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Showing posts from October, 2007

OIl's Not Well...

I wrote a post not all that long ago about peak oil and the coming collapse of our civilization.

Time to write another.

The Canadian dollar is rapidly approaching its all-time high of $1.0619 against the U.S. dollar. It's entirely possible it will surpass that level as early as Wednesday. Our Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, made some half-hearted comments last week to the effect that the dollar's rapid rise is "not supported by fundamentals". That comment depressed our loonie for all of a day.

What's happening here?

First clue: the tanking U.S. dollar. If I lived in the United States right now, I'd be very, very concerned. The bottom is falling right out of their currency, thanks in no small part to the festering subprime mess.

(Incidentally, great effort is being exerted towards convincing Americans all is well and all manner of things are well. Bernanke has responded to the issue by...hello?...lowering interest rates. Hey, all you people hooked on cheap money!…

Week from Hell

This has just been a no good awful horrible bad week. I'd like a do-over on most of it.

After two weeks of holidays, and coming back to day shifts (hello, endless distraction! God, I miss shelves that stay stocked!)...it was kind of a given this week would suck. But I'd be spit-shellacked and welded to a whale's blowhole if I told you I ever thought it would suck quite this hard.
Monday was the teaser day, the day that went much better than it should have, leading me to think that perhaps I'd emerge on the other side of Saturday unscathed. My assistant had managed the department reasonably well while I was away, and the first day back was pretty light. Of course, I hadn't slept much, and of course I was half-dead at the end of it, but I came through it all right, all things considered.
Tuesday came along like some old battle-axe of a drill sargeant to try to whip me back into shape. My arms had held nothing heavier than a book for two weeks, and here I was slinging c…

The Big Vake (II)

"A vacation consists of two weeks which are too short after which you are too tired to return and too broke not to." (Thanks, Mom)

Uck, what a day. I'm going to bed.

The Big Vake

"Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer."--Anonymous

So: two weeks off, drawing to a close. No idea what I'm walking into tomorrow (best not think of that until I see it for myself). You're supposed to be bored after so long away from your place of work. I feel like I'm just getting started.

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in." --Robert Orben

There was lots to do, of course: there always is. My wife worked her butt off while I was away the first week. Perhaps I should say she worked her butts off, as she is now a non-smoker. Thanks for this in no small part to Alan Carr's EasyWay(R) To Stop Smoking. Wonderful book, this: if you have any urge to quit any habit, not just smoking, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Rather than demonize the smoker, it tackles the underlying addiction from a number of angles. By the time you've finished reading, your attitude towards cigar…

Throne Speech 2007

What a shock: the federal NDP and BQ don't support the throne speech. The Liberals. as usual, are waiting for the polls to tell them how to think, but Ignatieff called it "disappointing".
It would be funny if it wasn't so pointless...both Layton and Duceppe said they wouldn't support the government well before they heard a word of last night's Speech from the Throne. I don't need to hear it to know I'll hate it.
This is the latest example of something I positively loathe about politics: opposition for the sake of opposition. At least wait until after the damned thing before you pass judgement on it. According to CBC News, "some political observers believe that the Liberal front bench — Dion and his shadow cabinet — will vote against the throne speech and that the backbenchers will either abstain or not show up, which would allow the throne speech to pass." That's cheap.
Dion, if this speech is really so bad, grow a pair and call the govern…

Impound Found Sound: "Son, You're Grounded!"

An aside in my last post mentioned the new Ontario law permitting police to impound your vehicle on the spot if you are clocked at 50 km/hr or more over the limit. Your license is suspended for seven days and you are assessed a fine of between $2000 and $10000 as well.

When this law was announced, I have to admit, I cheered a little. Only a little: in my world, the punishment for such asinine behaviour would be considerably more severe; but at least the law's heading in the right direction.

Which is why I suspect somebody will soon challenge its constitutionality, on the grounds that police are acting, in effect, as judge, jury, and executioner. I've seen several letters to various editors in this vein: every single one prefaces the concern with something along the lines of, "while I do not support reckless drivers..."

I'd like to meet the people who write these letters, so as I can slap them upside the head.

Police are occasionally required to act as judge, jury, an…

Up North

Well, that was a nice break.
I took the train from Kitchener to Toronto last Saturday. The train is quite possibly the most civilized form of travel yet invented. People may be in love with their cars, but from the perspective of this non-driver, that love is frequently unrequited and always irrational. Advertisements for automobiles, without fail, mention or imply freedom...which is great until you find yourself in your first traffic jam, which could happen as soon as you pull out of the dealership. Try to drive the way your car was marketed and there's a good chance the first cop you see will take your car away. (Last weekend, Ontario police got plenty of practice with their shiny new law which allows them to impound a car on the spot if you're clocked at 50 km/hr or more over the speed limit. And impound they did, to the tune of one car every 25 minutes.)

Alternatives to the car are few and almost invariably awful. Bus? You're on the same road as the car (see traffic jam,…

Election Follies (III)

Congratulations and condolences are both in order this morning.

Congratulations… to re-elected Premier Dalton McGuinty. Granted, your chief rival pretty much handed you the victory, but still…there are skeletons aplenty in your political closet, and your campaign did an admirable job of keeping that closet door firmly shut. A question for you, though: can we believe a single syllable of anything you’ve said over the past month?

Condolences…to the majority of people who did not vote for Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals. Under our present system, the Liberals have received (I can’t very well say “earned”) a comfortable majority, reported this morning as 71 out of 107 seats, with just 42% of the popular vote. It is common to hear, in the fallout from any election campaign, that voters get the government they deserve. In most cases, including this one, it can be argued that voters get a government they neither deserve nor want.

Congratulations and condolences both…to Howard Hampton, leader o…

How cool is this?

I'm away in a couple of hours to spend a week with my dad.
That in itself is fantastic...I've been counting down the days for entirely too long now. Longtime readers will know that Rose Point is my chosen sanctuary, and by God do I need one of those about now.
But while I'm gone, Eva is (a) quitting smoking; (b) deep-cleaning the house and (c) painting the living room. So I get to come home to a new house and a new wife.

I picked a good week to be away from work. The flyer this week is unprecedented in our store's history. Neilson 1L milk for 88 cents. Core milk (homo, 2%, 1% and skim) has never been on sale at our chain and I've never seen it on sale for this price anywhere. Planning how much to bring in had me tearing my hair out. Once I was hairless, I started thinking about where they were going to put all this milk and now I don't even have a scalp.
We've also got Dempster's grain breads for 88 cents. Never seen this price either. Both sales end tomo…

I have no faith in politicians. I have even less faith in voters.

This has been, without a doubt, the strangest, most bewildering election campaign I've ever seen.
Ontario's manufacturing jobs are going up in smoke; every week sees at least one guy out on parole murdering somebody; our health care is still substandard; our infrastructure is slowly crumbling away; and oh, yes, the incumbent has the gall to run on his record of unparallelled lies, broken promises, and even a mini-Adscam (as befits a Liberal government). Are we talking about any of this? Well, some of us are trying to. But it's all being drowned out in a sea of faith-based school funding.
John Tory has killed the issue, saying now he'll have a free vote in the Legislature rather than implementing it outright. Conservatives will say this shows he listened to the electorate. Liberals will retort that his principles are for sale. Both have a point. My view, for what it's worth: at least Tory broke a promise before being elected, rather than waiting until afterwards like…

High Pressure, Cold Front

All I want is normal weather.
No, check that, I also want an acknowledgement that this run of hot, dry weather we've been experiencing in Waterloo Region since, well, June--is not a good thing.
Unlikely I'll see that, though: every TV meterologist beams like the sun. "It's going to be hot hot hot", says Global TV's resident weathernerd. "Record breaking heat. Get out there and love it up."
No, thank you. I get worried when the high temperatures are twelve degrees Centigrade above normal and the lows are what the highs are supposed to be. That's not right, people.

We've had less than half the normal precipitation. As far as most people are concerned, this seems to be good news. I'd be concerned about this even if I didn't like rainy days. Rain, in case you have forgotten, is kind of necessary for most crops.

This is why Canadians will never care or indeed notice global warming until it's far, far too late. I'm not even sure when th…