October 31, 2006

With This Quip...

A couple of years back, a friend of mine was posting a profile on a dating website. I was giggling my butt off, rather unkindly, as he tried to find the right 20 words to sum up his fabulousness. I offered some suggestions, but as you can guess, they were all a little sarcastic and humourous. I reasoned that I would never date a guy who didn't have a sense of humour; might as well come out laughing.

I ran across this piece today and I have to share it. Someone is publishing a book of the best ads he's seen, and some of them are here. Love it, love it, love it.

A witty personality doesn't guarantee a love match, but a deficit of humour will absolutely rule one out.

October 30, 2006

Compute This

I was arguing with one of my kids on the weekend, which in and of itself is hardly news, but the argument we always have is getting rather old. He can only do his homework on the computer, he claims. Every source of information can only come through this portal in the kitchen. When I suggest they go to the library, they look at me like I'm speaking in tongues.

I'm aware that this computer is the source of most of my information, which makes me a hypocrite. I'm aware of that. But I like to pretend I've earned the right to sit on my arse and surf the net. I read a confession on Salon today (I'll link it here; you may have to dive through a site pass to read it all - only takes a second)about a 25-year-old who literally can't go a minute without Googling something. He's been raised in the tech era - and can't tear himself away.

You don't have to be a tech baby to be that way. I email with one guy who uses his blackberry in the supermarket, on the bus, even when he's walking. I know this, because he answers my emails no matter where he is. And it's not because I'm fascinating; he just can't not do it.

The problem with all this access, as I try and tell my kids, is that nobody finishes anything anymore. We buzz around information like a bunch of attention-challenged bees, never alighting anywhere for more than a few seconds. Nobody drinks deeply from any cup of knowledge. Everyone is a little pretend-expert in everything, because they can Google it and instantly have an opinion. That's the part that worries me the most. People aren't even making up their own minds anymore - they're waiting for someone to do it for them.

I've warned the boys about sites that present opinion as fact. I keep buying books and shuttling them to different sources. Back at the library you could tell the difference between reliable sources and junk. But on the Internet, respected journals are listed beside tabloid ones, and to their untrained minds it all looks reputable.

It seems at a time of unmatched information availability, we know less and less. I guess my mom was right - you can have too much of a good thing.

October 28, 2006

Time for a Change?

In honour of the subject of the clocks going back tonight, I'll own up to having been too damned tired to bother writing the past couple of days. Just, limp.

I'm embarking on the next venture - the movie business - and as details come together I'll keep you posted. But suffice to say I spent three hours standing in the rain on a movie set last night, watching incredibly dedicated, incredibly patient, and incredibly wet people doing all that is required for a scene that will run probably 60 seconds. Five hours of rehearsal and shooting. I thought boxing was tough. Did I mention the rain?

Daylight Savings is just, stupid. Stupid. I dread when we lose the hour ('spring ahead!), though I love when we gain it ('fall back!). Why can't we just do the fall back one over and over? People like me get a shot at extra sleep, people like me that need every chance for extra sleep they can get. The Onion cracked me up this week with this story - yeah, and now I've sent you over to The Onion, I'll have to wait for you to get back. Snarky little playground, that.

England does Daylight Savings as well, and some scientist from there reminds us that sleep makes us smarter. Which proves what we get told every spring, that more car accidents happen after the spring clock re-set. Lack of sleep also makes us cranky, which explains my general disposition.

Next year, to keep pace with the United States, we're doing the spring flip three weeks sooner. Do we have to do everything they do? Isn't a copy-cat foreign policy bad enough? No wonder al-Qaeda is threatening us with violence - they already know we're just secret Americans. I think it would be especially Canadian to stand our ground on something like the time change. So small, so polite, so quiet.

Actually, I prefer what Saskatchewan does. Just sticks its fingers in its ears and sings 'la la la la, I can't hear you' and never touches its clocks either way.

Them prairie folk might just be onto something.

October 25, 2006

Canadian Icon and American Jerk

With foreign interests gutting many Canadian corporations, I read this morning that Celine Dion may indeed be the last Canadian icon. I small shudder went through me, that this is what the rest of the world may come to symbolize as Canada's greatest contribution to the ages.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm sure she's a perfectly nice woman. In every interview I've seen she is positively straining with good humour. I find her a little, well, unsettling. She has a fine voice. Truly fine. Painfully fine, at times.

But the last Canadian icon? As I was pondering that, I got to hear Rush Limbaugh open his big, fat, nasty mouth. And at last I had my answer. Limbaugh was trashing Michael J. Fox, calling him a faker for daring to go on television and let the world see what Parkinson's Disease really looks like. What a bastard. For someone who has used drugs as a crutch to come out swinging against someone who doesn't have that choice is the height of cowardice.

The Michael J. Fox clip is in support of a candidate who supports stem cell research, something desperately needed in the fight against many diseases like Parkinson's and spinal paralysis. It's important for everyone to know that there are people dealing with this tragedy every day, and the answer is not to hide them behind hospital walls and homes for the aged. Fox's young age of 45 should serve as a wake-up call to all of us that if there are viable ways to cure and control diseases that are costing us so dearly, politics should not be standing in the way.

Rush Limbaugh is vile. And sorry Celine, but Michael J. Fox is my idea of a Canadian icon.

October 24, 2006

Great Line

A thought connected to, well, no other thoughts.

I love this line in a piece about maraschino cherries (also highly entertaining) in today's Salon:

"Like love and alcohol, it possesses the rare power to make a kid feel like an adult, and an adult feel like a kid."

Just, really nicely put Josh Sens. Love it.

Doing the Right Thing

In today's Globe and Mail, there's a great article about someone striving for redemption. I think. I'm not sure what he wants, actually.

When innocent bystander Louise Russo was paralyzed by a stray bullet from a murder-for-hire gone wrong, you would have had a heart of steel not to have gasped at the horror, the sadness, the wrongness of it. A wife and mother of 3, she spent her life caring for her disabled daughter. She will now spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. The violence we all think happens to them had happened to us.

But the police had help this time. Instead of the usual "and no witnesses will come forward" crap we usually read about, one of the mobsters responsible for the crime had a lick of conscience. He approached the police that night and turned on his murderous cohorts, securing the evidence they needed to bring about some form of justice.

This is a fascinating story. The only way I can usually contemplate the vile deeds of others is to firmly grasp that 'us' and 'them' mentality I mentioned. 'They' are not like 'me'; that is why I can't understand the evil that some are capable of.

So, what to make of a 'them' that actually sounds more like an 'us'?

I wish him well. I don't think he's long for this world - his former life will have taught him that you get beat out the same way you get beat in, only more permanently.

October 22, 2006

Stronach/McStupid (and no, he hasn't joined THAT cast)

Belinda Stronach - I'm not a fan. Never have been, can't imagine I ever will be. Don't care which side of the House you're sitting on, it's not about politics. Having said that, you're well done of McKay. Any man that lets fly with something so derogatory - and then denies it - was faking it all along.

Peter McKay - You had a chance, buddy. You could have been a hero, if you'd just shut your nasty little mouth. Do I think you called her a dog? Yup, I do. And I also think it's indicative of the party you represent and their estimation of women. Men who let comments like that fly are speaking words that are tolerated in their working environment.

Now, I want everyone to turn in their texts to the page called "Class".

Start reading. A lesson is sorely needed.

Tall Short Non Fat Double Whipped

I had a doctor once who used to regale me with stories of his shopping trips to Yorkville, a land of shops that might as well have have been in Oz to my teenaged sensibilities. The venue to spot famous people, the place to drop $2,000 on a purse, the land of leisurely lunches that cost my entire month's food budget.

He could afford it; I had no bitter with that. But one day he commented that whenever he went into a certain music store there, he always, always bought whatever they had wafting through the store speakers. He then casually mentioned that he rarely played it once he owned it. I remember feeling a little let down that this man I admired was a kind of lemming with a stethoscope around his neck.

It's not that I hadn't experienced the same pull; I'm not immune to the forces of advertising - in fact, I'm totally cognisant of the fact that far more energy is invested into making me want something than I have invested in avoiding it. I just wanted to believe that in the end, smarts and self-discipline could prevail.

I was buzzing through this story on how Starbucks is co-opting our lust for lattes by flogging everything from music to movies now. I'd noticed. I hadn't much cared. I grab a latte once in awhile, and stand amidst a bunch of people that look a little self-satisfied to my un-Yorkvilled eyes. I like book stores, mostly, and most Starbucks used to be attached to one I rather liked. Then they took out the chairs, and I stopped spending as much time, and money, in the bookstores.

I'm not happy when I'm being manipulated. Apparently, there are many of us who aren't happy unless we are. We want to be told that if this is the coffee we drink, then this is the music we should also like, and these are the movies and books that will appeal to us. What a bunch of crap. I can picture Ted Bundy with a frappacino, purchasing the newest nerdy word game while he laughs in a fake way with some other guy he's spent all afternoon loudly arguing the fundamental merits of existentialism with.

And Ted Bundy was a serial killer. See, anyone can fit in here.

I'll confess a secret lust I have to smack upside the head anyone who stands there ordering anything with more than 4 words in it. You sound like a dork. Shut up and order a coffee. Coffee shouldn't have whipped cream in it. Hot chocolate may, but it better be for your 6-year-old.

My brain has been too crowded this weekend with a million articles and stories I want to write about. It's rendered me pretty much speechless (stop cheering), and so I've picked on Starbucks. Actually, I'm picking on people that can't make up their own minds. No wonder our governments, all of them, are comprised of Pipers that pick the right tune at the right time.

We don't trust our own instincts anymore. We can't even decide if something tastes good unless someone tells us it does. What the hell? How about dialling back all the rhetoric, scraping off all the toppings and getting to the nut of the whole thing?

Quality over quantity; substance over style; fact over fiction. We need to quit being so lazy, and dig for our own answers. Don't just read one newspaper. Don't just listen to one voice. Learn something new - that thing you're reading this on isn't just to play games on, or babble with your friends. Though, admittedly, it's fun for that too. Just, don't sell yourself short on the ability to make up your own mind.

And of course, don't listen to me.

October 20, 2006

Don't Blame Me

Oh, ferchristsakes. I've had it. How is every single thing that famous people get caught is doing because of booze, pills, abuse or a bad mother?

Slate does a lovely roundup of the latest bunch of spineless badboys. It's a perfect step-by-step guide for eluding blame and responsibility.

Whatever happened to 'take your lumps'? What ever happened to admit it, suck it up, move on? No wonder our kids are so great at blaming teachers for lousy grades and their friends for getting them into trouble. Nice examples we've set for them.

Let's be clear: I put the alcohol in my body that made me say or do dumb things. If I gain weight, it's because of the food I stuck in my mouth. If I yell at my kids too much, it's because I didn't bother to fix something that was broken and take care of old hurts. If I got pregnant, it was because - well, I could go on, but I don't think I need to.

My screw ups are not my parents fault. This generation has had more access to more information and help than any other. We've also had enough hours of Oprah and Dr. Phil to be able to recognize that the sins of the father (or mother) do not sentence the son (or daughter) to a lifetime of excuses.

Have you ever tried to follow a lie down the daisy chain of experience? Of course you have. Everyone has. You can only do it for so long, and then you just have to put your head down and surrender. The trick is to learn something, and grow. I'm so fed up with this terminal toddler behaviour from supposed adults.

The human condition is to follow pleasure and avoid pain. But part of being an adult is to learn delayed gratification - do the work up front, enjoy the fruits of your labour later. Dinner before dessert.

I'm far more likely to accept a display of your strengths if you're open about your weaknesses.

I like my humans human.

October 19, 2006

Seven Wonders

I loved this article. They're going to hold some kind of contest to announce the new Seven Wonders of the World. Of the original Ancient Wonders most of us memorized in school, only the Pyramids remain.

They've narrowed it down to 21, and the list is there. Get your kids to find them all, and pick your own seven. My favourite favourite favourite are the Easter Island Statues. Dunno about the Sydney Opera House so much - I like my Wonders to be kind of crumbly and more Old World wonderful. I think the Pyramids should get a buy to the finals, even though I was thoroughly disconcerted to hear years ago that it's the sewage from Cairo that's eating away at them. Ick.

So, get your keener kid to make a project out of it. And email me your results.

October 18, 2006

The French Connection

Sometimes I go on TV and state that in most cases, I'm opposed to alimony. Men write to me and tell me I'm wonderful.

Sometimes I go on TV and declare that women should set up their life with an eye to recognizing they should be able to support themselves and their children, because life throws curve balls. Men write to me and tell me I'm everything that is wrong with our society because women believe working is more important than raising their children.

I often muse if sometimes these are the same guys writing.

Here's a thought: What if we put the kids first? What if we just finally recognized that pissing and moaning about what everyone else is doing is just wasting precious time, and more importantly, jeopardizing our most precious resource - our kids?

First and foremost, I believe that families have to work out what works best for them. Couples should discuss beforehand how they want to raise any kids they agree to have. Get a plan. Get a backup plan. And then get a backup for that. THINGS DON'T ALWAYS GO THE WAY YOU THINK.

This article from today's Washington Post was intriguing. They've introduced a myriad of income supports so that women can have the families they want, and not lose traction in their careers. Subsidized daycare, early education systems, family-friendly work environments - all the things richer countries can't afford.

I'm not holding France up as some economic model - hardly. But in recognizing the value of their children, and the education of those children, it's a refreshing change from the garbage I hear in my own country. Ireland's former Prime Minister Mary Robinson recognized the danger of short changing the kids - she threw open the doors to the universities of that country and Ireland has gone from a desperate, impoverished country to one with one of the most sought after worker pools in the EU.

Unlike Blanche DuBois, I will never rely on the kindness of strangers, or anyone else, to secure my future. Only a fool would. I will forever believe a smart mother will have the ability to support herself and her children. Death, divorce, illness, unstable economies - thing they don't exist? Think again. Parents work too hard, both in and out of the home, to have to gamble on the crapshoot of unlicensed daycares or a podge of unreliable safety nets.

I have American friends that salivate over the Canadian concept of a year-long maternity leave. They get 6 weeks. That's criminal to do to a mother and a baby. Most people I know knit together an ever-changing situation of being at home, working part-time, after-school programs and early-education programs. It's time we recognized that in these early years, so many things change so quickly - we're not talking about endless years of daycare - we're talking about responsible, valuable alternatives that help children learn, and help men and women be responsible parents.

We need to give a damn about everyone's children, not just our own.

October 17, 2006

A Lost Generation?

Five kids under 12 lock a disabled teen in a shed, set it on fire, and commence dancing and laughing as flames engulf the structure.

Finish your breakfast before you read the whole piece here. The comments that follow are the usual round-up of 'when did kids get so mean?' garbage.

Children have always been mean. Venomously, lethally, mean. I will never cease to be amazed at what poor memories people seem to have. I remember being bullied, a lot, I remember being a bully - once. It just felt good not to be the one being picked on. Darwin's theory wasn't just something they taught us - we lived it.

I'll echo what a lot of people are saying - it's the parents. Empathy starts young. You may not be able to convince your 2-year-old to share his cheesies with his brother because it's the right thing to do, but you don't stop making him do it. Good parenting is about rote. Over and over and over, until you think you'll go crazy, and until you see him offer his brother a cheesie one day.

I don't believe in child-centred families. I am not here to create the next generation of royalty. We are family-centred, because everyone needs a time to lead, a time to rest, and a time to be carried. Everyone needs to feel what each role is comprised of.

Disciplining preschoolers in exhausting. But when I see people with out of control 14-year-olds, I wonder if they wouldn't like to go back and revisit that decision to let the 3-year-old have his way every time.

So, 4 girls and a boy band together to terrorize and injure a disabled boy. Is it pack mentality? Five isn't much of a pack. I've long maintained the major difference between boys and girls is that boys punch and girls plot. I've seen more aggression in girls over the years, though maybe that's my own memory becoming wonky.

I had girls chase me home from school and kick and throw things, but it was Ricky Smith that gave me my first bloody nose. A bloody nose is easier to overcome than the terror those girls instilled in me about what might happen.

These 5 could have killed this boy; indeed they would have, if a parent hadn't come rushing to his aid. The article cites the depressed socio-economic factors in the area, and the lack of parental guidance. But I've seen rich kids with no supervision too. Parenting isn't about money. I've always said rich kids just cram better drugs up their noses and wrap more expensive cars around poles.

Our kids need to find the tools for humanity in us. They sure aren't going to find them in our current government regimes with their 'I've got mine' mentalities. The media has been dumbed down so far the headline is more likely to be about Paris Hilton's new purse than ongoing genocides. Stupid is sexy. Ignorance is the new black.

Disaffected, disenchanted, disengaged. We've become a planet of disappearing hope. And without that, it won't be global warming that will do us all in. It'll be the fact we don't give a damn about each other anymore.

October 16, 2006

Rocket Fuel

I'm sitting here too tired to work. A lost day means a working night - Power Shifts have to happen by Tuesday, Motherlodes by Thursday. The ideas have to be there a few days ahead of time. I've been pecking around Salon magazine, ordinarily one of my favourite sites.

A little pre-Halloween shopping means I'm sitting here popping nature's most tiny perfect candy into my mouth - Rockets. They're the only candy I like, and I get a little feral if the kids get into them.

Anyhoo, there's an article about Hillary Rodham Clinton that's just raising ire all over Salon. A couple of days ago it was Rachael Ray. The articles themselves are kind of neither here nor there - pretty much babble reporting. But the letters bleed out this hatred that seems to be based on, usually, gender. That's all.

I'm sure you couldn't get two women more different. Clinton, seemingly poised to take a run at the White House in '08, is battling endless years of front page acrobatics involving literally every single aspect of her life. I have to admit, there seems little left of the woman who I admired when her husband first became President. Now, she seems so busy trying to please everyone, she's alienating everyone. No one can play Whack-a-Mole that fast, or that well. There's always some ugly little bugger raising his head.

Ray, on the other hand, is a little fluff. Not a chef, but a family-oriented cook, she seems to be getting louder and more giddy every time she picks up a frying pan. She wasn't on my radar until earlier this year - she's kind of noisy and obnoxious, but so am I. I just figure you watch what you like, read what you want, and keep your judgments to yourself. Live and let live.

There are entire websites devoted to hating Ray. I'm not sure why - I missed the class on how kneecapping someone else could make me feel better. And interestingly, it's usually women who are harshest against their own. I'm not sure why they care about Rachael Ray.

It's not like she's running for President.

October 15, 2006

Off Balance?

I like talking. That's nothing new to my family and friends - they've spent a lifetime trying to shut me up. But getting up and speaking in front of people was something I never, ever would have done, until I decided a couple of years ago that the time was right.

Of course finding people that wanted to hear what I had to say was another matter; like the writing, without an audience, it's pretty much just solitaire. If a tree falls in the forest...

I had fun yesterday. I started out nervous (I usually do)- I'm not an actor or politician. I ramble sometimes, I lose my place, I'm no natural with a microphone and I make faces. So what could possibly make the nerves worth it?

I got up on the stage yesterday, and looked out a group of people who were smiling at me. It was this very warm reception, and I realized it was like talking to a bunch of my friends. I mean, if people read my columns, they feel like they know me, and to a point they do. When I see them nodding and smiling at some of things I say, I realize I know them too.

So, to anyone who made it out yesterday, thank you. Thank you for laughing, and for making me laugh. It's wonderful to barge into your homes twice a week, but it's even nicer to see we really are so much alike.

October 13, 2006

Black and Blew

Growing up, my mother used to coach me to beware of people who would might flatter me for their own dishonest gains. Of course, this was the woman who could manipulate my father into buying new carpet with a plan more intricate than a spider's web, but still. I got the message. At least be the one holding the reins.

But of course, as every good teacher should consider, sometimes the student will use the lesson against them.

My mom was too easy. I'd ask her if she'd lost weight. I'd wait ten minutes, then ask her for the car keys. Worked every time.

Conrad Black is asking if Canada's lost weight.

Smarmy bugger is trying to compliment his way back into our good graces. Telling the world that Canada is a 'great world power'. So great, he ditched us like an ugly prom date so he could plunk a 'Lord' in front of his squatty little name a few years back.

Go to hell, Conrad. You're not getting the keys.

October 12, 2006


Okay, geek talk for awhile.

I don't know about you, but I absolutely loathe the idea of books being tranferred to computers. As much as I like to access news and magazines on line, a book is whole different animal.

Today's NYT carries this article about Sony's latest venture into the world of e-books. They've apparently invented a pretty good little machine that you download a book into, and then carry around and read.

I dunno.

Books are magic. I crave books. I collect them, I re-read them, I give them away, I loan them out, I covet them. They are pretty much my only purchase weak-spot, now that I've given up on shoes. My boys know I will never say no to buying books.

This new technology allows you to 'carry' tons of books with you, all conveniently stored into something the size of one. Any book freak who has ever moved knows the hellish nightmare of packing, and lifting, box after box of books. Friends of mine actually left hundreds of tomes behind when they left New York City- they couldn't afford to ship them.

So there's that. But you also can't lend or give a book to someone after you've read it. When I pass on a beloved book, it's like a little piece of me goes with it. When I look at all the books tumbling down on my bookcases, I can trace all the patterns of my life, from enforced university reading to eras devoted to odd forays into everything from understanding death to Leonardo Da Vinci. These books hold out memories to me like stems of flowers, making up some messy, crazy, always-fragrant bouquet.

So, I still dunno. If Sony wants to shoot a little machine over to me, I'll test drive it for them. But we'll have to see how good this thing does when it gets dunked in the lake at the cottage by mistake, or covered in tears when a book just gets me in the gut.

You can't just break it down to the words. If that were true, all books would feel the same. And we all know they don't.

October 11, 2006

Super Ova

I love when I read scientific studies telling me how my body works. Or rather, should be working, in relation to everyone else on the planet. I love especially when lab rats start making predictions about women. Heh.

This study maintains that women dress sexy when they're ovulating. This would seem reasonable - nature would indicate that when we're most likely to be knock-upable, we should be using the best bait.

Though their study seemed to be centered on university women, and the biggest difference seemed to be sweat pants/no sweat pants, they could still tell that the females were definitely adorning themselves differently, with jewellery etc, during specific times of their cycle.

There is only one thing I do with any kind of certainty when I'm ovulating. I eat anything that isn't nailed down to the table. I am like a bear the week before it heads into hibernation. Forgive me, but this is probably not the obvious time to be playing with skinny jeans. And why would I be carrying a cute new purse, when all I really want to carry around is a cooler?

I have a couple of problems with this. The first is obvious: How do you quantify 'sexy'? I mean, is it like a Pam Anderson-sex buffet thing? Or classy-sexy, like Audrey Hepburn? I'm mastered neither of those styles, but still managed to pop out a couple of kids.

My other problem is one they could have solved just by asking any group of women. Forget measuring hormones. Women dress their sexiest when there's the chance they may bump into their ex.

October 10, 2006

Total Balance Show

Come down to the Convention Centre in Hamilton on Saturday at 2:00. Oh stop it, you do NOT have anything better to do.

I'll be speechifying - something about juggling kids and work and life. Come down and listen if for no other reason than to discover you are way better at it than you thought you were. Everyone looks good next to me.

I'll also be at the All Canadian Fitness Booth afterwards - these are the lads who taught me to box. These are the people who caused me great physical pain. Either way, you can come down and thank them.

Here's a link to the show (they think Suzanne Somers is the star - yeah)

Pass the Tissues...

It doesn't make me even a little jealous to be outwritten when the piece is as eloquent as this one from Salon. Whether you have kids, or once were one, take a look.

Okay, maybe a little jealous.

October 9, 2006

Poop & Circumstance

There are all types of elections going on all over the place. Here in town are municipal ones. You know those ones, where the only thing people really care about are barking dogs and garbage collection. We all want to know who to call to stop one and make sure the other one keeps going. The best bet here is for candidates to fly under the radar. No radicals, no innovators, no heavy-lifter heavy-duty thinkers.

The reason change moves at a snail's pace is because that's all the electorate can stand. Be careful what you wish for.

In the States, they're ramping up for the mid-terms. It means Bush is safe, but everyone who has ever been associated with him has to defend his record. Whereas the Democrats had to pay for Clinton boffing Monica Lewinsky, the Republicans will hopefully have to pay for Bush boffing all of Iraq. And I don't recall Iraq ever tipping a sexy little beret at Bush, let alone flashing its thong.

You know what I hate? Everyone is in a lather over stupid stuff. That pig Foley has wrapped up headlines with everyone wondering if he diddled interns. When do people get around to asking real questions of these politicians? It sure isn't when they're in office, and it most decidedly isn't when they're running.

Elections are like proms. Everyone doodied up in their borrowed best, all scrubbed clean and not remotely resembling who they truly are. We all went to the prom. We should know better.

While it would be lovely if all politicians kept themselves zipped, it ain't gonna happen. So. How about we overlook the human aspect, and cut to the chase? Ask them some real questions. Local, federal or global, these are the things I want to know from people running for office, who are going to have a say in where my money is going.

I want them to address the unsexy - infrastructure. There. You were waiting for another scandal joke, and I low-balled you with something far more crucial. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Parts of many urban areas are over 100 years old, and our sewers and highways and bridges need replacing. Montreal learned this in a horrific fashion last week; in general, it's nothing new. In Hamilton, go talk to anyone who is faced with flooded basements every time it rains.

This past weekend has been a long diatribe in our house - because my sons are subjected to homeschooling all day, every day - about the future of this planet. As we watch Iraq and the Middle East play a tug-o-war with the rest of the world over oil, I warned them that the future is going to be about water. They thought I was nuts. I'm not nuts.

Maybe I should head down to the next mayoral debate, and stand up and ask them where they stand on the issue of water. Or infrastructure, which people only care about when they're knee deep in poop.

But, nah. These people know what's really sexy. Zero tax increases, intern diddling and money trails.

Just wait until it's their basements.

Live @ 5:30 Monday

Just in time to share your turkey dinner with you (who said 2 turkeys at the same table is a bad thing?), I'll be on the show today. Tune into CH11.

I'll be blogging more later - lots of good stuff, all day to get to it. In the meantime, re-read yesterday's blog link. And make everyone you know read it, and send it anyone you know in the U.S. Especially the Republicans.

October 8, 2006

War, No Roses

As with so many things, I'm of mixed emotions on our involvement in Afghanistan. You must think I have splinters in my ass from riding the fence on so many issues - I long for my younger years when everything was just so black and white. A little knowledge seems to come with a bucket of grey smoke.

Read this. It's a letter from a soldier in Iraq sent back to his friends and family in the US. It's from TIME magazine. I guarantee it will send shivers down your spine, tears down your cheeks, and make you smile. Unforgettable.

Politics aside, which is desperately hard to do, these kids are real. Bush has done a grave injustice to his own people by blacking out the return of these soldiers when they die. If a government can so readily send its youth out to die and be maimed, it must use just as much energy and fanfare in acknowledging their return - and their mission.

October 7, 2006

With This Ring...

I'm going to hazard a guess that by 40 or so, if not sooner, you've probably survived (if not instigated) some relationship endings. This article in the NYT today is about Ebaying your way through a divorce - actually purging all reminders of that Time That Shall Not Be Referred To.

I actually do this even when friends are toast. I'm one of those people that puts up with a lot of crap, until I don't anymore. I had one friend betray me on a bigass level, so after we were done, I threw out every single thing she'd ever given me. We'd been close for 20 years. Anything that reminded me of her had to go. I wouldn't hand great stuff to other friends, because I considered it tainted. I'd give it to charity, but I tossed every note, photo, gift, everything.

No 'thing' will ever be valuable enough to me to be a constant reminder of something dark. The article talks about rich divorcees auctioning jewels at Southeby's - nice if you can get a little coin out of it. I've never been a jewellery girl - my engagement ring was my mother's so the vibe is still cool.

I read articles sometimes where a reporter has gone to Good Will or the Salvation Army and found some absolutely incredible finds. Exquisite clothing in new condition, artwork or accessories that are worth far more than their charity price tag.

Bet I know where a lot of that stuff came from - some karma-purging woman moving forward instead of back.

October 6, 2006

Fighting Penguins

This was supposed to be posted this morning - I'd make a lousy journalist if I missed deadines like I miss bloglines. My oldest kid had been grounded off the computer, which meant as soon as I left the house last night, he hopped on.

And while I was with writer-fighters, he was wreaking havoc with my computer, apparently armed only with MSN. Webgod Jeff has been here for hours trying to unravel the mystery that is this damned machine.

To the fight: Okay, this was my first up close boxing match. I've only ever flicked past it on TV ('turn it! turn it now!'). As 350 people crammed around the ring, it crossed my mind that it is a rather odd thing that unites people for the purpose of watching someone get the crap kicked out of him.

The publicists from Penguin went first as the undercard. I didn't recognize Stephen Myers at first without his glasses. Then it dawned on me that perhaps he didn't know where he was. The other guy didn't care too much about such details. With their headgear, mouthguards and gloves on, everything was pretty much covered, except their noses. So guess where most of the punching occurred.

Two minute rounds sound short. I now know from experience that even one minute seems like an eternity, and makes you sweat in a very unladylike manner. These boys weren't concerned with the ladylike part, but they were fighting for real. I was wincing for real.

The main card took the ring to huge cheers, an hour and about 4 beers later. I'd seen Craig Davidson downstairs warming up, and was impressed with the changes in even the couple of weeks since I fought him. I'm sure he was cherishing that match by this point.

His opponent, Michael Knox climbed into the ring first. I gulped. The lad looked like a serious fighter. He's been advertising that he's a poet, but I think that was just to fake people out. This guy doesn't look like a poet, unless it's a mad- as- hell poet.

And again, with the punching in the nose. I'd bought a couple of Craig's books for my trainers, and asked him to sign them ahead of the fight. I didn't want blood on them.
You laugh. Craig had a bunch of blood going on by the second round.

These were sanctioned matches, with a referee and everything. These guys took an incredible pounding in the name of their art. I'm thinking they should cut up the canvas floor of the ring and sell the bloodstains as art too. Craig as multi-media.

I'm still boxing, but I'm not heading into a ring anytime soon. That whole nose-punching thing made me look away. And in boxing, if you look away, the poet wins.

October 5, 2006

Fight Night

Tonight is the Big Event...Craig Davidson and Michael Knox will be battling it out for real at Florida Jack's at Yonge and Bloor.

I'm expecting far more blood and teeth sprayed about than at my bout with Craig (check out the Pain Diaries for more info), but there is no part of me that wishes I were the one in gloves.

Well, maybe just a small part. I'm actually heading out now for another boxing lesson with Adam. Yep...I'm still at it.

October 4, 2006

You Again?

News reports are sprouting up all over, like fungus, about the droves of Generation Xers that are returning to the nest. Quelle surprise. Statistics and the offspring themselves are citing a host of excuses that boomer parents may be buying, but Rosie Dimanno and I aren't.

Oh, how I love some Rosie in the morning. I even love her when I disagree with her. She puts the 'courage' in conviction. She tell this over-educated spoiled bunch of brats to cut the apron strings, buy some used furniture and climb down to their first basement apartment and start being adults. Or something like that.

When I got accepted at several universities back in the stone age, I happily announced that I wanted to go to another city to live. I was 17. My mother just as happily informed me that I would be living at home, and attending the university in the next town. We couldn't afford residence fees, and I was not going to incur debt for such a stupid reason. An English degree is an English degree.

I'm aware school costs have blasted through the roof. I have a kid in high school - believe me, I lie awake at night and wonder how I'm going to do it. But I graduated not owing anything - not because we were rich, but because my parents knew I would never be able to head out into the adult world saddled with huge debt. No, that comes later.

It is far more attractive to live at home at 18 than 35. These Gen Xers who have attained several degrees have lived in an artificial world for too long. They get out and find out it sucks to pay for hydro and food. I know kids who put themselves through school - they don't whine. They're too busy.

I think it's the parents doing these kids the biggest disservice. You can't give a kid gumption - he has to earn it the hard way.

Oh, and a note to the returnees - it's kind of funny to be sneaking a girl into your parent's house at 18. At 35, it's losing some of its appeal.

October 3, 2006

Why The Girls?

I've been having interesting conversations this morning.

With the horrific news of yet another school shooting, this one in Pennsylvania, there are two distinct thought processes forming. I'm watching an evolution of woman-hating. And no, not in some Andrea Dworkin all-repression, all-the-time skipping record. The women I know feel the same thing.

The men I talk to think it's one or two crazy guys (just days ago, another bastard held hostage and molested 6 girls, ultimately murdering one), and while nearly unbearable to contemplate, not indicative of this misogynistic trend I find so evident. What kind of a coward walks into a school and murders innocents? What excuse for a man could kill a child? How could anyone kill someone, unprovoked, that they don't even know?

Could I kill? If my children were threatened, absolutely. If your children were threatened, I could kill. There are not many things I hold sacred, but protecting those that can't protect themselves is one of them. Someone is going to have to explain to me, in small, slow words, the threat these children presented to these men with guns. And especially these girl children. These incidents have been a methodical slaughter of girls.

There is a lawyer here in Hamilton I've been told of, who refuses to name the bastard that murdered 14 women at the Ecole Polytechnique back in 1989. Instead, he keeps the names of these sacrificed women prominently displayed in his office. Thank you. It is the names of these victims that need to be recorded and repeated, not that of the vicious coward who snuffed them out.

There are hateful, angry people out there. Many of them are men. I hear from them. I report some of them. You can find many of them trolling on mainstream message boards. I have no idea where this volcano of vitriol comes from. There are extremists in any faction, but blaming your shortcomings on an entire gender is not just baffling; it's terrifying. Maybe it was just too damned easy when men were automatically handed the keys to the kingdom by virtue of the fact of their genitals.

My father had all daughters. He was old-fashioned in most ways, but he taught me to move forward on merit. Expect no breaks based on gender, but accept no closed doors for the same reason. The lessons for my sons are much the same.

We are different, but we are equal. And no children should have to die because someone can't accept that.

October 2, 2006

Foley's Frolics

Oh, those silly Republicans. Grand Ole Party, indeed.

Desperate to keep their majority in the House of Representatives, they had been trying to keep a page-lusting representative, Mark Foley, under wraps. Creep-o has been sending lurid, myspace-worthy emails to young males pages for years, it seems.

Ewwwww. The kids all knew, and traded notes amongst themselves for years. These kids are only 16 and 17, and apparently didn't want to mess up future job opportunities by turning the creep in. Nice message we're sending our kids, huh?

As is now par for the course, Foley has tucked himself into alcohol rehab. As a friend pointed out, that will surely kill off homosexual tendancies. I know I only lust after young lads if I've been drinking. Well, that's maybe not entirely true...

Is power really this hypnotic? Do these pigs believe they are immune? Maybe they are. I'm not sure why they even have 'pages' any more. After Clinton informed a generation that oral sex is indeed NOT real sex (thanks for that you idiot) you have to wonder what definition of reality these fools are passing around among themselves.

Foley is vile. Those that covered for him are vile. And the voting public is stupid if they don't start demanding more integrity from those they elect.

I mean, next thing you know, those Americans might find themselves in an immoral, unwinnable war or something.