Maxed out 

The big payoff

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“St. Reagan must be spinnin’ in his grave,” I thought to myself. I’m not certain which was more warming, the late summer sun boring a foggy hole in my consciousness as I melted into the Brewhouse’s inviting patio, the barley sandwich that is Liftie’s Lager I was drinking to stay hydrated, or the thought of so many Republicans calling for increased regulation of the financial industry… in between their vapourous chants of “drill baby, drill”.

Increased regulation?

The call for more regulation, driven by panic at the prospect the fire raging in financial markets may be reaching the temperature at which dogma burns, had issued from the lips of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber — McCain and Palin — at one of their he-doesn’t-speak-while-she-drinks campaign stops. A man who’s spent his whole public life as a crusader in St. Reagan’s jihad on regulation and a woman who seems to only be interested in regulating those on her enemies list are calling for more regulation of the free-for-all markets at the very heart of America’s wealth generating machine? Curiouser and curiouser.

What next? Calls to protect employee rights to form unions?

Why can’t Canadian elections be this much fun? Why do we wind up with the terminal blandness of watching Stevie Harper channeling Mr. Rogers and Stephanie Dion trying to convince everyone that this election isn’t just about the opportunity to replace him as Liberal leader with someone blessed with a personality?

Thoughts wandering back to the riveting meltdown on Wall Street, I was lost in the very satisfying thought of former Lehman Brothers whiz kids applying for jobs as greeters at Wal-Mart — “Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart. Buy, buy, buy!” — and only half noticed the sun-backed, robocop-like shamble of a man slide onto the picnic bench opposite me, dressed either in bike armour or market testing some bizarre Halloween costume.

“Beer me, bro,” said the shamble.

While the sky remained clear and the sun baking, a dark cloud descended on my happy reverie. I didn’t need to see who had come between me and the vanishing warmth. The voice, not dissimilar to the sound bike armour, helmet and exposed skin makes grating over shards of shale after a drop gone bad, could only belong to J.J. Geddyup, Whistler’s chronically underemployed private eye.

“Nice outfit, J.J. Biking or chasing down a philandering biker?” I asked.

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