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Showing posts from February, 2005

The pitter-patter of past and future...

If life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are
--Meat Loaf

The incomparable Mr Loaf, power tenor in such rock opera classics as Paradise by the Dashboard Light and I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), occasionally acheives something deceptively profound in his lyrics. I think so, anyway.

My life could change in as little as a couple of months. It could take longer, possibly a lot longer; and there's still a chance that Family and Children's Services may decide placing children with us would be a disservice. The probability of that depends on who you ask. Eva says there's nothing to worry about. I'm not quite so sanguine. And Tom, emissary from that bewildering continent called Sewshullwurkur, is not exactly scrutable on the subject.
The chief concern emanating from Sewshullwurkur is that I will physically discipline my adopted children, as I was once (for the first eight years o…

In the year 2525...

....the Liberal government has allocated $1.94 trillion dollars for interstellar highway repairs.
Okay, so that wasn't part of this budget, but damn it, it might as well have been. Pretty much everything else was in there, packaged in such a way as to appeal to the wide spectrum of Canadians who haven't quite mastered the fine art of thinking for themselves...not to mention the science of telling time.
Sadly, Stephen Harper seems to be one of that group. "There's certainly nothing in here that justifies calling an election", he says. "This budget's priorities are Conservative priorities", he says.

By Coservative priorities, Harper means tax cuts and defense spending. Harper and Goodale must be working from a different definition of the word "priority". Yes, Finance Minister Goodale has cut your $16 for this year for the average Canadian. Don't spend that all in one place, okay? As for revitalizing our decrepit Armed Forces, …
As I mentioned in my last post, I enjoy watching Antiques Roadshow. But only the American version.
This will be high treason to certain friends of mine, but I detest the original, British version. Everyone bringing objects to the appraisers in Britain has evidently been told that showing the slightest hint of emotion will instantly cut the value of their object by nine tenths. Fifty pounds, ten thousand pounds, it's all the same to these people.All of the enthusiasm just gets leached out of the show. You're left with items, some of them admittedly quite interesting, none of them worth half as much as you think they should be.
The American version, by contrast, has a whole whack of emotion: shock ("How much did you say this thing's worth? Really?? Wow!"); joy (some people act as if they've just put in a winning bid for a fabulous showcase on The Price Is Right); even dismay, when the unwitting dupe is told he's been had, that the $10,000 artifact he has wor…

Bland is grand...

At the ripe old age of 33, I must proclaim that I Am An Old Fart.
I don't look like one, unless you're fifteen. But oh God do I act like one.
I go to bed between nine and ten at night...sometimes earlier. Even on Saturday nights, when there is no reason for me not to stay up. I watch old farty things like Antiques Roadshow and enjoy it. These days, nearly every artist who wins a Grammy is an artist I've never heard of.
No, I'll tell you just how much of a fogey I am: my meals are planned. Not all of them, I hasten to add, but quite a few of them. Wednesday night's supper is often roast chicken; Thursday night is stew night; Friday night brings pork chops. Sunday lunch is almost always grilled cheese sandwiches and soup...and it's usually the same soup.
And you know what? I like it this way.
We just managed to settle into this routine, almost unnoticed, and by now I've gone beyond acknowledging the routine: I feel the need to celebrate it. The meals become touc…

And I thought I didn't care....

It's official.
No hockey this year.
Big surprise, eh?
Well, yes, actually, it was.As of last night I was all but positive a deal would get done. There had been movement from both sides (most of it, of course, from the players), and going into this morning there was something that looked like a serious desire to bridge the last gap. The players had to be thinking about getting some kind of a paycheque again, albeit diminished; the owners surely had visions of playoff loot dancing in their pointy little heads. Never mind that any season starting this late would be a complete and utter joke: when money's involved, people everywhere tend to lose their sense of humour.
To come this close and not succeed is unforgiveable. Bettman and Goodenow should--both--be summarily axed at this point. And whoever replaces them should have a mandate set before them: either get a deal done before September 15 or face the dissolution of the National Hockey League.
I'm not kidding on this last. The l…

It's called WINTER, people!

I'm listening to the radio. The list of closures and cancellations took four solid minutes to recite and the deejay was rapping them off at a pretty fair clip. We've got about a quarter inch of freezing rain, due to end between 9 and 10 a.m. And I'm wondering...


Thinking back to my schooling career, I recall exactly half of one snow day in fifteen years. To be fair, there were probably a couple more that I can't bring to mind. The one I can was also due to freezing rain, except this was a freak storm in the middle of October. The ice accumulated on the trees, which shed limbs on to power lines, which knocked out the power, which -- eventually -- knocked out the school. It stayed open until noon. I went--one of four in my grade that did--and spent four hours playing piano with my then-girlfriend in the music room.

And believe me, the lack of snow days wasn't for a lack of weather. Winter used to be a lot worse than it is no…

The Gomery Pile... any answers yet?
You'd think, after two Prime Ministers testified at the Gomery Inquiry, we'd be a little further along the path of finding out why millions of taxpayers' dollars went missing. Then again, since these were Liberal Prime Ministers both, it's no great shock that we're still in the dark.
Oh, who am I kidding? Politicians of every stripe take a top-secret series of courses within three weeks of arriving in Ottawa. The curriculum includes the following:

MEDIA SCRUM 100: Answering questions in such a way as to dispense absolutely no information, without offending anyone; how to camouflage opinions; how to appear to have two or more opinions on any given issue at any given time.
POLITICS 103: Damage control: "Passing the Buck--How Far Can It Be Thrown?"; Politics as War, or, The Other Side Are All Heathens!; Taxpayers And Their Bottomless Pockets.
DEPROGRAMMING 224: "Common Sense--Myth or Fantasy?"; "How to Spend Other People&#…

Money, money, money....

If you ask ten Canadians what the most important issue facing the country today is, fourteen of them will say "health care".
If you ask ten university students what the bane of their existence is, fifteen of them will say "high tuition".
And if you ask ten members of any city council what the most pressing need in their ward is, well, you'll get about seventy different answers, but all of them will boil down to....MONEY.
There are some deeply ingrained beliefs in Canadian culture that defy logical explanation. In Toronto, city council spends well over $200 million trying to address rampant homelessness, creating--to no one's surprise but their own--more rampant homelessness. The health care budget eats up untold billions each and every year, and yet our health care system stutters along on life support, and the prognosis is bleak. Consider just a few of the symptoms:
Again in Toronto, it is not uncommon for paramedics to wait seven or eight hours to drop their…

Night Terrors

The nightmare was fading by the time I forced my eyes to open.Unfortunately, although I couldn't recall the substance of the dream, its essence--a hair-raising sense of impending calamity--clung to me like a sweaty sheet.
The bedroom looked all right. Everything was exactly where I'd left it before climbing under the covers.The closet door, since childhood the first item to be checked off on any nocturnal security list, was firmly closed. (I know that nothing lurks in my closet, ready to shamble out and gobble me up. I also know that if I keep the door to the closet closed, it won't be able to get me.)
No, everything was in least on the surface. Underneath, however, something was seriously wrong.
It was hard to say just what. Awfully important, though. Because whatever it was, it was--
coming closer.

I could almost--no, check that, I thought, I could actually hear it coming. A nearly subsonic humming that lodged in my brain.All but paralyzed with terror, I stared at…

On Marriage

Today, the federal government introduced a bill to amend the Marriage Act. This bill, if it passes, would redefine civil marriage to be a union of two 'persons". That's all it wll do. There are many things it won't do. It won't criminalize heterosexual marriage. It specifically won't force churches to solemnize marriages they are uncomfortable with.
That's not good enough for many Canadians. A sizeable majority oppose same-sex marriage: 65%, according to a poll conducted by CanWest Global and the National Post. Of that 65%, about 32% would accept same-sex "unions", as long as they weren't called marriage; the rest don't support homosexual marriage under any name at all.
A group called Enshrine Marriage Canada has produced a declaration on marriage that seems to sum up what many Canadians believe. I'd like to present this manifesto, which is divided into seven articles, and rebut each article as I go...because, to put it mildly, I disa…