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Showing posts from May, 2015

Dress Codes

Ah, summer.

Even if it's not calendar summer yet for another three weeks, in Canada the May long weekend kicks it off. Barbecues. Cottage trips. And, at least while school is still in session, protests over school dress codes.

That last is relatively new, it seems to me. Doubtless I missed all the protests when I was that age: I was too busy trying to assert my individuality by dressing just like everybody else. As an adult now, I'm supposed to come down on the side of wisdom and reason and rational behaviour and say kids should dress appropriately for the learning environment and yadda yadda yadda.

Screw that. Didn't I just get finished saying I'm not rational?

You should understand who you're dealing with here. I look quite dapper and fetching in a suit and tie, or so I have been told. You'd think that would make me want to dress up every day, and if you think that you couldn't be more wrong. If a suit and tie actually makes me look that good, then what …

Therapy Blog, volume one...

There are many Facebook trends I dislike, and (usually to always) refuse to take part in:

the modern-day chain letter that says "share this with sixteen friends in the next seven seconds or your CPU will implode"; the bait and switch post (a version of which is going around again); the passive-aggressive status update aimed at one specific person that nevertheless makes everybody uncomfortable; cruelty to animals and children packaged up "to raise awareness"; the branded posts that force you to like and share something in order to actually watch it, rather than the other way around;the pointless posts that ask assign your birth date/the colour of your underwear/the first initial of your last name a silly word and yield a sillier phrase (the colour of your underwear plus the last thing you ate is your star ship name. Camo Cheerio, hahaha);The dumb amateur psychology/personality tests that sometimes give interesting results but just as often completely misread you And…

Life's Not Fair

I was an overprotected kid.

Not by today's standards, of course. By today's standards--let's just say Children's Aid would have been around to confiscate me many, many times over. I mean, my God, I rode my bike all over town. Once I moved to London (1980, age 8), you couldn't contain me. London is a city made for cyclists: even that long ago, there were bike paths spanning most of its width. Most summer days I cycled twenty or thirty klicks. Alone.

Except for the "alone" part, I can't say this was by choice.

Just look at me: I'm obviously what you'd call an "indoors" sort of guy. I've always been this way. My rationale was simple, albeit simpleminded: the worlds in books far outstripped anything I might find in the "real" world. The "real" world was...dirty. In all kinds of ways.

I wasn't worried about getting hurt, which seems to be what terrifies parents now. Skinned knees, broken noses (I tripped on a s…

"Oh, It's Sad To Belong To Someone Else..."

I subscribe to a number of newsfeeds on Facebook that send me interesting quotes and observations. You never know where the next blog is going to come from, after all. My favourite is probably Collective Evolution: whenever they're not on about ancient alien conspiracy theories or just how awful it is for carnivorous humans to eat meat, they put out some thoughts that stop me in my tracks. Besides them, there's Spirit Science and The Mind Unleashed--the latter is pretty heavy on woo, but still a fun read).

And then there's Word Porn.

Word Porn is apt to expand my mental universe with one post and then make me shake my head at the next. This blog entry concerns a post(er) of the shake my head variety. to wit:

It's rare to find a twelve-word sentence that is fundamentally wrong four different ways.

1) There are no perfect people;

2) Assuming 'perfect person' is shorthand for 'the perfect person for you at this moment', if you're meeting the person, by d…

Check Your Privilege

Pompous blowhards come in all flavours.

They're usually male, for some reason, and the chief characteristic of a pompous blowhard is that he knows what he knows, which is more than you know, and he wants you to know it.
He will craft what appears to be a very strong argument, buttressed with as many big words as he knows (more than you do), and he might even sound convincing until you notice the great big gaping hole in his worldview. 
Rex Murphy is a pompous blowhard. Not quite Conrad Black level, but getting on up there.

Case in point: here. According to Mr. Murphy, "white privilege" does not exist. His argument for this stunning piece of revelation boils down to: "there are poor white people, ergo the colour of your skin doesn't matter."


Cape Bretoners mining for coal were white, says Rex, and so were the Irish immigrants fleeing the famines. ("How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman? None.") They lived poor, wretched lives, …

Winners and Losers

"One of the silliest preoccupations of man is that it makes some kind of sense to divide whole categories of people up into one winner and a whole bunch of losers or also-rans. What poor sick compulsive first infected us all with that virus? And how?" --Spider Robinson, whose Callahan's Place novels should be required reading for human beings
Like so many grand experiments aimed at equality, the notion of not keeping score comes out of good, even beautiful intentions. People have an innate need to have their specialness recognized, and all too often, for both children and adults, it isn't. We see this. And we try to fix it.
But of course in doing so we create other problems that are so much worse. People so full of artificial self-esteem that there's no room for thoughts of others. People who, confronted with failure for the first time in their lives, fall completely to pieces. Children not allowed to engage their imaginations for fear they might be (gasp) hurt.

Insomnia is Hell

If this blog is incoherent, blame lack of sleep.

I haven't been this sleepless since first year university, when somebody bet me I couldn't drink 24 cans of Jolt Cola in 24 hours. I won that bet...and wish I hadn't. Advice: don't do this. I was dizzy and lightheaded and puking, my heart was doing things it shouldn't, I got to thinking I was going to die, then got to hoping I would....and I didn't really sleep for pretty much five days.
This bout has had much the same set of symptoms now, minus the ticker trouble, and caffeine has nothing to do with it. My problem is sleeping pills, or more specifically the lack of them.

When it first became clear I'd be going on steady nights, I went to my family doctor and begged him for something a little stronger than Nytol. A methodical cuss is Dr. Scott Wright: he diagnoses and treats in stages, starting from the least ugly and moving up the scale. "Okay, this is probably a disease called Nothing To Worry About, b…


For those of you who are news-averse, FHRITP is an obscenity, and also -- inexplicably -- an obscene trend that started out as a hoax that has since gone viral...and become a real thing.

It stands, pardon me, for "F--k Her Right In The P--y".

I feel dirty even abbreviating that. It's not that I'm a prude (although doubtless some would argue that point); it's that there's a time and a place among consenting adults for that kind of talk, and the time and place it's been happening lately (in public, directed at a total stranger on live television) is as far from appropriate as it's possible to get.

The most recent outburst came from a man I'm not going to bother naming, directed at Shauna Hunt, a reporter for CITY-TV in Toronto. She was covering a professional soccer game when two males taunted her sexually, one of them shouting the phrase.  The other man defended his friend's actions, saying "you're lucky we don't have a vibrator&qu…

Quick Political Wow...

My apologies to those of you who hate my political posts. I'll try to keep this short.  But I can't NOT blog about the two huge shocks that just hit Canadian politics on successive days.

First of all...the NDP won Alberta.

That's some kind of joke headline, the kind of thing that wouldn't even go over on April 1st because it's so utterly ludicrous. The American periodical THE WEEK is saying it's as if the Democrats swept Texas. That's actually a fairly good comparison. And yet it happened. It happened for a myriad of reasons that all came together to produce a perfect political storm for Jim Prentice and his governing Progressive Conservatives...a party with an uninterrupted 44 YEARS in power.

Take a recession, with a forecast of more of the same...add a leader who called an early election nobody wanted on a budget nobody wanted either,  multiply the right-wing parties so as to split the vote, divide the governing party bitterly, and watch as a new bright l…

My First Steps Into the World You Take For Granted

I've owned a cellphone for three weeks. It feels longer.

Actually, I should say first off that this is not my first cell phone. I had a slider five years ago that I used maybe six times. Those times were widely spaced, because I was always losing either the phone itself for its charger. At one point, incidentally inside the Wal-Mart I now find myself working in,  I spent several minutes trying to find a pay phone, having forgotten that I had a phone in my pocket.

Somewhen around our Disney trip the phone went missing for months, plural...except in order for something to be "missing" you have to miss it, and I barely noticed the absence. (If I couldn't remember I had a cellphone when I was carrying the bloody thing, why would anyone expect me to notice it gone?)  It eventually turned up, but its charger had vanished in the interim and never was found. I said then (and maintain now) that our landline cordless phone had never once disappeared, and its charger happened t…