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Showing posts from August, 2006

How dare Mayor Zehr?

The tri-city area in which I live is about the most confusing place I've ever seen.
For years, I lived in London, Ontario, which is laid out on a nice simple grid pattern. Granted, there are no expressways of any note in that city, so "grid" turns to "gridlock" in a hurry, but at least it's usually easy to remember where exactly you're stuck in traffic.
This place...
First, there's the nomenclature. I live in Waterloo, which has been surgically grafted on to Kitchener: take the signs down and you'd never know when you leave one city for the other. Waterloo has a downtown core, but it's called "Uptown". Kitchener has a downtown, too--less than two miles away from "downtown" Waterloo.
Then there's Cambridge, towards which Kitchener-Waterloo inches, closer every year. Cambridge is itself a polyglot of three cities: Galt, Preston, and Hespeler. Outside their individual downtowns, there's nothing to distinguish any of them…

Reason 4,852,971 why I am not a Catholic

My father has told all and sundry that there will be no tears at his funeral. He once mentioned that he wanted one of those remote-control laughing boxes to be placed in the coffin with him whereupon somebody would trigger it at a particularly dramatic moment in the sermon. Knowing Dad, I suspect he'll go further: a fart machine, perhaps, maybe his recorded voice informing the congregation that although he's been sent to hell, he luckily brought a fire hose with him and now it's one big party down there.
My personal attitude towards death is that it's just another part of life. I'm not afraid of it in the slightest and do not understand why so many are. Why fear something that every single human being is sure to experience? It's like being afraid of eating.
At my funeral, whenever it comes, I hope people find good things to say about me. I hope there will be joy and laughter. I'd like a musical collage of my life played for everyone, perhaps starting with Mu…

Is That Uranus or just yer Ass-teroid?

Gotta love the new mnemonic for the names and order of the planets in our solar system.

(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)

It used to be "My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas". Or "Man, Very Early, Made Jars Stand Up Nearly Perpendicular", as my boss rat-a-tat-tatted off yesterday. But with Pluto demoted to the status of "dwarf planet", a new sentence is required.

Heard on 680 News yesterday: "My Very Exotic Mistress Just Showed Up Naked".

Who said astronomy was boring?

(Reminds me of that classic Futurama moment when Fry makes reference to the planet Uranus. He's informed that nobody's called it that for nearly a thousand years, on account of all the stupid schoolboy jokes. "So what's it called now?" asks Fry.

All kidding aside, I suspect most people greeted the news of Pluto's exile with a yawn...the same way they'd greet any other off-Earth news. The prev…

If I Were A Rich Man...

K, over at The Escapades of All My Fragments (which, by the bye, is possibly the best title for a blog I've yet run across), asks "What would YOU do if you had money? and how much money would you consider enough?"
Ah, the fundamental question. I was just thinking about this one, myself, this evening. Global National, my newscast of choice, did a story tonight on the five percent of the Canadian population who rely on social assistance. Despite our booming economy, the standard of living for these people continues to decline: when their incomes are adjusted for inflation, they're getting by, in many cases, on half what they did ten years ago...or less.
You know, that kind of pisses me off.
I strongly believe in the "hand up, not hand-out" philosophy, but come on. If you're going to give five percent of the population a hand up, you really should extend more than just one (middle) finger. I don't think welfare should be a viable career choice, by any mea…

A fork in the road...

Blogger and e-friend Peter has invited me to join a group blog, christened No More Talking Points, and I have accepted the invitation.

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE BREADBIN! In fact, I fully intend to keep up my current pace here of two to three posts a week.

But please consider joining me over at No More Talking Points, not least because there are several fine writers over there who are not me.


Boy, the news is depressing lately, isn't it?
First we have the Jonbenet case rearing its ugly head--great, more child molestation, there oughta be a club for those of us who DON'T get our kicks diddling little kids.
When that mess first broke way back in '96, I made every effort to ignore it, for several reasons. I didn't have a blog then, for one thing, so I didn't feel particularly obligated to keep up with the news. For another thing, it was (and remains) just the sort of sordid celebratized scandal that, details aside, disgusts me on a fundamental level. Entertainment Tonight's all over the case, which is further proof, if any is actually required, that our society is terminally ill. A kid is raped and murdered and we call it entertainment? I can see it now:

"Next on Star TV: Actual coverage of a murder in progress!"

If you think I'm kidding, consider: the public is endlessly fascinated with forensic tech stick any combination of crim…

Barnyard to backyard

We were supposed to go mini-golfing...or "Mindy-golfing", as it were. Mother Nature had other ideas, as she turned the entire course into a giant water hazard. So we settled for plan "B" as in "Barnyard".
Ten years ago you would have had to pay me to see a movie like "Barnyard"--or rather, pay me to be seen coming out of the theatre. Then again, ten years ago, they didn't make movies like "Barnyard"...

I think it started with "Monsters, Inc". Many people credit "Toy Story" as the first kids' movie to be palatable for mature audiences. Both it and its sequel were okay, in my view, but still a trifle infantile. "Monsters, Inc" was childlike without being childish and it managed to retain flashes of adult humour here and there. I went in dreading it and came out a fan.
Since then we've seen both Shreks (the second one was a work of art!); Finding Nemo (brilliant); The Incredibles (which moved too q…

O.J. WAS The Real Killer!

"Excuse me...where is the Tropicana orange juice that's on sale?"
Sigh. "I'm sorry, it's all gone. We sold out this morning."
"Where do I get a raincheck?"
Umm, try the Weather Network? "I'm sorry, we don't give rainchecks; it's one of the ways we keep our prices down."
"What are you substituting then? [grabs a 1.89-litre carton] I want this for $2.00."
And I want you to GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE..."Once again I apologize. The Tropicana you're looking for has been on sale since last Saturday. We've sold through nearly 10,800 units. And we ran out of stock--for the first time!--about ten minutes after we opened this morning. And there was a limit of four per family per day on it for most of the ad. We don't substitute products, for the same reason we don't give rainchecks." In other words, lady, you're shit outta luck.
"Well, do the other stores in town have any? Can you call them?&qu…

High volume...

I'm about to enter one of those hectic weeks.
At work, a major upgrade of our computer system is slated for Thursday overnight. This necessitates all manner of work beforehand, only a fraction of which I currently know how to do. Luckily, I have resources upon which to draw...
Also at work, we are currently running what is billed as the biggest sale of the year, featuring--you guessed it--turkeys at $1.00 a pound. Turkeys, in August? Apparently so. There were over fifty people waiting for the doors to open Saturday was the busiest day I've seen since Easter.
There is a limit of two turkeys stated clearly in the flyer, so of course that just meant families split up and went through separate tills. (What in the holy hell do people need with four or more turkeys, anyway? In August?)
This wasn't the only item flying out the door, not by a long shot...we also had Tropicana juices on sale for $1.00 (the 946 ml size--and don't ask how many people thought they coul…

Terror in the Air

"It is useless for sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism while wolves remain of a different opinion." --William Ralph Inge (1860-1954)

In the wake of the (apparently) foiled terror plot to blow up planes en route from Britain to the United States, I find myself in the distasteful position of siding with George W. Bush. This plot, he said, "serves as a stark reminder that we are at war with Islamic fascists". His "we" referred to the United States, of course, and there are many in Canada who will shrug their shoulders and continue to insist this sort of thing is only what those damnyankeebastards deserve.
One of my closest friends lives in the United States, and I have been on good terms with a number of Americans over my lifetime. Being a Canadian who lives relatively close to the border, I have my share of "stupid American" stories, but nobody yet has been ignorant about their ignorance. I've yet to meet someone who even appro…

Despite all appearances, this is NOT about Lebanon

A land dispute dating back many, many years. Tensions running high. Acts of war taking place daily. The rest of the world stands helplessly by. The rule of law laying shot in a ditch. Demands for an immediate ceasefire.
Sound familiar? It should. It's happening right here in Ontario. And our government is fanning the flames.
Yes, the mess in Caledonia will continue for the foreseeable future, no thanks to Premier McGuinty and his coterie of idiots.
I last wrote about Caledonia here, on May 23. Since then, the Ontario government has bought the land in question. In my opinion, that was a shrewd move: it freed the developer from an ugly situation he had nothing to do with, and turned the natives' attention towards Queen's Park, a more formidable foe by far. The government was backed by a court order demanding immediate evacuation of the site.
But, of course, the natives ignored that. Court orders don't apply to them--they've said as much. In their own words, held high at…

For the children

I'm going to ask my readers to engage in a difficult exercise in a minute. Beyond difficult, really..."impossible" might be a better description. But let's give it a try, okay?

I'm going to give you a name--a Name In The News, as it were--and I would like you to imagine you are this person. You don't just look like him on the surface...imagine you are living his life, thinking his thoughts, believing his beliefs. Got it? Okay. Here's the name:

Peter Whitmore.

Hey! No fair jumping back into your own mind, there! I said this would be difficult, maybe impossible. It's certainly disturbing. But let's try it again.

You are Peter Whitmore. You are 35 years old. And you are a repeat child molester.

You've been jailed several times, but they keep letting you out. On some level you understand that the thoughts and fantasies you have are "wrong"--if only because they tend to result in your freedoms being temporarily curtailed--at any rate, you&…

We are experiencing technical difficulties.

Having strange computer problems. At odd times I hear a CLUNK and find that the reset button seems to have depressed itself partway, freezing the system and forcing a hard reboot--which doesn't always work...the first time it happened, it couldn't find its own hard drive. "That's odd," said Eva, "I could have sworn we had one of those."

Every once in a while, the way you'll try light switches even though you know the power's cut, I'd try to turn on the computer. And it would hem and haw and say "insert proper boot device". "I'll give the thing a boot device!"

It's now 4:30 in the morning and I'm wide awake, having had about sixteen nightmares that I refuse to consider have anything to do with my deprivation of a computer for less than 24 hours. No, I suspect what caused my nightmares--most of which, oddly enough, involved work--was the certain knowledge I'd be deprived of the computer for an indefinite per…

More Middle-Eastern fallout, or, Can something ELSE happen somewhere? Please?

Please God, my last post on this for a while.

It seems the "principled stand" Stephen Harper is taking in support of Israel is killing what until recently looked like a sure shot at majority government. Just 32 percent of Canadians agree with him.
I've been accused of having a hard-on for Harper since before he was elected--in fact, they call me "Steve" at work, sometimes, and the ardent Liberals there bait me mercilessly. The political debate can get heady and heated. As this post will, in a minute.

The word that's getting tossed around more and more often is "neutrality", as in, "Canada should maintain its traditional neutrality with respect to the situation in the Middle East."

"Because taking sides is the wrong thing to do. There's evil on both sides, so no matter which side you take, you're endorsing evil."
"But not taking sides endorses both sides."
"No, it endorses neither side."


R.I.P. Heather 1992-2006

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing...
Strong and content I travel the open road.
--Walt Whitman

I've had many dogs in my life. But you're looking at what might be the smartest, most lovable dog I've ever known.
Heather was my dad's dog. The love between my dad and his "Heather McFeather" was a palpable thing, a thing of great beauty. This wasn't what elevated Heather above most dogs, or even most Collies. No, what made Heather unique among all dogs in my experience was her unconditional love of all humans. For Heather, we all of us were part of her pack.
I knew Heather from puppyhood. At one time she was a rambunctious blur on four legs, but it wasn't long at all before she adopted the stately elegant posture common to her breed.
Her restraint was extraordinary. There are no fences marking my father's property line, but Heather always knew where her yard ended and never once strayed from it. I usually saw her two or three times…

Going Moldy....

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