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Showing posts from June, 2009

Obligatory Michael Jackson Entry

"Michael Jackson's dead," my wife said."WHAT?!" "Michael Jackson's dead. Heart attack." I thought for a second. "Well, he was bound to bleach himself out sooner or later, wasn't he?" Eva stayed silent. Oh, come on, that was good for the ghost of a smile! And on short notice, too! Still silent. The temperature had dropped a few degrees. I furiously ransacked my brain, looking for whatever it was I was supposed to have said. All that came to mind was a seemingly endless procession of jokes, increasingly tasteless. I'm sure you've heard a few of them over the years. Okay, maybe it's inappropriate to joke about a man the day he dies. But then, for something approaching twenty years, this man had been an inappropriate joke. Worse than that, a walking scandal. Did he transform the face of rock 'n' roll? Absolutely. Did he almost singlehandly usher in the video age? Positively. Was he a brilliant artist, a consummate showman, …

Why, indeed?

I have a knee-jerk reaction when I hear the word "strike": it's to jerk my knee right into the privates of strikers. Every once in a while I find myself siding with the union in a strike...but not often. My attitude is summed up in ten words: you knew what the job was when you took it.Perhaps I'm not being fair, but screw it: life ain't fair...I learned that in kindergarten.
Often, I'm accused of envy whenever I union-bash, particularly since I make a fraction of what unionized employees most often do. I will relate the following anecdote to refute:
An old girlfriend of mine called me one day--a little over a decade ago--to tell me she'd landed a job as a grocery store cashier, making $23/hr. To start. Holy crap, I thought, from the depths of my $8.55/hr job doing pretty much the same thing. Maybe I oughta get this place unionized! She started on a Monday...and Monday night she called me in tears. "Yes, I'm making $23/hr", she said, "but I…

Got Milk?

Sorry for the unscheduled blog break. There may be a few more of these throughout the next few months as our store undergoes some much-needed renovations.
It was touch and go for the first year our store was open. (Then they hired me and their future was assured, ha-ha.) No, seriously, most people thought University Price Chopper wasn't going to make it. I knew better: there was a 7-Eleven across the lot. Southland Canada doesn't close 7-Elevens often. I'd been the victim of one such closure, the year before, but even so I knew the phenomenal amount of market research that company puts into new store placement. If you see a 7-Eleven going in, it's a very good bet the area around it--whatever it might look like at the time--will be booming in five years. And so it was. And so was the Price Chopper. Last fiscal year it was official: our store sold more per square foot than any other store in the chain, an award that came as absolutely no surprise to us.
We've been labour…

Wow--A Catholic Church Impresses Me!

Received this in my email today and had to share. Whoever the Father is at Our Lady of Martyrs, I'd like to shake his hand.





Incidentally, any heaven without dogs (or cats) in it isn't worthy of the name.
According to Catholic doctrine, body and soul are indivisible, thus one does not "have" a soul (or a body...one is both soul and body. This is perhaps the only belief both Catholics and New Agers share.) Catholics--nearly alone among mainstream Christians--do not make a distinction between the chay nephesh (Hebrew: "living soul") possessed by man and that possessed by other animals. Other sects of Christianity will grant you, if pressed, that animals have souls...but not immortal souls.
Pope John Paul II, speaking publicly in 1990, said "animals are as close to God as men are." This is the same Pope who announced that Hell was not a literal place. Try telling that to your evangelical friends.
Why is this such a big deal? Because Christians the world ov…

Non-Nuclear Isotopes. Oh....kay.

Let's just let our Minister of Health speak for herself.
"Through this funding, we hope to research into alternative, non-nuclear isotopes that could supplement or replace Tc-99m in certain medical imaging procedures."

She and Gary Goodyear oughta get together, whaddaya think? You remember ol' Gary, don't you? The Science Minister who doesn't believe in evolution?

What's next, I wonder? Maybe a Prime Minister with two degrees in economics that doesn't know jack shit about the economy? No, wait, we've got one of those, too.
*sigh*

Electile Dysfunction

Here we go again, I thought. Michael Ignatieff's going to hem and haw for a while--"should I arrange an election? Should I not?--just before he's stricken by a massive attack of indecision...if he's ever forced off the fence, he'll just go find another fence. In the end, he'll say "Canadians don't want an election" and Harper will live to blight another day.
Iggy? There are pills for your problem. Little blue pills that might grow you a pair.
To be fair, summer federal elections are exceedingly rare in Canada. We've had three: in 1930, 1953, and 1974. As a summer-hater of the first order, not to mention a person who believes voting ought to be compulsory, I personally have no problem with taking ten minutes out of my life to cast a ballot. But enough people do have a problem interrupting their precious summer vacations that calling an election this time of year is even more of a gamble than it usually is.
And I get Ignatieff's strategy, sor…

Sex For Sale: Stats

(source material for this post here.)

ADULT CONTENT WARNING: IF YOU'RE NOT OF MAJORITY AGE, PRETEND YOU ARE
Prostitution has interested me since puberty. Not experientially, I hasten to add: in my goody-two-shoes teen years I considered hookers immoral, disgusting and shameful; in my adult years, I've never (he brags) lacked for a partner long enough to seriously consider employing one. But the notion of selling sex intrigues me. So do the myriad of attitudes (mostly bad) surrounding the issue. I've written a spirited defense of sex workers here.
What changed my mind: Spider Robinson's Callahan's Lady. I defy you to enter Lady Sally's bordello and come out the other side with your disdain for hookers intact. Imagine a whorehouse so entertaining that many go there and forget to have sex. Imagine a place where the "artists" have at least as much fun as their clients. Where intercourse is on many levels, performed as art, community service, therapy, and ju…

Three Totally Unrelated Posts In One!

First off, the last bit of hockey news for two weeks (the draft is coming! The draft is coming!)Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins on their Cup win. They earned it. Even though I picked the Pens in 7 in the pool at work (which landed me in third place, the same finish I managed last year), after Game 2 I regretted making that prediction. When the Wings are on their game, they're unflappable and unbeatable. That the Pens got Detroit off their game in four of the next five games is most impressive. Congratulations to Evgeni Malkin, the first Russian to win the Conn Smythe. One of these days somebody will recognize that the great Sidney Crosby isn't even the best player on his own team. ----------------------------------------------------------------
Before I launch into this next topic, I'd like to state for the record that I am extremely sensitive to cruelty in all its forms, but perhaps most especially to cruelty against animals. This is a trait I've always had, bu…

Bettman and Balsillie, Round II.

(Round I back here)

Prediction #1: Jim Balsillie will lose this fight. If not in Judge Baum's courtroom, in the next...or the next...or the next. Bettman will not accept the Research in Motion CEO into the coterie of NHL owners under any circumstance.
It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad. Balsillie was already approved by all 29 owners when he attempted to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins a few years ago. At the very last second, Bettman seemed to realize Balsillie's intention was to move the team to southern Ontario...and he slapped a clause into the deal prohibiting Balsillie from moving the team, no matter how much money it lost. Balsillie walked away from that deal (wouldn't you?)
Then he tried again with the Nashville Predators. Depending on whose side you're on, his tack of selling season's tickets to the "Hamilton Predators" showed either Balls or Sillieness. . It sure pissed off the Weasel-in-Chief. B..b..but he didn't even own the team! runs …

The Northern Experience

Anyone who's read this blog for any length of time knows how I feel about "up north". Going to my dad's place has always meant relaxation. Of everything: rules, restrictions, limits of time and space...tensions of every sort don't stand a chance in the magnificent isolation of Rainbow Country.
I just got back from five days up there. As usual, my feelings are mixed. I'm very grateful to be home--there are a few somethings to be said for sleep in one's own bed, and a great many more to be said for sleep and wake time with one's own wife--but if I could just transport bed, wife and home back up in the general area whence I just came...
I didn't do much up there. That's kind of the point, for me. The area around my dad's place has great fishing and hunting in season, the outdoors beckons, every season. To those who are susceptible to its call, it's pretty much paradise. I'm an indoors kind of person through and through, and it's pre…