Canadian Funnyman Rick Mercer Learns About the Chinese New Year

03/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011


Introductory Note: with the Chinese New Year just past, and the Tibetan New Year just days away (this week is considered Don Season, an inauspicious time to do anything new, risky or adventurous, including travel), I thought a post honoring the already-or-just-about-here Year of the Ox would be appropriate. Generally, the year is (hopefully appropriate to our new administration) thought to be one of modesty, nose-down hard work, prosperity, tolerance, fortitude and sustained effort with the long-term in mind.

Traditionally, with the coming of the New Year, communities gather to share their aspirations. So, my virtual friends, if you have an aspiration for the coming 12 months, please offer it below. Mine? To be of benefit to all sentient beings, generally. Specifically, to follow the path--whether running for Boulder City Council or seeing our green/spiritual talk show make it to a mainstream platform, or both--that is of the most benefit, quickest. To have, say, one meaningful relationship over the next year (not counting my mutt, Redford). To pay my mortgage. To have fun, and be genuine, at the same time. Alright, your turn: comment below if so inspired.

In 1985, or something, my parents' Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, decided to move the HQ or 'capitol' of his American Buddhist community to Canada. Halifax, to be exact. Within a few years, my mom had joined the burgeoning community up there--a community that with its many businesses -- an organic grocery store, fine/fun restaurants and cafes -- found itself welcomed with open arms by the economically-depressed, sick-of-their-own-food Haligonians.

And so I wound up spending some time, now and again, up in Halifax--and through Buddhist slash Canadian comedic star Cathy Jones (who I'd done a Dathun with, at Karme Choling in Vermont, way back in...1992?), I got to take a girlfriend (or some friends, I don't remember, this is wayyy back in my youth) to Canada's SNL, called "This Hour has 22 Minutes." Cathy was one of the stars of the show, along with a young man by the name of Rick Mercer.

Years later, Rick shoved off on his own, and has since become Canada's Jon Stewart--smart, funny, vicious with a smile, a man more powerful in politics than just about any representative. Here he visits Toronto's Chinatown for a little cultural intrigue, and requisite trouble-making.