...I think it’s worth discussing how Rocky’s tactics would be better suited to actually overcoming Covid...

As I sit here ready to re-emerge into the world after a “week off” at home with Covid (which my wife and 2 young daughters also unfortunately tested positive for. Mild symptoms so far thankfully) I’m left with the feeling that I’m sure many people who got Covid recently after more than 2 years of successfully dodging it are feeling: I wish Rocky Balboa were in charge. Ok, maybe not “many” people are thinking this.

...I bid you farewell for now and sincerely wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.

As the page turns on a year that was better than the one before but not nearly as good as many of us were hoping, it’s time for me to say a huge thanks for subscribing and a formal goodbye for now. I started writing The Pattersonian this time last year as a personal challenge to myself to write a weekly article that was funny, poignant and around 1000 words. And every week I think I was able to achieve at least 1 of those 3 things.

...effectively serving as both wholesome harbinger of the holidays and surreptitious surveillor for Santa.

Never mind “in like a lion out like a lamb”, this year came in like a diseased house cat and it’s going out like a differently diseased house cat that people are too fed up to deal with and can’t afford the medicine for anyway. And yet, there is hope. Children’s vaccines are now being made widely available so that 5-11 year olds can get a much-needed layer of protection and their parents can get a much-needed unclench of their butt cheeks for the first time in 2 years. Gatherings have begun again, so that we can see long lost family members and, perhaps more importantly, get a little “away time” from the family members we’ve been imprisoned with (my wife’s words, not mine). And, at least in our house, the “Elf on the Shelf” (actually 2 of them so, “Elves on Shelves”) has made a triumphant return, effectively serving as both wholesome harbinger of the holidays and surreptitious surveillor for Santa.

...most of what I know about coral I learned from a musical episode of “Octonauts”...

I know that this weekend was the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States and that here in Canada we simply remained about as thankful as all other weekends that we are “not the United States”. But the world’s most thankful news this week may have come from the waters near Cairns, Australia. That’s where the Coral of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) spawned in a colourful orgasm of life that no doubt would have made Will Smith puke (if you don’t know that “news” story, well, I envy you). The event was captured by marine scientists and is said to give hope to the world because the GBR had been decaying in what is known as “mass bleaching events” for several years now due to warming water caused by climate change. So no doubt the decreased greenhouse gas emissions caused by the decrease in travel over the course of this pandemic have been a massive relief to places like the reef. And equally no doubt, humans will screw it up again as soon as we can, by traveling to see things like the Great Barrier Reef. So, while the reef has done itself a favour in terms of procreation, it may actually be hurting itself because it’s just so darn beautiful to look at.

Quite honestly, my excitement couldn’t be more palpable if I actually knew what “palp” was.

I don’t use the word “hallelujah” lightly. As a matter of fact, I rarely use it at all. It’s difficult to say, even more difficult to spell and it connotes a connection either to religion or that famous Leonard Cohen song, which have both been overdone and usually under deliver. But, as the parent of a 5-11 year old child (my 7 year old daughter Scarlett to be exact. I’m not THAT bad with remembering names and birthdays) I can think of no better word to describe my reaction for the announcement this week that Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech children’s vaccine to be administered here in, wait for it... Canada. Quite honestly, my excitement couldn’t be more palpable if I actually knew what “palp” was. Hopefully it’s not that stuff in orange juice. Because that stuff is gross. But I digress.

...according to the Biebs himself “doing a Tim Horton’s collab has always been a dream of mine.” Proof that you can never be too big to dream small.

Move over George Foreman’s “Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine”, there’s a new celebrity endorsement in town that may just eclipse yours in world dominance or at least in weirdness: Justin Bieber’s “TimBiebs”. For those who haven’t heard the news yet, because they were focused on more important matters this week (like global climate change or…literally anything else) Tim Horton’s has teamed up with Justin Bieber to launch three new Timbit flavours, along with co-branded merchandise. The move is being made in an effort for Tim Horton’s to appeal to a younger demographic and to help build brand awareness in the United States (which apparently “runs on Dunkin’”) and also because, according to the Biebs himself “doing a Tim Horton’s collab has always been a dream of mine.” Proof that you can never be too big to dream small.

...B.C. tabled legislation to remain on daylight saving time, but this makes sense, because things in B.C. are worth seeing in the daylight.

This year, as it seems it is every year, the concept of ‘Daylight Saving Time’ (DST) is up for debate. Some people (read people who don’t like change in general or changing analog clocks in particular) are against it. Meanwhile there are those among us who welcome the bonus hour that comes with the “fall back” time change as much as we abhor the “spring ahead” time change where an hour just disappears. Full disclosure, we actually debated this very topic on The Debaters back in 2016 [link to the episode download on podcast or itunes?] and it has also been debated on the floor of the Canadian House of Commons. So it is one of two topics to share this dubious distinction, the other being “beavers versus polar bears as a national icon”. True story.

...if we had been our own dad (this was a few cocktails in so the laws of reality weren’t in play) we’re not sure we would have done it any differently.

My apologies for the late arrival of this week’s article, but my dad turned 90 years old last Saturday, which I feel is worth at least a few days of undivided attention. To mark the occasion my brother Ross flew in from Nova Scotia and we spent a lot of time together catching up on old times, discussing present times and pontificating on future times, keeping the laughter up at all times. What we came up with, as I’m sure most middle-aged men do during such conversations, is that the world would be better off if there were different people in charge and that if those people in charge were us, the world would indeed be different but not necessarily “better”. Then we turned to discussing how we were in our youth and how if we had been our own dad (this was a few cocktails in so the laws of reality weren’t in play) we’re not sure we would have done it any differently. Then the owner of my local pub said it was “time to go” and so we left.

...calling an art exhibit “man shovels dirt” would be a tough sell to attract people to.

Yes, this headline was inspired by a Foreigner song from the 1980’s. But this article is inspired by a news story about an artist in Montreal who is currently featuring himself in an exhibit where he “moves sand from one giant pile to another” for a while inside of Olympic stadium and I can’t help but wonder, is this what constitutes ‘art’ now? The exhibit is named “Sisyphe” because it is inspired by the Greek myth of Sisyphus who, according to legend, displeased the gods and was sentenced to a lifetime of pushing a boulder uphill. And also, I imagine, because calling an art exhibit “man shovels dirt” would be a tough sell to attract people to. Although given the extended breaks construction crews take on any given day, it may actually have been a better name.

It is marked by consuming an obscene amount of turkey (preferably deep-fried) along with various healthy vegetables like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, mashed and scalloped potatoes and Brussel sprouts (with bacon)...

If you’re Canadian, you know that this past Monday was Thanksgiving. If you’re American you’re confused why Canadians are calling this “Thanksgiving” when clearly the “real” Thanksgiving isn’t until next month. Let me try to explain (without doing any actual research) and determine whether it should indeed be called Thanksgiving or whether Canadians can take the lead in a new holiday called “Sorrygiving”. American Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the holiday season in America. It is marked by consuming an obscene amount of turkey (preferably deep-fried) along with various healthy vegetables like mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, mashed and scalloped potatoes and Brussel sprouts (with bacon) all covered in gravy of course. In the unlikely event there are leftovers, they will be consumed later that night or perhaps as breakfast the next day before everyone heads out shopping on “Black Friday”.

...hopefully if everyone takes the time to educate themselves, reflect and think of new ways they can contribute to the equality of Indigenous people, meaningful change will come.

With the possible exception of “May 2-4”, Canadians have never really known how to treat a national holiday. On New Year’s Day, most of us are hungover from celebrating the night before. But because many Canadians may observe different calendars such as the Chinese or Lunar New Year, and hardly anyone is in the mood to party on January 1st, we mostly lounge around trying to remember who we kissed at midnight. Or, if you are a parent of young children, you wake up as early as you always do, oblivious to the fact that you are now in a new year.

Being a parent to young children has always been a bit crazy. But right now, it’s borderline bonkers.

There was a time when being under the age of twelve was the best time in a person’s life. They had adoring parents cheering them on in their various activities, adoring extended family (that they got to spend a significant amount of time with on extended visits) and caring neighbours (that they spent even more time with than their extended family). They went to school with their friends, played until it was time to eat dinner, did some homework (not one of the highlights) then fell asleep fitfully to do it all over again the next day. They would look forward to family trips, not think much about getting “the sniffles” and their toughest questions to their parents would be things like “why are some kids mean?” A question that was easy enough to answer, “it’s probably because their parents are arseholes”.

...it’s the first time I’ve been interested in anything to do with the Royal Family since my wife tricked me into watching season 1 of “The Crown” on Netflix a while back.

Look, I know this coming week is the election in Canada and I could spend this time writing about the pros and cons of the various candidates and the various parties. But I assume you’ve done your research for that elsewhere and that you don’t want all of Canada to have to be declared a state of emergency for the foreseeable future. So instead, I’d like to talk about the late Prince Philip and what may or may not be in his will. Which I (and any of you reading this) will never know. But sometimes it’s just fun to pretend isn’t it? You know, like adult human beings who seriously refer to themselves as princes and princesses. When Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and longtime husband to Queen Elizabeth II passed away this past April, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much of it. He lived until the age of 99 and was treated literally like royalty for every one of those days. By all accounts, he had a good run.

But if, at the outset, we can remind people what brings us together and share a laugh it makes whatever follows more likely to be listened to.

Well, I’ll say this about the Leaders’ debates that took place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec this week; they brought an overwhelming majority of consensus to the forefront. Unfortunately though, that consensus is… this country needs to drastically improve the way we do Leaders’ debates. From the format of having five parties represented of which two have a legitimate mathematical chance of winning, to the truly inexplicable inclusion of having more journalists and non-journalists asking questions than the already too many candidates, to the choice of a moderator for the English debate who appeared to be a scorned supply teacher hell-bent on interrupting the candidates more than they interrupted each other, this really was the least informative, most impossible to follow Leaders’ debate in Canadian History. Which I suppose at least explains the choice of venue.

...the downfall of humanity may still be a swath of moronic miscreants.

With a new school year (where children will actually ATTEND! school), a tense Canadian federal election (that seemingly only one man actually wanted) and a human-caused climate catastrophe now upon us, I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone how to not be complete and total assholes to each other. It seems pretty straightforward really. Our human predecessors, the Neanderthals and Cro-magnons, became extinct because they failed to evolve and were eventually overcome by either dinosaurs or ice (I’m not an anthropologist) So you would think we may have learned something over the past 200,000 years about survival. But it seems that even though the world is threatened by an ever-mutating plague and a human-made climate catastrophe, the downfall of humanity may still be a swath of moronic miscreants.

...the bond between comedy and audience and between comedians is something that really must be experienced to be understood.

This past week has been a roller coaster of sadness and elation in Canadian comedy. Beginning with the sad part, last Saturday the Canadian comedy family lost a cherished member when Montrealer (but really all-around Canadian) Andrew Albert, a veteran comic who played many stages and even more non-stage “stages” all across Canada over many years, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of just 46. While I didn’t have the opportunity to work and play with Andrew as much as many other Canadian comedians did, it became clear after his passing just how much he meant to everyone he came in contact with. To audiences and comedians alike, Andrew was a universally loved man who was quick with a joke, generous with his time, and possessed a personality (and a booming laugh) that made you believe all was ok in the world, or at least it would be. The online outpouring of sadness and love from a community that is, by its nature, solitary and sarcastic, has been extraordinary. If you’d like a testament to Andrew’s talent you can download his album here and a GoFundMe page has been set up to assist with funeral costs since, like most comedians, we prioritize our finances towards killing on stage, not dying off of it. (I hope Andrew would laugh at that. I believe he would.) RIP Andrew Albert. Thank you for enriching the world with your joy and for setting an example on how to do this job with kindness and compassion.

...our women showed the world they work very well together.

Last week, the Tokyo Olympics gave us American Simone Biles showing pure mental strength by admitting mental doubt and removing herself in the midst of competition. This week, the Canadian Women’s soccer team gave us a pure golden moment. In case you missed it: a) Sorry to spoil this for you and b) it’s just as thrilling to see them win a SECOND time, the Canadian women upset Sweden in “penalty kicks” which I still don’t think is a good way to end an Olympic soccer match. But given the outcome here, I’ll allow it.

...I can’t imagine what it’s like for an athlete to participate in the Olympics.

This week, American superstar (and borderline superhuman) gymnast, Simone Biles, withdrew from the team and individual finals in the midst of Olympic competition (which I still don’t think should be happening in Tokyo right now) after experiencing a bout of “the twisties” and deciding, for the sake of her own mental health and safety, to not continue. Then, social media went nuts.

...Bezos couldn’t be further out of touch with the people of Earth...

This week’s world news was dominated by two things: The Tokyo “2020” Olympics opening in the midst of a pandemic and billionaire Jeff Bezos blasting off into space inside of a giant rocket-powered penis. It’s too close to call yet on which was more of a dick move. In the case of the Olympics, I already discussed here a couple of weeks ago my thoughts on it. While I don’t want to deny the world-class athletes of Canada and every other country the opportunity to fulfill their lifelong dreams, I’m pretty sure their dreams didn’t include unnecessarily risking the lives of themselves and others to do it. It could have and should have been further delayed or yes, even cancelled by the International Olympic Committee. But the I.O.C. is the S.O.B. of international sport. If they were a spaceship, they’d be shaped like a giant penis.

...it was daunting to see a whole bunch of people walking around an indoor space...

This week, I went to a shopping mall with my family. Normally, that sentence wouldn’t be interesting enough to start an article (and depending on your standards, it still may not be) but given how few places we’ve gone to and how few people we’ve seen over the past year, this might as well have been a trip to space aboard my company’s own space plane!

I’m not saying it’s not the same as previous Olympic games, it’s just totally different and several times more life threatening.

The official motto of the Tokyo Olympic Games, unveiled in February of 2020, is “United By Emotion”. Little did organizers know that shortly after that motto’s unveiling it would become un-possible to unite. These 2020 games were originally scheduled to take place in, wait for it, 2020. But of course they couldn’t take place last year, because, well, nothing could. We were in a pandemic then. The same one we’re still in now by the way. So the International Olympic Committee and the local organizing committee in Japan got together (by which I mean, stayed well apart) and said “I guess we should postpone this thing eh?” (at least that’s what I imagine the Canadian members probably said) Then any of the members who would suffer personal financial loss and were in no way otherwise personally affected probably said “Why? Let’s just see what happens!” (again I’m paraphrasing)

If this school year of the perpetual break didn’t break you, congratulations, you’re unbreakable!

If there were ever a school year to end with an emphatic “don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out”, this was it. From a tentative beginning last fall where some students went to school in person while others stayed at home in “virtual learning” (which is virtually impossible) to an extended winter break which no one was quite sure would ever end, to an even more tentative “spring break” that sailed right through to the summer, only one thing was certain: If this school year of the perpetual break didn’t break you, congratulations, you’re unbreakable!

We are at a moment of reckoning in Canadian history that requires more than immediate apology.

If any year in our lifetime could use an excuse for a party, this is the one. From the complete write-off of 2020 to the Armageddon-like beginning of 2021, I wasn’t sure the world would even make it to the middle of this year, let alone be on the rebound. But here we are, on the verge of July 1, and re-opening plans abound in various degrees across various provinces despite a new Covid variant that may or may not be impervious to the various vaccines. Patios, restaurants and ‘personal services’ are re-opening in Ontario (though I still haven’t seen an add for a “wax and vax” combo, which I think is a missed business opportunity). In Alberta, The Calgary Stampede is, well, stampeding on somehow (despite the fact that they had to create a lottery with millions of dollars in cash prizes to encourage more people to get vaccinated. True story.) Meanwhile in Montreal, the Canadiens are in the Stanley Cup Finals, so the streets are filled with screaming, unmasked, uninhibited fans. Because as every red-blue-white blooded hockey fan knows, pandemics aren’t contagious in the later rounds of the playoffs.

...that meant talking to John Chester Patterson—the man my brothers and I have always referred to as Slim.

The first thing you should do when you find out you’re becoming a father is talk to your own father to see what advice he has to offer. In my case, that meant talking to John Chester Patterson—the man my brothers and I have always referred to as Slim. Born in 1931 in Gaspé, a small city in Northern Quebec, Slim would eventually be the oldest of ve children. He grew up in lean times (a gentle way of referring to the Great Depression) and became the man of the house at a young age because his father was away a lot (he was a military man). My dad would do whatever he could to bring in money for the household, including taking work as a delivery boy and an assistant at the local lumberyard.

From that moment on, my priorities in life officially shifted.

While Nancy was getting her much-needed rest, I also had the opportunity to have Scarlett go skin on skin against my chest. We had read in one of the parenting books that this helped create a bond between father and baby, and the nurses at the hospital encouraged it—provided it took place in our room and didn’t result in me walk- ing shirtless through the halls. So while Nancy slept, I reclined in the hospital chair (not technically a recliner) and held baby Scarlett firmly to my bosom (you might think dads don’t have bosoms, but . . . well, I do) while she slept contentedly. That’s when I realized that the feeling of your baby’s skin resting on your own is the greatest feeling in the world, bar none. I can hear you pet owners saying, “I don’t know—it’s pretty great when little Patches puts her paws on my face and then settles down on my lap.”