August 31, 2008

Deep Breaths

Taking a break from the novel (it's going horribly, by the way), and encounter this:

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff's department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than "fire code violations," and early this morning, the Sheriff's department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

In what possible way, and what possible world, it this considered a reasonable thing to do?


posted by Thursday at 9:31 pm 0 comments

August 28, 2008

The Story So Far...

Let's see...

There was a failed assassination;
A romance with a cat;
A trip to Hell;
and the multiple life of a force-grown clone.

Lots of strange things can happen in three days.

This year..?

Update: I forgot the haunted house story. It, also, was atrocious; but it might film out nicely. 8)


posted by Thursday at 11:11 pm 0 comments

Round. Yellow. Skeptical.

The Skeptics' Circle is about again, continuing on our merry Games at Reduce to Common Sense. The Olympics have finished, but the theme prevails!

Can't wait to see what happens for 9/11...


posted by Thursday at 1:50 am 0 comments

August 27, 2008

What Sucks

Being sick. Being nauseatingly, staggeringly sick, and for several days. Worse is when there's a warning running around about people dying of processed meat. Makes for an awkward dinner table, don't you know.

There is a slight upside to it, however; I have a chance to read more. I picked up John Humphrys' "Beyond Words: How language reveals the way we live now", and from reading it can recommend Lynne Truss' "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" as the better read. It's not that he's a bad writer, but rather that he's a bit of a curmudgeon.

To his benefit, he does come close to one of my larger complaints about writing scolds: the missed understanding that the spoken and written languages are different things. Spending time with the DJ of a hip-hop station gives him some insight into the very fluid world of language among the young and desperately hip: Humphrys' own experience as a broadcaster with the BBC places him at the opposite pole as his compatriot, and he uses their time together well.

Worst part of being sick: a made a couple pages of notes about how there is a fully developed third form of language out there (no, not LOLspeak, which is simply a variant of spoken taken to a twee extreme). I have no idea where the notes are now, or even if they still exist. When/if I find them, I'll explain.

Humphrys spends most of his time in an unfortunate rant against advertising, officialdom, and kids-these-days, which is less enjoyable than it sounds. But there are some good moments in there, and the book's a quick jaunt. I just wish I hadn't heard so much of it before...


posted by Thursday at 7:12 pm 0 comments

August 14, 2008

Being Sure of What You Want


Having a conversation at work, and this gem comes up:

"Have any kids?"
"Not yet. I hope to some day, before I get too old."
"Well, you can always adopt."
"No way. Has to be my blood."

Personal opinion: this guy doesn't actually want children. What he wants is to breed. To each to their own, certainly; but may I suggest that should he consider having a child, he'll be raising a small person and not just a cluster of genetic traits?

Just a thought.


posted by Thursday at 9:23 pm 0 comments

August 09, 2008

Give and Take

While there has been debate over Canada's hate laws (much as I despise the odious Ezra Levant, he got the right result from Alberta's Human Rights Commission), it's tough to argue with some of the results it has gotten, to wit:

"Phelps-Roper said she would advise church members not to go ahead with the protest if there is a concern they might be arrested or harmed."

Of course, this isn't the first time Phelps and he lot have chickened out of crossing the border, and I can't say I regret it at all.

As it is, the funeral for Tim McLean went without any sign of, well, signs.


posted by Thursday at 10:53 pm 0 comments

That's Not a Paradox, and I'm Not Speaking Right Now

Picture this:

Having admitted long ago that drug addiction exists, and that reducing the incidences of AIDS and hepatitis are good things, the government has decided that giving said addicts a stable and safe location to use the drugs is equal to handing out heroin for free.

No, I'm not kidding.

This is a very selective brand of stupid, one that runs in the same vein (if I may) as "Once an addict, always an addict" and "Lock up anyone I don't like".

People need stability before they can stand up, Mr. Clement. And not everyone has a good laugh looking at those who have fallen.


posted by Thursday at 10:23 pm 0 comments

August 06, 2008

London, Meet London

A couple years ago, I commented about the sheer weirdness that is walking around the living, breathing archaeological site that is London. Seriously, you've got millions of people stomping around the place - what could you possibly discover that hasn't already been found?

How about the theatre where Romeo and Juliet was originally performed? No, really.

I have got to get back there.


posted by Thursday at 10:58 pm 0 comments

A Good Life and Horrible Advice

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

-Jenny Jones



The woman I am speaking of was a member of the Red Hat Society for a brief time, until she realized a very important thing: her particular brand of chaos precluded joining any group that would have her.

It's not that she wasn't a social creature - she danced, and played, and kept up with friends and family - it's just that having a society of anarchists seemed a bit... well... letting down the side, so to speak. It just missed the point.

Her version of living as you will involved packing up and moving to a different country where she barely spoke the language. Indeed, to a location that could only be reached by the boats of friendly natives, after a flight in a DC-8.

Plus running an on-line business that relied heavily on people believing in the healing power of magnets and happily scamming them out of their cash (never for very much, though) to keep you in the lifestyle to which you wish to become accustomed.

Kept things interesting, don't you know.

It's not like she hadn't left one country for another before: not being satisfied with a mere ocean separating her from her mother, she put a continent's distance between them as well, going from England to Canada and casually letting her passport expire until her mother had died. So much for expectations on the youngest to care for her parents in their dotage.

The opposite holds true with her own daughter, my own brilliant and beautiful Significant Other: their relationship had few silences, and none awkward, laden with things that should/shouldn't/must be said or any such nonsense. Things that should have been said were said, and things that should have been done were done, and all while Sue was alive.

Which makes sense, don't you think?

Go and re-read the poem above. Now, how many times does it say the protagonist will tell those she loves that she loves them? Or she'll help a neighbour in their garden? Or she'll show the value of others by treating them with simple respect?


I think I know which "old woman" I'm going to consider the advice of. No offence to Ms. Jones (I'm sure she meant well), but change the protagonist to a teenage boy, and see how you like them...

Yeah, I'll stick with the crazy lady who moved to the tropics instead of the irritating punk with ADD.


posted by Thursday at 9:26 pm 0 comments