June 28, 2007

Wanna Go For a Ride?

I've often accused some politicians of having no soul, no heart, no vision and a couple of other necessary body parts. There have been many unfinished people occupying higher office around the world.

Various Republicans draw a special kind of ire from me in U.S. politics - I'd start with Dick Cheney, but I'd never want to be finished. I detest the 'I've got mine, too bad about the rest of you' theory the right enjoys so, well, righteously. I believe we're a community, not a bunch of individuals ferally roaming the plains or jungles.

While nobody in either party seems to be able to stick to one mate (though how Rudy Guiliani can keep scoring is beyond me - waxen blowhard), I'm less concerned with extra-sexual adventures (unless you have a thing for young male pages - ewww. Just, ewww, Mark Foley), and if I keep posting Clinton links (Bill, not Hillary - yet) I'd blow up my computer. Power is obviously a resource.

You have to read this tale from the camp of Mitt Romney - apparently to demonstrate he is absolutely capable of 'emotion-free crisis management' - the guy the USA needs to lead the way in the future.

During a family road trip in '83, he strapped the family dog to the roof of the car in a cage for 12 hours. It crapped all over the place. This is the same guy who advocates torture at Gitmo - guess when he started perfecting his methods?

Uhm, Mrs. Romney? Nice story for the kids on the first day of school, you think? 'What I did on my family vacation - we tortured the dog'.

Sick bastard. Good thing there was room for all the kids in the car.

June 27, 2007


In October of this year, I'll be lending my voice to a loop of libraries in the Golden Horseshoe as they celebrate National Library Month. I love libraries.

I grew up in a noisy house, and escaped almost daily to the library that was conveniently located a couple of blocks from my home. I remember when it was built, it was a huge modern airy building, with soaring windows and big cushions in all of those windows. I would sit there for hours, reading anything and everything. When I turned 14, I got my first 'real' job there. My son works there now.

They changed my library recently. Now, it looks like an airplane hanger. I don't like it much. There are still the same books, but now people seem to rush by them to get to the computers. And while I welcome all resources, I experience a huge sense of loss when I go there now.

I never liked the fact we were always supposed to be quiet in the library - how do you exchange ideas if you can't talk? - but I did like the kind of reverence. You were in a place where great ideas were possible, and you knew this because you were surrounded by other great ideas from all these other times. It was inspirational, even if you were being told to shut up all the time.

You learn things about people by what they read. If someone returned a stack of Sidney Sheldon books, you tried to see who had wanted to read about sex. You knew who was taking a trip, who would only read crime thrillers or romance novels. I used to sit and read dictionaries, so I should probably shut up about making judgments about what people read.

The thing with a book, was that by the time you sat down with one, or pulled one off the stack that somebody else had left on the table, you would give it a chance. You never knew what you were going to find. A computer screen flashes at lightspeed, matching the attention span we seem to be developing. I learned an astonishing amount of things unexpectedly - maybe because a biography of a Bronte sister was near to one of Robert Browning, or naval battles in WWII were in such close proximity to land ones. Your eyes carry you around a library as much as your feet. Or, at least they used to.

I loved when librarians propped up books they thought people might be interested in. If a page was told to do it (that was us), we'd usually just grab a dozen books and stuff them in the display. As I got older, I realized this was a chance to polish undiscovered jewels. In stores today, it's ridiculous, endless displays of Dr. Phil bully books or chick lit pink crap - it's stuff the publishers believe will sell, not the books we need to read. Librarians help you discover. Jumbo bookstores help you buy.

When this city was still a small town, the library was in an old house in the downtown core. Maybe my mother experienced the same sense of loss when it moved to the big modern place I'm so nostalgic for.

Garrison Keillor twigged my library nerve today. He stirs in some politics, which is good. This is to remind us that those who refuse to learn will never be great leaders, and we've had enough bad leaders to last a lifetime.

June 26, 2007

Miss Potato

When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to watch beauty pageants and laugh. A lot. These Barbie doll women, who all pretty much looked alike, would parade around in bathing suits and high heels (now, there's a common look) trying desperately to look special. As we learned they had vaseline on their teeth, hemorrhoid cream under their eyes and invisible tape on their arses, I decided that beauty was just too much work.

Until I found this article today. Finally, a contest I could get behind. They have a potato queen. In a striking case of life imitating vegetable, my family has a potato queen. Me.

There is no potato I don't have a deep and abiding love for. Any form. Potatoes are rapture. I make enough at dinner so I can have leftovers for breakfast. At family dinners, everyone takes potatoes first, then passes the bowl to Aunt Rainey, because she will 'clean 'em up', to quote my late father. Who shared my love of the humble tuber.

To discover there is a place I could have a tiara perched on my head, and don a sash declaring me 'Potato Queen' is transcendant. When they speak of all the planets aligning for someone, or someone having a moment of pure understanding - or, as I prefer to call it, a potato moment - I realize I just may have been put here on earth to realize such a dream.

And my timing is perhaps impeccable. The current Potato Queen has failed to fulfill her duties -gasp - and has been dis-potatoed. Perhaps she's going over the wall, visiting other vegetables on the side, or maybe she's just all potatoed out.

I could nobly bear that banner for the rest of my life. My potato resume is without gaps, includes notable references, and shows that potatoes infiltrate every part of my life: education, careers goals, past experience and hobbies. It's all there.

And if need be, I will also declare my deep and abiding quest for world peace, just to please the judges.

June 25, 2007

The Dangerous Book For Boys

I have had a boy's weekend. Jackson led the way, and every decision was pretty much motivated by him. A 12-year-old sees the world differently than I do, and that's a very good thing.

Catching up on my reading, I came upon this great, great article. Funny, wise and more than able to make you take a step back and consider, especially if you were, or have, a boy. I nudged the topic a few days back talking to the fact that kids are corralled and limited in their play these days - a practice I believe we will all come to regret.

I'm off to buy this book.

June 23, 2007

Jackson & The Mini

There will be very little wisdom forthcoming this weekend...BMW Canada has very kindly lent me my 12-year-old son's dream car - a Mini Cooper S Convertible, and we are off for a couple of days to do whatever he wants, all points north.

The car is a 6-speed dream, and it will be filled with music of his choosing (on a truly rocking stereo - this is the car). I've had to drive the car for a few days to get used to it (my generosity knows no bounds) and now, I want to keep it. So, if you see us flying down the highway, Bon Jovi wailing away, wave. We're having a fabulous time.

Today's Column

Since Webgod Jeff is off being eaten by mosquitoes who unknowingly are sipping on his 80 proof blood as he does a weird boy thing in Algonquin for the weekend, here's the link for today's Power Shift. Yeah, I know there's a typo in it. Writers and editors really, really don't do that to make you mad. And chances are also good we caught it before you did - only just before, and not in time to change it....

There's also a letter to the editor (scroll down) in the Wheel's section from Ron Bremer in Carlisle, reminiscing about working in his dad's full service gas station after reading last week's piece. The funny thing? It's the same station I was talking about when I wrote it. Small world.

Belinda Stronach

No slams. I sincerely wish her all the best in her battle against breast cancer, news that stunned me this morning. Though I'm sure we should be getting used to this scourge by now, it's a disease that just keeps taking and taking.

My thoughts are with her and her children.

June 22, 2007


Tune into CHML, where an ongoing contest to give someone a chance to be a talk radio jock for a week (who the heck would want to do that?) heads into second gear.

I'll be on at 1:30 with contestant DJ Weatherbee....I'll bring my usual bag of contrary conclusions....

June 21, 2007

Child's Play

If you have kids, or know kids you care about, you should read this article in Slate today. It addresses the concept we keep bumping up against, namely, the loss of freedom in children's play.

You may not realize it, but there are legions of kids out there who are anticipating an uninterrupted summer firmly planted in front of some video game or computer screen. Bet on it. My own sons, left to their own devices, would sorely test me on this point. That is why I seldom leave them to their own devices. Their own devices are not wise, and those devices whisper into their ears "turn off the sound and she won't know you're still on the computer...". Those devices are crafty.

Of course kids don't go outside and play like they used to. We won't let them. Some stranger will steal them. And while I'll spare you the I-left-in-the-morning-and-came-home-when-the-streetlights-came-on speech, well, I did.

The article starts with two little kids discussing their school experiences, even though one is only three. It implies this is a bad thing. Bah. I bragged about going to school from the time I was 2 years old. Because my older sister went. Well, admittedly I was also a weird little kid, but I wanted to go to school as surely as the kid next door wanted to build a skateboard from my roller skates and a plank. Kids do what kids do.

Now that families have less kids, there is a huge difference in how they play and interact. Siblings entertain each other, even when they're beating the crap out of one another. Take away the numbers, the fun turns inward, or mommy and daddy have to go buy some endless line of toys specifically marketed to kids that aren't allowed to invent their own bows and arrows or pop tar bubbles with their fingers. (Nail polish remover gets that off, by the way...)

I worry that we're going to have successive generations of weenies who don't know what to do if some parent isn't telling them. The joy of getting into trouble, and then back out, is that you learn how to do it. Too many kids have a damned rope tied around their waist and can only go a few feet before they're tugged back.

I worry that in our quest for safety, we're creating children that need to be entertained in increasingly expensive ways and for extensive periods of time. Too much of the garbage on the market is an adult interpretation of what kids want to do. Hand a kid a hose, let them climb trees, leave them at a crabby little stream with a couple of dip nets, show them how to hunt for 4-leaf-clovers, let them build jumps for their bikes, teach them how to use a hammer and nails or let them build forts with old blankets. Let them plant something; let them paint something; let them win, but let them lose.

Something not working the way they planned is not a bad thing; it's a terrific thing.

June 19, 2007

Girls Gone Wild...

In a follow up to the piece I did on Constable Linda Dean for Mother's Day, we'll be spending the day at Mosport at the Bridgestone Formula 2000 race track. Racing.

We'll be playing with the other moms and their guests who won the contest to spend a day hurtling around the track. I even bought proper little racing shoes. They have pink stripes. I am becoming quite fond of them.

Look for a piece in Saturday's Star - if it's not my byline, then something went very, very wrong. But at least I'll have cute shoes.


Think this'll get rid of Ann Coulter once and for all?

June 18, 2007

V.F.'s Kipling Buis

Beginning a couple of years back (I think), Vanity Fair magazine has held an essay contest for the regular folks. This year's winner is terrific. It's an elegant diatribe that in two short pages treks from an 1827 view of America by British novelist Anthony Trollope's mother to present day.

Winner Kipling Buis racks up points like a scribe dancing around a literary pinball machine. From slavery in all its forms to our tired, lazy interpretation of the world around us, he makes his points with the smallest hammer needed - there is no need for overkill.

I especially appreciate his filleting of the media we rely on for everything ("If you judged an event's importance strictly by the amount of media coverage it received, then the O. J. Simpson trial would be by far the most significant event in the history of the universe.")

Yes, it's American, but it is still relevant as our political policies and cultural temperature continues to mesh with theirs. Give it a read.

June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

I have a baby bunny in my backyard, that I have decided is mine, though all my neighbours have also laid claim. He is forgiven for eating plants in every yard, and the cooing comes from every window. But, he is my bunny.

Usually on this day, we would be planning a joint Father's Day/birthday thing for my Dad. His birthday is on the 21st, and it often coincided exactly with Father's Day. He wasn't the kind of guy you bought ties for, or shirts, or anything, really. He liked what he already had, and was highly resistant to change. He would hold up a new golf shirt someone had paid too much for (he never golfed), and say "oh, say", smile, and my mother would put it in the drawer, and he would continue wearing his old crappy stuff unless my mother could coerce him into it.

We'd give him subscriptions to Cottage Living or Outdoor Life, or Equinox before they canned it. We'd buy cards my mom would read, and prop on the mantel. He collected coins and brass things and old tools, but as with most collections, the choices are better made by the collector. The fact we could open our wallets meant little; he was most impressed if you'd had to hunt high and low and then got something for free.

The only thing I remember my Dad every wanting was for us to be around. He liked sitting at the head of the dinner table, watching us. We were noisy and spirited (still are - as are the grandkids), and he would polish off in ten minutes a meal it had taken my mother hours to prepare. Then he would leave the table and go sit outside, or upstairs. The grandkids would trail after him, and we would continue to eat and drink and wonder how our father could eat an entire meal in ten minutes, especially one created in his honour.

I'm reading a varity of odes to Fathers all over the press today, from perfect dads to missing dads to loathesome dads. One guy in Salon is bitching that, the second time around in his 50s, he's simply too old for the mundane, constant white noise of children. Well, no kidding. I was too old for it at 27. It's not a particularly insightful piece, but I was left wondering what he really expected. With any luck at all, parents bring very different things to their children. My mother had the patience of a saint; my father had the temper of Satan sitting on a tack.

He's been dead nearly 11 years. His final years were tough, and his medical condition agitated his unique personality. He wanted special treatment, but was angry if he discovered you were giving it to him. In many ways, you couldn't win. But in all the important ways, you couldn't lose. He was my father until the very end, interested in everything I was doing even if he couldn't take part in all of it. I was his child until the day he died.

That wee bunny is hopping around what used to be my father's yard. He would be furious that it is eating so many plants, but when nobody was looking, he would be tossing it scraps and talking to it.

Miss you, Pop.

June 16, 2007

Go Forth & Edify

I graduated from a couple of places - namely, Central High School and McMaster University - but I didn't attend any graduation exercises. This peeved my mom, but I just wasn't much for pomp and circumstance. I didn't really know what 'pomp' was for, other than wearing uncomfortable shoes and having photos taken with kids you'd never see again. And the 'circumstance' really wasn't all that remarkable - I'd had a comfy upbringing by parents who loved me - my only job was to go to school and not screw up.

When I hear of speeches given by famous people to graduating classes - people like Oprah, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby - I wonder what they talk about. I mean, if they're standing up there, they presumably did something right, but they're talking to hundreds of kids who probably won't be standing up there one day - and know it. I would hope they extol the virtue of changing their world, if not the whole world. That's something everyone can do. And should try to do.

If I was a graduate, I'd prefer some humour, and some acknowledgment that the littered, hard-carved path is the most rewarding, and not to freak out if you flunk something, or lose your way. A good friend of mine is constantly telling me to live just outside my comfort zone. It's great advice. I try to follow it. And I generally pull those around me into that discomfort zone so I have ample company.

The Star today excerpts some grad speeches, and one, by John de Chastelain who used to head Canada's military, is a beaut. I wouldn't expect a military guy would resonate so much with me, but he did. He quotes Carl von Clausewitz about how to be wary of people, and how to spot trouble before it happens. The reference ends with the warning to be especially careful of the Stupid & Energetic. Read the link for the whole thing. It's worth it.

Clausewitz was a Prussian military strategist a hundred and fifty years ago, and while he is usually interpreted as something of a war-monger (well, partly because it's hard to interpret him any other way) the bit that de Chastelain references is quite brilliantly applied across most of life.

I told my son the other day that every single group he will ever be a part of will be a variation of the same dynamic. High school, workplace, families, cities, countries, everything - you will have leaders, sycophants, workers, lazy-arses, planners, doers, whiners, martyrs, heroes and villians. I told him to decide which he is, and get ready to deal with the rest of them.

Of course, he's still in bed, so I'm hoping he hasn't signed up for 'lazy-arse'.

June 15, 2007

Bleeding Hearts

Every once in a while a judge gets it right. You hear of a sentencing and think "finally, somebody gets to the nut of the problem (or the problem of the nut) and refuses to hide behind politics or theatrics and just does the right, sane thing".

And then other times, you wonder if they bothered to pick up their brain bags at the carousel of planet earth when they arrived. I think a Peterborough judge missed his connection.

As part of a probation order, he has decided that a 24-year-old man can't have a girlfriend for 3 years. He physically attacked a woman who tried to break up with him, cutting phone cords as she and her roommate tried to call for help, then threatening to slit both their throats with a butcher knife before stabbing himself in the heart. He lived to be found fit to stand trial.

He, of course, has Dependent Personality Disorder, because everyone has something. Especially everyone on trial. I'd give him a label for free: Misogynistic Beater Syndrome. If I Can't Have You, Nobody Can Syndrome. Wait, that's two.

But, hey. No problem. Just don't let him have a girlfriend for three years. That oughta solve the problem. Except for a couple of minor things. He is still free to roam the streets and the cyber airwaves, and we all know that you can't plan love. Even a 15-year-old kid who can't drive, is flunking calculus, has a curfew and eats dinner at home every night can sneak around dating. (Okay, maybe that was me....). How is a grown man going to be held to this?

The other big, big problem is women. Even if you tied a bag of rotting manure around this criminal's ankle, some chick is going to want him. He will be catnip for one of two kinds of woman: the Savior, who can fix anyone, and the Rebel, who can handle anything. Or maybe just the Chronically Stupid, who think he'll never do this to them. Often, 'Mothers' fall under this category. Often explains how these bastards got this way in the first place. I don't know his mother. Maybe she's as pissed as I am at the courts ruling.

Anyway, thanks, Judge. Thanks for taking seriously that this man is capable of killing someone, and that no woman who ends up dating him will ever be entirely safe. I dread the next headline I'll see involving this guy.

June 14, 2007

Power Shift

First, thanks for all the letters from the Hamilton Spectator readers asking where Power Shift has gone. The good news is that the Toronto Star still has Power Shift on Saturdays,(and of course, anyone travelling to Newfoundland or Halifax can find it), and I post it to my site later that same day. If you're in a big old hurry, Wheels.ca has started posting it up on Thursdays (today). Yay!

There's a link on my home page to the Spec, and you can contact them through that, if you like. To those of you who have told me you've already done it, thank you. I appreciate it.

There's a new editor's note in today's Wheels section that explains the changes (a different company entirely is creating the section) and I'm referred to as the Spectator's mommy columnist. I am really proud of Motherlode, and I'm proud to have been writing it for the Spec for the past 3 and a half years. Yeah, I'm insulted to be dismissed as a mommy columnist. And here I thought it was at least a little more...

I'm also proud of Power Shift, and I'm glad I had the opoportunity to create and nurture it at the Spec. I'm sorry it's gone from there. It's a drag. It's also business. Poop happens.

I'm glad Tim Miller has found a new home in Sports; look for him there.
I'm really peeved that Dennis O'Sullivan is gone from the new format - talk about a guy with his finger on the local pulse. When he lands somewhere, I'll keep you posted.

June 12, 2007

Brad Smith & Bean Bar

Like books? Like movies?

Come down to the Bean Bar in Hamilton tonight for an evening of author Brad Smith discussing the two. With his 3rd novel, All Hat recently made into a movie (release date not yet set), and his 5th book, Big Man Coming Down the Road getting great reviews, it promises to be a fun night.

Everything the guy writes gets optioned for film, so if you have an interest in either, head on down....


I am quite snarky by nature, which, by and large, goes over okay in person. Don't get me wrong - there are many who find me quite detestable, but at least I know it's because they genuinely don't like me, not because I've been misunderstood.

When email entered the equation some years back, things got more difficult. With an absence of 'tone' in letters, only the people I'd known forever could be trusted with the Full Lorraine. And even then, there were the occasional chilly phone calls. I really hate those little smiley faces and winky things, and I type too fast to be bothered trying to decorate my words. I should probably just include an all inclusive disclaimer that states "unless otherwise noted, I'm probably trying to be funny".

I was hauled on the carpet by one viewer of a show I was on once who seriously believed I was going to move and sell my house and not tell my children where I lived to escape from them. They are 12 and 15. I may be cruel, and sometimes I am unusual, but I believe by law I can't do this until they are 18.

If people read only one or two of my columns, instead of becoming instantly devoted and hanging on my every published word, they often cherry-pick my stance on some topic and call me names. Sometimes very mean names. To them I offer a heaping cup of context - like many, I am moody. Read more than one, no matter how painful, or perhaps even several. This will enable you to parse a writer's politics and positions on things that matter to them. Then, and only then, can you call them names.

Here's a link
to a very funny bit from Australia. A writer is explaining how television ratings are determined. He explains the evolution of the science, and how it now is managed by miniature cameras now put into every set sold since 2001, recording everything that takes place in front of the television screen. My favourite line is how they sell some of this footage to premium subscribers.

But laugh harder - read the comments.

June 11, 2007

Live@5:30 Monday

Tune in to CHTV Live@5:30 today - should the cops pull out all the stops if a child goes missing, regardless of what they have to go on?

June 9, 2007

Heart Attack? Really?

Edwin Traisman died Tuesday. He was 91. Sure you know who he was. Well, you at last know of his contribution to your life. He invented Cheez Whiz, instant pudding and McDonalds french fries. Maybe not single-handedly, but he played a large enough role in the development of these amuse-bouches to get to carve it in his tombstone.

You really have to wonder who would sit around and invent such certifiable crap. It reminds me of Chevy Chase's character in Christmas Vacation inventing the tooth shattering cereal shellac. Only that was a joke.

When did we start deciding it was a good thing to develop food with a half-life instead of a shelf-life? By the time Edwin et al developed this playdough food, refrigeration was pretty much a part of all of our lives. Cheez Whiz is like Cheetos, Cheesies and CheezDoodles - a cheese-free zone.

I used to like Cheez Whiz, when I was about ten. Then I read a Cool Whip container, and saw the words 'an edible oil product' - and thought of Quaker State. After that, I became a label reader, and got scared of the first ingredient listed ending in 'ite' or 'eride' or 'azine'.

So, farewell Mr. Traisman, I'm sure you made it to 91 because you didn't eat any of the junk you invented. I just wish the rest of us could have been in the lab with you to garner our own fair warning.

I don't think it's an oversight that we only hear of these guys after they're dead.

June 8, 2007

Facebook Face Plant

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a column about Facebook. I basically said it's for kids, as it was initially marketed to high school and college students. Now it's wide open to anyone with an email address, and let me tell, you there must be some high school and college students mighty pissy about that.

This is actually going to turn out to be just one more neon hat. I suppose I should explain that. Back when I was youngyoungyoung, and fashion was everything (though it was in the 80's, and I recognize now that 'fashion' and '80s' don't really go together)I recall neon colours becoming very hot, for a very short period of time. A little neon green or pink went a long way. Man, we were so cool.

And then a funny thing happened - I noticed a bunch of 8-year-olds in neon T-shirts. Then 4-year-olds with neon shoelaces. And then, the ultimate death knell of a style, my father got a neon baseball cap.

Everything becomes just one more neon hat.

I am not cool enough to hang out with my sons. It would break every law of evolution if they wanted me to. Here's a mother who joined Facebook to spy on her kid, and frankly, the only reaction in the piece that makes any sense is her daughter's. It would be like sitting on her bed when her friends are over talking in her room. Get out.

I asked Marc, 15, the other night what he thought about adults on Facebook. He shrugged. He showed me some photos on his site of his friends they'd taken that day on a golf course, and picked through others until I got bored. He said if I joined, I could just look at them when I wanted. Gee, finally something to do with my empty days.

"You want your mother to join Facebook?"
"Well, I don't care. It's not like you don't see this stuff anyway," he replied.
"I'm not mucking in your stuff," I told him.
"You only let the computers be in the kitchen and rec room! Like there's so many secrets in this house!" he laughed.

I left him to his Facebooking, aware I had totally been handled.

But I prefer this dynamic, to the creepy new one of asking your kid to be your friend. And having them say no.

Don't worry; pretty soon all the under 20's will have vanished from Facebook, leaving the littered playground for the rest of us. I mean, once your dad has a neon hat, there's just no going back.

June 7, 2007

Power Shift

Okay, so the Spectator has dumped Power Shift. Actually, they've changed the whole Wheels format, so all of we humble columnists have been dumped.

I thought today was my last day, but apparently that was last week.

POWER SHIFT IS STILL RUNNING! Come over to the Toronto Star Wheels section on Saturdays, and there I am, your page 2 girl! (Don't be alarmed; there will be no doffing of tops.)

Continue to check for Power Shift on the Star site (www.wheels.ca) or right here...

June 5, 2007

Meant To Say 'I Don't'...

Two divorce stories in the news lately have been rather interesting, in that the ex-wife in each case was awarded gobs of cash. In one in Chicago, $184 million, in another in London, England, 48 million pounds (for arguments' sake, let's call that $100 million).

Ah. Dividing up the spoils of marriage after the marriage has spoiled.

I am often perched on a fence regarding this issue...but only in one regard. In both of these cases, we're talking the first wife who raised the kids, a long term (about 30 years) marriage, and a self-made couple. Note I said 'couple', not 'man'. We're also talking about lots and lots of capital. More than enough for two, one would think.

I don't believe in alimony. I don't believe in believing that someone else is going to be willing, or able, to support you for the rest of your life. That's just my view - I also believe in a couple deciding before they choose a china pattern the smaller things - like if they're gonna have kids, and how those kids are going to be raised. And who is going to work, and how. But the judges got it right - you share the losses, you share the profits.

These two couples seemed to set a course for success on two simultaneous fronts: one would conquer the business world, while the other would create and maintain the home base. The two are intwined, and 30 years later is too late to decide to untangle the concept. I don't care if you reverse the genders - these were partnerships. Pay up, lads.

In the second link, there is a very telling quote from the outa here hubby. He offered her a 20 million pound payout, which would be "impossible for any reasonable person to spend in their lifetime". And which graciously leaves himself something like 4 times that amount.

For we mere cretins at the lower end of the spectrum, divorce leaves everyone less well off and the concept of dithering over multi-millions just seems absurd. For someone to decide their ex-spouse is undeserving after 30 years of being wholly deserving just seems rude.

It's too bad courts in every country don't put more effort into defending minor children in instances of divorce. Everyone seems so willing to hop on the money wagon (including those of us who like reading this garbage), but it's unfortunate that children's issues can't be rectified as easily as taking a ruler and dividing things up the middle.

The money is easy.

June 3, 2007

Awfully Wedded Wife

Oh, you just know it's June when the newspapers and magazines are full of bridal blech. Next time you're at Shoppers, pick up one of those bridal magazines. Seriously. I think they must weight 5 or 6 pounds each.

My own column tomorrow is a small trip down memory lane to my own ill-fated trip down the aisle...some people just aren't marriage material. That would be me.

The New Yorker has a piece that has had me laughing out loud. Contrary to what you may believe, I don't laugh out loud when I'm by myself all that often. Scares the cats.

This link is every obnoxious bride, every detail saturated wedding, every shudder inducing marital moment you've ever experienced. ("E-vites are for the Guest only; there is no 'implied plus one'.We're very sorry, but it's a very small mountaintop, with limited ruins.")

Ah, limited ruins. If only one's ruins could be limited. A few years back, I had the soul-sucking pleasure of being in the company of a friend of an acquaintance (get that? I could have left, and didn't. More fool me.) who was in the process of planning her wedding. As she moved from the topic of the crinolines for the flower girls to the personalized labels on the plonk, I realized I had blasted past my two-glass maximum of wine. And was fast approaching two bottles.

There was nothing this woman/girl (there seems to be nothing as infantalizing as a grown woman stomping her foot when she's told she can't have 14 attendants) wasn't trying to control. Nobody could get a sunburn before the wedding. But they must be tanned - no strap marks. She wanted teeth whitened, hair curled, speeches written, and, judging from the registry, all her beloved friends and family to mortage their homes to set her up in hers.

I tuned out. I can't help it. I just don't get it. Go get married, shut up, and concentrate on having a marriage. It's way harder than having a wedding.

After avoiding the acquaintance (in order to avoid the friend) for several years, I finally returned to the scene of my two-bottle night. I introduced myself to the gathered party, only to be told I already knew this particular woman. I stared blankly. No, I'm sure I didn't. Turns out this was the bridelette, three years on. As I extended my hand, I made a mental note to also extend a little tolerance; we all go a little crazy when planning a wedding, and now it was securely in her past (and the groom - I'm pretty sure it was the same guy - was still there), I felt I could finally get to know the woman.

Nope. She was pregnant with her first. She commenced entrancing us with her journey to motherhood. Of course she couldn't drink.

But I could.

June 2, 2007

Stupid Science

If you follow my thought trails with any sense of regularity (if not urgency), you will know I am Science Girl. I don't have the cape or the qualifications, but I love science, and all of its applications, especially those in the medical field. I am the grown up version of 'but why, Mommy?'. I want to know 'why'.

While I'm aware we can't all be on board for every proclamation the scientific community puts forth - in fact, isn't that the very idea? That you keep asking until you get it right? - there are general directions discovery takes that are fascinating and important. I think the reasoning I like best is that if you're going to bust someone else's theory, you better be prepared to do it with a better one of your own. Supportable, please, and preferably published in peer approved journals.

After Thursday's exhausting blog entry about the Creation Museum, I was digging around and realized many of the people that support the whole Adam and Eve AND the dinosaur thing come back to one central point: They don't want to believe there is the possibility they were descended from apes. The missing link isn't missing. If it's so, it's so. Show me. The problem is that the theories burgeoning from the extremist whackos leads me to believe it is the apes who would be insulted upon being informed that these people issued forth from them. It would be nice if we not only kept the ball in the park, but if we all played the same game. Let's keep the lab out of the pulpit.

Unless you think my faith in science is blinded by love, think again. I am sick to death of the abuse, misuse and flat out use-for-convenience that permeates arenas like our courts. Check out Rosie DiManno's column today on sexsomnia. You know, the 'I didn't even know I had sex with her, your Honour' defence. It's the sleepwalking defense, but for sex. I'm not sure which is worse; a guy not calling after, or a guy going all the way to court to say it never happened.

Of course there are 'experts' on board to prove that this is a viable condition, and they want it included in the endless list of reasons to get off. From a criminal charge (get your mind out of the gutter). DiManno does a slice and dice job that sums it up nicely, especially the pondering of just what 'violent masturbation' is. Huh?

I have another name for so-called symptoms of the 'professional' diagnosis
'Unconscious rape' - Jack Daniels.
'Violent masturbation' - high-speed Internet.
'Confusional arrousals' - sleeping around
'Sexual talkings' - I wannabe a rapper.