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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Monday, October 30, 2006

Irregardless, I could care less.

Today’s episode of Little Miss Know-It-All: Commonly-Misused Words.

From the number off disinterested readers, I must imply that the English language has been literally decimated. I am not adverse to holding a fulsome discussion on this topic; however, its’ certainly to be comprised of erstwhile contributories who will have a negative affect. This makes me nauseous, and the enormity of the problem has caused us to make due for far to long.

My complements to the first person who can identify all of the errors in this post. I will even send you a prize. Extra points if you can guess how many times I had to go back over the text to make it wrong.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Not all angels are innocent

This is one of my favourite movies. It's a really interesting take on a true story. Peter Jackson is best known for horror flicks and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this is a really cool movie from the mid-90s that didn't make much money but is still worth a look. That's Kate Winslet, pre-Titanic.

In the 1950s, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme became best friends. Both were teenagers in small-town New Zealand. Their parents were uncomfortable with their friendship, and made plans to separate them. The girls were distraught and murdered Pauline's mother, believing that with her out of the way, they could be together. They were sent to prison and released years later on the condition that they could never see each other again.

Both girls were given new identities. Juliet Hulme is now a world-famous novelist who writes under the name Anne Perry.

I haven't just spoiled Heavenly Creatures for you. The movie is full of foreshadowing and it is best on the second or third viewing. And I do believe that the soaring overhead shot from the mountain is the same one used in the beginning of The Two Towers.

UPDATE: Here are the first ten minutes of the movie. I won't link to more than this. If you like what you see, go rent the rest.

Wizard of Oz

OHMYGOSH this witch is so so so scary. There is a good witch and a bad witch. She flies around on a broom and she is very mean.

Love, Michael


No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Michael asked me to dye his hair red today.

Punctuated equilibrium

Today's episode of Little Miss Know-It-All: The colon.

Colons are not capital periods. I know they look like they could be, so bear with me through this part. This can be particularly confusing, because when correctly used, colons often follow a complete sentence and can even come just before a capital letter:

I often quote myself: It adds spice to my conversation.


Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: That is the ideal life.


Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong and disposable.

A colon moves things forward. (HAHAHAHAHAHA.) It is used to join two sentences in a way that builds and then releases tension. ("I often quote myself:" - ohdearohdearwhat'scomingnextIcan'tbeartolook - "It adds spice to my conversation." - whew, now I can take a break and chuckle.)

The first part makes a statement while the second part explains it further. They are not separate sentences: they actually belong together as two halves of one thought. The second half might be a joke or might simply explain the first half. In any case, think of the colon as a signal that one phrase is related to the next. It is not a double period that would signal the end of one thought and a definite break before the beginning of the next.

The colon has other uses as well: it starts lists, it attributes quotes, and it separates subtitles from main titles of books and movies (Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi).

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Well, not really. Michael is much smarter than Samson.


Oh man, these puzzles are so so so cool. You make a word and it's a little puzzle. I am really good at it.

Love, Michael

What's in Michael's MP3 Player?

This is so so so cool. I like it when he dances.

Love, Michael

What's in my MP3 Player?

Free communications advice

Normally I don't give communications advice for free to large corporations. But I'll make an exception for NBC.

When refusing to air advertising for a documentary about censorship, it is usually best NOT to tell the producer in writing that the ad is being rejected because it is disrespectful to a politician.

Now, I could hope that this is the beginning of a new dawn for advertising. This could be a signal that we are about to enter a world where there are no ads that are disrespectful to politicians. I'm thinking about this type of ad:

Somehow, I doubt that this is the case. So here's the ad for a new documentary about censorship. You won't see this on NBC.

Here's the trailer for the same documentary. It has been available for several weeks.

I should note that NBC's actions are not censorship. This is an editorial decision. It would be censorship if the government was insisting that the ad not be aired. There is a big difference.

An explanation

I had to come in and fix a factual error in the last post. Blogger has been down for the last 12 hours or so and it took until now to fix the error. By the time I was able to fix it, my brother had already seen the post so I figured I ought to explain what the error was rather than just pretending it didn't happen.

The video in the last post is from 2004. I intended to write "from the early 00s" but instead wrote "from the early 90s". It is fixed in the post below. Sorry about that.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My bad.

I need to bigly, hugely apologize for something. (That is the new phrase, right?)

I unintentionally promoted a Democratic candidate by posting a campaign ad on my blog. As readers know, I'm all about truthiness, fairness and balance. So I feel I must give a plug to the other side.

Sorry this video is so grainy - I really wanted to get a better one but this is the best I could do for a commercial from a couple of years ago. I think you can see the person endorsing the Republican candidate.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And we wonder why our sense of beauty is messed up.

This company gets rid of all the disgusting things about beautiful people, like the veins in their hands and the freckles on their faces.

Click on Portfolio, then Before/After. Hold down on the Before button and grimace in horror at the sheer ugliness of these people. You might want to have a bucket handy in case you can't keep your dinner down. Actually, honey, that might be a good idea for YOU anyway. Do they actually sell clothes in your size?

Beer and popcorn

Got my $100 cheque from Prime Minister Harper for my beer and popcorn today.

It turns out that I am not a small-c conservative, as I've thought for years. Not even a Canadian conservative. It turns out that I'm something much closer to a libertarian. This sucks. If there is a Libertarian Party in Canada, I don't know about it. And this is the country where we have a Marijuana Party and an Animal Alliance Environment Party.

I fought this for the longest time. I'm actually a registered Republican. When I watched other people who called themselves small-c conservatives on TV, I convinced myself that they were the ones who were deluded about what it meant to be conservative. Small government, right? Fiscal restraint? Limited government intervention in people's lives? I'm for all of those things, and I thought they were too.

I'll pay for schools and roads and cops. I'll even pay for roads I don't drive on. But don't expect me to be happy about using tax dollars to renovate a politician's office or design a new government logo or develop make-work projects that exist only so that people can be eligible for MORE free government money. (I'm talking to YOU, Newfoundland.) And I don't want to see another penny of my taxes spent on deciding whether same-sex couples can get married.

It's odd that people who say they want the federal government to stay out of their business are so quick to insist that other people's lives should be regulated. I still can't figure out why any secular government would care if same-sex couples get married, or even if three people wanted to get married to each other.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I want another husband. I'm looking for someone to clean my house, cook my dinner and generally do anything I want without complaining. To get that, I'm going to need a wife.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Tonight Steve got a call from a woman who had been hired by our local phone company to conduct a survey. They wanted to know if he would change phone companies.

Excuse me while I laugh. This will be a short, bitter laugh.


OK, I think I'm over it. You see, Northwestel is the only phone company here. This is like asking if we would ride unicorns to work. We have no choice but to use their service, and we find this immensely annoying. The latest is that they want to hike local phone rates by two dollars a month. They say this will allow them to lower long-distance rates.

Steve gave the sweet survey lady a piece of his mind about the monopoly that is currently in place, and threw in a few digs at the CRTC to boot. (GO STEVE!)

Are their employees polite? Sure they are.

Is the service adequate? Yeah, there's usually a dial tone, unless Canadian Idol is taking votes at the time.

Do we get good value for our money? HAHAHAHAHAHA. We are already trying to figure out if we can ditch the land line and just use our cell phone.

Do we think Northwestel works hard to ensure customer loyalty? This one might have been the funniest question. We are talking about a company that has no competitors and no need to ensure customer loyalty of any kind. And don't they know it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's up with that?

Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot.


UPDATE: This video is from six years ago.

UPDATED AGAIN: A family member misunderstood, so I will try to be more clear. I am not saying that I support Claire McCaskill or the bill that is under debate in Missouri. I don't know enough about either of them. I do think it is vile to suggest that a disabled person is faking his symptoms. Michael J. Fox has been actively campaigning on behalf of stem-cell research and other potential Parkinson's cures for at least eight years. He is not suddenly jumping into an issue he was never involved with. His disease is progressive, which is why he seems dramatically worse than he did a few years ago, such as in the ad I posted a few lines above. His shaking is caused (not controlled) by his medication, and he will need more medicine as time goes by. He does not have epilepsy or Huntington's - I should not have compared them a few days ago. At the time, I knew these were distinct illnesses with very different symptoms but I had no idea this would become an issue so I didn't go into the details. Sorry if I accidentally contributed to any confusion - perhaps next time I'll go into long loving detail about temporal lobe epilepsy.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Something is definitely wrong. It is way too warm here. It is hovering right around the freezing point, which is an amazingly treacherous temperature to be driving around in. Just right for the road to have frozen, but for the top layer to be starting to melt for maximum slipperiness. This is what people in Maine call "glare ice".

I am not a huge fan of driving in any weather (recall that I am a closet environmentalist: I prefer to take Michael to school on the tandem bike) but this has got to be the worst time for driving. They don't use salt on the roads here, and don't use many rocks, either. They prefer to allow people to drive over the snow until it is really packed down. That way, there's no need to plow, either.

When Steve and I got here almost seven years ago, we couldn't believe that the roads were unplowed. We mentioned this to the woman who ran our B&B. "Hrm," she said thoughtfully. "They plow it right down to the pavement a couple times a year."

I remember thinking Isn't that what plowing IS - right down to the pavement???

In I**vik, it's actually against the law to turn left on the main street. I couldn't understand why until the day I turned left in November in my little Honda Civic. The cars wear ruts in the road, and if you turn left, you scrape out the bottom of your vehicle. Nobody's ever confirmed this for me, but I'm certain that town council created this bylaw so they wouldn't be sued for damage to people's cars.

[Updated: I was popping up on a search engine because there was a community name in this post. I've added some asterisks so I don't show up on the search engine.]

Monday, October 23, 2006

Judge me by my size do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Steve, how could you?

What's in my MP3 player?

A bad nut

Today was Michael's Halloween party for his school. They combined it with the annual general meeting for the parents - smart thinking from our board, I must say.

The person in charge appeared to be a professional party planner. In any case, she was far too cheerful for her own good. I was avoiding her, because people with that level of forced frivolity are not good for my mental health. She divided the children into groups, and it soon became clear that she was in charge of Michael's group. In between her excited announcements, I managed to pull her aside for a few seconds.

"This probably won't come up, because I know this is a peanut-free event," I said. "But you need to know that my son has a severe peanut allergy."

Normally, this provokes a concerned reaction and some thought about whether there are any peanuts around. No such luck.

"Ah!" said Overly Cheerful Lady. "There ARE peanuts here!" She said this in the same tone that you might say "There ARE other kids here to play with!" Like it was a real selling point.


"In the candy!" She sounded like she was about to burst into song to celebrate the fact that she had brought along a product that could kill my child.

"Ohhhhh..." I made Michael promise NOT to eat any of the candy. I also brought his EpiPen down to the party and gave it to another adult who appeared to understand what a severe allergy is. I then spent the next two hours in terror that Michael would accidentally eat a peanut, or touch one, or touch someone who had eaten one.

My son's school has been nothing short of excellent when it comes to making arrangements to deal with his allergy. We have been fortunate and he has never needed to use the EpiPen. He's also never even tasted a peanut. Among other things, he has had reactions from:
1) a restaurant table that looked clean, but wasn't clean enough;
2) a kiss from one of his little friends who had eaten peanut butter toast several hours before our visit to his house; and
3) the air when I cooked Thai food when he was a leetle leetle baby.

So far, we have been able to keep Michael's reactions in check with Benadryl and explanations about his allergy. Most people understand.

Before I had Michael, I used to read newspaper stories about insane allergy moms who insisted that entire schools be made peanut-free. I used to think that they were on the far end of crazy. Now I'm one of them. And it doesn't seem so crazy anymore. I can't expect that other people will change their lives, but I can hope that they will understand when I ask them not to eat peanuts for the few hours they're around my son.

And I can hope they won't react with excitement when I explain that their candy can kill him.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

In case Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me

I am not anti-religion. I do, however, think that organizations like CAP and Ambassador Youth are deserving of mockery. They remind me of the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live around 1991, except that they are deadly serious:

My brother Ben liked The Daily Show long before I did. He probably remembers this from when it first aired:

UPDATE: Gone, sorry. If you're lucky, the video might still be hosted here. Look here if you want to know why I did this. Comedy Central sucks.

A video response

I still love this movie

This is what Michael J. Fox looked like when I was seven. He was definitely the embodiment of cool for me. My brothers got skateboards so they could try out the tricks he did in the three Back to the Future movies, although I'm fairly certain they never skated holding onto a car bumper. I watched Family Ties whenever I could - this took a lot of effort, because we didn't have a TV. I remember being very upset to learn that the show's finale would broadcast the night we were moving to Newfoundland, and I never got to see it.

So I am tremendously saddened to see him today:

I'm sure a doctor could explain any links that might exist between Parkinson's and Huntington's, which several members of my extended family have. I have a form of epilepsy called temporal lobe epilepsy, and before I started taking anti-seizure medications I would have seizures from time to time. I can't possibly compare my life to what people with Parkinson's or Huntington's go through, but I can at least relate to the sensation of being unable to control your body.

As sad as I am to see one of my favourite actors living with a progressive nerve disorder, I'm glad that he's been able to use his fame to make more people aware of what the disease does and the possibilities for treatment.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Is Bert not awesome? He gets overshadowed by the larger-than-life persona of his buddy Ernie, but I have to love him. Poor long-suffering Bert likes order, pigeons and bottle caps. He never gets any of the glory, but I think that's part of the reason I like him so much.

Bert's not on Sesame Street anymore. They recast Ernie, but Bert's not around. You can only see him in old videos, vintage episodes of the show, and (of course) on YouTube.

Step away from the computer

It sure is good to have organized religion around. Not only do I have CAP to point out all of the naughty bits of movies I'd missed on the first few viewings, I am now reliably informed by Ambassador Youth that blogs are evil and a tool of Satan. Fortunately, this rule apparently does not apply to Ambassador Youth itself, so I can get all of the details on their blog.

It seems that I should stop blogging and devote myself to instant-messaging people. Apparently instant messages are OK, but blogging is not. I really ought to give my Messenger ID to Ambassador Youth right away so they can take their evil, evil blog down and just IM me everything I need to know. They have a few suggestions to keep me on the straight and narrow, including:
1. Group messaging is bad.
2. Be aware of what your "Away" message says. (I'm sure the author would not approve of my "Putting Michael to bed" away message.)
3. Show your messages to your parents, but only if you think they wouldn't approve of what you are writing about.

I am conflicted though, because part of me wants to congratulate these guys. You see, they are also concerned about grammar:

"It has become common to allow sloppy, improper spelling and grammar to creep into online communication."

YES! YES! Is that why the Internet is evil? I could get on board with this idea. People who don't know the difference between your and you're probably SHOULD be thrown into the lake of fire.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Michael's First Video


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The best movie reviews EVER

If you're not familiar with the Childcare Action Project ("CAP"), you don't know what you've been missing.

CAP rates movies in shocking detail. Reviews are here, but before checking out the reviews, you should read their review system.

CAP exists to inform parents about all of the evils in the movies you thought were safe for your children to watch. It is too bad that CAP didn't exist in 1984, because they would probably have informed my mother that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would put me on the fast track to a wanton lifestyle.

CAP has an easy-to-follow red/yellow/green marking system. I should say red/yellow, because there are almost no greens. This is helpful, because there is also a 100-point scale for six separate themes, including Wanton Violence/Crime, Impudence/Hate, and Drugs/Alcohol. I am struck by the attention to details that I admit I missed on the first viewings of many films. For example, you probably did not know that It's A Wonderful Life has a yellow rating because of high levels of wanton violence/crime and even some sexual immorality. I admit that I never considered the scene where Donna Reid hides behind the bush to be a "sexually suggestive episode of unseen indecent exposure" but I guarantee that I will be taking off my rose-coloured glasses next time I let my morals slide enough to watch this movie. It is also nice to be directed to Eph. 5:18 and reminded that there is an incident of drunkenness in this film.

I've seen E.T. many times, but never did I realize how inappropriate this movie is. Clearly, I am so messed up that I did not see "riding a bike off the edge of a cliff" or the scene where Elliot covers his little sister's mouth as wanton violence/crime. I am relieved, however, to learn that the levitation in this movie is not sinister or evil. This is apparently much different from the levitation in Harry Potter, and I am not completely clear on the reasons why magic is OK when aliens perform it. I am probably just not meditating hard enough.

You can see the possibilities here. Next time I watch a scandalous movie like Star Wars I'll know what to look for. Just for starters, these movies mock the Scriptures, show the Force moving objects (again, I'm sure that this is somehow different from the levitation in E.T.), and show a so-called hero gutting a dead animal for warmth. It's been a while since I've felt quite so naughty.

"Read the blog and make up your own mind"

It appears that my friend Amy is not the only public figure to get in trouble over a blog recently. The federal Conservatives were already in a minority position before today's shenanigans with Garth Turner. Mr. Turner's blog is here.

It makes me sad to see that a federal party can't handle internal criticism. I spend a lot of time telling people that it's OK to show diversity, that allowing differences to show is actually healthy and that you can never keep everyone in lockstep no matter how hard you try. In fact, insisting on total agreement is a sure road to failure, because the first time someone even hints that they don't agree, it's taken as a sign that your entire organization is falling apart.

Mr. Prime Minister, breathe. It's OK to have different ideas. It's good to surround yourself with people who have a range of opinions. When people disagree, you might want to take it as an opportunity to appeal to a broader cross-section of the electorate. Goodness knows you could use the votes.

Product placement

I have a new favourite toothpaste. Burt's Bees is 100% natural and makes my mouth feel really clean. But most importantly, Steve does not like it.

At our house, it is pointless to find a product that everyone likes. If I buy Coke, for example, I will never get any because the boys will quickly finish it while my back is turned. If I buy pomegranate-flavoured seltzer, I can have it all to myself. The same goes for any type of treat. Since I informed Steve that I do not like applepears (a perversion of the natural order, I say!) he has been buying them every time we go to the store, because he knows he will have them all to himself. No point in saving anything for later. If anyone else likes it, it won't be there later.

I first noticed this behaviour when Steve and I used to take long car trips (usually from our apartment in Halifax to my parents' house in Maine). Steve would gas up the car and come back with a Pepsi and a bag of ketchup chips. You see, that way he could be certain I wouldn't ask him to share.

So now I've found something I can have all to myself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Too much excitement for one day

Around mid-afternoon, Steve called and said that there was an armed stand-off at Michael's school.

Michael is fine and was never in any danger. This was a rumour. However, this was happening just around the corner.

This is still breaking news and nobody knows much more. It has been a freaky afternoon.

UPDATE: Link automatically re-directs to the latest CBC North newscast. If you missed the original story, it's gone. Sorry.


For those who are interested, my friend Amy was elected to the school board last night. Read more about it here.

The board is still taking the issue to court.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sears Catalog

In case there were any questions about my geekiness

A co-worker called me today to giggle over a missing comma in a local news story. This is from a story about the beginning of our legislative session:

"A host of bills, including the Pharmacy Tourism, Engineering and Geoscience Acts are up for third reading during this session."

Get it? There's a comma missing between Pharmacy and Tourism, see? Without the comma it becomes "pharmacy tourism", which would definitely be the most interesting sort of tourism I have ever heard of. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. There is another comma missing after Acts, but that's not nearly as amusing.

I have officially become the person to call when you think grammar mistakes are exciting. You might think this would make me sad, but I am actually flattered. I am carving out a little niche for myself here. I recently received a plaque when I won a premier's award for one of my projects at work. I smiled nicely for the cameras, walked back to my seat and looked at the plaque with what I hoped was mild interest. My boss leaned over and told me to stop checking it for grammatical errors.

It is nice to see that I have several readers who take grammar seriously. I've owned "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" since it came out, and it was very inspirational for me. I bought it in an Ottawa airport and was soon trying to deface a federal display made out of granite. There was an it's that should have been its, and I couldn't scrape the apostrophe off with my fingernail no matter how hard I tried.

There is a man who pickets in front of my office from time to time, and his signs might have the worst grammar I have ever seen. My personal favourite is the one that says "Family Law Kill's". My co-workers whisper in my ear as we walk by him: "Don'tsayanythingaboutitdon'tsayanythingaboutitdon'tsayanything..."

Lord of the Flies

There are lots and lots of flies. Look, there's one over there! You have to chase after them and clap on them. They are so so fast and you have to chase them. And you can hit them with a newspaper and kill them. We are catching lots of them in our traps too, because they are really stupid. If we could just find those last two flies, then it would all be done.

I do NOT like flies. They are really stupid and dumb. And they're really heckish. They always go into different types of food. I think we should put a wrapper on all of our food. Those apples are really yummy and I think the flies like to eat them too. They like the smell of food like potatoes. I only liked potatoes when I was a little baby.

When I came out of my mommy's belly, I was little. I was probably the littlest baby in the whole entire planet. I had to wear my diaper all of the time. But I don't wear a diaper now. That would be disgusting.

Love, Michael

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lonelygirl in Canada?

If you are not a Lonelygirl fan, this probably won't make any sense.

Bree had her secret ceremony and was NOT killed. I still suspect that she has been impregnated with the spawn of Aleister Crowley, but only time will tell.

Daniel has been stalking her and her "helper" for several weeks, and has now progressed to breaking and entering. Inside the helper's apartment, he found a computer with maps on it, including one of La Crete.

La Crete is in Alberta!!! Is there a Canadian connection?

What would be in my mom's MP3 player? Part 2.

I have come to kill you now, Sidney

Nanny's Visit

Go Danny!

I love Danny Williams. Let me say it again: I love Danny Williams. He's going after the prime minister again, and I love it.

I've never seen any NWT politician stand his ground the way Danny does. Instead, we get a lot of talk about "working together" and a lot of nervousness that someone will take offense to something we say. Danny took Sir Paul McCartney on during the seal hunt, and now probably has the highest approval rating of any Canadian politician. Danny took the Canadian flag off provincial buildings a few years ago during a dispute with the former prime minister over offshore oil royalties. (I don't think this needs to be said, but I will, just for the sheer joy of it: a few weeks later he got a better royalty formula and an advance of $2.6 billion.) That's when I got my "Pink", which still hangs in my office.

The Pink is an unofficial Newfoundland flag. It gets more attention from my co-workers than anything else I've hung in my office, including the autographed picket sign. Some say it's a separatist symbol, but I don't think of it that way. Local legend states that it comes from an attempt to unite the Anglican and Roman Catholic residents by putting a pink banner (for the rose of England) and a green banner (for Ireland) together with a bishop's white handkerchief. Supposedly, the white symbolizes the Cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of fishermen. I think it's much more likely that the bishop's handkerchief was white so it would be easier to bleach clean, because I'm not sure that it's much better to imagine that he was blowing his nose on something he considered a symbol of St. Andrew.


Guess what? I know a new way to write numbers. Like III is 3. I totally know that. And IV is 4. I know that cause I saw it on Star Wars.

But I think V means Very Scary. I know that because Episode 5 is very scary. Remember when Luke has to kill himself? When he goes in the woods and he has to use his lightsaber to fight Darth Vader and he cuts his head off and then he sees that it's him inside? OHMYGOSH that is so so so scary. Darth Vader puts this little frame of Luke that looks like Luke inside him, and puts his own suit on the frame. And then it looks like Luke in the suit.

And OHMYGOSH did you know that Darth Vader is Luke's dad? Luke has an evil dad. And I only have kind of an evil dad, because he tries to scare me and pretend that he's the evil emperor, and he likes to wrestle me. Luke turns his dad good in the end. Cause Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi tell him to go and help his dad. If my dad was evil like Luke's dad, I would go and help him like Luke. Maybe I would get some friends to help me first.

My mom says that Episode 3 is too scary, but I actually saw some of it at the grocery store and it was NOT too scary. I saw Anakin defeat Count Dooku. It was not scary.

Love, Michael

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I am very sad to see that my friend Amy has taken her blog down. Amy is running for re-election to a publicly-funded school board. In the last week she has stripped all of the content from her blog. Read the comments to get an idea of what happened to her.

A complete stranger has pieced most of it together here.

We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where we are free to speak our minds. I can't begin to imagine what she has been going through in the last little while. I understand why she deleted her posts, but I wish she hadn't. It was one place where she could just write about what was important to her. Nobody would ever have seen it except her friends and family.

Amy's blog was not significantly different from this one: pictures of her kids and silly stories about her life. Google still has it cached, if you are interested in seeing what all of the fuss is about.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

This movie came out when I was six years old. At the time, there was no such thing as a PG-13 rating, so this film was rated PG. My mother and uncle took me to see it.

I was pretty sheltered. Just for starters, we didn't have a TV. I am guessing that my mom and uncle were expecting a Raiders of the Lost Ark-type movie with cartoon violence and religious overtones, like this:

No such luck. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom still has me freaked out. I stumbled over this trailer on YouTube and my heart is still beating out of my chest. If you like watching people get strapped into a cage and lowered into a volcano, this is definitely the movie for you. As I recall, it also provides tips for stewing monkey brains and making eyeball soup.

What's in Michael's MP3 Player? Part 2.

Kiss and tell

I used to get a hug and a big kiss when I dropped Michael off at school. Sometimes he would even wave goodbye from the classroom window.

For the last couple of weeks, he has allowed me to kiss his forehead before he goes into the playground, but only if I do it behind the car where nobody else can see, and only if he is not expected to kiss me back.

Yesterday, as I drove up to the school, he let me know that things are about to change.

"Mom, I don't need a kiss this morning. You can kiss me at the end of the day when you get home."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Oh my God! They killed Kenny!

I read in the paper that the troops guarding Saddam Hussein play this movie over and over again in his cell.

SUPER DUPER WARNING: If you were offended by the last video with a warning, just back away slowly and don't even think about clicking on this link.

UPDATE: Gone, sorry. If you're lucky, the video might still be here. Look here if you want to know why I did this. Comedy Central sucks.

What's in my MP3 Player? Part 4.

I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home

Writing a blog has got to be the most self-indulgent thing in the world. I sit here and write about myself...the most stupid, inane details that don't matter. Then - the NERVE! - I put it out for everyone to read and actually expect people to read it.

It has been really nice to have a place to write about silly things. Everything I write at work is so serious. I am only half joking when I say that it usually ends with "...before turning the gun on himself."

This blog isn't about life in my town, or celebrity nipple slips, or being a mom, or one of my hobbies. It's just about me. (Steve and Michael are supporting characters.) It's not a humour blog, but I do hope you laugh sometimes. If you think I might be joking, but you're not sure, I'm probably joking. For example, my brother's not really a Torah scholar, and he's not using a Hebrew interface. He's just a smart aleck trying to provoke my dad.

I have three brothers. One is an engineer, and another is studying to become an engineer. The third just got back from Japan and is planning his wedding. I am hoping to see as many of them as possible next spring, but family visits have been few and far between over the seven years since Steve and I moved away. It's been more than five years since I've seen any of my extended family, but they are mostly in Maine and the southern States. Steve's family is entirely in Newfoundland, except for his parents, who live here in town.

What's in my MP3 Player? Part 3.

What's in my MP3 Player? Part 2.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Is Steve losing his mind, or is this what happens when you get your butt whipped by a five-year-old?
Publish Post

Canadian celebrities?

Here's the latest wanna-be that CBC is foisting upon the unsuspecting public. Go ahead. Click the link. I'll still be here.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is George Stroumboulopoulos. As you can tell, he is amazingly cool and remarkably intelligent. So intelligent, in fact, that you should immediately start nodding in agreement whenever he speaks. Maybe throw your underwear at him.

I reserve a small amount of pity for George because of his failed bid to become the next Ryan Seacrest. But mostly, he just annoys me. Isn't it great that this is the guy who is going to save the CBC and draw in new young viewers with tons of disposable income?


These guys are the perfect Canadian celebrities. There's always a moral to their stories, they're a bit rough around the edges, and nobody really knows who they are. Most Canadian celebrities can't be recognized unless they're at some award show, and that's just because their name gets flashed on TV whenever they're onscreen. Pat Mastro-who?


Now THIS is how it's done. Rick Mercer's the closest we've got to a real Canadian celebrity. Part of this is hometown pride, so I admit I am somewhat biased. If you don't live in Canada, you don't know what you're missing. Go to Rick's website sometime when you have an hour or two on your hands.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lonely no more?

I don't know if any of you have been following the saga of Lonelygirl15. Before you click on that link, please keep one thing in mind:

Lonelygirl is not real. She is an actress. This is like a TV show, except that it's on the Internet.

I'm still not sure if this is an alternate reality game, but I've really enjoyed watching her. The secret ceremony is tomorrow, as many people predicted. The question is whether dear, sweet Bree will survive the ceremony or be sacrificed in some weird freaky ritual. Perhaps she'll be cut into pieces and each piece will be mailed to a different person, or her father will burn her to death, or someone will drop a millstone on her head. (There's nothing freakier than the Book of Judges.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to comment

A couple of people have asked us how to comment on the blog. It is pretty easy:

1) Click on the comment button at the bottom of the post you want to comment on. It probably says "0 Comments" or "1 Comments" (Blogger is grammatically challenged).

2) In the "Leave Your Comment" box, type whatever you want to say.

3) Choose an identity. You do not have to have a Blogger account. You can comment as Anonymous, but make sure you write your name in your comment. Otherwise, we'll never know who wrote what.

4) Click "Publish". Refresh the main blog screen to see your comment in all of its glory.

If my brother can figure it out after a lifetime of studying the Torah, you can too. And remember, he's doing all of the steps backwards, because he's using the Hebrew interface. It should be much easier in English.

My guitar

See this guitar? You will NEVER guess where I got it. 0kmatokcatoksam. That says OK Matt, OK cat, OK Sam.

Love, Michael


My father is a very wise man.

He has pointed out a quirk of Canadian punctuation: when quoting a short snippet of text like “wanna-be punk rockers”, the comma goes OUTSIDE the quotation marks unless there is a comma in the original text. This is distinct from American style, which would be like this: “wanna-be punk rockers,” or “country-destroying treasonous fools,” or “OH MY GAWD Y’ALL, WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR THE CROSS-COUNTRY TOUR?” The Americans don’t like to see punctuation marks hanging out all by themselves. They like to bring commas into the protective embrace of the quotation marks.

I’ve lived in Canada most of my life and use mostly Canadian spelling and punctuation, other examples being “humour” and “colour”. I’ve been known to use commas in the American style when making lists, though. Americans would write:

The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Whereas Canadians would write:

The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

See the difference? No, you probably don’t. I used to have an editor who would yell at writers who put commas in front of the word “and”. It’s technically wrong, I suppose, but these are differences in style that don’t change the meaning.

Good catch. I’m impressed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I am SUCH a loser

I came here tonight because I couldn't stop thinking that I had misplaced a hyphen. I had this horrible thought that I might have referred to "wanna-be punk-rockers", which would have been JUST AWFUL. Think of the social humiliation that would have come over me. Hyphen misuse is just one or two steps away from indiscriminate apostrophe usage, and from there you are heading into total societal breakdown.

Fortunately, I didn't use two hyphens. Everything is still OK.

What would be in my dad's MP3 player if he had one?

This series is more popular than I thought it would be.

This is not a commercial for MTV

If it was, there's be lots of music videos from wanna-be punk rockers with way too much eyeliner who act like they have ADHD.

There'd be self-referential videos with aging rock stars who were trying to make a statement about how the music industry has lost its purity.

There'd be one-hit wonders.

There'd be...WAIT A MINUTE!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Do you have the time to listen to Steve whine?

I think Steve is trying to send me a message. This is his pick for "What's in my MP3 player?"

WARNING: This version is UNCENSORED. If you are sensitive to swear words, please skip this entry.

What's in Michael's MP3 player?

What would be in my mom's MP3 player if she had one?

No need for concern

Those old posts are still there - they just don't fit on one page anymore. See that archive section over on the right? The old posts are in there, listed by month.


It turns out that people are very sensitive about me picking on poor, defenseless Canadian Thanksgiving. So far, the criticisms have broken down into the following general areas:

1. I am a jerk.

2. Don't I know that in the States, people have to buy their own medical insurance?

3. Boy, am I ever a jerk.

4. Why don't I just shut up?

OK, guys. Time to calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Think about something serene, like Canada's peacekeeping missions. Or the tax rate - how many social programs could be delivered with that money the government takes out of your paycheque? Yes, that should make you feel better. I myself am floating on a cloud from the sheer joy of letting the government decide the best way to spend my money.

Now that we are all nice and calm and feeling good about ourselves, let me just say that I am "very sorry" for any pain and suffering you may have experienced in the last eight hours as a result of my callousness. Let me repeat that: "very sorry". I also owe an apology to Martin Frobisher, the first Canadian to celebrate Thanksgiving. I'm "very sorry", Martin. Here, have some of my taxes. That should make us all feel better.

What's in my MP3 player?

People at work say I have an eclectic taste in music - that's their nice way of saying that I am weird and they don't want to hear it, thanks very much. Here's my latest favourite. I am supposed to shut the door when I listen to it. I can't figure out how to post audio clips, so the video will have to suffice.

Look up, waaaay up... (Steve Speaks!)

Here is my first attempt at making a post...One would think that a "Technology Cooridinator" for a school would have no problem creating a post...well here goes.

I had the pleasure of watching an A&E biography on the great children's role model Fred Rogers. Watching his bio brought back memories of my childhood and some of my favourite TV role models. Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant, Fred Penner, Sharon, Lois, and Bram, etc.

These great shows helped me develop into the person I am today. Of the list above, "The Friendly Giant" was a show I really enjoyed. I could imagine myself sitting in the armchair with my best friend Steve and listening to Rusty (a rooster puppet), Jerome (a giraffe puppet), and Friendly (a Giant) talking and singing. The show aired on CBC early in the morning.


This will come as a surprise to some readers, but this is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. For everyone who's not surprised by this, I have a little test that you might want to take before continuing to read. You might not like this post.

Consider this statement:

Canada Day sucks. It is half-heartedly celebrated by most, and ignored by the rest. It celebrates nothing, and represents nothing more than a bureaucratic agreement.

Now, evaluate your reaction. Is your heart beating faster? Are you already mentally composing an angry letter to the editor about how at least Canadian health care is better than American health care? (I swear, this is the feeblest argument I've ever heard in defense of anything.) If so, you probably should stop reading now.

I mean it.

*looks around*

This is your last chance to leave. And don't even THINK about writing an anonymous comment about how you hate George Bush's foreign policies.


Canadian Thanksgiving is the most useless holiday on the calendar. I spent my early years learning about the Pilgrims and the meal they shared with the Indians in thanks for helping them through the winter. A celebration of true thanks from one culture to another. The small detail that the Indians would not live much longer thanks to guns and European diseases was omitted from the story, as was the cultural annihilation that followed. But still, they were celebrating something.

Canadian Thanksgiving is nothing but a day off work when you are expected to eat turkey. Some people say it is a harvest festival. Hold on a second while I laugh bitterly. HA! HA! HA! You might as well have a national holiday to celebrate the sale of excess inventory at the mall. Oh wait, we've got one of those too, except we call it Boxing Day. Or a holiday to celebrate the birth of a foreign head of state. We call that Victoria Day.

Canada is a great country. I love to live here. But man oh man, are we ever wimpy. Canada Day sucks because there are no exciting stories to tell about early settlers banding together to form a new country and fight off their oppressors. (I apologize in advance to Quebec - they DO have these stories and are still making new ones.) Canada Day is about passing a new law. BOOOORING. Benedict Arnold is a hero here, but not for anything as exciting as treason to a foreign country: no real surprise. Canadian Thanksgiving is boring because there are no stories to tell at all. Canada is bland, and our holidays are blander. Just some pretty leaves - if you're in the right part of the country - and a turkey dinner.

If you're now seething with righteous indignation, don't bother telling me that the White House was burned to the ground by British citizens who lived in what is now Canada. I've heard this many times before. It's really the only story you've got, and it's not even Canadian. It's a British story. And please, stop defining your country by what it's not (God forbid it should be anything like the United States) and come up with some reasons why Canada is great all on its own. I know this country is amazing, and I intend to live here for a long long time. But I hate to see its citizens lie back and contribute to the blandness.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


A wretched hive of scum and villainy

I've been a fan of Star Wars as long as I can remember. I never saw it in a cinema, and we didn't have a TV at my house when I was growing up. We used to watch movies at my aunt's house, about an hour's drive from our place.

My aunt had a setup I've never seen anywhere else. The movies were big and flat, about the dimensions of an old-fashioned record jacket but slightly thicker.

Given my long-standing distaste for all things violent, I'm sure I didn't care much for the severing of limbs or the cold-blooded murder of Obi-Wan Kenobi. What I remember most clearly is the speeder chase from Return of the Jedi...zipping through the forest at top speed, dodging blasts from storm troopers. It usually brings me back, at least temporarily, to that dark living room with its comfy couches and the dog trying to sniff our feet. We sat in awe that such a thing could even be captured on film.

Return of the Jedi gets a bum rap among Star Wars fans. It gets lumped in with The Phantom Menace and dismissed. I'm sorry to see this, because this movie has it all. Action scenes, humour, nudity (if you press PAUSE at exactly the right second) and the moment when the whole saga is tied together. And it's nice to see Luke finally stop being a whiny brat and start acting like a Jedi.

City workers

You know what? There are tractors outside my house. They are digging up the road. They have been there for a long long time and they dug up a really deep deep hole. But guess what? They are still not done!

You probably would not know this, but they hardly ever do any work. They are always on a break. And they also stand around and look at the big hole.

Love, Michael

For those who read in the original Hebrew

The book of Judges is nothing compared to the last part of Deuteronomy. My favourite part is the back half of Deuteronomy 28. Go and look it up on I'll wait.

Everybody back? OK.

Moses is an old guy and is now issuing these spectacular threats. He's not stopping to think of new ones in the middle of a narrative, like we used to see earlier on. They're now coming one right after another, like "Your mother is so fat that when she sits around the house, she really sits around the house!" "BURN! Well, YOUR mother..."

Except that these are WAY better.

You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity.


Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you.


You will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.


This is Moses as crazy old guy, desperate to finish his book and now completely insane. (Yes, I know there are nice bits at the very end. He's not the only one to write the last chapter early on just so he has something to look forward to.) I can see him thinking "Hrm, what's the nastiest thing I can think of? Eating afterbirth, that's the ticket! Yeah, you freaks are gonna do that too! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You kids are totally misguided, with your newfangled sandals! I'll teach YOU how to herd goats, thank you very much! And the vultures are gonna eat you! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Come over here and I'll hit you with my cane!"

Judges at least has some interesting stories. This is totally crazy. I also note that the "curses" section of this chapter is roughly three times as long as the "blessings" section.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Nobody here but us chickens

Just to confirm, I do not fantasize about murdering people because of frustration with my computer. The tent peg reference was a joke. Besides being home-schooled, I grew up in a home where we heard a LOT of Bible stories. The best ones are the ones they don't tell in Sunday school. This particular story is in Judges 4.

Fortunately, I've got my brother, the wanna-be Biblical scholar, to debate the exact reference.

Today is October 6

That probably doesn't mean anything special to you. But that's because you are not nearly as much of a loser as I am. When I hear "October 6", what do you think pops into my head, unbidden? Perhaps this will give you a hint:

October the sixth is the day the Nazgul attacked Frodo and the gang on Weathertop. No normal person would know this. However, I am not exactly normal.

I am no fair-weather friend to the Tolkien books. I didn't discover them when Peter Jackson made them cool. The Hobbit was the first big book I ever read. My mom started reading it to me as a bedtime story, but she only wanted to read a chapter a night, so I took it and finished it.

For quite some time, I was close to being obsessive. I knew everyone's genealogy. I even slept in a position that I felt was evocative of the four hobbits at the centre of the story. The calendar details were easily accessible at the back of Return of the King: years and years of trivia that no normal person would ever read. I was home-schooled at the time and I had plenty of extra energy to devote to the minor details. I always thought that Samwise Gamgee was cheated out of consideration as the true hero of the story.

So it's pretty funny that my son likes to pretend he is the villain. Well, not really. Gollum is more like a cross between a villain and a tragic hero. Michael enjoys him for his obsessive-compulsive qualities rather than his paranoid schizophrenia or uncontrollable murderous impulses.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


When I am in the bath, I turn into Gollum. Gollum wants his precious and also he likes to bite people's fingers.

Love, Michael

jmhylb vfgvj nhnkj,

That's what it looks like when I smack the keyboard repeatedly with my forehead.

I am NOT a computer person, but I have ended up as the person who keeps the website at work running, current, whatever. Most of the time, this is not a huge problem. I change a word here, add a sentence there, redirect a link, and go on with my day.

I've spent the last two days trying to add a new section to the site. This is much more complicated that it appeared, even to dumb ol' me. Hours of fussing and tweaking and staring at the screen, trying to muddle through the source code when things aren't working, shaking my fists in anger when text changes colour without warning, screaming quietly so it doesn't disturb the admin assistant next door. In the meantime, all of my regular work continues to pile up. It's enough to make you want to nail someone's head to the ground with a tent peg.

I mean, it's enough to make you want to walk away from your computer and take a few deep breaths. Right-o.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


You probably did not know this, but I am a pirate. That's how I got all of this gold. I am gonna save it for a long long long long time.

Love, Michael


Sorry about the comment madness. We had "comment moderation" turned on, but it's now off, so write at will. If we get flooded with spam, we'll have to change it back, but we love comments from friends and family.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The other photo

This is the other photo I keep in my office. I keep it right above my computer. This one's not a lie. This one is true photojournalism.

This is the head of the CBC literally falling on his ass in front of the Heritage Committee, when he was called to task for locking out thousands of my former co-workers for months to prove that he was serious about turning them into casual workers with no benefits or long-term commitments. Because, you know, that's what people want nowadays. They don't want to be tied down to jobs. They want to be free. Personally, I've always thought that true freedom is the ability to quit your job anytime you want, but that's just me.

I have never been a fan of Robert Rabinovitch. When he came to our station a few years ago, he agreed to be interviewed on the morning show about his vision for the CBC in our region - but only if he could get a list of the questions ahead of time. We had lots of questions for him...we had just been through a huge round of cutbacks and were concerned about where things were headed. No worries. He had pat answers all around. And things never did get any better.

When the truth is a lie

I keep this photo on the door of my office. It's a reminder to me that even the truth can be a lie. Very valuable reminder in my line of work.

It's obvious where this photo was taken. It shows a moment, a split second in time where the people turned away from the towers and toward each other. Some people have used this photo to suggest that people from my generation have such limited attention spans that they were already bored by the wholesale slaughter of civilians going on behind them.

This photo is a lie. It hasn't been manipulated in any way - it's an accurate depiction of twenty square feet of earth during a half second. It was even taken by a photojournalist. But the impression it leaves is completely inaccurate.

I deal with people every day who use misleading statistics, anecdotes out of context and word games to lie. This picture sums it all up for me.

My Daddy

You are big.
I am big.

You are nice.
I am nice.

You are brave.
I am brave.

You are strong.
I am strong.

Love, Michael

Monday, October 02, 2006

"It is so easy to mow the lawn with that mower!"

It turns out that I am a closet environmentalist. The overhaul on our house included new landscaping for the yard, which involved buying several truckloads of topsoil and a ton of grass seed. Now we have a beautiful lawn.

Steve immediately set about watering it copiously several times a day. He had plenty of time to devote to this during the summer, and the lawn was fruitful and multiplied.

I felt terrible about using all of this water. I made up for it by purchasing an old-fashioned mower, the sort that might have been used in the 1850s. It has two big blades that whip around when you push it. I decided that this would probably be an environmental trade-off: no need for gasoline, therefore there would be no fossil-fuel emissions, therefore it would not be as terrible for the environment.

All that watering, combined with the long hot summer days, meant that the lawn was growing faster than we could keep mowing it, especially with me working late every night. I'm not totally sure how, but somehow it became MY job to do all of the mowing. With the old-fashioned mower, it became necessary to mow every two or three days. The blades just wouldn't cut grass that was too long. And the mower wouldn't go through grass that was too thick.

One day I told Steve he would do the next mow. Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I was still waiting when the leaves started to fall off the trees. And when the frost formed on my car in the mornings.

Steve decided tonight that he would borrow the neigbour's gasoline mower, and he is now totally enamoured. I like to imagine that before he could use it, he had to load it into the back of the truck and drive it to the gas station. Then he had to fill it with gas, and he probably spilled gas all over the ground and had to make a report to the environment department. Then, of course, he had to put more gas in the truck, because Steve's truck is basically nothing more than a direct line to al-Qaeda's bank account. Then he had to drive back home, struggle to get the mower out of the back of the truck, and yank on the chain a bunch of times to get it started. There are probably scratches in the back of our truck. Also, he'll probably smell like gasoline all night.

My nice old-fashioned mower smells like freshly-cut grass.

Michael & Daddy

Sunday, October 01, 2006


When it's cold and dark all the time, it is sometimes nice to think about visits to warmer parts of the planet.

Maybe Star Wars isn't so bad.

So there's this Star Trek movie where the Borg try to take over Earth...

Heads or tails and fairytales in my mind

This photo was in a bundle my dad sent a few weeks ago. My grandmother took it - this is me and two of my brothers, about twenty years ago. We used to go for walks in the woods with her, usually looking for ladyslippers and other unusual plants. My grandmother knew all about flowers and birds.

When we found this mushroom, I'm sure there was some discussion about whether or not we should pick it. Grammy would have known it wasn't poisonous, but she never liked to dig up plants unless they were fiddleheads - in that case, all bets were off. She would greet us with the exciting news that she'd found a new ladyslipper and that we should come with her to look for it again - she just wasn't sure where it was or how long it would take us to find it.

So bringing back this mushroom was unusual. The slices filled the frying pan, as I recall. I hadn't seen this photo in about fifteen years until my dad sent it to me.

Michael Speaks

Dear Everyone,

Olivier is my best friend. He came to visit me today. The best thing about him is that he's my friend. He just had his birthday and he is totally my best friend. I wish we lived in a house that was closer to Olivier, so I could go and play at his house all of the time.

Love, Michael


I went out and bought an umbrella yesterday. I haven't owned one since I was about six. It's pretty unusual for us to get rain here, but it has been raining A LOT lately. Steve hasn't had to water the lawn in weeks. This could be that global warming everyone's been talking about. By now we should be getting snow, not rain.

The leaves are completely gone from one of our trees, but not the other. We don't get really pretty leaves here - they just turn yellow and fall off with a minimum of fuss.

I am very partial to our trees. They are nicest in the middle of summer and the middle of winter. I love to see them covered with green leaves, but I'm also partial to the way snow collects on them in winter. They don't get covered with a blanket of wet snow like always happens back home. Our trees slowly accumulate tiny ice crystals and you can see every tiny twig. By December or so they look like they are covered in white eyelashes. Against the ice on the roads, the snow on the rooftops and the ice fog rolling in, it would make a beautiful painting in shades of white.