Frank Magazine’s frummery foray

In a previous post we made a mysterious reference to David Frum, using the term “frum-like” to describe the weak, slippery grip the feral [shurely you mean federal? –ed.] Conservatives have on power in this country. Frum, to many, needs no further analysis or explanation. Frum is as frum does. Frum is frummish by nature, and those who feel frummy, well, there’s no hiding from that truth.

But David Frum, who arguably has even more power and influence than our colleague Francis Wilkinson, is not as well known as we thought. Yes, Frum is a frekwent kontributor to Kommentary and Nazional Review (two neokonservative [four Ks in one sentence? You’ve gone too far –ed.] car advertising magazines out of the U.S.A.). Yes, as a former speechwriter to George Bush Junior, he coined the phrase “axis of evil” to describe Stevie Harper, Bush and Danielle Crittendon. Yes, the New York Times has an archive of references to him. But is he famous? Would he be recognized by your typical angry bikeshop owner?

Actually, not necessarily. Frank Magazine, whose editor often turns to our pages for insight and editorial wherewithal [Arr –ed.], brought this home to us in a recent article in their print edition:

Headline: “Axis of Weasels”
“David Frum, vacationing in southwestern Ontario, goes into a bike shop to get work done on his bike. The shop owner, formerly American, doesn’t recognize his Frumness and David is thoroughly pissed that his exalted status didn’t get him front of the line treatment. Later, someone tells the bike shop owner who this guy is. After the work is done, the bike shop owner adds $1,000 to the bill, calling it a homeland security charge. Much huffing and puffing over the bill, the owner holds his ground and Frum storms out, leaving his bike behind.”

(Frank magazine, July 2 ’08, p. 19)

Perhaps we need to tell our readers more about him if in future we are to apply “frum” as an adjective.

David Frum is a writer. Like two other writers we know well, Leah McLaren and Jacob Richler, David Frum is truly hilarious while rarely intending to be so. Is this a genetic trait? It is possible, for like the other two, Frum’s writer’s instincts are bred in the bone–which is a kinder way of saying he’s a momma’s coattail-riding hack (his mother was Barbara Frum, a renowned CBC television journalist). Unlike McLaren and Richler however, David Frum is not someone his mother would be proud of. A favourite image for us is Mary Walsh, the Newfoundland actor of Codco fame, telling Frum his mother must be “spinning in her grave” in reaction to his neoconservative politics (Frum’s politics would see the CBC eliminated or bizarrely altered. His mother would never have stood a chance if Frum had been in charge).

Frum on a bicycle is nonetheless an image that brings gladness to the ALLDERBLOB’s too-small heart. Should he continue as a writer, we have some suggestions for him. Read Henry Miller, in particular My Bike and Other Friends. Read Daniel Behrman, in particular The Man who Loved Bicycles. And read Glen Norcliffe’s The Ride to Modernity: the Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900.

We can’t say reading these books will help Frum’s stagnant writing career (don’t let the fact you don’t see remaindered copies of his books at the discount stores fool you; it’s just that they go straight to the pulper). However, it’s just possible that reading a book on bicycle culture will deliver Frum of the delusion that his opinion and words matter in this world [it certainly worked for us. –ed.].

3 Responses to “Frank Magazine’s frummery foray”


    [...] Made the Young Men Die, but he will be better known by readers of the ALLDERBLOB as the man whose recent bicycle repair here in Southern Ontario included an unexpected “Homeland Security fee” of [...]

  2. Raven68.9 says:

    [editor's note: at last, someone who makes sense! Raven 68.9, it is sad you are not a Canadian resident, because as you will know if you dig deeper into these pages, becoming a correspondent on this site is a springboard to greatness. In your case, perhaps you will one day soon find yourself speechwriting for that former prime minister of yours, John Howard--which sometime later our own Canadian PM will plagiarize... good luck!]

    I didn't read the post because I wanted to post my own comment.
    Hello Iam an Australian resident. Enough said, yuo already have me pinned down to what you're told to believe. I just wanted you to know that I am free of that grip now and can say whatever I choose thanks to your harshness. That said I guess I should say what I'm here to say. I did something very bad thst didn't include killing a person. I punished myself for 7 years forcefully under govt. law in my home. I stayed in the dark I didn't talk to strangers and I kept to myself. I would also like to add that I misused powerfully strong prescription medication at my own discretion 4 times. This change is what seems to have turned my life around. I don't listen to my mother's rants anymore and seeing things clearer has never been easier. I am on my own and there's noone out there. I live at my computer and converse with less than appropriate friends. I have noone except the ghost that visits me in my sleep. if you think this is wrong please tell me whatever you want because you can't get me through the screen anymore. God has freed me from that aND WELCOMED me back into his home. Obviously there is trust there now and I don't believe you can shake it. So goodbye for now and don't forget to post well.

  3. mysamantha says:

    [editor's note: this response is related to a different string. See: "When a cyclist is killed in Jane Pitfield's ward, does it make a sound?" ]

    August 29, 2010

    My name is Karen MacNeil Hartmann. My husband was Ulrich Hartmann. He was the 6ft4 gentle cyclist who was killed by the cement truck September 11th, 2006. My daughter Samantha wrote to you in July. She has just shared all this with me. We are coming up to the 4th anniversary of my darling husband's death.
    Ulrich and I had been married for 11 years when he died. He was cycling home from work at Bell on Wynford drive. He would make his way to the beltline bike trail and come home to us to make dinner. He was the daddy of Samantha (aged 9 at the time) and Adam (aged 4). He was the only child of immigrants who came to Canada from Germany when Ulrich was 3.
    Ulrich was a traveller and loved to cycle. I too lived on my bike. We met through a mutual friend and hit it off knowing that we would be important in each other's lives. Our relationship included cycling through Algonquin Park, a cycling tour, on our honeymoon through the Loire Valley in France and treks through all the bike trails in Toronto from the Martin Goodman Trail in the west end to the trails near the Don Valley.
    When we met I did not wear a helmet and he told me of a news story he saw which stated that the most common injury on bikes was head injury and could be prevented by helmets. From then on, I too wore a helmet.
    I want to walk you through the time leading up to Ulrich's tragic accident. September 9th Samantha was at her best friend's house for a sleepover and birthday party. She was upset because she had to leave early to attend a bicycling safety course offered through the police for children, in High Park. We never compromised when it came to safety. She was to attend the second part of the course the following weekend. Needless to say, it never happened.
    The day of the accident I was off (as a Nurse Practitioner I worked various shifts). Samantha was in grade 4 and Adam had just started JK. Adam and I spent the afternoon at Sherway Gardens having a lovely afternoon. I picked up Samantha from school and was about to take her to her piano lesson when the phone rang. I was rushing out the door but decided to answer it. It was Ulrich leaving work. "Hi dear, how are things?" "Good, just taking Samantha to piano." "Could you pick up some buns and I'll bar-b-que some sausages when I get home." "I'll try but not sure where." "Okay." "Okay, I hope the wind is at your back." "I love you." "I love you too, bye."
    I dropped Samantha off at Bloor and Montgomery and walked with Adam to a shop east of Royal York. We got the buns and headed back. As we were crossing Royal York, we saw a cement truck pouring cement and I said to Adam ( who loved Mighty Machines) we will have to tell daddy that you saw a cement truck, close up and pouring cement. I later figured out that that was the time Ulrich was hit.
    When I got home with the kids, I turned on Oprah and waited for Ulrich to come home. He loved to cook and was responsible for most of the meals. When Oprah finished and Ulrich wasn't home I thought I better start the bar-b-que for him. He was never late. While out in the backyard, the phone rang. I went in to answer it but missed it. On the way back out it rang again.
    "Hello, is Ulrich Hartmann there?" "No, I'm sorry can I take a message?" "Actually, this is the police." I started shaking (as I am now, reliving the moment). "Now, you're scaring me, he's never late." "Yes, there's been an accident." I am now walking with the phone to my next door neighbour's house and starting to cry. "Chris, there's been an accident, could you watch the kids and feed them?" The sausages were now burning and smoking up a storm. "Of course." The police were sending a car for me. I told the kids that there had been an accident and I was going to the hospital. I called his parents to tell them. As I was leaving, I heard Chris tell Adam that everything was going to be okay. I clung to that cramped into the back seat of the squad car. The Police Officers would not talk to me. I was crying and praying, "Please God let me look after him, let him be okay." We drove along the Gardener and up the DVP. They periodically used the sirens and the shoulder of the road to get me up to Sunnybrook.
    In Emerg they had me sit in a quiet room. A pretty young Resident and Chaplain came in to speak with me. The Resident wanted to tell the story as it unfolded for Ulrich. I understood by what she was saying and asked, "Are you telling me he's gone?!" I don't remember much after. Julie, a lovely ER nurse, took me to see him after a while. She explained the equipment still attached to him as he was a Coroner's case, they could not be removed. She explained that
    he had a fractured tibia (shinbone) and they had to reduce it. Then, he was being transfused (we were both regular blood donors) and rushed to emergency surgery when he coded. "He was a fighter and was really trying to stay here." Ulrich's parents arrived. My best friend and then my sister arrived.
    I sang a lullabye to him..."Golden slumbers fiil your eyes, smiles await you when you rise, sleep pretty darling do not cry, and I will sing you a lullabye." I used to sing that to the children at bedtime. I never sang it again.
    Ulrich's mom started having chest pain and had to be admitted for tests. Still crying, I asked Julie, ""How do I tell me kids?" She said, "Be honest, answer their questions, trust your instincts." It was after 10 and I had to go home. Julie called my work to let them know because I was due to work the next morning.
    My sister drove me and my friend Elizabeth home. Enroute my cell phone was ringing- Samantha but I didn't answer it because I wasn't going to lie to her and I wasn't going to tell her over the phone.
    When i got home, my mom had relieved my neighbour. Samantha was up and Adam was asleep. I sat in the rocking chair Ulrich had given me as a gift to nurse Adam in when he was born. I took Samantha in my arms and told her that her daddy had died. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I waited until morning and after breakfast to tell Adam.
    That day I was asked to go to the Coroner's office because in all the sadness and upset, the staff had forgotten to tag Ulrich's body and I needed to go identify him. The nice, young traffic cop who investigated the scene met me there. I was to go in, say, "this is Ulrich Hartmann" and leave. What a cold bastard! I kissed my darling and told him that I would raise the children to the best of my ability, to honor his memory.
    The following days were a blur of phone calls, visits, gift baskets, carepackages and making funeral arrangements. We were contacted about the memorial ride but I was in shock and in no shape to participate. My sister fielded a call from a woman who wanted me to know that she was first on the scene, a nurse and held his hand. Second on the scene was an off-duty ambulance attendant. He was in good hands but you don't have a fair chance when you are rear-ended by a cement truck. He never saw it coming. The truck driver didn't fell the impact (in so may ways). He continued on and had to be flagged down to stop! He was charged but the key witness (having just read her statement) recanted her testimony. The charges had to be dropped. I was only told about the courtdate by the police, the night before and could not arrange to be there. Was in no shape to be there!
    Now it has been almost 4 years. We continue to grieve. I've weaned down from 4 therapists to 2. I haven't been back to work and continue to fight the 'dark night' of depression. I've had to try to help my children through all their sadness and anger. We've just returned to the church but Samantha is angry and is adamant that there is no God. I've thought long and hard about adequate retribution. Came to conclude that the driver should never be allowed to drive again. When stating this to the police officer who called me that night, September 11th, he said, "But that's his livelihood." WHO CARES! "He took Ulrich's livelihood and his life." We planned to die together on our 100th anniversary, making whoopie for the 8th time! We planned to take Adam and Samantha to DisneyWorld for Adam's 6th birhtday! We planned on buying land in Nova Scotia when we retired and spend summers there and winters in our condo in Toronto! Ulrich planned on continuing with his life. Being and excellent son, husband and father. Who will walk Samantha down the aisle? Who will teach Adam to shave? Who will rub my feet when they are blocks of ice in the winter?
    I have only just decided on a headstone and what would be fitting words to capture my feelings for Ulrich. "Golden slumbers fill your eyes, smiles await you when you rise..."
    As I finish writing, it is 4:22 a.m. Samantha has fallen asleep on the living room floor where she was keeping me company and crying with me as I unloaded all of this.
    Jake, this is a long-winded way of letting someone know the impact this has had and that we are in. We want to participate in lobbying for the guards that are put on trucks. We want to try to insure that no one else will die needlessly. How can we work together with you and ARC? Please contact me.

    I was comforted by the fact that at least Ulrich would not have to go through the loss we were experiencing. He wouldn't lose his parents or anyone else. The good do sometimes die young. He was 44.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.