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Showing posts from October, 2009

Swine, Whine and Buyin'

This week has brought with it a whole passel of things I don't understand.
1) H1N1
With very few exceptions (stand up and take a bow, Sault Ste. Marie and Brantford!), our government has thoroughly botched the rollout of the H1N1 vaccine. Those two cities had a phone line and website already in place for the seasonal flu shot, which you got by appointment only. It worked wonders this time around, and it made me wonder why everyone else is so far behind. For that matter, why isn't there a database with everybody's health record in it? They could maybe call it something like eHealth Onta...wait a minute...there is such an organization, but it's a giant money laundromat...*sigh* Anyway, if you aren't lucky enough to live in Brantford or the Soo, you're stuck waiting in endless lines at clinics with extremely limited hours. The way I figure it, you're more likely to catch H1N1 at these shindigs than get vaccinated against it. And so no, I haven't got my shot. …

From the Mailbox Today...

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village.A tourist complimented the local fishermenon the quality of their fish and askedhow long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long."
they answered in unison.
"Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?"
The fishermen explained that their small catches weresufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.

"But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children,
and take siestas with our wives.
In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends,have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. On Sundays we go to church.

We have a full life."
The tourist interrupted,
"I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day.
You can then sell the extra fish you catch.
With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."
"And after …

Eva, renewed

or, all hail CPAP
The last few mornings have been different chez Breadbin. Different and really quite cool. See...unlike every morning for the last, oh, five years at least, my wife's been awake. It's a long-running joke around here that I'm chipper in the morning and she's chippy. Truth be told, I've lost some of my larkiness over the last few years and really put a coffee or two to good use. But Eva has been something altogether different...something closer kin to the walking dead. She'd thought she was suffering from a touch of CFS--chronic fatigue syndrome. Often plagued with insomnia, she had a hell of a time getting to sleep and an even harder time staying asleep. It was very common for me to wake up at 5:15 a.m. and stumble downstairs to find her on the couch watching television, awake for hours already. If she'd managed to sleep through the night, it would take her, minimum, an hour before she'd be ready to deal with the world. And then afternoon, …

Thinking Religion To Death

"God is beyond the ability of human reasoning to define, too vast to be labelled as a being, and only knowable as Being."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Very interesting textual interview here..

Oh, so many books to read. The fiction list includes the second book of Stieg Larssen's Millennium trilogy; Margaret Atwood's Year Of The Flood; Galore, by Michael Crumney; the aforementioned Under The Dome, and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Add one more: Karen Armstrong's The Case For God.

Call me a seeker. I believe, actually, that most of us's just that we seek in different ways, and thus find (what appear to be) different things. For many years, I have been uncomfortable with people who claim to have All The Answers, be they fundycostal types or militant atheists of the Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris school. I'm also uncomfortable with organized religion. Years of reflection have convinced me that the problem with organized religion is that it's …

The Downside of Living in Canada

My closest friend was born and raised in Ontario, moved to California in his mid twenties, and has bounced all over the U.S. He's lived briefly in Nevada and Florida and visited, well, just about everywhere, not just in America but in the world. He's had dual Canadian/American citizenship for over a decade now. Like me, he's grown progressively more progressive over the years. Even though he loves his adopted homeland, he's much more deeply appreciative of the land he left behind. Contrary to extremely popular American mythology, we Canadians are not 'taxed to death'. My friend reports that a typical family living in Ontario pays about as much in tax as one in California. So you fine Yankees envisioning a move to northern climes when the Republicans take control in 2012 and turn the United States into a theocracy have one less thing to worry about.
But be warned. There's a catch, and it's a doozy.
Sometimes it seems as if everything costs more up here. For…

Bubble Boy On Balloon Boy

I call myself "bubble boy" because that's how I feel. I was overprotected as a kid, with my full knowledge and consent, but only rarely do I mean 'bubble boy' in that sense; comparatively speaking, I was much more adventurous than the majority of today's children, who spend their every waking minute watching one screen or another and who almost invariably get chauffered to school each and every day. I call myself "bubble boy" with crystal clarity and even a touch of pride about my naivete. Truth is, I don't understand people. Sometimes this is, admittedly, a handicap, even a serious one. Sometimes, though--increasingly often in this latter age, I contend--it keeps me from going completely off the rails.
You just never know what popular culture's gonna vomit up next. News event: Boy flies off in homemade balloon, and practically before the damn thing is off the ground, it's all over the Internet. T-shirts are being hawked, b…

The Vicissitudes of Being a Leaf Fan

Now that I have today's important post out of the way, I'd like to write one that's been building since the hockey season started, not two weeks ago. In that short time, it has gained a head of steam and now it pounds in time with my heart: write me, write me, write me...It's a post about being a fan. Not just any fan, but a fan of a losing team. And not just any losing team.
I am a Leafs fan.
Being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs is not like being a fan of any other hockey team. In fact, the only team in sports that compares for sheer futility, at least still, is the Chicago Cubs. Like Cubbies fans, Leaf fans are (a) eternal optimists and (b) actually take a perverse pride in their fandom that's inversely proportional to the team's actual performance.
This is, of course, totally illogical. In Montreal, the only market in the NHL more hockey-mad than Toronto, when les Habitants play like crap for a sustained period, the seats at the Bell Center get emptier and e…

Nine years...

There comes a point in any marriage when you feel a touch of panic.
If you've got a bad marriage, it's maybe more than a touch. It's maybe a full-blown attack of what the hell did I get myself into and more importantly, how the hell can I get myself out of it with my dignity (and wallet) intact?
But even a great marriage, like mine, isn't immune from occasional jolts of panic. The first ones come right early, actually: I can't possibly be doing enough around here or there's no way she cares that much about me! Later on, when you've progressed to the point where your every thought is somehow broadcast direct to your spouse before it enters your own brain, that brings with it a wee bit of unease. If your spouse happens to be the sort of person who bores easily, you can just as easily find yourself wondering when she'll get bored with you, now that she seems to know things about you that you don't know yourself.
I can't imagine ever becoming bored wi…

Thank You

Life has been rocky over the past year for a number of people I love. (You'll hear their stories should they wish me to divulge them; for the moment, suffice it to say that it seems as if every week brought a new trauma of some sort to somebody.) I've comparatively cruised through the past year, everyone's events bouncing off me like so many bumper cars. The only ill effect on me personally was an overextension of my steeling muscle, that bit of brainy brawn that cushions against and absorbs shock. Trivial, really, compared to some of the shocks themselves and their effects on the afflicted.
Everyone's still here, as am I, and for that I give thanks.
This is yet another of the several points on the calendar that could have been called New Year's Day. Certainly January 1 seems illogical and arbitrary no matter what stage of life you're in. For kids, the real first day of the new year is the first day of school. For Christians, Easter Sunday represents a new year f…

Peace In Our Time?

So I woke up to hear that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012. Then I realized that FlashForward was on last night, that it was in fact 2009, and a certain Norwegian Nobel Committee has some 'splainin' to do.
I scurried on over to the Dan Simmons forum, knowing ahead of time what I was going to find. I've left this place in a huff more than once, vowing never to return, but its pull is not to be denied. There's something oddly compelling to reading so many exquisitely crafted rantings by self-certified Lords of All Creation. Once in a while, I might actually agree with them in spite of myself. And when they disagree with something, they're entertainingly vicious about it. Like this. This post took about half an hour to show up after someone else announced Obama's award (at 3:00 local time this morning).
Press hails Chamberlain

Suggestions to honour Mr Chamberlain in some tangible form for his great services to peace continue to be made in man…

Boundin' and Ramblin'

Pretty much everything Pixar touches turns to box-office gold. Their shorts are, almost without exception...exceptional. This is my favourite of those I have seen.
Warning: I have no idea where I'm going with this post. Hopefully it comes out sort of coherent.

I'm feeling a bit down lately, and I'm not sure why. It isn't the weather. Although the constant rain has me considering building an ark, the truth is I'll gladly take gloomy overcast days over the kind where I'm dodging eyeball-spearing rays of light.
(Gression: There's a path that cuts into some dense woodland not far from my house. A couple of weeks back, I got out of work a little early and found myself possessed of a childlike urge to explore. Turns out that path, while not exactly a shortcut, only adds about five minutes to my commute time and--important, this--gets me the hell out of the sun for a while. And the wind. The path is not groomed in any way, just worn flat by who knows how many people…


FlashForward is extremely loosely based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer. The book itself is probably the least compelling of the many he's written, but its premise (and that of the TV series) is fascinating.For reasons unknown, the entire human race loses consciousness at precisely the same time and is out cold for exactly two minutes and seventeen seconds. Madness ensues, of course: worldwide, millions of people die in plane crashes, car crashes, and a myriad of other all-too-imaginable ways. But what's really intriguing is the aftermath. It turns out nearly everyone has had a vision of the future. In the novel, it's about twenty years hence; in the TV series, it's April 29, 2010--which is of course the first day of the May sweeps. These visions are quickly corroborated as people who have seen each other in them make contact in real life and confirm that. Then the search for meaning begins. What caused this? Will it happen again? Will…

The REAL Fifth Beatle?

Okay, first of all, kudos to PM Harper. That took some guts. And he's not half bad, either.

That said, I think our Prime Minister could have perhaps put a little more thought into which Beatles tune he'd perform. You know, given that he tends to govern strictly for his friends and disregard the rest of us. And what with the perpetual election machinations and the requirement for his party to "get by with a little help from" somebody or other--and further given how he's often criticizing other parties for trying to do the same thing, just get a little help from somebody or other.
The way you do in a minority Parliament. Or, at least, the way you're supposed to. Canadians keep electing minorities not just because many of us are scared of what Harper might do with a majority, but because all we want is for people to work together. We get enough petty partisanship in the daily news coverage of American politics. But Harper's all about the majority and he'll…

Puck Drop!

Hockey season starts tonight, doo-dah, doo-dahThe Leafs will crush the Habs all right, dah-de-doo-dah-day. Stalberg with the score! Three fights, maybe four! The Cup awaits, the future's bright, dah-di-doo-dah-day.
--came to my bemused, precaffeinated brain at 6 this morning, was promptly dispatched to my Facebook status line, and there it lingers, threatening any Montreal Canadiens fan who dares to look at it. -----------------------------
I just want to take this opportunity, before the season starts, to put some words out into the blogoverse thanking Mr. Brian Burke for the bang-up job he appears to be doing refashioning the Toronto Maple Leafs into the Toronto Maple Tree Trunks and $%^ing S.O.Bs. This team is going to be a royal treat to watch and a royal pain to play against. I'm still not completely sold on the forward lines, but that defense ranks with anybody's in the entire NHL.
To those of my readers who sadly must make do cheering for other teams (yeah, I know, Rocket…

Going Moldy....

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