Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2010

Quiet Time Coming Up

Better drop a line or three in here now. Odds are the Breadbin will be closed for business over the next week.

We're headed out next weekend to Frankenmuth, Michigan, for that great Canadian pastime of cross-border shopping. A friend and former colleague of Eva's will be living here for the weekend with our puppies...we anticipate this will go over much better with them than a kennel has in the past.
Contrary to the song above (an old favourite of mine), we are going down mostly to grocery shop. If that sounds strange, you're probably American.
There are any number of products that are either unavailable to us sad-sack Canucks, or only available at grossly inflated prices. One such is Mrs. Dreamfields pasta. This is low-carb pasta that actually tastes better than regular pasta and doesn't leave me with that horrid bloated feeling. We currently get it shipped from a store in Mississauga, at, as I say, grossly inflated prices. I'm willing to pay more for this stuff, bu…

Hammering and Drilling

A patio door is being installed about twenty feet from my keyboard. As of right this moment, the noise hasn't gone redline...but it's coming. What I'm about to write will bring it on faster, I'm sure.
So the Federal Minister for Public Safety says that the estimated $930 million spent on the upcoming G8/G20 meetings in Toronto and Huntsville, Ontario represents the most "efficient and effective use of public money". Now let me first say that I am NOT a person inclined to join in protest against these meetings, mostly because (a) I disagree with the protesters' methods, which usually involve attacking police officers and setting random things on fire, and (b) the protests never have the slightest effect anyway (perhaps because attacking police officers and setting random things on fire is better described as terrorism than protest).
That's not to say I'm okay with these meetings. Far from it. What purpose do they serve that wouldn't be served equ…

Happy Two-Four

As a small child, I remember finding the Devil in my sandbox. My mother told me that when you dig in the ground, if you hit a streak of red clay, it's actually good old Beelzebub. No doubt this cautionary tale was meant to discourage mischievous younguns from absentmindedly burrowing through the center of the earth and releasing sudden torrents of hot magma on an unsuspecting populace. But to me the message was clear: STAY AWAY. God is clean: dirt is dirty. And that's where the Devil lives...down there...below the ground, in the sand and muck beneath our feet and fingers... Tim Burns, Brian Moffatt, Six Days That Shook the Walt

The outdoors and I have the kind of relationship many of you fine folks claim to have with winter, to wit: nice to look at, awful to experience. That point is driven home many times throughout the year, but never so forcefully as on Canada's National Gardening Weekend...this weekend.
This first holiday of "summer"--granted, calendar summer d…

Big Brother?

The CBC reports that the government is paying a Toronto company "to monitor social activity and help identify … areas where misinformation is being presented and repeated as fact," according to a spokesperson. The government then leaps into action, presenting its side of the story.
Oh, the horror.
You'd think, from the online reaction, that people are being jailed for thoughtcrime. That the government was trying to censor the Internet. That Harper's into mind control.
How many of these same people have ever thought to themselves what the hell is the government up to? What are they thinking? Do they even know how to think? How many of these same people work up a lather imagining government secrecy and opacity? How many would react a little differently if, say, Ignatieff was in power and the Blogging Tories were spreading manure around the Net?
I'm really not sure what drives the outrage, here. I suspect part of it is the shattering of the illusion that so …

The Short and Curlies

Oh, give me a home Where the buffalo roam And I'll show you a dirty house...

Like every other male human being I know, I hate cleaning things. Partly I'm just lazy, of course, but it goes deeper than that. I'm convinced that the little snippet of the second X chromosome that got snipped just happens to contain the genetic markings for an ability to see/care about dirt.
It's not that I live in a sty (although folks of the Martha Stewart persuasion would undoubtedly think so, and that's fine...they're entitled to live in their museums if it makes them happy). No, I'm just a clutterbug. I'm one who knows the answer to the famous question if a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify? That said, every so often the clutter approaches some kind of critical mass and triggers a paroxysm of cleaning effort. As I get older, I'm finding my tolerance for stacks of paper and piles of books ever so subtly decreasing, and my willingnes…

Biting My Own (Re)Tail

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
--The Rolling Stones, of course
I take my job seriously. Often too seriously. It's a failing of mine. It led, in part, to the diagnosis of a peptic ulcer several years ago, at which time I began to make a conscious effort to lighten up a little. It's not always easy...but it has gotten easier, particularly in the past six months or so. "Help" is no longer a four-letter-word to me. Nor, it seems, to my immediate supervisor, who--most days--is able to spare someone to give a hand. I'm still woefully behind on any number of things, mind you. Price tags go missing in my department with alarming regularity, for instance. Up to fifty a week just up and disappear, sometimes actually taking the orange stripping that fronts their shelf along with them, and I'll be damned if I can tell you where that gets off to. It's kind of like coming hom…

Inspirational Government?!

Two words that, at least in Canada and the U.S., are as oxymoronic as a liberal conservative or an initial conclusion. And yet, surveying this, my initial conclusion is that Britain's liberal-conservative coalition is an example of inspirational government. Granted, much of this came in the form of preconditions for the establishment of the coalition in the first place, and a great deal remains to be ironed out...but that in and of itself is somewhat amazing. That two parties, normally completely at odds with each other, can look at a list of disparate policy objectives and say I can work with this is so far from expected political behaviour "over 'ere" as to be frankly incredible. And just look at some of these initiatives.
A referendum on proportional representation. Hey, if the Motherland can scrap first past the post and institute some form of PR, maybe we can do it too!high speed rail is a priority. In Canada, it's arguable we have the population density to ma…

One infinitillion

Have I got this right? So Europe's economies are choking on debt. Greece was, what, a week or two from sailing over the cliff of solvency, in all probability dragging the whole Eurozone with it...and what an almighty ker-sploosh that would have made, eh? Obviously that's to be avoided, at, well...
...all costs.
It's a trillion dollars, to start. And it's coming from the Eurozone itself. This is fascinating. Where did they get this money, pray tell? And if they've had ONE TRILLION DOLLARS just sitting around gathering dust all this time, how the heck did this crisis ever get to be just averted in the first place?
Is nobody asking this question? (Besides you, James...I know you are.)
I'm going to echo Kunstler's prediction. The stock market is drunk on money right now...even the Goldman Sachs-ers aren't accustomed to ONE TRILLION DOLLARS just appearing out of thin air. I wonder what's going to happen when all that money disappears into the thin air whence…


When I was a kid, I thought that radio stations were studios where actual bands played the music. That illusion was only shattered when I spun the dial one day and discovered the same song being played in two places at once.
Naivete. Painful innocence. I've still got it in spades. In fact, the older I get, the more naive I seem.
For instance: torrents. Downloading things, a.k.a. "stealing", is still (technically) legal in Canada, albeit not for much longer. (I know the bill that's eventually going to pass is not C-61, but it will look a lot like it).
Google "legal use of torrents" and you'll be informed that Bittorrent is completely legal so long as you use it legally. Legal uses of torrent technology include downloading anything with a Creative Commons license and downloading a copy of an item you already legally own. To which I say, huh? The only Creative Commons stuff I've run across is from Cory Doctorow or Jonathan Coulton (and, incidentally, I…

Spill, baby, spill*

"Drill, baby, drill!" --Republican campaign slogan, 2008
"You want oil? I'll give you oil.
"--Mother Nature, as overheard by Mike Ruppert
The water is black--the coast was clear--
Now they're sweating dollars, dripping fear.
What a way to end the fiscal year:
Mopping up the dirty pool.
--Spirit of the West, "Dirty Pool"
For once I think the doomers, if anything, have understated the case. The swiftly growing oil slick--if you can call something soon to be the size of Ohio a "slick"--is already a serious problem. It has the potential to become a real bitch-monster of a problem, real soon. Already there is speculation the oil could actually be driven south of the Florida Keys, killing off the third largest coral reef in the world (and the only one in this hemisphere), before roiling north up the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The response so far is sadly all too familiar in every particular. First, there's the finger pointing. The U.S go…