Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2010

The End of the Tunnel

This blog post has been nearly three months in the making.
On February 5, my wife was downsized. Before receiving severance pay, she had to sign a contract stating, in part, that she would not criticize the company that had just shitcanned her.
I signed no such contract.
It is, therefore, a real temptation to kick ass and name names. However, it's a temptation I can withstand. But I will give you some slightly sanitized background.
My wife tells me I'm biased every time I praise her. What the hell, I'm her husband and I love her. But the facts speak for themselves: Eva had been at that company for one month shy of a decade. She started on, if not the ground floor, surely only half a flight of stairs up, and through a combination of diligence and natural talent, worked her way up through the ranks to become a senior business analyst. In the process, she accumulated six professional designations. There were times she nearly sweat pearls of blood for that place-…

Sexed what children are. Sexed is what all of us are. You don't even have to step out of your house to be confronted with the excesses of a hyper-sexualized culture: just look at a screen. What's needed is some space. A little space aids perspective. If you're hemmed in by lewd images and lascivious instructions on every side, it can be hard to find a level path. And so:
Sex ed.
There's currently a tempest in a C-cup going on here in Ontario over sexual education. The government redesigned the curriculum to (in my opinion, at least) better reflect the realities our children face, then hurriedly backed down in the face of a small but very vocal minority of parent groups. They're 'rethinking the rethink' now. Sad. Even when this government does something right, it lacks the courage of its conviction.
It is beastly difficult to find a copy of the proposed-then-scrapped curriculum online. The Ministry of Education seems to have removed all reference to it. So I am…

Week of Bliss

My week of holidays, split right down the middle between home and my dad's place, is drawing to an end. As usual, my stress levels have abated to practically zero. I view these vacations as dress rehearsals for retirement, and I gotta tell ya, the thought that anybody could possibly retire and be bored puzzles me to no end. Give me an unending time when, aside from daily chores and necessary errands, I'm completely free to do what I want, when I want--even if what I want is a vast quantity of "nothing at all and when I want it is "right now until...whenever"--and you've right there described heaven on earth.I managed to catch up on sleep I didn't know I was missing. Regular readers of this blog will know that I am an 'early to bed, early to rise' sort of person. While up at my father's, I found myself consuming vast quantities of NHL playoff hockey--par for the course--and thus going to bed an hour or two later than I usually do. But I found …

Prepare to lose your morning.

Or afternoon. Or evening. Or...
Behold: Sleep Talkin' Man!

(Obligatory caution: not in the slightest work-safe, kid-safe, or indeed safe at all. This guy lets loose with his deepest darkest scatterthoughts. Most of them come out freakin' hilarious.)

My beloved wife started blabbering about this site a while back. I listened with half an ear, to be honest: her online peregrinations are much different from mine. But upon repeated exhortations ("ya gotta hear Sleep Talkin' Man today!"), I'm slowly succumbing to train-wreck fascination. I think I'd watch this guy sleep.

Heading North

The embedded video shows highlights of the three hour cruise aboard the Island Queen out of Parry Sound, Ontario. I've taken this cruise at least six or seven never gets old. I'm headed up there--actually a ways north of there--to my dad's for some much needed R and R. Breadbin service will be restored upon my return.

Please Read This Book

I recently finished The Long Descent, a piece of nonfiction by John Michael Greer, whose musings you will find in The Archdruid Report, also linked on my sidebar.
Upon finishing the book, I wasn't sure whether I should (a) start over or (b) immediately go online and buy copies for all my loved ones. Lacking sufficient funds, I chose (c) throw it in the Breadbin and hope people see it hanging out in there.
First, I suppose I should tell you how I came to be reading Greer and his contemporaries at all. It's because I embody a paradox.
On the one hand, I wrestle continually with that yokozuna Instant Gratification. Iggy's a grand champion sumo and he floors me in short order entirely too often even now. Patience may be a virtue, but it ain't one of mine. On the other hand, I tend to take a global long view, and am acutely aware of causes and consequences of actions both individual and collective. Perhaps the shame of the first trait reinforces the zeal of the second, I don&…

Three Annoyances

Stuff that drives me just a wee bit around the proverbial bend. Not that I had far to go, you understand.
--The omnipresent misuse of the word 'hero'. Case in point: the CBC's motto for this year's NHL playoff coverage..."Where Heroes Are Made".
Now, let's first clarify: I am a hockey fan. Not a fanatic, but a pretty big fan. And this is nobody's sour grapes, despite the fact "my" team isn't in it--again--this year. But hockey players are not heroes. Not one of them. Not for anything they do on the ice, at any rate. Sidney Crosby's called a hero because he scored the goal that won a gold medal for Canada at the recent Olympics. In the context of a hockey game, there are few bigger goals. But note that game. Hockey is like any other sport: a game, an activity, a pastime. It does not create heroes. There remain a few players who are pillars of their communities, and who give unstintingly of their time and money to any number of causes, …

Poland's Loss

Let me first say that I am sincerely sorry for Poland's loss.

I really am, in spite of just about everything else I'm about to write. NPR characterizes this as a shock, which it certainly is, and cites "suspicion", which there certainly should be. Vladimir Putin acted with unseemly haste to put himself in charge of the investigation. I'm not saying that Russia had anything to do with this plane crash. I'm not not saying it, either. Poland must act quickly--much faster than it would like to, I'm sure--to preserve stability.
Perhaps my instant distrust is coloured by the book I just finished: The Next 100 Years, by George Friedman, the founder of STRATFOR. The author makes some startling, at times ludicrous geopolitical predictions about the coming century (America strongly encouraging Mexican immigration? Japan, Turkey, Poland and the U.S embroiled in a global conflict?)...and proceeds to back them up with solid facts and very plausible speculation. Friedman …

Toronto Maple Leafs Report Card 2009-2010


Boy, looking back at those is an exercise in frustration. You can clearly see the team spinning its wheels, going nowhere. Although I consider myself a levelheaded and thus rare breed of Leaf fan, a perusal of those posts suggests I am just as prone to hyping run-of-the-mill players and prospects as the next brain-added Leaf fan. I've predicted Matt Stajan would be nominated for a Selke; that Kaberle could win a Norris; that this season would be brighter than the last was. Cue the fits of hysterical laughter than slowly morph into weeping.
To be fair, it's been nearly ten years since you could put the words "consistency" and "Leafs" in a sentence and not have it come out like the punchline to a lame joke. From period to period, game to game, and season to season, there's nothing predictable about this squad. Toskala looked all-world in 2008-09, then bombed. Ron Wilson fell just short of a Jack Adams nomination for coach of t…

Meet Me On Toothbook

"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it." --Scott McNealy, co-founder, Sun Microsystems, 1999
Internet-connected toothbrushes.

They're not here yet, but Carnegie Mellon University professor/game designer Jesse Schell says they're coming.
What's your first thought, reading that? Mine can be summarized thusly: ?!?!?!
I read this on today's Facts and Arguments page in the Globe and Mail, read the explanation, and goggled. Naw, I thought. That'd never fly. Would it?
I asked a bunch of people at work for their thoughts on Internet-connected toothbrushes. The people my age or older invariably went what the hell? WHY? The people half my age split themselves into two camps. Roughly half the yowwens simply shrugged their shoulders, as if Internet-connected toothbrushes were inevitable, and rather boring. The other half immediately said something like so everyone can tell if you brush your teeth or not. THEN they shrugged their shoulders, as if this was of no great…

"Petty Gossip"?!

Speaking of public figures who have lost their minds...
As much as I disagreed with Pope John Paul II on matters of faith, I respected him a great deal. I took great care to write an obituary for the man in which I praised him on several fronts. I wonder what he'd have made of this child sex abuse scandal. Would he have referred to the rape of children and the systemic cover-up of same as "petty gossip"? Michael Coren, as usual, misses the point when he suggests (without citing any references) that "the number of occurrences in the Catholic Church is neither higher nor lower than any other denomination or religion and the same as those in education, sports and any other institution that involves a power dynamic between adults and youth". That may or may not be true. Generally, the response to such allegations in the secular sphere is immediate and forceful. The historical response to child-rape by Catholic priests has been a wink and a nudge, and if it gets reall…

Off The Deep End

What do you do when a public figure you respect, whose talents you admire, turns out to be a first-class prick? Let's assume it's an author, and no hint of his odious political views has infected his published work. But over a couple of years as a member of his web-forum (into which, let's not forget, he has piled a great deal of time and intellectual effort), you gradually come to realize he's off his proverbial rocker. What's your reaction?
Yes, it's Dan Simmons again. Oh, I left his forum in disgust some time ago--actually demanded to be removed--and I haven't been back since. The 'Hot Button Issues' part of that place, once a haven of intellectual civility on the Web, had degenerated into a right-wing circle-jerk, and I could no longer stomach it. At the time, I held little blame for Mr. Simmons himself. True, he had once called me a "twerpy little asshole" because I dared to suggest that there was such a thing as "too rich", …

Welcome To the Price Chopper Library

click to enbiggen (thanks, Catelli, I love that word)
You'd think they'd know better. You'd think they'd know better than to assume customers read things. You'd really think they'd know better than to make customers read all this.
Okay, first of all it's a one day sale. That's nice and prominent--written twice, actually, which is great. It won't stop people from coming in Monday and trying to buy butter for $1.97. Short of whipping blocks of butter at people's heads, nothing is going to stop them from coming in Monday expecting to get a great deal on butter. (The regular price on this stuff is $5.79.) I don't have a problem with a one-day sale. Lots of places do it. I wish we did it more often. But that's only the beginning.
You have to spend $50.00 before taxes to get your butter for $1.97. If you don't spend that much, the butter will ring through at $5.79. Now this I have a wee problem with. First of all, it's written in relativel…

Summer Come Early

Long time readers can probably guess what's coming. So I'll spare you (most of) my tired old rant and spin it off into another direction.
Current temperature: 27.3 degrees Celsius/81 degrees Fahrenheit Normal high temperature for April 2 in Waterloo, Ontario: 8 degrees Celsius/46 degrees Fahrenheit
Forecast low tonight: 12 C/54 F Normal low for April 2 in Waterloo, Ontario: 1 C/34 F
If this was just a one-off, I wouldn't be writing this. Climate is what you expect and weather is what you get, and springtime in the Great Lakes region is notoriously fickle. I've seen measurable snow fall on Easter Sunday; it seems like every year we go from frost to sweat in a matter of days. But never this early, and never on the heels of anything like the "winter" we just had.
The year 1816 is known as The Year Without A Summer (or, more poetically, "Eighteen Hundred And Froze To Death"). As a result of a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in previous years--the ejecta…

Going Moldy....

Show more