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Friday, er, Saturday miscellany

OK. I didn’t get to the Friday Miscellany thing yesterday. My bad.

I was golfing in the afternoon – and dodging lightning – and had to work like the dickens to get some stuff done in the morning and over lunch so I didn’t get the chance to finish my Friday post! Gimme a break, will ya!!!!!


The sister of a colleague of mine is being awarded with a Medal of Bravery for actions taken in January!

Congrats to Tara… not many of us would have the guts to do what she did!


Winnipeg Jets. Damn, that feels good to say…


Bye to XUP as she moves from O-Dot to The Big Smoke! Gonna miss our early morning chats on the 148… best of luck to her and XUP Junior!


Chrysotile asbestos. It kills. It really does. Never mind those who vigorously state that if used correctly and properly monitored, it is perfectly safe.

If installed correct… and we are exporting this stuff to places who really don’t care a whole lot about health and safety requirements

If anyone believes the myth that developing countries with poor bureaucracies and widespread corruption oversee the substance’s use, then that person is engaging in willful self-deception.

Jeffrey Simpson called us the “Ugly Canadians”.

The Harper government could care less. It vigorously defends mining asbestos because of one little corner of Quebec, near Thetford Mines, where the asbestos is mined and shipped to developing countries, mostly in Asia. Stephen Harper’s top Quebec minister, Christian Paradis, used to head the Thetford Mines chamber of commerce. Mr. Harper campaigned in the area and supported the mining. He spent part of Friday, St. Jean Baptiste Day, in Thetford Mines, thereby reinforcing his government’s political marriage to asbestos.

This week, the Ugly Canadians stood alone against the world in blocking the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous chemical under the Rotterdam Convention. At the meeting in Geneva, Canada had at first clustered itself among a small group of opponents that included such democratic stalwarts as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam. Even these countries relented, however, and agreed to the listing. But not Canada. Not the Harper government. Not when there are jobs at an asbestos mine in Quebec.

What shame. Not only do we have a reputation for overlooking the environmental impacts of the tar sands, rioting in the streets for no particular reason and have the  worst record for greenhouse-gas emissions in the developed world, we refuse to ban the export of a substance that kills those who are most vulnerable.

And just for a few votes.

Shame on Harper. And shame on Jean Charest too.


Jimbobbysez is having a photo caption contest. Go take a look!


Your dishwasher may be trying to kill you and yours!

The research, whose findings are published in a super-coolly named journal called Fungal Biology, showed that:

62 per cent of dishwashers contained the fungi Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis on the rubber band in the door. Both of the black yeasts are known to be dangerous to human health.

Kinda makes sense though, doesn’t it? Organic matter, warm temps, downtime to allow the bugs to thrive… perfect scenario, eh? But then again, this can be said for a number of surfaces in the kitchen.

So what to do? Some suggest to I put the dishwasher thru a cycle with a lot of white vinegar once a month using the topmost temperature setting. Plus, try to rinse as much food from the cutlery and dishes as possible in the sink  BEFORE putting them in the dishwasher.


Finally, you wanna diss someone, but want to it creatively… how about doing it in Ye Olde English?

Choose one word from each of the columns below and add “thou” at the beginning. As in

Methinks you lie! Thou dankish, crook-pated, foot-licker!

See? Fun, eh?






Blog of the week – XUP

Although XUP herself has been on a self-imposed exile for the past several months (on an island called l’Île de la formation linguistique), this has been and continues to be one of my all time fave sites.

From the quirky to the outrageous to the heartfelt, her posts are always certain to evoke an emotion in the reader. Great authors can do this seemingly at will. Good authors can do this too – but with considerably more effort (I humbly consider myself as part of the latter category – but it can be hit or miss sometimes).

You know what a blog is? A blog is really just a collection of connected or not-so connected short stories. And like any good piece of writing, a well-assembled and displayed blog is technically well written, interesting to a wide audience, and, as noted above, infused with emotion engaging prose.

And this is XUP to a tee.

From this post extolling the glories of bacon (XUP is a vegetarian) to this – which is one of my faves since we both have daughters who are about the same age. She talks about her baby girl going on her “real first date”.  Here’s a taste:

And so began a (so far) 10-day battle over why I’m insisting on meeting this shy, handsome teenager who intends to drive my daughter off into the night in his own car versus why I’m always trying to ruin her life to make sure she’s miserable, alone and unhappy until the day she dies.

Why do I have to meet him?

  • Because I want to make sure he’s not a total and complete idiot and if he is, yes, I will call the whole date off. (OH MY GOD MOTHER!!!)
  • Because I want to quiz him on his driving qualifications.
  • Because I want him to know there is someone attached to this girl he’s taking out who will feed him his own testicles if he harms one hair on her head and/or doesn’t drive like he’s taking his brittle-boned great-grandmother on her first ever outing in an automobile.

Is this totally unreasonable of me? Isn’t this what parents do who don’t want to spend the entire evening of the date peering out the window with their finger on the 911 speed-dial button?

Or this short post entitled

Ottawa: The City That Fun Forgot

where she goes on about how awesomely nanny-ish we in National Capital Commission can be:

To ensure even less winter fun the National Capital Commission has also decided not to have the outdoor concert series during Winterlude this year because heating the stage will “cause damage to the environment”. They’re aiming for a carbon-neutral/fun-neutral Winterlude this year.

Isn’t that awesomely responsible of them?

Whatever XUP tackles, it is always with panache and more than a bit of an edge. I hope that, after her language training is complete, she returns to blogging. We miss her!

Check out her site – you’ll thank me for it!


End of week miscellany

Budget next Thursday. I wonder if anyone on the Opposition side will munch on a Jos Louis while Flaherty delivers it?


I hate this time of the year. It’s not really winter nor spring. More like sprinter. Of course the city is trying to save few bucks on snowplowing and sidewalk snow removal, so the warm temps combined with the wet snow has made for quicksand like conditions… nice bit of cardio getting to the bus though.


Again, Max Bernier. Gotta love him. But what has amazed me the most is this statement by Jim Prentice:

While Bernier was applauded in the right-wing blogosphere, Prentice was left to distance himself, and the prime minister, from what they know are politically explosive claims. Said Prentice: “The views Maxime has put forward are his personal views. They are not the government’s views. I don’t specifically share them.”

Huh!? But, but, Mr. Prentice. He is in your caucus. He was a member of Cabinet. And the PMO has a stranglehold on the message, doesn’t it? Please. Of course they are the government’s views. Those types of views that Harper et al have done a very good job disguising. And now you have a loose cannon… what are ya gonna do about it, eh?


The OC Transpo debate going on in XUPs hood makes for great reading. A bus driver plopped himself into the discussion this week, defending against many of the accusations that have been levelled against  OC Transpo in the blog and elsewhere).  This is akin to dropping Alex Ovechkin into a den of Canadian hockey players; he never had a chance. Some of his or her points have some validity, such as the need for public pressure to bring about change to our inefficient transit system. But the bottom line is that by and large, service sucks and many riders are tired of paying rate increase after rate increase for a crappy product.

Yet once in a blue moon, something shines through that fog of driver rudeness and route inefficiency.

I was taking the 86 yesterday when, on Russell Road, one of the passengers forgot to ring the bell in time and the bus cruised by his stop. This younger guy wasn’t familiar with the route and went to the front to ask the driver to let him off at the next stop, about 400 metres further. To which the driver said that the passenger should just stay on the bus as the 86 looped back just a little ways further. Now, it was a crappy sprinter day – cold and very wet – the passenger would have been soaked to the bone in those 400 metres. The driver could have simply stopped at the next stop and let the passenger walk a considerably longer distance without saying a word; but instead he thought of the passenger as something more than a nuisance.

Nice. And yeah, I did let OC Transpo know about it. And I also noted that this was a guy, not a cute co-ed.


The Canadian women kicked some Yankee ass last night and won the hockey gold! Congrats ladies! It is indeed the fairer sex that is carrying the weight for our Olympic team. Now, you buncha professional, overpaid louts of men… I hope you learned something… now go out and kick some Slovakian ass tonight and some of the American/Finnish variety on Sunday!


I don’t believe it. The Canuck girls decided to go out on the ice after everyone had left and have a little celebration.. with some beer, champagne and cigars. And someone took a photo of this. And one of the girls is 18 and a WHOLE MONTH away from legally drinking in B.C.!


Can ANY parent out there tell me that they are offended by this? They just on a gold medal for frick sake! So what if the kid was just shy of 19! It’s this blind and strict adherence to “rules” like these that make me wonder how the human race has survived this long! What are we? A world of hall monitors?

And the IOC is going to investigate… sigh…

Steve Keogh, a spokesman for the COC, said the organization had not provided the alcohol or initiated the party.

“In terms of the actual celebration, it’s not exactly something uncommon in Canada,” he said. “If these athletes were of legal age, then it’s not something that’s against the law. We can understand there’s a lot of sensitivity around celebrations.

Don’t worry girls, 99.999% of the country was out on the ice with you in spirit!


Time for we Canadian Public Servants to pat ourselves on the back!

It is Public Service Week.

And we who have chosen as a vocation and dedicated our energies to the service the Canadian people have every reason to proudly celebrate!

Over yonder in XUP’s ‘hood there is a great post that will give all you non-PS folks a taste of what we’re all about.

Wander over there and read it – she says it way better than I can!

Go! Now!