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Showing posts from May, 2013

Prom Memories

Today I learned the average American family expects to spend $1139 on prom this year, and that figure inches ever higher. Interestingly, families with a gross income under $50K a year spend more on high school proms than more affluent families.


I haven't mentioned my high school prom once in this Breadbin's history, because the memory of it still stings over two decades after the fact. In a precursor to my university years then on the horizon, I made a series of poor choices which seemed reasonable at the time, but which led to my "big night' being all but ruined--and I won't whine about that, because I actively and totally ruined the night of the girl who was supposed to be my date. I haven't seen or heard from her in the interim. I doubt she's forgiven me. I wouldn't have forgiven me.

Casting back through the mists of time--

1990, OAC year (what used to be called 'grade 13' in Ontario)
Ingersoll District C.I.

Well, this is interesting. I…

The Week That Was

Six months ago I wrote off Rob Ford's career in the wake of a conflict of interest scandal I was sure would take his career down. It didn't. Now there's a video that purports to show the man Cory Doctorow calls "Toronto's laughable bumblefuck of a Mayor" smoking crack cocaine in the company of known criminals. Whether said video is authentic or not, there is no redeeming quality to this story whatsoever. If it is Rob Ford and if he is indeed smoking crack, I can't see how his mayoralty will survive. Those many of you in Toronto who view the ouster of Rob Ford as redeeming need to consider the age-old question of the means and the ends. You see, you too can help to raise the two hundred large the drug dealers have set as the price to release the video. (As of this writing, we're more than halfway to the goal: please give generously, because drug dealers are people too, and these particular drug dealers are afraid for their livelihood in Toronto and qu…

The "I Want" List

Notwithstanding my last post, in which I claimed my materialism has vanished, there remain a few material things I'd like to have at some point in my life.

Number one is probably


No, I don't drive and never will, at least until we trust the Googlecars. But I do scrape the windshield in the winter, and that's not a task I relish overmuch. Especially after freezing rain.
In all the houses I've lived in--over thirty--I've had a garage once, and it lasted for less than a year before it got treed in a nasty summer storm.  Miraculously, the car inside the garage at the time sustained only minor scratches.
That remains the worst storm I've lived through. There were no tornadoes, just some mighty downbursts producing wind speeds in excess of 160 km/h (100 mph) and toppling trees all over town. Some people in Ingersoll went over a week without power...and we lost our garage. I've been pining for it ever since.

Number two: A FIREPLACE

I know that it's alm…

Reflections on Happiness

I used to be materialistic to a fault. I spent my twenties revelling in an endless cavalcade of stuff, bought with money that was supposed to be spent on self-improvement. It took an unconscionably long time to notice that desire never stayed dormant: each satisfied whim would attract its brothers and sisters and step-cousins. Once I realized that want begets want (a notion which really ought to be self-evident), I found myself at a loss as to what to do about it all. Stop wanting? That seemed like an over-reaction, not to mention impossible. I'd spent the better part of a decade mistaking ephemeral endorphin highs for happiness, but that goal of simple happiness eluded me. It sure didn't come with a full house, not least because that full house implied an empty wallet. But an empty house and a fall wallet didn't seem to be a fair trade.
It's silly to me now, but I hamster-wheeled in that state of mind for months, just prior to meeting my wife. The overwhelming charact…

Love and Hate

At least the prefix 'ex-' is used here.

It isn't always. On many occasions I've seen headlines like

Man Stabs Girlfriend 37 Times

Wife Sets Husband On Fire

'Lovers' Quarrel' Leads to Murder, Suicide

I read the articles attached to headlines like this and amidst all the gory, sensational details ("penis thrown in trash can!")  I never find the one detail that seems most critical to me: why?

Or maybe how would be the better question. How does love turn to hate?  There are no words to adequately express the depth of my confusion here.

Let's first remove the "lover" and the "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" from stories like this. I think when you even start thinking about destroying somebody, mentally or physically, words like friend and lover can get chucked out the window. And if you "quarrel" with somebody, you don't then kill them, or I'd have a trail of corpses ten miles long by now.

I can state with c…

Vacation Rambles

has come 'round at last.  You've heard it all before, and doubtless experienced it yourselves: each vacation is more necessary than the one before; each respite is rehearsal for retirement; and damnitall, they go by so fast.
Recycling a couple of my favourite aphorisms:
"Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer." --Anonymous
"A vacation consists of two weeks which are too short after which you are too tired to return and too broke not to." --also Anonymous. Prolific and profound, that person.
This particular week-and-a-bit away from the grind was supposed to happen a month ago, in my break between classes. Unfortunately that week coincided with university exams and all our part timers requested and got time off to study, leaving me virtually the only one available and scuttling my plans. Scuttled plans are nothing new to me, but still, this rankled. I was ready for this week off a month ago, and that month took ab…