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Showing posts from December, 2009

Wrapping it Up, Part II

Personally, this has been a crappy year. Oh, I'm fine, and nothing particularly horrid has happened to me, but practically everybody around me has suffered pain or misfortune of one sort or another. This is, I'm told, what happens as one grows older. Well, growing older is for the turtles, is what I say.
I must admit to a bit of unease as I regard the flip of the calendar. 2010...every time I think of the new year, I remember a poster on the wall of the Armoury where I used to go for Navy League Cadets. It showed the current year in big print--would have been 1983, I think--at the bottom of the picture, then all the years ahead in smaller and smaller print on the way up the poster, like a pathway. I seem to recall that 2010 was the last one you could make out, just a speck. It's funny--I looked at that poster every Friday night and it never failed to give me a shot of excitement at a future yet undreamed. Now that the future's the past, the thought of that poste…

Wrapping It Up, Part I

The Sunday between Christmas and New Years' is one of my favourite days in the calendar year. It's a day of utter relaxation, heavily seasoned with great meaty chunks of newsprint. The papers stop reporting the news and start analyzing it--which is, even if they don't yet realize it, the only thing that will keep them afloat in a world where news is tailored to each online "customer" and delivered, gratis, instantly.The analysis is even more prevalent this year, given that by popular demand, it's "the end of the decade". (Just as January 1, 2000 wasn't the beginning of the decade, December 31, 2009 won't mark its ending. Unless, of course, you start counting things at zero. Go ahead, count your, two, three, four, five. See?)
Never mind. As usual, my brain is wired differently from just about everyone else's. I'll go along with everybody's (wrong) assertion that 2010 marks the beginning of a new decade. So let's l…

Holiday Abecedarius

A is for Anticipation. Cf. Catelli: I share his sentiments.

B is for Boris Karloff, still and for all time the only Grinch I recognize.
C is for Christ. This is the one time of year I hearken back to the religious parts of my upbringing (I veered all over the place from harshly atheistic to reasonably devout, hitting every point in between more than once. I both respect and enjoy the traditions of the Christmas story, even if I don't currently believe in a Saviour as such. If the choice is between piety and crass commercialism, give me piety, forever and ever, amen.
D is for Deck the Halls--a carol I positively *hate*. The lyricist within wishes the 'fa la la la la, la la la la' was just about ANYTHING else. Wikipedia notes that carols were originally dances and not songs. This one should have stayed a dance.
E is for Eggnog. Eva can't stand the stuff. I'm neutral on it--but I make a point of buying one liter a year, and enjoying it the way I enjoy coffee: only partly …

So This Is Christmas....

Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshiper? He sold his soul to Santa.
The holiday season proceeds apace. It sure doesn't feel like Christmas around this here Breadbin. That's probably because we've had two Christmases already. Eva was just cleared to drive this past week, and only for short trips. We had to make the trek to my dad and stepmom's place away back in November, and we met with my mom and stepdad shortly after. Her folks are coming this year for Christmas Day--not just a first, but something I never thought would happen, ever, ever, ever. Eva's parents are at least as housebound as we are ourselves, and tradition has always been that Eva spend Christmas day with them. I haven't been able to go with her for some time, because of the Tux and the Peach...This will be the first Christmas we haven't been separated in at least four years.
I have four whole days off work, although I'm going in tomorrow for a couple of hours to write some orders-…


Back in 1990, I fell in love with a piece for solo cornet and band entitled Jubilance. It had everything I like in such a work: driving energy, technical virtuosity, and beautiful lyricism in its interludes. For nearly twenty years, I would find myself tonguing the main theme under my breath whenever I was nervous or excited. (If you want to hear it, perform a YouTube search on 'Phillip Cobb Jubilance'...I'd embed it, but in all honesty the sound quality is somewhat tinny).
Jubilance was just beyond my ability to play on my euphonium, when I was at the peak of my abilities. Which is to say, as solos go, it was mildly to moderately difficult.
My friend Craig, who is a professional trumpeter and phenomenal musician, sent me link on Facebook a month or so ago, to a piece by the Black Dyke Band called Immortal. I've ripped this to my iPod, searched (so far in vain) for a way to buy it, and played it incessantly, and now I'd like to share it with you.

Black Dyke, formerly…

Stranger In A Strange Land

I often find myself feeling contempt for things and situations I don't understand. And being as I am the youngest 37-year-old on the planet, there remain plenty of those.I am, you know. The youngest 37-year-old on the planet, I mean. I know this because I extend an enormous effort to maintaining a facade that broadcasts precisely the opposite: here is an old soul who's seen it all and now exists largely on some plane well above it all. Yes, that sounds snotty, and it is...when my facade maintenance isn't up to snuff, you can occasionally get a glimpse of the snottiness. Moreover, anyone with a shred of perception undoubtedly can see right through the thin patina of world-weariness to the fear lurking underneath. I maintain that patina anyway. Or I try to, not yet having learned to feel comfortable in my discomfort. At 37 years of age, I still have so much to learn.
I had a learning experience last night.
Last night, I attended--for the first time in seven years--the annual …


I seem to be suffering from a mild case of writer's block.
It's not so much that I am bereft of ideas. There are lots of things happening on which I could deposit a cent or two: the Afghan detainee scandal, Copenhagen, and Stephen Harper riding high in the polls despite both. I tarted up a column saying goodbye to my favourite baseball player--Roy "Doc" Halliday--then decided not to bother publishing it.
I seem to be suffering from an acute case of thinker's block.
I just don't feel like writing, or thinking, or doing much of anything, this month. A full blog entry seems like so much work, and a blog entry on anything requiring--gasp!--research makes me throw up in my mouth just a little.
Part of this is free-floating annoyance, something I'm subject to every now and again. There's no reason for just happens...but it's all-encompassing, and it causes me to think things I wouldn't normally. Afghan detainees tortured? That's what war is…

Update: The wife, the self, and the work

Eva: she hates being on the shelf. I knew this before, but the sheer depth of her hatred has made itself abundantly clear in the past month or so. She's not supposed to be doing much even now. She needs to be reminded of this on a daily, indeed an hourly, basis. It's a difficult balancing act, because all sit and no work makes my wife go nuts.
To illustrate: Two days...TWO! DAYS!...after she came home from the hospital, Eva announced that she was going to walk up to the corner and get herself a pizza. I told her she most certainly was not, how could she even think of doing such a thing, you sit right there in that couch, woman, and I will fetch hither yon pizza. In response, she assumed a posture I almost never see from her, one that says I'm hearing you but I'm not listening. The more I pleaded and cajoled, the firmer she set her shoulders. I was on my way out with friends to see a hockey game, already not feeling that great about leaving her alone. Pride, exasperatio…

Tiger! Tiger!

bleeding brightIn the Escalade that night What tumultuous downhill lie Has forc'd thy infidelity?
(with apologies to Wm. Blake)
The jokes are out already. Some of them are pretty clever, actually.
What's the difference between a car and a golf ball? Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards. What were Tiger Woods and his wife doing out at 2:30 in the morning? They went clubbing.Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree. He couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron. I've posted on this before. Admittedly, the "celebrity" in that case, one Tahir "Tie" Domi, was considerably further down the fame ladder than is Tiger Woods. Still, everything I said there applies here, only more so. Once again, we are confronted with a "devoted husband and father", a man who has assumed godlike status to his fan base, caught behaving in an ungodly way. Once again, he seems surprised he was found out and upset that the media are making life difficult for him. Hell…


Meant to post in the last couple days. Didn't. Threw my back out, instead.It comes with the territory, when you're approaching 40...or so I'm told, anyway. I've had twinges in my back every now and again. This wasn't a twinge. This was a lock. I was putting laundry in the dryer...something I've done, oh, about a thousand times. Only this time my back announced that I was not putting anything in the dryer any more, instead it was time to moan and wail piteously. Very low in my back, almost at my left hip, something wrenched and presto! Ken joined Eva on the shelf for a couple of days.
Oh, we made a pair on Monday and Tuesday, let me tell you. I couldn't do the square root of frig-all and Eva's not supposed to do much of anything, either. I'd try to help her, say, put her slippers on, and I'd wind up clenching my back and gasping like a beached fish; she'd help me get my socks on--I don't mind admitting that with my almost total lack of flex…

Going Moldy....

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