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Showing posts from November, 2005

On the Occasion of the Government's Fall

From the mailbox today:

I had just got my new GMC Yukon Denali, and had returned to the dealer the next day complaining that I couldn't figure out how to work the radio. The salesman explained that the radio is voice activated. "Watch this!" he said. "Nelson!" The radio replied "Ricky or Willie?" "Willie!"he continued, and immediately "On The Road Again" came from the speakers.
I'm pretty impressed with this radio. If I say Beatles I get one of their classics; if I say Green Day, I get a rousing rendition of one of their hits. One day a couple ran a red light and nearly smashed my new Denali, but I swerved in time to avoid them. "ASSHOLE! I yelled". Immediately I heard "O Canada started to play, sung byPAUL MARTIN, backed up by BELINDA STRONACH, with JEAN CHRETIEN on guitar,ANN MACLELLAN on drums and DAVID DINGWALL playing the keyboard. The anthem was then followed followed by their version of TAKE THE MONEY AND RU…

A Day At The Movies

2005 has not exactly been a banner year for the movies. I think the box office stats bear me out on this. The problem, of course, is that Hollywood insists on producing tripe and marketing it as truffles. Totally unnecessary sequels (many to movies which never should have been made in the first place), unimaginative and endless reworkings of the same tired old cliches, and REMAKES, which stand indicted in their own little corner of cinematic hell.
There are two classes of remakes: those which serve only to remind you how good the original was and how sacrilegious it is to alter so much as a single frame...or no-more-palatable second helpings of film shit-kebab. (Did we really need a reimagining of The Fog?)
It is therefore not a coincidence that I have seen very few releases this year. Our usual practice is to wait until there are two movies we want to see--it's often, but not always, one for her and one for me--and make a day of it, starting with the earliest showing around noon an…

Sing a song of winter

I believe Gilles Vigneault said it best. We sang this song in Grade 11 French and I've never forgotten it. My attempt at translation follows...let's see just how well I recall M. Yake's teachings.

MON PAYS (EXCERPT)

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver

Dans la blanche cérémonie
Où la neige au vent se marie
Dans ce pays de poudrerie
Mon père a fait bâtir maison
Et je m'en vais être fidèle
À sa manière, à son modèle
La chambre d'amis sera telle
Qu'on viendra des autres saisons
Pour se bâtir à côté d'elle

Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon refrain ce n'est pas un refrain, c'est rafale
Ma maison ce n'est pas ma maison, c'est froidure
Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver...
-------
My country's not a country, it is winter
My g…

Today, I'm the It Boy.

Every once in a while, I get 'tagged'.
For my non-blogging readers, a tag is the blog equivalent of chain mail. One person comes up with a neat idea for a blog entry...and 'tags' everybody s/he knows, thereby perpetuating the post all over the blogosphere. In short, it's a game, and usually a silly one.
So the tag I got this morning asked me to go back to my 23rd post and examine the fifth sentence of it for any subtexts or hidden meanings.
Well, I was curious. Curious enough to see just when my 23rd blog entry was (Father's Day last year) and whether or not the fifth sentence thereof had any subtext to it. Frankly, I doubted it. As a writer, I don't do subtext. I've always operated on the principle that if I have something to say, the best way to say it is...to say it, not to hide it behind a bush of allegory.

"My first sight of John McCallum, the man who became The Man in my life, was in August, 1980."

Nope, nothing hidden there.

If there's an…

Total Mindblow

If you read one book this year, make it Michael Crichton's STATE OF FEAR.
As a thriller, it's fair to middling, with some exciting parts and Crichton's usual flat characters and contrived situations.
As a polemic, it's absolutely brilliant.
You will come away from this book, which deals with global warming, asking yourself some pretty hard questions. You will start to question just about everything you see in the media. You will start seeing agendas everywhere you look. You will wonder how it is so many people can be played for fools.
Crichton's position--and he makes a very compelling case--is that global warming is vastly overblown. According to him, they haven't proven a consistent link between the supposed global temperature rise and anything human beings have done. Every hyped report you hear about glaciers melting masks another, much-less-publicized report of a glacier somewhere else expanding. For every city whose average temperature has risen over the last …

Kennel Tales

One of my first paid jobs was at Kelly Kennels near Dorchester, Ontario. It was also the worst job of my career.
Every Sunday, I'd awaken a free man, be driven forty minutes into another world, and be dropped off a slave. The dual countdown would begin as the engine noise from our Hyundai Stellar faded over the hill to the west: one clock ticked off the hours until lunch, while the other tocked off the time until I got to go home. Both clocks sometimes stopped, and even ran in reverse if they wanted to.
Why would my parents offer their only child into slavery every week? They had their reasons. Looking back, I'll even concede (grudgingly) that they were good reasons. For one thing, it got me out of the house--which was not the easiest thing to do: it usually required something like a cattle prod. For another, I'm sure they felt that time around Bernie couldn't help but instill some sort of work ethic into me.
Bernie owned the kennel. He wasn't a harsh man, as slave d…

Guess what? It's happening to ALL OF US....

It is my considered opinion that our society is very sick.
I think pretty much everyone agrees with me and will hasten to diagnose a myriad of ills, some of them undoubtedly terminal. But the particular ailment I have in mind is usually overlooked: indeed, its symptoms are routinely mistaken for signs of health--which is, of course, the crowning proof of how insidious this disease is.
I'm talking about Fountain of Youth Syndrome.
In the western world, anything old is beneath notice. And the definition of 'old' is getting newer with each passing generation, to the point where I've actually heard "like, that's so five minutes ago" out of the mouth of a mere teenager. While her usage was obviously satirical, it wasn't as satirical as you'd think.
Yes, anything "old" is contemptible. And so, by extension, is anyone old. This maxim, which our society has elevated to the level of a Great Truth, has become so ingrained that it is expected of every…

Vote Liberal or Santa gets it!

"It will be up to them [the Opposition Leaders] to explain why they are forcing an election at a time Canadians least want one."
--Prime Minister Paul Martin

Well, let's see now, Paulie. Because your government is corrupt? Because you are a ditherer who can see only as far as the next poll? Because you've got Gomery in your back pocket, and we can't trust you to dissolve your own government when you said you would...just because you said you would? Because, in typical Liberal fashion, you're poised to bankrupt the treasury in a vain (we hope in vain) attempt to cling to power, like a leech?

That's just off the top of my head, you understand.

Fellow citizens and voters, please bear in mind that you will not have to interrupt Christmas dinner to exercise your franchise: the earliest election day could come would be early January. The Liberals will call it a Christmas election every chance they get, of course. If you're Orthodox and celebrate Christmas on J…

Snapshot: Me

I've come down with a touch of writer's block. There's nothing going on in the news worth discussing...oh, I've been musing on a Paris riot column for about two weeks now, but the thoughts are too depressing to write out. My life is currently very comfortable...read, very boring. Hence my wordy-gurdy is wheezing a bit.
Luckily, there's a host of old writing, from my previous diary Past...Present...Fuschia to draw on. Paging through it, I rediscovered something I'd penned back in 1999, a recurring column called "Snapshot: Me". Rereading, I found it interesting to see how my thinking had changed on some issues and hadn't changed at all on others, in six very eventful years.

1999: "I am pro-abortion. Fetuses have no rights as they can't think for themselves. They aren't even humans, therefore legally lack human rights. (Babies can't think for themselves, either, but that's what parents are for...once they've decided to BECOME …

Armistice Day

According to a local poll, I am one of seven percent who feel November 11th should not be a national holiday.
Being as 93% of the populace seems to be against me on this issue, I should probably elaborate.
I'm sure many of these people--the ones who feel we should honour our veterans with a holiday--have the purest of motives and intentions. But they're terribly misguided, because within a year or two, Remembrance Day would become just another day off. Two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour would go by largely unmarked. Kids would lose the poignant Remembrance Day assemblies that are pretty much their only chance to learn about the terrible toll that generations of veterans have willingly paid.
November 11th is the secular Easter: a chance to acknowledge that pretty much everything we have as a nation, certainly everything worth the having, has risen out of the deaths of multitudes. The burden of gratitude is heavy, but not a fraction as heavy as its price.

Herewith, a small …

My eyes are dim, I can not see...

I was born very premature and very tiny. The second-born of twins (my twin died three days later), my survival was in doubt for more than half a year. I spent the better part of that half-year in an incubator, which permanently buggered my vision.
Being born too soon may have done other things as well, none of them particularly good. I am about as flexible as your average iron bar, and to this day I seem to be incapable of walking "properly". But my poor vision has had the biggest impact on my life.
I had surgery to correct a lazy eye at the age of three, but the nearsightedness went unnoticed until the third grade. And why wouldn't it? At home, I spent most of my time buried in a book. A person looking at me would have suspected bad eyesight, but that thought never occurred to me...as far as I was concerned, the closer I got to the words, the closer I got to the world within the words.
Once I got to school, you'd think my eyesight would have become an issue. It didn…

So you're STILL voting Liberal...

Hey, who can blame you? After all, Stephen Harper doesn't smile. Also, he's going to sell us out to the Americans, put toll booths in hospital waiting rooms, and torch every gay bar in Canada (after filling them with abortion doctors). It's all right there in the Conservative Party of Canada platform: you've read it. Haven't you?

It could be argued, actually, that the only person in Canadian politics with any reason to smile these days is Jack Layton. Here's a man who, by dint of third-party status and Paul Martin's colossal ego, has managed to hold our government hostage to his socialist demands. Then again, letting Jacky-boy drive the bus isn't translating into increased support for his New Democrats, so even Layton can't be grinning too widely.
The most recent polls show Grit and Tory support to be pretty close to dead even. That will, of course, change: it has before. In a week or maybe two, Ontarians in particular will have either forgotten all a…

(Non)Judgment Day

So the man Paul Martin appointed to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal has (surprise, surprise) exonerated Paul Martin.
The full interim report can be found at www.gomery.ca. I'm not going to tell you it's worth reading: I suspect that the only people who will read every word of the thousand-plus pages will be lawyers involved in the next phase. (For a next phase there will be--pretty much everybody who has been excoriated in this report is musing, publicly, about lawsuits and counter-inquiries; the name Gomery shall resound from sea to sea for some while yet, I'd wager.)
The interim report may not be worth reading (who, really, has that kind of time?) But it's certainly worth skimming, and I would recommend anyone with the slightest interest on what went wrong, and how, take a gander at Justice Gomery's take on the matter.
Gomery notes that his conclusions do not have the force they would in a court of law. So many people had so many attacks of convenient a…

Going Moldy....

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