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Showing posts from July, 2010

Short, Not Sweet

Couple of politi-points today, both of which are depressing, I'm sorry to say.
1) John Tory, the man who ran for mayor of Toronto and lost, then ran for Premier of Ontario and lost again, is now being told to get his ass into the Toronto mayoralty race because a poll says he'd win.
I'm not sure who comes off worse, here. The other candidates, in that somebody without a place in the election or any sort of platform would handily beat them all? Or the voters in Toronto, for being willing to vote for somebody without the benefit of a place or platform?
I gotta admit, I'm hopin' for Rob Ford, if only to watch four years of endless histrionics. Here's a guy who once had the unmitigated gall to spend $4.32 of his allotted $53,000 office budget one year...and apologize for it, on account of having spent $4.32 less than that the previous three years combined. Put a man like that in charge of the circus that is Toronto council and watch the fur fly.

Harper's Hidden Agenda, REVEALED!

"You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it." --Stephen Harper, as quoted in an old Liberal attack ad

Remember, way, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth with Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper was up for election the first time? Remember the fearmongering employed by first the Chretien, then the Martin Liberals...which worked the first time and would have worked again had the Libs not been engaged in a wee bit of scandal-mongering themselves. We were told over and over and over again that Harper had a "hidden agenda": give him power, and he'd use it to destroy the country.This line of reasoning really bothered me, at the time. It seemed so...American. Characterize your political adversary as a monster, just because you don't agree on matters of policy? Pathetic.
Pity they were right: Harper really did, and does, mean to destroy the country. As thoroughly as possible. But don't worry, Canadians: what he destroys, he can rebuild.
Michael Val…

"Caught In The Crowd"

I love iTunes.My best friend has shown me three times now how to use the torrents, and he looks at me askance because I let his instructions trickle in one ear and torrent out the other. I'm not absolutely averse to piracy. I joyfully accepted a copy of "The Terrible Teague Bunch" by Gary Jennings from this same friend even though I know he got that from a torrent. I know this, and accepted it, because he couldn't very well have got the novel any other way without incurring considerable's been out of print for decades. So torrents have their uses. But the vast majority of my music comes through iTunes. I don't think 99 cents is too much to pay, if I like the song. Every week iTunes selects one track by an up-and-coming artist and gives it away. I've dutifully previewed each track for the last year and a half and doo-doo-fully refused to download it. There's a whole hell of a lot of so-called "music" out there that's not worth…

Taking Leave of Our Census

Last year my wife got me a subscription to The Globe and Mail, which bills itself as "Canada's National Newspaper". After a couple of weeks of this, I was well and truly pissed myself, for not having thought to secure a subscription twenty or even ten years ago. It's a great paper, in that I can kill half an hour or 45 minutes even with a comparatively paltry weekday edition. The Saturday paper is a veritable goldmine nearly every week. Their only flaw is a common one: no Sunday edition. Eva and I quickly evolved a routine built around the back page of the Life section. Known as "Facts And Arguments", it's practically built for shower reading. As in, I read it to her during her morning ablutions. She could probably read it in the shower herself--she reads books in there all the time, and how is a family secret I'm forbidden to divulge--but I enjoy reading aloud to her. Facts and Arguments runs Monday to Friday. It's comprised of "T…


Before last night, I'd been getting 3.5 to maybe 4 hours of sleep each night since Monday. I've wondered before how you people manage on next to no sleep. Now I know. I think I handled it remarkably well, all things brain didn't get any sludgier than usual until yesterday around 5 p.m. At around that time I began to shut down. By 7:45 I was in bed, and I slept (almost) all the way through until 5:15 this morning. I feel somewhat human.
It has been hellishly hot. The humidex hit 46 degrees for the first time in twenty three years. That's 114.8 Fahrenheit. (Incidentally, Blogger's spellcheck flags 'humidex' just like it flags 'colour' and 'labour'...I know better than to think you Yanks don't have humidity in your country...what do you call the reading that tells you what it actually feels like, as opposed to the base temperature?) As I've said before, I don't care overmuch how hot it gets during the day, but I care

Henny Heersink, October 28, 1925-June 30, 2010

"Crispy critters, then you're done", Eva's mom said as we escaped at the conclusion of an overlong, overwrought funeral service for her mother. "You won't get none of this crap. Crispy critters, then you're done."The directness of this statement should have shocked me. It didn't. In fact, I could have sworn I'd heard Grandma Heersink's thick Dutch accent a few minutes earlier, as the preacher droned on. Just as he started repeating a verse for the fifth time, I'm positive I heard: "Youst cut the crap!"
The eulogists got that right: Hendrika Heersink spoke her mind, whatever was on it. Before our marriage, Grandma Heersink took her granddaughter aside and asked her if she had "tried [me] out". I was flabbergasted at the time; eleven years later I'm only surprised she didn't blurt that question out in my presence.
The people who unfailingly speak their minds can be divided into those who love to hear themselv…