Thursday, November 27, 2008

Yanksgiving... Yanks taketh it away.

Thursday, November 27, 2008 - In a world that has us complaining constantly about that which we do not have, and whining in unison about how bad things are... along comes American Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on the things for which we can be thankful. A time to bring family and friends together. A time to gather those who are near to us... and hit the malls.

Yanksgiving is the start of the retail season. If anyone feels more thankful, it is the malls, the big box stores, and the television stations. Ahh... the festive cha-ching of the cash register and pumped up ad time. No matter how bad the first 7/8ths of the year has been, Friday is all about going from bleak to black - and if you aren't too comatose from all that turkey, the sales start when the clock strikes 12:00. Black Friday... get your list started.

It is that warm fuzzy time of the year... where we roll from giving thanks for all we have directly to thinking of all the things we don't - but are hoping to have in a few weeks. The tree will be lit at the top of the needle. The lights will be on at all the malls. The snowman decorations will be appearing on a lawn near you.

I'm Canadian. I live in Canada. I am right now smelling the turkey in the oven, and wishing that this isn't the meal everyone talks about for years to come... and not in a good way. But Yanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. It brings back warm and fuzzy memories of spending time with good friends, without a care. I miss those days very much and so this year, though I am in Canada, I am cooking Yanksgiving dinner and will be thankful for the friends who will share it with me. I will also think on the other things in my life I have to be thankful for.... and get that list started. Dear Santa, I've been a very ok girl this year...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Flowers the colour of blood

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - I realize that the signing of the Armistice agreement to end World War I was 90 years ago today in 1918, officially ending the war on the 11th day of the 11th month at 1100 hrs (the 11th hour). In Canada, Australia, the UK and other Commonwealth countries, today is Remembrance Day. In the US it is called Veterans Day, although until 1952 it was Armistice Day. In New Zealand, France and Belgium, it is still called Armistice Day. For Poland, today is Independence Day.

It doesn't matter what you call it, 90 years ago today, the first World War came to an end but not until the end of many hundreds of thousands of lives. This day has come to represent more than the celebration of freedom, and the mourning of the lives lost in that first World War. Indeed, it has become to represent the great sacrifices made by all soldiers, both alive and dead, in order that you and I can be free. There is a war going on as I write, and you read. Whether in peace time or in war, at this moment there are thousands of men and women at war.

Each year by the middle of September, Poppy lapel pins start showing up on store counters and on jacket collars all over town. This year however, there seems to be a short supply of Poppy Pins. For the first year in my adult life, I have no poppy. I didn't get one in the mail. I haven't seen one in a store anywhere I've been in the last three weeks. There hasn't been a Veteran on the sidewalks selling the pins. The Veterans are getting too old to stand on the streets to push the poppies, and stores hate to give up valuable counter space without a profit. So for the first time, I have no poppy. Even more disturbing than that, I overheard a group of teenagers this weekend who were all wondering what the red flower was all about. Now THAT is disturbing.

I may not have a Poppy, but at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month, I will stop what I'm doing and give a minute of silence to remember the sacrifices of others and to thank them for the freedoms I enjoy now.

The 11th day of the 11th month is also Twins Day in Taiwan. This is a festival for biological twins. Apparently the date was selected because 11-11 looks like a pair of twins. Must be something to this date in Asian cultures. As 11-11 is also Singles Day in China - a day to celebrate the single lifestyle. Really, if you are single, do you need one day to celebrate being single? Isn't every day a celebration? Whatever other things today brings (Happy B'day P), lets celebrate with blood red poppies.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So many numbers, so little time.

Monday, November 10, 2009 - Ten digit dialing is a pain in the finger. Seven numbers is hard enough to remember. But along came cell phones, and suddenly every house had not one, but two or more phone numbers. Seven numbers just wasn't enough. So, the area code became part of every day dialing. And that meant new area codes. A house could have two phones, and each one was a different area code. Got very confusing.

But like all things that change, we just get used to things. Need to use the area code to phone a friend, no problem. We adapt. We adapt so well, that I don't remember what it was like to only need to dial the phone number. I'm amazed at just how fast we do adapt to changes. Today is Area Code Day. There may not be any formal celebrations today, but maybe it's a good excuse to pick up a phone and call a friend. Or call someone in a different area code. Oh hell, just call a random number and see if you can strike up a conversation. Tell them you are just trying out a new area code.

How easily we adapt to changes as a society is pretty fascinating. Microsoft launched Windows on November 10 in 1993. I remember that first Windows computer I had and how many people thought it was a silly expense to have that computer in the first place. It was an expensive typewriter. Now, if you find a house without a computer, that is the odd ball out. Computers are everywhere. We not only adapted to their use in the work place, but we now can't imagine life without them. what is next? We've adapted to the $4.00 coffee. We don't think twice paying the Electric Bill regardless of how high it gets. Sure we promote 'conservation', but unplug the coffee pot? Never.

We would never put our credit card numbers in to a machine, and yet, we shopped more online last holiday season than ever before. This year will be no exception. (Well, maybe the market downturns will slow a few). And if we were todl we haqd to give up our cars now... it probably wouldn't go over well. Gas hit $1.50 a litre, and upwards of $4.00 a gallon.... we drove. We just adjusted the amount of money we forked over at the pump. Did we drive less? Crap no... we just adjusted. We did complain about it for a while, but pumped the gas regardless.

We adapt. Maybe we adapt out of sheer laziness. Maybe we adapt because it's less hassle than getting up in arms. Maybe we just don't care. I gotta believe it's an issue of said laziness. But today - be lazy. It is Laziness Day. Don't know what the origin of such a day is, but I'm sure the folks who came up with it meant to tell the story. Perhaps they figured we'd all adapt so the why wasn't important. Who knows. Who cares. I'll just be lazy for the day because. I'm adapting.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just Another Brick in the Wall...

Sunday, November 9, 2008 - Even the most random of events has order. When thing seem to be right out in left field, it has order. The seemingly random movements of the boys on the field has much order. Chaos in our lives, no matter how chaotic it might seem, has order. In science this is called Chaos Theory. In matters of the day to day - it's just life.

Some people thrive in the chaos. Chaos is a place I feel the most at home. I tried to be on of those organized, put together, got it together kind of people. I put things away and couldn't find them. I spent hours looking for things because they were where they were supposed to be. I NEVER think to look there. I look under things, I look through things, and I look in all my pockets. Keys have their own randomness. They are most certainly somewhere, and only they know where that might be. November 9th annually is Chaos Never Dies Day. As long as there is patterns (known and unknown) Chaos will never die. Thankfully, I will forever be in my element.

Chaos is not so comfortable for others. Some are just unable to deal with changes of any kind. But change too will never die. Things happen. Things happen more often than they don't happen. Part of the chaos perhaps. Time gets away from you, and time goes by. Today is Sunday. I am still trying to get those things done that I needed to do last week. But hey... welcome to my chaos. I think procrastination is really avoidance, and avoidance is a way to protect one's walls. But the beautiful thing about walls is that even the best constructed walls can come down. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. In Germany, today is celebrated as the Berlin Wall Opening Day. So put your walls down for a day and stop procrastinating.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Is that a pointy hat or are you just happy to see me?

Saturday, November 8, 2008 - Idiots. The world is full of them. There are those who haven't a clue and know it (the easy idiot), those who haven't a clue and don't care (the happy idiot), those that haven't a clue and talk about it (the funny idiot), and those that haven't a clue and don't know it (the dangerous idiot). Idiots are indeed everywhere.

Nowhere are idiots more prevalent than in politics. I have just been to see W. As a movie, it wasn't so wonderful. As a portrait of a man who has been 'dubbed' the worst President in US history, it was terrifying. In some ways, it showed that he was a child of two people who ultimately didn't believe in him, and who never got over their disappointment that the Presidential appointment didn't go to his brother. Really, how much worse could Jeb have been? Dubya spent his life trying to earn the approval of his parents. That isn't what I found scary. What I found scary was that Dubya is so much more than the dangerous idiot. Dubya hasn't a clue, and has the brains to back it up. He is the brilliant idiot. He manipulated first Texas, followed by the entire country, and lastly, the world.

Now the brilliant idiot has but a handful of weeks left in office, and the hole that's been dug will take more than one term and a new President to fill. Today is Dunce Day. If Dunces unite, we could be hooped. We could get more than Bush... we could get an entire house and senate full. Like that could ever happen. What? Oh crap.

Parents have a duty to ensure that if their kids are going to grow up to be politicians, that they are not also dunces. Mommas don't let your dunces grow up to be politicians. Today is also Parents Are Teachers Day. This may be the most important job a person can have. Don't mess this one up or you could end up the mother or father of a President. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trash Talk and Magazines

Friday, November 7, 2008 - Ever notice that the trashiest rag mags are always at the checkout stands? No matter how much you try to deny it, you just can’t stop yourself from reading the covers. You may even pick it up and flip through the pages until it is your turn to pay. Then you quickly put it down, with a look of disgust and disbelief on your face – on the off chance the next person in line caught you with the ‘publication’ in your hand. It’s almost worse than your secret need to watch TMZ. I have to admit it. I watch TMZ. I go out of my way to watch TMZ. I would NEVER however admit to such de regeur. But seriously? The blonde fella with the long hair and that to die for smile? I’m not much in to the surfer look, but strap me to a board and call me Gidget.

From the monotone newsprint magazines of the past, to Emags and online forums – People to Mad Magazine, from Time to the National Enquirer, magazines have come a long way baby. News magazines seem to be falling off those checkout counter racks and being replaced by “In Touch”, “Globe”, “Hello”, “OK”, “Celebrity Hairstyles” and “Soap Opera Digest”. It is as though the news that is fit to print has gone the way of the Dodo…. turning us all IN to Dodos. If you want to access the magazines that contain actual news, thought provoking articles, and commentaries on the state of the planet, you need to turn to your computer on. Newspapers are another apparent dinosaur set.
Newspapers once held a place of importance nearer the checkouts. Today, if you want a paper, they are in racks past the checkouts. You don’t see them until you’ve paid the bill and are unlikely to get back in the line-up and have to stand there through another price check for feminine hygiene products that you know is only being done because buddy in front of you is embarrassed to be picking up for the girlfriend in the first place.

There are still a handful of fabulous magazines that have stood the test of stupidity. Scientific American, though they increased the number of ad pages, is still a thoroughly fascinating read. Men’s Health and Women’s Health have lots of great information and Mental_Floss and Vanity Fair offer up hours of entertainment. Reading a magazine online is alright. The content is there. But that tactile experience of flipping pages with a magazine on your knees while you lean back in to the sofa is missing. Sure I lean back with my computer on my knees, but my knees get too warm, and when I fall asleep, the computer makes a heck of a ruckus when it hits the floor. Today is Magazine Day. Now that the rains have come, I think I’ll stop on the way home and pick up a couple magazines for the weekend. I see slippers, and mugs of steaming hot coffee, and falling asleep on the sofa with the pages of a magazine stuck to my cheek in my future.

There are other reasons to celebrate, and tonight is the night the ladies don the pants and do the asking. It’s Sadie Hawkins Day. You know, 40 years ago, this day probably had some meaning. In today’s dating world, the women seem to do as much inviting as the men anyway. In honour of Sadie, I've asked a not so blond fella to a movie. Oh heck, forget Sadie Hawkins. Grab a magazine and a remote and invite yourself out for a night of page turning.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Get Lost

Thursday, November 6, 2008 - Winter is around the corner. Temperatures are beginning to drop and the rains are falling. There will be snow, and mittens and scarves. Will there be bikinis and rum punch in the future? Toss me on an island somewhere warm and throw away the compass. I'll either find my way home, or not. If not, I'll gather up a few sheets of plywood and a fridge and open up my own roadside bar. Jimmy Buffet... here I come. Of course I won't set up beside Margaritaville - my plywood bar won't have poolslide. Hey, maybe being marooned isn't such a bad plan. It is Marooned Without a Compass Day.

In a perfect marooning, I would take with me my favourite meal (Mom's lasagna, a Caesar salad and garlic toast). For reading, I would bring a subscription of Scientific American and a copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. For guests, I would like to bring Payton Manning and Denzel Washington (for obvious and not so obvious reasons). I couldn't survive without coffee. Kona, Blue Mountain, Kenyan, Columbian... matters not. I am a slave to coffee.

Of course today is also Festival of Total Submission. Maybe I can make that part of my marooning. After all, I'm there with a QB and Denzel. Wonder if I can license Denzel and Payton as spokespeople for my Plywood Bar? Hell, if you got to get lost without a compass, my bar is a great place to end up.

Pint anyone?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wonder what Homer is cooking?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - Well. Last night was quite the election finale. I don't know what it means for Americans, for Canadians or for the world, but I'm sure it is a step in the right direction. After all, the hole that W has dug couldn't be any deeper. There isn't a shovel with a handle long enough to keep digging - though I'm sure with American ingenuity, he could have come up with something. Instead, the USA has voted for a man who seems to be a polar opposite to W. Obama is taller. Obama is younger. Obama uses all the consonants when he speaks. Obama can sink a basketball. Obama will use his Harvard education help choose the right next moves. Obama will be able to understand the briefings documents and may not need the pictures. These are the things I think are important to Obama's election.

I turned CNN on this morning to see what the "best political team on television" had to say about this long fought battle. There isn't an analysis that goes by that they don't talk about him being the first African American President. I am not convinced this is what elected him. I believe it was Obama's ability to bring people together. Go figure. A black man bringing people together in the USA. I'll take it. And the world will take it as well. Today is World Community Day and there is no better day to celebrate.

Leading up to the election I had fear that the American voter who outwardly supported Obama's campaign would get to the voting booth, and find they were just unable, secretly, to get over the colour of the package. Thankfully I was wrong. If nothing more is made out of the colour of the President Elect, I'll be ok with that.

Now for the future First Lady, Michelle says she will not take on a policy portfolio, but rather be there for the family. Well, fresh from the highs of the win, and the crash of the adrenalin, today is Michelle's day. Yesterday was for Barack, today... is Men Make Dinner Day. Barack - you can't order a deep dish, and you can't order in. Today - you get to make dinner for your girls. You may not get another chance to don an apron until 2012 (2016 if you're lucky).

Now for Marge, Homer making dinner tonight could be trouble. Ooh... it's National Doughnut Day. Sorry Marge, better luck next year.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting on a Barbarian

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - I could talk about the obvious. I could go on and on about the greater global picture of what is happening in the polling stations across the USA. This whole page could be about the fear of the future that will undoubtedly come from todays results. Florida could be paid for once again. We could pass up one who is bound to be the better bet for not just the USA, but also for Canada and the world. But, I am fearful that the better man will not win. I see "Joe the Plumber" and every other American who wants to do the right thing, walk in the polling booth with the intention of voting for Mr. Obama, and at the last minute, sway because they just can't see giving a vote to a man with more melanin in his skin. After all, that melanin surely changes the way he would lead a nation. But I just can't think of any good reason to go on and on about the Presidential elections. We've had a two year campaign from which the media will be suffering serious withdrawal in a few days, and there isn't much more I could possibly add to the rhetoric.

So instead, I'm going to talk about today's other celebrations. Today is Use Your Common Sense Day. I'm not making this stuff up. I promise. But common sense may be the one thing that won't get used today. Instead, today may be used to exercise ones 'gut instinct', rash decision making or lack of common sense.

Common Sense. A radical idea. defines common sense as "sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence". This presumes that even those without specialized knowledge are able to make sound decisions. Four years ago, I had high hopes that common sense would prevail, leaving common non-sense to the cast of SNL. No such luck. Common sense is what keeps us from hurting ourselves and others. It is what stops us from judging people based on the things that have no relevance on ones sense of self, beliefs, or ability to do the right thing. Seems circular no doubt, but common sense is the ability to judge people on their common sense. Wonder what the judges will have to say at the end of this day. Just keep your fingers crossed that Common Sense prevails - even if it is JUST for today.

There is another good reason to not talk about the obvious. Today is also Waiting for Barbarians Day. I'm sure this can be tied in to said obvious, but really? Do I need to connect those dots? With any luck, we won't celebrate this one at all. Of course, it's really a crap shoot. Roll those dice baby, but after you exit the poll. Try and celebrate Common Sense Day while you're in there. The world begs you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Working in the kitchen... for a change.

Monday, November 3, 2008 - You know that saying... "If you can't handle the kitchen, get a real job"? There are so many reasons to get out of the kitchen that have nothing to do with a real job. How about cause I bloody well can't cook? Or I'm tired of Char... and I'm not talking fish.

There are many things I am good at that do get me out of the kitchen. I can swing a mean golf club. I can call the plays before the QB, I can drive a mean train. I tell a good joke, and I can pick out a great wine. I just don't know how good I am at the domestic thing. A friend often tells me the most domestic thing about me is that I live in a house.

All that being said, I think I would make a fabulous husband. Now if only I could find a man that would be a great wife. Seriously? I'm a work-a-holic. I would love to come home to dinner and a glass of wine. However, I still like pampering, and bubble baths and trinkets and the rest of the girlie stuff. So where do I go to find a man's man that can cook, and do laundry, and vacuum and bring me a beverage after a long hard day on the trains? Today might not be the day to go looking. Today is Housewife's Day. So today isn't my day for so many reasons. Oh well. I guess that's why I don't have short wee feet. I have to stand just that much farther from the stove.

I am my own cliche - but that works out for me too. Today is Cliche Day. See, today is all about me!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Sunday, November 2, 2008 - Ah Sunday. A day when North Americans foster that warm and fuzzy relationship they have with the sofa and Fox Sports. Football. There just isn't enough days in the week full of football. Today, I watch the Jets and Bills, the Packers and the Titans, the Colts and the Giants, and although I may actually be multi-tasking... after all, I have to flip back and forth between games, I am ultimately only doing one thing... nothing. After all, an afternoon of football is like re-charging. It may look as though there are many things on the go... the remote, the beverage, the cheering, the tears... but deep down, it is actually doing nothing. It's Sunday. It is what Sunday is all about. Of course the Republicans may believe differently - they may be the ones multi-tasking (sitting in a pew AND checking the scores on their iPhones). But for the rest of us... we are zero-tasking.

Assuming the position was the most work we've managed. And in our nothingness, we are celebrating the spirit of the day. Today is Zero-Tasking Day. A day to do nothing. Indeed, the only thing that could ensure this day is celebrated exactly as it is meant would be someone to fetch the beer. "Rex? Are you with me buddy?."

I wonder if when Morris hit the Net he had any idea how badly he was going to be messing with Zero-Tasking Day? Today is the 20th Anniversary of the day the Morris Worm hit the Net. Morris was the first virus that really opened up the eyes of not just the engineers, but the average Internet user, that the on-line world wasn't a friendlier world. It was just another parallel to what we already knew. There are idiots on every plane. On the upside, Morris did create an entirely new area of study and commercialism. There are firewalls, spyware detectors and virus protection packages on every shelf and they sell. And as for Morris? Sure he got convicted of computer fraud... and then took a cushy job as professor of comp sci at MIT. Morris was certainly multi-tasking - with one non-tequila soaked worm he showed the world the Internet wasn't a nice place, probably had a few laughs, employed a few lawyers, stirred a new brand of legal specialty, spawned a new industry, and lined up a great gig.

I just don't think I can be as ambitious as Mr. Morris today. If anyone is looking for me, I'm bonding with my sofa.

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