September 30, 2010

Ever Wonder Who My Favourite Readers Are?

Joy lives in east Toronto. She's been writing to me for awhile now, and I adore her. I even went to her house for tea one day. She's 87, and has more spit and energy than I ever did. She spends much of her time lambasting idiot politicians; she keeps up an enviable assault on the injustices in the world. She holds to the fire the feet of those public servants more bent on re-election than a job well done.

She also writes many letters to the various editors of the papers. When she lands one, she lets me know. Frankly, I think they should give her the pulpit more often. She's sharp, she's funny, she's lived a remarkable life and she calls it like she sees it.

Anyway. I just got this from Joy. I'll just cut and paste it. It really needs no intro.

"Dear Friends
This will be the last Email that you will receive from me for awhile. No! I am not passing on. Heck I'm only 87 after all.

Now that the government has made it legal to run a brothel from one's home, I will be busy for awhile. I am not that flush with money so I will be doing the jobs myself.Painting the walls of my house whorehouse red and trying my darndest to get mirrors affixed to the ceilings. I know you all wish me well in this, my latest endeavour.

In the words of the immortal Mae West..."Why dontcha come up and see
me some time."


Joy needs her own show. Truly.

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Tickets, Please.

I read yesterday about the arrest of a family who had ripped off winning lottery tickets from unsuspecting consumers. Specifically, one for a Lotto Super 7 twelve-and-a-half million jackpot. Authorities are now trying to track down the rightful winner, after 7 years. Yeah. Like that'll happen.

I must admit, upon learning that the store it happened at was in Burlington, my antenna perked up. I saw a pic of the store, and read the name. Variety Plus. Perhaps this was a store I frequented. I'm sure I've been in dozens of variety stores. Maybe some of them were even named Variety Plus.

The picture in the paper was small. The window was on the wrong side for my usual variety store. But if I squinted, I decided it could totally be another one I've been in. 7 years ago. The switcheroo happened on Dec. 26. I can think of many reasons I have run to a variety store on Boxing Day. I looked again.

I noted the hotline for calling the Lottery Office. They, and the OPP, are rightfully being deluged with calls, no doubt from people like myself who went out for milk 7 years ago, and only came home with milk. I cursed myself for not being one of the anal people who photocopy their tickets, or get them notarized or whatever. Every time I clean out dressers, I come across stray tickets stuffed amongst socks and underwear. Some of them are ten years old. The tickets.

As I reached for the real estate section, confident we will be moving soon with the spoils of our win, plus 7 years interest, I hesitated.

I've never played Super 7. And the only time I've bought any lottery tickets is when Roz and I have been drunk and dreaming of a new life. And she would never, ever let me be in charge of a lottery ticket.

I'm gonna call her. Maybe she won. Maybe she'll share.


Just in Time for Thanksgiving Dysfunction

Awesome piece in Salon today. I've given up linking most of the stuff over there of late...the quality is, shall we say, leaning like a sapling in a tropical storm.

Anyway. Forget that. Truly nice piece from Shalom Auslander (I also love saying that name) about Thanksgiving dinners, families, and most importantly, drunken fathers you still crave acceptance from

"In order to rip the wood to size, I bought a table saw. In order to protect the table saw from the weather, I bought a shed. In order to have the shed delivered, I needed to have a 16-foot-by-20-foot pad of crushed stone laid at the far end of the driveway."

If this makes as much sense to you as it did to me, you'll find merit in that link.

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September 29, 2010

I Be Needing Help...

I need someone who can do bathrooms. I need a new one put in the basement (small) and then my big one upstairs ripped out.

Know anyone in Burlington area? I'll tell you right now: I will not put up with crap ripped out and abandoned for months, I can get all my own fixtures after a consult, but other than that, I am a joy to work with.

Really. A joy.

Email me if you can help. Thanks.

September 27, 2010

This is very funny, however.

Way to screw up your kid's view of sex, forever....

This is not funny.

Really. I know it isn't. I've ridden Segways, and all I can say is I would never, ever go near a cliff.

I Want a T-Shirt

I don't usually link Huff-Po pieces, because they annoy me. I read it, but, well, I get annoyed.

Anyway. Today there's a link to weirdest animal crossing signs. The fact the first two are from Canada is a hoot. But I've started the link here because I lovelovelove this little guy.

September 26, 2010

The Learning Isn't All on the Cirriculum

Great, direct OpEd in the New York Times today. It's speaking directly to college/university students, and I wish I'd had something similar to read way back when. No, don't ask how far back. Just accept 'way' as a reference point.

Like most advice, it won't be heeded by those who could most benefit, but I still suggest parents should forward it their offspring and hope something sinks in after the inevitable eyeroll. Though I refuse to climb aboard the If Only I'd Known Train, there are still some shortcuts that would have saved me pain, grief, money... and time. And the older I get, the more I can find a way to survive the pain, endure the grief, and replace the money, but never the time. Time's a bitch. And she ain't on our side.

Actually, I just had a thought. Re-read that advice, and just apply it to wherever you are. Age doesn't matter; it's attitude. Except for the dump your spouse part - that might make Thanksgiving a little awkward if you aren't a college student. And besides, everyone knows you only get divorced in January, after making the kids suffer through a miserable final Christmas.

September 24, 2010

Fruit Flies spit spit spit

I'm sure it started with a banana peel. It always does.

Fruit flies everywhere. Little buggers flit around all day, and then they do the unthinkable: they land in my wine. The only thing that is more dangerous than messing with my wine is messing with my morning paper. Good thing those two things don't happen at the same time of day. Unless it's been an extraordinary night. And I can't remember the last time that happened.


Fruit flies. Pesky. Little. And apparently, every one of their nights is extraordinary, because they are reproducing at a lively clip. They follow me around (no doubt because I'm clutching a glass of wine wherever I go), but I'm sick of picking their little bodies off the end of my tongue, or skewering them out of my glass.

A few years back, I went to Lee Valley. I love Lee Valley. They have awesome stuff. My garlic masher thingee came from there. It's twisty, and works amazingly well, and then goes into the dishwasher. And their cloth grocery bags are fabulous. If they're reading this, send me some free stuff. Anyway. I bought some guaranteed fruit fly traps there a few years ago. And they worked. Little cone things the flies go into, and get lost. Like me in that tunnel in Switzerland one time. After a mile or two, I just started crying.

The only thing is that they cost bucks. You really have to be tired of picking bodies off your tongue to invest. And I'm not there. Yet. But sitting here fending them off, I remembered another stellar way to get rid of them. I uncapped the bottle on the counter of the wine I popped the other night but didn't finish. Yes, you read that right. I didn't finish it. There's a few inches of a decent but cheap red sitting here.

I'm watching the fruit flies do a little mid-air braking, and dive into the bottle. Then, like me in that tunnel, they get lost and can't get out. I think I hear them crying.

I remember reading a Martha Stewart tip for leftover wine one time. She said to freeze it in ice cube trays for future cooking. Hahahahahhaaa. Leftover wine. Future cooking. God, if they hadn't put her in jail for insider trading, they could have done it for that.

But, sorry Lee Valley. It is easier to leave an inch of wine in the bottom of the bottle to battle the fruit flies. And cheaper to, in this house. Actually, maybe in the morning I should check the wine. Enough fruit flies might be a stew...

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September 22, 2010

Jann Arden...

...just Tweeted that there is nothing to read in her Doctor's waiting room. I told her to come here.

When she gets here, I'll serve cake.

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September 21, 2010

Live@5:30 Tuesday

Join us on CHCH Live@5:30...because creating and maintaining a website helping people cheat on their spouses is... noble.

Yeah. Noble. Helpful. It's practically a public service, doncha know.

Live at 5:30, repeat at 11:30.

Alright, You Little Ratbaggers...

So you found a quiet night in our court to rifle through everyone's cars. And you found not just one, but two of ours left open. We never leave them open. Well, obviously we do, but rarely. I'm stupid.

It hasn't happened for a few years. I'd assumed the stupid neighbourhood kid who used to do it had moved on to bigger things - snatching purses from old ladies, maybe, or trying to run stolen credit cards. They always start with nicking money from their mother's wallets - I guarantee it. Of course ten years ago, they were digging through our ashtrays looking for change. Now I know it's about cell phones and iPods.

We'd left nothing in the cars; but there is something you need to know, you little reprobate: Christer is usually up at strange hours. Really strange hours. His bedroom is on the front of the house. He has his window open. He's 6'3". He blocks the sun if he stands in front of you. And he's pissed.

September 17, 2010

Journalists vs Bloggers

Who needs editors, right? If you have a computer, you're a writer! All those smug reporters, many downsized or bought out, because now anyone can write! Bloggers are the new black! Hell, I even know bloggers that note on their resumes that they are published, then link to their blog. You know that thing, like this very entry you are reading, that has passed through exactly one set of hands and eyeballs.

Mine. And I wrote it. And if I catch a typo, I'll probably go back and fix it, but mostly, I'm on to putting the real work into those columns and features I write. For real. That have to pass through many eyeballs and red pens because of ridiculous things like telling the truth, employing proper grammar, aiming for excellent syntax and generally not insulting and degrading the language I write in. Which in turn means not insulting you, the reader.

But no, the Internet does away with all the nuisance! Journalism is now a free-for-all of wall smacking balls of gob that hit, or not, and slide down and leave a scuzzy mess. And after awhile, you start to think that's how it is, and it becomes impossible to tell reputable outlets from toilets.

Yes, I'm ranting. Roz sent me this link. Read this. Or, try to. From a typo in the headline, the entire thing is like trying to read while you're riding a unicycle and eating a slurpy fajita.

It's from Google Trend News. Really? The real 'Google'? Cuz if so, this is pathetic. My first thought was that this is a translation, and heading down a link supplied I found a slightly better piece. But that doesn't matter. If this is presented under the Google banner, we have a right to expect better.

Anyone know more?

September 15, 2010

Visit This Dealership - Or Don't

In the midst of some research, I stumbled on this complaints blog. You have to read it. It's hysterical.

I still can't figure out who is who, except that as you scroll down it just gets better and better.

Geez, some days I love the Internet.

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September 13, 2010

Because a Divorce Takes So Damned Long...

A Pennsylvania woman is on trial for shooting her husband in Newfoundland four years ago. She thought he was a bear.

I dug around through several reports, which all seemed so antiseptic to me. Hunting trip, blah, blah, blah, guide and the Mister heading back to the truck, blah, blah, blah, the Missus takes aim, blah, blah, blah, dead as a dodo, hysterics, blah, blah, blah.

It's the blah, blah, blahs that are always the best part, and most reports left them out. So, I'll bring them to you. It would seem the lovely widow is now shacked up with the dead man's brother. Blah, blah, blah, indeed.

I was nosing along through the stories, searching for a truffle of some decent nosybody bits, and found them. Seems Mary Beth Harshbarger mistook Mark Harshbarger for a bear, and killed him dead. I thought hunters were supposed to wear orange vests. Especially big, bearded guys. Maybe Mark was wearing camo. I myself have a strange - and admittedly unattractive - devotion to camo. I love it. I look like an idiot. And I appreciate that if I wear it in the woods I might get shot, so I mostly just wear it to drive around and go grocery shopping.

The little item about the brother-in-law is buried in some accounts. It appears they are all back in Newfoundland for the trial, and Barry Harshbarger is there too. The brother. The father, Leonard Harshbarger hasn't spoken to his surviving son and daughter-in-law since the shooting. It seems the Harshbargers know something the judge doesn't. Mostly, I just like saying 'Harshbarger'.

Barry Harshbarger admitted that while in town for the trial, he hoped to get some bear hunting in.

I'm gonna say that if there is a Mrs. Barry Harshbarger, she best not go along.

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September 12, 2010

Colorado & Land Rover...

Feature was in yesterday's Star. Here's the link...makes me want to go back.

My own piece will be up in my Adventures when I get the stuff to Webgod.

September 9, 2010

On the Road Again...

I'm working this weekend, touring parts of northern Ontario, which makes me very happy. I'll be strapped to the back of a motorcycle, apparently.

The Colorado/Land Rover piece may be running in Saturday's Star. I'm not sure. Someone let me know!

I'll be Twittering, if you're so inclined. I know, I know, it's lame. But you never know when I'm gonna be drunk and twitting silly. So, tune in.

Or, as always, fight amongst yourselves. Roz, behave yourself.

Thanks, Janie...

Oh, geez, this is brilliant. Just forwarded from my friend, who thankfully can send attachments on her blackberry, unlike moi who turns on an iPhone and the microwave starts spinning...

From the Daily Mash-Up. You really have to read it. That arse in Florida really needs a kicking.

September 8, 2010

Crabbyapplesauce Face for Wednesday

I haven't made it off the first page of my paper today. Like it wasn't bad enough that I got about 90 minutes sleep (and no, not all at once, but thanks for asking), only to have Ari whisper to me "it's raining" and give me that darling little wide-eyed look that has worked since he was born. I drove him to school. Once back home, I just put on the kettle and decided to let the paper cheer me up. Ha!

First, because nothing commemorates a solemn anniversary like a book burnin', the Yahoo Congregation of Gainesville, Florida is prepping to burn the Qur'an (Koran) on 9/11 - Saturday. I don't care who or what you pray to, it's like someone took a handful of stupid, molded it into the shape of a man, gave it an ignorant pipe, an intolerant nose and two eyes made out of dumb. I'm talking to you, Rev. Terry Jones. Maybe there is a Danish cartoonist who can record this for you.

Further down...the amateur hockey league has introduced more stringent rules for their coaches. Things like fingerprinting and checking for sexual predators. I wrote a column about this back in April. And got spanked in a letter to the editor from the the John Howard Society. Because I think it's a nice thing for the grownups in this world to do anything they can to protect the children in this world. I'm overreacting. Yeah. I'd say waiting until the eve of hockey season to put into place the directives to protect 7,000 kids is somewhat of an under-reaction. But at least they're doing it. Ask Sheldon Kennedy if it's an over-reaction.

From book burning to weeding out the diddlers, I wasn't prepared for the best headline of all: Hazel McCallion is running for mayor again. Geez. This is a cornucopia of fun. I'm sure she's been following the Rob Ford stuff avidly, and has obviously figured out that it doesn't matter how many times you hurtle yourself down Mount Doofus or Mount Conflict of Interest, you can still plant your landing at the bottom and scream 'ta da!'. At 89, she's still game, even if the stench surrounding her and her son's business dealings is simply more gamy. But hey, if both her and Ford get in, it's gonna be one helluva fun tennis match to watch from the 'burbs.

I said that like we don't have our own problems. Sigh.

Since my arm is already up there, patting myself on the back for my psychic abilities on the background checks, let's go back even further. I wrote a column waaaaaaaaaay back in 2008 lamenting the fact that schools don't have deadlines. Made me nutty. 'Lamenting' is a kind word. I was furious. Seems they're finally doing something about it, and Ari is entering grade 11 to the early strains of Yes, It's Really Due in Two Weeks. Happy dances all around. 'Bout damned time.

Anyhoo. The sun is out now, and the heavy machinery has kicked in at the neighbour's (wow, it's been an awesome summer! I certainly hope that pool you've taken all summer to put in brings you as much joy as you've brought the rest of us, who have had our peace destroyed for 2 solid months now! My favourite part? When you let that pump thing run for 4 days. FOUR days. Day and night. Yeah, that was my favourite!), so I shall go about my day of listening for mice to get trapped in the gluey stuff in the bread cupboard. And wonder why, again, I have useless cats.

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September 6, 2010

Anything You Forgot to do Before You Went to Work Today?

As the story of the missing Chilean miners turned from one of tragedy to one of hope, it has reached its inevitable stop on the story line and stalled at 'soap opera'.

When the 33 miners were discovered trapped but alive, it was pretty astounding. When it was announced it would take months - months - to build a parallel shaft to free them, you could have heard a pin drop. Anywhere.

33 men trapped in a small space for months. My 2 boys fight if they have to share a rec room that's 20' x 12'. For an hour.

But, to the soap opera. Apparently, back at the surface, vigils are playing out for the trapped loved ones. Seems some of the vigils are for the same loved ones. By women who didn't know of the existence of the other. My guess is those questions, shouted down the narrow tube that connects the lost souls to the surface, are being artfully ignored.

Another interesting twist is a mother bitching that her son's paycheque should go to her. In spite of the fact he has a wife of ten years standing and two children. Really, Mom? I hate mothers like this, who refuse to acknowledge their son has grown up. HIS FIRST PRIORITY IS TO HIS FAMILY. And that means his wife and children. If he still loves you and respects you, well, that's just gravy. But mothers who muscle in to try to be the most important woman in his life are just sad and creepy.

I get that Chile is not Canada. Resources are scarce, and these miners apparently earn about $1600 bucks a month in a country where minimum wage is closer to a hundred bucks a week. I'm sure it's not odd for a man to be a support for more than his immediate family. But squabbling over donated clothing and money and food on the surface, while 33 men are simply trying to stay alive smacks of a tininess of heart that is stunning.

But with previously unknown kids surfacing, wives and girlfriends discovering each other and your mother fighting over canned goods, I'm wondering how many of these guys might decide it's safer to just stay put.

September 4, 2010

Back at Sea Level

Oi. Altitude gets to me, big time. But headaches notwithstanding, Colorado is spectacular. We did a two day haul over Imogene Pass and Black Bear. The road was carved out of a land made mostly of rock and harsh. Brilliant driving - clinging to the side of a mountain in a Range Rover or an LR4 Land Rover.

Stayed in a haunted hotel - with many sleeping with their lights on. Not me. I crashed hard with a headache, and missed some of the fun and fear. Rumour had it one of the ghostly regulars is a nurse; I would have welcomed her.

I drove with Petrina Gentile of the G&M. I love her. Great journo, awesome person. With Barb Barrett from Land Rover riding with us most of the time, along with the required Land Rover instructor, you can think up some of the names of our truck. I'm trying to think of one I can print here. I can't. Wait. We had tons of candy, so Candy Wagon is okay to print. The girls always, always have the best ride. We had an iPod blaring away, and we sang and sang, very loudly. Our poor instructor.

When the trees become your washroom, you bond rather quickly. Everyone is a gentleman and looks the other way. Well, mostly. Thanks to Rod Cleaver for this...

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