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Showing posts from September, 2009

Channelling Douglas Adams...

Before I was so Monsterously interrupted...
As I knew he would, Rocketstar came to my "Why I Believe In God" post with a skeptic's eye. In his comment, he says:
If everyone’s God was like yours Ken (just a basic higher power, creator of the universe and everything in it with no other detailed plan or rules to live by [correct me if I misstated that]) I may not even be an atheist (the conversion may have never happened) if that is what humans believed God was.
Some humans-actually, many humans--do believe in a god/higher being/power/what have you with these characteristics. Native Americans believe an animating force lurks within everything. There's no 'detailed plan' from the spirits on The Right Way To Live, although a person might, on his own or through his shaman, seek advice from them. That advice, from what I've read, is geared towards living in harmony with the life, the universe and everything. Buddhists don't have a god. Their 'god' is a…

Why I Believe In God

There are many, many people who believe in a God or Gods without ever having had what could be termed a divine experience. I suspect there are more than a few atheists who have had such an experience only to reject it--which is, of course, their right. It's very easy to say I do not understand this and extremely difficult, if one is being honest, to suggest this is beyond understanding.
I know all this.
And yet...
Anyone who knows me well knows that I just about drowned in a septic tank when I was a teenager. I've got a million stories, but that one's guaranteed to elicit an interesting reaction...particularly the way I tell it. I've got it into an almost-comedy routine. I always conclude with "All in all, a shitty way to go", and people laugh, and from that moment on I'm the guy who almost drowned in dogshit. It's worth it, because milking that story for laughs kills most of the terror in it.
But the fact remains that I came very close to death that sum…

Fantasies and Aliens

Rachel Sa writes something today that once again has me confronting the irrefutable fact I'm an alien. To wit:

We may roll our eyes at the "kids today" who freak out for seemingly lightweight loves like, I don't know, the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus. But there's no denying that, in some form or another, we've all been there, done that. We've all had the pin ups on our walls and the ridiculous fantasies.

I haven't. I haven't been there or done that, I don't have the T-shirt, and quite frankly, I never understood all you people who went and did.
My teenage bedroom had one poster in it: Tiffany. And she didn't last long, maybe a few months. I'd got it into my head that kids my age had pinups everywhere and I figured if I put one up it would give me some small feeling that I fit in somehow. That was my motivation for pretty much everything I did in those years. And like pretty much everything I did, it didn't work. This in particular did…


I asked my wife this morning--"Love, knowing how you feel about the ones with the nines, are you okay being 40?""Yes," she said, albeit a bit dubiously. "Do you remember how you felt when you turned 30?" "Great," she replied. "Thirty means you're an adult." "And 40 means...?" "You're...middle aged."
I got to thinking about that term, "middle age". It's usually spoken of with some trepidation by those people staring into it. I don't think it should be.
I mean, granted, "age" might as well be a four letter word in this society--anything not dated today is, well, dated--but middle? That's a good word to pair up with age, if you ask me. It's a Goldilocks and the Three Bears kind of phrase. Not too young, not too old...just right.
But if you try to apply that term to my wife, it won't stick. Because Eva is and always has been a catalogue for the ages. She has the heart of a child …

For Catelli

after his experience...

I asked my dad, who lives not all that far (by Northern Ontario standards) from Killbear, if the bears were in fact particularly bad this year. He told me yes, the Ministry of Natural Resources was circulating a memo around all the provincial parks to that effect. Catelli, I'm surprised you didn't see it.
They're telling people to be prepared for bears in the backcountry. There are three things to "bear" in mind:
1) You should always carry a bear bell. The jingling will frighten off most bears. 2) In case your bear is not easily frightened, you should also have some specially formulated bear pepper spray (available at the same site). 3) Familiarize yourself, when travelling through bear country, with bear scat. The way to tell bear scat from other varieties of animal scat, says the Ministry, is that bear scat has little bells in it and smells of pepper.


According to a survey released by the Canadian Payroll Association, 59% of us are living paycheque to paycheque. By which they mean that 59% of people would be in financial difficulty if a single paycheque was delayed by one week.
"We were shocked by that number", said the chair of the CPA. Really? I'm shocked it's that low.
Meandering through the comments on the CBC's website (always an interesting, if frustrating exercise), we learn that this is entirely the fault of free trade/globalization/Stephen Harper. (For what it's worth, that's the considered opinion on such things as climate change and tooth decay as well, but...)
I have a different view. (When do I not?) Eight plus years of intently studying people as they walk the aisles of my grocery store has taught me that a very great many people have next to no shopping savvy. They cruise the store on autopilot, stuffing things into their carts while hardly even looking. They'll buy brand names, even wh…

Johnny Canuck and his Uncle Sam (I)

It's something of a cliched definition of Canada: "America with health care." Likewise, of America: "Canada with guns."Robert Heinlein defiined Canada as a part of America so smart it's figured out how to avoid paying taxes to Washington. Here's a definition from Richard Staines: "Canadians are generally indistinguishable from Americans, and the surest way of telling the two apart is to make this observation to a Canadian."
You get the picture. Too bad it's wrong. Canada and America are different countries and we're diverging more and more as time goes by.
I'd thought that Obama was going to reverse that trend, but I was wrong. For one thing, despite being, in the words of his more ardent enemies at least, a socialist or a communist, he still falls well to the right of political center in Canada, something a very few Canadians are just beginning to understand. For another, there are mighty forces arrayed against President Obama and …


Random compendium of things I'm snarked about these days.
1) TIFF--the Toronto International Film Festival. I would like to go on record as saying, in Dolby Surround, 'WHO...GIVES...A...FLYING...BLEEP.'
Well, judging from the coverage, the answer to that is everybody. You can't The newscasts are full of how-to tips on becoming a stalker; you can't turn on a radio or open a newspaper without some doofus informing you that here's the best place to spot a celeb and there's where they eat and oh boy oh boyohboyohboy all these Hollywood types are RIGHT HERE IN TORONTO!!!!!!
Wake me when the credits roll, okay?
2) Electile dysfunction.
As America tears itself apart over health care (which, to this Canadian, is beyond silly), our own country is facing down the threat of its fourth election in five years. I reserve an equal share of snark for both PM Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who's doing all the threatening. But mostly I'd like to announce to…

Crying Wolf

I had a friend once. (I've got friends now, of course--good ones, too--but this is about the friend-who-was-and-is-no longer.) Oh, it's not that she's dead, or anything. In fact, I still follow her blog. It's all I can do not to leave comments, even though my having left a comment is what destroyed the friendship. Well...that's not true, actually. The friendship was dead in the water when I left that comment; she just didn't know it yet. In hindsight, I probably could have told her a little more gently that I no longer wanted anything to do with her, but the end result would have been the same.
I don't make friends easily and I don't discard them lightly. To this day, I feel tremendously guilty for giving this one the boot. That guilt wars with the sure and certain knowledge that I had to let go: she was drowning, and if I didn't let go she'd take me down with her.
It took more time than it should have to recognize this, and longer still to do anyth…

A Diversion Into the Trench

In my five plus years of blogging, I have broadened my musical horizons considerably. I've done several musically themed blog entries, citing all manner of music I find interesting and worth a listen. What I haven't done is rave about a particular artist or a particular album. To me, it cheapens the blog, degrades it into something a teenager might write.
But I feel like a teenager right now. So pardon this fanboy enthusiasm, please.
Every few months, I browse the top-selling albums in Canada to see if decent music is showing any signs of coming back from wherever the hell it went about twenty years ago. I unearth many an earworm--modern pop is nothing besides catchy--and occasional glimmers of compositional talent. But until the other night it had been many a year since I'd heard something that made me sit bolt upright and start grinning like a fool.
Behold: Masterpiece Theater, by Marianas Trench.
It takes brass balls to put the word "Masterpiece" in your second …

Two wheels good, four wheels bad

Watching the impromptu memorial for Darcy Sheppard—the outrage, the catcalls of “he didn’t deserve to die” directed at the camera crew, and all that—I felt more than a little peeved off. At that time, it wasn’t public knowledge that (a) Mr. Sheppard was fall-off-his-bike drunk; (b) that he had been in an altercation with his girlfriend, and subsequently with police, barely an hour before, and was therefore very likely to be belligerent; that (c) he had confronted Mr. Bryant and (it is alleged) attempted to choke him. Yet here were people acting as if they were in possession of all the facts: in their version of reality, Michael Bryant, without provocation and with malice aforethought, ran down a helpless cyclist, dragging him for 150 meters. Two wheels good, four wheels bad. It’s automatic. I had a bad feeling about the whole thing right off—my wife, who has known a few bicycle couriers in her time, even more so. She was the one who noticed how everybody remarked about Mr. Sheppard’s …