Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Congestion of Any Kind Sucks

In the 22 days since I last posted, I got a new job in Guelph as a supervisor, had Christmas in Timmins, and got sick twice. I'm in the middle of sickiness bout #2, which is odd for me. Run-down? Maybe, but it's a hell of a time for it to start considering I report to work at my new job next Tuesday.

Christmas in Timmins was fun. (I went sliding/sledding!) It was my wife's first time away from North Bay for the holidays, and the first time that my brothers and I were all home for the holidays at the same time in about four years. K. had fun, though I knew that she missed being home. The drive back to North Bay was brutal, as there were a lot of people on the road, and a lot of them driving at or below the speed limit. So painful. One of my presents was "Lies, and the lying liars who tell them", by Al Franken. Incredible piece of work, really, and I think that I shall post some quotes in a few days. Then, another medium for Bush Bashing was given to me, which is the George Bush calendar. It actually has a quote for every day of the year. In reading the camera, I've come to the conclusion why so many comics expend little effort in going after this guy. He does most of the damage to himself.

Which really makes me wonder why people ignore it. But that's another story, and I'm all sicked out.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Rurality, meetingosity, and the trafficking of cows.

The English language may not be dead, but it is certainly choking on a piece of meat. Now that the likes of Pierre Berton (RIP) have ridden off into the sunset, there are less and less "groups of folks" (thank you President Bush) to adminster grammatical heimlich manouevers.

Some examples: The other day, while visiting Halifax, President Bush referred to the ban of Canadian beef by American special interest farmers that just want to be able to gouge American consumers... and I quote:

"I don't know if you've got bureaucracy here in Canada or not, but we've got one in America, and there are a series of rules that have to be met in order for us to be able to allow the trafficking of cows back and forth," he said. "So we're working as quickly as we can. And I understand the impact it's had on your industry here."

Trafficking of cows? What the hell? I don't remember the last time I felt the urge to snort a whole side of beef. I'm absolutely blown away.

Today in a meeting about servicing rural and remote regions, a colleague referred to the "rurality" of the situation. At that point, the meetingosity of the whole situation became too much for me and I started sniggering a fair bit.

These are just some examples of the English language gone bad. I'm not prince in this respect, but most of my maligning is usually deliberate. These folks aren't even trying.


Friday, November 26, 2004

Scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Yep. They did it. CNN.com, my web-based filthy habit, decided to inform the world on the front-end of their homepage that the Bush twins are turning 23 years old over the American thanksgiving holidays. What a relief. For a moment I was worried that they were actually going to fill the void left by the conclusion of the Scott Peterson trial with some actual news coverage.

I liken my morbid fascination with what my friend has dubbed "Chicken Noodle News" to the same kind of hypnotic effect that Homer Simpson's jiggling fat had when Gillian Anderson put his half-naked body on the treadmill to lose some weight. You just can't wait to be disgusted even further.

It of course makes sense. North American culture is obsessed with either grossing out or scaring the hell out of itself. It's all part of that innate desire that we have to inflict some kind of pain on ourselves. I have theory about that. Historically and presently, people on this end of the planet haven't had to put up with half of the crap that the rest of the world has had to endure. We're essentially talking about over 300 million people with a rough case of what the experts call "survivor guilt". Or should I say "cross-bearing envy"? Seriously, kids, who doesn't like to feel accomplished for toughing out a day at school or the office while sick with a case of the sniffles? Our lives in general have such little challenge or controversy that we feel compelled to inject chaos into our lives every chance we get. People likely cheat on spouses because they're bored, most shoplifters don't really need what they steal, and kids butt to the front of the line with the same sprirt that we kick around ant hills for fun. Don't tell me that you've never tried it... it's amazing how those little chuckers rebuild those things twice as big....

But I digress. The bottom line is that if we were lemmings, we would be negotiating a group rate to pitch ourselves off of the cliff every spring.

It is in the spirit of that kind of self-infliction that I entered into a fools bet last week with Ginny. I was certain that a guest star on CSI was none other than the same guy who played Lietenant Tom Paris on Star Trek Voyager. Yes, it was a geek's bet. Now, it ended up that it was played by someone who could have easily been this guy's twin. Nevertheless, I am now contracted to Ginny to be her slave for a day, as per the condition of our bet. Now, I am normally good at trivia and matters of general knowledge, but have a bad history when it comes to identifying TV stars for some strange reason. (Honestly, who would have thought the guy who plays the doctor on Everwood was Treat Williams, and not Billy Ray Cyrus? Who?) So with this knowledge in hand, why in god's name would I enter a fool's bet like that?

The answer? I'm clearly a sucker for punishment. A very willing sucker for punishment. After all, it gave me something to write about.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Did I Ask For Too Little... More Than A Lot?

My dad was in town and decided to treat K. and I to dinner. I'm 26 and he still does that, and I still accept. It feels too surreal if its done any other way.

We went to Casey's, and ordered our beverages. Then, we decided to order mushroom caps and onion rings. Apparently, their new head-office revised menu decided to ditch those two. Head office did, however, graciously leave their more expensive appetizers on the menu, and then proceed to charge an average of a dollar more for those items in question. Who is going to pay $9.99 for six to seven chicken wings? Not this sucker. I'm saving my money for something sensible, like a crack-coccaine binge. I didn't say much right off the bat but it was pretty clear that I wasn't impressed, and the apologetic nature of our server did the opposite of placate me.

My rage escalated. I suggested another place that we could go to that had our fave appetizers, and then proceeded to walk up to the waitress and cancel our drink order, informing her that we would be going to another establishment. We went to the moose, where they had what we wanted, plus their frigging awesome wings.

K. seemed moderately shocked that I would do something as outlandish as cancel an order, and she's right, it is not "normal" to do that. It is, however, in my mind, quite proper. I don't think that people should have ridiculously high standards, but if an establishment doesn't meet their needs, they should politely change establishments, and not feel compelled to stay just because they occupied the booth at that chow joint for a minute or two. It feels awkward to leave like that, or send food back to the kitchen, or complain about slow service, but it can also, when done responsibly, be quite liberating.

Oh, and we got a beta fish. We're calling it Shark-Bait.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Take Me Back To The Start....

Yes, well, I'm talking with my boss and I thought that I burned all bridges when I mentioned that I was actively looking for employment with another ministry. As an intern, I'm entitled, but if I got employment elsewhere soon, I would be leaving after only six months. This would seem strangely familiar, as it is my track record for jobs over the last year and a half. I'm never fired, I just leave to go up a few pay scales and get more experience. I just always have to kick myself back to the beginning of the learning curve, which can be a little draining at times.

My manager was suprisingly cool about the notion, and offered to make some calls on my behalf to scout out opportunities.

I really should clue into this whole world. I always stress out about leaving, and then realize that "oh my god", the business will continue in my absence quite fine, thank you. Of course, my nervousness about leaving is not really about my delusions of indespensibility, but about my sense of loyalty to organizations I work for. I think that is a good thing. I am usually pretty loyal and focused in whichever place I work. If I find that my heart is not in a job, I WILL leave it. It is simple as that.

Enough of my sanctimonious prattling. The lark visited this past weekend, and it was le fun. I think that my wife would have liked to have spent more time alone with her, but it was quite difficult to accomplish. It is quite difficult for one to spend everyday with a friend for two or three years, and then POOF discover that it is no longer the status quo. I can empathize. I had a few friends in my high school years that I spent almost every day with... all three moved out west. It must have been my stench or something.

Wow, most nonsensical and disordered entry yet. The re-election of the Bush has totally taken the wind out of my sails.

John Morgan died today. That's rough. He was easily one of my favorite Canadian comedians.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Last Post

Memorial Gardens was packed to the gills today. I stood outside the main arena area, close to where the zamboni comes in. Two minutes of silence passed, and then two men began to play "The Last Post". I could hear the other one clear as a bell across the arena. The second was performed by an elderly veteran a few feet away from me. His face showed signs of strain as his trumpet sputtered to a start. His rendition sounded tired, flawed, and seemed to be off tune with his counterpart's. It was easily the most beautiful thing that I had ever heard.


My dad's father was leading a convoy across a bridge in Italy. The driver of the lead truck was scared to cross the bridge because of enemy fire in the area. The convoy would have been caught in the fight if they had not crossed the bridge. My grandfather pulled out his pistol, pointed it at the man's head, and said "You will drive this truck across this bridge or I will shoot you myself."

He was no older than I am now.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It was electric, suprisingly hectic

Last night, I sat down for a special one and a half hour episode of CSI Miami. Immediately afterward, I pulled myself off the couch, staggered down the hall into the bathroom, and pissed pure testosterone into the toilet bowl.

What a wild ride that was. In the space of a single episode, David Caruso managed to utter three stone-cool movie style lines that introduced a commercial, arrested multiple felons, scored with the hot District Attorney, shot up two guys involved in a bank-heist, outran a tidal wave into a bank vault to save both himself and the injured woman he was carrying, drove his hummer out of an exploding building to save that woman's husband, chased a criminal mastermind down on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, and even found time amidst all of that to notice that his dead brother's wife had been beaten up by the stereotypical asshole who runs internal affairs. Yah. You know, the guy that's always on Caruso's case whenever something goes down that isn't according to procedure? That dude. Of course, Davey Crockett has to inform the sonofabitch that he'll kill him if he ever hits her again.

What else... oh right, his supporting cast managed to both help him out and solve a few boring murders of their own.

This show is nothing like the "good" original CSI. The science is there, sure, and the characters have plenty of umph, but where is the subtlety? Gil Grissom doesn't drag his fellow head poindexter and storm a bank in the middle of a freaking armed robbery! He also doesn't stand at the edge of a coast guard cruiser like he's Leonardo DiCaprio looking for a Kate Winslet to dangle over the bow. Mind, you Vegas doesn't have any water at all, but you get my point. I watch this show because it makes me laugh.

Once I start crying, my love affair with CSI Miami is over.

I've got to get up uber-early tomorrow to do a massive call tracking report. Bah.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I'm Not Bitter

Okay, so we now know that the right wingers of the USA were running scared because exit pollsters (those guys who ask you who you voted for after you exit the booth) were somehow dooped into thinking that it was a Kerry landslide.

Could it have been any more opposite? The Replicans cleared the Democratic table like a guest at Christmas turkey dinner. We're talking the presidency, senate, and house of representatives. I would offer the Democrats a wishbone for good luck next time, but Trent Lott and friends are currently ramming it down Tom Daschle's throat. I could wax philosophic for pages and pages about how it is that team Bush managed to pull this off, but suffice to say, the American public made a very conscious choice to ignore certain mistakes and failings in favour of a man who "shares their values". Blind faith is great, isn't it?

Seriously, folks, saddle up and get ready for a crazy four year ride. Now that the majority of the US public has endorsed the policies and overall behaviour and conduct of these people, you will see a fundamental shift in world opinion towards Americans. Note my choice of words. Americans, not America. One must consider that right now, you can ask residents of some of the most vehemently anti-American countries in the world, and they will contextualize their stance as being against the US government and its policies, but professing a love for the American people. Mostly. Now that the citizens of the worlds only superpower have given Bush a blank cheque despite the mounting evidence of corruption and lies, it will be a lot harder to give the average American the benefit of the doubt. It is one thing to hate a particular leader, party, or even government. It is quite another to start disliking the people who are ultimately responsible for putting that government in power.

For decades, the world has refused to hold Americans accountable as a people for the actions and policies of their leaders. The jihadist nut-jobs decided to change that a la' 911. At first, the world was shocked and horrified that innocent blood would be shed just to send a message to the Bush administration (and all past administrations). Most of the planet rallied around the USA to go after Al Queda and associates. Popular opinion started playing reversi when Bush started shoving Iraq. It will get even worse now that the Americans have failed to hold their leader accountable. Its one thing to make the fundamentalist Muslims hate you, they were dying for an excuse anyway. But the rest of the free world? Not a great idea.

What complicates this matter is that we now have John Kerry being a true American and pledging to support Bush to help unite the country. This is a common trait of their political system. Sure enough, in this "time of war", it is likely that the Democrats will become more cooperative for at least two years, until it comes time to start gearing up for the next election. In the meantime, mainstream Democratic legislators will likely undermine their own moral authority by climbing over themselves to follow "the American way" by sticking up for Bush. Again, at least for the next two years. This of course will leave the rest of the planet feeling a bit betrayed by political leaders who, just two days ago, pledged to reach out to the world community. They can't exactly facilitate that with no real political power, so, mark my words, they will give Bush a similar kind of support that he experienced shortly after 9-11.

It's a little different in Canada. The day after our federal election, Stephen Harper wasn't exactly talking about unity and standing behind our leader. He was concilliatory, but the underlying message in his concession speech was not "we're with you Paul", it was more like, "See you at work tomorrow, asshole."

Our system has its own flaws, but the American system still scares me.

Oh well. On to happier things.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

This is about as unscientific as I'm ever going to get, but as I watch election night unfold in the USA, I've noticed that all the Republican party leaders and right-leaning pundits are looking pretty rough. I mean, REALLY rough. Red eyes, pale faces, dishevelled hair... they're normally so coifed! Honestly, you look at the lefties, and they're cold as ice. What are the Republicans sweating about? Is there something that they're seeing in exit polls that we haven't heard yet?


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Here comes the rain again...

A fleury of activity on the ultra-personal side of my personal life, suffice to say, I'm glad that the weekend has arrived.

As for Osama Bin Laden? I don't have any specific feelings on the recent news that he is alive. I'm not so quick to climb the walls in rage and spit blood at the mention of his name, but I'm not exactly part of his fan club either. I just don't think that the American public should allow him the control over their lives that he has been afforded. After all, if the point of terrorism is to make people terrified, then I'd have to say that Bin Laden has succeeded. Keep reading, this is not another senseless Bush rant.

Of course, the point of terrorism is not centrally tied to scaring the crap out of people. It's a little more than that. K. was writing an essay about this in her military history course, and I was lending a hand, when we started seriously considering the 'history' of terrorism. Why does terrorism exist in general? The point of it is pretty obvious; attempting to facilitate political and/or socioeconomic change through fear inspired by acts of violence is essentially what terrorism DOES. So, why do people USE it? Well, lets consider the position of other countries for a moment. I know that its generally hard to look outside of our North American bubble, but bear with me. A number of countries throughout the world, and particularly in the middle east, have had to contend with American interference in their countries internal matters for quite some time. Whether it be for controlling oil or fighting those nasty communists back in the eighties, the US of A has spent a lot of time and direct and indirect effort setting up regimes, knocking them down, and incurring a lot of collateral damage (civilian).

Now, protesting through international channels like the UN hasn't really helped that much, especially when America has veto power on any actionable resolution passed. So, there are two options at hand when you're dealing with a country that refuses to treat you fairly. You can (A) Attempt to fight back their superior forces using your inferior rag-tag army of half-starved and disenfranchised fanatics, or (B) Launch of series of specific point-attacks that are designed to incur damage that makes their public notice your situation, and in turn put pressure on their government.

Now, option A is great if you stand a ghost of a chance in winning, but no one in the world has the ability to take on what every pundit worth his salt has recognized as the "only superpower" in the world. Seriously, think about it. Terrorism is considered unnacceptable because it is not performed by an army representing a country in what is considered to be a "traditional" war or conflict. Terrorism in a number of cases also specifically attacks civilians, while "traditional" and "acceptable" military operations incur civilian losses accidentally. So, terrorism is really the only tool that these folks think that they have. Is it something I approve of? Hell no! But I also don't approve of the current imbalance that has been thrust upon the world in which the United States is the only country that is allowed to launch missles at other countries and invade them without consequence. I think that in this case, both sides have their issues.

This could be a much longer piece and start listing exhaustive evidence. I think that I will avoid that for the moment, unless one of my two or three readers decides to challenge me and ask for specific examples that support my outrageous claims.

The weekend calls, have a good one.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I'd Give Anything To Be A Fly Upon Your Wall...

Yes, so the week started off pretty average, following a rather pleasant weekend. Dinner at my wifes' family's place was nice as always (and as per my step-mother in law, delicious), but Saturday was exceptionally pleasant, as we got to go on an adventure to Sudbury.

In general, I find any excursion beyond the borders of home to be a welcome change from the regular, (not that the 'regular' is bad, I just happen to like constant change) but the Sudbury trip was extra goodness because it involved Science North, Harry Potter on Imax, and the lark in fairly equal quantities. I also got to examine her new boy more closely, and was quite pleased to see that he shares my morbid and pop-culture (saavy?) style of wit. Now, by "saavy", I mostly mean dollups of Simpsons, Family Guy, and Science Fiction reference-based humour. Yes, I know this is all terribly subjective of me to denote such humour in such a praising fashion, but hey, we can all get along, right? Apart from a decent sense of humour, he also appears to be a good egg, which is fantacular.

K. (my wife) and I also managed to get our household clutter reasonably under control, and process four loads of laundry. Don't even ask me how it is possible for two people to go through that much clothing in under a week. It's a gift. I would have to wonder what would happen if I decided to get a second job... Second job, you say? Why? Well, we're getting by, but it's always nice to have more money, and such... and I'm feeling a kind of restlessness that has not been around for the last three years. I'm thinking of getting a 'y' membership, and that might help, but who knows... could it be that I miss the nearly 60 hours a week I was spending at my former job? Kind of. Except for the fact that I worked 60 and was paid for 40. That was sucktacular.

Nothing terribly deep this evening, folks... I have to save my brain cells for CSI Miami. Which is on very shortly. Night'

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More Boring US Politics. Read If You Dare!

First, props to the lark' for shamelessly using her webfame to sucker people into reading my senseless trash. Nothing says friendship like....

Regarding the philosophy of politics in the U S of A: (I promise I'll abstain from talking about this stuff for a week after this post)

I find it hilarious that in the states', the word "liberal" is a swear word, and people have actually succeeded in creating a mass paranoia tied to the creation of labels that identify someone as such.

It's the exact opposite in Canada. When our imperfect Liberal Party wanted to get re-elected, they drummed up the image of the right-wing nut-job Conservative party, and managed to scare half the undecided voters of Canada into voting for them instead of letting the Conservatives in to office. Incidentally, I thought it was a pretty cheap way to go, and it should have cost them the election, but it didn't.

I just thought it would be interesting to point out.

I think it also speaks to the fundamental differences between Canada and the United States, and to the reason that most Canadians are hoping and praying that you folks will turf Bush. We're a 'liberal' leaning centrist country. Uh-oh. I guess that means that since we are closer to embodying the values of that evil John Kerry than that of St. Bush, we would clearly have massive deficits, be victims of multiple terror attacks resulting from weak leadership, have an inefficient and pathetic health care system, a poorly educated society, and have a ridiculously high crime rate.

Oops. We don't. One of the best health care systems in the world (public at that), one of the best education systems in the world, respect from most of the world as peacekeepers, BUDGET SURPLUSSES, a much lower crime rate than the USA, etc..... (believe it or not, I'm not trying to toot my country's horn, I'm just trying to point out that liberal stereo-types are pretty flawed at the core, and yes, I know, the US is bigger than us and the leader of the free world, but that doesn't mean that they can't still learn a thing or two from others)

All of these successes were delivered under the umbrella of a predominantly LIBERAL ideology and government. Hell, the name of the party is the same as their location on the political fence. It's a miracle that we haven't become a haven for terrorists or something. What's my point? To paraphrase Kerry, labels only work if you're trying to scare the electorate into voting for you. Bush has, in his term, achieved the same budgetary results that he is certain only liberals can do. That's just one example. Yes, yes, I know that 911 played a big part in it, but that's my central point. The Bush administration uses 911 as a scape-goat on one end, and then turns around and parades it as a symbol of their war-time prowess (which isn't really that great), and the existing Republicans and uninformed/undecided/fear mongered voters lap it up and declare him re-electable. Amazing how they try to have it both ways. The Bush boosters of the world have consistently ignored his very real errors and gaffes and tragic mistakes, and instead have focused on.... oh my.... Kerry's voting record. Has it ever occurred to them that if the man's voting record has changed over the years, that it doesn't automatically make it a bad thing?

Bush pre-empts half his speeches with "The world changed after 9-11" Fair enough, but if the world changes, shouldn't the way people react to that world, and vote in that world also change? In general, I don't run my life the same way as I did ten years ago. I still have some core principles that guide me, but I don't mindlessly apply the same techniques to different problems. I change and adapt as needed. A good chunk of GW's current administration served under his father, and applies a disturbing number of similar principles to the current administration. The doctrine of pre-emption is not new here, folks, it has been used by the US for decades (a good portion of South America, for example). All that the current crew has done is taken preemption, and applied it to a very different environment. No wonder it's not working.
The bottom line is this: If I had done my job in the last four years the way that Bush had done his job, I would have been fired, and the dude down the hall who had made a few errors for the last twenty years, BUT LEARNED FROM THEM, would have been quickly shuffled into my place.

Whew. I'm done for now. Looking forward to some more worthy philosophical discourse, part of which will be facillitated by the lark.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Deeper and Deeper

I'm going to be lazy tonight. Well, lazy with this blog. I'm currently picking fights in this forum:


It is based on comments surrounding an initial article that was posted on George Bush. Right near the bottom (and it's a long series of comments posted by many users) I have started adding my own diatribe to this mess. Here some excerpts:

It's 6:48 pm, Eastern Standard Time, in Ontario, Canada.
I've just spent thirty minutes reading the article and the comments posted afterwards. I won't even try to address 1% of the points that were raised, I don't believe anyone has the time for that. I really cannot believe that the Bush-boosters of this realm are willing to let GW get a free ride for happening to be president during a terrorist strike that was the culmination of DECADES of twisted and unjust US foreign policy. As a person from the outside looking in, I was not blown away by Georgie's performance in the days following 911. Call me a detached and ignorant foreign infidel, but he just seemed to me to be doing what any half-assed leader would do in a crisis of that nature.

1. Express condolences to the families.
2. Appear enraged that anyone would dare attack the USA, and resolute in the idea that the USA will not be bullied by such brazen attacks.
3. Vow to bring the attackers to justice.
4. Rally the country to provide bipartisan support in "these dark times".
5. Enact sweeping bills that would radically alter the nature of the country for the purposes of facing a clear and present danger.

Do any of these steps sound familiar? Think FDR, folks, and the Pearl Harbour Debacle. The scope of the tragedy involved in both 911 and Pearl Harbor coloured the very perception of how Americans would view the action of their leaders. It's hard not to instinctively back the guy who was in charge of your country, which was just assaulted.

I won't pretend that WWII and today's "War on Terror" are even remotely similar, but the gut reactions of citizens and leaders to the events that dragged the US into both of these conflicts is very similar. The most marked differences can be found at the end of the four year period following both attacks. Roosevelt died with a country relatively united, Bush has divided the country.

In regards to the specific Bush conduct regarding Iraq, let's keep one thing in mind: Hindsight is 20/20, unless you're looking back with rose-coloured glasses. Back when this whole ridiculous saga began, I made this prediction to friends and family: "Just you wait. They won't find a single WMD, but by then, most people won't care, because team Bush will have convinced America that the only thing that matters is that Iraq had to be free, and that Saddam was evil. (forgetting all of the other much worse dictators) Also, half of Saddamn's elite republican guard will go AWOL near the end of the conflict, so that they can reincarnate themselves as insurgents." My friends in Canada rolled their eyes, and not because it sounded so crazy, but because I was preaching to the choir. Most of the world isn't fooled by Bushes own brand of "bait and switch" that he has so often accused Kerry of. Strip away all of the post-war rewriting of history and the pro-Bush Republican idealism, and you have a pretty sorry excuse for a president. Giving inspirational speeches to the devestated masses isn't that difficult. It's actually delivering true justice to everyone that's the real trick.Posted by: Steve at October 19, 2004 12:20 AM PERMALINK

Go to this time and date area of the blog and read the responses, and my counters. You mind find them entertaining. If not, no worries... I find myself quite boring.

Oh, and water service has been restored to my house. M.L the plumber was most helpful.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

When life gives you lemons....

When life gives you lemons, you are to theoretically make lemonade. Right now, I would derive far more satisfaction from taking those lemons and cramming them up something, but the trouble is that I can't, because there is no one person against whom I can direct my rage. You see, the water main coming into my house has sprung a leak. The leak is located in the basement, in a tiny crawlspace, and whill require a few hours of cutting away sub-floor and shelving to access. Then, a plumber will come in tomorrow and fix the problem. Until then, we have no water access, and the city charges $45 per visit to either turn on or off the water.

Ask me if I'm impressed.

Last night helped make the weekend bearable. My beloved and I went out to dinner with some former colleagues of hers, and we then all went to see Alfie Zappacosta. he's kind of one-dimensional, and tries a little too hard sometimes, but has a good voice, and had a phenomenal violinist and pianist backing him up..... and some okay lyrics. It was nice change in pace. Afterwards, we rented "The Lion Winter" which features Patrick Stewart as Henry II at the height of his power- and power struggles against his wife and children. I thought the movie kicked ass, and was pretty historically faithful, if not accurate. Henry II of England had a complex relationship with his wife and children which is not always done justice by reading the sheer events and battles that marked the history of that era. The movie highlighted some pretty neat hypotheses, including a controversial one that asserted the manly Richard the Lionheart was really quite gay. This of course deeply offends the meat and potatoe "great men" theory historians, but too bad for them.

Some other, random thoughts: The opposition parties in the Canadian parliament are pissed that we have a $9.1 billion surplus, and have accused the Liberals of underestimating revenue and overestimating expenses, and then cutting the expenses. I love how these people are talking about these things as if this is a problem. I never used to be a Liberal banner-waver, but this government is for once modelling what Canadian households should be doing. We have over $500 billion in federal debt alone, and I view it in the same light as credit card debt. It's money that has already been spent. We may have social programs crying for dollars, but if we don't pay down the debt, they'll have even less in the future. I'll one day start more detailed ranting about the unsustainable nature of our Western lifestyle at a later date, but, needless to say, I believe that the country has to give itself a reality check about what can truly be afforded.

Oh, and John Kerry one the third presidential debate, much to my non-suprise. The US election is still up in the air, but as democrat put it best, "John Kerry is the best election closer in US politics"... it is true... historically, and even in this past year, Kerry takes a while to hit his stride, but rarely loses once he gets going.

Let's hope this year isn't an exception.

I'm done for ze moment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Define Irony

So, a day after writing about rarely getting sick and often contemplating calling in a fake sick call (and never acting on it) .... I wake up today feeling like crud.

Nothing serious; just nausea, lack of appetite, some dizziness, a sore stomach, and a generally cruddy feeling. I went to work anyways, put in a morning, and then decided to go home.

Perhaps I shouldn't dick with this "karma" thing so much.

The third and last presidential debate is on tonight. Go team.

Promises, promises

I'm going to mostly avoid a political diatribe tonight. I should mention that during the second US presidential debate (which at few times seemed very presidential, whatever the hell that means) Georgie Porgie was asked who he thought he would like next appointed to the US Supreme Court. Bush gave a rambling answer that also joked: "I would want all of the judges on the supreme court voting for me." Apparently, he's reached the point where stealing the 2000 election is something that he can now joke about with utter impunity.

Dear America: Wake up.

Thanksgiving was wrought with all sorts of Turkey and then homemade Chinese food mayhem. There is something anti-climactic about spending five hours preparing six or seven individual Chinese dishes for that grand old day, and then needing only thirty minutes to eat one's fill. The saving grace of the whole affair was that it meant cooking with or at least near my beloved, which is always a source of warmth and comfort. Despite this, I'm seriously considering spending next year cooking with an old friend that I like to call "Swanson Hungry-Man".

The work week has begun, and although I enjoy the work that I do, I felt this strange and rare desire to call in sick today. Was I sick? Of course not. I'm almost never sick. I sometimes wish I were sick more often so I could skip work without feeling like a total sinner. Anyone who knows my religious background is likely choking on their ramen noodles, French onion soup, or curried chicken (or whatever else it is my friends and family happen to eat) at that comment. But you get my drift. I just can't play hooky. I couldn't bring myself to do it in high school, and although I ran rampant with that habit during University, when it just didn't matter, I promptly returned to my near anally perfect attendance once I entered the working world. Sure, there were days that I called in sick, but they were few and far between, and most of the times, I showed up at work sick like the class-A idiot that I was, to be then promptly sent home by understandably perplexed managers.

But I digress. I just didn't want to get out of bed today. Maybe it was the fact that I was having nice dreams that I naturally can't remember, or perhaps I had found the perfect sleeping position (you know what I'm talking about). Either way, I came dangerously close to going AWOL. But I didn't. Oh, incidentally, there was no real legitimate point to the last two paragraphs. I'm not even going to say what happened the rest of the day. I just wanted to note this moment of slothfulness for posterity. On to bigger and better things.

I've started into a book that chronicles the unique history of "Front Page Challenge" . It fascinates the hell out of me to read about all of the famous characters that showed up over the course of the 38 YEARS that it ran. From Pierre Trudeau to Timothy Leary, this program covered all of the news makers. Reading material like this renews my woe-begotten interest in Canadian history. An historian in general, I dabble in tales that span the millenia of most regions of the world, focusing on U.S., British, and Ancient, and general European history. Prior to digging myself into studies of these areas, I fancied myself a lover of Canadiana. To my dismay, I look back on four years of undergraduate history studies and see only one real course that I took that dealt exclusively with Canadian history, and even then, it was the history of 19th century Ontario. In the course of my readings, I might even stumble across some of that Can-lit stuff that the lark seems to enjoy so much. I could probably even read some. It should not be too hard, my lovely wife has almost every Timothy Findley book in print, and that's just for starters. I should probably revisit the Deptford Trilogy, or peruse me some Stone Angel, despite the fact that most people who I consult seem to hate that book.

On to the 'challenge'.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I Love David Caruso

I would respectfully ask that my wife, if she is reading this, stop, immediately. I deeply respect the fact that she loves CSI Miami and feels personally injured whenever I comment on said program. In lieu of airing my comments in a verbal forum, I have decided to take to the net, as they say, so that the love of my life need no longer suffer my cynicism. In encourage her to tune in for one of my next entries, which will actually contain thoughtful reflection on the formation of the Canadian literary canon, as per conversations I held with both her and the lark in the last two weeks.

Truthfully, I love CSI Miami, but for all the wrong reasons. I love it in the same manner in which I love the US election; I thrive on farce. To be fair to this beleagured program, I am at heart a ruthless cynic that is rarely touched on an emotional level by any programming. I attribute this to the deep shame that I felt as a child when I found myself crying over the death of the mid-wife at the beginning of "Willow", which remains a favourite movie of mine to this day. I have since battle-hardened myself, and remain difficult to please when it comes to mass media. I blame my mother. No, really, I do. If you ever watched us watching television together, you'd agree with me. That being said, my assessment of CSI Miami should come as no suprise.

My first issue lies in the name of the program itself. It should be renamed "Cleavage Miami", as the female characters are often converted into eye candy with utter impunity. Apparently, Medical Examiners wear tank tops that dip lower than the grand canyon. Who knew? If you're about to label me a pervert, forget it, my mother noticed the breast-fest and pointed it out before I did. And don't even think of calling my mother a pervert, or I'll see you in the playground after school. Also, if this program is going to retain the "CSI" moniker, then we have to revise the old-school Vegas version to be referred to as "Good CSI". Incidentally, "Good CSI" rules. I would die happy if I got to spend one day as Gil Grisham, or at the very least got to sound like Sean Connery.

Horatio Cane is Gil Grisham's absolute foil. Where Gil is cool and collected 99.99% of the time, "H" is in a perpetually agitated state. Cane speaks with a snide whisper and quiet intensity that makes one feel like he's ready to snap any minute. Upon discovering the victim of a heinous crime, he throws out a lame comment that may as well be "I bet he never saw that one coming", "Too bad he didn't get the message that he's dead" or "Someone's earned a spanking today". Coupled with his compulsive desire to either take off his glasses outside or put them on indoors five minutes into the episode, one has to wonder who pissed in his cornflakes. True to form, he works out this latent agression in the field; he easily has the itchiest trigger finger in the entire Miami PD. Apparently, someone forgot to tell him that he's no longer working with Dennis Franz. I'm also working on a theory that wardrobe and make-up joined forces to sneak into Caruso's trailer and permanently glue his hands to his hips. Through what is undoubtedly an act of God, he has somehow managed to avoid beating the tar out of any of his suspects. He does make it a point every second episode to give his suspects notice that he's coming for them. By now, you would think that half the city of Miami would have clued in to this factoid. When a mid-life crisis induced Irish forensic cop with NYPD separation anxiety and latent agression tendencies shows up at your door promising to eventually find evidence that you offed your boss, it's time to leave town. Inexplicably, these idiots manage to stick around long enough to get dragged into a conversation that features Cane proudly trotting out all of the brilliant obscure evidence that manages to prove that, lo and behold, they're guilty.

Keeping things real is "Speedle", who is pretty down to earth, and .... oh, wait, they killed him off. Way to go guys.

I actually like the science of the show, and the plot is not without appeal. It's all in the delivery, really. Of course, the delivery is made a little creepy by Alex, the ME, who has this strange necropheliac bond with the corpses that she examines. I challenge you to find me more than a handful of episodes that don't feature Alex stroking the foreheads of the victims, and/or uttering lines such as "Who did this to you, baby?". "Baby?!?" It's hard to pay attention to her analysis when I keep on thinking about how she looked ready to either molest her dead subject, or at the very least dress up in their clothes and try to avenge their deaths.

Oh my. I think that I'm spent. Comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hail President Cheney

Anyone who knows me would have known a politically oriented post would have made it onto this blog pretty fast. I didn't want to dissapoint them. For those who love CSI Miami, I'm going to dissapoint you by dedicating my next post to that show. Yes, you heard me. Dissapointed.

I watched the vice-presidential debate last night, and have to say that I've seen more orderly train wrecks coming out of India. Both candidates had a bad case of the stammers and the freudian slips, occasionally substituting their own names in place of their presidential candidates, and side-stepped tough questions just about as gracefully as the fat kid that was always targetted in dodge ball. (Ah, memories) The woman who moderated the fiasco was an overrated hack from PBS who at one point accidentally gave John Edwards a third chance to rebut Dick Cheney (which is, for us debate nerds, equivalent to wearing white after labour day... or for goths, wearing white at all). -Wow, I'm all about the type-casting and generalizations tonight. She also couldn't keep track of what the candidates were saying, and for the most part, sucked an egg large enough to make an omellet for a family of four.

I could go into specifics and pander to common themes expressed by every other idiot with a blogger and no life, (such as a play-by-play analysis of EVERYTHING) but I would like to point out something that few others seem to have talked about. Cheney was the better debater and was able to deliver his doctored facts a lot better than Edwards. Much to my chagrin, most analysts politely minced about this fact, and even the Republican pundits couldn't seem to organize themselves around this notion. There was one person who had less of a grasp of topics surrounding the whole election, and that was Bush, who is still licking his wounds and walking funny after the bruise-fest with Kerry last night. Here's where I touch on something that might start burrowing into the sub-concious of the American people. Cheney clearly demonstrated through his quasi-erudite explanations that he has a better handle on the running of the administration than his overlord. Now, for those of us in the know, this is about as startling a revelation as the fact that Ronald Regan was senile long before he left the oval office. I mean, really, who endorses something as monumentally stupid as putting weapons platforms into space to shoot down ICBMs travelling thousands of kilometres an hour. Oh, right, wait, that's still on the table. Morons. But I digress.

Anyhoo, even the most clueless American might have noticed a shocking contrast between Cheney and Bush. The kicker is that many American's haven't figured out that Cheney runs the country and dictates major policy. In fact, if they were ever going to discover this idea, these debates would give you an excellent idea. My point is that if Bush supporters start figuring out that the man some of them have deifed is the empty shell that the rest of us know that he is, then they might start questioning what exactly they are voting for. Naysayers of this theory might point out that most voters choose the party, or the team, or at least the values held by a candidate, etc., but seriously, folks, if you've been watching how badly the US networks were suckered into dwelling on the candidates Vietnam records, you would realize just how much American's crave people of what they perceive to be character. Most may not figure out that they are voting for a shell if they vote for Bush, but enough just might be irked enough to consider alternatives, for if they don't have faith in Bush, don't assume for a second that they would feel drawn to Cheney- there's a reason that he didn't run as President.

He's not pretty enough.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A little relief in site...

Listen to some Bruce Hornsby. You'll like him, honest. He's got the instrumentals and the lyrics going on, making 1986 just that much better of a year. Don't take the 401 to Guelph from Toronto on a Friday at 5:00pm. It would be faster if you paddled. Get out and vote in the USA election, even if you don't normally vote, have never cared, and happen to 100% Canadian, just like myself. John Kerry needs all of the help that he can get.

Which leads me to the topic of my first ever "blog". I've published personal ramblings to the web before, in the form of www.diarlyand.com, but the fact that its server was usually too busy to post and also didn't allow for people to post comments made me lose interest pretty fast. That and I'm a lazy excuse for a human being in these matters. My interest was rekindled by reading http://academianuts.blogspot.com, which is crafted by my friend the fineskylark, whom I shall henceforth dub "lark" to help save precious bandwith. Oh. Yes. And I'm lazy. I found myself replying to her posts (especially the ones that attempted to viciously defame me) and I started to think that I may as well pollute my own damn blog-space and leave her in relative peace.

But I digress. Back to the topic. As I sit back and reflect on the electoral mess that has descended upon our southern bretheren, I have to wonder just how much the American people buy the whole idea of extreme and eminent pre-emption that is advocated by George Bush. I mean, bombing a relatively benign country back to the stone-age is fun, but where is the love? (The Black Eyed Peas have my full permission to kick my ass for that reference) I was further prompted into this line of thinking when the lark and I went dancing in the metropolis known as Guelph. Not only did she suggest this, but she also prodded me to request "anything by David Bowie" to a D.J. who at the time only seemed able to play hip-hop and reggae. Sure enough, the D.J. (who had a funny name that the lark is hereby asked to post to this blog, because I'll be damned if I could remember it) managed to dig up "Modern Love", which is both vintage Bowie, and an absolute treat to dance to. Especially if you and the lark are the only ones dancing to it. I say this only because I actually happen to derive a certain modicum of enjoyment from "putting myself out there", and really couldn't care less about what people think of my inability to dance.

Which is a good thing, because some guy easily a foot taller than me decided that our choice of music and random dance movements needed to be mocked. On cue, he put on a performance that rivaled an epileptic seizure, often coming within a few inches of slamming into us (and by us, I mean mostly me) on the dance floor. I was only moderately irked by this, but started thinking, "What happens if he smashes into myself or the lark? Do I have a right to be irked then?" One thought led to another, until I finally caught myself musing about the notion of tripping him before he could do any damage. I mean, what's good for the 300 million person strong goose is clearly good enough for this gander. If entire nations can attack others based on the idea that the other nation 'might' attack them, could not individuals do it to each other? I'm still pondering the notion of sauntering into a bar in the states, and picking a fight with the first person who looks at me funny, and then using "pre-emption" as my defense to what will likely be a highly incredulous judge.

The lark thinks I should go for it, but I suspect that in doing so, I'll just rack up the very same criminal record that she'll want to use against me when she runs against me (and loses) for the title of Prime Minister of Canada.

CSI Miami is on. I'll talk about that some other time.