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Showing posts from September, 2013

Je cherche un(e) ami(e) qui parle français...

I'm writing this from the depths of the night--twenty of four in the morning, which is getting close to a time I wouldn't blanch to get up at, three months ago--and my thoughts are sluggish, like graveyard worms. I've kept the same sleep schedule on my nights off, at Eva's very wise insistence.
Sleeping during the day is still an issue. No problems getting to sleep, but staying asleep is difficult, even with sleeping pills. It's not the light and it's not the, the betrayal comes from my own body. Either I'll pop awake ready to wet the bed, no matter that I'd attended to that a scarce two hours prior, or -- like yesterday -- I'll bolt awake with monstrous cramps in both thighs. (I've suffered off and on from leg cramps for much of my adult life, and they are occasionally all but debilitating.) Or I'll suddenly find myself awake for no apparent reason. At least I've learned I can get back to sleep...sometimes even a single extra…

We All Shine On

Ask me what my favourite book is and I'll stall for time, as much time as you'll give me. There are so many. I have neither read particularly widely nor particularly deeply -- a failing I chalk up to my abortive stint in Honours English Language and Literature, abbreviated as you'd expect -- butwhen I find an author I like, I tend to get a bit obsessive about him or her. It's not as bad as it used to be: ten years ago I cycled through four or five authors, re-reading books over and over again until some of them were nearly memorized.  Nowadays, I'm always out looking for new authors to add to my stable, and my re-reads are relatively few. (Which brings up the question of why I keep so many books around, if I have little or no intention of picking them up once I'm done with them...there's no answer to that question except shut up.)
I'll stall, I'll equivocate...but if you absolutely insist on an answer, I'll probably say my favourite book of all …

Home/Work Balance

If this article even somewhat reflects the state of schools today, then something is seriously out of whack.

The eighth grader here has between three and five hours of homework every night. I didn't have that much in the final year of high school.

I don't have kids, or I would be considerably better informed about the changes our school system has undergone since the '80s. As it is, I get sporadic reports from friends on Facebook who are parents, and invariably I have to pick my jaw up off the floor: the constant fundraising, the completely different schoolyard ethos, and most notably the homework...

Things were so different when I was in school (he wheezed), Fundraising--there was the occasional bake sell even as far back as first grade, and I think it was grade six before I was enlisted as a door-to-door orange salesman. Nowadays the money grab never ends. Either school has gotten considerably more expensive over the years or the funding for it has been cut dramatically.…


"You keep forgetting. But life is not for getting. Life is for giving."--Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsch

A father hugs the drunk-driving teenager who killed his son. Story here.
It's only difficult to imagine the strength and grace that comes from an act like the one pictured above if you're approaching it from a state of weakness. If that sounds judgmental, it shouldn't. Imagine you're a gym rat, busily working the circuit. A little 98-pound nothing comes in and can barely lift the dumbbell an inch. Do you snigger at him and call him a weakling? Not if you're enlightened, you don't. Everybody has to start somewhere; from little acorns, mighty oaks arise. You don't criticize the acorn, do you? 
Forgiveness, we are told, is difficult. The desire for revenge for wrongs real or imagined is very strong in many people. Unfortunately, that desire is endlessly corrosive. Left unchecked, it leads to blood feuds, the poisoning of hearts and the …

Quebec's Secular Charter: Too Far.

It's not often that the federal Conservatives and I agree on anything important, but I fully endorse Jason Kenney's vow to fight the so-called 'Quebec Secular Charter.
The ignorance and wilful intolerance is breathtaking, and you can see it for yourself simply by clicking the link.
The opening message on the website, from Bernard Drainville, the "Minister Responsible for Democratic Institutions and Active Citizenship", is in French only, under the Franglais 'Governement Proposals'.  I'll attempt a translation; please bear in mind I just started the second of six French courses last night...

"The guidelines proposed by the Government have as their objective to continue the process of separation of church and State, which began more than fifty years ago in the wake of the Quiet Revolution. The Quebec Government believes that this is the best way to respond to religious pluralism in a modern State, concerned with equality for all, and for us to weave…

Fire in the Market

There is a farmers' market about a four minute drive from my front door.  The main building burned down a week ago; I was at Eva's mom's place at the tine, surfing Reddit, when the thread showed up in the Waterloo forum, with a picture. This was five hours before it showed up on the local news websites.
Let's get the most important thing out of the way: nobody was killed or hurt. The reaction, though, amazed me: it was as if dozens of people had been killed. Reddit had a five hour head start, but once the conventional media got hold of this story, it was front page news. NATIONAL news. And the outpouring of genuine grief on Facebook...again, it was as if several people had died.

Perhaps familiarity does breed contempt, even for me: I tend to forget that this market is actually a tourist destination. Seriously: there's a big hotel right next to it. I've never heard of a city that didn't have a farmer's market. Granted, this one is bigger than most. I can…

Mistake? Is that what you call it?

Jared Perry says chanting about raping underage girls was "the biggest mistake of his life..

The president of the St. Mary's University student council realizes only now, after five years repeating this orientation week ditty, that it's "wrong". He "feels terrible" about it.

Y is for your sister!
O is for oh so tight!
U is for underage!
N is for no consent!
G is for grab that ass!

St Mary's boys, we like 'em young!


What I want to know is how anybody in his right mind could call this a "mistake".  You don't sing a chant "by mistake". It takes conscious effort to form the words, and I should think it would take a hell of a lot of effort to form those words and shout them out with the required brio. (I just bet the set response to this is the asinine "I...can'!", just so the assembled can shout it louder. Isn't school spirit a wonderful thing? All hail the leaders of tomorrow!

I remember …

Okay, Syria-sly...

In spite of the rather flippant title of this blog, I'm really at my wits end over Syria and the Middle East in general.
The way I see it, there are two courses of action here, each one fraught with pitfalls and neither one even remotely appealing. And then there's the course Barack Obama is trying to steer between the two, which has all the worst qualities of both.


I must admit there's a part of me that is just itching for this. Go in there and settle all the scores. Assad is a dick-tator in a region positively bulging with dick-tators. I can't think of a country in that part of the world that has respect for (a) its own citizens and (b) the citizens of other countries. And yes, I include Israel in that lot. While they aren't as evil as many in North America would have you believe, their hands are far from clean.

Look, you can't just let leaders unleash chemical weapons on their citizenry. There has to be consequences, and harsh ones, t…

Blurred Lines

Administrivia--once again, apologies for the scarcity of posts. This time it's because of my new work schedule, which is taking a great deal of getting used to.  I have semi-successfully 'flipped' to a night-time mode (I'll remove the "semi-" when I am only normally tired at bedtime (which is between 9-10am), and not completely exhausted as I am now.
This may sound odd, but I feel as if there is less time in my day now. That's silly--I'm living the same 24-hour day as the rest of you--but when I get home at 6:30am I don't feel like doing anything strenuous and I can't do anything noisy for a while...and then when I get up at seven I prize those hours before my shift the way I so recently loved the early mornings. At any rate, I'm going to put some effort into maintaining this here Breadbin, as once again it is going dusty.


The song of the summer. You've almost certainly heard might be sick to death of it by now.

Okay, …