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Showing posts from January, 2015

"Wriggle wriggle splat"

When we tried to adopt children, years ago now, we told Family and Children's Services that we were interested in older kids. Not teenagers, but not newborns or toddlers, either. We had personal reasons for this, which I will tell you in a minute, but we also knew that our attitude would increase the likelihood of our actually being allowed to adopt.

People overwhelmingly want newborns, or at least very young children, when they adopt. I get the rationale: hopefully you get your child young enough so she doesn't remember her birth parents and you're essentially starting from as close to scratch as possible. I get it; I don't share it, for one very simple reason.

Babies mystify me. They speak a language all their own that I am not fluent in--I can't even pronounce a word of it. They communicate by means of cries and screams and smells you'd rather not smell and did I mention my worst baby-related fear, which is that I'm holding a baby, aw, nice, cuddle, aw,…

Let's Talk. About me, for starters.

If you've been online today, or if you've turned a TV on over the past month, you know it's Bell Let's Talk Day. The idea behind Let's Talk is to end the stigma around mental illness.

Last year I publicly wished a company I actually respected was behind this initiative. For my American readers, Bell and its competitor Rogers are the Verizon and Comcast of Canadian companies: monolithic entities with less than zero customer service and an employee culture that could best be described as "hellishly toxic".  My own experiences with Bell have been largely positive, but many friends of mine have had all manner or horrors perpetrated upon them--in some cases, horrors that actually seemed purposely designed to inflict mental illness on people. And so I am tremendously conflicted about this initiative of theirs. Remember when Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize while serving as Commander-in-Chief of a country at war (he's since bombed seven nations, and thos…

Poly--But Problematic

There's another huge wave of polyamory news and views making the rounds, and yes, I'm going to weigh in on it, and no, I'm not going to land where you think I will.

I'm going to cover just two of the many poly articles. The first one isn't even in that list.

This is the first one. It seems Toronto Raptor Lou Williams celebrated the birthday of one of his girlfriends with...both of his girlfriends. The women, we are told, consider themselves "sister wives" and Lou is "living every bro's dream".


Yes, this is poly. By definition. Both women know all about each other: everything's out in the open. But the tone of this article is very off-putting. I can't help wondering if it would be reported the same way if (a) the man wasn't richer than Croesus or (b) it was a woman, famous or not, with two boyfriends. Which is, among the half million or so polyamorous relationships in the United States today, the most common arrangement by a …

I'm Offended!

The Charlie Hebdo attack sure backfired, didn't it?
Before last week, few people bought the magazine in France and fewer outside the country (including me) had even heard of it. The jihadis who murdered ten of Charlie's staff and two others (including a Muslim police officer) were heard to shout as they fled, "We have avenged the prophet Muhammed. We have killed Charlie Hebdo."

Uh, not so much.

In fact, Charlie Hebdo was on life support for mere minutes when French media outlets pledged to lend their staff to keep it going. The first issue since the murders had an initial print run of three million copies: that's since been raised to five million, and the issue has been bid up as high as C$300 on ebay. This for a magazine whose usual sales were around thirty to forty thousand a week. Unless Muhammed was on the cover...then the sales might be goosed as high as 100,000. Hey, you draw what sells, right?

Meanwhile, 'Je Suis Charlie" took hold in the virtual …

French Song of the Month: L'architecte (The Architect), Lynda Lemay

I brought this one in for my French II teacher. It was a little ahead of where the class was at the time, but the teacher loved it, and without my asking, she made copies of the lyrics for everyone and presented it.
Lynda Lemay's voice is very good here if you're learning: she enunciates well. It's a sad, sad song.

Tell your children that you love them. Praise them for their talents, whatever they may be. And please, if you're an architect, don't force your son to grow up to be an architect too.

English translation:

He had a talent for dancing
He became an architect
He had a knack for arts and languages
He talked to his plants
He made miracles in the kitchen
Mixed divine spices
But his father, on Sundays, busy drinking his aperitif
Never said, it seemed, that his son was good.

He was bitten by music
He became an architect
He was, in his time, a poet and a pianist
He surrounded himself with artists
He always ended up in the kitchen
Juggling clementines
But his father, on Sundays a…

How to Fall In Love With Anyone*

*or at least 90% of anyone...

What if falling in love is a choice? What if it isn't something that happens to you, but rather something you do?

I've always felt this way, of course. I fall in love easily -- many probably feel too easily...but the truth is that any two people, given considerably less initial attraction than you'd think, can fall in love in ninety minutes. (Add one hug of longer than twenty seconds duration--probably after that ninety minutes, there are few people willing to give hugs like that up front) and your fates are sealed.

Here's an account of how to make it happen. And here (pdf) is the actual study.
Basically, you need to be attracted enough to somebody that the thought of falling in love with him or her doesn't scare you silly. My personal threshold for that is very, very low; yours may not be, and that's fine. But by no means do you need to look at him or her and see fireworks. In fact, the study shows that you stand a ninety percent…

"Je Suis Charlie"

I have come to believe over the years that religion, by its very nature, is extremist.

There are, of course, degrees of extremism, and one particular religion tends to out-extreme others just lately.  But religion, based as it is on faith in defiance of reason, is extremist by definition. Fundamentally so, you might say.

The Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is a weekly exercise in secular extremism, to wit: it relentlessly mocks and criticizes whatever target is in its sights, be that a celebrity, a politician, or, yes, a religion. It's extremism because it goes out of its way to offend.  Satire doesn't work very well when it's gentle. But most of us, even ardent defenders of free speech, don't spend our working lives trying to piss off the world to make a point.

In the wake of the horrific attack in Paris that killed ten members of the Charlie Hebdo staff and two police officers, it once again becomes vitally important to pick a side. Yet again, three jihadis h…

"You think it's my fault?!"

HOCKEY POST UPCOMING, sorry, non-hockey fans, but you had to expect this...

The Toronto Maple Leafs have relieved coach Randy Carlyle of his duties. Not a moment too soon, and a season and a half too late, says this Leafs fan.
Carlyle is not a good coach. Yes, he did win a Stanley Cup, albeit with a stacked roster that a trained monkey could have coached to that outcome. That notwithstanding, here is a good breakdown of why he was fired. The tl;dr: is that he is a piss-poor possession coach. He was in Anaheim, he is in Toronto, and he will be should any NHL team be foolish enough to hire him in the future.

Like Ron Wilson before him, Carlyle is an old-school coach who was unwilling to change his ways. "His ways" involved running three lines of players in a four-line league, with a corresponding over-reliance on his top line of Bozak flanked by Kessel and van Reimsdyk. He consistently put players in positions to fail, then blamed the players when they failed. He made inexpli…

2015 Solutions

I have never been one for New Year's resolutions. As I first wrote ten years ago today , there are several reasons for that: one, they imply a non-acceptance of the way my life is (and also that my problems are intractable, since I need to "re-solve" them); two, there's no special significance to this particular date; and three, they usually fail anyway.
And there's one other reason: I'm really leery of making public announcements about things I intend to do. Because my intentions melt away, often remarkably quickly. My inherent laziness, lack of discipline and general aimlessness is thus shown to the world, and who wants to look too long at that? Not me, not you, not anyone.


There is a cause and effect principle I have been ignoring in my (doomed) attempt to avoid life change. I've long known the principle: I've counselled it on many occasions. I've even written of it here at least once, at some point on the calendar far removed from Ne…