Thursday, November 25, 2010

Suits and Scruffs And Other Folk - Fast Times at the Local Coffee Shop

As I've mentioned in the past, I live a short block away from the nearest TH coffee shop/ice cream emporium. While I have limited my visits (cut back on my habit), I still go there once or twice a week, okay, sometimes three times a week. The experience varies.

During work hours, I often see lawyers, judges, police officers, and "the accused," because the Provincial Offences Court house is across the street from the shop. It's amusing to see young men who are totally uncomfortable in boring clothes with no street cred, and hair that has obviously been chopped off only hours before. I imagine their lawyers have counselled them to shape-up and behave with discretion in court. I wonder what they do after their cases are heard. Do they rush home and stash the offensive clothes at the back of the closet, or throw them on the floor, or are they magically changed by their new apparel ? I'll never know, but I like to speculate.

A lot of seniors frequent the TH coffee shop too. One man, staff have told me he comes in every afternoon, orders chili and coffee every time. I'd like to know his secret. How can he eat chili, top it off with strong TH coffee and avoid heartburn? Maybe if I offered him a small bribe, he would tell me. Yes, there are antacids and Beano and so on, but I have a sneaking suspicion he uses none of those remedies. Maybe he has a magic amulet.

I'm most fascinated by the snippets of conversation I overhear without trying. A couple of examples from the many:

"I told him, don't ever, EVER do that again, or I'll ...." and she drifted out of earshot.
I wanted to follow her and say " What? You'll do what? I have to know. It could be a story"

"And she was all, like, you know, Miss Innocence, and I said, like ...." and I couldn't hear the rest. I'm nosey, but I couldn't ask her, that would be rude. Maybe I'll make up a story instead because I rather like "Miss Innocence" it would work as part of a title.

I'd better go now and find my Christmas sheet music. My "magic fingers" have been asked to play at the annual condo party and if they are going to be magical, they had better practice.

Till next time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Politi-speak 101 - Free Translations

It's dark, it's dreary, and I need to do something silly. So here are some politi-speak translations for you.

Let me be perfectly clear.
Translation: 1. I am about to say something you will not like and I will lie about it now and also later.
2. I am about to present an outstanding example of bafflegab which you are free to quote at length.
3. I like to throw this phrase in whenever I need a brief pause for breath. Don't interrupt.

I have not now, nor have I ever...
Translation: I'm sure you'll never find out about it, if I bribed the right guy.

The deficit is under control.
Translation: 1. It's under some country's control - China's perhaps? We don't know and you don't need to know.
2. We have these gorgeous gas guzzling cars for sale

The cost of the G8 summit was reasonable given the possibility of terrorism.
Translation: We want to keep our Muskoka voters happy.

The cost of the G20 summit was reasonable given the possibility of terrorism.
Translation: We don't care about Toronto, there are not enough Conservative voters in the 416 dialing area.
2. We don't care about Toronto
3. We don't care about Ontario. It's run by Liberals

Our troops will leave Afghanistan in 2011.
Translation: 1. What? Who said that?
2. Oh come now, they won't be soldiers, they'll be trainers. Don't worry, be happy.

Do you want the government to be controlled by separatists?
Translation: 1. We will keep up this fear mongering until you believe us. It's a great distraction and works at least 50% of the time on 38% of the people.
2. Why can't you just be quiet and let us get on with ruining, oops! running the country.

Th th that's all folks. Til the next time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Literary Success and the Small Press / Publisher

Recently, Joanna Skibsrud's book, The Sentimentalists, was awarded the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize. That's a big literary deal here in Canada. Winning 'the Giller' pretty much guarantees that sales will go skyward. As a result, the small press/publisher, Gaspereau Press which is based in Nova Scotia cannot meet the demand for the novel. Gaspereau Press is committed to "reinstating the importance of the book as a physical object" and print and bind their own books.

I understand that arrangements are being made to print the book elsewhere in order to fulfill the demand. Gaspereau Press has been criticized for not responding quickly. Here's my question and I think it's very relevant. Would a larger publisher have accepted the book in the first place? I do wonder about that.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

They Didn't Know - Thoughts for Remembrance Day

It's Veterans' week and Remembrance Day is next Thursday. As usual, I'll attend the ceremonies at the local cenotaph. It's one small simple way to show some respect to all Canadian veterans. Perhaps some of the words below are another way of paying my respects.

In 1914, when World War I began, Canada had a population of 7,879,000. A total of 619,000 Canadians joined the armed forces. Over 60,000 of them died.

They didn't know where they would be fighting, that was confidential.

They didn't know that trench warfare could mean seeing your best friend blown up beside you and then staying in that muddy hole with the dead body for a week.

They didn't know that some generals would see the lower ranks as cannon fodder.

They didn't know that they would receive defective guns that could kill them and not the enemy

They didn't know that their family could be charged for the blanket used to bury them.

At the start of World War II, Canada had a population of 11,267,000 and 1.1 million Canadians joined the armed forces during the course of the war. Over 45,000 of them were killed and 54,600 were wounded.

They didn't know that they too, could expendable.

They didn't know that they could end up in a prisoner of war camp in the Pacific, or in a concentration camp in Germany.

In the Korean conflict, 416 Canadians were killed.

They didn't know that the Canadian government would refuse to acknowledge their contribution or provide them with veterans benefits, for years.

121 Canadian peacekeepers have been killed while on duty.

They didn't know that so many people would forget about them.

To date 152 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.

They didn't know that it would be impossible to recognize the enemy.

So many soldiers have died and many more have been wounded and yet, our government does not provide today's wounded veterans with the long-term support they need. I am ashamed.

I'm also disgusted that I have not received any response to my letter about this issue from my Member of Parliament. I hope that the pressure being applied by veteran's groups and others will eventually result in a better outcome.

What will you do on November 11th?