Monday, December 31, 2007

In Football News

(Enjoy that title, you probably won't see it again.)

Am I the only one who hates the Perfect Patriots and wants to see them lose in a totally humiliating fashion at some point in the play-offs? I can't be alone, can I?

Go Indy. Go Manning.

Old Resolutions

I’ve been reviewing my Resolutions from last year, which were:

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.

I’m afraid I’ve failed quite miserably in my attempt to reach these objectives, although I have made a few strides on No. 7. And anyone who knows me as Miss Frugal will appreciate that working on No. 7 is quite an intimidating task for me. For example, over Xmas, I took the train to Toronto and paid full fare for a First Class ticket. I’d never done that before, but I thought screw the proles, I’m not lining up, I’m going in a comfy seat, with a full hot meal, and free booze. It was worth it.

I’m nowhere near No. 8.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I love Statistics!

And I especially love the statistics that the Globe & Mail reports on. Today's topic, most appropriate on nearly New Year's Eve, is k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

Reports the Globe: "A study determined that men like their kisses wetter and with more tongue: To be precise, 33 per cent wetter and with 11 per cent more tongue, on average, than women do."

11 per cent more tongue. Not 10, not 15. 11 per cent.

What does THAT mean? 11 per cent more movement? 11 per cent wider tongue? 11 per cent longer tongue? 11 per cent probing-er? What the heck is 11 per cent more tongue?

That's so weird, I can't stop laughing.

I'm ignoring the 33 per cent wetter stat. Cause that's a full third more slobbering. Ew. You guys!

2008...on the horizon

Anybody got any ideas for New Year's Resolutions? I'm practically perfect, so I don't know what to improve. There must be something...

But, seriously, other than trying to be healthy, I need to make a list. Which I can completely forget about by around January 5.

It's a Sunny Sunday

I mention this only because I cannot remember the last time we saw the sun for more than 10 minutes.

(I'm sure it's beautifully sunny and high 20s in Melbourne. Don't bother saying it.)

(And it's probably minus 20 and dark in Edmonton. Don't bother with that either.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bumpety, bumpety, bump

I done bin bumped. My surgery has been postponed. Some kind of emergency over the weekend is apparently going to be taking up the OR and this means no surgeries on Monday. I have no idea what this is all about.

All that build-up and pffft. Easy come, easy go.

Dr. McDreamy's secretary assured me my operation would take place in January, but now I have to wait until Thursday to find out when it will be scheduled. This sucks.

Well, that's over....Next! Suivant!

My sister told me she went by the Dollar Store yesterday, and they had taken away all the Xmas merchandise and put up all the Valentine's Day merchandise.

Still waiting for There Will be Blood

I read this in the NY Times about Daniel Day-Lewis's performance. I cannot wait to see this. It appears he's playing it even bigger than in Gangs of New York, and he was huge in that one.

"Mr. Day-Lewis’s outsize performance, with its footnote references to John Huston and strange, contorted Kabuki-like grimaces, occasionally breaks the skin of the film’s surface like a dangerous undertow. The actor seems to have invaded Plainview’s every atom, filling an otherwise empty vessel with so much rage and purpose you wait for him to blow. It’s a thrilling performance, among the greatest I’ve seen, purposefully alienating and brilliantly located at the juncture between cinematic realism and theatrical spectacle. "


My last day

It's my last day at work for...I dunno... two weeks, six weeks? Feels a bit surreal.

It will be really weird if the surgery turns out to be a traditional incision job and I'm at home for six weeks. Let's hope that is not the case. Not that I wouldn't love to be off work for a good part of the winter, but I don't want the pain, immobility and incapacitation that would come with a long recovery. Just two weeks following a quickie laparoscopy will be A-okay with me. I'm looking forward to the pain killers. I wanna press the button on that morphine drip. heh heh.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, JAW Fan

(I know he's not actually at the office or near a computer to get the message, but it would not be right to let the day go by without acknowledging this event. )

Today in assassination news

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Pakistan is the biggest, most dangerous hell-hole on earth.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home again!

I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas.

I returned tonight to find there had been a truly spectacular thaw over the past 3 days. Snowbanks have shrunk considerably. This is grrrreat.

One day late: A belated Happy 50th Birthday to Mr. Shane MacGowan. I, for one, never thought he would live to see 50. What was it Orwell said, at 50 you have the face you deserve? Something like that. Well, I tried to find a decent pic of Shane to post for this big birthday, but frankly he has the face he deserves and it ain't pretty. So I passed on that photo idea.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Overheard on the bus

Woman #1: I'm just back from vacation.
Woman #2: Where did you go?
#1: Las Vegas!
#2: Did you like it?
#1: I had been 20 years ago, but it's changed.
#2: Oh yeah?
#1: It's so commercial now.

Alas, I too miss the days when Vega$ was a cultural mecca.
Where have you gone, Dan Tanna?

5 Years go by so fast

RIP Joe. Still my hero!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Caption this Photo

Sarko: Did ya hear? I'm banging an Italian model!
Benny16: I still have a nattier wardrobe.

NDG = Little Italy

I'm trudging through the snow war zone that is my street this morning, and there's a woman who has backed out of her driveway but is now not moving at all, she's just madly spinning her wheels on the ice and not going anywhere. There's a man walking his dog who is trying to gesture to her that she should attempt to roll forward and then back again.

She rolls down her window and says literally:

"I'ma stucka. Please go arounda."

I had to smile.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I survived my morning of pre-op junk. The tests were nothing, but the waiting in between tests was endless. gawd.

The worst part of the day was the hour and a half on the bus to get to the hospital. Almost 90 minutes to go 8 or 9 km. Cra-zee.

I'm going to bed now. I'm wiped out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Awful Story

I guess most people in Canada have heard about the murder of the old man who was delivering Xmas cards to his neighbours. It's the kind of crime that turns my stomach. It appears it was a random attack by some nut job. I think a suspect has already been arrested.

Anyway, I just saw on the local news a picture of the suspect and the title was "Christmas Card Killer".

Christmas Card Killer? That reeks of a bad Ben Affleck movie. Do they really have to give the crime a catchy name? This really bugs me.

It's Keith Richards' Birthday

Happy 175th birthday, Keith.

It's snowing again


*I'm rapidly running out of family-friendly G-rated expletives.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bringing in the sheaves

The government of Saskatchewan foolishly toyed with the idea of replacing the wheat sheaf as its provincial logo with….I dunno....something else.

People complained, and the govt backed down.

I realize Saskatchewan has oil and other such goodies, but really, abandoning the wheat sheaf? What foolishness!

Saskatchewan = wheat. Always has, always will. At least symbolically. Unless they were planning to replace it with a big logo of Brent Butt....

That settles it: Hands off the wheat sheaf!

New Year's Eve Fun

It appears that 31 December is when I shall be going under the knife. I'm just waiting for confirmation that my pre-op appointment can take place this week, and then we're off to the races.

Will I get bumped? Will the surgeon start his New Year's tippling early? Yikes.

I will get to start 2008 with all my innards tightened up. How delightful.

The Day After

The morning commute turned out to be no problem today because all schools are closed which means tons fewer cars on the road. And a near-empty bus to get to the Metro.

I'm already worrying where we are going to put the snow if we get a couple more storms like this.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

OK, so the sky IS falling

It's brutal out there!

It's not the accumulation of snow. It's the stupid drifting. For those unfamiliar with the in's and out's of snow, let me tell you that the weight of drifted snow is so much heavier than that of pretty little snowflakes that fell to Earth by themselves without being pushed by ridiculous wind. Drifted snow is compacted, and a shovelful weights a lot.

I'm grumpy. And still have lots more snow to deal with. wah!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Waiting, waiting

Once again the newscasts and weather forecasts are trying to scare us with a BIG snowstorm warning.

It's gonna be The Storm of the Century! Hey, that's the second one this month.

On the late news last night they said if you have anything to do this weekend, make sure you do it on Saturday because you won't want to go out on Sunday. Yeah, right. Let's see what happens. Of course, as I am not only Miss Frugal, but also Miss Cautious, I did all my errands today so I can indeed huddle down tomorrow if need be. But one part of my brain is very skeptical.

If we do get 30+ cm of snow tomorrow, one thing is for sure, two Mondays ago we all made it into the office only to be told we could go home. So how many people who work in my building are going to exert themselves to make it to the office bright and early this Monday? Not effing many. And cetainly not me.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Richard III

Whilst flipping last night, I came across Richard III with Ian McKellen. This is the version set in a 1930s fascist state.

Any production of Richard III lives or dies based on the performance of the actor playing R3 since he carries the whole darn thing. McKellen is really a rotter in this, so the movie works. Man, is he nasty.

There’s a great scene where he has had one of his (many) alleged disloyal charges murdered, and a flunkie brings him 8 x 10 photos of the hanged victim. R3 throws a jazzy record on the phonograph and then stretches out on a couch and laughs as he looks at the photos. He is eeeev-illlllll.

I had planned to go to bed early, but I had to stay up to see how they managed to get in the “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse” line into a 1930s setting. R3 is riding in a jeep. His driver gets shot, and then the soldier who is riding in the back, manning the machine gun, gets shot by R3!! He doesn’t trust anybody. Then the jeep’s wheels get jammed so R3 is just sitting there unable to move and he delivers the line. It worked pretty well because in an earlier scene showing the preparation for war, they showed some soldiers leading horses. Not bad.

One of the supporting lords was played by the actor who played Percy on Blackadder. I kept thinking "it's Percy!" and expecting him to do something goofy, but he didn't.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In the news

I was just about to post about Canada's nuclear reactor crisis which the entire world is ignoring, but then I saw this headline:

Liza Minnelli Collapses on Stage in Sweden

Knowing my readership (all 8 of you) I think I better keep everyone up to date on the Liza collapse and forget about the Chalk River reactor's failing pumps which may lead to our very own Chernobyl.

Therefore without further ado: "Veteran entertainer Liza Minnelli collapsed on stage a few songs into a performance in Sweden's second city and was taken to hospital before being discharged on Thursday, " (Washington Post) So, she's okay.

I know certain people around here (well, one person) who in his final moments when the radiation is reducing us all to goo like that guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, will be asking with his final breath: "But is Liza okay? Will she take the stage again? gassssppp." The answer will be yes. He can die happy. We can all die happy. Life is a cabaret.


Anyone ever have to deal with a snoring cat?

The Big Red One is driving me crazy. I'm suffering from lost sleep because he's taken to lying at the foot of the bed and sawing logs like there's no tomorrow. How can a 5 kg animal make that much noise?

He's become a miniature version of my father. (No, he didn't sleep at the foot of a bed.)

Last night, at 3:12 a.m. I finally had to nudge him awake because I was miserable, and then I had to endure 5 minutes of mewling and complaining because I'd disturbed his beauty rest.

Over the weekend I was quietly reading the paper on the couch and TBRO was across the room snoozing and suddenly I thought the sidewalk plow was coming down the street, but no, it was him, snoring in the depths of his feline dreams.

This is nuts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We are Ogres!

Apparently just about everyone at the UN Climate Change conference in Bali hates Canada.

Since Steve came to power we’ve had to adjust to our new role as bad guys. It’s so unlike us. It feels weird. Is this what being an American feels like?

Environment Minister Baird is such a bull dog. I vote him “Cabinet member mostly likely to one day punch someone’s lights out”. Mark my words.

Funny typo of the day

There’s an Italian guy at work who thinks he is god’s gift to womankind. The way he struts around is both irritating and hilarious to me. This morning I had to get his confirmation on something, so I e-mailed to ask that he indicate his approval.

His response: I looks good to me.

Yeah, I know that, but what about my question?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lord Black Behind Bars

I've finally figured out who Conrad in jail is reminding me of: Sideshow Bob.


It's been a while since we've seen Mo Gaddafi on the world stage. Leave it to Sarko to invite Monsieur Mo and his bedouin tent to Paris.

Anyway, my point is: What's with the facial hair, Mo? I think he's going for a Pirates of the Caribbean look. Mo says, hey, it works for the young Johnny Depp, why not for me?

Meanwhile Sarko's thinkin' "Any babes in here? Ou sont les babes?"

My Stairway to Heaven Theory

My theory is that Stairway to Heaven has a ten-year shelf life. That is to say that from the first time one hears StH one has ten years of enjoyment before suddenly ODing on the song and not being able to listen to it anymore.

Most people in my age group would've heard StH for the first time as teenagers, let us say, at age 15 just to make it easy. I'll use myself as an example. I heard the song and I loved it. Thought it was great.

And then for years and years, I kept hearing it. Still liking it, but then suddenly at or around age 25 I got sick of it. I couldn't stand it anymore. And I have now spent 21 years being sick of the song but still being unable to escape it.

You can't escape it, you know. It's playing in every gas station, depanneur, drug store you go into. If there's a radio on, within a few minutes you'll be hearing Stairway to Heaven. And hating it.

"And she's buy-uy-ing a stairway..."

Last night on The National, my girl Adrienne Arsenault was reporting from the Led Zeppelin concert. Considering how she is usually in a flak jacket somewhere in the Middle East, it was kinda fun to see her there. She looked oddly amused.

Signing off, she mentioned that Zep songs would soon be available as ring tones. So, she said “you can hear Stairway to Heaven every time the phone rings.” I looked at the cats and said: “Why would I want that???” and then we cut back to Peter Mansbridge who said: “And why wouldn’t we?”

Thus I find myself at odds with Peter Mansbridge.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Surgery Update

When I met the surgeons last month, I was hoping to have the older guy do my surgery because I thought the younger one was too young. And too good-looking. I had fears of having young McDreamy because I assume if he’s a young good-looking surgeon then he is a hotshot who is full of himself, and I don’t want him.

I called the hospital this morning trying to track down the date of my surgery, and, yep, I’m getting McDreamy. How annoying. He did ask a couple of good questions during the initial consult, so maybe I’m worried for nothing, but this still makes me nervous.

I don’t even watch Grey’s Anatomy but I can still picture this hotshot (he’s Italian for god’s sake) flirting with nurses and ignoring me, THE PATIENT.

I don’t know the date because apparently McDreamy schedules all his surgeries and never tells his secretary anything. She is totally exasperated with him, and said she would call me back. She hasn’t. This does not bode well.

Another Republican Idiot

Last night I saw a commercial by Rudy Giuliani. I'd heard about it but it was the first time I'd seen it.

In it, Rudy talks about how the US hostages in Iran were released exactly at the moment that Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as Prez of the USA.



what does any of that have to do with Rudy? Nothing. Try to hang onto to the coattails of a dead President? Effing pathetic.

Remind everyone of dead Ronnie being sworn in 27 years ago = Vote for Rudy!

What? What an idiot. Is this guy for real?

Heh heh

I see that The Globe & Mail refers to Conrad Black as a "fraudster" this morning.

That made me giggle.

Update: 6 to 8 years for old Conrad. wow. I didn't think such a high-falutin' bigwig would actually do time. True, he is a foreigner in the USA, so who cares about him down there, eh? And as a foreigner, he doesn't have the privilege of going to a cushy prison, he has to go to a real prison. What will Barbara do? How will she maintain her lifestyle?

Chip News

JAW Fan reporting:

Yesterday, I had the privilege of sampling two of the new President's Choice Asian-themed potato chips: General Tao flavour and Szechwan flavour. Were they Chinatown in a bag? No, they were not. But what a pretty bag they were...a nice rich silver colour with a dragon emblem. Probably the most beautiful chip bag I have yet to see. However, their spiel on the back (something along the lines of not needing chopsticks to enjoy Chinese food) was rather lame. But then, one does not purchase potato chips for literary reasons.

In any case, for anyone who might fear that these flavours would not translate well into a potato chip, fear these chips are about as Asian as Don Rickles in silk pants*. Does this mean that they were an unpleasant chip experience? Of course, not. The General Tao ones should really have been called "Hint-o'-Barbecue" It was not an intrusive taste whatsoever. In fact, one could have been snacking on them all evening without ever realizing the supposed-Chinese inspiration behind them. And had someone informed unaware eaters that these were General Tao, spit takes might have ensued.

As for the Szechwan chips, they were tangier and far more pleasant to the ol' tastebud. They had a nice zip and zing to them. I could best descibe them as All Dressed Light. Personally, I find All Dressed chips can be a little overpowering, but these Szechwan ones brought the flavour down a notch, making it a truly enjoyable party snack.

Overall, they would both score well on the wang-o-meter, the Szechwan, however, would probably rate an inch bigger, making him this weekend's winner in the chip locker room.

*Editor's note: Wha?

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I just read Chris's latest column on Mitt Romney: "Mitt Romney made his religion speech during Hanukkah because he's the only candidate oily enough to burn for eight days."

I think that is one of the funniest things he's ever written.

Romney's such a creep.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Good Snow Removal News for a Change

When I got home tonight the city had cleared the other side of the street. They always do the east side first, and us on the west side a day or two later. I don't know what this injustice exists. It just does, and we must live with it.

I had not cleared my driveway all week because I didn't need the car. But when I got home tonight, for reasons unknown, the city guys had cleared my driveway! Really. It was so strange and unexpectedly delightful.

I was outside with my Pogues-lovin', whiskey-swillin' neighbour and I said I should've bought a lottery ticket for tonight because this is my lucky day. And he said, no, this was obviously the ONLY lucky thing that was going to happen today, so a lottery ticket would've been a waste of money. I love an optimist. Sometimes he makes me look sunny by comparison.

We suspected that the city workers might've mistakenly thought that they had blocked my entrance with their equipment and pushed the snow in front of my driveway, which is why they then pushed it out. They didn't but who cares? All's well that end's well, as the bard once said, but not about snow clearing.

It's snowing again


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Obsession of the week

It's prairie dog!!!

A Canadian Winter Scene

Many of you know that I have an ongoing hate-hate relationship with a particular next-door neighbour of mine based on the fact that a) he shovels his snow onto my property and b) he is the biggest asshole in the history of the universe.

It has often been suggested (particularly by JAW Fan, who would do it in a flash if he lived here) that I simply shovel all the snow back onto the property of Mr. Biggest Asshole. I have not done so, and the story below will explain why. This is exactly the kind of confrontation I wish to avoid, and I know perfectly well that if we started this battle, I would end up in handcuffs.

Premeditated murder by swinging a shovel. Murder One. No regrets, no remorse. Murder with a song in my heart.

In this story, replace the words “snowblower” with “shovel”, “43-year-old man” with “46-year-old woman” and “72-year-old woman” with “the biggest asshole in the history of the universe”.

LEVIS, Que. -- A snowblower duel between two neighbours was decided with the click of handcuffs after punches were thrown and one man tried to choke an elderly woman.

Levis police said it all started in a swirl of snow Monday night as the elderly woman cleared snow from her front walk but blew the snow onto a neighbour's entrance.

Her 43-year-old neighbour saw that and got out his snowblower to send the fluffy white flakes whirling right back.

"Then the 72-year-old woman grabbed her snowblower again and blew it onto her neighbour," said Alain Gelly, a Levis police spokesman. "The man again blew the snow back. Both of them were blowing snow on each other. It was a real battle of the blowers."

The tempest lasted about 10 minutes until both combatants faced each other in the street, their engines roaring.

"That's when the 43-year-old man got angry and started insulting the 72-year-old woman before grabbing her by the throat and pushing her to the ground," Gelly said.

The woman's 70-year-old husband saw what was happening from the window of his house and ran out to intervene. But he got punched several times before he could say much.

A neighbour saw the commotion and called police.

The 43-year-old man was arrested. He will likely be charged with assault. (Edmonton Sun)

P.S. I just noticed that the cop's name is Gelly. Cool name. I'll bet everyone on the force calls him GellyBaby.


I left the house 15 minutes earlier than usual this a.m., but I made it to work on time.

It's a miracle!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Again, I've been remiss

What with the snowstorm and the Scottish man and a bunch of other stuff, I've not being paying full attention to the news. Thus I am tardy in posting regarding the death last week of the lead singer of Quiet Riot.

Let us pause a moment now to remember Big 80's Hair.


Oprah continues her miracles

The Scottish man is home from the hospital and his Scottish mommy is taking care of him. He even e-mailed the office with a medical update, so apparently his brain is functioning normally.

Hail Oprah.

That's it! I'm moving to some warm place

Florida? Venezuela? Hong Kong? I don't care.

For the second day, I had to abandon the bus and walk to the Metro because of effing gridlock. I was over an hour late for work again. This is insane. Why do all the surburbs get decent snow-clearing and the city of Montreal does not? I'm soooo angry.

Maybe I just need to move to Cote St. Luc. It's only two blocks away and the roads there are pristine.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hell's Freezing Over

Never thought I’d say this but there’s a Republican candidate I actually like.

Yes, he doesn’t believe in evolution and therefore has to be a loon, but Mike Huckabee is really likeable. I can’t hate the guy. He seems smart and articulate. He’s the only fundamentalist Christian I’ve ever seen on t.v. who doesn’t appear to be totally hostile to the rest of the world. He’s not full of hate like the rest of them. Oh, and Huckabee's a cool name.

What really did it for me is last night on Anderson’s show, they talked about how much Huckabee idolizes Keith Richards. This from a man who doesn’t drink alcohol. Keith! Uniter of all! Let us all join together under the banner of Keith.

Of course, Huckabee is a Baptist minister from the South, so this inevitably means the creepy sex scandal is just around the corner. Too bad.

Post-Storm Day One

Apparently our offices are staying open today, although it's still snowing and I think they should send us home.

Took me an hour and 45 minutes to get to work this a.m.; double the usual time. NDG is the worst neighbourhood in town after a storm. Too many uncleared major arteries = headaches. I got off the bus and walked the last mile to the Metro, passing 4 other buses along the way....and I'm a slow walker!


Another thing I love about winter? Comments from susie about how hot it is in Australia. Oh yeah, I love being reminded of that. grrrr.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Shovelling, Part One of Infinite

I did a quick 10 minutes of snow shovelling before going to work.

I now just completed another 30 minutes. I'm only doing the path. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that my kindly handsome neighbour will come around with the snowblower later to do the drive. He better. Or no more Irish whiskey for him. (That's my standard bribe.)

Snow's accumulating and drifting pretty quickly out there. I'm going to have to do the roof next. This is really crappy.

My Stupid Employer

We're having a pretty big snowstorm at the moment. But not the worst in history by a long, long shot.

So I get to work at 8:50, that's about 20 minutes late. Not bad, considering road conditions. At 9:00 a.m. we receive an e-mail from the Big Boss announcing that our offices are closed, due to the weather conditions.

We're all fucking here already!!

The whole point of a snow day is that your turn on the radio, hear that your offices are closed and joyfully go back to bed. That's how it's supposed to work. Idiots.

So I've done a bit of on-line Xmas shopping, a couple of e-mails and a bit of blogging and now I'm heading back home to shovel.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Line of the Day

Ian McEwan on Norman Mailer: Boxing and writing were wonderfully confused in his mind.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Movie Moment

I came across one of my favourite movie moments tonight. I was flipping past A&E and Goodfellas was on.

It was the scene where Deniro, Pesci and Liotta are visiting Pesci's mother, when they've got Frank Vincent's body in the trunk of the car. Mother Scorsese is showing her latest painting to the fellas. It's a painting of a guy in a canoe with two dogs. Joe Pesci describes it. He says: "I like dis one. One dog goes dis way. One dog goes dat way...and this guy he says 'hey whattdaya want from me.'"

Then they all start laughing about the guy they killed.

I had to watch the whole movie.

One Final Leap

I saw today on page A25 of The Gazette that Evel Knievel died. Wait a sec. When I was a teenager, he seemed to be ubiquitous. You couldn't go a week without hearing about another stunt, or planned stunt, by Evel Knievel.

And now his death is relegated to page 25?

It's not just me, right? Is it because I had male cousins who were obsessed with him? Is this why I think this should be much bigger news? I thought he was a much bigger star in American popular culture than it appears. He was Evel Knievel, dude!

Oh well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Today in Waaaahh News

Environment Canada says it appears the country will have to endure its coldest winter in almost 15 years as everyone is reminded what a real Canadian winter feels like.

Canada has had a number of warmer-than-normal winters in recent years, but this December through February is forecast to be one of the harshest in recent memory. (Globe & Mail)


The Missing Link

Ever since I started this blog, I've had a feeling that there's always been something missing. Some important subject that never gets raised. But I could never identify what it was.

But today I found it! I never have any Abominable Snowman news.

Thankfully, this has now been rectified.

"KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A U.S.-based television channel investigating the existence of the legendary Yeti in Nepal has found footprints similar to those said to be that of the abominable snowman, the company said on Friday."

My goal is have more regular reporting on the Yeti, Bigfoot and all their furry cousins. (In a dry spell, I'll even go for Loch Ness Monster news.)

All Hail Oprah!

Oprah is right. It IS all about the power of positive thinking. That IS The Secret!

The Scottish man is out of intensive care. It's all thanks to Oprah!! Hurray!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

There he goes again

That lazy-assed c***s***er Bush keeps ruining my life.

The Washington Post reports today that W. is currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces.

This means I have to take one of my favourite books of all time and toss it on a bonfire in the back yard. But only if he's enjoying it. Maybe he won't get the jokes and will toss it out.

What am I thinking? The story is a lie. Bush doesn't read books!

Oh, you naughty WaPo, you really had me going there for a minute!

Teddy Bear Update: No Picnic

A British teacher has been found guilty in Sudan of insulting religion after she allowed her primary school class to name a teddy bear Muhammad. Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, has been sentenced to 15 days in prison after a day-long court hearing.

Mrs Gibbons had been accused on three counts of insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs. She will be deported after serving her sentence in Sudan's capital Khartoum. (BBC)

None of this would've happened if she had named the bear C***s***er.

I think the court should be convicted of insulting intelligence, inciting hatred and showing contempt for anyone with a brain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Le Very Beautiful Noel

Tete a Claques X-mas video is great. This may put me in the X-mas mood.

I am queen of all negativity

It appears I’m the world’s most superstitious lovelorn person because I’ve been avoiding commenting on the Scottish man’s hospitalization for fear that doing so will cause some horrible twist of fate.

But 12 days on, he’s still hanging in there. Still in intensive care, but not, you know…dead.

Being grim is really exhausting, so now I have to be light-hearted and positive about the whole ordeal. Tra la la. Tra la la. Everything will be fine. (I don’t believe this for a second! Who am I kidding?)


When I was in Hanoi, I had to book my hotel and my flight to Ho Chi Minh on my credit card. It was a total of US$ 128.

I got my Visa bill yesterday, and with the exchange rate, it came to CAN $127. whee.

After decades of seeing ridiculous exchange rates on credit cards, that one dollar reduction was such a thrill.

World Report

Just because I haven’t been sufficiently outraged lately.

Item 1)

The British school teacher arrested in Sudan has been charged today with blasphemy, insulting Islam and inciting hatred after her pupils named a teddy bear Muhammad. Gillian Gibbons, 54, now faces 40 lashes, a six month prison sentence or a fine if convicted of the crime. (Times of London)

Let’s hope she gets off with a fine then leaves the country and never goes back to that hellhole again. I’ve had it with stories like this.

Item 2)

Annapolis Middle East conference. Annapolis is a sexy town, what with all those Navy men wearing dress whites. But what a joke. I’ve always known Bush is a lazy-assed c***s****er, but this is embarrassing. A one-day conference that results in a promise to have “benchmarks” by the end of 2008? That’s the accomplishment? I hope the participants at least got a nice supper and maybe a few decent buffet snacks ‘cause that’s all they got. What is one step below phoning it in? Bush is the pits.

mmmmm Annapolis

Item 3)

Strikes in France. I don’t care about real French news. I have to confess I only read stories about Sarkozy’s love life. Now those are interesting. If he’s really dragging more than one official babe to all his meetings, it proves that for a lot of women power is everything. I am reminded of the immortal words of Buck Strickland of Strickland Propane: “..I’ve got a pretty little mistress. I’m living like a Frenchman.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Big O

Ondaatje wins the Governor General's award for fiction.

I'll just leave a blank space here, and we can visualize Ms Mushrooms rolling around on the floor and having a tantrum. (She really don't like that particular book.)

Word of the Day

collywobbles: intestinal cramps, or other intestinal disturbances.

That's it. All my troubles will seem so much cuter if I start calling them collywobbles.

Me: Dr. Fried, will this surgery cure my collywobbles?
Dr F: Why yes, little girl, it will. ho ho ho.

(Suddenly my surgeon has turned into Dr. Hibbert on the Simpsons. Don't know how that happened.)

Meow Meow Meow

It's the 3rd anniversary of my adoption of the triple-threat feline army. How time flies.

Long live the Triumvirate.

They rule! I am but the humble provider of food, water, clean litter and furniture for scratching posts.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Me + Mechanical Thing = Argh!

I drive a 1993 Altima, as regular readers of this blog know.

The engine runs perfectly, but the body is full of unsightly rust. About once per month, I find a business card tucked under the windshield wiper that says “We collect scrap metal”. It’s not always from the same company; apparently more than one scrap metal dealer covets my vehicle. I try not to feel hurt by these billet doux.

Now I have another problem. There’s a short in one of the windows and it does not stay closed. This has been going on a couple of months now, but is only becoming serious now because, hey, winter is here. You wanna drive around in this climate with a back window that is wide open? It’s not fun. I always thought automatic windows were such a cool advantage over old-fashioned cranking ones, but now I'm not so sure.

But do I want to pay a fortune to fix an electrical problem on a ’93 car? No, I do not.

So yesterday I had to go all white trash, and duct-taped a sheet of plastic across the gaping hole. Fortunately, as I went off to beautiful Lasalle to do groceries at my fave IGA, the window unstuck, righted itself and I was able to get the window to go back up and stay up. Huzzah. Now, of course, I’m afraid to drive the car out again in case the dang window falls again. It’s going to be an exciting winter.

I’m leaving the plastic up. Maybe I’ll get a Confederate Flag sticker for my back bumper. Yee-haw.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another Baffling Moment In Advertising

Maybe it was a dream, but I’m quite certain I’ve seen a commercial for an American beer (I think it’s Coors) whose selling point is its coldness. It’s America’s coldest beer. I think there is even some little thing on the can to help you recognize that it is cold. Because, you know, just touching it is so deceptive and unreliable. Is there a law that prevents all beers other than Coors from being put in the fridge? I’m confused by this.

If I was a Coors exec and I was watching a pitch from my ad man (for whose services I’d assume I’m paying a lot of money) and he said: Coldness. We’ll sell the idea of the beer being very cold, I would say: You, sir, are an idiot. Then I’d hit him with something.


I got two tickets for Bruce. I was originally going to try for 4 but the choice wasn't great. So I went for 2 and got section 123. I think that's pretty good.

My hernia surgery better not interfere with my Springsteen plans!

Climb Every Mountain! - Euro 2008

From the Times of London:

The team may have crashed and burned, the distraught supporters will not be buying plane tickets to Austria or Switzerland, but one Englishman may be on his way to Euro 2008.

Tony Henry, the opera singer tasked with singing the national anthems before England’s game with Croatia earlier this week, has become an unlikely hero of the Croatian game after appearing to make a somewhat risque slip of the tongue while belting out the nation’s tune.

The singer, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, should have sung “Mila kuda si planina”, which translates roughly as “You know my dear how we love your mountains”. Instead, he appears to have sung “Mila kura si planina”, which, although moderately nonsensical, can be interpreted as “My dear, my penis is a mountain”.

In actual football news, am I correct in believing that neither England nor Scotland qualified for Euro 2008? There must be tremendous teeth-gnashing going on in the Mushrooms household.

Australian Election

So long, Howard.

I won't miss you.

Break out the champagne!

Friday, November 23, 2007

My New Hero: Sim Jae-duck

A week without toilet news is a week without sunshine. Therefore (from CNN):

"SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The World Toilet Association kicked off its inaugural conference Thursday, hoping to spark a sanitation revolution that will save lives through better hygiene and break taboos about what happens behind closed bathroom doors.

To the celebratory rhythms of a percussionist beating on toilets, dozens of government delegates and U.N. representatives began two days of discussions on improving bathroom facilities for the 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to proper restrooms.

The South Korean government has given strong backing to the World Toilet Association, which has been spearheaded by the country's "Mr. Toilet" -- parliament member Sim Jae-duck. He earned his nickname for improving public restrooms for the 2002 World Cup as mayor of Suwon city."

I can’t decide what’s the best part of this story: the percussionist beating on toilets, or the guy nicknamed Mr. Toilet. Can I be Miss Toilet?

What is it with Koreans and toilets?


Springsteen tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon.

I shall be perched next to my keyboard at 11:59, my fingers poised, hovering and ready to strike. Trusty credit card by my side. Charge! It!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today in Hugo News

"PARIS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday that U.S. President George W. Bush belonged in a mental asylum for referring to the possibility of World War Three if Tehran developed nuclear weapons."

The question on everyone's lips: Will King Juan Carlos of Spain step up and tell Hugo to shut his pie hole?

Today's Hypothetical Question

Let's say you were fishing around in your knapsack and you found a piece of dark chocolate from a hotel, for example, the Sheraton Hotel in Hanoi. Said chocolate is packed in a crumpled bit of cardboard, not sealed in plastic. It looks edible. But it has been halfway around the world and lugged around on your back for over a month.

Is there any reason NOT to eat it?

Please Don't Squeeze the Deceased

Mr. Whipple died. He was 91.

That's a long life. That's a lot of Charmin. I'm not even trying to make a joke outta this.

Winter Boots: Day One

November 20 seems a tad early to have been forced to pull out the winter boots. I resent it. Perhaps today's snow is just an aberration, but from what I've seen of the forecast for the rest of the week, it don't look good.

This weather is very depressing. Stupid cold country.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Rule: Crushes can't die

When you are the object of someone's (and by someone I mean me) desires, you can't die. You can't even almost die. It's stresses me and I can't stand stress.

Think back to last Spring and my infatuation with the grumpy, silent Scotsman with the great wing tip shoes. Things have progressed painfully slowly over the past months, and we are now on fairly regular speaking terms.

So what does he go and do?

Nearly die. What nerve!

He had emergency brain surgery over the weekend and is expected to recover. But man, doesn't he know the rule? My crush cannot die, he's not even allowed to come close. I'm already neurotic! Give me a break!

Imagine how Charlie Brown would've felt if the little red-headed girl had suddenly keeled over and died. His life would've been even more pathetic.

I don't want to be the Charlie Browniest! Is this gallows humour? Can humour get any blacker than this? I don't know. It's too surreal.


I saw the trailer for the Dylan biopic. I'm not really interested it, but I was amazed at how Cate Blanchett looks. She plays Dylan in the 1965-66 era, and she looks incredible.

She may just be making the most of a perfect wig and the right sunglasses, but it's still eerie.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Movie Round-up

This weekend I saw Death at a Funeral, which is very, very English. Pretty funny. I enjoyed it.

And I saw Michael Clayton, which wasn't as good as I was expecting. It won't ruin anything if I say that at the beginning of the film George Clooney escapes a car bomb, and then at the end there is a long sequence where we see the build-up to the car bombing, but I thought where's the suspense when we already know he's not going to die. I didn't see why this had to be revealed in the opening scenes. Odd.

One thing this movie tells us is that upstanding, honourable working class folk drive old Altimas. I could not agree more.

Happy to report that our cohort, George, is looking good for his 46 years. He looks his age. And still great. As do we all, right? Right?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Attention All Word Lovers

Have you played Free Rice yet? No? Then do it today. I've posted a link.

Every time you guess the correct word, a donation of 10 grains of rice is made to the World Food Programme.

Improve your vocabulary while donating rice. It's fun. Try it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Name Game

Something I read today reminded me of a question I’ve never had answered. In Quebec, women who marry (and there ain’t many of them around these parts) legally keep their names. And whether their parents are married or not, more and more kids have hyphenated last names. But where does the hyphenation end?

Let’s say:

Joe Apple and Mary Pie have a son: Johnny Apple-Pie. Their friends Jack Banana and Brenda Split have a little girl Boopsie Banana-Split. When Johnny and Boopsie grow up and get married, will their kid be named Miles Apple-Pie-Banana-Split. And will his daughter on her wedding day become Angelina Applie-Pie-Banana-Split-Carrot-Cake-Spanish-Inquisition?

I mean, how does this work? When does it end, and who decides which of the names get ditched for brevity’s sake? I’ve never understood it.

It's Friday! Time to get disgusting

Does this blog have a severe shortage of scatalogical posts? Ya think?

Warning: Do not read if you are eating breakfast, lunch, supper or bedtime snack, depending on where you are on the planet!

JAW told me about this yesterday, and last night it was on the National news. I'm still grossing out.

"A controversial new treatment, which involves the transplantation of human waste, can treat cases of C. difficile infection. But only a handful of physicians in Canada undertake the messy procedure.

Studies that have been published show that more than 90 per cent of patients are cured through fecal transplants — most of them after just one treatment.

The procedure involves getting a close relative of the patient, such as a sibling, to donate several days-worth of stool. Louie tests the stool for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV and then mixes it with saline to create liquid feces. He then administers the stool to the patient through an enema." (CBC)

In the words of MAD Magazine: BLECH!!!!!

I love my sister but....BLECH!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's Quiz

Salon today has a list of 2007's sexiest men. I'm not impressed with the list, but this particular description made me laugh.

"The Long Island lilt. The arrogance. The temper. The paunch. The propensity to play louts. "

This should be an easy one for the readership of this blog to guess, as he has a couple of rabid fans here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Goin' Under the Knife...

...early in the new year.

Thank god it's not before the holidays. When I saw my hernia on the x-ray I said: It's huge! and all the doctors (4 of them!) said: yes it is. They said it isn't urgent, but it's also not something that can wait a year. So early in the new year it will be. I must wait for the secretary's call.

They said the reason I often feel uncomfortable after I eat is that my stomach isn't in the right place. That's simple enough. I know I should've had a hundred questions but I went totally blank. So I'll write my questions as they come to mind because I'll have another appointment with the surgeon before the big day. I should have my wits about me then.

Operation is supposed to take 2 hours. The surgery should be done laparoscopically (spelling? I have no idea). If done this way, it's an overnight stay in hospital and 2 weeks recovery. If they open me up and find they can't do it laparoscopically, then its 5 days in hospital and 6 weeks recovery. I can see why the first option is more appealing, even if its only 2 measly weeks off from work. I'm already planning on asking my boss to let me work from home for the 3rd week. I'm sure she'll say yes.

High Anxiety

I'm seeing a surgeon this afternoon. Ack! I'm afraid of an operation. Yikes!

I have only two questions for him:

1. How likely is it that I'll die in surgery?
2. Assuming I live, how much time off work can I get?

This pretty well covers my whole range of existential questions: life, death, and lazing around the house.

If I'm home for a few weeks, I'll definitely need a new Sony t.v.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Scanning the NY Times on line this weekend, I saw that the Magazine's cover story was on the great eccentric Daniel Day-Lewis and his new movie, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on a book by Upton Sinclair. (How often does that happen? Never.)

I saw the trailer yesterday. If I hadn't known it was an PT Anderson movie, I would not have guessed. It doesn't look like one of his. What it does look like is DDL giving it all he's got. And that's a lot. Looks fantastic. Can't wait to see it.

Today In Canadian Politics

Can you guess how happy I would be if Steve’s approval ratings took a nose dive because, fair or not, people will associate this current Conservative government with that crook Mulroney’s old PC reign.

A Conservative’s a Conservative, says I, and a former PM with envelopes of dirty cash makes everybody look bad. Let’s tar Steve with Brian’s brush. Wheee. Good old Mulroney, he can always be depended upon to make a mess and then be all indignant about it.

And I love that Steve told his Cabinet to have no contact with the old PM. Run away! Run away! I picture Steve in the corridors of Parliament being chased by Mulroney, while holding his hands to his ears and shouting: La la la, I can’t heeear you.

But, but cries Steve, I didn’t see any incriminating letter. Let’s all yell it together: Cover up, Cover up! Even devil-man Allen Gregg can’t believe that Steve didn’t know about the letter. Cover up, cover up.

De Plane! De Plane!

The gigantor A380 landed in Montreal yesterday. I saw it on the news. I did not attend the festivities. I was not among the 1,000 people who went to the airport to see the plane.

When the plane landed, everyone huddled near the runway was jumping around and applauding. Am I missing something, or is it just plain weird to cheer for a big jet airliner?

Monday, November 12, 2007

No Country for Old Men

This is a good movie. At first view, you think it's a movie about Javier Bardem killing everybody in sight with a contraption that is used to kill steer, but I think it's really about what the title says. It's about Tommy Lee Jones as an old sherrif who's looking around at all the drug wars and violence that have landed in his part of Texas and he just can't believe what he's living through. He just doesn't "get" the world anymore.

Garrett Dillahunt is in this movie, and he's also in Assassination of Jesse James. And I didn't recognize him in either movie. Deadwood fans will remember him as the disgusting and evil Francis Wolcott. How I hated that character. Anyway, it appears he's becoming a movie star. He has a good goofy funny supporting role in No Country, the kind of small part that is often memorable in a Coen Bros movie. A lot of the character actors in tiny parts are really, really good in this.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I've never read anything by Norman Mailer but I was always interested in him as a public figure. He appeared in Montreal a couple of times in the past 10 years or so, and I didn't go see him. I wanted to, I thought about it, but I didn't go. And now I regret it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I wanted to put the whole title of this great movie in my subject line. I love this movie so much.

But. There's always a but.

Many years ago, I saw the Chinese equivalent of this movie. It was a Hong Kong western, a masterpiece called Ashes of Time. I loved that movie so much. But as I sat there loving every frame, JAW Fan sat next to me contemplating slashing his wrists because he hated it so much.

More recently, there was a Korean movie called A Bloody Aria that others liked. Meanwhile I spent the last hour of it seeking a rope which I could use to hang myself. I hated it that much.

All this to say there are movies I adore that I cannot in good faith recommend to others because I don't want to feel responsible if they hate it and feel that they have wasted 2 hours and 40 minutes of their lives. And this is one of those movies.

Let me reiterate that I love this movie. It's long, it's incredibly slow moving, but it got me in its grip and I was enthralled. So go see it, or don't. It was filmed in Alberta (and Manitoba) and it is gorgeous to look at. And the music is great. And the colours are great. And the acting is great. It's cinematic in a way most movies aren't. Brad Pitt is awesome and I'm not really much of a fan. But don't go because I told you to.

(For Ms Mushrooms, I see that many critics have called it Malick-like. That's all YOU need to know.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Adventures in teevee land

Wow, it doesn’t take long to start talking and acting like an electronics nerd.

Mr. Anonymous graciously led me around Futureshop at lunch-time and I saw a lot of teevees. A lot of nice teevees.

But then…

We fell upon a Sony Bravia 40 inch (I think) that was showing Casino Royale, and we were both smitten. It was love at first sight. We ooohed, we aahhed. We could barely tear ourselves away. We were ready to buy popcorn and spend the afternoon. Man, what a beautiful picture.

40 is too big, but a 26 might be just right.

Drinks for all my friends!

In today's celeb news, my personal icon Mickey Rourke was arrested for drunk driving. The twist? He was riding a scooter. I like that.

He claims he wasn't drunk. Isn't that what they all say?

Unlike with most celebrity mug shots, Mickey actually looks better in his shot than he normally does. That's a bit of a sad statement, I suppose. He looks happy anyway...probably because he was drunk.

If anyone chooses to leave a comment re this post, please remember that this site is a "no-bashing Mickey Rourke zone". Thank you.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Very weird celeb news

NEW YORK -- A priest has been arrested on charges of stalking late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien by writing him threatening notes on parish letterhead, contacting his parents and showing up at his studio, prosecutors said Wednesday. (AP)

How tacky. One should never use parish letterhead for stalking purposes. Even I know that! sniff

I dunno what is at the heart of this matter, but I suspect it has something to do with Conan's unearthly coif.

At least this guy wasn't stalking Max Weinberg.

Electronic Gizmos

My VCR is dead, and my t.v. is on its last legs. Any suggestions on what I should buy to replace these dinosaurs?

I read something this week about a DVD player that also converts VHS tapes into digital format. I think I need one of those because I'd love to get rid of all my tapes.

No need to suggest I buy a 50" t.v. That ain't gonna happen. Nor will I buy one that has to be hung on the wall.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh No

Saw a few snowflakes today.

I know women aren't supposed to cry in public because we don't want to look like wimpy males, but please allow me this: WAH WAH WAH.

In the world of high finance

The Canadian dollar rose 1.5 cents against the US dollar yesterday, and another 2 cents this morning. It's now worth $1.10 US. This is nuts. It's all happening too fast.

Why didn't I buy gold all those years that it was $600-something an ounce? It's $845 today. I'd be rich I tells ya. Silver used to always be around $5 or $6 an ounce, now it's something like $16. Cra-zee.

And yet I remain poor.

As soon as the Chinese talk about moving dollars, no matter how few, currency traders around the world get the vapours. The Chinese have decided to dump some of their US dollars and buy Euros instead. As should we all, I think. Who am I to argue with the Chinese?

An Autumnal Question

Why hasn't someone invented a muffler for leaf blowers? Why do those stupid things have to be so loud?

I hates them things.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry, but Boys Do

A recent study from Penn State University suggests that tears are becoming more acceptable for men and less so for women. The study, using a sample of 284 people, found that men were judged much more positively for crying than women. This, according to the study’s authors, was because men were seen as expressing honest emotion where women were seen as out of control. (Out of control????? grrrrrrrrr.)
A man is seen as strong and unemotional, so crying hints at depth. A woman politician has to portray herself as tough to succeed. So when a woman cries it reinforces stereotypes and tells us that her toughness was just a front and she has revealed herself to be weak underneath. “This is why Bill Clinton can cry more than Hillary can.” (Times of London)

Nice, eh? So go ahead, guys, cry your eyes out, but ladies, keep it for the shower.


Okay, confession time, I have to be honest here. When the Red Sox won the World Series, and big hunky Jason Varitek was interviewed and had tears in his eyes, I got all mushy. So, yeah, I’m guilty. Crying men are very appealing. I hate myself for saying it.

Movie Moments: John Wayne Edition

3. In Donovan’s Reef, when the girl says "Mr. Donovan, I’ve been kissed before” and he kisses her hard and she says: “Well, I thought I’d been kissed before”.

2. Liberty Valance: “That’s my steak”.

1. In The Quiet Man, when Barry Fitzgerald sees the broken honeymoon bed and says “Impetuous! Homeric!”

I never stop watching The Quiet Man at that point, I have to keep watching.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Had to find this picture

It didn't feel right not having this photo on the site. It's so great.

Long live Jesus!

The Godfather, Part One

I was watching some of The Godfather last week, and there’s one thing I just don’t understand. And it has always bugged me. How can anyone be in bed with a severed horse’s head and not realize the thing is there until he wakes up?

How’d they get the head in the bed?

Maybe this is explained in the book, but in the movie it don’t make no sense. Did they drug the guy? I’m thinking if I was sleeping and a couple of Mafiosi came into my bedroom lugging a bloody horse’s head, they might make enough noise to wake me up.

But maybe I’m a light sleeper.

Proof that I am a Nerd: Part 87 in a series

I did something yesterday that I never do. I watched an American football game. I read so much hype about the New England-Indianapolis game that I decided to watch it.

Honestly, I watched it for the quarterbacks after reading an article about their different images and the type of advertising campagins they are each in. I don't actually care how much yardage they are passing for this season, or any other season for that matter.

Anyway, the proof that I am a nerd is that I find Peyton Manning far more attractive than Tom Brady. I suppose I should just go live on a desert island now, as I am sure this makes me an embarrassment to females everywhere.

Movie moments

There are times when I’m flipping through the stations that I’ll come across a movie I know well and there’s a moment that I have to watch. And I’ll leave the movie on until that moment happens. I don’t have to watch the whole movie, I’m just waiting for the moment, and once it passes I can go on with whatever else I might be doing. But I have to leave the station on that movie until I see the moment.

My top three:

3. In Casablanca, the singing of La Marseillaise.
2. Terms of Endearment, the first date, when Jack Nicholson hisses at Shirley Maclaine that she needs a lot of drinks to “kill that bug that’s up your assss.”
1. In The Big Lebowski, when John Turturro licks the bowling ball.

Pakistan = Hell

One would think if one saw a headline stating that lawyers are being beaten up in the streets, that it might bring a little glow of happiness to one’s heart. After all, everyone hates lawyers, right? But I see that headline and it doesn’t make me feel good at all.

I’ve been harping for ages about how Pakistan is the worst place in the world, and now we’re about to see it all unravel. Gotta hand it to Perv, though. Smart cookie. He knows he can do what he wants and no Western ally is going to dump him because all the alternatives are worse. He’s safe in joining the shirtless Putin in the Presidents-for-Life club.

Meanwhile, Osama sits in his condo in Quetta and laughs his ass off.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The One-Pillar Pagoda

Guess what the one-pillar pagoda is? It's a pagoda built on a single pillar. Thus the name. I like things nice and obvious on a Friday afternoon. My brain is slowing down.

I showed this photo to a friend at work who said she wouldn't show it to her husband because then he would want to build one in the backyard swimming pool.

I'm not quite sure why this place is such a big tourist attraction, but who am I judge?

This photo is the altar in the pagoda. Very colourful, but it seems cluttered with too much stuff. Or maybe that is just me projecting my own poor house-keeping issues on the pagoda.

Quote of the Week

Last night on The Office, Dwight was obsessing about attacking someone's eyes (much to Jim's horror).

Dwight's line: "The eyes are the groin of the head. "

Tidy Bowl Men Unite!

NEW DELHI - Though it includes such ideas as a solar-powered commode that runs without water, the 2007 World Toilet Summit is no bathroom novelty show.

Participants at New Delhi's four-day gathering of experts, toilet aficionados, and even royalty from 44 countries are grappling with health and sanitation issues that endanger almost one-third of the world's people who don't have toilets. (MSNBC)

My only question: why is this being held in New Delhi, when obviously the centre of the innovative toilet universe is Narita Airport?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Passing Thought

Did people who really liked Robert Goulet call him "The Goul"?

Philosophical Question of the Day

Is a life without bacon worth living?

There’s a big new cancer study that says if you want to avoid cancer and live a long healthy life, then you should stop enjoying life.

“Recommendations include avoiding processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami or any other meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting; only consuming small amounts of red meat; moderate consumption of alcohol; and avoiding junk food and sweet drinks.” (Times of London)

I’ll bet these medical wet blankets would classify Doritos as “junk food”, as opposed to the “food of happiness and spiritual fulfillment”, as they should be known.

Also unsurprising is that they recommend everyone be thin. Oh, that’s gonna happen. At my height, I should not weigh more than 128 lbs. Let me wipe away the tears of laughter.

More Halong Bay, or the Wang of Life

Whilst cruising around the bay, we stopped at a cave. It was a very large and impressive cave. Here's a picture of some people at the entrance. I know they are very tiny, but they are there.

Among the many interesting aspects of the cave was one in particular. It is called the Symbol of Fertility. Can you spot it? heh heh.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Odd Moment in Hanoi

I was strolling around Lake Hoan Kien which is a lovely place (see photo below) but you can’t avoid being swarmed by postcard sellers, etc., while being there because it is a big tourist spot. I had ignored the usual suspects calling out “postcard, postcard” and “motorbike, motorbike” (if you want to pay for a ride somewhere) but I was caught offguard by a young man selling books. Although he could barely speak English he was offering to sell me a copy of (very clearly enunciated) “The Quiiiiet Americaaan by Mister Graham Greene”.

I looked at the book, and it was a brand spanking new Penguin edition. I was tempted. But it felt like such a cliche to buy that book in Indochina. So I passed. But I think I’ll always hear that young man’s voice saying “The Quiiiiet Americaaan by Mister Graham Greene”.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dead Celebs

First Porter Waggoner, now Robert Goulet.

How many more Old Singers I Don't Care About can die in one week?

(Somehow I expect the death of Robert Goulet to bring on some serious teeth-gnashing and garment-rending by JAW Fan....)

More Halong Bay

In the top picture, you should just be able to make out the lookout at the top of the hill. There were 425 steps to make it from the beach to the lookout, but I was determined to make it to the top because we got there as the sun was setting and I wanted a photo of the sunset. So I scaled those dang 425 steps. And got the second photo. It was worth it.

Whilst scaling and sweating and panting, I was passed by more than one fit, trim European who got to the top without even breathing hard. How I hated those people.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halong Bay

Here are a couple of photos from the boat cruise I went on in Halong Bay, which is about 3 hours from Hanoi. There are about 2000 of these little islands; most are unihabited. It's a beautiful place. More later.

Book News

A five-hour layover at Narita is good for only one thing: reading.

So I did get two books read while on vacation. I will strongly recommend Everything is Illuminated, mainly for the way it creatively demolishes the English language with such joy. One of the main characters, a Ukrainian tour guide/translator, is played by our man Eugene Hutz in the movie. I haven’t seen the movie but this didn’t stop me from picturing our Eugene in every scene. He’s a perfect fit for the part. This book even made me want to go to Ukraine. I’m not sure why since it makes Ukraine look like a complete rat-hole but it still made me curious about the place. Anyway, this book is very clever and wildly inventive, etc. etc. Read it.

I also got around to reading Fight Club. Should I talk about it or not talk about it? Must agree with Ms Mushrooms who said the movie was better. Indeed. I dunno if I would’ve liked the book better if I hadn’t known the twist from the beginning. Regardless of that, two things bothered me: 1) too many repetitive descriptions of the narrator’s face and how it is beaten to a pulp; and 2) too many descriptions of how to make a bomb and home-made nitroglycerin, etc. I just didn’t care that much about those details, Chuck. There’s some good stuff in this book, but it didn’t bowl me over.

Sox Appeal

Yay for the Red Sox and their sweeeep of the no-personality Rockies. I love you Jason Varitek.

In other news, boy, is it hard to come back to work. I'm feeling a tad listless, but also happy because some stupid lame work-related things happened in my absence and I am glad to have missed them.

The dumbest comment I've heard so far about my trip was from a neighbour who asked if I had gone to Vietnam to adopt a baby. I don't know why I was so appalled by the question. Maybe because anyone who knows me AT ALL knows this is a preposterous idea. I'm the least likely person on Earth to be travelling overseas to adopt! Good grief!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Hanoi Hotel

I stayed at a hotel called Hong Ngoc at 99 Ma May Street. I was treated well and really liked staying there. Very comfortable bed.

So I was looking at the hotel's web site, and what did I find? Not only does this little chain run 4 hotels in Hanoi's old quarter, it also runs a hospital. Huh? Here I was feeling sick in Hanoi. How could I know my hotel also ran a hospital? Does anyone ever think "hmm, I wonder if my 15-room hotel has a corresponding hospital?" What kind of hotel chain also runs a hospital? I love Asia.

Jet Lag

I have a sleep problem. I'm sleeping 8 hours, so lack of sleep is not the problem.

The problem is that I sleep from 1 to 5 a.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. I've been in this pattern for 3 days now. I just can't stay awake in the afternoon.

This has to be fixed in the next 48 hours. It has to. Or else I'll be sleeping at my desk all afternoon on Monday. Maybe I can just shut the door and snooze.

Friday, October 26, 2007

California Wildfires II

The grief counsellors have landed in Southern California. The "healing" has begun. The healing. My god. Haven't these people suffered enough?

Apparently the aid, both State and federal, has been very good. Is it terribly evil of me to think that this is directly related to the fact that a lot of rich white people had their homes threatened? If So. California was as poor and as black as New Orleans, what would be happening now? The place would still be burning.

Old Gay Albus

On the one hand, I feel like I should say something about Dumbledore being gay. On the other hand, who cares? It doesn't change the story. Am I missing something?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Me and My Dong

Vietnamese currency is called Dong. (Go ahead, insert your own joke here.) The exchange rate is 16,000 Dong to one US dollar. That is not a rate that makes for easy conversion.

The new bills are really pretty and colourful. They all have a picture of Ho Chi Minh on them. On the 100,000 and 50,000 Dong notes, there is a transparent window. You can look through the money and see your hand on the other side. It is really cool. I guess this is a new mechanism to prevent counterfeiting. It is very hi-tech looking money.

But the problem with Dong is that you can't exchange it anywhere. I find myself stuck with a wallet full of Dong.

Because I left Saigon at midnight, the currency exchange counter at the airport was closed. When I showed a Dong to the lady at the exchange counter in Narita, Japan, she looked horrified. She waved her hands at me and looked upset in a very exaggerated way, like I was trying to exchange tainted devil money or something.

When I got to Montreal, I asked the lady if I could exchange Dong and she said no. She didn't looked terrified like the Japanese lady had, she just said no. And suggested I try their local bank. I didn't even know there was a local Vietnamese bank, and so far, I've no luck locating it.

But good fortune intervened. I found out from a work friend that we have a colleague going to Vietnam on business in December. So I said to her that I would be happy to sell her my leftover Dong at a discount. I've got the equivalent of $56.00 worth, and I'll be happy to unload it for $50.00. Whatta deal. I hope she'll want it. I can't see why not. Otherwise, I'm stuck with this worthless currency.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harvest Moon

I hope everyone has a chance to look up at the full moon tonight. It is enormous and so beautiful.

Those Japanese Toilets

Ah, sweet memories of Tokyo and Narita airport.

I had read about these new fangled toilets that have a button you press which sets off a fake flushing sound to cover the embarrassing real noises you might be emitting in the stall, but I never thought I'd get to use one. It was so exciting.

I'd never seen a toilet with so many gadgets. No. 1 for me was the fake flushing noise, which in my humble opinion, sounded indeed fake. It didn't sound like a real flush. I had to push it twice just to hear the sound.

No. 2 cool option was the built-in bidet which when I pressed the button set forth a very stimulating jet of water. That was super cool. The other option was more like a cool refreshing breeze, but the powerful water jet is, I think, what would have people coming back for more.

There was a 4th button but I can't remember what it was.

So on my return trip, when I got to Narita, I headed for a toilet only to be sadly disappointed. No fancy toilets in the satellite area of the airport. I was at Narita for over 5 hours so I visited a number of bathroom stalls and not one had the new toilets!

I was tempted to walk all the way over to Gates 76-77 where I KNEW the new toilet was located, but I was just too tired. It's a huge airport and that would've been a lot of walking. I just didn't have the energy.

So if you are ever in Narita with some time to kill and want a little fun, head to the ladies room near Gate 76-77 in the main terminal building. It's worth it.

Another fun little past-time is to ride the mini-rail between the main terminal and the satellite terminal. Just because.

Also, Narita is so fancy I felt totally inappropriately dressed for the airport. The duty free area with all the exclusive shops is huge. Like a small shopping mall. And it is so classy looking, I felt like it should have had a sign that said: "Dinner jacket required." Maybe it did in Japanese. I dunno. On the way over, there were two ladies handing out free sips of Chivas. Yo. I was too sick to take one, but free Chivas is not a bad thing at all in my book.

P.S. Another cool thing in the bathroom at Gate 76-77. You know how with most public sinks you just run your hand across and the water comes out? Well, in this bathroom, the soap works the same way. I put my hand under the little spigot looking for something to press and magically I had a handful of soap. It was unexpected and quite cool.