Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Do you hear that?

It's the death rattle of our PX and Commissary. (That's the department store and grocery store on base, for those who don't speak the lingo.)

The new Super-Walmart opened in the town of Leray today, just outside the gates of Fort Drum. They have a lovely selection of organic foods AND my favourite tea (Celestial Seasonings Rooibos).

Oh happy, happy day!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Oh no. Not again.

Seventy miners are trapped in Saskatchewan.

UPDATE (10:21 pm) - They're safe.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Quote of the day

"American coffee just isn't the same thing," said one grizzled warrant officer, making a face at his morning cup of coffee in the base's mess tent.

"I'd pay some serious coin for a good cup of Timmies."

Source: Ottawa Citizen article about senior Canadian Officers trying to get a Tim Horton's franchise installed at the base in Khandahar, Afghanistan.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy 250th Birthday, Mr. Mozart

Here is my favourite Mozart piece, the Rondo Alla Turca from the Sonata in A. Even as a midi file, it is stirring, no?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cancel the order for the Faeries

It appears that the State Department of Transportation has been listening to the community, and that they now favor the northern alternative for the Fort Drum connector project.

Faeries are, of course, always welcome here, but it appears their services are no longer required.

Hat tip to Newzjunky.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

God Bless America

Girl 7, accidentally shot by 8-year-old.

Jesus H. Christ on a stick.

Not too shabby!!!

The Green Party of Canada did not win any seats in this election, but I think their results are quite satisfactory. Here's how it went for my party:

A few Green results:

Percentage nationally: 4.5%
Number of votes: 665,940

Best province: Alberta, 6.6%
Best riding (percentage): Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, 12.9%
Best riding (number of votes): Ottawa Centre, 6,766 votes

In the riding of Prince Edward/Hastings, where I am registered, Joseph Sahadat received 2387 votes. At 4.1%, it's slightly lower than the national average of the popular vote - but still, it's a start.

Stay calm, be brave, and wait for the sign

The Canadian pendulum has swung a little to the right, and there will be a minority Conservative government. Believe it or not, I think this is healthy. There will be some changes, but Canada will not become the 51st state of the United States of Jesusland.

I am intrigued by Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen Teskey. She rides a motorcycle, and she has a penchant for fostering stray kittens. How bad can it be?

Apart from the very unfortunate negative campaign ads*, the election was an extraordinarily civilized affair. To quote Rick Mercer: "At the end of the day, not a single shot was fired. And that, my friends, is a country worth voting for."

*Do you think Paul Martin was just tired, and subconsciously self-sabotaged?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Don't eat your ballot, eh?

So, tomorrow is election day in Canada. The election that no-one wanted will be history as of tomorrow.

There's a good article on the CTV website that reminds us that it is, in fact, illegal to spoil one's ballot.

According to section 167(2)(a) of the Canada Elections Act, "no person shall wilfully alter, deface or destroy a ballot." Conviction could bring a $500 fine or three months in jail -- even though the chances of getting caught are effectively nil.

Nil, that is, unless the spoiler wants to make a show of the protest -- by eating the ballot, for example.

So, even though he'd be a better Prime Minister than any of the current candidates, don't write "Wayne Gretzky" on your ballot, eh?

For the record, I voted for Joseph Sahadat of the Green Party. Yes, JeffDem, you guessed correctly! I have a feeling that the Green Party will pull in much more of the popular vote than the pollsters predicted.

Here's an approach I had not considered

One of the story arcs in my life as a drama queen is that the Department of Transportation would like to build a bypass outside my bedroom window. Since learning of this development (the day after viewing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for those of you who appreciate irony) I have been attending meetings, speaking to project engineers, and studying Eminent Domain law.

Of the three alternatives being considered, the DOT's preferred route - the one beside my house - is the most expensive, most disruptive, and least desired by the military, school district, and local community. Nevertheless, I had grudgingly accepted that progress would be marching right past my window.

Until now.

On the easterly shore of Loch Earn, in St Fillans, Perthshire, villagers successfully scuttled plans for a new housing estate when they protested that development would disturb the faeries.

Anyone know where I can find some little people?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Well, can you blame her?

From the CBC Newswire:

A growing fox population with a taste for urban treats is making its presence known in Yellowknife.

A 15-year-old boy was playing in his front yard Wednesday night in freezing weather when a fox destroyed his soccer ball and made off with an iced cappuccino.

It had to be a her. I hear that male foxes prefer espresso.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Can you tell I'm bored?

Blogthings - What Kind of Pie Are You?: "
You Are Lemon Meringue Pie

You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet
Those who like you have well refined tastes

As it happens, my favourite pie is lemon meringue. MMMMM.

Another quiz

Blogthings - What Kind of Coffee Are You?: "
You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Actually, I drink organic freshly ground coffee with organic milk. But close enough.

Wait until the midnight hour

Rest in peace, Wilson Pickett.

What Donut Are You?

Blogthings - What Donut Are You?: "
You Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

What are you waiting for?? I didn't post this for my health! Find out what kind of donut you are and report back to me. Especially all you lurkers out there.

because if you don't, you'll hurt my feelings ...

Something to make my honey smile

Here's what I'm going to make for dessert when you get home :)

Best friends forever?

A hamster and a rat snake appear to be peacefully cohabitating at the Tokyo Zoo.

There's a metaphor in there somewhere ...

PS: Mom, there's a picture of a snake in the linked article. Click forward at your own risk.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vengeance, not justice

The State of California executed Clarence Ray Allen yesterday. He had spent twenty-three years on death row.

It took two injections of potassium chloride to make his damaged heart stop beating.

Allen had suffered a heart attack in September. He asked prison officials to let him die in the event he went into cardiac arrest. His request was denied.

Just how much sense does that make?

No, you may not die. We have to kill you.

Are we safer now that a blind 76 year old is dead?

A very Canadian moment

Note the Buckley's toque, eh?

The weather has been wonky this month, vascillating between mild and rainy, and bitterly cold. A little ice rink was the result of one such fluctuation. William did very well in his first attempt at skating. Look out Jeffrey Buttle! Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 16, 2006

Six degrees of separation from a fictional character

Lynn Johnston, the creator of the For Better or For Worse comic strip, lives just outside my hometown of North Bay, Ontario. It amuses me to no end when I "get" the inside jokes and hometown references in her comic strip. Yesterday's edition shows John's efforts at exercise ending in injury.

"Dr. Eckler" is a real-live doctor. He delivered me (mumble mumble) years ago, and was my family doctor for the first 18 years of my life.
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bipolar Alien Cat

Gandalf's current mood: complete and utter contempt for me after I gave the dog some bones to chew on. Posted by Picasa

Voting by advance ballot

Democracy is a good thing. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stories for the election season

The fantabulous blog known as POGGE (Peace, order, and good government, eh) relates this great allegory today. Go check it out.

Hair emergency

Ten years ago, my husband and I were living la dolce vita in Vicenza, Italy. Steve was stationed at Caserme Ederle, and I was a lady of leisure who amused herself by volunteering in Army Community Health Nursing. The secretary at ACHN was an Italian woman of a certain age, with a certain sense of style that can only be achieved by Italian women of a certain age. Nadia took great pride in her appearance, and always strove to present la bella figura. Central to this image was perfectly coiffed hair. She said that she was literally unable to function on a bad hair day, and when such a catastrophe struck, she was compelled to take a personal day and visit her hairstylist to rectify the situation.

But even Nadia would not have gone as far as this teenager in my hometown of North Bay, Ontario, who called 911 because she was having a bad hair day.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I just watched the English Language Leader's Debate on the CBC website. I found it to be the same old, same old, with nothing new or substantial coming from any of the four white men invited to debate.

I might have derived more enjoyment out of these past two hours if I had found these bingo cards earlier. I award ten out of ten for style to the NDP's webmaster!

A General calls for Impeachment

Okay, it's a British Lieutenant General, and he's referring to Prime Minister Blair.

Odd. I see references to this news in The Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail.

CNN, Fox, and MSNBC don't seem to find this kind of thing newsworthy.

Oh really?

A new study says that over-the-counter cough syrups don't work.

I'll bet the researchers didn't include Buckley's in their study.

It tastes awful.

And it works.

Because it scares the bejeezuss out of the body, which will do anything to kick the immune system into overtime so that it doesn't have to take one more drop of Buckley's.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Has anyone seen Harry?

Female Snowy Owl, Thompson Park Zoo, January 2006. Posted by Picasa

Here Kitty Kitty

Mountain Lion or Puma or Cougar* or whatever this fine feline wishes to be called. Thompson Park Zoo, Watertown, NY. January 2006.
edited to add "or Catamount" at the behest of my eight year old who is clearly smarter than me.
 Posted by Picasa

Here come the NIMBYs

One look at the trees in my yard will tell you which way the wind blows. We often experience strong winds coming off of Lake Ontario, and our pine trees lean to the east as a result. My solar and wind-powered clothes dryer makes efficient use of this phenomenon.

On a larger scale, Governor Pataki wants harness the prevailing winds with a series of windmill farms around upstate NY. Predictably, there is NIMBY* type opposition to this proposal, spearheaded by Tom Golisano, no less. The same story is playing out in Prince Edward County, where my parents live.

Why do we, collectively, insist upon cutting off our noses to spite our faces?

On the flip side of this equation, I'm not hearing a lot about energy conservation. We are an incredibly wasteful lot on both sides of the border when it comes to electricity, and it's gonna come back to bite us in our collective, ample butts.

*Not In My Back Yard

Friday, January 06, 2006

Question asked, question answered

Phil S., who is wintering in sunny Kuwait, says that Farris Hassan went to Iraq based on faulty intelligence. That's about as good an explanation as any, I guess!

Lard t'undering Jesus, me son!

How drunk was ya when ya went moose hunting with your snowmobile, b'y?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Second verse, same as the first

I'm following the Canadian federal election campaign with great interest and a smattering of bemusement. It's a great three-ring circus, really.

Jack Layton caught my eye today with his promise of $200 million to train health-care workers.

Here are the specifics:

Layton made the comments in Winnipeg Thursday morning, where he announced that his party will set aside another $200 million a year to train health workers. Layton said that would fund the equivalent of another 16,000 nursing training spaces.

It's a great idea, Dr. Layton, but here's the fly in the ointment. The problem is not a shortage of trained nurses, but rather a shortage of decent jobs for new graduates in Canada. This is not a new problem. The cycle has been repeating itself for decades. "There's a shortage of nurses! Get your BScN, and you can write your own ticket to success!" A little bit of money is thrown around, nursing salaries go up - and then fatcat hospital administrators say "YIKES! Look at how much of our budget goes to nursing salaries! Lay off some nurses!" New graduates - the ones who pay union dues through the nose for the priviledge of being the first ones laid off - have a choice. They can choose to cobble together two or three casual part-time positions to pay off their student loans. Or, they can accept a full-time position at an American hospital, use that nice sign-on bonus to whittle away their student debt, and get on with their careers and their lives.

Dr. Layton, if you can address this part of the "shortage of nurses" equation, I'll be happy to exercise my democratic franchise in your favour.

Monday, January 02, 2006

To blog or not to blog

I have been reticent to comment about the
(mis)adventures of Farris Hassan, the 16 year-old rich kid from Fort Lauderdale who jetted off to Baghdad for a little "immersion journalism."

I really don't want to add one more nanosecond to this guy's fifteen minutes of fame, but I've got a few questions of my own.

How, precisely, does a teenager get onto an international flight without parental permission? Did anyone actually look at this kid's passport? Didn't his age raise any red flags at the gate?

Who is going to pay for his military flight from Baghdad to Kuwait, or for the flight from Kuwait to Europe during which he was accompanied by a US official?

Does this poor little rich boy understand the risks posed to the the soldiers of the 101st Airborne who escorted him from the Baghdad offices of the Associated Press to the US Embassy? Did he think they would have nothing better to do?

Or does this kid think at all?