September 26, 2011


Is this okay with you?

Please take a minute and read this column from the weekend by The Star's Michael Geist.

The Conservative Party (or, as I refer to them, the Reform Party) is set to roll out an internet surveillance law. They've left it out of their first big omnibus bill that will see people imprisoned for spitting on the sidewalk (which I can almost get on board with, come to think of it; so gross), but it is coming.

So why should you care? Geist "holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law." He knows what he's talking about; his column is always informative and while it requires your full attention, it's important.

"If the Conservatives move forward with their complete lawful access package, it would feature a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies and new police powers." Geist sees no reason for them not moving forward. They've said as much.

Are you really prepared to have the government being able to covertly go through your communications? For your internet provider to be compelled to release information without court order?

The first person who says to me 'if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to be afraid of' gets slapped. You must be joking. To what degree are your prepared to give up your freedom and your privacy, even in this age of a huge diminishing of both? I get that my picture gets taken hundreds of times a day, as I walk down a street or enter a bank or store. I watch enough 48Hours. I get it.

Please read the column. This is your majority. This is your majority on steroids. We're going down the rabbit hole, Alice.

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September 23, 2011


Wizard of words


If you're of a certain vintage, you just thought of Alpha Bits. Remember that commercial? Once a year I buy a box of Alpha Bits. They're nasty little things that leave a puddle of sugar milk behind that my cats fight over. Every year, for the once a year I bought them, my ex-husband would laugh like hell as he went by and tell me I was 'the wizard of words'. He said it 7 times.

I wrote in a column once that I usually only buy the boring cereals: Shreddies, Rice Krispies, Special K, Vector, and granola and oatmeal. Which is the truth. So of course some reader wrote to me to tell me I was eating pure crap, and that didn't I know that when I purchased any product that had 'cereal' listed as a main ingredient it was garbage? So I looked at my side to see if 'cereal' was the first ingredient listed, then realized I wasn't planning on being consumed, and if it were to happen to be by say, a bear or something, he probably wasn't going to be too terribly worried about my fillers and by-products.

Sometimes I buy Corn Flakes, because my Dad used to. Do you know how bad Corn Flakes are? Before you can even put the milk back in the fridge, they've melted into little gummy flakes and you end up shoveling soggy pieces of flannel into your mouth.

Every time I see a cereal that promises to stay crunchy in milk, I can only think of Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation, and the shellack he invents for cereal. So I don't buy it. Then of course I have to think about the hat that Randy Quaid was wearing when he emptied his RV holding tank, and I laugh and laugh. I've mentioned it before: we call those sh*tter hats. Because he says he's emptying the sh*tter. Whenever I do a winter driving junket, we get one of those hats. And you know what? Nobody looks good in those hats. Nobody. Brad Pitt would look bad in that hat. Though he could come here and I could attempt to put it at a jauntier angle to help him look better. I wore one in James Bay earlier this year; we drove up there and it was 48 degrees below on the ice. You couldn't not wear that kind of hat. But you could certainly have not put my damned picture on the cover of the section, Mr. Editor. Sigh.

Probably keep the bears away, though.

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September 22, 2011


Going to the dogs.


Because you all think I only like cats, this is for the puppy people...from The Guardian.

Oh, and my friends Roland and Pam got a new puppy. May I introduce Humphrey?

September 21, 2011


Oh, sure, now the sun comes out.

I was supposed to be riding a horse right now. But upon waking up to overcast skies and clouds and impending rain, we had to cancel. I would have liked to have ridden a horse; I've never done it. But as you all know, me waking up gloomy means a crabbyapplesauceface blog entry. It's almost something you can count on. Unlike that stupid weather forecast I read a few days ago that said today was to be sunny, and instead delivered it yesterday. Who the hell delivers something early?

I have a new favourite song to hate. It's that Jagger one. It's horrid. Terrible, terrible, terrible. I never hated the band before (whoever it is), I mostly just didn't mind them. But this song is just awful. And forgive me Young Pups in Modern Musicland, using Mick Jagger in your lyrics is not ironic nor iconic nor retro nor cool. It's just kind of stupid. Though I've at least finally realized what I hate about a great deal of music lately: no real instruments. I finally get what all the vinyl purists have been going on about. I want to hear real guitars, not synthesizers. Gawd, I'm getting old.

Let's tackle commercials on TV. There is one for Fabreeze. They take people to a house they must be filming an episode of Hoarders in (preferably one where they discover dead animals petrified under old boxes of Popeye's chicken and report cards from 1965), and ask them what they smell. 'Oh, meadows!' the blindfolded people exclaim. 'I smell unicorns!'. Then they take off their blindfolds and realize they're in a vat of sweat with poo smeared on the floor. I find this disturbing. First, nobody - and I mean nobody - is going to blindfold me and lead me away. Second, Fabreeze smells like Poptarts taste. You inhale that crap deeply, you cough. Trust me.

My cat JoJo is sitting here staring at me for no reason. She's a lovely cat, but she's a dim, dim girl.

That reminds me. I have to go pick up cat food. They eat the most expensive stuff there is and I have to go to the vet to get it. 4 cases, 250 bucks. It's the only way to keep them out of the vet's with UTIs (if you don't know what that is, you don't even care about this whole topic anyway, so not to worry), but what a racket. Christopher calls their food cate. I don't know how to put a little french accent over the 'e', but now I know you're saying it right, so, mission accomplished.

The first record I ever bought was a 45 - Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. That's for anyone who would like to know more about me.

Oh, and here's my take on election signs: I hate them. I really do. I find them cluttery and distracting and not at all good at making me change my mind about things. In fact, they just reinforce my decisions, and often in ways that the sign putter uppers might not realize. I know that candidates can put signs up on private property, which means if I see one outside a business, that business owner is telling me how he or she votes. When I see a PC candidate's sign in front of a business, this is my thought process: You want to have PM Harper as your boss; Harper is still exporting asbestos from Quebec to developing countries with unregulated building codes; asbestos causes cancer and has been banned around the world; Canada should be ashamed; Harper is not ashamed; I will never vote for a government who supports this practice; you want to work for that government; this business supports you; this business supports exporting asbestos.

See how that happens? No more business of mine.

Sometimes I need a trail of breadcrumbs to get out of my own brain.

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September 20, 2011


Wanna see me being all serious?

My interview with Maria Hayes of CHCH last week. Do not comment on the shoes. They're driving shoes. I am only ever on camera waist up, or else I wear darling boots.

You all know that.

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What's in a Name?

Catch History Television tonight at 6pm. New series exploring how things get their names, and the first one up is about cars.

I'm in it! It aired last night (which I didn't know), but it airs again a few more times, apparently. I taped it awhile ago, and forgot until Richard Cazeau let me know. He's the guy from What's Cooking on CityTV, and a car nut. He only told me because he'd just scored a Delorean t-shirt at the Gap and this made him very happy. Boy likes cars...

I also did a Till Debt Do Us Part, that I think got totally canned. Never seen it. And no, I wasn't the debt person. I was the tell-her-what-to-do-with-that-car-she-can't-afford person.

Anyhoo. Check it out.

Edit: Here's the link if you want to watch on line. This show looks great. I'll definitely be watching each topic they tackle, not just the one on car names. My only stink? The myth that the Chevy Nova didn't sell well in South America because 'nova' translated into 'doesn't go'. Not true.

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September 17, 2011


Let's talk about sex, bay-bee...

I am taking a break from responding to mail. Monday's column produced an avalanche of support from so many wonderful readers - many with questions of their own about how to be crazy, how to live with crazy, or how to recognize crazy. I am answering them all, but I'm at close to 250 and I'm quietly munching through them. I've said it before: my readers are the best. Thank you.

Now then. The sexy stuff. Two things twigged me today, and I can't let them go by. The first was a statement from this Dominique Strauss-Kahn guy who a court decided didn't rape a hotel maid. Fair enough; if the evidence isn't there, so goes the case. The problem, of course, is that his - shall we call it misbehaviour? - isn't a first. A writer interviewing him in 2003 has claimed that he attacked her and tried to rape her. His response? That after she interviewed him, he tried to kiss her. She has said he attacked her like a 'rutting chimpanzee' and she had to kick and punch him and yell 'rape'. He says the kiss was quite normal and consenting and then he left.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. I am a writer. I have interviewed a lot of people. Many of them have been men. And I can tell you exactly how many times one of them has accidentally jammed his tongue down my throat: zero. I can tell you how many times a man has stumbled and his penis has landed in me: zero.

And now for the other end of the spectrum: my friend Emily in Dallas fired me this link from the Atlantic this morning. Jeffrey Goldberg metes out awesome advice to a woman trying to discern who would have the best sperm in order for her to get pregnant. She presents the candidates. Goldberg offers up his take. Of course what they're both missing is that the best candidate might just be Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Dude is just giving it away.

September 12, 2011


Square Off - Monday

Just when you think websites can't get any nastier than that one for married people looking to hook up someone not-their-spouse (Ashley Madison), there's another one where you can rat out anyone you like, real or imagined. Lovely. The internet is such a fascinating tool to use for broadening one's horizons, curing world hunger, or telling the world that guy you met on Match.com is a pig.

Join us at 5:30 on CHCH, channel 11.

Oh, and you might want to stick around for the news at 6pm. I've done a segment with health reporter Maria Hayes about being crazy, based on today's column.

September 10, 2011


Oh, and a note to all of Toronto City Council

Grow a pair. Really. Every last one of you. You're sitting there like a bunch of wimps terrified to speak out as your city is being gutted and led by a tandem of mayors. By the way, WTF? Two mayors? Who voted for that? And why is this okay with anyone? Has Toronto gone mad?

Here's the deal, Councillors: Do any of you actually believe you will ever be voted in again after this debacle? How can you think that shutting up and trying to curry favour with men who have such disdain not only for those they pretend to represent, but for the very process, will serve you?

My favourites, however, have to be those who think they're in the inner circle. Ever seen a family business at work before? Ask anyone who has. You will be used up and spit out in a heartbeat. Trust me. You are extraneous to the big picture. Ford Squared is the heart of a family business. Let's say they're the 'offal'. So, as the offal, they will protect the rest of the beast. Period. And you sycophants hanging on? Let's call you psychopants, instead.

Fight back, elected officials. Better to go down in flames, then to just go down, no?


Shall we bitch?

Yes, I still have this headache. I'm going to explode. I don't know how I used to live through 7 days of this as regularly as clockwork, for nearly 30 years. I've been spoiled with fewer migraines. Sometimes you have to be down to recognize up.

But the paper is making me clench my teeth this morning, and that can't be helping. Better to vent, I think. And so...

A lovely little boy snatched from his room in B.C., presumably by a sex offender scuzbag pedophile. An Amber alert went out when his empty bed was discovered, but it's been days and we all have that sick thud in our stomach. We are all re-tweeting the alert and hoping, but we all know. Look at that little face. But today's paper brought me a new round of rage. The suspect's mother is begging him to turn himself in. "I would like him to come home and see me, and if he could have a way to bring the boy home or even bring the boy to me I would be glad to be with him," says Margaret Fink. She doesn't believe her convicted sex offender son will hurt the boy. I believe she should have stuffed her son in a burlap sack and drowned him when she had the chance. Oh wait, did I say that out loud? Good.

Oh, Timbuck Hudak. I call him that in my head, mostly because of that darling way he crinkles up his forehead when he thinks really hard. He looks like a ferret on Jeopardy. Anyway. In a stunning leap into a teacup, he has decided to lead by dividing: calling out the Liberal plan to help recent immigrants in the workforce as some affirmative action plan. Maybe I missed the memo where getting surgeons out from behind the wheels of cabs and scientists off of paper routes was a bad thing. Wait. You really think this plan is to make sure you don't have your fair shot at flipping burgers? Relax.

I am equally boggled by the NDP, truth be told. I have my issues with all parties, but the NDP is finding itself invited to the prom and desperately searching for something to wear. Abandoning environmental issues and faced with that very real problem historically faced by contenders (courting one vote means losing another) they are finding themselves playing late again at each step. It's like watching a little kid try to walk with his father, who is striding ahead knowing the kid will catch up, somehow. I hope so. But your shortened stride is showing, guys.

Not to get all 9/11 on you, but my memory of a decade ago centers on two women: my sister Roz and my friend Tonia. Roz was at work downtown Toronto, high up in one of the main office towers. She called me at 8:45, desperate to find out what was going on. With my TV on, we went through it together. Many of the people wiped out in New York worked for insurance firms, and my sister had worked for the Canadian branches of two of them at various times. I wanted her out of her office. Nobody knew what to do. I can't watch the footage anymore.

Tonia, one of my oldest, closest friends, was there. She worked for Newsweek at the time, and her boys were 4 & 2. Her husband had gone to work - an editor at another paper - and it would be days before she would see him. I couldn't get through to her. I tried for two days. When she finally called, I bawled like a baby. She draws a blog called Squeakymarker, which I've linked before because she's quite brilliant. This is, to my knowledge, the first time she's ever done something like this: read here.

It's a perfect day to go out and do yardwork to burn off some of the hatey that is gripping me, but I know it will make my headache worse. Then again, nothing is making it better, and maybe I'll be happy having something to show for it. Or I could go back to bed and keep reading a book that someone told me I wouldn't like, and I am perversely liking very much.

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September 9, 2011


Monster heggache

That's what Roz calls headaches. I've had a migraine off and on for two weeks now, and I'm ready to just stick a white flag in my head and call it a war. The migraines have been letting up a little the past couple of years, and this has just tossed me right on my arse.

Ari had a couple of wisdom teeth out this morning; after what Christopher when through last year (he looked like he'd gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson), I as prepping for the worst. Christer was percoceted out of his head for several days, swollen and bruised and in agony. Ari came home, spit some blood out, popped an ibuprofen and asked what was for lunch. He announced that it only hurts when he smiles. And then had a fit of laughter. Poor little bastard.

Or not really so little. He has his G1 - finally - and yesterday I asked if he wanted to drive home from the book store. He looked at me horrified, and said "No! There's cars out there!". Last week, he was bombing around a racetrack. I'm wondering if I've done this the wrong way....

If you have cats, you know how sometimes in the night, you hear them tossing up a hairball, and you tell yourself to remember that, so when you get up you don't step in it? And how two cats can often mean two hairballs? And you know how sometimes with migraine drugs you forget things after sleeping all weird? Yeah.

I bought a roast thing, and I have it in the fridge. The problem is that it's kinda chewy - eye of the round is like that. The boys like it, because apparently they have not a little of their grandfather in them, and think food that's good for your teeth is acceptable. My Dad used to hand us the stale heels of rye bread and tell us it was good for our teeth. I'm certain I was thisclose to spitting out one of those teeth it was so good for. Anyway. Ari can't chew, so I have no clue what to make for dinner.

The upside? Maggie will have less to mooch. And therefore less to barf up tonight. Sometime. Somewhere.

Sigh.

September 7, 2011


Square Off - Wednesday

$14,000 for no sex? A French judge figures that's fair, and awarded it to a woman whose husband failed to put out. This in tandem with a recent survey that reports the number cause of divorce is no longer infidelity: it's falling out of love. Surely the two things go hand in hand, no?

Join us at 5:30, CHCH TV 11.

September 1, 2011


Me & Jack

In the midst of a crazy day, or week, I sometimes get a little shot that makes me stop and consider the value of the trip if I'm not considering where I'm going. You know how it is; you work and work and stress and stress, and forget sometimes it's all just a hamster wheel if you don't get out of your cage.

Three years ago, we did an RV trek though the Maritimes. At the time, the boys were cranky with no internet, we had rain, and Raine, and 6 people in an RV. Live and learn.

But I met a man who I still think about, and today I heard from a woman who dropped me a note. Jack McDonald had come into her work to make some copies: copies of the piece I wrote about him 3 years ago. She kept a copy for herself, and contacted me to let me know he was 80 now, and still going strong. Jack is awesome; so is Sue for letting me know. I went back and re-read this piece, and finally remembered to consider where I'm going.

Thanks, Jack.

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