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Showing posts from 2006

W(h)ither the world, 2007?

I still don't do New Year's resolutions.
For the same reasons I gave last year: nothing in my life needs to be solved (let alone "re-solved"); and if it did, I could just as easily change course sometime next week or next month.
I also don't like to look ahead too far. One day at a time, that's my motto. Trying to discern the details of a 365-day journey from the vantage point of December 31 is just silly when neither your eyesight nor your foresight are up to scratch, and your insight is occasionally spotty to boot.
Nevertheless, because I've never been ashamed of making a fool out of myself, here are various and sundry predictions for the year 2007.
(1) ELECTION FEVER WILL DESCEND UPON US AGAIN. REPEATEDLY.
First will come a federal election, probably launched in February over Afghanistan and the environment. The Green Party will--very grudgingly--be allowed a little more media coverage, though it probably won't be featured in the debates. Nevertheless…

Cleaning out the desk...

PART I: THAT RASCALLY YABBUT

My mind wanders. Sometimes I look up and find it in the damnedest places. While my body's taking the bus into work, my brain's sending up an endless litany of questions, trying to answer itself, and tying itself in knots.
Why is this bus just sitting here for five or six minutes? (To get back on schedule, doofus). Yeah, but why is it idling? Isn't the whole point of public transit supposed to be saving the environment? (Uh...)
Oh, we're moving again. Why won't people on a packed bus ever move back beyond the back door without repeated demands from the driver? (They don't want to have to wrestle their way to the exit.) Yeah, but the back of the bus is so much closer to the back door than the middle of it. (Umm...)
We're coming up to the end of the line, the last stop, where everybody gets out. Somebody rings the bell. WHY? (To let the driver know they want the bus to s--) Yeah, but it has to stop here. It always stops here, without…

Retail Rambles (or, Hail to the Sheeple)

First off, obligatory Georgia update: I feel for all the world like a new father. Georgia is by turns endearing and annoying, sometimes both at once. Her bladder is only slightly larger than my wife's, and thus I must keep one eye peeled at all times for the ol' drop and squat. And the sensation of peeled eye is mighty disagreeable.
Tux is getting along much better than I thought he would. Georgia seems to worship the ground he lopes around on. We have Tux trained, every time he comes in the house, to ascend the three steps from our tiny side landing to the kitchen proper, turn around, and sit, so that we can clean his paws with a towel we keep for the purpose. Well, every once in a while, Georgia will come in, wriggle her way up the three steps (each one taller than she is), and immediately turn around and do a perfect sit. It's the cutest thing.
She's really cute, in fact, up until the moment she chomps down on some exposed skin with those vampire teeth of hers. Or whe…

So THAT'S why they call it 'Boxing Day'!

Well, Georgia made it through her first night, not without some excitement. Around 2:30 she started yipping away to beat the band, and yours truly hauled ass out of bed and brought her (and big brother Tux) outside. Both dogs are black (though Georgia's got some brindling) and the yard was utterly black, so I'm not sure anything of an excretory nature was accomplished on our wee girl's part. But she was considerably quieter upon being returned to her little crate, and the rest of the night passed by in peace...in the outside world, that is.

Sometime in the interval I commenced to spin a web of dreamery. I dreamed that an evil organization was after me, for reasons unknown to my waking self but perfectly obvious in the dream. I was out walking with my cousin Terri and stopped off at a store to buy a paper. While fishing for money to pay for the paper, I lost my passport (and don't ask why I was carrying it around...again, made sense while sleeping...) Of course, I didn&#…

Christmas Cheer

What an eventful Christmas this has been...

We were up a little after 6:30, and I could tell before I ever got out of bed that there'd be a long winter's nap catching up with me sometime today.

Santa was very, very good to me. I reaped a whirlwind of stuff. The least expensive presents--including a couple in my stocking--were some of the best. For instance: unscented deodorant.

Several years ago, I received by way of my stocking something like seven sticks of unscented deodorant. I couldn't help but feel a bit chastened: was somebody trying to tell me I stink? Since then, I've found deodorant in every stocking, a year's supply thereof. I've been assured my body odour is no worse than the next fellow's, and so I've come to appreciate the gesture. Because finding unscented deodorant, in these latter Axe days, is becoming increasingly difficult. In fact, the last few stores I've scouted through don't bother to stock any brand of it at all.

Which surpr…

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. It's the only place I'll ever see one.

I was going to postpone a post on climate change until after the holidays, lacking a suitable hook to hang it on. Then I looked out my window.
It's gonna be a green Christmas in Kitchener-Waterloo: indeed, in most cities in Canada. Snow is forecast here for Boxing Day, but the white Christmas that used to be a better-than-even bet around here is increasingly a longshot proposition.
As recently as thirty years ago, there was a 60% chance of a white Christmas in Toronto--an hour east of here. Now it's 30%. If current trends continue, and nobody sees any reason to think they won't, by 2020 snow for Christmas will be the stuff of old sepia-tinged postcards.
This is the one day of the year that most Canadians welcome snow. Its absence might provoke some thought.
Then again, probably not. Here in Canada, it's difficult to sell the possible catastrophic aspects of climate change when it'll also mean a reduction in our heating bills, an extension to the growing season, and f…

Ho-ho-ho!

Yesterday's rant notwithstanding, I would like to wish each and every one of my readers a very Merry Christmas. May you have a joyful celebration of all that is dear to you and your families.

Michael Coren just doesn't get it.

The following is Michael Coren's column from today's Toronto SUN, pasted and posted verbatim. (I could have furnished the link, but I'm afraid it might expire.) Without further ado:

TORONTO -- As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ there is surely nobody who seriously believes that Christianity is not under attack in North America. It was the author and critic Michael Medved, an Orthodox Jew, who pretty much summed it all up.
He made the point that even in a film as banal and forgettable as Alien 3, the secular establishment and its poodle that is media and entertainment managed to throw a few punches. In the movie, one of the violent sexual maniacs on a futuristic penal colony explains, "You know, we're all fundamentalist Christians here."
This, of course, is in outer space.
One would have thought the eternal struggle against man-eating aliens had little to do with organized religion, but apparently not.
Out of context, out of place and just dumb…

Switchover

Note to readers:
Now that blogger is supposedly out of beta, I've gone ahead and switched to the new version. I've done this despite serious misgivings, after my friend Jen was driven off Blogger entirely. Having invested something close to (or over) two million words into this blog, I would never kill it willingly. Faced with the dilemma of continuing to post on a creaky, doubless-soon-to-be-unsupported system versus undergoing some growing pains, I've opted for the latter.

Jen's problems included the inability for people (i.e., me) to comment. If anyone wishes to comment on a particular post of mine and has a problem doing so, please email me at keneva1(at)sympatico.ca and let me know.

Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled insanity.

So This Is Christmas...

Nothing happening today, so...

...my list of best and worst Christmas carols of all time.

Best:

Carol of the Bells: You don't hear this one nearly often enough. Purists would appreciate the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's rendition, while those of us who like to rock should appreciate the version done by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Sleigh Ride: This is one of the more challenging carols to sing, not to mention play. The more modern covers tend to move at quite a clip. I like the jazzy chord progression here.

The Christmas Song ("Chestnuts roasting...") Next time you hear this old chestnut, try to really listen to it. Evocative in the way so few carols really are, it brings back a time when Christmas meant respite from the hustle and bustle, not a redoubling of it.

When Christmas Comes To Town: If anything deserves instant classic status, it's this moving tune from the soundtrack to The Polar Express. Slow and bittersweet, it's not your standard cheery carol. But it'…

Adventures in Laundry

The usual Friday morning routine chez Breadner goes like this:
1. Wake up at 5:12 a.m by prying one eye open with chisel.
2. Be kissed good morning/goodbye by lovely wife (or somebody, anyway...eye has immediately shut itself with resounding THUD.) Say, "goodbye, love, have a good day, I love you very much." Notice how it comes out in one vowel-filled syllable, but fall asleep before can muster energy to correct.
3. Sleep in until ultradecadent hour of 7:00. Occasionally done on Sundays, never done any other day of week.
4. Turn on television to channel 958 and listen to one half-hour revolution of 680 News wheel. Catch up with large volume of news that dared to happen while sleeping.
5. Bound out of bed and into nice refreshing shower. Reflect again on how used to rate showers on several different scales measuring pressure, dispersion, and overall experience. Current shower still rates a solid 22 out of 30.
Get out, shake off, and dress.
6. Fire up computer en route to throwing fi…

Merry whatever.

Every day for the last five, I've come home fully intending to blog something. And every day for the last five, I've sat down at the computer, composed my thoughts over a game of air hockey, and abruptly decided I'm too friggin' tired to blog anything. My brain's turned to sludge.
And it's only about to get worse.
Every year, the Christmas ad is a bitch for those of a dairy persuasion. It seems like they put every third item on sale, with no conception of display space, to say nothing of backshop storage.
So work life is about to go squirrelly, yet again.
Around this time of year, it has become fashionable to lament the deChristification of the season. You can't open a paper without reading an article decrying the use of 'Happy Holidays' and 'Season's Greetings'. "It's called CHRISTMAS", we're told.
I used to be among the throngs of people taking offense at the people who take offense at 'Merry Christmas'. I'v…

A Degree of Animosity

I go to school, I write exams
If I pass, if I fail, if I drop out does any one give a damn?
And if they do, they'll soon forget,
'cause it won't take much for me to show my life ain't over yet...
---The Barenaked Ladies, "What A Good Boy"


I am a university dropout.
That looks rather incriminating, stated baldly like that, doesn't it?
I have nothing to say in my defense. Well, I have plenty to say, but it's doubtful any of it would make much sense to a jury of my degree-holding peers, much less acquit me of the crime of willful stupidity.
But I'll say it all anyway, pointless babblage being something of a trademark of mine.
I guess the first thing I should say is that I'm not a typical dropout. I didn't major in beer and coeds. In my entire postsecondary career I got drunk all of once, and as for the co-eds, feel free to laugh now. (Okay, not that hard.)
So if I didn't embrace booze , nor a floozie's bosoms, what could have compelled an Ontar…

Ask not for whom the Bell tolls...

I remember camping.
We used to camp--geez, it seems like every weekend, at least in the summertime. In my early childhood, it was Oastler Lake Provincial Park; later, in my teens, Dad and I would sometimes camp at Grundy Lake, not far from his house.
Camping was about the only time this indoor kid got outside for any length of time, or at least enjoyed being outside. If you click on the image gallery on each park's site, you can get some small idea of why. Panoramas like that are a nickel a gross in the north country, and one of the biggest reasons I want to retire up that way.
Notes for a sketch of camping:
The little Kellogg's cereal boxes for breakfast. The campfire at night to ward off the chill. The heady aroma of mosquito coil. Giant butter tarts. Frolicking on the beach. Hiking the trails, especially the Beaver Dam Trail with its long boardwalk. Dad getting a chipmunk soused on beer. The seaweed in Gut Lake clutching me in its kelpy fingers.
The tent trailer.
I remember the…

Paragons of Mediocrity

As I write this, Bob Rae is gaining ground on Michael Ignatieff in the race to become Liberal leader, Stephane Dion is gaining on both of them, and Canadian media are rushing all over themselves to convince us This Is Important, Damnit. Their enthusiasm betrays them.
The media doesn't like Stephen Harper. (Probably why he, in turn, doesn't like the media.) It's not so much anything Steve has done or not done, more a matter of who he is, and is not. He was born in Toronto, but is not from Toronto. He's well-schooled in classical liberalism, but is most emphatically not a Liberal. You can almost see it in the stories which praise Harper for his stand on China, his steadfast support of our troops, and most recently for that surprise "Quebec nation" motion that so enraged Gilles Duceppe...there's a barely hidden subtext saying hey, that wasn't bad...for a Conservative. What a pity he's not one of us.
And so, the media, wishing mightily for someone more …

Stressember

Tomorrow it starts.
Well, it started sometime in late September: that's when I heard my first Christmas carol of the season, and they're in full bloom now over the satellite system at work. I got my Christmas cookies well before Hallowe'en and saw the first Christmas lights go up on our street sometime in early November. Ridiculous.
I've always considered the first of December the official kickoff to what is--surely sarcastically--referred to as the "holiday" season, no matter how early retailers try to get the jump on it. In my world you wouldn't be allowed to even mention Christmas before December 1. Or better yet, retailers would be allowed one month of festive orgy: if they chose to start it on the first of November, all traces would have to be removed by close tonight.
Oh, to be a kid again. Remember that? When the "holiday season" actually meant two weeks of holidays? When the only Christmas stress was felt on Christmas Eve, waiting for that …

Going Moldy....

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