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Showing posts from 2012

Thoughts (And Actions) Upon The Turning Of The Page

My brother-in-law (hi, dude!) brought this to my attention a couple of weeks ago and it's been percolating in my mind ever since. It occurs to me that '6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person" is a perfect thing to dissect at New Year's, when much of the world is preoccupied with resolutions. Let's remember that that word, resolutions, should really be hyphenated: "re-solutions". What's in your life that needs solving? And does it really need solving again? If so, why didn't you solve it right the first time?

This article is full of food for thought, written in Cracked magazine's inimitable style. Ultimately, though, the first three courses didn't sit all that well with me...


The way this is presented, it's self-evident. "Niceness" alone isn't going to count for a whole hell of a lot when surgery is required. Yet even here, something grates …

I Am A Dumbass

"A heads-up would have been nice, dear", Eva said to me on the way out of the movie theater.

No kidding. To provide one, however, I would have had to use my own head.

We had just watched the bawlfest known as Les Miserables. She had never been exposed to "the persistent greatness" of the story as the New Yorker terms it (Hugo's novel has been in continuous print since its first publication in 1862 and has been adapted numerous times for various media). I was very curious to see what effect, if any, the movie would have on someone completely unknowing the source material.

God knows the musical devastated me. Thereby hangs a (short) tale.

I saw the Toronto production with my girlfriend at the time--it would have been '91 or '92. We both walked in not knowing what we were in for; I walked out three hours later barely able to see for the tears...along with all the audience. Except Lynne. She had what I swear were the only dry eyes in the house. (You'd t…

2013 Can't Get Here Fast Enough

The less said about this year the better.

Which is one reason I haven't said much this year.

The Breadbin has reduced its output by about half. One reason has been a deep lassitude that has pervaded my life in 2012; another has been a striking lack of anything good to write about (and as we were all taught, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all). Low-grade stress has been a constant companion, both personally and in the wider world, and for much the same reason: uncertainty. I'm a person who would much rather hear bad news, even the worst news, than no news at all, and 2012 has been very much a "holding pattern" kind of year, a "through a glass, darkly" sort of year.
The entire year has been a study in low-grade, carefully stoked media panic. The stock market has gone up and down, by my count, exactly 4783 times due to the Euro debt crisis and 3196 times due to the so-called 'fiscal cliff'. I've learned to discount th…

Words Are Not Enough

"We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people...I'm sure many of you who a parents here had the same reaction that I did when I heard this news....Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to be able to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I am sure you will do the same with your children."--President Barack Obama,  Friday, July 20, 2012, in reference to the Aurora movie theater shooting

"I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight."--President Barack Obama,  Sunday, December 16, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut

With all due respect, Mr. President, words are wind.
Your speeches are necessary; they are comforting; they offer some solace in the midst of grief so pressing as to be unsupportable.

But words are not enough. Words alone will do nothing to prevent the next tra…

So Much Outrage

***note: I am writing this blog in installments. I have not left the house for a week due to a pulled groin that is still making it difficult to sit for any length of time. My apologies if this blog is disjointed. Then again, I'm angry enough right now to let my pain fuel my fingers.***


I have never in my life felt so much helplessness, so much anger, so much disgust at humanity, as I do today. I've fondled my off switch many times over the past ten I hit it, and hard. Enough. Fucking enough.

I woke up this morning to this. The TL; DR: Admittedly corrupt bank launders billions of dollars in drug and blood money; is fined five weeks worth of revenue on the grounds that any punishment more severe might cause financial unrest.

What does this tell you about American priorities? The Mexican drug cartels actually designed money boxes to exactly fit through the teller windows. Could you be any more brazen? This went on for years. And the bank, as punishment, gets …

Where does all the hatred come from?

The species of hatred I'm thinking of is woman-hatred, misogyny.  Like many forms of hatred, it finds free expression in any number of so-called "jokes".

Reddit-thread that brought this to the front of my mind (it's never far from it, truly): Today I learned there are 17 people alive that were born in the 1800s, and 16 of them are women". Top-voted comment: "You know why women live longer? Because they don't marry women." Somebody down the thread inserts a correction: "actually, married men live longer than single men." The rejoinder: "it just seems longer."

And on and on and on. "You know why women live longer? So they have time to park." Hahahaha, very funny, because women can't drive, get it? Get it?

My wife is one of the best drivers I know, male or female, and I can state with some assurance that she has already lengthened my life. She's certainly added untold measures of joy to it.

And I can say the same,…

The End of the (Phone) Line?

Author Charlie Stross muses about the possible end of telephony: "while voice telephony hasn't outlived its usefulness yet, but if we don't find a solution to the spam problem the end is in sight."

The spam problem, oh, yes. Remember when spam used to be shit posing as mail? I haven't had a spam message in my email inbox for so long I'd almost welcome one for the comic relief. I remember those messages used to say things like "Peenizz ENLXXARGEXMENT IN TWO2 DAYS!!!" At least six years. It's been at least that long since I've been bothered by so much as a single unsolicited email.

I get unsolicited phone calls every day. Often several times a day, and sometimes into the later hours of the night. We tend to power down this household at 8 or 8:30 p.m, and if the phone rings much after that I assume somebody's dead or dying. Yet telemarketers think nothing of calling at 9, 9:30, even later, and why would they? It's probably midmorning in…

Why Don't People Talk To Each Other?

Currently trying to recover from what may or may not be a pinched nerve. I say "may or may not be" because the pain doesn't seem to be coming primarily from the same place (front of the leg, not so much the back) and because the exercises for sciatica don't seem to be doing any good. Or bad, for that matter. Still, I had real trouble walking yesterday and while I'm marginally better today--painkillers for the win!--I'm dreading work tomorrow.
So I'm a longtime Redditor. Being male and with a functional libido, I subscribe to the sex "subreddit (which is occasionally NSFW, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you). Anyway, it positively boggles my brain how many of the questions posed in that subreddit can be answered with a single word: "COMMUNICATE!"
"Husband is a disaster in the bedroom, don't know what to do." Uh, have you talked to him?
"Married for fifteen years, want to open our relationship, how…

I Can't Believe I'm Writing This

...and it's not even Stressember yet. Christmas creep, don't you know.

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas--it's war!

For years I sided with the people who insist on Merry Christmas over vague niceties like Happy Holidays or especially 'Season's Greetings'. December 25th, after all, is called Christmas, and you can pussyfoot around and make up all the festive salutations you want to avoid mentioning it, but it's still called Christmas. (The inner pedant must once again point out, as he does every year, that nobody knows when Jesus was born; it almost certainly wasn't even in the month of December at all; and it's astonishing how many Christians don't know that.)
I'm starting to get mighty annoyed, though, with the shrill, repeated insistence on Merry Christmas as the only acceptable form of greeting this time of year.  THERE IS MORE THAN ONE HOLIDAY IN DECEMBER, FOLKS. And no, I'm not talking about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, or the Winter…

Found On Road Dead

Poor Rob Ford.
The soon to be ex-mayor of Canada's largest city has discovered to his chagrin that laws apply to him.

Well, actually, he hasn't. He's framing his conviction on conflict of interest charges and consequent removal from office as an "orchestrated attempt by the Left" to get rid of him. A successful attempt, it turns out, and only because Ford himself provided all the necessary ammunition.

The facts of the case were never at issue. I mean, Ford's vote regarding his own football charity is on record. And he flat out admitted he'd never read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act which he ran afoul of...the very Act that governs his job. I don't know about you, but if I'm ever elected to office, I'll be an expert on conflict of interest matters within a day or two, and avoid anything that even looks like a conflict.
Not Ford, though. He seems to relish conflict. He has an amazing ability to say and do exactly the wrong thing at any g…

What Doofus Designed The Human Body?

The ridiculosity starts at birth.
Genesis says it's the curse of Eve: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children..." (Gen 3:16a)
This is one of those places  where, speaking metaphorically of course, the Bible nails it. That curse came about because Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If you're willing to look mythically rather than literally at that whole passage, it's almost as if the knowledge, or consciousness, brings about the curse. (The instant they eat that fruit they are suddenly self-conscious...)
Human beings have more labour pains than any animal I can think of. And why? Largely because our brain pans are grossly outsized relative to our bodies. While brain size alone is an almost meaningless measure of intelligence, brain size relative to body size is much more significant. I've no doubt that if you wander back into the mists of prehistory,…

"Becoming European"

This is perhaps the most concise and cogent analysis of why Obama won. (Warning: the article itself is sane and measured--a rarity for the National Review, in my experience. Perhaps predictably, the COMMENTS are BEYOND LOONY.)

U.S. conservatives consider non-American opinion beneath contempt...beneath notice, even. It would not surprise Republicans in the least to learn that if the rest of the world had a vote, Mitt Romney would  barely have registered; in their minds, that's just proof of American exceptionalism. What boggles the Right's collective brain is that their red-blooded America do-or-die-ism is, for the first time in a century, under attack from within America by some mad European-bred socialist fever. And damn it all to hell, in the case of Obamacare, the cure is the disease.

There's a part of this article that really resonated with me, and confirmed, if any confirmation was necessary, my progressive bona fides:

Progressivism always looked at the family with ske…

Americans, get out there and VOTE FOR ROMNEY!

Scratch that, I was attempting to make a joke there and that's kind of an anti-joke.

Of course, after the 2004 fiasco, some of you Obama voters are probably afraid you're going to find yourselves unwittingly voting for Romney. The truth is you probably don't have much to worry about from the machines themselves this time around. (Romney's son does not own all the machines in Ohio, for one thing.) So don't fear the machines. Fear, instead, the voter suppression tactics used mostly in swing states and usually, but not always, by Republicans.  Up here in Canada, we've had our own political scandal, which is still percolating and fostering outrage. The voting irregularities in the U.S. are considerably more brazen and widespread, but for some odd reason they don't seem to provoke the same level of antipathy. I ascribe that to a perversion of the American Dream which suggests that since winning is all-important, a little cheatery is only to be expected and tacit…

Taking Inventory

In the middle of a gruelling inventory at work. I've been through close to thirty of these and this has been by far the most taxing. Usually grocery inventories involve one or at most two overnight shifts. This time I'm in the middle of five, every one of which has been or will be packed. For reasons too arcane for me to explain or you to care about, I have one night off in the middle of this five night stretch--which is something that has never been done to me in the course of a few hundred lifetime graveyard shifts. It's not easy. I ended up having a long nap last night from 9 until about 3:30. Given the extra hour as the clocks went back, that was longer than I intended to sleep but probably still not as much sleep as I needed. I plan to have another long nap this afternoon, and I hope that'll get me through the night. I hope. All hail Red Bull.

This megadose of caffeine to wake up and sleeping pills to come down is not the way I want to live my life. But without th…

"That's Not A Beer Belly, It's a Fuel Tank For A Sex Machine"

I have a Buddha-belly.

It doesn't bother me in and of itself. I have never once looked in a mirror and thought Jesus, buddy, you're fat. The only thing that bothers me about my general body shape is that any pant without an elasticized waist will tend to slowly slip off me, unless I cinch a belt tight enough to deprive my legs of blood. That's annoying. It makes me wonder what, exactly, the working world has against jogging pants--which are supremely comfortable and STAY WHERE THEY'RE PUT.

I'm overweight. I'm not obese.

My wife is. Obese, I mean.

She is completely honest and upfront about this in a way that really disconcerts many women. Yesterday, she was striding towards her car after work when someone called to her, "you look like you're in a hurry. Trying to get out of here?"
Eva responded " fast as my fat little body will carry me." This caused the other woman to laugh like a loon.
This is far from the first time that my darlin…

Bullying the bullies?

I admit it: when Anonymous announced they'd found Amanda Todd's primary bully, I cheered. A few days later, I was forced to retract my cheering when it turned out the guy they'd collared was innocent. Of that crime, anyway, though he's facing charges for something similar. Anonymous seems to think this is a-ok. I don't.

Now Anonymous has a new bully/victim. Is he the guy who bullied Amanda?  I don't know. I doubt they really do, either. And that's a bit chilling. You have to figure they found something suggestive in his computer, but at the same time, this is getting perilously close to the same mentality that has forced teachers to refrain from touching or especially hugging their pupils under any circumstances...or the not-a-joke going around that nowadays, you need specific, written and signed documentation detailing every step you can and can't take sexually with any new partner. Women may scoff at that...but trust me, you can destroy a random man&#…

If I was growing up today...

...I probably wouldn't. If I was somewhere between grades six and nine in this lovely year of 2012, I'd be seriously considering suicide. Not in some melodramatic teenaged way, either. I'd be one of those methodical suicides you'd be shocked about, then realize in hindsight was inevitable.
What I wouldn't do, under any circumstances, is post my suicide note to YouTube.

I'm not sure I can say why, and that's what this blog is going to be about: my attempt to explain why I turned out pretty much okay despite five years of what I thought was constant bullying. Why suicide never did more than cross my mind when I was a young teen, and why I'm certain it would do a hell of a lot more than cross my mind if  I was that age today.

In grade three, I was one of The Popular Kids in my class. I wrote horror stories that were painfully derivative but still managed to scare people. I was the epicentre of a short-lived 'maze craze'...I actually sold little boo…

"Hey everybody, I won the Nobel Peace Prize!"

...says Ken, in the year 2021. Or hey, why not make it next year, since they seem to be handing the things out like like candy now?

First Obama got one, not on the basis of anything he'd done at that point, but more because of sentiment and wishful thinking. Three years later, the country he leads is still at war--and will soon be at war on a second front (to be fair, this will happen whether Obama wins another term or not).

I will give the sitting president of the United States some credit for softening the sharp edges of American hegemony. Many on the right are horrified at this, because AMERICA FUCK YEAH WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!!1!!!! without Team America: World Police, the planet will inevitably devolve into a mess of warring factions.
Perhaps they have a point there. America's compulsive pie-poking over the last sixty years or so has kept World War Three at bay...but boy, has it ever increased the terrorism. Personally, I'd just as soon let sovereign nations keep their …

Our Morning Routine

Daddy's alarm goes off.

It's early. That goes without saying, but he'll say it anyway. It might be as early as four a.m., if Daddy's working at 6 that morning. It's 5:00 if he works at seven. And it's never later than 5:30 because that's when Mommy has to get up.  Daddy has probably been awake for three minutes to half an hour when the beepbeepbeep of the alarm shatters the predawn tranquility. He'll extricate himself from the tangle of covers and dogs--the Tux reclining regally at the top of the bed between Mommy and Daddy, the Peach buried deep under Daddy's covers. (How she breathes down there Daddy will  never know, but that's her preferred sleeping position, glommed to the Daddy with her butt aimed strategically at his nostrils. Peach-farts, by the way, do not smell like peaches.)
Now, the shower. A critical part of the morning here: the Shower is the halfway point between Bed and World. The main point of the Shower, besides the sluicing aw…

Going Moldy....

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