Friday, September 29, 2006

Flyin' those friendly Skies

Well, it's nearly 3 here in Mountain Time, which makes it about 5 PM in MTL, so I assume Nanuk and her bottled water are safely in the sky.
May there be no snakes on the plane.
May Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, and Gene Hackman appear as equally friendly (tho' totally unnecessary) air marshals.


Big and Little Italy

So, Nanuk is off to Italy (Lucky Dog!), and I guess if I want some Italy, I have to head off to Little Italy.

So I'm thinking about this "little" business. It's Little Italy, but China "Town". Why's that?
And just about every city in North America has a Little Italy, but what the reverse? What about a "Little Canada" (Canada Town? we already ARE a town...?) somewhere in Europe? I guess it wouldn't work since we Canuks aren't exactly emmigrating back to the old country en masse.

But if we could have a Little Canada smack in the middle of Poland or Greece, what would the people there DO? The only thing I can think of is they'd complain about the weather. Talk about a national identity.

No, wait. Not complain: BOAST. We do that best. Boast about how much weather hardship we've had to endure.

"You had 20 below? That's nuthin'. We had 30 below w/a windchill of 40, and the electricity went off and sidewalks cracked from the cold and our garage door openers wouldn't open and we had to walk to work uphill in a blizzard in our barefeet."

Now that's Canadian.
(Not that we appreciate the stereotype, mind you)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big Snowshoes to fill

I ask myself: Are my size 7 feet up to the guest-blogging challenge while La Nanuk enjoys Italy??


In Valleyfield news

My hometown is dying.

“T-shirt giant Gildan Activewear Inc. will shut its Valleyfield textile plant by year-end at a cost of 155 jobs and cut payroll at its Montreal knitting plant by 50 as it shifts production to new high-volume factories in Central America and the Caribbean.

Gildan - which recently posted record profits - is also firing people at recently acquired plants in North Carolina and Virginia that manufacture sports socks, laying off 335 in the next couple of months.

The moves will leave Gildan with 600 workers in Montreal and 800 in the United States out of a total workforce of 13,000, an increase from 7,400 in 2004.

"We're forced to shift production from North America to our new plants in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, where we've invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment to get the low costs we need to compete with China and other Asian producers," said Laurence Sellyn, executive vice-president and CFO.

Workers will get severance and psychological help, and an employment office is being set up jointly with union representatives and management. Valleyfield is an industrial town 70 kilometres west of Montreal that has seen several plant closings recently.”

1. 155 jobs cut
1a). Firing people "at recently acquired plants" (that really stinks)
2. Gildan “recently posted record profits”
3. New plants in Honduras and Dominican Republic


I’m getting Lou Dobbs on the phone right now!!

George and Hamid and Perv

WASHINGTON — Seeking to soothe bickering allies, U.S. President George W. Bush attempted to broker a truce last night over dinner between Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, and his neighbour, General Pervez Musharraf, the President of Pakistan.

"These two men are personal friends of mine," Mr. Bush said as the two stood stiffly, one on either side of him.

They never shook hands and barely acknowledged each other. (Globe & Mail)

What would the media be saying if Hamid and Perv were women, acting like that?

And, by the way, Bush is a clueless buffoon. I’m not sure that I’d previously made myself clear on that.

Forecast for Florence

Saturday: partly cloudy, high of 28 C*.
Sunday: sunny, high of 28 C.
Monday: light rain !! high of 26 C.

I'm glad I bought my $1.00 rain poncho at Dollarama!

*That's 82 F.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

For Canadians only

(Or anybody who just likes gossip.)

There is something very bizarre about the Tie Domi/Belinda Stronach affair. I just can’t imagine what they’d talk about. Silly me, assuming they talked. I confess I was always a big Domi fan. I know that's weird. I’m not even sure why, I just liked the guy. But now that I know he took up with that Stronach woman, he has dropped in my esteem.

I need some male input on this question. What’s so great about Belinda? Other than her money. I just don't see her appeal.

Let’s have a look at the CBC’s little profile of her:

“It is not the first time that Stronach's love life has been the subject of intense public scrutiny.

“The then-rookie MP jumped from the Conservative party directly into the ranks of Paul Martin's Liberal cabinet in May 2005, jettisoning her high-profile paramour - fellow Tory MP Peter MacKay - in the process.

“MacKay, now the Conservative foreign affairs minister, gave despondent TV interviews in a potato patch in his native Nova Scotia that turned the split into a political bodice-ripper.

“Stronach was previously married to Olympic speed-skating champion Johann Olav Koss of Norway, and before that to a top executive in her father's autoparts empire.

“She's had to deny a string of rumoured romantic partners, most notably former U.S. president Bill Clinton - a friend whose path frequently crosses Stronach's.

“Asked about her many male friends in a new biography, Stronach was forthright "I love them, what's wrong with that?" said the single mother of two.

“Asked bluntly about her sex life, Stronach responded: "Let's face it. I don't sit at home and knit on Friday nights.”

Of all the men in her life, the one that continually surprises me in Johann Koss. How did they even meet? Wasn’t he in training all the time?

T.V. Commercials

I continue to like television commercials with juvenile jokes in them. My current favourite is for that new Nissan where there’s a telescope in the back of the car and it says: "Hey guys I can see Uranus". Ha Ha, I laugh every time.

What I don’t get are those commercials for Apple with John Hodgman playing the "PC” and some slinky guy in a T-shirt representing a “Mac”. In theory, these commercials are supposed to be enticing me to buy a Mac, but the PC guy is so much funnier and lovable, why would I want to be in with the Mac guy? He’s the kind of superior cool kid I normally dislike.

Last but not least, Capital One has brought back those Hand in my Pocket commercials. Just typing it has put the song in my head. Curse them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My new theory re Michael Ware

He wants to get fired by CNN, so he can return to Queensland and triumphantly take over the now-vacant position of Crocodile Hunter and be insanely worshipped by multitudes of his fellow countrymen, whilst retaining his entire khaki wardrobe.

More Opera News

Berlin — A leading opera house said it has cancelled a controversial production [of Mozart’s Idomene], citing authorities' fears it posed "incalculable" security risks because it featured the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.

Dang trouble-making Buddhists.

Weird Fact

Did you know that in Canada it is possible to sue a 7-year-old?

I'm taking an intro to law class and last night we learned that 7 years old is, legally speaking, considered the age of reason. This means that if charges are brought against a 7 year old, the judge has to decide whether the brat actually understands the difference between right and wrong, and that there are consequences for his (or her, I suppose) actions. If the judge decides the kid is competent, off to trial he goes.

Anyone with kids approaching this age (you know who you are) should remember this.

Less Panicky Today

The tour operator recommended bringing our own bottled water since apparently the tap water in Tuscany doesn’t taste very good. Being lazy about dragging a heavy suitcase, I thought this was ridiculous. But then yesterday I was in Dollarama (yay, Dollarama!) and they were selling Naya water for 4 for $1.00. So guess who is hauling her water bottles across the ocean. They also had pretty large packs of trail mix 2 for $1.00. So I got that too. And gum 2 for $1.00 so I’ve got gum too.

These little purchases went a long way to relaxing me. It doesn't take much sometimes. I felt more organized after having bought them. And my packing list is 75% done.

I may actually sleep for the rest of the week. I started my waking up early/going to bed early jet-lag reduction program this morning. Managed to wake up at 5:45 and stay awake. But I didn’t get to sleep early last night because I HAD to watch Deadwood, so I was up past 11:30. Oh well.

Conrad Black wants to be Canadian again

"Conrad Black, the former media baron who famously renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a British lord, is working to regain his citizenship." (CBC)

Three words: Drop dead, Conrad.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's the US political season

Wow. The Republicans have really taken over the media leading up to the mid-terms. There’s no angle they aren’t controlling. Three examples:

1) On FoxNews, Bill Clinton tore weasel Chris Wallace a new one, but today the majority of columnists are describing the incident as Clinton “losing it”. Hardly. He forcefully called Wallace on being a snivelling little Republican toady shill. Now I’d love to see someone who is actually running for office do something similar.

2) 60 Minutes premiered with a nauseating puff piece on Condi. God, how many times do we have to see that woman playing Brahms on her fancy piano or working that elliptical trainer. I am so sick of this stuff.

3) Washington Post headline today: “Bush hides anguish over war dead”. Puhlleeeze, at this point they want us to believe he really gives a shit about a single dead soldier. He gets more upset when he has to cut his vacation short. Bush's only anguish is that he can't drink in public. It’s way too late to pull that stunt. Way too late.

Pre-trip anxiety

Here’s the kind of things that cause me illogical worry before a trip.

1) Saturday, I was on the bus and a normal-looking woman sat in the seat in front of me. Then suddenly she began this loud distracting churchy humming. Like a bad soprano tuning-up. And she didn’t stop. Suddenly I thought, what if there is someone like this on the trip? What if I have to endure a week of somebody’s really, really irritating humming or singing or whistling? That could ruin my vacation.

2) This morning, as I was stepping out of the shower, Mr. D. hopped onto the side of the tub and promptly barfed his whole breakfast at my feet. What if this happens every day while I’m away? I could come home to a dead dehydrated cat.

3) I don’t worry about the plane going down, except in a case where it runs out of fuel, or an engine falls off, and we coast along looking for a place to land (but we are midway over the Atlantic so of course there is no place to land), and the pilot tells us there is a problem and everybody has many, many long minutes to ponder their impending doom*. That I don’t like. On the other hand, if it’s a bomb and the whole plane just goes kablooey, I don’t care because I won’t know what hit me and I’m okay with that. I just hope somebody wants to adopt the cats.

*Also, I’ll be annoyed that I haven’t picked up those Dylan tickets in advance at the box office because I have to be the one to pick them up in person with my credit card, so my friends will be stuck with no Dylan tickets…and I’ll be dead, thus missing Bob completely. Maybe I should go over to the box office and get them this week…

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Coca

While Hugo hogged the spotlight at the UN, and the American media chased Mahmoud all over New York, an important speaker was ignored at the UN: Evo Morales of Bolivia.

Apparently the "evil" coca leaf is a mild stimulant, that perks us up like coffee, when brewed into tea or chewed like tobacco. Medical reports says it does no harm and may be beneficial. But the US suppresses all such reports.

I was happy to see John Tierney of the NY Times writing today about Morales and the US's dumb war on drugs. I don't normally agree with much Tierney says, he being a right-winger and me being anything but. But he writes about how counter-productive it is for the US to try to destroy the opium fields of Afghanistan and the coca plants of South America.

Here's his excellent quote: "The Saudis can fight alcoholism by forbidding the sale of Jack Daniels, but we’d think they were crazy if they ordered us to eradicate fields of barley in Tennessee."

I didn't know that Afghan farmers are not even allowed to sell their product to pharmaceutical companies. How dumb is that? Destroy their fields, deny them even legitimate business, and offer them nothing in return? A policy doomed to failure.

Why does the war on drugs focus on producers instead of on users? The only focus on users is on making sure they are thrown in jail and offered little or no medical support. This seems terribly unenlightened.

One week until Italia

It's another rainy lousy Saturday. We get far too many of these lately. I slept in late, have done nothing constructive since I got up, I've got Arsenal vs Sheffield Utd on the box, I'm downloading another episode of Bob's radio show (this episode's theme: Weddings) while sipping coffee and posting to my blog. This can only mean one thing: I'm in full pre-trip panic procrastination paralysis. When the pressure's on, I do nothing.

My only goal for the day is to write up my packing list. I need a list in order to pack. Without a written document to consult, I'd leave without a ticket or a passport.

There was good travelling news yesterday. They have partially lifted the ban on bringing liquids onto the plane. I'll be able to purchase bottled water and other libations once I've cleared security. yay. I need to stay hydrated. What are the chances they'll have Nyquil for sale? Probably zero chance. I'm desperate to sleep on the plane but the only thing with a chance of knocking me out is trusty old Nyquil. I just can't see being able to get any on the airport. I could always swig it in the airport before going through security, but I risk falling asleep in the departures lounge while the plane takes off without me.

I got some good jet-lag prevention tips from my friend K this week, who travels to Europe about 7 or 8 times per year. My challenge this week: starting Monday, I need to get up earlier each day of the week and go to bed earlier. By Thursday I should be getting up around 4 and going to bed around 8. This will reduce the difference in my sleeping schedule from 6 to 3 hours, once in Europe. I don't know if I can rise to this occasion. Getting up early is not my forte.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why I like Michael Ware

Soledad O'Brien: "You heard what the president had to say, which is, essentially, the good news that out there is not getting reported. Have you found that to be true on the ground where you have been?

Michael Ware, CNN correspondent: "Oh, look, really, nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, the fact that, when President Bush talks about those living on the ground, and he cites General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad, I mean, these are men who could not be more divorced from the Iraqi reality.”

(You know this is an accurate quote because of the I mean…I mean…)

This being said, I expect Ware to be sacked by CNN any day now because he is far too willing and happy to say the opposite of the Bush administration's claims. How dare he.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

COC Health Update

Ok. Here is the low down on the health woes of the Canadian Opera Company.

1. Pavlo Hunka, the British bass-baritone who was to have sung Wotan's role in all three cycles was diagnosed with diabetes and had to drop out.

Pavlo Hunka-Hunka burnin' love should not have used Garfield the Cat as a nutritional role model.

2. Adrianne Pieczonka, who sings the role of Sieglinde, the beautiful sister of Siegmund and mother of Siegfried. On Saturday, while playing a rigorous game of tennis, the soprano fell and broke her ankle. Pieczonka has decided that rather than bow out, she will sing the role from a stationary position at the side of the stage, while soprano Irmgard Vilsmaier acts the Sieglinde role.

New rule: Sopranos should not play tennis rigorously.

And, I'll admit I've only been to 3 or 4 operas in my life, but what is the deal with her singing the role on the sidelines while somebody else acts it out. That sounds totally lame. I would want my money back.

Mahmoud: Fashion File

I read that Mahmoud himself refers to his beige jacket as an "Ahmadinejad jacket".

Mahmoud = the new Nehru.

That Naughty Globe & Mail

It's not just me, right? The Globe is trying to sneak in some dirty joke with this headline:

"COC's Ring suffers yet another stroke of ill luck"

The story's about the Canadian Opera Company's problems with their production of Wagner's Ring cycle, but I dunno. Okay, maybe it's just me. I'm watching too much Deadwood these days.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Radio Free Mahmoud

I watched a lot of Mahmoud's speech to the UN tonight. Unfortunately for Mahmoud, I had to leave him at 8:00 because House was on. Mahmoud may wield all kinds of power, but in this house his rhetoric is no match for Hugh Laurie's snark.

Mahmoud was rather repetitive, I found. We got it, M, you're a justice-luvin' guy. Got it.

I hate to tell you, but reform of the Security Council? Not one of the five permanent members is going to let its influence be lost or even diluted to any significant degree. UN reform on any level is a non-starter. If you don't believe me, ask John Bolton.

I liked the lonely shot of the empty US delegation seats. That's cold, baby. And I think the British just had one junior flunky on the scene. Quelle snub.

The World is Getting Disorderly

New countries are getting into the act.

What’s with all this rioting in Budapest? All the burning cars? Who do these Hungarians think they are, the French? Each country should have its own trademarked problem: Car burning = France.

And now there’s military coup in Thailand. When did they stop being peaceful? Gad! Again, they are out of line, my rule book says military coup = Burma.

There’s only so much I can keep track of. If I ran the world (my familiar refrain) there’d be a law where only so many countries can be in turmoil at one time. If you have a problem, you have to wait for somebody to resolve theirs before you can claim “troubled status”.

All Eyes on the UN

“Aides to Mr. Bush bristled yesterday at the notion that they were trying to avoid a chance run-in between Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Bush in the United Nations hallways. Contending that they were giving no extra attention to the possible walking route of the Iranian delegation or the Iranian leader’s bathroom schedule, they said that to do so would only help to elevate the stature of a man they would rather diminish." (NY Times)

This is surprising. I would’ve thought Bush would want to run into Mahmoud at the urinals. He could peek over, compare and then swagger up to reporters and brag to the world that his is bigger. Isn’t that all that matters to him?

But seriously in a perfect world, they would awkwardly meet in the General Assembly hall, Mahmoud would try to shake Bush’s hand and Bush would refuse and Mahmoud would chase Bush all around the UN. Perhaps the Benny Hill theme music could be played over this scene.

Today in Health News

This may explain why many Americans are obese. They have poor role models.

From the Washington Post:
“Garfield the Cat is a poster child for cardiovascular risk. Although I have no knowledge of his family history, he is clearly obese and sedentary. I shudder to think what his blood pressure and lipid profile are, given the quality and quantity of the diet he consumes. Similarly, if he is not yet frankly diabetic, Garfield is certainly at risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and may already exhibit impaired glucose tolerance."

Continues [the expert] "I have long suspected that Garfield suffers from clinical depression. In addition to his hypersomnolence and insatiable appetite, Garfield intermittently exhibits anhedonia [an inability to feel pleasure], apathy and mood swings."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Apologize, Benny, more! more!

Doesn’t Hallmark make a special card that says “For those occasions when you just can't apologize too much.”

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- An al Qaeda-linked extremist group warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that he and the West were "doomed," as protesters raged across the Muslim world to demand more of an apology from the pontiff for his remarks about Islam and violence.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying . ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."

All fine and good. As long as nobody is being unreasonable.

Is "worshipper of the cross" supposed to be some kind of insult? Isn't that his job? He is the Pope after all. Next they'll call him a dirty Catholic!

If my choice is conversion or death, I'll take conversion. And you know my conversion is going to be soooo sincere.

And I'm not even touching the spilled liquor comment. Them's fightin' words. But they do remind me of that old Eric Burdon song....I just checked the lyrics. Man, that song is druggy, dude.

An Observation

You know what I like about the parade of t.v. news stories about “Obese America”? We always get the same visuals: those endless shots of fat people’s midsections strolling down the street. Occasionally they are holding ice cream cones. We never see their faces or their feet, just their guts. Is this stock footage or are cameramen ordered to go out onto the sidewalk and film fat people walking by, from the shoulders down only? If they are filmed from behind, we might get a back-of-the-head shot that also includes a large behind, but mostly it full frontal and we only see rolls of sagging tummies.

Sometimes we get the headless fat person sitting at a food court at the mall, but mainly they're walking down the street. It's good to know that fat people walk so much. But it makes me wonder why so many of us are fat? We are getting exercise, apparently.

Has anyone ever recognized themselves in one of these shots? I know if I saw my headless self on the news, I’m fairly certain I’d know that was me. But could I recognize someone else? How easily can we identify another person’s belly? If faced with a headless police line-up could I pick out, say, the very large guy from our printing department? I’m not so sure.

And let’s say you’re watching the news and you recognize some body from work, do you go into the office the next morning and say to Fat Joe in the next cubicle: “Hey I saw you on the news last night!” And if so, is he happy about it?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Reviewing this week's news

I'm trying to figure out why it is legal to own a Beretta CX4 Storm semi-automatic rifle in this country. What possible logical, legal use could a civilian have for this weapon? And just because it may be very cool and powerful to shoot one doesn't mean it should be legal.

All of our local killer's weapons were legally purchased and registered. This is nuts.

I said Condi was here to seduce Peter into sending 1,000 more Canadian troops to Afghanistan. Well, I overestimated. We're ONLY increasing our troop level by 450. Condi, you minx, you always get what you want. Excuse me, while I go throw up. Our troop levels should be going down, not up. Grrrr.

Being angry all the time is getting tiring.

There's a picture in the paper today of US troops relaxing in one of Saddam Hussein's swimming pools in one of his palaces. Why does this turn my stomach? If these facilities are to be prettied up and used at all, shouldn't they be for the Iraqi people to enjoy. Didn't they earn that right?

Friday, September 15, 2006

In Bob News

Bob is being accused of lifting good lines from Henry Timrod, an obscure Civil War era poet, and working them into his songs. And?

Is there a debate to be had between plagiarizing and “borrowing liberally”? Maybe for some people, the wretched unenlightened cynics henceforth to be known on this blog as “Bob-haters”.

But I agree with the guy who uncovered this story. He says: "You could give the collected works of Henry Timrod to a bunch of people but none of them are going to come up with Bob Dylan songs." Yep.

Benny's in hot water

When was the last time I defended the Pope? Um, probably never but this latest fabricated “outrage” over Benny’s speech is ludicrous. This is a speech given at a university on the subject of faith and reason. His point was not to say that the two are mutually exclusive, but the reaction to his speech certainly makes that argument. This is just stupid.

The Pope’s now controversial speech is a theological one given at a university. It’s not Larry King Live or five minutes with Katie Couric.

He was quoting a debate that took place in 1391. To take this quotation out of context and report it as Ben’s own words is dishonest, an obvious ploy to look for an argument and pick a fight.

Here’s a quote from the lecture: “Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?” I’m not even sure what he’s asking here. These questions demand study and serious consideration. These are philosophical questions to be debated among academics and theologians, not something that Joe Shmoe decides over a coffee. This is intellectual stuff, and I think it is dumb, dumb, dumb to try to turn this into a street-level protest.

From BBC: “Salih Kapusuz, a deputy leader of the Turkish Prime Minister's political party, said that Benedict’s remarks were either "the result of pitiful ignorance", or worse, a deliberate distortion of the truths. “Benedict, the author of such unfortunate and insolent remarks is going down in history for his words. However ... he is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."

Hey, Mr. Kapusuz gets to go on my Big Board. As soon as you compare your opponent to Hitler you’re out. Into the penalty box, Mr. Kapusuz.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Afghan fields, the poppies grow

Afghanistan has produced more opium than the world needs this year. This raises the question, is the price of heroin vulnerable to market forces? Is the financial bottom going to fall out of the heroin trade? Would cheap heroin affect any potential user’s decision to try it? (But it was ON SALE! could be a good defense?) Will dealers be offering coupons or twofers to drum up business? What will this do to Mob profits?

A Million Little Nit Picks

I finished the Frey book and am relieved to report that he never succumbs to the 12-steppers and AA supporters that surround him. He completes his rehab, stays clean and lives happily ever after, at least until Oprah gets her claws into him.

I guess it also helps that I agree with him when he states that, unlike cancer, alcoholism isn’t a disease. It’s a choice. An unpopular argument, but he had me on his side rooting for him throughout the book because of that.

He doesn’t believe in God when the book starts, and he remains a firm unbeliever at the end. Good for him.

As far as the content of the book goes, I liked it. Even the bits where he is clearly fabricating stuff to make the situation even more horrific than it was. Root canals without any anaesthetic? I think not. The descriptions are graphic. I skipped over an entire page where he describes pulling out his toenail just because he hates himself. It made me queasy.

So even though he is a liar and a fabricator, if he did even a quarter of the terrible deeds he says he did, starting around age 4, then he was a very bad person indeed.

My quibble with the book is stylistic. Firstly is that he uses no paragraph indentation or spacing between paragraphs. Every line starts at the margin. And he uses no quotations marks, or the word “said”, as in “I hate myself”, I said. He’s having none of it. It’s like this:

He smiled.
I hate myself I said.

This requires concentration that I often don’t have because my reading is bedtime reading and it’s easy to nod off while thinking who said what when and to whom?

Secondly, random use of Upper Case on certain Words. I never figured out the pattern for which Words got upper case and which Ones didn’t.

Thirdly, there are several passages where the text is

Which eventually got

Granted as a huge fan of The Man David Foster Wallace, I shouldn’t be grumbling about choices of style and writerly technique, but I just wasn’t sure how these visual tricks helped the narrative.

I like this picture

It kinda says: Nyah nyah I'm not dead yet.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Condi & Peter #3

Far be it from me to want to save Mr. Potato Head from himself, but I'm worried.

Oftentimes lovestruck men are dumb. And this is one of those times.

Condi, the wily she-wolf, she's luring him into a trap, leading him around by his tuber.

Can't he see where this is headed? As soon as he commits to sending 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan, she'll drop him like (sorry) a hot potato.

Then there's the jealous George angle. Look at poor Jack Straw. He fell for Condi's charms, next thing you know, Tony Blair's hotline from the White House is ringing, and gentleman Jack is out of a job.

Peter Potato should keep this in mind. But, then again, men never learn from other men's mistakes, do they?

More on Peter and Condi

My burning question has been answered. He didn't show her his famous potatoes.

"Canadian officials said Rice didn't visit the MacKay family farm in Lorne, N.S., where Peter MacKay famously went to dig in the potato patch and hang his head after love interest Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals in May, 2005."

What I've learned today

There sure are a whole lot of conflicting stories that pop out during a school shooting.

Damn I'm Good!

I am SO ahead of the news curve. My ego is spiralling out of control. I scooped the Times of London!

“Condi moves on

It seems that Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, has found a new squeeze.
Just five months after accepting Jack Straw's invitation to taste the curry, pie and black pudding of the North West, Ms Rice has taken another diplomat's holiday, this time with the Canadian Foreign Minister, Peter MacKay, and things, as you can see to the right, went pretty well.”

Read the whole unsavoury thing here:

What about Tab?

Hey, I just learned that Pepsi stands for: “Pay Each Penny to Save Israel”.

Boy, all those years of worrying I was acting like a French Canadian stereotype and it turns that all along I’ve been a Zionist shill and I didn’t even know it. The things ya learn on the Internet.

Suddenly I’m thirsty.

Second point, when did Tab come back on the market and who decided it's an energy drink? Decades ago, wasn't Tab just another foul-tasting diet soda? Suddenly, it's healthy. I love marketing.


Let's all sing:
'Cause you gotta have friends
la la la
'Cause you gotta have frrrriennnds.

From Mahmoud's Blog:
Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki visited today. We hugged and joked and shook hands a lot. He's my new best friend. I wore a crisp new jacket.

Today in plane crash news

Here I am again reporting from Montreal-Light-Plane-Crash-on-City-Streets Headquarters. (Sorry, susie)

"Light plane crashes into cars near Saint-Hubert airport

A Piper plane attempting an emergency landing crashed Tuesday afternoon near the Saint-Hubert airport south of Montreal. The plane went down at Losch and Kimber boulevards in the town's industrial sector around 4:15 p.m. The aircraft hit two cars and missed a nearby school bus before flipping over during the manoeuvre."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Just picked up my lunch in the cafeteria. The chef said, try our pasta with tomato sauce. Our sauce is to die for. We put vodka in it.

So I tried it. It is indeed good. Clearly I was ahead of the curve on this one.

Vodka tomato sauce. An idea whose time has come.

This is rather neat

On Sunday afternoon, a small plane's engine died and the plane had to land on Park Avenue, in the middle of town, right at Mount Royal. Nobody was injured, but everyone was stunned. I like this picture, with the cars and plane. Quite cool.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Her Again

Lucky us, we got a visit from Condi today. You think if the Libs were still in power she would've shown? I say no. But since we have Steve, the Bush-yes-man-supremo in power we have the honour of her company.

Oh hurray.

And Peter Potato Head is still in awe of Condi. She's visiting his riding! In his mind, they're practically engaged. Forget it, Pete, she's way out of your league. She only has eyes for George.

That's my garçon

"PARIS, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Franck Ribery produced an outstanding performance as Olympique Marseille claimed back the top spot in the Ligue 1 with a 3-1 victory at arch-rivals Paris St Germain on Sunday."

Since I can't pick a winner in the Premiership, I'll take one in Ligue 1.

It's the Real Thing

From BBC: “More than a decade after the Coca Cola bottling plant in Afghanistan was ravaged by artillery fire, the company is back with a gleaming new facility in capital, Kabul.”

We all know what this means. NO Pepsi in Afghanistan ever. Shoot.

I was just about ready to move, but now? You can hand me the handsomest, manliest, beardliest warlord and his most succulent headless goat on a silver platter, but no Pepsi? Forget it, man, I’m staying home.

Defending James Frey

Let me preface by saying that I think the people who filed these lawsuits are astoundingly gigantic morons. Oh James Frey, you lied to me and hurt my feelings.

“James Frey, the author who admitted making up portions of his best-selling memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” and his publisher, Random House, have agreed in principle on a settlement with readers who filed lawsuits claiming they had been defrauded.

Neither Mr. Frey nor Random House are admitting any wrongdoing, but consumers who bought the book on or before Jan. 26 — when both the publisher and author released statements acknowledging that Mr. Frey had altered certain facts — will be eligible for a full refund.

Readers in several states, including New York, California and Illinois, filed lawsuits saying that Mr. Frey and the publisher had defrauded them by selling the book as a memoir rather than as a work of fiction.

People making a claim will also have to submit a sworn statement that they would not have bought the book if they knew that certain facts had been embroidered or changed.”

(Aside: If you can sue an author for having let you down, then Martin Amis owes me $1,000 for Yellow Dog.)

On just about every page of the book Frey tells the reader that he is an Alcoholic, a Drug Addict and a Criminal. In society’s list of people whose truthfulness should be seriously and constantly questioned, he’s the living embodiment of the trifecta of deception.

Who lies the most? Alcoholics, Drug Addicts or Criminals? You can’t pick a winner here. But put three in one, and wow, I can’t even believe his name is really James Frey. Why should I believe it? He might as well be wearing a sandwich board that says “World’s most unreliable guide”.

Doesn’t the reader have a responsibility here? A book is a one-to-one relationship between the writer and the reader. The writer writes and the reader has every right to accept or reject what is written. It’s more than a right, it’s a responsibility. These people who sued, what did they expect, that Frey would gently hold their hands and lead them down a path of truthfulness? They deserve to have him throw them down the gulch.

Apologies here, but I have to slide Bob into this post. When I was reading Bob’s Chronicles a few months back, there were so many occasions when he described places and events with what seemed to me to be 110% total recall. Like writing about seeing a red cup on a table in a room in a certain apartment back in 1961 or looking out a window and seeing a woman on a sidewalk in the same year. Oh Bob, I laughed, you are so bullshitting me here. But it was great writing so who cares? He wrote it and I read it with sceptical pleasure.

I’m currently investigating whether, once, just once in his stinkin’ lousy Irish childhood, Frank McCourt went to bed with a full stomach and lived one degree above total misery. When I have my proof, I’m gonna sue. Heh heh heh.

A Classic Homer Moment

The Simpsons premiered for its gazillionth season last night. I thought, as I often do now, that the show was only so-so, except for a great joke in the end where Homer is in front of a mirror manipulating his man-boobs, squeezing them and letting them go, and squeezing them and letting them go, while saying “lady, man, lady, man, lady”.

I could not stop laughing. Silly, gross and hilarious as only Homer can be.

5th Anniversary

On 11 September 2001, Bob Dylan released Love & Theft, thereby making the world a better place.


The seasons they are turnin'

and my sad heart is yearnin'
To hear again the songbird's sweet melodious tone
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The dusky light, the day is losing
Orchids, poppies, black-eyed Susan
The earth and sky that melts with flesh and bone
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The air is thick and heavy
All along the levee
Where the geese into the countryside have flown
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

Well, I'm preachin' peace and harmony
The blessings of tranquility
Yet I know when the time is right to strike
I'll take you 'cross the river dear
You've no need to linger here
I know the kinds of things you like

The clouds are turnin' crimson
The leaves fall from the limbs an'
The branches cast their shadows over stone
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The boulevards of cypress trees
The masquerades of birds and bees
The petals, pink and white, the wind has blown
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The trailing moss and mystic glow
Purple blossoms soft as snow
My tears keep flowing to the sea
Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief
It takes a thief to catch a thief
For whom does the bell toll for, love?
It tolls for you and me

My pulse is runnin' through my palm
The sharp hills are rising from
The yellow fields with twisted oaks that groan
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

In the Premiership

Chelsea won today. That's good. The game was not broadcast here, so I have nothing to say about it.

Fulham are marching along. Good for them.

I did see the Arsenal - Middlesbrough match. Arsenal sucked. They were darn lucky to get a draw. They controlled the match but couldn't finish up the plays. Lame! I was unhappy.

Then Tottenham lost to Man U. grumble.

Afghanistan and Us

"QUEBEC (CP) - The New Democratic Party has officially become Canada's first major political party to call for a withdrawal of the country's troops from Afghanistan.

A party convention voted massively Saturday in favour of leader Jack Layton's call for a pullout, giving his proposal an endorsement from grassroot members and making it formal NDP policy. "

Glad to see that the party is backing Jack. This should be the beginning of the end of our involvement in the Afghan debacle.

Meanwhile, back in the mountains, the NATO commanders say we (we being NATO countries not just Canada) need to send 2000 additional troops into A'stan. How dumb.

What we NEED is negotiations with the Pakistanis. What are they up to, signing agreements with Taliban supporters?

Clean up the Pakistan divided-loyalty issue, and then the soldiers can come home. And the Pakistan problem will be resolved by negotiation, not by fighting. So we might as well start packing up our kitbags now and heading on home. This mess will be resolved at the negotiating table.

I always laugh (bitterly) when I see new headlines wanting to alarm us about increasing violence in A'stan. The country's been at war for, what, 27 years? There's no such thing as NEW violence there.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Speaking of the Taliban...

Last night on AC360 they had a story of how the CIA (and everyone else in international law enforcement, I guess) is still searching for Mullah Omar, but they’ve been using the wrong picture. I don’t want to be the poor sap whose picture has been circulated for years instead. So not only have they not caught Omar, I guess they haven’t caught Omar-substitute either.

And we wonder why they don’t respect us.

Even Karzai admitted years ago he has no idea what Mullah Omar looks like, but on we go, posting this Most Wanted photo of the wrong guy.

Am I hypersensitive of does this stink of racism? All them mullahs look alike to us.

Also, several times I’ve seen (again on CNN) stories about looking for one of the endless Al Qaeda No. 2’s in Iraq and they post the picture of the scary, scary dude from the Finsbury Park mosque in London. Hey guys, he’s already in jail….in London! I know there’s a whole mess of Al Qaeda No. 2’s but he’s one of the few guys in the world who isn’t a No. 2.

I repeat, they all look alike to us. Sigh.

Reader's Digest(ion)

I heard an odd thing this morning. I was ordering a bagel w/cream cheese, when a lady I know came up next to me inquiring what I was breakfasting on. I told her, and she told me that she used to love bagels but she gave them up because she read they were hard to digest.

Now I’ve known plenty of people who’ve given up plenty of foods because they themselves have problems digesting said foods, but this is the first time I’ve heard of giving something up because she’d read it is hard to digest. She never had a physical problem from eating bagels, but she’d read about it. Am I crazy? Is there something I don’t know about digestion that I should know?

Can a food be universally hard to digest, i.e. it’s difficult for everyone even if none of us is aware that we are causing ourselves such troubles? If so, shouldn’t these foods come with warning labels that say: “Difficult to Digest (for everyone, no exceptions)”

I told her that I had never felt any discomfort from bagels so I was going to keep on ordering them. People are weird.

Their Greatest Hits

This new Al Qaeda tape. There's a word for these guys: cocky.

A stroll down memory lane with the 19. It should have used Babs singing The Way We Were in the background. It’s kind of a shame they don’t drink because it would’ve been a nice touch to have a few shots of them in the present hoisting some frothy mugs of beer and crying in that nostalgic way guys do when they get together to relive their glory days.

I wonder how excited they were about producing and releasing their 5th anniversary tribute video. Al Qaeda nerds splicing together various bits. Look, says one, I superimposed this guy’s suicide message over the burning World Trade Center. How cool is that? Ooooh, say the rest. The Sheik will love this.

Bin Laden in a comfortable cave, chuckling and updating his list of “Ways to poke finger in infidel’s Bush eye”.

And now there’s a suicide bomber in downtown Kabul. Five years later, five years after the alleged defeat of the Taliban. Do we even want to stop these guys? I suspect not.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lazy Mahmoud

Mahmoud has yet to update his blog! Man, what is the matter with him? He better not try to make me believe he's got more important things to do. The nerve! Jeez.

Don't make me send you a taunting e-mail, Mahmoud!

Daily Shot of Bob

From BBC: "Bob Dylan has topped the US album charts for the first time in 30 years with his latest release, Modern Times.

Dylan, 65, is now the oldest living person to go straight into the chart at number one.

It has also gone to number one in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland, according to Columbia. "

So who are the folks who are buying this record but didn't buy Love & Theft or Time Out of Mind? I think they need to catch up and purchase the whole trilogy, which I believe is not in fact a trilogy, but that's just me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Zizou Update

Materazzi has revealed all. So what happened was, Materazzi grabbed Zidane’s jersey and Zidane said: “If you want it that bad I’ll give it to you after the game”, and Materazzi answered: “I’d rather have your sister”.

That’s it?

Assuming Materazzi is not a stinkin’ liar (big assumption there) we must conclude that Zizou’s response was totally out of proportion to the provocation.

So this dossier has to be handed back to the philosophers, who need to dig through their Sartre and their Camus and figure out just what the heck was going on in Zidane’s majestic, tortured soul when he decided to throw it all away in the closing moments of his career. It is for greater minds than mine to ponder.

In Bob News

Bob tickets are purchased. Wheee.

Saw the new iTunes commercial with jowly old Bob, lookin' so serious, playing that guitar of his. Which is rather cool because I heard Bob doesn't actually play guitar anymore because of his arthiritis.

I'm not looking forward to old age.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jerry Lewis Telethon Wrap-Up

OK, OK, I confess. I admit I didn’t watch the Jerry Lewis telethon, primarily because it is unbearable but secondly because I knew someone else would watch it and I could just crib the best bits. Thanks to the Washington Post, here are the “highlights”:

No. 1:
10:15 p.m. Jerry introduces his first guest. "If you don't try to see this lady at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, you're nuts!" Celine Dion appears. She sings "Summertime" and gets a standing ovation. She kisses Jerry. "You look incredible," she says. Jerry kisses her hand. "You're kissing my hand," she says. "I'm kissing your hand and trying to steal your ring," Jerry says. "What a rock!" “You're kissing my hand and you're touching everybody's heart," she replies.

No. 2:
Monday, 12:04 a.m. It's now Day 2. Jerry introduces comedian Rita Rudner, who lives in Las Vegas but is performing in New York. "Las Vegas is becoming classier," she says. "We have a ballet company now. It's topless, but it's classy."

When Rudner finishes, Jerry plugs her new novel, "Turning the Tables." Then he gazes up at the camera, looking confused. “Where am I?" he asks. "Why don't I see something?" "What would you like to see?" asks Ed McMahon. "I'd like to see naked broads," Jerry says. "Can I get you a glass of milk?" Ed asks.

(Nanuk note: Am I the only one who LOVES the fact that Jerry uses the term “naked broads” on a fundraiser for sick children? He is the greatest.)

No. 3:
11:15 a.m. Ed is back! And he brought Larry King, who brought his wife, who proceeds to read a children's book called "The Runaway Bunny" to violin accompaniment.

No. 4:
3 p.m. "Welcome to hour 18 of the 19 -- whatever year it is -- telethon," Jerry says. He's getting a little giddy. He greets a woman from Safeway who has come bearing a huge donation. "You're very cute," he says. "You're not hitting on me are you?" "No," she says.

A moment later, he's sidling up to one of his co-hosts, Jann Carl of "Entertainment Tonight." "You know, there's something about you that I love," he says, "but I can't put my finger on it." She laughs. "If I told you that you had a beautiful body," he asks, "would you hold it against me?" The man is pure, unchained id.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Return to the Book Nuk

I finished The Da Vinci Code. So that's done. Some may be disappointed to learn that in the end the Catholic Church is exonerated. Turns out they aren't the bad guys after all; there's just a duped, threatened Cardinal and his albino monk flunky. But the Church and Opus Dei turn out to be harmless. That's a bummer. The bad guy turns out to be a fanatical Grail hunter. Whoop tee doo.

The one issue raised by the book that I appreciated is the fact that history is written and controlled by the victors. This is important, and if the book led some people to question what they've read in their history books, then it's a good thing.

Today being another gloomy dull day, I've done basically nothing but started reading A Million Little Pieces, the book that dared embarrass Oprah. This is a fast read and I'm enjoying it.

The narrator is angry and to the point. Alcohol and drugs are his life and he's afraid of living any other way, even if his lifestyle is killing him. And he hates the AA method and the 12 Steps and the whole idea of putting your life into God's hands. He sneers at the whole idea. He sees AA as replacing an addiction to alcohol with an addiction to God, and he doesn't respect people who follow this path.

I'm on page 100, I've finished the first section, and I really like this guy's point of view. Now I'm living in fear that he's going to have some kind of conversion and his eyes will be opened to the goodness of the AA program and the 12 Steps. Oh please don't let the book go in that direction. I will be so disappointed if it does.

I had a dream

Last night I read Rolling Stone's interview with Bob before falling asleep. Then I had a dream about Bob. That was cool because I never dream about Bob ever.

We were hanging out on a nice street in a nice city, could've been here or New York, it wasn't clear. It was a warm summer day. And we went into a small, boutique-type hotel with a funky lobby and we hung around in the hotel bar. Bob wore a black wide-brimmed hat, and he was incredibly funny. He said only witty things which made me laugh, and I can't remember a single one of them.

Then we went outside, at this point I realized it was the Ritz on Sherbrooke Street, and it had snowed and the sidewalk was pretty icy. We walked only a few steps then sat on a cement bench and Dwight Schrute of "The Office" walked up with one of the other characters from the show, a red-haired woman who is usually just seen in the background. (I looked it up, she plays Meredith.)

Bob was so happy to see these people, he greeted them like old friends and we did a lot of catching up with them. Then a guy in a leisure suit and glasses walks up and he has a camera and I think "oh great" and he takes 3 pictures of Dwight Schrute and he thanks him and is really happy. And Bob is just sitting there, amused.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Al Qaeda

The Organization where everyone gets to be No. 2.

Meow, hiss, swipe, scratch

I love this.

Thanks to the Da Vinci Code, I've got secret codes on the brain. This story has one of the greatest silly codes ever, and some egotistical egghead fell for it.

I love, love, love the fact that petty, cut-throat, vindictive literary rivalry is alive and well.

"LONDON — A biographer of English poet John Betjeman has confessed to writing a hoax love letter that duped a rival author, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The Sunday Times said Bevis Hiller admitted sending the fake letter to A.N. Wilson — complete with a coded four-letter insult aimed at Wilson.

“It's a fair cop,” the newspaper quoted Hillier saying when confronted about the letter.

Wilson thought the passionate letter — ostensibly written by Betjeman to a Second World War colleague, Honor Tracy — was evidence of a previously unknown extramarital affair and included it in his recently published book Betjeman.

Wilson acknowledged the letter must be fake last week, after the Sunday Times pointed out the first letter of each sentence spelled out “A.N. Wilson is a shit.”

The newspaper quoted Hillier saying the hoax was prompted by annoyance at the attention received by Wilson's book, published after his own three-volume biography of the poet."

I'm trying to remember if it is in a novel by Martin Amis or Julian Barnes (speaking of rivals!!) that something similar happens.


This is a rainy and dull Sunday, with the remnants of Ernesto passing through. Yawn.

So I made me another batch of tomato sauce. Basically the same recipe as last week, with a bit of tweaking.

The main thing is this is a bigger batch. I hauled a large pot out of the basement. I felt like Ray Liotta in GoodFellas, just keep stirring that sauce.

I added olives this time. They didn't change much, but like Everest they were there. And I added a lot more vodka. (You'd be disappointed if I hadn't, right?) I can't taste it in the final product, but it sure smelled boozy whenever I lifted the lid to take a sniff whilst cooking it.

In between stirs, I listened to Modern Times. It's so good. And I did most of Friday's NY Times crossword. This is where I learned that Dr. No's first name was Julius. Who knew Dr. No even had a first name? I know, I know, real Bond fans knew this, but I didn't. So I am edified by this very old news.

So, after lunch, leaving the sauce to cool, I got back into The Da Vinci Code. For a "thriller" I'm finding this incredibly slow-going. I fell asleep 3 times. But I'm going to finish this darn thing today, even if it kills me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Holy Smoke! It's Labour Day Weekend

Three words = Jerry Lewis Telethon.

And if that isn't enticing enough, Larry King is gonna be on it. Oh wow.

I wonder how many people do live-blogging of the telethon. You know there has to be at least one total masochist out there who watches and blogs the whole 21 hours. Probably more than one person does it.

Not me, though.

Jesus lives in all of us

...literally. In our spines, apparently.

"A 34-year-old woman in Pittsburgh, Pa., claims the image of Jesus appeared to her in a recent magnetic resonance imaging scan of her body, according to a Local 6 News report. Rhonda Hodge of Duquesne had several X-rays taken of her spine because of a bulged disc, which has been causing numbness in her neck and left arm. One of the images caught her attention and that of her friends and co-workers. "What went through my mind?" Hodge said. "Just surprise. Oh my God, that's the crucifixion." Hodge said there is no doubt in her mind that the image looks like the crucifixion."

This explains why my dad, who never went to Mass, had such painful disc problems. Sometimes God is cruel and He'll get you every time! We can run but we can't hide.

Afghanistan again

“OTTAWA — Canada should withdraw its troops from the current mission in southern Afghanistan and invite Taliban fighters to peace talks, NDP Leader Jack Layton said yesterday.”

Thanks for saying this, Jack. I’m sure you will be ridiculed and criticized and called an appeaser and God knows what else, but it’s about time somebody in Ottawa raised this option.

I don’t want to claim I’m ahead of my time, but I asked these questions back on 4 August...

"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. "

November 8 !

Bob will be performing in Montreal. Wheeeee!