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Showing posts from July, 2013

This Is Not About Hockey

...although the necessary background I'm going to give is very much about hockey, I hope the non-hockey fans can get through it for the sake of what comes after.

NECESSARY BACKGROUND (hockey hockey hockey -- sorry)
This blog entry concerns two people who happen to be professional hockey players. Their names are Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, and they work for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Most would say they play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I'd like to draw attention to the fact that this is their profession.)
As NHL hockey players, they are among the most talented practitioners of their trade in the world. Phil Kessel is in the upper echelon of even that rarefied company. Over the last three seasons, there have been all of three people among 700-plus NHL hockey players who have more points than Phil Kessel. 
Tyler Bozak is Kessel's  line mate, for reasons many Leaf fans fail to comprehend. He is nowhere near as talented as fact, statistically he is inferior to eve…

How Far Would You Go For Your Pets?

is the question posed by the Globe and Mail on Facebook today. Among many heartwarming replies, I found this:

Dogs are way overrated and many owners are obsessed with them in an unhealthy way. I often have the feeling that the people who are turning to dogs and pets do so because they have failed in the "human world." Sort out your issues instead of fleeing from them and trying to compensate with animals. Humans may be flawed but they are also the sources of the greatest joys in this world. An animal may be cute, but it never develops after a certain point, it never matures, your relationship with it will never surpass a very basic interaction. Also, even the most faithful dog will forget you in 2 weeks if you are away (e.g. if you are in a hospital for some time) and he gets his food from someone else. They are instinctual little opportunists, nothing more.
--"Daniel Gyovai"

Well, that's one opinion. Here's mine in response:

Speak for yourself, Daniel. You c…

By George, I've had enough.

I was going to keep quiet about this. I have monarchist friends, and a wife who follows the Royal Family closely, and it's not as if I bear any member of that family ill will at all. (We all have our what if a man speaks to plants, has his toothpaste squeezed on to the brush for him, and thinks homeopathy is the bee's knees?)

But I can't keep quiet any more. It's front page news again today, little prince Nameless has been christened George Alexander Louis and isn't he just the most adorable little wee thing? He's been on the front page of the world's newspapers since he was inside his mother and he's still there now and for the love of all that's sacred, are we going to get a front-page account of his every milestone? "Future King George Says First Word". (Don't laugh, there's a thriving betting trade on what that word will be, just as there has been about his gender, his weight, and his name.)

I love what Char…

You Oughta Be In Pictures...

...No, I oughtn't.

Yet another way I am technologically challenged: I do not own, nor do I feel the need to own, a camera.

I know and love people who take copious (and professional quality) pictures. I understand the inclination to document life in photographic form as it passes, and I don't begrudge the urge in others. It's simply not one I share.

 I don't take pictures well and I certainly don't appear in them well. On both sides of the camera I am acutely conscious of the 'staginess' of the moment. When taking a picture, I feel the overwhelming impatience of my subject; where it doesn't exist I feel compelled to create it. And when I'm the subject...impatience really isn't the right word. Dread would be a better one. What I am going to look like in this shot? Psychotic, mentally challenged, or just plain goofy?
The latter is the best I can hope for. I have what I'd like to think of as a decent amount of (very hard-won) self-esteem, but I …

Portrait of a Marriage

They say that opposites attract. I've never found that to be true. I don't think I could live with a neat freak, for example, and I know one couldn't live with me. I used to be ridiculously profligate with my money, and have since reformed (thanks in no small part to my wife)...I couldn't abide a spendthrift at this point in my life.
(Interesting -- if you're me -- linguistic aside: "spendthrift" means precisely the opposite of what you'd think it would, given thrifty means frugal: once upon a time, thrift meant "prosperity", and so a spendthrift is one who has spent her prosperity.)

What's true is that complements attract. It's dangerous to think of this as a "you complete me" exercise...each of us is a complete human being, and searching for 'completeness' in others too often produces a dependancy and associated expectations...which will eventually go unmet...and pop goes the world.

But since we're sharing the…

The Love Muscle

I never went through the 'girls are icky' stage that all little boys are supposed to experience. I found girls entrancing from my first exposure to them, away back in kindergarten. By grade one I had a girlfriend named Allison...the first girl I ever kissed. To this day I can tell you her address, which kind of frightens me being as I can't remember any number of important things in my current life.

Allison was the first girl to see me naked, and thereby hangs a tale. She came over to my house one day while I was having a bath, and when my mom came up to get me out of the bath, Allison followed her and barged into the bathroom. Like most kids that age, I'd imagine, I had no idea what she'd done wrong, only that it was definitely something, and looking back I'm kind of amazed at how cool my mother kept herself in the face of a seriously awkward situation. Then again, I don't recall seeing much of Allison after that, so perhaps some pressure was applied; in a…

Facts, Schmacts

What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts! -- Robert Amson Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

"I reject your reality and substitute my own"--Adam Savage, Mythbusters

This article comes from Britain, but I'll bet you bollocks to bobbies it's equally applicable in Canada or the United States. The individual statistics are of course different for each country...but the point of this article is that statistics are not important. Facts are not important. Reality is unimportant. A depressingly large segment of the population lives in their own reality, unconcerned with the one you and I are sharing.

Crime is one of many divergent points. In …

GMOs are not the problem: mini-rant

.That's a bold statement to make, given the hullabaloo over genetically modified organisms, specifically those hiding in our food supply. But I'll stand by it. There's nothing wrong with GMOs per se.
Human insulin is a genetically modified organism. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale (among other vegetables) would not exist if wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) hadn't been genetically modified through generations of selective breeding.  That's to say nothing of the increased pest, drought, disease and cold resistance that has saved lives and will save untold millions more if climate change turns out to be half as scary as forecast.
Every instance of genetically modified food is transgenic, which is to say it involves taking a naturally existing gene in one organism and inserting it into another. In other words, we're not creating genes out of white cloth. We have a good idea what these things are supposed to do, and they do it. There's…

If I Could Drive...

...would I?
This is a question that occasionally pops up out of my brain and bitch-slaps me around for a while. Because of course I would drive, right? Everyone else does. And people are pretty reluctant to even think about giving their cars up.

You drivers, which is most of you, probably can't comprehend life without a car. Never mind the inherent limits it puts on your career and your ability to shop for anything--those are obvious first-order consequences. Here are some others. You get asked for a driver's license at completely random times, as if your ability to drive a car is correlated to your credit rating or your worthiness to enter a casino.  Trips to see friends and family who don't live in your city are difficult, occasionally impossible, and certainly inconvenient to yourself and your friend or family member, Suppose you have to be somewhere at seven in the morning. Gonna cost you. Cab fare starts at $3.50 and that's just to get in. It goes up fast from the…

Going Moldy....

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