June 30, 2011

2012 Mercedes SLK - Purrrrrrrrrrrr

Got in very late last night from Edmonton. Crazy weather had us sitting on the runway for a couple of hours, after an hour delay. Actually, it's because they were worried about lightning. The people who tuck the suitcases into the plane won't play in the lightning - can't blame them - so, we sat. I am all caught up on Nurse Jackie. And Come Fly With Me, which is the newest offering from the Little Britain guys, which made me laugh because it's about being in an airport. And an airplane. And I was.

So. We were driving the 2012 Mercedes SLK - sooooooooo purdy. We ambled through Banff and got close enough to beasts to pet them, but we didn't. With the top down on the glorious little two-seater, you really do feel like you own a little piece of the world, at least for a little while. Actually, my driving partner, Lesley Wimbush and I spent the whole time looking for cowboys. What can I say. She owns a horse. I like cowboys. We were in Alberta. Didn't seem like much of a reach. Except, those cowboys are slippery little bastards. Tough to find. They must have seen us first.

Did find one, however. I climbed right up, and he asked for directions.

What? You want to see what the car looks like? Oh. Alright. Here ya go.

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June 25, 2011

"The time has come," the Walrus said....

"To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- And why the sea is boiling hot-- And whether pigs have wings."

The time has come to address yet another nonpology. It's official (in my world): it's a word. More and more people behaving badly, more and more nonpologies taking the place of the more time -honoured and -tested apology that our parents demanded - and received - when we were young saplings. Try to teach your kids that today, surrounded by the lying sacks of examples they have before them.

Not that I couldn't close my eyes, spin around, and stab an example in the eye from 40 paces, but this one, from Toronto Catholic School Board Trustee Frank D'Amico is a gem. When faced with a dilemma of a student who lacked immigration papers applying for school (a right guaranteed by provincial law), his sympathetic response was thus:

D’Amico replied that the student’s aunt was “lucky I didn’t answer the phone because my first call would be to Immigration Canada.” He said in the email he wanted to remind her of “911. September 11, the day that changed the world” and he added “I am (sic) forward your concern to the RCMP and to Immigration Canada.’’

Classy, that. I am thoroughly stoked that my tax dollars pay this man to represent. But of course, it couldn't end there. No, there has to be the requisite nonpology to follow. Where he says the usual: his comments “may have caused some distress to families who wish to register with the TCDSB and to our school communities and I apologize.”

No, Frank. That is not an apology. That is an ass-covering nonplogy that means nothing. Less than nothing. You are practicing that awesome new form of the apology, where a leader or role model gets caught with their pants around their ankles, their mistress in their bed, or their hand in the till, and they say they're sorry if anyone was offended. If it's possible, your nonpology is more offensive than your original remarks.

I don't care if you're sorry your words hurt someone. I'm care that you could occupy the position you do, and that you made them in the first place. And lucky for Frank that he's surrounded by nonpologists, his fellow board who throw this out to him: "...one of the things that’s different about a Catholic institution is that “we learn by our mistakes and we are forgiven. I will give Trustee D’Amico the benefit of the doubt … I feel for him.’’

Lovely sentiment. Too bad Trustee D'Amico has decided to paint an entire sector of our population without dipping his brush in the same vat of forgiveness.

June 23, 2011

I have mail...

I get mail. I like getting mail. Most of it is lovely. Not being much of a controversial columnist, I'm rarely inundated with the hateful stuff that some of my colleagues receive. We trade stories; we compare trolls. And the hate crosses all lines and all papers. And while I agree with the line of thinking that most people read things they already agree with, and that this is unfortunate because we could all afford to be a little more open-minded, I will never understand reading things you know you could never agree with, but then going on to getting so incensed and upset that you rip the writer up in a personal attack. And yes, this is how it goes. Intelligent debate never had a chance, with some people. That's a shame, actually. There are plenty of brilliant minds that I disagree with on many levels, and my brain and world are made better for it. Guys like Christopher Hitchens. Women like Ann Coulter. Okay, now you know I'm just checking to see if you're reading. Ann Coulter. Shudder.

Anyway. I wrote a fairly innocuous column last week on comparing insurance rates. At least I thought I had. It was a basic reminder to check around, as rates are climbing and brand loyalty might not be serving you well. I tagged a site you can check your own rates on (www.insurancehotline.com). It's owned by Torstar; it also happens to be the only online comparison site not owned by insurance companies or brokers, which is a good thing. They're neutral.

You plug in your info, up pops a rate. I did it a few times to test it. I went on to say in my column, as it says on the website, that if you want to know which company is offering to discuss that rate with you, you fill in your phone number and they'll contact you. At that point, it's between you and the company. I never put in my number; my test was complete.

I got a note from a ::cough:: gentleman demanding to know why a company had called him. I flipped him a reply instantly (I'm nice that way) saying I'd check it out. Turns out he'd put in his phone number; I steered him to the line in my column explaining that (which, funnily enough, was followed by a line telling people to do their homework - you know, like reading carefully). I also contacted the company, who politely explained it again, with a screenshot depicting that by popping in your phone number, you may be contacted. As this indicated you were interested in further information.

I forwarded it all the Mr. Gentleman. For your reading pleasure, this is his reply to me:

"I entered my phone number and now wish I had not... I am still not happy with what occurred and it is now very likely that the Star will lose my subscription because of this; as the Star is ultimately responsible for what has happened and you can be assured that I will never ever respond to any more stuff the Star puts out! If I get any more contacts of this kind, I will consult with the Star editorial people in no uncertain terms! Regardless, this was an invasion of privacy!

I hope this is a 'lesson learned' for you!

Quite frankly the Star is a disgusting 'left wing' newspaper..."

It went on.

And yes, I've learned a lesson. I'm sure it's not the one he intended, but it's a lesson anyway. I will save my prompt, kind replies for readers who deserve them.

June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

Today would have been my Dad's 85th birthday.

I think about that sometimes. More than sometimes. I think of 15 years later, and wonder. I think of all that's taken place in that 15 years. He died a week before Christopher's 5th birthday; Ari had just turned 2. They both know him in pictures. This breaks my heart. But this is the way it is.

Happy birthday, Pop.


June 18, 2011

Now, this has caught my attention tonight...

Maybe I'm just tired and over-sunned, but this has me giggling like an idiot.

I spent the day at an autocross event, which was bags of fun. Truly. Headed out to Brampton GO station and thrashed a Scion around a coned course all day. I highly recommend it, even if you experience difficulty figuring out the course (::cough Peter Cheney cough::).

Of course, it was a fabulous day, but very hot. When you're on pavement it's even hotter, and when you're wearing a full face helmet much of the time, well, it's just crazymaking.

Which explains tonight, at least to me. I just called a neighbour and asked if it was wine-o'clock yet, to which she responded, quite correctly, "it's always wine-o'clock". Good woman. We shared a pre- dinner catch up and I came in to shut down my computer. Of course it's never that easy, and I headed to a couple of sites to do a little checking, and discovered a tab my friend Mandee told me about months ago but I pretended I couldn't hear her because Mandee stumbles on some pretty weird and terrifying sites and I have this huge belief that if I click on them and then wake up dead someone will go through my browser history and see them and I won't be here to say "No! That wasn't me! That was Mandee!" Yeah, like that. But anyway. I found the tab and tried it. It's called Next Blog. If you're on a blog, and you click Next Blog, it just ferries you away to another blog. I decided to see if this was predicated on topic, or anything, but no, it appears to be totally random. And that link is the blog I landed on, and maybe it is a direct result of wine-o'clock (though I only had one), but photos this guy posts of his guns as he readies for the apocalypse are killing me.

I think my favourite is where he promises to list food nutrients in a later blog.

So when they take over the earth, or are left standing, or whatever, they can be healthy.

Oh, jeez, look at that. It's wine-o'clock again.

June 17, 2011

Square Off - Friday

Can't keep it in your jeans? A new study suggests if might be in your genes.

Yup. All those one night stand might be coded into your DNA. I'll wait here while you go see how that flies....

Join us on CHCH for Square Off, at 5:30.

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June 11, 2011

Cock o' Doodle Key West

There ya go, PJ. You whine, I listen. PJ wanted a new pic up to push down the mighty Jason on the last blog post. Happy to oblige.

I was in Key West with Kia a couple of months ago (you remember; the bull happened), and was out driving around in the early hours hoping for my cover shot. As I waited for the sun to rise, I stalked around taking pics of these critters that run around all over the place. I loved it. Key West is a funky mix of so many elements, and while the music and nightlife is fun, I found it was this 6am time that was the best.

Speaking of the sun (also) rising (gawd, I kill myself), I made sure I got this pic outside Hemingway's house. I know, I know, miserable old misogynist. But I still like him. So, tough.

June 6, 2011

Jason Statham and Toads

I have come to understand that being burned out doesn't necessarily leave ashes behind. The only thing I have behind me is a cat. And a behind. But oh, how tired I am.

Spent a most excellent Saturday at Toronto International Speedway with Sweetie Girl Racing and Anna He, which oddly enough is in Cayuga. Don't ask. I do not know. But taking a really fun Mazda 3 onto the race track was a blast; letting a 16-year-old girl do it - with me in the back seat - was even better. Story to run in the future. Thank you, Sarah. You rock.

It would appear summer has finally arrived. Thank whoever. Geez, it took forever to get here. I just looked outside to see if Christer has put out my planters, as he assured me he would do today. Yeah, right. Sigh.

I spent yesterday sitting in the sun in lovely rural Dunnville, wearing a dress and a straw hat and sipping wine. Yeah, it was just that nice. I highly recommend it. Well, maybe not Dunnville. They have bridgework going on and you have to wait forever at the light.

Conversation reeled around as it always does, from toads to movies to writing to cars to turkeys. I found myself trying to make my case for my luv of the follicaly challenged, and realized the only way to win was to pull out Jason Statham. Lemme know, ladies. I found this pic tonight and figured it was a sign to post it. Yer welcome.

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June 5, 2011

Aaron Prevost & Mosport

Blind Faith ran yesterday in Wheels.

It's the culmination of two remarkable days I spent with Aaron Prevost, a blind young mechanic from Brantford.

I need to give a huge shout out to Rick Bye and Porsche for their immense help, and to people like Bruce Kitchen who gave Aaron a shot, his teachers and family and friends. That's Aaron and Rick in the Porsche Boxster at Mosport.

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