Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2008

Earth Hour: Save The Planet!

So there was David Suzuki on TV reminding me to turn all the lights out last night, although he was kind enough to tell me it was okay to leave the TV on.

I wasn't going to bother with Earth Hour. I feel the same way about flicking all the lights out for an hour as I do about wearing a poppy. Symbolic gestures like this are so often hypocritical, done for public consumption and little else.

But then I fell for the flip side: if I don't turn off all the lights, people around here will think poorly of me. I'll be branded an Earth-raping planet-killer. They'd be wrong, of course, but they'll all be so sure they're right that being wrong won't really matter.

Peer pressure. It's kind of a shock to see that I haven't completely outgrown the juvenile desire to fit in.

So all the lights went off. The Leafs-Habs game stayed on, per the aforementioned special dispensation from David Suzuki, conveniently beamed to me just prior to 8:00 p.m. As I watched that game…

RIP Canadian Tire catalogue, 1928-2008

I'll miss the Canadian Tire catalogue.

Sure, a version will still exist online--where, according to the company, an ever-increasing number of consumers go to do their research and purchasing. And I certainly appreciate the environmental benefits of discontinuing a catalogue: it's been estimated this will save thirty thousand trees a year.

But I'll still miss it.

A real-life paper catalogue is one of life's little joys, and infinitely more convenient that any online offering, especially for those people with slower-than-lightspeed connections. Call me a curmudgeon if you will: even though probably spend too much time online, I much prefer actually holding printed matter in my hands. Even the sharpest screen resolution can't compare to black ink on white paper. There's even something about the smell of the ink that gives a little thrill.

As for buying stuff online, unless it's a book I can read offline, count me out. It's not the security I'm afraid of: …

Toronto Maple Leafs Autopsy/Report Card 2007-2008

The Leafs are presenting the usual dilemma in terms of grading this year. On the one hand, they failed to make the playoffs: more than half the other teams didn't. That alone should mean an automatic F, right? Especially since it was reasonable to assume a team that missed by the thinnest of margins last year, which upgraded its goaltending substantially and added a first-line winger touted to score at least 30 goals, would be a good bet to qualify for the post-season this time around.

On the other hand, certain players have met and even exceeded expectations this year and there are flickers of brightness amidst all the underperformers. It's also reasonable to suggest that any one of a number of little things could have improved the team's situation markedly. If Toskala hadn't been hurt; if he'd been handed the #1 job out of camp; if Toronto had any semblance of a special teams coach; if Andy Wozniewski had been benched...woulda coulda shoulda, they say.

Never mind.…

The Election "Race"

Once again we're confronted with the most prescient and cutting remark ever uttered (or at least reported) during an election campaign.
The election I'm talking about is the 1993 Canadian federal election. Oh, my, how to place this in context for my American readership? Okay, I'll give it a go. Take Clinton (Bill, not Hillary)'s slickness, add Reagan's politics (and bear in mind that much of Canada is bluer than your bluest blue state), and add a generous helping of Dubya's obstinacy. Shake it all together and you get an approximation of Brian Mulroney: initially elected in a landslide, actually re-elected (and no, he didn't steal it)...but his popularity plummeted in his second term until it was practically zero. He retired from politics two and a half months before the election, leaving Kim Campbell in charge.
Kim Campbell...our first and only female PM...albeit never elected. She had the chance to resurrect her party's fortunes--we went through an org…


So I guess spring's been cancelled this year.
A quick 10 cm of wet snow today knocked out our satellite dish for the first time in years. It's been out for something over four hours now...which figures, because the Leafs are playing the biggest game of the year tonight.
I'm listening to that game over the Net as I write this. It's a new twist on what used to be my standard routine on game nights. For more than five years I had no television. Not "no digital", not even "no cable" television. I became very well acquainted with the radio dial.
Now, of course, just about every radio station has a Net feed; there are about a thousand million billion all-music stations online; not to mention iTunes, which is the closest thing to online crack cocaine I have yet found.
Just after I joined the legions of iPod people, a colleague of mine at work told me he was getting unlimited downloads from iTunes.
"Yeah, right. How much is that costing you?"

Money CAN Buy Happiness

"All I ask is for the chance to PROVE that money can't buy happiness."

This just in: Money can buy long as you spend it on others.

Of course, the cynics were quick to deride the study cited here: maybe these people were just happier to begin with. And I'm offering myself up as a sacrificial lamb to all those who want to get happy. I take Mastercard, Visa and of course, cash.

And yet other studies I've seen come to fundamentally the same conclusion. Not only do you not have to be rich to be happy...often being rich is a reliable predictor of unhappiness.

The Secret and other get-rich-quick-by-the-power-of-positive-thinking books are missing this basic step in the process. Yes, if you want to be rich, you must first imagine yourself as being rich. But how you do this is crucial. If you close your eyes and picture yourself rolling in it, surrounded by all manner of affluvia, you're doing it wrong. Open your eyes and notice how rich you act…

Music Decomposed by Ken Breadner

The Vinyl Cafe this week was a hoot, as always. Dave was steered into considering music for his funeral (not that he's, you know, dying or anything)...and before you know it he's got a coffin sitting in the middle of his record store and he's trying it on for size, as it were. Of course, his archnemesis Mary Turlington wanders in (first time ever) and hijinks ensue.

It got me thinking. I've said before that I'd like the Crash Test Dummies' "At My Funeral" played, well, at my funeral. Still true, although I'd acknowledge this is almost a knee-jerk pick: the first song I ever heard that considered death without being maudlin or terribly depressing about it all.

Some of the songs you hear at funerals are absolutely heart-wrenching. I think the saddest I've ever heard of (and thank goodness I wasn't at this one, or I would have dissolved) was Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance". It's called her "song of hope", and the word …

"Rapid Assessment Area"???

So Eva goes off to work as per usual yesterday morning. On Fridays I work 1-9:30, so I get to sleep in, do a little housework, plug away at the novel (65 pages and counting) and just generally relax for a little while.
I'm not too keen on "sleeping in": the older I get, the more I cherish every waking minute I'm not at work. Go to bed early? Yes, please: the earlier the better. But I don't feel right sleeping past sunrise, and besides, on Fridays the mornings are pretty much all I see of my wife. So I hauled ass out of bed and saw her off to work, then settled down into my story.
At about 8:30 the phone rang. Eva. In a great deal of pain. Like, we're talking barely able to move.
"You need to go to the hospital!"
She took entirely too much convincing from entirely too many people to see sense on this. I get it: I'm the same way. I've got to be in a crapload of pain to even think about going to a hospital, and sometimes the more pain I'm in, …

Spitzer Quits 'er

It really should be between him and his wife, you know.

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has been caught spritzing where he shouldn't and has been forced to resign. It was either that or be impeached.
The sex really shouldn't be a big deal--if you're not Silda Spitzer, his wife, that is. The money for the sex might be an issue--they're investigating "suspicious money transfers", which begs all sorts of questions--but the focus seems to be on the sex and just the sex. Having ties to a "prostitution ring" can get you charged in the U.S...the same country that has legal brothels in a select few locations.

I'm not condoning what Spitzer is accused of having done. Cheating on a spouse is wrong, wrong, wrong, and I think it's safe to assume Silda Spitzer feels that sex with high-end call girls constitutes cheating, no matter what Eliot might say about his lack of romantic feeling for any of them. But...

What does this have to do with his job?

I refer y…
What do you call it at this point? Belabouring the obvious? Beating a dead horse? One more kick at the can?

Whatever. I know people must be tired of this doom-and-gloom stuff, but...well, Mr. Orlov has a perspective here that I really think is worth reading.

Please, everyone, click the link below, read what's there, and then look around you, perhaps with new eyes. And the proprietor of this here Breadbin will try to keep off this topic for a while.

Thanks, Peter, for this link.

ClubOrlov: The Five Stages of Collapse

I Wanna Retire

Every so often, circumstances at work drive me to drink. This would be one of those weeks.

The ad this week is one of those infamous "dollar days" jobbies that strike fear into the hearts of grocery store workers everywhere. Although this particular flyer threw a couple of new wrinkles at me. More like crevasses, actually.

Okay, let's start with the NESTLE REAL DAIRY FRENCH VANILLA or SMARTIES ICE CREAM, 450 ml for $1.

A couple of weeks ago, when I found out we were running this item, I reacted with exasperation. You're kidding, right? See, the last time we had this stuff on sale (same price, roughly the same time of year, and--well, okay, only the French Vanilla), I went through one of the biggest runarounds of my career. My head office wanted to send me nine skids--which would have filled my walk-in freezer to capacity. I kvetched and moaned and we settled on seven...1920 units to a skid...13440 units. I was told I'd run out. I felt otherwise. Especially after I …

Going Moldy....

Show more