“Let’s talk about something cheerful. I nominate the apocalypse.”

I love Gail Collins. Of course I do. That title is the opening line from her column today. She takes a tour through the last few end-of-times scenarios we’ve been enjoying lately. Maybe ‘enjoying’ is the wrong word, but when the Rapture was nigh, I, along with some rather weird friends, had a Twitter party that night. It was an anonymous account and my, did we have fun. There is a rather lovely quality to an event that will either permanently erase you in a puff of smoke, or won’t, and you can have another G&T and giggle. Oh. G&T. I haven’t had one of those in months. Where’s a good Rapture when I need one?

Ari comes home from school today; I’m on my way up there to get him in a bit. I’m happy, because absence has made both our hearts grow fonder. Well, my heart, his stomach. He just wants to start eating something other than pasta again. He’s been texting over the past few days. “Bring the vacuum please.” “Can you bring a cooler?” “Boxes would be good.” I’m glad I have a big LandRover this week, as I’d imagined having a hard time cramming all his crap into the Elantra, never mind hauling all the other stuff up there. I told him just to throw away his pillows. I think we’ll be throwing away other things, too. A boy in residence is like a stew of ewwww. The good news? He had a great year. Computer engineering scares me. I’m glad I’ll have one of them on my side.

Remember at the bowling alley those machines with the claw and all the stuffed toys? Remember how easy it should have been, but when you snagged a blue bunny you would get it aaaaaaaaaaaaalmost to the little slot and then the claw would mysteriously drop it? I’m sure it was invented by computer engineers to drop it right at that instance. Some little kid sorted out that nonsense, here.

Not only would Ari approve, I think Gail would, too. If the world is gonna end, what better place to be than inside a machine full of toys? That kid wasn’t missing at all. That kid had a plan.

lucy 2
This is my friend Danielle’s dog Lucy. She would love to live in a machine full of toys.

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RIP Adrian Mole

I was reading what should have been a pretty bad article on The Guardian (everybody is trolling the depths these days it seems, even papers that should know better) about moments when your parents have embarrassed you on Facebook. While reading the comments, I cracked up:

“Despite having fewer than ten followers, my father thinks his Twitter account is some sort of international message board. He uses it to advertise second hand cars. It’s not a lucrative business.”

Maybe it’s the passing of Sue Townsend last week, but the comment struck me as very much in the voice of Adrian Mole. If you haven’t read his Diaries, you’ve missed some of the funniest writing in the past thirty years. Read some readers’ favourite Adrian Mole quotes. Click on this link. Stupid WordPress refuses to let me put in a tidy link. (http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/apr/11/adrian-moles-best-quotes-what-are-your-favourites). Hey WordPress – I hate you. The series started with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, and eventually became a series with 8 million books sold all over the world. I love Adrian. While poking around my used book store 3 weeks ago, I found a copy I didn’t have of the second last installment. I bought it, and finished it a few days later. It is still sitting on my bedside table. We’ve lost a great voice, and unfortunately, Adrian’s voice goes silent now too.

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Miss Bigley, Heiress to $15,000

“Exactly what you ought to do to learn more about, watch well before you are abandoned.”

Geesuz, my spam is getting more personal by the day. This came accompanied by a link I’m supposed to watch. I didn’t, though I admit to being slightly curious if there is information I should have before I’m abandoned.

pipster 2Who won’t abandon me? Why Pea, that’s who. In fact, she’s so enamoured she feels the need to run around squeaking all the time. All the time. If you have a cat, you know what happens when spring hits. I sent this pic to Roz because I believe my cats are cuter than her cats (not really; I love her cats). Because she was the one who rescued Pea,  I feel I should do the same thing that those organizations who let you sponsor a kid do: send you updates. We had a kid for years; Christer was home sick from school and tore down the stairs announcing that he was going to sponsor a kid with his paper route money; he made two payments, I paid for years and years after that. It was good for both of my sons to have this experience. The takeaway for me? Don’t let your kids watch TV when they’re home sick.

Every time I send Roz a pic of Pea, she promptly asks me to return her. I refuse. This morning, her day started at 5am when her two, Bob and Jimbo, decided to toss a bag of avocados and a bottle of hot sauce off the kitchen counter. Like I’m gonna trade for that.

I’m glad it’s finally getting warm. That means somebody is gonna have to climb up on my roof and check out that weird shingle action in one corner. I’ve told The Poor Sod he has some mail here and should swing by on the weekend to pick it up. Coincidence? Of course.

Ari is wrapping up his first year at school, and heading into exams. He told me yesterday that an essay deadline had been pushed back to Sunday, so we had more time. We.

Photo credit: me. That’s Pea watching Friday Night Lights with me on my iPad. We were having a girls’ night in. She just asked me how that is different from all the other nights. Maggie told her that’s a sore spot and to be quiet.

Oh, the title of this post? Just to see if you read all the way through. Great story on a great scammer of the fairer sex, and she was born right here in Ontario.

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Yanked last blog

Sorry. WordPress is screwing up links. Pulled it. No time to mess with it.

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“I could not simplify myself”

First Roger Angell with This Old Man, now Peter Matthiessen in the New York Times. Jeff Himmelman has a great piece here.

I seem to learn the most from the old dudes.

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Judge Judy meets GM

My first column with the National Post is up today on Driving.ca…bookmark that site and check in on Monday mornings.

Oh, and who hasn’t thought of putting Judge Judy on the GM recall nightmare? Well, I think of putting her on every court case. Just to say what everybody is thinking.

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Crack champagne bottle here

Maiden voyage of my new column with the National Post is in today’s paper!

Go buy one. Make me happy.

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Leave me to my lust: why I love Netflix

I have discovered the truly best part about Netflix. I know, I know, I’m late to the party, but that’s hardly rare. I’m usually a beat behind. A month ago I found some prescription slips that had fallen behind my computer. I sent them in to the Claims department, and they said they were sorry they couldn’t honour them. In a wee snit, I called and said they were only a month past the year end. They replied “they were from 2012″. I whispered, “sorry”.

I’ve watched all the stuff, finally, that everybody has been talking about. Breaking Bad (good), Downton Abby (dumb but addictive, like red Nibs where you keep shoving them in your mouth and finally realize you have a stomach full of plastic shards), a bunch of bad movies about people we once called yuppies having children and discovering having children pretty much sucks, and some documentaries that I watch so I can talk about something intelligently other than Nibs.

I’d heard talk a long time ago about Friday Night Lights. I really like Connie Britton because she has awesome hair. And I think we could be friends, if she didn’t mind me petting her hair. I also like shows about high school football in the U.S. Especially Texas. I do not know why this is, because  I know zilch about football, but I know a lot about Texas high school football, or at least about how important it is to little towns. My high school had a football team, and I never went. All I knew was that on game days, the football players got to wear their uniforms in class and always left early. I learned even if you had zits, if you wore a football jersey and left class early someone would date you. That someone was never me, which is why to this day I don’t know any football rules.

Friday Nights Lights is an excellent show, just like I’d heard. The very first show had me crying like a baby, always a good sign. Most of the acting is really great, and I’m impressed with a lot of the writing. There is a main girl who is kinda irritating, she sounds like Tinkerbell, and she’s one of those actors that the camera just lingers on, close up, because she has absolutely no flaws. None. Except she sounds like Tinkerbell. Of course she’s a cheerleader, which in Texas is a requirement I think. I didn’t know who she was, and when I went to IMDB I realized I’m so late to this game, this actor is something like ten years older than when she made this.

Which brings me to the best part of Netflix: There is a kid on the show, and I found my sick self looking into his troubled, moody eyes and thinking, “wow, this kid is pretty hot” and then being instantly ashamed of myself. He has long hair and is a Troubled Youth, so I call him Ponyboy. But every time Ponyboy comes on, I forget about Tinkerbell’s annoying voice and even Connie’s amazing hair. Then I remembered IMDB, and discovered that even though my lust was wrong, it was less wrong than I thought. Ponyboy isn’t 17! He’s 33! That still isn’t right, but at least I wouldn’t get arrested. People would talk behind our backs and accuse him of using me for my money, except I don’t have any, and besides, I’d just be using him for his stormy eyes. And arms.And do you know how cute men look in those little pants they play football in?

So basically, Netflix lets me leer at boys and not feel guilty. Now I wish I’d waited ten years to watch Breaking Bad – I kinda liked Jesse in a non-maternal way.

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The day after April Fools’

The only April Fools’ jokes I like are the British ones. They are funny about it, and witty. My favourite from yesterday was this one.

From a London elementary school (via The Telegraph):

Dear Parents

As you know, we are very proud of our relationship with the ——- ——- school in Ghana. We are today announcing that we are taking our work with them to a new level.

Thanks to funding we’ve received from the Foreign Office Overseas Liaison department, 30 of our pupils will be going to Ghana to spend 5 months there as part of an exchange scheme. These pupils will be selected (by the Governors) from Years 1-6, i.e. 5 pupils from each year.

As you will be aware from the School policies to which you have all signed up (available on the website, read the small print), the Governors’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

I know you will agree with me that this is a valuable opportunity for these pupils to see a very different way of life. We look forward to hearing about their exploits when they (or, we hope, at least most of them) return. As an added bonus for those families whose children are chosen, because this is an exchange scheme they will be hosting the Ghanaian child who’s coming to —— as part of the exchange.

We will circulate the list of children later today, probably after 1pm. Unfortunately, we cannot send parents too, although we might make an exception in some cases.

Can you imagine if that got sent out over here? I can hear the banshees wailing already. I mean the parents. My Mom used to write great notes to our teachers. One time, a teacher (whom I still know and love dearly) sent a note to my Mom telling her that Roz, my sister, was a wonderful student and a delight to have in the classroom. My mom wrote back “please sent that girl here, and I’ll send you the one I have.” That teacher still has that note somewhere.

Anyway. While we’re on the subject of kids, I found this in New York Magazine this morning and I think it’s pretty great. An 11-year-old ran away from home. Here is his adventure. It’s short.

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I started this at 7:30 this morning

So. That didn’t happen.

I’ve been knee deep in many work-ish things, but last night I found this about Johnny Cash, from Playboy (via Longform) in 1970. It’s good. I like Johnny Cash.

I also found out that Justin Trudeau said f*ck. Out loud. In a boxing ring. This means of course, that all the other parties get to struggle up on their hind legs and scream that this man is horrible, horrible, horrible because of course, they don’t swear. None of them. Ever.  The funny part,  I was reading this article in the NYT when I learned of Trudeau’s faux pas (I used French, to show I am bilingual in a few words). It advocates the end of the ridiculous practice of not being able to use bad words in print. The writer, Jesse Sheidlower, makes some good points, not the least of which is understanding the etymology of words. Whenever I see that word I think we’re talking about insects, but I double-checked it so you don’t have to. One of the truly ‘bad words’ dates back to 1500 or something. I like words. In my private life, I use them all.

He notes that as language evolves, some papers acknowledge the hypocritical way we deal with it. If a direct quote is to be direct, and its pertinent, we need to stop with the coyness. Anybody who things they’re protecting the chilllldrun needs to hang around a schoolyard for half an hour. But don’t do it in a creepy way.

My biggest complaint? Why are truly bad words like ‘selfie’ allowed to not just live, but flourish? I find that far more offensive than a well placed…


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