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Showing posts from September, 2011


Is anyone else bothered by the re-release of The Lion King?

Apparently not that many people are, given that it is the top-grossing film of the month. It's a fair bet, though, that anything that doesn't bother many people is apt to bother me. And so...

Folks have been lambasting Hollywood for a lack of creativity forever, it seems. For all I know, my great-great grandparents were disgusted with the derivative plots of silent movies. But surely this marks a new low.

I suppose I should be grateful that Disney didn't remake its animated classic as per usual Hollywood practice. "Hey, I know! Let's do a remake of Little Women! It's only been done, what, seventeen times before!" Remakes are just odious. Either they take a crappy movie and inject new crap into it, or (at least as often), take a good movie and ruin it. There was, I would argue, no need to remake Psycho. The seminal thriller stands as one of the best examples of its genre...leave it alone.

But simp…

Meanwhile, in the Real World...

Something's been bothering me for a while, a low-level, niggling bother that's hard to articulate. It has to do with youth, generally speaking, the Internet, and be-all end-all-ism.

In my experience, if you ask a yowwen what's most important in this or any election campaign, odds are pretty good you'll hear something to do with the Internet, either directly (UBB, throttling, caps, monitoring) or indirectly (digital rights management and copyright reform).

Let me get this right out front: I love the Internet. Like most people half my age, I am completely addicted to  the endless information flow. Possibly because I've never been a social butterfly, I find the need for perpetual connection disquieting: solitude, something I cherish, tends to actually frighten the younger set. (Try confiscating a cell phone and watch the reaction: it's as if you amputated something.)
 But information? When every last question ever you've had about life, the universe and everyt…

It's a Plant, Damnit!

So we read that the Harper government is reintroducing its omnibus crime bill, reportedly exactly as it existed back when he had a minority government and there was no hope in hell of it passing.

And now it will--pass, that is--simply because it can. Harper has his majority, and he can now do as he pleases.
To be fair, he was candid enough even before the election to broadcast his intentions. He said he would build new prisons, and lots of them. When people retorted that the crime rate in Canada was falling, and had been for years, Harper exhibited his usual disdain for statistics (read: reality). Speaking for the government, Stockwell Day invoked the chilly Orwellian spectre of "unreported crimes". It was unclear what exactly was meant. But now we are getting a look.

Amidst all the feel-good measures that seek to impose tougher sentences for a variety of offences (as if any good can come of sending criminals to criminal factories), we have this gem: According to Harper,  so…

I held it together today...

...but it was a near thing. A very near thing.
I'll be honest: there was a great deal of puppy-poking done today. I did do some work. For the first time since the FreshCo flip, I went out to do a cart run...that was only fitting, since I spent much of the first three years I worked there interrupting my routine every 90 minutes to do a cart run.
I worked on two orders--Chapman's and Liberte--which again was rather fitting since I can take some credit for the former's appearance in our store and a great deal of the credit for the latter's. Suffice it to say I didn't take "no" for an answer: I got the feeling they eventually decided to list a limited selection just to shut me up. It only made me redouble my efforts. Liberte should really be paying me some kind of stipend, is my view.

But not much work got done today. There were too many hugs, a lovely (and delicious!) cake from Cindy, a puck signed by Wendel Clark from Justin, and cards from Greg and the st…

End of one era, beginning of another

This will be a very difficult and delicate blog entry to write. And I’m sure it will go long. Over ten years long, in fact. That’s how long I’ve worked at Price Chopper/FreshCo. It’s hard to leave a place after over a decade: no matter how strong the force pulling you away may be--and even if there are forces pushing you out--there is resistance. Ten plus years of blood, sweat and tears can push all it wants, but an equal measure of laughter and love has a pull all its own. The sweat goes without saying. Many verging on most days at FreshCo, a lunch break is flatly impossible and any bathroom break I dare to take is like as not interrupted mid-stream with a page: “Ken to receiving...” Receive this! Can’t a man pee in peace? I can’t begin to guess how many hours of my own time I have put into this job, long after it stopped being rewarded or indeed noticed. It seems stupid, I’m sure, but when others around you are doing the same thing--the boss works at least sixty hours a week and our pr…

Tragedy Porn

I'm trying very hard to avoid the media as much as possible this weekend. I did turn on 680 News long enough to confirm what I'd already known: somebody would say there was a "credible threat" of a terrorist attack tomorrow. Keep 'em scared, keep 'em scared.
It's very difficult to avoid the 9/11 memorials, tributes, and analyses. They're everywhere. Sports sections of the newspaper have feature articles on how the Yankees and Mets responded; the entertainment section of the Star has a big spread on how Hollywood celebrities were trapped in Toronto during the film festival (another thing that gets far too much coverage, in my view).

I'm not avoiding the media out of disrespect for the victims, or the world-changing event itself. It's just that my interest in tragedy as pornography rests comfortably to the left of zero.

That's what it is: tragedy porn. You've been able to wallow in it 24/7 in America for a couple of weeks now. Documentar…


Octavarium, by Dream Theater.
Late to the party as usual. These guys have been around roughly forever, churning out epic album after epic album while I lived my aural life completely oblivious to their existence.
I'm not a metalhead. Really, I'm not. Give me pop, country, classical, you name it, just keep the screaming out of it and please, let's have intelligible lyrics. If you're going to sing in English, the least you can do is allow English speakers a fighting chance at understanding what you're singing. That said, I'm not averse to "loud", for subsets of "loud" that also include "melodic".

This song...

Well, first off, "song" is entirely the wrong word for what this is. This is more of a symphonic work. It's six times as long as your average radio ditty; the vocal doesn't even show up until over five minutes in. By which point, if you're anything like me, you'll have left this planet far, far behind.…

Been Dere. Done Dat. Don't Care.

We're rapidly closing in on one year since our Disney extravaganza.  Sometimes it seems like we just got back, other times (like right now) it feels as if we haven't been there in twenty or thirty years.


So does my wife, oddly enough.

Eva's vacation philosophy, pre-Disney, could be summed up quite simply. "Why would I go somewhere I've been, when there's a whole planet I haven't been to yet?"

I can certainly understand her reasoning, but truth be told I'm more of a "find someplace good and milk it" kind of person. I still have to resist the urge, lo these elevenish years later, to book us in at the Bonnie View Inn for a honeymoon reprise. And as for Disney...

The pull is unbelievable, almost magnetic. I've taken to frequenting the Disboards for some vicarious Disnification, expecting Eva to scoff at me. She didn't. She commiserated, and said she's working on getting us back there. This kind of shocked me.
I a…

The Concussion Rippling Through Hockey

Life is an ongoing process of broadening empathy. At least, it has been for me.
I am a fan of the game of hockey: I have been since I was very young. If I were at all inclined towards athleticism, I would play myself, and probably fairly well, given that I picture it as a kind of hyperkinetic chess. Wayne Gretzky once said "a good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." By no means could I hope to match The Great One, even if I had the body for it, but I do tend to have a good idea where the puck is going to be, most of the time.
As the saying goes, "those who can not do, watch." Or something like that. I've watched a lot of hockey in my life. Although I am and always will be a Toronto Maple Leaf fan, unlike many of my ilk I can name players on other teams. I can even appreciate players on other teams, for values of "other teams" that don't include "the Philadelphia Flyers".
I lik…

Going Moldy....

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