Monday, December 31, 2012
that I blogged about two months ago today. It took hold quite out of nowhere and really hasn't let go since, as the long period of silence on this very blog would suggest. It's a very tricky thing to explain or understand, depression is, because if you've experienced it you know there's not really anything anyone outside of the person affected can truly do about it. And if you haven't experienced it, you likely think that depression = sad/suicidal all the time and that simply isn't true. In my case, I don't feel sad at all. I certainly don't feel interested in causing myself harm. I think how to best explain how I feel would be to call it "ennui". I don't really feel anything at all, except tired all the freaking time. 24/7, 365. It's incredibly frustrating for me and I cannot even imagine how it must be for the people closest to me, like Sarah, Tim and Jill. And even though this is something I've been fighting against for a very long time, I feel it's been particularly nasty and stubborn the past couple of years in particular, mainly because I have a) not been working (for the most part); and b) been much more keenly aware of the political and sociological landscape around me than ever before, globally but in particular locally (Canada and US). I feel that, more and more, the world is being run by dangerous and stupid—and dangerously stupid—people and I have neither any real sense of hope nor of where my place might be in this crumbling society. It's not the root cause of my ennui but, my goodness, it sure hasn't helped a lick.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
|The promotional still for The Clock|
Saturday, November 10, 2012
credit: Jeff Green/Toronto Star
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I don't have a lot to say today, nothing that isn't being said all over the internet by myriad pundits. After the angst of the early part of this week, it felt like a good day to take a step back. Tomorrow I am going to be at the Zoo for my second Volunteer Training day and I should come back refreshed and more or less content for a little while.
But I wanted to be sure I posted this amazing rant by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC here for posterity. If you haven't already seen it, please do give it a watch:
Here is the complete transcript of that video. It's pretty heady and courageous stuff, I think, and it speaks directly to the heart of the polarization issues in both of our countries:
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
|The most "retweeeted" Tweet in history|
|USA's first openly-gay senator|
Monday, November 5, 2012
But enough of the preamble. You know where I stand politically; this piece is about far more than that, though. It is about the absolute and utter inability Mitt Romney would have to run a country, completely aside from his political stance. He is one of the most profoundly unenlightened men I have ever seen reach his level of power in the States. Not all that long ago, he would have been running for a fringe party. Now he is neck-and-neck for the position of "Leader of the Free World". This cannot be allowed to happen. So I present to you:
"You Must Not Vote For Romney If......"
Friday, November 2, 2012
|My temporary badge|
Thursday, November 1, 2012
|Jill at 21, having a drink with her old man|
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The plain and honest truth of the matter is this: I am depressed.
I have been fighting depression for most of my adult life—likely much of my childhood, too—and I think it's reasonable to assume I will be doing so for the rest of my days on Earth. At times I have received counseling for it; medication has also helped in the past and, some times, caused more problems than it has solved. But the simple truth—although there is truly nothing "simple" about it—is that I am at constant risk of a wave of depression coming upon me with very little warning and virtually paralyzing me emotionally.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
|Miguel Cabrera, leaving the game with the Triple Crown|
But now another, quite heated debate has begun: should Miguel Cabrera be the American League's Most Valuable Player for 2012?
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
|The moment the Blue Jays threw in the towel|
credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
I had a very "Stand By Me" moment last week. If you are not familiar with the movie, it came out in 1986, directed by Rob Reiner and based on a Stephen King novella. The film's narrator is a writer around the age of forty, taken back jarringly to a summer when he was twelve by reading a newspaper account of the death of an old friend from that time. In my case, I'm at least ten years older than the protagonist of Stand By Me and the age I was yanked back to was sixteen.
I received in the mail last week the Fall 2012 copy of The Root, the alumni magazine of my high school, University of Toronto Schools (UTS). I was absentmindedly leafing through it when I came to the "In Memoriam" section near the back of the periodical. It was there that I learned of the passing (by way of cancer) of a woman who had been in the level behind mine, someone I hadn't seen nor spoken to in well over thirty years but who holds a very special place in my heart nonetheless. She was my date to the UTS Formal in my graduating year and, in point of fact, my first date period. If you saw any pictures of me back then, you'd know why.
I knew I was going to have to create a post about her passing and I wrestled with whether to list her whole name in this piece. Because this won't really be about her life (a life I did not share so it would be presumptuous of me to think I had any right to speak to it here) but the brief part of it that we spent together, I decided to just use her first name, which was Leslie. If you know me (or her) well enough, you'll be able to fill in the rest; if not, I wish to respect the privacy of those who have survived her.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
|Looking east from the Dorset Tower|
|View from the "Scenic Lookout" in Minden|
Friday, September 28, 2012
Cournoyer has it on that wing....here's a shot! Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell....here's another shot, right in front - they score!! Henderson...has scored for Canada! Henderson, right in front of the net. And the players on the team are going wild! Henderson, right in front, has scored the goal with 34 seconds left in the game....
Forty years ago today, Paul Henderson scored the biggest goal in the history of our nation. Do you remember where you were?
|The "enemy" - in cartoon form, no less|
But that's a story for another day.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. - Mitt Romney, Republican nominee for President, speaking at a Beverly Hills fundraiser which nevertheless brought in $6 million.
|Left: "regular" Mitt. Right: Mitt speaking in "bronzeface"|
at a Univision Town Hall meeting on Hispanic issues
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
|The current cover of Spacing|
Until last week, that is.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Good grief. The guy just will not go away.
Even when he actually does "go away"....he still won't go away. Not really.
Rob Ford, part-time mayor, part-time football coach, full-time buffoon, is in Chicago right now on a "Trade Mission". He has boasted, on the record, that this trip is not costing the taxpayers of Toronto "one dime". But, of course, he is lying because there are two senior staffers with him whose costs are being covered by the city. There will almost certainly be more costs, but there's already enough information to rebut his ridiculous claim.
|RoFo and the Bean: A Modern Ballet|
credit: Don Peat/Toronto Sun
But the hilarity doesn't stop there.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
|Escobar and the offending stickers|
This afternoon, the Blue Jays held a press conference in New York (where the team is preparing to take on the Yankees) before which they announced that Escobar had been suspended for three games (which I think is about four games too light), with the approval of Major League Baseball. Furthermore, the salary he is forfeiting will be split between the You Can Play Project and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Escobar will also "participate in an outreach program on sexual orientation and a sensitivity training program in accordance with the Toronto Blue Jays and Major League Baseball". Attending the press conference were Escobar, GM Alex Anthopolous, manager John Farrell, coach Luis Rivera (to translate questions to Escobar, who speaks little to no English) and another man who went unidentified, who translated Escobar's words to the rest of us. During this conference, Escobar repeatedly stated that he meant "no offense" by the words and that he has "many gay friends" including, somewhat hilariously, his hairdresser and the "man who decorated my house". The young shortstop tried his best to show that he was embarrassed, but mainly -- to my eyes -- he just looked confused as to why this had caused such a big storm of outrage.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thanks for dropping by.
All right, all right. Since you went to the trouble of coming here, I guess I can muster up some reasoning.
I'm sick of the NHL. I have loved the sport of hockey since I was a very small boy. I've played it since I was six years old. I've coached kids in the game for ten of the past twelve years. My dad used to put a rink in our backyard and some of my fondest childhood memories are of the myriad Sunday afternoons he and I spent at Maple Leaf Gardens, watching the Toronto Marlies (Junior A team) from the Greens, because they were "high enough up in the stands so you can really get a feel for the game".
But the NHL doesn't share my enthusiasm for the sport. The NHL doesn't care about the fans, the players or even the integrity of the game itself and it hasn't for many, many years.
Friday, September 7, 2012
|Keep laughing, Chuckles|
Today's blog post will be a lot shorter than yesterday's because, while Rob Ford's Conflict of Interest trial concluded yesterday, Ford himself didn't say anything inordinately stupid in the courtroom. But there's a good reason for that: Ford did not take the stand yesterday.
Instead, we were treated to closing arguements from the two lawyers, Alan Lenczner, who represents Ford, and Clayton Ruby, who represents the private citizen who brought this case to court, Paul Magder. This still took an entire day in court, but I'd wager it felt a lot shorter than the previous day to everyone in attendance.
Again today I followed as much as I could through the live blogs such as the one by the Torontoist, and Twitter feeds such as by the indefatigable Don Peat, filling in the gaps by following the discussion hash tag #FordCourt, also on Twitter. Ruby went first because Lenczner needed time to review some "new case law and facta" given to him by Ruby that morning. The next few hours, until 3 p.m. with a break for lunch and a couple of recesses, Ruby and Nader Hasan, a partner in his firm, held the floor and spent much of that time reiterating just how muddled and confusing Ford's testimony from the day before truly was. Some of the more "on-point" quotes from the prosecutors:
“He has never explained the basis for his peculiar view of the law. My submission is that it is not a believable assertion because it is made by someone who has a 12 year tenure on city council.”
“That is not someone who has made an error. That is someone who is doing deliberately what he believes is right. It is not an error of judgment to be reckless identifying conflicts… it is not a good faith error. He is deliberately not doing what any reasonable person would do.”
“It is reckless to proceed in ignorance all of his 12 years on council. If you swear to uphold an Act and you don’t even read it, you are simply ensuring that you will breach it.”
“Ignorance of the law is not an error in judgment.”
Thursday, September 6, 2012
|The Ford Bros. "running" from the courtroom |
credit: Dave Abel, Toronto Sun
[Rob] Ford was elected as councillor three times before being elected mayor. He received council handbook each time but says "I don't remember ever getting a handbook." [Clayton Ruby asks:]"You have no memory of ever getting it, studying it or reading it?" "No" - David Rider, Toronto Star Live BlogUnless you've been living under a rock the past year and a half you probably know that the mayor of the City of Toronto is a world-class buffoon. News of his embarrassing "exploits" has traveled around the globe, so you don't have to actually live in or near Toronto to be aware of just how poorly qualified this man is to be in his current position. Hell, he's probably poorly qualified to get himself dressed in the morning. He's driven at high speeds while reading a speech, because he's a "busy" man. He's repeatedly demonstrated his homophobia by refusing to attend even the most innocuous of Pride events in the city he "leads". He mugged a journalist and stole his cell phone, he may or may not have driven past the open doors of a streetcar, he swore at a 911 operator after calling about a comedy sketch gone awry, he gave a mom and her six-year-old daughter the finger after they admonished him for texting while driving. And don't even get me started on his hilarious antics while he was a city councillor. Good times, good times. Well, RoFo has taken his act to a whole other level this week. He is either perjuring himself on the stand under cross-examination or he is the single dumbest person ever to hold the office of mayor in Toronto -- and that list includes Mel Lastman and June Rowlands.
Also notable: a few minutes ago, Ford said that he didn’t attend council orientation sessions when he was first elected in 2000, because his dad was an MPP and he felt he knew how government worked. - Steve Kupferman, The Torontoist Live Blog
Monday, September 3, 2012
|The Penguins at the Ex|
Friday, August 31, 2012
|The first drinks: Blue Moon martinis.|
Thursday, August 30, 2012
|Part of a fantastic mural outside of the Harlem Restaurant|
Monday, August 27, 2012
|Tinkerbell and Cinderella's castle|
Well, that was then. Things are radically different now.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
|Neil Armstrong: First human on the moon|
"Neil Armstrong was the spiritual repository of spacefaring dreams & ambitions. In death, a little bit of us all dies with him." *
My first hero died today at the age of 82.
As a little boy, all I ever wanted to be was an astronaut. I ravenously devoured every detail of every Apollo mission from Apollo 7 (the first manned mission) onward. When Apollo 8 orbited the moon at Christmastime, 1968, it was then -- and still is now -- one of the greatest thrills of my life and an uplifting end to an awful, awful year. I followed the docking mission of Apollo 9 and the oh-so-close orbit of Apollo 10, running home from school on many of those days to absorb as much of the dazzling story unfolding on my television as I could manage. And then came the summer of 1969.
"'Men Walk On Moon' - The only positive event in the last 50 yrs for which everyone remembers where they were when it happened."
|Apollo 11 Mission Patch|
Friday, August 24, 2012
It feels like I can finally sit at a computer long enough to put out a blog piece again, after a very frustrating week and a half, as my neck issues seem to be easing off a bit. I had no idea how attached I was to this device until it was impossible to interact with it properly. Well, that's not really true: I had a pretty good idea how attached I am to it. Didn't make it any easier, though.
So, did I miss much? Let's see, there was our buffoon of a mayor ignoring all the signs that clearly were not meant for him and walking into the Calgary Stampeders' dressing room while he was at a football game. Nothing really new there. Also this week came the news that Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger are engaged. The only possible good that could ever come out of such an unholy union as this one is the chance that Lavigne might "pull a Yoko" and break up Nickelback. If that were to happen, she has my vote to appear on the next $100 bill. Unless she's too "ethnic". Hey, you never know.
Then there is the story of the high school valedictorian in Oklahoma, about to enter college on a full scholarship except for one small issue: her school refuses to give her her high school diploma (which she obtained with straight-As, I might add) because she used the word "hell" in her speech. Never mind that she was actually quoting a movie that is very popular among her demographic; never mind that she didn't intend to quote it directly, but I guess it just happened that way; never mind that a valedictory address isn't supposed to be for anyone else but her classmates who gave her that honour. No, her school won't give her the diploma unless she apologizes. Here's hoping she doesn't. Oklahoma, seriously, I think you have other, more pressing things to worry about. But let's look at the bright side here: at least Oklahoma isn't Missouri, located right next door. Because Missouri, at the moment, is home to one of the dumbest, most despicable men to hold any power in the States right now. Missouri is home to Todd Akin.
Friday, August 17, 2012
|Sea lions Sandy and Baker|
Thursday, August 16, 2012
...that pinched nerve or whatever it is seems to be affecting the blood flow to my head and I've had vertigo all day long. I haven't been able to sit at the keyboard for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a stretch. Hopefully it will pass soon and I can get this blog back on the rails. My favourite masseuse in the world tried to alleviate my discomfort after she got home from work and it seemed to help a little bit, but I clearly wasn't the one who got the most out of the activity tonight:
Even after the battery eventually ran down Addie still wouldn't let Sarah put the wand away without a fight:
Huh. Would you look at that. There seems to be a small post tonight after all, thanks once again to my magical cat. What would I do without her?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
For some strange reason my neck has been bugging me for the past couple of weeks. It has done this before, but usually it has something to do with straining it playing sports. Since that's not even a thing for me this summer, I don't know what's going on... but I do know I hate it. This morning I woke up and could barely move my head and arms, so I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical from the keyboard. I'm just going to be at my desk long enough to post a short blog piece then I think I am going to have to get a heating pad on it. If it keeps up, I could have a real problem. I guess we'll see how it goes.
|Happy kitty outside her fort|
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Did you commute to work or anywhere else today? Did you take the car? If so, did you at any point resemble the clod in this picture?
|Rob Ford on the Gardiner Expressway|
No, of course you didn't. That's because, unlike the mayor of Toronto, you are not a selfish, insensitive jackass with the social acumen of a turnip. Yes, the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was photographed this morning reading a speech while on his commute into work on the Gardiner Expressway.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
|Christine Sinclair, Canadian women's soccer team captain|
Except that hasn't settled it. Not by a long shot. Not for me and hopefully not for the people who are actually in charge of such decisions.
I am not saying that Christine Sinclair should not be part of the discussion. She was the leading scorer in a soccer tournament that resulted in Canada's first medal in a "traditional" team sport at the Summer Olympics since 1936. She was captain of our women's soccer team, an inspirational leader and a role model, especially now, for many little girls all over this country. But if she hadn't been a soccer player and had performed many of the same feats, would she be such an overwhelming choice for everyone? If Christine Sinclair had chosen to play, say, volleyball and been the leading point-getter on a bronze-medal winning team, would there be a similar Twitter campaign with so many followers? I sincerely doubt it. Many of you who know me are aware of my intense dislike of the sport of soccer and I will admit it may be colouring my judgment here; but then that is exactly what I am accusing it of doing to millions of Canadians who are so convinced that Sinclair should be the flag-bearer on Sunday night that they refuse to even discuss it. This is one of the reasons I really dislike soccer: its unfathomable hold on so many otherwise rational people the world over. But I don't wish this post to devolve into another of my rants about soccer; rather, I wish to discuss the many other excellent athletes who should be mentioned in equal measures as flag-bearer hopefuls.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Sarah and I couldn't put it off any longer: we had to do laundry today. So we took our heavy load down to a great little place on Danforth near Main that I have had a really good experience with in the past. While our clothes were in the wash, we sauntered over to Popeye's Chicken for lunch; while they were in the dryer we browsed through the nearby Canadian Tire and then grabbed a coffee and doughnut at the Timmy's just down the street. We loaded up the clean clothes, dropped by Sobey's to pick up a great dinner deal they offered today (the kids are with us later on), then headed home relaxed and happy with the afternoon. The light changed against us at Danforth and Gledhill so we turned north to drive through the back streets to our apartment. There are speed bumps on Gledhill; I decided to swing over to King Edward to avoid them. And that's where it all began.
Here is my open letter to the Mom who, with kids in tow, stepped briefly (I hope) out of her right mind today in the middle of King Edward Ave.
|Artistic recreation of our experience|
|Inconsiderate drivers are everywhere|
|Speaks for itself, no?|
|Might be buying this from Zazzle|
|Manners: not just for children|
It is that assumption that I cannot let pass without comment. For it is that assumption that is at the root of myriad other problems that plague our city and make me want to scream most days I travel about within it. We are all in this together and if you can't innately understand that then perhaps you might at least figure out a way to teach it to your kids. That is the very least you should do, because your kids looked terribly embarrassed by your actions today and, therefore, I think there might still be hope for them.
It's sure worth a try and, more than that, you owe it to them to do so. Best of luck.
That's it for the letter. You know, I thought I would feel better at this point, but I really don't. Sigh. Well, thanks for reading, at least.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
We've been very busy while Sarah's been off work, at least by my own recent standards. Her vacation has been quite relaxing for her, but I am going to have to rest up once she returns to work next week. In the meantime, we spent a day just decompressing around the apartment today, which was fine because it was kind of miserable outside and really not worthy of getting out into the world.
|The bronze-medal-winning women's soccer team|
credit: Paul Hackett/Reuters
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
*...actually, yes, you will.
We went to the Zoo! See? I knew you'd guess where we went today. I was being ironic in the title. Sarah is nearing the end of her stayc...er, her holidays in which we don't leave the city, and I promised that we would go to the Zoo together before she returned to work. When we got up this morning we checked the weather for the rest of the week and realized that the window was rapidly closing for me to keep my promise, so late this morning we headed up to the Rouge Valley...with the obligatory stop at Timmy's first, of course. It was a sweltering day and I wondered if it might cause some of the animals to be having a "siesta" once we got there. I needn't have worried, apparently. I wonder if they've just had time to get used to the extreme heat because it has been omnipresent since about May this year.
|The Eurasia section is closed until next May when the pandas arrive!|
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
|Not an optical illusion: the sign Sarah made for my "office"|
|Sarah at our celebratory dinner tonight|
I will wind this post up here as we still have vacation-type things to do with the rest of this week and I don't want to be lagging behind Sarah at the Zoo. But I just want to say, without further ado: Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Grumpy Penguin. Please check it out and let me know what you think; I will greatly appreciate any comments whether positive, negative, constructive or just plain "meh". Everything helps at this point.
And thanks for being along for this ride so far. If it wasn't for this blog, there would be no website.