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Showing posts from June, 2010

A Thin Blue Line

I'm treading a thin line here. I know I am. A thin blue line, you might say.
Catelli's twinposts concerning the recent G20 fiasco in Toronto have forced an evolution in my thinking. I especially like his insight that there were two mobs, one of protesters, one of police, each with different agendas: violence was inevitable.
So far, the agents provocateurs story I fully expected has not come to light yet (give it a little more time...) But we do have Chief Blair admitting the "law" that allowed police to arrest anyone who strayed too close to the perimeter never actually existed. Cue howls of outrage.
My dad once told me (completely different context) that if you comb deeply enough through the law books, you can find a reason to arrest anybody. Sure enough, looking at the relevant statute, I find the following:
3.A guard or peace officer,(a) may require any person entering or attempting to enter any public work or any approach thereto to furnish his or her name and addre…

The Doomers Have Outdone Themselves

EDIT: Debunked.. Thank goodness.
The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico continues to worsen. On that I think everyone agrees. Perhaps the most frightening thing about the gushing well is that the 'doomers' have so far (for once) been proven prescient.
I read sites like Matt Savinar's Life After The Oil Crash primarily because I believe in the old saw about expecting the worst and hoping for the best. For some of the people on the outer fringe of doomdom, "the best" seems to be the worst and they both hope for and expect it. It can occasionally be somewhat difficult to separate legitimate points of concern from doomer porn. Indeed, with this latest disaster it's nearly impossible to do, because the most radical predictions coming from the doomers have one by one filtered into "respectable" media outlets like CNN and the New York Times...and then come to pass. It's extremely disheartening when the "worst case scenario" is continually adjust…

This Is What Insanity Looks Like

I don’t think right. Sometimes I just don’t think.I mean, if I thought about it, surely I could come up with a good reason to set police cars on fire. A whole bunch of people sure seemed to feel justified doing it yesterday, after all. Chanting “this is what democracy looks like”, they smashed windows, looted stores…and left me actually wishing we lived in tyranny for just one day. Because they’re right: this is what democracy looks like. In a democracy, the police counter such violence with tear gas and rubber bullets.In a tyranny the response would be considerably harsher. I’ve racked my limited brains furiously, not just to make up reasons for this course of action, but to link them to…to…to whatever it is people are protesting at the G20. It’s fiendishly difficult, though, not least because I’m not exactly sure what it is they’re protesting at the G20. Is it poverty? Because these folks sure don’t look poor, and causing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in damage d…

Going Loonie, Toonie, Threenie (?)

I'm going through one of those periods at work that makes me wish I had another job. Preferably a no-job sort of job, requiring little of brain and nothing of body.
These periods crop up once or twice every year and they are mercifully brief. They tend to coincide with statutory holidays, Christmas and Easter being the two most likely. But every once in a while, for reasons known only to the know-nothing in Head Office, it's suddenly
frozen grocery/dairy time! frozen grocery/dairy time! frozen grocery/ dairy with a baseball bat!
Such would be this week. A small sampling of the stuff on sale:
Haagen-Dazs 264ml bars and 500ml tubs, $3 (regular $6.79)
I've only seen these at this price twice before...both times last year at different competing chains. We've never featured these at anything close to this retail before, and I'm at something of a loss. On the one hand, you're saving $3.79. On the other, it's a 500ml tub that realistically shouldn't cost much more …

Home Invaders

We've been sprucing up the house something fierce this year: deck, patio door, new gate, new soffit and fascia....that was where it was supposed to stop.
All of this stuff needed doing. Well, the deck/patio door falls into the category of a "weed"...that odd compulsion between want and need that grows and grows in your head until it displaces everything else. And the gate: strictly speaking, not necessary, but more than welcome. We had a side yard, fenced off in a makeshift manner. Now we've got our backyard back, and the tall gate--rounded off at the top, like a castle door--bestows an incredible sense of privacy, almost of isolation. Thanks to Eva's downsizing--which was a blessing in so very many ways--the money to do this stuff was suddenly available, and given the imminent arrival of the HST, now seemed as good a time as any and better than most.
We didn't count on having to replace the roof.
Oh, we knew it would have to be done sometime, sooner or later, s…


Pain interests me.
It's one of those universals, right? I mean, everybody experiences a wide variety of pains throughout their life. Physical pains of many kinds can derive from insect stings. (That link, by the way, leads to one of the best-written brief pages I've yet found on Wikipedia). I have differing pain tolerances for different sorts of injury. I've often cut myself almost without feeling it and I can take a punch in many places and keep right on going, but pinch me or sting me and I'll scream like a little girl.
My wife lives with pain every day of her life. She suffered from Osgood-Schlatter disease in her teens and she's one of the unlucky ten percent of sufferers whose symptoms have persisted into adulthood. Back pain is a constant threat with her and she suffers from occasional migraines as well. Her attitude towards pain was instilled in her from a very young age: suck it up. To even admit to feeling pain, in that family, is a sure sign of weakness. …

All Decked Out

I have to say I love having a deck.

I've lived in (count 'em, I had to) 21 different houses, apartments, and holes in the ground through my 38 years. Some of them had balconies or patios. Not one had a deck.

There's something about a deck, or at least THIS deck, that invites, almost compels me, outside. It's an extension of the house, extra living area equipped with breeze.

The wall, pre-patio door, separating us from our backyard. Note the evidence of the baseboard heater that Eva removed, which was, surprisingly, a non-trivial operation.

The yard didn't look quite this bad. This was lurking under the patio.

P.O.S. fence. Or rather, two of them.

Watch that first step, it's a killer.


Eva's new SmokeStation (tm)

The intersection of Deck Overlook and Georgia-Ball Boulevard

There, one fence that's better than two.
All this was done by Star Fencing. It took them considerably longer to accomplish this than I had thought it would. Then again, the weather didn'…

Today's Thought-Food

comes from Irvin Studin, a "rising star on public policy". He asserts that Canada should allow a much greater rate of immigration, such that the country's population would roughly triple, to 100 million people. "Watch the strategic power of the country multiply", he says, if we significantly increase the population. We would be better able to counteract the immense cultural forces arrayed to our south; we would have a greater international presence and influence. In short, says Studin, we would become "a serious force to be reckoned with".
I must admit I'm not keen on the idea. It smacks too much of "power for power's sake". I'd contend that Canada is not overly interested in being a global 'playa'. We live by the maxim we'll leave you alone, you leave us alone.
Moreover, inviting double the current population to come here with all their tribal hatreds intact wouldn't strengthen this country: it would destroy it. C…

Enough is Enough

We Canadians have a long political fuse. Actually, you can scratch the 'political' if you'd like: it takes quite a lot to collectively piss us off enough for us to actually do something. But when you back us into a corner, look out: we're vicious little beavers with long memories. When it comes to political scandal, that goes double. At the federal level, party after party has pretty much carte blanche to screw up for a period of time usually measured in years. We whine and bitch and moan, of course, but that's the extent of many people's political involvement. It's a deep-seated disgust masquerading (quite convincingly) as apathy. Countless times I've heard people say something along the lines of "why bother voting at all, they're all crooks and liars and there's no difference who gets in. Nobody listens, nobody cares about the little guy..." and so on and so forth. Indeed, I've said some of these things myself. It's particul…

Cup Thoughts

Great day here. The deck and gate are finally in, making our backyard the private oasis we'd always envisioned it would be. I engaged in a stealth reline of the kitchen this afternoon, surprising the hell out of Eva when she got home. And now, hopefully, I get to see the Philadelphia Flyers crash and burn.
My allegiances have been shifting with every round of the NHL playoffs this year. In the pool at work, I selected Washington to win the Cup, making three years in a row my chosen 'winner' would crap out in the first round. I shifted to Pittsburgh for Round 2, and they were Habbed out of existence. I found myself cheering for Montreal in spite of a life's conditioning against the very notion. It helped, of course, that they were playing Philadelphia. I would cheer for a team of reptilian kitten-eaters from another planet if they were playing the Flyers. Gionta and his giant-killers made a series of it, but Philly eventually (damnitall) prevailed. That left Chicago. The B…

In The Muth

What a lovely weekend.
After seeing our puppies safe on Friday night, we lit out for "Little Bavaria"-- Frankenmuth, Michigan, a four hour drive from here. We drove through weather that is best described as "intermittent monsoon"; I was actually a little concerned at one point that a tornado might be playing hide and eek! around the next bend in the road. No such luck, but the rain did come hard enough to damage one windshield wiper. No problem at the border this time, although there was a yawning pause when the border cop asked my wife if she'd brought anything she'd be "leaving" in the U.S." The silence stretched out for nearly two eternity, in other words. As I was about to jump in, she said "No. I'm sorry, I actually had to think a second as to what that would possibly be." She confessed afterwards that she still couldn't figure out the question, and neither can I. "Did you bring anything you'll be l…