Thursday, May 31, 2007
I can understand the presence of US troops in Korea, but there are still tens of thousands of them in Japan. Japan? Why? What do those troops do, other than get in trouble for occasionally raping the local women? Keeping an eye on China, I suppose.
Also, how about that Cage Match between Condi and the Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov. That guy is bitch-eee. By the time their comments ended, he was about two seconds away from saying “and I hate her shoes!” Smackdown!
Also, two Canadians dead in A’stan so far this week. More of the same. And what do the Conservatives do to distract us? Run attack ads in English Canada against Stephane Dion. Excuse me, but running attack ads when there’s no election campaign doesn’t make the Tories look good. It makes them look like petty assholes. And, meanwhile, despite their claims to the contrary, they aren’t fully covering the funeral expenses for the dead soldiers. Nice.
Back in the US, Gore isn’t even running but the conservatives are already out to destroy him. David Brooks’ column in the Times was moronic and shameful. The right wingers sure are afraid of Gore. MoDo was even worse. “Gore is fat”. That’s all she has to contribute to the conversation? Then shut up. What’s wrong with her lately? Yuck.
I [heart] Al.
P.S. Wake up, Senators. Time's a wastin'.
60: You know you have to be careful what you call them. Don’t call them Chinese.
Me: Aren’t they Vietnamese?
60: Yes. But don’t call them Chinese. They get upset and say “We’re Vietnamese”.
Me: Umm. Yeah?
60: Well, they are so picky.
Me: Umm. There is a difference. Whether they’re from Cambodia, or China, or Viet Nam. They want to be called by the right name.
60: Who cares? They’re all Asian. It’s all the same.
Me: Well. Not to them.
60: I still call them Chinese.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Now Mr. TB enters the US from Canada.
See the pattern.
Canada is the source, or at least the transfer point, of all evil.
We should be nuked. Clearly. There's no other way to make the world safe.
Apparently there are 4 standard drugs to treat TB and this guy’s strain is resistant to all 4 of them.
Now the authorities want to test everyone who was sitting near him on all his flights. Great. Good luck tracking those folks down. What about the people he encountered on the ground?
While we’re all waiting for bird flu to kill us, what if this guy turns out to be Patient Zero in an epidemic of ultra-virulent scary-ass TB that’s already moving through North America and Europe.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Here’s the quote that scared me: “Bees are a necessary part of our food production. If we don't grow our own cherries and apples, can't we just buy them somewhere else? The answer is yes. But do we want to become as dependent on foreign nations for our food as we are dependent on them for fuel?”
Yikes. We're already buying Europe's Best vegetables from China, along with antifreeze-laden toothpaste.
So here’s a doomsday scenario for ya: War over oil, war over food and war over water. (Oh yeah, America, we KNOW you’re coming after our fresh water some day. We know it.)
Jeez. How grim.
And speaking of collapsing….Stupid Senators.
Monday, May 28, 2007
It’s in the way James will say “Oh, and Joyce”, and Amis responds with “Yes, yes, Joyce”. Or James: “Like Nabokov”; Amis: “Yes, of course, Nabokov”. It feels like a Fry & Laurie sketch. Especially in the way Clive James is perched on the couch, and both of them are smoking and drinking throughout the interview.
But Smarty has a great line. I don’t remember if it’s an original or he is quoting somebody else, but he says: Finnegans Wake is a 700-page crossword clue, and the answer is “The”.
Gene Rayburn is waiting for him on the other side, holding that weird long skinny microphone.
"MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Nicaraguan police seized 6,000 tubes of a Chinese-made toothpaste suspected of containing a chemical that killed at least 51 people in nearby Panama last year, the health minister said Sunday.
All U.S. imports of Chinese toothpaste were halted last week to test for diethylene glycol _ a chemical commonly used in antifreeze and brake fluid."
I wonder if they put antifreeze in toothpaste so you don't get that painful numbing feeling when you eat ice cream?
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Am I ultrasensitive, or does that seem a tad dishonest?
They aren't hiding it. The words "Product of China" are pretty big on the back of this bag of frozen vegetables I'm looking at.
Last time I bought a bag of "Europe's Best" it was a product of Belgium. Which last time I checked was still in Europe, so that was okay. But now? I dunno what gives.
I confess the recent dog- and cat-food scandal has made me nervous about all consumables coming from China.
There’s a provision that allows rich, western countries to "help" poor underdeveloped countries cut their emissions. And then the rich country can use this help in their tally of reducing emissions, even though they haven’t actually cut any pollution in their own country.
Basically it’s a provision that allow countries like Canada or France (let’s not even mention the USA) to keep polluting their heads off while earning stupid do-gooder brownie points by saying oh look we helped Guatemala or Uganda reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Not that they were emitting that many in the first place, but that’s the way it is. It’s always easier to make the poor, weak guy clean up his act than do it yourself.
And, as a bonus, we get to keep producing whatever it is we produce as cheaply as we can while making the poor country increase its production costs, so they can never get ahead. It’s a western win-win, make money and keep polluting while keeping the poor guys down. Way to go.
Then there’s this whole "market" where countries can buy and sell their emissions credits. Again, it’s a way for rich countries to buy their way out of actually doing the hard work of reducing pollution. Just buy the credits off the poor guys who don’t use all their credits because they are poor and not manufacturing all that much.
I suppose the only way to get a global agreement is to leave plenty of loopholes for the rich countries to buy their way out of responsibility, but still. This is the best we can do? It’s sad.
I've reached the point where I don't even care if this phenomenon is man-made or entirely natural. What concerns me is, what are we going to do about it? The articles raises a number of questions that I don't see discussed often enough. Here they are (it's a long quote, but has a good punchline, so I'm including it all):
"What would happen if the harvest failed all across Europe or the US or Africa?
What would happen if it failed again the next year, and the year after that?
What would happen if the rain-and-meltwater pattern in the Yangtze valley, the core of Chinese agriculture, changed?
What would happen if the glacial run-off from the Himalayas, which supplies most of India with its water, were to change?
What would happen if the behaviour of El Niño were to become so unpredictable that agriculture in the Southern Hemisphere became unsustainable at current population levels?
What would happen if those glaciers were to melt away?
What would happen if the Gulf Stream (the Atlantic’s ‘meridional overturning circulation’, as it is scientifically known) were to shut down suddenly – the Day after Tomorrow disaster scenario? The prediction is that Western Europe would become 8ºC cooler, about the temperature of Canada. But Canada produces enough food to feed 30 million people and enough grain to feed 60 million. Western Europe has a population of about 450 million. So what would they eat?
Hurricane Katrina gave us a glimpse of how quickly a meteorological event can destroy a city in the richest country in the world. We may be moving towards a future in which events like that come to seem commonplace. Anything in the paper today, darling? Not much – oh, all the Dutch drowned."
Ho hum, the poor Dutch. Always the poor Dutch. It is like Global Warming is World War II and 2007 is 1938. Everyone's standing around saying, hmmm, the situation is bad. Yes indeed it's bad. It's terrible. Yep, things sure are dangerous. Terrible and dangerous. Terribly dangerous. Let's all nod our heads in agreement.
So what's to be done about it? Let's all shrug our shoulders. What? You talking to me? says every government. Governments can't impose any harsh measure 'cause, heck, they need to get re-elected.
Friday, May 25, 2007
As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job." Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off. (ABC)
I thought the airspace over the White House was a no-fly zone. How did that Al-Qaeda sympathizer bird get in there?
As much as I don't care for Charest & Co., I'm annoyed that the opposition parties are willing to vote the government out after only 2 months. Elections cost money. Nobody wants to go through another one so soon. Argh.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Take it away JAW...
"The opening décor which had a somewhat Vincent-Price-movie-kind-of-look was quite nice. Slowly it was pulled away to reveal a type of industrial scaffolding. Costumes were not of the original period, but not particularly modern. Some nice lighting effects and atmosphere in the second half, which helped create a dark ambiance.
There were a couple of goofy thugs on stage(who stole chicken legs off Don Giovanni's plate, at one point) who needed to go. Singing was what you expect from a decent Montreal production, ok but not great since we haven't got the money to pay the really good people.
Now my complaints, the woman behind me with the plastic bag who kept playing with it and making crinkly noises, the woman behind me who was opening her candy during my favorite aria from the opera (needless to say, I turned my head and gave her a glaring look...I don't think she ever dared to eat her candy afterwards), the eleven year-old girl who kept sprawling out restlessly in the chair in front of me (at least she was quiet), and last-but-always-my-biggie the incessant coughing (Cold season is over...and if you do have a cough, have you never heard of Buckley's) And worse than the coughing, all the throat clearing...why are you clearing your throat atthe opera? It's not like you're talking (which naturally some people were doing!!!! They think if they whisper, no one will hear them. It's an opera,not a Black Sabbath concert...at least this time, however, no one sang along.
I might have to go back to boycotting live opera and focus on opera DVDs instead."
It's a gorgeous day. Lilacs are everywhere. The street smells so sweet.
What better way to celebrate than to take a day off work and stay home, puttering in the garden, planting annuals and tomatoes. Not that I've done any of that yet, but I'm heading outdoors any minute now.
Had an excellent practice last night. The canal was so calm, and the weather was perfect. There is a bakery somewhere between St. Henri and Ville LaSalle because we paddled down past the Angrignon overpass and right near there, man, the smell of fresh baked bread was unbelievable.
My technique is definitely improving. I paddled hard for the whole practice and yet didn't have sore arms at all. I'm finally learning to use my back and shoulders. If I can figure this out, anyone can.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
How lame is that.
What are they afraid of?
How can such an incompetent and evil regime have no opposition?
Our neighbours to the south are totally sunk. There is not a political leader in the whole country with a backbone. My condolences.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I just saw the Organization's budget for the next three years, and it says we have to cut our workforce by 18%. That's a lot. Basically we have to go from 610 to 500-ish staff.
Any ideas for a new career for me?
I must start buying lottery tickets.
Or I have to write the next big self-help book for suckers, like The Secret. Maybe I'll call it the Super Secret. Or The Mystery. Or Rescue Your Life. (Hey, that's not bad...) Anything to make a fortune and leave the 9-to-5 and sleep in on beautiful mornings like this. Yawn.
At least the Express bus was running.
Monday, May 21, 2007
For a long time, people called it la Fete de Dollard in honour of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, who it then turned out was some kind of historical dud, so he lost the holiday. Now it's for your run-on-the-mill Quebecois patriots. I'm so old-fashioned I still call it La Fete de la Reine. As far as I'm concerned, Queen Victoria is not an imminent threat to our "national" identity.
We'd be better off calling it tomato and flower planting day because that's what most people do anyway.
Or we could call it one-day-before-the-transit-strike day. I really hope they settle this transit dispute without a strike tomorrow. Otherwise that will be a pain in the ass.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
In other sports news, a very exciting Preakness today, which I missed unfortunately. Another year with no Triple Crown winner. Who knew those three wins were so hard to achieve? Will we ever see another one?
There was a 25-year gap between Citation and Secretariat. And next year will be 30 years since Affirmed. Crazy long drought.
Speaking of droughts...I read today that it is finally raining in Australia. That's very good news indeed.
Friday, May 18, 2007
"Spring has arrived in ...southeastern Vermont ....Resident Theresa Toney said she was dining at a downtown restaurant when she spotted this spring's first naked person. She looked out the window "and saw a man in his 60s walking up and down Main Street totally nude," she told the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper. "This is indecent exposure where it doesn't belong." (AP)
This story, of course, raises two questions:
1) Where does indecent exposure belong?
2) What was the naked guy doing on Main Street, other than just being naked?
So that means the only one left on the Get Lost List is Alberto Gonzales. He's really digging in his heels. That man's like a turd that won't flush.*
*Yesss! That's a "Waterworld" quote. A first!!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
But when he hits one out of the park, I have to give him credit.
I'm too much of a luddite to know how to post a YouTube link on the site, but it truly is worth seeking out Hitchens on AC360. Hilarious vitriol.
What a hoot. And all true to boot.
And the furnace started up in the night. Temps were closing to freezing.
How can I even think about planting tomatoes this weekend with this kind of nasty weather?
This is doing nothing to alleviate my grumpiness.
Hamas and Fatah have been pounding the crap out of each other for a week now. Does anyone know why they do this? And why they keep on doing it? I saw that some Palestinian civilians staged a demonstration against this Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence. And what happened? They got shot at. Way to go.
Now Israel is bombing Gaza. Ho-hum.
It’s just a matter of time before somebody lobs a bomb into Lebanon and wheee, we’re off.
Whatever happened to those two kidnapped Israeli soldiers who sparked last summer’s war? They’re still being held prisoner, aren’t they? Phew, glad that was resolved.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"I didn't see it coming, but I sure felt it roll over my head," he said. "It feels really strange to have a truck run over your head."
Question: Why was the cyclist lying in the road?
Also, there's another Hong Kong special showing that is a collaboration between Tsui Hark, Johnnie To and Ringo Lam. I don't know what the Cantonese title is, but in English it should be called Too Many Cooks. I hope I'm wrong and it turns out to be some kind of monster-size masterpiece.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Go to the Times of London site’s Arts & Entertainment section and watch Clive James’s film on 20th Century. He’s still got it! He's the dream commentator for those of us who like our history lessons with a lot of humour in them. No matter how grim the topic.
Years ago, CBC ran his series Fame in the 20th Century and I was blown away by him. The only thing I retained was his referring to the commander of the Luftwaffe as “Fatty” Goering. It was completely unnecessary. It added nothing but was still so funny.
Anyway, his current film is about dictators and includes all the biggies, Stalin, Fidel and Mao, and the snide commentary is a lot of fun.
Did you know that Coco Chanel was friendly with the Nazis? I didn’t know anything about this. It would be enough to make me toss out my Chanel No. 5, if I had any to toss out.
Monday, May 14, 2007
He was cool.
Shouldn't there, at some point, have been a period where the people who decide these things decided that Steve McQueen would be the dead icon du jour and his movies would get re-released and people would adopt his style, his look, etc. No biopic. If this ever happened, I missed it.
His widow has now published a book and there's an exhibit of photographs currently showing in London. So maybe 2007 will be the Summer of Steve.
Who could play Steve in a biopic? My vote: Heath Ledger.
She sat on his lap and kissed him throughout the interview. It was very bizarre. Colbert fell totally out of character. He looked dazed and bashful and maybe a bit desperate about how to keep the interview going.
She didn’t look like she was kidding, and he looked like a guy who’s thinking his marriage is going to be on the rocks in the very near future.
When she had been on the first time, with Gloria Steinem, and had kissed Colbert twice during that segment, I’d thought, hmmm, she’s really after him. Now it’s clear she was back for more. I hope she sent a note to Mrs. Colbert. Some kind of offering should be made, or else Stephen’s got some serious ‘splaining to do.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
After a succession of friendly passing encounters and e-mails, I got totally shut out yesterday. Ignored, snubbed.
I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I also know I’m too old for this kind of crap.
Don’t let me go back on this if he decides to be friendly again. Hold me to it!
Still love the shoes, though. Okay, I’m weak. I admit it.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Television video of the fight Wednesday night showed two men struggling in the balcony - one with his shirt pulled off - as several people stood around them. (CBC)
I want to know who gets into a brawl at a Boston Pops concert. It's just too silly.
I also love the fact that it was caught on video. Is it on YouTube yet?
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
We finally met our "official" coach tonight. She's about 23 and has rowed on the national team. I liked her.
She was wearing a Dylan T-shirt. Her parents must be into Bob.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Pardon me, but what the f*** is Arnold Palmer doing at the top-table of the state dinner for the Queen? Is he worthy of sitting with Placido Domingo's wife? Really? And what was she doing there? And where the hell was Placido?
Now, I watched the Kentucky Derby and I thought Calvin Borel was just the sweetest, cutest lil country boy ever, but I'd love to know how he felt at this big affair. He's gotta feel out of place, right? But he probably did no worse than W manners-wise.
And Alberto Gonzalez? Man, he's still hanging on too. Do us all a favour and get out of public life.
And Tony Blair? Why is he dragging out his good-byes? Be off with you, Tony.
UPDATE: I was going to add Andre Boisclair to the Just Go list, but then I thought, nah, I'll cut him some slack. So what does he do? Resign. Hmm.
Monday, May 07, 2007
This being said, we had to row a 12-minute segment, then a 10-minute, then an 8-minute. By the time we reached minute 6 of the final 8, my paddle was basically just dragging itself back and forth in the water. I couldn't lift it anymore. My poor tricep was crying in pain.
Now I can listen to Canadian Railway Trilogy any time I want.
This is a nostalgic thrill of the highest order.
Also, I borrowed one of her SuperHits of the 70s CDs so I am now in possession of the Bay City Rollers' Saturday Night, too. Wow.
And supercool Taratino music.
It should be seen in a theatre. I felt like I was back in Cinema V, except my feet weren't sticking to the floor.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Alfredsson hasn’t collapsed. This is good. Maybe it’s because he isn’t dragging around as much hair as he usually does this time of year. I’ll grasp onto any theory at all.
I am so glad to see New Jersey gone, not because of the players but because of that scum GM Lamoriello who fired the coach and then took over. A pox on him, I said.
I’m assuming Buffalo will play Ottawa next. That should be really exciting and worth watching. I can’t bear it.
Or is it that politicians everywhere have always been less than they appear, but today nobody pretends otherwise?
I don't know if the international press collectively decided to pick on Segolene Royal, but every story I read about her was about her unpreparedness and her lack of knowledge of the world. I think there were two stories about her and her knowledge of Quebec, and it both cases she was duped and looked pretty dumb.
Sarkozy, on the other hand, just looks evil. He's a French Thatcher? Great.
Back at home, who do we have in the running? Justin Trudeau. God help us.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I can count the people I haven't seen in 20 years that I would like to see again on the fingers of one hand and still have a few fingers left over.
I don't think Facebook is for misanthropes like me.
The Queen had a great hat. I wonder if she bet on the race, and if so, how much? I guess she would send a servant to the window. I can't picture her queued up with the cigar smokers and beer drinkers waiting to bet.
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all my Mexican friends. Actually I don't think I have any Mexican friends. No amigos para mi.
You think my tulips have a hope in hell of living more than an hour? Fat chance.
Last night, walking home around 10, I encountered a raccoon. He was casually climbing a tree. I stopped and stared at him, foolishly expecting him to run away. But did he? Nope. Just looked at me with an expression that said: Can I help you with something? and went about his business.
I don't live in a distant suburb. I live in the city. This is very unusual.
What's happened to our neighbourhood skunks, I wonder. Them, I'm used to. I wonder if they've been turfed out by the groundhogs.
Why don't we have OTB at the local mall? Who do I contact about this?
Got a hankering for a Mint Julep and it's still early in the morning.
(I'm up so early on a Saturday because at 5:00 a.m. Mr. D. and the Big Red One decided that my bed was a NASCAR oval. After half an hour of their feline antics, I was wide awake. What a start to the weekend.)
Second: It's the Third Annual World Naked Gardening Day. Do what you want with this information. For me, I have a lot of raking and weed pulling to do today, but it's rather chilly and thus I am forced to undertake these activities fully clothed. Neighbourhood Peeping Toms breathe a sigh of relief.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Is joining Facebook a good thing? It's not anonymous, is it? You actually have to use your real name and particulars, I think.
I don't much like this person who added me. She's on the dragon boat team and I find her very annoying.
Is anybody on Facebook? Isn't it mainly for teenagers and college students?
I thought it would run away when it saw me, but it didn't. It just sat there like it owned the place.
When did groundhogs get so uppity?
"I can't believe how long the stupid grass is already." -- Me.
Indulge me while I whine:
But there was snow on the ground only 3 weeks ago!!
Last night as I surveyed that vast expanse known as my back yard, I thought I'd have to be mowing the stupid lawn, not this weekend, but next weekend for sure. This morning, I was checking it out again as I hung out the laundry. Now I'm thinking it can't wait until next weekend. It's already scary long.
There must be some lawn care rule that says when you live this far North you don't have to mow your lawn until after the Kentucky Derby. (Which means I can hold off until Sunday, I suppose. )
Another summer of endless thrills.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Shane is the exception to the rule that nobody wants to hear a drunk guy sing.
When The Pogues did their St. Paddy’s Day tour this year, there was an article about Shane in the New York Times and it made me sad. Any time I read anything about Shane, it makes me sad.
Because he squandered his talent.
There’s nothing romantic about having his abilities and, after a roaring start and a few good years, doing nothing with them. The rest of us, those of us who don’t have anything near these god-given skills, we’d love to have such talent. But we don’t.
When Shane kicks the bucket (Likely any time now, right? Or he could live to be 90. Whatever.) they better discover that his house is filled with stacks of note books full of unpublished unrecorded masterpieces. I have to know that he hasn’t been doing nothing but drinking for the past 20 years. I want tons of posthumous material from him. I want Nobel Prize-worthy poetry from him.
Better yet, of course, would be some brilliant new material, released while he’s still alive. But that ain’t gonna happen. And that’s sad.
Monday night was kind of cold and windy on The Olde Canal, but last evening was really beautiful.
This paddling business is trickier than it looks. I spend all my energy worrying about my "technique" which at the moment is non-existent, so I don't have any time to think about my "power" which is so non-existent it's rather pathetic.
It's all about the back muscles and the abs. I so desperately need a Body Toner Platinum Edition.
Last night we had to do 5 sets of 5 minutes each; with the first 4 minutes at 75% of strength and the final minute at 85%. Ha, I said. After those 4 minutes at 75%, you think there's anything left for the final push? Hardly. Then we get a 2-minute break before the next set. Those 2 minutes go by very quickly.
C'est amazing! C'est beautiful!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
They had a small going-away lunch for her and sent out a general e-mail message to the whole organization saying that anyone who wanted to could drop in and say good-bye.
A man on our floor who didn't realize there were two women with the same name in this department assumed I was leaving and he apparently showed up with a nice going-away present for...Nanuk.
When he arrived and asked where Nanuk was, he was steered over to this woman he had rarely spoken to and, cornered, realized he had to give her this gift. She was surprised and delighted. He was just surprised.
I wish I had been there.