Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Catch 22 for MS victims

Shorter Canadian Institutes of Health Research:
We won't do any research into whether liberation therapy is an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis, unless we already know that liberation therapy is an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis.

So do we want the gun registry or not?

In the end, nobody is going to remember exactly how Harper dismantled the gun registry, only whether he did it in spite of having a minority government.
If the registry is dismantled, that the Tories abused the Private Members Bill to trick the NDP into abandoning their rural members will be portrayed by the media as an example of Harper's masterful parliamentary finesse.
In retrospect, the bill should not have made it through second reading last fall. But by promoting the mantra about how private members bills are "free" votes -- as though that is some kind of inviolate rule --Harper got just enough Liberal and NDP support.
Yes, usually PMBs are free votes, because PMBs are not supposed to be used to implement government policy. But in this case, dismantling the registry is definitely a Tory policy.
So Michael Ignatieff basically had to decide whether the Liberals wanted a gun registry in Canada or not. As the Liberal leader, he had to take the pressure off his MPs by taking the heat himself, and whipping the Liberal vote to support the registry.
Its a decision Jack Layton should be making.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Telling me I've got to beware

There sure seems to be a lot of news lately about how Threatened we are by Tamil "terrorists" by Russian jets and now by "homegrown terrorists" -- is this all just another Lucy and the football moment for the media? Or is there something weird underway?

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Shorter Glenn Beck's "Restoration of Honor" rally:
The South shall rise again

UPDATE: Steve Benen argues that the Beckapalooza rally wasn't actually ABOUT anything. He has a point. But just as the message of the Iraq War was, get those Iraqis away from our oil, the message of the rally was, get that black man out of our White House.

The rules have changed

Back in the day, if a natural resource company started screwing around, a government would just expropriate the company, or at least would threaten to do so..
So if BHP Billiton started screwing around with Saskatchewan potash mines -- like, shutting down mines because they were playing hardball on royalties or some other corporate game -- could the Saskatchewan government just expropriate the mines?
Not really, not anymore -- NAFTA would be angry. And we wouldn't like NAFTA when its angry...


The owners must have set up the camera because they couldn't figure out how this puppy could keep getting out of the crate:

Also too

UPDATE: And here's the one I was looking for:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not ready for prime time

I'm not sure really how much we need to worry about the QMI news agency and Fox News North problem -- judging by the content of CNEWS lately, their stories will be about one step up from the National Enquirer.
Today's 12 front page stories include these seven gems:
Russian spy goes public with sexy shoot
Sea monster or big fish in BC lake?
Sex offender busted babysitting
Home invasion horror for Toronto family
Australian lizards on verge of evolutionary leap
Road rage gets British man 9 years
Victim says couple 'like the Bernardos'
Check them out if you want, but I cannot be bothered to post a CNEWS link on my blogroll anymore.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I feel about former Republican National Committee chair Ken Melman finally coming out as gay the same way I felt when Robert McNamara finally apologized for the Vietnam War.
Too late, you scumbag. Too late.


Shorter PMO spokesperson Dimitri Soudas:

Small fish in a big pond

Oh, who cares about where the PCS head office is located, or how nicey-nice BHP Billiton is talking about how wonderful we are.
Here's what worries me about BHP taking over Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
Instead of our potash being owned by a company which needs to continue to mine it to make money, our potash would be owned by a company which could well afford to shut it down if they want -- maybe to sell it cheap to China, or maybe to play hardball with the province to cut royalties, or maybe for a thousand other reasons which make sense to BHP shareholders but hurt Saskatchewan.
As Jeffrey Simpson says "The company spans the globe. Potash will be but one part of a mining empire, and Potash Corp. will be but one part of that empire."
Saskatchewan's future will be a small fish in someone else's big pond.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thought crimes

Now that the charges against the G20 protesters are finally being heard in court, the darkness at the heart of this story is being revealed. 1,100 arrested, 800 of those jailed but never charged, 67 charges now dropped, withdrawn or stayed -- including the guy who wrote "Shame on you" in charcoal outside the Toronto police station.
So there are 227 charges remaining, some of them actual crimes like vandalism , but others which sound just about as stupid as the ones which prosecutors dropped.
Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom provides the analysis of what was happening in Toronto that weekend in June :
...what occurred at the G20 was a massive and quite possibly illegal array of pre-emptive arrests. People were picked up and charged not because they were doing anything wrong – not even because they were about to do anything wrong.
Rather they were arrested and charged because those in charge of the police found civil liberties inconvenient. Their thinking: If everyone who might conceivably cause trouble is put in jail, there can be no trouble.
It is the totalitarian’s recipe for public order.
My friends at the G20 protests were outside a subway station 20 blocks away from any protest when they had their own run-in with this police attitude. First they were targeted by police because they saw police arresting someone else and didn't move along fast enough. Then they were almost arrested themselves because they had a legal aid phone number written on their arm, which apparently was interpreted as proof that they were thinking of breaking the law.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Dr. Grumpy shares his advice on shopping for school supplies:
Today's issue will focus on what I discovered to be a horribly traumatic life-altering experience: Back-to-School week at OfficeStaplesMaxDepot. There's one right across the street from my office, so I go there regularly for supplies. It's quiet, the employees are generally helpful, and I know my way around it pretty well.
I naively thought this would be easy.
So on to the lesson:
1. Do NOT volunteer for this job (flip a coin, or arm wrestle, or have a duel to decide instead). Silly me. When Mrs. Grumpy was wondering when she'd have time to get the school supplies, I volunteered. I figured "How hard can it be? Hell, it's just some pencils and a bottle of glue". DUMBASS!!! The list is HUGE, and features items from the mundane (No. 2 pencils), to the specific (Expo dry erase markers, wide tip, in blue, green, yellow, and black) to the odd (1 Pringles can with lid, original flavor, empty). It took me 2 freakin' hours!
2. Be prepared. Normally there are 5-10 other quiet business-type people in there. NOT THIS WEEK! Holy Crap! An African street bazaar is an orderly affair compared to this! Deranged parents running on caffeine! Kids running amuck! Store clerks running for their lives! And all the crazed parents are trying to read off a list, push a cart, yell at kids, text, and scream into a cell phone at the same time. Bring a water bottle, food, a map, a cattle prod, and a flashlight. A card with your blood type, hospital preference, and next of kin is also a good idea.
3. Do not leave your cart unattended. People will steal your shit out of it. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! I had my cart 2/3 full with the crap on my list, when I left it at the end of an aisle to go find notebooks (spiral, wide-ruled, 100 pages each, single subject, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 green). When I returned 3 minutes later about half the stuff I'd already put in it was GONE! I watched a few minutes later as it happened to others. Apparently, when you walk away from your cart, people think it means they can raid it for supplies they haven't had a chance to pick up yet. "Hey, this guy has those index cards (2 sizes, lined and unlined, 100 each) that my kid needs. Cool. I'll scratch that off my list".
...Best part was when I went to ask an employee for help finding something (Flair Correction Pens, in 4 colors). When I got back to my cart the box of 12 ultra-fine tip Sharpies I left in it had been opened, and someone had taken one of them. They'd even doodled on the shopping list I left in my cart to make sure they were taking a pen that worked.
Oddly, you can leave valuables in your cart. Your wallet, purse, and gold jewelry will be perfectly safe if left unattended, but the $2.69 box of high-lighters (12 markers, large tip, in 3 colors) will vanish.
My recommendation: bring a child to guard your cart, preferably one with an iron bladder and who's old enough to use a Taser or firearm if needed. If your kids don't meet this requirement, stop by Home Depot and hire one of the day laborers who hangs out in front looking for work.
4. Do not look for certain numbers of things. The people who make these lists have no idea how things are sold, so it lists things as "1 Expo dry erase marker, chisel-tip, red). Great. They don't sell red ones individually, just in boxes of 4. Or the Flair Correction Pens don't come in only 4 colors, but they do come in 8. Just buy it. If you aren't certain what item the teacher wants, just buy everything in sight and return the rejects later.
Alternatively, if the teacher only wants 1 of an item, such as, say, an ultra-fine tip Sharpie (which only come in boxes of 12), you can always look for an unattended cart with a box of them in it, and take one. If paper is handy, try doodling on it to make sure you are stealing one that works.
5. Hold your place in the check-out line AT ALL COSTS. Reserve it as soon as you walk in the store BEFORE shopping. Use a child (preferably your own) if possible. Other options include day laborers from Home Depot, mannequins, dogs, and aggressive Venus Fly Traps.
6. When in doubt, ask the bleary-eyed, terrified employees for help. If nothing else, it's fun to watch them try to convince you that they don't speak English as they run outside for a cigarette.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

For Barb


Two peripheral observations which came to mind when I was writing my last post:
First, if Harper hates civil servants who object to his policies, how much more he must hate the Access to Information laws which allow journalists to find out about the battles. I would think ATIA itself now has a even more prominent place on Harper's enemies list.
Second, if the Liberals or anyone else thought that the end of the Zaccardelli era in 2006 also marked the end of the RCMP's covert support for the Harper Conservatives, they were wrong.

The ideological hammer

When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
When all you have is a conservative ideology, as the Harper Conservatives do, then all solutions are ideological.
Here's another example:
In Macleans, John Geddes writes about the secret history of the RCMP and Insite, noting how some RCMP leadership changed their views about harm reduction as they actually reviewed and discussed the research findings about the Insite project. Geddes concludes his article with this question:
The question now is whether these revelations about the undisclosed evolution in the RCMP’s perspective on the Insite experiment will have any impact on the government’s determination to end it.
No, they won't.
This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.
I've been writing articles for several years about the Cons war against Insight -- and RossK at The Gazetteer made key connections to the Bush Justice Department and the Haters' Club.
I think we can conclude, without fear of contradiction, that on the part of the Harper Conservatives there has never been the least indication they understand anything about drug use and how to deal with it realistically. They're against drugs because it is Conservative ideology to be against them and don't bother them with the facts!
(H/T The Jurist)
UPDATE: Mr. Sinister describes the refusal to participate in the reality-based community as the unbearable lightness of being a Conservative.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More members for the League

The League of Extraordinary Canadians is increasing by the day -- 900ftJesus and, in comments, Beijing York provide more nominees:
Luc Pomerleau, biologist, Food Inspection Agency for whistleblowing.
Douglas Tipple, consultant, PWGSC, set up then fired for his advice on real estate.
David Rotor, consultant, PWGSC, set up then fired for his advice on real estate.
Arthur Carty, National Science Advisor, phased out.
Alan Leadbeater, Canadian Information Commission, dismissed
Johanne Gelinas, Environment Commissioner, dismissed for a scathing report
Jean-Guy Fleury, chair, Immigration & Refugee Board, resigned out of frustration
Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Elections Canada, stonewalled, resigned while investigating the CONs
Louise Arbour, UN High Com. for Human Rights, was refused support on 2nd term, publicly rebuffed
Steve Sullivan, victims of crime ombudsman, term was not renewed, publicly took issue with the Harper government's tough-on-crime agenda.
Sheridan Scott, Competition Bureau head, ran afoul environment minister, quit after being told her appointment would not be renewed.
Deanna Allen VP Canadian Wheat Board, fired by Harper appointee Arason following Measner's firing.
The Liberals are compiling a Harper Enemies List too.
Canada is being governed by Dick Cheney North.
UPDATE: Chantal Herbert makes the story mainstream and calls out the MPs and Senators who are letting this happen.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Whitewash coming

This Toronto Star story likely foreshadows the emerging whitewash of the G20 "reviews" now underway.
So, what happened in Toronto during the G20 protests was this:
Toronto police were trying their very best and events unfortunately spiraled out of their control sometimes and they were spread so thin that they couldn't arrest any black bloc when they were actually vandalizing police cars and breaking windows because they were busy trying to get some blood to a hospital and really all of the trouble was the protesters' own fault because they had allowed themselves to be infiltrated by the black bloc and the protest leaders hadn't denounced the bloc tactics so all of the protesters were guilty until proven innocent and the Toronto police are just trying to protect the safety of the people of Toronto.
Oh, and nobody knows who ordered any of the police to do anything they did all weekend, like blocking protest routes after telling protest organizers to use those routes, and arresting people for no reason, and not feeding prisoners or giving them water, nope, they just can't figure out who was giving orders for anything so no-one can be blamed for any of that, it certainly wasn't the fault of the Toronto police who are just trying to protect the safety of the people of Toronto.
Oh, and we should all be grateful, GRATEFUL, to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair who went to the police command centre for five minutes on Sunday and took charge in a masterful yet firm way to order the ketteling to be stopped because he was just trying to protect the safety of the people of Toronto.
Oh, and we really shouldn't bicker and argue anymore because if there's one thing we can all agree on, it is that we all learned some very worthwhile lessons from the whole experience that will really help in the future to protect the safety of the people of Toronto.
So there you have it.


Shorter Prime Minister Harper:
L'Etat, c'est moi

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

After seven years, the last U.S. combat brigade left Iraq today.
Yes, there are still 50,000 US troops there, as "advisors" -- its not the end just yet, but it is the beginning of the end.
And the unprovoked US attack on a country which hadn't attacked either them or their allies will go down in history not only as a cruel and brutal war crime, but a pointless one at that.

I was a stranger, and you took me in

Stephen Harper explains why Canada apparently shouldn't take in Tamil refugees even though we signed the UN refugee convention half a century ago:
"We are responsible for the security of our borders and the ability to welcome people or not welcome people when they come"....when hundreds of people come to the country outside the proper channels, it leads to “significant security concerns,” he said.
I'm not quite sure what the "proper channels" are for refugees from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, but arriving in a boat doesn't seem particularly outlandish to me.
I sincerely hope we will see a less hysterical reaction, from our politicians and from the public, as we learn a little more about these people -- like the woman who apologized that she couldn't be handcuffed because she has only one hand.
And by the way, getting the Navy to turn away future refugee ships without giving people the opportunity for a hearing would be unconstitutional.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summertime blues

The thousand peaceful protesters who were arrested a few blocks away from Stephen Harper's Toronto G20 hotel had a terrible summer. The Tamil boat people and Omar Khadr and Munir Sheikh and mayors and farmers had a terrible summer. But Stephen Harper had a nice summer.
Isn't that special?

(HT the Jurist)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Boat people



Canada welcomed 50,000 Vietnamese boat people a generation ago, and we have been a better nation for it. The times in our past when we have turned desperate people away are now recognized as tragedies.
As Nosey Parker says:
I still want the buggered-up Canadian refugee system to be fixed, but I don't want to be standing in Mackenzie King's shoes, waving goodbye to the MS St. Louis.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"It's not going to be a national movement"

Worst prediction ever.

Political courage

Obama today made a strong defense of the so-called "Ground Zero mosque".
Obama gets it -- we don't get to choose the battle, we can only choose our side.
Initially, Obama wanted to stay out of the mosque dispute, and I can understand why. But as it became not only a national battle in itself, but also a symbol of religious tolerance vs anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States, then he had no choice.
Greenwald writes
The campaign against this mosque is one of the ugliest and most odious controversies in some time. It's based purely on appeals to base fear and bigotry. There are no reasonable arguments against it, and the precedent that would be set if its construction were prevented -- equating Islam with Terrorism, implying 9/11 guilt for Muslims generally, imposing serious restrictions on core religious liberty -- are quite serious. It was Michael Bloomberg who first stood up and eloquently condemned this anti-mosque campaign for what it is, but Obama's choice to lend his voice to a vital and noble cause is a rare demonstration of principled, politically risky leadership. It's not merely a symbolic gesture, but also an important substantive stand against something quite ugly and wrong. This is an act that deserves pure praise.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"We don't know and we don't care"

Paul Wells and Chet write thoughtful posts about why Harper wanted to gut the census -- Wells says the long-term goal is to roll back the big-L Liberal social policies which Canada has adopted over the last 40 years, while Chet notes Harper's basic misunderstanding of the Canadian character:
. . . the lasting, bedrock values of diversity, the common good, a toleration for muddling through, and so on, that Harper opposes are not new Liberal impositions; they're basic Canadian values, and they're actually quite old. The only thing the Liberal Party has ever really done about them is to align itself (roughly) with them more often than not, and to dimly reflect their implications in policy as Canadians grew and changed with new realities. . . .
What Harper and his true believers are up to, really, is that thing that traditional conservatives were always against: social engineering. . . . In the end, they'll fail. Political parties just don't have the power to change people's character all that much; there are always too many other forces at work. Harper thinks he does have that power, because he thinks, incorrectly, that the Liberals once had that power. But he's wrong, both historically and politically.
Does anyone still remember Wayne and Shuster? They understood as well as anyone, I think, the bemused tolerance Canadians have for their governing institutions, along with impatience for pomposity and disdain of hypocrisy. I wonder how many of our politicians today remember this skit?

I love the internets

40 years cooking and I've been holding my chef's knife wrong.
And the other day I learned how to fold a fitted sheet. What will they think of next?


Cringe-inducing typo outside N.C. school:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

They knew it was a bad decision, and they did it anyway

Remember how, when the census plan was first announced, it seemed to be almost off-the-cuff, a housekeeping matter, an ill-considered decision which nobody could explain very well because it hadn't really been discussed very much, to the point that I recall speculation about whether Harper even knew about it.
Well, the today's document dump shows that the Cons have been planning this since March, and maybe earlier, and they knew all along that Stats Can thought the voluntary survey wouldn't work.
What was ill-considered was their belief that nobody would care.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shifting into "D"

Obama gave a hell damner of a speech Monday in Texas:
... it’s as if these guys took the car, drove it into the ditch, then -- so we put our boots on, we walked down into the ditch, into the mud. We pushed; we shoved. Meanwhile, they’re standing back, they’re watching us -- (laughter) -- drinking a Slurpee or something -- (laughter) -- and saying, well, you’re not pushing fast enough and you should push this way instead of that way. And they had a lot of commentary, but they sure weren’t putting their shoulder behind pushing.
And finally we get this car up on level ground. Finally we get it back on the road. And these guys turn to us and say, 'Give us the keys back.' (Laughter.) Well, no, you can’t have the keys back because you don’t know how to drive. (Laughter.) You do not know how to drive and so you can’t have the keys back. (Applause.)
Now, here’s another interesting thing -- I want you guys to think about this. If you have a car and you want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in 'D.' (Laughter.) When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in 'R.' (Applause.) I'm just saying. That’s no coincidence. (Laughter.) We are not going to give them the keys back.
Publish Post

Sunday, August 08, 2010


So I guess everyone who uses Census data has just been freeloading while the feds did all the work.
Those poor downtrodden MPs just aren't going to put up with such an outrageous workload any longer.
I also think its just terrible that its the federal government who have had to manage all those soldiers and airplanes and warships --after all, its not as though the army is actually doing anything in particular on Parliament Hill, so why should our federal politicians have to put all this effort into Canadian defense?
And how about all those economic stimulus programs? What a bunch of freeloaders THOSE people are!
And its absolutely outrageous that the public should expect those hardworking MPs to maintain the Criminal Code, where they're always getting into arguments about whether something should be illegal or not. Our MPs aren't usually the ones being robbed or shot or swindled, so why should THEY have to do all that work passing laws and building prisons?
And how about running foreign embassies and issuing passports and setting rules for immigration? Its such a lot of work, and do the MPs get any benefit from it? No, the MPs are already in Canada, so why should they have to care about people who aren't?
I'm sure our MPs would much rather be golfing or eating out or taking a nice nap, and they'd have time to do this if only all of us freeloading Canadians would just stop pestering them!

UPDATE: Chet said it first.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Shorter Nixon Foundation as they try to pretend the Watergate scandal never happened:
Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.

Finally getting it

Joe Klein finally gets it -- the US-Iraq War was legally indefensible, corrupt, and morally wrong:
The essential principle is immutable: we should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack. Never. And never again.
Personally, I based my opposition to the Iraq War on the United Nations. If a country cannot convince the United Nations Security Council to approve an aggressive war -- or cannot convince even a significant minority of the Council that a war is justified -- then its wrong to go to war, it isn't justified.
What we already know about what happened in Iraq during this war is sickening --from White Phosphorus in Fallujah to vicious ethnic cleansing in Baghdad. Once the US soldiers are gone, the stories yet to be told will be truly horrifying.

Paging Elmore Leonard...

This could be an Elmore Leonard novel.
Scene one: A courier arrives one night at Peel Region police headquarters with a load of fruit he considers to be very suspicious. Under the mangoes, three police officers find 12 dozen bricks of cocaine.
Scene two: The RCMP arrive to say that the cocaine wasn't really cocaine at all -- it was a sting operation aimed at the Toronto traffickers for the cocaine smugglers in Peru, and the bricks contained tracking devices. So they pick up the cocaine bricks from the police evidence room -- but find there are 44 bricks missing.
Scene three: Using the GPS signals, RCMP find 15 of the missing bricks hidden in the garage of one of the police officers, and several more in a dumpster near the house of another officer.
Scene four: Disgrace, dismissal and prison loom -- not for the cocaine traffickers, but for the Peel police officers.

I thought it was just me

Nancy Nall describes how women play fantasy closet like men play fantasy football:
The first week of August marks the tra­di­tional Notic­ing of the Chang­ing Light for me, which means I’m going to grab at least one fat fash­ion mag­a­zine off a news­stand and start plan­ning my umpteenth fan­tasy closet.
Fan­tasy closet is like fan­tasy foot­ball, in which women start with the blank slate of a well-designed empty closet — with lots of attrac­tive, Con­tainer Store stor­age options — and fill it with non-existent clothes we can’t afford but pre­tend we can. Then we wear them in fantasy-closet dress-up games . . .
She also has some great stuff about photo retouching in fashion photography.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Just a coincidence, I'm sure

My son noticed that whenever we see a news story these days about police abuses during the G20 protests we almost immediately see another press release from Toronto police adding another few photos to their "most wanted" gallery.
Funny how that happens, isn't it?


Not confident that the Alouettes will be able to defeat the Riders tonight, the Montreal Gazette tries to psyche the Riders out of winning::
A victory over the Alouettes tonight at Molson Stadium would prevent the Roughriders from emerging with a 4-2 record -an important bellwether in team history.
In 100 years of existence, Saskatchewan has won only three Grey Cups (in 1966, 1989 and 2007). During each of those seasons, the Roughriders had four wins and two losses after six games. So what happens if the Roughriders disregard a good omen and improve to (gasp!) 5-1?
Such a record is reflective of a powerhouse. But should the Roughriders covet that label? Can they handle that status?
Yeah, I think we could.
UPDATE: Darn -- 4-2 it is!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cancer country

Christopher Hitchens describes his journey to Tumourville
The new land is quite welcoming in its way. Everybody smiles encouragingly and there appears to be absolutely no racism. A generally egalitarian spirit prevails, and those who run the place have obviously got where they are on merit and hard work. As against that, the humor is a touch feeble and repetitive, there seems to be almost no talk of sex, and the cuisine is the worst of any destination I have ever visited.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stupid day

A clown car full of ridiculous news stories this week --
Like this one: some guy who says he is a soldier who speaks Arabic sends an email saying he's seen veiled women laugh at airport security staff -- oh, sure, because people around the world are always laughing at airport security staff these days, aren't they?
And then there's this one: Dog chews off man's toe, saves his life -- oh, sure, and did you hear the one about the choking doberman.
And this one: Mobile phones responsible for disappearance of honey bee -- oh, sure, I'll bet they all received a mysterious phone call at the same time.
And today we found out the real reason why the Harper Cons are building those new prisons -- sounds like they want to start making sex illegal again.


I had never thought very much of Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, but he showed true leadership today in his speech supporting the Manhattan mosque.
Whereas in Canada, our political leaders want us to be afraid of an invisible crime wave.

Monday, August 02, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

Actually, just hanging around the house, doing housey things, it was fun and I feel somewhat organized for the first time in about two years -- its amazing how much junk accumulates, isn't it. I've been making trip after trip to take stuff to the Mennonites, which seem to be just about the only charitable agency left here which still handles their own donations.
But I've also been having fun reading other people's blog posts about their vacations.
Like from Doctor Grumpy:
Today we went whitewater rafting. Our guide, I swear, was a guy named Stoner.
[Middle son]Craig, of course, was horrified at the idea he might get wet, and so insisted on sitting in the middle of the raft. [Eldest son]Frank and [daughter]Marie loved the idea of getting soaked, and even wanted to help row. So Stoner gave them each a paddle.
For a while they were somewhat helpful, and it kept them busy. Until we hit a stretch of non-rowing quiet water.
Somehow a shouting match broke out, and I turned around just in time to see them beating each other WITH THE PADDLES while Craig tried to hide in the bottom of the raft. Before I could yell at them to stop, Frank sent Marie’s paddle into the river. Craig, trying to avenge his sister, stood up and knocked Frank’s into the river.
And now we were heading into white water, with half our paddles gone. Stoner was clearly horrified to be watching his company’s property floating behind us, and began frantically steering the boat to try to get them, while Mrs. Grumpy and I paddled away. The next few seconds sent some big waves crashing over the raft, drenching everyone (including Craig). He began hitting Marie on the grounds that it was her fault he was wet, since she’d lost her paddle.
Fortunately, we were able to collect the paddles at the other end of the rapid run. But we spent the rest of the day hearing from Craig about how this was “the worst day ever” because he got wet. All the kids, when we got back to shore, agreed that they liked the river rides at amusement parks better. Wimps.
And from Lance Mannion on the Maine coast:
There be whales here
You can categorize your own brand of geekitude by whether the title of this post made you think of Herman Melville or Star Trek or both.
Late this afternoon, after we’d set up our chairs and towels on a high spot on the beach at Nauset, I spotted a white-hulled sailboat far out on the horizon. The rest of our gang rushed headlong towards the water to throw themselves into the breaking waves but I stayed put with my binoculars, thinking that a closer look would show me that another Edward Hopper painting had come to life for a moment.
That happens down here, Edward Hopper paintings coming to life, and it’s no surprise, since the Cape was one of his favorite subjects.
Today happens to be Hopper’s birthday---he’d have been a hundred and eighteen---and it would have been a nice coincidence if it was one of his sailboats hauling by.


But just as I got my sights trained on the boat something black and rounded broke the surface in the foreground. It rose with a splash and disappeared with another toss of white foam and I thought:

Nancy Nall stayed around Detroit:
It was hot this week­end. How hot was it? Here’s one of the neigh­bors at Alex’ house:

Alex said he’s never seen a squir­rel relax like this. I have, once. It was on a pic­nic table, and it was stretched out, belly down, in much this fash­ion. It was also on a hot day. Spriggy would stretch out like this, terrier-style, but almost always on a cool sur­face, like a tile floor, or even wood. That pic­nic table wasn’t cool, but maybe it was, rel­a­tive to every­thing around it.
And John Cole now has two dogs instead of just one:
In Retrospect It Was a Bad Idea
The dogs were driving me crazy and I couldn’t get any work done as apparently three walks before ten am is not enough, so I took them to the park to run. And they ran about 200 yards away from me, and Lily promptly spent the next minute and a half rolling in something. This picture can not describe the stench, but if I had to guess what it was, I would guess the rotting rancid remains of Satan’s bowel.
Ah, those lazy hazy crazy days of summer.