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Showing posts from October, 2014

I Am Sorry

This morning, I posted something to my Facebook timeline that I shouldn't have, with a comment I had no business making.

I did it in spite of already having had an exchange on Twitter about the very same topic--in which an e-friend chided me for views I had without knowing I had them.

I very intensely dislike our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. I unreservedly believe he is the worst PM in this nation's history; that the only way he could be outdone is if a PM comes along and bans elections; that he is thoroughly dedicated to the destruction of everything I value as a Canadian, and that he has already accomplished more than his share of that destruction.

I do not wish the man harm of any kind. I do not consider him evil. I think he is severely misguided and stunningly obtuse, but he is not evil and I do not wish him harm.

During the attack on Parliament Hill last week, the PM was, as it turns out, escorted to a broom closet, having left his caucus (which included a paraplegic) …

That Settles It.

I was never a kid.

A friend of mine, a mom with two kids so precocious they frighten me at times, put this up on Facebook just now:

...and the battle of 'you're wearing warmer clothes under your costume or you can't go out' begins...

Now, back when I was younger (he wheezed), Hallowe'en was actually a kids' holiday. The only adults you saw 'celebrating' Hallowe'en were the parents of younger children--ACTUALLY younger, too, say eight and below--escorting their younglings up the street and down the street, and not one of them willingly.  Back then, homemade candy was a thing, too. Oh, the razored apple urban myth was alive and well: we checked all the candy carefully, and I do recall by the last time I went out trick-or-treating in '83, my mom put an outright ban on anything that wasn't wrapped.  That probably had something to do with the Tylenol poisonings, which had happened the year previous; in exactly the same way we see Muslims with bom…

The Danger Of Writing Too Soon

I cheat.
In these blogs, I'm an inveterate cheater. If I'm writing on anything that isn't strictly personal, my standard modus operandi is to wait until the dust settles before I put pixel to screen. Maybe not all the dust, but enough of it that I can get a handle on what's really happening. Or try to. It might not be the right handle, and people reading my blabberings can then be excused for flying off the handle...but I try. I'm a lazy old cheater: it's easier to let other people do my research for me.

That might sound like plagiarism. It isn't, oddly, not when you credit it.  I will never forget first year geography (taken in my second year of university, at which point my love of the classroom was severely shaken but not quite shattered). The first lecture opened with, I kid you not,  "this is a globe..." [points to equator] "...does anybody know what this line is?" I almost got up and walked out right then. I wanted so badly to ask …

Battle of the Sex


Once I was the King of Pain
Now I eat humble pie
"King of Spain", Moxy Früvous (paraphrased)

Jian Ghomeshi, former lead singer of the quirky Canadian group Moxy Früvous and host of the CBC's popular program Q for the past eight years, has been fired from his job over allegations, not yet made public, that he assaulted women before, during, and after sexual encounters.

Ghomeshi vehemently denies that he engaged in any activity that was not consented to.

He said, she said. Except her words carry a lot more weight than his. They were enough to get him fired, after all.

Ghomeshi retained the services of a crisis management firm that came out with a masterful reframing of the story. This was, it said in a statement, nothing more or less than a coordinated effort by an ex-girlfriend to smear and defame him. She has, he says, approached other women of his acquaintance and enlisted them, together with the services of a "freelance' writer…

Terrorism as Excuse

In the wake of two separate "terrorist" attacks on my country this past week, it's important I get my thoughts out.
The second "terrorist" attack, on Wednesday, was considerably more gaudy than the first despite identical death tolls; the prior incident has not received quite as much attention. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over and killed outside a federal building south of Montréal. Another victim has survived this attack; the killer was shot by police four kilometres away from the crime.

The next day, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a reservist from Hamilton, Ontario, was shot twice, point-blank, as he stood guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa: he died later in hospital. His assailant walked into the Centre Block of our Parliament buildings and opened fire, spraying as many as thirty bullets, wounding one parliamentary guard who reportedly tried to disarm him. Sargeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers, whose duties had hitherto had been purely ceremonial, displayed the…


This is one of the more difficult blog entries I've had to write. It's hard to type through tears.

We had to put Georgia--known as Georgia-Peach, Peach, or Peaches--down today. I've been through this before, but never with a dog in the prime of life and physically healthy. Unfortunately, not all diseases are physical. Or treatable.

I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to have to do this.

In a life full of dogs, I've never loved a dog the same way I loved this one.  She was the runt of her litter, and it was apparent right away that she had some issues. She was terrified of--well, anything. Any change upset her. A leaf could blow in, and she'd eye it warily...if she'd even dare to look at it. Every once in a while she would yip and yowl at nothing, tuck herself into a little ball, and hide, shaking. You just wanted to  hold her close and love her fear away.

She loved me from day one. I tucked her in my jacket the first time we saw her--she wasn't …

Of Circuses and Monkeys

I like to collect sayings from other cultures. They're often amusing, and they can say something telling about the place they came from. There's something you say in Finnish to a misbehaving child, for instance: "you'll either do it, or cry and do it." I wonder how well that would go over with a Child and Family Services busybody here in Canada.
The French expression that translates "to go nowhere" is "to pedal in the sauerkraut".  (???) Likewise, a pretentious person "farts higher than his ass"--Serbs like that "rip clouds with their noses". And a Russian a man talking nonsense is "hanging noodles from his ears".

There are two Scandinavian sayings that really should catch on here: "all talk and no hockey" (Swedish) and "there is no bad weather, only bad clothes (Danish)."

 In Farsi, for some reason, "popcorn" is "elephant farts". (Buttery?) Norwegian: "taste is like th…


When I'm riding in my limo
I won't look out the window--
Might make me homesick for humanity
--Barenaked Ladies, "Celebrity"

"There's something on that is pissing me off", my wife told me this morning.

Now, the mere existence of TMZ pisses me off, but I'm smart enough not to say that out loud around here. I know Eva doesn't give two shits for celebrity culture, but she checks that site every day anyway. I think she might do it for the same reason I regularly tour the right-wing blogosphere: just to make sure the lunatics are still in their cages and the locks are secure. She doesn't often bring up anything she finds on because she knows she'll get the same reaction I do I when I start spouting off about hockey. Married people, you know it, right? "That's nice, dear"?

I just went there for the first time in my life, and it confirmed every worst suspicion I had. It combines two hatreds of mine: Celebrity culture…

Flattery Gets You Nowhere

"The secret to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made." --proverb, attributed to George Burns

That's twice in three French classes that we've taken something which stuck in my craw.
The first time, in the Love and Friendship unit, this quote came up:

L'amour, sans la jealousie, n'est pas l'amour.--Paul Léataud
Love without jealousy isn't love.

Needless to say, I disagreed with this one quite vociferously...and made a point of rebutting it in my first essay. I got the highest mark on that essay that I've ever received on an essay, so I guess I made my point.

(No, rest easy, this isn't going to be another anti-jealousy screed.)

Two weeks later, we're studying Le Corbeau et le Renard, and again...stuck in my craw. Or maybe my caw. Here's an English rendition:

 A MASTER crow, perched on a tree one day,      Was holding in his beak a piece of cheese.  A master fox, by th’ odor drawn that way,      Spake unto him …

Superiority Complex

Judgment. Dislike. Scorn. Pity.

All too common. All unworthy emotions. All of them necessary to people's illusions of their own superiority.

I touched a bit on judgment last post. I'd like to examine it a little more closely here, in the wake of having been judged myself and found wanting. Pardon me for a moment while I draw on some teachings from my (ack!) Christian days.

'Judge not that ye be not judged" is one of the most quoted passages in the Christian Bible. It's also one of the more misunderstood (in a Bible that is absolutely replete with misunderstood passages). If you run variations of 'judge' through a Bible search you will find that much of the Scriptures actually concern themselves with different sorts of judgment.  It's hard to square 1 Cor 2:15--"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things" with that exhortation not to judge...until you realize that once again, English is somewhat lacking when it comes to nuance. (Or such is m…

Four Words on a Piano

One of the supplementary activities I'm using to augment my French: listening to reams and reams of French music of several different genres. Win-win as far as I'm concerned: I'm learning French and  discovering whole worlds of music that are new to me. 
At first, because my French was somewhat rudimentary, I was stuck with the French equivalent of bubblegum pop; as things have progressed, I've been able to--for the most part--understand more sophisticated pop, rock, and even a bit of hip-hop. (Stromae is awesome: unlike several English artists of similar bent, this guy enunciates.) I'm not going to suggest for one second that I can understand all of this on first listening, but I'm getting better the more I listen. And I think that's kind of the point.
Me being the man I am, I'm drawn to love songs, particularly those that examine love from unconventional angles. A few months ago I stumbled across the video above--and I haven't been able to get th…

Happy Anniversary, Eva

In light of what I just wrote, expressing much thanks to and for my wife Eva, this post may sound as if it's coming from the Department of Redundancy Department, Pointless Duplication and Repetitive Repetition Division.
I don't care.
Tomorrow, October 14th, is our 14th anniversary. Though it's worth reiterating we considered ourselves married on the third date, when I moved in with her. The first place we shared was the second floor of an old hulking house east of Kitchener's downtown core--not a good area, but not a bad one either. We've made a couple of steps up in residence, although the home we're in is quite modest. That was by design--I remembered the chaos of the '80s, when interest rates shot well above 20%, and deliberately selected not the nicest house we could afford, but the cheapest home we felt comfortable in. And although we have repeatedly discussed uprooting--including very recently--we have repeatedly decided to stay where we are: the rel…

I DID Want To Write This!

I have more than usual to be thankful for this year.

Thanksgiving is one of the more challenging periods of the retail year, after Easter (by far the worst) and Christmas (which would be the worst were it not for the fact that it starts in four days and runs until New Year's Eve). For reasons unknown, they always seem to schedule a grocery inventory the week leading up to Thanksgiving, too, which just compounds the misery. I made a point of en-joy-ing my job ("en-joy"--"to inject joy into something")...but sometimes it would take several shots a day, especially around this time of year.
I'm not sure what the next epoch of my life will hold...but it won't be retail. And that's a good thing. It's not called the accidental career for nothing--you stumble into it, and it's beastly hard to get out of its mindset. (That's wh…

Going Moldy....

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