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Monday, November 30, 2009

Disconnect


Is when the leader of the Free World, and the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner is planning on sending another 30,000 innocent men and women to slaughter untold thousands of other innocent men and women in an unwinnable invasion of a sovereign country, Afghanistan.

Is when said Nobel Peace Prize winner refuses to ban land mines and thus becomes the only nation in the world in that exalted position (reminder – these mines killed and maimed over 5,000 innocent men, women and children last year).

Is when Goldman Sachs, with tax payer bailout money, has set aside 16.7 billion dollars for executive bonuses and only pays 1% in corporate taxes.

Is when nearly a million American homeowners have their homes foreclosed on in the the 3rd quarter of 2009.

Is when 10 US states are on the verge of bankruptcy: California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island.

Is when federal budget deficit is now over 12 trillion dollars.

Is when 47.4 million US citizens live in poverty and 3 million citizens, and climbing, are homeless.

Is when 50% of US children need food stamps to eat. To eat!

Is when, in 2008, 46.3 million US citizens were without health care. It is much worse today. There are 45,000 preventable deaths from lack of health care every year and of these 17,000 are children. Children. Not to mention uncountable health care bankruptcies. All meaningful amendments to Health Care Reform, of course, have been stripped by the lobby driven Senate, and this weak diluted bill will only come into effect in 2013 anyway, post-apocalypse.

Is when demand for guns and ammunition in the states has reached an all time high and the 200 companies in this business can’t keep up with the demand for bullets.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

25 Priceless Metaphors!


These were sent to me via email from a dear friend today, I can't choose a favourite, they are all so good!

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit
their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school
essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of
teachers across the country.

Here are last year's winners.....


1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.


2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like
underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.


3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a
guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of
those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking
at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without
one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.


4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was
room-temperature Canadian beef.


5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes
just before it throws up.


6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.?


7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.


8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated
because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge
at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.


9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way
a bowling ball wouldn't.


10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag
filled with vegetable soup.


11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,
surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and
Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.


12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.


13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you
fry them in hot grease.


14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across
the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having
left Montreal at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Vancouver
at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.


15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences
that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.


16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had
also never met


17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the
East River .


18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only
one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.


19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.


20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil,
this plan just might work.


21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not
eating for a while.


22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,
but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land
mine or something.


23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg
behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.


24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with
power tools.


25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as
if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monochromatic


Boat at Anchor - Mall Bay 11/22/2009
Chill of coming winter
Coating the boaty bones
Riding high on the
Wavery water of Mall Bay.

I blow into my cold hands
Stepping around deserted
Crab pots and lobster pens
Mourning summer’s passing.

Remembering the rush of
Foliage and bright blossoms
Bursting fiercely forth
From the pungent earth

And boats sailing in
Weighted down, creaking
Beneath the ocean harvest.
All is silent. Waiting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting, Gathering, Guarding and Grooming.


“The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers"

This wonderful quote of William Wordsworth was sent by a blogger friend the other day in response to my post on Crackberries.

It got me thinking.

Then again most things these days get me to thinking.

As in: most of our lives revolve around stuff. The getting and gathering of it, the guarding of it from predators, the grooming (i.e. maintaining and cleaning) of it.

I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone. Maybe it is the elder years that throws a clear sharp floodlight on to our own behaviours. It is only now I see that all of it is so empty and frivolous and meaningless. One only has to go to a mall and sit on a bench and be absolutely and completely astonished at what people are doing there. What is everyone buying? Really. And is there ever enough of it?

Lately I think that what brings me the most pleasure is the interior life that is only satisfied with stuff that can’t be bought.

The sunsets that I resolved to see daily since the beginning of the year.
The daily walk on the shore or around my daughter’s locale with one of our dogs.
The perusal of driftwood or a lovely stone or a shell.
The satisfying woodpile beside my stove.
The glowing faces of dear friends and family across the dinner table (and I’ve had a surfeit of that in the last two weeks and still want more!).
The smell of cooking and baking on the wood stove.
The recounting of the daily doings of friends and family,
The knitting of a few rounds of a sock,
The CD painstakingly copied by a friend because he knew I would enjoy it.
The revisiting of pictures of the work of the architect Gaudi with dear friends,
The multi-generational chat with my daughter and the grandgirl of a book all three of us had read,
The news of an upcoming wedding of a nephew in Ireland,
Being privy to the lives of a whole batch of young nieces and nephews who’ve befriended me on Facebook,
The plans for a dinner dance in my village this Friday.
And getting out of Dodge while fam and friends are still telling me my stay was far, far too short.
I return to The Rock tomorrow. To my beloved Newfoundland.

{Photo above is of the Toronto Eaton Centre}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Separation of Church & State Much?


Moral high ground=Roman Catholic Church and it's now putting all its considerable bullying power into ensuring the citizens of the US are not all treated equally.

Well, Catholic laymen are treated equally as long as they’re heterosexual of course. The males of the cloth can be of either persuasion. Mainly homosexual as it appears that a higher than average percentage of them died from AIDS in the eighties. 4 times higher than the general population as a matter of fact. But lay Catholic homosexuals or LGBTs are not entitled to marriage or child adoptions or child fostering.

And as to female Catholics? Don’t get me started on the second class citizens who can’t participate fully in its machinations with not even rights to their own bodies. Whatsoever. Particularly when it comes to breeding. No matter how brutal and reprehensible the inpregnation or the age of the female. And the piece de resistance was the church’s threat of excommunication for all involved in supporting an abortion following the rape of a nine year old girl by her stepfather. It seems their hypocritical advocacy for the rights of children ceases when the child exits the birth canal.

And I haven’t even touched on the consistent and pernicious paedophilia which has been rampant in their ranks for centuries and is only now seeing the light of day.

By its very nature the church attracts the sexually dysfunctional and deviant. Who call the shots. Who hold sway over the legislation of the US government.

And no one is calling them out on it.

No, instead they wield enough influence to affect health care coverage for those deemed not quite human or equal. The poorest, most marginalized and most needy.

Whatever happened to “the meek shall inherit the earth’?

Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

And hark! that faint, oh so faint whisper of "liberty and justice for all"?

PS I have previously posted on the Catholic Church here in these posts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crackberries & Other Distractions


I don't know about you, but I have enormous difficulties with people not being in the "Now". As in when I'm with them, they're constantly texting or on their Blackberries or checking the time or staring lasciviously at the server in a restaurant or drumming their fingers on the table or jangling their keys or taking non-stop pictures or movies.

I don't understand it. Why are they filling in time with an activity when they'd rather be somewhere else or doing something different?

Like the other night I was at a dinner party and this friend was there and her device (leash) was tinkling constantly and she'd sheepishly say:

"Just another couple and I'll turn it off" but she never did and even at the dinner table she had it on her lap and was texting away. We're not talking a teenager here. We're talking a woman of 67 years old. She wasn't present at all. Plus she's stealing time from the friends who've turned off their devices to be in the moment with dear friends with the sound of her device constantly blasting and breaking the moments.

Or call waiting? Drives me mad. I never use it but my friends do even though they know how I feel about it. Like I'm going to take another call that's more important than yours while you're on the line with me?

Maybe I'm coming across all self righteous and geezerish about this stuff, but my life is just as busy or even more so than yours but when I'm with you, I'm really, really with you. Is it too much to ask that you're really with me?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Report of a Day in the City


Yeah, I'm there. I'm in the groove again (do they even use that term anymore?). She's back. City Woman.

I had breakfast with the grandgirl. Rare. Very rare. She is a going concern. for her to cook us waffles before school and sit down across from each other and eat, in the morning, well, amazing. She is fifteen after all.

Then it was on to meet my blog buddy Annie for lunch. Neither of us had ever done such a thing before. Meet, in the flesh, another blogger. A first. It was wonderful. Well over two hours chowing down on some great Thai food and nattering of families and travels and the east coast and the west coast and Canada and politics and grandchildren, well, you get the picture.

Then I decided to walk downtown from where we were, along Bloor Street and down Yonge St - the longest street in the world. 1896KM. Ha! - no, I didn't walk it all but did cover what my father could have called a goodly hike.

Memories get stoked. Of working in this area back in the sixties and seventies in office atmospheres similar to those described in Mad Men. Seriously. It amazes me that Mad Men captures that era so well. I lived it. In the office buildings on Bloor Street.

And then, and this makes the city soooooo worthwhile, it really does, a friend treated me to August:Osage Countyat the Canon Theatre. 3-1/2 hours in the theatre that fly like 10 minutes. Theatre so good you never want it to be over. Estelle Parsons at 81 giving the performance of a lifetime with a supporting cast that never puts a foot wrong.

I was spellbound. Entranced. I love the city.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Reflection


Outport Woman in the City

Sirens blow, traffic weaves
Swift, careless, callous
Around and about and
Over and under my paralysis.

Leaving me breathless,
Sound breaking into bits
Inside me, me relearning
By brute force, city life.

I see the smudged colours of
Pollution laced sunsets,
Smoky orange, smeared crimson
Behind uncertain tall buildings.

And squeeze far too tightly
Memories of the lilting swirl
Of lavender and rose and lemon
On the willing waters of the bay


Photo courtesy of the grandgirl.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Synchronicity


{Photo taken by my daughter of our two dogs, happily exhausted, who are mutts and not related}

I've always loved the word. I've had so much of it in my life. Do our thoughts attract like? Can we manifest connections to each other? I do believe the power of our minds is extraordinary. And we only tap into maybe 10%.

Like today. I was thinking of a fellow blogger whose life-style is greatly similar to mine. We are currently in Toronto and have never met and I was thinking: gee, I should email her, we should get together. And I open my email this morning and there she is, saying let's do lunch.

I'm currently doing research on WW1 for a book and I pick up "The Atlantic Monthly" in the airport yesterday and inside is an article on WW1 and its far reaching effects even into today and when I get to Toronto I find my granddaughter's current project for school is on, you guessed it, WW1.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Blog Jam


View from my room.

I’m in the Heaven of HighSpeed. Safely ensconced here for the night, off at the crack tomorrow to fly to Toronto and Da Fam & Fwends. I’ll be there for a couple of weeks safe in the bazooms of loved ones.

I had the Doldrums of Dial-up Dementia (I’m looking at YOU, Government of Newfoundland & Labrador and I’m not going away until you fix this outrage) for the past 5 months and at times I nearly went mad. In the middle of research, d-i-s-c-o-n-n-e-c-t without warning, uploads taking 30 minutes when normally it would be minute. Downloads the same. Very, very difficult to run a business. I think it takes twenty times longer and my head feels like it's exploding. Not to mention writing a blog, loading up pics or watching YouTube. Facebook is painful and I tend to avoid it as everyone’s albums are so tempting but what takes you 5 minutes will take me 100.

Rant over.

BTW: If you’re ever going to book a hotel, don’t go directly to the hotel site or call. Book through Expedia on the net. About half the price. Seriously.

We had the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall here for about 4 days. One of our outports will soon be celebrating 400 years of British Settlement. Quite a ho-hum reception, apart from the pols tripping over each other. In some areas the security outnumbered the actual audience. H1N1 virus fear was part of it, but in general most feel the monarchy is irrelevant. I’ve always liked Prince Charles, didn’t much care for Diana, I feel he has come into his own since the shadows have been lifted from Camilla. Here he talked green and environment and military and architecture - his passions - and enchanted the school children.

Which brings me to the secret service sitting at the table next to me at dinner tonight. I pretended to be reading while listening. A favourite hobby of mine. There were three: one woman, two men. The woman was from Newfoundland originally, the men were from B.C. and Quebec. They had met only through this detail and were going back to their rooms later to write up full reports (the royal couple left late yesterday). I loved the feeler bits of the conversation, the scratching around to find the common ground. After the first beer, they found it. Fishing. They all fished. But the woman’s stories were astonishing. Her father had employed her on his boat in the summers in her university years. Her biggest catch had been a 380lb tuna which still held the record in her fishing family. She told of landing a shark which she thought she’d killed but when she was taking a picture of her uncle with his hand on the head it turned and snapped at his arm which involved a tourniquet and him being lifted off the boat by helicopter after a mayday call. It took 80 stitches along with staples to fix his arm and hand.

Dining alone sure can have payoffs.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mary Molloy Todd MacKay 1917-2009



I loved her. She was who I wanted to be when I grew up. Wise. Artistic. Kind. Opinionated. Well Read. And downright sexy.

She died tonight. It was time. Her mind was sharp. Her body not so much. She did it quietly. Turned her face to the wall. And left us. Richer.

I am so struck by how she looked as a child and how she looked the last time I saw her in May and had the foresight to take a picture. The same intelligent,direct gaze. The same gorgeous hair.



I am so glad I wrote the following for her on her birthday this year and sent it to her. She loved it. And showed it to her friends. I could tell her anything. And she would tell me stuff she couldn't tell her daughters.

Sleep with the angels, my dear friend. You were so loved.



A Tribute to Mary Molloy Todd MacKay on the occasion of her 92nd Birthday.


The facts were this:
Born 1917, Donegal, Ireland.
Emigrated Canada, 1921.
Married twice.
Children two.

Unwritten was this:
Handsome, intelligent.
An artist, a reader.
A seamstress, a raconteur.
Elegant conversationalist.
Lover of fine food and opera,
Opinions on life and love were
Well thought out, sympathetic.
And sometimes argumentative
But never cruel. Shy (but why?)
Humourous, mischievous.
And still counts her numbers in Irish.

And this may surprise you:
She harboured a dream.
Of wearing top hat, glitter vest
And black satin shorts.
While dancing in fishnet stockings
On shimmering high heels.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Yeah, I admit it. I'm a very cheap date.

I've always been a fan of little awards and hugs and attagirls. Yeah, you could call me a whore for fame, even of the tiniest kind. Festoon me with glittery baubles and bright shiny beads and I'll be yours for life.

But Green Stone Woman went a couple steps further today and gave me not one, not two, but three shiny objects which have me bedazzled.

Now I'm not going to spell out the people I'd adorn with them. You know who you are, you faithful throng. So help yourselves to one or all. Ah go on, you know you want to.










As for me? I'm off to hang them in my hall at the left. To hell with the decor.