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Tuesday, March 30, 2004
How nice to see that the Calgary Chamber of Commerce isn't frittering away any money employing a proofreader for their magazine, so that we can find out how to "Play with the President's Golf Classic." Also seen in the back-page ads: Spolumbo's Fine Foods specializes in "Authentic Italian sausage and office catering." I would love to know what authentic Italian sausage catering entails, nod-nod-nudge-nudge. Say no more!
Thursday, March 25, 2004
New term: To describe conservative political propaganda disguised as country music: "Right twang." [And to clarify one tiny point: I have written before that I consider the Taliban to be the defining evil of fundamentalist practice. But a song written about the Taliban using racial stereotypes, e.g., "Ride, camel, ride", is as disturbing to me as would be a Kabul top 40 number, "Let us skewer the infidel babies," or some such. It's racist propaganda, no matter who does it, no matter what the cause. I maintain that you can't claim to be superior to a culture if you carry on the same practices as that culture. There. We now return to regularly scheduled meandering.]
The trouble with being oblique in a blog entry is that different people think you are talking about them. Of course, that is also the entertainment in being oblique.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Draft personal ad: If you're old enough to remember what "A-Ticket Ride" means, and you like getting your adrenal glands puckered by moments of ecstatic terror, let us discuss ways and means of getting to Disney World or Six Flags over America and riding the big coasters as they're meant to be ridden, repeatedly and until voices and equilibria are lost.
Sigh. I'm 40 years old and still have not had my fill of roller coasters. There are really only two roller coasters in Alberta and both suck hind teat. I don't count the dangerous tinkertoy variety that gets assembled for the summer exhibitions.
Democracy, this is your fault: Each month a different employee at Karo gets to go out and buy a CD for the office stereo. We've heard The Shins (my pick), Lemon Jelly, Johnny Cash's last album, early Nick Lowe, and others. There is sort of an unwritten agreement that no one is going to bring in thrash rock or violence-espousing rap, but otherwise it's open season. This week our luck ran out: this week our beloved receptionist bought a Toby Keith CD, so we've been listening to country propaganda pop once a day. The album carries the execrable title, "Shockin' Y'all." I know there's a song about the Taliban, complete with screaming applause from the audience. Every time it plays I phone Sue and say, in a strangled whisper, "This is killing me!" I think it's a complete travesty to call this kind of music "country and western." So, what would I call it? Is there a "prog rock" or "krautrock"-like term to describe this? Anyone?

[Later]: Ah Git Prop. hyuk hyuk hyuk
Monday, March 22, 2004
Spring Cleaning:

"The Triplets of Belleville" was a mild disappointment, though a masterwork of animation. I want to see it again, but I will continue to wish that the plot had more to it. By the way, if you hate Rana Catesbeiana, you will love a few choice scenes in this film.
Two Things about which I am Certainly Not in Denial: One: If you wish to convince people that you enjoy a social drink or two, especially of the wine type, but are most definitely not an alcoholic, getting knee-walking drunk on cheap house red isn't going to help your case any. Nobody really cares that it was 13 years ago that you last fell prey to bad Chianti. And it makes it difficult to go back to your favourite restaurant. Two: I like to drink red wine. I will continue to drink and enjoy both red wine and white. But I will endeavour never again to expel it through my eye sockets.
Revelation come lately: Some things are over because they ran out of whatever it was that kept them going. Some things are over because the patterns they fell into became permanent and unhappy, even damaging. And some things that looked permanent turned out to be founded on assumption.
No-Shit-Sherlock Moment: I used to wonder why, at dog and cat shows, and horse events, the venues would be crowded with especially homely women. Faces like a Mack Truck, stringy hair, printed or patterned sweat shirts and pants, and so on. There were men, too, but greatly outnumbered by the women. Bearing in mind that I am no beauty, though for a short time in the '60s I was definitely cute, I was for years unable to make the obvious connection. After a week of dog-sitting both Theo and Carbon, and making the rounds of the dog parks again, the simple truth hit home: we plain people love pets because they're the only things on which we can lavish physical affection without fear of rejection. Yes, babies and small children love us, but we know that sooner or later, usually around age 5, the observant child will inevitably lean in and confide, "You're fat, aren't you?" Whereas pets could give a damn.

All of the foregoing really goes without saying, and I am alone in thinking it's a revelation. At any rate, I will be damned to eternal hellfire and torment before I stoop to calling any pet a "fur-baby." Yuck.

Great "Theo" moment: I am sitting on the floor, reading a book and snacking on carrots. Theo is stretched out alongside, his head by my feet, but when he hears me crunching on a carrot, he looks around and sniffs meaningfully. What the hell, I think. So there we were, sitting in a pool of sunlight, contentedly crunching our way through four carrots. I love that dog.

Infamous Martini moment: The dogs are bugging her by their very presence, so she climbs onto my lap for some reassurance. While I'm patting her, Carbon pushes her nose under my arm and sniffs at the cat. Wham! Martini's claws are now imbedded in my left hand, which was gently restraining Carbon from getting closer. My yelp sets both dogs barking and sends Martini blasting for cover, taking a fair bit of my hand's epidermis with her. A bit of blood, you say? A bit indeed.
What do you want from me? Blood? No, platelets. A procedure that takes from two to three hours, and involves extracting whole blood into a centrifuge, and spinning out the plasma, then further spinning the plasma to isolate the platelets. The blood cells and plasma get sent back to base via a second line. I've done this in the past, and found it fascinating. Donors are invited to watch movies during the leukopheresis, as we say in the biz, but usually I just watch the big centrifuge doodad shepherding the precious platelets out of my blood and into a small pouch. And hey, it's two-plus hours of sitting around and doing nothing, but you get to feel good about yourself. What's not to like?
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Excellence in evening form: Every time I see Evelyn Glennie perform, I know there is perfection in the world. If you thought snare drums were good for only one thing, counting the time before the guillotine blade drops, think again: she played an entire concert piece written for the snare drum, and the range of sound, of voice if you will, was astounding. I was also thrilled to see that the second half of the evening was the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra playing my favourite Beethoven Symphony, No. 7. Divine.
Dogs! I have the furry gent, Theo from Friday to Sunday, and the incredible bonehead Carbon from Sunday to the following weekend. Walkies, anyone?
Monday, March 08, 2004
Perhaps the funniest recital I have seen in years was the Irish Dance Ceìlì held last Friday night. I was there to see the mighty Win, one of the three children I baby-sit on a semi-regular basis. Win turns 8 this month, and is one of my favourite children on the planet, with an excellent sense of humour. She was in the beginning dance class, and their recital consisted of beginners paired with older dancers; imagine a 14-year-old stepping quickly and brightly, dragging a small child who tries valiantly to keep up, but is usually doing exactly the opposite steps. You could see some of them counting aloud as they danced. There was also an uncontrolled toddler in the room, who insisted on dancing with his sister's beginner group, mucking them all up. And how to describe the sound of the combined senior class's hard-shoe number, danced to Irish Country & Western? I tried: "A dumptruck pouring ball bearings on a tin roof." Vinnie La Vin, who happens to be Win's auntie, was also in attendance, frequently shooting me looks that threatened my self control most unfairly.
For some reason, the fashion at this Irish dance school is for all the dancers to have their long hair curled into tight corkscrews. I don't know why, curly hair isn't automatically an Irish birthright, and on some of the girls the hairstyle was beyond poodley. Well, it should be a word. So, with the fluorescent Celtic designs on the rayon dresses, the boingey hair, and the confused children, I was completely giddy by the end of the evening.
I love Bravo on the weekends, because they cater to the movie buffs. There's usually a connection among all the movies they show in the morning, either an actor in common or a theme in common. This Saturday it was "Obscure British Films," so that was it for my plans to get chores done. "Breaking Glass" followed by "Saving Grace," "Blow Dry," and "Greenfingers." Great fun, if not great art.
The plan to trim some ballast was put to the test yesterday, as I baked goodies for the Monday production meeting at work. Gingerbread or carrot sticks? Cinnamon swirl bread or salad? Normally these wouldn't be tough choices. I'd have all of them.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Things go better with lawsuits. I took a moment at noon to read a chapter about the rise of the Coca Cola corporation from a drugstore digestive aid to the world's best known brand name. Along the way, apparently, you have to sue the asses off smaller companies for attempting to cash in on your success. I was amused to read the names of companies successfully whomped for trademark infringement by the Cokesters in the early 20th century:
  • Taka-Kola Afri-Cola
  • Chero-Kola Star Coke
  • Espo-Cola Co Kola
  • John D. Fletcher's Genuine Coca and Cola Coke-Ola
  • Takola Kos-Kola
  • Klu-Ko Kola Cafa Cola
  • Crescent Coca Cola Sola Cola
  • A.D.S. Ext. of Coca and Cola Carbo-Cola
  • Caro-Cola Celro-Zola
  • Coke Celery-Cola
  • Koke Okla-Cola
Yep, apparently the "Klu-Ko Kola" targeted your bigoted pop drinkers, while "Afri-Cola" was marketed to African-American consumers. But what I want to know is, how many grams of cocaine were in each bottle of "Crescent Coca Cola Sola Cola"? You'd have to be lit like the Empire State Building just to come up with the name in the first place. "CrescentCocoLocoCola--no--Crescent CocaCocaCocaLocoCola--no [snort] --CrescentCocaSolaKa-ka-ka-ka-ola!"
Note to Coke executives: If you can have Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke, then the time is right for Celery Coke to make a comeback. Or go after the Atkins crowd with new Pork Coke. Or the plain distilled water in a bottle: Kick Coke. Har. Har. Har.
We ramble, and then we scream. Innocently I searched for information on hand puppets on the Net. And from the "Puppet Revelation" website, I found:

Oh! To have had either one of these when I went to see "The Passion of The Christ." A missed opportunity indeed.
19 out of 24? Fuck off! Make that 20 out of 24 correct Oscar picks this year. Thanks to the mighty Fergus in Ontario for sending me the results of this year's Academy Awards pool. And for being able to count higher than 19, which apparently I cannot.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Unbelievable. I scored 19/24 on the Oscar picks. It would have been 20 out of 24, because I knew Sean Penn would win, but I just had to vote for Bill Murray. Yay me. Perhaps I should get a life.
In the spirit of "Cleaning house before the cleaning lady comes over": I made the decision, after another day spent in bed in great discomfort thanks to my psychotic skin, to seek the advice of a specialist. But before I go to my beloffed GP for the referral, I've decided to embark on the "better living" plan, so that my skin gets more attention than my er um avoirdupois. In the mean time, I've been browsing the dermatology atlas over at the Johns Hopkins web site: I always tend to feel a bit better after viewing some of the more severe clinical pictures. A weird sort of hobby, I suppose, but it's better than feeling sorry for myself.