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Showing posts from May, 2006


I hate being predictable. Having been told "it's a given" that I won't complete another of these damned memes, and having at least completed something of substance for today...

Four jobs I have had in my life:

Kennel gopher boy
Library helper (that lasted all of a week)
Dairy Co-ordinator (oooo, what a title!)

Four movies I would watch over and over:

Groundhog Day (I once watched this six times in succession, for charity)
Silence of the Lambs
The Red Violin

Four places I have lived:

Bramalea, Ontario
London, Ontario (six different houses, mind you!)
Ingersoll, Ontario
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario (thirteen different places, one of them twice!)

Four TV shows I love to watch:

Hockey Night In Canada
Family Guy
News Hour on Global (boy, scraping the bottom of the barrel there! These four constitute most of my television viewing)

Four places I have been:

Orlando and Tampa, Florida (1984)
Caracas, Venezuela (1986)
Sandusky, Ohio (1992 and 2003)
Vancouver, B.C. (2003)

Four w…

Both sides of the turnstile

"I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms [of a sick culture]: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course--but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking away at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down..."
"I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all...Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named... but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot...This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength."
--Friday (written 1982), by Robert Heinlein

The Toronto Transit Commission went on strike this past Monday, for the fourth time since 1989. This time, there was no warning. People who neglect…

Sunday at the Movies

I never had a childhood. Not much of one, anyway. I could blame it on the divorce of my parents when I was five, which suddenly made me the man of the house, but the truth is I accepted that role freely, even eagerly, and chose how it would manifest all on my own. My mom bought me a couple of comic books--I remember at least one Richie Rich--and I read them quickly, ignoring the pictures, and went and buried my head in some 'real' books. I don't know whence that piece of snobbery came, but I felt that way from very young.
A confession: I don't always "get" the comics. I'm not talking about Doonesbury, which nobody gets. I'm talking about Cathy, Baby Blues, even the odd Garfield. If there are no words to cue me, I occasionally have a lot of trouble trying to determine just what the hell is going on. If there's anything that makes me feel more stupid, I don't know what it is.
I know that comic books--or "graphic novels", which seems to…

I'm peeved off.

My reviews of THE DA VINCI CODE and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND tomorrow.

Today, pet peeves.

The first two I have mentioned before, but as all hell is about to be loosed once again upon my little portion of earth, I feel compelled to vent on the topics of





Tomorrow's high temperature is to be 33 degrees Celsius, with a humidex of 40. For those of you stuck in the early 1970s, that humidex translates to 104 on the Fahrenheit scale. This is not a healthy temperature, and I can prove it: let's say you have a fever of 104. Do you (a) go out and sunbathe on the beach; (b) crack open a beer on the back porch or (c) GET YOUR ASS TO A DOCTOR? The answer's rather obvious, isn't it?
Yeah, I know, by that brand of logic we'd all succumb to hypothermia at substantially above room temperature. Nit-picker.
Besides, whenever the ambient temperature is anything higher than, say, 23 degrees, both my wife and I get to wondering if a hospital isn't a n…

Toss and turn and Tux and burn...

Does this ever happen to you?
Last night, feeling quite tired, I went to bed shortly after eight, and was asleep almost instantly. I woke up fully refreshed, ready to take on the world and show it who was boss, only to find it still dark outside. This isn't all that unusual--our alarm is set to go off at 5:18 a.m., and I often pop out of dreamland half an hour or so before that. Still, at this time of year, there's a glint of dawn in the air even at ten of five.
I rolled over to check the clock.
Normally, this would be a good thing: almost six and a half hours of blissful sleep still to be slept. And sure enough, despite my feeling wide awake, I managed to drift off fairly quickly: call it twenty minutes.
I woke up about an hour later, about ready to burst into flame. Somehow, in the middle of some nightmare or other, I had managed to reach out and activate my electric blanket...on high, of course.

Both Eva and I like it frigid in our bedroom. The window is open year r…


Well, the barricade's down.
For now.
I've been discussing the ongoing Caledonia land dispute with colleagues at work, and I'm a bit shocked to discover I have a moderate view, at least compared to many of them. "They should Dudley George 'em all", one woman said. (Dudley George, a native, was shot and killed the last time we had a flare-up of this sort in Ontario.)
Well, I certainly wouldn't go that far. But...
A native leader in Caledonia spoke up yesterday, saying "our people are responding without weapons, using only their bodies to assert that we are a sovereign people ... and that we cannot be intimidated."
Hey, everybody, they're not using weapons! Aren't we just overjoyed?
Besides, I'd argue that. Protesters destroyed a power transmission tower, knocking out power to the surrounding (non-native) area. They also used backhoes to dig a trench in the road, which has been at least partially blocked for over two months now. This goes…

The Dog Blog (I)

We got up early yesterday morning and headed to the St. Jacob's Farmer's Market, which is only about three kilometers from our house. I've been up there a few times before, but never had as good a time.
The produce prices have to be seen to be believed. The meat, not so much...but at least you know you're getting superior quality. But what really caught and held my eye was the wide array of artsy-craftsy stuff: handmade quilts, beadwork, stone carvings...really cool.

Then off to the Kitchener Kennel Club's dog show, obedience and agility trials.

I have the same attitude towards dog shows that I do towards beauty pageants, their human equivalent: boredom and scorn. The idea of pompous judges determining the relative worth of a dog (or a woman) based upon some artificially derived set of criteria offends me on a fundamental level. I have owned both purebred dogs of distinguished pedigree and dogs so muttified that their breed was impossible to ascertain; neither sort…

No Expectations

A comment on the previous post asked me to explain what I meant by "having no expectations" in my marriage. Fair enough: it's kind of a difficult thing to grasp. I'm convinced many marriages fail because of unmet expectations, so I think it's important enough to post.
Ask my wife and she will tell you in no uncertain terms how difficult a person I am to live with. She'll tell you it's annoying to have to repeat everything four or five times because your husband seems to be incapable of hearing anything the first time. She'll tell you what a whiny brat I am when I'm tired; how I'm apt to kick the same goddamn obstacle seven or eight times and bitch about it being in my way before I think of picking it up and moving it somewhere else. And she could go on and on and on about my flaws and foibles: my absolute refusal to feel jealousy; my procrastination and forgetfulness (hey, put off something long enough and you'll forget all about it!), righ…


Before I got married, I often thought of marriage as a trap. About a week after my wedding, noticing no change in my relationship, I concluded that marriage was actually single life...with security.
That's not fair, of course, to the many for whom marriage is, or at least becomes, a trap. I know of somebody whose fiancee underwent a complete and total transformation after the ceremony. Once the marriage was consummated, she was suddenly an asexual being...and a bitch, to boot.
I also know of far too many people who've divorced...or who probably should...some of them have gone or are going through seven shades of holy hell.
Granted, we've only been married five and a half years. Despite having lived what feels like at least three lifetimes in that half-decade, it really hasn't been that long.
I'll be honest: only once has divorce ever reared its ugly head in that time. My wife offered me a divorce when it became clear our marriage would not be "fruitful"--G…

Go ahead, Harper. Make my day...

Quote of the day, for no other reason except I love it. I shamelessly pilfered this off Dan Simmons' website:

If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you. --Don Marquis


I am one of the most ardent anti-gun people you're ever likely to meet. I hate the goddamn things. When I'm really feeling bitter, I get to thinking what a better world this would be if every handgun was confiscated and melted into slag. Because handguns, you see, exist for no reason other than to kill people. Granted, there are other uses for guns--skeet shooting, hunting, extending penis lengths--but you don't shoot skeet with an automatic. Nor do you take it into the woods to bag yourself some pheasant. And sad to say, using your weapon to proclaim your manhood...going around fully cocked, as it likely to get your precious member shot off.

So you'd think I would be up in, ahem, arms over the sl…

Judge not, lest ye hurt the poor lad's feelings...

Min Chen, the man who kidnapped little Cecilia Zhang, then murdered her, was sentenced to "life in prison with no possibility of parole for 15 years".
This being Canada, the above translates to fifteen years. Actually less than that, since he's served 22 months already, the poor baby. He'd be 36 when he gets out.
Chen pled guilty, which the judge cited as a "mitigating" factor. How exactly is an admission of guilt a mitigating factor, anyway? What, we reward the guy for not lying about the murder he committed?
For that matter, how was he allowed to plead guilty to second degree murder? He killed Cecilia during the commission of another crime, kidnapping with intent to extort. That's first degree murder, according to our Criminal Code. But he didn't mean to kill her, see. He just meant to keep her from screaming while he held her captive in the trunk of his car until he got the ransom money. Trunks being what they are--a place for cargo, not human bein…

We have a yard!

This was another one of those days I was just dreading.
First, because it's Saturday. When I started at Price Chopper five years ago this Monday, I was on a strict Monday to Friday, 7-4 schedule. This is all but unheard of in the grocery industry, where weekends reign supreme; more than once over the past half-decade, I've had to fend off waves of envy directed my way from hapless weekend-enslaved colleagues. Hey, I'd say. I never asked for this schedule. It just so happens that it works out best for my department. All the while, I'd be wondering when the axe was going to fall.
It's not as if I hadn't paid my dues. In the five years I worked for 7-Eleven prior to being hired on at "The Chop", I got exactly three weekends off. My boss even tried to schedule me for my wedding day...despite having been invited.
About two years ago, it was decided that I would start working Friday evenings, and I thought oh, no, here it comes.
My boss has never actually dema…

The Code

I shouldn't be writing this.
I'm neck deep in The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova...the first novel I have read in some time that has cast a spell over me. I really should get back to the narrative: it's calling me.
And NCIS, literally the only series I've bothered to watch since they cancelled my beloved Joan of Arcadia, is on in less than an hour.
And a Blue Jays game just started.
And there's yardwork to do.
Ah, screw it.
The Historian will still be there tomorrow: in fact, this novel is so good I almost don't want to read too much at a time. I'd rather savour it. I can watch NCIS while blogging; the television's exactly one keyboard-length (that's a musical keyboard, not a computer keyboard) away from me. Josh Towers is pitching for the Blue Jays tonight, which should mean a guaranteed loss: he stinks this year. And yardwork's gonna happen tomorrow, when the blisteringly powerful sunshine will be replaced by blessed cloud cover. I'm finding my…

Why are we in Afghanistan?

At first blush, there doesn't seem to be any good--or even coherent--reason. Canada holds no interest in Afghanistan. Nominally a peacekeeping assignment, at least when it was first conceived, it has become (or, indeed, was always in fact) a military insertion of the sort many Canadians find distasteful. Our death toll stands at 16 and is certain to rise.
Tension has been exacerbated by our Prime Minister. Harper is decisive, which is a welcome change from past leaders, but he also has an empathy problem, to wit: he has none. Or at least, if he does, he hides it well.
First there was the flag flap. Harper's adherence to former protocol was technically correct and even drew praise from veteran's groups, but it was not communicated well to Joe and Jill Canuck, who saw the flags flapping proudly at full-staff and took at as a sign of disrespect for our fallen. Harper's communications aides, who largely won him the election, dropped the ball on this. Harper should have ann…

On Boredom

"I like boring things." --Andy Warhol

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." --John Cage

"Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?" --Nietzsche

I'm not a huge fan of the reno/home decor shows which are sprouting all over the tube the last few years. As educational as these shows are supposed to be, they just make me feel stupid. And even the shows which purport to be easy on your wallet...use some definition of "easy" that's not in my dictionary. "And we've successfully made this room over, only spending $1926.43 in the process." Well, bully for you.
Debbie Travis, the guru of design, had an interview with Linda Frum in this week's issue of Macleans. I found her take on twentysomething society quite illuminating.
I'll shy away from discussing her views on child…

Budget blahs and Interac insults

Stephen Harper's first budget underwhelmed me.
Sure, he kept most of his promises--excepting the one about cutting the GST off fuel. But the more I look at the numbers, the less they really mean.
There are some good measures here. The tax credit for a transit pass is smart. So is making scholarships and bursaries non-taxable and instituting a tax credit for textbooks. And money for our military is always welcome, especially since we're fully engaged in Afghanistan.
The consensus at my work is that Harper's much-ballyhooed $100/month for each child under six is a joke. We didn't have that when I was growing up, one woman said with what I at first thought was envy. Turns out it wasn't: when I was a kid, we didn't expect help from the government. We made our own help. We sacrificed. And what are they going to have to cut to get the money for this? This won't even pay a babysitter for two days.
Fair enough. I'm very much against the Liberal/NDP vision of a nat…

Farting Rhinos, Green Carrots, and Homicidal Clocks

My brother and I were on an island infested with cannibals. The only way I could escape was to kill my brother by running his head through a sewing machine...
I was swimming with my best friend when her father appeared and shot me five times. I asked my friend to help me get out of the swimming pool, which had dirt walls. I climbed out and found myself in a bank. By sheer force of will, I made the bullet holes stop bleeding, but then the robbers came in...
I was sitting in my shopping cart, on the dock. Michael Jackson was there. He was a vampire, and he was trying to bite me...

My wife has a, shall we say, rich and interesting dream life. At least once a week, she'll wake up and start babbling about the little zombie bosses that chased her down the beach until she evaded them by running into the Hummer dealership.

Every marriage has its code words and phrases. I'll let her get two or three sentences in before I shout out one of ours: "Diseased!" As in, please stop the…

Going Moldy....

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