Again, The Most Wonderful Day Of Every Year

Previous celebrations: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. The snow lays about in dirty lumps congesting into ice before it melts. Baseball is close now. SO close I can watch spring games on the iPhone. 450 onion seeds have sprouted in my basement. Under a grow lamp. One sole celeriac has sprouted, too. Hope lives in my edible basement grow op.


Friday Bullets For The Feast Of The Big Bird

Not Big Bird just a big bird.

I am having a little difficulty coming to terms with the fact that Jay… Jay who has commented on this blog for yoinks, actual yoinks… did not know I have a logo. Made it myself when I was 41. So this is it. Jay: ‘Hello, Mr. Logo.” Mr. Logo (with a deeper voice): “Hello, Jay”. There. That’s done.

  • The “They Were After My Town” Update: “And the third bomb would go off at a military base somewhere along Highway 401, between Toronto and Ottawa.” Where else is a military base along the 401? Well, Trenton I suppose.
  • “What Country!” Update: unemployment dropping. Said it before – amazing economy we have… mainly by the luck of geography and importing the most ‘fraidy cat of business cultures through 300 plus years of immigration.
  • It started when I was in high school and was called “the yuppie flu” as it sapped the will of baby boomers. Now they figured it out.
  • I had no idea that I could pick up high school radio at work until the other day. Plenty of hits of the 80s. Teacher’s oversight committees are gold.
  • Just in time for Gourmet magazine’s demise, I learn that not reusing the paper coffee filter is a crime against nature. Who knew these things were more J-cloth than Kleenex?
  • Did you know algae only took a few years to rebound after the comet slammed into the Earth? It’s all about stunning and amazing facts this week.
  • Less charming is the fact that we are governed by consultants whose salaries flow from who knows where: “Asked Monday if he ever worked at the hospital network, which includes Toronto General, MacLeod replied, “No.”” Excellent. Note the extra “a” in MacLeod.
  • I don’t know what to make of this. I am not of the “Obama = Satan” school that is out there but I still don’t know where he is heading. Peace prize? For just not being in a telephone pals relationship with Dick Cheney? Maybe.

Friday beckons. A three day weekend beckons. Plans for the weekend? Dump run. Wooooooot!


Can You Make A Map About Nothing?

Ruk is a helpful person. Far more helpful than I ever am. This weekend he posted about how you can create a Google map to collaboratively and graphically and geographically display information about something. Trouble is… I write on a blog and have been writing on this blog for six years and about two weeks but I don’t really think it is about anything. So, I am creating a map to see what would go on a map collaboratively and graphically and geographically to display information about nothing.

It will take time to either fill or be forgotten. I have invited a number of people to try to play with this but also have made collaboration public, too. Click here to get to the map if you care to watch or play amateur cartographer. And read Ruk’s instructions for how to participate. Remember at step 5 to press “edit” to make that blue water droplet icon for creating new information.


Blogging’s Best Upside After Near Six Years Is…

…meeting clever people. I have never bought into the idea that the internet creates community or makes you more clever yourself. But it is undeniable that it gives you a direct connection to clever people whose lives are on other paths than your own. This morning, I got a link to Evan Rail’s new personal blog via Twitter and his summary of his 2008. I know Evan thought the beer blog and played a wee role in getting him into the digital game. Similarly, we have comment makers Ben and Stephen, one of whom I have actually met in person, who both made it to the Inauguration. That’s Stephen to the right in a photo he posted to Facebook with some guy forcing himself into the frame.

And then there is Damian, our comment poster who has found himself on a media tour with the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. I have told you to send him some money. So now send him some more. Because he’s explaining what others can’t explain – how Canada is dealing with the land mines that have been so devastating. As a graduate of RMC – aka “charm school” I am told – he is likely better placed than any journalist to tell that tale. That is him circled in red standing in Kandahar. And make sure you hit the jar to help fund his travels, too. That is that link down at the bottom of the post.

Why do I mention this? Not to appear to achieved some level of vicariously cleverness. It is to remind myself of the good. Among other things, yesterday’s internet traffic includined some of the most shocking displays of mean spiritedness and stupidity I have ever seen. We sometimes can be overwhelmed by the how loathsome people can be through their access to the internet. The outpouring of negativity and just plain dumb that I saw in relation to Obama’s inauguration was as embarrassing a display as I have ever seen. The tedious chicken littles were in fine form. One took the time to say over and over to me that the end of all our freedoms started yesterday. Cluck. These are the dopes, the chaff. But note the neither Ben or Stephen would be a supporter of the new President yet they were there to wish him well not only because there is not much point in the alternative path but just because of that splendid thing that is democracy. Damian is doing what he is doing because of the importance of the work he is witnessing. Evan is doing what he is doing to explain the wonderful and somewhat exotic part of the world he lives in. They are all clever people taking the high road and making a go of it and using the richness of this media to share the view from their chosen path. Stephen recently described the experience of sharing through blogging in this way:

I’ve enjoyed blogging as it provides an outlet for my views and lets me connect with Canadians who either share or don’t share my perspective. I’ve met a lot of interesting people online and offline as a result of this blog and I’ve found that most have been sincere and genuine in their respective views on how to make Canada a better place for Canadians, no matter their prescription for that outcome. I look forward to continuing our conversation.

Exactly. This is not about those echo chambers that people call “community” and it isn’t about wallowing in scorn. It’s about seeing people make something of their lives in ways that you can’t imaging and thinking that if they can do that, well maybe I could do this. It is about ordinary people – people you may never meet face to face – being extremely interesting. That is the best thing about doing this…well, that and beer samples being couriered to your door. That is sweet, too.


Gen X At 40 Year In Review 2008 – Part One

What a great looking headline for a blog post. I have no idea why I never thought of this before. I have a need to coast between Christmas and New Year’s Day like everyone else so this is perfect. All I have to do is think of something I have already thought. of. The weird things is I have done this sort of post over at the beer blog every year. Look. This is what I wrote about 2006. Over here? Nothing. Maybe its because I really don’t write stuff and even really observe over here. I really just rip off others. Sure there was all that good stuff about the 157 phoney Saddams back in the day but that was when blogging was cool. Now it’s just an addiction verging on some sort of social pathology that is, for some unknown reason, destroying the journalism industry that it coincidentally clings to like a parasitic…sorry, there was no need to use a simile there. But this is a winner. I am sure of it. The best of 2008. Can’t wait. Plenty to think about. I am certain. This is the road to returning to the hay days, the halcyon year of cheques from the CBC, of requests to join discussion panels. This is it. Excellent.


Happy Canada Day!

What joy! A stranded Tuesday off – even though I took Monday off, too, to smoke a chunk of pork for five hours. This morning I was asked what smells like bacon. Me, I replied. More great Canada Day photos here from three years ago when I was a much more clever blogger. We are off to be in a canoe at someone else’s cottage, there being no truer Canadian activity.


Hockey Pool 2008 And The Monday Morning Quarterback

A taunt. All it takes is a taunt. Looking for meaning with a blog that is approaching five years of its troubled existence, a glimmer of hope and purpose shows up in a 27th comment:

Temujin [12:19 AM April 7, 2008]

How about a special Monday Morning Bullet Points highlighting the Blue Jays sweeping the Red Sox :=)

Did you know the Jays are on pace for a record of 107-55?
Did you know Jeremy Accardo is on pace for 81 saves?
Frank Thomas is on pace for 28 grand slams!

Oh, the joys of being a Jays fan. April is always so much better than September.

It is a sad state of affairs but let’s review how odd this spring is:

OK, that last one is not a big surprise even if it is a disappointment. But that pool. I never even got the final stats done last year. It got too complex. And I didn’t watch one playoff game last year as the natural reaction of a lifelong Leafs fan is actually to reject the game in its entirety.

So, just to keep the continuity, I give you the Gen X at 40 NHL hockey pool 2008:

Pick five scorers, one goon, one goalie, eight teams and a dark horse.

  • A point for a goal by a scorer.
  • A point for an assist by a scorer.
  • A point for a penalty minute by a goon. If your goon is kicked out of the playoffs and thereby the pool, you double the penalty minutes he has achieved to that point. The logic here is that the goon is a nut-bar. The later that he freaks and gets tossed for the balance of the playoffs, the more nut-bar like he is, the more he is the essential goon.
  • A point for each thousandth save percentage over .900 by your goalie
  • 5 points for picking each of the teams in the second, third and fourth rounds.
  • 25 bonus points for picking the dark horse – the team with the lowest regular season points to go the farthest in the playoffs. The dark horse must be seeded in the lower half of their conference.

Get your picks in my, err, Friday at 10:00 am. That’ll even give you a few games. Just hockey, just NHL. Anybody in?

Late. Waaaaay Too Late.

Why don’tcha talk about what you talked about yesterday? The Padres and Rockies went late, you know. Not that I stayed up but you have to stay in there until at least extra innings start. You know. Hoffman sucks. Padres lose. Glavin sucks. Mets lose. Hoffman and Glavin will be in the Hall of Fame. Go figure. Guess I am passing on Hockey Night In Canada until at least 2014. Good photo at the beer blog. Go read the articles. Yah, do that. Loads in there.

Friday Bullet and Chat and Autumn’s Just Around The Corner

OK, so it wasn’t the end of summer last week. It’s this weekend. You wouldn’t know it. as it is going to push 30C later today in some parts of Ontario today. A weekend of actual sunshine, warmth and nothing to really do lays out before me. What to do? What to do? We have been playing a sort of lawn bowling with our boules set nightly. Likely the land will hear more of the click of the steel.

  • Update: Do you have any idea how nice it was to know that the Red Sox could not lose again last night because they were not playing. The New York Times shares my pain.
  • I did not watch the provincial election debate last night. Ontario politics, due to the odd polite role Ontario plays not actually pulling its weight in the national scene, is sort of dull. All three candidates are reasonably polite and reasonably good intentioned people leading a huge government bureaucracy of the scale of a nation within a nation that has seeming difficulties expressing itself as a cultural fact. Though, to be fair, the conservatives use of the phrase “catch and release” justice is getting tedious. And the idea that a broken pledge to not raise taxes is wrong after the promise maker gets in power and finds out, as we all do from time to time, that conservatives (the accusers now) have no idea how to run a finance department without a resource windfall attached to it is simply laughable. I will, however and again, not vote for the winner. If you are interested, the Globe blogged the debate backwards requiring you to read the impressions from bottom to top. The MSM is sooooo bad.
  • Ry has a request:

    Ack. We needs a fun topic, Al. Writing 4 page essay length stuff for John and his commentators is killing me. How about we start a pool for the MLB playoffs. It’s almost Oct after all. Something like March madness would suffice I think. It’s smaller and easier than that, but could still be fun.

    That is reasonable but I am crawling into my shell what with the collapse of the Sox. Did you know that they are in the lead now but not by a huge amount? I mean I should be absolutely shattered because they are in the lead but only by a bit. Any ideas how I can overcome my despair over them being in the lead?

  • I have seen this sort of claim from Western apologists before and it is the oddest falsehood for someone to cling onto. From Ezra Levant in (yawn!) Canadian Lawyer‘s September issue:

    But tens of thousands of Canadians think otherwise. They’re not choosing Saskatchewan, a province with nearly as much oil and gas, more wheat, more potash, and more uranium. Alberta’s wealth is not because of its natural resources but precisely because of its free market is working so well.

    If this shabby thinking is what you need to get you through the night, fine, but it is good for the rest of you to know that as Alberta’s oil reserves are 174.8 billion barrels and its gas reserves are 41 trillion cubic feet, Saskatchewan has only 1,244 million barrels of oil (0.71% of Alberta) and just 3.3 trillion cubic feet of gas (8% of its neighbour). Once again, say it out loud, Alberta is incredibly wealthy because it is sitting on the one resource the world is begging for and it was blessed with that by fluke of geology and late Victorian boundary-making. People move there to make a lot of money just like people move anywhere there is plenty of money to make.

  • Jay is writing longer pieces. I used to write longer pieces. I used to be able to hold that much in my mind. Jay can. Or maybe he writes a bit each day. Yeah, that must be it. So apparently we could be the new Switzerland. Switzerland?

    In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

    Hoo-ray. Melted cheese for dinner, too.

That’s it. The computer just about froze so I better send you on your way.