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Showing posts from January, 2005

Turkeys, turkeys everywhere, but not a one to buy

This week, at work, we're running a pretty hot ad.
The highlight of the ad, right there on the front page, is "Utility Turkeys" at $1 a pound.
Now, we knew this was doing to break down the doors. Especially once we heard that these turkeys were mostly in the 15-20 pound range, rather than the 24-plus pound range like we had on sale last year.
The flyer was supposed to state a limit of two per family per day. Thank God they forgot to put that in there. Because we put a limit of one per family per day on them right from the get-go. The NINE SKIDS we brought in for Saturday lasted us not quite five hours; we were out of stock by 1:00 p.m.
This wouldn't have presented too big a problem because replenishment was due in at 2:00. Except that truck showed up at 11:30 p.m., after we had closed for the day and LONG after the city bylaws allow us to accept deliveries.
Nevertheless, we shattered a store record for sales on Saturday. I can only imagine how much busier it would have …

Justice for all?

A judge in the Netherlands has reduced a convicted robber's fine by the price of his pistol, citing the weapon as a 'legitimate business expense'. The judge was asked if a Ferrari was a 'legitimate business expense' for a drug dealer: apparantly not. The drug dealer, said His Honor (?), doesn't require such flash and dash merely to transport drugs: "a small truck would suffice".
This isn't a one-off. In Holland, criminals keep receipts and routinely have these amounts deducted from their fines.
How does it feel, I wonder, to be a hardworking Dutchman with his nose to the windmill, always aware the justice system considers a thief his equal, economically speaking?
Not that our justice system here in Canada is much better than that. I can't remember the last time I heard a sentence pronounced that I thought fair. You can rape somebody in Canada and get house arrest. You can kill somebody and get less than three years in jail. Not even that, if you…

Pollyanna...wanna whack her?

I bought a book at Costco yesterday called A Short History of Progess, by Ronald Wright. There were several works of fiction beckoning on the heaping tables: the last chapter of Stephen King's Dark Tower saga, I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe, a few others--but they were all in hardcover, something reserved in my universe for reference works and Harry Potter.
(Incidentally, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the bookstores lately: a disquieting absence of 'mass-market' paperbacks. Best-selling authors do, of course, still release their works in mass-market editions...eventually. I figure The Da Vinci Code will be available in paperback sometime around the Last Trump. Until then, the best we plebes can hope for is 'trade paperback'--priced mid-way between outrageous and a king's ransom. And the rapid rise in the loonie against the Yankee greenback hasn't been reflected in book pricing...there's still often a 30% difference in the Canadian and Amer…

Spreading democracy...or something...

We live in a world of contradictions we aren't supposed to notice or remember.
Our provincial premier promised us not to raise our taxes, then prompty whacked us with the largest tax increase in decades. He still won't call his 'premium' a tax, even though it is; he won't even acknowledge he broke a promise.
He repeatedly insists that any privatization of our sacred public health care system is a sin, even as he's effectively privatized chiropractic and optometry. He likewise promised to hire thousands of nurses, and now is giving hospitals a $200 million grant, over half of which is to be spent on...severance pay for nurses.
Our Prime Minister promised a bold new style of government, but has proven himsself to be every bit the bully and ditherer his predecessor was. Sixteen days to deploy our D.A.R.T team to the tsunami zone (it took Italy two). Whenever the heat gets to be too much, Martin, like Chretien, leaves the country. And your chance of making a differ…

So long, NHL

I was staring through the five-hole and thought I caught a glimpse of hope, but the pads slammed shut before I could even think of getting a shot off.
Oh, there'll be another meeting between elements of the NHL and the NHLPA, likely Monday, but that'll likely be it. The season will be officially cancelled. Many Canadians will shrug their shoulders: we're used to no hockey by now. Many Americans won't notice at all.
With this season cancelled, there's no reason to negotiate until mid-August. And when that negotiation session fails, they'll hold off until December. And, quite possibly, next season will be gone as well.
And I for one say good riddance.
Last time I wrote on this topic, I blamed the owners almost exclusively. Not much has changed in the interim, although I do wonder why a quarter to a third of the players seem to have no problem playing for a fraction of their NHL salaries.
Pierre Maguire suggested last night that close to seventy percent of players…

Is that a ribcage in that there closet?

Well, I've emerged from the first session intact.
It was 90 minutes of mostly idle chitchat.Tom was, as advertised, very laid back and non-threatening. He was very much impressed with our application package, which he joked was almost complete enough to constitute his own evaluation. On some level this surprised me: I can't fathom answering the questions they asked me in three words or three sentences. I referenced just about every objection they could possibly raise in there too. I've always been of the opinion that potentially nasty surprises should be dealt with head-on. I'd rather, for instance, have them know right off the bat that my mother chose not to attend my wedding than have that come up halfway through the proceedings.
And that is one of the things he's chewing on. Another is the fact I never got my university degree--I dropped out about four or five credits shy. I think he might be afraid I'll decide about a week before the kids get placed that I…

The beginning of...the middle

Tomorrow, it comes.
Our adoption homestudy.
I don't remember the social worker who is assigned to us, but Eva does. Eva and others have told me the man is very mellow and laid-back, which is a good thing. Conversely, I have heard that these social workers tear apart your life and deliberately try to goad you into losing your temper. Not a good thing.
It irks me a little, to own the truth: in order to adopt children, we have to prove to a complete stranger that we are...what? Competent? Even-tempered? Intelligent? All of the above? What do people having children 'naturally' have to prove? A healthy pelvis on the female, I guess, and that's really about it. We've gone through over twenty hours of classes, most of them centering on negative aspects of child-rearing. We've written over a hundred pages of material on our lives, and friends and family have contributed another twenty or more. And after the homestudy, which will take two or three months, we already kno…

And now, the news...

I was reading a letter to the editor in the Toronto Sun the other day. The writer was expressing his sense of frustration about the media coverage of the tsunami--day after day, page after page, over and over. And I found myself agreeing with him. I'm tired of this, I thought to myself. Is nothing else happening anywhere in the world? On the day I read this--I think it was Monday--the radio news was still leading with the tsunami and devoting fifteen minutes of its newscast to various tsunami issues. We get it, I thought. Okay, the point's been made. Enough already.
And then I read the editor's response to this letter that could have been my letter. It hit me like a slap--no, a punch--in the face.
"Behold, another class of tsunami victims: those who are tired of hearing about it. Oh, the humanity!"
Thus chastened, I tried to reclaim my initial shock and horror at the devastation and desolation, and moved on to the next issue. But damn it all, it seemed that no…


I'm writing this in our new living room.
Odd, that phrase, really. "Living room". Like you're dead in the rest of the house, or something. I spend a third of my life in the bedroom, a good bit of the rest of the time in the kitchen. I'm an inveterate bathroom reader, so I spend more time in there than is probably good for me. Actually, until now, the room designated the "living room" in our house was mostly a space to pass through en route to somewhere else. The only time you'd sit in here was to use the computer.
Our real living room was downstairs, in the basement. That was by design. 'Wouldn't it be nice', we thought, 'to have a basement retreat? It's nice and dark down sun-glare to interfere with quality television time. The decor is nice, if you like that sort of thing: rustic country, complete with exposed beams and a beautiful (if completely fake) fireplace. The room seemed to be built for cosy relaxing.
But the…

A sobering thought...

I'm not usually one for conspiracy theories, but my Yoplait rep came up with a good one today I thought I would share.
Have you noticed that, of all the countries affected by the tsunami catastrophe, India is the only one not requesting outside help?
They're not only not requesting it, they're outright refusing it.
I was so startled at this news that I checked it online. Google "india request tsunami aid" and you'll see what I mean. Non-governmental organizations are not permitted to set foot on Indian soil.
Officially, India is saying that it really doesn't need the help. This disaster, it said, isn't on a par with those of the past (a cyclone hit a province of India several years back and killed 20,000; India's share of the death toll from the tsunami, according to the latest data I can find online, is 9600, with about 4000 missing.)
So 20,000 is a big number but 13,600 isn't.
Makes you wonder what India's hiding.
After all, I…

Congratulations, Canadian Juniors

...for an incredible showing at this year's World Junior tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I only caught the semifinals against the Czech Republic and tonight's gold medal game (wherein we beat the Russians, 6-1), but I saw enough to safely proclaim this as the best Canadian junior team ever assembled.
There are several players here with extremely bright futures in the NHL (should the NHL actually have a future, thank you, Gary "Weasel" Bettman):
Jeff Carter was the heart of this team. He's got phenomenal hands and great hockey sense. Philadelphia will be glad to see him suit up.Ryan Getzlaf combines offensive talent, a sound two-way positional game, and never-say-die fortitude. What more could you ask of a player?Dion Phaneuf, Calgary property, could step into the National Hockey League tomorrow as a top-two defenseman on most any team and not look out of place in the slightest. He presents a wall to oncoming forwards...a hard wall...and he's got a bu…

...and in with the new

I don't do New Year's resolutions. For several reasons.
First off, the very world "resolution" implies two things: one, that my life has problems, and two, that they are problems I have had for some time and tried to solve at least once before (otherwise, why would I need to "re-solve" them?) Neither of these things is true. Granted, my world is not perfect, and improvements can always be made, but I try to accept whatever my life brings and not view any of it as problematic, requiring solution, or even worse, "re-solution".
Second, I attach no special significance to January 1. If I decide to change my life in a little or a large way, I can just as easily make that decision on February 17 or July 22.
Third, and let's face it, most New Year's resolutions are bound to fail. Not all of them, mind you: my wife quit smoking two years ago, starting the process on January 1 and smoking her last cigarette on January 12, and she hasn't smoked …