body he went in with and never dying again. In addition, there is certainly no account of Horus dying for others as Jesus did.

There you have it—a sound rebuttal to the misleading theory of a mythic Christ borne of previously conceived gods of ancient lore. This article is not to be taken as evidence of the Christ story being real, or even true, (a debate for another time) but rather to educate and therefore disarm Christians’ accusations of atheists using flawed and erroneous information when “attacking” Christianity. 

Go ahead and check the accuracy of this research as I have: it doesn’t take much snooping around online to confirm the various god’s lack of paralleled lives when compared to Jesus. The first rule of debating is to use accurate and true data, not unfounded stories.  


* With thanks to Dewayne Bryant, Ph.D. for the original full length article found at which was heavily borrowed from and edited here for brevity.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Stress, Anxiety, and Fear: Who Is To Blame?

Tonight on a very public live forum (CBC News live chat...) that was discussing Covid 19-induced stress, I made a by-the-way comment that stress is a perceived emotion.  I got 3 negative reactions, and no positive support... telling me that these people think stress is caused by outside forces. Which is sad.

Stress is an automated (subconscious) reaction to a perceived threat. This fear reaction can be tamed, particularly when life and limb are not at stake; the reason being, our mammalian brain cannot differentiate between real or just interpreted threat. Training oneself to differentiate between the two can be life changing.

Degrees of threat can range from physical survival, to getting a bad job review, to not getting a parking spot near the doctor’s office.  Most of today’s threats for most people do not involve being eaten by a bear or lion, so unless you’re hooked on the juice that stress gives you and its subsequent impacts, you can train your brain to give stress the middle finger (again, unless there is a viable threat to life and limb...)  

Key point: too many people are actually addicted to their “stress” story, and prefer to live there. This is a subconscious negative feedback loop that energizes them; you can detect it when they give every excuse in the book why they don’t / can’t change, and say no to anyone wanting to help them out of their rut. It’s scary how prevalent that is.

Brain training out of stress involves a few simple and very effective tools.  Anyone using these tools consistently attest to not just reduced stress, but reduced anxiety and anger... which find their origins in fear.

Short-circuiting this mammalian threat response is done by convincing your subconscious that you’re safe; that everything is okay. A disciplined approach to the following simple tactics will have lasting effects.

1) Hydrating. Drinking adequate amounts of water tells your brain you’re in a safe environment.

2) Suck on candies (even low-cal ones meant for diabetics). The pleasurable feedback soothes you.

3) Deep breathing. Take three HUGE deep breaths every hour.

4) Guided meditation. Find some audio recordings of 10 to 15 minute sessions, and do them once a day.

These four things tell your brain you’re not under threat, and go a long way in calming your nerves. “Trite” you say? Don’t knock till you’ve tried it. This advice comes from a long line of psychologists, life coaches, hypnotherapists, doctors, and therapists of various disciplines. I’ve done my homework on this, and it does indeed work. 

The question remains: who do you want to blame for your stress? You can stay stuck in a rut, or you can move on. Your choice.

Monday, September 28, 2020

"Buy Local" - some irony about that...

 The "buy local" philosophy is, on the surface, a noble thing to promote. Why support imported products when we can fill the pockets of those within a 50 or 100 kilometer radius, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of shipping goods from hither and yon. Globalism draws resources away from our local spheres of influence, economic independence, and local pride.

Additionally, produce and meats from other countries (apparently) do not have to pass the same stringent health standards such as hormone, antibiotic, and pesticide content as us Canadians do. Another consideration next time you don't see a Canadian source cited on that carton of milk or beef tenderloin at Costco.

Here's the rub. Some of the locals that tout "buy local" spend their winter months in Mexico, Barbados, Cuba, Europe, you name it. *Cough*... excuse me, but all that money spent in those foreign locations on restaurants, accomodations, entertainment, etc. is done so with our money that supported their "buy local" mantra. 

If the irony doesn't slap you in the face, read this again...

Friday, July 17, 2020

Give credit where credit is due

This is circa 1992. I'm in this recording studio in Franklin, just outside Nashville on invitation from a music producer friend who said - quote "Hey Jim, come here for a week just to be a fly on the wall to see how an album is produced." So Adri and I and the kids pitched a tent on Billy Simon's property for a week (google him...).  I was a studio rat, absorbing the technical and creative aspects of this project, helping out here and there.  ("Hey dude - your mandolin is out of tune!" - Shit like that).

While Adri and Angela pitched our recently released tape "Daughter of Denim and Lace" to various A&R agents and distribution companies, I learned the ropes of a professional recording studio. Early in the setup, Don ran into a number of software errors in his DAW that he had never seen before. They spent hours troubleshooting, with no results. I'm thinking "These guys are the experts, I won't intervene..."   Don says, "Hey Jim. you're a computer guy, can you help out?"

We played around for a couple hours, with no resolve. I got the support line contact info from Don for his software/hardware DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) plug-in, and in about an hour of real-time troubleshooting figured out that the plastic shoulder of the physical DAW module was stopping it from being plugged in all the way. So not all contacts were making.. well - contact.

This was a vanity album project for a christian pentacostal dude, who after me fixing his technical glitch and saving him literally multiple hundreds of dollars, turned his face to the sky, started speaking in tongues thanking god for saving his ass.  Not a word of thanks to me, no mention in his liner notes for my help, though he went out of his way to thank Jesus.  The delusion is astounding.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

To anyone who identifies as a Christian and thinks I'm going to hell:

I've had it with friends from my past who still identify as Christian. I tried to maintain contact with one particular person who at first was all-welcoming when I re-established contact with him a number of years ago. We debated back and forth about the foundation of our "isms", but the underpinning values of love and respect overshadowed those paradigms. Until a couple weeks ago.

I informed him of my Mom's passing, and all he did was preach at me about hellfire; that I read too much Dawkins; that I was a shell of a man angry at god; that according to my beliefs, I'll be nothing but worm food in contrast to his eternity in paradise. This, on the day of Mom's funeral. To exit this toxic "friendship", I permanently cut off any communication with him, which was difficult considering my grief. But a good thing considering his verbal abuse, misunderstanding of me, and his need to be right in his condemnation of an "apostate". I had to grieve a loss of what I thought was a life long friend.

Religion is dangerous in the hands of a proud narcissist. Others from my past who also exited narrow minded faith in fairy tales had to also cut off friendship with this same individual. Having to do it the day I buried my mother drove home the resolve to not tolerate people who believe that a sky daddy will reward them for such behaviour.

No, I'm not painting all Christians with the same brush, but if there's one thing I've learned from my foray into and out of Christianity is that 99% of the ones that take it seriously - by default - have an elitist attitude that they have a corner on the truth. It's why they believe...

So, to you proud Christians that think you're holier than thou, fuck off and die.