Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Is it dumb to book an expensive vacation at the same time that one is fretting over possibly losing one’s job?

Being Miss Frugal, I’m thinking I should put off a trip until next year when I’ll know where I’ll be working. On the other hand, if I have no job or a new job next year, I won’t get the vacation time that I have accumulated here. And if I’ve been unemployed (living off of that elusive “package”) I won’t want to waste it on vacation.

But also being Miss Travel, I’d really like to go on vacation and I have been saving expressly for this purpose for a few months now. I have the money, and I can go without worry.

I’m probably going. I told the travel agent I’d bring my deposit tomorrow if I was indeed going. The travel agent also told me it would be no problem to extend a couple of days so I can add Tokyo to my itinerary. So my trip would be 11 days in Viet Nam, 2 days in Cambodia and 2 days in Japan. Looking at that list, it seems crazy not to go.

Today in Chip News...

Our intreprid reporter/researcher JAW Fan has a new chip experience to share. Take it away, JAW:

"I had the new Lime and Cheddar Doritos this weekend and was disappointed from head to toe.

They left a maliciously lingering bad taste in my mouth and I had trouble digesting them. Even the next morning my stomach still felt unsettled...Of course, this might have been a result of the four deliciously cold beers and three Peach Schnapps shooters I had whilst consuming the cursed new chips in the bright yellow bag. Nonetheless, I must give them a thumbs and wangs down. Blechhh to you Doritos company for this poor choice of flavouring.*

May I suggest a Tangy Red Pepper Cheddar or a Blazing Jalapeno Nacho as a replacement flavour.

*(Blame must be placed upon the chips. Otherwise, it might imply that the alcohol was the culprit and I am not yet prepared to slander the sweet name of booze.)"

It's Dead Directors Week

Michelangelo Antonioni died. He was even older than Bergman.

Who's left? Who's next?

Monday, July 30, 2007

God help us all

I know I haven't been very kind to Gordon Brown since he became PM, seeing as how he's duller than dishwater and totally lacking in pizzazz. But that being said, he hasn't had an easy time of it so far, what with the Glasgow attacks and the recent flooding. But I wasn't really ready to cut him some slack until I saw this photo.

How does one retain a modicum of dignity whilst being driven around by the DingDong-in-Chief in a cart called "Golf Cart One"? Golf Cart One, for fuck's sake. Bush is a child. This is so sad. Poor Gord-o. He really has done nothing to deserve this.

How much you wanna bet Bush calls him "Brownie". Or maybe "Sir Brownie" you know, because, he's, you know, British and all. heh heh.

He looks like he's Bush's baby-sitter. I weep for him.

Hey you huddled masses, move on up

Interesting story in La Presse today. Last year, 10, 942 Americans became Canadian citizens. In 2001, there were only 5,910. These refugees from the USA represent the highest-educated immigrants in Canada. That’s good for us. In some cases, these people are escaping the Bush regime. Really.

Thanks, W. For Canada, this is the only good thing that’s resulted from his miserable Presidency.

(Note. Yes, I am doing a lot of at-work blogging today. I’m between tasks, and only meeting with my boss tomorrow, so for now I’m kind of floating in no man’s land.)

Another Movie

Yeah, I been catching up on my movies....

I saw Interview with Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller.

I knew nothing about Sienna Miller except that Jude Law cheated on her with the baby-sitter. Which says a lot more about ole Jude than it does about Sienna. The CAD! (What is wrong with some men? Eh? Jude suffers from HGD. Hugh Grant’s Disease. I could go on about this....)

I have mixed feelings about the movie. Being a long, long-time Buscemi fan, I don’t want to say anything negative about him*. And the movie was a tribute to Theo van Gogh who had already hired the two actors to star in this English version of his movie. But then, of course, he was murdered and Buscemi decided to make the movie and direct it himself, as a tribute. So how can I say anything bad about such a honourable endeavour.

If you like small indie movies where the two protagonists rip each other to shreds emotionally, then this is the film for you.

*He’s Mr. Pink for heaven’s sake! He doesn't tip.
And Donny. I am the walrus. I am the walrus.

In Sports News

I've seen a few pictures lately of men playing cricket in Afghanistan. How civilized.

I've never understood cricket, and I fear I never will. You'd think as a baseball fan, I'd see the connection between the two sports, but I just don't. This has led to endless puzzlement when reading British novels, where there are elaborate descriptions of cricket matches, and I'm apparently supposed to be on the edge of my seat about it, but I'm just thinking ?????? and skipping to the next chapter.

But my point is that I hope cricket becomes the official sport of A'stan. It sure beats that other game where they bat around the headless goat. I mean, really, the poor goat. That has to stop.


Ingmar Bergman died. He was old.

You know what this means?

Time for a Cries and Whispers party!
I know who's at the top of my invitation list! (Mr. Anonymous flees the country.)

But, seriously, in the Battle of the Bergmans, I'll always take Ingrid over Ingmar.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Order of the Phoenix

Continuing my Harry Potter week-end, I saw HP and the Order of the Phoenix yesterday. I quite liked it. But if you haven't read the book, I cannot see how you can follow this plot or know who any of these characters are.

I don't think Professor Lupin even had a line. He was just in the background all the time. I wonder how much David Thewlis got paid for this gig.

And you know what's creepy? Gary Oldman being kind. A nice Gary Oldman is just wrong, wrong, wrong. He looks cruel and should be playing crazy and cruel. But now his character's dead so what can I say? So long Sirius.

I was thinking that Oldman would've made a good Voldemort if they hadn't gone for the Rafester. Rafe is the best at being bad, but Oldman is a close second.

And then there's Snape. Alan Rickman steals every scene he's in. He's a hoot.


It's the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mr. Tupper, creator of TupperWare.

Who doesn't love TupperWare? Yay for TupperWare.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Deathly Hallows - I'm Done

Finished the book today. I'm satisfied.

It's all about Snape for me, and I am not disappointed. Whatta guy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hello Kitty.... of Death !!

Several newspapers are covering the story of Oscar the cat. This is a cat who lives in a nursing home in the US and knows when a patient is about to die. He goes into the dying person’s room and stays there until they go. Apparently, he has a perfect 25 for 25 record. He’s so good that the nursing home staff now call the families when Oscar sets up shop in a room because he’s never wrong.

If this was a movie some cat-haters would, I imagine, like to think that he is murdering the patients. Oscar the Killer Kitty? I don’t think so.

Some suspect he is psychic. Nope. If he was, his name would be Kreskin, not Oscar.

I’m guessing he just has superior instinct and can detect the symptoms of oncoming death. The signs are there but humans are too dumb to sense them.

The best headline for this story was in yesterday's Times of London:

“If Oscar’s on your bed, you’re dead”.

Oh those British.

Oscar's a pretty cute cat. He sure beats a cloaked and hooded figure with a staff.

Update: Just reading about the cat in The Gazette. Turns out his name is Oscar, not Simon. I've corrected this. But I would've been ready to bet anything his name was Simon. I was so sure. How odd. Weird how things like that happen.


Last night I saw the little Irish movie that could. Once had been recommended to me by 4 people, and I agree with them. It is a nice little movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The style of the songs is not really my kind of thing, but I can see that these are good songs and they help to develop the characters and move the story along.

Two funny points: When our protagonists go to a bank to try to secure a small loan to pay for studio time, and the bank manager whips out his guitar and sings his own song. That was great. And second, when our hero is looking for some backing musicians and the guys he asks need to know if they will be covering Thin Lizzy because “we only play Lizzy”.

Deathly Hallows IV

Since Susie has exiled herself from this site until further notice, I can still post about HP.

Not much to say. I only read about 30 pages last night. I felt it was dragging a bit, but that may be because of the heat and humidity, rather than the book itself.

It's getting uncomfortable at night around here. If I had a tent I think I'd be camping in the yard to stay cool. Just me and the raccoons.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What the ???

I guess I should say something about the new study that reports if your friends are obese, you are probably obese too. But if your friends are thin, you probably are too.

This manages to be both obvious and ridiculous at the same time. I think it’s silly to ignore genetic predisposition. I think if both your parents are obese, you can hang out with Twiggy all day long but you’re still going to be fat. It’s in your genes.

On the other hand, if you are athletic and your friends are the people you play on sports teams with and see at the gym, then no surprise that you will be trim and so are your friends.

What if your family members are all food-obsessed and fat, but your friends are thin? Or vice versa? And who on earth has all their friends in the same weight category?

What if half your friends are toothpicks and half your friends are obese? Will you be just right?

I gotta go make friends with all the skinny people in the neighbourhood. Their skinniness will rub off on me apparently. Right.

Deathly Hallows III

I know, I know. I've been asked not to post on Harry Potter anymore.

(Drums fingers on desk.)

Oooh, it's hard not to. I'm at page 400. Still Snape-less. He's has to show up and do something significant eventually, doesn't he? Please....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Amazing Kreskin: Still Amazing

Whilst flipping last week, I came across The Amazing Kreskin on The Hour with Georgie S.

Kreskin is still the high priest of nerd cool. He did one of those card-guessing tricks that blew Georgie away. Then he brought crew members and audience members onto the stage and hypnotized them. They couldn’t open their eyes or move their legs.

I’ve never been hypnotized and I don’t think I’d be hypnotizable. For one thing, in this case, my mind would be racing too fast to be put under, thinking, wow, I’m being hypnotized by the Amazing Kreskin, this is truly amazing. So that wouldn’t work.

In any other case, I’d be too unrelaxed to fall for it. First of all, as an introvert I would never volunteer to go on stage, so that’s that. The hypnotist would have to come to my house. That’s a tad unlikely to happen. Also, I’d be too afraid of revealing some weirdo thing that’s buried deep in my psyche. (Stephen Harper? Sexy!!!) Yikes.

Another reason to love the Japanese

I love this. Only in Japan would they come up with The Boyfriend Pillow.

The Boyfriend's Arm Pillow, shaped like a man's torso with one sturdy arm, has been on sale since December and has so far been snapped up by 1,000 singles. (BBC)

Deathly Hallows II

I'm at the half-way mark.

Without revealing anything I have to say that I'm enjoying how Rowling has made Dumbledore central to the story even though he's dead. (No, he hasn't come magically back to life.) Well done.

Still not enough Snape....

Adieu, Monsieur Hot Dog

I was on the 105 yesterday near Loyola and I was shocked, shocked to discover that Mr. Hot Dog is no more.

Mr. Hot Dog! An NDG institution. A landmark, as in, "Take the 105 and get off at Mr. Hot Dog". He is no more, Mr. Hot Dog.

Now it's a Dagwood's. A franchise! What an insult.

First Cinema V, then Hobby World, now it's Mr. Hot Dog. I tell you, if Le Fameux/Famous "Cosmo's" closes, Sherbrooke Street in NDG is doomed from one end to the other.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In the News

Two things:

1. It's raining a lot in England. Why is this news? When I was a kid, if there was one thing everyone knew, it was that it rains a lot in England. Ok. I'm being sarcastic, but still. Watching The National last night did remind me to stock up on bottled water and unperishables. If it starts flooding here I don't want to be one of those people lined up at the grocery store trying to buy bottled water. I've got a spare litre and a half in the fridge right now, but I think I need to double that. Cats will need water, too.

2. Riders are testing positive at the Tour de France. What idiots. They know how much they will be tested. Why do they continue to try to get away with cheating? It's seems pointless.

A third thing:

3. I hate Barry Bonds and do not wish him well in his quest.

The Price is Right

Drew Carey is replacing Bob Barker as host of The Price is Right. I'm sure everyone in Cleveland is very excited about this. It doesn't take much to get people in Cleveland excited, I'll bet.

I've just revealed everything I know about Drew Carey. He's from Cleveland. I've never seen his show. I hope he is nice to the contestants. I hope he cares about getting animals spayed or neutered.

The thing about Bob Barker is, he was always kind and respectful to the contestants, no matter how crazy or excited they were, no matter how dumb their guesses were, he never rolled his eyes, never dissed them. He was a gentleman all the time. Is Drew Carey a gentleman? I dunno. He certainly seems inoffensive to me.

Will he continue to use the long skinny microphone? So many questions.

End of Fantasia

I saw my last Asian movie of the summer last night. It was really good. A Japanese film called Always that I think would do well if it was released here. A nice little tear-jerker, heart-warmer.

It was a good way to end it because overall Fantasia was a disappointment this year. I don't know if this is because:

a) I'm old
b) I'm jaded
c) The movies aren't as good as they used to be, or
d) I'm picking the wrong movies.

Out of 10, I really only liked Always, Rug Cop and Exiled. Shucks.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Deathly Hallows

I'm on page 228 of the last Harry Potter book. It's quite good so far. Certainly is at the same level of intrigue and such as the previous books.

Only complaint: Not enough Snape in the first 200 pages. This better change soon. Frankly, there's never enough Snape for my taste.

Friday, July 20, 2007

So many options

I can't decide which aspect of this story is most inspiring of comment:

President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, and will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during the procedure, expected to take about two and a half hours, the chief White House spokesman said. (CNN)

When Bush has a colonoscopy, it doubles as a brain scan.

Is two and a half hours enough time to declare war on Iran?

Transfer power to Cheney? Didn't Bush do that on Inauguration Day?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Exiled II

This nails it. I just found a review of Exiled that describes exactly why I liked the movie so much. It was made for people like me.

"Macho, no-nonsense leads? Check.
Quirky supporting characters? Check.
Deadpan absurdities? Check.
Ultra-cool posturing by men in awesome coats? Check.
Emasculated comic relief? Check.
An over-the-top Simon Yam? Check.
If Exiled seems familiar that's because it is familiar. It's the Greatest Hits of Johnnie To."

I'm so predictable.

More Fantasia

I saw Exiled last night. This is the reason I go to Fantasia. A Francis Ng, Anthony Wong, Simon Yam extravaganza. I miss those guys so much. Let me expose my age bias by saying those "older" actors (i.e. the ones my age) are the best. They are cool. They are still cool and this movie exists for them to look cool. Anthony Wong is King of Cool.

This was a very stylized action picture, with nice cinematography, set in Macau. I kept thinking that Marty Scorsese will want to remake this one, too. There are lovely pastel-coloured buildings in Macau with outdoor stairwells. These are great places to stage shoot-em-ups. Although I did wonder if anyone else lived in this place, other than gangsters. The streets sure were deserted.

I give it a thumbs-up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

there is nothing so frighteningly passive-aggressive as a well-irked Canadian.

(Will Ferguson in today’s NY Times. )

Crime on the Praries

What is the murder capital of Canada? Surprise, it's not Montreal.

Regina was the nation's homicide capital. It had 4.5 homicides for every 100,000 people, followed by Edmonton (3.7) and Saskatoon (3.3). (Globe & Mail)

I thought Saskatchewan was a nice place to live. I’m surprised by this. I don’t remember hearing much about homicides in Regina, unlike Edmonton. Why is it that every murder in Edmonton seems to be end up on The National? Seems like last year, we didn't go a month without a "body of murdered prostitute found in field just outside Edmonton" story? And yet Regina is more dangerous. Does the CBC have an anti-Edmonton bias?

I guess I’m just shocked because this is a poll of negative things and Quebec isn’t coming in at No. 1. We’re usually the worst at everything! We’re slacking off. The Hell’s Angels must be in a lull.

Did you see that poll about pot-smoking? Canada is No. 1 and not only that, Quebec would be No. 1 in the world all by itself. We don't even need the Rest of Canada to join in to have the highest level of pot smoking in the world. I'm not sure how to spin this into a pro-sovereignty message. Canada, go away, we can get stoned all by ourselves.

Unrelated to above: This is my 1,000th post. What a blabbermouth. (This proves I'm not a pot smoking slacker. I'm far too productive!)

In Cafeteria News...

We have a new young guy making breakfasts and sandwiches in our cafeteria. Here’s my recent encounter with him:

Me: I’d like an English Muffin with egg and cheddar cheese, please.
Drug-Head: We’re out of English muffins. Any other ….?
Me: Brown toast is fine.
DH: Okay. And you want lettuce and tomato. (This is a statement, not a question.)
Me: No. Just egg and cheese.
DH: Okay. You want Swiss cheese?
Me: No. Cheddar.
DH: Okay.
(He does his thing)
DH: You’re having bacon. (Statement, not a question.)
Me: Nope, no bacon.
DH: Just cheese.
Me: And an egg. An egg and cheddar cheese.
DH: Okay.

Godot arrives.

I mean, really, people, how many drugs has this kid done for his brain to be this fried at his age? I much prefer our other sandwich lady. She cowers and looks at me like I’m a serial killer, but at least she always gets the order right. Some day she may smile.

Fantasia continues

Fantasia is a funny festival. You don't know how people will react to different movies.

Last night, we saw a couple of Japanese pictures. The first, Woman Transformation, I thought was okay. Not great, but okay. But one member of our party reacted to Woman Transformation the way I'd reacted to A Bloody Aria the night before, i.e. he thought it was pure torture. The transformations include, by the way, one young woman whose neck grows like a very long snake, while another has her fingernails grow beyond Fu Manchu length. She cannot control their rapid growth. Eventually she goes to the railroad track hoping a train will run over her nails, but snake-neck woman, thinking fingernail-woman is trying to commit suicide, stretches her neck in front of the train to push the other woman back from the track, and dies. Reading this now it sounds very bizarre, but really it's just Japanese. Oh well.

The second movie was The Rug Cop, which I had been really looking forward to seeing. It was about a stoic detective who uses his wig as a crime-stopping weapon. It was a funny little movie that made me smile. But the rest of the audience was reacting like they'd never seen anything so hilarious in all their lives. I'm not sure why people reacted so much. It was cute, but nothing in it made me want to shriek with laughter. Again, oh well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another movie

Tonight we saw a Korean movie called A Bloody Aria.

In 11 years of attending the Fantasia festival, this may be one of my most hated movies. It ended over 2 hours ago, and I'm still being bored and irritated by its plodding pace. I thought it would never end. blech.

Scanning the news...

The 22s are off to Kandahar. How long before the first Quebecois soldier is killed, i.e. one from a regiment based in Quebec. We already had a local military funeral, for the guy whose family is in Laval. He seemed like a cool guy. Once Quebecois start dying over there, it will get huge coverage, and Harper can kiss his support here, however much there may be, good-bye. On the other hand, that will mean he is going to have to shower the province with $$$ goodies. Yes, we can be bought.

Somebody needs to be put Michael Chertoff on a feeding tube. That guy is skeletal. I don’t want to hear about gut feelings about terrorist attacks from someone who looks like a zombie. He’s scary enough as is.

Many lakes in the province are full of blue-green algae, and apparently it is to a large part the fault of, guess who?, humans. Run-off from septic tanks, industries, etc., have made the water toxic. We are a province of idiots who will never learn. Help, Stephen Harper! Send us some money to fix this problem!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need to get a big tub of popcorn and plop myself in front of the tube and watch Pakistan explode. Although the idea that it could soon end up being the first nuclear-armed Islamist state kind of makes my tummy do flip-flops. Really, is there a more dysfunctional country? I don’t think so.

Not to go all Peter Bergen on you, but a new video of Osama usually means an attack is imminent. Unlike Chertoff, I have an actual, and not just metaphorical, gut, and mine tells me some thing’s going to go boom before the end of the year. In a perfect world, that “thing” would be Cheney.

Conrad Black remains a pompous ass. Some things are for life.

Movie news

I saw this Thai movie, 13 Beloved. JAW Fan (on vacation and computerless this week) and Mr. Anonymous also saw it. A few things that should be taken into consideration for the American remake, which I think is in the works.

1. Rename it 10 Beloved. The movie is too long and it will be enough if the guy has to meet only 10 challenges to win the game.

2. Speed up the end. We don’t need to be told that entertainment in general and reality shows are evil. We know that.

3. Get rid of the girl. Focus more on the cop. Let him be the one that discovers life is evil by having him drop his investigation because…well, just because the entertainment industry is evil (See No. 2)

4. If the idea is that each challenge is more extreme than the previous one, how on earth can No. 5 not be No. 9 or 10. Eating a plate full of ….poo…. is far worse that killing a dog. An aside, while the audience was busy groaning and gagging, I thought it was a great touch that the plate include garnishes of (I think) red pepper and other veggies. It was a classy restaurant!

5. Keep the old dead guy in the well. That was a good scene. I don’t know how you’re going to explain someone having a well inside their house in America, but probably somewhere in the USA there’s an eccentric old guy with a well dug in his house.


Speaking of scary movies, I fell upon Red Dragon last night and had to keep watching it. I don’t remember finding it scary when I saw it in the theatre, but last night Rafe creeped me out. Anthony Hopkins is just a big ham bone, and Ed Norton was bland, but Rafe was really disturbing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Conrad Black: Jailbird

You know what I love?

Rich snobs going to jail.

I can’t help it, I just enjoy it. Like Romans used to enjoy Christians and lions.

When I think of Conrad, I think of him caught on tape loading boxes of incriminating lord-only-knows what into his car. One look at that tape and the jury really had no choice but to say “your honour we find the defendant incredibly guilty”. (Thank you, Bill Macy.)

Them New-Fangled Computers

I was reading about early computer usage. The author had written in wonder about how the words wrapped around at the end of each line and that, unlike with a typewriter, there was no carriage return to push. He was amazed. How things have changed! It reminded me of my first encounters with computers.

The very first was in Cegep, where we had to take a “computer” course. There was one giant HAL-type thing in a back room which I was terrified of, and luckily for me, the assignment was a team effort so someone else did the work and I never actually had to set foot in the back room with the big monster in it. I think the assignment had to do with Basic programming. The horror.

In my first job, in a law firm, there were two big computers in the back room that were used to type up long legal documents. I remember they looked like television screens, with black screens and green characters. I avoided those too. We had special "operators" who worked on those machines.

In my next job, in Ottawa, I HAD to take a computer course, and there was one Wang on our floor. I never dared use it, even though one of my bosses would hand me the occasional memo and say, this might be a good thing to practice using the computer with. I avoided it at all costs. (And no, I’m not posting this just for the opportunity to use the word Wang at least once a week, though I do like the idea of making it a tradition)

In my next job, in Washington, there were no computers at all, and I was thrilled about that.

When I returned to Montreal, computers seemed to have become unavoidable during my absence, and I found myself using a Honeywell computer all the time. The great thing about my then (and current) employer is that when I started here the Honeywell printers were HUGE. I wish I could see one again, because in my mind they are about the size of a Smart Car.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In Medical News

Another day, another gastrointestinal test. This morning’s fun was a small bowel barium X-ray. And here’s what I learnt.

Sherman’s March to the Sea lasted 26 days. He had 62,000 men and they covered 250 miles from Atlanta to Savannah, destroying everything in their path.

How did I learn this at the radiology clinic? By walking up and down a hallway many, many times after drinking two glasses of barium goop. (This goop didn’t taste nearly as bad as I had anticipated. They must’ve improved the taste since the days when my mom had these kinds of tests because she used to complain endlessly about the taste of the goop.) I was told not to sit but to keep walking to get the goop moving down the chute. At the end of the hall was a National Geographic map of the Civil War. It was very informative. Thus, Sherman’s March.

The neat thing about the test is that I could see the screen where my X-ray appeared so I could observe my innards, and my spine, which looked oddly curved to me. I am now well acquainted with my small intestine. It’s rather bland.

My doctor will get the report next week.

And here are the two sides of Canadian medical care. This test had to be a private clinic because the waiting lists are too long at the hospital. I called yesterday and was told there had been a cancellation so I could come in today. That was almost too quick. And it was free, even though it’s a clinic. My other test has to be done at the hospital by my doctor, and he has a huge waiting list so that is not until October. My never-ending saga.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Benny XVI: My Way or the Highway (to Hell)

The Vatican has described the Protestant and Orthodox faiths as “not proper Churches” in a document issued with the full authority of the Pope….The document said that the Orthodox church suffered from a “wound” because it did not recognise the primacy of the Pope. (Times)

Best part of this is, B-16 made the announcement just before leaving for summer vacation. Everyone loves a boss who makes a big controversial decision and then escapes on vacation, leaving the underlings to deal with the fall-out. Yeah, everybody loves a boss like that.

Protestants at the extreme evangelical end of the Anglican spectrum accused Rome of a “lust for power”,..(Times)

A lust for power? Really. The Catholic Church lusting for power? That’s new.

I happen to agree with the Pope on this one. Because what’s the point of having a religion if you think other religions are just as valid. This religion biz should be winner take all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fat Men

There’s an article on slate.com today about how researchers have found that women prefer muscular men for lovin’ but not when it comes to finding a husband. Which leads to one question:

How do researchers get money to do such dumb obvious research?

But putting aside that question, apparently, women are wired to be attracted to manly muscled men, but on a different level we know to avoid Charles Atlas when things get serious and prefer to marry the 99-pound-weakling who is getting sand kicked in his face because he’ll make a more loyal husband. Frankly, I think Mr. 99-pound is just as likely to cheat, but that’s just my opinion. And I’m not a researcher.

Contrast this with the article in today’s Times of London where a lady writes all about how much she loves her fat man. Fat men, she tells us, are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. They are cuddly and fat.

I’m sure this is true about Al Gore, but what about the rest of them?

Now I know this article was published because it’s July and even the snobs who read the Times need some summer fluff reading. But it really bugged me because where is the counterpart article saying how delightful and cuddly fat women are. Don’t look too hard for that article because you’ll exhaust yourself and you’ll never find it.

Fortunately for my blood pressure, the people who commented on the Times article jumped right on the point that was bothering me the most, i.e. the words “heart attack”, “diabetes”, and “high blood pressure” were very prominent in their comments. I wonder how much Mrs. Fat Lover will enjoy sitting by Mr. Fat’s bed when he’s in intensive care after having a massive coronary.

So much for summer fluff. The Times readers shot that idea down right away.

This seems a bit harsh

BEIJING - China on Tuesday executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog who had become a symbol of the country’s wide-ranging problems on product safety.

Zheng Xiaoyu’s execution was confirmed by State Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Yan Jianyang at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China’s track record on food and drug safety. (MSNBC)

Gulp. I hope this didn't happen because of my complaints about toothpaste and frozen vegetables.

Monday, July 09, 2007

On Amis and Amis

Ms Mushrooms kindly sent me a great article from the NY Times Magazine on Amis pere et fils. The article is filled with odd and fascinating anecdotes but this is the part that I can't get over.

Quote: Christopher Hitchens says he thinks that the process of [Kingsley's] self-ossification was pretty much complete by 1984. ''I remember that Martin, Kingsley and I all had dinner, and then we went to see 'Beverly Hills Cop,' '' he said a few weeks ago. ''Naturally, you couldn't go to anything French or Japanese or Polish. All through the movie Kingsley was laughing with what we assumed was pretend mirth, and afterward he announced, 'Yes, an absolutely flawless masterpiece.' Suddenly it became clear he wasn't joking and that he meant to defend the virtues of the film with absolute fidelity. It was a very striking moment -- the sense that the face had grown to fit the mask and that the pose had become himself.''

Imagine going to see Beverly Hills Cop and seeing Kingsley and Martin Amis with Christoper Hitchens in the audience. That would blow my mind. And the idea that Kingsley would laugh all through is beyond bizarre. "an absolutely flawless masterpiece". weird.

The difference between Pakistan and Canada

is that in Pakistan, Musharraf's plane gets attacked by missiles, while in Canada...

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was the apparent target of an attempted pie attack Monday morning during the premier's annual Stampede Breakfast in Calgary. (CBC)

Summertime, and the weather is lousy

It’s raining today.

A lot.

I wonder if my basement is under water.

Since the beginning of July, things have been pretty wet around here. But I’m not complaining. I realize that I am so totally paranoid and fearful of global warming that any forecast that says cloudy and 20 C in mid-July is welcomed by me with the greatest of joy.

I don’t have any vacation planned for this summer, so maybe that’s why I can be so unconcerned about lousy rainy cold weather.

I did notice when leaving the house this morning that all my tall flowers had been flattened by the overnight storm. So I’m not 100% thrilled with the weather.

And I'm supposed to paddle tonight, so again the rain is not great. OK, so maybe this weather isn't so wonderful after all.

In Facial Hair News

Apparently in Indonesia a baby was born with a beard. I’m looking for a photo right now. On the bright side, the baby is a boy.

Hundreds of people have come to his village to see him. This sure beats the Virgin Mary on a slice of pizza in my book.

Hormones being what they are, I'm surprised this isn't more common. Bearded babies should be a dime a dozen.

Fantasia News

I saw a movie called Tazza: The High Rollers (aka War of Flowers) yesterday.

Asian gambling movies are a fave genre of mine, and I enjoyed this one. They were playing some card game called hwatu, which was completely incomprehensible to me. As long as they kept flinging down their winning pairs and triumphantly shouting "I win", it doesn't really matter to me what the game is.

It was a bit bloody at times. When a gambler loses a hand in this movie, he literally loses a hand.

Like all Korean movies, it ran about 25 minutes too long. When are Korean film-makers going to clue in that longer is not necessarily better. There was a great 95-minute movie trapped inside this 139-minute epic.

U-20 humiliation

As a citizen of the host country, I confess I am duly embarrassed by the performance of the Canadian team in the Under 20 World Cup. I don't think we could've played worse.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Our Screwy World

I was reading this story yesterday in the NY Times about how young women are force-fed in Mauritania so they can be fatter and therefore more attractive.

Quote: ...the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the mirror opposite of the West on questions of women’s weight. To men here, fat is sexy. And in this patriarchal region, many Mauritanian women do everything possible — and have everything possible done to them — to put on pounds.

The story goes on to detail a number of horror stories about young girls being made sick by drinking excessive amounts of fatty milk and how this is bad for women’s hearts and cholesterol levels etc.

Quote: Girls as young as 5 and as old as 19 had to drink up to five gallons of fat-rich camel’s or cow’s milk daily, aiming for silvery stretch marks on their upper arms. If a girl refused or vomited, the village weight-gain specialist might squeeze her foot between sticks, pull her ear, pinch her inner thigh, bend her finger backward or force her to drink her own vomit. In extreme cases, girls died.

The article led me to believe that women in Mauritania must be the fattest in the world.

Then I read this: “A 2001 Mauritanian survey that documented overfeeding estimated that two in five women were overweight — not high by American standards, where government surveys show nearly three in five women are overweight — ….”

Not high by American standards!!

So they are almost killing these young woman and still they aren’t as fat as North American women. That’s astounding. What kind of diets are we feeding ourselves here? Why bother with the goat’s milk. Just feed them our standard fast food and junk food diets and they’ll all be looking good in no time.

I’ve got to cut down on the chips.

In Chip News

I am currently consuming a bag of Dutch Crunch Jalapeno & Cheddar chips.

Verdict: Spicy! Do not eat without an accompanying mouth-cooling beverage close at hand.

Big Al Good, Little Al Bad

You might've seen that Al Gore's son, also named Al Gore, got busted with pot and a whole mess of prescription drugs in his car. His environmentally friendly car. He was going 160 kph (a hundred miles an hour) in a Prius.

I know I'm not the only person who is amazed to learn that a Prius can go that fast.

You'd think that would burn out the battery or something. I guess there's plenty of time to recharge that baby now, what with Little Al sittin' in the slammer.

More on Bob

Other than the opening number, I was very pleased with everything Bob played last night.

The high point for me was Shelter from the Storm. What a nice arrangement. I liked it the same way I liked Girl from the North Country last November, in that it was an unexpected pleasure. Neither of those songs are particularly high on my list of faves, but I think of them both differently now. He wasn’t quite crooning it, but he changed it enough to make me go “Ahh”. Also, he played harmonica on that one, and I love it when he does.

Next highlight was Tangled Up in Blue, which I always love, and did not disappoint. Also, All Along the Watchtower, another traditionally non-favourite of mine, was really strong and good.

I don’t like When the Deal Goes Down. I find it dull. I wish he’d dropped that one, though the audience seemed to like it a lot. Nettie Moore is a much better song, in my humble opinion. And he played that well, too.

I was glad to hear High Water, but it was pretty noisy and not one of the better tunes of the night.

Chimes of Freedom, an obscure choice, was the only thing I didn’t recognize until the chorus. Oddly enough on some songs every word he sang was clear, while on others (It’s Alright Ma, in particular) he was so garbled I couldn’t make out a word.

Wilfrid Pelletier is a fantastic hall. So comfy and grandiose at the same time. Apparently he hadn’t played there since 1966. Which surprised me since I always thought Pelletier opened for Expo 67 but I guess not.

Bob played guitar for the first 4 songs. Which was a thrill. I wasn’t expecting it, hadn’t dare wish for it. But there he was.

Now if only he had gotten rid of that giant hat. We couldn’t see his face. It felt like he was hiding. But he was hopping around all night (as much as a 66-year-old guy can hop) and he looked pretty happy and energetic. But next to his rhythm guitarist, Bob is very, very tiny.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

That Damn Bob

Loyal readers of this blog will recall that about a month ago I made a list of the 10 songs I never cared to hear again for as long as I live. And that list contained one hated Dylan song.

Guess which song he opened with tonight.

Yep. Rainy Day Women 12 & 35. I couldn't believe my ears.

I had to laugh. I had to shake my head.

I dunno why I hate the song. Maybe I just disagree with it. Maybe I feel that in fact not everybody must get stoned. I dunno.

And he was playing guitar.

Thinking about it now, it was probably still better than hearing Maggie's Farm.

He continues to surprise. Cool. More tomorrow.

6 More Killed

Six Canadians killed today along with their Afghan interpreter. I feel so bad for their parents, siblings, spouses and children. I'm tired of reporting this kind of news.

Why are we there, again?

The fact that we can't get any of our NATO allies to commit to replacing our guys speaks volumes. The Canadians are a bunch of sitting ducks down there in Kandahar and no other government is going to agree to send their soldiers into such a hopelessly dangerous situation. We're committed to 2009 so I guess we have to stay, but not a day more.

Next month the contingent from Quebec will be going over. When Quebecois guys start dying, oh boy, is the domestic situation going to get ugly.

In Office News

Our retiree has retired, but has that ended the feud? Of course not.

She Who Is Still With Us (SHISWU) is ranting today, accusing the departed one of having switched off the ringer on SHISWU’s phone so that SHISWU did not realize she was missing calls. Her evidence? None, except that the ringer has been turned down.

God help any one of us who might dare suggest that maybe the cleaning lady accidentally pressed on the button while cleaning the desk, or that (yikes!) SHISWU herself might’ve leaned on it, or any other plausible scenario. Nope. It is that evil departed one who deliberately turned down the ringer before she left.

SHISWU went to our supervisor to complain. What does she expect her to do? Call the retiree at home and give her hell?

How long will this insanity continue?

I’m a bit worried about SHISWU. She’s always been high-strung but lately I fear she’s going off the rails completely.

It's the 4th of July

and that can only raise one question:

How many hot dogs will that Japanese guy stuff into himself at Coney Island?

UPDATE: The Japanese guy ate 63, while the American champ ate 66. In 12 minutes. That's pretty gross, really. What a dumb competition.

Bob Tonight

I'm eagerly anticipating tonight's show.

My wish list has only two songs on it: Love Sick and High Water, both of which he's played in the past week. Will he play one of them, dare I hope he'll play both of them?

I also always want to hear Tangled Up in Blue, and since he appears to be playing it every night I'm fairly confident of hearing it. Unless he pulls a switcheroo on us, which he could.

Can't wait...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Woman of the Day

I've never bestowed this honour on anyone before, but today I must.

Woman of the Day is Dawn, the Admission clerk at the ticket counter at The Bay downtown.

Whatta gal. She didn't even flinch when it looked like JAW Fan was going to leap over the counter and strangle her with his bare hands. The fact that he kept saying "I know it's not your fault, I know it's not your fault" was really of little comfort.

It's a long, long story but Admission was screwed up and we couldn't get our Fantasia Festival tickets, but JAW Fan (his wang in an uproar) would not take no for an answer. And if you've ever been around JAW Fan when he's not taking no for an answer, you know it can be a scary scene.

It took close to an hour, but thanks to Dawn's ingenuity at unlocking the secret codes, we got our tickets.

I hope that when she got home tonight she had that martini she wanted. She certainly earned it. Made it a double, I hope.

As for us, crazy Asian cinema will ensue.

Bush, again

Everyone's in a tizzy because Bush has kept Scooter out of jail. But I think it's a humane, life-saving gesture, because a rich white guy named "Scooter" would've lasted about 3 seconds in jail.

Also, Bush cannot possibly be less popular so he's got nothing more to lose.

Bush will stay at about 25%-30% support for the rest of his Presidency. It's hard to believe that a full 25% of Americans are certifiably insane, but alas, that's the way it is. Those 25% will never abandon him even if he replaces next year's State of the Union address with a live broadcast called "Watch while I drown cute kittens".

There is only one thing that would cause the crazy 25% to drop their boy George. He must be caught on tape getting a blow job from an illegal Mexican. Preferably a boy.

It's a job you couldn't get an American to do, but it has to be done. Help, Mexico!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Salman's on the market again

Rushdie is getting divorced from his 4th wife. Yes, 4th.

He's one of those men that makes me think Huh? I don't see the appeal. And apparently neither did his 4 wives.

I know he's a lapsed Muslim, but having had 4 wives, doesn't that make him, like, a serial Muslim?


On this blog we are nothing if not on the cutting edge of scientific discovery.

Case in point: last Tuesday, almost a full week ago, we discussed the lipo-dissolver and came up with the brilliant innovation of using sucked out abdominal fat to enlarge another body part, i.e. the "wang".

In today’s paper, there is this item:
Washington. Researchers have figured out how to remove fat from one part of the body and make it grow in another part...One researcher is quoted thus: "You could take the fat from your buttocks and put it in your breasts and cheeks".

I may sue.

Sure, they use breasts and cheeks as examples, but one need only see a few erectile disfunction commercials on American television to know that there is serious money to be made in medical research in the field of wang improvement.

The UK gets exciting

Welcome to the hot seat, Mr. Brown. I wonder if Tony Blair has called up his successor and said, you wanted this job, sucker, now deal with it.

I saw a statement that Brown made and couldn't help but wonder how he could still be so dull when the airport's on fire. Put a little zing in it, Gord.

Paddle, paddle

We attended a Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday. The sporting world is cruel.
Here’s how a race goes:

In Theory:
Start with 5 deep strokes to lift the boat over the water
15 fast, fast strokes to build the speed
5 transitional strokes to race speed
Paddle hard to finish line

In Practice:
Start with 2 or 3 deep strokes
Paddles start flailing and crashing into each other
Gallons of water get splashed in everyone’s face
Pandemonium to the finish line.

We ended up 8th of 14 boats. And the bottom three boats were female-only crews. So really we were 8th of 11. Not our finest hour.