Bowling for Youth Group

I’ll be showing Bowling for Columbine to the youth group tonight. I am very much looking forward to a couple of the segments I enjoyed the most the first time I watched it. I am also going to be printing out the names of the people who were killed so we can memorialize them.

Lil’ Kate has agreed to help clean up, then she’s going to Larry’s funeral. Sigh.

An acquaintance of hers killed herself about six months ago, and her last MSM message to her friend was a request to wear bright colours at the funeral. Apparently Larry is going to be in an open casket. This is really harsh, there was substantial head trauma; but Katie will be there with adult friends as well as Samantha, and I’ll talk to her about it when she gets home. I’ve only been to one open casket funeral in my life, that of my former father-in-law. I’m not convinced they are barbaric, but they are difficult to manage in a world that really dodges death as much as this one. Apparently the person responsible was a young man who was changing lanes in an intersection, and apparently charges have been laid for vehicular manslaughter or whatever the equivalent is if that’s not the right legal term. What a world.


Very pleasant day here in Lotusland. Woke to a world so covered in dew that it was quite amazing; and a dead rat on the back deck. When the condensation burned off it was a glorious fall day, so glorious that I had to do yard work. I’ve had a pretty slack day. Dishes, laundry, leaf raking (Keith did 2/3rds of it mind you) and it was a couple of hours and many wheelbarrow loads, hanging with Katie and her friend Samantha briefly, making a trip to the bank and Rona and the Twist with Paul. Reading a bit more “Love for Sale” which is virtually impossible to read sequentially. It’s like a, oh, I don’t know, one of those bathroom reader books but, like, a scholarly/literary one? Weird. And I can’t deal with the cover. A naked white woman being tended by a clothed black woman. (Olympia by Manet, which is a really cool painting, but I don’t think belonged on the cover.)

I would like to publicly announce that Erica Williams is a goddess.

2019 says – who is Erica Williams? I have no frickin’ idear

I’m giving a sermon at Beacon December 5. The person who was originally scheduled was unavailable. So I have the opening paragraphs of the sermon, during which I will studiously quote Hewitt, as he is the capo di tutte capi around these parts in terms of being a Unitarian Elder Statesman.

After that I’m stuck, but that might have something to do with having to stop and do three Tarot readings. Two for the girls, one for me. Will I go back to Beacon? King of Cups staring me in the face. Very funny, little cards.

An interesting thing about Rev Hewitt is, of all the human beings I’ve ever been in the same room with, he’s the one with the voice timbre most closely resembling that of Walter Cronkite. I remember being simply mesmerized (when I was a wee tad, obliviously) by anything Cronkite announced or narrated. He narrated a “peep into the future” show called The 21st Century, and I used to love watching that program because there was all this neat tech stuff and this amazing amazing narration. So I sit and listen to a Rev Hewitt sermon and I literally don’t hear a word he says, I’m so enchanted with how he’s saying it.

I light a candle for Yassir Arafat. If Allah indeed is Lord and rules this ball of mud it will go hard for him, I fear.

Paul said we’re going out to dinner (I had not actually been thinking of going out and had started food happening) so off the the four of us and Unca Dave go to The Grand Buffet. Don’t ask about the shrimp, at least while Katie’s in earshot. Everything else was really good except the sushi.

I said to John after we got back, in the course of a conversation, “I’m open to change” and he said “I’m even open to spare change.” So of course I had to run upstairs and write it down. I’m sure it’s been done, but it sure sounded funny at the time.

I found the song I wrote when Carmen killed himself. I remember thinking at the time that it was a really good song, but I’d never record it because it might be interpreted, falsely, to encourage people to kill themselves. And it might be interpreted the wrong way by people who were a lot closer to Carmen than I. The living need to be respected more than the dead.

I hear that Mike is moving closer, first to Coquitlam and then to Burnaby. This means, and you can feel the jelly wobble when I say this, that a hot tub is migrating back into my future. Mind you, hot tubs do not (affect English accent) migrate, per se, but if you have six or eight strapping lads you’ll do well enough. (Okay, back to Anglo Canadian). This hot tub is a place where I have spent many happy hours, frolicking with kids, getting various portions of my anatomy massaged, and drinking beer during a snowfall. A man has levitated back into that hot tub after falling out of it – and he never touched the ground. I remember Stephanie talking about horses, crazy ex husbands and the various practical arts she has mastered over the course of a very willful life; she gave a lot of sound advice, and I prospered when I took most of it. Those days have gone, but access to the hot tub, thankfully, has not.

Stair components cut and primed. Tomorrow insulation and stairs, both. Sounds like a lot of work will be happening here, tra la la I’ll be at work. The railing is off already, so it’s REALLY disorienting going down those stairs now. Somebody wrote a bit about a coffee table – Shelley Newman (I think) and I want to do something about the back stairs. My back stairs are very independent minded. They wish to secede from the back of the house, and they’re talking the nails into coming loose and joining their glorious Confederacy. Not only are they hostile to the house, they are vicious when approached. You do not want to walk on these stairs. They are not flat, and tip forward in fact, to the point where you’re contemplating whether it might be the better part of valour to just sit down. Maybe scooch down the stairs on your butt, so as to not break your skull, or more likely, your wrists. These are the stairs that will get their wish, and they will be like a vile spirit exorcised; the magicians I live with and am related to will make them trouble me no more. In their place, a brilliant shining white stair, so bright that I must needs turn my eyes away from the awful chatoyancy. Yup, that’s what a little carpentry can do for ya. I’m a lucky goil.

Holes fixed

I came home from work last night and the holes in my kitchen ceiling had been filled. Unca Dave and Paul have been bery bery busy trying to get everything organized for insulating the attic (very necessary given what’s happening to fuel prices) and the back steps.

Katie was at Sam’s last night but (omg!) phoned to let me know, leaving a message on the machine as I was likely out cold when she called. Very foggy this morning, but it will likely burn off.

Board meeting last night was quite productive but they sure have a lot of work in front of them and it will be interesting to see if they can fill the gap between the canvass and the budget AND buy a building. It’s been an interesting exercise, and it doesn’t help that the folks selling the church building are flatly refusing to put a price on it. We shall see what is and isn’t too rich for the congregational blood. I abstained from discussion seeing as how I won’t be around to live with the consequences.

I hope everybody has a peaceful Remembrance Day, and I pray for the living and the dead of Fallujah, the Ivory Coast, and the 30 or so other hotspots in the world today.

schroedinger’s warlord

It’s official. Yassir Arafat is now Schroedinger’s Cat. He is, and he is not; he is on the cusp of being and not being. He is alive, and he’s dead, sometimes on the same news page if my reading of a Fark post does not deceive me.

Unca Dave got here last night and he and Paul have an exceedingly ambitious plan of attack on various aspects of the house, including insulating the roof and replacing the back stairs; anybody who’s actually USED the back stairs will be thrilled at this news because the stairs seem to be sentient; they act as if they want to toss you ten feet onto a concrete slab, generally when the weather is inclement.

Katie seems to be okay, just really tired. She announced at supper last night (which we took in at the excellent Chong Lum Hin) that she intends to sleep all day today. Man, I wish I could do the same, but I have to write FAQ’s and do stock checks today. I may go in to work tomorrow… we’ll see (it’s a holiday in BC). Keith just looks tired and he’s been unusually quiet. Larry’s funeral is now on Friday.

Katie doesn’t have to go to court again, the probation officer phoned back and we have an appointment on the 19th. That’s all for now.

daysign is coyotes

I was moved to call Paul today and tell him he was my sweetie and he said, well, it’s a normal day 4 (the last day of his rotation) and I said, How so? and he said, well I tried to get into the company truck this morning and the door came off in my hand. So that was what his day was like. Of course he had this TONE to his voice, like what else can you expect, and I just laughed.

My daysign was the coyote pair that we frequently see at the office, trotting down the hill. One is very mangy and the other is quite healthy and looks bulkier, although that’s perhaps because it doesn’t have all the hair missing from its shoulders to its tail. They walk as if they own the joint. It’s very funny. And of course nobody noticed but me.

Lunch was this extremely bizarre philly sandwich. Am I alone in thinking that a slice of meat you could read a headline through topped with some strange amalgamation of sliced peppers, cheesy weirdness and canned gravy is not really a philly? The bun was good. I continue to be underwhelmed by the cafeteria, but I suppose if it vanished I’d be underwhelmed about that too. The coffee is still good.

The ghost in the machine is at it again

I now have a calendar on my website. As far as I can tell, anybody in the universe can edit it. Go ahead and be funny or useful, but if you are scatalogical, slanderous, libellous or mean-spirited I’ll delete it. And then take it off. This actually has the potential to be both useful and funny, so let’s roll. My email address mysteriously disappeared – it’s if anybody cares.

2019 sez yeah that didn’t last.

love for sale

I am now reading a book on the History of Prostitution called Love for Sale. It is very interesting, but sort of all over the place.

If I was a dirty rotten skunk, I could post a picture of the chairman of my company participating in a mud pie eating contest yesterday. As I am a skunk, but not a low down dirty rotten one, I will just leave you to savour that I have the picture. I have the perfect bloody caption and can’t use it. The frustration is killing me, but I must learn to be at peace with what I cannot change.


End of term madness at my kids’ school… must get off computer now as it is being used for higher, more educational purposes. Looks like Katie’s math course is toast, due to the accident and having the world’s noisiest classmate but she should pass Socials. Keith should pass both of his classes. Excelsior!


Brother Jerome sent me this. I don’t think it should be called Jesusland, though. That would make it sound like a theme park, rather than a (deleted.) It should be called One Nation Under God, or ONUG for short. I don’t know who to credit. I sure as heck wouldn’t mind being able to go to Seattle or Eugene or SF without a passport handy. And this will happen the twelfth of never, folks, because about half of the military industrial complex in the US is in California, and the National Governing Party of the US would never let them go. Oh, and as for that constitutional amendment about the foreign born not being able to be president? Consider it passed.

three torpid dormice

Just in case your mammal identification skills are rusty, these are THREE TORPID DORMICE. They are not the blind mice of song and legend, because you can see they still have their tails.

I’ve felt like that, haven’t you? Look how hard they are sleeping! Why, they are sleeping as if their lives depended on it, or something. Like humans, these critters are an endangered species. Credit goes to REUTERS/Steven Robinson/BBC/Handout. Please do not copy without attribution.

Kate’s school chum Larry was killed yesterday at 6th and 11th here in Burnaby. Don’t jaywalk especially without conspicuity garments. Kate got home from the spontaneous Memorial for Larry yesterday and told me something that made my blood run cold. Larry’s father lost his wife, daughter and another male relative in a car accident fairly recently. He has one son left. Can you imagine what this guy is going through right now? It’s crushing to think of it, let alone imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes. He came down to the spontaneous memorial too. The funeral is Wednesday and Katie’s going. For some of the kids in Katie’s circle this is the second chum to die in six months, the first one committed suicide. I light a candle for Larry, Larry’s dad and surviving sibling, and the driver of the car, who, unless a complete sociopath, is probably having a very hard time right now. Even if you were just going the speed limit, if you’re coming over the hill at that intersection it would be very easy to paste somebody. And a block from a crosswalk too. Katie says she’s never ever going to jaywalk again.

which veg do you most closely resemble

Not much to report. Certain aspects of family life at the moment are supremely icky, but my end of the universe is holding up quite nicely, and I just put a roast beast in the oven. The Spit yesterday was divine… Keith came along for part of it. Scored the Curse of Chalion first edition in hardcover for 16 bucks (I’ve read it already. Very entertaining.) Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices, which I have been looking for for years, a book on Survival Japanese for Keith, and also for Keith the second of Turtledove’s Videssos sequence. The food at Tomato was great and I really want some more of those low fat turkey sausages, they were fabulous. There was some dessert place out in the wilds that had pear almond chocolate torte, and yes, it was precisely as good as it sounds. Church was okay. 3 down, 6 to go. Have to collect the keys off Noel (he closed for me after I put stuff away) on Wednesday at the next and possibly my last board meeting… they’re still trying to figure on whether we want to have a meeting in December. Must go vacuum things, Glen is coming. John, bless his soul, is going to go pick Paul up for me so I can cook etc. Talked to Tammy this morning but not for long enough. I’m bagged. The vegetable I most closely resemble at the moment is a cabbage.

dancing, dead snakes, other

My buddy Ron sent me 5 rather messy photos of what happens when an exotic reptile takes shelter in a car’s engine compartment. Thanks, I think. However, I asked for CUTE animal pictures, not outtakes from Peter Jackson’s first film. No, I won’t post them until I have a members’ log on to my site. Did I say that I was going to have my very own email address at this site, and so you can start emailing me and telling me what a sick little baby seal I am? and there will be a PRIVATE MEMBERS ONLY section where we can live in our own little world?

The snake pix were educational though, and I heartily concur with Ron’s conclusion that people should avoid exotic pets. No Pythons besides Monty was how he put it.

Went dancing with Maria, Mike, Victoria and Paul last night at the Rowing Club in Stanley Park, one of my favourite places to dance as the dance floor is … well… sprung. And Night Shift, the band, was smokin’.

My webmeister is going to be coming over on Sunday, and once I load him up with food and beer he’s going to review my site fer ickyness and bogosity, and I’m going to beta test some calendar software that will make the premiere destination site for my friends and relations; you will be able to schedule damned near anything from anywhere and you can publicly post events etc from anywhere on the web. Maybe. We’ll see. I can’t promise more than I can deliver, but it’s a nice looking bit of software, and not too dear.

I got my must on. Paul, because he is a god among men, JUICED ALL THOSE FREAKING PEARS YESTERDAY. Many thanks to our wonderful, supportive and friendly neighbours for providing the juicer. It apparently went through the pears like the noisy whirling and registered trademark cartoon character. Then he went out and bought about $60 worth of winemaking equipment and we are GOING TO HAVE PEAR WINE. From our very own tree! The must tastes FanTastic so I have high hopes. Just finished scrubbing and rinsing the primary and am waiting for the first batch of juice to just come to a boil.

Later today off to eat at Tomato’s (yeee haw!!! it’s a really really good restaurant with GREAT waitstaff and not too dear) and clack and flap my elephant sized ears with my cherished compadres from the Dunnett group. Our gatherings are called SPITS and it’s complicated to explain, you’ll just have to take it as it is. THEN WE GO BOOK SHOPPING. Sh. Don’t tell Paul. I’m supposed to get rid of two books for every one I bring into the house. Yeah right!!!! Derisive snorts of middleaged woman, ha!

Then, if everything goes really well, I’ll feel energetic enough to go to a pub and walk into yet another group of strangers and expect to feel a welcome. We shall see. There are no fewer than 4 groups of people or individuals who may lay claim to my time this evening. Generally in a situation like that Paul wins. It’s easier, and I can see where I’m gonna sleep. Besides, did I mention he’s a god among men? And that’s with his clothes on! (Evil laughter….)

Transparency International

Note from 2019 – Can’t find this on line any more, the site still exists but the ranking no longer exists because they have a whole bunch of different criteria.  Okay, back to the fall of 2004.





New Zealand,









United Kingdom,


Hong Kong,























United Arab Emirates,







Trinidad and Tobago,


Saudi Arabia,


South Africa,

Costa Rica,


South Korea,




Czech Republic,





El Salvador,







Sri Lanka,


Bosnia & Herzegovina,

Dominican Republic,






































Serbia & Montenegro,




Congo, Republic of the,



Sierra Leone,


Cote d’Ivoire,



Papua New Guinea,













You will note in this list of which countries have the least public and business corruption and the highest level of public scrutiny of their accounts, that Canada does not place in the top ten. However, it does rank above Britain, France and the US. If I was a real SD, and I am, I would pull a very poker face and ask that the ratings of Iraq and the US be mingled, seeing as how Iraq is not really and effectively a sovereign state at the moment but a ‘client state’ of the US. I am sure a lot of Iraqis would be cheesed at me for saying that, and likely even more Americans.

Transparency International, by the way, is headquartered in the UK. So even though it’s a more corrupt place than Canada, at least it’s a safe country to say that in. Karl Marx, you will recollect, took refuge in Britain.

I find it interesting that the only person I ever knew socially who came from Africa came from Botswana, the first African country on the list. One of the the things that Botswana has done… check out the country’s main website, it rocks… is encourage people to go overseas and get an education and then COME HOME. Apparently more than 95 percent of Botswanans who are educated overseas go back when they’re done. And that’s what Serara did. She and her hubby came to Ottawa, and imagine if you dare their reaction to their first Ottawa winter…. busted ass on their respective degrees, and went home. The reason Botswana is at the top of the list for Africa is three fold. They didn’t get their independence via a civil war, which meant that they didn’t lose whatever infrastructure was in place when the Brits left. They emphasize literacy. And they don’t have a brain drain. If all the educated people come home to fill up the bureaucracies and schools and universities and telephone companies and power companies and mining companies, then it’s a lot easier to make progress. They have an active, noisy and pluralistic democracy, and high voter turnout. And don’t forget the role of an independent judiciary. They have a lot of the same features to their political landscape that the rest of Africa does (like lots of different ethnic and religious groups and brutal weather), but anytime you emphasize peace – civil order, I mean- and education you can accomplish amazing things.

And I see that Nigeria and Bangladesh continue to duke it out for last place. God help us, but colonialism has a lot to answer for.

I can’t help looking at the bottom four fifths of this list and think that it reads like the roll call of places I’d never want to live. May the deity of your choice bless Canada!

life on mars

Something…. or maybe someone…. keeps cleaning the solar panels on the Martian explorers. The notion that some bizarre Martian lifeform is deciding that the panels need a good dusting is too bizarre not to share. Current Nasa thinking is dust devils. Oh come one, you KNOW there’s life on Mars. They’re just… hiding. And the reason they’re dusting the Rovers off is because they’re the only thing in the landscape that actually LOOKS clean when you dust it. I know how they feel. Seven maids with seven mops, indeed.

Throwing out my childhood

In his zeal to reduce clutter which is, as we all know, the outward manifestation of deferred decisions, Paul attempted to throw out all of the children’s books my parents gave me before my 10th birthday. I managed not to be verbally abusive in response, and I think (actually, it’s more like I hope) that I got the point across that this wasn’t appropriate behaviour. I am going to have to watch him closely. I really have to wonder about that guy…. his timing is so peculiar. The next two sentences deleted, as they could, viewed under direct light, look quite abusive.

I attended the world’s shortest meeting yesterday, during which I learned that my attendance at the next meeting wasn’t necessary. Really, can’t they all be like that? I could have kissed the VP, which would have been worse than harassment.

Consensus is that the food that replaced the food at work (we changed service providers, and now have Aramark) is quite variable and the portions are quite small. I find when it’s good, it’s good and salty. However they keep the coffee flowing in ever fragrant streams, so I can’t really complain… that part is free.

I have made the decision that I am not going to allow George W. Bush to determine my mood. Riverbend posted about his election win…. I will allow her poetry, which is quite sickly hilarious, as only poetry written somebody currently living in Baghdad could be, do the talking for me.

Watched Keith at the dojo yesterday. He flails around too much, but when he concentrates he’s quite deadly. The brown belts were learning a new kata and I found I wanted to just gawk at the dude closest to me. He was like quicksilver poured into a gi.

Katie, after some prompting, allowed me to work on her neck and back last night. She’s healing up okay but we still have to talk to ICBC.