Sunday, December 31, 2006

Will Smith Said It!

In the movie, "Independence Day," his character has an oft-quoted line...

"Man, I gots ta get me one a' these!"

Oh, yeah!

You can see a demo video on his website here.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Don't Usually Do This...

Link to a blog that does not allow comments, I mean. There are a couple of exceptions, though, and they have to be pretty damned interesting for me to put them on my sidebar.

Violent Acres is one of the exceptions. She's opinionated, rough, cranky, and politically incorrect. A tough broad.

I found her by flipping through links on The Consumerist.

I may be in love.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hundreds of Thousands in Undisclosed Donations?

Gee Whiz...I wonder what the Blogging Tories are gonna say about this?

Anyone wanna take a guess at how many original excuses they come up with for this lapse in accountability? Do ya think they can out-do the Liberals for fiction and fantasy?

Personally speaking, that's not a contest I'd want to be seen winning.

On the other hand, personally speaking, I don't give a damn. One party is just as bad as another. And this kind of bullshit is not gonna stop as long as the party system stays in place.

(H/T Tim)

UPDATE: Looks like at least one of the serious Blogging Tories is not hiding his head in the sand and hoping everyone else will go away. Good on ya, Phantom. And thanks, Zorpheous, for a spectacular post on it...

New Year's Traditions

When I was very young -- halfway back through the last century -- my family shared the tradition of first footing with my best friend's family across the street.

Both my father and my friend's father were over six feet tall, and both had black hair, which suited the tradition perfectly. Our shared tradition insisted that the first-footer be tall and dark, carrying a piece of winter fuel. The only point on which we disagreed was whether or not the tradition began in Scotland or Wales. Not that it mattered, because we all had both Scottish and Welsh blood, in addition to whatever other blood with which our ancestors had graced us.

And because the boreal forests were all around us, there was ready access to winter fuel -- we kids used to go gather a few blown-down branches every year and pile them beside the back doors, breaking them into pieces small enough to be easily carried.

Our two families took turns hosting the pre-midnight parties. And after the stroke of midnight and the singing of Auld Lang Syne, my father and my best friend's father would grab their coats, and a piece of fuel, and leave the house. They would then take turns being the first to enter each others' houses, accept a cup of grog in thanks, and head back out into the night.

Thereafter, the two of them, grog mugs in mittened hands, would parade the streets with pieces of fuel, first-footing whoever wanted to invite them in (which was usually everyone on the street, and a few from other streets to boot), and all the time carrying on a lusty and grog-inspired argument of the Scots versus the Welsh. Those of us who still had the stamina would sometimes accompany them, gathering members of our little parade from each house along the way. The older ones would drag the younger ones on sleds and toboggans.

It would be romantic to say that we carried on until dawn. But, up where we were living at the time, dawn arrived sometime in February. We actually carried on until the first-footers completely lost their feet. Then we young 'uns would cede our places on the sleds and toboggans and carry them home.

Traditions -- from the relatively new to the relatively old -- vary from place to place around the world.

What's your tradition?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

All I Want And All I Don't Want

What a helluva time of year to bring out the memes...and Tim thinks I don't have enough to do already!

Three things I want, three things I don't want, and tag five others. Hmmmmmm....

I Want:

1. Certain "words" and expressions to disappear from the vocabulary. Things like "asshat" and "right-whinger" and "fiberal." If you wanna insult someone, at least show a little imagination, fercrissake! Copying somebody else's ignorance is being just plain lazy.

2. A cease-and-desist over who "owns" Christmas. Nobody owns it, ya knuckleheads! Christmas is a multi-ethnic and multicultural event. Get used ta sharing. And quit whining over whether it's supposed to be religious (and whose religion and/or version thereof) or commercial. It's both. Shit, even the three wise men bought gifts, right? At least, if you buy the mythology, they did...

3. A world-wide cease fire over anything that has a philosophical root -- like religion, or whether or not gays ought to be allowed to get married to each other. These are artificial reasons for war. The real reason governments send their young populations to war is because the people who run those governments think it's to their benefit to wage war. They like to have battles being waged all the time, just so long as they, personally, don't have to participate. It's an economic thing. It's an emotional thing. It's one of the ugliest aspects of the human animal. Cut it out already.

I don't want:

1. Any lip outa you. Or you, either. Eat your dinner. Drink your eggnog. Unwrap your present and be glad it's not coal (although, with global warming making fossil fuels less desirable, perhaps we ought to start looking for a coal substitute. Somebody wanna get Monsanto and similar companies to come up with something useful for a change?).

2. Any biblical quotes as "proof" of anything. Anywhere. Anytime. Until such time as the actual flesh-and-blood authors of this series of fantastical short stories are identified as having been real, live, historical people, I don't accept the bible as a historical document. Ditto the Qu'ran. And I'd throw in the Book of Mormon and Dianetics, except I know those guys were real. I just wanna know what they were smokin', is all...

3. For anybody to take any of this toooooooo seriously. Jeez, if my answers to this meme got you all upset and angry, get a life already! Take a pill and get your blood pressure checked, huh? Or quit takin' pills and get your blood pressure checked. Relax. Feed the birdies. Get off your own Top Ten Favorite People list for awhile.

Now I gotta interrupt the last-minute rush-to-get-things-done-before-Santa-arrives of five other people? Okay. I'm going with people who are too far away to come over to the Cavern and hit me:


If I don't see ya before the guy in the red suit cuts a hole in the roof because he can't find the chimney (not because you don't have a chimney, but because he's had 'way too much eggnog already), have a good one -- whatever you call it!

(PS: This new version of Blogger is no better than the old version for setting colors other than the default. Those links are supposed to be red!)

Vintage Sex

Somebody in my family thinks my age may be showing, and e-mailed a few "helpful" hints. If you think your age is also showing, make notes:

1. Put on your glasses. Double check that your partner is actually in bed with you. Once you've verified that, you can take them off again.

2. Set timer for 3 minutes, in case you doze off in the middle.

3. Set the mood with lighting. Turn them ALL OFF!

4. Make sure you put 911 on your cell phone speed dial before you begin. Hang your cell phone around your neck so you can find it quickly.

5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember it.

6. Keep extra Polygrip close by so your teeth don't end up under the bed or between your partner's thighs.

7. Have smelling salts ready in case you actually complete the act. Don't be selfish -- have enough to share with your partner.

8. Make all the noise you want. The neighbors are deaf too.

9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news.

10. Don't even think about trying it twice.

Monday, December 18, 2006

That's Gotta Hurt!

I mean -- really hurt!

There's a lesson here, guys. As Mountbatten reportedly told Charles, "There are women you marry and women you boink. Never let them meet!"

Christmas Is Alive And Well...

...despite complaints from some quarters that this horrible, modern secular society has taken the Christ out of Christmas. Examples are being strewn like straw on a stone floor, pointing to various commercial enterprises refusing to play "real" Christmas music. By that, I guess the complainers meant that "Silent Night" was being replaced by "Jingle Bells." Baby Jesus is being ignored.

To which I was thinking, "When you live in a multicultural, mosaic society, don't be surprised when some of your fellow citizens don't always fall into lockstep with you."

Several posts ago, Balbulican started this thread, and the first commenter complained that "disrespectful" stores and malls were not playing songs that mentioned Jesus. An entertaining discussion ensued.

I went looking.

The shopping mall closest to me is Guildford Town Center, and I went looking for evidence of either respect or disrespect. I actually gritted my teeth and went to the bloody mall. I hate crowds. And, with a very few exceptions, I hate Christmas music. Can't stand either Silent Night or Jingle Bells. Repetitious, sappy dreck, all of it!

Anyway...official mall policy is that there is no official policy on Christmas music. Or Musak, to be more precise. The halls of the mall are filled with an assortment of both religious and non-religious canned crap; although truth be told, it weighs heavily towards the non-religious.

Individual stores, however, played whatever they thought would attract their target customers. Most of the stores into which I poked my head were playing religious carols. And guess what? None of the plentiful population of customers wearing turbans were in the least offended!

And then there was Caminando. They are hired by the mall every year to walk up and down the halls, singing a capella in three-part harmony. And they only sing religious songs. And yes, they do requests. I asked for "Coventry Carol," (one of the few song I like) for which they had no sheet music, but they did do "What Child Is This" (another one I like)? Their harmonies were so sweet, I followed them around for awhile...until they started singing the stuff I don't like. Then I went home and surrounded myself with solitude and silence.

Christmas is alive and well. Good for Christmas. Unfortunately, Christmas "music" is also alive and well.

Thank the gods for portable CD players and earplugs!

Friday, December 15, 2006

What's Your Sign?

Drivers Alert:

In the future, if your car insurance agent pays particular attention to your birthdate, don't be too surprised. It seems that your astrological sign may have something to do with your ability to drive safely. Apparently, you can also blame your birthdate for the number of tickets you get.

Think I'm kidding? Check it out.

Of course, your birthdate depended entirely upon your parents, now, doesn't it. I can just see the next line of defense tactics in traffic court..."But, Your Lordship, I can't possibly be to blame for this parents got horny in a blizzard in January, when there wasn't anything else to do anyway, so they boinked all night for three nights, and here I am, an accident-prone Libra..."


Due to rather violent storms (for this area, at least) during the past several days, either power or internet connections have been iffy at best.

Yes, I'm blaming my lack of posts on the weather.

And Blogger now wants me to get a Google account and switch over to its new beta version. This could be interesting...

Strap in and hang on! I'm gonna be flying the new version for the first time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Move Over, Garth

You might soon have company on the Independent bench...

John is no shrinking violet when it comes to his opinions. And he's no slouch at defending his constituents, either:

" B.C. Conservative MP John Cummins ramped up his attack on his own government Thursday by making public a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper critical of the $121-million treaty to be announced today with the Tsawwassen band."

PMSH does NOT like to have his own caucus members diss him in public. I predict the fur will fly realsoonnow.

(H/T Canadian Garth...)

The Junco Flutter Dance

Since I put up the feeding station for the winter birds, I've had lots of opportunity to watch the social interactions of the different species. The Siskins are shy and solitary, preferring to come to the feeder when no one else is around. The Chickadees would make great smash-and-grab artists, making beelines for whichever feeder carries what they want, then grabbing it and getting outa there. But the Juncos...

Ah, the Juncos are communal, at least in feeding. At times the balcony looks like someone put out the call for a feathered rave party. But there's one little hitch -- there always seems to be one more bird than there are places to perch. A bird without a perch tries to get a perch, and the ensuing fuss resembles an avian version of a Chinese Fire Drill.

Hence the following lyric. It won't leave me alone, so I've decided to publish it and see if that will diminish the 4/4 beat of it drumming in my head tonight, and I might be able to get some sleep.

I've written a lot of lyrics in my time, but I do believe this is the only one I've ever written from the viewpoint of a bird:

The Junco Flutter Dance

Two in the tree and two on the rail
One on the feeder that hangs from the nail
I'm over here and I wanna be there
So I jump up and flutter in the air
And we all jump up and flutter in the air.

The millet spray is empty; there ain't no more
So I hunt for seed on the balcony floor
Searching for seed everywhere
And I jump up and flutter in the air
And we all jump up and flutter in the air.

Two on a feeder is one too many
You've got seed but I ain't got any
Sunflower hog! That ain't fair!
And I jump up and flutter in the air!
And we all jump up and flutter in the air!

Now I'm standing guard on the big seed bell
You can go get your own or you can go to hell
I've got the bell and I ain't gonna share
So you jump up and flutter in the air
And we all jump up and flutter in the air.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Move Over, Feliciano...

From the way he plays, I'm guessing that this guitarist is blind. I don't read French all that well, so I'm not sure what the comments say. But if they're anything like what I'm thinking, they're all variations on "This guy is bloody amazing!"

(H/T Canadian Cynic)

Would You Like That Steamed Or Flambe?

With Richard Simmons' new, computerized cooker (he calls it a "steamer with a brain"), you might have to make your mind up real fast...

I love the comment about watching this clip on a Dell laptop powered by a Sony battery!

(H/T Consumerist)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fuss And Feathers

One way to reduce stress levels while the doctor fiddles with the chemical cocktail I'm ingesting is to find some reason to laugh. But when that mega-dump of cold white shit landed all over my supposedly temperate rainforest, laughter became a scarce commodity. Why, I asked myself, did I bother to leave Winnipeg when I got out of the Air Force if its weather was only going to follow me home?

Other beings who were suddenly also not impressed with the cold white shit were the birds. Their usual feeding habitats were being turned into cold-storage units, saving for next month sometime what they had been used to eating today.

So I built a feeding station on my third-floor balcony.

I made a hanging feeder out of a plastic 1-kg coffee container and one of those pants hangers you get from the dry cleaners.

I set up an open feeder from a cafeteria tray set on a level stand.

And I used a six-foot length of bamboo, duct tape, string, and a small (18-inch tall) artificial Christmas tree to give the tree-feeders something on which to land.

The hanging feeder contains loose seed. The tray has some loose seed, a large seed bell, and some shelled raw peanuts (they will eat roasted peanuts, but the roasting process actually makes the oil in the peanuts more susceptible to going rancid -- not that these little guys are about to let that happen). And the tree is festooned with sprays of millet.

I was just putting the last knot in the string that ties the tree to the bamboo pole (thereby holding it firmly on top of the balcony railing) when I heard a shrill PEEP in my ear. There was a bird sitting on top of the pole, inches from my head, impatiently inquiring when dinner would be served. And when ("if you don't mind...") I was going to get out of his way so he could enjoy his feast.

I wish, at times like this, that I had a camera.

So far, I've attracted Chestnut-backed Chickadees (and they are the ones who go for the peanuts), Dark-eyed Juncos (which are a type of Sparrow), and Pine Siskins (which are a type of Finch).

Mostly, they are all polite to one another (humans could take a lesson, especially at this time of year -- been to the mall yet? OY!), waiting their turn and not crowding one another. The different species give each other space...most of the time. Once in awhile a Chickadee will take a bit of a run at one of the Juncos in an attempt to get to the peanuts. Chickadees grab and run (or fly, actually) back to hide their food prize, much like squirrels do, instead of staying to feed like the Juncos do. And if a Junco gets between a Chickadee and his peanuts, look out!

And, sitting in my warm apartment behind the glass door, I indulge myself in a bit of a giggle-fest, watching the antics of my feathered guests.

Sress? What stress?

UPDATE (Monday): Looks like I've also attracted a Downy Woodpecker. He doesn't seem to be interested in the feeing stations, but he's enthralled with the bamboo pole. He either sits on top and tries to drill down through the closed section/joint, or he hangs onto the side and drums like crazy on the pole. Apparently, drumming is a territorial announcement, and it looks like my balcony has just been "adopted."