Monday October 20 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

There, But for the Grace of Sharon, Lois & Bram

I’m being spammed again, bots galore, so if you’ve never commented on an entry before, hold off while the rightwing nutjob responsible for tech support, DOES SOMETHING!!

Meanwhile, if you’ve already commented here your comment will show up in comments for publication, as opposed to the spam filter where all the bots and newcomers end up.

We had really happy news this morning from rellies elsewhere, happy news I didn’t realize I needed to hear until I heard it. New life is just the ticket sometimes, isn’t it, not that there’s anything wrong with old life.

No wait, I take that back. Old life is a pain in the ass, although better than the alternative, as my mother would say.

I should join one of those Dying with Dignity groups. Put a little scare into her for my next visit.

Just kidding! I kid! I don’t think we want Stephen Harper legalizing euthanasia, if you really stop and think about it, which I hope people do before old socialists start disappearing after political protests and United Church potlucks.

Alison at Creekside has a rundown of political lobbying activities by the gun nuts of anglers and hunters fame that she’s juxtaposed to the bird watchers currently being harassed by Revenue Canada employees turned Conservative Party shakedown artists.

We’re paying for this harassment, Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat.

But you may never hear from me again because I tweeted her piece with the comment that this isn’t government, this is a conspiracy to intimidate citizens.

I’ll stand by that in Gitmo, too. What the hell. It’s not like I’m doing much good (even for me!) selling over-priced ladieswear for minimum wage to a shrinking (literally!) pool of consumers.

By the way, if you thought there was any hope for the future, you didn’t hear about the traffic jam caused by a new mall opening in Kanata, Ottawa’s geek ghetto. It was all the talk at work yesterday, too, when I asked “Where the hell are our dwindling customers?”

“They’re at the new mall in Kanata. Stupid idiots. Who drives all the way to Kanata to go shopping?”

Indeed. I wanted to stand along the Queensway reminding drivers with a sign, “Remember, you’re not stuck in traffic – you ARE traffic!”

I know, I know “ISIS loves you!” would have been funnier.

It’s mean, but I enjoyed hearing later on the news that there wasn’t enough parking once the (let’s face it) ladies finally arrived at their shopping destination. That must have been frustrating, knowing that Jim Watson, Ottawa’s once and future mayor, was safely parked and delivering kudos to whichever developer asshole is responsible for this latest crime against humanity.

I didn’t overstate that. Malls kill. Just ask Elliot Lakers.

Not that I give a shit about the actual success of the store that currently feeds us – my job pays for groceries, but not quite hydro/water&sewer/heat/internet/phone (mine) – seeing as it doesn’t matter how well it does or doesn’t do, we won’t get a raise or more hours. Still, it has to keep some staff on hand or it’ll close altogether. And then I can get a job at another store.

I make it a lot more money than it makes me, that’s for fucking sure.

It’s comical, the loyalty expected, though. The pep talks about how we have to pull together as a team and up-sell because it’s not enough for customers to buy stuff, they have to buy more stuff. Our job isn’t to sell, it’s to sell more.

No one ever asks “Why?” because that would just be inviting mass hysteria on behalf of management. Especially since we easily could sell more if we stocked one size smaller and one size bigger than we currently do. Also, more of certain items and none of others. And fewer sales. Really. Sales are a snare and a delusion, as they say, and just tell customers that your regular prices are inflated.

They’re also discriminatory and people should object to them more often than they do, benefiting certain sized people more than others, as it were.

Our conversion rate sucks, too, according to the little doohickey that counts customers vs the number of items they buy. I suggested having an 80% off sign in the window was drawing in a lot of people who thought there would be something for them to buy that was 80% off, and then leaving in a huff when there wasn’t, might be a factor in our poor conversion rate.

Also, our regular customers have been laid off, taken early buy-outs, retired, died, and/or are shopping online, so it stands to reason that they’re not in the same clothes buying market as they were when they had good paying full time jobs with benefits in the public service.

Retirees live in “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” and “Lululemons” and microfibre onesies (pajamas) from Giant Tiger.

All of it made in conditions that should be completely unacceptable to citizens living here by people who have little to no choice thanks to free trade deals rigged by politicians and their multi-corporate CEO masters to increase their cash profits at the expense of mutually beneficial social and physical infrastructure built up by more civic-minded generations of taxpayers.

Also, the fun young manager was fired, so it’s all work and no play now.

I would have fired her a week into working there, but I’m not management so it had to be dragged out for almost a year to make a point to somebody about something. I guess. I really don’t know why a store manager wouldn’t fire an assistant the second time she phoned in sick on a Saturday morning. I’d have done it for her more than me, too, so don’t go accusing me of being a hard ass.

Not that I’m not a hard ass. In fact, I’m usually quite gobsmacked by how minimal standards are everywhere, although yesterday we had repair work done on our little house and it seemed the tiny crew was straight out of a fairytale, diligently at the grindstone for a couple of hours, pause for a wee sit down meal on overturned buckets on the lawn, then back at it again, pause for a tipple and a piddle, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc until the job was done and the invoice handed over for a tad less than expected because I’d mixed their quote up with a bigger one.

But that’s not what this entry is about because this entry is about Harper’s Henchmen (and women) apparently thinking that mothers who send their babies to daycare are shiftless and lazy and not taking parental responsibility for raising them. It’s the best they could come up with, speaking of dwindling standards, by way of response to Tom Mulcair’s sudden push for a $15/day national childcare program.

Now, as a former homemaker and current advocate for a guaranteed annual income (so I can do more blogging, learn to knit, make pastry, read more self help books, write a book of anecdotes, bike more often now that I’ve rediscovered it, take up yoga or even stretching – I wake up stiff in the mornings and not in a good way guys!) I guess I’m okay with it, although I think it should be $20/day to discourage people from working for peanuts when they could be at home relaxing while TVO raises their babies.

And no, I’m not kidding (pun intended). TVO is the best for raising babies. Although “The Elephant Show” may have been on CBC, I can’t remember. Whatever, in those days we had to make our own tapes, and so it was that I had Sharon, Lois & Bram (with Eric & Elephant) impressing upon my kids all the good stuff of kiddom while I wasted my time making play dough and putting vegetable faces on butter sandwiches.

I have never, as Gord is my witness, fed a child a cold cut – except – when I briefly took in a couple of daycare leftovers and after the one asked, exasperatedly for a 4-year-old, I thought “Can I at least have some mustard on my butter?!”

It was quite funny, actually, but her mother, being a terrifying person who sold cars for a living – very successfully – came to mind and I figured I’d better cough up with some ham or something, which then my son got wind of and wanted, too, and so began our brief descent into trailer park style living.

But back to staying at home with children instead of working for a living. Yes. I highly recommend it. I even more recommend staying at home without children, which is maybe why Tom Mulcair pegged his daycare plan at $15/day and not $20/day. So, okay, having thought it over just now, I’d go lower to $11.25/day so that moms and/or dads who actually like working part-time retail (in Ontario, anyway) would know that one of those working hours is depriving their kids of two Elephant Show episodes.


Anyway, it never ceases to amaze me how ass backwards it is that men who live in almost complete isolation of women who have to decide whether or not to even have a baby, let alone whether or not she should give up her livelihood so that Sharon, Lois & Bram can do the awesome job they do of raising it (and if she’s a sex worker or solar energy producer wouldn’t Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper be happy if she did?) want to make it all that much more likely that she’ll just say “Ah, fukkit. It’ll just grow up to be traffic anyway.”

My mother, who claims being a homemaker was the best time of her life, had to go back to teaching when my father died. She was lucky. The superintendent of education literally came knocking after the funeral. My gram came to live with us a few months later. And my father’s life insurance paid off our house.

I didn’t realize until later in life how important it is to me to be able to make my own money, but I guess when you grow up with a single parent purse-holder-and-filler-upper it leaves an impression.

The problem with being a homemaker wasn’t being a homemaker, it was not making any money being a homemaker, and in this society, not making money is decidedly at odds with being independent, being respected, being seen or heard – most particularly by men living what may as well be a world away from your wee small quark of an existence.

Really, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I thank you and my kids thank you, Sharon, Lois & Bram.


Plan? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Plan!

Well glory be, the governor of the bank of England has spoken to say that we shouldn’t burn our fossil fuel reserves, reserves being a somewhat misleading term since fossil fuels are there aplenty for burning, just harder and harder to access.

Gee, thanks for the heads up, Mark Carney. But where were you when Harper bet the farm on burning Canada’s tarsands?

Oh yeah, right here, being governor of the bank of Canada.

So I guess the keystone xl pipeline is so yesterday it may as well be Lindsay Lohan. It’s all energy east now and Liberian (no, liberian) tankers transporting tarsands product up the St. Lawrence for cheap sale to any takers, not that there are or will be any.

India is full steam ahead on solar power. India. Where fate is determined by caste, where leprosy and suttee thrive, where women are raped and murdered without consequence simply for going outside.

India is ahead of us on power generation.

Call me a stickler for details but I’m not clear on the economic strategy at play here. Alberta’s a one party state that has forever been known for its boom/bust economy so we’re all Albertans now because Alberta Conservatives are running Canada instead of Quebec and Ontario Liberals and Conservatives?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought “oh you piece of shit!” the past couple of weeks, while pundits and politicians support the troops, opine on petro fortunes, and ignore climate change as the real and actual challenge of our times.

Not that we can do anything about it now, of course, so yeah – drill baby drill, I guess.

Hey, Harper should pitch a reality show to Sun Media. That would be worth subscribing for, Stephen heating up a tv dinner at 24 Sussex, Laureen ordering in at the Chateau Laurier.

There’s a candidate in the mayoral race in Toronto, Ari Goldkind, who is telling Torontonians that taxes should be raised to pay for improvements to city infrastructure, both physical and social.

It’s a pretty radical platform so he’s considered a fringe candidate, but, who knows, stranger things have happened.

Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto.

But speaking of Rob Ford, there’s a story trending on my Facebook page about a couple of unauthorized employees of Mount Sinai having “inappropriately accessed” his medical files. I clicked on the story but there’s no more information than that, except that Rob Ford has been notified.

What information could there possibly be in Rob Ford’s medical files that we don’t already know via video tapes and press conferences? NOT that I’m condoning whatever it was – most probably nothing that hasn’t happen a million times over to anybody and everybody else – files left out in the open and somebody  not a file clerk asking “where should these go?” – but because it involved Rob Ford, drama queen at large, it has to be a big hairy deal/Toronto Star conspiracy to out Rob Ford as a very sick person, mentally, emotionally, physically.

I think he exhibits symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome, myself. Impulsive, no regard for consequences, lacks empathy. Just sayin’. Hey, my mom went to plenty of cocktail parties when she was pregnant with me. Smoked, too.

“Oh we went to cocktail parties every other night. And everybody smoked. But we didn’t have birth control in those days.”

Doug is just plain repulsive, though, so I don’t get it. What voters see in that grimacing creepazoid is beyond me.

Speaking of which, a birding club is being harassed by Revenue Canada’s storm troopers now for writing a letter to, Leona Aglukkaq, not the brightest northern light and pretend minister of the pretend ministry of the environment – which was a PET creation in 1971, don’t you know – about a type of pesticide still being used in Canada that is known to be killing off the world bee population.

It’s why Europe has pretty much banned the use of neonicitoids, those old country commie bastard conservationists.

It’s sad, but Canadians continue to believe that Environment Canada was created to protect our natural environment, and not to facilitate industry’s access to it for the purposes of plunder and profit.

Regulations aren’t made in the interests of nature unless you consider money to be nature, Canadians. Please get with the program and notice that you’re not living in one big national park.

I notice no one is even asking what the hell is political about a nature group writing to a government’s environment department about an approved-for-use pesticide responsible for killing off the world bee population.

Whoever credited Harper with the idea that he has a grand plan to destroy Canada should be deported, I think. It’s like my ex used to say when I’d accuse him of planning to ruin everything all the time, “There is no plan!”

Please, everybody. Stop. Think. Realize.There is no plan.

Okay? Are we good? There is no plan.

Now what? Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Carney?


Shit Just Got Real – and Wet

It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, the gradual coming to of North Americans as they/we realize that “don’t worry, be happy – and go shopping” isn’t going to do much to hold back the rising seas.

Of course you’ve seen the news about the sidewalks turned canals of Miami Beach. The city is buying time by building higher seawalls, but it looks like owning waterfront property is about to lose its exclusivity.

We were there, the Plucky Pauper Canucks, just a couple of years ago. I tried to swim in the ocean, but it’s not for swimming, is it.

Oceans are for sailing.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, where our governing politicians name buildings after each other, so impressed are they with their economic stewardship, we all get to share in Alberta’s boom/bust economy – minus its Heritage Fund.

Is there a Heritage Fund even for Albertans?

I’m not sure now I agree with such a thing anyway. I’d prefer a workaday economy and a guaranteed annual income for those of us who’d rather spend our time blogging.

Of course, we’re not developing the tarsands so much as a handful of speculators are plundering our habitat, but reality has long since given way to the siren song of the economy.

I can’t stand the news, anymore, because it’s beyond stupid. And we get regular lectures now at work about how business is down so we have to work harder to increase sales. Except that we’re paid the same whether we increase sales or not. The company expects a certain loyalty, especially from its long-time staff (we have 20-year veterans in our store) in spite of having stripped that same long-time staff of full-time hours and benefits a few short years ago.

One of them was and is the top seller in North America. She’s kind of annoying, but I like her, and I’ve stopped trying to give her advice and encouragement to look elsewhere because she’s really not up to it and what business is it of mine anyway.

It’s hard, isn’t it, minding our own business. I invite a lot of business minders into my life because I share information. They misunderstand my openness as advice-seeking. I just tell anybody and everybody how it is for me because my economy is your economy is Stephen Harper’s economy, and it doesn’t benefit any one of us if we aren’t honest about how we’re faring in it.

I told my Beau this morning that I was thinking of writing to the Globe and Mail business section, giving them a rundown of our finances, and suggesting we’d like to retire soon – just to make them work a little bit.

I refer, of course, to those angst fests in the Saturday edition involving couples with million dollar homes/vacation properties/hundreds of thousands in the bank/fully indexed pensions seeking advice from a financial consultant on how and when they can retire comfortably.

I’m always disappointed when he doesn’t tell them it’s hopeless, kill yourselves now, there’s no way you can ever afford to retire.

But that’s just it, isn’t it. The truth is, I’ve never felt less insecure about money and yet I’ve never made so little of it. I didn’t even make enough last year to pay income tax. And yet, I buy the odd piece from our store now with my discount, a store I never shopped in even when I did make decent money, because what the hell, it’s good for team morale.

I’m a bit of a fashionista, too, I guess, but not that into shopping, anymore, so it’s convenient.

The money I save by not owning a car is worth taking the bus no matter how high they jack the fares, because it’s not just about the expense of owning a car, is it, it’s about not getting in the car and driving to the mall or an outlet and doing some recreational shopping.

It would have been kind of a drag last night watching The National report on Canadians filling up their gas guzzlers, less cranky because of lower gas prices and not because governing politicians had just announced that they were abandoning their support for the unconscionable plunder and polluting of our natural resources, except that one of them more or less put it out there that the real upside to a drop in oil prices is that oil speculators will get dinged.

And maybe that’s as real as this shit is ever going to get.

In the meantime, I plan to keep on keeping on, chronicling as I go, bearing witness to the experiences of others, while minding my own.

Because it turns out my poor dear shark of a co-worker has a lovely property in Portugal she can retire to should any Arctic wolves show up at her door here.

Cripes, she’s got it all over the mayor of Miami Beach, who has to go down with the city, doesn’t he.


Bring Back the Draft

On the other hand, nothing is really a secret, or even a surprise, thanks to the internet.

Or Globally Interconnected Truth & Conspiracy Theory Generator.

We know why certain courses of action are taken and others are ignored or scorned as unmanly, manly being represented by soldiering, literally, which is why women need not apply.

Or maybe women should apply until we outnumber men and soldiering becomes just more unpaid stuff that somebody has to do so it may as well be someone with ovaries as somebody with a penis.

Protect penis owners from unpaid work!

Meanwhile, it’s journalists who are being beheaded by foreign (and domestic!) tribalists.

When was the last time you heard a governing politician thank a journalist for saving us from total ignorance of foreign and domestic affairs?

I feel so badly for kidnapped journalists, too, because they must know as soon as they’re kidnapped how doomed they are, given the likelihood of any governing politicians coming to their rescue, as opposed to using their beheading as war propaganda.

The first masked beheader brought to mind the actor from The Wire, didn’t he. The drug dealer, not the cop.

But it doesn’t even have to be in our own interests for us to go along with politicians authorizing, in our name, the killing of people living elsewhere in the world.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Always remember, no wait, never forget, the economy will save us, but first we have to save the economy.

We can call it Harper’s War (which he loves, by the way) but it’s ours, we’re paying for it. And we’re giving up public services to pay for it, too. So I was wrong, we are making sacrifices for war. We are, we are, we are.

Highway of Taxpayers.

Meanwhile, young Canadian men today prefer computer game interaction to real life interaction because, well, they just do. Is it good? Is it bad? I dunno. Yes? No? It just seems to be the way it is.

Inside/outside, they’re at it, staring straight ahead at a screen or staring down at one in their lap.

But I would say that, wouldn’t I. I spend as much time, expend as much energy, trying to articulate my thoughts about war and what is it good for on the internet as my son does playing the latest global sensation.

He doesn’t see that time as wasted, though, not like I do.

I have friends and rellies with soldiering sons. It’s not something I have any particular respect for in a young man, although I’m intrigued by the young women who sign up. On the other hand, I recognize that young men need something to do while their brains finish developing, which is apparently somewhere between 25 and 30.

My friends and rellies whose sons signed up would be the first to admit that their sons weren’t doing much and had become somewhat burdensome prior to donning uniforms.

I can’t imagine the experience of war will make them any less so, sadly. Better to wait out the lame years, I say.

I just wish more Canadians could see the cynical disconnect between politicians sending some of us overseas to fight in foreign wars while lowering taxes for some others of us. And since the same people seem to be voting for both, I’m starting to think we should all have a more direct say than just in voting as to where our taxes are allocated.

Maybe Revenue Canada could send a tick-off form with our T4s.

Oh, and our T4Es, lest we forget unemployment as a prime motivator for signing up to kill other people living elsewhere, and yes, in our names.

Is it possible that Conservatives don’t want to stop corporations from bringing in temporary foreign workers to do jobs that used to be done by Canadians, while at the same time making employment insurance increasingly less likely, because they want young men (and, I guess, women) to have no choice but to fight?

It would be nice if we could use passive resistance to force them to bring in the draft, at least.

That would put the truth out where we’d have to face it.




Fascist Fucks

I missed all the action over the long weekend (there’s no such thing for retail workers – long weekends, I mean – we get plenty of action – plenty) when Don Martin, a Calgary-based pundit for CTV, apparently used the “f” word to describe Stephen Harper.

I thought that meant he called him a fuck, which I could imagine coming from Ezra Levant of Sun News Network about Justin Trudeau’s dead dad, Pierre, but not really Don Martin of CTV about Stephen Harper.

“Hey Harper, ya fuck!” said Don Martin, never.

“Hey Justin Trudeau’s dead dad, Pierre, ya fuck!” said Ezra Levant, again.

And yes, I did consider the possibility that maybe Don Martin had just had too much jive turkey for thanksgiving (I no longer capitalize our holidays because I’m no longer a patriot) except that out in Calgary I believe the celebratory dinner bird is a cow.

But it turned out that Don Martin only called Stephen Harper a fascist.

Cripes, pretty soon Stephen Harper’s head will be too big to fit into the House, eh?

Meanwhile pundits hither and yawn took the opportunity to go on and on about the deceptive face of fascism and how it pretends to be all friendly and then <wham!> before we’ve even had a chance to elect JT to be our first actually friendly –> fascist prime minister (ditto the capitalization of job titles) leaving Tom Mulcair to fight the good fight in Opposition (which is way too important to leave to JT, and we shouldn’t leave anything to Stephen Harper) we’re fucked.

Also, JT would be our first actually friendly fascist handsome prime minister, not that I didn’t have a bit of a thing for Sir Wilfrid Laurier, back in the day, but that’s a blog entry for another day.

(Not really, there’s not much to say beyond that I had a bit of a thing for Sir Wilfrid Laurier back in the day. I believe it annoyed my older sister so much she threw my halloween candy into a snowbank. Or maybe she just couldn’t tolerate my moderation in all things. My god she was crazy.)

But as I’ve blogged already, I’m not blogging about politics anymore. This time I’m not blogging about it because I keep reading that the country is being run by boys in short pants and not a bunch of fucks in the prime minister’s office. It’s aggravating and I want it to stop. So until it does, I’m boycotting all pundits who refer to BiSPs and not blogging about politics.

Anyway, I was thinking today about how a bunch of fucks like Stephen Harper keep telling us our relative prosperity (relative because the folks – see what I did there? – hanging around outside the Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa asking passersby if they have any spare change don’t look so prosperous to me – and I’m making $1 less per hour than I was in 1982) will disappear unless we continue to let a bunch of oil and gas fucks dump toxic waste into our water and air supply.

I suppose it could be worse and we could be living in Beijing, heading off to become more prosperous every morning in smog masks.

Hey, I wonder if smog masks are made in China, too

And then I realized that, even though Stephen Harper is a tail-ender, like me, it’s possible everything really is about baby boomers and, without even needing to take a vote on it, they’ve decided that it’s going to be all over for everybody after the last of them has bought a one way ticket to “mars” (ditto planets/afterlife, it’s too much, all this senseless capitalization).

Here’s what I mean. I had a sister bookclub member who complained to me all the time about our bookclub, and how much she hated being in it, and I kept talking her into staying because I didn’t realize until it was too late that she couldn’t leave bookclub because she didn’t want to take the chance that it would continue on without her.

So when she finally decided to take her leave, she did it by way of tossing a bomb into the clubhouse and running down the street to join a new bookclub.

(Don’t worry, bookclub survived. I just finished this month’s selection “State of Wonder”  – and boy are my lips tired.)

But you get it, right? Maybe you’ve even thought it? About baby boomers wanting to take us all with them when they go because they can’t stand the thought of life going on without them?

The fucks.

So yeah, I think that’s what we’re facing, everybody – Boomergeddon.

Pass it on.

Oh, and kick a boomer today. Tell ‘em it’s from tail-ender sooey.