Tuesday September 30 , 2014

Offerings of Pie

I’ve been baking apple pies lately and I’m telling the truth when I say that it gives me a sense of accomplishment I don’t get from any other endeavour when the crust is flaky and the filling just sweet enough to not be too tart.

I’ll add two spoonfuls of sugar to the next heap of chopped apples. One isn’t quite enough sweetness with these fresh tart macs currently being sold at the grocery store.

They’re apparently from a local orchard, too, which is an interesting departure from the usual. I remember, still, the wonder expressed by my mother the day she came home from Safeway (in the Sault, back in the day) to announce that apples and oranges were more or less the same price.

She could recall getting an orange in her stocking at Christmas, an incredible treat for a relatively poor family living in the Peterborough area of the 1920s, so it was a big deal that apples would be equivalent in price.

I’ve always had an appreciation for homemade pastry, I grew up with both, the appreciation and the homemade pastry.

My Gram, who was always in the kitchen (she liked to pretend she wasn’t allowed in other parts of the house) produced a new dessert probably every other day. Pies, cakes, cookies. But my mother also bought desserts on occasion, including delights from Paul’s Bakery, and although I ate them, too, it was with no particular pleasure.

I was the same snob then that I am now, you’ll be delighted to hear. When I took Home Ec in grade nine I was pretty much at my peak of obnoxiousness, though. My ratatouille was to die for, my brownies divine.

Honestly? Even I can’t make brownies now that are as delicious as those I used to make.

This morning, I had pie for breakfast. It’s my day off (working for money) or I’d have had eggs and the pie was still sitting there on the kitchen counter, my son having left  just enough for me and my Beau to each have a piece with our morning coffee.

I don’t know if he was being considerate (my son) or if he was just too full from the two giant pieces he must have had after we went to bed, having enjoyed a modest piece each – fresh out of the oven – while The National was on.

My pie baking happens whenever, usually later on in the evening.

It’s one of the many joys of adulthood minus having young children about the house, that I can enjoy a leisurely piece of pie for breakfast, and so I do. It struck me later on the dog walk with my Beau how it no longer even feels rebellious, it just feels adult.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about seeing plates of delicious looking desserts being passed around at one or another of the receptions our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was gracing with his exalted presence recently.

I saw the plates of delicious looking desserts and thought about how much I would have loved to take just one bite of the various offerings, no doubt concocted by the best pastry chefs in town, wherever town happened to be.

I don’t know if it was in New York for the UN conference on whatever it was on (ebola? Ukraine? climate change? ISIL?) or in Ottawa for the hosting of European men in suits signing corporate trade deals that will surely leave some of us better off than ever while the rest of us scramble around looking for pick up work in the malls of the nation.

Any more free trade and maybe I’ll just give up on selling ladieswear for minimum wage and wait out the dozen or so years (two more than necessary, too, thanks to our man, Stephen) until Old Age Security kicks in.

Just say no to working for money!

Interesting times we live in that the olden days victims of communism get a memorial while modern day victims of it in Hong Kong can re-stage Tiananmen Square and still be ignored in favour of our men in suits staying on good terms with the men in suits who run China.

What is it with our men and their suits? In Japan, during the summer, anyway, suits are considered politically incorrect garments to wear to work because they cause air conditioning needs to rise.

Climate change? What climate change. Our men won’t even forgo their suits, so powerful they apparently feel in them, next generations be damned.

Hey, our men in suits should switch to black robes and wave black flags back at ISIL, preaching the death and destruction that capitalism will wreak upon their earth should they not give up their infidel ways and start following our Great God of Money.

There’s always a subtext now when the men in suits send their – our? – men in uniform to war, too, isn’t there, that they’re doing it for us, women, and now, of course, journalists.

Those are some brave souls, eh? Journalists who go over to parts of the world that are either police states or lawless to get the straight skinny on what sort of fresh hell is being visited upon the ordinary men, women and children of the world un-freed by our Great God of Money.

And yet, if you watch very closely you’ll notice that they’re not portrayed so much as brave souls, the beheaded ones, as poor souls, victims of the wrong sorts of men, while the right sorts of men will exact vengeance on their behalf.

It’s outrageous, really, if you stop and think about it, which clearly no one ever does.

Remember when George W. Bush was the punchline of every late night talk show and then 9/11 and war and the Vanity Fair photo shoot of the War Team in the Oval Office? He sure showed the world who was a punchline, eh?

What does Stephen Harper really want? Does he eat the desserts being passed around at the receptions he holds for visiting men in suits? He famously doesn’t drink, although we have seen pictures of him drinking, but I guess he means he doesn’t drink drink, or want to drink, or enjoy drinking. Does he appreciate a glass of water when thirsty, I wonder? Sometimes I wait until I’m really thirsty and then I frantically rush into the kitchen and run the tap like we’re supposed to, although not for as long as we’re supposed to, fill a glass, and chug it down.

On occasion, I’ve left thirst quenching too late and I’ll be somewhere, desperate for water, and so I’ll ask “Can I have a glass of water?!” And whoever I’m asking will hop to it “Of course!” and produce a tall glass of water, usually with ice in it, too.

I’ve even had people add a slice of lemon, such consummate impromptu hosts be they.

I suspect the really terrible truth is that Stephen Harper believes he’ll ultimately be proven right, that appeasing the Great God of Money kept us free.

But I guess this entry is about the importance of pie after all because now I want to post about the mothers of a couple of boyfriends I had, one of whom is now my ex (in the husband sense) and how much I loved visiting them because whenever I did there’d be pie, homemade, fresh-baked. With my husband’s mother I even took to letting her know ahead of time that we’d be coming for a visit. She was a teacher and they kept horses and she had a much younger daughter she was still raising. My previous boyfriend’s mother worked, too, as a courtroom stenographer, but it was only part-time.

She not only made pie, she made donuts! Fresh daily donuts! She made them for my boyfriend’s dad, who was very old and cranky and whose twenty year rift with his two brothers, S. and M., over a brisket from Honest Ed’s, only ended when my relationship with his son did.

It’s their mothers I missed most, to be honest, and that missing has to do with their generosity with baked goods. Because it’s not easy work, making pie.

This morning I really had to think about why I shouldn’t eat that second and last piece of pie before my Beau had his fair share. In the end I reasoned that a second piece would be too much, that I’d enjoyed the first sufficiently, but there was also the feeling that I’d be better loved for leaving it, that the long term risk wasn’t worth the short term reward.

Still, I’m not so martyred that I didn’t tell him about it, that there but for the grace of I did he have pie.

 

Pantiless Women and Pantless Men

Hard to believe we’re in 2014 and men in the corporate media are still peddling the virginal bride vs whoring divorcee tripe trope of yesteryear, and getting away with it, as though any kind of challenge to it is an attack on freedom of the press, if not democracy.

Although I guess they’re one in the same, aren’t they, freedom of the press and democracy. Well, at least when one arm of the privately owned media calls a wannabe prime minister’s parents a couple of sluts, and the wannabe prime minister demands an apology before he’ll resume play (whatever difference that will make), the rest of the privately owned media and the publicly owned one, too, can debate its impact on democracy openly and without fear of reprisal from a government that hasn’t been playing for years.

Personally, I think it would be worth democracy’s while if the entire media (minus SNN, which is really just a privately-owned extension of the PMO) shunned Stephen Harper and his Conservative hangers on altogether for showing contempt for it, Parliament and the citizens of Canada who pay their salaries.

Although judging from the lobbying effort Stephen Harper put into involving Canada in America’s latest quagmire of death and destruction (climate change? what climate change…) it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Dick Cheney is paying him more.

But it’s pretty pathetic that instead of being shunned for his sexist slander of pantiless women, as if not wanting VPLs (visible panty lines) or enjoying that easy breezy commando feeling is a social crime, Ezra Levant is being called out for attacking the mentally ill, as if that’s all Maggie T was when she rebelled against being married to a closet jesuit thirty years her senior and ran off to Studio 54 to be with her people.

And really, it was surprisingly reassuring for this young Canadian the night Papa Pierre lost to Joe Clark, and Maggie T was contacted at Studio 54 for comment and she more or less said, “That’s a drag.”

Something like that, anyway. Whatever. It wasn’t the end of her world, that’s for sure, so I figured it shouldn’t be the end of mine, either. And it wasn’t. It was fun, especially when Maureen McTeer proved to be worse than Maggie T for being a women’s libber who kept her father’s name instead of taking her husband’s.

But even before all that, back before it was Maggie and Pierre and she was still the princess bride, I remember her snapping back at a reporter badgering her about what life was like with Pierre, “We both like to fuck a lot”.

There were always rumours their marriage wasn’t like other marriages.

By the way, it’s always struck me as interesting that Margot Kidder, whom Pierre also had sex with, suffers from mental illness in the form of bi-polar disease.

Maybe it was him. Maybe he made women go crazy. Literally, like.

I also remember something about Maggie getting on a plane for a tete a tete with the old ball & chain and getting off the same plane with a black eye.

Did I imagine that? Perhaps she already had the black eye?

I still say Joe Clark looks too much like Dief to not be his son by secretary Mary, Joe’s mother. And if Laureen Harper didn’t have an affair with a lady mountie then that’s one pervasive rumour that still has her having it and living at the Chateau Laurier while carrying out her first lady role with Stephen Harper as if he isn’t mad for Ray Novak, his chief of staff.

But whatever. Who cares. At least Stephen Harper just referred to women as a fringe group and not either madonnas or whores, which is essentially what Ezra Levant did in his latest stand-up routine for Sun News Network.

So I like that JT is shunning SNN, but I don’t like that when Thomas Mulcair stood up for Parliament and democracy and the citizens who pay MP and PM salaries, he turned into a prissy pants on behalf of his party (and nobody still likes you, Liberals!) and pretended the Speaker of the House isn’t guilty of being a Wanker in the First Degree.

“Oh you piece of shit”, I thought to myself as I vowed to actually do something this go ’round to defeat the Liberal shoo-in for MP and elect a New Democrat in his useless stead.

I live in one of those Franco-Ontarian ridings where the Liberal candidate would have to run naked through a sick kids’ hospital to have anyone questioning his right to represent us in public office.

It’s as if the political media is in a bit of a 50s time warp when it comes to women, though, isn’t it. Linda Griffiths, who did a play called “Maggie and Pierre” recently passed away of breast cancer, and although I didn’t see the play I do hope it was filmed because I want to see it now. I remember my older sister being somewhat of a devotee of Maggie T back in the day, and she’s aged similarly, too.

It annoys me that the good Maggie T did, which was plenty if you were d’une certaine age, is being excused instead of celebrated.

“Don’t you know that Margaret Trudeau suffers from mental illness, Ezra Levant?!”

Meanwhile, my theory is that JT, like a lot of men his age, is more respectful of women because he had a mother who left an unhappy marriage to do her own thing, as Diana Windsor did some two decades later.

William Windsor seems well adjusted, too, doesn’t he.

It’s been, what, four decades since Maggie T was signing pantiless autographs outside Studio 54 and we’ve had nude photos and sex tapes galore on the internet, including the worst most humiliating tex tape ever (thank you, Gene Simmons, for de-glamourizing the rock star life for air guitarists everywhere).

And still it goes on, eh? As if women come from Adam’s rib.

Back in the day, Frank magazine called out Brian and Mila Mulroney, who had been shamelessly – shamelessly – pimping their seventeen-year-old daughter, Caroline, in the international press, by pretending to have a “Deflower Caroline Mulroney Contest” – on the cover.

Yeah, as jokes go, it could have been funnier.

Meanwhile, Mulroney, a prime minister most famous for singing on stage with Ronald Reagan and showing up in Montreal hotel rooms to accept envelopes full of cash from a German lobbyist, threatened to, “Get a gun and go down there!”

Aline Chretien, the good wife who seems to have spent her years while The Old Monster took us further down our benign dictatorship route having face lifts and playing piano, famously fended off an intruder with an Inuit carving.

Haha, finally an Inuit carving comes in handy.

But when The Old Monster wraps his gnarly old street fighter hands around the throat of a much smaller man, supposedly a post traumatic reaction to the intruder he doubted the good wife about (he refused to get out of bed and deal with it, so she had to, the mounties being A.W.O.L. for reasons never clearly explained) and not a display of manly man manliness designed to discourage protest against his government.

Meanwhile, one of the best public belly laughs I’ve had, and several other people had, too, when I pointed to it in line at a Canadian Tire store in Ottawa, the same one that sold ammo to the street kid from Brazil who would use it to shoot dead Nicholas Battersby whom he joyrode by as he walked along an Ottawa street, was a Frank magazine cover of The Old Monster in a strait jacket, face mashed in a photo op of some face mashing kind, looking crazier’n a bag of hammers.

I guess I’m just old and I’ve had enough because even the bridal party irked me, the bride in her de riguer virginal whites, the bridesmaids in their crap crepes, the groom who, let’s face it, is no Clark Gable, as my mother wrote to my Gram of my father.

Ezra Levant didn’t catch it but I did, that look of, “Shit, what am I doing?!” on the bride’s face as she played along with dad’s set up and received a peck on the cheek from her good looking equal.

I know, I know, could you be more mean, Sooey? Well, probably. But now that we have the study that proves women tire of men sexually very quickly and save for patriarchal culture would toss boring old mister aside to boff brand spanking new hubba hubba – shortly after submitting to the bonds of holy matrimony (and we’re usually driving THAT bus, but whatever) – why are we the people still playing house when they the lawmakers aren’t even in it?

 

Brakes, What Are They Good For Anyway

I’m currently being spammed by a bot and just deleting my spam folder wholesale so if you’re a newcomer wanting to comment hold off for a day or two until it moves on please.

These bots are a curious thing. There’s no point to them, as far as I can tell, and yet, there go they, pretending to offer deals on this and that, praising my web blog for its timely information on this important topic, providing links guaranteed based on bot testimonials to increase traffic to my site.

My Conservative friend, who set up this website, is having serious car woes and is also preoccupied with his American ladyfriend and not much use to me anymore save for a rare drive to Costco and/or Canadian Tire for a few items. It’s all good, though, because by the time we actually get to Costco or Canadian Tire, I’ve forgotten all about whatever it is I thought I needed or improvised with stuff I already have or decided it’s not worth the time, effort and cost of making or installing whatever it is I thought would do the trick.

I have issues with money and can always justify not using it to calm my issues with everything else in life.

I’ll be very relieved when it’s all over, so remember that when you’re sobbing big globby tears all over your keyboard at the news of my passing, if such a day should ever come.

I’m agnostic on death.

I’m not agnostic on Richard Dawkins, though, so don’t tell him I said that, please. He’s had quite enough with people like me. But really, I think he should go to Russia and manage Pussy Riot, where challenging the notion that an all powerful being communicates through men in elaborate costumes can land a girl band in prison.

Pussy Riot needs you, Richard Dawkins!

Invade Estonia!

You’ll be relieved to know that at Costco I picked up a big bag of frozen fruit for my osteoporosis prevention smoothies – Smmmosteos – which I make with filtered 3% milk.

I have no idea what it means to filter milk, but I’m a sucker sometimes for certain words used in association with other certain words.

Also, a big box of chicken nuggets made with white meat (because chicken nuggets made with dark meat didn’t fly with the consuming public, I guess) that I’ll eat between two slices of white bread with lots of mayonnaise. I may invest in some lettuce to go with my chicken nugget sandwiches, lettuce that I’ll wash in a bowl with some cold tap water and a bit of vinegar.

One of the women on those camping with lesbians trips I can’t afford to do right now was in the army and she shared the vinegar tip with me.

No, it’s not that I can’t afford it, I just don’t like camping and no longer wish to pay for the privilege of doing it with lesbians, no matter how skilled they are at wilderness cooking.

That’s me being bad and breaking all my random foodie rules (eating chicken nugget standwiches), which are based partly on my favourite political quote, Anna Lappe’s “every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for what kind of world you want” and partly on Scottish Presbyterianism Gone Wild. And I’ve never tried it, but I will one day, a friend from the old days at the caucus, an Irish lass who was a dead ringer for Marianne Faithful, who, in my opinion, ranks as one of the most beautiful women in the world, used to put potato chips between two slices of white bread with lots of mayonnaise after a night out at the pub.

It would have to be Miss Vicky’s for me to enjoy it, though. Lays in a pinch.

We had a lot of fun together, my Irish friend and I, although never over “chip sandwiches”. She was always careful to keep me separate from whoever her boyfriend was at the time, after one of her ex-husbands called her up to ask after my health.

She told him I had just recently acquired herpes (not true – I have a horseshoe up my ass!) and to steer clear.

It wasn’t even that she was a jealous type (although she was) she just didn’t want to be bothered. She was an incredible slattern, as I recall, and terrible with money. She also walked away from a fortune inherited by her ne’erdowell ex that would eventually go to her daughter, an only grandchild. I guess she’d be in her late 30s now.

Crap, too old for my son, who could use a fortune to marry.

My son? Hell, too old for Peter MacKay!

Also, she was a vegetarian, which in the 80s didn’t include fish and/or eggs, or she’d have died of malnutrition.

Here’s a funny story about her. She managed to find herself, after a couple of unsatisfactory digs (and being related to the Queen, as all assorted British immigrants to Canada inevitably are) an apartment in a house in one of those perpetually up-and-coming black holes of downtown Toronto that for some inexplicable reason met with her standards of what’s what. Except that the carpet, she decided, need redoing and so it was that she called in a consultant from Sears to have a look.

It was the only time I was ever in a residence of hers, such was her determination to keep me well away from her boyfriends, who weren’t my type anyway, since I had my now ex the entire time I knew her, and I wish I’d had a video camera to record the reaction of the consultant from Sears as she surveyed the dingy abode the anemic looking renter in thrift shop raggery was planning to have re-carpeted.

Finally, after about half an hour of swatches and gibby gabbing about light through greasy front north facing windows and no light at all from east or west, I suggested we get down to the nitty gritty of quotes.

And so the consultant from Sears quoted the price for the lovely dune shade of sisal, assuming living-room and stairs only, and my friend looked at me, and then back at the consultant from Sears, and so I added, “She means per square foot, P.”

Because, of course, she had no idea, did she. And so the maniacal laughter and even the consultant from Sears joined in after a while and P. swore her to secrecy, and me, too, although I told everybody as soon as we got back to the office because it was just so funny and so P. that she thought she could afford wall-to-wall carpeting from Sears when she couldn’t even afford its footwear.

But that reminds me, too, of another Irish friend from the old days at the caucus. She’s now a spokesperson for gay and lesbian rights and whatnot and she and P. and I were talking one day, or rather, they were talking about Dublin, and I asked, “What was it like, though, growing up with all that violence?”

“What violence?”

“Well, you know, the IRA, Northern Ireland right next door. All that violence.”

“Oh well, that’s Belfast. We lived in Dublin. The troubles in Belfast are as far away from Dublin as they are from Toronto.”

And, you know, P. might think that of anything anywhere but H. was/is very well-informed politically and so that always stuck with me because she was being very honest about how unaffected she was by the violence in Belfast growing up in Dublin.

But apparently, after the Berlin Wall came down, it was a difficult adjustment for West Germans because East Germans, their kin, were as politically different from them as, apparently, half the Scots of Scotland are from the Scots of Great Britain, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

There isn’t strength in numbers, though, is there, or 1% of the people of the world wouldn’t essentially own it, would they.

But be cheered, my Conservative friend let it slip that he is now one of them, or, at least, his company is, the 1%, and he’s no closer to having his serious car woes solved than I would be if I owned a car with faulty brakes because, you know, life in Canada reached its peak in the 70s (under PET, but that’s me interjecting) when we had all that we needed, which is sex, drugs, and rock & roll (that’s him, so I interjected again with how much I like having a house, but he interjected back that you could have a house in the 70s, too, or, at least, your parents could) and that nothing that has happened since, particularly to do with technology, has improved our lives in the slightest.

That’s the field that got him to the 1%, by the way, technology, although to be fair, his father was probably pretty close to the 1% back in the 70s, if we’d thought to have such a thing in the good old days instead of just a spreading middle-class country of immigrants voting for peace, order and good government.

 

Hey, Let’s Bomb Cancer!

Oh wait, we are, ISIL is cancer, isn’t it.

That’s what Obama calls ISIL, anyway. Cancer. And he’s going to perform bombing surgery on it.

I lurve “Boring Obama” below. Every time I look at it I laugh. Whoever took the photo should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

I know what you’re thinking, rightwing lunatics, “Yabbut, you’d say anybody but Stephen Harper should get the Nobel Peace Prize, Sooey”.

It’s true. Tabatha Southey, who I’ll read later today, after the man of the house buys the Saturday Globe (funny, isn’t it, what gender decides), apparently has a piece in today lamenting that Stephen Harper gets to be the Prime Minister at the same time when a ship from that damned Franklin expedition is discovered.

I can’t be happy about anything that might give credit to Stephen Harper. He could solve climate change and I’d be shaking my head that he only did it for himself.

Ooh. Could somebody convince Stephen Harper that if he solved climate change he’d only be doing it for himself, please?!

Omigawd, way to solve climate change much, Sooey?

By the way, it took me several looks before I even noticed the woman in the photo, who is camouflaged as the flag. My sister-in-law, after I emailed “Boring Obama” to her and my brother (and my kids, my mom, my ex, etc) suggested, “Maybe it’s the artwork”.

Check out the artwork. So boring. I didn’t notice it, either. Heck it took me a few seconds to notice the kid trying to smother himself in the couch, Obama is so boring.

I may commission my daughter, who’s a fabulously talented artist, to copy the artwork for me to put above the couch. Or maybe I’ll blow up “Boring Obama” and put it above the couch and the copied artwork on the wall opposite.

I actually tweeted about blowing up “Boring Obama” on 9/11, if you can believe it. I know, eh? Lucky to be here on 9/13, that’s for sure.

Okay, it was accidental on purpose.

When the kids were little I bought high-quality postcards for them to do artwork on and send to their grandmother, who also paints. Anyway, I just tossed it off to them as a little make work project to keep them busy, something I had to be careful about in future because, o.mi.god. My oldest, having been given an assignment, perused her library reference book about birds, and painstakingly reproduced a photograph of an eagle.

Using Crayola water paint pencils.

It looks like a Bateman.

I kept it as a reminder that children aren’t ours, they’re other people, more like children everywhere than adults anywhere, and they have a different appreciation of time, space, energy, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

It’s important to pay attention sometimes.

I experience that in my retail job, too, working with the university girls. It’s a privilege, really, to revisit vicariously that time in my own life. We do grow old, though, even in this sibling society of ours that Conservatives so much want to deny, and while it may not always be mental/emotional, it sure as hell is physical.

I have to limber up in the mornings now or I creak.

Speaking of “Boring Obama”, some smart-alec (aleck?) put together a slide show, currently making the rounds of Facebook, of the past four presidents all announcing to Americans that it was time to bomb Iraq.

George Bush Sr, Clinton, George Bush Jr, and Obama.

Isn’t it weird that that nattering nabob of negativity, Dick Cheney, won’t shut up and go away but George Bush Jr. has gracefully retired to paint portraits of men in suits?

It would be nice if young men (and women, although I’m with Gloria Steinem, not just on the misanthropy of war, but on the misogyny female soldiers are expected to ignore from men here while they wage war on men there) just stopped signing up and politicians had to run for re-election on re-instating the draft.

Or didn’t, and just re-instated it, because we’ve become that powerless in our own democracies, and everybody was forced to wake up and smell the coffee.

I’m feeling bullied by men on the internet into pretending to care that Rob Ford may or may not have a life threatening illness that has caused him to drop out of the race for mayor and down into a race for councilor, while his other brother, Doug, scrambles to file registration papers on time so he can take his place in the mayor’s chair.

Eff off, eh? (I’m trying to cut down on swearing.) No, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Rob Ford. He’s just another dangerous man in a world run by dangerous men.

Head’s up, by the way, when the rumour was that he had a blockage in his colon, lots of possibilities came to mind as to who it might be.

Yup. Joe Warmington, come on down, you win!

(I have no idea who Joe Warmington is, so don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.)

I figure if the men of power and politics really cared about Rob Ford themselves, who was acting an awful lot like Lady MacBeth, if you ask me, which no one ever does, they’d ask him if he knows what happened to Jaclyn Dawe, missing since February 9, 2013 (when rumours of the crack smoking video first surfaced), her car abandoned outside 51 Benway (where the crack smoking took place).

I can’t be the only woman who wonders if Rob Ford knows anything about what happened to Jaclyn Dawe. Or maybe Stephen Harper knows. He seems to know a lot about missing Aboriginal girls and women, enough not to feel the need for a national inquiry into their whereabouts, anyway.

Oh what I’d give to be a fly on the rod of one of their fishing trips together, although I suspect it’s just another fabricated relationship.

“Owen doesn’t have any friends!”

For sure we won’t find ourselves basking beside the men of power and politics in the reflected glory of another politician’s passing. Or not. Whatever. Even Jesus didn’t care about EVERYBODY. Remember the vendors in the temple?

Grr. I hate it when politicos pretend they’re better than Jesus.

Anyway, go look at “Boring Obama”. It’s funny. Even ISIL thinks so.

And ISIL doesn’t have cancer, it is cancer.

 

Boring Obama

 

Knocked Up/Knocked Out – A Woman in the News

I tell my kids, it’s not the other person, it’s the relationship, and all sorts of factors that are beyond your control can have an effect on the relationship.

To drive it home, I tell them that if I was looking, and met their dad today, I might rope him off from the herd and live happily ever after.

Although, I might just leave him to somebody else and instead get a groovy bachelorette somewhere hip and happening and live out my days as a party of one.

There’s always the internet for company. In fact, that’s sometimes the problem, isn’t it.

A friend in university who used to steal all our boyfriends away from us because she was a 5’2″ blond gymnast who liked sex once told me she stayed away from dildos because she was worried they might be better than the real thing.

So yes, I told two friends, and they told two friends, and she ended up getting 64 dildos for her birthday.

As I blogged a while back, I read an Anne Tyler novel, one of many that I’ve read over the years, and in this one the wife/mother walks away, literally, from her life in one town to start a new one down the highway.

Spoiler Alert!

The ending is disappointing and satisfying at once, in that she ends up back home, everyone a year further along in life. I was attracted to her spartan new life (and liked her more for it), but I could feel myself growing suspicious when she became Mary Poppins to a divorced father and son and extended family, all of whom seemed to be at an earlier stage of development than the family she had left behind.

Anne Tyler always errs on the side of the side of the original marriage. But the older I get, the less frustrated it makes me that she does.

I was on the dog walk (a commenter asked for a good dog story, to compensate for my bad dawg story of two days ago, so unfair, really) with my Beau today and as usual I chatted the entire time and as usual he didn’t scream, “Shut up! Just shut up, you crazy stupid yakking bitch! Can’t you see I’m t’inkin’!” Not that my ex did, either, but I didn’t chat to him as much because by the time we had a dog, we had three kids, too, and I walked the dog by myself and he played video games in the basement.

Yeah, yeah, the kids hung out together doing whatever. Get off our backs.

(And actually, my ex did delight in yelling, “Shut yer trap, I’m t’inkin’!”, but it was all in good fun. We’d just be sitting there and I’d start, “So”, and he’d yell, “Shut yer trap, I’m t’inkin’!” He also delighted in yelling, “Godabed!” whenever one of the kids would approach him to fix a toy or somesuch. It was a riff on that AA commercial featuring the drunk dad sitting in his armchair and the kid asking him to fix his broken truck and the drunk dad fumbles around for a bit and then yells “Godabed!” We laughed ourselves silly over it. All of us. It was hilarious. Every. Single. Effin’. Time.)

“So -”

“Shut yer trap! I’m t’inkin’!”

“Dad? Can you -”

“Godabed!”

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

But he has a better relationship with a different woman and I have a better relationship with a different man and even if I didn’t I’d rather have a groovy bachelorette on my own now than another romantic relationship.

I read an angry rant today posted on my FB page by a young woman about how racist and sexist and victim-blaming we’re all being with regard to the girlfriend, now wife, of the football player who knocked her out cold. She’s angry that we’re watching video replays of the elevator assault, and wants us to stop.

But while I agree it’s invasive, I don’t think there’s much to be done about it. And while we should empathize more than we do “victims’ rights” is just a manipulative and cynical component of the larger agenda by Conservative politicians to roll back civil liberties and meddle/muscle in our system of justice.

We should all enjoy the same rights, no need for special ones.

But when I saw her lying there in her short skirt it brought back an unseen image of my daughter in the early days of grade ten passed out drunk in the washroom at a high school dance.

I got a call from the vice-principal, could I please come and pick up my daughter, she’s passed out drunk in the girls’ washroom.

“Omigawd! Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. The police are with her.”

“The police?! Omigawd!”

“No, no, the police were already here, they were here anyway, she’s fine, we just need you to come and pick her up.”

But I couldn’t pick her up because I didn’t (and still don’t) have a car, but, of course, she told the vice-principal to call me because she didn’t want to involve her dad. Alas, he had the car and so had to be called.

And after he picked her up, he dropped her off, at my place, refusing even to help me get her out of the car and up to my apartment.

Okay. Now I’m mad all over again. That, was not cool, not cool at all.

But before the uncool drop-off and while I was still on the phone to the vice-principal, she advised me that my daughter would be suspended for two days.

“Okay. I guess. But look, isn’t that just stigmatizing her further? I mean, I don’t want her to be that girl who showed up drunk at the school dance.”

At which point the vice-principal didn’t laugh, exactly, but I’m pretty sure I heard her eyes roll.

“No, no, you don’t understand. This happens all the time. It happens during school hours. There’s no stigma. It’s not about stigma. The suspension is to provide a break between the event and the behaviour we want from students when they’re on school property.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, you’ll have to call her dad because he has the car.”

Discipline isn’t my thing, worry is my thing, and it was hard to get rid of the image of my daughter lying on the washroom floor in her cute little dress, barf in her hair, etc etc etc. So while she barfed all night into a bucket (so she wouldn’t have to get up and make it to the bathroom, of which we only had the one) her younger brother got a teaching moment and her older sister got the mom-needed info that there was nothing more to the event than a mixture of household booze obtained at a friend’s place.

Did I tell you we all lived in a one bedroom apartment together every weekend for seven years?

That’s several years ago now and I don’t know if anyone took photos of her in that state but later in her life when someone took photos of her in another state (and state) and then tried to blackmail her into marrying him, and she finally decided to tell me the truth about her mysterious comings and goings, I advised her, “Well, I guess you’d better marry him, then.”

“Mom!”

“Well, I don’t see that you have any choice.”

Because, of course, I did. And so did she. And then to make her feel better I said, “By the way, don’t tell anybody but I made a sex tape and posted it on the internet and now it’s gone totally viral. Okay. You can tell everybody. Too late. I already did.”

So the girlfriend, now wife, of the football player who knocked her out cold is upset that, thanks to the media, a video of the event is there for anybody with internet access to watch (and they played it on The National last night, with a warning by Peter Mansbridge that it is “hard to watch”, even though it isn’t).

The whole media circus is having a negative effect on their new life together as man and wife, she says, and the young woman author of the piece I read this morning concurs.

(It seems these days like all days the woman in the news is always just the girlfriend or wife or pregnant, and the man is always SOMEBODY, and the baby is going to be SOMEBODY, most likely our future King, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.)

I suppose it does take away from the honeymoon, a video on the nightly news of your new husband knocking you out cold back when you were just his girlfriend. Also, he’s not a football player anymore, just some putz in anger management counseling to avoid jail time.

And yeah, Rihanna, to whom a poster of inspirational quotes making the rounds of Facebook is dedicated, a sample of which includes, “I ain’t got no fucks to give”, well, sure, she can go on from being punched in the face by Chris Brown to joining him in holy matrimony, too, her choice, no one’s got a gun to her head, unless and until he does, but whatever.

And yet, maybe we’ve come a long way, baby, when a young woman can publish an angry rant in support of another young woman’s wish that we all unwatch a video of her being knocked out cold by her now husband so that they can enjoy their newly married lives together in peace and harmony.

While other women send tweets to #WhyIStayed, using the internet to send messages of support, encouragement, and understanding to themselves, each other, and the rest of us.

Breathe in, breathe out, and repeat after me: Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to empathize.

 

 

 

 

Where Have All The Jihadis Gone…

The title’s a riff on Marlene Dietrich’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, which I learned in grade two, along with “Red Rubber Ball” and “Winchester Cathedral”.

Our teacher, Miss R, was a drug addict/alcoholic who was into music and creepy stories, like “I Am Joe’s Spine” from Reader’s Digest, and “The Search for the Girl with the Blue (Green?) Eyes”, which was a book about reincarnation.

Several years later she took to calling our house, slurred remembrances of things past that I’m pretty sure had nothing to do with me, but by then my older sister and brother were gone and there was a possibility the call might be for me so I always answered the phone when it rang.

It never was, except for the times when it was Miss R. Finally, I told my mom about it and the next time Miss R called my mom told her to lay off the booze. I’m not sure if she was more weirded out that Miss R had been calling our house or that I had been taking her calls, but that was the end of that.

It’s funny, I don’t think of my mother as being very involved in my life growing up, in a protective sense I mean, but I’m still here, so I guess she was, somewhat, at least.

Still, it was an awfully subtle kind of caring.

I’m more of an internet addict than my kids are, and communicate on it without reservation, as if I’m writing a letter to my friend E. that I will then have delivered to her home by post, so that she can read it a week hence from its writing, and not posting it online for anyone anywhere with internet access to read anytime.

But it’s all outward bound, my addiction, offloading into cyber space. I want to be read, yes, that’s why I write, and I welcome commentary, but I put it out there and leave it.

And it’s true, I am my biggest fan.

But that’s not what this entry is about, because this entry is about a somewhat revealing non-fact mentioned, almost in passing, on The National the other night. It had to do with all the young men headed over to Syria to fight with ISIL, the non-fact being how a majority of Canadians supposedly feel about it.

I call it a non-fact because it was just a random bit of possible information gleaned from a poll, so meaningless, really, but it also more or less reflected how I realized I feel, particularly after seeing, on The National, night after night, a clip of young men ripping up their passports, throwing them into the fire, and threatening, “We’re coming for you, Canada”.

Oh really? How? You just burned your passports.

Y”eedjits.

Later, on another episode of The National, when I hear that they’ve been killed while fighting with ISIL (or more likely, not fighting with ISIL, but that’s not the point here) I think of the clip, since played over and over and over on The National, of them ripping up their passports, throwing them into the fire, and threatening, “We’re coming for you, Canada”.

As if they weren’t Canadian, no doubt having learned how to start a passport burning fire at YMCA camp.

Like me, the poll claims, more Canadians don’t care about young jihadis going over to Syria to fight for ISIL, than do – as long as they don’t come back.

Which, well, without passports…

The National doesn’t mention how Canadians feel about our young jihadis dying over in Syria, but I can tell you, having seen the clip, many times, of them ripping up their passports, throwing them into the fire, and threatening, “We’re coming for you, Canada”, well, c’est la vie, eh?

And yet, when I first saw the clip it struck me as a transparent attempt to manipulate me into feeling anger towards Muslims, and I couldn’t believe that other Canadians wouldn’t feel that way, too.

I mean, what do we really know about who/where/why or even when?

But after seeing it again and again and again, I became annoyed. If the Canadians polled were people like me, people who’d seen that clip a dozen or so times, no wonder they’re hoping for one-way trips.

Ungrateful little shits.

But, you know, imagine if Canadians saw a clip of Stephen Harper telling American Republicans over and over night after night on The National: “Canada is a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. If you’re like all Americans, you know almost nothing about countries other than your own. Which makes you more knowledgeable about at least one country more than most Canadians.”

We’d be just as happy if he didn’t return home from selling us out abroad to multinational corporate psychopaths on what by now must be frequent flyer points, wouldn’t we.

Okay. Happier.

Okay. Be honest. It wouldn’t even take hearing him describe us as lazy and stupid.

 

 

Passive Agression This!

I read the Saturday Globe because I like the columnists in it and even when I don’t agree, necessarily, I appreciate the considered opinion.

I always agree with Elizabeth Renzetti, though, sort of, almost. Did you know she’s married to Doug Saunders? I kind of agree with him, too, a bit, mostly.

I wonder if they run their columns by each other until they’ve reached a certain level of agreeableness before sending them to their editors (does the Globe still have editors, I wonder?) who exclaim in agreement, “Yes! Sort of! Almost! Close enough to what I might have thought!”

But I think it was the Saturday Citizen that had an article about an author, Michael Harris – (I don’t know if it’s the same Michael Harris of iPolitics or not, the fellow who shouts into the wind about how awful Stephen Harper is as both a politician and a person) – who took himself off the internet for a month because he found himself addicted to it.

I have to stop commenting on the only blog I do because I realized yesterday, finally, that I don’t like who I become when I do.

The other day at one of my groups – (I’ll just just use its initials “AA” so as not to give away which one) – a friend expressed shock that I get worked up about opinions expressed by others – (i.e. men, but also women – I just react more carefully because I am one and I’ve been stalked and harassed and slandered and yadda yadda blah blah) – on the internet.

“I don’t believe it! You?”

Well, you can imagine if you’ve witnessed how frustrated I can get on the only blog I comment on that I would think she was kidding.

She wasn’t. She was serious. She couldn’t imagine me getting worked up over a political blog on the internet because I’m so calm and reasonable.

Okay. That’s enough. You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, it turns out that she isn’t always the wise and forbearing soul at home that she is at “AA”, either. Although I’m sure she’s very funny.

Or maybe she isn’t. Maybe her sense of humour flies out the window of her kitchen when another adult wanders in to ask “what’s for dinner?” and she throws spoons at him and runs to her bedroom in tears, so tired is she of taking responsibility for what passes down his neverending gullet.

Yes, that was passive aggression.

Myself, I lose perspective. It’s a rut thing and the only way to get out of it is to hop to the side and find another way to get there. Or not go. Or go somewhere else. As I unwittingly included in a swipe at the blogger “the combinations and permutations are endless”. But now that I’ve recognized the problem – my reaction – I can do something about it.

So I read Margaret Wente and I don’t really agree with anything but I do recognize bits and pieces and ditto Christie Blatchford and I come away thinking it interesting that they have such a different perspective on it all. Even Barbara Amiel I can read and think “my, she’s such a clever bullshitter, Canada’s own Becky Sharp”.

That may be an old Frank magazine reference, by the way. They used to have a lot of fun with Babs.

Anyway, one of the other commenters on the blog I will now spare my insights – (I know, passive aggression, but I’m a woman after all, worse, a mother) – accused, no, suggested, that I come across on it as anti-male.

Well, okay. Certainly it’s his opinion that I come across as anti-male, or he wouldn’t have accused, I mean, suggested that I do.

But then he said that the “men here have your back”, and I’m afraid my anti-man-o-meter went up to 11 and instead of allowing him to pretend to himself that it’s true, I commented that it isn’t, that men don’t have my back, that men don’t have any woman’s back.

That they don’t even have our front and that’s where our tits are.

Now, please, bear with me. I’m not talking about you, and me, and our relationship with each other here or even there. I’m talking about the roles we play in various contexts.

Sometimes, I flashback to playing an eight year old girl and widow’s child being lectured by a friend’s father who beats his wife and daughters about women’s lip and Trudeau and how together they’ll destroy the cushy life he’s made for his women.

I’m not misremembering (which a former bookclubber insists is not a word but the computer didn’t underline it whereas it underlined bookclubber) such scenarios. My friend later turned to religion and was killed by a drunk driver coming home from a revival meeting, her sister witnessing it all from the car behind.

Another Highway of Tears – Hwy 17 North.

I remember wearing a paper Trudeau dress, going door-to-door, delivering pamphlets, grown men yelling at me, open handed threats, slamming doors.

I didn’t intend for this entry to go here, by the way, but here is where it’s gone.

My friend B. who worked so hard doing communications for the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park back in the day that they took her completely for granted and made sure she never got the promotion she deserved, used to say of No Fault Divorce, “Thank you Mother Mary for Pierre Elliot Trudeau”.

She wasn’t Catholic, but she’s a Philosopher Queen.

And I haven’t talked to her about it but I know she’d feel like I do about Justin Trudeau putting it out there for everybody to hear and know that if you aren’t pro-choice, don’t bother running as a candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada.

See, the NDP was/is pro-choice, decided at policy conventions, yadda yadda blah blah, but, well, its members aren’t necessarily, and while that doesn’t really bother the men of the NDP so much, it bothered and bothers the women.

They just won’t out with it, that’s all. You’d almost think it was no big deal, the fundamental human and civil right to the legal right, at the very least, to not bring an unwanted pregnancy to term, so not insistent are women on the left that men on the left be pro-choice if they want to represent their party on the national stage.

I don’t necessarily agree with Justin Trudeau, much, often, sometimes. He can say that no country in the world would leave all that oil in the ground but it’s still a fact that we should be the country that does, because it’s not oil we’re leaving in the ground, it’s carbon. And I think Tom Mulcair is principled and intelligent and deserving of being Prime Minister.

But it’s a big deal to me that a male politician finally acted like a leader, even for women, and said “enough” to this ongoing male-dominated debate about what should not be up for debate, the legal right of female citizens to not bring pregnancy to term.

Rape, failed birth control, drunken mistake, change in circumstances. It’s not my or your business why and it’s the least men can do for women – ensure that abortion is legal. They can add safe and rare if they want. I don’t care. Just please, no more publicly funded legislators spending all their time and effort trying to re-criminalize it.

Men on the left may see what Justin Trudeau has done as no biggie, but women on the left know better whether they speak up and say so or not.

And no, I don’t characterize what he’s done as having my back. I characterize it as doing the right thing. By everybody. It’s not a favour to women, he’s not doing us a solid, he’s recognizing and acting on systemic sexism.

He’s contributing towards equality.

But it occurs to me, too, that he’s a younger man than we’re used to leading political parties, whose mother left his father and went on to have a whole other life out from under. I live with a man who’s had that experience, too. And he has friends. It’s my opinion that these men are better for it, but it could be that they’ve just grown up in a more equal world than did people my own age.

The fact is, his experience informs his politics just like my experience informs mine, and in spite of our opposite gender, difference in age, and contrasting lifestyles, we seem to have oodles in common when it comes to the sort of country we want Canada to be, or at least the sort of country we’d like it to be.

Anyway, my point is – (and you thought I didn’t have one, didn’t you, admit it) – I take politics personally, I guess, and while men may feel that they’re not getting the political representation that they deserve, from anybody within our first past the post partisan political party yadda yadda blah blah system, it’s my considered opinion – (as a woman, mind) – that maybe we should better synchronize our watches because their timing appears to be off, kinda, sort of, maybe?

Whatever. Only your mother has your back. But you have to call her or she’ll write you out of the will.

Yes, it’s passive aggression.

 

Can We Talk?

Sure.

“Palestinians deserve to die!”

When I was a kid, Joan Rivers was my favourite comedian. She’d show up on the Ed Sullivan show, the antidote to cheesy ol’ Topo Gijio or Charo or any number of boring singers and lame comedians and make my day before bedtime.

I was a very discerning child. My mother was a nazi about bedtime, except on Sunday night when I was allowed to watch Ed Sullivan.

And it’s true what’s being said about her, unlike a lot of people (although not comedians) Joan Rivers never mellowed.

Louis CK is mellowing, though, and I think it makes him even funnier.

He’s going with it, I guess, making mellowing funnier than not mellowing.

Is there anything Louis CK can’t make funny?

Let’s face it, Joan Rivers was more than a comedian, she was a trailblazing diva with a fascinating life. Uncompromisingly and fearlessly mean for the sake of a cheap laugh, a life so publicly lived that for a while there you couldn’t turn on the television without hearing her bare it all in her fabulous rasp.

Ironic that throat surgery did her in, eh?

I remember once on her talk show she had a woman on who ran masturbation workshops. Another time she had on Connie, the groupie, of Grand Funk Railroad fame.

Another time, she had Melissa on, her precious precious only child, a daughter, who showed up in a long plaid shirt and jeans and said to the audience that her father who had just committed suicide was her parent.

Her mother wasn’t a parent, she said.

The best, really, so honest, her life was that open sore as opposed to an open book that my friend A. and I joked about back in the day.

“I wanted pizza, not gonorrhea.”

Long story.

But Joan Rivers was also a monster whose last words were “Palestinians deserve to die!” shrieked at reporters before she hustled herself into a car.

And why her plastic surgeon hasn’t been charged with committing an indignity to a human body is beyond me. Joan Rivers at the end looked like Carrot Top and Mickey Rourke had a baby, ferchrissakes.

Cher, who was a friend of Joan Rivers, once famously said to critics of her plastic surgery obsession, “I’ll put my tits on my back if I want to”. It was cool, because Cher was cool.

She was also an actress, not a comedian.

She also went through a very uncool phase when she wouldn’t accept Chastity, her daughter, as Chaz, her son. Personally, I don’t think she’ll ever come back from that, although she might. Chaz is pretty uncompromising.

Omigawd, I just realized how hard it must have been for Joan Rivers not to make fun of Sonny’s death by skiing into a tree. Maybe she did. Maybe Cher did, too.

She is an actress, after all. Brilliant in “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean”. And “Silkwood”, where she went up against her aggressively heterosexual public persona to play a lesbian in love with Meryl Streep.

The Nature of Things the other night linked fecundity in females to homosexuality in men, by the way, so if you’re from a large family you’re probably gay.

You’re welcome.

It’s not a sexist thing anymore, is it, plastic surgery – it’s a rich thing. A rich celebrity thing, mostly. You’re not getting older, you’re getting weirder looking. It’s all good in Hollywood.

Like Whoopi Goldberg said after “it’s not rape rape”, “it’s Hollywood”.

You can tell by all the weird looking old people, I guess.

And rapists.

But the elephant in the living room when it comes to comedy is that plastic surgery takes away from it. The court jester isn’t believable as funny when s/he looks like one of the people she’s supposed to be making fun of, not one of us.

Also, even if Stephen Harper and Benjamin Netanyahu had a baby, “Palestinians deserve to die!” probably wouldn’t leave ‘im rolling in the aisle.

Okay. It might.

So yeah, can we talk?

 

New World Disorder

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology has the acronym SAIT, and if you google “terrorists – SAIT”, a Calgary Herald article comes up concerning a couple of brothers currently (allegedly) fighting for ISIS (or whatever the hell it’s called this week) in Iraq or Syria (or wherever the hell ISIS is making gains or losing ground on this day of our Lord September 5, 2014).

Oh shit. Better look out. We’re only a week away from 9/11.

No wait, 4 days. We’re only 4 days away from 9/11.

No wait, 6 days. 9′s the month, 11′s the day. 5 + 6 = 11.

Whew.

That was quick. It seems like only a dozen years or so since the very day, doesn’t it.

I know, I know. Too soon, Sooey, too soon!

Anyway, apparently the brothers, or, at least, one of the brothers, went to SAIT and played on the Trojans.

Oh, and both brothers lived in an apartment building in Calgary along with all of Canada’s other homegrown terrorists who also attended SAIT.

No word on how many of them played for the Trojans.

Volleyball? Basketball?

Oh, who cares, right? One of those sports involving a ball.

Hey, I just realized how different hockey is from all other sports except badminton!

No wonder Stephen Harper loves hockey so much he had Roy MacGregor write a book about it for him.

Speaking of Stephen Harper, far be it from me to suggest that all of Canada’s homegrown terrorists seem to live in our Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize nominee’s own riding, or right next door to it in Jason Kenney’s riding, or well, whichever one of our Alberta Conservative governing MPs Calgary riding has an apartment building full of homegrown terrorists in it.

And/or SAIT, which I’m sure receives funding from at least one level of Canadian government, not that I’m saying it shouldn’t, just that, well, maybe the CRA could do an audit of its alumni association?

Just kidding. That was a joke. The CRA should continue its audits of Canadian organizations involved in important research that benefits all Canadians and not just tarsands developers.

Really, if you stop and think about it, it’s no wonder conspiracy theories end up taking over the internet, because, well, remember how western governments were so reluctant to do anything much about the Assad regime in Syria because the Netanyahu regime in Israel was okay with it, even though the UN believed it was gassing its own citizens to death using a chemical weapons stockpile that, like, supposedly got towed out to sea by… the French?

And good thing (not about the chemical weapons, about the Assad regime) because now we’re pretty much okay with it, too, on account of the blowback from George W Bush’s Mission Accomplished in Iraq (that Stephen Harper supported 100%) that has turned out to be worse than Al Queda, which didn’t operate out of Iraq, anyway, but, oh well.

Who knew?

Well, lots of people, but whatever. Reality, like Saudi Arabia, is mostly irrelevant and don’t bother trying to say it isn’t.

And an Al Queda mullah (a guy with an unholy beard, anyway) says Al Queda’s all about India now so, like, watch out, infidels.

India. Geez Louise. Good luck with all that, Al Queda.

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper, who is often saluted now by members of our armed forces, for some reason no one seems to understand but anyone who can never questions, not that Dear Leader entertains questions about his increasingly bizarre behaviour, anyway, is sending armed forces, so, I guess, troops, to Iraq to fight ISIS.

Okay. ISIL.

Too late, I called it. ATNN: Absurdity – the new normal.