Wednesday July 27 , 2016

Archive for June, 2006

Under the Rainbow – Swirly Thoughts

Since the gun registry is such a boondoggle already anyway, I think all its information should be publicly posted. I want to know who has guns in their house. Afterall, they could be terrorists.
Well, as predicted (not exactly in writing) on this blog, a guy who worked for Homeland Security has been hired by Lockheed Martin, the defence contracting company hired to collect data for Canada’s 2006 Census. Damn, but I wish I wasn’t such a gosh darned Canadian and hadn’t filled that sucker out.
Why do rightwingers think The Daily Show is leftwing? Because it’s funny? Or am I just really leftwing… Luckily, I’m a woman and therefore can’t be funny. Which makes it doubly ironic that Fox News is going to try to parody The Daily Show with its own show starring Laura Ingraham. The first irony being that Fox News already parodies itself, which makes The Daily Show a parody of a parody and which would make the new show a double parody once removed but done by the same…



Here are two gross stories inspired by a post on sooeys the other day.
We had an old farmhouse in our family that had been passed down from when the first of us made the trip across the sea from cold damp rocky Scotland to find a cold damp rocky spot to settle on in Northern Ontario. Every summer my mom would send us down there – with my grandmother, who lived with us in the Sault – for a few weeks so we could fantasize about owning a cottage on the water – like our neighbours.
Anyway, one of the weekly rituals involved my mom coming down for a couple of hours to visit, after which she’d take the week’s worth of garbage back to the city to put out for pick-up. Well, this particular summer, my grandmother broke her leg and had to be at home in the city so the summer farm visit for us was cut short (Are you there, god? It’s me – sooey) and that was that.
After a day or two, we noticed a weird smell in the car. Nothing we couldn’t put down to July heat, but with each passing day, it seemed to get worse. By August, no one was asking for a ride anywhere – that’s for sure.
Eventually, the smell got so bad, my mom decided she should take the car in to a mechanic (c’mon – she was a widow in the ’60s – what the hell would she know about cars?) to investigate the mysterious smell. But for some reason no one can remember now, my sister decided to check the trunk in case her missing bathing suit was there.
Oh! My! God! She opened the trunk and what seemed like hundreds of flies flew in her face and after she was done screaming she looked down to find the trunk alive with maggots and rotting garbage from the farm.
The second story also involves my sister (I was smart and kept a low profile around our house so I wouldn’t ever be asked to go down the basement and bring up a can of whatever from the cellar for supper). There had been a bit of a stink coming from the basement for a while, my gram kept saying, “I’ll go down there and see what’s what”, but then she got called away to visit another relative and so never did investigate. In the meantime, my mom went on a trip somewhere and one night my sister – who was alone in the house – decided to go down the basement to seem if by chance there was a can of smoked oysters in the cellar (she loved smoked oysters – LOVED THEM!!).
Anyway, she headed down the stairs and halfway down (we always went down the basement stairs in slow motion – our basement was really creepy) she became aware of a low buzzing noise. Thinking it was the dryer or somesuch, she continued on down. When she turned on the light at the bottom of the stairs (because of course you had to actually be IN the basement before you could have any light…) it looked at first like the walls were black.
And moving.
Flies. Big fat flies were crawling all over the basement walls.
She backed up in a semi-hysterical state, backed up the stairs, and ran from the house to get out next door neighbour – the most squeamish guy on the planet – to go down with her to the basement again and get a window open to get the flies out of the basement (I know – she must have really wanted those smoked oysters…).
Somehow – and our neighbour suited up in dishwashing gloves and his dad’s welding mask – he got the window open without dropping dead of a heart attack – and the flies all headed out into the waning light of evening to live out their disgusting one day lives.
Some time later, my gram went down to investigate and notice the outline of a dead rat on the floor near the sewer drain (of course we had to have a sewer drain in our creepy basement). “I guess that rat must’ve crawled up that sewer drain to die and the flies got him.”
Thanks for that, gram. See you in hell, too.


Plucky Paupers

I am so sick of wealthy people being hailed as heroes because they give money to charity. Look – the only real charity is anonymous. Not only that, but if you get a tax receipt to boot – it’s not even really charity. It’s just financial savvy.
And since it doesn’t hurt people with lots of money to give up a bit of it, even if it is anonymous and even if a tax receipt wasn’t issued – I don’t think it’s charity. Not really. It’s something, I guess… Being a sentient humanoid, maybe?
Here in Ottawa, the former publisher of the Ottawa Citizen would annually be heralded in his own newspaper for running (administering, lending his name to, something like that) the Snowsuit Fund. Now, aside from the Dickensian picture a country like Canada even having a Snowsuit Fund conjures up for social agitators like moi – I have to say, snowsuits, good quality snowsuits in good repair, are a dime a dozen at Sally Anns and St. Vincent de Pauls all across this cold, Presbyterian country. There really is no need for a Snowsuit Fund. I outfitted three children for years in almost new snowsuits (in some cases – never worn) because snowsuits are nowadays both cheap and well-made. People give them away rather than throw them out because a kid can barely make a dent in a snowsuit before he’s outgrown it and it’s time to pass it along.
So it’s a pretty… anachronistic endeavour these days to have a Snowsuit Fund at all, let alone laud publicly the guy who perpetuates such a bizarre carry-over from… his own childhood? I doubt it. He looks like he was born with a silver dollar in his navel.
The Christmas turkey drive is another annual charity drive that DRIVES me nuts. What is the point of giving poor people turkeys when it is quite likely these days that they don’t have the pot to roast it in? Or even know how to cook a turkey? I’ve never cooked one – and I took home economics in high school. My mother, an old-fashioned Liberal, once said to her friends who are every year so burdened with goodwill that it’s almost all they talk about for several weeks leading up to the big giveaway, “Why not just give people money to buy what they want to eat for Christmas Dinner?” The predictable answer, “Oh dear. Because they’d just spend it on beer and cigarettes.” To which my mother replied (this is why I love her), “So what? It’s Christmas.”
Anyway, I feel the same way about celebrities donating money to hurricane victims, Oprah giving away millions, well-heeled retired politicians travelling the globe on our dime to raise AIDS awareness, rock stars holding concerts to raise money for famine. You name it. If you are so obscenely wealthy that you can advertise your own charity to millions of people worldwide, then you are wealthy enough to buy an African country and make it over in your own image.
I know. Very uncharitable of me. Indeed.


Middle-aged Babies

Have you ever met one of those adults you just can’t picture having ever been young? And it’s not like you can picture them old, either. They just seem preternaturally middle-aged. Those people. You know who I mean. Them.
I had one of those friends when I was a kid growing up in the Sault. Which is weird because I was pretty much always a kid and still am. People are always surprised by my age and it’s not because I’m particularly young-looking – it’s because I’m kid-like.
Some kids are middle-aged, some adults are kid-like.
Anyway, this friend was fully developed by age nine, started smoking king-sized menthols at age ten (that was back in the days when parents would send their kids to the corner store for smokes) read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged at age eleven and declared God dead at age twelve.
And when she declared God dead, she did it by way of writing “Fuck Off” in the Bible during Sunday School. I worried about the Karma of that act for years. When my Mother told me she had found out via her mother that my friend had multiple sclerosis…
In any case, by age thirteen, of course, not only did my friend have a boyfriend – she was having sex. Regular sex. Like middle-aged married people have sex. Her boyfriend was sixteen (he turned out to be gay – but that’s a whole other entry) and they used to “hook up” at his place in his bedroom which was down the basement in his parents’ bungalow. She used the rhythm method and he used condoms and she never got pregnant or venereal disease or anything. They went out for a couple of years, broke up, she got a part-time job in a fast (in those days) food restaurant, and got a new boyfriend – a part-time dishwasher.
These days, I suppose everybody and their uncle would be up in arms about her behaviour but I’d don’t know how they’d reconcile being up in arms with the fact that her first purchase after getting her part-time job at the fast (okay… it was A&W) food restaurant was – a parka. Yup. She bought a parka. Why? Because she needed a warm coat to walk to work in since she was too young to drive and her parents had seven other kids to not drive around to their part-time jobs or swimming lessons or whatever else. And she wanted something with fur trim around the hood because she liked that look. Timeless, she said. So she bought a wool, knee-length powder blue parka with white fur trim around the hood and polar bear decals stitched around the bottom.
By way of contrast, after my first year of university I headed out west to look for a job and my first purchase after getting off the train in Banff, Alberta – where I’d sat for a couple of days having had neither food nor drink because I didn’t know how to cash traveller’s cheques – after randomly running into my friend Judy who had a couple of bucks cash on her – was a Fudgesicle. In later years, I’ve tried to settle an upset stomach with Vodka Sodas. Today I used medication that expired in 2002… You get the picture.
So, my point really is – in this sibling society that is paradoxically one of obsessive watchfulness over children, would my friend even be allowed to be who she was? Or would she be thrown into some kind of treatment program for children born into middle age…
Maybe I should ask Dr. Phil…


Census This!!

Okay. Not to sound like a Montana Freeman, or anything, but… I really didn’t want to fill out my Census Form. I did – because I’m Canadian, but it really pissed me off to have to do it – especially on the heels of having just done my taxes – gratis (see previous entry) . And do I believe it to be confidential? No. No, I do not. But I’ll tell you this – it had better be.
Because the firm it’s been contracted out to is Lockheed Martin – defence contractors r us.
Yup. Canadians were legally obliged – or so the government says – to fill out a Census conducted by Lockheed Martin for Statistics Canada. As a Canadian – that bugs me, not just because it’s so… unCanadian, but because it suddenly seems so… American. Sure, as a Canadian I followed the rules and filled it out, but I’m telling ya – our government is one straw form short of breaking this citizen camel’s back.
And the threats. Jesus H. Can the government really fine individuals $500 for not filling out the Census form? Or is it a bluff? How does it collect? Does it take individuals to court? Under whose authority? And to whom does the guilty party pay the fine? Laugheed Merkin? It’s one thing to hold the Census at all, another to contract it out to what I consider to be an objectionalbe firm, but a third altogether to threaten us with fines and jail terms for declining to provide – gratis – confidential information about ourselves when it really isn’t clear why we are being told to do it.
I dunno. Maybe I’m getting old or maybe I’m just getting libertarian, but I don’t like it. I don’t believe for a minute that the Census is confidential any more than I believe it’s even remotely constitutional to threaten taxpayers with fines for not filling out a Census form conducted by a defence contractor for a government outfit like Statistics Canada that serves no vital purpose that I can ascertain.
Canada – turning Canadians against it one form at a time.