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Showing posts from March, 2011

In Which We Play A Familiar Tuna...

Eva loves me, this I know, for she often tells me so. Though she occasionally sputters an 'I-love-you' through gales of breathlesslaughter, leaving me momentarily unsure whether she really means it...or means it all the more. Such an occasion chanced tonight, as I related a two week old story I had never thought to tell her when it was current. Perhaps you'll understand why as I tell you.
So, as I'm sure I've made clear, we're undergoing these renovations at work. This episode of "I Love You, Hahahahaha" takes place right on the cusp of the big change. My old dairy department, now relegated to the milky haze of memory, was still up and running. The deli wall had just been erected way the hell and gone at the other end of the store. I'm sure in a month or two, I will have adjusted to the expanded size of our beloved Chop, but right now it still seems huge, and two weeks ago it was positively cavernous.
I was halfway down my dairy aisle, merrily stri…

Fourth Election In Seven Years...

Am I the only one who boggles at that? I've railed at the American hyper-political system, in which it seems one election is barely over before the campaign for another begins; and yet we've managed to have four Canadian elections in less than two American electoral terms. Is it any wonder so many people in this country are sick and tired of politics?
Of course, this works to Harper's advantage. So many things do: he's rigged it that way. The first party in Canadian history to be found in contempt of Parliament (which, as Thomas Walkom clearly argues, means "in contempt of Canadian citizens")--that party is counting on a contemptuous electorate. It's likely that many of those people who actually bother to vote will be the ones who always vote: by and large, the older, conservative (Conservative?) generation.
The coalition boogeyman is out and shambling about already: Harper and anyone who speaks for him makes sure never to utter "Ignatieff" or &qu…

You Have To Go Through Hell To Get To Heaven

...and I'm neck deep in the hell right now, treading molten brimstone and snorting sulphur.
Work has been...interesting of late. Each day brings fresh impossibilities. Last Tuesday it was "Ken, we need you to strip 400+ lineal feet of shelving and put it in your [ridiculously tiny] dairy cooler. That took eight hours to accomplish and required eight stacks of meat totes, 45 milk crates, and four shopping carts, as well as four bunkers and an endcap. I had previously asked--twice--if it wasn't a good idea to run the counter down. "No," I was told, "we'll have lots of people to help move the product." Lots turned out to be...two. See, when I heard "lots of people to help move", I quite naturally assumed that the phalanx of vendors and merchandisers would be doing the job, moving everything directly from the old dairy counter to the new one. That's not what happened. The old dairy counter, for reasons never explained to me, had to come o…

Earthquakes and Emotions

Why do catastrophes happen? For the same reason anything else happens, in my view: to allow anyone experiencing them or observing them to react. (Incidentally, you can't observe something without influencing it: see any introductory quantum mechanics text for details.)
And how do people react? In as many ways as there are people to react. And then, of course, we react to their reactions, and others react to ours, and so colours the tapestry called Life. Can we get a hallelujah?
So we look at the earthquake and tsunami and feelan emotion. I like to define "emotion" as "energy in motion", because that's essentially what it is. When you merely feel something, the motion is slow and sluggish. When you express an emotion, the energy moves faster, with more noticeable effect. If your emotion, whatever it is, motivates you to do something, and thus you feel it in "thought, word, and deed": well, with that energy in motion you can work what look like mira…


(terrible shock)
Again. As it wasn't hard enough to write this the first time.
The mind quails in the face of disasters, especially the large-scale catastrophes like earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns. To face that unholy triumvirate in a matter of hours...
This is perhaps the most frightening video I've seen in my life. At first--for about ten seconds, anyway--it almost looks as if you could walk through the tsunami. Then you notice cars being swept along like bathtub toys. Five minutes later, the ungodly tide is rife with wrecked bits of building and who knows how many bodies. It's utterly terrifying, even viewed at a sixty five hundred mile remove.

Some sources rate this earthquake the equal of the one that spawned the Sumatran tsunami seven years ago. As of now, the death toll in that earlier temblor and wave train is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than the official count from this one. But casualties are expected to rise dramatically into the tens of tho…

Chara, Shore, and the Game I Love

(Note to readers: due to onerous time constraints--see previous post--I am writing this blog entry over a number of days, rather than all at once as is my usual custom; I apologize for the 'old news'.)

You'd never know it from the media hysteria of late, but hockey has always been a rough sport. To my mind, it's not as violent as any of the individual combat sports, and it doesn't seem as violent as football. (Watching people piling on to the players they catch in football makes me wonder how we don't see human pancakes after each and every play). But hockey has never made a claim to gentility. In 1934, a player named Eddie Shore--ironically enough, a Boston Bruin defenseman now in the Hockey Hall of Fame--ended the career of Toronto Maple Leaf Ace Bailey with a vicious check from behind. Bailey's head (they didn't wear helmets in those days) hit the ice and he went into convulsions; he was diagnosed with a fractured skull. He lived, but never played hoc…

Crunch Time

The Breadbin's likely to be empty for the next ten days or so. Not entirely coincidentally, today is my last day off for a week and a half.
The transformation of our Price Chopper into a FreshCo is proceeding in stits and farts. It is nothing short of incredible how much is accomplished in each overnight period; it is likewise almost incomprehensible how much work there actually remains to accomplish.
It's kind of awe-inspiring to watch the construction team move an entire grocery aisle from one side of the store to the other without taking anything off the shelves, and without dropping a thing. Ten or more extra-long pump-jacks, strategically placed, and an unwavering steadiness seems to be all that's required. Then there's the tile-lifting machine that looks like a combination between a chisel and a broom. The flooring comes up neat as you please.
For all that, there have been glitches. The produce wet case was not installed properly the first time 'round: some of…

The Currency of Currency

Warner Brothers to Rent Movies Through Facebook
"I hope, hope, hope, that when I'm old I won't look back at this...and say "Oh yeah... that was the first time I heard of Facebook Credits. What was it we used when we were young? Doggars? Thollars? Something like that."--"SamSam", via BoingBoing Recently I finished reading two absolutely top-notch high-tech thrillers: Daemon and its sequel Freedomtm, by Daniel Suarez. In these two novels, which are essentially one long story, the death of a 'mad genius' software designer triggers a self-replicating process with enormously far-reaching implications. Through the first book, I found myself rooting against this utterly inhuman process, which seeks nothing less than the complete overthrow of civilization; in the second, understanding of the Daemon's end goals flooded in and I switched sides so instantly and so completely as to be absolutely pining for the world the Daemon creates; I actually found m…


When Ken Breadner woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed to a monstrous citizen of Harper.--with apologies to Franz Kafka
What was once the Government of Canada is now, by Prime Ministerial diktat to be referred to as "the Harper Government".
Tiny, incremental steps. Softee, softee catchee majority.
Such a trivial change in nomenclature this is. Easily dismissed. I mean, by media convention, you distinguish one government from another this way already, viz. "The Obama Administration", "The Martin government", "The Harper regime". By media convention, you do this. Not by explicit order of the PM. In democracies, the general rule is that the government tends to refer to itself as being for the people. In this case, that would be "the people" of Canada. But this government is of, by, and for Stephen Harper.
What's next? Do we move the capital from Ottawa to Stephenville, NL? Do we tear down all th…

This Is Why Out East Is Still In The Running

Not sure where we're going to retire yet, but my television just did its best to sway me.


As oil makes like the Cliffhanger game from The Price Is Right once again, I'm reminded--once again--that the answer to any question beginning with "why" is usually "money".
I have lots of questions about this latest crude spike, all of them starting with 'why'.
Why is this happening?
The excuse du jour is Libya and the madman who is clinging to power there. Libya, after all, is an oil producer: they contribute a whopping 2.7% of world supply. Saudi Arabia has pledged, repeatedly, to make up any shortfall, though a source I trust says the oil reserves in that country are substantially overstated. This shocking...SHOCKING!...revelation was common knowledge in peak oil circles six years ago, upon the publication of Matt Simmons' book Twilight In The Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. One wonders if it's common knowledge in the commodity markets. Frankly, I doubt it: oil'd be cheap at twice its current valuation, if that w…

I know you are, but what am I?

If Flaherty's budget results in a vote of non-confidence and an election, it won't be because of the opposition.
I will repeat that.
If there's an election, it WON'T BE LAYTON, IGNATIEFF, OR DUCEPPE'S "FAULT".
Harper's Conservatives are wily little buggers. Remember that old schoolyard taunt that's the title of this blog entry? That's Harper's idea of electioneering. Childish, isn't it?
Supposedly, it's up to the NDP whether we have an election or not. I'd argue it's up to the Conservatives, myself: do they bring forward a budget that has the confidence of the House, or don't they? It's really quite simple. Except Harper, being the schoolyard bully that he is, will blame any lack of confidence on Layton, Ignatieff, and Duceppe. He'll repeat, over and over again, that they're responsible for this "unnecessary" election. And why is the election unnecessary? Because he says so, that's why. Harper won&…

Oh, the Sarcasm, the Sarcasm.

And if you go to the site, you'll find a poll ("how will corporations use their tax cuts? Big Bonuses, Bigger Bonuses, or Great Big Bonuses?"); videos, suggestions on "how to raise your $500"; lots more besides.
Can you guess I'm not a fan?
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. I have no problem paying taxes. I have no problem paying high taxes. So long as I'm getting value for money. Am I? It's hard to say, and truth be told I tend to veer between "maybe" and "NOPE!" most of the time. But I'll tell you one thing: given the choice between giving my money to a government and a CEO corporation, I'll choose the government every time. At least in theory, the money I give the government will go somewhere valuable: I might even see it again, in some form.
I don't begrudge corporations their profits, and that's something my detractors never seem to believe. If someone can build a better mousetrap, by all m…

Going Moldy....

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