Murray Rubin

Thinking Outside the Dox


Imaginative ideas, energy, honesty and lack of patience describe me totally. I was chosen out of many applicants to sit on the community editorial board of the Toronto Star and I enjoyed putting my thoughts in print. You can only serve one year and then it is more difficult to get into the paper on the editorial or opinion page, and so a blog.

Comments of an intelligent nature are invited.

August 22 , 2016


It is in the nature of human activities to eventually change with new  improved technology, and the presentation of the winter and summer Olympics every four years must change  NOW .  The technology I refer to is the magnificent ability to present the sporting events on T.V. Up to the present, cities throughout the world, with the help of their national governments have fought to present the magnificent spectacle. It was always  in the interests of well-placed people, in a designated country, to benefit financially and politically.  All you have to do is look at the stadium the Brazilians built. But at present, the growth of the facilities, for all the different sports involved, have become completely uneconomical and unreasonable for cities and the  countries. The 2018 winter Olympics are slated for the South Korean city of Pyeungchang.  The 2022 winter Olympics have only 2 contenders left, Beijing in China and Almaty in Kazakhstan out of the many that originally applied. A  political person would immediately realize the people of China and Kazakhstan did not vote to have them there. I note that Munich, St Moritz, Stockholm and Krakow who originally bid for the 2022 winter Olympics withdrew, and these cities are all in democratic states where the people have a lot of influence. Both China and Kazakhstan, not really democratic states, have their image to repair and the costs involved in presenting the event are of no consequence. The 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens nearly bankrupted Greece and the facilities left behind are in disrepair and not used at all. Changes for this popular event must happen.

Why are Olympics held? It feeds the nationalistic ego of each country and their athletes ,and the idea of being in the company of the “world`s best” tickles the egos of all involved, both the nation and the athletes. Also people are naturally competitive and the athletes want to see just how good they really are,  compared to others.The problems lie in the cost of building the facilities to house boxing, wrestling, basketball, marathons, golf, gymnastics, cycling, canoeing and fencing and that does not even get close to listing all the sports, and the cost of buildings to house the athletes and the security staff needed to fight terrorism and petty crime. I assume the officials and the equipment  used to monitor the running of the sports are paid for by the Olympic organization. Small and poor countries  in the future will not even think of holding the games, and shortly, even the large and rich will take a pass.

How many people actually attend the Olympics or at least how many tickets were sold?   In 2012 in the London summer games, 9 million tickets were sold over the period of 2 weeks but tickets went to companies and for many events the seats were empty. Except for the opening and closing spectacles, at most events there were thousands of empty places.  On T.V. however in 2002  Salt Lake City showed 25.5 million viewers and in 2008 Beijing 34.9 million views were recorded and it is fair to say in many cases more than one person is viewing the event when the show is on.  The 2012 summer games in London were the most watched event in U.S. T.V.  history. The excitement of the Olympics is created by the crowds yelling encouragement to their favourites . We need people watching. The crowds in the stadium even create excitement for the T.V. viewers but it is obvious economically, that the summer and winter games CAN rotate after 12 years at one location, and the event should still take place  every four years at this same location.  It would also cut down on the bribing necessary to get the event held in any particular city.  T.V. makes the Olympics for the world, and not changing the location every four years makes political and financial sense.  Rotate the event every 12 years between continents,  and that would still keep the whole world involved.

August 16 , 2016


When I was a thirteen year old in the 1940`s we rented a basement apartment to a homosexual. It was my first experience in seeing a person who did not live his sexual life in a traditional way and he had many visitors , usually young men. It was a time when men did not come out publicly with their preferences for other men, but in hindsight I can recall many women living together with no questions about their sexual needs. There are many women who lived together as roommates all their lives.It was a well known fact, even then, that some women preferred to have sex with women and men with their own kind. I do not recall seeing in print any problems about this situation but  men remained men and women remained women and if they did not make a big deal about their sexual needs, it was ignored. Homosexuality and lesbianism went against the creeds of all religions and was not really acceptable but ignored.  Today Homosexuality and Lesbianism in western society has been totally accepted , as the private affair of the individuals involved and many prominent people, like the premier of Ontario,are quite open about their preferences. There are new words in use, transgender, transsexual, transvestite, cross dresser and of course old reliable queer. I am not even going to the trouble to define each of these words as most people know them, and as well the term LGBTQ ,which puts all of these descriptions in one acronym. So what’s new?

What’s new is the idea  that the sex that  people were given at birth ,does not serve them mentally or psychologically. I use the word “given” rather frivolously . Men, by science, were found to have XY chromosomes and women XX. Or to put it into plain language the male of our species had a penis and the women a vagina. On occasion the development of the embryo produced sexual organs that were not completely developed but that was just a mistake by nature in the development of the embryo.  Nature can produce very effeminate  men and “butch”type females, very masculine in appearance. But these people still lived by the sex they were given at birth. Some people want to change that. They do not want the sex of the individual on the birth certificate or on any public document, like a passport and operations are being performed so that their body conforms to the demands of their psychological wishes. Where human society is headed is unknown ,with the only practical problem now, is that single sex bathrooms may be headed to the ash bins of history. As well, single sports events have a problem now with very masculine women who enter women`s events. Are they really women? Add to that men changed to women surgically and the Olympics will be in trouble. It may have already started. There were allegations that the South African runner Caster Semenya  who won the 800 metre race at the recent world championships was not woman enough. As a matter of interest this woman won the gold for that race at the 2016 Olympics.


August 10 , 2016


The last few governments in Canada have approached the problem of the First Nations (Aboriginals) in the same way with the same result. FAILURE. Allan Rock, a Liberal stated that the aboriginals represent 2% of the population but 10.6% of  persons in prison. Last year when Jody Wilson-Raybould again with the Liberals in power, the aboriginals were 4% of the population but 36  % of the prison population. They certainly new how to reproduce themselves but their lives have not changed. They lack access to education, access to the middle class and access to opportunities in the economy. The only other modern countries to experience the same inadequate results were in Australia and New Zealand. When captain Cook arrived in Australia and claimed the eastern part of the continent for the English king George 111 there were 600 different tribes and the people had hundreds of different languages. That certainly reminds me of Canada. Even though the English new that there were people there, they considered the continent to be “terra nullius”, meaning land belonging to no one, and went ahead with their plan to establish a penal colony there. These Australian natives were forced into government reserves and church missions. In the middle of the 20th century because of overcrowding and increased maintenance expenses they live in public housing(subsidized by the government). I might say the treatment of the aboriginals in Australia was far worse than Canada and it has been estimated that between 1788 and 1900 their population numbers declined by 90% From the start of the white invasion of Australia the settlers tried to civilize the indigenous and even took children away from their parents and placed them in foster homes. These children were known as the “stolen generation” A remarkable similarity took place in Canada.

In South America there are many countries with aboriginal populations such as Belize, Bolivia, Chile Ecuador ,Greenland, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. In some of these countries the indigenous population is involved in governing and has a great deal of power. In Argentina, I was informed the indigenous population was killed off and I could see that when I visited. You can only see European faces. The European population which changed the world is drawn from three ancient tribes . The ancient populations mixed within the last 7000 years. Blue-eyed swarthy hunters mixed with brown-eyed pale skinned farmers as the latter came into Europe from the near east. But another, mysterious population with Siberian affinities also contributed to the European population. The findings are based on an analysis of genomes from nine ancient Europeans. It is clearly evident that there was a mixing of the populations and no one group was so strong to set the other aside. Our society in Canada has changed in the last 3-500 years and the earliest of the inhabitants must be incorporated  and have the same opportunities as all the rest. It is very evident that the European invaders of North and South America and Australia and New Zealand, were powerful enough to completely dominate, but when they went into Africa and India they had to make accommodations with the people residing there. They were not so dominate as to completely overpower the local inhabitants. Numbers counted.

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About Me

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I was born in Toronto in 1931 to a wonderful mother who divorced shortly before my birth. I am Jewish but not at all religious, yet my culture plays an important part of my personality. I attended Harbord Collegiate and U. of T. Faculty of Pharmacy. A unique mail-order pharmacy was the first of my endeavours in the profession, followed by many stores throughout Ontario. I have a loving wife, 3 children and grand-children and I am now retired from pharmacy. But what do I write about? Everything! My topics are funny, serious, whimsical, timely, outrageous, inspiring, and inventive. I promise that if you take the time to read any one of these topics  – you will not be sorry.

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