bogus christmas scene

Another holiday season almost over, thank Goddess

Yep, the wheel has completed yet another turn, having brought with it the usual complaints about how either 1) Christmas as a Christian holiday has been subverted by Political Correctness, or 2) Christmas sucks because it is a holiday only Christians are allowed to enjoy.

Both these assumptions are wrong, and for vastly different reasons.
As I have previously mentioned in this space, Christmas isn't a real "Christian" holiday, in the way that Easter or Michaelmas are (although both fall near the equinoxes, coincidentially).

Christmas, or Yuletide, as I like to call it, should be a time for *everyone* to try and enjoy, regardless of their beliefs. Most religions have some sort of holiday surrounding the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, probably to cheer themselves up.

Take a gander at the graphic surmounting this post. The fire, the tree, the evergreen decorations, the slumbering pooch, the presents themselves. They have fuck all to do with Christianity.

They are pagan vestiges of the far more interesting occasion of Yuletide.

When good people bad-mouth Christmas as a bogus Christian holiday, it unsettles me because they are missing the point. Christmas is as much about Christ as my big toe.

Except for nativity scenes, of course. But that is pure dogan stuff, and isn't representative of Christianity in the larger sense.

So buck up, Sarah Silverman. Santa will give you toys, if you ask, even if you aren't a gentile.

Give the Jew Girl Toys

Furthermore, the lengths certain fictional characters go to avoiding Christmas celebrations smack of desperation and can only result in psychic damage to the little ones, as this compilation of Seinfeld Festivus moments will attest:



A short rant on why streetcars SUCK

I have lived in Toronto for over a decade now, and I thought I had come to terms with the many negative aspects of streetcars:

Noise pollution.

The horrible noise they make, which I have named "Tortured Steel" in an attempt to put the feeling the noise gives me to words. (Nota Bene: no relation to "Blue Steel")

Less control than bumper cars.

Streetcar drivers have about the same level of control over their vehicles as the proles who ride on DisneyWorld's Tomorrowland® Indy Speedway, A.K.A. none.

On College or Dundas Street, in the narrow bits, it has been proven, scientifically, that a cyclist riding alongside a streetcar will be KILLED, 100% of the time, if a parked motorist decides to abruptly open his or her street-side door. Allahu akbar.

Those tracks.

I have flipped on them, biking, 3 or 4 times since I moved here. The first time was excusable (and SPECTACULAR, turning left onto College from northbound Spadina), because I DIDN'T KNOW! The other times were bad luck or bad decisions. I accept that.

The final straw.

Streetcars are undependable. Extremely undependable, to use the results of last weekend's storm as an example.

Whenever there is a big snow dump, snowbanks force parking vehicles to encroach into the streetcar lane, and often something as small time as an SUV's sideview mirror is enough to bring an entire streetcar line to a halt. There is nothing quite like the sight of 12 streetcars in a row, all motionless, to make you reassess the value of public transport.

Sure, streetcars are all environmental, or whatever, but I don't comprehend how they are worth such an involvement financially from the governments. Why not change some buses to those new hybrid engines and run them on the wires where they exist now, like Dundas and College streets?

I really, really, hate those streetcars.


Disturbing signals from my unconscious mind?

I sleepwalked twice during my stay in balmy Cuba last week. One minute, I am dreaming about walking around outside, the next minute I am walking around outside!

I never really believed that such a phenomenon as sleepwalking was actually true. I figured that the kind of people that claim they sleepwalk are the kind of people that believe horoscopes are true or the kind of people that forward accounts of angel sightings to lots of other angel-oriented people.

The only time I recall reading about it in the paper was when some guy got off a murder charge by successfully claiming that when he drove 30 miles and killed his parents-in-law, he was sleepwalking. I can't find a link for that particular case, but apparently the first time the sleepwalking defence was successfully used was in 1846!

Anyhoo, at least as far as the steady hands monitoring the human condition at SteadyHealth.com are concerned, sleepwalking is caused by

Cause of sleepwalking - stress

Several researches done in the past have showed that sleep problems frequently occur around periods of stress. It is not uncommon for a person's sleep to be disrupted following the death of a loved one or around the time of a major medical problem. This is why many sleep problems resolve once the stress is resolved or the medical condition subsides. However, some sleep disorders can begin with an acute problem and become a chronic sleep problem.

I refuse to accept this explanation. I was under less stress than I have been in a long, long time. The only remotely plausible alternative explanations I have come up with, thus far, include:

1. I was being mentally interfered with by the Castro government, perhaps in the form of orbital satellites, or zombie powder in the buffet food.

2. I was feeling guilty, unconsciously, that by attending this all-inclusive resort I was propping up the Communist government of Fidel Castro.

Either one is possible, although I have to favour the first option since, consciously at least, I quite delight in the thought of spitting in the eye of the Great Satan by vacationing in Cuba.


Andrew Coyne imagines the dialogue during that first hotel room meeting between Mulroney and Schreiber

THE SCENE: An airport hotel room. At left, seated in an armchair, KARLHEINZ SCHREIBER, stroking a cat. Before him stands MARTIN BRIAN MULRONEY, 18th PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA.

Well, golly, Mr. Schreiber, who by the way I have never had any dealings with. It was good of you to call me, since you were passing through town, to go for a cup of coffee. But why are we out here at Mirabel? Wouldn't the lobby bar of the Queen Elizabeth have been simpler?...

(Throws head back. Laughs, a long, slow, villainous laugh.)
Brian, Brian, Brian. I have something I want you to do for me.

Jeepers, Mr. Schreiber. What can that be? I'm just a simple ex-Prime Minister and former president of the Iron Ore Co. of Canada. How can I be of service to a sophisticated international businessmen such as yourself?

I can't exactly put it into words, or certainly not on paper. But it involves consulting me on a couple of projects in which you have particular expertise. The one is a simple matter of building German tanks in Cape Breton with federal money for export to Saudi Arabia. The other is a miracle pasta machine. And since we have never had any dealings with each other, or certainly nothing remotely related to Airbus, I am willing to pay you $100,000 a year, the first $100,000 in advance. I might even throw in another $200,000 in two subsequtent hotel room meetings within the next 16 months. Think of it as a retainer. Which by the way means you do not need to declare it on your income tax until years later. Or mention it in court under oath.

Jiminy cricket, Mr. Schreiber. That's just the sort of business I'm interested in. You see, after nine years as prime minister, I have no money, or not enough to support my family in the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed. Not only that, but I've done nothing about this situation in the six months since I decided to step down as prime minister. In short, I'm flat broke, if you don't count my parliamentary pension or the multiple directorships and massive legal fees I'll be pulling down the minute I leave politics. So if you'll just make the cheque out to --

(Laughs that laugh again. At length.)
Brian, Brian, Brian. We don't need no stinking cheques! I deal in cash only.

Gosh, Mr. Schreiber. I don't know. Why would you want to do this in cash?

Because I'm a sophisticated international businessman, that's why, and like all sophisticated international businessmen, I always deal in cash.

But shouldn't we leave some sort of paper trail? There'll have to be invoices, contracts, bank statements. Because I have nothing to hide.

No! I said cash! K-A-S-H! Here, just take the envelope.

Gee whillikers, Mr. Schreiber. All right. You're the sophisticated international businessman. If you say it's okay, I guess it's all right by me. I just hope I'm not making a colossal mistake...

The full imagining of this hypothetical conversation can be viewed here.