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Archive for December, 2010


I just finished reading another news item about Hamid Karzai (president of Afghanistan) and his brothers.  These guys apparently have a stranglehold on commerce in Kandahar and environs.  They operate like a gang of Mafioso, strangling and squeezing out all competitors.  Several of their competitors have fled the country for fear of losing their lives, never mind the fact they have lost $millions because of actions by the Karzai gang.  Why am I writing about this seemingly old news?  I attended a repatriation ceremony at 8Wing Trenton, where all of our dead Afghan heroes land in their pine boxes.  It was a very moving ceremony, to witness and be part of the return of a fallen soldier.  Seeing the flag draped casket being lifted down the loading ramp of a huge C17 cargo jet, carefully loaded into a sparkling black hearse by white gloved soldiers, as hundreds of people lined the street and watched in silent reverence, it makes me question why these guys died?  What exactly are we defending over there?  Are we sending our professional soldiers to protect a malignant government?  Did these sons and daughters die so that Karzai and his thug brothers could pad their Swiss bank accounts?  So our 2011 departure as an active fighting group makes eminent sense to me.  Get the hell out of there and let the country implode.  Like we don’t have enough domestic problems here that require urgent attention and infusion of money?  Crazy world!

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It is so disappointing how we have lost the ability to talk to children.  I mean strangers.  There was a news item this morning about police looking for the public’s assistance in identifying some guy driving a black SUV.  He had been seen talking to a couple of kids.  Now what if this character was simply wishing the children a very Merry Christmas?  But the pedophiles in the Catholic Church, and other shady criminal types, have forever tainted any chance of innocent conversation.  Friendliness and neighbourliness are no longer open concepts, but are now subject to scrutiny and recrimination.  We lament the loss of contact with neighbours, we’re critical of the coldness of strangers.  Fear and doubt have replaced openness and faith.  Is it any wonder cynicism runs rampant amongst youth?  We teach them to insulate themselves and hide from dialogue.  So instead of encouraging an open society receptive to new ideas, to new immigrants, to change, we are instead building higher and more impenetrable walls around us.  This does not bode well for our future.

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There is a distinct lethargy that winter brings.  Its the damned long nights and short days.  So hooray for the winter solstice!  I’m so glad it has finally arrived, the harbinger of longer days and shorter nights.  Did you manage to see the full lunar eclipse last night?   I got up at 2:30am to track its progress and everything was proceeding smoothly.  Relatively clear sky, milky way in background, and this orb gradually took on a three dimensional shape.  I saw it completely disappear, and was expectantly waiting for what promised to be a blue halo around this red ball, suspended in front of the stars.  No chance!  cloud cover moved in and robbed me of my celestial experience.  So, back to bed I went.

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Conrad Black and bafflegab.


Whenever I read an essay by Conrad Black, I have to reach for my dictionary at least a half a dozen times!  His most recent rant in the National Post ranks near or at the top of his worst bafflegab (or best depending on your point of view I suppose) ever published.  Here’s a sampling:

“…….the deep, thick, serried ranks of militant scepticism……….Rome’s ghastly, tenebrous, saturnine magisterium………Germanic, authoritarian, sophistical, pompous, superstitious and curial…………a rag-tag of sacerdotal perverts.”

I like to learn a new word every day, but I get a headache after wading through Black’s incessant use of flowery language.  His style is best reserved for academia of the PHD stratosphere.  You would have thought that a couple years exposure to the “common man” would have knocked some sense into his cranium.  Apparently it has only served to further distance him from the general population, prison or otherwise.  What an elitist, pompous goof!

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Here’s another example, as if we need more, of political correctness run amok!

I was at a client yesterday and he told me about an edict that his wife had received from her employer.  The usual and traditional ritual of the Christmas tree in the corporate office lobby had been changed to reflect changed times.  Employees were advised that henceforth the tree would now be referred to as a “holiday” tree!  My first reaction was to laugh and say “Yeah, good one, you got me there.”  But in fact this was fact!  No BS.  This company actually sent out such a news bulletin to all its employees.     Christmas trees no longer exist, they are now Holiday trees.  This is the kind of mind set of our leaders.  Yet another example of how we are becoming laughingstocks in the eyes of the rest of the world.  What sane corporate leaders would do such a completely asinine thing?  I advised my client that his wife should probably start to look around for another employer.  There’s no telling what kooky direction her supervisor will be trying to lead her next, all in the name of…..well what?  I mean, can’t even imagine what kind of thinking process is in place if such a seemingly benign and innocent thing like a Christmas tree gets caught up in our relentless efforts to not step on any toes, to not offend anybody.  But honestly now, if the concept of a Christmas tree contravenes our Human Rights laws, is there any hope at all for our society?  Merry Christmas!

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“All you need is love, all you need is love, love is all you need.”

How simple and profound.  Lennon captured essences and that is an art.  To not get so self important that  your message gets lost in grandiosity.  Pompous presentation. 

How many of you stick your noses into your wine glasses and really suck in the aroma?  Don’t be shy, do it.  That release of olfactory joy! 

Anyhoo, OMG, I just glanced at the calendar and realized we’re barely over 2 weeks to Christmas.  Well the tree is up,  and decorations are getting there.  It will be a difficult year, without the matriarch around, but memories will serve to light our Christmas candles.  So that’s about it for the random rambling tonight.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good night!

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New?  Hit Dec 2010 archives and start from beginning.  It’s more fun that way.

Now that was a pretty damn good sauce if I do say so myself!  Just the right amount of heat.  And I love the beans.  Have not made a spaghetti sauce before with beans in it, can you believe that?  Sure, lots of chili, but a dedicated spghetti sauce?  No!  And this will be a new beginning.  I’m gonna use beans a lot more. 

Missed a voicemail from Stef moments ago.  I must have been upstairs coooking.  So nice of you buddy to call, gracias. 

Magic Carpet Ride is your background now.  “Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields, Nothing is Real, and nothing to get hung about.  Strawberry Fields forever.  Living is easy with eyes closed.  Misunderstanding is all you see…..”

I wonder how Raimo is doing?  What a fascinating adventure.  Cycling around the world.  Averaging 100km per day.  Averaging.  Geez, I’ve done 100k only twice, and both times were exhilarating but so painful at the end!  I can only imagine (there’s that word again) doing it day in day out for 365 days.  Kudos “sportlane”, you are worthy!

Mom’s been gone almost six weeks now.  How quickly memory fades without reminders.  I kept the flower arrangement my family sent.  It actually dried very well.  I fear that without the photos and the tangible tactile reminders, her memory will fade too quickly.  Don’t want that to happen.  Mom was almost invincible.  Her impact will be felt and appreciated for many years to come.  The guiding force in hundreds of lives.  She taught more than language, more than song, more than dance.  Mom showed us her culture and drew us into it without us realizing what was happening.  She embodied Estonian culture.  And I’m so thankful I got to thank her for guiding me along.  Many times in the last year.  She really was more than my Mom.  So make sure you thank your mothers while they are alive, because it ain’t the same thing talking to a tombstone.

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Scroll down and start at the beginning if you are just joining.  (It’s more fun that way!)

Got the sauce simmering.  A bean sauce.  With some button mushrooms, sprig of oregano, couple of garlic cloves, mixed beans, one hot pepper, diced onions and chopped parsley.  And of course a dash of red wine.  Masi Campofiorin Ripasso 1996 “Nectar Angelorum Hominibus”.   Trust me, I only added a dash.  Because this is a beguiling sipper.  Almost on the verge of losing it.  Such ravishing tannins, but definitely without any edge.  Tannins have been suppressed, not suppressed, amalgamated into the whole wine.  This really is a fine quaff. 

Beatles upstairs.  Beatles downstairs.  I remember distinctly this day thirty years ago.  I was without “real” work.  Well, working as a model/waiter.  Not to denigrate any of those professions, but at the time I was not in the top five percentile so waitering paid the bills.  And so I found myself in a hotel/convention centre/rec complex off hwy 401 near London.  My good buddy Stef had invited me down for the weekend, having use of the hotel room and facilities as he was doing something business wise.  Bidniz!  “Yeah sure, I’ll come visit.  Sounds good.” 

And what shock hammered us both, when news of John Lennon’s murder hit the airwaves.  Disbelief.  Anger.  Unreality.  All those typical emotions that encompass tragedies.  How could this be?  A world gone mad.  Such a creative powerhouse, a lyricist and musician extraordinaire.  Yet, it was true.  Gunned down.  What irony.  If ever there was a man who stood so truly for peace.  And love.  Such a shame.  I do believe I wept.  But we went on, we all did.  Life is this omniscient, enveloping force that brings us along.  We get to shape it.  But, we can’t stop it.  And with time, even Lennon’s death became past news.  No less important or unimportant.  Just factually a thing that happened in the past. How we use it will shape or present and future.

Better go check my sauce.

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Stay with me now.  I’m going to do a running blog this evening.  Let’s say a post whenever I feel like it.  Perhaps each hour, or maybe more, or less.  I’m in a writing mood.  Know what I mean?  Sometimes there’s simply a need to expound.    So with Beatles vinyl spinning in the background I’m going to town to get some wine for my sauce.  Making a spaghetti sauce and believe it or not, I find myself with absoluetly no red wine in the house.  OK, so not entirely.  But I’m not cracking that ’96 Masi just for sauce.  Hmmmm.  Why not?  I’m not going to dump all the wine in the sauce.  Just a smidgen for flavour.  Yeah, that’ll save me a run into town.

Later.

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Husband Store


A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City , where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:   You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!   So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:  

Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads: 

Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’

So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads: 

Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.  She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads: 

Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads: 

Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads: 

Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. 

PLEASE NOTE:

To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.  The first floor has wives that love sex.  The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer . 

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

…………..this story courtesy of my friend Arisa!

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