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Showing posts from January, 2016

The End Of Local

Not long after I got here in 1990, our local newspaper, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, ran a story on page A1, above the fold.

Its title was:

A) Councillor Retires After 33 Years Of Service
B) Potbellied Pigs Make Perfect Pets
C) Ethel Bloodthwaite Gets New Screen Door

Bear in mind that this city had a population, at the time, approaching 400,000 people. It wasn't quite a metropolis, but it was quite a long ways from being a one-horse town.

The correct answer is B, and no, I am not making this up: the most important story of the day, that day, was that potbellied pigs make perfect pets.

I very rarely read an edition of the local rag after that. Every once in a while I'd pick up a copy, confirming with one glance at the front page that if it didn't happen within city limits, it didn't happen. Ethel Bloodthwaite and her new screen door would come up every time I talked about the Record, to my wife's unending chagrin. Oh, look, she'd say when I brandished a copy o…

I'm hard on things

I'm really hard on things.

Shoes. I'm hard on shoes.
It would probably help if I owned more than three pairs of footwear. One pair of sandals for summer, one pair of slippers for winter in the house, one pair of steel-toed boots for...everywhere else. There'll be another pair coming in April, steel-toed shoes this time. Walmart sells its employees a pair a year at cost. Last April, trying to be thrifty, I got the cheapest pair of steel-toed shoes we carry. By October they were falling apart. We spent money we really didn't have getting these boots (also at Walmart, full price this time)...and they have to last another three months. They should. I hope.

The thing is, I have extremely expensive orthotics in my shoes. My arches are so high it caused bemused comment at the podiatrist: without those orthotics, walking becomes rather painful rather quickly. With them, all footwear feels the same: comfortable. But swapping them out is a royal pain in the butt, and so I have b…

Now I get it

Good grief, Ken, a hockey blog followed by a political blog? The two topics that both your wife and one of your closest friends have said bore the breasts off them? Back to back? What the hell are you thinking?

Sorry. In my defence:

A) It's been a while since I have done anything political;
B) This one is important;
C) I'll try to inject some personality into it.

I'm indebted, as I often am, to John Michael Greer for clarifying my thinking.

So.

How have things been for your family since your father was your age?

Your answer likely depends a great deal on something you might not consider: whether your grandfather earned a wage or a salary.

If Granddad earned a salary, there's a better-than-fair chance your dad is university educated and earns a salary himself. Which means you grew up reasonably privileged, and, while life may not be all sunshine and lollipops, you're probably fairly comfortable. If you married, you likely married someone with a similar background, s…

This is a hockey blog. I'll try to make it interesting.

For a guy with the sense of humour I have (thanks, Dad)--I take things way too damn seriously.

Hockey, for instance.

There's this NHL player named John Scott. You are instantly forgiven if you've never heard the name in your life: a player more different from Wayne Gretzky would be kind of hard to find. He's 6'8", has played 285 NHL games, and has five goals and six assists for his career.  Five hundred forty two penalty minutes, though, which SHOULD tell you all you need to know about John Scott.

It should, but, inexplicably, it doesn't.

You see, John Scott was voted by the fans to be captain of an All-Star team this year. If you're wondering how that happened...so am I. Fans are permitted to vote up to ten times a day (also inexplicable--imagine that in federal elections!) and evidently some social-media fuelled prank went viral.

This kind of thing has happened before with the NHL All-Star Game, which hasn't been a real game since sometime in the lat…

Baby steps

I didn't bother with a grand pronouncement of resolutions for 2016, for several reasons. One, I've never bothered with resolutions at all in the past, viewing them as a condemnation of what has been, up to now, a pretty damned fine life. Two, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans (or at least, I've always thought that way).  Three, even when I set out with the best of intentions, I lack staying power: stating my intentions is pointless when I don't follow through on them.

These three reasons are all linked.

Only one person has openly questioned me about my life goals, insofar as I have any, and she made me feel absolutely terrible. She didn't mean to...I really should phrase that "I chose to feel" rather than "she made me feel". But knowing the world knows your inadequacies and sees right through your self-rationalizations is...disconcerting. It shouldn't be: hell, I'm 44 in a couple of weeks and in a job meant for…

The Proust Questionnaire: Ken Edition

How'd I get almost to 44 without having heard of this thing?

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Cuddling. For absolute perfection, add a fire, soft classical music, and some kind of inclement weather outside that's just audible.

What is your greatest fear?

Rejection. That one hasn't changed in 30-plus years.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 

The void where my discipline should be.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Hatred. Especially hatred based in ignorance (most of it is).

Which living person do you most admire? 

My wife, Eva. Trite answer. It also happens to be the truth.

What is your greatest extravagance? 

My life has been an ongoing process of shedding extravagances. I'm honestly not sure I have anything left worthy of the description. Love, I suppose: that I have in abundance, much more so than most people I've run across.

What is your current state of mind?

Pensive, mildly out of phase with myself and most of the rest of existence.…

Polyamory: New things to say, new ways to see

Just in the eighteen months I've been 'out' and surveying the media coverage of polyamory, there has been a marked mellowing, a decided difference in tone in much of it. Even as recently as a year ago, articles on polyamory were routinely referring to it as "ethical cheating" and focussing rather intently on who was putting what genitals where. This would lead to some positively toxic comment sections as people reacted harshly to what they perceived was an attack on monogamy. We polyfolk were branded irresponsible, narcissistic and commitment-phobic, to use three of the milder terms. Kind of funny when your responsibility and commitment as a polyamorous person involves more people and you're considerably less concerned with yourself when you're emotionally invested in more than one other.

Not so much anymore. This is happening in lockstep with an increase in awareness. There's a show called "Love, Sex and Neighbors" coming to NBC for 2016-20…

Cards Against Humanity

My dad texted me earlier this evening to let me know a very close friend of his had suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.
John, his name was. A sailor, a general handyman, a hale and hearty human being with an infectious laugh, packed with both knowledge and wisdom. He's been suffering excruciating back pain that I have to imagine contributed to his heart just giving out--so at least that's gone. But that was supposed to go away without taking him away with it.
John was one of those Up North People that always added something to my trips up to see my dad. But he was so much more to so many people, and why do people have to die, anyway?

We were just about to leave for a little get-together when I got that news, and it added yet another layer of emotional complexity. I was already nervous as hell. The thing was hosted by a guy named Glitch that worked at Walmart until a few months ago. A more easygoing guy would be hard to find...but Eva and I didn't know anybody …

I Don't

"How do you know so much stuff?"

I get that question from time to time, and I'm always quick to refute its premise. I don't know very much at all. In fact, I'm demonstrably pretty frickin' stupid, pretty frickin' often.

Like anyone else with a deficiency, I have devised ways to cover it up. I make it a matter of great urgency to avoid having to do anything mechanical, for instance. I just try mighty hard not to be around in any place where gobsmacking whoozits into thingamajigs might conceivably occur.

The reason for that is quite simple: I have the mechanical aptitude of a common amoeba. Part of it is innate: my vision, especially on the periphery, is piss-poor and my depth perception is waaaaaaaaaaaa thump holy shit that's deeper than I thought; my co-ordination, likewise...isn't; and for whatever reason, I just don't seem to be equipped to visualize changes in three dimensions. This has resulted in my abject public humiliation more than onc…

Human Connection

I would ask my readers, if they can spare the time, to go here and read this. Please. You may find it illuminating.

Addiction, this article asserts, is not caused by "addictive substances"--at least not by those substances alone.

This runs so counter to the established mode of thinking that it sounds ridiculous. Of course heroin is addictive, and therefore using heroin will made you addicted to heroin.

Except in hospitals. Take diamorphine in a hospital for pain relief, over weeks and months...get discharged, and odds are next to nil you will turn to the streets to support your "habit". Even more telling, the stuff you get in the hospital is a hell of a lot more pure than anything you can score on the street. If the 'addictive substance' model of addiction had any validity, you'd have junkies streaming out of every hospital in the country. You don't.

Further examples are cited in the article: it makes a persuasive case that the 'addictive-ness&#…

Movie Night

Eva and Mark and I just got back from watching MOCKINGJAY part 2, the finale of THE HUNGER GAMES series. Yes, it's still in theatres. Well, theatre. We had to go to Guelph to find a place still screening it. Given its release date (November 20th) and the way a certain space opera has supposedly utterly overwhelmed everything else showing at the cineplex, we expected an empty theatre.

Bzzt. It was packed. If it wasn't sold out, it was damned near. Not an issue for us: all three of us have no problem sitting in front rows. But what a shock.

I was a bit ambivalent about the first HUNGER GAMES movie, before I saw it. I hadn't yet read the books, and it was one of the few times I let a wave of popular culture carry me along. Eva and I very much enjoyed that movie, and the second instalment was even better.

The third was was bad verging on terrible: a blatant example of a Hollywood cash grab. There was no need, no need whatsoever, to split the conclusion of the trilogy into two …

Going Moldy....

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