The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

May 22, 2006

Of Monarch, Madness and Queens

TODAY, in Canada, is Victoria Day.

In fact, it's a civic holiday named after a former Queen of England and after a long, cold winter, this is Canada's kick-off long weekend to summer.

So we wouldn't want to diss it too much.

But hey, it's 2006. IT'S 2006!!!

As a Commonwealth nation settled and colonized by the Brits but finally freed by our own independence in 1967, we still have many monarchial hangovers. And the biggest one of all is that we still, apparently, care about the Queen.

A real queen has a purpose. In the insect world, ant queens have no mode of defence and are guarded by the worker and soldier ants with their lives. The queens are guarded, they're fed, they're cleaned, they're pampered...just like the British Queen.

Except that the ant queen has a purpose. Without her, the ant colony would die because -- hello -- she lays the eggs. She may not be able to move, she may be big and fat and ugly, she may wear stupid hats (just like Queen Elizabeth), but she has a purpose.

And aside from being fodder filler for the British tabloids with trash about her off-spring (Charles, the big-eared wonder, was a hoot with his two sons watching Ozzy Osbourne the other day), what purpose does the British monarch serve?

So on this Victoria Day, I salute the warm weather that has finally arrived, I throw out my admiration for the simple existence of queen ants and bees all over the world and for the billions and billions of eggs they will lay today.

But the Queen, and Canada's continued need to maintain any sort of connection with her or what she stands for? Not so much. Let's jettison the pomp and ceremony and money spent on all those flowers she keeps getting handed by adoring fans and send that cash to Darfur.

May 19, 2006

Online Dating Disasters (The Sequel)


What you are about to read, should you read it, is a bit of an update or rewrite on the third post I ever did, on May 19, 2006, shortly after I discovered the wonder and wackiness and wanton suicide-inducing world of online dating.

I'm going to try to separate the new stuff from the old stuff by using a different colour text -- let's say the new stuff will be in a brown tone and the old stuff will be in a greenish tone.

I have still, to some extent, been involved in this leap into madness, at times, even to this day. It amazes me that I could meet so many women and still be single. But it is true. I have met, probably, 15-20 women this way.

I have met other and been involved with other women in other ways. You do the math, understanding that there are, believe me, plenty of single women out there, but for one reason or another, it has not worked out.

The only simple explanation I have for this is that yes, I am very picky and I'm OK with my singleness, no, I do not want to repeat mistakes of the past, and yes, I've probably made some mistakes along the way because of my fear of the above despite my intentions not to do so.

It's a bit of a torturous existence in a way, fraught with the uncertainty of who people really are, whether the pictures they're showing on or other sites are 10 years old or 10 days old, or what.
It's the beauty but the beast of the internet, this online dating thing, if you choose to take the plunge. Because you're going on everything BUT what our evolution and senses have designed us to do, make those decisions instantly on sight, in real time.

Anyway, this is what I wrote then.

So, as a now-divorced, single dad for the past eight years or so, I want to bring you into the cheesy, queazy, but not totally uneasy world of online dating.

With divorce rates in North America hovering somewhere around the 50 per cent mark, coupled with the advent of the Web as an accessible tool for your average everyman (and everywoman), it's no surprise that MSN, Yahoo and zillions of other companies are slaying each other over this.

Millions of 30-, 40-, 50- and 60-somethings (and beyond) are alone, horny, in need of love and companionship. They, like you, are totally confused about life today but in addition to that, they're single and their best friends are their hands, their vibrators or their shrinks.

They all say they don't go to bars.Some go to the gym. Some of them have kids, they're single parents, their ex's aren't paying them child support and they have no life, sexual or otherwise.

But they do have computers.

Loneliness + computers + the need for love or sex + $29.95 a month gets you a new life, or at least the potential for one, from the security of your own office or bedroom (wherever your computer is) after the kids have gone to bed.

However, and I speak to you from experience, there are hills to climb cyberspacially speaking. How much do you want potential suitors to know, and how much do you want casual web-crawlers who could know you to know?

You have to fill out these ridiculous but obviously necessary questionnaires.

How old are you? What's your marital situation? How tall are you and what body type are you? What do you think your best feature is? What do you like to do? Do you smoke? Drink lots?

Do you have kids? Do you want kids? What kind of music do you listen to? What do you want in a potential mate?

And, of course, they give you space to write your own little essay -- kind of like a mini-blog, really -- to sell yourself and to explain the basic qualities of the kind of person you hope to find out there.

The biggest issue of all....DO I POST A PICTURE OR NOT?

In my experience, many women don't.

So if you're a man seeking a woman, what the heck are you supposed to go on? We are so far ahead of ourselves technologically that we've lost sight (no pun intended) of what attracts people to one another, at least initially.

I'm sorry, but you could be the most beautiful person spiritually and emotionally and intellectually on the planet, but if I'm not attracted to you physically, I'm just not going to pursue you.

It's just the nature of the beast...perhaps more male than female, but still...

I decided honesty is the better part of valor and posted my own pix to my profile.

To do otherwise is to simply play games. Women might respond that they don't want guys responding because of their beauty, but for their brains.

I say you've got the gavel in your hands. If you're beautiful, use that to your advantage, as you likely have your entire life, and dismiss the men you don't want.

If you're not so beautiful as defined by today's standards, post your pic anyway. Why waste your time and that of others?

Anyway, you've made the plunge. You've plunked down your $29.95, you've posted your profile.

A day goes by, then wonder if it's actually on their site, but you've done your own search so you know it is. Where's those 100's of emails I was expecting?

Finally, you get some nibbles...but the women have no pictures.

You like the interest in you, but you don't want to encourage people you know you will not be attracted to (get over it; physical attraction is a big deal, at least initially).

So you ask them to email you a pic, respecting their decision not to post one on the site out of fear for their safety or for other reasons. Some do, some don't.

And you hate to be shallow or sound shallow, but you need to take a stand.

I went along with one woman's insistence that she would get some pix taken and then email them to me.

She sounded great, we hooked up by phone, we talked every night, but she did not get or post or email the pix.

I reluctantly agreed that we should meet, finally, after three weeks of talking by phone and by email. And when we did meet, it was immediate: I was not attracted to her.

She was quite hurt and upset, and I felt bad. And I won't say she got what she deserved.

But by not being forthright and honest, by NOT doing what she said she would do despite my consistently gentle nudges that she do so, she was inviting disaster. And that's what happened.

All in all, however, in today's fearful, mysterious world that seems to increasingly be about people finding themselves alone and unloved and really wanting to have a loving relationship, these sites are inhabited by some beautiful human beings.

I have found and met some very nice women, some of whom are still my friends who I would not have otherwise met.

A few years ago, I would have laughed at the concept and the prospect of me going onto one of these sites.

So artificial, I would have said. You'd have to be desperate, I'd chortle.

But they CAN and DO work. And for millions around the world, with apparently no other easy way of meeting people, that's a good thing.

So now here we are, a few years later, and I'm still single. I've met women who sent me pix they said were of them, but actually came from porn sites.

I've talked by email with women who said they were crazy about me but then went back to their ex-husbands in Toronto.

I've met women who sent me pictures of themselves from five years ago and had gained 50-60 pounds, it turns out, when I finally met them.

I've met women who were just what and who they said they were, and it just didn't work out, and some of those are the ones I wonder if I just didn't spend enough time with.

There is something both funny and forlorn about all this.

But it's where we seem to have gotten to.


May 16, 2006

U.S. declares war on Canada...WHY NOT?

So the el presidente Mr. Bush is considering putting armed U.S. soldiers on the Canada-U.S. border.

This is the longest undefended international border in the history of mankind.

And Mr. Bush League, in the latest cock-eyed manoeuvre in his completely contrived war on terror, is potentially going to spend more military dollars to seal his country off to those Canadian terrorists.

Like the rest of the free world, we Canadians don't generally have a lot of respect for Mr. Bush. We realize that Americans themselves are fine people, but on the other hand, they did elect this guy (well, not really the first time, but they DID the second time).

However, we digress.

Bush might as well set mouse traps to stop the infestation of his house by ants or termites. And for that matter, he started the infestation in the first place by going out and about and stomping all over those ants and termites, laughing gleefully as he did so, spawning their ire.

The ants and termites, to no one's surprise, have responded as any threatened creature would -- by setting out to destroy the monster that is stomping on them. He went and sought them out, went where he had no business going, and now they are responding in kind.

So now it has come to this -- defending the Canada-U.S. border with soldiers. Got to seal off all possible entry points for those terrorists! And certainly don't want all those illegal immigrants coming up from Mexico either (even though they'll work for peanuts and we like them).

As any bug exterminator will readily attest, ants and termites will always find an entry point no matter what you do, short of removing the entire house's population and poisoning every nook and cranny.

And maybe that's Mr. Bush's next step...he'll just nuke Canada and Mexico. Better go stock up on water and head to North Dakota...

May 15, 2006

An Introduction

I've seen and watched friends start up blogs and have a lot of fun doing it...and getting responses to their thoughts, hopes, jokes, dreams, sex lives, parenting paranoia and all other details of their everyday lives.

I'm not sure what's going to come out of me or when or how often, but I know this is a completely new way of having a voice in the world.

Whether the audience is one or 1,000, it's still my voice and seeing what you've written about you is maybe the most instructive dialogue you'll have all day.

So hello, cyberspace.