Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Alternative Affirmations...

Hot on the heels of my own New Years' post, I received an e-mail from my spouse which contained the following gem. It's from the Joke-of-the-day website and I just had to share it with you all:

Alternative Affirmations...

It is a time of resolutions. I made one resolution many years ago and I have stuck to it. I resolved to no longer make resolutions. The following are some alternative affirmations for a new year.

At the end of one year and the start of another, many of us will renew our commitment to living with daily affirmations. I know the power of affirming my truth, over and over, everyday! While these may not suit everyone's taste, here are some "possible" affirmations to consider!

1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.

2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.

4. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

5. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of wisdom and judgment.

6. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.

7. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as rewarding.

8. I am at one with my duality.

9. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves in knots.

10. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 50th birthday.

11. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

12. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than: "I told
you so!"

13. A scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.

14. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.

15. I will no longer waste my time reliving the past; I will spend it worrying about the future?

16. The complete lack of evidence is the surest proof that the conspiracy is working.

17. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.

Happy New Year...

I suppose it would be unseemly to let the year end and not make a note of it here. This year has been one fraught with change and challenge. I leave it, knowing I will never physically be the same, thanks to the surgical reconstruction of my arm and shoulder. This has altered my employability in many fields but at the same time, has left me more resolute than ever to carry on enjoying whatever I feel like doing in life.

I used to celebrate New Year's Eve like many, if not most people. I would ring it in under a haze of alcohol-induced false goodwill. I haven't gone that route in a good many years now. Nowadays it's a simple toast (orange juice or cranberry juice mixed with ginger ale...) and an evening spent with family. Maybe dinner and a movie...? I'm not one for making "resolutions", as these tend to last only as long as it takes to verbalize them...

While it may be an ideal time to sit and reflect on what we might want to alter or improve in our lives, I believe that process should be an ongoing one. That way, we don't end up wasting a whole year of our life in between critical decisions.

So for what it's worth, to any and all that might know me (and to those of you who do not...), I wish for each and every one of you, a happy and most prosperous New Year. May it be filled with an appreciation of who you are and what you are capable of. May it also be infused with the knowledge that 'someday' never comes.

If you have been putting off learning a new skill, taking a certain trip, living in a new experience... saying: "Someday, I'll get around to it...", then do so. Truly, there is no time like the present. If you are waiting for that 'ideal set of circumstances' to come along, you will be waiting until the day you die. Your life will have passed you by and you will have never tasted of that unknown fruit.

Be your own best friend. I know many of us have been brought up to deny our own wishes and dreams, in favor of "thinking of others first". What a worthless and senseless frame of mind. Take care of your own happiness first and foremost. Really! Only by putting yourself first, will you finally become cognizant of your importance in your own life. Be comfortable in your own skin and not apologetic for loving yourself.

Once you become convinced of your own worth and realize it is not only okay, but normal to treat yourself well (i.e.: to put yourself first in your life...), you will find within yourself untold reserves of love and compassion for others. If a person does not, cannot love themself, then they have nothing to offer to anyone else. It's as simple as that. In order to attain that level, each of us must become totally self-sufficient as far as our own happiness goes. If you are truly happy being who and how you are, then you may actually have something to bring into a relationship with another person.

Regardless of what countless ballads and songs over the ages have told us, nobody "needs" someone else. And we certainly shouldn't need someone else, in order for us to be happy, or for our life to "be complete". Those who make their 'happiness' conditional or dependent on another person, display dysfunctional thinking. Co-dependency, I believe the term would be. It is a sign that they are not at peace with themselves, not comfortable in their own skin. They are 'needy'. They are seeking something external to 'make them happy', when that something should be coming from within them. They will be looking for that 'something or someone' forever and will invariably suck the positiveness out of any relationship that they may get into. Kind of like an emotional black hole.

So resist becoming one of these lost souls. Accept yourself for who and what you are. If there is something about you that you would like to change, then change it... but be realistic! That's all part of accepting onesself. If you're 40, have never been to medical school and still pine over the fact that you never became a brain surgeon, earning a six-figure salary: Get over it!!! Don't be an idiot. If you ever had a calling to enter medicine, you would have responded to it long ago. If you're just whining because you don't have the paycheck, you have a lot of work to do on yourself. You haven't reached rock star status yet? Figure out why, then get over it!! Keep your expectations of life in line with the amount of work you are ready to do to attain them. Better yet, shelf your expectations. They have nothing to do with reality. If you want to set goals for yourself, on the other hand... by all means do so. Just be prepared to do the work.

Learn to love, appreciate and take care of yourself this year. In so doing, you will be setting yourself up for a long run of truly happy new years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You might be a Redneck if...

1. You think "loading the dishwasher" means getting your wife drunk.

2. You ever cut your grass and found a car.

3. You own a home that is mobile and 5 cars that aren't.

4. You think the stock market has a fence around it.

5. Your stereo speakers used to belong to the Drive-in Theater.

6. Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.

7. You own a homemade fur coat.

8. Chiggers are included on your list of top 5 hygiene concerns.

9. You burn your yard rather than mow it.

10. Your wife has ever said: "Come move this transmission so I can take a bath" .

11. You read the Auto Trader with a highlight pen.

12. The Salvation Army declines your mattress.

13. You've ever raked leaves in your kitchen.

14. Birds are attracted to your beard.

15. Your wife's job requires her to wear an orange vest.

16. You were shooting pool when any of your kids were born.

17. You have the local taxidermist's number on speed dial.

18. You've ever hit a deer with your car...deliberately.

19. Your school fight song was: "Dueling Banjos".

20. You think a chain saw is a musical instrument.

21. You've ever given rat traps as gifts.

22. You clean your fingernails with a stick.

23. Your coffee table used to be a cable spool.

24. You keep a can of RAID on the kitchen table.

25. Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.

26. Your mother has "ammo" on her Christmas list.

27. Every socket in your house breaks a fire code.

28. You've totaled every car you've ever owned.

29. There are more than five McDonald's bags in your car.

30. The Home Shopping operator recognizes your voice.

31. There has ever been crime-scene tape on your bathroom door.

32. You've ever been kicked out of the zoo for heckling the monkeys.

33. The taillight covers of your car are made of red tape.

34. You think a subdivision is part of a math problem.

35. You've ever bathed with flea and tick soap.

36. You think "taking out the trash" means taking your in-laws to a movie.

37. You have every episode of Hee-Haw on tape.

38. You've ever been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.

39. You’re considered an expert on worm beds.

40. Your kids take a siphon hose to "Show and Tell"

41. The dog catcher calls for a backup unit when visiting your house.

42. You've ever bought a used cap.

43. Your CB antenna is a danger to low-flying planes.

44. You pick your teeth….. from a catalog.

45. You've ever financed a tattoo.

46. You've ever stolen toilet paper.

47. You think a hot tub is a stolen bathroom fixture.

48. People hear your car a long time before they see it.

49. The gas pedal on your car is shaped like a bare foot.

50. You prefer car keys to Q-tips.

51. You take a fishing pole into Sea World.

52. You think a turtleneck is a key ingredient for soup.

53. You've ever stood in line to have your picture taken with a freak of nature.

54. You think the French Riviera is foreign car.

55. You go to a stock car race and don't need a program.

56. You've ever filled your deer tag on the golf course.

57. You have ever used lard in bed.

58. You own more than 3 shirts with cut off sleeves.

59. You have ever spray-painted your girlfriends name on an overpass.

60. Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.

61. Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle.

62. The primary color of your car is Bondo.

63. Directions to your house include the phrase: "Turn off the paved road".

64. Your dog and your wallet are both on a chain.

65. You owe the taxidermist more than your annual income.

66. You ever lost a tooth opening a beer bottle.

67. Jack Daniels makes your list of most admired people.

68. Your wife's hairdo has ever been ruined by a ceiling fan.

69. You see no need to stop at a rest stop 'cause you have an empty milk jug.

70. You refer to the fifth grade your senior year.

71. You have a rag for a gas cap (on a car that doesn’t run).

72. The dog can't watch you eat without gagging.

73. You have a hefty bag where the window of your car should be.

74. You have ever bar-b-qued Spam on the grill.

75. Your brother-in-law is also your uncle.

76. Redman Chewing Tobacco sends you a Christmas card.

77. You bought a VCR because wrestling comes on while you're at work.

78. Your dad walks you to school because you're in the same grade.

79. You view the next family reunion as a chance to meet girls.

80. Your wife has a beer belly and you find it attractive.

81. Your front porch collapses and kills more than five dogs.

82. The main course at potluck dinners is road kill.

83. Your other truck is made by John Deere.

84. You think suspenders are a type of shirt.

85. Going to the bathroom at night involves shoes and a flashlight.

86. You keep a spit cup on the ironing board.

87. You ever got too drunk to fish.

88. More than one living relative is named after a civil war general.

89. Your home has more miles on it than your car.

90. You think that potted meat on a saltine is an hors d'oeuvre.

91. There is a stuffed possum anywhere in your house.

92. You consider a six-pack and a bug-zapper high-quality entertainment.

93. Fewer than half of your cars run.

94. Your mother doesn't remove the Marlboro from her lips before telling the State Trooper to kiss her ass.

95. You honestly think that women are turned on by animal noises and seductive tongue gestures.

96. You stand under the mistletoe at Christmas and wait for Granny and cousin Bobby-Sue to walk by.

97. Your family tree doesn't have any branches.

98. Your mother has been involved in a fistfight at a high school sports event.

99. The best way to keep things cold is to leave 'em in the shade.

100. The neighbors started a petition over your Christmas lights.

101. You have refused to watch the Academy Awards since "Smokey and the Bandit" was snubbed for best picture.

102. The only condiment on your dining room table is the economy size bottle of ketchup.

103. The rear tires on your car are at least twice as wide as the front ones.

104. You consider "Outdoor Life" deep reading.

105. You prominently display a gift you bought at Graceland.

106. You use the term: 'over yonder' more than once a month.

107. The diploma hanging in your den contains the words: "Trucking Institute"

108. You've ever worn a tube top to a wedding.

109. Your favorite Christmas present, was a painting on black velvet.

110. You think that Dom Perignon is a mafia leader.

111. The most commonly heard phrase at your family reunion is: "What the hell are you looking at, Shithead?"

112. You think that beef jerky and Moon Pies are two of the major food groups.

113. You think that Campho-Phenique is a miracle drug.

114. The first words out of your mouth every time you see friends are "Howdy!", "HEY!" or "How Y'all Doin'?"

115. You have more than two brothers named Bubba or Junior.

116. Your father encourages you to quit school because Larry has an opening on the lube rack.

117. You think a Volvo is part of a woman's anatomy.

118. You think that the Styrofoam cooler is the greatest invention of all time.

119. You had to remove a toothpick for wedding pictures.

120. You've ever used a weed eater indoors.

121. You have to go outside to get something out of the 'fridge.

122. Your richest relative invites you over to his new home to help him remove the wheels and skirt.

123. You've ever financed a tattoo.

124. Your idea of a 7 course meal is a bucket of KFC and a six-pack.

125. You go to a Tupperware party for a haircut.

126. Your Junior/Senior Prom had a Daycare.

127. Your kids are going hungry tonight because you just had to have those Yosemite Sam
mud flaps.

128. You won't stop at a rest area if you have an empty beer can in the car.

129. You have a very special baseball cap, just for formal occasions.

130. You have to scratch your sister’s name out of the message: "for a good time call . . .”, because you feel guilty about putting it there.

131. You are still holding on to Confederate money because you think the South will rise again.

132. You consider pork and beans to be a gourmet food.

133. You have to go down to the creek to take a bath.

134. You participate in the "who can spit tobacco the farthest contest."

135. You roll you hair with soup cans and wash it once a year.

136. You consider a three piece suit to be: a pair of overalls, a plaid flannel shit and thermal underwear.

137. There is a sheet hanging in your closet and a gun rack hanging in your truck.

138. You think the mountain men in Deliverance were just "misunderstood".

139. You've ever made change in the offering plate.

140. You consider a good tan to be the back of your neck and the left arm below the shirt sleeve.

141. You own at least 20 baseball hats.

142. You know of at least six different ways to bend the bill of a baseball hat.

143. You can change the oil in your truck without ducking your head.

144. When you run out of gas, you put gin in the gas tank!

145. Your biggest ambition in life is to: "git thet big ol' coon. The one what hangs 'round over yonder, back'ah bubba's barn".

146. Three quarters of the clothes you own have LOGOS on them.

147. When you leave your house, you are followed by federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the only thing you worry about is if you can loose them or not.

148. Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.

149. You have started a petition to change the National Anthem to "Georgia on My Mind"

150. You call your boss "Buddy", on a regular basis.

151. You consider your license plate personalized because your dad made it in prison.

152. You have been fired from a construction job because of your appearance.

153. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

154. You need an estimate from your barber before you get a haircut.

155. After making love, you ask your date to roll down the window.

156. The biggest fashion risk you take is which plaid you'll wear to the 4-H Fair.

157. You have flowers planted in a bathroom appliance in your front yard.

158. Someone in your family says: "Cum'n heer an' lookit this a'fore I flush it!".

159. Your wife weighs more then your refrigerator.

160. When you see a sign that says: "Say No To Crack," it reminds you to pull your jeans up.

161. You go Christmas shopping for your mom, sister, and girlfriend, and you only need to buy one gift.

162. Your gene pool doesn't have a "deep end".

163. "Honey? Are the lights out? Is the door locked? Is the parking brake set?" is what you hear right before you and your wife/girl make love.

164. Your `huntin dawg' cost more than the truck you drive him around in.

165. You'd rather catch bass than get some (if you can't guess...)

166. You have a Hefty bag for a Car/Truck convertible top.

167. Your belt buckle weighs more than three pounds.

168. You think that safe sex is a padded headboard on the waterbed.

169. You have an Elvis Jell-O mold.

170. You own more cowboy boots than sneakers.

171. You've been to a funeral and there were more pick-ups than cars.

172. You have a picture of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or Elvis over your fireplace.

173. You just bought an 8-track player to put in your car.

174. There are four or more cars up on blocks in the front yard.

175. The theme song at your high school prom was “Friends in Low Places”.

176. Its easier to spray weed killer on your lawn than mow it.

177. You think that John Deere Green, Ford Blue, and Primer Gray are the three of the primary colors.

178. You've ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister's honor.

179. You idea of talking during sex is: "Ain't no cars coming, baby!"

180. Your vehicle has a two-tone paint job: primer red and primer gray.

181. The tobacco chewers in your family aren't just men.

182. Yer mom calls ya over t'help, cause she has a flat tire...on her house.

183. The ASPCA raids yer kitchen.

184. Foreplay consists of slipping off her saddle.

185. Ya can't get married to yer sweetheart ‘cause there’s a law against it.

186. Ya celebrate Groundhog Day (cause ya believe in it!!)

187. You've been on TV more than 5 times describing the sound of a tornado.

188. You fish in your above-ground pool, especially if you catch something!

189. Your beer can collection is considered a tourist attraction in your home town.

190. If you wake up with both a black eye and a hickey.

191. Getting a package from your post office requires a full tank of gas in the truck.

192. "Buck Naked Line Dancing" isn't a videotape, it's "Ladies Night" at the local bar.

193. Your wife wants to stop at the gas station to see if they've got the new Darrell Waltrip Budweiser wall clock.

194. You dated your daddy's current wife in high school.

195. You're moved to tears every time you hear Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You"

196. You've ever parked a Camaro in a tree.

197. Exxon and Conoco have offered you royalties for your hair.

198. Your dad is also your favorite uncle.

199. The most serious loss from the earthquake was your Conway Twitty record collection (your insurance man is one too if he pays you for it).

200. You actually made a pyramid of cans in the pale moonlight with Alan Jackson.

201. You have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education.

202. You can tell your age by the number of rings in the bathtub.

203. Your mom gives you tips on how to sneak booze into sporting events.

204. The blue book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas it has in it.

205. Your classes at school were cancelled because the path to the restroom was flooded.

206. On your job application under "SEX" you put: "As often as possible"

207. During your senior year you and your mother had homeroom together.

208. You're a “light” beer drinker, because you start drinking when it gets light.

209. On your first date you had to ask your Dad to borrow the keys to the tractor.

210. Your parakeet knows the phrase: "Open up, Police!”

211. You saved lots of money on your honeymoon by going deer hunting.

212. In tough situations you ask yourself: "What would Curly do?”

213. Taking your wife on a cruise means circling the Dairy Queen.

214. You think the last words to the Star Spangled Banner are: "Gentlemen, start your engines"

215. Your child's first words are: "Attention K-Mart shoppers”

216. Your wife's best pair of shoes are steel-toed Red Wings.

217. You have a color coordinating rope that ties down your car hood.

218. You bring your dog to work with you.

219. You replace a flat tire on your truck with a tire from your house.

220. You've ever put a six-pack in a casket right before they closed it.

221. Your family's No. 1 enemy is revenuers.

222. Your belt buckle doubles as a serving platter.

223. You use lava soap more than three times a day.

224. You wear cowboy boots with Bermuda shorts.

225. You have a hook in your shower to hang your hat on.

226. You buy your wife tube socks at the flea market.

227. You consider orange peels left on the coffee table as potpourri.

228. You can't take a bath because beer is iced down in your tub.

229. Your kitchen doubles as a bait store.

230. You've ever picked up a woman in a convenience store.

231. You throw a beer can out the truck window and your wife shoots it.

232. You've ever fed your date french fries in a Denny's.

233. Going to the laundromat means cleaning out the back of the truck.

234. Your family reunion features a chewing tobacco spit-off.

235. You come home from the garbage dump with more than you went with.

***Thanks to Jeff Foxworthy and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour!! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve...

It's going on for 1830hrs and I'm sitting here, not so much doing a countdown until I can leave here and enjoy the traditional Christmas festivities, but just waiting until I can emerge into the outdoors once more. It's still fairly mild out there (+2 degrees C), or at least it was when I skipped over to the "Heart Attack Shack" (the Sausage Kitchen here in The Market...), for a quick bite to eat at 1545hrs. They were closing up when I entered, but they did make me a wonderful smoked turkey sandwich, piled high with turkey and swiss cheese on a nice fresh bun.

It's raining lightly and they are calling for a good chance of freezing rain in the later evening hours, as the temperature is expected to dip. A new cold front is being pushed our way by a Colorado low system, which is also expected to bring some wind gusts with it (60kmh/max). We'll be meandering back by the Rockcliffe Parkway, 50 to 60 klicks... takin' 'er easy. Mind you, Timothy's closed at 1500hrs today, so we won't be able to share a nice, hot cup of chai latté on the way home, as has become our habit these OC Transpo-less days... But that's alright... We have a good-sized container of their special mix at home. We'll just brew some up after our lobster supper.

We don't have a tree up yet and for all I care right now, it's not an emergency. There may be one sitting there, waiting to be decorated when I get in, but if not... it's all the same to me. The smell of a tree is very evocative of Christmas to me, but it's not deemed absolutely essential. The food? The stockings? Yeah, pretty much necessary. Somehow the thought of not having to test and thread many strings of lights (with never a replacement bulb in sight and all the stores closed...), provides a wonderfully stress-free atmosphere in which to begin enjoying these Yuletide Holidays.

Dontcha think???

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas once more...

So yes... it's Christmas once more. Time to look forward to a couple of days off and spent in the company of family and friends. The plan? A movie on Christmas Eve, for myself and my better half. This will be followed by lobster upon returning home. Kind of a Maritimes Christmas feast... everyone gets a leg... and yes, we'll probably open some little prezzies that we picked up for each other.

Christmas Day, the big meal with family. The bird, the pumpkin and mince pies... a tryptophan-induced coma afterwards, as we laze our way through the evening. With any luck, Santa might see his way to providing myself and my son-in-law with a new XBOX 360 game to try out... Who knows, maybe someone will get all energetic and suggest a drive to take in some Christmas lights, either around Ottawa or over on the Dark Side. Then again, maybe we'll save that kind of activity for Boxing Day, or perhaps a weekend day. Then there will be the trip into West Island Montreal, to see my Mom and the rest of her brood, my dear brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, in-laws, etc...

I'm ready. No panic this year, as the rampant commercialism of the Holiday Season has once more been spurned. We do things our own way and I have to say, it's a very mellow, relaxing time of the year these days. Kind of the way it always should have been...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On nose hairs...

Is there nothing more distressing or disconcerting, than the incessant, seemingly incurable itching that is provided by errant nose hairs? Seriously!! Of all the little trials and quirks that come with getting older, this bumper crop of nasal tormentors is by far in my estimation, the worse. I don't even mind so much the little armada of aches and pains that manifest themselves out of nowhere. Or the fact that my feet seem to be getting further from my arms. Or the sprouting of hair inside my ears, for God's sake. Somehow, I think the woods' elf look might be okay for me... But these nose hairs... Gr-rrrrr...

Oh sure... you can trim them all you like when you're at home. But it's never at home that they decide to emerge and manifest themselves, is it? I think they are somehow related to dandelions, in that they sense the trimmers and retract so to avoid being cut... much as dandelions do when they feel the reverberations of a lawnmower. No, it's always when you're at work, sitting in front of your 'puter, surrounded by your workmates, that you feel the tickling on the outside edges of your nostril... No mirrors, no place to do a cursory examination... but you have to get rid of it. It's torture!! So, as surreptitiously as you can, you fish around with the end of your finger, to see if you can locate the offending follicle. If you're lucky enouh to find it, your only solution is to grasp it in a firm all around grip (as much as you can do this using two fingernails...) and pull... quickly, sharply, decisively.

I pulled one this morning that must have had roots in my friggin' pancreas! I almost swooned from the wave of pain that removing it caused. My eyes teared up and I could barely read my screen. It's almost enough to make you consider snorting Neet or Nair... *Sigh!* Such is the cross that we men have to bear as we age. Don't hand me stories about menopause and expect any sympathy, ladies. We men have real issues to deal with...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Double damned...

Okay... so what could possibly be worse than taking the bus? That's an easy one. Not having any busses to take, of course. We are now at the "eleventh hour" before the folks at OC Transpo (Ottawa's finest purveyors of bussing-type services), operators of the inimitable Loser Cruiser, are scheduled to go on strike.

Okay, to take their side of things, they've been without a contract since what? June? July? It's been awhile. But hey, it's not like the money tap has been turned off since then. It's not like they're living all destitute-like, having to sleep in their busses with no home to go to at the end of the day. all that part has been cool and all. But as per the norm, "management" has been dragging their knuckles, or their heels, or something... and now everyone is like: "FINE!! Here we are just before Christmas, so let's see how you like it when we quit running the busses and then the citizens will call you up and scream at you until your ears bleed a bright, Yuletide-colored blood!!"

There are a lot of instances in life where one aggravated party will scream: "Yeah? Well my money pays your salary and I expect to receieve fair service!!!" In 90% of these instances, it's patently untrue. In this case however, it's right on the money. Why is it that we, the paying patrons of OC Transpo, are inevitably the ones left twisting in the wind whenever a transit strike occurs. Management doesn't pay for it (they save about $2,000,000.00 a week when the busses are not running). The workers don't pay for it. The passengers...? Right in the neck, every fucking time.

The drivers are hoping that commuters will turn their ire on management. Good luck with that one, as management are not the ones who walked off the job and left us scrambling for ways to make it in to work. What about those who depend on the bus system to make a living? Those who may have to takle reduced hours, change their shifts... make less money. What of those who because of this scenario, will not be able to make bill payments, mortgages...? You're jeopardizing their entire lifestyle...their livelihood... Because you're not happy with some of the finer points of your contract?

I understand that the drivers want the freedom to determine their own shifts and routes, based on their seniority. This is a problem if the attrition rate amongst drivers and lack of recruitment, leaves too few drivers to man the routes that are required. Management has therefore taken over this task of assigning routes and drivers, based on the requirements of the public. Reason being: It is management's responsibility to provide a reliable transit service to the public.

They are not handicapped by the same feelings of entitlement or priviledge that the drivers are. Their bottom line is simply to deliver the service that the public pays for and rightfully expects.

I'm sure that in the drivers' eyes, their demands are no less valid than management's reasons for not wanting to grant them. As a member of the public who pays for this service however, and having actually been directly involved in a management capacity within the Navy, I have to side with management. The mission must take precedence over how 'warm and fuzzy' your troops feel.

*Sigh!* Great! J.F.G. (Just Fucking Great!!), as my friend Spider would say. I finally manage to reconcile myself to taking the bus for the winter months, just in time for these assholes to stop running them.


A dangerous untruth...

I read first with amusement, then with a creeping sense of horror, the following article on the Amerian ABC News website this morning:

Doctor Claims Cure for Alcoholism in a Pill.
French Doctor Says He Cured Himself of Addiction by Taking a Muscle Relaxer

Dec. 9, 2008

A French cardiologist says he has discovered a cure for alcoholism and ended his own decades-long addiction to alcohol by dosing himself with a drug usually used for treating muscle spasms.

Dr. Olivier Ameisen, 55, a French physician who practiced for a time at New York's Weill-Cornell Medical Center claims in his new book "Le Derner Verre" ("The Last Glass") that since he started taking the drug baclofen, he has lost his desire to consume alcohol.

The book, a best-seller in France slated for release in the United States next year under the title "The End of My Addiction," has caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic, with some doctors cautiously optimistic about the drug's results in lab tests and others warning that no single drug can cure alcoholism's many root causes.

Despite a lucrative cardiology practice he began in 1994, Amesein writes that he felt like "an impostor waiting to be unmasked." The doctor writes that he drank large quantities whiskey and gin, though he hated the taste of alcohol.

"I detested the taste of alcohol, but I needed its effects to exist in society," he writes in the book.
Ameisen writes that he began using baclofen, a muscle relaxant typically used to treat muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis, after reading a 2000 New York Times article about how the drug cured a cocaine addict of his addiction after he was prescribed the drug for a muscle problem.

"We've been interested in baclofen to treat alcoholism for years and continue to study its effects," said Dr. James Garbutt, a researcher at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Bowles said two different clinical tests of the drug to treat alcohol addiction in humans yielded different, inconclusive results, but that the drug was "not just snake oil."

"There is a fair amount of evidence that the drug does something. The basic science is sound, and it's been shown to work in animals," Garbutt said. "There is a good amount of good science that has shown good results, but there are still many, many questions. How effective is it really? What's the right dose? How safe is it? Will it work for everyone?" (NOTE: Bad science can yield whatever results you want it to...).

In one of the human trials, the drug was shown to be no more effective than a placebo. Another double-blind study, conducted last year by scientists at the Institute of Internal Medicine in Rome, found 70 percent of alcohol-dependent patients who were treated with baclofen achieved sobriety, compared with 30 percent of those on a placebo. (This is a misnomer. They did not achieve 'sobriety'... they simply temporarily lost the urge to consume alcohol. Why? The feeling they were looking for was now being provided by a muscle relaxant).

Once off the drug, however, patients remained sober for just two months on average. (Right... this is NOT sobriety!)
According to published reports about the book's contents, Ameisen spent nine months trying to shake his addiction, including entering a clinic and undergoing hypnosis and acupuncture.
In March 2002, he began taking 5 milligrams of baclofen.

"The first effects were a magical muscular relaxation and babylike sleep," he wrote, according to the British newspaper The Independent. (I've periodically taken muscle relaxants over perhaps 25 years for bouts of siatica, I can attest to the truth of these words. It's just like being drunk or stoned. Real comfy and peaceful-like).

After increasing his daily dose to 270 milligrams, Ameisen declared himself "cured." He continues to take 50 milligrams a day.

"Mine is the first case in which a course of medicine has completely suppressed alcohol addiction," Ameisen said, according to The Independent. "Now I can have a glass, and it has no effect. Above all, I no longer have that irrepressible need to drink." (This entire paragraph is one unmitigated crock of shit. It shows in all it's hideousness, the brand of "stinking thinking" that affects the practising alcoholic. No alcoholic will ever successfully drink socially. Ever!!)

Ameisen's claim that he can continue to drink socially, flies in the face of what scientists know about treating alcoholism, said Dr. Nicholas Pace, an addiction expert and a clinical professor of medicine at New York University. (Amen to that, brother...).

"I have studied alcoholism for the past 40 years, and there is no single magic bullet. This is a complex disease, and you can't just flip one switch," Pace said.

"The idea that an alcoholic can drink socially is simply a lot of bull," he said.

Pace said beyond just physical and psychological cravings, the very way an alcoholic's body, particularly his liver, responds is different from that of nonalcoholics. Furthermore, he said, the causes for the disease are complicated, and any effective treatment has to address them all.

"There are all kinds of factors that contribute to the disease of alcoholism. There is genetic predisposition, biology and social triggers," he said. "A pill can't change someone's genetics, his liver or the social settings [in which] he finds himself."


This is just one more drunk who has convinced himself that he can 'drink socially'. And all he has to do to reach this nirvanian state, is compound his addiction by taking a muscle relaxant. Can we say "dual addiction" here, kiddies...?? He is not the first alcoholic to imagine himself smarter than his disease. A state of mind which has led to the death of many, many an alcoholic before him.

I find it incredibly irresponsible that anyone would decide to have this kind of crap published, but then again how surprising is that? We are talking about a still-practising alcoholic here... First Susan Powter, now this jerk. I suppose there will always be someone who will think they've "found a cure" for alcoholism, rather than face the fact that you are one and no, there is no cure. I pity the idiots who embrace this new version of denial. There is however hope in knowing that we can either remain a practising alcoholic, or decide to live a semi-normal life instead. We do have a choice. Obviously Dr. Ameisen has opted for a longer bout with insanity... No, physician... in this case you cannot heal thyself.

I have found that as a rule, doctors know far less about the disease of alcoholism than those suffering from it. It is probably one of the most misdiagnosed conditions on earth.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The writing is on the wall...

Yet another gem from the same newspaper... Pakistan's 'Dawn'.

WMD attack to originate in Pakistan: US report.

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Dec 3: The White House said on Wednesday that it agreed with a bipartisan congressional commission’s report that Pakistan sat closest to the intersection of nuclear weapons and terrorism. “I have no reason to disagree with it,” said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino when asked if the White House agreed with the report. The bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism reported earlier on Wednesday that if there was a WMD attack on the United States, it would originate in Pakistan. “Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan,” and that “the focus of US policy should be to help Pakistan achieve political and economic stability”, the report said.

The commission briefed President Bush and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, senior congressional leaders on Wednesday and warned them “it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013”.

The commission urged the United States to “build a national security workforce for the 21st century” by establishing a programme of education and training individuals. “Our highest priority is to prevent an attack on American citizens, to prevent weapons of mass destruction from being used here in our country and around the world,” said Ms Perino when asked to comment on the report. “We recognise that there is more to do, but what we have done is provided a really good foundation for the next team to be able to take that on and continue to try to keep us safe,” she said.

The report observed that while Pakistan was a US ally, “there is a grave danger it could also be an unwitting source of a terrorist attack on the United States — possibly using weapons of mass destruction”. The Commission urged the next administration and Congress to pay particular attention to Pakistan, “as it is the geographic crossroads for terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the border provinces of Pakistan today are a safe haven, if not the safe haven, for Al Qaeda.”

The report estimated that Pakistan has about 85 nuclear weapons, which are under the complete control of the Pakistani military. Although most US and Pakistani officials assert that these weapons and their components were safe from inside or outside theft, “the risk that radical Islamists — Al Qaeda or Taliban — may gain access to nuclear material is real,” the report claimed.

“Should the Pakistani government become weaker, and the Pakistani nuclear arsenal grow, that risk will increase. With each new facility, military or civilian, comes added security concerns,” the report said. The commission noted that Pakistan was steadily adding to its nuclear weapons stockpile, which remained its chief deterrent against Indian attack. It also noted that in October 2008, on the heels of the US-India civil nuclear agreement, China agreed to build two nuclear power plants in Pakistan. “This deal — especially if it does not contain mechanisms to prevent nuclear material from being transferred from the new civilian plants to military facilities — signals a nascent nuclear arms race in Asia,” the commission warned.

“The risk of a WMD attack being planned and executed from Pakistan’s northwest frontier area is growing, as that area continues to function as a safe haven for Al Qaeda.”

The commission also issued the following recommendations:

The next President and Congress should implement a comprehensive policy towards Pakistan that works with Pakistan and other countries to

(1) eliminate terrorist safe havens through military, economic, and diplomatic means;
(2) secure nuclear and biological materials in Pakistan;
(3) counter and defeat extremist ideology; and
(4) constrain a nascent nuclear arms race in Asia.

The President and Congress should develop and implement a comprehensive policy involving all elements of national power — military, economic, and diplomatic — to eliminate terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. This policy should also be implemented with regard to Afghanistan, India, China and Russia.

Action: The United States should continue to support Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate Al Qaeda’s safe haven in Fata and the NWFP, through increased joint military and intelligence operations. The United States should also support Pakistan’s efforts to work with tribal leaders and to strengthen the Frontier Corps and local police. The United States should continue to provide Pakistan direct military support in the hunt to capture or kill al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist leaders.

The United States, with other countries, should also provide funding and training to the Pakistani military, as well as to the Frontier Corps and other local and provincial security forces. Where possible, any operations should be executed by Pakistani forces; the US military footprint in Pakistan should remain minimal.

Allowing the Pakistani armed forces to lead the fight, supported by the United States, other North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, and other friendly countries, avoids further arousing Pakistani nationalism and anti-Americanism. Minimizing direct US involvement lessens the opportunity for nationalist outcry and may allow a more rational assessment of the situation.

The Pakistani government, military, and people need to understand that their interests are also at stake—an unfortunate reality driven home by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and by the September 2008 attack against the Islamabad Marriott.


In all seriousness, if I were a Pakistani citizen and I read this report in my local paper, one glaring reality would strike home with me. That being that if my government and the people of my country did not eradicate radical Islam in Pakistan... (including the so-called lawless Northern Region), there exists a better than average chance of the USA launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike against my country, some time before 2013.

You can rest assured that among the many, many nuclear MRV ICBMs that the US has remaining in it's arsenal, that at least several have been re-programmed to target certain areas of Pakistan, amongst other eastern areas. Thanks to the American policy of in-depth nuclear defense, the US Navy's many capable SSBNs still maintain their patrol stations under the world's oceans, awaiting the order to launch.

If that report doesn't light a fire under the ass of the Pakistani leadership, I frankly don't know what would... Maybe some countries truly are beyond redemption.

You can smell the collusion...

Here is an article taken from the online Pakistani newspaper: 'Dawn'. It basically describes a meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security, where some tribal leaders/elders from the Northwest Provinces are whining on behalf of their Taliban/Al Qaeda masters, to have the US military's drone strikes in that region halted.

Clearly, you can smell the collusion from all the way over here in North America...

Govt assailed for ‘inaction over drone attacks’ .

By Ahmed Hassan

ISLAMABAD, Dec 3: The parliamentary committee on national security on Wednesday saw some “anxious moments” when some of its members exchanged harsh words on the government’s “reluctance” to order the Air Force to stop drone attacks in tribal areas. The committee, which held a nine-hour brainstorming session, was later adjourned to Dec 16. Mian Raza Rabbani, who presided over the meeting, came under pressure and offered to resign as chairman after he was criticised by colleague Babar Awan, sources told Dawn.

Some of the members, the sources said, had asked the chairman to invite former president Pervez Musharraf to inform the committee about arrangements Pakistan had with international forces that had “compromised the country’s sovereignty”. They also criticised the government for allowing the former president to go abroad and said he should have been tried for his eight years of “misrule”.

The government was also criticised for following policies of the Musharraf regime, which was “responsible for killing thousands of innocent people (read: Islamic jihadis) under US dictates”. They stressed the need for holding talks with militants and change of foreign policy.

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar has repeatedly stated that the country lacks technology to check air violations by American drones which, according to him, fly at an altitude of 50,000 feet. But the PAF chief had recently said the air force had the capability to stop drones from entering Pakistani airspace. The members challenged the defence minister’s claim, saying the drones usually flew at a low-altitude as tribesmen saw them almost every day.

The government side, the sources said, was not happy with the tone of the question and Mr Rabbani said that this should be avoided in the next proceedings.

ISI Director General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja briefed the committee on military operations in tribal areas and some settled areas of the NWFP. According to the sources, he suggested that the government hold talks with militants because no military solution was possible.

The committee was also briefed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik. According to a member of the committee, Mr Qureshi said there was no written agreement allowing the Americans to hit militant targets inside the country. The sources said that Mr Malik had supported the military operation, terming it necessary to expose the Taliban, Al Qaeda and their supporters.

The committee, formed to oversee and monitor the implementation of the resolution unanimously adopted during a joint session of the two houses of parliamentary, has so far held three meetings. The resolution called for a review of the policy on “war on terror”.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters after the meeting that the committee had a very “tough job” to provide guidelines to the government and monitor the implementation of the resolution. However, she said, it was trying its best to understand the situation before submitting its recommendations to the government.


It should be painfully obvious to anyone but a total moron, that these "illegal US military strikes" are having a telling effect on their intended targets. Whether they can be called legal or otherwise, is really a moot point. Reality and common sense dictate that when you are fighting an enemy who has neither conscience, morals or rules, you cannot allow yourself the luxury (or handicap) of having any either.

In my humble opinion (and obviously that of the US State Department) anywhere, anyway these mutants can be tracked down and dispatched with extreme prejudice to meet their so-called maker, is all perfectly legit and above board. There should exist no safe area for assholes of this magnitude. Those residents of the Tribal Regions who welcome these psychopaths with open arms, aiding and abetting their brand of religion-based lunacy? Yes... they should absolutely be tarred with the same brush. That means they can share the bombs, missiles and bullets intended for their guests, as well as their demented ideology.

For anyone to insinuate that these Islamic extremists will straighten up and fly right if the US stops trying to killing them, is a naive, ridiculous and childish proposition. They'll do no such thing. They cannot be reasoned with and they should certainly not be appeased. Let's face it, any negotiating days are well over. The only option left is to eradicate them all.

If there remains even one of these cretins skulking around in some underground cave... that's one too many. The same goes for their other cells in Somalia, Darfur, the Sudan... The West has a lot of work ahead of it, if the world is to be made safe from this scourge. We had better wake up and soon. The global threat posed by militant islam, will make the dark days of Nazi Germany pale by comparison.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the narwhals of Pond Inlet...

For as much as I find it very sad that some 600 narwhals have recently been doomed up in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, I find it even sadder that so many people out there are capable/willing to believe that they will die because "the Canadian government is too lazy or too cheap, to send an icebreaker in to save them". Clearly, these people are talking out of their ass and have no concept of the geography of the region they are talking about. They apparently have an even smaller understanding of the dynamics affecting interactions between narwhals, men and ships in restricted waters. It takes a pretty infantile train of thought to witness a natural disaster and automatically try to assign human blame for the situation. You could not possibly get an icebreaker to them, certainly not in time. And if you could get an icebreaker there, it would be impossible to keep the water open, for the narwhals to "follow the ship back out to open water", as if narwhals would actually follow a ship like so many obedient border collies. How childlishly unintelligent are these people, anyway???? Apparently, abysmally so...

I received a call from some mindless woman from Massachusetts yesterday, insisting that I forward on to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, how disgusted she was with DFO's decision to allow the cull of these animals. Bear in mind that this woman is calling from Massachusetts, a state which was founded entirely on the whaling industry... The irony was priceless... By the way, you people in the United States of America, listen up... The moment you identify yourself as being from the USA, you are basically telling us that you are uneducated, don't really have a clue about the world or what goes on in it, and that your opinion and/or comment is easily discounted. Just so you know... Most of you barely know anything about your own State, much less those that surround you. As for what you might know about other countries, even Canada which is right next door to your North, it is non-existent. You simply can't formulate any kind of opinion, based on such fathomless ignorance. Much less expect anyone else to share it with you.

Maybe they also think, in their addled little pea brains, that it would be a simple matter to organize an armada of helicopters to corral and airlift these critters out, to plop them down somewhere in the open ocean. Again, that's another 'purely Disney scenario'. Like they would launch themselves out of a breathing hole, waving their mini flukes and wailing: "Me!! Me next, please!! Put me in that sling and carry me out to sea!!" Why is it so impossible (shift to animated movies starring animals who are no more than fur-bearing humans...) for these idiots to understand that in this particular instance, there is no saving these animals. The deal that the narwhals of Pond Inlet have with Mother Nature is simple: you make it out of the inlet before the ice forms and you live. If you're late getting out, you die. This is how nature works. There is no room for negotiating. And since you can't save them, you are left with 2 options:

a) Leave them alone and allow them to drown in agonizing slowness, as the ice forms over all the breathing holes, one by one; (apparently a popular option with our callers...) or

b) Allow the Inuit to harvest them for their personal use.

That's it. Those are the ONLY options there are. Period. No matter what you might read on any bullshit animal rights website. What you are witnessing here, is nothing more than natural selection. The narwhals are unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nature says you die. End of story. I should point out here that this is nothing new... This is not the first time this has happened, with narwhals being trapped by the ice. It is, if you will, a cyclical event. Mind you, this is probably the first time that so many have ended up trapped. Of course these people who are railing against this situation, are very likely people who don't think that the Law of Natural Selection applies to them either. We're not gonna go there this time, even for as much fun as that can be.

I understand Mr. Paul Watson (ex of the Sea Shepherd) has taken the time to compose a heart-wrenching, breast-beating diatribe for one of these animal rights website down South, in which he spews his vitriolic bile against his home country, accusing Canada of slaughtering these 'unicorns of the sea', as he so poignantly phrases it. I understand in some parts of the world, he likes people to call him 'Captain' Paul Watson. That's hilarious, as he is no captain of any description. He has not the slightest inkling about the laws of the sea or international law/conventions when it comes to being the Master of a vessel. He is criminally irresponsible when allowed to command a ship and has gone so far as to ramming other vessels, in order to carry out his grandstanding for the world's media. He is a joke, a criminal and a danger to himself as well as those around him. I've recently learned (much to my chagrin) that he has been given his very own show on the Discovery Channel nowadays, called 'Whale Wars'. It's laughable. Then again, I suppose if they'd been around at the time, they would have given Joseph Goebbles his own show... I must remember to send them a rocket for attempting to 'legitimize' his brand of marine insanity and irresponsibility. Imagine the ratings they'd be able to net if (when) one of his hapless crewmates dies as a result of one of his criminally stupid harassment plans.

I personally am dead set against any commercial form of whaling, even more so against the hypocritical 'research' whaling conducted by Japan in international and foreign waters, but the laws of the sea are sacrosanct. One does not use a ship to attack another vessel, regardless of the situation. There are other pressures which can and ought to be brought to bear agains such countries for their illegal or immoral activities.

Don't get me wrong, I am an ardent lover of nature and "all things great and small", as the old British television series would have it. But I also know that animals are not people, you can't "save" all of them, nor should you. People must eventually recognize and accept that nature has it's own laws that we are as humans cannot and must not circumvent. Animals are not "fur people" as many ignoramuses are fond of saying. You treat an animal as a human being and you're only going to wind up with a screwed up animal. Anyone who has ever watched Cesar Milan and his interactions with dogs, will know what I mean. The same could be said to apply for all species, I'm sure.

The litany of mindless comments from equally mindless people, is never ending. There are those who are screaming that no DFO officers are on the scene to ensure a humane harvest. A special tag has to be issued for each and every narwhal that is dispatched to meet it's maker. There are DFO officers there who are responsible for issuing these tags. Funny how these same people say that the seal hunt is not a humane harvest, because of the presence of DFO enforcement officers...

Narwhals have an ivory tusk. It's attached to the animal. There are those out there who claim that this situation was fabricated by the Inuit, as their only motivation is their greed for the narwhal's ivory. R-rrrrriiiiiighttt.... So the Inuit froze the water, trapping the narwhals, so they could harvest them for their tusks... Must be wonderful having such control over the elements way up North. I'm thinking if that were the case, Nunavut would look a Hell of a lot more like Hawaii!! The tusks, by the way, are regulated by CITES. (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

CITES is an agreement between 169 countries that helps to regulate the trade and movement of over 30 000 species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives, in order to protect world populations of these species against overexploitation. CITES is implemented in Canada through federal-provincial-territorial legislation that also regulates the importation of exotic species that may be harmful to Canada's native ecosystems if they are released into the wild. But then again, I wouldn't expect any of these mental midgets to know anything about such a program...

Then there are those who rage against the fact that the Inuit are using high-powered rifles with scopes to cull the narwhals, instead of killing them "old school", like apparently Inuit are supposed to. So what they're saying is that they would rather see them harpooned with hand-made weapons, allowing them to die a long, drawn out and again, agonizing death. The more I think about the nature of these people's complaints, the more I'm convinced that they are not so much interested in the fate of these animals, as they are turned on by the gore, the carnage and any means by which these animals' suffering can best be prolonged. These are no doubt the same kind of sickos that sit at home with the curtains drawn, getting their jollies while viewing hour after hour of seal hunt tapes and other animal snuff films. The hunters carry out the hunt, yes. But they don't revel in the blood and gore to the extent that these so-called protestors do. These are the real sickos...

We truly do have some sick, sick individuals in this country and South of the border. There may be some protestors who misguidedly believe that for them to bitch and moan, will have other people believing that they have a 'social conscience' and 'actually care about our earth and the animals in it'. That may be what they think they are doing, but the reality of course is quite the opposite. No, it doesn't make you a better person and no, it probably won't even get you laid at the next Greenpeace rally. What is does accomplish, is to make your stupidity and lack of education evident to the rest of the world.

And they have the unmitigated nerve to bitch about our government???

Give me a friggin' break....

And so it's December...

And so here we are... December is finally here. Now perhaps we can get on with this winter stuff and eventually get rid of it. November was more than reasonable. No massive deluges of the dreaded white stuff, nice temperatures...all in all, very not bad. We're not getting into the Christmas frenzy... we gave that foolishness up a while ago. We'll get a little something for each other, go see a movie on Christmas Eve and just enjoy the company of whatever family members decide they want to spend time with us. We'll drop in on my Mom and family in Montreal's West Island. I'm hoping we'll get to indulge in some simple winter pleasures, like skating on the Canal, taking in the Christmas lights at the foot of Elgin Street and in Confederation Park.

Baby is sitting in the shop, her tank near empty as she waits for me to finish winterizing her. I have to adjust the valves before I do so, however. This will require removing the tank,so I will leave it empty until that task is done, at which point I will fill it upon reinstalling it, adding some Stabil to the fuel and fogging the cylinders with preservative oil, after removing and wrapping the spark plugs. I carry on with my physiotherapy exercises. Every now and then, I will try sitting on the bike, in my riding stance. I notice each time that it's less and less uncomfortable for my arm and shoulder. It's working. The mending process continues... Spring of 2009 is looking brighter and brighter. And let's face it... we only have 4 months to go...