Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Saddam Post of 2006

Apparently they are arguing about whether the Iraqi government was responsible for Saddam's hanging or if it was actually Moqtada alSadr who dropped him.

I've now seen the video and the answer is obvious: it was Mexican wrestlers.

(Thanks to Ms Mushrooms for bringing this to my attention.)

New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve. Unless you are in Asia and Australia and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa, where it's already New Year's Day. Cheers!

Another year down the crapper, as my father might've said.

Spent most of the morning downloading CDs onto my ipod. My sis (a true boomer) lent me about 25 CDs full of old songs which as a boomer-hater (I suppose technically that is self-loathing but I digress) I should hate, but there's a lot of old stuff I wanted to own (Can you say Creedence?) so there ya go.

The Sounds of Silence continues to be a great song. What a great song.

And under odd discoveries, ever known a song for, oh, 30 years and only come to realize something about it today? That happened with Your Song by Elton John. Only this afternoon did I realize that when he sings "I forgotten if they're green or they're blue", he's singing about his love's eyes! I never knew that. I always thought it was some rhyme that made no sense. I never connected it to the eyes that he sings about in the next line. How dumb is that.

In movie news, saw The Good Shepherd today. I liked it. But would only recommend it to anyone who likes Cold War, CIA, KGB intrigue. Slow-moving intrigue. Very slow-moving intrigue. John Turturro is terrific in it. But I kept imagining him licking a bowling ball like in The Big Lebowski and that distracted me.

In trailers: I saw the Beatrix Potter one, with the oddly attractive Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. I fear this is a family film and will afford no opportunity for McGregor to drop his trousers. Is it me, or has he stopped doing that completely? He used to do it a lot! I haven't seen Little Ewan for years, methinks.

In other trailers, it looks like 2007 will be a cinematic Chris Cooper cavalcade. Which is good because I like him. The spy movie he's in about the CIA looks good. I really like CIA movies, I've noticed.

Is Dick Clark dead? I can't remember.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My Bizzarro New Year's Resolutions

1. Gain 20 pounds.
2. Start smoking. Work my way up to a pack a day.
3. Stop walking; drive more.
4. Get off the treadmill and onto the couch more often.
5. Read fewer books; watch more reality t.v.
6. Watch porn.
7. Spend money frivolously
8. Spend more than I earn.
9. Embrace Cheney.
10. Kick the cat.

Hanging Around

Let me state for the record that I think hanging Saddam Hussein will cause more suffering and grief than joy. I'm filing it under "Bad idea".

Why don't the Saudis take him in, like they did for Idi Amin? What? Idi was good enough for them, but Saddam isn't.

How about the Russians? They can take him, poison him slowly over several months and then say he died of natural causes. Man, do I have to do these people's jobs for them? Get with the program, Vladimir.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The new standard of cool

James Brown's body is "lying in state" at the Appolo Theater in Harlem. How cool is that.

I can't believe I just saw the open casket on the news. Ick. I hate open caskets. In his case, though, it seems appropriate to believe that he would want everybody to see him just one more time.

Resolution time

Here I go again. Year-end stocking-taking. Vowing to do better next year. This year I have to come up with Resolutions that I can actually keep. How many times have I said that? Oh, only every single pathetic wasted year.

Should I post my Resolutions on my blog? hmmm. Exposing myself to the entire world...or well maybe to 10 people at most? hmmm.

To be continued...

It's Hajjing time again

It's that time of year again.

I wonder if British bookies take bets on how many pilgrims will get trampled to death this time round. They take bets on everything else under the sun, I'd guess they have this covered too.

300? 700? 1200?

There's gotta be a better way to worship.

The Closeted Russian

When will Daniel Craig come out of the closet and admit he's Russian? 'Cause one look at him and you know he's got Russian blood.

And now the news that he may be playing the poisoned Russian spy Alexandre Litveneko in a movie. Well, I guess he'll have two parts in that film because obviously he'll have to portray Putin as well. Busy, busy, busy.

I'm fascinated by this Russian KGB poisoning story, but it is so complicated I can't follow the plot. At first it was Putin's fault, but now apparently the Russian govt is trying to finger the Yukos oil execs. Big surprise. I need it to be played out in an action thriller to better understand it.

My insistence that Daniel Craig is, in fact, secretly Russian, in no way diminishes my new-found admiration of his assets. Just want to make that clear.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"He doesn't feel good"

That's what my sis said when her husband told us James Brown had died. I gotta hand it to her, she didn't miss a beat.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Welcome Christmas

I'm off. Have a great Christmas everybody. Let's go back to the Grinch....

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Come this way!

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Christmas Day.

Welcome, Welcome
Fah who rah-moose
Welcome, Welcome
Dah who dah-moose

Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas
Bring your cheer

Friday, December 22, 2006

A little Christmas humour

Casino Royale

I'm a big girl and I like to think that I can admit when I'm wrong.

I was wrong.

About Daniel Craig.

Very wrong.

Oh so wrong.

Five minutes into Casino Royale, I knew I was wrong.

In the G-rated spirit of the Holiday Season, I will simply say: he's a very attractive gentleman.*

Maybe it's the Bond mystique. Or the Bond tux. Or the Bond grey T-shirt. I dunno.

To all the critics who complained that the poker game scene is too long, I say tish and pish. I love on-screen high-stakes poker playing and I loved all of that part of the movie. Did I mention the tux?

What really did bother me in that scene, though, was Giancarlo Gianini's play-by-play to our Shakesperean tragic heroine, i.e. the Bond girl. The way Giancarlo kept telling her (and us) "the pot is at 24 millions dollars" or "the pot is 115 million!". Oh shut up with the exposition. We don't care about the exact amount of the pot, and this chick is supposed to be an accountant, and you're telling me she can't keep track of the wagers. Please.

Best line: "That last hand. It almost killed me." Oh James, darling, you are so amusing.

Another gripe, and this is a typical Bond gripe for me. The whole plot was dumb. So when governments are trying to track down the source of terrorist funding, they arrange a $10 million stakes poker game in Montenegro? MI6 and the CIA have a gambling wing? No wonder we are losing the war of terrorism. What about the rest of the people at the table, were they all spies too? How could they know the very fat black guy wasn't going to win the whole pot?

Another gripe. (Spoiler alert) Bond's recovery time after being horribly tortured in the genitals was awfully quick. I couldn't believe he was already getting amorous when frankly he should've barely been able to walk, much less...well, you know.

I know, I know. He's James Bond.

This is not to say I didn't enjoy the movie. It made me want to go to the Bahamas and Montenegro and Venice. Thumbs up.

(*Translation: What a hot man!)

A Small Christmas Gripe

The men in Tim Horton's commercials are such losers.

They get SO excited about a teapot or a new coffee mug, I can't stand them.

Our Man Joe

He died 4 years ago today. I still miss him. Some people really do leave the world a cooler place for having lived. He was one of them.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today's Strange Encounter at Work

I went to the bathroom on my floor. The entire time I am in there, a lady from another department is at the sink scrubbing and scrubbing a tote bag. Clearly she had spilled something in it.

Me: You spilled something?
Her: What?
Me: Something broke?
Her: Oh, I had an egg in my bag and it broke.

(An egg? Clearly it was not hard-boiled or she wouldn’t be scrubbing for 5 minutes)

Me: An egg?
Her: Yes. I was in such a hurry this morning, I just put the egg into my bag. I didn’t put it in a Tupperware or even a plastic bag.
Me: I see.


Who on earth thinks they can throw an egg into a tote and expect it not to break before lunch time?

Who's hiring these people?

Winter Solstice

I'm not sure what we're supposed to do today.

Dance around the Festivus Pole?

Set up a tiny cardboard Stonehenge?

Who cares? As of tomorrow we'll start having more minutes of daylight*. Huzzah!

I feel more chipper already.

*except for the Southern Hemisphere, of course, where they'll have fewer minutes of daylight. Boo.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Keeping abreast of current events

Let me preface this by saying:

1) I cannot believe this story isn’t all over the Internet. I took it from a Dutch web site, dated 13 December. That’s a whole week ago and the Internet isn’t saturated by a big boob story? Astonishing.

2) I guess my list of countries I cannot visit without feeling terribly inferior is now: Britain, Denmark and Netherlands. Sigh.

3) Note to girls 12 to 19 years. Eating fatty food will not give you bigger boobs. Trust ME on this one. A fatter behind, yes.

4) Shouldn’t there a companion story to this about how the number of male visitors booking trips to Holland has skyrocketed in the past week?

AMSTERDAM — Dutch women are getting bigger breasts and 32 percent of them now have a D-cup or bigger compared with 20 percent five years ago. In Europe, Dutch women are ranked third behind British and Danish women in terms of bra size, research commissioned by Bodyfashion Promotion indicated on Wednesday.

Some 42 percent of women aged 30-39 have D-cup breasts and feel in general okay about that. Women with a large bra size are now the largest group in the Netherlands. But the shape and size of breasts start to change once women reach the age of 40 and women then opt for a smaller bra size.

Some 44 percent of surveyed girls aged 12-19 think that eating fatty foods helps increase the size of their breasts. All survey respondents said poor nutrition habits are the cause of increased breast size. Hormones in food and the general increasing size of the population are also leading to bigger breasts.


I smell not one but TWO elections coming in the new year: both federal and provincial.

I'm so excited I could squeal wheeee wheeee wheeee

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My favourite Christmas song!

I just found these lyrics. Let's all sing, sing, sing Trim Up the Tree.

Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff
Like bingle balls, and whofoo fluff
Trim up the town with goowho gums and bizilbix and wums

Trim every blessed window and trim every blessed door
Hang up whoboohoo bricks
Then run out and get some more!

Hang pantookas on the ceilings
Pile pankunas on the floor
Trim every blessed needle on the blessed Christmas tree
Christmas comes tomorrow
Trim you, trim me!

Trim up your pets with fuzzle fuzz
And whiffer bloofs, and wuzzle wuzz
Trim up your uncle and your aunt
With yards of whofut flant

Trim every house in Whoville from the cellar to the roof
Hang up a mile of dafflers
And three miles of snaffer snoof!

Hang dang-donglers on the bathtub
Trim the occupant the with floof
To every home in Whoville and to every blessed Who
Christmas comes tomorrow
Trim me, trim you!

Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff
Like bingle balls, and whofoo fluff
Trim up the town with goowho gums
And bizilbix and wums...
Trim up the tree with bizilbix and wums

Tis the Season

How come I’m not a bigwig exec at Goldman Sachs? Where did I go wrong? I could use a share of $16 billion.

“Surging stock and bond markets, coupled with an unprecedented level of takeover activity, has turned the big investment houses into corporate cash machines. It is also delivering stratospheric bonuses to top employees, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. doling out a staggering $16 billion this year.” (Washington Post)

$16 billion with a B in bonuses. In bonuses. That’s obscene.

Are Christmas or year-end bonuses the norm? I work for an organization that is governmental, i.e. non-profit so we don’t get any bonuses, be it Christmas, year-end or the Easter Bunny’s birthday.

In my first job, many many moons ago, our Christmas bonus was a week’s gross pay. But I’ve been out of the real for-profit world for so long, I can’t remember what a bonus feels like. Except for maybe the daily bonus of blogging half my day away and knowing that absolutely nobody cares…heh heh

This is becoming an Opera Blog

The show must go on, but the heads must come off!

"BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- Patrons of Berlin's Deutsche Oper were greeted by metal detectors, police and the media on Monday at an opera previously cancelled over fears Muslims might be offended by a scene featuring Prophet Mohammed's severed head.

Authorities had warned that the scene in Mozart's "Idomeneo," which also includes the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon, could lead to violent reprisals, although Muslim groups had dismissed such fears.

A Berlin police spokesman said after Monday's performance no incidents were reported."

Personally, I'm a wee bit disappointed that enraged Poseidonites didn't storm the stage and trash the whole place.

I don't think anybody even booed the tenor! Bor-ing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lame, thy name is "Time"

Time’s Person of the Year 2006? It’s all of us. Officially, it’s “you”. Wow. This scales new heights of lame-assness. That’s in Time US edition. At least in Canada, Time’s Person of the Year is not you or me, it’s Steve. Our boy Steve. I can live with that. At least he’s a real “Person”.

But this US thing is pathetic. Time is so wimpy. Their Person of the Year used to be a newsmaker, whether that person had a positive or negative impact on the world, it didn’t matter. Did he make news? Yes. Then he’s our newsmaker. But now it has to be a popularity contest. Time is so wussy it can’t handle any criticism that might come from naming someone like Moqtada al Sadr, Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud their person of the year because, well, they are bad people. We only like nice people. Like us. Like you. Like me. God, we're all so nice.

I knew back in 2001 when they picked Giulani instead of Osama that the Person of the Year always had to be a good guy and never a villain. What a cop out. Villains create the news.

So this year they picked anybody and nobody instead. Useless.

Real Nazis

You know people get called Nazis every day, but then there's the real thing.

Did anyone see 60 Minutes last night, and the report on the Nazi archives? I’m still reeling. These people gave obsessive compulsiveness a bad name. This is the banality of evil taken to a new level of banality.

The Nazis kept records of the number of head lice on each new arrival at Buchenwald and probably at other camps too. These records have been kept in the archives. There are entries for the number of lice found and their size: small, medium or large. Can you imagine having that job: head lice inspector, tabulator and record-keeper? Did these people ever stop for a minute and wonder: what on earth are we doing? Apparently, they kept such meticulous records to show they were working hard. Civil servants!

They also had index cards to record the delivery of mail to inmates. Like anybody in Buchenwald ever received any mail. They showed a card to one survivor. It had his name and particulars on it, but he never received any mail. The man was blunt: “how could I?” he said. “They killed all the rest of my family. We were a family of eight and they killed everyone but me”. It was shattering. Index cards for mail delivery. Wow.

With another guy, they showed him his index card with a number along the top: A11832. He still knew it by heart. Why? He rolled up his sleeve and there was the same number on his arm.

They also had a record of executed prisoners on a certain day, Hitler’s birthday. There was a list of names and times. The times were listed every two minutes. 2:40, 2:42, 2:44, 2:46. They shot a prisoner every two minutes for 90 minutes, as a birthday tribute. That is beyond twisted, and yet they kept a meticulous record of it.

In Movie News

I saw Little Children over the weekend. Liked it a lot. It’s a hybrid of Happiness and Peyton Place, but without Happiness’s super-icky cringe-inducing stuff. Not that I didn’t like Happiness, but that movie was definitely not for everyone. It was barely for anyone. Little Children is much easier to recommend. It’s funny and a melodrama at the same time.

A connection to Happiness (a tribute, perhaps) was the appearance of Jane Adams, Queen of All Losers from Happiness. Once again poor Jane is thrown into a date from hell, this time with a convicted child molester. How many times do I have to pity that woman. Some day she’ll make a movie where she’s happy and normal. Maybe. This being said, the movie does make the child molester a very sympathetic character, despite his creepiness. And he's played by Jackie Earle Haley, how cool is that?

Also, I saw a trailer for a gambling movie called Lucky You. My ears perked up. I was happy to hear that someone has finally used Lucky Town, an overlooked but terrific Springsteen song in a movie. The movie looks just okay, but the song sounded grrreat.

Also, saw the trailer for Rocky Balboa. I duly noted it was called Rocky Balboa not Rocky XV, or whatever number they are at. Rocky XV would've invited nothing but ridicule, but this title is meant for us to look at Rocky in a serious way. Will this work? Oh yeah, I'm feeling more hi-brow already. Nobody loved the original Rocky more than I did. The new one looks a lot like the original Rocky, which, go ahead and sneer if you must, was a really good movie. Too bad that there are a hundred other stupid Rockys between the first one and this one because I'm betting that if only these two existed, they would be terrific together. Of course, Stallone would be a much poorer man, but maybe he'd still warrant a modicum of respect instead of being a joke. A really wealthy joke.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Diet Coke Update

I went to Jean Coutu today (i.e. the drugstore) and they had a sale on Diet Coke: 79 cents for 2 litres. So I bought a bottle. Did I hesitate? No.

I bought it thinking, I can't believe I'm buying this to spite someone. But I was. I never buy Diet Coke for home, I only drink it at work. But I would not be stopped today. I marched out of the store thinking: Ha! Yeah, I'm giving myself cancer, so there, to heck with you sister! It's my life. I can't live by your "rules".

And it was a bargain!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Strange Encounter of the Day

I’m in the cafeteria buying lunch. I’m carrying a Diet Coke. A woman I know a bit, but not really, really well, stops me and points at my Diet Coke.

She: That has aspartame in it.
Me: (warily) Yes?
She: You know what they say about aspartame?
Me: (thinking) Well, I figure it probably isn’t any better for me than a regular Coke.
She: You know what they say about aspartame?
Me: (resigned) No.
She: It gives you cancer.
Me: Well, in excess maybe, I suppose it isn’t good.
(Now I’m thinking "get me out of here".)
She: I don’t drink it anymore.
She leaves.

Why do people feel the need to educate me about carcinogens when all I really want is to have my lunch in peace?

Opera Update: That Darn Metabolism

"Opera star Roberto Alagna, who stormed off stage after he was booed at Milan's La Scala, has claimed he was suffering from low blood sugar at the time.

The singer, 43, claims if he gets emotional or stressed his system consumes sugars very quickly." (BBC)

That's a new one.

If Alagna had been an American politician instead of an Italian opera singer, he would've blamed his bad behaviour on the priest who molested him when he was a teenager.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In Grocery News

And when I captured Janet,
She bruised her pomegranate
(The late Ian Dury)

Anyone know anything about pomegranate juice?

There was a big pyramid of pomegranate juice bottles at IGA this week, so I decided to buy one. I read something recently that this is super-duper healthy stuff, so I figured I spend the $5.00 and see if I regain my youthful vigor and live forever.

I chilled it for a few hours and then poured some out. Before tasting it, I looked at the label “Product of Azerbaijan”. I believe this is the first "Product of Azerbaijan" I have ever purchased. Is Azerbaijan the world capital of pomegranates? If not, then why are we getting our pomegranate juice from Azerbaijan? That’s a puzzler.

(I just checked Wikipedia. There’s no specific mention of pomegranates but apparently Azerbaijan grows a lot of “fruit”. Well, who doesn’t? Oh well. I remain ignorant on the pomegranate-Azerbaijan connection.)

Now, being a political nerd, my next thought is “Isn’t Azerbaijan a sort-of dictatorship? Maybe I shouldn’t be supporting the Azerbaijani dictator by buying his pomegranate juice?” That crisis of conscience lasted about 10 seconds.

I poured myself a glass, lifted it to my nose. Whoa. This stuff stinks like pickle juice going bad. I hesitate. But it’s very healthy, I tell myself. The label says so, it says (I’m paraphrasing here): Pomegranate juice is very healthy. Has potassium.

I hold my nose and swig. Not much taste, but certainly not unpleasant. I down the glass.

My next thought: This would probably be quite good with vodka. (I’m trying that this evening.)

I pour another. I drink half and place the glass on the counter. Leave kitchen, come back into kitchen. Miss Hitler is on the counter, licking the rim of my glass of healthy Azerbaijani pomegranate juice. Down the drain that goes. At $5.00 a litre, I gotta keep this stuff away from that cat.

I drink another (clean) glass. Then it occurs to me. What if this somewhat tasty beverage of a former Soviet Republic disturbs my tummy? I had to leave the house, but suddenly panicked. What if I am out in public and discover that I have a serious reaction to pomegranate juice? I worried for nothing, of course. As usual. I was fine.

Recommendation: Support Azerbaijan. Buy some pomegranate juice. It's very healthy. Has potassium.

He hasn't been sacked

I was beginning to think Michael Ware had finally been fired for shooting his mouth off too often, but no, there he was in New York with Anderson last night.

Surprising (or, for some among us, unsurprising) fact: he looks as dishevelled in New York as he does in Baghdad.

He was blunt as usual. Sorry, Americans, but your troops aren't coming home for years.

Here's some Good News for a change

“UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The General Assembly approved the first U.N. convention enshrining the rights of the world's 650 million disabled people, a blueprint aimed at ending discrimination and exclusion of the physically and mentally impaired in education, jobs, and everyday life.

The convention requires countries to guarantee freedom from exploitation and abuse for the disabled, while protecting rights they already have -- such as ensuring voting rights for the blind and providing wheelchair-accessible buildings.

…theoretically there should be no need for a convention because people with disabilities are included in existing human rights conventions. But the marginalization of the world's disabled people clearly indicated the need for a convention of their own.” (CNN)

I wonder if the Convention defines disability. Does it include obesity? Does this mean the 600-pound American guy is entitled to two seats on a flight? Or does he just get a seatbelt extension...and a miserable seat mate?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

He is not passing "Go" nor is he collecting $200

Enron Boss Goes Directly to Jail (CNN)

Geopolitics: Hot Hot Hot

What’s going on in the world? Or, what in the world is going on?

The Saudis (my faves! I love them sooo much! They are such nice people) are saying if the US leaves Iraq, they will arm the Sunnis in Iraq so they can defend themselves against the Shia. Ok. So that forces the US to stay, right? But in the past week, I got the distinct impression that the US was already leaning towards staying in Iraq, but supporting the Shias. That puts the US on the same side as Iran. Huh? How can that be okay with the Saudis? How can even be okay with Americans? I’ve very confused.

And then the Saudi Ambassador to the US quits. Just like that.

New Yorker cartoon caption: If you can’t stand the Byzantine heat, get out of the cabal.

I’m beginning to suspect that Cheney’s plan all along was to start a regional war so all these troublesome Muslims can just kill each other, and leave their precious natural resources, (i.e. black gold, Saudi tea, Iraqi tea, anybody's tea) for the good Christian West to enjoy. Not that far-fetched, is it?

Meanwhile, back in Israel, Ehud “Don’t you miss Ariel Sharon” Ohmert made a big, big boo-boo and let slip that Israel does indeed have nukes. And guess where they are all pointed? Hint: their leader has “beady eyes” and a beige jacket.

How shocked am I? Well, very shocked that an Israeli PM can be that dumb and still be alive. “Did I say nukes? I meant newts, Israel has hundreds of newts!”

Meanwhile, Clueless George has decided to embark on a “listening tour”. “Listening” only to Pentagon bigwigs who agree with him. Gawd, that would be so incredibly hysterical if it wasn’t so terrifying.

‘Cause when you suck at your job, it’s the company’s fault

“Tenor Roberto Alagna has threatened to sue La Scala if the opera house does not let him return following his abrupt stage exit during a performance.

The opera house management said he would not sing the remaining scheduled performances as he had technically broken his contract. (BBC News)

"His behaviour has created a rift between the artist and the audience, and there is no possibility of repairing this relationship," spokesman Carlo Maria Cella said.

"But what was I supposed to do when some people started booing? What if they had thrown stones at me or some crazy person had attacked me?

"La Scala should have protected me, the show should have been suspended."

They did not throw stones. Nobody attacked him.

Two words: Drama Queen.

“China’s white dolphin extinct after 20 million years” (CNN)

It took 20 million years but we finally got rid of those pesky white dolphins. “Overfishing and shipping traffic” are the primary reasons for their extinction. Well, good for us humans. Who did those dolphins think they were anyway? That’s another species done with, and several hundred thousand more to go.

You know, when we have finally succeeded in eliminating every other living, sentient creature from the face of the Earth, I hope we have one giant heckuva “We’re No. 1 ‘cause We’re the Only Ones” party. It will be such fun. Better than New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

Watch out polar bears, you’re next. Ha Ha! Hey, Central American frogs! Think you've got a chance. Dream on, suckers.

Benny 16: Crazy Cat Person

If this keeps up, I’ll have to start liking the Pope.

From an animal rights web site:

“When he was cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI was also known for his love of cats and used to care for cats near a church in Campasanto Teutonico near St. Peter's Basilica

"I went with him once," said Konrad Baumgartner, the head of the theology department at Regensburg University. "Afterwards, he went into the old cemetery behind the church. It was full of cats, and when he went out, they all ran to him. They knew him and loved him. He stood there, petting some and talking to them, for quite a long time. He visited the cats whenever he visited the church. His love for cats is quite famous".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cookie Monster

I had a fortune cookie at lunch time, and here was my fortune:

"Your winsome smile will be your protection.
Votre sourire séduisant vous protégéra.*

Now for all those who know me, when you think of me, isn't "winsome smile" the first thing that springs to mind? So true, so true.

I laughed so hard the remainder of my cookie lodged in my windpipe.

*Yes, even our fortune cookies are bilingual.

And they say women are high strung!

We haven't had any opera news lately, so here goes:

“Top tenor Roberto Alagna has stunned opera-goers at La Scala in Milan by storming off stage in the middle of a performance after he was booed.

The Franco-Italian singer, who was playing a leading role in Verdi's Aida, walked off minutes into the second night of the opera house's new season.

When his rendition of the aria Celeste Aida was greeted by boos and whistles, Alagna stopped singing and walked off stage, leaving his partner in the duet stranded [Editor's note: That's classy].

Alagna, who was born in France to Italian parents, told reporters later: "I have sung around the world and I've been successful, but in front of this evening's audience, I felt like I was in a different world.

"The true spirited and fiery public wasn't there.”

That's it, pal, blame the audience. Um, sorry Roberto, but if they started booing and whistling in the middle of the show, I’d say the “spirited and fiery public” was totally there. In your face.

Chia Pet Update

Here's the website:

I can't believe Chia Pets haven't made it to Australia. There's an untapped market for these gloriously stupid shrubs. I wonder if they have francishes? I smell a $$$-making opportunity for someone with good business sense.

There's a Homer Simpson Chia. Life just keeps getting better and better.

And this is the same company that makes The Clapper. Genius.

Monday, December 11, 2006

25 Glorious Years

Whoo hoo! Chia Pet is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

It's the ultimate Christmas gift!

I can't believe that stupid product has been around for a quarter century. Who the hell is buying it?

And now there's a little Chia alarm clock that goes Chi Chi Chi Chia! Wow. I'm near speechless.

And there's a Garfield Chia and a Tweety Bird Chia, the creative possibilities are endless.

Where's my Clooney Chia?

It’s my house anniversary!

Eight years ago today I signed for my house. And eight years ago today, I learned that the furnace in my house had blown up, spewing a tasty layer of soot over every square inch, every nook and cranny, every available solid surface of said house.

Welcome to home ownership.

And thus began a long period of endless headaches and utter misery involving the purchase and installation of a new furnace, the hiring of professional house cleaners and painters, etc etc. The nightmare that never ended, except that it did eventually end, and I got to move into the place a mere 2 and a half months later. In the dead of winter.

Fortunately all of the expenses were covered by the previous owner since the incident occurred before the signing.

At the time, more than one person told me that this was the best thing that could’ve ever happened. I got a freshly painted house and a new furnace, no charge. I remember sighing and thinking, oh yeah, this is just the bestest turn of events ever.

An Unjolly Christmas

The older I get, the less “fun” Christmas gets, and the more bittersweet.

I have a friend who has a family member who is dying. Barring a literal miracle (they have stopped all medical treatment), this is his last Christmas. I wonder what it feels like to know that this is your final Christmas. Or your final birthday. Or your final anniversary.

Thankfully the vast majority of us will go into our last Christmas blissfully ignorant of the fact that this is it, folks. No more Christmas for you, pal. But what about the small number who know? Will this year be the sweetest? Certainly it will be the most painful. But can it also be the best in some way? Appreciated at a higher, more intense level than any “normal” Christmas? Will the whole family grab onto the occasion with a newfound passion? I can seeing trying too hard to make it memorable, out of desperation, knowing full well that it can’t help but be memorable, either in a positive or negative way.

What do you buy for someone who is dying? You have to buy something. But it seems futile, and if the person says they don’t want or need anything, of course they are right, but, god, they aren’t dead yet and this is the last chance to buy them a gift. What a crazy sad situation.

Today in Utter Stupidity News

“OTTAWA—Bob Rae was the target of anti-Semitic attacks during the Liberal leadership contest, motivated at least in part by the fact his wife is Jewish.

Sources close to Rae say that his wife, Arlene Perly Rae, was approached during last weekend's convention by a delegate who didn't realize she was the candidate's wife. The delegate told her not to vote for Rae "because his wife is Jewish.”

For all my worldliness, I guess I’m still an idealistically naïve country bumpkin at heart because I am shocked and appalled by this story. Have we really not evolved any farther than this? And, as an aside, which delegate is so dumb that he or she shows up at the Liberal Convention, after a ten-month leadership race, and still doesn’t know what Bob Rae’s wife look like? Duh.

The delegate in question will, no doubt, be unavailable for comment, as he or she is in Tehran this week attending the Big Holocaust Deniers Love-In.

Frankly, becoming a hermit is really my only remaining option.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In Iran news, oh you naughty boy!

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who flaunts his ideological fervour, has been accused of undermining Iran's Islamic revolution after television footage appeared to show him watching a female song and dance show.

The famously austere Mr Ahmadinejad has been criticised by his own allies after attending the lavish opening ceremony of the Asian games in Qatar, a sporting competition involving 13,000 athletes from 39 countries. The ceremony featured Indian and Egyptian dancers and female vocalists. Many were not wearing veils. (Guardian)

Many were not wearing veils? Risqué? You betcha.

Cut him some slack. This is as close as Mahmoud will ever get to ogling strippers. At least in public. This being said, it’s a laugh to watch a fundamentalist like him get trashed for not being pious enough. Heh.

Canadian politics is bor-ing

Why don’t events like this ever happen around here?

“A senior Indonesian MP has resigned from Parliament after a mobile phone clip of him cavorting naked in a hotel room with a popular singer was passed from phone to phone around the country and ended up on the internet.

The shaky one-minute video shows Mr Zaini and Maria Eva, an Indonesian folk singer, frolicking naked and climbing into bed with each other. It leaked out onto the internet last week, forcing Mr Zaini, who is married, to resign as head of religious affairs with Golkar, the largest party in the predominantly Muslim nation.” (Times of London)

I’m trying to think of a single politician I would want to see “cavorting naked” on the Internet. Hmmm.

…I’m still thinking….there must be one…

This is not good television

I was appalled by Peter Mansbridge’s questioning of Steph Dion last night. I only saw one part of the interview, the part where Mansbridge rather nastily raised the non-issue “issue” that Dion’s mother is from France.

When did the CBC become xenophobic?

Clearly we are meant to suspect that if he became PM Steph would annex Canada to France because, well, his mother’s from France, so he has no loyalty to Canada, right? What an assholian question that was. Mansbridge could hem and haw all he wanted and claim that he wasn’t attacking Steph, but of course he was. Just by raising the fact he implied that’s there something wrong with having a leader whose mother is not Canadian. Because surely nobody else in this country has a parent born outside Canada. Even Mansbridge himself admitted he had a British parent. But I guess that doesn’t matter. Maybe Petey can get a job at the BBC.

Steph to his credit, though angry, didn't say anything rude. Basically he told Mansbridge he had no right to question his loyalty to Canada. End of story.

Personally I found Steph’s mother to be a hoot. On the day after his election, she was asked if she was excited about the possibility of her son becoming Prime Minister. She lifted her shoulders in a classic gallic shrug and said “well, if that’s what he wants.” I believe the correct word for her is apolitical.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Are You Sure You Checked?

Seguing from Greg's blog, I just have to tell a little story about my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

When I was Italy, my room-mate and I got reservations to visit the Accadamia and Uffizi in Florence. Two days before our departure the hotel clerk made the reservation and wrote the numbers on a piece of paper that my room-mate took and put in her purse. On the morning of our trip to Florence, I, the OCDer, noticed that my roomie did not double-check, triple-check or quadruple-check that she still had the paper in her purse. It was driving me nuts. Finally I asked her "Are you sure you have our reservations?" She calmly replied that she did, she had put the paper in her purse. I thought: TWO DAYS AGO! Didn't she realize that the paper could have grown legs and walked away from her purse. It might have spontaneously disintegrated. Italian paper elves could have stolen it. How could she possibly know it was still there, just because she put it there! I had no choice but to believe her.

And, of course, when we arrived at Accadamia she took the paper out of her purse and handed it to the ticket agent.

Thus I got a glimpse of what life is like for non-OCDers. I was amazed at how sure, how very certain, she was, without double-checking, that the paper was still in her purse. How calm she was.

I will never be like that.

Shake Up or Break Up

JAW Fan called me today to tell me about a self-help book that Mr. G. Smith, a friend of his (I'm using the term "friend" oh so loosely here) wants to write. It's called Shake Up or Break Up. Here's the theory behind the book.

A) After many years of marriage women lose interest in sex,
B) Men should be allowed to go outside the marriage for sex.

While I could not quite see how he could stretch this out into a 150-page book, I agreed with the theory. Which seemed to confuse JAW Fan. Being female, my agreement with the above theory came with a number of "qualifiers".

I thought I could write this book. For copyright infringement reasons, I would call my version Shake It Up or Break It up. (Clever, eh?)

Here is my revised synopsis.

A) After many years of marriage [some men and] women lose interest in sex [with their spouses],
B) Men [and women who mutally agree that this is an acceptable way to save their marriage for the sake of the kids] should be allowed to go outside the marriage for sex [with their spouse's knowledge and consent].

I really should've gone into contract law.

I suspect that Mr. Smith would be horrified to see his pithy thesis statement transformed into this unwieldy condition-laden minefield. But that there's the difference between men like Mr. Smith and someone like me.

This being said, I can't help but think that Mr. Smith's in-your-face book would be a much better seller than my little publication.

Kids Today!

Guess what CD my nephew (age 18) wants for Christmas?

T Rex's Greatest Hits.


Where did this come from?

A few years ago, it was all about The Doors. As a sarcastic aunt I felt compelled to point out that Jim Morrison had been dead for many, many years. He ignored me. I know The Doors thing came from his Apocalypse Now phase, which lasted a long time. I supposed it's never actually ended. Which is okay because my Apocalypse Now phase has been going on for about 27 years now. So okay. I could live with that.

But where does this T Rex thing come from? Off the top of my old grey head I can't think of a single song by T Rex other than Bang a Gong.

Does this mean he's skipped the KISS phase? The Alice Cooper phase? Or are those in his future?


The geezers of the Iraq Study Group have said that the US must talk directly with Iran and Syria.

W’s response? “The White House on Wednesday said it has ruled out one-on-one talks with Iran about Iraq unless Tehran suspends nuclear activities.”

Yeah! Now we’re cooking with gas. Onward! I feel real progress in the air.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Swearing in La Belle Province

The Washington Post ran a surprisingly accurate article about Quebecois swearing today.

Our swear words are all based on religious objects. It's quite unique and pretty addictive once you start using them. Trust me, you smash your finger in a drawer and it feels really good to mutter "tabarnacle!" or better yet "host of a tabarnacle". I have a tendency to say "chalice" but never say "baptism". And I never say "Christ" in either French or English.

My father, who was an Anglo from Ontario, learned his French from the guys at the factory and at the tavern, so he knew all the swears and used them correctly. My mother, an actual Quebec francophone, never swore, ever. But she didn't care that my father did. She knew it amused him greatly. My uncle, her brother, on the other hand, can't make it through a single sentence without at least two swears thrown in.

Seeing it explained by an outsider makes it all the more amusing. A week doesn't go by that I don't hear someone saying that they "Christed something in the garbage". (Je l'ai crisse aux vidanges) but now that I think about the word Christ used as a verb, I see how truly bizarre that is.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Okay, so I shouldn't ride the bus anymore because of stupid people.
And I don't like to drive because of stupid people.
And now it looks like I may not want to fly again because of stupid people.

"Woman Under Fire After In-Flight Flatulence

Nashville, Tenn. -- What do you do if you pass embarrassing gas on an airplane? One woman found out what not to do.

A Nashville International Airport spokeswoman said an American Airlines plane bound for Texas had to make an emergency landing Monday morning in Nashville after matches were lit in flight.

The pilot said the concern was what passengers said they smelled inside the aircraft and that he did not feel it was safe to continue on.

A woman passenger told investigators that she lit matches to mask gas that she emitted. The female passenger was released without being charged, but was not allowed back on the American Airlines flight."

Morons like her give fart jokes a bad name!

Why not phone up Robin Hood

and ask him for some wealth distribution?

“The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute.

The report says that the poorer half of the world's population own barely 1% of global wealth.” (BBC)

Humans. We rock!

In stupid bus people news

Last night, I’m on the bus again and a young woman gets on with a kid in a stroller. I’m not good at guessing ages but I’d say he was 2.

She sits down and pulls out her ipod and puts it on. The music is playing so loud that I can hear it from across the aisle. I think it was Sean Paul; sounded like him anyway. Then she takes one earphone out and puts it on her kid.

Now, I know how easy and unfair it is for people without kids to criticize other people’s parenting, but is this not both a dumb and dangerous thing to do? When the kid is stone deaf by the time he’s 10, is any doctor going to think to ask: Did you blast music in his ear when he was a toddler?

I Want One!

Fiji Watch

"Suva, Fiji — Fiji's military commander said Tuesday that he had seized control of the country and dismissed the elected prime minister after a weeks-long standoff between the two leaders rooted in tension between the South Pacific nation's indigenous people and its ethnic Indian minority.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama told a news conference that he was using special powers under the constitution to assume the powers of the president and replace Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

He said he would soon return the powers to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who he expected to appoint a full interim government. Elections to restore democracy would follow, he said."

Send in the Australians!

I gather two things from this story: 1) There's ethnic trouble everywhere, you can't even escape it in an idyllic South Pacific country; and 2) Fijians have very cool names.

That little piggie went wee, wee, wee all the way home

George Clooney's pig died. Age 19.

Everyone knows I love the Cloon, but tell me, why is this news?

Clooney said he would not be getting a replacement porker. "I think Max covered all my pig needs." (Times of London)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Nancy Drew would've solved this in two days

This story has been discussed on Rattansifan’s forum but I feel I need to ponder it a bit more. It raises many an interesting question.

“NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Mariesa Weber's death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a TV behind the bookshelf.

Weber, 38, returned home Oct. 28 and greeted her mother, then wasn't seen again.

Her family thought she had been kidnapped and contacted authorities. Family members scoured her room for clues but found nothing, though they did notice a strange smell.”

a) How much serious discussion was engaged in before the family decided this was a case of kidnapping?
Sister: Where’s Mariesa?
Mother: I don’t know. She came home and I haven’t seen her since.
Sister: She must’ve been kidnapped.
This is clearly a case of people watching too much Law & Order.

b) How bad was the “strange smell” and for how many days did they notice it?

c) What are the statistical chances that any one person’s death can be so dumb that it ends up in the media, and their family look like total chumps?

Six More Years

Hugo gets to be a thorn in W's side for the rest of his Presidency.

Alas, it looks like we won't be seeing Fidel in public ever again, but the transition to Hugo as the official pain-in-the-ass of the Bush administration has gone pretty smoothly.

I look forward to wild and crazy rhetoric.

Today in public transit news

Some people are clueless morons.

On my crowded bus this morning, the back doors were not working. So when we got downtown and stopped at the first stop, the driver asked everybody to get off at the front. A dozen or so people were getting off, so it took a while for everybody to shuffle, shuffle, shuffle through the crowded aisle and make it to the front to disembark.

The bus took off again, and immediately some people started to move toward the front. Mine is the second stop, so I also stood up a block earlier than usual and started to walk toward the front. I noticed one guy stopping by the back door. Whatever, I thought.

We get to the stop and again shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, everyone gets off at the front in an orderly fashion. As I’m at the door, I notice the guy is now behind me and he stops and says to the driver “I just wanted to let you know that the back doors aren’t opening”.

The driver was a better person than I because all he said was “thanks”, whereas I wanted to turn around and go “Whhaaaaa? The doors aren’t oppppeninnnng????” in a very loud voice.

How do nitwits survive in this world?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

News on the Dateability Scene

There was a poll of both men and women about the "dateability" of various professions. I'm not sure I liked what it said.

Unsurprising, both men and women said that doctors were the most "dateable". 92% dateability rating for both male and female doctors. Is it safe to say that everyone's into money and status. That's the awful truth.

Now for the fun stuff:

Women's second choice: architects (89% dateability) Status and money again, I suppose. I don't really understand the appeal of the architect. On Seinfeld, George would claim he was an architect to impress women. I don't get what is sexy about architects. Nanuk shrugged. (Darn. Wrong book, right? But it was such a good joke. I can't think of a funny fountainhead line.)

Men's second choice?
Models!! (Actually, they aren't second, they are tied with doctors at 92%)
Good-bye money and status, hello exterior beauty. Come on, guys, do you have to be so predictable?
Women are into wealth and men are into looks. It's astonishing that the world keeps turning.

3rd choice:
Women: lawyers 89% (hey, I'm seeing a pattern here)
Men: air hostess 88%.
Who calls them air hostesses anymore? They are flight attendants. Or worse: cabin crew. But again "air hostess" certainly is better for 1960s Swedish soft-core fantasizing than "flight attendant". Would you like some TWA coffee? (old joke, for the initiated only.)

4th choice:
Women: property agent. I'm not sure what that is. I'm assuming it's a real estate agent. Who thinks real estate agents are dateable? Aren't those guys sleazy? This one is lost on me. Do status and money apply here?
Men: Shocker! Dancer 88%. I guess that is short for pole dancer? I dunno. I give up.

I noted that "editor of aviation-related technical material didn't even make the list". Harumph!


I've just come in from shovelling the walk and the driveway. First time this year. Boo!

Yes, yes, I know the snow makes it "Christmasy", but you know what? I don't care.

Bah humbug.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tenacious D(ion)

Academic nerds throughout the land, rejoice!

A few short days ago I said he could not win. But our boy Stephane with the knapsack on his back (and not the briefcase in his hand) has shockingly emerged the victor.

I’ve never voted Liberal, but tonight I am leaning that way. I can’t wait for the next election! Yes, I am such a nerd!

All over the Rest of Canada, people are shaking their heads and saying "I can't believe the Liberals picked another Frenchman."

And if anyone in the rest of the world is wondering, as far as I know he is not related to Celine. At least I hope not.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Men! Finnish Men!

HELSINKI, Finland (Reuters) -- Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, dubbed Finland's sexiest man, broke up by text message with the girlfriend he had met on the Internet, she said in a magazine interview.

"Matti dumped me in a text message, where he said 'that's it,'" Susan Kuronen told the magazine Me Naiset (Us Women) in an interview published on Friday.

So here's the question: If a man breaks up with you by text message, is it worse if he is the Prime Minister?

Second question: What on earth was the Prime Minister doing meeting women on the Internet? He's the Prime Minister! If I was to meet a man on-line (Note: This will NEVER happen) and he wrote "Incidentally I am the Prime Minister of a relatively well-known Scandinavian nation, and I know Saku Koivu personally", I would strongly suspect he was bullshitting me.

Friday Fun with the F Word

Since I’ve already had my swearing pointed out in an earlier comment, I’m going to go whole hog and throw all caution and decorum to the wind here.

There’s a very funny string of comments on Lance Mannion’s site about the proper emphasis in an old saying. Who knew this phrase had so many variations? The phrase is that old war horse: Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Fuck them if they can't take a joke.

If they can't take a joke, fuck them.

Then come the variations:

"They must be fucked if they can't take a joke."

Or "one must take a joke or be fucked"

How about a big red sign on the wall: "Failure to take a joke will result in fucking."

Or a possible pick-up line: "Hello there, tall, dark and handsome -- I can't take a joke..."

Aw, heart-warming Christmas story

"A German chain of shops has removed miniature wooden Santa Claus figures from its shelves and destroyed them after customers complained it looked like they were giving the stiff-armed Hitler salute that is outlawed." (CNN)

Ich bin Santa!