Friday, October 28, 2005

No man is an island...

I've been reading Lt-Gen Romeo Dallaire's award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda...and it is truly a gripping book. I read the first half of Dallaire's account of the lead up to April 7, 1994 with a sense of impending doom, but I was following it, enjoying it--if one can enjoy a blow-by-blow description of how the UN & the world were neither willing nor able to supply the UNAMIR mission with enough of anything. [He calculated that if his UNAMIR troops had been allowed to open fire to protect themselves or civilians, each armed personnel had enough ammunition to sustain a 3 minute firefight. They didn't have paper or pencils to run their operation, nor more than three days rations on hand at any time.]

Then reading it this morning, I almost burst into tears on the train to work. I was distressed. I wandered out into the windy, rainy morning, and stopped for a cup of coffee. I walked to work. I was briefly annoyed by the pushy people paid to hand out trashy free daily newspapers that litter the streets, transit, & coffee shops. I said, "sorry, no" to a guy asking for spare change.

Suddenly, my life was back to normal.

Oh, I understand about the why and the how of this mechanism we all have to protect ourselves from that which we can't question is: How does one maintain the care & concern needed to be an activist?


Thursday, October 27, 2005


I love Autumn. Bright, crisp days. Jacket weather.

And trips to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, where I can 'do my Francis of Asisi thing' as Metro calls it ('tis tricky taking a picture of a chickadee in one's own hand, I'll have you know!)

The only absurd thing to note is the family name of Mr. George C. Reifel that christens this wonderful migratory bird sanctuary...a reminder of the canoes with hunters waiting out beyond the boundaries to shoot down some of the lovely snow geese that fly in every year at this time.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

...and they actually attended!

The time has come for the Annals of Improbably Research to award their annual IG Nobel Prizes.

Here are the winners...including the researcher and author of the paper "Pressures Produced when Penguins Pooh--Calculations on Avian Defaecation" (I wish this were a joke...but 'scientists' receive grant money for stuff like this!)

There is really nothing more to say.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

My last post, courtesy of The Dialiectizer: the Redneck 'dialect'. (You can choose to 'translate' a webpage into a number of dialects, including 'Elmer Fudd', Jive, or 'Moron'. Perpetuating stereotypes? No kidding. Absurd? Of course.)

"Bein' Weird Isn't 'Nuff"

When ah was in unyversity, ah wo'e this hyar button (o' at least th' vahshun fum th' late 80s):

An' fella, was ah proud of mahse'f! Fry mah hide! ah figgerd ah needed t'advahtise thet ah was diffrunt, odd, unusual, ah reckon...but, at th' same time, claimin' thet ah was mo'e than jest th' avahage early-20s iconoclast.

But I've discovahed thet th' lapel button is not necessary -- varmints will talk th' "ah's weirder/wonnerfuller/wo'thier than thou" talk wifout th' pin, as enny fool kin plainly see. It don't matter their shtick, they'll talk it.

They. Th' varmints whose cornvahsashun ah lissen t'fo' a bit, then git tired of. "Show me yer walkin' th' walk," ah's hankerin' t'say t'them, dawgone it.

Mebbe I'll change mah own ways befo'e someone says it t'me.


"Being Weird Isn't Enough"

When I was in university, I wore this button (or at least the version from the late 80s):

And boy, was I proud of myself! I figured I needed to advertise that I was different, odd, unusual...but, at the same time, claiming that I was more than just the average early-20s iconoclast.

But I've discovered that the lapel button is not necessary -- people will talk the "I'm weirder/wonderfuller/worthier than thou" talk without the pin. It doesn't matter their shtick, they'll talk it.

They. The people whose conversation I listen to for a bit, then get tired of. "Show me you're walking the walk," I want to say to them.

Maybe I'll change my own ways before someone says it to me.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Insane or Brilliant?

What do you think of this -- the Time Travel Fund?

Well....I'm more of a single-time-line kind of girl, you know, more of a 12 Monkeys view of time travel (where if you've gone to the past, then you were already there), than, say, the Time Cop style (where if you travel back, what you do affects the future, essentially creating branches of alternate futures).

So, if I'm right -- and I know I am! -- I know that I didn't invest any money in this time travel fund, as I would already have the money, and a note to myself to remember to invest at some point in the future (A method used to great advantage in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.)

Or, perhaps that is how they plan to make their profit? If I don't invest now, on the above reasoning, then the fact that I do invest sometime in the future means that they hold my money secretly until I actually make the investment...maybe they hope that people will forget to to do it?

Ah, paradox.


Friday, October 07, 2005

What does service mean to you?

I admit, I'm a service junkie. I'm the type that will embarrass friends and family with questions like: "Excuse me, are we in anybody's section?" If I have to tip in this country, then I expect a basic minimum of service...If I don't get it, I talk to the manager. If the service is decent, I leave an average tip. Good service gets a slightly better tip. Fabulous service in a restaurant or bar that I am likely to return to (more likely to happen of course, if I get great service) earns a bigger tip.

Birks is a jewelry store with a well-deserved reputation for brilliant service. Visit them for a browse and luxuriate in the balm that is TRUE meaning of service. I was there to price wedding rings, and Rachel (in the ring section) offered me a glass of water or a cup of coffee.

"Nice," I thought to myself, thinking of a Styrofoam cup of a Tim Horton's equivalent. "Oh, I would actually love a cup of coffee," I answered her.

"Regular, cappuccino, or a latte?" She laughed with me at my surprise...and went off to get me a cappuccino. She comes back with a lovely coffee cup and saucer -- no Styrofoam in sight.

I know how Holly Golightly felt about Tiffany's.