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Showing posts from October, 2015

Musical Interlude: Into The Trench Again

I have a new favourite album.

I'm writing this blog on my second listen-through to an album called Astoria. If this blog suddenly dissolves into bebop, you'll have to forgive me: this music is  tremendous,  and tremendously distracting.

Seven years ago I wrote a gushy blog about a Canadian group I had just discovered called Marianas Trench. I wrote then,

This Vancouver group is, at heart, a pop-punk band, like so many ho-hum pop-punk bands infesting the scene today. Unlike pretty much all of them, Marianas Trench has musical ability out the wazoo. Couple that with an utterly fearless eclecticism (this album has everything from doo-wop to an almost Broadway sensibility in places), sprinkle with infectious hooks, and stir in a three-octave-plus range from lead singer Josh Ramsay...and you have an album with staying power.

I'm glad to report the group has staying power. They released an album called Ever After in 2011 that was just as good as the Masterpiece Theatre. This Astor…

For My "Fraudulent" Friends Who Aren't Frauds At All

Ken - I have a secret fear that people will discover I am a fraud!

...said a friend of mine, who isn't.

I have to say, I was nonplussed. How do you answer something like that? Agree and you're saying your friend is a fraud. Disagree and you are minimizing her feelings.

I'm not allowed to disclose this friend's identity. Suffice it to say that if you know her, you know she's not a fraud: genuine through and through, exceptionally talented, beautiful...I know, it probably seems like I say this about all my friends. What can I say? I have genuine, exceptionally talented and beautiful friends.

Looking into this, I discover something called impostor syndrome. It's especially common among high-achieving women. Neither a mental illness nor a personality trait, it is instead a reaction to certain situations. The list of people who live with impostor syndrome is long and impressive. Kate Winslet. Maya Angelou. Margaret Chan, the chief of the World Health Organization. T…

"Oh, he's so dreamy...."

If I was to refer to a female politician using anything remotely like the terms I'm seeing women use to describe our Prime Minister, I'd be drawn and quartered.

And that's too bad.

(Didn't expect that, did you?)

Look....anybody who knows me beyond the most superficial level knows that superficial levels barely register with me. Until I know something of your personality, empathy and level of intelligence, I will treat you exactly the same regardless of your physical appearance. I do appreciate beauty...I tend to see it in (many) places many others don't, is all.

This does not make me better or worse than most people, only different. I'm just as prone to prejudice and irrational instant dislike as other people, I just tend to base mine on different grounds.

Justin Trudeau has been dismissed as a pretty boy with nice hair for years. It rose to a fever pitch this past election campaign...perpetrated by a woman named Jenni Byrne and helped along by a gaggle of men …

Thou Shalt Not Gloat

I didn't expect a majority.

Nor did I particularly want one.

Canadian prime ministers with majority mandates have much more power, domestically, than U.S. presidents. We've seen that over the past electoral term: the only thing keeping Stephen Harper from near-dictator status was our Supreme Court.

He's gone now, and I am very happy for that. He is a petty, vindictive, and above all small-minded man, and my Canada is bigger than he is.

Enter Trudeau fils.

His dad was a brilliantly intelligent man--even his enemies (and Pierre had many) agreed on that. Justin doesn't have his dad's smarts. I've read his biography, and he admits as much. What he does have, in spades, is emotional intelligence. Empathy, in other words. I'll take that, and gladly, because pace the past nine years, it's not called "The Harper Government" or "The Trudeau Government" but rather The Canadian Government. If Justin is truly as emotionally intelligent as he is …


I fear many Canadians are embracing hatred as the prime mover in their choice this election. It seems left wing progressives love to promote hate; these progressives can't see their promotion of hatred as a disaster leading us to American style polarization.
--"Mike Kenny" (published online 10/17)

Embracing hatred? More like rejecting it.

The list of people Stephen Harper hates is exhaustive and exhausting. He hates the media, because he's under the mistaken impression that it has a left wing bias (exactly one paper, the Toronto Star, has consistently endorsed someone other than Harper over his tenure). He hates Parliament, because it has a pesky habit of trying to get in his way: that's why he's repeatedly prorogued it, why he was found in contempt of it, and why he's forever trying to bypass it.

Harper hates the Supreme Court of Canada, because it insists on interpreting the laws of the land rather than bowing to the Law of Harper. This despite the fact …

Happy 15th Anniversary, Eva and Ken

October 14, 2000: Embro, Ontario
"So what's the standard gift for your fifteenth anniversary?" I asked Eva the other morning.
She applied Google-fu, and within seconds replied: "Crystal".
"Oh, that's great!" I said, enthused. "Have you found her yet?"
...and that earned me a slap and a giggle. "Smartass," she said. "The other option is watches."
"Right...I get Crystal, and you watch."

Apparently I like getting slapped.

All kidding aside, fifteen is supposed to be a big one. They stop numbering individually after this and start counting by fives...I guess we're supposed to go to "China" on our 20th. I'd rather do Crystal again somewhere in Europe, but, hey, if it has to be China, so be it.

People have expressed--I don't know what it is. Surprise? Awe?--that we have been married so long. It baffles me, really. First of all, fifteen years is not a long time. My mom and stepdad have been …

Eva's political statement

I'm immensely proud of my wife.
She's fighting a lonely battle. No matter how much love you have in your support network--and Eva has more than most--fighting battles with your own mind is lonely work. But she is still engaging with the world as best she can, even on days when it's the last thing she feels like doing.

She's trying. She's trying very hard.

Obstacles keep getting thrown in our path. I won't gild any lilies; things are tougher right now than they have ever been, for either of us. But as we approach our fifteenth anniversary, I can say this: we are stronger by far as a couple than anything that has been thrown at us. You can only truly fight demons from without if you are strong within. Ken is, Eva is, and  the shared entity called KenEva is as well.

She made what so far as I know is the first public political statement of her life and put it up on our lawn today for all the world to see:

Although I wholeheartedly approve of the content of this st…

Advice For and By the Polyamorous

Virtually every person who walks the poly path runs into (problems/challenges/opportunities). Until fairly recently, we pretty much had to figure out solutions on our own...or have our partner(s) impose them on us, which may or may not be beneficial.

If you've ever wondered what kind of advice polyamorous people give and get, well, here you go. There was a thread in r/polyamory asking "what's the best piece of advice you've ever received?" and the replies are enlightening.

Emotions come from a very old part of your brain that's trying to motivate you towards a certain behavior. Jealousy = "Danger! Danger! Protect your stuff!" NRE ("new relationship energy") = "Hang around this person all the time and make babies!" Etc.
The rational, decision-making part of your brain is totally separate. So you can say "Hey, thanks for the warning emotions," and then choose what you want to do with that information. Your emotions aren'…

The veiled threat: a longer thought.


Our Prime Minister hired an Australian political whiz named Lynton Crosby to  return him to power.

Mr. Crosby fights dirty. He has a history of exploiting latent racism in the electorate, and sure enough, he's doing that again here.

Harper et al have been very careful not to actually tell you how many Muslim women have tried to remain veiled as they took the oath of Canadian citizenship. (The law banning niqabs was found to contravene the Citizenship Act,  just another chapter in Harper's continuing war with the Supreme Court of Canada.) Just yesterday I had to refute somebody online who was convinced the number was "millions".  Obviously that's hyperbole, but surely there are hundreds, maybe thousands?


There are two.

Two. Second source provided because I'm sure nobody believes me.

That's right, the whole country is frothing over two Muslim women who tried to exercise their right to wear a veil as they t…

Going Moldy....

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