The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

January 30, 2007

Can You Read This?

So now that I decided to do a post about my little (big) brother Gerry, he appears to have decided this is his blog.

He's quite enamoured now about blogs, it appears. That's him on the right in a nightie or something, his son Matthew in the middle and me on the left. I can't explain the yellow tinge to this photo.

Anyway, today, I gather, in his super important job as the big poobah and snake oil salesman in charge of luring rich Americans to a place in Northwestern Ontario called Sunset Country, he received this email.

And he says I should put it on my blog.

I had another post almost ready to go, but seeing as I put his image on my last post without seeking his permission, I figure I owe him something besides a kick in the ass.

So here it is...

Can you read this?

You can't spell?
That's perfectly OK.

I Could Read this. Can You?

If yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?
Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you can raed tihs forwrad it.


So...CAN you read it? I actually can and my brother says he can. If you can't, fear not...45 per cent of the population can't, according to this.

Of course, we in the 55 per cent couldn't begin to tell you what difference this might make to our lives, but's something!

Now it's your turn. What can you do that most of the population can't? Bodily contortions? Recite the Bhagavad Gita backwards? Predict When George Bush will invade Iran?

Do tell...

January 28, 2007

My Brother is a Bother (OK, not really)

The fellow in the picture below, using my head for a tripod as I snap his picture, is my youngest brother, Gerry.

I hate to admit it, but like me, he is a tease. I wonder where he got that from?

I'm the oldest of a family of six kids. He's the youngest. In between are one other brother and three sisters.

And oh, those three sisters were fodder for the two of us, particularly, when we were growing up.

Me, the Big Bro, constantly haranguing them. He, the spoiled little mini-me, terrorizing them to no end.

We look a lot of like. And we are a lot alike. Deep voices. Opinionated. Jokesters. I'm proud to say I taught him everything he knows. He's about eight years younger than I am.

When I was 14 or 15 out playing hockey every night, he'd tag along and take the abuse that a kid that age should take from an older brother. I wouldn't cut him any slack.

But if my friends hurt him, they were dead meat, and they knew it.

At home, in our basement, he always wanted to be the goaltender. We had a hockey net set up down there and I'd take shots at him for hours on end. He loved it. So did I.

We spent incredible amounts of time together. I'm glad for that. More than glad.

As I grew older and left home, he was left to his own devices in a lot of ways. He grew tall and big, taller and bigger than me, and we kind of lost touch a bit.

In some ways, he became the black sheep of our family.

But when I went on a trip to India, he sent me a typed letter with no paragraphs that mostly contained a bunch of updates on this and that.

Hidden in there, though, was one sentence I'll always remember.

"I miss you a hell of a lot."

So, all these years later, here we are.

He's got two younger kids, I've got two older kids. He lives with his wife and family in a city about 3 hours away, so I see him at Christmas and at some family birthday parties, etc.

And wouldn't you know it, everything I taught him about teasing has come back to haunt me.

I, of course, have become his No. 1 target to tease, the aging older brother, the Titan of Tease, and now it's time for the younger lion to take on the old dominant male sibling.

He's become the King of Kidding, trying to knock me off my big rock, the one I've been perched on so long (think of the movie Lion King).

All the sisters and my mom and dad and my nieces and nephews know to watch out for me with a smile, they always try to catch me off-guard and tease me first, but they know it'll backfire...

And then Gerry turns up to challenge me for top dog, by taking pix like this...

The doink!

He took this pic of me from above, showing what is a much larger bald spot than I ever anticipated!! It's accentuated by the camera's flash...but I figure he got me good and won this round.

For our next family get-together, I plan on getting a closeup of his belly, which you can't see in this pic of him below but which is substantially bigger than mine. Buuu-huuu-haw-haw haw haw!!!!

January 27, 2007

You can landslide on me anytime...

One of the most beautiful, sexy, sensuous women I've ever gone ga-ga over is Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. OK, I don't think we have to alert the media over that.

Aside from her unbelievably gorgeous face and hair and other physical attributes...

...And the alluring (if entirely frustrating) fact that she will never be available to me, her sometimes gravelly voice and moves just do it for me.

But this is, truly, one of the most beautiful songs she ever sang with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac.

And with the posts and comments from a few of my blogger friends over the last day or two about changes of the heart and soul and other things, this song came to mind.

So I'm just going to leave you with this and her (but give her back!!!)...

...I also need and want to acknowledge that in an effort to avoid being nuked or at least slowly executed via verbal diarrhea warnings of impending doom, I have reluctantly switched to the new Google Blogger.
My first message from the new Blogger god, after an interminable number of sign-ins, was:
Error completing action
There was a transient error in completing this action. Please try to click back or otherwise repeat what you were doing. It will likely work a second time.
When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:
Describe what you were doing when you got this error.
Provide the following error code and additional information.
I did not report this transient error, feeling my safety was at risk.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hill
Still the landslide brought me down
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, children get older
I'm getting older too
Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

January 26, 2007

Cards Never Sent

OK, I admit it.

Just like some people go and stock up on chicken breasts, ground beef and other various and sundry grocery items at their local buy-in-bulk store, I buy greeting cards en masse.

There are, probably, several reasons for this.

I don't often go to buy cards.

But when I do -- whether it's for a woman I have a romantic interest in, for my kids, for my family, for a friend's anniversary -- I always search for the funny ones.

The ones that say as much about me and my sense of crooked humour as about them.

Rarely will I buy a mushy, serious card. Although sometimes I have to and when I realize I must, I do, and can do a more than adequate job at that.

It's just that while people I love and who love me know I am actually mushy and serious about my feelings for them, they also know I'm not likely to play that up...

Because I'm a tease at heart...and I like to have fun.

In some circumstances, though, fun isn't the No. 1 thing. So I often find myself buying a serious card, plus a funny card, then I'll find another funny card, then another serious card.

And I like them all. And all would be appropriate.

And then I get it in my tiny male brain: "Hey, I'll just buy them all so I don't have to do this again next year!"

So this is what ends up happening:

I present someone with two or three different cards, plus whatever gift or gifts I've bought for them, and I write in each card the message appropriate for that card.

But inevitably, I end up with left-over cards that I shove into my kitchen drawer or somewhere else...and then I promptly forget about them. For a long time.

And then I go out and buy more cards. And more cards.

This week, I found two of those cards that I bought quite a while ago, figuring to give them to different people in my life at that time.

Those people are no longer in my life, at least not in the same way.

So what do I do with these cards now?

And another...

So I guess I'm wondering:

Am I the only person on the planet who does this and who has reams of unsigned, ungiven cards sitting in some packed-away box or hiding underneath all my water utility bills in a far-flung drawer?

Cards intended for a love long gone, or a 16th birthday missed, or a 10th anniversary forgotten about, or a get well card that couldn't be sent because the person got well...or died?

And another issue is, should a card originally bought for someone else ever be presented to another person?

Finally, am I nuts?

January 23, 2007

The Bowman 2 Break from Boredom


After two of the modern world's greatest male minds meet and solve all the world's problems in about an hour or so, what do they do to further stimulate their existence?



Let's face it.

Having all of the world's problems on four broad shoulders is a heavy load for anyone to have to carry, but someone's got to do it.

Both HE and I are hovering around 50. We need to re-energize.

And last Wednesday, after determining the fate of George W. Bush, pontificating on religion and resurrecting the UN (and watching back-to-back episodes of Deadwood in between), HE unveiled this discovery:

This is Bowman 2.

Note all the dead goose carcasses and the blood on the ground. In this solo version, the archer at the bottom tries to launch arrows as the geese fly above.

More often than not, you shoot the arrow up in the air and it comes right back down and hits you right between the eyes. Doh!

The more fun version is the two-player game, which of course I handily won.

Two stickmen archers, not in sight of each other on screen, take turns launching arrows back and forth trying to hit each other.

It took us about an hour to figure out the angles and the delivery and the range. Once we did, there were so many kersplats it was unbelievable. Blood just splashes out.

A bulls-eye results in huge gushes of blood spurting out from the heart and the game ends. And isn't that really what life's all about?

The lighting was poor but just look at HE's glee as he plays the game.

And we used to laugh and joke about our two sons playing Warcraft, Zelda or Final Fantasy on PlayStation or Nintendo.

Male maturity is truly amazing.

HE and I are not meeting this week, on account of the president's State of the Union address and also because I have to work nights.

But now we've found a diversion from all of our heavy mental lifting. And it is called Bowman 2.

What games, secretly, do you play?

January 21, 2007

All the President's (Wo)men?


It just occurred to me 2008, there's every chance that the next leader of the world's greatest superpower is either going to be a woman or a black man.

Either would be firsts in the U.S. of A.

And I, for one, am ecstatic about the possibilities as perhaps the worst American president ever, George W., stumbles and bumbles his way as a lame duck through his final two years.

With the Democrats' upswing in the recent Congressional elections and Bush shooting himself in the foot yet again on Iraq, there seems little doubt that the Dems will win in 2008.

And the two most high-profile Democratic candidates and favourites have now declared: Hilary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

If the Republicans even run for president, Sen. John McCain seems to be the fave.


Now many things could change between now and 2008.

If the U.S. suffers another major terrorist attack, for example, the Reflublicans, seen by most Americans as the party to go to war with, might gain strength.

But all things being equal, I believe most people inside and outside America believe a Democrat will win in 2008.

If it's Clinton, she'd be the first female president (she could exile Bill to Iran as ambassador).

If Obama wins, he'd be the first black person to live in the White House (ooh, can you imagine the jokes about that...).

Personally, I'm rejoicing at either prospect and I'm thinking that after Bush, Homer Simpson could win the presidency and do a better job than Dubya, so either of these two would be brilliant.

While I personally am rooting for Obama, it should be noted there are many other candidates out there. I've included some of them below.

As part of an informal Blogger poll, please indicate who you would vote for and why. You've heard of exit polls. These are entrance polls, two years in advance.

So Obama is A, Clinton is B and McCain is C.

The rest are labelled as follows. If you'd like another candidate to enter the race, please assign your own letter to them as you vote. Please note also that Dubya is not an option.

He will have somehow already managed to serve the maximum two terms.


D. A baboon baby

E. Marvin the Martian

F. An absurdly goofy blogger teasing his sister many moons ago

G. Pepe LePew

H. Osama Bin Laden

I. Homo Escapeons, president of the Burt Reynolds Centrefold ClubFINAL POLL UPDATE (12) AS OF 8 P.M. CST TUESDAY, JAN. 23:

**Homo Escapeons: 4 (Keshi, MJ, KJ, Taz)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: 4 (Brian, Anna, Ms. Val, Laurie)

Barack Obama: 3 (WW, Menchie, Dinahmow)

Baby Baboon: 3 (Aidan, Stace, Laura)

Marvin the Martian: 2 (Lee, Homo Escapeons)

Within Without: 2 (Awaiting, Ziggi)

Russ Feingold: 1 (Tidalgrrrl)

Pepe LePew: 1 (Andrea)

John McCain: 0

**Votes cast under anonymous by an unidentifiable blogger -- and most particularly by people with the initials HE -- have been and will be disqualified.

By Order of the President and executed by the U.S. Voting Commission

January 20, 2007

Movies that Move Me


The movie Rudy, that is, on TV, a flick I've seen bits and parts of, which I have always heard about, which I thought would be just another soppy "underdog does good" cinematic effort.

I'm not a movie buff, really.

In this movie, Sean Astin stars as an undersized kid from Nowhereville who goes to the University of Notre Dame, whose dream is to play in a game for the Fighting Irish...and who doesn't stand a chance.

He gets mowed over by offensive linemen twice his size.

He keeps coming back for more in practice as part of the prep team, but he never gets to dress for a game...until the final contest in his senior year.

All of his teammates -- the guys who ridiculed him and teased him for three years for even trying -- get behind him and chant "Rudy! Rudy!" and the coach has no choice but to put him in.

And I just blubbered like a baby, watching him overcome all the odds to sack the quarterback on the final play -- and only starting play -- of his career and be carted off the field by his teammates.

This got me to thinking about other movies that have reduced me to tears in such a way, to the point of surprise at the flow of feelings and torrent of tears they caused.

Some of those movies are below. With most of them, the themes are the same: they always involve a guy I can associate with for one reason or another, who is faced with a monumental task...

And who fights through everything to overcome that challenge and get what he wants in the end, whether it's the girl or the personal satisfaction of having defeated the demon and lived to tell about it.

Or whatever.

What movies have "moved" you to the most tears?

January 17, 2007

The Office (such as it were)


I was quite taken by this intimate look into her work-life. I thought it was daring, very open and told us a lot about her that we didn't already know, which I think is a good thing.

Unlike Ces, however, I don't have my own fancy-schmanzy office where I can just close the doors and take all my clothes off, if I wanted to. No, I work at a newspaper, in a wide-open newsroom.

By most standards, it's probably about a decade behind the times. We are all in pods, separated by silly little structures you could knock over quite easily, walls that are pretending to offer privacy.

On top of that, our newspaper, far more than a century old and the largest in our city of about three-quarters of a million people, was bought in the past few years and we have new management.

A recent and disturbing development has seen our management become panic-stricken, as everywhere else, by possible terrorism. We now have security cameras and must wear ridiculous ID badges.

People are fidgety all over -- even at our newspaper, which used to inhabit an historic building downtown but which several years ago moved into a new building way out in a god-forsaken industrial area.

That's sad.

What all this means is I do not and did not have the freedom to just take a bunch of snapshots, freely, in our newsroom. So I can not be as revealing as Ces was in her post.

On Wednesday morning, having brought my Sony SureShot to work, I looked around in all directions and couldn't see too many people taking notice, so I snapped the following shots.

Do not report me to the Homeland Security people or whatever they're calling themselves. I may be arrested.

This, folks, is basically my workspace.

Note the antiquated Apple machine that I am forced to work on when I'm in the office. It's being propped up on an old telephone book.

Note also my antiquated beige courduroy jacket, given to me by a former girlfriend before she dumped me. I get teased quite a bit about that.

I also draw your attention to the fashionable flooring, the WW garbage can, the reams and reams of books I keep on hand that I never have or will read and the posture-correct chair that gives me back pain.

Note also the funky white telephone cord going with the black phone.

This is simply the same workspace, showing my desk and cabinet in its impressive entirety, plus my cell phone, tape recorder, file cabinets I fear not looking in and the fantastic array of books, plus my bag.

The shot on the left, if it actually and miraculously ends up on the left of this type, is simply a closeup of all my books, such as Lacrosse for Dummies, the National Hockey League record and guide book and the Winnipeg phone book.

Note the tool of my trade, a pen, plus a big piece of white paper in case I actually am forced to take notes.

There's also a half-used packet of pepper there from some previous lunch, but I don't know if you can see it.

On the right, I think, is a closeup of all my most intimate work coffee mugs and a blue football that I sometimes grab and throw at unsuspecting business and entertainment writers not far from where I sit.

I tease them all the time. We sportswriters have a reputation to maintain, after all.

This, really, shows nothing I haven't already shown you, except my barely operating computer mouse and a copy of today's paper.

But it gives the post physical balance, because I have only one more picture to show you. And it displays my unique phone from which I can neither transfer calls or accept transferred calls.

This photo shows two things: First, it shows, in the top half of the picture, the south end of our newsroom.

It also shows all the useless crap I have pinned to my screened artificial wall that I have to peer over to talk to my boss.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of WW's workplace environment. As a parting note, I will have you know it is situated on Mountain Avenue in Winnipeg. There are no mountains in Winnipeg.

How did this come to be?

In Part 2, I will illustrate my home work environment, which is where I wish I could do all my writing. Please do not send any letters to the editor about this post. Just be glad you don't work in this building.

January 15, 2007

My Beer Can Baby


I posted about her Dec. 12, a Chinese woman I thought, who I see from time to time riding around on a bike with plastic bags hanging from the handle bars and the rear wheel, going into garbage bins and recycling containers.

Well today, after working all weekend, was a day off. And I was taking out my own recycling and there she was, perched precariously on the seat of her bike in -25 temps, leaning over the giant garbage bin, poking around with a long metal rod, searching.

I decided to approach her. I had worried, back with my original post, whether I should because I didn't want to hurt her pride or embarrass her or possibly scare her. But I called out "Hi" and she looked right at me and got down off her bike.

She had her white scarf wrapped around her face, as she had that day, which was not nearly so cold. Her face was brown and weathered, almost like leather. I couldn't see the smile on her mouth, but her eyes were smiling.

I asked her what it was she was looking for. She couldn't speak a word of English. She brought out from one of her plastic bags an empty can she had fished out. We drink plenty of pop at our place so I offered her all of the ones I was going to recycle.

She looked through them and shook her head, no. After a few minutes, I finally figured it out: she only takes beer cans, presumably so she can return them to the beer vendor for a refund of 10 cents a can or whatever.

I don't drink beer. I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. She smiled back, put her hand on her heart and shook my hand. I went back inside my apartment to get more recycling but when I came out again, she was already gone.

I wish I could have taken a closeup picture of her.

I still don't know why she chooses to do this or whether it's her only means of bringing money in. And I don't know what she does with the money she gets from these beer cans. But she sure has a nice smile.

January 12, 2007



It was -48C with the windchill when I woke up Friday morning in Winterpeg.

Biting. Numbing. Deadly. My boss refused to let me drive 2 1/2 hours to Kenora, Ontario, to do a story on that town's 100th anniversary of winning the Stanley Cup.

All school buses in Winnipeg were idled, although schools were open (try figuring THAT one out). Hundreds if not thousands of cars would not start.

Those cars that were on the road were almost impossible for other motorists to see due to the plumes of exhaust fumes being emitted from each vehicle in the frigid air.

The "high" today here was -30C (not including the windchill). I took the liberty of checking Saturday's forecast highs in some of the cities or regions inhabited by regular visitors to this blog...

Delhi, India -- 22C
Sydney, Australia -- 25C
Johannesburg, South Africa -- 32C
Seattle, Washington -- -2C
Montreal, Quebec -- -5C
Billings, Montana -- -12C
London -- 12C
Zeebrugge, Belgium -- 12C
Miami, Florida -- 27C
Boston, Massachusetts -- 11C
Jackson, Mississippi -- 25C
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- 29C
Winnipeg, Manitoba -- -26C

This is all part of a brutal cold snap that follows on the heels of what so far has been an unseasonably mild winter for the Canadian Prairies. Already, four people have died as a result of hypothermia.

Most were in their cars, their cars stalled and they opted to try to walk for help. They never made it.

This cold is affecting fruit crops in California, the entire American Northwest and Canada's West Coast.

It's supposed to last until the middle of next week.

This is a killer cold, so you won't see many kids outside doing snow angels.

And now, I think I can explain what is causing this freakish cold.

It's this...


A new life form of tiny, cold-loving micro-organisms involved in photosynthesis has been discovered in the Arctic Ocean, according to an international team of scientists, including a Canadian researcher.
The tiny plant organism, called a picobiliphyte, is distinct from anything else in the ocean, according to Université Laval biologist and professor Connie Lovejoy.
The picture shows a picobiliphyta cell under a fluorescent microscope. The cell nucleus is coloured in blue, the cytoplasm in green and the plastide, which is responsible for photosynthesis, is coloured in red. The cell measures two by five micrometres.
"It doesn't follow close to anything else we know about," said Lovejoy.
Picobiliphytes are plants containing fluorescent substances that glow under certain waves of light and are small enough to measure in microns — or millionths of a metre.
The discovery came after analyzing DNA sequences of vast amounts of micro-organisms in the ocean. European scientists discovered the peculiar micro-organisms off their shores, while Lovejoy did similar tests in the Canadian Arctic and found the same tiny life forms.
Their odd shape also separates them from typically round algae.

My theory is that this cold-loving algae has migrated south in search of food or publicity and to sustain itself, it has brought the Arctic temperatures with it. I hope this is not the case.

But most of all, I hope my car starts. And if it does, the first thing I'm going to do is head out and buy a new pair of longjohns. Fingers, legs, noses and other bodily appendages can freeze in a matter of minutes.

January 11, 2007

The B.uS.h Presidency



These were pictures taken in March 2003, beamed around the world, of a democratically barely-elected "leader" of the world's greatest superpower, emerging from his little cocoon halfway around the world to rub Islam's face in it.

Unable to corral Osama Bin Laden, and with no other whipping boy to conquer and punish for the horror of 9-11, George W. Bush invented the "War on Terror" under the guise of something he called "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

He dreamed up, in his own little far-right-wing, puzzled head, the story that Iraq was a haven for terrorists and that it had, within its borders, what came to be known as WMDs -- Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It didn't matter that UN inspectors were never able to find the WMDs, and that almost the entire rest of the planet did not support an invasion of Iraq. But from his Oval Office, he ordered one anyway. Someone had to pay.

And the pictures above are him with that stupid smirk on his face showing up on a U.S. aircraft carrier to spit in Iraq's and Islam's face to declare what everybody already knew would be a very quick American victory over Saddam Hussein's forces.

Saddam, of course, was eventually captured in a hole in the ground, was checked for lice and other things in a very public humiliation, was imprisoned and, just last month, was executed for the vile acts of horror he perpetrated upon the Iraqi people.

And he deserved to die. But has his death helped the "War on Terror?" Or has it escalated it?

As Americans finally revolt against the fact that more than 3,000 of their own soldiers have perished in the years since then in this doomed-to-fail "War On Terror" in a country they can't begin to understand, it was a more reserved Bush on national TV last night.

The smirk, if you noted, was gone. But he opted to compound the many wrongs -- and do what polls suggest the majority of Americans don't want him to do, and and what all his generals told him from the get-go that he should do.

He wants to send MORE TROOPS to Iraq. More to die.

His presidency has been deep-sixed. Take out the u and the h in his last name -- it's the B.S. for Bullshit presidency. And no, I'm not American, and perhaps some U.S. citizens might be offended that I am opining at all.

But the whole world is watching this. And the whole world is involved and has a stake in it. And your man Bush is the guy, whether we understand why you elected him -- not once, but twice -- or not.

Today, of course, the Bush people are out in force trying to lobby for the lost son of a president's plan. It's all over CNN. There still is no true contrite admission that the B.S. administration absolutely screwed this all up aside from vague references.

No, now it's all about how whatever happened before, this is what must be done now to preserve the U.S. of A.'s integrity and legacy and all that crap. And to continue the "War on Terror."

Sen. John McCain, who appears to be the favourite to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, said no matter what people think of the mistakes already made, he wants to hear what the Democrats would propose to do if America pulled out of Iraq.

And I'd like to know what America will do when the inevitable happens if it sends more troops in: that the addition of 21,500 more young souls isn't going to change a country that is beset by religious strife that Americans, Canadians and other democracies can't understand.

McCain seems to be saying that a U.S. troop withdrawal will leave Iraq in a state of chaos. What, it isn't in chaos now? Why does America think it can just parachute its own style of democracy into a place that isn't ready for it, doesn't want it?

If the U.S. wanted full control, it should have gone in to Iraq with overwhelming numbers right from the start. It didn't. Now it's paying the inevitable consequences. The sooner U.S. troops leave, the better; the fewer American lives lost.

The most intelligent words I heard Wednesday were from Barack Obama, the U.S. Democratic senator from Illinois whom I hope will be the next U.S. president, based on the little I know. He was very fair and didn't say what he could have said about Bush.

No, he said what should have been said all along -- that American troops need to come out of Iraq. That Iraq needs to be its own country and not a puppet democracy with its mouth sucking America's nipple.

No matter what the consequences.

America is a great nation, full of some of the most advanced, imaginative people on Earth. But it has a terrible leader, one it doesn't deserve, one who has plunged it into a huge military and moral debt that has tarnished its greatness.

If that can't change by resignation or impeachment, then I sure hope it changes in 2008.

January 10, 2007

Alphabet Soup

KJ tagged me on this alphabet meme. In a moment of weakness or insanity, I am complying. This has taken me far too long as it is but I basically went with the first word that popped into my head.

A is for ALL grown up, Almost. That could describe me, but I'm talking about my kids. My daughter's 18, my son's 15. I'm more amazed at my son now because he's growing like a weed physically and changing inside even faster.

B is for BLOGGING, of course. And that means getting to know the likes of you and being enriched and entertained by you and laughing with you and doing those little winky thingies.

C is for CHRIS, my first name. Never fully felt comfortable with it (Chris Piss!!!, the teasing would go as a kid). It was like being a Boy Named Sue. When I was calling bingos as a young man, I was nicknamed Basil. Not sure why...

D is for DEPRESSION, a condition that runs here and there through my family tree. It's the boogeyman of life for some and 15-20 per cent of the world's population suffers from it. They shouldn't have to endure society's fear and loathing of them any more than a person who has been stricken by cancer.

E is for EASY, which life sometimes isn't. There's always the temptation to ESCAPE. And you can't. So you might as well ENJOY.

F is for FLATULENCE, a subject I know KJ doesn't like and, therefore, the reason I chose it. My own personal record for longest fart of my lifetime is seven seconds, recorded and timed on an outdoor hockey rink at age 12 or so.

G is for GERRY, my youngest brother. We look a lot alike (poor guy!) and act a lot alike. We spent hundreds of hours playing hockey in our basement growing up and are good buds.

H is for HEART, something I'm coming back to (my own and the overall definition of what having heart is) more and more each day.

I is for I, as in me, and what I want to be.

J is for JALALABAD. Just because I've always loved the name and I've been there.

K is for KAREN, both the one who tagged me on this meme and another who I hurt and left behind.

L is for LOST, something we all have been at one time or another and a place I have been to more times than I would like.

M is for MONICA, my little wisp-of-a-thing daughter who has always been so responsible, so together, so committed to what she wanted to do.

N is for NANNY, my grandma who grew up with us and taught me a lot about how to love and laugh and cook, and who spoiled me rotten and loved it when I teased her to hone my skills for future teasing of females.

O is for ORDINARY, which thankfully I have always considered myself to be.

P is for PYTHON (MONTY), which still brings a laugh to this day. It's also for PAUL, the middle name of my oldest brother Doug, who calls me Kaboobie and once said to me: There is love in silence.

Q is for QUIET, which is what I mostly am, at least comparatively.

R is for REAL, another thing I strive to be.

S is for SISTERS, of which I have three: Lori, Lisa and Shauna. They have taught me many things about life from a feminine perspective. And man, did I tease them growing up...

T is for TAFFY, the golden lab we grew up with.

U is for US, as in me, myself and I. My kids are right there, of course, but not always physically.

V is for VESTIGES -- those last remnants of previous lifetimes -- and continuing to work on leaving them in the past where they belong.

W is for WITHIN WITHOUT, this strange pseudonym I started out with in an unknowing way back in May and which has, strangely, more or less proven to be fairly accurate. And rewarding.

X is for the X FACTOR...and I don't even know what mine is yet.

Y is for saying YES to the challenge to be open-minded about things I could never understand before but which I accept now.

Z is for 'ZIS is ze end.

January 9, 2007

Evan's Excellent Adventure ("I Love You", Part 2)


In the wake of Monday night's concert featuring Canadian singer Dallas Green of City and Colour, who's also the lead singer of the group Alexisonfire, I called my son Evan tonight.

I wanted to find out how it went (see previous post).

"Dad, I met Dallas Green!"

My 15-year-old son had watched the opening act, a young guy who has no recording contract, and the lights in Burton Cummings Theatre came on for a break before Dallas Green's performance.

Dallas Green -- the guy my son truly adores, is modelling his hairstyle after, who he wants to emulate as the lead vocalist for his own band Final Crisis (cringe), who he wants to play guitar like.

My son is with four of his friends, some of them fellow band members. He goes down to the lobby to pick up some popcorn for them all and sees the young guy who had just opened for Dallas Green.

He goes up to him and introduces himself and says how much he enjoyed his performance. He buys the guy's self-made CD.

Out of nowhere, Dallas Green walks up to them. My son is all aflutter, but introduces himself. Tells Green how much he adores his music. Tells him about their band.

They talk for three or four minutes, the three of them. Dallas Green says he has to go warm up for his performance. My son buys the popcorn, goes back up to the balcony and doesn't tell his friends.

"I thought they would feel really bad," he says. "I just told them I met the first guy. I told them all at school today."

Hmmm...some things in life are just Kodak Moments. This is one of them. For him and, secretly, for me.

January 8, 2007



Those were the words my 15-year-old son left me with when I dropped him off at his mom's place tonight.

Tonight -- after I bought him some new glasses that, as it turns out, will almost exactly mimic the glasses worn by his favourite rock star, Dallas Green of City and Colour, also the lead singer of Alexisonfire.

He's going to their concert (at the Burton Cummings Theatre...yes, that Burton Cummings, of the Guess Who) with about five of his friends. And I am not there. I am not a fly on the wall to watch him grow yet again.

His face has been attacked by acne. His hormones are going like hell. He's growing up faster than I can keep up with him. He's giving me the evil eye, the surly attitude at times, the "I know everything" thing.

I want to be inside his soul, I want my wisdom to protect him, my heart to shield his from it all. I want to be there to see him laugh, cry, to have his Doh! moments, to be there when his girlfriend dumps him.

I want to be inside his wide eyes tonight as he marvels at what someone with a guitar and a good voice can do. I want to be inside his nose to smell the dope that's being smoked, and to wonder, inquisitively, what that is.

I want to be his ear drums, to hear live what he listens to repeatedly on my computer as he plays his games on it, over and over. I want to be his feet, tapping to the music that he absolutely loves.

I want to be there in case he gets into some trouble, except he needs to learn how to handle that on his own. But most of all, I wish I was there just to witness the wonder that he'll be feeling.

I can't.

All I can do is remember those words from my 15-year-old son: I love you. Words I say to him and my daughter all the time. And words that I never tire of hearing back from them.

January 7, 2007

Every Day's a Special Day


Here I was, just barely squeaking past the Christmas holidays and trying to return to sanity in a new year, and I've already seen Cuddle Up Day pass me by. How could I? Doesn't everyone need cuddles?

Bubble Bath Day is today (Monday, Jan. 8 -- didn't you KNOW?) and it appears, on Sunday night the 7th, that I'm destined to miss that too.

First, I don't have any bubble bath stuff. I mean, I have a bathtub, and I have soap, and I have hot water, but I have no "bubble bath" stuff, whatever you call it.

And I don't have the one ingredient that makes the whole point of having a bubblebath worthwhile -- I don't have anyone to have a bubble bath with.

Oh, the horror! Oh, the pain!
How do I know what I'm missing?
Because Computer-Generated Bob at 123Greetings told me.
He sends me an email once a week telling me about all the "special days" the greeting card industry has invented to get me to spend money for no good reason by buying cards, flowers, diamonds, mansions, whatever.
Now I'm all for celebrating life's special times and intimate moments.
Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day -- they're landmark days that are important to celebrate, whether commercial interests invented them or not.
But read this email from Computer-Generated Bob. And tell me that you don't want to punch him in the nose or kick him in the gonads, if in fact he could have any.
Dear 123Greetings subscriber,
Hey there people ! A New Year, new events, new joys, but all that with your ol` friend Bob right here! So how `bout the celebrations ? I'm sure the wagon is still rollin`!
Me `n my gang are still in party gear. New Year does that to ya. The celebrations are never-ending ! And parties always translate into bingin` on goodies, big time ! So you can imagine, the time me and my gang are having.
We ain't called 'the foodie brigade' for nothing guys ! And with my best bud Kong to help us, there's hardly even a crumb left on the table once we have ploughed our way through it! So while I busy meself with some more non-stop bingin`, you go ahead and check out the events we have in store for ya -

Cuddle Up Day [ Jan 6 ]
Umm, spread your arms wide `n give your loved ones a tight squeeze ! It's January 6th and it's Cuddle Up Day. Time to let all your loved ones know how special they are to you. Hold `em close and let them know how much you care. Send warm and cozy e-cards to all your near and dear ones.

Bubble Bath Day [ Jan 8 ]
Pamper time folks ! January 8th is Bubble Bath Day. Get into the stress free fun mode. Soak yourself in a warm bubble bath and get into the stress bustin` zone ! Think of all the good times you've had with friends `n family, and send e-cards to let `em share in your refreshin` memories !

Dance Day [ Jan 9 ]
Whoa ! This sure is gonna rock you ! January 9th is Dance Day. The last time I remember I hit the dance floor was on New Year's eve, and I thought I was doin` pretty good, when suddenly I found my legs somehow twisted `n before I knew it – Wham ! I was spread-eagled on the dance floor ! While you pack in a good laugh at that, send some funky e-cards and dance your way to fun !

Make Your Dreams Come True Day [ Jan 10 ]
Wakey !!! It's January 10th – Make Your Dreams Come True Day. Follow your dreams. Get, set, go ! And inspire everyone around you to go soarin` too ! Pass around bagsful o` good wishes and fill every heart with the courage to turn dreams into reality by sendin` across some positive thoughts.

Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friend Day [ Jan 11 ]
January 11th is Step In A Puddle And Splash Your Friend Day ! Boy ! Reminds me of the time we used to have in grade school, splashing each other ! And the best part o` d deal is that today ya can actually get away with it ! Have a hip-hop-happy day sendin` fun e-cards all the way.

Roller Skating Day [ Jan 12 ]
Come January 12th and glide into some fun – it's Roller Skating Day !Back in high school I really had some cooooool fun skatin` around. 'Ya, until you jammed right into the locker door buddy !' quipped Ron. Ouch ! That was a painful memory. Never mind guys, you go right ahead `n have some rollin` fun times sending our e-cards.
Well that's the end of a new journey guys ! Will be here again with my bag o` goodies all filled to the brim.
Till then,Keep Rocking !Bob.Editor 123GreetingsReceived this newsletter from a friend ? To get them directly in your mailbox click here.
By the end of this week, I will have accomplished all my dreams while dancing on rollerskates and splashing everyone I know by jumping in puddles that are non-existent in the Great White North.
And I will have prepared for these life-changing events by hopping in a bubble bath with a non-existent lover, to whom I will have had to email greeting cards celebrating all these activities.
If I end up in hospital due to a broken back from jumping on to a frozen puddle of water and trying to splash somebody, please don't bother sending me flowers.
Just find Bob and the rest of these greeting card weenies.
And drown them in the bubble bath.

January 6, 2007

The $1.49 US shirt


And gotten into a bit of hot water for it.

The one above is one of the tame ones, from one of his weekly visits over to my place...his weekly "holiday" from the married life and his fatherly duties to be with a single man.

Some of the others timidly showed a bit of skin. Oh, we don't use the words "be with" in the biblical sense. We went to college together, we are very good friends, we joke, we laugh, we giggle.

We talk about all the rest of you bloggers behind your backs. We sometimes go online and check out all of your blogs together...and come up with new ideas to post about.

He got all the girls then, but he says I get them all now. That isn't true, but whatever.

The point of this post is to talk about something Homo Erectus blogged about a while ago, his visit to the U.S.

He and his lovely wife and son joined some other family types for a trip to North Dakota, where HE bought a shirt for $1.49 US. I could not believe this and dared him to wear it to my place.

He already gets far too much ink on his own blog, but I figured it was too good to pass up.

And here it is...

Here is Homo Escapeons, a la Burt Reynolds, posing on my bed (yechh!!!) in his fashionable $1.49 shirt with two packs of oysters (double yechh!!!) and a rye and Coke, apparently ready to rumble.

If HE had bought this shirt in Canada, where our money is worth perhaps only three-quarters of the American buck, he would have had to buy it at a second-hand store for, say, $5.

But being the international man of intrigue and global sex symbol that he is, as illustrated aptly by these poses, he can wear such clothing and get away with it.

He's also able to somehow show up at my place wearing oversized snowmobile suits and then strip those off in favour of the ugliest sweatpants you've ever seen. But I digress.

HE considers himself the ultimate consumer, so I'm planning a trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota, in a search for similar clothing.

All I need to do is renew my passport and take plenty of suitcases.