Sunday, July 30, 2006

Speaking out against Israel's actions...

Chomsky, Pinter, Zinn, Vidal et al on Israel
Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 12:56 pm


A Letter

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis - there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources - most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defence (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land alloted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.

Today outrage follows outrag e; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.

John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Harold Pinter
José Saramago
Eduardo Galeano
Arundhati Roy
Naomi Klein
Howard Zinn
Tariq Ali
Charles Glass
W.J.T. Mitchell
Richard Falk
Gore Vidal
Russell Banks

Mieussy, France

PS: As Juliano Mer Khamis, director of the documentary film Arna's Children, asked: "Who is going to paint the 'Guernica' of Lebanon?"

And loads of commentary if you google "letter chomsky pinter zinn"

When words no longer exist...

Today I don't feel like celebrating the absurd.

It's absurd that I can read all day, listen to music, watch a movie, putter around my house...when the IDF is bombing apartment buildings at night in Lebanon.

What can I say to Ahmad that someone hasn't already said, that I haven't already said?

I sit in safety, powerless to do anything because the decision to allow Isreal its "little war" were made without consultation with the people...the 'demo' of our so-called democracy.

Ahmad, my thoughts are with you and your people tonight...


Your Favourite Music?

At Christmas, Metro and I bought a few Napster cards for people, each worth 3 months of unlimited downloads. With Metro away this weekend, I started it up, and have been happily downloading some great stuff, mostly albums of artists I already like.
  • Nina Simone
  • Tom Waits
  • Cowboy Junkies
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Bonnie Raitt
And a neat treasure: another album of Leonard Cohen covers: the soundtrack to the movie Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a documentary on the man's life, which I have yet to see.

But I don't know if I've got 3 months worth of downloading in me...I need suggestions. So, my loyal (?) readers, why don't you tell me your favourite bands & performers, so that I can learn some new music?



Saturday, July 29, 2006

Best Movie of All Time

My man is out of town tonight, so I think I may watch a couple of cheesy cult classics.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension will be one. Here's the trailer from YouTube.

And Tank Girl.

What? You've seen neither? You have no idea what you're missing!!


Friday, July 28, 2006

20 years

How do you mark time?

I seem to do it in 10-year increments.

I remember 10 years ago, hearing that it was time for my high school reunion. I was in Korea at the time, teaching, and I breathed a sigh of relief, that no one knew how to get a hold of me.

I absolutely hated high school. Oh, I had some good friends, but I was awkward, unpopular, nerdy. You know the drill. My crowd hung out in the drama room, because most of us had some wonderful peculiarities that translated into wacky comedy and sensitive drama, what-have-you.

Then, for my Grade 11 year, I went to Brazil on exchange. Can you imagine how that changed my perspective on life? I definitely did not fit in when I returned for Grade 12. I remember descending on a favourite teacher at the break, closing the door and bursting into tears. The guidance counselor was also my rock.

The only advantage to that year, and my different point of view, is that I no longer gave a shit about the system. After a jackass Algebra teacher humiliated a girl in class, to the point that she left the room, I followed her, answering his "Where are you going?" with a calm "To help her." Suddenly, people mattered more than rules and authority, and I was just biding my time until I could get the hell out.

Did I even think about the 20 year reunion, until my friend called me to let me know it was coming? No. High school is long gone. I have not lived in the 'live for the summer' mindset for 20 years. I went straight to university, and because of its 3 equal semesters a year, I was able to finish my degree & certificate in 4 years of leisurely semesters -- 4 classes instead of 5 all the time makes a difference. But I no longer had 'a summer' became just another season.

Talking to the woman organizing the reunion was enlightening. I'd always seen her as 'in' (I, on the other hand, was always 'out'). But, as she pointed out, she only followed to avoid being targeted herself.

Sad, ain't it?

The point is, now, 20 years later, my wounds from high school are all healed. Now I'm ready to meet these people who used to be the jocks, brains, nerds, geeks, bullies, preppies of my own hellish years...all of us using whatever strategies we could to deal with high school.

It's on the August 12th weekend. Wish me luck.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

New template

Hope you like it. Not the wishy-washy one I was looking at using.

A real post tomorrow, I promise.


Off the bandwagon...

Well, as Metro pointed out in the comments to the last post, my updated template didn't work in Internet Explorer, although it worked just fine in Firefox.

{How come his does?!?}

AND, I couldn't get my original template back in it's lovely original form...even if I re-established it, with all of my modifications lost.

I didn't change the HTML, I swear!

So, now I'm stuck with this rather wishy-washy template (for awhile?). And no blogroll. (Don't worry, I'll get to it. Just a little frustrated at the moment.) And no nifty people & country counters.



On the bandwagon...

Okay, I've joined the craze...

Blame Metro. Hell, I might even *gasp!* pay to have the service once my trial period is up. It is cool to know where people are from when they arrive at your blog.

Since last night, 10 visitors from 4 countries. It's like call display for your blog -- now you know who's called, and you can be pissed off that they didn't leave a message!

Just kidding.


History Repeats

Twenty years ago, in 1986, slumlords around Vancouver evicted tenants to be able to lure unsuspecting international guests to their fleabag motels for Expo 86.

The fact that I was beginning university in Vancouver that year is an issue I will blog on another day, as my 20-year high school reunion creeps up on a couple of weeks. (Gods, give me strength!)

But, as the saying goes, those who ignore history are destined to repeat it...or in this case, those who learn from history that they will only get their hands slapped for being underhanded and cruel, thus reaping great financial benefit, will repeat it.

From the Pivot Legal Society:

Press Release – For Immediate Release, July 26, 2006

Province moves to evict 13 more low-income people

Vancouver –Vancouver Coastal Health has issued an order to tenants of the Powell Rooms lodging house at 556 Powell Street stating that the building would be closed today, Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 5:00 p.m due to health reasons. Coastal Health has made no provision for relocating the 13 people that live at the Powell Rooms, including one terminally ill individual.

The order, issued a week ago by Dr. F.J. Blatherwick of Vancouver Coastal Health, lists four reasons for the hotel closure: (1) lack of hot water, (2) pest infestations, (3) non-functioning washrooms and (4) garbage accumulating in a City of Vancouver lane.

David Eby, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society, learned of the order on Monday and visited the lodging house on Tuesday with a team of volunteer trades-people and community members. The repairs to the hot water tank were completed within minutes, and all the toilets were found to be in working order. A removal service has been contracted to remove garbage from the back lane. No evidence was found of mice, cockroaches or bedbugs, although a pest control service has also been engaged to conduct a full inspection.

“Its fairly shocking that the Coastal Health Authority, responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of the community, would rather force people onto the street than ensure some very basic repairs are done,” said Eby. “It would have been a simple matter for Dr. Blatherwick to order the steps we’ve taken today to be done, and any health hazards be cleaned up.”

The City of Vancouver also has the power under City bylaws to order repairs and maintenance to Downtown Eastside lodging houses and hotels. However, although the Powell Rooms building was inspected regularly by the City, there have been no City Standards of Maintenance Orders for the lodging house since November of 2001.

“It boils down to community volunteers doing the job of Coastal Health and the City because, for some reason, they would rather close hotels than ensure that they are livable,” said Eby. “If the government won’t do its job and protect low-income people from losing their homes, what will happen to the Olympic commitment to prevent homelessness?”

The pending closure of the Powell Rooms (25 units) and the ongoing closure of the Lucky Lodge (48 units total) by the City and the Province follows the dramatic closures of the Burns Block hotel (18 units) and the Pender Hotel (36 units) in March, 2006. These rooms, together with rooms lost due to rent increases brings the total of low-income units lost or under imminent threat to 375 for the first seven months of 2006.


Further Comment: David Eby (778) 865-7997 – Pivot Legal Society

Dr. F.J. Blatherwick (604)675-3804 – Vancouver Coastal Health


The 2010 Inner-City Inclusivity Commitment to protect low-income housing and ensure that people are not made homeless was part of the Vancouver Bid Book, the formal application to host the Olympic Games. To read the Inclusivity Commitment Statement, visit: .

About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Crazy Cat Names

Just had a long cool drink with a friend & colleague, discussing some big plans...

Their cat has recently had babies, and she & her husband (and can we also blame it on their son?) named the kittens:
  • Chairman Meow
  • Fidel Catstro
  • Meowmar Catabby
What is the difference between wit and silliness anyway?


Monday, July 24, 2006

Does Google Maps update?

Doesn't look like it. I was just looking at Beirut, Lebanon with the satelite function, and the infrastructure seems to be in place.

So it's at least 13 days behind now. Get your daily update at Ahmad's blog, Cold Desert, there in the blogroll sidebar. [I'd link to it, but Blogger is acting strange this a.m.]

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In the news...

Nag has a great post here -- a very visual representation of the 'sides' in this cruel and disgusting undeclared war on the Lebanese people, from the Independent.

I went, trying to find the original, and found a font of other interesting articles instead. Including this one, with some great quotes from some influential people in England:

Alexei Sayle, WRITER

Anyone can see that what Israel is doing is unacceptable, violent, cruel, evil and wicked. If Israel is behaving in the manner of a psychotic bullying child, then Britain and the US are like its mad tattooed parents.


By wilfully turning a blind eye to Israel's indiscriminate killing of women and children and the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure, we have further tarnished how our country is viewed in the eyes of the Muslim world. There can be no doubt that Israel's actions constitute war crimes.


It is absolutely shameful that our Government is standing by while collective punishment and war crimes are meted out on the people of Lebanon. Let us be clear: if America and Britain had not given Israel the green light to do this, then it would
not be happening. It is beyond horrific.

Here's hoping someone, with some influence where it matters, can use it to stop Israel.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Progress... transitory.

Since we've moved into our place, I've discovered a new joy: using the clothesline instead of the dryer. Not only is it cost-effective, it's good for the environment, it's a pleasant experience, and the clothes smell nice. My mom thinks I'm crazy -- but she's from a generation that had to use clotheslines...changes your perspective.

It's a phenomenon. Hand-made soap is a luxury item, hand-woven sweaters sell for hundreds of dollars...elements of lives past become the luxuries of today.

Or the necessities of tomorrow, if you live in Lebanon. Go over to Metro to get his (rather good, in my unbiased opinion) take. But don't forget to visit Ahmad's blog, with his daily updates (and links to other Lebanese bloggers).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nothing today

The only absurd thing in the world today is that world 'leaders' are doing nothing to stop Israel's unwarranted attack on the Lebanese people and infrastructure.

Read Cold Desert's blog if you haven't already. Follow this link to Metro's latest post, and send an email to the 'leader' of your choice.


Friday, July 14, 2006

The Five Love Languages

Was wandering around the web, and happened upon a nice blog, one I'd like to visit again: take-u-away. A bit of a romantic, he blogged about the Five Love Languages. So I took the test.

Here are the results (Metro, pay attention!):

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Acts of Service.

Complete set of results

Quality Time:
Acts of Service:
Words of Affirmation:
Physical Touch:
Receiving Gifts:


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Over a year has passed!

Wow. I first blogged over a year ago, on July 2, 2005.

I blog.

I am blogging.

I have blogged.

I have been blogging for a year and 10 days.


Good gift ideas

What is the definition of a good gift? I've always thought it was something that showed the giver's insight into the recipient's mind, by surprising that person with something they would have bought for themselves, if they'd thought of it, or had the extra cash.

Metro and I have recently been the recipients of a lot of presents, having just gotten married, and I'm finally in a position to write our 'thank yous' -- my computer is out of storage, and my wedding gift list is on it, in digital form only.

Great gifts...Euros for a Paris honeymoon. Cash for a couple facing the upheaval of a move. The useful odds'n'sods of a domestic life. We'll finally be thanking people for those things.

Here's a great idea: My realtors in Vancouver gifted Metro and I with the news that they'd hired someone to clean the apartment once we'd moved. I'd never felt so...relieved!

And another great idea, which we just finished appreciating: a basket filled with ice cream sundae ingredients...and long-handled spoons to get the last bit of deliciousness from the bottom of lovely blue ceramic parfait cups.

Thank you.


Monday, July 10, 2006

"Respect for the Aged"

Saturday morning, as Metro and I were closing off the street for the Farmers' Market, it was a typical quiet morning. It was maybe ten minutes before 7 a.m., and a couple of vendors were already setting up.

So, the picture is of my market block, at 7 a.m., from the middle of the block, where I normally set up my table. On the sidewalk is where I drop off my box of miscellaneous stuff: a bright table cloth, brochures, photo albums, recipes, my water know.

Well, this weekend, I was walking back towards my spot, when I saw an old guy on one of those mobility scooters, stopped at my stuff. He sees me coming, shuffles back into position on his roadster, and toddles off.

Sitting on top of my basket was a lone, blue bottle cap. That rat-bastard had rummaged around, found my water bottle, emptied it, tucked his 5 cent recycling profit away, and left the bottle cap (and wet sidewalk) as spoor.

"Hey, buddy!" I yelled after him, "That was my water bottle!"

I start walking quickly, following him down the sidewalk, yelling. He doesn't look back...just keeps on truckin'.

At this point, I have to stop. Otherwise I'd be chasing down and kicking octogenarian butt, and that would just not be cool.

His pennies of profit cost me another $1.50 to hydrate myself for the morning. And left me with such a load of annoyed anger, that it took me two days to blog on it.

Well, I doubt age has turned him into an ass. I'm sure he always was one.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back to the absurdities...

...and there are lots when you are a homeowner.

For example, last night, Metro picked up some ant traps at that most fabulous of fabulous retail establishments, Canadian Tire. Now, I before I put down poison I don't need, I will try my method: scrub their chemical trail with my own chemical cleaners, then sprinkle some chili powder in the area.

Anyway, I wish I had my scanner set up, because this ant trap package says, no lie, "May contain peanuts." It's ant poison. If your kid picks it up and ingests some of it, wouldn't you have other worries than the possibilities of peanuts?!? Plus, who cares if the ants have nut allergies -- you're trying to kill them!

Speaking of allergies, I'm glad I'm not allergic to anything -- Yesterday, an angry wasp stung me twice on the arm...damn! that hurt! Luckily, raincoaster was on the scene and used the wisdom gleaned from some obscure Viggo film to rescue me: ice to freeze the venom (0r whatever it is they have) in place, then a paste of baking soda and water to draw it out.

Oh yeah, we bought some wasp traps as well!