What on earth will my husband think? - Macleans.ca

What on earth will my husband think?

Barbara Amiel on Conrad Black’s release


Steve Carrera/Reuters

Last week I stood chequebook in hand at an immense Toronto Toyota dealership, ready to buy the world’s most hideously expensive minivan, and you’d think I had a nasty social disease. I had an appointment to test-drive the box-on-wheels, made after endless email exchanges, but the car wasn’t there.

As for the smart-looking headphoned receptionists chatting to air (or the car lounge lizards hanging around them), I was Grandma Moses. A line of salespeople loitered to the left.

“Who’s next up?” a receptionist asked them as they studiously tried to ignore her eye. I could read the bubble over her head—“just get this invisible dork off my hands”—while she wearily told me that the car I was to drive at 3 p.m. was being used by the sales manager, who had gone on vacation with its keys. I could “sit over there” and someone would soon come to let me look at the locked car—through its windows.

Last year a smoothie salesman convinced me that the Nissan crossover SUV he was selling would fit my dogs nicely. I can’t blame him, though I did bring my canines and they absolutely balked at the show-jump required to mount the back of the car. “They’ll get used to it,” he said. “My Labs love it.” So I leased it. I think it was the satellite radio—I’m a sucker for ’50s songs, especially the Platters. I tried ramps to the car’s uplifted bottom and both dogs did their Gandhi passive resistance thing. The final compromise involved a manoeuvre in which my kuvaszok put their paws up on the trunk floor and I heaved their behinds in. The vet said it was not good for their hips, and my doc said it was not good for my back.

It was at this point last Monday, writing my column for the Tuesday morning deadline, that a cryptic message flashed on my screen from Miguel Estrada, our appeal lawyer in Washington. Miguel is economical. “Bail Granted!!!!!!” That’s all. I read it and put it underneath the stone that sits in my mind on all matters to do with my husband’s nightmare, which is an approach I have refined over the past seven years. I returned to my column.

As I was saying, my adult experience did not include being a hockey mom, so minivans were an unknown. For over 20 years in the U.K. I drove a VW Golf, which was the largest car I could parallel park, and even that involved a lot of eyelash fluttering at passing males for help. Driving forward, yes. Backwards the world turns into a dark terrain, all geo-spatial calculations suspended. It’s a female thing. Now, in spite of using Latisse (which incidentally is terrific and I have monkey eyelashes), I couldn’t get a passing male to rescue me were I under a crashed car. Zut, I thought, never mind. My dogs come first, let’s google minivans.

Now the emails were flashing across my screen like a knocked-over anthill. London, Shanghai, Toronto, all screaming congratulations. Nice. Really, really nice. But not yet stone-lifting time. There would be more hearings to come. “No comment” began to flash in front of me like a neon sign on a cheap hotel in a movie about down-and-out trumpet players. Besides, back to the minivan, my symbol of survival: I am a single mom with two large dogs and a third on the way and dammit, I am going to be able to transport my cheering squad and drive the bloody bus of a thing no matter what.

Turns out only one automaker has a minivan with all-wheel drive, which for me is a necessity when venturing into rural Ontario in mid-winter. I found a very sympathetic salesman at the Toyota dealership right around the corner where the old Inn on the Park used to be, a location that had sentimental ties since it was there that my second husband, George Jonas, and I discovered that we not only both hated Communism but shared many other passions. Unfortunately, the dealership’s sole AWD minivan I now coveted with the same passion I had directed at Jonas over 35 years earlier was driven out by its new owners right while I was standing there; there was a lineup for the ones still being built. No moss grows under hockey moms’ trainers.

I used a car broker, who found me one the same day at an out-of-town dealership. Interesting how new problems create new jobs. When I couldn’t get the seats in it arranged to my canine family’s pleasure, I got a car “concierge.” He turned out to be a retired advertising executive who loved cars and had set up a service for busy car owners and marginally frail drivers like me. Bingo, seats removed, remounted, van now with trunk space, dog space, seating for five and the satellite radio playing Patti Page singing “How much is that doggie in the window?” I put the DVD of the Westminster dog show on the drop-down screen. Haven’t tried the earphones on the kuvs, but they bark happily anyway. Can’t get them out of the bloody van.

So okay, raising the stone just a fraction: what on Earth will my husband think? Minivan not Lincoln Town Car in the garage, dogs galore, kennels in the bedroom and a fenced dog run around his beloved orchard. He’ll manage. I think we’ll both be in heaven—if he ever gets to Canada to see it all. But no comment. That’s another story for another time.


What on earth will my husband think?

  1. My heart goes out to any woman whose husband is in jail, whether rightly or wrongly. That is a tough experience, but I do think that both emerge better for it.

    • Fortunately banshees don't mate for life.

    • It is clear to anyone who can read that Barbara Amiel knew exactly what her husband was up to and should have been in jailo along with him. I don't feel a bit sorry for her.

  2. Conrad is not a Canadian so why does he expect any special privledges here???

    • Conrad is a Canadian, notwithstanding his choice to accept a peerage and renounce his citizenship. He was born in Canada and has made a tremendous contribution to this country. I, for one, will welcome him back to his birthplace and encourage him to show his talent for starting again and achieving success/

      • I agree with you versus those envious critics who have never done anything of note intheir lives but are quick to cut down others.

    • Conrad Black is a great Canadian that is a shiny, bright star in comparison to the mediocre characters so beloved by the CBC and Globe and Mail. He also happens to be a victim of a vindictive US prosecutorial system and pipsqueaks envious of his earned wealth, success and intellect. If the truth be known, the same pipsqueaks, Jean Chretien among them, really just don't like Black's politics and rather have terrorist Omar Kahdr back than someone that has significantly contributed to Canada.

    • As I remembered it at that time he was offered the peerage, the then Prime Minister Chritien pressured him to denounce the citizenship if he'd accept the peerage. There seemed to be a lot acrimony between Chritien and Black, I wonder why that is?

      • Ummm…. Weeelll……
        One is a Conservative and the other one is a Liberal?
        And their egos are both so large that, they cannot both fit in a puny little place like Kanuckistan.

        "That's no moon! It's a giant ego! We're being sucked into it!"
        "Can we break away?"
        "Negative, I'm giving her all she's got, and we're still being drawn in…"
        "We're Doomed!"

        • I have seen many politicians that belong to different parties treat each civilly and sometime with respect and friendliness. Is there any history between these two that goes beyond party affiliation?

      • Beside Chretien is a petty vindictive little man who sees himself as the boss when really he is a bully who accomplished little in his life. His longevity as PM was due to a divided opposition and the Bloc not because of his skills.

        Black is also vindictive, but in a way that is strategic and hits hard.

  3. Perhaps I missed a previous article that would make this one make sense.

    Is there a point to the story? Hubbie in jail, need a new car for the dogs, so what? There's not even dog bites man, much less man bites dog. :: yawn ::

    • Black has just been released on bail.

      It came as a complete surprise to his wife while she was writing an article about her minivan. She is trying to maintain her professionalism as a writer, while not being overwhelmed by the news, and while trying not to let it get to her since she is used to nothing but pain from everything related to the subject. And yet the one question she can't help thinking about is what her husband will think if and when he gets home.

      Is this really that hard to understand or empathize with?

      • We just don't care because we experience compassion burnout here in Canada for those who try to convert us into their own kind and slam us for who we are which is what both Babs and her tragic hero of a hubby have done. My first awareness of Conrad Black was in a court room and people were talking about the equalization of his divorce proceedings. All I could think was what a petty fellow this Black must be. My first impression never changed.

  4. "Driving forward, yes. Backwards the world turns into a dark terrain, all geo-spatial calculations suspended. It's a female thing."
    I'm female and I can parallel park perfectly, thank you very much. What a dumb article, with no point. I hope Macleans didn't pay her too much for this.

    • oh, for goodness sake, lighten up. B.A. has a sense of humour, and more humility (yes, humility) and dignity than many women, notwithstanding her gifts of parody, which you obviously don't 'get'.

      • She slams abortion and drug addicts too but……I felt the same way towards the comment she made about female drives. She knows not what she assumes to know.

    • I think it's a perfect response to the goings-on with Mr. Black and the specter of having the man of the house back in the house. Ms. Amiel made the best of it and experiences life not unlike the rest of us. The two will have some adapting to do. The best of luck to them.

  5. I have to agree with other posters, what is the point of this article? Barbara Amiel's vanity-columns have been vacuous and empty for years, but this is a prime example. I try to avoid her columns but I thought this momentous occasion might trigger some thoughtful introspection or societal reflection – but as Amiel never has this I guess I was crazy to expect it on this occasion.

    • I think that Barbara Amiel should of retired 5-6 years ago. I use ti enjoy reading her articles but lately she does not make any sence. Some people know when it is the time to retire, and some do not. Barbara is in the second category. I would appreciate if you stop printing any of her writings in the future issues if she continue to write about dogs, cats, her husbend, her health, Etc. There are much more important subjects that Macleans should be writing about.

      • Don't you know how to use spell check? Really, you come across as an idiot when you criticize others with a comment full of spelling and grammatical errors. Work on yourself before you criticize others.

  6. I empathized right away with the need for an all-wheel drive vehicle that has enough cargo space for dog crates. I drive a 10-year- old VOLVO V70 ( "station wagon" style) that has worked superbly well for all these needs. My dogs love it and they don't have to jump up to SUV heights to get in.

  7. Ditto to all G.F.'s comments. I also only read this article in hope of finding thoughtful prose about her husband's release. Why does George Jonas need to be channeled in the same article? Ms. Amiel is smart; why can't she lose the ditzy musings and affectations?

    • Because she has wasted her mind and it must suck now that she has lost her "female power", …. she is publish now because of loyalty and certainly not because she has valid opinions of interest to offer us readers.

    • She's suffering from a medical condition. Black's lawyers have used her medical situation to request the federal courts to allow him to return to Canada where his wife can receive proper medical attention and he can give her the supportive attention she requires to make a full recovery.

      Her condition, you ask? I think she gave us a glimpse of it in this article. She suffering from "stone" in the mind and it makes her ditsy and affectatious.

      • She has a stone in her mind???? WOW! That must be some stuff….
        That Bud … That's B.C. Bud … Not Beer!
        Of course, I doubt she'll share any with any of us!

        Personally, I think she NEEDS her husband to take care of her. Immediately. In Canada!
        She has caught a serious virus. Her medical condition….. has a bad prognosis.
        The virus? Not Conficker. Not H1N1.
        Nope. It is Hiltonosis Parisiensis (Lohansis Mutensis Americanus).
        Fatal, of course. Mentally. At any rate.

        Only ONE man in the world can cure her: Scott Feschuck.
        Would you want him operating on you?????
        But researchers are working HARD. Reach DEEP in your pocket, and give generously!

        Oh, oh, oh, She's my Barbie doll…………………

  8. Kiss that black posterior Coyne!

    • Oh, my!

  9. Oh dear, that is one bad piece of journalism. "Barbara Amiel on Conrad Black's release" the subtitle says. Unfortunately the article below has absolutely nothing to do with it. Have to say this is even below Vancouver Sun's journalism standards, lol.

  10. Fortunately, the article below has NOTHING to do with it. Oh boo-hoo, Conrad might have to deal with a minivan…isn't that something the help drives while on duty?? His massive ego is etched clearly upon his stone face and what led him down these slopes long ago. If his wife wasn't such a socialite, she would have recognized it long ago and run for the hills.
    Give me a break.

    I'm fed up of this criminal and even the thought of him being allowed back into Canada (whose citizenship he renounced).
    Let's have a vuvuzela-esque "EFFFF YOU!!" everyone!

  11. Dear Barbara Amiel:

    I hold different political views from yours most of the time, but I have always liked your writing and also I am really happy for you and your husband. He did not deserve to be treated so harshly, but you have stood by him with grace.

    I trust your reunion was amazing, and I wish you both all the best. Dogs too!

    And to the arsees who came here to post insults: Conrad Black is indeed a Great Canadian. And a fascinating one to boot. I look forward to seeing an extended interview of some sort to hear from him again.

    • Sadly though, especially for himself, Mr. Black is no longer a Canadian. He abandoned our ramshackle Colonial lifestyle, to be a Genuine Brit. A "Lord". Go figure. Shoulda gone for the knighthood instead! There are a number of knights, who have all done well. There are few "Lords" who have.

      Yes, I also, do actually feel sorry for the poor lady without her hubby. It probably was harder on Conrad to do without her, though. (After all, he was the one on jail!)

      But then, I also recall a time when Ms. Amiel wrote good, biting, useful commentary. This article does not meet the standards I have come to expect. Perhaps she will resort to discussing her annus horribillis…. that Brit stuff does rub off on one.

      Then too, I also recall, that had Mr Black settled out these matters originally, for a few paltry million, he could have saved his empire, and billions. How, and why, a man of his experience and skill made that tactical error, I cannot fathom. Imagine what he could have gone on to do!

      Oh, well, perhaps, now that all the excitement is over, Ms. Amiel will return to her former, "hard", thoughtful style of writing. This dizzy, Paris Hiltonesque, "thing" above, is quite frankly, below her standards. Perhaps, the article was ghost written. Or… perhaps, when Conrad was around, he insisted that she put forth better prose. After all, the man is a skilled writer in his own merit. Even I, who disagree with his politics, arrogance, and viewpoints, have to give him credit for that.
      Conrad had many skills. (Though we may disagree about his means to an end.) Whether he still retains them, ah that is to be seen….

      • Pierre, my how you do go on…

        and on…

        and on…

    • A great Canadian is one who renounces his citizenship and insults the country? I wish all great Canadians like him would follow him out the door.

      If he is allowed to travel to Canada after his legal travails are behind him than so be it, but if this is a great Canadian, then our standards are way too low.

    • THANKS MOM….!!!! Conrad.

  12. Huh? This was weird…

    Why write one succinct word when ten other (unrelated) ones will do?

    Did not get the point Madam. Perhap you should stick to the no comment!

  13. Why did Conrad Black marry this woman?

    • Because he found her brilliant and "extremely pulchritudinous."

      • oh, he thinks she's brilliant…brilliant and beautiful. Men are so silly when in lust…I mean love.

    • In Classic Star Trek, Mr. Spock asks his Vulcan Father, Sarek, why he (a Vulcan diplomat) married Amanda, Spock's human mother.
      The reply was short, funny, and witty: "At the time, it seemed like the logical thing to do."
      As a man, who has spoken to many other men, about this topic, I assure you:
      "That's our excuse, and we are sticking to it!"
      Ergo, I would imagine Conrad Black's reasoning with regards to Barbara Amiel, to be the same thing:
      "At the time, it seemed like the logical thing to do."
      At, any rate, should Mr. Black, ever have to answer that delicate question, I advise him to stick to that simple answer. Especially if his wife should ask the query!
      I think he knows what courtroom trials are like by now…

    • I answer to this question, an old phrase comes to mind that Conrad Black is certain to also have read before. It seems to apply, by analogy, here:

      "Only General Howe could have been beaten by General Washington, and only General Washington could have been beaten by General Howe."

    • Jane, have you not seen Ms. Amiel? Good looks and a strong free market capitalist to boot. It's one of the most logical high-profile marriages that comes to mind.

    • The same reason you married or will marry yours?

  14. Barbara Amiel is angry that she (as a woman over 60) does not automatically get the attention she feels she deserves. She has always had major personal problems about looks and beauty, and this is what happens to women with that view when they age. That is all this column is about. Elsewhere she has mourned the problems of wanting to wear high heals when age has stripped you of balance. So – she should get a life. Lot's of others do – oh yeah wait a minute, something like that can't be bought.

    • I wonder where that nastiness comes from Mary. Is there really any reason for that?

    • Woo hoo – never mind being a woman over 60 – this diva is 70 already!! Looks good … at a distance. I agree that her dance with beauty is over – wallflower time awaits. Pity.

  15. Dear Barbara Amiel: If Conrad believes he is returning to the exotic woman he had left, he will be in for a surprise when he beholds your down-to-earth minivan full of canine good will. Seriously, all the best to you and your husband. It's going to be tough; so far the both of you have shown some grace under pressure.

  16. I do not know these people personally, so I can not judge their guilt nor innocence, but what I saw between these two during one of most difficult times of anyone's lives are quite enlightening. I hope luck smiles upon you and anyone who are of the same situation.

  17. While I use to think Conrad was a pompus and arrogant SOB, I now have seen guts, clear thinking and purpose in his actions of the pass few years.
    I would love to have him back in Canada with both he and Barbara contributing and commenting on Canadian society. They are strong Canadians with a good work ethic and intestinal fortitude.
    Welcome home to Canada!!!

    • Except that he isn't a Canadian any longer, as several commenters here have noted.

  18. This is a "woe is me" commentary from an elitist who is used to luxuries and now has to "make do" with what most Canadians would consider a blessing.

  19. She should know that any minivans I've driven haven't been great on icy or snow laden winter roads. My old Ford Tempo when starting out (RIP) of long ago was better, as are my current Pontiac two door and my Chevy four door sedan. Perhaps her new minivan is/will be superior.
    Oh, and hang in there. It can't have been easy for either of you.

  20. Best wishes to you and your husband Barbara. Love your column. Love your style!

  21. I always enjoy Barbara's columns, her outlook on life is wonderful.
    I wish her and Conrad well.

  22. I would be honored as a Canadian to have this man return to Canada – if he wishes.

  23. "Driving forward, yes. Backwards the world turns into a dark terrain, all geo-spatial calculations suspended. It's a female thing."

    Naa..it's an age thing, Babs.

    I liked the article; she hasn't lost her considerable bite.

    And yes, it's a female thing: to be ignored by the lounge lizards lirking around the headsetted receptionist in a car dealership.
    What I would have done is dropped a 20 dollar bill on the floor and walked out.

    • Holding your gold credit card in your hand whilst inside the dealership perusing vehicles, while standing still with crossed arms and said plastic perched on and tapping your upper lip begets a veritable stampede of salesmen both male AND female; one's age notwithstanding. If one power wanes, don't forget to beget another.

  24. Dear, Babs
    Your husband is a crook and I suspect you were on it too. Sorry, no cigar. Your reality or the lack of it is not a Canadian trait or strenght. Shallow and crass are your values. In polite society your name still remain in a kennel and yes your hubby is a dog too.

  25. Barbara .. what e-mail software do you use that causes messages to "flash like a neon sign" or "flash across the screen like a knocked-over anthill"? and where can I get a copy?

  26. ….when it comes to Barbara, I gotta say, better him than me…when he reads this he just might wanna head back to jail…..

  27. re Patchouli: what planet are you on??
    This guy gets high-powered legal help to get him bail only a 3rd of the way into his sentence (convicted criminal…helllooo?!) and somehow he is treated 'badly'??
    May a 1000 Bill Maher insults rain down on your deluded head.

    • Um, he was relentlessly persecuted by a prosecutor with political aims. He was convicted of what the US Supreme Court has ruled isn't even a crime. The media smugly pronounced him guilty before his trial even started. I'd say that's being treated pretty badly, by any standard.

  28. what ever her doctor is prescribing her must be exquisite.

  29. Just more pompous dreck, drivel from the superbly self-absorbed Amiel. Why Maclean's pays this woman for her extended Facebook updates is beyond me, and one of the reasons why I no longer subscribe.

    • I have to say I completely agree with you on the Facebook update comment. That is what this article read like. It had no point but to recount her experience in buying a minivan. I can write just as many words on how I got to the airport today, is Macleans willing to pay for that too? It offered no insight whatsoever on anything. Her husband's legal problems aside, I am sure it is hard for her and I simpathize but that doesn't mean I am willing to call this drivel journalism.

      • "I can write just as many words on how I got to the airport today, is Macleans willing to pay for that too?"

        i'm afraid not, anon. why should anyone be interested in your daily life? then again, if you are a gifted writer waiting to be discovered, you should try your luck and send your work to Maclean's for consideration. true original talent rarely goes unnoticed. in fact, why don't you write about your trip to the airport, right here in the comment section and let us judge for ourselves? put your money where your mouth is and let's see what comes up. otherwise, STFU.

  30. Regardless of her experiences of the justice system so far, one would think that a positive step such as bail being granted would elicit at least a brief euphoric moment. But no, Barbie is in firm control of any emotions that might burst through – especially when her focus for the day is a vehicle that will accommodate her dogs.

    She does, however, give us a glimpse of where Conrad fits in her priorities when she wonders what he'll think of her dog-centred changes to their Toronto home – if he ever gets to see it. "He'll manage." Well, after all, this isn't his permanent home any more – unlike the dogs – so it makes sense that he should fit himself into the milieu of the actual residents.

    This is, of course, a woman who can compare the "passion" she feels for a Toyota AWD minivan to that which she felt for a previous husband at the beginning of their relationship. I wonder what she compares her passion for Conrad to – perhaps a favourite nail colour? Certainly not one of her beloved dogs!

  31. Do I need to read anything by Amiel, or hear any more re Black – NO. And he better not be permitted to reenter Canada!

  32. I am a Canadian by choice. Black is not a Canadian…….by choice.

    • Conrad Black is ten times as "Canadian" as Michael Ignatieff…. by choice.

  33. I stopped reading Barabar's crap years ago. My wife saw this and persuaded me to try to read it. i'm almost sick enough to cancel my subscription. What an egomanic, self-adoring twit!

  34. It's a female thing? A FEMALE thing? How about a LOUSY DRIVER thing? You can't drive backwards because you don't have a penis? Nice try but no go….

  35. I was interested at first when reading, expecting some profound realization. Instead, I learned that people who buy mini-vans they think are badly designed, also hate Communism for some unexplained reason. And they put their dogs before themselves, but counteract all that by giving a middle finger to the environment.

  36. Contradictions of the human mind

    “I try to avoid her columns…”

    try harder and spare us the details.

    “Ms. Amiel is smart; why can't she lose the ditzy musings and affectations?”

    Why should she? Because YOU say so?

    “I'm fed up of this criminal…”

    Yet you return to read about him on his wife's column. Enlighten me please.

    “Do I need to read anything by Amiel, or hear any more re Black – NO.”

    yet, not only do you keep reading but you also comment. Some willpower …

    “I stopped reading Barabar's crap years ago.”

    And now what? You missed it and came back to let her know?

    “Why Maclean's pays this woman for her extended Facebook updates is beyond me, and one of the reasons why I no longer subscribe.”

    Could Maclean's possibly know something you don't? when even the haters keep reading, it all adds up. Every clic counts and they add up to more than your subscription. Think about that next time you clic on Amiel's column ☺

    “Huh? This was weird…”

    For the many of you who didn't get the current column, I'll take the liberty to repost gaunilon's explanation:

    “Black has just been released on bail.

    It came as a complete surprise to his wife while she was writing an article about her minivan. She is trying to maintain her professionalism as a writer, while not being overwhelmed by the news, and while trying not to let it get to her since she is used to nothing but pain from everything related to the subject. And yet the one question she can't help thinking about is what her husband will think if and when he gets home.

    Is this really that hard to understand or empathize with?”

    • Envy and empathy rarely mix.

  37. Whatever happens: future hearings, the dogs go walkies, the minivan spins out in the snow, Mr. (yes, Mr.) Black returns home… whatever happens, please advise him on my behalf that:

    1) I enjoy reading his books, and

    2) It might help if he remembered that shareholder money is not his own, in future.

  38. I found this article fascinating. I still can't believe this woman drives a Toyota. I would've predicted custom stairs unfolding from the boot of a Range Rover.

  39. >BOO HOO!!<

    no i am not weeping over babs's trials and tribulations. rather, the sorry state of journalism.

    is this what we can expect from the supposedly brightest and best? at a time when, everywhere, good writers and editors are being turfed out? is this insightful? interesting? comical? emotionally engaging?

    if you answered yes to any of the above, may you enjoy the drivel that passes for writing in our rapidly diminishing fourth estate.

  40. Pathetic… that this even got into Maclean's. If she weren't a "somebody" this sort of writing would would be considered "grade 10" at best… and from a self-absorbed grade 10… who could probably parallel park daddy's SUV.

    • "Listen, kiddo, have some respect, here.
      Parking your (sugar) daddy's daddy's SUV ain't like dustin' crops on Tattooaine.
      Without precise calculations we could fly right through a boutique window or….."
      (I know, George Lucas already has an army of Jar Jars out looking for me….)
      (Help me Obi Wan Conrad, you're my only hope!)

  41. This is ridiculous, irrelevant and stupid! Is Maclean's still paying $6.000 for this Amiel – Black rubbish?

    • Hey! Did you steal "This is ridiculous, irrelevant and stupid!" from Groucho Marx?
      Can you imagine if he had said that? This whole affair would be a comedy!
      Sadly… in the real world…. we are being subjected to a tragedy of comedic proportions.

      "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here."
      (At least not in the newspapers….. or car dealerships…..)

      Can you imagine Barbara Amiel as a Bond girl?
      "And this button, opens the rear hatch, and releases the dogs…"
      Cry Havock! And let loose the dogs of Babs!
      Ah, what a play Shakespeare could write about this… drama….

  42. I think Amiel intended this piece to be a stream of consciousness account of her thoughts. While this did not result in clear writing, it was probably a good choice given her emotional investment in the topic. Indeed, it did a good job of expressing how everyday events entwine with a personal tragedy to create a morass of uncertainty.

    As to Lord Black, a lot of people are forgetting why he renounced his citizenship. A certain prime minister dug up the Nickle Resolution regarding foreign honours in order to force a choice on Black. It was a profoundly small move, and one that left Connie with two bad choices: turn down the lordship (an insult to those that granted it), or renounce his citizenship. Moreover, the Nickle resolution has not been enforced in a number of other instances – it is clear that Black was targeted because his papers were often critical of Chretien. Further, given the state of the Canadian economy, I think we could use all of the millionaire entrepreneurs we can get.

    • "…turn down the lordship (an insult to those that granted it)" My recollection is that he begged for it and then went into various tirades about all that was rotten in the state of Canada when he was told he's have to choose… like everyone else. It's clear where his priorities lay and lie.

      Millionaire entrepeneurs? Are we talking about the man who bought up dozens of small town papers and ran them into the ground after seizing control of their editorial content and twisting it to suit his personal priorities?

      Fascinating, to see how a whiff of power and money makes some of the peasants swoon…

  43. I have heard so much of these so called vaulted Canadian values , yet heard more pettiness and nastiness from the mouths of those who wave it like a flag.

  44. Well said, Eric F!!! This corporate criminal and his pretentious twit of a wife should not be allowed back into Canada.

  45. Poor Barbara trying to get through a tough day post-chauffeur!

  46. I love her writing – you don't have to agree with somebody to enjoy the way they can turn a phrase, reflect on a situation and make light of it (and has meaning for any mature woman who has had to deal with idiot 20 year receptionists who are more interested in the men across the room, than the person standing in front of her), and still keep a positive attitude during stressful time.

  47. Barbara disownned her Mother. Her MOM returned to schol to become an RN in her 50's. Her mother was a beautiful gracious and kind woman.
    Barbara had very little to do with her and we were told to rely on her sister Ruth whenever we planned any reunions.
    It really shows your character when you are so aggressive to get to the top ( of Sam Blythe maybe) but not your own mother.

    • And you Ms. Smythe are lacking in manners. A gossip though, you are.

  48. This woman makes Sally Quinn look briliant!

  49. are the dogs male or bitch

  50. This woman's article contains 927 words. 27 of them are "I" and 10 are "me". The article is entirely a complaint about things most of her readers consider part of a normal life. What a vacuous insensible individual. Barbara and her husband have been in the "journalist" business for over 30 years. During that time neither of them found cause to write a single word about the inequities of the justice system in the USA or about how rich folks can get off while poor folks suffer in jail. Now after a spell in jail, her crook of a husband is all mushy about how too many people in the USA are mistreated by the justice system, starting with him. But Barbara can only think about herself.

    Pathetic excuses for human beings.

    • Pardon me Sunshine but after reading your comment, I felt the need to remind you that "this woman's article" falls in the 'opinion' category. Unless she writes about someone else's opinion, we may expect that she'll express herself in the first person.
      Secondly, CB is not the first one who finds a new cause after having a personal experience. People usually become activists/spokespersons after being affected by a particular situation (health issues, crime victims, any number of personal experiences). You think Lance Armstong would have his own cancer foundation had he not been struck by cancer?

      One question: did you count the 927 words yourself or did you use a word count tool?

    • ok Sunshine, no need to answer the question, i know the answer so it is fair to ask: who is more pathetic? BA for using "I" and "me" a number of times in her opinion column or Sunshine for actually counting how many "I", how many "me" and how many words in said column?

      pssst, Sunshine: you're short 2 words.

      • I don't pretend to write articles for a national newspaper. Barbara Amiel does. I can't think of another journalist who is unable to express an "opinion" about anything except inside the confines of their own minivan. You can either accept this as a genuine example of an opinion article or conclude that Barbara Amiel is self centred. Your call. The word count was a metaphor for the self centered aspect. I thought most people might get it. Silly me. ____If you believe Conrad Black's experience has genuinely changed him, then in all probability you also believe in the tooth fairy. Conrad's recent writing is designed to change the channel of public opinion in Canada from his own criminality to his newly aquired sensitive character. It appears that you and some journalists have swallowed this. Perhaps the journalists still see the future prospect of working for Conrad. Give my regards to the tooth fairy.

  51. i can't think of many journalists – in English Canada – who attract as much passion as BA and CB. those passions expressed in all various directions fascinate me.

    in your particular case, you defend your ridiculous word count as a metaphor. i'll let you look up the meaning of metaphor but i'll suggest that your word count was rather your simplistic proof to establish BA as self-centered. Tell us something we don't know instead of showing how juvenile and tedious you are.

    i believe that 2+ years in jail will change anyone to some degree. you may disagree and really believe that CB is impervious to pain.

    pssst…. the tooth fairy says you need to do a recount because you were wrong the first time hence you can't get your reward.

  52. oops….. i meant to post my last comment as a reply to Sunshine's above post. apologies.

  53. Seems we all like to keep reading her anyway, in spite of all the things commented on. I find it sort of endearing how she tries to sound like the girl -next -door- regular -guy kind of person these days. It sounds kinda cute coming from the heights of her manolos.