Thursday, August 31, 2006

Today's Geopolitical Nerd Stuff

Since Canada has only one border and one neighbour, albeit a very big ass neighbour, it's hard for me to imagine the foreign affairs finagling that must take place in the Middle East and Asia.

I just read an extremely long article called Iran and Its Neighbours and the Regional Crises and, really, the people who work at the Iranian Foreign Ministry must be run off their feet. What a crowded neighbourhood! By the time Iranian policy makers, politicians and various other think tank wonks have thought about their relationships with Iraq, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China, it's amazing they have even 5 minutes in a week and an ounce of energy to devote to hating/worrying about the USA. I'm tired just reading about it.

Summary: 1) Pipelines are important. 2) Everyone in the region (including the Japanese) is nice to Iran because they need the oil.

Most surprising theory put forth in this paper: The dominant foreign influence in Iraq today is not the USA, but Iran. How can a country have over 100,000 troops occupying another country and not be the dominant force. Looks like somebody screwed up somewhere.

Well THAT was embarrassing

At lunch time today I was in a sporting goods store buying my hiking shoes for Tuscany. I'm picking out a couple of pairs and when suddenly I feel this cold trickle down my neck. I reach up to my neck and wipe it, and my fingers are all wet. I've broken out in this incredibly cold sweat. Is this one of those dreaded perimenopausal moments I’ve heard so much about? I don’t think I would’ve been more alarmed if I’d looked at my fingers and they were covered in blood.

Is this what the future holds? Oh gawd.

At this stage, of course, I’m in a bit of a panic, but the nice young man shows up with two boxes and what choice do I have but to sit down and try on shoes. Fortunately he had two other customers to serve so he did not hover.

So I’m sitting on the bench, bent over, tying up laces and suddenly there’s cold sweat in my eye that has dribbled down from my temple. ACK! Then my sweater feels clammy.

On the bright side, the first pair of shoes I tried felt fantastic (and were on sale, a $30 discount) so it was a quick purchase, but I thought both clerks (suddenly there were two of them) were eyeing me rather strangely. I fled the place with my new shoes as quickly as I could, but I can’t help but feel that this afternoon those two youngsters are snickering about the sweaty old broad. Great.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Mahmoud

This is David Ignatius in the Washington Post commenting on Mahmoud's press conference. Man, that must've been one helluva performance. I'm even more intrigued. Now if we could just do something about those beady eyes and the Agent 86 hair. Get some image expert on the phone...

"Seeing Ahmadinejad up close, you appreciate the fact that he is a formidable politician. He played the roomful of 150 journalists like a master performer. He has the look of a bantamweight fighter -- compact and agile, punching well above his weight. He's quick on his feet, answering a broad range of questions, including some critical ones about the Iranian economy, but he came away unscratched. He speaks more softly than you'd expect, making jokes and, on this occasion, avoiding some of his usual anti-Israel bombast. But the hard edge is never far away. His eyes can twinkle one moment and then suddenly become dark as night. My strongest feeling at the end of his performance was: He may be cocky and eccentric, but don't underestimate him."

Socialism at its finest

I’m investigating the Venezuelan Golf Course story.

From BBC News:
“The mayor of Venezuela's capital Caracas says he plans to expropriate two exclusive golf courses and use the land for homes for the city's poor. Mayor Juan Barreto has said playing golf on lavish courses within sight of the city's slums is "shameful".

… The golf courses - the Country Club and Valle Arriba club - are in the city's most affluent suburbs, home to millionaires, foreign diplomats and celebrities, and are seen by some as a haven for the rich.

They are also in districts run by the opposition.”

sniff, sniff. This smells of politicking.

(Full disclosure: I don’t play golf, but this has nothing to do with my politics, and everything to do with depth perception problems. The club either swings wildly, coming down a full 6 inches above the ball, or hits the ground with a jarring thud, causing a shoulder sprain. It ain’t a pretty sight.)

This being said, is there any group that is harder to feel sorry for than millionaires, foreign diplomats and celebrities who are members of private golf clubs? Really?

On the other hand, expropriation of private property is a bad thing. If the City turned up on my door and said: Scram! we’re tearing down your house to build homes for the poor, I’d be like, but, but. Buy my house for higher-than-market-value, fine, but don’t take my house.

I know, I know, nobody lives at the golf course, except some Venezuelan gophers, but still it is somebody’s private property. Throw these folks a bone, like, some nice tax cut or something. Then grab the land.

My favourite line in this story? The golf courses are “seen by some as a haven for the rich”. By some? Hey, pal, if they aren't seen by ALL as a haven for the rich, then what's the point of them?

Reason to hate Bush No. 12,398

Now he keeps saying “I never said Saddam ordered the attacks of 9/11.” Duh. That's your best defense? What a moron. Nobody is claiming you ever said that, stupid. It’s about the linking, the insinuation, the stringing of Al Qaeda-and-Saddam in the same sentence. Does nobody in the White House realize what a squirming deceitful worm this makes him look like? I can’t stand it.

Modern Times

My first impression of the new Bob CD is that it feels like in the midst of recording Love & Theft, he decided to go outside for a smoke break that lasted 5 years. Then he went back into the studio and finished recording Love & Theft: Part Deux.

Yep, it sounds exactly like the last record. And this is a good thing because I love the last record so I am very happy with more of the same.

The videos are weird. Bob has a perpetually pinched look on his face. I want to tell whoever is pinching him to just stop it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More on Mahmoud

Caught a bit of the News Hour on PBS tonight. Margaret Warner had attended Mahmoud's press conference today, the one where he challenged Bush to a debate. She was totally wowed by Mahmoud. I was stunned at how enthusiastic she was about him. What a dynamic speaker he is. How he doesn't need notes. How nimbly he engages the press, even the foreign press. How he dominates the room. She even compared him to Bill Clinton. I was really not expecting that. All the more reason for Bush to avoid meeting him, I suppose.

She also mentioned that he is very, very small.

In Nanuk's Book Nook

In my relentless pursuit to stay three years behind everyone else on any matter related to popular culture, I am currently reading The Da Vinci Code. No, I didn’t buy it. My sister lent me her copy, and she paid only $4.99 for the paperback at CostCo. Quote It was on sale! unquote.

I’m on page 210. For those in the know, Langdon and the plucky French girl, whose name I can’t retain so I’ll call her Audrey Tatou, are escaping from the anonymous Zurich money-laundering and stolen-swag-hiding bank in the Brinks type truck being driven by the disguised bank manager with his Rolex. Meanwhile…I, the reader, am having tremendous difficulty suspending my disbelief. Which leads me to digress…

I’d like to open an account in a Swiss bank, just to have a safety deposit box with a fancy key and to have to go to the depths of some swanky fortress of a building to double-check the expiration date on my $2,000 fortune (plus interest at 1.75%) in Canada Savings Bonds.

Anyway, I will plough through this book even though I had severe doubts in the first 20 pages that I could continue because I found the writing so poor. I have no idea how to write a mystery thriller, but while reading the first chapter or two, I found myself thinking, if I, the non-thriller writer were to attempt to write a mystery thriller, it would be as bad as this. Some of the set-up stuff and a few sentences in particular struck me as, to employ an oft-used literary criticism term: howlers.

From page 4: "The man stared at him, perfectly immobile except for the glint in his ghostly eyes." I could’ve written that, and in fact I may have done so in Grade 10.

Page 6: "A collection of the world’s most famous paintings seemed to smile down on him like old friends." Oh please.

And I won’t even get into this albino monk and his back story. Jeesh!

But the book picks up a bit around page 50, so I’ll keep reading ‘cause I like a good conspiracy and evil Catholics as much as anybody.

Another gripe, is there such a thing as product placement in a novel? If so, SmartCar paid big money to be in this book.

On the plus side, the travelogue aspect is quite good. It makes me really want to go back to the Louvre, and to completely avoid the Bois-de-Boulogne.

I wonder what the French translation does with the fact that one of the clues is an anagram of "The Mona Lisa" while in French the painting is known as "La Joconde". There's not much letter scrambling to be done there. Well I guess there isn't much in English either, come to think of it.

A Brief Rant

A continuation of a rant I started over lunch and just had to get back to 'cause it wasn't quite all out of my system yet.

I like Bill Maher. I think he is funny and smart, and I agree with 90% of what he says. But I cannot for the life of me understand why he is a regular guest on Larry King Live. I mean, what the f***? Are there any two media people who are less alike, other than the obvious connection, i.e. one is a lecherous old man while the other is a middle-aged lecherous-old-man in training.

LKL is a show for celebrity has-beens, British royalty hanger-ons, and flag-waving country-and-western-singing bigots. And Tammy Faye Baker. LKL is the kind of media freak-show Bill Maher hates. So what is he doing there? And, clearly, he and Larry genuinely like each other. Why?

Last night I wanted to hear Bill slam the whole Ramsey/Karr media spectacle, of which Larry is one the ringleaders. And he did EXCEPT he said to Larry (and I still can’t believe he slithered in this distinction) that since LKL is an “interview” show and not a “news” show, therefore it was not a problem that Larry endlessly, obsessively covered this fiasco. Bullshit.

Bill, you sell your soul every time you go on that show.

The worst moments are when Larry doesn’t get one of Bill’s jokes, which leads to that painful pause. Then Bill looks at Larry in a way that acknowledges what a slow-witted pathetic old dullard he is.

P.S. I was worried that Larry wouldn’t have anything else to talk about now that the delusional nut has not been charged, but I see that the polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been captured, thus providing Larry with a reason to keep living. Ick.

Mr. Golf Jacket news

Mahmoud wants to have a t.v. debate with Bush. If I ran the world, this would definitely happen. But, sadly, it won’t. Because you know Mahmoud would win and that simply cannot be allowed to happen.

If he can survive a grilling by that snarling junkyard dog Mike Wallace, then defeating Bush would be a walk in the park. So you know that Mahmoud’s feeling cocky these days.

They could run the debate like a quiz show to determine who is the bigger religious nut.

Or they could square off on $25,000 Pyramid, with Charo and Joanne Worley as their celebrity guest team-mates.


I've got the Bob CD, plus a DVD with bonus tracks.

If anyone is looking for me tonight, I'll be in heaven. Heh heh.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Bob's new CD comes out tomorrow! Excitement abounds!

It isn't just me, right? This feels like Christmas Eve.

(That's a joke. I know perfectly well it IS just me.)

News of the Future: 28 August 2066

The world’s oldest person, Keith Richards, died today at the age of 122.

Richards attributed his longevity to having finally agreed to follow the Scottish cigarette smoking ban starting at age 100, thirty-eight years after his first arrest, and to cutting his Jack Daniels by adding a bit of ice at age 110. Also, Richards stayed active by climbing trees and then promptly falling out.

News editors worldwide are in distress as they will no longer have absurd Richards-related oddities to fill their “In Other News” segments on a regular basis.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Big Oil is a big pain in the neck

Here's a brain teaser: if you had to pick sides in a fight between one of the world's most corrupt governments and two giant oil companies, who would you support? What a lovely choice.

The leader of Chad wants to toss Chevron and Petronas out the country so the government can run its own oil business. How convenient. You let the companies invest the money in actually building the plants and developing the oil fields, then you kindly ask them to leave so you can run the business. (Of course, the companies didn't provide charity work there; they made excellent profits.) Can this plan work if nobody in the government knows how to run an oilfield? And how about the fact that the 99% of Chadians are dirt poor, haven't seen any benefit from the oil revenue and aren't likely to see any benefit from those revenues going directly to the government?

Add a third element. Chad established diplomatic ties with China recently, and it is believed that the Chinese will come in and assist the government with its oil business. This is how the world is going to work from now on. While the US and Europe are occupied with wars and the Middle East, the Chinese quietly lock up all kinds of energy deals, build alliances and secure their supplies. Eventually they will control the markets.

Sigh. I'm not really looking forward to living in a hut.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today in the Premiership

I sure know how to pick 'em. Fresh off of Chelsea's mid-week loss, it appears I have now jinxed Arsenal too. Manchester City beat Arsenal today for the first time since 1991. Only my support can result in the end of a 15-year winning streak.

Fulham won today. They don't know how lucky they are that I did not allow myself to be coaxed into supporting them.

Teams should pay me not to support them. I could earn a tidy sum this way.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Today in Mahmoud news

I finally figured out who Mahmoud's hair reminds me of. Would you believe....

This week in financial news

“Royal Bank of Canada reported profit of $1.18-billion in its third quarter of 2006, a 20 per cent increase from $979-million in the same quarter a year earlier.”

The Royal is my bank so, speaking as a mogul, I guess I should be happy that my vast fortune sits in a sound institution. But PROFIT of over one billion dollar$ for a quarter is obscene, right? They’re not even in the oil business!

This irritates my inner socialist.

Don't pull his finger

I’ve ignored this story for too long.

Now anyone who knows me knows I like a good fart joke as much as the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be the President of the United States.

From US News and World Report, 20 August:

“A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides,…”

I’m not even going to touch the “paranoid around women” issue. I’ll leave that to an army of psychologists.

But say you were a new, bright-eyed White House aide, and you were meeting the President for the first time, and he farts in front of you as a joke. How would you react? I’d vomit, and then despair for the future of our world. What an astounding jerk.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Now, he WAS a Nazi

“MUMBAI, India (Reuters) -- A restaurant in India's financial hub has agreed to change its name from "Hitler's Cross" following strong protests by the country's tiny Jewish community and pressure from Israel.

"Hitler's Cross," which opened a week ago using posters of the Fuehrer and Nazi swastikas for publicity, initially refused to change its name, but relented on Thursday and covered its signboards with white cloth.

The owners were yet to decide on a new name...”

In related news, the owners of “Mussolini’s Munchies” , “Pol Pot’s Pot Luck Diner” and “Uncle Joe Stalin’s Sweets for the Sweet” are getting nervous.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Heck's Kitchen

I produced my first batch of home-made tomato sauce tonight. (Susie, feel free to skip this entire post, you tomato hater, but be warned that you may lose out on important vodka-related information.)

Auntie Nanuk's Olde-Fashioned Tomato Sauce

1 garlic clove
Olive oil
An armful of home-grown tomatoes
(Note: The total yield of the batch of sauce will be determined by the length of your forearm.)
(Note 2: Try to avoid sticking a tomato in your armpit if you intend to serve this to guests.)
Too many onions (but they were on sale!)
Just enough green peppers
(Note 3: Red peppers are preferable as they are sweeter, but they were $4/pound and if you think I'm paying THAT, you're crazy. Green peppers were 99 cents/pound.)
4 or 5 leaves off the herb plant by the side of the house
(Note 4: I don't know what it is, but it seems Italian, and it smelt good when it was warming up)

1. Heat the oil in a heavy pan. The pan should be large and heavy enough to make you think about going back to the gym and doing some tricep work. Toss in garlic, reasonably-priced peppers and onions.

2. Blanch the tomatoes. This can be done by dipping them in boiling water for several seconds, or by telling them you have caught them on tape bilking the company out of millions and you're not afraid to go to the Daily News with the incriminating photos.

3. Chop up those dishonest tomatoes and throw them in the pan.

4. Worry about the fact that this concoction looks more like soup than sauce. Half-convince yourself you've forgotten something. Thumb through a recipe book.

5. Read this helpful hint: "Need more flavor? Add wine, vodka, salt, sugar, ground-up nuts, hot peppers, roasted vegetables or herbs."

6. Go: HUH? VODKA?

7. Grab the bottle of Absolut Citron and add as much as you feel safe with. I was suddenly struck with the image of a flambe and added only a modest amount. No blue flames here.

8. Answer e-mails and read other people's blogs while occasionally stirring the sauce.

Tonight's verdict: Not bad. But it should be a bit sweeter.
Solution: More Absolut Citron next time.

Introducing...the Big Board

Time for a New Rule.

This is probably not a new rule for some, but it is for this blog. I’m establishing a Big Board of Shame and Idiocy, sort of like when Colbert puts people on notice. Who gets to be on the BBSI?

No. 1 criterion: Any time a public figure calls anyone else “Nazis”, that’s it. Game over. As soon as you play the Nazi card, you’ve established your credentials as an irrational, fear-mongering exaggerator and dragged the discussion into the gutter. Therefore you’re on the Big Board.

Here’s No. 1:
Jason Kenney: The Biggest Idiot in Canadian Politics.
“Despite its political wing, the militant group Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that is comparable to the Nazi party of the 1930s, says [Kenney] Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary.” (CBC)

Oh, shut up, fool.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Professor Trendy

This is Grigory Perelman, a Russian academic. He just won a really important mathematics prize. I guess he is some kind of reclusive genius, because he refused the prize.

You may well ask: What is the reason for his appearance on this blog?

Answer: Eyebrows.

P.S. Bonus reason: Peter Bergenesque wardrobe.

Sweet dreams are made of this

Please go to this site:

and then tell me why these do not come in adult sizes?

I must have these.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Speaking of greatness

Since we are on the subject of actors I like who cause distress amongst my “readership”, I must point out that Mr. James Wolcott, he of great wit and superior taste on all important matters both cultural and political, has a post today about one of my old-timey movie heros: Lee Marvin.

May I call him “the great Lee Marvin”? Is that okay? Because he really was great. And not just in one or two movies, as is the case with “the great Mickey Rourke”, but in just about everything because the great Lee Marvin was truly great. All the time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

On the Premiership and Passing for English

The other night I was telling an English friend of mine that I had picked my team for the new season of the English Premiership, and that I had picked Chelsea. Not because they are the reigning champs, but because they had the most players whose names I recognized. And until I decide on a team I might like for other reasons, I was picking Chelsea.

My friend looked at me with the greatest of disappointment. She shook her head sadly and made me feel like I had let her down completely. How could I pick a winner, she asked. How could I pick a London team?

She supports Fulham because her mother was from that area, and she said I too should support a little team like Fulham. But, I argued weakly, I’ve already picked Chelsea. For some reason, I feel I can’t go back on my choice so quickly. I saw myself dropping in her esteem before my very eyes. It was chilling. Well, she said, at least you didn’t pick Arsenal. Um, I confessed that Arsenal were my No. 2 choice. She was appalled. At least we both agreed that it was proper to hate Man U.

Then she suggested that I select whatever team was closest to where my ancestors came from. When I told her I don’t have any British ancestors, she was shocked. Do you mean to say, she asked, that you are one of those pure wool Quebecois. I admitted I was, albeit with a detour through English Canada. I confessed I was supporting Marseille in the French league even though I am 99% sure I have no ancestors from Marseille, either. She decided, given this news, that I was free to pick any English team I wanted. So that was settled.

Later that same evening, at a party, we were talking to a guy who was telling us a story about the guy he works with. And he introduced the guy as such "He’s a real Frenchman, a real pepper, a real Pepsi". My friend stared at me, saucer-eyed, clearly expecting me to launch myself at this bozo’s throat, but I just smiled and nodded. I’m never going to see this person again, so why bother.

Incidentally, I saw that Fulham got the royal shite kicked out of them by Man U today. Oh, that hurts. And I don't even support Fulham. ..yet. On a positive note, Chelsea also won its opener. yay.

Drinks for all my friends

There's a new Bukowski movie out. This time it's Matt Dillon who's taken the part of Henry Chinaski, the drunken poet. I've liked Matt Dillon for 20 years, but I'm not sure about this. In my mind, there is only one Henry Chinaski, and it's the great Mickey Rourke in Barfly. Mickey Rourke knew how to combine the filth and the pleasure in perfect harmony.

I'll probably see the new movie 'cause I love the whole idea of the alcoholic poet, but I'm afraid I'll spend my time muttering "he ain't no Mickey Rourke". Jeez, Barfly even has Frank Stallone in it. How can you top that?

Is there going to be a line in this movie that can compete with this:

"Sometimes, I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don't wanna do. All things that I don't wanna be. All places that I don't wanna go, like India."

If there are lines like this, I'll be delighted, but I'm not holding my breath. Will Dillon do Bukowski, or will he do Rourke doing Bukowski? How can he not do Rourke doing Bukowski? It's a trap.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ils sont numero un

PARIS, France -- France midfielder Franck Ribery helped Marseille to a 3-0 win at Auxerre on Saturday which put his side top of Ligue 1.

Woo, woo, woo

Whoo hoo I'm trendy

From the NY Times:
WHETHER fake or farm-raised, fur makes a fashionable fall accessory. But this season the trendiest fluff is not the trim on coats or handbags. Autumn’s most prized pelt is the hairy eyebrow.

The fashion world has finally caught up with me. I am it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Keeping up with Mahmoud news

Today in the Washington Post, David Ignatius refers to Mahmoud’s trademark as “his ostentatiously humble golf jacket”.

Ostentatiously humble? That makes no sense. If a columnist is going to take on Mahmoud’s sartorial statement, he better try harder than that! Hmph!

Mahmoud hasn’t updated his blog since last Friday. Slacker. Like he’s got something better to do? Maybe I should post an encouraging comment on his site...I see that someone has asked him to make the font bigger and easier to read. Brave soul.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Today's Crime Blotter

“Montreal — It was indeed an explosive device that destroyed the car of a high-profile oil-industry spokesman in Quebec, the police has confirmed Thursday, lending credence to an e-mail that claimed responsibility of the bomb on behalf of a shadowy anti-globalization group.

The Quebec provincial police's anti-terrorism squad had been investigating a blast that damaged Carol Montreuil's Volvo around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 3.”

They destroyed a Volvo.

Beasts! Animals! Vermin! Is nothing sacred? I ask you, is nothing sacred?

Terror-related gripe of the day

I held off on this one for a week, but here goes.

This London airport shut-down re the alleged bombing plan was nonsense. There’s no evidence of purchased tickets, valid passports or any kind of prepared explosives. The suspects had been under surveillance for weeks. So why was all that incredibly disruptive action taken against the “threat”? They could’ve taken all these suspects in, arrested at their homes, and done nothing at the airports. There was no need for anything to happen to disrupt air travel. What bogus garbage.

I’m tired of authorities trying to scare me.

I know that someday, sooner or later, somebody's going to get on the Metro here with a bomb in a knapsack and blow a train up. I know it. I accept it. I'll be shocked, but I won't be surprised. And I'm still riding the Metro. It would be great if a police offer caught this person before this occurred, but that probably won't happen. So be it.

On the bus this morning...

A young girl sitting across from me was reading a Nancy Drew mystery. Ah, the nostalgia. It is so great that these books are still out there. She was reading The Double Jinx Mystery, which is Book No. 50. I loved seeing that yellow spine with the number on it. It reminded me of visiting my cousin Kathy and seeing ALL of the Nancy Drews together, their yellow spines lined up in numerical order on her bookshelf. No. 1 was The Secret of the Old Clock. We only had 9 or 10 of them at home, so seeing all of them in a row was so impressive to me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Bridge in Hungary

Stephen Colbert wants to get a bridge in Hungary named after him. So I went to the web site to vote for him, which I did. But at the same time I noticed some other candidate names for this bridge, and I actually had to stop and think which I preferred.

Looking at the totals, under the letter S, here are some choices and the vote totals so far:

Stephen Colbert bridge: 438,049 votes
Star Wars bridge: 27
SpongeBob bridge: 11
Steven Segal bridge: 19
Steve Yzerman bridge: 5.

Update: I just noticed Chuck Norris bridge has over 300,000 votes.

World Affairs

I think I need to clarify that I’m not really a big fan of Mahmoud’s. You know I’m just irresistibly drawn to dictators, tyrants and warlords, e.g. I still say bring back Saddam if you want law and order in a secular Iraq. And isn’t that what we in the West want for Iraq: law, order, secular government?

In last week’s Time their reporter in Baghdad wrote: “In 3-1/2 years of covering Iraq, I have not come across a single leader who has seemed able to rise above petty political or sectarian interests.” Isn’t this the cue for Saddam to clear his throat loudly and point to himself? Say what you like about the old Doritos-chomper, but he rose above all petty politics and kept sectarian interests strictly under control.

But back to Mahmoud. It was the 60 Minutes interview that convinced me that there was more to Mahmoud than his spiffy beige jacket. Unfortunately, if he thought he could be a bigger jerk than Mike Wallace, he didn’t realize he was totally out of his league. To quote an e-mail from My Contact in the Nation’s Capital: “Wallace is a self-righteous giant tool”. (It’s the “giant” part that made me laugh.) I’m still trying to figure out the logic of the 60 Minutes producers: “Let’s make Ahmadinejad look bad by making Mike Wallace look even worse”. Brilliant strategy. Of course, it had the opposite effect. Wallace’s job is to terrorize the interviewee. Nobody wants to picture themselves on the receiving end of Wallace’s withering condescension. Why doesn’t he retire? How old is he now? 150? Give it up, Mike, stay home and terrorize your family.

It seems that all American networks were being snarky about Mahmoud’s blog last night. This naturally made me wonder what Bush’s blog would be about: Biking, brush-clearing, strutting, exercising, and maybe a bit about baseball. Nothing else really interests him.

Worrying point. I read Seymour Hersh’s latest article in the New Yorker, about how Lebanon is a test run for the bombing of Iran. Now, you would think, wouldn’t you, that seeing how difficult Hezbollah turned out to be, Bush would be reconsidering, but no. It was a great defeat for Hezbollah, so full steam ahead. The man is clueless.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Israel, Hezbollah both declare victory

In the immortal words of Hot Chocolate:

Every1's a winner, baby, that's the truth.

On Fear and Aging and SpongeBob

Learned a terrible thing about myself on the weekend. I’m no longer very “good” on roller coasters. I can’t keep my eyes open when the Big Drop is coming. Or even a little drop for that matter. My eyes are clenched shut. I didn’t used to be like this. But now I absolutely do not want to see “it” coming.

The Mighty Canadian Minebuster is a bitch. It’s a Level 4. How do they determine what “Level” a ride is? By how pale people are when they get off? By how vigorously their knees are shaking? By the number of people who, like my niece, say, “I went on that when I was 8, and I’m never going on it again!” This is the Minebuster: wheee

Also, I’m much wobblier when I get off than I used to be. My stomach really flip flops. That is not fun. When did this happen? I guess it has been several years since my last trip to Wonderland and maybe I was just out of practice, but still…ick…it makes me feel middle-aged (yeah, I know, don’t bother commenting).

Skyrider is a Level 3. But I still had to close my eyes and grimace. For the first time, I distinctly thought to myself, in a full sentence, “I’m not having fun right now.” This is Skyrider:

I wanted to get on “Top Gun” but by 2 in the afternoon, the wait for that ride was almost two hours. Another sure sign that I am getting old, I will not wait two hours for a 45-second ride. No way.

We also went to the 3D SpongeBob SquarePants experience. I liked it a lot. So I’m not that old. Well, I’m not that mature.

Getting weak…

Gasp, gasp.

I’ve just escaped from an enclosed area where I was subjected to an “80s nooner” radio program. I could flee neither Love is a Battlefield nor The Conga.

The horror, the horror.

Why must I live in a world where THAT is considered 80s music? Isn’t 80s music whatever you were listening to in the 1980s? Why does it HAVE to be about Huey Lewis.

This is 80s music for me:
Late Clash
Early REM (i.e. when they were good)
The Replacements
of course

of course
The Pogues

Why must I live in a world where none of these bands is ever to be heard on an “80s nooner” radio program?

And, can you tell I hate the word “nooner”? Grrr. I’m a Crabby Patty right now.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Withdrawal symptoms


I'm suffering from Michael Ware withdrawal. I haven't seen him in days.

Where has that feisty little banana bender got to?

Everybody's a Blogger these days

Is crapulence a word? If it wasn’t before, it sure is now. I quote from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new blog:

"....the crapulence of shah’s debauched clan and their foreign companies, broke the people’s back."

I've put a link to Ahmadinejad's blog on the site. Because his name is just too darn long and complicated, henceforth he will be known simply as Mahmoud because it's easier. At least until I think of a cool nickname for him, that is. I know there's always Mr. Beige Jacket, but I need something catchier than that.

I also put up a link to Greg's blog because he has one to mine and I thought that maybe I've committed some big blogging faux pas by not reciprocating and I don't want to be known as an Internet clod.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Clothes make the man, Iranian edition

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my obsessions in the world of current geopolitical sartorial iconography is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's beige jacket.

I love that jacket. I love how it says he runs Iran like every day is casual Friday. It cannot, and will not, ever rival the sexiness of Fidel's fatigues, but that jacket makes a statement. If I knew the statement it is making, I'd be running the CIA, but for now all I can say with confidence is it makes a statement.

(An aside on Fidel. Today's outfit, the red-and-white-striped Adidas jacket. It left me speechless. It has to be a birthday gift from Hugo Chavez. There is no other explanation for it. That jacket had Hugo written all over it.)

So I was in equal parts shocked and delighted to watch the very surreal interview on 60 Minutes tonight. Mike Wallace and Ahmadinejad discussing his wardrobe. Wallace assuring Ahmadinejad that he looked nice, and Ahmadinejad admitting he is somewhat vain and likes to look good.

What on earth was I watching? It was like a wacky dream come true. I pinched myself. Did that really happen?

Luckily provided a transcript. This is effing weird stuff:

"After Ahmadinejad answered the question, an assistant handed the president a note. Asked what he was telling him, Ahmadinejad said he had been told to rearrange his jacket.

"Why are they worried about your jacket? I think you look just fine," Wallace said, laughing.

"That is right. They have told me the same thing. They tell me that it's a very nice looking coat," Ahmadinejad replied.

Asked if he is a vain man, Ahmadinejad said, "Sometimes appearances — yes, you have to look your best… that is why I comb my hair."


I see that CNN has a little Countdown to Ceasefire box in the corner of the screen. 6:49:23 to go. I can't wait to see Dick Clark again.

80 today!

Happy Birthday Big Guy

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Break Time

I'm off for a few days. (Travelling by train, not plane, thank god.)
I'm leaving this place under the watchful eyes of my deputies:
Mr. D. and The Big Red One.

Vive la gauche

“Left-handed men who attended at least a year in college go on to earn significantly more than their right-handed classmates. Those who finished all four years of college earned, on average, a whopping 21 percent more than similarly educated right-handed men...Curiously, the researchers found no wage differential among left- and right-handed women.”

Us left-handed girls are being discriminated against! I want 21% more money than my rightist colleagues. I feel it is my due.

Left-handedness is like gayness. We are always looking around for acquaintances or famous people who share our trait, and we’re always happy when we spot one. Am I right (i.e. correct?) on that?

Our Big Left Dog is, of course, Bill Clinton.

This week I noticed that Gordon Ramsay, the mad chef, is a leftist too. And he wields a mean cleaver. And he’s nasty. I like!

301st Post

I reviewed my oeuvre yesterday. 300 posts in 120 days equals, if my St. Ignatius Grade 4 arithmetic serves me well, 2.5 posts per day. That doesn’t seem as excessive as I had originally thought.

I started my blog in anticipation of World Cup watching and commenting. The World Cup came and went, and I’m still here.

I thought about stopping, but then I figured that as long as Steve reigns over the True North Strong and Free, I will need an outlet to relieve the pressure. And as long as W is the Leader of the Free World, anger, fear, frustration and dumbfoundedness simmer just beneath the surface of my placid exterior. Therefore there’s gotta be a place to rant. And as long as there’s a Style Section in the Saturday Globe & Mail, well…

Thanks to everybody who comments, and to those of you who don’t…I raise a suspicious eyebrow.

“On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.” (David Weinberger)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

300 !

This is my 300th post! Yikes!

I could change the URL to "inveteratewindbag" maybe.

Who knew I could waste this much time? I'm puffed up with pride.

Don't tell me to "dream on", sister

The Guardian sez:

"Arsenal ready to complete £13.5m deal for Ribéry.
Arsenal will this week tie up the signing of the Marseille and France midfielder Franck Ribéry in a deal that is expected to cost the Gunners a minimum £13.5m."

Mon reve devient realité, peut-etre?

What ever happened to...

the Palestinians?

We used to hear a lot about those folks. Apparently, there was trouble. Now, nuthin' . It must be all settled. What a relief. Phew! (Wipes brow.)

On The Town

Walked down St. Antoine to pick up some lunch. Came across three sailors, all in white, at a pay phone.

They were real sailors, not gay guys dressed up as sailors*. Real ones.

For 5 seconds, life was a Gene Kelly movie. It was pleasant.

(*Don’t try and tell me that’s passé. Every day I go by that Jean-Paul Gaultier ad featuring the guy in the sailor cap and all the tattoos. Nothing has changed since Querelle.)

Men don't read? Baloney.

“…when the federal Department of Canadian Heritage surveyed Canadian reading habits last year, it found a distinct gender gap. Women accounted for 60 per cent of the daily readers and 70 per cent of the heavy readers who had read 50 or more books in the last 12 months. Women also outnumbered men two to one as regular readers of both classic and contemporary novels.”

How patently absurd. Without even searching, I can think of 5 men I know who read a lot. I may not agree with what they read (i.e. how much does anyone need to know about Caligula and Roman orgies?) but the point is they read books.

I’m helping my nephew along this path. For his upcoming 18th birthday, I’ve gotten him A Guide to Gangster Movies and Frank Vincent’s Guy’s Guide to be a Man’s Man. The young man is in a heavy Scorsese phase right now. Has watched Casino more times than I can count. Yeah, I’m a proud auntie.

On hair and writing about hair

So because I mentioned that I didn’t see last Saturday’s Globe, a Mushroom felt compelled to send me an article therefrom. Apparently I’m not allowed to get through a weekend without getting miffed about something in the Globe.

The article in question was written by a man and involves the issue of women’s choice of hairstyles.

The question it raised for me is this: Is it a talent to be able to take a non-controversial topic and write about it in such a way that you make it controversial?

The author took two universal truths:

1) Men don’t like short hair on women; and
2) Women don’t care that men don’t like it because it is convenient, so screw you guys;

and wrote a such a snotty column that controversy had no choice but to ensue.

I must express begrudging admiration here. It’s one thing to write about polarizing subjects, but it is a whole other level of achievement to get people riled up about something that most of us acknowledge to be true.

Well done, Russell Smith, you obnoxious twit.

In Retail News

“BEIJING, China (AP) -- Employees at a Wal-Mart store in southern China set up the company's fifth Chinese union Tuesday amid an official campaign to unionize all of the country's 60 Wal-Mart outlets, news reports said.”

So they can unionize Chinese Wal-Marts, but in Quebec they shut the stores down rather than let the union in. That’s the difference between a potential market of over 1 billion and one of, give or take, 7 million, I guess.

Management must think that the market’s so big they can afford to pay employees fairly. What a foreign concept. Also, I suppose Chinese workers have to make a bit more in order to afford all those Chinese-made Wal-Mart products. It’s Henry Ford and the Model T (or was it A?), all over again. At this rate, they should be able to close all Western Wal-Marts in no time and keep all production and all sales in Asia. Hmmm.

They won’t need us, will they?

Monday, August 07, 2006

A petit glimmer of hope for Franck

"PARIS, France -- World Cup star Franck Ribery looks set to exit Marseille after playing no part in their French league opener against newly-promoted Sedan on Sunday.

The 23-year-old winger only returned to training a week ago after his exploits in Germany and stunned the Marseille management by putting in a transfer request.
Ribery's likely destination is either five-time straight French champions Lyon or English giants Arsenal. "

My 2 cents worth: Pick Arsenal, Franck, Arsenal!

It's the end of the world as we know it

"Kuujjuaq, an Eskimo village 1,000 miles north of Montreal, just bought 10 air conditioners. According to the mayor, it's been getting hot lately. "

We are friggin' doomed. It's Kuujjuaq, for god's sake, and they are buying air conditioners! It's over, folks. Why bother even trying?

I'm quitting my job, selling the house, loading up on bottled water and canned goods, moving to an island, perhaps with a handsome Afghan man servant, and waiting for the end.

Either that or I'll just wear a sandwich board and march up and down St. Catherine Street yelling at people to "REPENT NOW".

Leonard Cohen was right: The future is murder.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In Other News

I didn't buy a Globe & Mail this weekend, so I had to look to the NY Times to find the stories that made me roll my eyes. The winner? I confess I didn't even get past the headline. But apparently private jets are becoming realllly common. I knew that. Mine is parked in the back yard behind the shed. Right.

Favourite headline: Castro Said to Be Out of Bed and Talking.
The man never shuts up, does he? He's probably making 6-hour speeches to the nurses.

Factoid that made me go huh?; and which I suspect the Times made up for fun or to give bloggers something to write about:

"About 18 percent of men ages 40 to 44 with less than four years of college have never married, according to census estimates."

18 percent seems like a lot. Where are these characters? I don't see them around. So not having a college degree is a bad thing? I disagree. Some of the most unpleasant jerks I have ever met had multiple degrees. University education is not a sign of anything. I had to go to university to learn this. Prior to that, I thought people who went to "college" (as Americans like to call it) had to be smart. Boy, was I wrong.

Today in our war

Both CTV News network and CBC Newsworld are covering the repatriation of four soldiers from Afghanistan. I didn't realize that the Governor General attends these ceremonies. The families are holding up very well. I wouldn't be nearly so composed.

August is....tomato time

10:30 a.m.
Just finished up Sunday breakfast: brown toast, white cheddar and cherry tomatoes that, a mere half hour ago, were still on the vine. Is this not one of the best times of the year, I ask you?

By Labour Day I will be so tomatoed-out I won't be able to look at another tomato, but now, in the first week of August, it's heavenly.

A perfect Sunday here, the sun is shining, humidity is low (well, low for here) and the freshly laundered sheets are on the line, floating in the breeze. Cats are lounging on window sills.

Surveying my vast "spread" I spotted a ripening beefsteak tomato and a mid-sized cucumber whose fates will intertwine sometime mid-week in a wonderful tomato and cuke salad. Note to self: Pick up an avocado.

Aislin says it all here:

Friday, August 04, 2006

Miscellaneous Friday Observations

I'm at the office right now, but this beats working.

When did enlarged prostates become THE subject for t.v. commercials? There must be a dozen different medications for this now. I don’t need to see any more old guys running to the toilet. These commercials have got to go. Heh heh.

Burt Bacharach is cool. I like that Geico commercial he does. “She got hit in the reeear.” Yeah, it’s juvenile, but I laugh every time.

Summer is half over, and I haven’t had a gin-and-tonic yet. I knew something was missing this year. I have to remedy this situation.

The races at Saratoga were cancelled one day this week because of the heat. That’s good news for the horses, but if it happens again next week, I know one person who is going to be really miffed (alas, that person is not me) $2 on Sun Up!

Are both Montoya and Villeneuve moving to NASCAR next year? Call me a Formula One snob, but isn’t NASCAR where European drivers go when nobody wants them in F1 anymore? Losers.

Condi goes to the ranch with W when he’s on vacation. Is she ever away from that man? Doesn’t she want to get away from him sometimes? Condi, dear, if you are on vacation with your boss, then you are not on vacation. What is wrong with that woman.

Bob’s new CD comes out in 24 days. Be still my heart.

Yesterday's News

The most upsetting thing about the coverage of our 4 dead soldiers yesterday was how undramatic it was. It was the top story on every broadcast I saw, but that was it. It got maybe 5 minutes, and then it was onto that Saskatchewan pedophile story. And I thought, that’s it? That’s all they get? The media are now officially jaded.

A guy on Radio Canada pointed out that in the beginning, they not only made a big deal about the dead, they covered all aspects of those wounded too. Today, they barely mentioned the wounded. I believe there were 10, three of whom are serious. But they are too mundane to merit mention now.

I listened to Cpl. Reid’s parents on the news this morning, and they are certain that their son’s death is not in vain. I feel for them, and I admire their courage and composure. But I dunno. Canada can’t stay in A’stan forever. We’re going to pull out at some point. Now we have 24 dead, and the political pressure is building. But Steve is resisting. If Canada is still there when we have suffered 50 or 75 deaths, and then we pull out, then are those deaths pointless? We can’t fix that country.

Is anyone negotiating with these Taliban guys? And if not, why not? And who is funding them? The money’s coming from somewhere. You don’t carry out an insurgency without money. Are we talking to those doing the funding? Negotiations are the only way to settle things.

Back in Canada, Steve-o cannot hold out forever. There will have to be elections soon. The war is unpopular in Quebec more than elsewhere, and Steve has knocked himself out trying to build up support here. But we have no loyalty to him. And the war is a deal-breaker, especially when coupled with Steve’s total support of Israel in Lebanon. We’ll vote massively BQ, and Steve & Co. will either be sent back to the Alberta wilderness or be stuck with another minority govt. I wish I had some faith in any one of the other parties to do a better job of fixing this mess, but I don’t.

5 Weird Things about me

Hmm. Well this is almost impossible because I never do anything weird. Ever.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask people who know me to name 5 weird things about me? They’d have a better idea than I do. Here goes:

1) I occasionally mow my lawn diagonally. (OK, that’s weird.) This is my father’s fault. He instilled the idea that cutting grass in different directions is good for its overall “health”. But, in my defense, I have yet to try spirals.

2) I stood on the sidewalk for two hours one day just to get a glimpse of Fidel. He finally drove by in a limo. I saw him for about two seconds, and I actually considered that time well spent.

3) I can barely skate. I have an irrational fear of falling and breaking my leg. I keep telling myself I will take one of those “adult learn to skate” programs, but I’m too embarrassed. I’m sure I would be the only Canadian in a class full of Peruvians, Guatemalans and Vietnamese.

4) I came face to face with Wayne Gretzky in a hotel lobby once and didn’t recognize him. I knew I knew that face and thought he was someone I went to high school with. Took me all afternoon to figure out he was not in Mrs. Baker’s Grade 10 chemistry class.

5) I own a fake wooden log with a picture of John Wayne on it. I just can’t throw it out.

And a bonus one, just for Greg my tagger.

6) When I lived in DC., I used to walk down the street where Dischord Records was, hoping to catch a glimpse of Ian MacKaye. I never did. I am a failed stalker.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Huge Butter Wad

Intriguing headline: Cow, Superman sculpted from huge butter wad.

I wonder what W is doing this weekend. Hey, isn't he going on vacation? I'm picturing me and George and several dozen dinner rolls. Wow, we could be so happy.

Is it me or is there something vaguely obscene about the phrase "huge butter wad".

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I [heart] Michael Ware. But Wolf Blitzer? Not so much

What a doofus Wolf is.

What makes me like Michael Ware?
Is it:
a) his "working class" accent?
b) his asymetric nose? (Only tonight was it confirmed for me that he actually has a left nostril. For a long time now, I'd suspected he had only one. But he showed his left profile tonight and I saw the elusive left nostril.)
c) his infinite patience vis-a-vis Wolf, the Drama King?

All three, but mostly c).

In Beirut tonight, a bomb went off near Ware during a segment on THE SITUATION ROOM and Wolf got so excited I was sure he'd pee in his pants. No damage was done (to either Ware or Wolf's pants), but I sensed this is just the kind of drama Wolf wants in THE SITUATON ROOM.

Wolf went on ad infinitum about the blast and even brought Ware back about 15 minutes later just to talk more about the blast. And yet Ware never once told Wolf to get over it. I, on the other hand, several times muttered to Wolf, "oh enough already". A couple of other bombs had dropped in the meantime, but much to Wolf's (unstated) disappointment they seemed to be landing farther away from Ware instead of endangering him a bit more and making for more dramatic footage HERE IN THE SITUATION ROOM.

I know Wolf doesn't want any reporter to die on his show, but I feel he'd be silly with excitement if one got injured LIVE IN THE SITUATION ROOM or at least if the camera went all zooomy and they lost the feed. That would be so exciting for Wolf. sigh.

Just thought of a reason d) why I like Michael Ware. He uses polysyllabic words. Often. That may not be appreciated by many people, but it is by me.


This is from the White House press briefing, regarding the fact that it was Venezuela that issued the health update on Fidel yesterday.

"The Bush administration said it viewed attempts by Venezuela or other countries to influence the transition in Cuba as unwarranted intervention. “The president is worried about people in the neighborhood who seek to destabilize neighbors using economic or other means,” Mr. Snow said. "

Good God almighty, the Bush Administration’s own plan to influence the transition in Cuba was revealed yesterday!

Their policy is "we can do stuff, but you can't" and they wonder why they aren't trusted.

Someone hand me a heavily buttered roll. I need to sit back and ponder this for a while.

I feel for him

For the first time 6 very long years, I feel sorry for George Bush.

The man exercises like a maniac 6 days per week, and he still gained 5 pounds over the past year. I SO understand his frustration. The solution is obvious. Exercise 7 days a week. He needs to do less decider stuff and more mountain bikin'.

That being said, during his "yo, Blair" chat the other day, I did notice how thick he was spreadin' that butter on his roll. Time to cut back on the sat fats, W.


Funny bit on NBC News last night.

They said that at his last public appearance last Wednesday, Castro looked "frail" but still spoke for 6 hours.

Only 6 hours! That's nearly dead.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wakey, wakey (Today's war musings)

Can’t somebody wake up Ariel Sharon? Are they sure they've tried everything? What about blasting Barry Manilow records at him?

Never thought I’d miss the old lug, but boy, think of all the people who would still be alive if he were healthy.

Sharon had the experience and wisdom not to be suckered into a full fledged war over such a mundane incident*. Aren’t the current generals, those who are directing this war, the same guys who served under Sharon? Or has there been a change in the upper echelons of the IDF? If they are the same, then why have they lost their senses? Maybe they were always itching for a confrontation, but they couldn’t browbeat Sharon. He’d been through enough of that in Lebanon already. Just the fact that he was an old tired man with no interest in leading his country into yet another war might’ve been enough for him to firmly put the brakes on his guys.

There might’ve been a few shots here, a few rockets there, and then Sharon would’ve privately sat down with the enemy and hammered out a prisoner exchange. That would’ve been the end of it. It would have been page A-17 stuff and the rest of us wouldn’t even have cared.

*Yeah, I'm pretending this conflict has ANYTHING to do with kidnapped soldiers. I am so three weeks ago!

Let's play "Fill in the Blank"

Complete this headline from Reuters:

___________ seeks meeting with Jewish leaders.

Is it:
a) Mahmoud Abbas,
b) Bashar al Assad, or
c) Mel Gibson.

Of course, the answer is c).

What a wacky world we live in.

Cuba's Future

“WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. should have assistance in Cuba within weeks of President Fidel Castro's death to support a transitional government and help move the country toward democracy, a government report recommends.

President Bush created the commission in 2003 to "help hasten and ease Cuba's democratic transition," according to its Web site.”

In theory, this transition should be a slam dunk. But knowing the Bush administration, they will find a heavy-handed way to screw it up and turn the Cubans against them.

Saddam was a nasty dictator, and most Iraqis, I believe, were happy to see him gone. And yet the Bush League, with their simpled-minded assumptions, failed miserably in planning for Iraq’s future after Saddam. Why should we expect them to be any smarter on this side of the world?

This plan seems to call for slow transition and assistance over two years or more. Do they really expect the nuts in Florida to wait that long? They’ll be screaming for immediate regime change. And total meddling in Cuba's internal affairs.

Assuming this happens between now and 2008, an American election could be at stake. I predict a mess.


My favourite dictator is teetering towards his inevitable demise. I don’t want to anticipate it too much, though, because he could hang in there for a while. But intestinal problems often get complicated, especially for older people.

Brother Raul is 75 years old and finally has a chance at the top job. He must be the only person in the world who really, really understands how Prince Charles feels.

Fidel’s real successor isn’t Raul, though, it’s Hugo Chavez. Socialist Cuba won’t survive the end of Fidel, but Venezuela is already a huge thorn in the USA’s side and that’s the main role Cuba has played. Though, in reality, since the fall of the USSR, any “threat” posed by Cuba is strictly in the mind of the US politicians and those right-wing Cuban nuts down in Florida, whose votes carry the state. Now the USA can focus on Venezuela as the “threat” in their backyard.

Havana is a funky place. I think it’s a shame that in a matter of months it will be buried in McDonald’s and Starbucks, just like the rest of the world.

Viva la revolucion, baby.