Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another poisoned Russian?

"Former acting Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar is being treated in a Moscow hospital amid rumours about the cause of his mystery illness.

Mr Gaidar became violently ill during a visit to Ireland last week, and his daughter Maria told the BBC that doctors believe he was poisoned." (BBC)

I have only one question: Isn't Gaidar spelt with a "y"?

(Sorry, had an exasperating morning at the office. Am now a bit giddy.)

It's a wild week

“…a US State Department official has said that Britain’s role as a bridge between America and Europe is now “disappearing before our eyes”.

Kendall Myers, a senior State Department analyst, disclosed that for all Britain’s attempts to influence US policy in recent years, “we typically ignore them and take no notice — it’s a sad business”. (Times of London)

Another case of the painfully obvious showing up as shocking news. We all knew this, that Blair was Bush’s poodle, but it still seems shocking to see it acknowledged by the State Department. Is it safe to assume this Myers fellow is on his way out at State? Condi can’t be thrilled with this. And George won’t be happy with Condi. Trouble in paradise.

I think Colin Powell is also getting a few shots in. heh.

It’s only Thursday, but on the heels of the “Maliki Snub” (I smell a dance craze in the making), can we officially declare this a lousy week for W? To clarify, it would be a lousy week for him if he actually gave a shit about anything, which he doesn't.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

B-16, Bingo!

You won't often catch me saying good things about the Pope. But, dang it, the man is a snappy dresser and I must give credit where credit is due.

Check out the cream-coloured coat he wore on his arrival in Turkey. As Borat might say: "Niiiiice".

I hope Mahmoud is keeping an eye on this 'cause one day he'll have to retire the beige jacket. Look and learn, Mahmoud.

George is Annoying (Not Bush, for a change)

Since I’m in a bit of a “complain about all things Canadian” mood, let me complain a bit about my friend, George Strombouloupoulos. Why does George always feel he has to act cooler, or just as cool as, his guests? It’s irritating.

Earlier this week he interviewed Noel Gallagher, who is, we must all agree, a pretty cool guy, even though he doesn’t “get” French Canada. So there’s George, trying to out-cool, out-hip Noel Gallagher. What a waste of energy. Gallagher was surprisingly nice and modest and normal, and not drunk.

Last night, George had the boys of Tenacious D on. I couldn’t bear to watch.

Tomorrow, it’s the divine Alan Rickman. Rickman is a lot of things, suave, smooth, wry, snape-ish, but he’s not particularly “cool”. So how will George approach him? Oh Lord, please do not allow George to try to out-suave Rickman. Dare I watch?

Liberal Invasion

Yikes, the Liberal Convention is gearing up, just down the street from here. Note to self: Carry emergency egg for possible Iggy encounter.

You know what this Convention means. Over 5000 delegates? Long line-ups at the Sushi Shop counter in the Palais des Congres for the rest of the week. No strolling down the block for lunch-time sushi for me for the next few days. Man, the sacrifices I have to make for democracy.

I can't predict a winner, although I'll venture to say (or hope) that it won't be Iggy. I'd like to see Stephane Dion get the job, representing the nerds of academia everywhere. But he's a dark horse. If a dark horse does win, it'll be Kennedy, Mr. Food Bank. My sister likes him and she's in Ontario, so I'm willing to give him a chance. As a leftist, though, I have to go with Bob Rae.

Holy shit. Is that Eugene Whelan in his green cowbody hat? He's not dead? I just had to post this photo because old Gene is the only politician I've actually ever met and spoken to. I met him at the Embassy in Washington years ago, when both Gene and I were much, much younger. I wonder if they will bury him with that stupid hat. Heh.

Christmas Cage Match!

They want your Xmas dollars.

The billboards around town and the t.v. commercials make it clear that this year’s Xmas battle is between the Telus Monkeys and the Bell Beavers. They are everywhere.

I’m in the Bell beaver camp. My particular fave is the billboard with the beaver in his slimming black turtleneck sweater with his belly sticking out. Hilarious.

I think Telus are resting on their laurels. They’ve been doing cute campaigns with cute exotic critters for so long, I’m really not that enthralled with their strange-looking monkeys du jour.

And, in both cases, am I actually interested in the cellular phones they are trying to sell me? No, not really.

Nanukistan IV: Military Affairs

There’s no life like it.

Apparently the pesky US Army stole my motto “Army of One” before I had a chance to trademark it. Harumph. What’s an army without a good motto?

I’m a pacifist and therefore a reluctant soldier, but I have to defend my homeland. I guess I’ll join NATO.

I won’t be much good on the fighting front in Afghanistan since I punch like a girl, but I will volunteer for face-to-face discussions with General Cuddles*. (Yep, I’m bringing back an old fave.) We can discuss what he does for fun these days since he joined the Afghan government and apparently gave up burning, killing, raping and pillaging.

(*Real name: Abdul Rashid Dostum)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Can there be a bigger idiot?

Is he serious? Does Bush really believe that the Iraq situation is still being caused by Al Qaeda elements? How can this be?

He's still blaming Zarqawi. Good god. Zarqawi has been dead for 6 months and the violence has grown exponentially since he was killed.

Bush still won't call it a civil war. Well, it's not a civil war. It's moved beyond that. It's anarchy.

How much longer can we keep going with the Boy-King in his bubble, leading the world?

Can he seriously be pursuing a strategy to make himself irrelevant? Two more years of this? This is beyond hopeless.

Nanukistan III

International Affairs

I think I will join the United Nations. That way, I’ll get to New York a couple of times per year, which is nice. Although I hate and am terrified of public speaking, and therefore will be very reluctant to address the Hall, I will attend the annual meeting of the General Assembly, especially if the dates thereof coincide with a Broadway appearance by Ralph Fiennes.

Should there be an international incident which requires my presence in New York at a time when Ralph Fiennes is not on Broadway, I will settle for any production featuring Gabriel Byrne. And in the case of an unprecedented nuclear-related crisis, I’ll even go to see Hugh Jackman.

Celebrity Divorce News

Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock have split up.

You know what this means, ladies! Kid Rock is back on the marriage market!

(Whoops. I just made myself throw up a little. )

Nanukistan II

Nation building is tough.

My nation is a few scant hours old, and I’m already faced with a citizenship crisis. I have decided not to award Nanukian citizenship to the feline class. I was going to, but I realized that if they were granted full citizenship rights, I would be a minority in my own homeland. Totally unacceptable.

Therefore there will be no feline representation in my Parliament. Lest there be protests, note that there will be no feline taxation either. So, no Boston Tea Party for them.

I fear I have created a welfare state. I’m forming a Parliamentary committee to study the issue of importing some mice to create meaningful jobs for the lazy feline underclass, ‘cause really what do they do all day? Eat, sleep, lie on the couch, eat some more, sleep. Welfare Queens!

On the other hand, importing mice will increase the population imbalance between the human and the animal class. Hey, I’ve read Animal Farm. Therefore in the interests of avoiding a feline insurgency, the committee has decided that the cats are residents of Nanukistan because I invited them to live here, and their function is to amuse me. As they fufill these duties to an exemplary degree, there is no need to assign them further work. That’ll keep the mice out too.

No Visa Required...

to visit my new homeland.

In an effort to beat the Christmas rush, I have decided to jump the queue and declare myself a Nation. Yep. Welcome to Nanukistan. Population: one.

Originally I planned on calling me Soviet Nanukistan, but “Soviet” implied some kind of collectivity and since the goal of nationhood is to exclude as many non-Nanuks as possible, I’ve settled for simply Nanukistan.

I love my new sovereignty!

Taking a page from the Official Birthday Playbook of Queen Elizabeth I’ve decided to have two Official Nationhood Days, the real one on which I declared my sovereignty, i.e. today, 28 November and an Official Holiday. Since 28 November is a pretty lousy date for holding a parade, given the inclement weather of the surrounding territory, known as the “nation” of Quebec within the “country” of Canada, I’ve decided Official Nanukistan Independence Day will be celebrated on 1 July, when the weather is fine. I know it’s the same date as Canada Day but establishing a coinciding holiday guarantees me a day off work from my Canada-based employer.

I’m accepting proposals for a national anthem. I’m thinking something like “Hail to Me” or “Gimme an N”.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In International News

Lots of diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing on the world stage this week.

It started with Scary Dick Cheney flying to Saudi Arabia (my friends, the Saudis) for a two-hour meeting with the King. Why on earth would he fly halfway across the world for a two-hour meeting and then fly right back home? Either he’s demanding something (in his Scary Dick way) or he’s begging for something. Hmmm.

Today Pres. Talabani of Iraq is in Tehran meeting with Mahmoud, who is all smiles. Any time Mahmoud is all smiles, you know he’s up to no good.

W, the useless, will be in Jordan this week, meeting with Iraqi PM Al Maliki and King Abdullah, my favourite king. Does anyone else have a favourite king? (A favourite LIVING king? Not Elvis, I mean.)

And to top it all off, the Pope will be in Turkey where I imagine they’ve painted a nice big bulls-eye on the side of the Pope-mobile. This can’t turn out well. Weekly World News Headline: Pope's Goose Cooked in Turkey.

Thank goodness all we have to worry about is an influx of Liberal Party delegates for next week’s convention. Ho-hum, here we are, dull as usual. Maybe Iggy will get egged. That would make for a headline or two. Eggy!

Oh Fab!

“Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has been named European Footballer of the Year on Monday, beating international team-mate Gianluigi Buffon and France and Arsenal striker Thierry Henry into second and third.”

I have nothing to add to this. I simply haven’t pondered Cannavaro in a while, so I’ll just kick back for a few seconds, look out the window and think about him.

Mmmmm. La-di-da. Mmmmmm. Dum-dee-dum. Mmmmmm.

Okay, I’m done. Back to work.

I'm speechless

Because every President needs his library…

“The President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and 'give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies,' one Bush insider said.” (Washington Post)

Half a billion dollars. I don’t even know what to say about this. Insert your own comic book or EZ Reader joke.

It's our 2nd Anniversary

Two years ago today, I went to the Animal Rescue pet adoption clinic and came home with the Unholy Trinity.

How time flies.

I wonder if they appreciate how good they've got it. Spoiled monsters.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

That's Life

I read this today:

"God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

In cinema news

There are too many movies out there and not enough time to see them. I need a week off to play catch-up.

I saw Flushed Away. If you have a kid or two and want to take them to it, make sure it is in the afternoon. That movie is so busy, busy, busy, it has to leave a kid totally wired, so no way anybody's going to bed after seeing it. I've seen better cartoons, but it was okay. Had a lot of atrocious puns, which I always like. Ian McKellen makes a great bad guy, even as a toad.

Today I saw Babel. A movie in which the bad things just keep on comin'. One bad thing after another after another after another. This film is not the feel-good movie of the year. That poor Japanese girl. The moral? Life is tragic and unfair.
On the bright side: Brad Pitt is getting wrinkles. Huzzah, he's just like the rest of us.

My list of movies I still have to see:
For your consideration
Fast food nation
Tenacious D (Yeah! They rock!)
The Fountain (It's weird, apparently)
Marie Antoinette
Little Children
Casino Royale.

I will make an effort to see Casino Royale.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Russian Spies!

The weather's getting really Cold War around here these days.

We’ve got a flesh-and-blood Russian spy in custody in town and I think that’s pretty exciting. I miss the Cold War. Get this: “the man…was picked up at Montreal's airport Nov. 14 carrying his fake birth certificate and passport, about $7,000 in five currencies, three cellphones and five password-protected SIM data cards to go into them, two digital cameras and a shortwave radio.” That’s so cool, carrying a shortwave radio and five currencies. Maybe I will see Casino Royale after all!

And what makes it even better is that Russia has an actual Evil Leader.

There was a deathbed accusation at Putin from a Russian ex-spy in London yesterday. He was poisoned. Russians are really good with poison, aren’t they? That’s so exotically Eastern European. We don’t off our spies with poison here in the West. I think our shady characters go the way of brake failure or other mechanical problems. Off the cliff they go. But poisoning is so much more treacherous. I was glad to hear of this deathbed accusation because, in my opinion, we are not reminded often enough that Putin is EVIL.

In other news,
I turned off the t.v. this morning because every Canadian network was blabbing about Quebec as a nation within a nation, and I can’t stand to hear about it anymore. But afterwards I thought if the choice is between endless, grinding, repetitive chatter about our cultural and ethnic differences, or blowing each other to shreds with car bombs, I’m grateful for the endless chatter.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let Us Give Thanks for Bob

Now that's what I'd call a pilgrim.
He was riding on the Mayflower when he thought he spied some land...

Lady Madonna

NBC ran a 2-hour Madonna concert last night. I saw one song, “Hung Up” (I think that's the title). I like that song. I just kept staring at her because she looks weird for her age.

Today in the NY Times there’s an article about Madonna’s appearance and the writer was full of admiration for how much time she spends working out and staying strong and limber etc. I broke a sweat just reading about her.

All this being said, she looks like she’s made of titanium. I looked at her the same way I look at female (and male) body builders. I can respect and admire all the work they do on themselves, but I wouldn’t want to look like that. There's a creepy factor to all this.

Happy Turkey Day

to all my pals down South from your pal up here in Soviet Canuckistan.

As John McLaughlin likes to say: Gobble, Gobble.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

D'Oh! Canada...Hostie

What is with Steve's impromptu motion to have Quebec declared a nation within a nation?

I'm always so embarrassed when someone from the ROC (Rest of Canada) panders to us. And when it's the Prime Minister it is doubly uncomfortable. If there was one PM I thought would hand us our asses on a platter, it was Steve. If you'd told me last January (ah, that fateful 23rd of Jan.) that Steve would be on his knees before us on a regular basis, I'd've never believed it. But there he is again.

Word is Steve was taking a shellacking in the Quebec polls because of little things like Afghanistan (what? is that still on?) and his one-sided support of Israel. So he had to worm his way back into our fickle little hearts.

Can't let Ignatieff have all the glory, eh?

And all the parties except the Bloc seem ready to go along with this. By Jove!

I can't believe redneck Albertans are thrilled with their little Stevie these days. Preston Manning would've never proposed such a wimpy motion.

They'll all be speaking French in Calgary any day now. Tabarnack!

More on Bob, the Fashion Icon

In 1965 in London, Dylan fell hard for the polka-dot shirt. He wore fitted, button-up ones, but billowy, filmy androgynous ones too, and more than any other item, these have been a sartorial mainstay. (NY Post)

In 99.99% of cases, I think a man wearing a polka dot shirt would be a deal-breaker for me. But there are exceptions to every rule. I tried to find a really good photo of Bob wearing one of his beloved polka dots, but nothing was up to my standards. Heh.

Let's party like it's 1970

MONTREAL - A letter claiming to be from a new cell of the Front de liberation du Quebec and threatening to take action for what it describes as ''Anglo-Saxon imperialism'' in the West Island and west-end Montreal is being investigated by police.

The letter, from a group or someone identifying themselves as the ''Camille Laurin Cell'' of the FLQ, was sent last week to media outlets and city halls in the western part of Montreal Island. (The Gazette)

The "Camille Laurin Cell". That is freakin' hilarious. Are they 80-year-old freedom fighters with dyed jet black hair? (For my American friends, try to imagine the Strom Thurmond Cell...)

When they launch a Black Jaques Parizeau Cell, they can give me a call. I'll join, by jove. In my 3-piece pinstripe suit.

I live in west-end Montreal and just the other day I was discussing the "Ango-Saxon imperialism" of the area. Now where was I again? At the Italian/Jewish IGA where I get groceries? hmm. No, maybe it was at that Russian pastry shop? No? Oh at Azar's, the Lebanese restaurant? Maybe it was at the Indian place I ate at last week? I just can't remember.

As a west-ender, I DO resent being lumped together with people from the West Island. Down with suburbanites!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fashion Bob

The current leg of Bob's Never-Ending Tour (18 years and counting) has ended.

(An aside to all "Dylaners": He didn't do All Along the Watchtower last night, the final night. How strange is that? Very strange indeed.)

So until the Spring when undoubtedly the Never-Evering Tour will recommence, I must find other Bob Bits to keep myself amused.

Here's one from the NY Post:

"BOB Dylan is many things to many people and everything to some, but also something most may not expect: an arbiter of style and a reference point for fashion-conscious girls everywhere. All the stuff that's in stores this fall - skinny blazers, stovepipe jeans, boatnecked, French-philosopher striped shirts, fitted peacoats, flat-heeled, mod boots, Wayfarer sunglasses, striped scarves - it's all Dylan, totally owned and not done better than the chain-smoking, puckish, "Don't Look Back"-era Dylan. "

It was a great look. It should be adopted by all. And the hair too. But not the chain smoking part.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Uhhhh, Nuhhhh, Uhhhhh

I’m the world's biggest wimp and even I think this story is ridiculous:

“Albert Argibay, a bodybuilder,was at a Planet Fitness gym with 500 pounds of weight on his shoulders when the club manager walked over and told him it was time to leave. Mr. Argibay, the manager explained, had violated one of the club’s most sacred and strictly enforced rules: He was grunting.

… at Planet Fitness, a national chain with 120 locations, it is a matter not only of etiquette, but also of club policy: one too many offending noises can get a membership revoked in the time it takes to do a sit-up. Nationwide, the chain expels roughly two members a month for various reasons, most commonly grunting and dropping weights.

The no-grunt policy is one of several eyebrow-raising rules — no bandannas, no jeans, no banging weights — that managers say are intended to make their target clientele of novice exercisers feel comfortable.

Statistics show that baby boomers who exercise once or twice a week represent the fastest-growing segment of health club members.” (NY Times)

So basically the rule is: work out, but not too hard, and certainly not hard enough that anyone will notice. This is insane. Yes, some grunters are show-offs who only grunt to draw attention to themselves. All you can do is ignore them, but to throw someone out of the gym for grunting is ridiculous. Now if he was passing wind at the same time, well, as hilarious as that might be, I’d toss him out. But if you can’t grunt in a gym, where can you grunt? A farm?


"The United States Mint is unveiling four designs for one-dollar coins today, featuring likenesses of the first four presidents. They begin a series that is to last a decade and portray every deceased president." (NY Times)

Have dollar coins actually caught on in the US? I don’t remember seeing any in actual circulation. They aren’t just for collecting, are they?

What do Americans call their loonies? I guess this series could be called Prezzies? You can’t call them American loonies, can you? except for the coin with the current President on it. I shudder to think of the day that I may handle an American dollar coin with W’s image on it. Icky!

D'Oh! Drinking and Driving

“Starting today and continuing through the week, police forces across the province, including the Surete du Quebec, will step up spot checks for drunk drivers, as the holiday season gets underway.” (The Gazette)

I’m only bringing this up as an intro to say I was a bit shocked at The Simpsons last night that actually showed Homer drinking and driving. Well, sipping and driving, but still, by the time the whole family (and Moe) got to Vermont, Homer the driver, was pissed. It was strange.

Also, in the beginning I found Moe was a little too suicidal to be funny. The whole episode was a bit extreme.

The high point, though, was Homer gargling with maple syrup. Like a soccer ball to the crotch, there’s just something inherently funny about gargling.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The red wire goes where?

I was reading an appreciation of the economist Milton Friedman in the Times of London.

“His other hobbies included tennis, wooden cabinet making and assembling stereo equipment.”

This proves one of my pet theories. You DO need to be a Nobel Prize winner to be able to assemble stereo equipment. I don’t feel so dumb now.


Proxemics is the study personal space and people’s perception of it. I only learned this yesterday. This is a subject near and dear to my heart as I have HUGE personal space issues (i.e. Don’t Touch Me!)

A lengthy article in yesterday’s NYT was a bit of a relief to read because it showed that I am in the majority (at least in North America) and my behaviour is typical of our society (i.e. Don’t Touch Me!)

“According to scientists, personal space involves not only the invisible bubble around the body, but all the senses. People may feel their space is being violated when they experience an unwelcome sound, scent or stare: the woman on the bus squawking into her cellphone, the co-worker in the adjacent cubicle dabbing on cologne, or the man in the sandwich shop leering at you over his panini.”

It’s all our senses! Yikes! There’s no escape from Other People.

There’s a “close talker” here at work. She stands so near me I’m afraid she’s going to bite my face. She definitely violates “intimate distance”. She does it to everyone.

Here are the zones:
intimate distance (6 to 18 inches);
personal distance (18 inches to 4 feet);
social distance (4 to 12 feet); and
public distance (about 12 feet or more).

If I don’t know you, do not come closer than social distance! Scat! Scat! Get away!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How Very Low


The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience "very low food security."

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

…"hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey." a USDA sociologist, said, "We don't have a measure of that condition."

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times.

Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group." (Washington Post)

I suppose people with "very low food security" also have "very low money security" and probably "very low job security" too. I have a "very low tolerance security" for this type of semantic baloney.

In Business News

La Senza is being taken over by Victoria's Secret.

I ask you, what is the world coming to when a sovereign nation can no longer maintain control of its independent chain of sexy underwear stores? Honestly!

The only possible good that could come of this is one day Bob will make a La Senza commercial that will be broadcast on Canadian television. Isn't he overdue to star in another advert for ladies' undergarments. Yes, I believe he is.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vive le Quebec Somewhat Libre

30 years ago today, the Parti Quebecois were elected for the first time, thus launching an exodus of skilled, educated, employable citizens who were terrified by the prospect of Quebec separation.

30 years later, we’re still part of Canada....and still getting lotsa $$$ from the Federal Government.

30 year later, numbskulls like Bernie “Dirty” Laundry are still saying independence is an achievable goal.

Sometimes it gets really, really tiring to live in this province. Sigh.

It's George Again

Clooney is People’s Sexiest Man Alive for the second time.

I guess this means I have to pull on a trenchcoat, a slouching hat and dark glasses and slither over to a busy news-stand (perhaps the bus station?) to purchase a copy of this embarrassing magazine. I only do this for George. Luckily he doesn’t earn this title every year, though he is certainly entitled to it.

Why can’t they put George in a top hat and a monocle so it looks like I’m buying the New Yorker?

He's no Sean Connery

I know this may turn out to be an unpopular statement, but the movie hasn't even opened yet and I'm already sick of all the "new" James Bond hype. Enough. I hope it flops.

Why they ever picked this guy to be Bond is beyond me. Look at him. The only role he is suited for is "The Vladimir Putin Story". I don't like him.

This weekend, everyone should be rushing out to see the new Christopher Guest movie instead.

I have spoken.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Celebrity Gossip Round-Up

What’s wrong with men?

Why would anyone cheat on that lovely Reese Witherspoon? She’s so cute and adorable*. I really liked her in Walk the Line. I hope she gets quickly over her scummy soon-to-be ex-husband and waltzes straight into the arms of that ruggedly handsome Joachin Phoenix. They made a nice on-screen couple, so why not?

As for the cheating scum of a husband, he goes straight into the Hugh Grant Memorial Hall of Infamy, for cheating men who don’t know how good they’ve got it. Long may he rot there. Perhaps he can share a cubicle with Brad Pitt.

But I wasn’t really too surprised about Reese’s ex-scum because I remember several years ago, before Paris Hilton was the media fixation of the past couple of years (Aside: is it my imagination or are her 15 minutes finished? We seem to hear a lot less about her now than last year. I ask hopefully), anyway, I read in an article about the Hilton sisters how they were regularly pursued by various men and two names stood out for me: Ryan (Boo Hiss Scum!) Philippe (“But isn’t he married to that nice Reese Witherspoon?” I wondered at the time) and Salman Rushdie. You see, I couldn’t focus much on Philippe because I was too busy being grossed out by the mental image of Salman Rushdie lustily draping himself over teenage girls. It still makes me shudder.

*If anyone is planning to leave a comment here claiming she is not cute and adorable, don’t bother. She is. End of discussion.

Iraq News of the Day

150 people were kidnapped this morning.

I just can't get my head around this plot. How do you kidnap 150 people at the same time? I think of kidnapping, in Iraq and anywhere else for that matter, as you grab a guy and throw him into the back of a car or van. How do you round up 150 people? Does nobody fight back? I don't get it.

And for the Ware-less of the world, I can report that I saw Ware* on Anderson's show last night. He was saying that PM Al-Maliki will never have any serious power because he's the only major player who doesn't have his own militia. How can you be a playa without your own militia. If you have your own militia, do you pay them out of your own pocket? I guess so. This is why I'll never have my own militia, I suppose. Why doesn't Al-Maliki have one? He can't afford it? Or would it be frowned upon by the Americans?

I'm trying to imagine this happening here. For the Liberal leadership, Bob Rae's private militia would be fighting Ignatieff's militia. Two nerd armies duking it out.

(*He looked good.)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Miscellaneous Monday

I have the day off for Remembrance Day. yay. It was supposed to rain all day, like it did Saturday and Sunday, but so far, it hasn't. double yay.

I was out raking leaves at 10:30 a.m. for about half an hour. I'm so good.

I've been doing housework ever since then. I'm so good.

I'm trying to decide which night class to take in January. I can't take another basic law class until the spring because nothing in January is being offered at a convenient time. So I'm thinking of a language class. Either Mandarin or Japanese. I'm not planning to go back to China any time soon, but I am planning to visit Japan in the next 2 or 3 years, so I'm leaning towards Japanese. I learned a good lesson in Italy, which is I HATE not speaking a single word of the local language, so if I can at least learn to say "where is the train to Kyoto, please" in Japanese, that would be great.

In theory, I should be taking Spanish again (for the 20th time) because that could actually be helpful at work, but I don't want to. All the courses are conversational, and I don't need conversational Spanish, I need to be able to read Spanish and increase my vocabulary. There don't seem to be any classes for that. And I'm not really keen on going over "la casa de mi hermano" again.

In domestic news, the Big Red One got walloped by Miss Hitler this morning. Their "play" is getting really rambunctious. There were tufts of red fur all over the living room. This was part of the reason I decided it was time for housework. I may change her name to Tuffy because she is a Formidable Opponent.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

There are only three World War I veterans left in Canada. Average age is 106. I salute you, gentlemen. If I recall correctly there were six left at this time last year. This year could very well be the end of the line for living memory of the War. My grandfather was a WWI vet, but he has been gone for almost 30 years. I can't imagine still having him around. He was born in 1894. Boy, that feels likes a long time ago.

Today's the day when I think of my dad the most. Even more than at Christmas or on his birthday. Remembrance Day was a big event for him, and so it's become my day for him. He fought in France, but not for long as he was wounded after 3 weeks or so. He spent 4 years in England, preparing and training, and it was over for him in 3 weeks. A rather lopsided investment, I guess. He loved his time in England, though.

In The Gazette today, the front page is filled with the photos of the 42 Canadians who have been killed in Afghanistan. They have made Remembrance Day feel current again, and relevant in a new way for young people. Being a small country with a small army and a small number of Afghanistan deaths, we can still think of each of them individually. We look at their faces and remember their names. I feel sad for the American soldiers; their casualty numbers are so high, they seem more like statistics. That's a shame. It's just not right.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What's up Doc?

Loyal readers of this blog (all 5 of you) with astoundingly good memories will recall I saw my doctor 6 months ago, and he threatened me with cholesterol-reducing medication if I didn’t shapen up and fly right. How quickly 6 months passes. (Really, it’s scary.)

I saw the doctor again this week and had to confess that I had lost a grand total of 1 pound since May. That was embarrassing. But my blood work was almost identical to my results of 6 months ago, so I got another stay of execution. He’s a patient man. And he's as reluctant to prescribe as I am to take any prescription.

I told him I had heard about “people” who have unpleasant side effects (such as leg pain) to Lipitor and other such meds, and he told me that yes it was true, about 5% of people report leg pain when using these drugs.

So I says: “Well I don’t want that”.
So he says: “Well, then, you know what you have to do, don’t you?”
So I says (meekly): “Yes.”

I’m lucky he didn’t slap me upside the head with his stethoscope.

I live my life back at Square One.

Friday Cat Blogging

He's outta here. The Red One heads for the exit.

Tangled up in cell phone cameras

Someone has posted Bob doing Tangled Up in Blue in Montreal on Wedneday, on YouTube. I'm sure it was done with the best of intentions but frankly we can't see Bob, or see much anything else and we can barely hear him. Nice try, though.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Poor Tony

Very funny line in the Times of London today.

"A moment’s sympathy for Tony Blair. As battle commences between a Republican President and a Democrat Party poised to regain the ascendancy in American politics, Mr Blair will reread his gospels and sorrowfully reflect that no poodle can serve two masters (Matt 6:24, approx.)."

Baldwin News Flash

"SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Actor Daniel Baldwin was arrested on suspicion of stealing an SUV.
Baldwin was stopped Wednesday by officers in Santa Monica who saw him in a white GMC Yukon reported stolen in neighboring Orange County, authorities said."

Moron. See, this is why we all prefer Alec. He doesn't steal cars.

We now return to our regular scheduled programming...

Dylan in Montreal

Here I am, post-Bob, and very happy. In my extensive Bob-reading on the blogs, it appears that he either blows hot or cold. And I am delighted to report that we got a Hot Bob last night.

It was like Bob knew my secret (or not-so-secret) wish list and complied. No Maggie’s Farm for us, nope, he opened with Absolutely Sweet Marie (Wish No. 1), and I was absolutely thrilled with that.

So happy was I, in fact, that he was well into Senor (talk about your obscure numbers) before I noticed he was hatless (Wish No. 2). We had good seats, not close enough to really see his face, but his hipster sideburns were clearly visible.

Wish No. 3 came true when he played Tangled Up in Blue. Now and forever one of my favourite songs.

Bob remained hatless until the halfway point. Then we got the black cowboy hat: which I’m forced to admit, looked pretty dang cool.

Bob’s voice? Put himself, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen in a blender. That’s it.

Leave it to Bob to knock me off-kilter with a terrific version of Girl from the North Country. It was oddly, pleasantly jingly, almost like a countrified, electrified Christmas song. That was an unexpected pleasure, one of the high points of the night.

Another high point: all of his wiggling and bobbing at the piano during Highway 61. Bob was channelling his inner Jerry Lee Lewis. That rocked!!! Wow. Terrific stuff. I’ve seen complaints that he doesn’t move on stage. That is a lie. The man had ants in his pants.

Then he did Nettie Moore, which I knew he would, and he did it well, which I knew he would. My fave off the new record.

Then came Summer Days, which Ms. Chicken Coupons was waiting for, and by all accounts I think she was happy with that number. Right?

Bob does not speak to the crowd. I knew this going in and, you know what, it isn’t a problem. Because even though he didn’t talk, I felt he was very engaged with the crowd and the audience felt close to him. He gave us the songs, which is his job. And he does his job very, very well.

One tiny disappointment: not nearly enough harmonica playing. But if the trade-off for the harmonica is to have Bob doing a lot of toe-tappin’, hip-wigglin’ groovin’ at the keyboard, so be it. I’ll take it.

So now that’s over. What do I do with the rest of my life?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fearless Prediction

With Rummy gone, Cheney will be next. He'll resign within 6 months or so, for "health reasons". They will claim that the tiny stone of a heart of his is giving him trouble.

This will pave the way for Bush to install his choice for Republic President in 2008 into the Vice Prez seat, thus screwing McCain, as usual.

W.'s choice for new Veep: Condi or Jeb. I'm leaning towards Condi 'cause George may love his brother but he loves a woman who worships him even more. Idol worship is thicker than blood. On the other hand, Jeb is neither black nor female, so he's got that going for him.

The morning after

Is Rummy a goner?
UPDATE: 1:20 p.m. Oh yes he is. He is gone, gone, gone. Go home and weep into your millions, Rummy.

Will Bush have a massive hangover at his press conference today?

The Democrats have taken over the House. Does this mean everyone has gone gay? Isn't that what "they" told us would happen.

I saw that when Hilary left the podium after her victory speech last night, the theme song they played was BTO's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet". Hey, that's a Canadian song, Hil.

I used to think Hilary had no chance of being President, but apparently 20% or so of Republicans in her district voted for her. And she's the Republican's Satanic poster girl. I'm keeping an eye on that broad.

Meanwhile back in reality, Israeli army kills 18 Palestinians in Gaza, including women and children. Who cares? Britney's divorcing K-Fed! wheee.

My 500th Post

At last!

Happy Bob-Day to you
Happy Bob-Day to you
Happy Bob Day every-body
Happy Bob Day to you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bob pic of the day

This was taken in 2004 when Bob was given an honorary degree in Scotland.
It looks more like he's heading to the gallows.

When it Scotland, act like a dour Scot.

Why I have no confidence in the US voting system

I picked this up from the TalkingPointsMemo site:

"My wife just came home from voting here in Webster Groves MO. She used the electronic touch-screen voting system. . . She touched Claire McCaskill's picture and the machine recorded a vote for Jim Talent. She then called one of the people running the polling center who helped her correct the problem. My wife then had to call the person over another time after it recorded her vote a Republican again. In her frustration she asked the person who was responsible for the design of this system. The polling person leaned in very close to my wife and whispered, "We're f----d."

Republican majority, anybody?

Bob's in Toronto tonight

And he brings the warm weather with him wherever he goes. Actually I just made that up. It's slightly warmer this week than in the past 2 weeks, so I'll give him credit for it. I'm generous.

I wonder if Bob voted in an advance poll. I wonder where his polling place was. California? New York? Minnesota? Imagine being in line to vote and seeing Bob ahead of you. I'd make him my write-in candidate.

On this US election day

I don't want to think about the election and everything that can go wrong, so let's look at picture of Zinedine Zidane in Bangladesh instead.

Allez, Zizou!

Monday, November 06, 2006

More Italian photos

I may be running out of Italy photos to post. A couple of weeks ago, I posted pics of the outside of the Duomo in Florence, so belatedly here are some inside Duomo pictures. Unfortunately the picture of the dome is not great, but there were chairs set up for Mass and we were not allowed past the cordon to get directly under the dome. Oh well.

Here I am looking thrilled. Well, maybe not so thrilled. I hate having my picture taken, but I did need to have some evidence that I was actually there!

Mid-term Midtacular

I’m stumped by the behaviour of Bush and Co. in the final days of this campaign. You’d almost think they want to lose. But why?

I couldn’t believe my ears last week when W. firmly endorsed Cheney and Rummy and said he wanted them there until the end of his term. Are there two more unpopular people in the whole world? I think not. And yet, there’s W, supporting them 110%. Is he oblivious, or is something more sinister at work? Or is it simply that they are incapable of acknowledging any errors in their policies? Simply cannot do it.

Then, here’s Dick on the weekend, saying we’re not running for anything so we are continuing with our Iraq strategy as is. 70% of the country thinks that strategy is wrong, but who cares, right? Can he treat the American people with greater disdain? What a loathsome individual.

I used to think that the results would be rigged by defective voting machines or strong-armed disenfranchisement of voters in Democrat districts. But now I’m not so sure. I’m leaning towards thinking Bush doesn’t care who controls Congress because he’s going to use those Executive Orders, Signing Statements or vetoes, whatever suits his purpose, to push through his own agenda, or block Congress’s agenda, no matter what. He loves signing off on those Executive Orders. It’s a nice, neat way of giving the finger to the whole populace. Sweet. Long live the Chimperor.

This is So Gay

Like most people, I’m an amateur psychologist. I’ve been following this closeted gay preacher’s fall from grace. It really is a fascinating story. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last.

I feel sorry for his kids. They must be so totally screwed up. But I don’t feel sorry for him because I do very much enjoy seeing hypocrites brought to task. It’s one thing to be closeted; everyone has his/her own reasons, but it’s a totally different thing to be closeted and to publicly condemn behaviour that you partake in in your own hidden lifestyle. Rule No. 1: If you are gay and in the closet, then shut up about other gay people.

Perhaps this preacher can now find love in the arms of Doogie Howser.

I’m trying to understand the mindset of someone who can live a double life. It must be very stressful. In this case, it seems like he’s relieved that the hiding is over. He owes a huge apology to gay people, though. I wonder if he will ever apologize.

I’m trying to imagine an equivalent thing that could happen to me. It’s like if somebody dropped in unexpectedly and found my house plastered with posters of Bush and Cheney. I’d have some 'splaining to do, I guess.

Bob in Ottawa

Maggie's Farm, like death and taxes, is inescapable. I've resigned myself to just sitting back and enjoying it.

Bob did some awesome harmonica playing in Ottawa, I hear. That's one of things I'm really looking forward to. yay.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

North Country Bob

Bob is gracing our fair capital city tonight. It's so exciting. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. (You know who you are.) I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that Bob has come to the realization that he has played Maggie's Farm enough for one lifetime and has decided to retire that song from his repertoire. I can dream.

Adios, Saddam

So the Man in the Hole will soon be in the hole for good.

Unlike 99.999999% of the planet, I'm against this. I think the Americans have figured out that one of the ways to escape from Iraq is to forget about democracy and install a new strongman. They're putting a want ad on right now.

Why look for a new strongman when you've got a perfectly adequate one sitting around with nothing to do? You want to make Saddam miserable and regret the day he was ever born? Put him in back in charge of Iraq today, and give him a deadline to get things in order. He'll end up killing himself just to get out of that mess.

Friday, November 03, 2006

World Round-up

While the news has been dominated in the past week by non-stories like John Kerry’s lame-ass failure to tell a joke, and the shocking revelation that there are closeted gay Republicans, a few other interesting, horrifying, scary things have been happening. But apparently nobody cares. Fer instance:

In Pakistan, a religious school was bombed and 80 people were killed. Ho-hum. Whether Musharraf ordered it, or the Americans did it and made Musharraf take “credit” for it (both scenarios are plausible), this is bad news. Huge repercussions are coming. You think this is going to discourage Pakistanis from signing up to battle the infidel? I don’t think so.

Israel has gone back into Gaza and starting firing on all cylinders. Who cares? More of the same. I’d forgotten that those kidnapped Israeli soldiers who were the catalyst for last summer’s war (remember that war?) have still not been released. Now there are negotiations for release and prisoner exchange. They couldn’t have done that last May or June?

Iran test-fired some missiles. Yawn. Including a long-range one that could hit Israel or American troops in Iraq. What? Americans could be hit? Hey, this could be important. Pay attention.

China is hosting a big summit for African nations. Does anyone remember the concept of the sphere of influence? Or is that so 20th Century nobody cares anymore? China’s very busying signing contracts and cementing friendships everywhere. Western media only care about Africa when a Star adopts a baby.

Fish stocks are being depleted at an alarming rate. I love fish! Somebody do something! Where’s Al Gore? Oh, he’s in England, in his new role consulting with the government. As long as there’s alarming global warming news, Al will never be out of a job.

Countdown continues

Today's pic: Bob and his mom. I like this one. I think it's 1997. He was getting some big deal award and he brought his mom to Washington. Whatta guy.

My favourite quote from Mrs. Zimmerman: "Of course, I love everything he does. I'm his mother."
From what I've read, she was a cool lady.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back to Italy

In order to put the brakes on my general crabbiness of the day, let's look at some houses in San Gimignano. Perhaps this may put me in a better mood.

Losers! All of them! Losers!

Why can’t anybody in the world spell the word “lose” correctly? I realize it is pronounced looze, but still. Has this word been omitted by computer spellcheckers everywhere? I don’t think a day goes by without my coming across a misspelled “loose”. Drives me up the wall every single time.

And now today, this caption in the Times of London (!) no less: “Mr Bush was in fighting form among supporters in Sugar Land, Texas, despite strong indications that the Republicans could loose congress”. May I just say: Fuck!

What is the world coming to? Or, to what is the world coming? Heh heh.

Bobby D

Is De Niro ever going to make another great movie? I’m looking through his list of films on IMDB. In 1995, he made Casino and Heat. That was a good year, but that’s 11 years ago. Since then everything’s gone south. It's bitterly disappointing. What’s up with that? He did The Score in 2001. That was only fun for two reasons: 1) it had Brando in it and 2) it was filmed in Montreal. (OK, Ed Norton was alright but don’t get me started on what I think about his performances lately…)

Why isn’t Bobby D hooking up with Marty S again? I know Leo is now Marty’s muse, but come on, a nice meaty supporting role for Bobby, for old times sake.

And stop with the comedies. De Niro should’ve made only one comedy in his life. The one with Charles Grodin…Midnight Run. That should’ve been it.

Is this the first time I complain about De Niro? I can’t remember. I know I always feel like complaining about him, but this may be the first time I actually got around to doing it. Do you think he cares that he’s disappointed me? Short answer: No.

Six days to go...

Today on the Big Bob Countdown we have a sweet picture from the photo shoot for the Desire album cover. This would be 1975-76 so Bob was 34, quite a bit younger than I am now. He still looks young here. He's “Big Hat, Big Coat Bob”.

Bob sure loves hats. He always wearing them, which bothers me ‘cause that means we don’t get to see his wild-man hair. When Bob removes his hat, does he have “hat hair”? I suspect not. I suspect he is one of the lucky ones whose hair just springs back to normal and doesn’t, unlike yours truly, have his hair looking glued to his head.

I know he will be wearing a hat in concert, probably a black one with a wide brim. What can you do, eh?

Being from the North Country, Bob knows the importance of wearing a hat in winter. And yet so many of us Northerners don’t wear one. I’m veering dangerously close to transforming this post into a lament about the unavoidable winter that will soon be upon us. Wah.

Important Medical News

“Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.

"Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and in red wine and is conjectured to be a partial explanation for the French paradox, the puzzling fact that people in France enjoy a high-fat diet yet suffer less heart disease than Americans.

"The mice were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-lb person would need to drink 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine a day to get such a dose. " (NY Times)

750 to 1,500 bottes a day? That’s expensive!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More pretty colours

I got home, turned on the t.v. and what's the first thing I see? On a split screen, Michael Ware and the colour-coded chart.

I'd like to think that Ware was saying "Wolf, I mean, this is the most retarded thing I've ever seen," but maybe I just fantasized that part.

I'm doing something wrong, obviously

This e-mail just in from a friend I'll call "Ms. Chicken Coupons". I really have nothing to add to it. She says:

"Do you think it's a sharing violation if someone tells you in the kitchen (while you're washing your lunch plate) that the first time she climaxed was when she was jogging at the age of 15 and she didn't realize what it was. I thought it was a little too much info. myself! And how does THAT happen when you're jogging?"


Looking at the graphic below, I am wondering if I am the only person who is astounded that the US military uses a little colour-coded bar to show how bad the war is. What’s with the American authorities and their colour codes? Colour-coded security threats, colour-coded war.

Do we have to assume that whoever is on the receiving end of this briefing is functionally illiterate, or is just really really impressed by bright shiny colours? Look at the pretty reds. They indicate deep, deep shit.

Why not make it vertical, like a thermometer, and declare that Iraq is running really high fever?

Is it that time already?

I saw my first Christmas-related t.v. commercial last night. Argh! It’s too soon. Damn you Canadian Tire and your stupid Noma lights!

One Week until Bob

I believe it is now okay to start the Official Countdown to Bob in the Flesh. It's only 4 days til Bob for our Ottawa friends! oooh!

I happen to really like this particular photo, so no comments from the Peanut Gallery (you know who you are...) As a rule, I hate mustaches, but there are exceptions to every one of my rules. This is a very cool mustache.