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Showing posts from March, 2006

Check out this site if you've a mind to. It covers every sort of religion/spirtuality, including the lack of either: chances are you will find something that resonates with you on this colossal site. They have a "Belief-O-Matic" quiz that attempts to match your spiritual/religious beliefs to established traditions. I was astonished to discover that my beliefs are supposedly very close to those of Christian Scientists...considering the negative viewpoint I have of same. As it turns out (and as I could have predicted), I'm also a fit with Unitarianism and the New Thought Movement. Apparently I would be somewhat at home at a Quaker meeting. And I can still call myself a liberal Protestant, if I want to. (Not sure I really want to, although the United Church doesn't turn me off entirely.)
Interestingly, the belief system that least matched my answers is Roman Catholicism...the faith I was baptized into...twice.
Anyway, there are interviews and essays and discussion bo…

Cue the swearing...

What a day.

I seem to have recovered from the vasectomy. Today, we ventured off to Burlington to do another mall-crawl. This time the destination was Mapleview Centre, which we had noticed on previous excursions to the Mandarin with our friends. Nice place, this Mapleview Centre. Impossible to get lost in: it consists of one long passage on two floors. The stores within are pretty much standard, but there were some neat-o exceptions. The neat-o-est was undoubtedly The General Store, which I've seen in only a few other shopping centres. You walk in and are confronted with any number of little nooks and crannies, each containing artsy-craftsy handmade stuff from a different retailer. Everything from teddy bears to candles to gift baskets to wooden/glass/ceramic knicknackery. Most of it's one-of-a-kind, you-won't-find-it-anywhere-else stuff. Cool beans.
Eva stumbled into a Lewiscraft that was closing and picked up some fantastic deals. I stumbled into Coles and, well, given unl…

Big Brother, where are you when we need you?

So-called "civilized" human beings have this need for something they call "privacy". It's a peculiar concept for a social animal...especially peculiar since it is not, as many believe, universal.
Primitive societies did pretty much everything in public. Your tipi or wigwam or stone cave didn't have separate bedrooms for parents and children. Nor were "bathrooms" necessarily segregated out of sight. Privacy is in fact an invention of rather recent vintage...and one I'd argue the human race is better off without.
Consider: how many criminal acts are performed in full view of anybody who cares to look?
There are a few, to be sure. Some of them (bank robberies come to mind) are done in public but the perpetrator invariably seeks out some private place to escape to and count his loot. Others (homicide bombings)...well, publicity is the whole purpose of those.
But most crimes happen in private. Rare is the murderer/child molester/rapist who seeks out a…

Report Card: Toronto Maple Leafs, 2005-2006

With the 2005-6 hockey season winding down, and my Leafs--Sunday night's win nothwithstanding--being, well, not with (playoff) standing, I think now's a good time to issue my season report card on the roster. The Toronto papers will do this in a couple of weeks: this way, I can get the jump on them and maybe sue for plagiarism later. Ha.

In doing this report, I'm going to try to be as objective as I can. There's a belief out there that most Leaf fans are really fanatics who have let their blue-and-white blood choke off every vestige of reason. I'd like to say that this is one fan who refuses to conform to that stereotype.

The team as a (w)hole:

Grade: D

Did not live up to modest expectations. The sense at the outset was that this team would have to battle hard to make the playoffs. They haven't...and they won't.
The damnedest thing is, they are capable of beating most teams, if they put the effort in. Most of them don't, except ever so occasionally...just o…

Choices, choices...

I'm paging through this month's edition of THE ECONOMIST--always in search of material to stuff into the Breadbin, you understand--and lo and behold, there's a stub of an article about razor blades. Damned if I wasn't pontificating about this very topic not all that long ago.
How many blades do we need? The cutting edge, so to speak, is five: the Gillette Fusion. I'm still two iterations behind, and quite happy with my trusty Mach3 (not even the Turbo edition). I could be wrong, but I tend to think that anything more than three blades is an unnecessary marketing ploy--a pile of Schick.
(The article suggests that razor evolution is following a variant of Moore's Law (the observation that computer chips double in power every eighteen months), and that, possibly, "blade hyperdrive will be reached in the next few years and those who choose not to sport beards might be advised to start exercising their shaving arms now.")
This got me to musing about product…

Say hello to the Sunkist Man...

...all juice, no seed.
Yes, I had "the procedure" yesterday, the one where they 'fix' you. I still don't know why they say 'fixed' when they mean 'broken'.
The transition of Ken Breadner to Scooter the Neuter began with our third and worst miscarriage. To this day, that story is very painful to narrate: suffice it to say that my wife went in for a routine ultrasound at the three month mark only to discover the baby had died inside her weeks before. I was regaled with stories about people who had miscarried umpteen times before delivering a perfectly healthy child (or, often, two, three, or thirty). Eva and I talked it over, and I decided I couldn't risk putting her through that ordeal again. Because of a myriad of complicating medical factors--polycystic ovarian syndrome, the diabetes it spawned, incompatible blood, just to name a few--"that ordeal" was, while maybe not assured, very likely.
And so we embarked on the adoption option...…



(I know, that normally means c'mon in! The water's fine! But really, what I have to write about here is not normal. It's sick and twisted and I'm only writing about it to warn people, so consider yourself warned.)


I learned a couple of things this past weekend.
I learned that I am much more easily offended than I had thought myself to be. And I learned that past a certain point, absolutely nothing is funny.
We rented The Aristocrats. This movie was made by Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame) and I won't even dare somebody to watch the whole thing, because I honestly don't think it should be watched. At all. Ever. If you can sit through the whole thing, you're made of stronger stuff than I am. If you find it funny, much less sidesplitting, well, I'm sorry if this sounds condescending, but I really have to question your humanity.
The pre…

Here speeching English goodlike.

I was an English major, until I got sick of being told what to think. I still harbour some very strong opinions on how my language is used (or more to the point, misused). I can't begin to tell you how strong these opinions are...but I'm going to try.
Certain phrases grate on my ears like razor blades:
---The word "so" stuck next to verbs and, especially, nouns. As far as I can tell, this is so Friends. And it so pisses me off. So stow it, 'kay?
---The Department of Redundancy Department. Drives me around the bend. Have you ever noticed how common it is? Here's a very short list of redundant phrases I've heard recently:

*ATM machine (Automated Teller Machine machine)
* free gift (aren't all gifts free?)
*cease and desist (that's like stop and, umm, stop!)
*close proximity (there's no such thing as 'far' proximity!)
*general public (as opposed to the specific public, maybe?)
*pre-recorded (When else are you doing to record? After?)
*surrounded o…

Waste, want.

A couple of days back, there was an item on Global News about a high-rise apartment building in Toronto where people had been living without fresh water for several days. The particulars--the why of it all--skipped in one ear and out the other. What really threw me for a loop was the outrage expressed by several residents on camera.
I suppose I'd be pretty upset, too...the only source of clean water was a hose outside the building. And the landlord really did seem to be rather blase about it all. But at the same time, it's funny nobody mentioned that being able to access clean water from a hose within easy walking distance of your dwelling is a luxury beyond price for the majority of the planet.
It is really rather frightening how much we take for granted. There's nothing we won't waste: food, water, energy...what the hell, there's always more where that came from, right? We love to sit up here in our moral coccoons, raining opprobrium on the United States, but we…

My take on prostitution, or, by hook, not by crook

Before I tackle this subject, let it be known that I, a male human being with fully functional sexual equipment, have never employed a prostitute. Nor have I ever been tempted to. In fact, to my knowledge, a 'lady of the night' has only once spoken to me.
I was walking home rather late at night from downtown Kitchener. This is a walk of some eight kilometers, not the sort of thing I was in the habit of doing often, as (a) I'm a lazy sod and (b) EIGHT KILOMETERS! But what the hell. I'd just seen Titanic for the first time and was in something of a trance. And the weather was ideal for walking, as long as you were dressed for it: clear, cold but without a breeze...Oh, yeah, I had missed the last bus of the evening. Takes a while for that boat to sink, you know.
Downtown Kitchener is bracketed by red-light districts to its east and west. The east side is considerably seedier, which is the case in most cities in North America: the prevailing wind blows from the west, so fact…

Sorry, folks...

...but I am exhausted today. A post of any substance is utterly beyond my power tonight.
Why am I so tired? Chiefly because I got something like three and a half hours of sleep last night. I stayed up and watched the Leafs beat Boston in a shootout, 5-4. In itself that kept my up an hour past my usual bed-time. As soon as I got into bed, I began to hear one or more cats miaowing pathetically and at length; also rather faintly. This alarmed me. Our cats tend to stay in the basement at night now, as Tux has claimed the two upper floors, and more specifically, our bed. Spoiled dog. But rarely do I hear a peep out of either cat. In fact, my morning routine goes something like this: hobble out of bed, shower, get dressed, take Tux out to purge, check to make sure the cats are alive, have breakfast....
Down I went to seek out our little furballs. I found them cuddled into a kitty-pile on a recliner in the basement, looking at me all innocent-like. Back to bed. Oddly, I didn't feel overly…


Today's thoughts...
1) STEPHEN HARPER IN KANDAHAR: I admit I'm partisan, but this impressed me. Not just that he went, but that he stayed with our troops. One of my colleagues at work (who voted NDP, incidentally) said "awww, it's all an act." That's as may be, but neither Martin nor Chretien ever bothered.
There is growing public unease about the Afghanistan mission, as, apparently, many thought it would be a picnic. Our soldiers knew better...and yet went anyway. Some of them--including at least one of those killed in action--made a point of taking this mission on, despite having other options.
Ask your great-grandpa, who fought at Vimy, and your grandpa, who stormed the beach at Normandy, about the proud Canadian military tradition. It burned brightly until Trudeau got hold of the country, and ever since the emphasis has been on something called "peacekeeping". What Kandahar makes clear is that sometimes, peace has to be made before it can be kept…

Dipping into the writing well...

I have long thought of myself as a writer. Since before I could write, actually. My first stories, back in grade two, were printed in ruled composition books. They usually tended towards things like ghosts in deserted mansions: they were almost painfully derivative of things I'd read.
I would often be asked to come up to the front and read my compositions to the class, whereupon I would stride up and claim every eye, conjure a campfire, and let my tales wag in the smoky wind. I'm sure every teacher figured I'd grow up to be a successful author.
Well, I'm all grown up, now. And I've simultaneously succeeded beyond my wildest wishes...and failed, utterly and completely.
I've succeeded in that I am, technically, a published writer, and a prolific one at that. I'm coming up on my three hundredth chapter of a neverending saga called The Breadbin. My work is accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. With the help of tools that most people in 1…

Of Drumsticks and Clock-Ticks...

So we're entering the second week of one of our rare two-week flyers at work. Two-week ads tend to coincide with holidays: brave is the grocery chain that starts a new flyer on the Saturday of a long weekend. Two or three times a year, though, they extend a flyer over two weeks for no readily discernable reason.
We love these times.
For one thing, the second week is invaribly slower than the first, affording a chance to catch our breath. For another, an elongated sale allows the leeway to over-order and gradually deplete the stock...or, on the other hand, plenty of time to secure stock should we not order enough right off the bat.

BLACK DIAMOND CHEESE BARS, 600g, $5.47 (regular $7.47)

It wasn't all that long ago that $5.47 was the regular price. If you've done any grocery shopping over the past two years, you've probably noticed that the price of cheese has skyrocketed. Many, many people have grilled me on this--grilled cheese, get it?--and I don't have much of an answ…

Keep saying it long enough and maybe you'll believe it:

It's only a game.
This has become my mantra since 3:00 this afternoon. It's only a game, it's only a game, it's only a team in TOTAL DISARRAY...deep breath, only a game, only a game, John Ferguson Jr. is an idiot but it's only a game...
Not working.
Yes, once again I'm lapsing into Leaftalk, so non-hockey fans can move on if they wish, while fans of other teams are more than welcome to stick around and gloat. God knows you have reason to.
I will admit to a certain breed of cautious optimism last night, when I heard they had moved Ken Klee to New Jersey for Alexsander Garglefast. I could even rationalize the draft pick we traded to get Luke Richardson back in the blue and white. "Okay", I thought, "we've got a slightly harder-hitting version of Ken Klee here. He'll serve as a mentor to the young D. I would have loved him ten years ago--we never should have traded him in the first place--but on a provisional basis, okay, fine."
So I waited …

Things that are ticking me off!

I'm feeling sort of punchy today. No real reason...or if there is one, I don't know what it is.

Ever wished that there could be one day of the year, just one little day, when you could, without punishment, tell people exactly what you think of them? Such is my recurring fantasy. That and living in the world of that classic Twilight Zone episode where somebody screams "SHUT UP!" at the top of their lungs, and everything freezes. I could do with a week or two in that world, and never you mind that missile caught in midflight when the world stops.

What I'd say to Teri Hatcher: You go, girl. Congratulations on finding the courage to come forward after more than thirty years. Too bad about that alleged victim whose suicide goaded you to action, though. But what the hell, she wasn't famous, right?

What I'd like to say to the media, who have been waxing poetic about Dana Reeve's death, or more specifically, the fact she died of lung cancer despite...oh my God!

Oscar the Grouch

I don't have to go to work until later on today, so I stayed up and watched the Academy Awards last night. I don't know why. Morbid curiosity, I guess. It afflicts me around this time every year. Although I have never had a vested interest in the antics of Hollywood celebrities, and literally could NOT care less who anyone's wearing, I still feel somewhat obligated to tune in each and every time this pretentious-fest rolls around.
Except last year. You couldn't pay me enough to sit through three or four hours of Chris Rock. I've never seen somebody so popular and yet so racist. Everything has to do with race, as far as that man's concerned. If he was white, he'd have been pilloried long ago.
The search for another Billy Crystal continues. While Stewart did not bomb a la Letterman, he was no roaring hell as host. Having never seen the man's show (yup, just as deprived when it comes to television), I can only assume he's a good deal funnier on it...he&#…

Consumer interlude..."But Wait, There's More!"

Because there's a word for things that don't consume. That word is "dead".

Back when I was single, I used to avoid infomercials like the plague.
Didn't matter what the product was, or how enthusiastically it was being huckstered. My attitude was pretty simple: if traditional retailers refused to stock it, it was ipso crapto a waste of time and money.
I felt the same way, truth be told, about things like Avon (despite the fact my mom was a rep for a time), Regal (for no reason whatever except it seemed sleazy to me) and Mary Kay (because, obviously, I have a penis).
Ditto anything else sold door-to-door or at house parties. If the product's that good, why can't you buy it somewhere, uh, reputable?
One ex-girlfriend was involved for a short time with something called Vector Marketing. She sold CUTCO month, she was the number 3 salesperson in Canada. (Didn't take much: I think she sold four sets that month.) I was quite hesitant to endorse this c…

Well that was a nice little ego-boost....

This Is My Life, RatedLife:
7.3Take the Rate My Life Quiz

In some respects, it's a tad off--if I was doing the rating, on my best day my body would get a five or six, which would bring down my overall score. But still, way cool.

Going Moldy....

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