A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

28 November 2008

Black Friday--For at Least One Family

You know, I think Thanksgiving needs to be repurposed.

Look at it this way--it's already got the turkey dinner, unwanted relatives, guilt feelings ... Hell, it's perfect for a religious holiday.

And I'd like to dedicate that religious holiday to the man who came to earth, and in his early thirties was killed for the sins of humankind. Particularly one subset of humankind.

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers. We're talking to you.

If you can get your snouts out of the nosebag for a minute, I'd like you to dedicate a moment to remember this guy.

Two hundred people broke down the doors of a Wal-Mart in New York and trampled him to death. In response to the death, management at Wal-Mart released this tepid statement:
"The safety and security of Wal-Mart customers and associates is our top priority."
The bit they didn't print anywhere was:
It's a shame that the worker got in the way of shoppers flocking to the excellent bargains at Wal-Mart. He died defending an American ideal: The right, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in a hundred years, of people to buy that desperately-needed 42-inch plasma screen TV for just $499.99. Yes, it seems like madness, but Wal-Mart is willing to make sacrifices to bring the savings to you, the customer. This man gave his life for a great deal, and we think he'd have wanted to go this way, enabling our consumers to save so much money on the new Mattel Hannah Montana vibrator that they could buy a new Xbox 3. Reports from the floor, according to the store manager, say that his last words were: 'Don't forget to check out our big toy sale on today!!!"

Too heavy? So sorry.

Consumerism is a disease, Wal-Mart is merely is merely one of its most grotesque, most virulent, most toxic, and most visible symptoms.

I believe people should be able to pretty much buy what they want and need. But I believe that government and industry have become less than circumspect about helping people learn to tell the difference between the two.

But hey, people die in the service of the economy all the time. Hell, my job depends on it.

And I'd be so goddam happy if, just once, I didn't have anything to write about.

In other news, the National Football League has announced that in order to compete with Wal-Mart, they've decided to jazz up the game: Teams will be wearing actual armour and will battle for control of the ball with edged weapons.

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27 November 2008

Phone Sex Operators Talk to You Live!!!

Well, not quite live, I guess ... From Mother Jones comes this photo essay about phone sex operators.

Lest you think it's all fun and games, and laughing at the chumps willing to spend $3.99 a minute to alleviate their desperation and loneliness for another night, help yourself to a free quote:
Just last night I received possibly the most disturbing phone sex call I’d had in a long time.

A caller shot himself with me on the phone.

Things like this always scare me.

My current track record stands at one confession of incestuous sexual abuse, and two other suicides.

Oh, and as I sidle toward a posting on free speech and the law, here's a fine example of what happens when we pervert language.

And another one.

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26 November 2008

So Much to Blog, so Little Time

My Avid Fans (all four of you) may as well chat amongst yourselves for a while. I'm a bit busy right now. I'm also trying to calm down enough to blog rationally about the recent developments on the free speech legal front in this country.

I'm looking after a housefull of teenagers. They're fun to have around, and generally polite and well-behaved. I'm clearly building a rapport, too. The youngest yesterday showed me pictures he posted online of the pot plants he grows hydroponically at home. He says his parents don't notice because his marvellous tomatoes cover the smell. He got the seeds by mail.

Part of me says I ought to rat him out. But the other part says that if his parents are ignorant of what he's up to, then they clearly don't care. I guar-an-friggin'-tee you that my mum would have discovered pot plants if I had been raising them in my closet. Or even if I'd constructed a carefully-concealed cultivation bunker under the compst heap. She has, to this day, hearing described by health professionals as "batlike." And from experience she could see the contents of a desk, school bag, or laundry basket even when she'd never ever looked inside of it (so she told me herself. And she's my mother ... you want me to believe she was lying?) One day I'll tell you why my sister tore up the signed picture of the stripper.

Mme Metro fled to the city yesterday, leaving me to cope with three teens and two cats, one of whom is allegedly ill and the other of whom is malevolent toward me, on my wits alone. It's a wonder no-one's starved to death yet. Mme says it has something to do with a medical appointment, but I don't believe her--the timing's too convenient.

Before leaving, she tried to instruct me on how to deliver a pill to the digestive system of a cat. In the case of Brown Cat, one simply seizes his head, covering his nostrils with a finger, and shoves another finger in between his teeth. This causes him to gape repeatedly, like a baby bird, at which point one is supposed to shove the meds down the hatch. However, I've never been able to get past the whole "teeth" thing.

So I adopted a subtle approach. After several unsuccessful attempts, which seemed to stress Brownie out almost as much as they did me, I brought to bear the full might of my intellect. I'm dead certain I have at least six IQ points on that cat ...

So smuggling it must be. We tried wrapping the half-tablet of kitty drugs in a sliver of roast beef. It almost worked, but the tablet squirted out when he bit down. Both cats willingly eat cheese, but they like it in such fine portions that concealing the tiny pill inside it wouldn't work.

Eventually, I bored a hole in a kitty treat and shoved the pill into the hole--a sort of cat Certs, if you will. I gained Brownie's trust by feeding him a couple of undoctored ones, then abused it utterly.

He didn't seem to notice. I fed him one more to take the taste away (I don't know, but my experience makes me think that there is no medicine with a nice taste [unless your owner is dosing you with salmon oil and you happen to be a cat, I guess]).

This morning I repeated the joke. He mowed down three treats, then I fed him a stuffed one. I put down two more and waited. He licked one of them, then sniffed them both with deep suspicion. But eventually he ate them.

I'm counting on his fuzzy brain having little by way of enduring memory to speak of.

Blackie is far more forthcoming. Upon Mme's departure she expressed her feelings about the state of affairs in her usual way: She urinated on everything in sight. And probably several things that aren't in sight too. This morning the black bitch was up at 5:45 loudly informing me that the recession was hitting home and stocks of readily available tuna had plummeted to the point where a cat might soon get thin and waste away. Truly an excellent jest.

At the moment it's running about fifty-fifty on the question of whether Mme gets a new pair of fur-lined slippers for Christmas.

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24 November 2008

The lolcat Bible

Um ...

teitl sez it awl, akshualy.

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And the Useless Site of the Day Award #3 Goes to:

I have to introduce a new award, one for companies so hostile to their customers that they go out of the way to piss them off without ever meeting them. I'm thinking of calling it the Rio, after one of the worst electronics companies ever. They led the pack in unhelpful customer response:

"Please enter the claim number we gave you last time. Huh? Never heard that one. Here's a new one ... What? Uh, did I say something? Oh wow, man ..."

Or I might call it the Harper, "Harpy" for short, after the PM who seems so devoted to ideology that he insists on sticking to it regardless of whether it's a)what Canadians want or b)a good idea in the first place.

And today's winner is:

{Drum roll}

{/Drum roll}

Big O Tires, now also known as Big Zero.

I love the company. My car rolls on tires bought from our local dealer, and therein the problem lies.

A friend of mine has the mixed blessing of owning a Ford Festiva, a compact, thrifty car that generally is fairly suitable to commuting short distances, as they must. I quite like the Festiva, mostly. However, it's running into problems. Its twelve-inch tires are becoming scarce as people who'll admit they voted for Bush twice. You could probably dig up a unicorn sooner than a snow tire for it.

So as a favour, I diverted some of my valuable work time to looking up said tires. Big O was the second store I checked. I arrived at their "Cars" page, and was bemused (I know I was, because I said to myself: "Self, I am bemused") See? I told you, I was bemused.

That page required me to select a tire manufacturer. Why? I don't care, most of the time, who makes the rubber I roll on. Although I used to prefer Trojans ... So I picked the house brand. Okay, next page:

"Find a Dealer"
It's an annoying-but-not-uncommon step. I'd prefer to simply find out first if they have my tire, and afterward work out the logistics of getting it. But still ... Their form is unique in my experience in that it asks for your full address, describing this as the "Best" way to search. Presumably it's also the "Best" way to subject you to concentrated "direct" (read: "junk") mail.

However, it graciously admits that using your only "State" and city might allow you to find a dealer in your city. Although presumably if there were one next door to you, you'd be denied the pleasure of finding it, if you hadn't entered your street addy, no? So I entered "hometown" in Box one and "Home Province" in box two. Then it asked me to choose a radius within which to search. Because of the rarity of the tires I seek, I decided that provincewide would about do it. But the maximum radius is 150 miles--two hundred and fifty kilometres. Well, there are at least three mid-size metropolii within that circle, so I clicked.

A map of the 48 contiguous states popped up, with a message reading:
"Sorry, there are no Big O Tires store locations within 150 miles of your location. Please try our sister company Tire Kingdom". Which is ridiculous. There's one not five clicks from here. I've never even heard of Tire Kingdom.

So I re-entered the data, using "Nearby Big City" instead of "hometown" in the first box. I got results for "Nearby City"--in Washington. I double checked that I was on the Canada/US site: Check. Had I correctly filled in the blanks? Check.

All this, mind you, was before I ever got to clap eyes on a tire catalogue, a hope that was rapidly receding into the forgotten distance of memory as I struggled to get the stupid site to admit that yes, the Big O Tire dealership I spotted (and bought my last set of tires from!) was not a mirage.

Finally I got cagey. I went and googled Big O, specifying "locations." In four clicks I was on a page at the Big O site (!) giving the dealership address, postal code, and name of the dealer.

For curiosity's sake, I entered the dealership address information into the "Find a dealer" form.

"Sorry, there are no Big O Tires store locations within 150 miles ..."

I'm sure my local dealer will find that something of a shock.

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19 November 2008

"In the Great Right of an Oppressive Wrong"

With apologies to Robert Browning.

Queen's University is empowering six students to go forth and interrupt conversations with lectures on political correctness.

I'm pretty okay with what is called political correctness. I believe calling something "gay" as a pejorative is both inaccurate and inappropriate. But if some campus stooge came up to me, even in a "non-confrontational manner" to address the misuse of the word in a conversation I was having, I'd laugh at him or her.

I have several problems with this.

Firstly, I have no idea what they're going to use for censure. Will students get a ticket? A note on their permanent record? A spanking? What if they respond with laughter and verbal abuse?

What if the verbal abuse is politically incorrect? Hell, what if it's accurate?

Secondly, according to the list at that article, one of the things for which a student may be censured (not censored--censured) is "If a student avoids a classmate's birthday party for faith-based reasons."

Look, I'm sure you all know generally where I stand on religion: With one foot on its forehead and one on its belly, swinging away with a shovel. But that's just me. I don't object if someone skips my frigging birthday party to attend services. What are the Kampus Kops going to do when that happens? Drag the offender from the baptismal service to my kegger?

And it makes me wonder. What if a religious fellow described me or my friends as "hellbound?" What if I described him and his congregation as "deluded fools?" Harsh criticisms both, but utterly and descriptively accurate from our respective points of view.

What if I use the phrase "That's so gay" to describe the sequined-thong-based Mardi Gras costume with padded codpiece to be worn by a male friend? What if I know the friend to be homo?

Political correctness is too often maligned. It's important because we think in language, and when we change the language, we may change how people think about the person behind the word. And society should show its approval for non-judgemental language.

But this sort of thing is what gets good ideas and efforts a bad name. You're never going to police teen argot out of their mouths, or out of their heads. They have to come to it gradually, as does a society.

My grandmother referred to East Asians all her life as "Pakis." It was a generic term. In one memorable instance at the provicial museum, as we passed a turbanned commissionaire, she whispered as only an 85-year-old who's stone deaf can declare: "Oo--'ave ye them 'ere?--Pakis?"

The gentleman to whom she referred smiled indulgently. He correctly identified her as one of a generation who didn't know any better, and thus could not be offended.

My parents have learned better.

No-one uses the word "negro" anymore, much less the double-g equivalent. Why? The word seems inoffensive to me, generally (the shorter one, at any rate)--it was the word I grew up using.

It's because society has moved on. As race relations have improved (and they have) over the past fifty years, we've learned that to use those words puts us in a class with baccy-chawin' inbred crackers who can't count to eighteen unless they've got one shoe off. No-one said "Hey--stop using that word," except in fairly rare circumstances (such as changes to government correspondence). And you'll still find it in use in some of the places frequented by baccy-chawin' inbred crackers who can't count to eighteen unless they've got one shoe off.

But mostly, people who used to be described by that word stood were emboldened and encouraged, and said "Well actually, we'd prefer to be called ..."

(Note: I think that politically incorrect language is sometimes also a handy spur to social change. For example, try being a raging, gay-slurring homo-hater when a six-foot-four stevedore in a cocktail dress is singing Judy Garland. You won't use that language again--not until your jaw gets un-wired anyway.)

But mainly, in the end, what's called political correctness isn't about you.

"And if students become uncomfortable when a facilitator calls out someone on an offensive slur, it shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, Mr. Laker said. It means they're forced to think about their choices."
True. And fine. But it should be because the other person you're conversing with says "Hey--that was a dumb thing to say." Not because some prodnose proctor of morals stops you and tells you not to.

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18 November 2008

Musical Maundering #18.5

I've been surfing many sites where debate on Prop 8, the act that deprived a minority group of a right they had officially been granted, is still raging. Many of the arguments are worse than grotesque. In particular, there's the one saying "Marriage has always been between one man and one woman. Why should we have to change it?"

Aside from the ignorance of history that that statement displays (paging Mr. Joseph Smith), the appropriate response is: "That's exactly why."

Whenever any type of civil rights debate crops up, I remember this tune:

Our Town
Billy cut his hair last night
The cops said he didn't look right
For our town

We sell poultry, eggs and meat,
But your kind don't shop on this street
In our town

And it's a funny thing
It's always been that way
It's never gonna change, I'd say

We'll send money halfway
around the world,
But don't you go
callin' on the girls
In our town

The job is taken, apartment's gone
Must've forgot to take the sign off the lawn
In our town

And it's a funny thing
It's always been that way
It's never gonna change, I'd say

There ain't nothin' wrong with a pretty face
I hope all the girls know their place
In our town

Well, I don't want you to misunderstand, but
You can't have a woman takin' work from a man
In our town

And it's a funny thing
It's always been that way
It's never gonna change, I'd say

Oh don't judge a book by the cover
never meant one thing or another
In our town

All the houses look the same
You see, tradition is the name of the game
In our town

And it's a funny thing
It's always been that way
It's never gonna change, I'd say

`David Wilcox
(The Canadian one)

I don't have a lot of energy right now. I'm really hating work. If I wanted to do data entry I wouldn't be a writer. This grates upon what I like to think of as my soul.

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17 November 2008

I'm Only Doing What It Said to Do

Which was:

Steal This Comic

So very true. If I'm gonna be a criminal, I prefer to be one on the cheap.

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13 November 2008

Hot Chick With Hairy Beaver! Bikinis and Wet, Oily Beaver! Beaver Eating!

Okay, Maybe Not. I think the beaver's just having a nice cuppa tea with a special friend.

The Metro Institute for the Promotion of Perversion is well and truly up and functioning. It's plunging in and out of the internet looking for tight little numbers like this.

I found the links over at the Pharynguloid posting documenting the threat to America from the terrible Canadian Dodecapus--or possibly tentacle porn (jury's still kind of out on that one, but hey, for a certain segment there isn't a lot of difference), it's from commenter Cowcakes.

I suppose I'm not too busy to slap the stats around a little today. Besides, I've just discovered that my IT work requires me to personally peruse almost all of over 11,000 articles in which apostrophes, dashes, ellipses, and the like have all been converted into question marks. So this isn't exactly an afternoon's work.

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The Media Owes Sarah Palin an Apology

Who'd have ever thought it? But the Thrilla from Wasila has been maligned lately, apparently as part of a promotional stunt by two guys who thought they had a great idea for a TV program.

So she didn't not know that Africa was a continent. Which is not to say that she did, in fact, know.

Of course, she owes herself an apology too. After all, she was the one who made it credible.

One of my uber-bosses, who is a rabid Republican and watched the towers come down on September 11th, 2001, said to me this week: "I'm glad Obama got in. McCain insulted America when he picked her."

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11 November 2008

Remembrance Day

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone,
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonored picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.

Keith Douglas (1920-1944)

I remember this, in Geilgud's voice, from an album my parents had of images and impressions of the two greatest influences on their lives.

10 November 2008

Okay, This is Otto

octopus1 via the everlastingly funny FAIL blog.

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08 November 2008

Just a Passing Thought:

Proposition 8, which seems to have made thousands of married couples in California suddenly unmarried by its passage, is a strange beast to me. First off, it puts a human rights case to the popular vote. Had slavery been ended this way it's likely to US would still have several slave states.

But along with that comes another bemusing observation: the campaign to legally screw over gay families--and make no mistake, when your marriage is dissolved by popular fiat, that's exactly what has happened--is run primarily by two groups who really shouldn't be tossing rocks at others' marriages.

First is the Mormons. Presumably they want the traditional marriage to be restored: That is, the marriage should be defined as being between a man and four women.

Second is the Catholics, who should honestly know something about gay culture, and who presumably want the definiton of marriage to be restored to one man and ... Well maybe one woman and ...

Well, anyway.

07 November 2008

Si-i-lent Night ... *QUACK* ... Ho-o-ly night ... *QUACK*

Via an advert on Jesus' General I discovered that Miss Poppy's flogging these:

Just in time for Christmas, eh?

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05 November 2008

Well At Some Point I Had to Tell It, I Suppose

Comments on this blog have resulted in philipa coming to some interesting conclusions about typical marriage ceremonies in Canada.

I hastened to point out that slapping the groom is not usually a prominent feature. However, I felt that this begged more questions, and so here it is: The tale of the Metro/Mme wedding, which has never heretofore been publicly disclosed. It was taken from the secret files and until now has not been missed.

The reason Mme slapped me at our wedding had to do with the nature of weddings, and the nature of Mme, and plain ol' nature.

The first two came into serious conflict in the early stages--possibly even before I guardedly suggested, hedging my bets carefully and presenting a second, no, third-hand ring, that perhaps, in the immortal words of Rocky Balboa: "Yuh wouldn' min' marryin' me too much."

Mme is by her very nature not cut out to be the bride at every wedding or the corpse at every funeral. She is either observational, audience, or she's the eminence grise, the puppeteer, making it all dance. The spotlight is not where she feels most comfortable, and ironically she who of the pair of us most loves photography and is better at it, cannot stand to have her picture taken. I account this as false modesty. I am sure that Angelina Jolie also says "Another one of me? Don't be ridiculous!"

But the net effect is that no goldurn way in hell was she going to process down no aisle to no Pachabel, no siree.

Not to mention that since she utterly refused to get married in a church, it was likely that aisles might be in short supply.

Of course, as a one-time Catholic who was still somewhat in the uncertain phase, I still saw the Holy Mother Church as the institution I should turn to for all my being born, dying, and everything-in-between needs. I'd sort of assumed that marriage in a church was what I'd wind up doing, possibly just to keep my mother off my back.

I love her--she's my mother, for FSM's sake, but she can be very persistent, not to say "wearing". At my sister's wedding she asked whether Sis might, perhaps, just reconsider leaving "obey" off of of the promissory phrase "love, honour, and ..." She's also very devout, I feel.

But Mme was having none of it. She wasn't going to get married by a celibate wearing, for all intents and purposes, a dress, much less listen to a batch of 2,000-year-old advice on navigating the complex channels of marriage given by a man who himself had sworn off the whole business. She wasn't getting married in a building whose founding philosophy has grown to consider our cohabitation prior to marriage as a sinful thing. And after some thought, I realized: neither was I.

So we hashed out a few basic details:

1) Date:
My parents were out of the country in November, our "anniversary" month. Her mum was in Africa or somewhere for December. January all our friends were likely to be holed up paying off credit cards. And in February, Mum and Dad were off to Oz.

So March was the earliest we could manage. We narrowed it down to two weekends, and by purest coincidence managed to pick the one that my sister could actually make.

2) Location:
After some discussion of buildings, and the relative merits and prices of each, we came to the conclusion that outdoors was probably cheaper. Sure it was a bit early in the spring to be getting married outside, but hey, this was BC. We hardly have winters at all.

And that ended my part in things. When one of you is sort of terminally organized all the time, you leave the planning in their capable hands. I offered input as asked. I remember being consulted on things like the colour of the napklins, and the dinner menu.

The caterer was a friend, and family. And was willing to serve lamb, a dish I'm fond of. Mme's sister, herself a catering professional opined that "nobody eats lamb these days".

And when Mme asked me to drive her down to a houseboat on a local river to meet a slightly loopy lady who did some form of dog dressage on weekends, I agreed that she was an admirable choice of officiant.
And she was. She, a marriage commissioner and if memory serves, former ordained minister of some sect or other, understood and respected our desire for a secular wedding.

And so it was that two days before the outdoor wedding I found myself driving around the Greater Vancouver area cursing the unseasonably late snow.

Snow. Like the stuff we (coastal dwellers as we was) just don't get.

The day of our wedding I tried to avoid seeing the bride, but was hampered by logistics--we had to share a taxi. I wore my pea-green suit, and Mme had found a dress in the matching shade (which somehow looked better on her) for a price I believe cannot be mentioned her for fear of violating some sort of blog obscenity law.

The snow had melted, aside from dirty blue patches in the shade of some of the conifers. It was clear and sunny that day in the rose garden (or, given the season, stick garden), but cold. Cold enough that small children in the audience developed blue lips, and adults were seen tipping back dread quantities of medicinal alcohol from the open bar, once it opened. We stood in the rose garden and hoped we'd make it through the vows before either Mme or the ... bridesmaid, I suppose is the word ... froze solid.

But it was not quite cold enough. Against all reason and expectation, a few mozzies had hatched, and one particularly black and hairy one was buzzing about my ears. I took scant notice, being in that tunnel-vision, fight-or-flight moment when a long-term bachelor realizes that This Is It.

The officiant had brought along a "raku" glass heart. This she passed about and asked the gathering to pray or wish over, or just think nice thoughts about us onto.

Then it was "I-do" time. I yearned to take the natural, expected course, but my best man had my keys. So I found myself mumbling along in what Raincoaster claims is an Anglo-Aussie accent to some words, and then saying "I do."

It was while I was saying this that the previously mentioned black and hairy mosquito decided it was feeding time. I could hear its shrill nyyeee in my ear as I wound down and Mme began to speak her part, but we were holding hands, and it seemed to me that suddenly shaking my hands out of her grasp and dancing about smacking at the air might not be wedding-worthy.

But now the beast settled on my temple. In my ears there was an ominous silence. My neck flexed with the strain of supporting its weight. I tried to ignore it and concentrate on listening to Mme:

"... so long as you both shall live?"
"I do."


As she ended her vows, Mme disengaged her left hand and slapped me across the temple, causing a gasp to ripple through the assembled throng (it may not have been a complete throng--it was a fairly small gathering) and permanently messing up friend Anopheles.

I feel that many of our friends came to erroneous conclusions as to the nature of our relationship at that point.

"There was this big black mosquito!" protested Mme, holding thumb and forefinger apart to illustrate the enormity of said insect to the crowd, who naturally had been unable to see it but for the pregnant women in the front row..

Once things had settled down, we were pronounced man and wife. The party was grand, if short--Mme's favourtie local band had been persuaded to perform for a ridiculous fraction of their normal fee (Mme introduced them to a whole new audience once, so they owed her), and despite Mme's sister's fears the lamb was the first thing to utterly disappear.

As I write this, the raku heart sits on the cookbook shelf in our kitchen, the heart of our home. I hardly ever think of it, but I catch a glimpse of it almost every day. I am not some sloppy sentimental jerk, but that heart, which in other circumstances would be a rather fey knick-knack, has come to have meaning beyond "someone spent too much at the dollar store."

And what did I take away from getting my face slapped at my own wedding? (I say "my own" because it may actually have happened before at someone else's ... or so I understand).

Firstly, I realized at that moment that I was marrying the right person: A woman who would not simply stand by for appearances' sake, but who would take necessary action as and when she saw fit; a streak of pragmatism that I value greatly. This is just the sort of person I would want to, in the hopefully long fullness of time, be found cold and dead next to.

Secondly, I realized that the dowry was totally insufficient.

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A New Dawn in the USA

Obama wins. Great words to wake up to.

And already the paranoia is crashing down. Canadian media outlets are publishing stuff on the theme of "Canadians may be disappointed in Obama".

True. But if we keep in mind the absurdity, incompetence, cronyism, and outright bald-faced criminal behaviour of the odious Shrub, I'm sure we'll have the patience to let Mr. Obama weave his own rope.

He has a job ahead of him: Restore the US Constitution, repair US relations with countries abroad,try to minimize the damage the economic collapse visits on the country and the world ...

From where I sit, it's like sending a man to the ruins of Pompeii, and telling him he has four years to restore it to its former glory. We wish him luck.

But last night, the United States chose hope over fear, diplomacy over threats, and (some) respect for law over contempt for it.

Ye gods, what a breath of fresh air!

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03 November 2008

A Brief Synopsis of last Night, and Possibly Our Marriage

He: I'm so glad I met you.

She: Are you, now?

He: Well, yeah. Because otherwise you'd be screaming "Who the hell are you?" and "Get out of my bedroom!"

She: To think: I get all this and "... no tern unstoned," too ...

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Waiting ...

Tomorrow it happens. The election the world has awaited for eight years. The end of the Bush regime of corruption, greed, contempt for international law and the rights of humankind, criminal collusion, the shredding of the most admired founding document of any country on earth ...

Tomorrow history will be made as a black man with a "foreign" last name, a nominally Arabic middle name, and a "weird" first name is elected president of a once-proud nation.

Tomorrow the United States of America returns to its roots and rises above fear, hate, and prejudice to put at its head a man whose birthright would once have made him ineligible for anything but a life of bondage and servitude.

It's a small step, but a momentous one. And the whole world will celebrate it.

I'm glad I will have been here to see it.

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01 November 2008

Archie's Nautical Tale Reminded Me

Of the story of the ship's captain who found he was having difficulty with his sattelite navigation array. It seems the guano from seabirds was clogging up the sensitive antennae.

So the captain, resourceful fellow that he was, hired a young Filipino lad to sit atop the wheelhouse and chuck rocks to frighten away the birds. And all was well for a while.

But gradually the boy grew tired of the monotony of his job, his stone-throwing became listless. Until one day he noticed that one particular bird, an arctic tern, seemed to display more interest in him than the usual crowd.

The boy began sneaking the crusts of his lunchtime sandwiches to his post and feeding them to the bird, which he named "Charlie." He discovered a new vigour in his work, and the captain was well pleased.

Things worked out well for Charlie too, he had his choice of preferred perches, and the best part of the young crewman's lunchtime sangies.

Alas, it could not last. Eventually, Charlie's own guano began fouling the navigation antennae, and the Filipino was told that he must be more dutiful in the performance of his job.

"From now on, you chuck rocks at every feathered creature that alights anywhere near the navigation array," rumbled the captain, "No exceptions--you get that?"

"But sir ..." protested the younger man "... even Charlie?"

"Even Charlie, lad," replied his boss gently, "For the safety of the ship, we must leave no tern unstoned."

Update: Sorry, Archie, I neglected to close the tag. Fixed now

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