Sunday, December 28, 2008

Inkerama


Photo of the Tidal Bore, Moncton by © Dr. Roger Slatt, University of Oklahoma

The title was a word verification I had to use on a blog. What a great word!

As luck would have it, I didn't get a good night's sleep. Quite a party next door to me in the hotel which involved many comings and goings of female and male voices, door slammings, bottle breakages and a lot of moaning about turning thirty which continued on till 4 a.m.

I don't complain about noise when I'm the last room on the block and adjacent to the party animal house. Such non-compos mentis drunks can inflict an awful lot of damage on one's car in revenge (deflated tires, key dragging) and how to prove it? Suck it up. So that's what I did while ensuring today that no one was reserving this particular room tonight after informing the management.

Moncton/Dieppe is a twin city area which, amongst other attractions, involves a tidal bore:

A scenic phenomenon caused by the surging Bay of Fundy tides, the highest in the world, the Bore occurs twice daily. The higher waters in the Bay cause the water in the placid Petitcodiac River to roll back upstream in one wave, which can range in height from three cm (one in.) to 60 cm (24 in.). Just as spectacular is the rapid and dramatic change in the river itself. At low tide the muddy river bottom is often visible, but within an hour of the arrival of the Bore, the water level rises some 7.5 m (25 ft.) to fill the river to its banks. The Tidal Bore can be observed from Bore Park, Main street.


What I found most interesting about the phenomenon was that the birds in the tidal surge were going backwards out to sea. A sight I'd never seen before. I imagine their legs are used as brakes against the rush of water. The trail beside the basin was extremely far ranging, Ansa and I barely covered a few miles of it. In this interesting weather we're having I went from huddled in boots, hat and mitts last night to carefree sweatshirt and jeans today.

The waterfront trail at Bore Park is an interesting dichotomy of scenery - on one side you have the tidal basin with birds and wild life, on the other you have Burger King drive through takeout, video rentals, a Staples mega store and others of that ilk. In one ear - "do you want cheese with that?" and in the other the lonely honk of some Canada geese skeetering over the marshland. I found it disturbing and uplifting at the same time. Why not put beauty spots beside the most depressing of our consumerist culture? It might inspire someone in their heaving SUV to actually check out the waterfront. On foot. It is inaccessible to vehicular traffic. A very good thing.

And all going well my daughter is now at the Toronto airport one more time and the flight is delayed yet again. We are laughing over this. This consistently foiled meeting up has moved far beyond crying and head banging into a great big joke.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dateline: Moncton, NB, Canada


One of the advantages of living a life longer than many of my dear, departed friends is that I don’t attach myself to results too much. Expectations can let me down as I’ve learned over and over. The 2 X 4s of life I call them. Always have a Plan B.

Like Christmas Day, my daughter was scheduled to fly to St. John's and she got to the airport in Toronto, early, was issued a boarding pass and then without any warning or apology, her flight was cancelled without any reason offered.

Reasons, of course, are obvious on the media. Vancouver was snowed in and Westjet could not get their planes out of there. So my poor daughter had to schlep her way back home again. A driving trip we had planned to share across the province of Newfoundland from St. John’s to reach the ferry in Port Aux Basques – over 900 km of at times treacherous weather conditions - now had to be undertaken in one day alone by me. Through the spectacular mountains, sometimes by lonesome outports, beside dense forests and uncountable miles of uninhabited beauty. Stressed? Yes, I was. But I made it, in less than 12 hours and 3 breaks. One short stop for a quick restorative nap in the car (I’m lucky that way, I can have a 15 minute nap that rights me with the world.)

And I slept well on the ferry in spite of a shocking storm and slabs of ice that hit the sides of the vessel with great big shuddering wallops from time to time. I thought of the Titanic going down in such conditions as I was woken up by the ferocity of the rolling ship the first time and thought to myself, if the alarms go off, I’m not getting up – I’m just too damn tired. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

And this morning I ambled across Cape Breton and landed in Moncton, where I now wait as my daughter, once again, waits in Toronto airport for another delayed flight, this time to Moncton, and hopefully not cancelled.


We may spend an extra day here in Moncton, there is a centuries old woollen mill, Briggs & Little that I would love to check out. An ex-police chief – female - of a major American city who was touring Newfoundland this year with her ex-fire chief husband – saw the sign on my car (“Got Knitting?”) and we bonded over needles for an hour or so. She told me about Briggs & Little, not to be missed. I told her about Baadeck Yarns in Nova Scotia.

My gratitude list is long. It nearly always is in spite of myself and my whinging. And a few samples:

· Yay, I’ve got high speed in the hotel, now I can see all my blog-buds’ YouTubes and check out what I’ve missed.

· My dear darling dog, Ansa, who has travelled 1,500 km in the car in the past 30 hours and ne’er a whit of complaint. Though I do spoil her a bit with road food. A great big *Thank You Tim Horton’s* for your great, great breakfast biscuits, from both of us. And note: I will always put your misplaced apostrophe back into your name. So there.

· Walking in the snow: we went for a long trek in the lightly falling snow tonight, looking in at all the windows with the Christmas lights - a telescope into the lives of others.

· Lobster – I’m in the capital. Need I say more?

Posted Later @ half past midnight.
I drove out to the airport in freezing rain conditions at a crawl and once I get there I'm told that the flight was turned back due to the weather. So my poor daughter is once again foiled in her attempt to get out here to Atlantic Canada. How awful for her.

What was that again about expectations?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Visiting


Things are folding in around the edges of my technical world. My printers aren’t seeing eye to eye with the laptop. My laptop refuses to recognize my palm pilot. I’ve gone into various help programmes but nothing seems to work. It will all have to wait until I hit Toronto and some high-tech help.

However, I’m still on line and will be for another short while, until the Newfoundland tent gets folded up and Strawbella gets packed and I head out on the annual safari across the eastern stretch of Canada to Ontario.

I’ve got stuff everywhere all over the house and a huge list of what needs to be taken with me. Ansa knows something’s up and always does before we move. She saunters by me a lot. Follows me constantly. Yes, I reassure her, I haven’t forgotten I have a dog, have I ever left you behind? She sniffs suitcases, rattles her water dishes. Something’s afoot, or should that be apaw? Ahem.

I’ve been visiting around and about, a custom that is dying in a lot of the world but is alive and well here. Unheralded dropins for a cuppa or a drinka depending on your imbibement of choice.

Tonight I was at Augusta’s. Apart from anything else I love the feeling of her name in my mouth. She suits her name. Her husband calls her Gus. I never could. Augusta is just too gorgeous a word to misplace like that.

Things you don’t know about people and that fall into your ears.

“Back then, 33 Christmases ago,” Augusta says, after we had settled down with the tea, “When I thought I was in labour with twins…”

“Go on!” I say, “Go on! They were wrong, it wasn’t twins at all?”

“Well, first it was,” she says, “There they were, a lovely short labour and my two perfect little girls!”

“And then,” she says, “Another tiny cramp, and there he was!”

“Triplets?” I say, in awe, “You had triplets?”

“Ah,” she says, “But that’s not the end of it either!”

“Go on!” I say, brilliant conversationalist that I am.

“My triplet grandchildren just turned 6!”

“Don’t tell me,” she adds, “That things like that don’t run in families!”

The stuff we don’t know about people.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice



I prefer a quiet celebration of Winter Solstice, rather than participating in the travesty that Christmas has become. Solstice has been written about so very movingly by my blogbud Twilight in her post. In some cities, candle-light ceremonies are held. A little parade takes place in an old market area of Toronto where witches and warlocks can be seen and a simple community joy is visible by all in attendance.


Winter Solstice appeals to me. A celebration of the harmony and order of the seasons on this planet and a welcoming of the coming longer daylight hours with a farewell to the darkness. And so very Irish too. Solstice in pre-Christian times was celebrated in Newgrange in Ireland, in a tomb built before the pyramids 5000 years ago. The location is 26 miles North of Dublin. Here the Solstice can be seen in all its glory.


The sun, rising on December 21, shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. This alignment is a marvel of complex calculations. The sun enters the passage through a specially contrived opening through the roof, which is situated above the main entrance and lights up the floor of the inner chamber.

Today the first light enters about four minutes after sunrise, but calculations of the Earth’s historical rotation show that 5000 years ago first light would have entered exactly at sunrise. An incredible mathematical feat for those times. Unless there is something we don't know.

Happy Winter Solstice everyone.

“May the sun shine brightly on this, your new beginning, may it be filled with balance, harmony, grace and joy.”

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What's love got to do with it?




There is so much wrong with this article.

And I’m not talking about what actually happened, horrific enough as that is.
I.E.
· Women as possessions
· Violence and power wielded over someone far smaller.
· Her terror and fear
· The knife at her throat having been hung upside down.

No, I’m talking about the reportage of this event.

Catch the first wrong:

The caption under the first photo:

“Lovers’ Spat?”

Yeah, this usually happens when you have a quarrel with your partner/husband/loved one.

He hangs you upside from a balcony on the third floor. All the time. What a joker he is.

Then the next wrong and I quote:

“more tantalisingly, what they could have been arguing about that drove him to such extremes.”

Well damnit, it was all her fault. She drove him to it. She should be careful what she says. She pushes him just too far.

Note: not one word about battering or abuse.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trouble Comes in Threes



Car trouble does for sure. Oh, and did I mention I name my cars? Silly, right? This one is Strawbella. I don’t know how I came up with the name. OK, I do. Italian Strawberry. She’s a lovely colour.

It’s been a busy 10 days with Strawbella. I feel there’s a spell on me or her. I need a reverse incantation.

So far in this life, I’ve racked up well over a million km in driving I would think, if not more. I’ve encountered minor trouble. I never had a serious accident or any accident. Near misses but I can’t even think of a fender bender actually.

People tell me I’m a good driver, they often fall asleep in the passenger seat as I tool along which is the ultimate test, right. I avoid brake usage unless it’s an emergency. I go with the flow, I’m relaxed even though I’m a defensive driver, I classify everyone else on the road as an eejit or a Fwad, which is a private family term for driver-dolts and is quite obscene when not abbreviated. Being defensive is a good way to drive. Always watching out for some careening catastrophe or a wavering wobbler who is either drunk or high.

All the moose that plague the highways here are long gone to beddy-bye for the season, I’ve been told. So I’m more relaxed than usual as I drive at dusk last Sunday. I don’t have to watch for them anymore. I’m heading for a small dinner party at a friend’s. I’ve got a mixed album on. Celtic Women. Lovely voices, I join them as I tool along.

Out of nowhere it gallops out on the road. An effing moose. No car coming, no car behind, veer sharp to the left. Very sharp. Moose veers to the right. Moose falls. Hard. Not fast enough to escape me and my car. And it is sickening this awful sound as I drive over her four legs. Heart pounding, I pull over to the side of the road. What if she’s in pain, bleeding? Broken legs? Briefly I lay my head on the wheel, I can’t look. There’s no sound behind me. No other cars. I raise my head, look in the rear view mirror and there she is, clambering mightily to her feet, shaking her head (at me?) and retreating from whence she came. Standing quietly. Waiting for the next car? This is a game?

I get out of Strawbella, walk around her. Not a mark on her. No dent, no blood, no fur. I get back in. Swear to heaven, the dog lifts one eyebrow at me. “And for your next trick, human?”

Well, she only had to wait three days. We leave St. John’s at 9.00 p.m. last night for the normal 55 minute drive and get caught in a blizzard. A bad one, snow, freezing rain and no snowplows out. And loads of Fwads on the road. All in tractor-trailers. Markings on highways are buried and there are steep inclines on both sides. Fwads drive by, flashing highbeams, honking and throwing immovable ice on to the windshield which necessitates pulling over onto air and manually removing it. The drive home took 2 ½ hours of white-knuckling, frequent stops and appalling language, even for me. I would have waved fists at the Fwads, but my fingers were stuck to the wheel in a kind of rigor mortis.

The dog staggered out of Strawbella at the end of it all with a look at me that would fry bacon.

Yeah, OK, I admit it, I tell her. I plan and plot these manoeuvres to really, really get up your nose.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cartoon of the Day


This posting is especially for Sparrowchat from the Newfoundland Telegram today.

Chortle.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers.



Life can throw some curves, can’t it?

I mean I had my first ever blowout there in the car with the winter tires (good woman that I am) on it. Not that they’re needed here in Newfoundland at the mo. We’ve just been having damp drizzle, occasional rain, a bit of wind, sometimes a bit of a gale, not enough to keep you in winter gear or anything, for the last month or so. After a three month fall which was lovely. Not a lick of snow yet. My herbs still fresh as daisies in the garden. Walks in a sweater or slicker every day. Long walks. Ne’er a boot has touched my feet yet.

But to get back to what I was saying. I’ve had slow leaks, mysterious flattenings of tires. But never a blowout.

You think you’ve been shot. That’s the first reaction. Bang, like a gunshot and the car slews sideways and makes a grinding noise all over. And you grip the wheel tightly, thinking steer into the skid, no: that’s for snow, stupid, hang on for dear life, any other vehicle around me? Oh, put on the hazards, Sweet Jaybuzz, I’m in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere. Turn off the Rolling Stones playing at full blast, idiot. Look at the dog looking accusingly at me. What has this dumb human done now? OK pull over. Slow like, real slow. Breathe. Now check for the bullet hole.

Oh dear Maude, would you look at the back left tire. What’s left of it. The rest is lining the highway for ¼ of a mile back there as far as the eye can see. And it’s smoking, looks like there was a bit of a fire on the rubber. Cripes, you’re some lucky woman. You coulda pitched off the mountain back there. Can you see that headline, ha? Would you be considered headline worthy? Nah. They’d do that awful thing they do, right? Women classified only by their biological function as in: “Grandmother dies a fiery death as her car careens off the TransCanada Highway after blowout.”

Lordy but it’s teeming rain, pelting off the car. And it’s darkening too, it’s 4 o’clock.

Ah, thank heavens for these wonderful Newfoundlandlers, always helpful, one will stop soon. I shoulda learned how to change a tire back in the day. Never needed to. How girly can one get? Now I'm payin' for it, I’m this idiot helpless woman at the side of highway. Call CAA. Oh boy. They can’t effing locate me. I’m miles from bloody everywhere. I can’t effing locate myself. I’m heading towards Goobies. Goobies. A one stop gas station, diner. No service bays. They can send someone from Clarenville. Two hours it’ll take. Two effing hours!!!

It’s 4.30 by now. No one has stopped. Is everybody going past me from out of province today? I have the hazards on, I have a pitiful expression on my face. Tears lurk. I’m frightened too of all the traffic rushing by. They could hit me. “Grandmother crushed by tractor trailer near Goobies on the TCH.”

5 o’clock. It's dark now. Someone in a black van is doing a dangerous u-turn right there, oh, gawd he could hit me. He’s going to hold me up. Take my wallet. Wake up dog! Look threatening for eff’s sake, bear your teeth or something. No, don’t grin, don’t wag your tail at the lovely man.

“That’s some awful blow-out!” He’s barely thirty, maybe younger, “Me and the wife just said we have to help that poor woman, so we turned the van around”.

He has no umbrella, he has no rain gear. He changes my tire in the pouring rain. He is drenched to the skin. He uses his own jack as it appears I don’t have one. I’m ready to go on my way in 5 minutes.

I insist, against his embarrassed refusals, on giving him money to buy himself and his lovely wife a warm dinner. My gratitude has me crying. To give of oneself so freely and in absolute and utter discomfort for another’s ease and comfort has me overwhelmed with emotion.

Would I? That’s the question that dangles there in front of my eyes as I head off on the spare tire. As I contemplate what a thin sliver hangs between ourselves and death on most days.

And a few days later – well, sin sceal eile as we say in Ireland – that’s another story.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Greed








Picture of Bernard Madoff, courtesy of AP





All the old clich├ęs come to life, don’t they?

Like this one should be plastered on billboards everywhere: it’s impossible to get something for nothing.

It seems like Bernard Madoff, has perpetrated the biggest fraud of them all. To the tune of 50 billion dollars. All those dollars, $500,000,000: vanished into thin air. He used the old, old trick of using new investment funds to pay so called high ‘returns’ to the older investors. A swindle called a “Ponzi”.

How can someone, anyone, justify such enormous returns on their investments without asking questions like how and why and wherefore?

And no, I’m not gloating over the newly impoverished socialites and wealthy who trustingly invested in such a Ponzi scheme. If I had the money, it could’ve been me.

Maude knows, I’ve been approached a countless number of times by MLMs – of which Amway is one of the leaders - and pyramid schemes (invest $100 and $1,000 will be yours in 30 days!) but my logical brain always tells me someone is paying down the long line of suckers investing in such a scheme and not getting anything in return. Like those chain letters of old, which promised 100 tea towels or 100 pairs of underwear or whatever. Someone always pays and pays dearly for such short-sighted investment strategies. Someone who can least afford it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cartoon of the WeekWeak



I'm sure there will be a very special place for "My Pet Goat".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Clobber*



* "clobber" is a word we use in Ireland for clothing. As in: "I'm wearing my best clobber to the wedding."

Irene had a great post about her personal style today which got me to thinking of mine.

And I do have one, and have had one for a long, long time. I had a few sidetracking experimentations over the years but always came back to what works best for me.

Long hair.

Long skirts, though I was a great one for the minis in my time.

Long cotton/linen/cashmere sweaters.

Long colourful scarves.

Leggings.

Long colourful coats.

Hoodies.

Bright T-shirts.

Jeans.

Men’s cotton shirts.

Interesting cardigans in wild colours.

Long black stockings.

Black patents shoes

Uggs

Birkenstocks.

A yellow slicker for the rain
with
Bright yellow rain pants

No nail polish, ever.
No fur, ever.
No leather, ever.

I have a passion for purses, knapsacks, rucksacks, bags and all kinds of “sacs du jour” as the family have it. I’ve never found the perfect one but have come close on occasion. My current bright red one which I’ve had for nearly a year: a personal record, holds the current book, the digital camera, my knitting, my journal, my palm pilot, my cell phone, several pairs of glasses, my very large wallet, pens, lip gloss, nail clippers, chewing gum.

I’d like to find a teensy tiny laptop for it, to interface with my large one and which would bring itself to life in a wifi area. No: a Blackberry or I-phone is too small. I’m not I-Podded yet but expect to be, maybe interfacing with the teeny tiny laptop.

What’s your clobber?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing: One Child


December 9th is her birthday. I’ve written of her before and here. She is somewhere in Bristol now, we think, but her plants are still in the window of a flat she had in Ireland. An aunt checks on them, does a drive by and gives us an update on the plants. Silly, you would think. But it’s all we have of her, her father, her sister and me.

Her father and I email each other today. My last email to her bounced. He has snail-mailed a card and gift to her address in Ireland. Our baby’s birthday, we say. And there is nothing more to say, she has dropped out of our lives.

She came quickly on that long ago day. She’d been so quiet inside me I’d worried about her. Distrusted the obstetrician and his soothing assurances. This was pre-ultrasound days. Her father and I’d been Santa shopping for our toddler when I felt the first signs of her wanting to leave me. Early by ten days.

I watched her being born, quite painlessly, in a mirror above me. She was placed beside me almost immediately in a little incubator. A perfect little girl with a nasty eczema spreading over her little body. She couldn’t tolerate clothing for a week so she lay, like some Hollywood star on a sunbed, in her opened incubator in the nursery window soaking in the rays of the healing sun. Stark naked. She always hated that story. The vulnerability of it perhaps, she never explained why.

She has abandoned us all, some of us more hurtfully than others. Her father got his FOAD on Father’s Day one year. I got mine in Manchester in January 2003 when I flew over on an emergency trip while she was threatening to kill herself. Her sister got hers a couple of summers ago.

We are talking of flying to Bristol next year, making it a trip to visit Cornwall and Devon and the Lake District and as a sidebar searching for her. We don’t want to make the trip about her as we know we would be setting ourselves up to be disappointed.

But if I were floating freely, untethered from kith and kin, I think I’d like to be found.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

See, Hear, Speak No Evil, etc.



I suppose it is appallingly predictable: the manner in which our elected officials are blind to the real issues of the world: the impending climate change catastrophe, peak oil coming and going without a whisper, and the crash and burn of the ephemeral paper trails which constituted the bulk of the stock exchange ‘wealth’. Not to mention looming water shortages, disease, starvation and the resulting global unrest.

Our Canadian federal government has taken a holiday from it all - Why worry? – with the Governor General’s blessing and won’t resume governing us all until late January. That’s next year, folks. They’re also, co-incidentally, avoiding a no-confidence vote in parliament. Why are citizens surprised? They’re avoiding every other issue, the jobless rate, the collapse of the auto industry and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Of which we don’t have much left due to that arctic melt thing.

Well, the collapse of the way we’ve run the world until now really. But no one is looking at that. Let’s keep the sheeple sedated with reruns of Big Brother or Canadian Idol or some such drek.

Meanwhile in other parts of the real world:

· The collapse of major retail chains is imminent after Christmas (warning: do not give or receive gift certificates, most will be worthless).

· Green crabs have taken over much of the water surrounding this area of Newfoundland. Killing everything in sight and devastating the fishery.

· No one wants to give up their plastic grocery bags (I did my own independent survey at several places where I shop, I am one of 100 that shop with cloth bags, that is 1% of all shoppers in a tiny island where disposal is a problem and the cliffs and forests are festooned with these plastic aberrations that should be banned everywhere on the planet). And yeah, they’re oil based which brings me to:



New, SEVERE CUTS is the word being bandied about when OPEC meets on December 15th. As in SHORTAGES. As in further changes to our WAY OF LIFE. Which is going to prove highly negotiable in spite of what Bush The Decider promised way back in the dim history of the foundation of the new and improved Homeland, reminiscent now of the German Fatherland. (And why is Motherland considered a sissified term? Oh, I get it. Mothers, at least the nurturing kind, don’t usually carry AK47s or patrol with Blackwaters).

Enjoy the gas holiday everyone, it is going to be brief and the stuff of nostalgia in less than 6 months.

Cranky? Yeah, I am. How didja guess?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Satire Blares the Truth (again!)



Boy, I just love "The Onion".

This week's edition has a page devoted to George the Decider outlining his farewell thoughts on his successful presidency. I excerpt this:

It's just gonna be so hard packing up my things and heading off into the sunset come January. I wish I could go on forever giving massive and disastrous tax cuts to the wealthy, taking the country from a surplus to a deficit—nearly $500 billion this year, likely to pass $1 trillion next year, fingers crossed—and just generally doing irreparable damage to the very underpinnings of our economy, but, well, I'm afraid the Constitution says I can't. And not even I can overrule the Constitution. Though Lord knows I tried! Initiating blanket wiretaps without warrants, suspending habeas corpus for prisoners in Guantanamo, infiltrating an unknown number of nonviolent civilian antiwar groups without permission… such wonderful memories. I'm going to cherish them forever.


For more see here.

Only in Canada You Say?



(Picture of Prime Minister Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean taken today courtesy of Canadian Press)

Yep, we’re not leaving all the political shenigans to our neighbour in the south of us anymore.

We’ve had our own parliamentary crisis up here in the Great White North.

Briefly, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper (Bush-lite with an IQ), head of a minority Conservative government in spite of the recent election in which he had hoped to gain a majority, lost the confidence of the House when it came to dealing with the current economic crisis and was challenged by the three opposition parties who added up their seats and in a breathtaking attempt at a Canadian coup announced they wanted to form a new government.

The total number of seats in the House of Commons is 308 of which the Conservatives have 143. 2 are held by independents.

Now these three opposition parties would make extremely uneasy bedfellows as follows:

Liberals, the party of Pierre Trudeau, are slightly to the left of the Conservatives and have 76 seats. This is headed by the well-meaning but hopeless should-be-permanently-a-back-bencher Stephane Dion. He is, well, milque-toastish in the extreme and speaks an unfortunate form of English. One wag had it he was the kid that was constantly bullied in school.

The New Democratic Party, with 37 seats, headed by Jack Leyton, is very much left of the Liberals and off the horizon compared to the Conservatives. Jack is highly personable, matinee idol good-looking and pro every right you can think of. His wife, Olivia Chow, has also a seat in parliament. Power couple. Clintonesque.

Then we come to the Bloc Quebecois, with 50 seats, the wild card in the bunch, pushing for autonomy for Quebec, feeling very hard done by surrounded by the cesspool of us Anglos who keep shoving English culture down their throats.

A total of 163 seats between them, enough to form a solid opposition to the Conservatives.

Since the Governor General, Michaelle Jean, has to appoint the new government under advisement from the Prime Minister, there is a certain perceived lack of her detachment from the process.

You see where all this is going.

Mr. Harper went to see her cap in hand today and gave her unbiased (ahem!) advice alright. She has prorogued (suspended) Parliament until January 26th. An unprecedented step and one obviously in Mr. Harper’s best interests. If Parliament were to remain open, he and his party would have been at the receiving end of a no-confidence vote and he would be out on his arse as PM.

He is spinning it by telling us all this suspension is only because he needs to put a budget in place. No one in the country believes him.

However a reliable poll is showing 68% of us Canadians are very concerned as to the future of our country.

Everyone one meets or talks to on the street is engaged politically like I’ve never seen them since the October crisis so long, long ago.

Not so dull here in the hinterlands anymore, our radio and TV stations are full of the excitement of it all.

Naomi Klein has a marvellous article on the whole situation here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I’m a Blog Blob


I’m a Blog Blob

It’s addictive, isn’t it?

Both the reading of yours and the writing of mine.

Something like pimping and procuring. Of the best kind. The discovery of like-minded souls, who may be geographically distant but are nevertheless kindred spirits.

No editor to scream at me to tighten things up, to chop things down, to backstory this and highlight that.

It gets to the point that other writing, the more serious and intense kind, has no appeal for me, it takes a back seat to this.

And I really should prioritize it: the articles, the short story collection, the novels.

Right after I take a quick trip over to your blog.

I think I need serious intervention. Blobby Rehab? Bloggers Anonymous?

Oh - and feel free to take one of these stickers for your blog.

Monday, December 01, 2008

TO DIE FOR



There’s something so infinitely sad and sickening about all of this.

The frantic rush to acquire useless Chinese tchotkes at a reduced price.

The doors of the store opening at 5.00 a.m. 5.00 a.m!!

200 people fighting to get at the meagre goodies manufactured by exploited and unregulated Chinese workers half a world away.

One poor store employee standing in the way, trying to control the onslaught of the crazed shopping mob.

He was then trampled to death by these very same shoppers while doing his best to do his job of crowd control.

A pregnant woman and another worker were also trampled and were subsequently hospitalized and released.

And this quote sums it up rather succintly:

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been in line since Friday morning!'" Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."