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Showing posts from June, 2011

Gay Pride and Rob Ford

So Rob Ford is snubbing the gayfolk. Did anyone seriously expect different?
This is a man who once said "if you're not gay, you won't get AIDS, probably"; he's also suggested that gays could "dismantle civilization". Standard garden-variety homophobe, in other words. Why would the gay community want somebody like him marching in their parade?
He's not. Instead he'll be engaging in a family cottaging tradition far, far away from anywhere the gay cooties could possibly get him. You know what? That's fine. Better he stay away than be coerced to attend, is my view.
There are a great many people of Ford's generation who are acutely uncomfortable with in-your-face displays of homosexuality (or heterosexuality, for that matter). Most of them have made an uneasy truce with gay marriage and gay people in general, so long as they keep themselves below the radar. This attitude is called "tolerance". There has been a remarkable campaign to s…

Bicycles are not toys

Regular readers will know that I do not drive, nor do I have a license. If I wanted to, I might be able to get a driver's vision is just barely acceptable for the purpose...but I don't want to. Mostly because my vision is just barely acceptable for the purpose. I have convinced myself, and raised that conviction to an ironclad certainty, that sooner or later (probably sooner), I'd kill somebody and/or myself behind the wheel of a car.Driving, that thing the civilized world takes entirely for granted, scares the shit out of me. I mean that quite literally. If you put a gun to my head and told me to drive a car, I might be able to do it for a time, but I would soil myself in the process.
As you can imagine, my lack of a driver's license has impacted my life in many ways, some of them unexpected. It has of course limited my pool of potential employers (I'd make a hell of a retail sales rep, but for my inability to get from store to store); it has dictated…

Do we really need provincial governments?

This question has popped in and out of my head for years. It comes on with all the power of a brainwave, only to vaporize as political reality asserts itself. Nah, it'd never happen, and if it did, it probably wouldn't work...
Still, let's unpack the question. It usually comes to mind in response to some story about crumbling infrastructure, of which this country has about an infrastructure's worth. Chunks of concrete routinely fall off Montreal bridges, the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto just sloughed off a chunk of its own, and that's to say nothing of all the sewers, some of them dating back over a century...or the hydro network, which is taxed to the limit every summer...or even broadband Internet, which the old fogey in me suggests really isn't a priority. It is, or should be.
So right now we have ten provincial and three territorial governments, funded by varying levels of taxation and federal handouts (read: more taxation). Their chief responsibilities ar…

Happy Father's Day

To John, my stepfather, who raised me and put up with me in equal measure...
John, this is the life you saved me from. Jason Mraz has some of the specifics wrong as far as I'm concerned, but there are many lines of this song that give me chills.

You taught me to think before I speak, to think twice before I act, and to take responsibility for my thoughts, my words, and my actions. You brought stability into my life and made it a core value for me. Through your love for my mother, you modelled how a marriage is supposed to work, and I keep those lessons fresh in my head. What patience and perseverance I have is thanks largely to you.
Thank you. Thank you so very, very much. I love you, John.

To my father, Ken Sr.:
"Old man, take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you were..."--Neil Young
Most of my life I've been told "you're just like your father". To tell the truth, those words were not always offered in a spirit of high praise. But I recognize them as …

Game of Thrones Worth Playing

My relationship with television mirrors the one I have with people. There are the shows I love, and they can be on 24/7...and then there are the shows I can't stand, which is most of them, and they ARE on 24/7.
I should know. Television is the background noise of my domestic life. With a few exceptions, I strive mightily to keep it there. But I know, for instance, that the episode of Golden Girls that is on as I am falling asleep each weeknight is the same one that greets me the next weekday morning. I know that if you search hard enough, you'll discover that one of Family Guy, Friends, or Two and a Half Men is ALWAYS showing somewhere on the dial. (I tolerate the latter two shows and unabashedly love the former; I think Seth MacFarlane and his writers have a direct pipeline into my sense of humour.)
Most of the rest of what's on TV, past or present, can go hang. I don't even hate the commercials, the way most of you do: in fact, there are usually four or five every yea…


"Swedish twins are only good for one thing"--Dave Kinnaird
Congratulations to the Boston Bruins, who fully deserved their Stanley Cup. A shout-out to Tim Thomas, who put on a goaltending display for the ages in the final.To Vancouver...your Canucks are almost there. Almost. You are missing one critical ingredient necessary for a championship, and that is GRIT. What may have looked like grit at the end of the regular season, the gruelling playoff revealed to be mere dirt. Grit looks to hurt teams on the scoreboard. It doesn't accept half measures. It blocks every shot, finishes every check, takes the hit to make the play, and doesn't back down. Dirt doesn't have grit's skill or compete level, so it cheats. It tries to physically cripple the other team's best players. Faced with gritty play from the opposition, dirt dives to the ice and whines pathetically at the referees. Above all, dirt lets grit get to it.
When Aaron Rome hit Nathan Horton--a hit that was ar…

A Driveway Encounter

We had our third, and almost certainly final, garage sale today. The object this time around wasn't to make a great deal of was to purge our house of unwanted Cheap Redundant Assorted Product (C.R.A.P.) It was a resounding failure. Our C.R.A.P. was apparently real crap this time out. This surprised me a little. There were three full sets of dishes, a TV, an amazing assortment of kitchen paraphernalia, books galore...lots of stuff we had no further use for but which (I'd thought) other people might appreciate.
What really soured the whole experience--what was a huge contributing factor in us packing the whole thing up two and a half hours early--was the gentleman who pulled up fairly early on in the proceedings and proceeded to expostulate at excruciating length on things no stranger wants to hear at ANY length.
I am NOT a "people person". I can fake one with astounding sincerity--I'm paid to do so for forty hours a week--but deep down I don't like m…


Being as I don't drive, you'd think I'd be a huge proponent of public transit. And I am. But the way my city is going about modernizing its system is, quite frankly, making me ill.
Trying to make this short and sweet. I live towards the northern end of one city that goes by three names. Depending on where you are, this place is called Waterloo, Kitchener, or Cambridge. The latter is itself comprised of Preston, Galt, and Hespeler. Kitchener and Waterloo are one city...just remember that if you say so to somebody from Waterloo, you'd best be running backwards as the words escape your mouth. Waterlooers are kind of snotty that way: there's a $5o-100K location premium for houses at this end of town. But seriously, if you took the signs down, somebody from away would have a hell of a time telling you where one city ends and another begins. Cambridge is somewhat distinct, but tendrils of Kitchener and Cambridge have met each other and begun entwining in conurban bliss. Li…

Rainbows and "Choices"

For some reason, it's obligatory in articles like this one--on gay rights--to assert right up front the sexuality of the author. You always hear it whenever anyone could POSSIBLY interpret your words as those of a homosexual. "I'm straight, but I love Broadway musicals." "Straight man here, and thinking of a career as an interior designer." "I couldn't be any less gay (believe me), but my girlfriend (she's a girl, did I mention that?) wants to peg me and I'm kind of intrigued. Though STRAIGHT!"
It's insulting, when you think about it. If I come out, so to speak, in favour of gay rights, my opinion shouldn't be given any more or less weight if I'm straight, gay, bi, or polka-dotted. For some reason that makes me think of this anti-racism poster:

My closest male friend, who is gay and married, considers his gayness to be absolutely the least important thing about him as a person: not worthy of remark or even notice. I used to a…

On Marriage

"I'll give you an exact definition. When the happiness of another person becomes as essential to yourself as your own, then the state of love exists."--Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land
I'm not blowing my horn with this post. Really, I'm not. If you should hear the melodic tootling of horns as you read, it might be tinnitus: seek medical help.
I spend a substantial part of my wake-time confused. I have for much of my life. This blog is in large part an attempt to sort through my many confusions, which is why I keep cycling back to the same topics in my more serious posts. But there's one source of confusion I've neglected to mention all these years, and it's a big one, to wit: Marriage.
Not mine, I hasten to add. Well, actually, yes, mine...but in a good way. I'm confused about why my marriage works and so many others don't.
Over my ten-plus years of marriage, I have watched as friends, acquaintances and total strangers have separated o…

Gadget Whoredom

For most of my life, I've been a devotee of function over form. I never cared that my television, DVD, and VCR were all made by different companies, nor that one was white, another gray, and the third jet black. What mattered to me was that they performed their function...preferably for a long period of time. I like to think of myself as stable, durable and resilient, and I value those traits in any household appliance. Unfortunately, I happen to live in a society that likes to sacrifice durability on the altar of mindless consumerism.
I should note here that my shadow side revels in mindless consumerism: I am every bit as susceptible to the I WANT ITs as the rest of you...sometimes more so. Materialism is a drug: the thrill of acquiring can lift you high as a kite, but you'll crash down to earth in short order and start looking for the next "fix". I lived that life through my twenties, and it would be the height of hypocrisy for me to look down my nose at a burned-…