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New day dawning, I wonder what it holds for me
Sun is shining, don’t think it shines for me
I look around, nothing seems to have changed
This dirty town, it hasn’t somehow rearranged

And I stand up, but I get knocked straight back down
“Just give it up”, they say, “We just don’t want you around
Not one of us and we don’t like to share”
Mouthful of dust, but I’ll get even I swear

I hear your voice, call my name
In my heart, there’s a pouring rain
And it ain’t pretty, no it ain’t pretty, no it ain’t pretty
But you say, “Hold on, hold on, believe me
All the plans against you, one by one, will come undone”
I shall overcome

– “I Shall Overcome“, Hard-Fi

I still can’t believe that Alan Greenspan  gave up on the free market. That ironically explains the marked-down value of his autobiography at Chapters books (it was on the bargain table for just $2!!). He’s now trying to salvage his reputation as le Roi des economiques laissez-faire. Maybe it’s just a thing for Lent.

As Joan McAlpine writes in the Sunday Times, Lent has become a popular trend in recent years reaching into the secular world, with many people even giving up post-modern things (I hope you haven’t given up reading my blog…I’ll try harder, I swear, or maybe I’ll give that up…meh). With all this in mind, here are a few things that others have given up for Lent recently:

-Bob Gainey, general manager of the Montreal Canadiens has decided he’s given up on Guy Carbonneau as head coach. It’s unfortunate, really, as the NHL playoffs begin around Easter…(would he bring Carbo back then?…don’t hold your breath, this isn’t like giving up Facebook or chocolate).

-Likewise, Tampa Bay has given up on Gary Roberts, putting him on waivers (which every other rite-abiding team also chosing to forego claiming him). The 42-year old veteran has declared that he will retire from the game, effectively giving up hockey for his Lent. Will he be back come Easter? Impossible, as the Lightning don’t have any playoffs and no other team can acquire him now until next season, but as he’d previously retired once before (due to injury), perhaps by Christmas we might see him back. It’s a shame if this is the way it ends for the ultra-competitor.

-In an unsettling act of inhumanity, both Real IRA and Continuity IRA, radical Irish Republicans, discredited even by Sinn Fein, have given up on peace in Northern Ireland. I don’t think any right-minded Catholics or Protestants on the island have spoken in favour of the attacks on local police, showing that they’ve given up on old grudges. Let’s hope it lasts more than forty days.

-French President Sarkozy has decided to give up on Charles de Gaulle’s move to separate France from fully participating in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He’s expected to officially announce their rejoining NATO at a 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg, April 3 (timely, as it is a week before Good Friday). It remains to be seen if he keeps this commitment as it is highly unpopular in France, perhaps like giving up cigarettes…(cheap laughs).

-Kangaroos have given up their peaceful co-existence with humans. I may have trusted them when I walked amongst them at the Toronto Zoo last summer, but their recent actions only suggest that the time of romping around with them is over. In Canberra, a Kangaroo broke into a family’s home at night (obviously to loot, or “score” some drugs), forcing a half-awake, underwear-clad father to protect his kin. Based on what I’ve seen in Bugs Bunny cartoons, this was a tremendous act of bravery. I’m giving those Roos until Easter to sort themselves out. You’ve been warned.

-Noel Gallagher has temporarily given up being a tosser and is giving away free tracks on the Times’ site. It won’t last forever, as he will likely have a bout of anger, or run out of songs, and I can almost guarantee one of those two things is likely to happen before the Easter bunny drops off eggs all over my living room.

-And finally, in a mad scramble to re-assert himself as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson has given up on his exile in Bahrain and announced he will be performing 45 shows in London’s 02 arena beginning in July and extending into early 2010. With his last major appearance an ill-fated display of stage fright at the 2006 World Music Awards, I have to wonder if this is going to pan out. Whether he holds up past Easter with all this media attention, let alone makes it to the summer performances, remains to be seen. The Guardian is reporting that bookies William Hill are offerring 1/8 odds that MJ even performs for the first date.

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