Friday, December 23, 2005

Mr. Jazz is BACK!

Well, the boy is back. I forgot a couple of reasons I was thrilled he was coming home yesterday:

  • I get to sniff him. He just smells SOOOOOOO damn good. That odour just makes me melt (first night he was gone I actually slept with a t-shirt of his)
  • Back scratching. He is an amazing back scratcher. Having your back scratched by Mr. Jazz is pure bliss.

Things I might miss for a bit now that he's back:

  • Being able to stretch out all over the bed - of course this is offset by the fact that he keeps said bed warm and I can cuddle up to him.
  • Sleep. The alarm clock goes off at 5:00 (and being jet lagged today, he got up at 5:00 anyway). Even if I stay in bed a hour or so longer, I rarely get back into "real" sleep mode.

Hmmmm am I sleep deprived when the boy is around?


Well, as entries go, this one is, to say the least, rather uninspired. Dull. Boring. Bleh. Actually, it's a grey day in Montreal, which fits my mood. I felt fine this morning but I've crashed since then. So I'll shut up now and leave you with:

Happy Holidays,
may 2006 bring you much of what you want most.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What do YOU do with Listerine

A bit of background. Taschen has a series of books called “All American Ads”. Each volume spans a decade - from the 1900s to the newest out, the 80s.

A couple of weekends ago, I was looking at the book from the 20s (wonderful rainy/snowy day reading by the way…).

In it, an ad for Listerine, circa 1929. A sob story about some guy who everyone hates and reviles because he has bad breath...oops, halitosis. He is alone, he lives a life of isolation and solitude. His life is hell and he has no idea why. He is a pariah and will eternally remain so. *insert moody violin music here* (My touch, since obviously there was no moody violin music in the book) Beware! It could happen to you…

At the very end of the ad, you have the following text:

“Full strength Listerine is so safe it may be used in any body cavity, yet so powerful it kills even the stubborn Bacillus Typhosus (typhoid) and Staphylococcus Aureus (pus) germs in 15 seconds. We could not make this statement unless we were prepared to prove it to the entire satisfaction of the medical profession and the U.S. Government” (my emphasis)

Now, the question begs an answer: WHAT body cavities?

Listerine as a sinus spray?
Listerine douche?
Listerine enema?

Am I alone in wondering exactly what it was people were doing with mouthwash back then?

Sex and the Supreme Court of Canada

At noon I'm off to pick up the boy at the airport. And he better have brought me back something nice (besides himself) from Paris.

Reasons I'm happy he's back:
  1. He'll cook for me. REAL FOOD!
  2. SEX
  3. His bead-warming capabilities (no more need for flannel jammies and socks - and last night, a sweatshirt)
  4. SEX
  5. He's behind in making me laugh (it has been his obligation in the past 18 years to make me laugh every day)
  6. Watching back to back episodes of the Trailer Park Boys on DVD (I couldn't do it while he was gone, it's much less fun alone)
  7. Oh, did I mention sex?


Oh, and speaking of sex (how flawless was that segue, huh?), the Supreme Court has ruled that swinger clubs are not flouting the obsenity laws. (Obviously the swinger clubs in question are here in Quebec. Such debauchery in this province.) The Court basically said that what is going on is happening behind closed doors and no money was changing hands, so there is no problem.

My question is why did this ever make it to the supreme court? I mean, it's not like these people are exposing themselves in the street. Or forcing anyone to join in. So why on earth would people have a problem with it? Me, it doesn't float my boat, but hey, we're not talking pedophiles or prostitution or anything like that. Consenting adults behind closed doors, so who the the hell cares, and more to the point, why WOULD you care?

That's the part I always have trouble understanding: Why on earth would people care what others are doing that doesn't involve them? Is there a touch of envy involved? A sort of, if I can't do it nor will you sentiment?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why north americans are fat and other musings

Seen after leaving the subway***, going to get the bus...

The subway is on the lower level and you have to go up a floor to get to street level.

You have the choice between a flight of stairs or an escalator. Now, being lazy as I am, I usually just step on the escalator. However, today it wasn't working, so I headed for the stairs. Now keep in mind this isn't a huge flight of stairs, just the regular 30 or so steps I suppose.

The janitor was near the escalator, gettting ready to turn it back on. At least 12-15 people were standing there waiting for him to do just that. And they didn't seem to think there was anything intrinsically (damn, what a cool word) strange about that. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?!?!


On another note the time of the dreaded Christmas letter is here.

You know the ones; those where everyone is wonderful and delightful, the kids are all successful beautiful A students, mom and dad are also beautiful and successful even the dog chases squirrels beautifully and successfully across the yard (puke).

I'm eagerly awaiting the day where I get THE letter :

"Julie's 10 years of dance lessons have paid off! She's been working as an exotic lap dancer for the past six months, and doing very well indeed!

As for Junior, his chemistry degree has been very useful in his crank lab - the boy has been making money hand over foot, at least he was until he was arrested a few weeks ago. We have every hope, however, that Uncle John will be able to get him off as it is a first offense.

Little Timmy's, entrepreneurial spirit neve ceases to amaze us! At 9, he's already got a brisk business going in the schoolyard taxing other students.

Spike, our ever adorable pit bull bit the head off the next door neighbor's chihuahua a few weeks ago. When the neighbor came to complain, Spike took off his hand. Good Boy!

A new baby will soon be arriving in our household - Dad has been screwing the babysitter again. And me? Well things are just fine and dandy with me; I've embarked on a wonderful self-improvment program and have managed to spend $100,000 on cosmetic surgery and botox this year."

Now THAT would be a Christmas letter to remember...

*** By the way, people have been tearing down the iPOD ads! YAY!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New information

Well, someone has actually read parts of this blog. I am flabbergasted (damn I love that word, and plethora and ... ok, that is totally off topic). I have proof. I have comments. I exist on the internet. I have comments therefore I am!!! Aw, shaddap Jazz.

Regal answered my "in spades" question. Many thanks. If anyone is interested:

"Spades are the highest-ranking of the four suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades.) Thus a bid in spades outranks a bid in hearts. By extension beyond cards, "in spades" expresses a decisive, complete, no-doubt defeat. If I suffer a (real or imagined) injury from you, and I retaliate with dsproportionate vigor, I have paid you back "in spades.""

I will go to bed tonight, if not more intelligent then at least with another nugget of useless information filed away. I had no idea that there was a rank in the four suits. I'm obviously not much for card playing.

My granny used to say that every day you learned something is a day you don't grow older. So once again, thank you Regal! Of course my granny is very very dead, so maybe she had no idea what she was talking about. Or else she wasn't very big on learning new stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Rodents and Karma

Well, this is one lucky ass rodent. A rodent with great karma. He must have done numerous good rodent works in another life.

When I finally got into the cottage Saturday, after spending an hour or more digging the stairs out of 25 cm of snow (which is not THAT bad I suppose, considering that 41 cm fell on Montreal proper), I found the trap where Mr. Jazzz had placed it. Well, actually, it had sprung so it was upside down. When I turned it around nary a squirrel to be seen, despite the fact that the peanut butter had been licked off the trap. On closer inspection there was a teeny tiny bit of squirrel hair and two whiskers in the trap. I mean seriously. How lucky is that animal? His whisker got caught? Basically he got two hairs pulled out of his mustache ?!?

To get back at me however (I'm sure it was done in the spirit of revenge), he shit (shat?) all over the kitchen and bathrroom counters, the stove and table and basically any surface that would require serious cleaning before it could be used again. Who knew that squirrels have that many little shit pellets in them? The quantities were astronomical, simply astounding! Rather than scrub everything down when he still might be in the house (though if he's a really intelligent little rodent, he's gone to hibernate outside), I just turned around in disgust and left.

Of course, you realize, this means war. I just can't help wondering if he realizes it. Or if he's just as happy as a clam shitting on this wonderful kitchen toilet he found. Are clams happy? How does one know? Yes, I digress. *sigh*

So more traps were laid, three this time. I figure maybe statistically this way I have a better chance at getting him. But really, his managing to get away the last time against all odds just makes we want to root for him... He's a cute little bugger all things considered.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well they didn't lie about the snowstorm. We got it in spades (anyone know where that expression comes from? Enquiring minds want to know).

We're expecting probably over 35 cm (or about 14 in) of snow. At least it isn't cold, about -6 (21 for the Americans). However, when you're standing on the street corner waiting an hour for the bus (which usually comes every 5 minutes), 6 below can seem quite chilly.

The abuse the poor bus drivers have to put up with in weather like this, though. It's totally unreal. I mean, give the guys (and ladies) some credit. They're driving in shit-ass weather, weather I for one wouldn't be caught dead driving in, the buses are jammed because so many people decide not to drive to work, the roads are slippery, the visibility sucks and they're there, doing their job and getting abuse for it.

Stop whining people! It's not the drivers fault! GROW THE FUCK UP, the weather sucks for everyone. People (or at any rate Montrealers, who are the ones I deal with daily) take themselves way too seriously. Really people, lighten up, it would make life so much easier for everyone.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Paris, rodents and winter storms

Well, Mr. Jazz left for Paris yesterday for a week to see friends.

I have decided that he will NEVER leave again just before Christmas. Tomorrow they're predicting 15 to 25 cm of snow. That's all well and nice you'll say, white Christmas and all, but we park in the street. The snow plow dumps the snow on the cars in the street. I have to dig said car out of said snow and then play the finding-a-usable-parking-spot game if ever I dare need the car before the street is cleaned out.**

And I will need the car. Because I MUST go to the cottage because the last time Mr. Jazz went, there was a squirrel in the house. And he set a trap. And the squirrel is no doubt now dead in that trap. And getting riper by the day. Thank god it's cold but still - have you ever tasted the smell of putrefying flesh? Yeah, the smell is so bad you can actually taste it. I so don't want to think about it. If I'm really lucky the stupid rodent will have good karma and will have left the house and still be living it's stupid little rodent life.

If I'm not lucky I'll be emptying traps of putrefying rodents while the boy is partying in Europe.

Who me, bitter?

** For the record, the same thing happened last year when he went to Europe before Christmas. Day after he left, 20 cm of snow. It's a curse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Interesting article in Slate

For or against? Blanket ban or not? Because obviously, it's going on whether it's legal or not. And taking people to other countries to do it is incredibly hypocritical...


Torture for DummiesExploding the "ticking bomb" argument.
By Michael Kinsley
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005, at 2:24 PM ET

What if you knew for sure that the cute little baby burbling and smiling at you from his stroller in the park was going to grow up to be another Hitler, responsible for a global cataclysm and millions of deaths? Would you be justified in picking up a rock and bashing his adorable head in? Wouldn't you be morally depraved if you didn't?

Or what if a mad scientist developed a poison so strong that two drops in the water supply would kill everyone in Chicago? And you could destroy the poison, but only by killing the scientist and 10 innocent family members? Should you do it?

Or what if an international terrorist planted a nuclear bomb somewhere in Manhattan, set to go off in an hour and kill a million people. You've got him in custody, but he won't say where the bomb is. Is it moral to torture him until he gives up the information?

Questions like these have been pondered and disputed since the invention of the college dorm, but rarely, until the past couple of weeks, unstoned. Now the last of these golden oldies—about the terrorist who knows where the bomb is set to go off—is in the news. Not because it has happened, but because of Sen. John McCain's proposed legislation forbidding the use of torture by the United States government.

It feels strange even to have to use the term "proposed legislation" about a subject like this. When you think of all the things the law forbids, with varying degrees of success, it is hard to believe that torture by public officials isn't on the list. But yes, according to the Bush administration, no law prevents our government from torturing (at the very least) nonuniformed noncitizens outside the United States. And the Bush folks like it that way. But others, including many congressional Republicans, don't.

That hypothetical terrorist with a nuke is central to the most (maybe the only) articulate argument against the McCain bill. The argument, made by Charles Krauthammer in the Weekly Standard, is, in a nutshell: 1) No rational moral calculus could possibly justify sacrificing a million innocent lives in order to spare the would-be mass murderer a few minutes of pain. And 2) once you accept that torture would be justified in one situation, avoiding the use of torture on other situations is no longer a moral imperative. The question becomes where you draw the line.

In law school, they call this second point, "salami-slicing." You start with a seemingly solid principle, then start slicing: If you would torture to save a million lives, would you do it for half a million? A thousand? Two dozen? What if there's only a two-out-of-three chance that person you're torturing has the crucial information? A 50-50 chance? One chance in 10? At what point does your moral calculus change, and why? Slice the salami too far, and the formerly solid principle disappears.

Krauthammer stops at two slices. In addition to the terrorist-with-a-nuke, he also would torture a high-level terrorist to get information that is needed on a "slower fuse." When there is less urgency, he says, "the level of inhumanity" of the torture should be "proportionate to the need and value of the information." He has sundry other requirements involving procedures for authorizing torture and keeping the military out of it. This last one is not because (based on recent experience) he doesn't trust soldiers with truncheons and electrodes, but because he believes that the military should not be tainted by the sordid business of torture.

Krauthammer's proposed rules are fairly restrictive. That is a selling point: They are far from a wholesale endorsement of torture whenever it might prove useful. They acknowledge the humanity, even the human rights to some degree, of torture subjects. They aspire to no more torture than is necessary in any particular case. If these rules were enforced as punctiliously as their author lays them out, the U.S. Government might not find itself torturing a lot more people than it is torturing already, under various legal theories or none at all. And let's face it, we live with what's going on now. Most of us don't like it. But few of us are doing much to stop it.

But where do Krauthammer's rules come from? They have no obvious connection to the reasoning he uses to endorse torture in principle. They are just his opinion. This makes their careful limits more alarming than reassuring. There is no reason to suppose that if Krauthammer's reasoning was accepted, the result would be Krauthammer's rules. Once we are rid of the childish notion of an absolute ban on torture, there is no telling where adult minds may take us.

The trouble with salami-slicing is that it doesn't stop just because you do. A judicious trade-off of competing considerations is vulnerable to salami-slicing from both directions. You can calibrate the viciousness of the torture as finely as you like to make sure that it matches the urgency of the situation. But you can't calibrate the torture candidate strapped down before you. Once you're in the torture business, what justification is there for banning (as Krauthammer would) the torture of official prisoners of war, no matter how many innocent lives this might cost? If you are willing to torture a "high level" terrorist in order to save innocent lives, why should you spare a low-level terrorist at the same awful cost? What about a minor accomplice?

Or what about someone wholly innocent? It's hard to imagine a situation where someone who refuses to supply life-saving information could be considered "innocent." But it's not impossible. (Suppose the terrorists have his wife. …) In this cold, hard world, allegedly facing a challenge greater than any the civilized world has faced before, would you torture an innocent individual for five minutes in order to spare a million innocents from death? These would be wartime deaths, many of them more painful and grotesque than the laboratory torture you are sparing one lone individual. If you say yes, go ahead and torture an innocent person, you have pretty much abandoned the various exquisite moral distinctions that eased your previous abandonment of an absolute ban on torture. But if you say no, my own moral hygiene, or my country's, forbids the torture of an innocent individual, even if the indirect but predictable consequence is a million human deaths, you are more or less back in the camp of the anti-torture absolutists whose simple-minded moral vanity you find so irritating.

So Krauthammer's second argument—that once you abandon an absolute rule against torture, there is no obvious moral stopping point—"proves too much" (in another lovely law-school phrase). It can be used to discredit any nonabsolutist torture policy, including Krauthammer's own.

Torture is like almost every other issue: It involves trade-offs between the rights of individuals and the needs of society. In his own proposed rules, Krauthammer makes some strange trade-offs. How many lives would he give up in order to relieve the military of the onus of torture? And where will he find morally pre-damaged patriots better suited to the task? Do CIA agents deserve to be told that torturing people is a "monstrous evil" that is too "inhumane" for uniformed soldiers, but just perfect for them?

It is not fatal to Krauthammer's or any other person's particular set of torture rules that they draw lines more exact than evidence or reason can justify. Drawing bright lines in foggy situations is what the law does. But good rules need to be defensible against salami-slicing in a more general way. The strength of an absolute ban on torture—or an absolute rule of any sort—is its relative immunity from salami-slicing, both in theory and in practice. It is hard to explain why you would torture a teenager abducted into a terrorist gang if this would save a dozen lives, but would not torture a uniformed military officer in order to save a thousand. It is not hard to explain why you would not torture anybody at all. The argument may be wrong, but at least it is clear. The policy—just don't do it—is hard to misunderstand, making it easier to teach and enforce. And the principle can be consciously abandoned but it can't easily erode.

But what about Krauthammer's conundrum? Will you eschew torture even when a few minutes of it, applied to a very bad person, would save a million lives? One answer is that the law wouldn't really be enforced in such an extreme situation. McCain himself has hinted at this, as Krauthammer points out, and Andrew Sullivan fleshes out the point in a reply to Krauthammer published in the New Republic. This may well be true as a prediction, and tempting as a moral argument, but ultimately not good enough. Surely every law should at least aspire to be enforced. Or—an even more modest standard—a law should not depend on unenforceability for its very justification. Furthermore, a law expresses a social norm even apart from its enforcement. If the hypothetical situation ever arises, something will happen. What do we want that something to be?

There is yet another law-school bromide: "Hard cases make bad law." It means that divining a general policy from statistical oddballs is a mistake. Better to have a policy that works generally and just live with a troublesome result in the oddball case. And we do this in many situations. For example, criminals go free every day because of trial rules and civil liberties designed to protect the innocent. We live with it.

Of course a million deaths is hard to shrug off as a price worth paying for the principle that we don't torture people. But college dorm what-ifs like this one share a flaw: They posit certainty (about what you know and what will happen if you do this or that). And uncertainty is not only much more common in real life: It is the generally unspoken assumption behind civil liberties, rules of criminal procedure, and much else that conservatives find sentimental and irritating.
Sure, if we could know the present and predict the future with certainty, we could torture only people who deserve it. Not just that: We could go door-to-door killing people before they kill others. We could lock up innocent people who would otherwise be involved in fatal traffic accidents. Civil libertarians like to believe that criminals get their Miranda warnings and dissidents enjoy freedom of speech because human rights are universal. But if we knew for sure that a newspaper column by Charles Krauthammer would lead—even by a chain of events he never intended and bore no responsibility for—to World War II, wouldn't we be nuts not to censor it? Universal human rights would make no sense in a world where everything was known and certain.

This is not to say that Krauthammer's killer hypothetical could never happen. It is to say that morality does not require us to build a general policy on torture around a situation that is not merely unlikely in real life, but different in kind from the situations we are likely to face in real life. What we would do or should do if this situation actually arose is an interesting question for bull sessions in the dorm, but not a pressing issue for the nation.

Every day American forces in Iraq and elsewhere probably inflict more pain on guilty and innocent people than officially designated American torturers would do in a year, even if Bush and company were free of any legal restriction. That pain is not necessarily unjustified (although I believe it is). But it makes the whole debate about officially designated "torture" artificial and symbolic, not to say deeply hypocritical. And yet supporters of the administration, the war, and the practice of torture have not leaped to embrace this argument, for some reason.

Michael Kinsley is Slate's founding editor.

Bah, humbug

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!

Now, I ask you, is this crap or what?

They hated him because of his difference, because of his red nose (was Rudolph an alcoholic? Did he have roseacea (sp?) - why do they not say?). Point is Rudy was an outcast. Now, all of a sudden he's shown favour and boom all the other reindeer would love him? I think not.

Au contraire. It would annoy the hell out of the others that all of a sudden he's been picked as the leader. The outcast as boss? Um, don't think so. Or at any rate they wouldn't be souting out for glee.

You might point out that I'm anthropomorphizing these animals, but hey, I didn't start it - have you ever seen a reindeer shout out with glee?

So I feel safe in assuming they act like humans all the time - which is rather fucked up in and of itself, but that's a whole different ballgame (or reindeer game as the case may be).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dinner Parties, Walmart and Globalization

Last Saturday evening I went to a dinner party at a friend's house. A HUGE dinner party. She had invited 30 people. The woman is insane. However, her insanity is not the point of this post.

A conversation took place at our table and I've been thinking about it since then. Bear with me here, I'm not sure this will be even remotely coherent.

The conversation started regarding the exploitation of underdeveloped countries by the west. Number one scapegoat? Walmart obviously. Now, I'm no fan of Walmart and their practices (stock, employees, etc). I've been there only a few times and bought there even less often, so I don't consider that I sustain them in their evilness.

Now, this woman (let's call her K) started on how she'd seen children's boots at $9.99 (I didn't ask her how she'd seen this, since she boycotts Walmart - perhaps she recieved a flyer, hmmm?). K said no one had any business paying $10 for children's boots. That such a low price simply meant the exploitation of some worker in China or Pakistan. And let's face it she's right. She said, it has got to stop. Right again. That paying these people wages that weren't even survival wages was horrific of us (oops, of Walmart). Yep K. You're quite right. Goods should be manufactured here because we're losing all our jobs, so what if those kids boots cost $50? It's a fair price. OK.

But what about the poor here I asked? What about those for whom those $10 boots are a godsend? Those for whom those $10 boots mean that the kids will have breakfast all month instead of half the month?

K's answer. That's ridiculous. I tried to point out that not everyone is a professional making 100 Grand a year. Didn't go over very well. *sigh*

Discussion continues. Guy across the table (let's call him R) works for a major sports clothing company. He was explaining how the Chinese are taking all the contracts, how their workers are exploited (Again. Damn it people, I'm NOT debating that!) How their industry is so polluting. How, if this continues, within 20 years they will be the number one economic power in the world and how would I like my currency to be the yen? (Did I point out that actually it was the yuan, and the yen is Japanese? No, being the magnaimous bitch that I am I passed on that as I wasn't really high on their list of likeable people at that point. But, being bloody minded, I did take him up on the other things).

Yep, their industry is polluting. Big time. But you know what, they're at the point where the west was over a hundred years ago. They're having their own industrial revolution. They're gaining a higher level of living. You don't think we polluted the world back then? From K: Well they just have to stop. They just have to become ecologically minded.

Um, excuse me, who the f**k are you to dictate what they must and must not do? Isn't that just a little (actually a helluva lot) arrogant? Canada has signed the Kyoto agreement and since then the level of pollution we put out has risen, not gone down! The US won't even sign it! The third world is causing pollution?!?! Take care of your own fucking back yard before you start harping on other people's! (that didn't go over too too well either *sigh*)

Isn't it just as arrogant to tell these countries how they must do business, how they must act, how they must treat their workers? Who the hell are we to tell people what is right and wrong? Last I checked, the west hasn't been preaching by example. I read somewhere that a Walmart salary isn't enough to live on (Walmart again!). We have our own poor and not much is being done to get them out of poverty. 'Cause lets face it, with the $$ the west has, there is no reason for it to have people who aren't eating enough.

As for China being the next economic power. So What? (That signed my death warrant I think. That put me over even Walmart on the "evility" scale). These things are cyclic. The West has been top dog for hundreds of years.What's wrong if someone else gets a chance?

Both K and R jumped down my thoat at that point. Would have ripped my head off gladly and burned my remains if it had been the done thing in polite society. They want all this stopped. End of discussion. They don't want to have to squirm when looking at how things are done elsewhere. They want Western culture to be the norm (just so long as there are no McDonalds and Burger Kings fucking up the landscape when they go play tourist in Asia and expect people and things to be "quaint" for their amusement.

How did this conversation go from exploiting third world countries to the evil of said third world countries???

I tried to point out that the thing is, there are NO easy answers. Yes, overseas manufacturing takes jobs away here, it also makes lots of things accessible to our own poor. Yes these people want what you have, all your advantages, whey should they not be allowed to acquire these advantages? Does it make you uncomfortable to think that perhaps the millions of "underdeveloped nationals" will be as rich as you within your lifetime?

Yes they are exploiting workers over there, and it has to stop. Absolutely and now is already too late. But how can it be done? Simply boycotting walmart and other stores (and yes, I did get snarky and asked G if she was really certain that everything she bought was made in Canada by workers fairly treated... if looks could kill I would be excessively dead by now) will simply put these people out of work and they'll be even LESS better off. Well, at least they won't be exploited. Starving perhaps, but not exploited. Whew, makes one feel better doesn't it?

Seriously, I don't think they cared. As long as nothing touches their own comfortable way of life, they don't care.

Just as seriously do I? What have I done lately for anyone other than give a buck or two to a panhandler and my castoffs to Le Chaînon (a battered woman's shelter). Not a thing. I'm not saying I'm any better than them, but at least, damn it, I'm not ready to put all the blame on big corporations and the evil asians. At least I think about beyond mouthing platitudes.

Somehow I think that both K and R won't put me on their list of people to hang out with. I'm sure they're good people, (as am I, I suppose), but... well.... let's say meeting them did not turn into a great meeting of minds.

Cottage Vignette #1

A few weeks ago, leaving the cottage, Mr. Jazz had one last look at the moustraps to be sure none have been caught. Unfortunately field mice get in all the time and there's no stopping them, so we have to take 'em out as a friend says. Can't use living traps as they would die of thirst/starvation during the week while we're not there. So we use the regular snap traps - which almost always catch them on the neck and do the job. I wish i didn't have to do it, but we'd be overrun otherwise...

There was an unfortunate little guy (girl?) in one of the traps. All of a sudden, a yell. "Christ, he's alive!" I go to where the trap is.

"Look he's alive!"
"Well, kill him", I say, "He's hurting"
"But he's alive! I can't"

I don't point out that if he weren't alive he wouldn't have to be killed.... So I take the gardening gloves and break the poor thing's neck, put it out of its pain and misery. Mr. Jazz looks at me in awe.

"Keep on my good side", I tell him.

It wrenches my heart every time. I feel evil each time there's a mouse in the traps. I hope against hope all winter that there will be none. But there always are. And mice scurrying in the walls and wandering all over the house having babies are not an option for me. And Mr. Jazz has too tender a heart.

Life in the woods. Sometimes I hate it.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I've actually managed to post links. I am not quite as bad an idiot as I thought... Life is good.

The only think I have to figure out now is why the hell are do the two lists have different fonts and where do the bullets come from. I've checked 1,000,000 times and the format is exactly the same for both lists...

Well, at least I managed to make it work.

A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Jazz's little secret of the day. When I find a blog I love, I read through it from one end to the other, getting a megadose of the blogger, and put it on my favourites list to keep up. When I go in and there are no new entries I'm horribly disappointed, as if these people should be blogging simply to keep me entertained.
How pathetic is that.


I can't believe I'm actually writing something after all this time. I've been so busy and... bah, why am I justifying myself about a blog no one reads...

I have no idea what I'm going to end up writing about, but it's 7:30 at the office and I figured, it's now or never.

That's 7:30 AM people. I'm barely concious and yet I'm writing to you! Feel blessed. Or something. Or not.

It started snowing. Lots. the juxtaposition of my bamboo plants against the snow falling outside looks a little surreal. Bear with me, like I said, I'm barely concious.

This being said, I'm only here because Mr. Jazzz didn't go to the gym this morning and starts at 8:00. He gave me a lift, so here i am at 7:30. Before editing that said "he gave me a life" Freudian slip? bwwaaahahaahahaha

Am I rambling? Am I totally incoherent? I guess I'll find out when I read this entry again at noon or something. (NOTE: after re-reading this entry so far before putting it out there, I conclude that yes, I am totally incoherent).


Why do I love my mom-in-law? I have the bestest MIL in the world. Case in point:

Yesterday evening Mr. Jazz had his Xmas party at work. I get home, 15 or so minutes later my MIL calls, wondering if I had started making my dinner. This, of course, this is a totally ridiculous question. Mr. Jazz isn't here and I'd cook? Um, I don't think so. He is the cook, and I'd start cooking just for me? I was figuring on snarfing down a pot of tea and a box of cookies. At 44, I don't think I'll morph into a gourmet cook on a whim. Which I told her. To which she answered, well I made too much for myself, want to come down and get yourself a plate?

It was Shepherd's Pie. Now I'm usually not a jumping up and down fan of SP, but hey, beggars can't be choosers and hers IS on the higher end of the enthusiasm-for-SP spectrum.

She had a plateful ready for me (heated even!!!), and as she had already eaten I took it up to our place and ate it watching Survivor. Life is good.

The woman is a saint. A SAINT I say.


Speaking of Survivor. Of COURSE Cindy was voted off. She kept the car for herself instead of giving one each to all the others. And she thought they wouldn't vote her ass off? People are jealous. People are petty. People feel they are entitled to a car because that would be 4 people getting new cars as opposed to just the one who actually won it. Besides, now she has a car, she doesn't need a million bucks.

So goes the curse of the car.


I'm off to the cafeteria to get a muffin. A double chocolate muffin. To hell with a healthy breakfast.


Mmmmmmmmmmmmm scrumptuous. Of course, I can see the fat migrating to my butt and arteries as we speak, but hell, I deserve a break today and McDonalds just doesn't to it for me.
Why do I deserve a break?

- It's snowing. Hard. Thus rivers of slush are to be expected in the streets later.
- I'm working tomorrow. Again.
- And.... ok, and nothing more. Actually I don't deserve anything. I just WANTED a damn double chocolate muffin. So there!

MMMMMMMMMMM again. I just hit the best part. The top, the crunchy part. Everyone knows you have to eat the bottom part of the muffin first and keep the crunchier part for the end. I mean, Really! There is simply no other way to eat a muffin.

It's sort of like eating an Oh Henry bar. First you half unwrap it. Then you nibble off all the chocolate and peanuts until you're left only with the "creamy fudge centre". Then you pull it out of the half wrapper and stick the fudge end into the wrapper, exposing the chocolate and peanuts on the other end. Repeat the nibbling step. Be sure to clean off all the peanut bits. Eat the fudge. End of Oh Henry bar. Oh, and if you're really getting into it, it might look a little, um, erotic - or so I've been told. Try not to do it in front of your smarmy colleague, comments will ensue. Guaranteed.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I don't have time!!!!

Well, this whole blogging thing isn't turning out too well. Not having a computer at home I have to do this at work, and these days I simply have no time. This whole "working for a living" thing is highly overrated. Highly. I mean really, where does the idea come from that I should work for my pay?

So I'll drop in when I can and hope that next year things will be calmer. Hope, they say, springs eternal...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Enough already!

This morning, exiting the subway car, there was a 12 foot tall iPod ad stuck to the wall in front of me. I kid you not; 12 feet at least. It was freaking HUGE!

Last week, in another subway station, it was a Colgate ad on the front part of the stairs, the risers I think they’re called.

Yesterday morning, driving to work, we were in the car 10 whole minutes before actually hearing anything but publicity.

Then there are the pop ups and banners on websites and the ads on the doors of public toilets - you can't even have your pants down around your ankles without seeing some sort of publicity.

It’s everywhere, all the time and truth be told, I’m heartily sick of seeing/hearing publicity. What’s the idea? Seeing a 12 foot tall, red, yellow and black iPod ad first thing in the morning will make me buy it? Um… don’t think so. Sorry folks.

And then there’s product placement in TV shows. Arrrghhh!

We’re currently watching the Sopranos on DVD (yes, I am one of the only people in North America to have never seen the Sopranos on TV. Shoot me. Had I known what I was missing though, but I digress).

This show has constant product placement for Tropicana™ orange juice (every time they open the fridge, there it is, prominently displayed). In one episode there is even a scene devoted to Tony Soprano bitching that his wife didn’t buy the juice with the right amount of pulp in it!!! I can’t help but wonder how James Gandolfini and Edie Falco felt as actors, having to do that scene. It was blatant. It was awful. It sucked.

Then, of those I’ve noticed, there’s Snapple™ and Motts™ apple juice, Turtles ™ (hee hee, I figured out how to to the trademark symbol – might as well do it right).

Come to think of it, have I been doing product placement without even realizing it? Does anyone all of a sudden have a hankering for Tropicana or Snapple? Are you all running out to grab some? Is that what you’ll buy the next time you go to the supermarket? If so, let me know, I’ll be contacting the companies to get my cut.

On another note, it is winter in Montreal all of a sudden. Six below (20F for you non metric types) this morning. The Jazzzer is in total denial (it’s true what they say, it ain’t just a river in Egypt). I met my neighbour as I was leaving to catch the bus. She said, “We have five or six more months of this to look forward to. But hey, look at the bright side, in a couple of months -6 will seem positively balmy”. I wanted to slap her because ya know, she was right, but I don’t need reminding.

Quebec as a distinct society: This week the Parti Québecois (the separatist party in Quebec) elected a new leader, André Boisclair. I'm pretty sure he's a first in that he's openly gay (edit: nope, not true, there was Sven whose last name I can't remember in B.C. - Was it Robinson?). However I think we can safely assume he is the first to actually admit to having taken cocaine. He'll probably be the next Premier of Quebec. Course, let's face it, it's not like he's the first politician to have done drugs (and here in include alcolholics). Anyway, point is, he will no doubt foist yet another separation referendum upon us. *sigh*

I can’t believe how long it's been since I posted. I have been son busy, November is always a horrendous month for me at work. Well, at least I have the weekend to look forward to. I better squeeze every little bit I can out of it since I’ll be working all of next weekend. *sigh* (again)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

50 things

1. As I child I remember wanting to be (in no particular order) : a chemist, a doctor, a nurse, an archivist, a librarian, a nun (!!!!), a teacher
2. I broke my front tooth in fencing class - not because someone hit me in the face, but because I was leaning over the rack when I took out my sword and hit myself in the face with the handle (which is balanced by a piece of lead).
3. I don't have a cellphone.
4. I have stubby toes, which make my feet look chubby
5. I didn't have a dishwasher or microwave until three years ago when we bought the cottage and they were included - and I still don't have a microwave at home. I didn't use the dishwasher until a friend actually showed me how it works.
6. I don't like reality TV shows, except Survivor and Amazing Race - which, to my everlasting shame, I would NEVER miss.
7. I have never been stung by a bee or wasp
8. I sometimes fantasize about having a man "take care" of me. And I much more often thank my lucky stars that Mr. Jazzz is not that type of man because I'd go crazy withing a week.
9. I love ladybugs and frogs
10. I love all things creepy, crawley, slimy (remember the rhyme: Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, Little boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails - I'm definitely the boy there. Off topic, I always wondered whether the puppy dog tails were still attached to the puppy....)
11. I envy elegant women, but don't have the energy to invest the time and money necessary to become one.
12. I have an abiding love for books from Taschen. (
13. I wonder whether I'll be able to make it to 50
14. Despite the fact that I live somewhere where it's cold 6 months out of the year, I loathe the cold.
15. Despite my loathing, and bitching about it, I'd have lots of trouble leaving my support system to go live somewhere warm.
16. Cuddling with Mr. Jazzz when it's cold is one of my greatest pleasures.
17. I love tea. As long as there's tea there's hope.
18. Marillion is my favourite band ever (but you know that by now - LOL). However, I'd say my favourite music is standard Jazz (surprise surprise) and classical. Unfortunately, I don't listen to nearly enough of either.
19. My favourite book of all time is Lord of the Rings, which I've read about 7-8 times. And I loved Peter Jackson's movie adaptation
20. Watching the LOTR movies, I discovered Viggo Mortensen and fell in lust. However I prefer him as Aragorn to any other incarnation. I like him scruffy - go figure.
21. I don't a man in a suit. Really. Yuck. Is it surprising I'm with a guy who doesn't even OWN a suit??
22. I've been to Nepal twice and both times I got mountain sickness before I could reach my goal. Even now (five and nine years later), it still irks me to no end.
23. I like stones and rocks and boulders.
25. One of my favourite places on earth is the Sonora desert just outside Tucson, Arizona.
26. The older I get, the more I realize it (whatever your it happens to be) doesn't really matter all that much.
27. I know the answer to the question of Life, The Universe and Everything.
28. My favourite flower is the Anthurium (yes, I know, I know, phallic as hell)
29. To celebrate my 40th birthday I went skydiving.
30. I'm looking for some cool way to celebrate my 45th.
31. I love the smell of dried pineapple weed. It smells not of pineapple but of camomille.
32. My favourite ice cream is Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but I know nothing of the Grateful Dead's music.
33. When I was a kid, and my mom ordered me away from my book of the moment and outside to play in the winter I would build myself a horse out of snow and ride away into the desert.
34. I'm beginning to think I just might manage this.
35. I have a deep and abiding love for the written word.
36. I love orange juice in the morning. I can't start my day without it.
37. My favourite bird is probably the humble chickadee. Perhaps because in winter I manage to make them eat out of my hand - which is an absolute thrill for me. Besides, how cute are they???
38. Smell is very important to me. When I get a new book, often the first thing I do is open it and smell it. I also love smelling Mr. Jazzz.
39. I'm very shy and people have trouble believing me when I tell them so.
40. I like to colour. Mindware has some amazing colouring books (
41. I have no plants at home because every time I've had them in my life they've died on me - and it makes me feel guilty.
42. I have two cats (down from five) and they're about to turn 16 and I'll be devastated when they die. The others died at about 13 from various illnesses and every day I'm afraid something will happen because they're "overdue". Which is dumb because I'm not a superstitious person at all.
43. I love champagne
44. I like Pepsi to drink alone but prefer Coke with food.
45. My all time favourite food is Vietnamese
46. I don't like to cook but I adore cooking shows and cookbooks - go figure
47. Numbers scare the hell outta me
48. One of my comfort foods from childhood is cream of tomato soup with a peanut butter sandwich.
49. I am not a people person. I am totally an introvert, and quite like my own company
50. I have a stone on my desk that Mr. Jazzz gave me about 10 years ago. And I love my stone.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This one is going around right now. Google your name with needs "x needs" and give us the top ten. According to Google I need:

  • a home
  • more info about Robert
  • to decide what's happening with CSC49X by the end of the week
  • it and that's fine
  • you
  • a place to stay and people have to know what happened here
  • to let my feelings go
  • to consider a good lawsuit
  • to be booted from the ring
  • someone (as opposed to you????)

I seem to be something of a head case according to google.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A blog?

Ok, so now I have a blog.

My blog. The very thought makes me want to slap my knee (why would a person want to slap his/her knee?) and laugh hysterically. What can I possibly have to say to the Net? Why would anyone even care?

Funny, I have a total and absolute obsession with blogs - the voyeur in me no doubt - but the thought of putting my own thoughts up here is actually sort of embarassing, because lets face it, what does an ordinary middle aged woman have to say? But then again, perhaps it's the whole anonymity thing that's interesting. No one knows who I am thus I am not really anyone at all am I?