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Showing posts from February, 2011

The Bare Facts

or, if God had intended us to walk around naked, we would have been born that way.
We all have it; we've all seen it. But -- at least in North America -- it's widely viewed as shameful and disgusting. Especially the (ahem) naughty bits, the Parts-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. Parents go out of their way to come up with "acceptable" words for the unmentionable parts. Pee-pee. Thing. Birdie. Down There. Even if they call the parts by their proper names, there's usually an aura of discomfort that pervades their discussion. I learned the real names for the you-know-whats early. I was given a book called Where Did I Come From? which spelled them all out. I have never forgotten that "vagina rhymes with North Carolina". That little book spared my mom the first few episodes of The Talk. But I couldn't help notice, even as a little kid, that the material laid out (so to speak) so matter-of-factly in the book was anything but matter-of-fact in real life. It seem…

You People Need Help

So there's this video floating around Facebook...the one, the only Justin Bieber's CSI episode, wherein I guess he's shot dead. I would know this if I followed pop culture or Justin Bieber; I trail along miles and curves behind the one, and wouldn't recognize the other if he showed up at my door ushered by whatever rapper it is that ushers him around.My wife does the pop culture following in this house, and she is dismissive and a tad contemptuous of the Bieb, given that she was born in Saint Ratford, as she calls it. "I was here first," she says. Dismissive and contemptuous I understand. Actually cheering a re-enactment of his death? Not so much.
I was in therapy for a while in my early teens. I don't remember what landed me there. It probably boiled down to my folks not understanding me. I don't blame them one bit, considering that I can count the people who consistently understood me on the fingers of one thumb, especially back then. What I recall m…

Jury Panel Member # 508

"You're being very whiney", Eva intoned as we drove downtown. "And it's very unattractive."Yeah, happy Valentine's Day to you too, I thought...and then continued to whine. "Look, it's not that I have a problem fulfilling my civic duty. I just have a problem with the fact that my employer won't pay my wages if I do." "You're not even losing a day here, though. You just have to do something you don't want to do on your day off. Waaaaah." "--And maybe tomorrow, and Wednesday....hell, the summons states it could be up to five da--" "So you take some vacation days. Waaaaaaah." Shut up, Ken, I thought. Like most arguments with your wife, this is one you can't win.
Eva works a few blocks from the courthouse to which I had been summoned. I grabbed a coffee in the atrium of her building and assembled my time-passing items on the table in front of me. Globe and Mail, check. Two novels, check. iPod, …

Sing it, Aretha!

I've been a hockey fan nearly as long as I've been alive. Longer, if love of a game can be transferred through DNA. My dad has been a Leaf fan since the days of Armstrong and Bower--those halcyon days of yore when the Toronto Maple Leafs would routine sip champagne from Lord Stanley's chalice--and that love of the game and team has passed unto me, his son. In my long-time tenure as a fan, the NHL has gone through several eras. We had the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s: those Flyer teams were the personification of Conn Smythe's legendary aphorism "if you can't beat 'em in the alley, you can't beat 'em on the ice". Anyone thinking today's game too violent should be cautioned not to watch game tapes circa 1972-78. The 1980s saw "firewagon hockey", characterized most often by high scoring games in which few leads were safe and few deficits insurmountable. Ten or more players cracked the 100-point barrier every season, led by Wayn…

There's Your Election

So, as usual, Canadians don't want an election right now. They apparently would rather just let Harper govern for the rest of his life, dragging the country further and further right as he goes.
What if the Liberals were to, oh, I don't know, stand up for themselves? Even just a wee bit?
I for one am sick unto death of these damned attack ads. They really should be illegal, especially since we are NOT in an election campaign right now. But that's not to say I wouldn't welcome a nice gutter punch from Ignatieff and crew.
Since the Conservatives are so gung-ho on attacking Ignatieff on patriotic grounds, he should perhaps start there. He could mention how Harper has expressed profound admiration for America under George W. no less august a forum than the spend half an hour or more outlining all the nasty things Stephen Harper has said about Canada over the years. Especially trenchant:
"Canada is a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the t…


The love of my life sounded exasperated. "Does anybody live without vices?" she asked. I didn't know how to answer the question; it's a thorny one.
Eva, yesterday, celebrated her 100th smoke free day. She's quit smoking in the past--once for four years--but this is the first time she'd ever quit "cold turkey". (Aside: what a weird phrase that is. Nobody seems to agree on its etymology. I like the theory that the "cold turkey season", i.e. post-Thanksgiving/Christmas, signalled the end of excessive alcohol intake.) Wikipedia states that a supposed advantage of the cold turkey method is that, "by not actively using supplemental methods, the person avoids thinking about the habit and its temptation, and avoids further feeding the chemical addiction." The last part of that sentence is correct; the first is utter hogwash. Eva still thinks about smoking. She's angry that she can't be a "social smoker", one of those peop…

The Great Disconnect?

"You can not be responsible for how clearly your message is received. Only for how clearly it is sent." --Neale Donald Walsch
Very good, if brief, article in today's Globe on what the author terms the "great disconnect" that Facebook and the like have wrought.
Twenty years ago, if you couldn't meet face-to-face, you had two options for staying in touch. One was the postal system, now sneeringly dubbed "snail-mail". The other is still around, yet according to this article, increasingly shunned: the telephone.
Snail-mail is, of course, incredibly slow. A conversation by mail is pretty much out of the question: by the time you get an answer, you may not have forgotten the question, but like as not you've forgotten the emotional state you were in when you asked it. Yet books of letters qualify as Literature, with a capital L: the very laggardly nature of the postal system lends itself very well to deep, introspective communication.
I'd argue that t…

Stop The Meter

I've been driving my wife to distraction for a couple of weeks now because I won't shut up about usage-based billing (UBB). Apparently I'm not alone: this seems to be one of those periodic issues on which the protest gets so big the government deigns to listen. Stephen Harper's Twitter feed, if you haven't seen it:
We're very concerned about CRTC's decision on usage-based billing and its impact on consumers. I've asked for a review of the decision.

Review? What's to review? The "decision", like every other ruling the CRTC spews forth, clearly puts the interests of a very few (in this case, primarily Bell Canada) above the interests of every consumer in the country.
In all my life, I've never seen such a blatant middle finger extended to the Canadian populace. Under Bell's fastest plan (assuming their speeds are as advertised: they aren't, but that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish), you'll get one hour and twenty three …

Schools Closed Due To Normality

Not this again.
One of these winters, a cloud is going to obscure the sunrise and cause mass panic.
Wilfrid Laurier, the University of Guelph, and Conestoga College are all closed today, because once again, somebody listened to a weather report and overreacted. The weather reports themselves have been full of hysteria. "Snowzilla!" "Snowmageddeon!" "SnOMG!"
Get (sn)over it.
About six inches on the ground...if that. Wind blowing a light breeze at 14 km/hr. Skies overcast. LET'S CLOSE THE SCHOOLS!
Now, I get it, Hamilton and environs is seeing blizzard conditions. They've closed McMaster University, which makes a trifle more sense. But around here?
I'd really love to pinpoint when it was that every random flake of snow was suddenly deemed a WEATHER EVENT and worthy of round the clock hype. Do the weather forecasters not realize how ridiculous they sound? It's Canada, it's winter, it snows. Always has, probably always will. But sometime betw…