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Showing posts from January, 2013


I'm glad we don't have kids.

Except when I'm not.

I'm not when I read the escapades of friends' kids on Facebook and think to myself my life could do with some of that entertainment.  There are two kids in particular, an old schoolmate's five and seven year olds, whose endless antics bring a smile to my face. These two children are precocious beyond words Their minds range far and wide, their tongues labouring mightily to keep up, and their Mom is diligent about recording the craziness that is her house. Then there's my stepsister's daughter...from birth to teen the quintessential "good kid". Yeah, I'd have liked one or two of those.

There's no doubt kids enrich your life the same way, for instance, our dogs do, only about a hundredfold. Unless they turn out bad. No doubt some of them do, despite parents' best efforts. That scares me: the thought that no matter what I do, my kid could grow up to be a thief or a killer is very frigh…

Body Issues

"You know how I feel about bodies? Think of the best Christmas/birthday present you ever got in your life. Something that made you cry, you were so happy to get it. Got a picture of that thing in your mind? Good. Now...what was it wrapped in?
Who cares, right? That's how I feel about bodies."
--Me, on entirely too many occasions to count

"A waist is a terrible thing to mind."
--Tom Wilson

I keep hoping that women, of my acquaintance and otherwise, will eventually learn to stop worrying and love their bodies. This is not one of my more realistic hopes, alas. At least in part because too many men of my acquaintance and otherwise insist on judging women by their covers. Hell, we're told not to do that with think maybe we shouldn't be doing it with living, breathing beings? You think? Just maybe?

In all my life, I can count the number of ugly women I have met on the fingers of one hand. Three of those women were conventionally was a…


It's cold outside.

Nothing out of what used to be the ordinary, mind you: it's -13 right now, wind chill -22, and people in Winnipeg (-26/-38), not to mention Rankin Inlet (-30/-48) are laughing bitterly at me. But we haven't seen this kind of cold snap since 2009. I'm double-layered, with jeans over jogging pants and two sweaters, and I'm still a little nippy. I'm thinking I'll have a nap since I have to work at five in the morning tomorrow (forecasted windchill for my walk to work is -28, oh joy, oh bliss). Thoughts of flannels and cuddle-Tuxing (the Peach will burrow and give what warmth she can, too) bring on thoughts of other warm things.. Fireplaces. Disney World (18 right now, which is five degrees warmer than my living room). Hot tubs and saunas and the pea soup I had for lunch which is just starting to unstick itself from my insides. Hugs.

Hugs are nice warm things. Not those awful fake letter-A hugs, the ones social protocol forces you to give whe…

Scrabbling for Blog Topics

There is some controversy in the Scrabble world. Seems that the language has outpaced the game, and that letters like Q and Z, once the bane of a rack, are now easily played and thus overvalued.
(In case you haven't played in awhile, qi (the Chinese life force) and za (short for 'pizza' are acceptable plays now.)
I've been playing Scrabble since I was about six. I am nowhere near tournament-level...I average a bingo every third game or so, whereas professional players can expect a minimum of two per game. But as a Scrabble dabbler, I feel the need to weigh in.
In family games, we very rarely used the dictionary because the rule was you had to know the definition of any word you played. Once you leave the familial shelter, you'll find yourself easy prey to people playing monstrosities like cwm (the Welsh term for a glaciated valley). Every single day somebody plays a word I've never seen before in my life--in the last 24 hours I've had wud and lagered used …

In Burke We Bust

Oh, how good it feels to write about hockey again.

About three-quarters of the way through the lockout, with hope for a season all but evaporated, I wrote on Facebook that the NHL could go puck itself, that if and when it came back I'd be damned if I'd come flocking back to it.

Guess I'll be damned. There's no doubt Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have conspired to punish me, a hockey fan, over the past four months. But now that the NHL's coming back, I can't remember why I should continue to punish myself.

There are several people I have talked to who have discovered, or re-discovered, junior hockey, college hockey, the AHL, or what have you. They've resolved never to watch another NHL game. That's perfectly fine, but it's not for me. The National Hockey League is chock-full of the most talented hockey players on the planet. Hockey at any level is an interesting game, in my opinion; at the top level it's a hyperkinetic ballet on ice. I admire the …

Wouldn't YOU Protest?

An old colleague of mine posted this on Facebook a minute ago and made me see red:

And the teachers are striking again, no surprise. Just be happy you all have jobs.

Grrrr. Here's the kicker: the guy who writes this belongs to a union. I kid you not.

That's the kind of statement I'd expect from an ├╝ber-capitalist robber baron. I'd still be appalled at the disdain for working people just oozing out of this putrescent mindset, but at least I'd understand where it came from. How does such a elitist mindset take root in the brain of a common, middle class person?

For those of you outside Ontario, our school teachers here have been embroiled in a bitter, bitter dispute over new legislation ("Bill 115, the 'Putting Students First Act') that the government has imposed.  There have been rotating one-day strikes across the province. Another is set for the greater Toronto area  on Friday--although the head of the teacher's union is being very careful to cal…

Hi, My Name Is Ken B....

and I have an Internet problem.  It’s been six hours since I was last online.

I know, it’s a bit absurd to think of the Net as a drug like alcohol and cigarettes. (Then again, website page views are referred to as “hits”, aren’t they?) The Net is a drug of choice for over twenty years.
I remember the first time...1992. I’d previously used that computer only for word processing -- a version of WordPerfect so old, even then, that you could smell the must with each keystroke. My first good friend Tim had a TRS-80 Model iii in his basement. This university computer didn't feel much different. 
Until it hooked up with another computer somewhere else. So help me, I remember wondering, with naivete pure as the driven snow, why anyone would want to connect to another computer when everything you needed was already on the computer in front of you.
I was young and shy, detached and sad Spent my days indoors, a homebound lad Hardly spoke, few friends, I kept myself to myself Quite alone..…


Every now and again I read something that makes me violent. This would be one of those things. The final two paragraphs sum up this guy's position quite well:

Violence doesn’t come from movies or video games or music. Violence comes from people. It’s about time people woke up from their 1960s haze and started being honest about violence again. People are violent, and that’s OK. You can’t legislate it away or talk your way around it. Based on the available evidence, there’s no reason to believe that world peace will ever be achieved, or that violence can ever be “stopped.”

It’s time to quit worrying and learn to love the battle axe. History teaches us that if we don’t, someone else will.

Square that with this book (which really is a must-read) asserting, and proving by means of rigorous research, that as awful as the past century has been, it's been by far the most peaceful century in human history.

We are getting better, albeit "History", I once read…