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Showing posts from 2007

Swift Kick In The Year-End

With apologies to the old CBC radio and TV program Double Exposure, that's just too good a title not to steal.
The newspapers this weekend are full of top tens and year-in-reviews and looks ahead. You'll find none of that here. For one thing, I haven't seen ten movies this year. The number of television sitcoms and dramas I've faithfully watched in my entire adult life would be around, uh, ten. I have read considerably more than ten novels this year, but you probably don't care how I feel about any of 'em.
Celebrities--I make some token effort to keep up with them, just to impress my wife (the same way she will occasionally stun me by pulling some obscure piece of hockey trivia out of her butt). But once I've earned "points", I wipe the mental tape: the truth is, most celebrities are only worthy of contempt, not adoration (and certainly not emulation). You'll hear that sentiment expressed every now and again...often in the same places that spen…

Stupid Is As Stupid Dies

Y'know, people probably think me heartless.
Maybe I am, at that.
It's just that when people get injured--or die--as a result of their own stupidity or reckless disregard, I just...can't...bring myself to feel all that sorry.
There's been a spate of such incidents this week. A mother lost a second son to gun violence in Toronto the other day. Confronted with the writeup in the Star here, it's hard not to feel some measure of sympathy. But then, the Star specializes in sympathy: its columnists even admit as much. In a recent radio campaign, one of them said "my job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted": the Toronto Star in a nutshell. Funny, I thought a newspaper's job was to report the news.
Anyway, it falls upon the sloppy, sensationalist Sun to
pick up the slack and note just how well Karim Rashid Ata-Ayi was known to police. It appears this young man had been running with the wrong crowd for quite some time. I don't see his death a…

Christmas 2007

...was pretty good. Despite many social obligations and a ton of driving, there are lots of people I didn't get to see, and places I didn't get to go, and I apologize if you're on that list. But everywhere we went and everyone we saw made us forget about the buttload of stress we've been carrying around since the beginning of the month.

You'll pardon me if this post tends to ramble a bit: I'm listening to a whackload of Brad Paisley as I write this, and so far every single song I've heard distracts me at least a little. Some of them lift me right out of the blog...hell, right out of the room. Maybe writing a blog to musical accompaniment isn't such a good idea...but hey, it's Boxing Day, we've survived the storm and strife of another Stressember, and I'm indulging myself.

I guess the music is where I'll start. This has been an exceptionally musical season: the iTunes cards from my loving wife provided me with four (count 'em) Brad Pais…

Required Reading

...right here, folks.

"A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.
'The Emperor is naked,' he said."
--Hans Christian Anderson, "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Every Monday morning, Mr. Kunstler delivers an inimitable dose of cheery pessimism. He's outdone himself this morning.

Only one question remains in my mind--perhaps he'll answer it next week: how long can they possibly spin out the denial? If your daily media intake consists of radio, television, and/or a cursory glance at a newspaper, you'd be excused for thinking everything is pretty much hunky-dory. The "newsertainment" services are going full bore with their usual Hollywoodies sticking out, distracting us from the real fun and games going on behind the curtain.
You get the occasional glimpse whenever the business reports come on. The Dow has dropped several thousand points on "credit concerns&qu…

If they came in today, maybe they WILL come in at three in the morning...

I don't understand people.
Environment Canada had been on red alert for days. "Major Crippling Extreme Snowstorm/Blizzard/Kyag" Due Saturday night", they shrieked. (Kyag: Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.) Living here in Southern Ontario, you get used to this sort of thing: the media goes into a frenzy on the mere speculation snow might fall. I'd understand this sort of behaviour in, say, south Texas...but this is Canada, which is supposed to be "the true north", eh? Besides, more often than not, they forecast a foot, we'll get an inch.

This Time We Mean It

Browsing various weather sites, I started to think we might actually get some sort of storm this time round, not just a light dusting. The official public forecast had a little addendum after all the doom-mongering to the effect that there was a "high degree of certainty" among all the various weather models that this was a major storm and there would be no missing it.

Various forecasts called for an…

Week In Review

So many things to write little desire to write about any of them in any detail. This will be a compendium.

1) Robert Pickton: Personally, I'd feed him to his pigs a la Hannibal. Given the damnable publication ban imposed by the judge, I'm not sure why he was found guilty of second degree murder and not first. Speculation is he had an accomplice--which is a chilling thought. Regardless: I believe the jury did its job admirably. They convicted on all six counts, and recommended a sentence that effectively turns the convictions into murder one. I really hope some future parole board doesn't take pity on the man and let him out.
For once, the justice system recognized that Downtown Eastside prostitutes are human beings. I wonder how long that sentiment will last...

2) Conrad Black: My interest in this particular individual, the covering of which has destroyed entire Canadian forests, rests somewhere below nil. His criticism of the jury that convicted him--"none of…

Latitude for Latimer

I was going to try and compose a blog entry on Robert Latimer without delving too deeply into euthanasia. Unfortunately, what came to mind almost immediately was a snatch of lyric from "Gulf War Song" by Moxy Fruvous:

We got a call to write a song about the war in the Gulf
But we shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings
So we tried, then gave up, 'cause there was no such song
But the trying was very revealing...

Alas, I'm going to offend people today. On the one hand, I make no apologies for doing so: I'm merely writing my truth, and no matter what I write on this controversial topic, somebody's going to be offended. On the other hand, I make every apology: please understand, I never set out to deliberately piss people off.

For those living outside Canada' s borders (and any Canadians with news aversion disorder), Robert Latimer is a wheat farmer and father of four. Well, three, now. His daughter Tracy was born with the most debilitating form of cerebral palsy,…

Bumper Stumpers

Mark this date down, because I'm about to do--in writing--not one but two things that are entirely out of character for me:
I'm going to defend an avowed Christian


I'm going to praise Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.


First, the Christian. Now you must understand I have nothing whatsoever against Christians. Just as I have nothing against Jews, Hindus, or--well, I'll be honest, I've got something against Muslims, and will until the moderates of that faith decide they won't accept the radicals.
But as for Christians, I was one for a time...even earned my Christian stripes and read the Bible. All of it. It's amazing some of the stuff in there, particularly if you're willing to dig a little. For instance, most Christians of my acquaintance are unaware that there are two Creation stories in Genesis. They dovetail (mostly) but contradict each other on several key points--most notably, one of them refers to God in the plural. I've come…

Simple like that.

"There never has been anything irrevocably wrong with our country and our world--just a horrid accumulation of silly mistakes that could be corrected with horse sense and the will to do it."
--Robert A. Heinlein, "Over the Rainbow" (found in Expanded Universe)

There's a scene the above cited storywherein a new President of the United States takes office --an African American woman, no less, not that it matters--and proceeds to do a whole hell of a lot of good in a very short time, mostly by making things simpler. A simpler sampler:
--she attempts to read the budget and finds it so stuffed with legal gobblegygook as to be incomprehensible; she therefore crafts and passes a law saying that all government legislation must be readable by a person of average intelligence. Including the tax code.
--she moves to outlaw the internal combustion engine, replacing it with the external combustion engine, i.e. steam power...reasoning that what oil we have left is far too valuab…


You know how skeptical I was about iPods? And cell phones? And just about every new piece of tricknology that comes out?
Goes triple for social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. I mean, come on. Besides being completely redundant (there's nothing on Facebook that doesn't exist in a myriad of places elsewhere on the Web), the whole phenomenon fairly reeks of high school. Here's the popularity contest: people racking up hundreds of "friends" they wouldn't recognize if they ran into them on the street (but of course, that assumes people still go running on streets these days). You've got your juvenile applications like Send Hotness, which give you a nice superficial feeling of being superficially judged superficially "hot". And you also get to know the least action of any of your least friends: I swear, some people won't fart until they post it in their status line. ("Ken is Bisquicking his underwear.")
Ah, Ken, how do you kn…

Oh, bother

We've entered the silly season.
Our store's going franchise again this Sunday, meaning another inventory. Eva's in the middle of, last I looked, entirely too many projects to count, working twelve hour days. Life is, in short, once again interesting.
And the blog has suffered a tad, for which I apologize.
Peter over at Dodosville recently compiled a list of things that irk him. Being in something of an irksome mood lately, I thought I'd do the same.

Before I get to that list, I'd better qualify it a little...because chances are just about the entire human race fits into this thing someplace. Including me. Sometimes especially me. So just because you recognize yourself in a point or two doesn't mean I think you're evil--or an idiot. (I do stupid things sometimes, but I don't believe that makes me stupid.)

Without further ado:

Telemarketers. Look, I know it's a job, but can you please find another one? Easily ninety percent of the calls that come to this…

"First, you give a guy oral sex..."

So I'm reading an article in the National Post the other day--for which there does not seem to be an online link, so you're going to have to trust me on this--detailing youth culture today, specifically the widespread practice of "hooking up". This article scared the bejesus out of me and made me so very glad I'm not a parent, especially of a young woman.
The quote that stayed with me, as much as I tried to will it away, was from a girl in grade six. She was interviewed in the presence of her mother (I need to stress that, her mother was in the room) and asked about how girls at her school meet boys. "First you give a guy oral sex," she answered breezily, "and then you decide if you like him or not."
Her mom then offered to serve cookies.

I like to think I'm somewhat hard to shock. I also like to think I'm nobody's prude. But in the name of the nothing that's holy any more, that revelation shook me up a great deal.

The New York Ti…

Shocked and Appalled

In any controversy involving police officers, I almost always side with the cops.

Not this time.

I won't show the video here. Chances are you've seen it by now, and if you haven't, it's easily enough found: just Google "Vancouver taser". Fair warning: it's profoundly disturbing.

In fact, it disgusted me.

I read that the family of the late Robert Dziekanski has retained the services of a lawyer. Good. I hope the relevant parties in this fiasco are sued to within an inch of their solvencies.

Put yourself in the place of those cops, who had to have been briefed before they went in and within twenty five seconds tasered the man. You're told a Polish man, who speaks no English, has been in a secure area of Vancouver International Airport for ten hours. He's scared, frustrated, and increasingly angry. I for one can't blame him. He has no idea why he's being detained, or why he can't see his mother, who is just meters away. At one point, he pick…

Why just one day?

We Shall Keep the Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew! We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died. We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields. And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michael

If you don't stand behind our troops...stand in front of them.
--bumper sticker making the rounds of late

I've written a couple of entries on prior Remembrance Days and don't really know what else need be said. All we owe those who have served is everything. Those who continue to serve our country in far-flung places do so out of duty, pride, commitment and purpose, and we who live safe and carefree, subsisting …

When in Rome, don't off the Romans.

In August, 1982, a Canadian citizen named Ronald Smith abducted and murdered two Aboriginal men in Montana. He wanted their car, see, and I guess the only way to get it was to march Thomas Running Rabbit and Harvey Mad Man into the woods and shoot both of them in the back of the head.
He was sentenced to death for his crimes. Some people view the death penalty as a mockery of justice. As far as I'm concerned, in this man's case the real mockery is that he's still alive today, and his case is making headlines here in Canada.

It has long been the policy of the Canadian government to request clemency on behalf of Canadian citizens on death row in foreign countries. This policy has recently been firmly reversed. In the case of Smith, and other Canadians sentenced to death after due process in democratic countries, our government will no longer intervene.

I will repeat that. Canadians sentenced to death after due process, in democratic countries, can no longer expect our governme…

Going Moldy....

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