The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

January 31, 2008

A Blogger Babes Travel Excursion hosted by WW


The WW Corp. and its new luxury travel subsidiary, I Only Have Female Readers On My Blog Anyway Ltd. (, are shamefully latching on to the newdest trend in the airline industry.

This is only to appease our female customers and it is a limited time offer providing untold hours of sunshine, dark brown tans and opportunities to display yourselves wearing your thongs in a semi-private, non-judgmental way. Kind of.

For only $1,999.99* both ways, the WW Corp. is now offering transcontinental flights to and from the destination of your choice, with free inflight hospitality, service extraordinaire and personal attention from your host and servant (I mean steward), WW himself.

In association with an East German travel agency, enjoy the lap of luxury (or sit on WW's lap) as you visit the Arc de Triomphe, with WW as your friendly, gap-toothed, smiling guide.

Trapse by the Holy See in Italy...oh no, forget that, bad idea. You might see the pope.

Check out St. Peter's Basilica in Russia or Saddam Hussein's trap-door hiding place in Iraq, where he wasn't hiding any WMD's but where he was caught eating rats and, as a result, later executed.

Perhaps you'd like to spend an exciting fortnight in the Pakistan hills with swingin' tall man and world terrorist Obama Bin Laden, far beyond the reaches of the U.S. military, who don't have a clue where he's hiding out.

Travel to George W. Bush's first oilwell in Texas and see the childhood doll of Dick Cheney that he placed there.

Camp out at the America/Mexico border and, with the assistance of specially-equipped night goggles, watch hundreds of Mexicans entering illegally into the U.S.

See the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where you can snorkel with great whites. Body-surf off the coast of South Africa. Freeze in Canada's midwest during a typical -40C day. Cross Penny Lane in London, just like the Beatles did.

Credit cards accepted, tips encouraged, refunds unavailable. Details, itineraries, conditions and PR campaign are set out below. No males allowed. This is a females only adventure with your amiable, available escort, Within Without.**

First It Was Nude Beaches...Then Nude Tourist Resorts...
Nude airline to take-off in Germany

Jan 30, 2008
Now a German travel agency has unveiled what is believed to be the world's first nude airline.

It is fairly well known that a lot of Germans like getting their kit off. Now there is an airline for them.

An Eastern German travel agency is taking bookings for the country's first nudist air service.

Passengers can strip off on board but will have to get dressed again before getting off the plane.

The flight is to be part of a summer day trip which flies from the Eastern German city of Erfurt to a popular Baltic Sea resort.

*Canadian dollars

January 29, 2008



Or maybe it was just a thought about one of the people I've admired most in my lifetime, whose most famous words were, even after enduring so much hatred and scorn and inhumane injustice:

"I have a dream."

And despite his assassination, Martin Luther King's dream is coming to fruition, at least in one very important sense.

A black man who I also admire greatly, Barack Obama, is a serious contender for the presidency of the United States.

And as overjoyed as I am about that -- and I'm not saying he's a clone of King -- it gives me great hope for the world because the next leader of the United States is, essentially, going to be the leader of our planet from 2008-2012 or 2016 or so.

He or she will have much work to do if they want to UNDO the damage wrought by a president in Dubya whose Republican administration has entirely screwed up the world and left America as little more than a plasticized, ostracized shell of its former self.

Anyway, back to my dream or whatever it is, a fearful image I have about this 2008 presidential race. I saw on TV a documentary about Martin Luther King. And now we've got a black candidate in Obama.

And he's going up against a white woman in Hillary Clinton.

Black man. White woman. President of the United States. Contemplate that. I blogged about this possibility several months ago. And here it is, pardon the pun, in black and white.

Yes, I'm suspending, for the moment, the absurd possibility that the Republicans can actually win again with John McCain or Mitt Romney or Guigliani or wotshisname.

(I consider McCain the only real person -- I mean REAL -- among the bunch of donkeys. Or is that white elephants?).

The Americans will have their say in November. I don't get a vote.

And who can say that, despite everything, or maybe to spite the idea of either a black man or a white woman, the U.S. of A. won't vote in another right-wing president because they want to keep their sons coming home in body bags?

But here's my thought, or concern.

Obama or Clinton, but especially Obama, would be a jolt to American history and, shall we call it, in my estimation, an unacceptable shock to American elite sensibilities, form, practice and prejudices.

The greatest country in the world ruled by a black?

Hell, there's STILL Ku-Klux Klan meetings and demonstrations going on, y'all, permitted and protected by police, especially in the Deep South. Aren't there?

The greatest country in the world ruled by a woman?

C'mon, they can't even golf properly because they've got these mounds of flesh on their chests that get in the way, as one golf announcer once proclaimed.

They should be washing dishes and preparing supper and having babies.

A black man as president, espousing everything corporate America and the Military Establishment doesn't want to hear?

Such as getting out of Iraq and coming up with something resembling universal health-care?

Nah. Let's stop that.

And here, in the past, is how that very end has been achieved to end the aspirations that would make America great...and which would make the world a better place, from my point of view.

I'm almost fearful of saying it.
But the thoughts I've had, in associating all the past with the current reality of a black man and a white woman contending for the U.S. election, have got me thinking about Abraham, Martin and John (and Robert).
I sure hope it doesn't happen.

January 27, 2008





after that last post...



January 26, 2008

Same Old, Same Old


That's right. In fact, the Roman Catholic church used to be a very significant part of my life.

I was born into the religion, was baptized, was confirmed, attended Sunday School, went to church most Sundays and, when I was old enough, became an altar boy, donning the black and white robes and all.

Ringing bells at spiritually crucial parts of the mass service itself. Carrying the cross to lead the priest into mass in front of hundreds in the congregation. Kneeling in deference, memorizing Our Father, the whole bit.
Later, as a teenager, I got more heavily involved by playing guitar and singing with other friends in what had evolved into folk masses in the early '70s.

And then even beyond that, working and calling bingos to raise money for the church and for the Catholic elementary school and high school that I attended, all of them closely linked to one another on one city block in my neighbourhood.
And I have not one regret about that.

Some of the most influential people in my life were priests and nuns. One priest, a guy I'll always call Max, came to our church from Montreal, a young man with progressive ideas who taught me how to be me and not be the church's me.

Ironically, he eventually left the priesthood.

But not before he and I and some of my closest friends had taken two summer trips all the way to the East Coast, catching our own cod in a fisherman's dory in Newfoundland, body-surfing at Cape Breton, climbing what we called Mike's Mountain.

At my Catholic high school, there was Father John, as obviously flaming gay as you could be, but a positive, always smiling influence.
And Father Robert, an all-business religious man with great intuitiveness who steered me straight after I flunked Grade 10 French.

Religion had become a huge part of my life.

But somewhere along the way, I left most of it behind. I think it was when I realized that the church didn't want me to think on my own but when it wanted to do my thinking for me.

For example, when it imposed conditions on my wedding and forced me and my bride-to-be to take courses before it would give us its "blessing" and allow us to be married in its hallowed halls at all.

I think it was when I realized that the church said the same things, over and over again...
...And how eventually, I realized that belief system was flawed and was more intended to give me guilt than to somehow guarantee my life would be great.

When my parents split up I realized that, hell, we'd all gone to church all this time, had been the model Catholic family, and shit like this could happen to us after growing up listening to how the Christian way was the good way?

I'm not saying that it isn't for some and I don't mean to offend anyone.

But for me, it just didn't wash. I realized I had grown up learning to trust in something that really had no influence at all on what good or bad happened or didn't happen.

In fact, it was all a man-made diversion that filled me with more confusion, not less. More guilt, not less. More frustration and angst, not less of that either.

It had become a poor excuse for a crutch and the wood it was made of had rotted and couldn't support anything.

The Bible, the Ten Commandments, all that rang true but in a very hollow, shallow, uninformed, unrealistic, outdated sense.

It didn't provide any answers. I ended up figuring out only I could do that myself.

And some Catholics might say that my abandonment of this doctrine or way of life is the sole reason I ended up getting divorced and all myself.


None of that had any bearing on my parents or myself.

Nor would or will religion have any bearing on my kids, on Iraq, on Afghanistan or on the future of the world, in any sense, except to blind us to what's going on by tricking us into trusting in anything other than ourselves.

In fact, religion is a huge part of what's causing all this crap. There's no place for it, at least in my life. My spirituality is within, not without (no pun intended!); it's certainly not inside some so-called HOUSE OF GOD.

For the first time in a long time this past week, I found myself inside a Roman Catholic church.

I was attending the funeral of the father of a workmate I really respect and am good friends with. It felt strangely odd. I was there for my friend, no one else, and sitting with a bunch of other workmates in the pews.

But my childhood came roaring back when I was in that church.

Adorning the walls were the stations of the cross, I think they're called, the images of Jesus Christ's stages of suffering where he supposedly died for our sins. (GUILT!)

Behind the altar, of course, the familiar life-sized sculpture of J.C. crucified on the cross. (GUILT!) In front of the altar was the ceramic container that had the ashes of my friend's father inside it, with his picture right next to it.

We were there to honour this man I never met and to be with his family who loved him. I stood, sat and stand when the middle-aged priest urged us to do so, of course.

But nothing had changed from my childhood. Not the words, not the hymns, not the guilt-inducing message, not all the pap about salvation, not the need for sacrifice...nothing.

It really was the same old, same old. And I was shocked by that, but it also reaffirmed that I was right to leave it all behind.

Not the memories I have of it, mind you, because having that long-time first-hand experience was good; at least I'm an informed abstainer.

I don't want the crutch and would rather stand on my own, although if it works for you, great. It doesn't work for me any more. My sense of logic in a world filled with a lot of illogic doesn't permit it.

I do believe in some higher power, but not in the way we've figured it out with our own devices and forced contrition to ideals and conditions that just don't work and just aren't documented, trustworthy or which can pass my BS Meter Test.

To me, this whole thing is dubious. Kinda like this building near where I grew up, probably the most religious of shrines in our entire city or even in Western Canada, which burned when I was a young lad and which still stands as nothing but a shell today.

They won't tear it down, I guess it's part of our history. I concur, it's an historic building. But that's all that it is, as far as I'm concerned, the religious tenets it was founded on in the first place.

January 24, 2008

Bob's Yer Uncle

Well, we created quite a furor recently at the workplace.

You see, our newspaper, as part of a plan to become more...whatever, has opted to move all of our departments around in the same space as part of our attempts to become more modern and on-line or something or other.

So our sports department, also affectionately known by all the other reporters and editors as the toy department, has been moved from one side of our dreary office to the other.

But we have lost our little pod separation thingies, which never really gave us any privacy but which seemed to. I have a fairly loud, deep voice so whatever I said carried pretty much two miles anyway.

But now we have absolutely nothing separating us from our city and night desk operations, or from our on-line people or anything else.

I am facing directly towards a walkway, a mere foot away, where everyone comes and goes.

I hope to take pictures at some point, if I will not be shot doing so.

Suffice to say, however, that no one can pass by my desk without hearing me conduct interviews or, at the very least if I'm sitting doing nothing, being forced to catch the football I throw or the teasing remarks I toss at them.

And rather than wallow in despair at these inter-office developments, I have taken to harrassing our business department weenies right next to us as they conduct interviews with exceptionally boring bank executives.

I also have been throwing balls at the backs of the heads of our online staff and to the front reception desk females, most notably the beautiful Dianne, who loves kibitzing around with me in such merriment.

Or, if I can't do that, I simply tell them, "Bob's Yer Uncle."

And so I started wondering, 'Well, is Bob really Yer Uncle?" I have an uncle named Bob, so in my case, it's true: Bob IS Yer Uncle.

And me and my goofy friend, Homo Escapeons, whose real name is not Bob, say this to each other quite often.

But I wondered, statistically, if this common saying was really true.

In other words, does everyone have an uncle named Bob?

Being the inquisitive journalist I am, I set out to find the answer. And for the 5.8 fellow employees I surveyed, the majority had to admit that, yes, they did have an uncle named Bob.

I also recently asked this question in a blog post and of the few of you who responded to this serious query, I would say that yes, Bob's YER Uncle too.

My own Uncle Bob, in my experience, drinks like a fish and resembles an oak tree, about 6-feet and 3,000 pounds. He is bigger than life. If he sees this, I'm dead meat. I opted not to include a photo of him.

But the more I teased people by saying "Bob's Yer Uncle," the more I found out. There's a band named Bob's Yer Uncle, for example. Somewhere in the blogosphere is, in fact, a blog called Uncle Bob.

Having heard me flirt with her workmate Dianne about this important issue -- Dianne never catches the football when I throw it to her and when she threw it back to me recently she hit my boss in the head -- another front reception woman, Lynne, surprised me.

See, she also has duties in our newspaper library. So she went and fetched this from some obscure encyclopedia of modern culture or something or other...

"Bob's Your Uncle: Everything is perfect: c.p: from ca. 1890; slightly ob. 'You go and ask for the job -- and he remembers your name -- and Bob's your uncle.' 'Still going strong in Australia" (B.P., 1965).

So now, you're up to speed...and Bob's Yer Uncle.

January 20, 2008

Big Blogger Blabbermouth

Just a short note from the frozen hinterland, folks...

I had to delete my second-most-recent post in which I detailed the sports I'd be covering all this week, including the one involving rocks and ice. That sport is hurling, except with a c as the first letter, not an h.

In fact, as my brief explanation following shows, I'm the one with rocks -- in my head.

That sport is so popular in Canada that it turns out at least one website devoted entirely to it found that post, liked it, they know who I am and who I write for and what I'm covering, and they linked to it from their website.

So that might have brought all kinds of people -- who read my stuff in the newspaper I write for and who assume I'm objective and all, which I am -- to my blogsite, where I write about all kinds of stuff: zany, personal or what-have-you.

I was going to delete my blog altogether but I figured I could just delete that post, which I did.

So if anyone was wondering where that post went, it's vaporized.
Now I can go back into hibernation. Carry on. And as they say in (h)urling, HURRY HARD!

January 18, 2008




Bundle up, Baby, Because you're in for a Big Boot in the Bottom. Don't worry, though.

You won't be able to feel it anyway -- or anything else -- if you live in Canada's unforgiving Prairie. As this following Environment Canada weather forecast makes abundantly clear...

Extreme wind chill warning issued
Updated at 5:21 PM (Friday, Jan. 18)
Environment Canada has issued an extreme wind chill warning for the second time in two days for Winnipeg.
Temperatures tonight are expected to drop to a low of -35 C, but the extreme wind chill will make it feel like -44 C.

The deep freeze is expected to continue tomorrow with the morning temperature predicted to be -45 C with the wind chill and the thermometer only expected to rise during the day to a high of -25 C.

Temperatures are expected to drop again on Saturday night to a low of -35 C, which with the wind chill will feel like -43 C. Normal temperatures at this time of year are a high of -13 C and a low of -23 C.


Now on to some form of explanation, from a Weather Almanac website I found.

"Upon retiring for the night, I tried to blow out the candle," a Winnipeg, Manitoba settler wrote in his diary one cold winter night in 1879, "But the flame was frozen, so I had to break it off."

Although the settler spun the cold truth a little loosely, the depth of January cold is infamous across North America. That is not to say that North America has a monopoly on cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

The very name Siberia conjures images of frigid cold, ice, snow and blizzard winds.

But North America is unique among the arctic continents because the major mountain chains run north-south rather than east-west as in Europe (the Alps) and Asia (the Himalayas).

This makes nearly all of North America susceptible to vigorous cold fronts.

Without the mountain barriers to block them, Arctic cold outbreaks can sweep southward toward the subtropical Gulf of Mexico, even crossing its waters on occasion.

The birthplaces for most of these frigid outbreaks are the continental expanses or northern Canada near or within the Arctic Circle (Eds note: Translation here is directly north of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta).

Here, long, dark winter nights couple with clear skies and a surface covered with snow and ice progressively chill the air.

Since in these regions the sun does not rise or only skirts the horizon for much of January, there is no warming heat from the sun. And snow and ice on the surface reflect away what little sun weakly beams down.

To compound the lack of incoming heat, snow very effectively radiates away what little heat it has, thus dropping surface air temperatures still further until it reaches the temperature of the high atmosphere.

As the air cools, it becomes denser, forming large domes of high pressure.

Eventually, this cold dome breaks its bond with the spawning ground and rushes wildly southward (Eds note: BRRRR-RIGHT TOWARDS US!). Howling winds precede the great dome, announcing its advent to all life.

(See it? That big band of no clouds? That's us, right now!)

Trees shudder. Birds shiver. Rabbits burrow deep within snow banks. (Eds note: human bloggers inhabiting these regions retreat into their homes if they can and whine, whine, whine to the rest of the planet).

THIS is what I'm waitin' for...the 30C heat, the wide blue skies, the mosquitoes.
I want it. Now.

January 16, 2008

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Here on Spaceship Orion, we aim to please.

We realize that we go all over the place in subject matter.




Or Just plain stupid.

But we want your feedback. Our customer relations department has spent months developing the following survey, which should take only a few hours of your time to read and then several days to fill out.

Please respond promptly. In return, we'll send you a gift and will actually continue blogging, although perhaps at a nominal cost, details of which we may include in the fine print of some future blog post.


1. As a loyal reader of WW's blog, I would rate my overall satisfaction at (pick one of the numbers shown on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being less satisfied and 10 being bordering on orgasmic)


2. My most memorable WW blog post was...


3. My least memorable WW blog post that I actually remember was...(fill this space)
4. I don't remember ANY WW blog posts and I just stumbled upon this ridiculous website by Googling the words "Gay Socks Sex" (If true, just check here or type out the word, "yes") or "Famous shaving accidents" (check here or type the word, "yes.")

5. I first found this blog by (check one):

a. accident;
b. misadventure;
c. Homo Escapeon's blog;
d. MJ's blog;
e. Stace's blog;
f. Anna's blog;
g. George W. Bush's blog on most wanted Dubya teasers;
h. Ziggi's blog;
i. Andrea's blog;
j. Gautami's blog;
k. Googling: "Most Brilliant Man in Universe";
l. Laurie's blog;
m. Dinahmow's blog;
n. Hildegarde's blog;
o. Oh, you know who you are.

6. I want WW to blog more about (Pick one, none, or as many as you want):
a. his love life;
b. his kids;
c. his view of world politics, especially in the Excited States;
d. what it's like to actually live in a spaceship and hail from another planet;
e. his appliances, including what's in them and what's behind them;
f. how to properly clean your bathroom, including the toilet, and which way toilet paper should be installed on the toilet paper thingie;
g. how to deal with ear and nose hairs;
h. Who did WW tease today and how;
i. my latest car repair;
j. Socks and sex;
k. Yet more investigations of the differences between the male and female brains;
l. Other (If you wish, add details on a piece of paper; do not fold)
In addition, we would like to ask you a few more questions to get a representative indication from the general population about complex socio-economic trends, with some of the information possibly being used for future posts.

1. Do you have an uncle named Bob?

2. Have you ever wondered whether WW's various avatars are actually legitimate illustrations of what he really looks like?

3. Would you care anyway?

4. Do you ever secretly wonder why anyone would actually choose to live in Canada?

5. Do you think it's possible that Homo Escapeons and WW are actually one in the same person, or at least somehow joined at the hip?

6. What is your favourite board game or card game?

7. What is the funniest word you know of? (Examples: Doily; brassiere; panties)

Thank you for your time. If you would like, add other suggestions as you see fit. Another survey may be circulated in the future, once it gets warmer outside.

As a bonus for filling out this questionnaire, for those of you who have wondered about Spaceship Orion, here are the lyrics from that great 1973 song by Ozark Mountain Daredevils, for which I can't find the vid on YouTube:

Spaceship Orion
(Larry Lee)
when the man comes to you
tells you what you always knew was comin'
you feel it came twice as fast
you always thought the world would last way past you
but now you find it's time
'cause there's nothin' left around you
spaceship orion's there waiting to part the air above you

waiting to take you
waiting to place you
in a world exactly different
from the one you leave behind

if you find it man you're lucky
but it still won't be the same
if can't be like home
it can't feel like home
to you there....

it can't be like home
it can't feel like home
to you there
if can't be like home
it can't feel like home
to you there

January 14, 2008



That's right, less than two decades.

Yep, by around 2027, at least based on 2005 stats and current health technology, I'll be little more than a pile of ashes inside some little dusty urn in my daughter's or son's attic.

Or wherever they decide to put me.

Here's the briefest of details on the story:

Average age at death rising in Canada: StatsCan
Updated Mon. Jan. 14 2008 10:11 AM ET News Staff
THE average age at death for Canadians is rising and the gap in the annual number of deaths between men and women is narrowing, reports Statistics Canada. In 2005, the average age at death for the overall population was 74.2 years.
The average varied widely across Canada, peaking at 75.6 years in Prince Edward Island. The lowest was Nunavut, with an average of just 47.8 years. (Manitoba came out at 74.6 overall; males 71.6, females 77.6).
In 2005, a total of 230,132 people died in Canada, up 1.6 per cent from 2004 -- the fastest annual increase since 2002. The long-term upward trend continues in the wake of a growing and aging population, says StatsCan.

So if I'm 52.2 years old now, I'll live another 19.4 years by my calculations (based on a 71.6-year lifespan), which would bring me to death's door (in 2005 numbers, remember) sometime in April of 2027.

Maybe they'll be jettisoning our corpses into outer space by then. Perhaps they'll come up with some brilliant health-care advances that will be able to extend my existence.

Or maybe they'll put my body into deep-freeze and bring me back to life a few hundred years later, when such technology exists. Or, possibly, they could extract DNA from me and clone me every 71.6 years in perpetuity.

Or...maybe not.

January 12, 2008

One for the Boys (The Exploding Egg Caper)

And I've never seen my daughter roll her eyes with so much disdain for him and for me...and then refuse to look at me as I tried to take her picture after the fact. She even tried to hide from the camera lens in embarrassment.

My only regret is that I didn't actually see it happen.

Let me set the scene:

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, 9:08 a.m.

Daughter, 19, wakes up before dad, 52, and son, 16. Takes her usual place as Queen of the Planet on the couch, turns on TV, hides remote control inside blanket on top of her, knowing how much we both hate her shows.

9:18 a.m.

Dad wakes up, scratches self, crawls out of bed, turns on kettle for coffee, says good morning to daughter, gets paper from mailbox, starts reading with coffee in hand.

10 a.m.

Son awakens to extent he ever really awakens. Immediately commandeers computer to play Final Fantasy game. Hair all amok, as usual. Mumbles something that resembles "I'm hungry."

10:22 a.m.

Dad starts preparing standard homemade egg and bacon with melted cheese on muffin for son. Asks daughter if she would like egg/cheese with mixture. "Yes, please," she orders. Continues to watch innane TV shows.

10:45 a.m.

Daughter has now disappeared into room and closed door, leaving mindless TV crap blaring. Talks to boyfriend on phone. Son finds online Final Fantasy player from UK who needs his help battling bad guys.

Attempts to have Dad reverse cooking process so he can be Mr. Superhero for UK neophyte. Dad glares at him threateningly. Son says: "OK, Dad! OK!"

11:03 a.m.

Dad, reckoning he must feed beast first, shouts out "Evan! Breakfast!" Sends son off to living room with food. Son promptly changes channels on TV, thankfully.

Dad starts cooking daughter's egg, throws muffins in toaster, slices cheese.

11:08 a.m.

Dad calls daughter for breakfast. Recommends V8 high-fibre/low fat juice as culinary accompaniment. Is politely ignored by daughter, who trapses off like princess into living room and assumes control of TV remote.

11:15 a.m.

Dad, now in computer room/bedroom, hears son roar with laughter as daughter almost screams in disgust. Son bursts into my room in hysterics and falls on my bed.

"Monica's egg exploded! The egg yolk's in her hair and all over the place! HA HA HA HA HA!!!

11:15.09 a.m.

"HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!," Dad says as he and son resound together in revelry and merriment.

11:15.18 a.m.

"You guys are such morons," daughter exclaims as she brushes yolk out of her hair with fine-toothed comb, ignoring Dad's reminders that she had whined about him always overcooking eggs in the past.

And then they lived happily ever after.

January 11, 2008

Long Distance

Oh boy.

And I do mean boy.

But boy means male, and a boy can be any age, really.

I thought my son, 16, was over his long-distance relationship with a girl who used to go to his school and who moved about seven hours north of here.

In fact, it was only Thursday night that he told me thought he would end it, acknowledging that he thought I was right. That's now changed again because she'll be able to come and visit every once in a while.

I had been gently trying to tell him that, well, long-distance relationships don't work, or at least rarely can.

See, there's this problem.

You can get emotionally attached in a beautiful way. But how can you really know who or what you are getting attached to? I mean, totally?

You're getting attached to something or someone you can't see, can't feel, can't touch.

You can't see their eyes when you say something, you can't be mesmerized or repelled or whatever by their body language and little nuances, can't see how they are at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. or in between.

Emotional attachments, don't get me wrong, are spectacular. They're the foundation, if they last, for amazing relationships. Those kinds of things can't be denied and they're what we all seek the most, I think.

But emotions are just part of the equation, and even then, they can't be totally believed if they're just by email, text messaging, IM or whatever. There's chemistry and intermingling and other neat stuff that no electronic medium can replicate.

There's a look in the eyes, a recoil to the touch, a turn of the cheek towards or away, a whine or a frown or whatever that makes all the difference...smells, unique features or ways of doing things...

A hand placed on the lover's lap that just isn't visible or possible from hundreds or thousands of kilometres or miles away, no matter how passionate you want to be.

I have had, or have tried to have, such relationships. And the results have been, to use a cliche, close but no cigar.

There's a reason why we are creatures who have evolved things like dances and other social occasions to meet members of the opposite sex (or whatever sex we prefer). It's called reality, which includes using all of our natural senses.

My son's decided that because she can come here and visit a few times, that he won't split with her. He knows what I think, because I've told him, but he's going ahead anyway, which is what I've told him he's got to do.

I want him to learn on his own, without me dictating to him, and I want him to make his own mistakes, if that's what this is, and I think it is. We've gotten past the issue of long-distance telephone bills and that stuff.

Now it's just about him and her. I think he'll eventually figure it out himself, but for now, some girl 700 kms. away is almost all he's thinking about.

There's something lovely about that, but also tragic in the sense that the prospects are dim.

But life's prospects are always dim, if you look at it in a negative way. He will learn. And I want him to learn. And to love.

January 9, 2008

Cold Climate Car Calamities and Other Nerdy Newsbriefs


Here, in no particular order, are three random samples:

WINNIPEG -- A 52-year-old man, raised on the frigid Prairie landscape of Canada's Great White North, committed the ultimate winter stupidity on Tuesday and paid for it the next morning when he couldn't get into his own car.

Mr. Within Without, dubbed "Four Eyes" by his 19-year-old daughter, told police he "had a brain fart" when he decided to take advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures and wash his filthy car Tuesday evening.

Unfortunately for Mr. Without, the temperature --predictably -- dropped so much on a January night that when he tried to enter his car Wednesday morning to go to work, the locks to his car were frozen and he couldn't get in.

Witnesses say he spent the next 15 minutes using knives and other instruments trying to enter the car and appeared to be a thug breaking in, so they called the police. (OK, I'm just kidding, but bear with me; or bare with me)

Sirens blaring, the cops descended on the unsuspecting and frustrated would-be motorist, whose request that the police draw their guns and shoot him was rejected. After explaining the situation, the stand-off was resolved.

"D'oh!" said Mr. Without in an expression of pure intelligence. "I hate winter. It freezes my brain."
The police, scuttling their laughter, let Mr. Without off with a warning and passed him a copy of "How to Survive a Winterpeg Winter" by Homo Escapeons.


AN incident in which a Fijian soldier urinated on a Japanese woman on a plane has ended up doing "untold damage" to Fiji, the country's main daily says in a strongly worded editorial today.
It was commenting after the international carrier Air Pacific published its annual report saying its Fiji-Japan route was performing poorly.

The report made no mention of the incident in March last year when a drunk Fiji soldier on a flight from Japan exposed himself and then urinated on a Japanese woman in her seat. The incident made major headlines in Japan.

In its editorial today the Fiji Times said it was an "appalling incident" that was an urgent reminder to every person in that country.

"This unforgivable offence has caused untold damage in Japan a market which Fiji has strived for decades to cultivate," the newspaper said.

"All it takes is one moment of stupidity to paint a black picture of this nation and her people in a lucrative market. The incident has generated widespread, negative publicity at a time when we need it the least."

The newspaper said the whole country had to "share in the shame he has brought upon his uniform and to this country. Urinating on a tourist on an international flight is a high-profile incident which gains global notoriety.

"It is a brief moment which brings unwanted exposure (eds note: HA HA HA!) and deprives the economy of millions of dollars in revenue."


Kuala Lumpur -- A Vietnamese tourist got more than he bargained for when he patted the buttock of a policewoman on New Year's Day.

Vu Minh Vinh, 44, committed the offence while the 27-year-old police officer was standing in front of an outlet at KLCC in Jalan Ampang at 10pm on Jan 1.

The officer scolded him, showed her identification papers and arrested him.

Vu, of Ngan Son Hai Duong City, admitted to the molest charge at a magistrate’s court here yesterday. The court set Feb 13 for sentencing. No bail was offered.

January 7, 2008

Magic and Matthew

The most memorable holiday gift I received this year, the thing that most made me smile through the whole Christmas season, was to see my nephew Matthew and his emergence into our crazy extended family.

Because at least outwardly, it wasn't always this way when he was a younger lad.

Not that he wasn't a part of our family before, he's always been loved and accepted, same as his brother, Joshua.

But now Matthew, in some way, for whatever reasons that his mom and dad attribute only to him, appears to be opening up to us.

This has not been an easy post to write. I don't want to sound over-emotional about it or anything except what I really do feel: amazed and extremely surprised and happy about Matthew's progress.

Matthew is autistic. He and I have always gotten along fine together, but autism, to the extent I understand it, is a condition that often keeps people affected by it within themselves, in their own little worlds.

(Check here if you want more:

And that's how I had always accepted Matthew, although loving him unconditionally.

He was always there, as much as he could or wanted to be there...but aloof, distant in some way, off in a corner or doing something else, most often by himself.

And I accepted that.

He always enjoyed it when I picked him up and swung him around or turned him upside down, sometimes far beyond what my aging bones could manage, but there was also a time just to let him be.

And that was OK.

But he so much has always loved just doing the things we all want to do. And that's HAVE FUN!

I had always understood the amazing caring his parents always had for him and the work they did with him, and the sometimes rough roads they had travelled to get him all the help he needed.

And I believe those have paid huge dividends.

This Christmas, when we had our family get-together, Matthew was an entirely different child.

He was communicating. He was opening up to the world. He was teasing me and others. He was talking. And it was amazing and it made me very happy. And so here was Matthew, breaking onto the scene.

Matthew has grown into a person who now acknowledges he knows us and he loves us and, hopefully, he can feel our love for him.
And while his mom and dad give him all the credit, we know their love had a lot to do with it.

Now, THIS is what life's all about.