Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas All

It has been a tough one here. Our little boy has been very sick the past few days; we have been up with him all hours. And it is hard to be here in Ontario too, when everyone we love back on the Rock.

But we are together, living in the best country in the world, with food on the table, gifts under the tree and a roof over our heads, and so we must be grateful.

And we are.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday with the people you love.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tracking the big man in the red suit.

Learn about NORAD and how they track Santa, as well as Santa's Secrets. Hourly updates on Santa sightings and Santa's progress as he makes his way around the world.

Norad Tracks Santa

Any chance he can pick us up and drop us off on the Rock I wonder?

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Come home' campaign planned by N.L.

'Come home' campaign planned by N.L.
People are moving back to Newfoundland and Labrador, population surveys show, and the government hopes to accelerate that trend with a national advertising campaign aimed at former residents. more »

Still not holding my breath.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bell- this is bad. Even for you.

I know many of you, as soon as you see Bell in the title, will roll your eyes and think, “They cannot possibly have screwed you over as badly as they screwed me over”. That seems to be the universal reaction when people spit the word “Bell”. But this really isn’t a rant- it is more of an “Oh Man, I cannot believe the company is this obtuse” sort of blog entry.

We got an interesting letter in the mail from Bell yesterday. They were writing to tell me that the email address I had provided them for correspondence was not working- they had not been able to contact us electronically. And could I please provide them with a working email address?

Um, sure guys, just as soon as you fix it.

The email address I provided them with: myaddress@sympatico.ca, was the one they assigned me when I bought their bundle of services. And I am using the term service very loosely. Because after three months of trying to get them to fix our email problems, we just gave up.

So Bell, unless you guys start hiring competent individuals who know computers beyond what is in a scripted technical support booklet; or until I learn how to speak and understand Hindi, it isn’t likely you will be able to contact me via email any time soon.

Congratulations Bell Canada, this level of incompetence is one for the books.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Star Wars Holiday Special

I consider myself a bit of a Trekker and a Star Wars buff. I saw the movies at a young and impressionable age, and I was hooked. Hell, Star Wars is half the reason my husband and I are married! Our love of Sci-fi and fantasy is something that drew us together. Heck half our tree is decked out with characters from the original trilogy of movies. It is a pretty neat tree if I do say so myself.

We used to joke about who was more of a geek, who knew more about each franchise- and today, well lets just say I am happy to give the title up to the hubby. He wins. He is a bigger geek than I am because he knew about and actually watched the abomination I am about to share with you. We may as well change his name to 10101110 and move him back into his parent's basement.

Oh man, this is too baked for words. Beatrice Arthur guest stars, along with what I am sure was a career ending appearance for Jefferson Starship, to sing "Light the Sky on Fire". Carrie Fisher sings too, and I don't know why, or how she managed to get through it without swallowing a bullet. Perhaps this is when her drug problem started.

Here it is, The Star Wars Holiday Special cut down to five festive minutes. And don't say I never warned you.

I cannot believe that people watched that for 2 hours, they will never get that time back. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go wash my eyes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Crack at Dawn

Most people would not do this on a warm day....but about 50 brave Newfoundlanders stood arse cheek to arse cheek, facing the piercing cold of the North Atlantic wind blowing through the Narrows.

In the nude.

They bared it all for the camera, lining the waterfront at the crack of dawn today. The unusual photo shoot, arranged by CODCO/This Hour has 22 minutes alum Mary Walsh, was intended "to show people in their natural form without the riches and luxuries that separate them...It's sort of like the Garden of Eden, but colder than I think it was in the Garden of Eden..."

Some wore boots, others wore toques, and I bet if we checked more than a few of them would be wearing socks in a more, shall we say, unconventional place.

Inspired by the work of Spencer Tunick, a New York photographer who's famous for arranging large-scale pictures of people naked in public settings around the world, Walsh warns she is planning to arrange similar photo shoots across the country, including stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Iqaluit, Nunavut and Toronto's Bay.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bye Boatmen and the da By's

A friend asked me the other day why Newfoundlanders very often used the term by’e when referring to other people. Most CFA’s and indeed many Newfoundlanders assume the term as meaning "boy", but most likely it's related to the The Bye Boat Fishery which emerged in the mid-17th century.

Bye boatmen owned fishing rooms and operated inshore fishing boats in the waters around Newfoundland, but did not live on the Island year round. Many of them resided in England. They traveled Newfoundland on the fishing ships and worked from spring to fall on the Island and were paid fixed wages rather than a share of the profits. Even though they bye boat fisherman never owned anything, and did not share in the overall season’s profit, they were able to supplement their fishing income by finding other employment when they returned to England for the winter. When the men returned for work on the Rock in the spring, they brought over tackle and provisions purchased in England at prices much lower than available in Newfoundland. While many bye boatmen made the annual trek back and forth from Newfoundland to England some remained to look after equipment and property.

It has been suggested that the early byeboat fishermen were likely refered to as "by's" by the other fisherman. A practical term, and likely one used to indicate status in the community as well.

"Who is that man?" - "He's one the by's."

And there you have it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I wanna be a pop star

This well done spoof should be required viewing for today's youth. It nails our current celebrity obsessed culture squarely in the lobotomized botoxed, nip and tucked forehead.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hubby's Holiday Rant

Good Day all.

You know, the holidays does different things to different people. Some people become kinder, gentler people, others slowly stew in festering nastiness. The smallest thing can set them off. Today, that somebody is my husband. He has been ranting about holiday movies since November, specifically holiday movie music scores. Now, he wants to share his outrage with you all. Keep in mind folks, his favourite Christmas movies include Bad Santa, and Die Hard.

So here it is, Hubby's Holiday Rant. The first of many I am sure:


This holiday season I've discovered that Christmas movie trailers are from hell. Aside from a select few, the majority of Christmas themed movies released during the holiday season
are absolute crap and I think the trailers manage to convey this pretty well in the 30 or so seconds allotted for them on prime time TV.

However there is common element in these trailers that for me has recently managed to turn the annoying dial way up on bust:

Why does Hollywood think every trailer for almost every holiday movie has to make use of Tchaikovsky’s "Russian Dance" from the Nutcracker? If you are not familiar with what I'm talking about (trust me, you are) watch this clip from YouTube of some guy playing it on the piano.

It's to the point that when I hear this piece I immediately think of overblown, over budgeted shitty holiday movies ("Fred Claus", "Christmas with the Cranks", "The Santa Claus 3", etc) instead of the actual musical for which it was written. Although I've never actually seen the nutcracker I seriously doubt that Tchaikovsky wanted you to think “wow, look at all the crazy zany things THIS fake family is getting into this Christmas: shit flying everywhere, people falling with gifts in their hands, kids swinging from the ceiling, people falling on ice, Santa and the elves all tripped out and going crazy, some overpaid Hollywood dipshit dad in a Santa Outfit sliding down and falling off a roof somewhere...sooooooo funnyyyy!!!”

Am I being a scrooge? I don't know, but these TV spots are making me wonder if psychologists are going to have to invent something akin to "road" rage called "holiday" rage.


Yes, methinks they will have to dearest. Just for you.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Baby it's cold outside...

The snow is falling in big white flakes, melting slowly on bright red cheeks. Makes me want to play a little hooky. Blow off work, and go make a snowman. Since I can't do that, I will listen to this song. Over and over again.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

And the tool of the day is...

Heather Mills.

How did Sir Paul, go from having a beautiful marriage to a wonderful lady to marrying this wackjob? Heather Mills has urged people to drink milk from rats and dogs to help save the planet.

Say again?

Ms Mills believes livestock creates far more carbon emissions than transport, so we should all go vegan. At Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London, she said: "There are many other kinds of milk available. Why don't we try drinking rats' milk and dogs' milk?"

Well if anything this might may it easier for Sir Paul to win full custody of his daughter.

Whatever it takes Paul, whatever it takes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Politically Correct

The first time I heard the term “Politically Correct” I was in Dr. Beausoliel’s sociology class. I remembered sitting there in the lecture hall horrified about this political correctness ideal, worried about how this might impact on free speech. If we all started censoring everything we had to say would anyone be able to really speak their minds? I raised my hand to bring this very point to the floor- thinking to myself there is no way she will ever know who I am, there are too many of us.

There was a little steel in her voice as she began her response but once she got into her grove she was all business. As far as she was concerned people had for too long exercised their right to free speech without any sense of responsibility. Negating the very real impact it had on other people’s lives. The jokes, the racial slurs, the offhand remarks kept people down. It kept them from the good jobs, the promotions; it colored how people saw who they were, and what they were capable of. Political correctness, she explained, was an effort to make broad social and political changes and redress injustices caused by prejudice. She reminded us of the power of the word- the destruction that it can cause, and that it is our responsibility to change or avoid using language that might offend anyone, especially with respect to gender, race, or ethnic background.

I could get behind that.

But the politically correct movement did not stop there.

That was the golden age of political correctness, when being politically correct meant speaking and acting in a considerate manner to others. Now the term suggests something that is very restrictive; almost oppressive. Cripes when Santa is warned 'Ho Ho Ho' is offensive to women, you know that the train ran off the rails somewhere. And now the backlash against political correctness seems to have given some the license to toss out the whole ideal of "speaking and acting in a considerate manner to others" and revert back to old habits that really were better off dead.

You may be wondering what exactly sent me off on this particular rant today.

Long story short, I host and visit several forums on Delphi. One of them is a Canadian based spot I am very fond of. These types of boards tend to build groups of people who remain at the forum for years, they get to know each other, they trade pictures of their kids, stories about their lives, send Christmas cards and birthday greetings. They become a little community of friends. Sure, some people come and go- but a hard core group of individuals remain and are the heart of that community. Lest you think this all sounds too rosy- it isn’t always so. No, each group usually has at least one member who likes to stir the pot, or assert their perceived intellectual, financial, or moral superiority over other members. Sometimes it is pretty obvious, sometimes it is more subtle. But it is a pattern of behavior that only ends when the member leaves (or is booted out).

So it was (yes we are getting down to the nitty gritty of it now) that I signed in yesterday to read yet another “Newfie Joke” from this poster. Again, pitting the Newfoundlander as some hapless fool, stupid by nature or by drink, a person who cannot reasonably manage their way through a paper bag. And I had enough. I don’t mind a good natured joke- I have been known to tell one myself, but when someone is constantly putting a specific group of people down and never in a manner that is clear it is in harmless fun- well let’s just say it gets old. Tired. Stale.

So, I turned the joke back on him- and he did not like that so much. He posted some garbage about having to be politically correct these days, and people not being able to take a joke. Isn’t it funny how when the shoe was on the other foot he did not like the fit?

Hey; if he can tell the "joke" I certainly have the right to call him on it, especially when it seems to be a pattern of poor behavior, in a public forum. What you do and say in your own home is your business- what you put out there for all to see, well that can net you something nasty. Something with teeth. After all, if we replaced the term Newfie in all those Newfie jokes with another n word, we would have a whole other kettle of fish.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweet Memories

When I was about four years old, my family lived in St. John's for part of the year because dad was finishing off the first of three degrees at MUN ( he would later go on to Dental school). During the summer and special occasions we would go to GrandFalls, and each time we would have to make the rounds. I was the first grandchild, so it was very important that I was shown off. I looked forward to the trips to Grandfalls because I could stay each set of Grandparent's houses and be spoiled rotten. I had a total of 10 uncles and four aunts who doted on me and more great aunts, great uncles than I can remember. But as a little kid who had a sweet tooth, I loved going to Great Aunt Minnie's.

Everytime I came into visit, my Great Aunt would give me a kiss, a hug and a small bag of fudge. It was a little baggie tied with ribbon containing a piece of pink fudge (strawberry I think), white (white chocolate), caramel and chocolate fudge. And it was all mine! My dad would sometimes pretend he was going to steal it from me, and I would hold the baggie tightly to my chest and refuse to give it up. Negations would ensue and I would give in and share the pink and white pieces. But never, NEVER the caramel or chocolate. I didn't know it then, but my days of sharing the fudge, and the limelight were just about done because my mom was pregnant with my little sister. And there were two more to come after her- plus dozens and dozens of cousins.

When Minnie passed, my grandma, who had for a very long time had taken care of her, inherited most of her recipes and cook books. But grandma was more of a baker, and I don't recall her ever making fudge. Minnie's recipes for those magical pieces of sugar coated heaven seem to have been lost. I have tried many fudge recipes to try and duplicate the taste, but nothing ever comes close (although my mom has a mean chocolate fudge recipe).

When I married my husband Don, his Granny made fudge for me as a Christmas gift- upon first bite, I was flooded with memories of Aunt Minnie's home on Carmelite road, with Uncle Wil reading in his chair and me with my bag of fudge in my Dad's lap. The recipe was almost exact. However, she did not have the recipe for the strawberry or white chocolate (I think these had coconut in them). So if any of you out there have one you think might be the one I am looking for, please post it here. I will give it a shot.

Until then, here is Don's Granny's & My Aunt Minnie's Newfoundland Fudge recipes:

Put the following into your pot:
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup carnation milk
2 tablespoons margarine

Step 1) Boil mixture to soft boil stage (mixture forms a soft ball which gradually disappears when rubbed between your fingers)

Step 2) Remove pot from heat. Allow to cool without stirring until the bottom of the pot is lukewarm.

Step 3) Add l teaspoon vanilla.

Step 4) Beat until fudge loses its gloss.

Step 5) Pour into a greased pan. Cool . Cut into squares.

*For chocolate fudge, add approx. 1/3 cup cocoa to the original mixture.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Well, there goes Christmas.

We woke up this morning to water all over our kitchen table and look up to see water dripping down from our light fixture. The drywall around it soaked. I do believe that this was the fastest time that my blood pressure ever skyrocketed to the stroke zone.

I hate, loathe, despise Liza homes. I swear they build homes with their eyes closed. And I am pretty sure this is yet another thing that will not be under warranty. God I hate these people. A plague on their houses! Oh wait there already is...it's at my house.

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Today's Newfoundlandisms,

Two new Newfoundland sayings for you C.F.A.s or those who have been off Island awhile:

G'wan bye, what odds! (Why worry? It doesn't matter)

Stunned as a box of hair. (Phrase used to describe the intellectually challenged)

Friday, November 30, 2007

RMR report on Zenn

This week Rick Mercer had a great report on the Canadian Zenn car. ZENN, the zero-emission, no-noise fully-featured electric vehicle:

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was dismayed this morning to read about St. John’s store Downhome Shoppe and Gallery’s decision to ban Littleseal a children's book by a St. John's author Morgan Pumphrey because it has an anti-sealing message. Banning books is patriarchal, oppressive; it is the foundation of intolerance. It pains me to see people on the Rock take this backward approach. It remind me of how the Church handled The DaVinci Code - slagging it because it did not represent their version of historical events. Their loud protestations fueled the publicity machine; the controversy it created propelled the book into the stratosphere of billion dollar book sales. How many more people read the book because of the controversy? The best way the Christian churches could have handled it was to say “What a creative work of fiction! Well done!” and then used the book as a springboard to talk about their version of historical events as they see fit. If the intent was to stop Littleseal from reaching public hands, this move was the very definition of counter productive. Realistically how many people would have ever heard of this book, never mind buy it, before this hit the papers?

When asked about their decision the president of Downhome Inc., Grant Young, replied: "We're pro-sealing and this is an anti-sealing book. Maybe some people could call it censorship, but we call it standing by our beliefs..."

I call that pretty slippery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rusty! What are you doing to Jerome?

The children of Friendly Giant Bob Homme have a problem with the CBC; specifically, they are angry recent treatment of puppets. As a result of an incident at this years Gemini awards the family is removing are moving Rusty and Jerome from their current home at the CBC museum. When I heard this on the radio, I have to admit that I thought it was a joke, I kept waiting for the punch line and when it didn’t come, it somehow made the whole damn thing even funnier.

It appears that the recent Gemini Awards included a skit showing Rusty, Jerome and other stars who require a hand up their ass to talk, living in a retirement home. But they were not living the quiet sedate life of your typical retirees, with lawn bowling, woodworking and knitting. No, these puppets are apparently indolent slobs who sit around all day, drinking, smoking and (the horror!) having sex!

It was the libidinous lifestyle the skit hinted at (never showed) that has Ms. Hommes knickers in a knot. While I understand how the puppets might be special to her and all she must realize it was a joke! A Lark. A gaff. A bit. Besides, none of the puppets actually did anything- Rusty never inhaled! Come on, who the hell watches the Gemini Awards anyway?

Is it just me, or does this reaction strike you as a tad extreme? The CBC reacted in a bit of an odd way too, but at least they had a little style. CBC employees were invited to say goodbye to Rusty and Jerome at a midafternoon ceremony at the Graham Spry Theatre where they aired old episodes of the show. Milk and cookies were served.

I guess they saved the hard stuff for after work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today's PSA

I was reading this morning about the CBC kicking off the Annual Turkey Drive for those who need a little help over the holidays. I am glad that the CBC does this, and that they, and their viewers try to make a difference this way every year. If you want to give you can do so at any of the College of the North Atlantic Locations, or at the following locations:

CBC St. John's Production Centre 95 University Ave (8:30am -4pm)
Corner Brook More for Less and Rod's New To You, 9 Herald Ave
Grand Falls Community Food Bank, 129 Lincoln Rd (489-2618 - pickup)
Gander Food Bank Lancaster Bldg (651-3663 - pickup)
Happy Valley/Goose Bay Food Bank Labrador Friendship Centre
Labrador City Carol-Wabush Co-op, Labrador Mall

Friday, November 23, 2007

Changes at Memorial University Med

It was a nice surprise today to read about Memorial's plans to increase the number of students in its medical school by 50 per cent over the next three years more » The aim is to have more doctors stay in the province, and while that goal is admirable I hope they are considering other changes to its entrance policies. It would be nice if MUN reexamined the requirements they (and all to many other med schools) have used to filter students into the program. MUN should recognize that a 95%-100% average student does not automatically translate into a good doctor. Of course we don't want any of the slackers just getting through with a 60% in their *ahem* Recreation degree (WTF?) but we need to recognize that sometimes the applicant with an 89% can be more suited than his/her higher average counterpart. The soft skills necessary to comfort a grieving family, to give test results with tact and empathy, to educate patients without being condescending and the ability to acknowledge that they might be wrong, are far more important than the ability to memorize: "the knee bone is connected to the thighbone..."(Ok, so it is a little more complicated then that). There is more to doctoring then knowing your Grey's Anatomy, and MUN should keep that in mind.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The 20 Worst Video Games of All Time.

I have played video games ever since Nintendo first came out, and I have enjoyed many of them. Some might actually say I had a problem. OK so there was one day back in the 90's when I went on a 48 hour Zelda binge- no food or water just me, Link, Zelda, Ganon, maps of Hyrule I created myself, and my Jaws slippers (for good luck). I defeated Ganon and beat the game in the first 24 hours fairly quickly- it is just that if you owned the Gold cartridge for Zelda back then, and you beat the game, AND you watched the credits for the game after in its entirety, the game reset itself, the map changed, Gannon moved his base of operations, the enemies got stronger and you started the adventure all over. That was my very first Gamer Easter Egg- and I have been hooked on finding them ever since. Good games entertained and challenged you, great games did that and surprised you, and bad games either pissed you off (they were expensive!) or made you cry laughing.

A friend sent this site to me earlier this week, and I can only now return to the page without danger of giving myself a hernia. The descriptions here are not for children and Custer's Revenge involves pixilated nudity. But if you were ever a gamer you will hurt yourself laughing at his reviews.

Now if any of you ever played these games and have any reviews of your own; or if you have a game that you think should be on here, but is not, tell me about it. Because that is sure to be good for a laugh.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Newfoundland Word of the Day


Know what it is? Go into any furniture store on the mainland and ask for one, go on, I double dog dare ya. You will get some looks, and quite possibly some interesting offers.

A humpty is a foot rest or ottoman. How exactly Newfoundlanders came up with the name humpty for this cushioned piece, I have no idea. And I am not sure I want to speculate.

Anyone know?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Parenting in willful ignorance

The news the past few days has really been tough to read. It has angered me in a way that makes me stomach sick. Lives devastated, lost, because we as a society pay lip service to the whole concept of protecting our kids. A society that is either afraid, or unwilling, or unable to care for its children. We put our own wants and desires ahead of what is best for the child.

Yesterday I opened the paper to Boys 8 and 9 charged with rape, bile crawled into the back of my throat. My first thought was that they must be abused kids themselves, because how else would they even know what it was that they were doing? But after thinking about it, that is not necessarily the case; I mean look at the TV they watch, the movies they see, the music they listen to, and the easy access to porn on the internet. Look at all the unsupervised time they have, the lack of accountability at home, and at school. It’s a wonder we don’t see more of this kind of behavior.

And then, when I opened the paper today to read about the 14 child who was able to purchase a car, ostensibly, without his parents knowing. And yesterday that boy walked away from a crash without a scratch- but he did manage to murder two of his friends when he rammed through a fence and flipped the car over multiple times. What? Excuse me? How, as a parent, can you miss that your kid owns a car? Where are they getting the money for one? What about insurance? How can you be that oblivious to what your child is doing?

Is what passes for parenting these days?

These families have learned the hard way the heavy price paid for being an absent parent. Sadly, they are mere statistics now. The potential those two dead boys had is gone. The lives of those who survived forever changed. While the reality of that makes me rage, it makes me physically ill to realize how easily, and how likely it is that this kind of thing will happen again.

So I think I will skip the paper tomorrow. And like too many parents out there living in willful ignorance, I will just stick my head in the sand and hope for the best.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Sometimes baking, though hard on the waistline, can be comforting. It comforts me because I associate the smell of freshly baked bread or the sweet smell of warm cookies with being at my grandparent's house. A house that raised ten children, and more grandchildren than I can name. It was a home that was always swarming with activity, endless teasing, the sounds of laughter, music, and the smell of Grandma's cooking.

There are a few freak shows here who have their Christmas lights on now, and this does two things to me: it makes me angry (it is the middle of November people! Gawd.) and it makes me lonely for home. We won't be able to get back to the Rock for the holidays this year and I find it very difficult to get through. So I have been a little bit blue the past few days. That might explain why I have been baking up a storm. But not just any recipe; I want to make my Grandma's Jam Jams. I have never known anyone besides Grammy to make it- and they were my favourite treat she baked. She knew it too- one Christmas, she sent myself and Don back to Ontario with a freshly baked load of Jam-Jams in one hand, and a Steak and Kidney Pie in the other.

This was how Grandma said "I love you". And I loved her right back.

I don't have the patience and flair that Pioneer Woman Cooks has, and I don't have the artistic and impressive dishes that Rock Recipes displays, but I do have a damn fine cookie recipe a la Clara M Browne. I hope I do it justice. Here is what you will need.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar ( I used brown, but I am not sure if that is right or not- I will have to ask my Aunt Catherine and get back to you on that)

3 tblsp molasses

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1/2 cup margarine or shortening

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, measure out your margarine (it is a good idea to let it come to room temperature first) and sugar and dump it in a bowl. Then beat it like it owes you money.

Add molasses, vanilla, salt and soda stir it up so it blends well, and then add 2 cups of flour. Resume the beating. Then, take a break my friend. You have been working hard. This mixture needs to chill now anyway. So put your feet up, have a drink and let this batter cool for at least two hours. When your time is up, take it out of the fridge and prepare your counter top with a light layer of flour. Dump your batter onto the floured surface and flatten it with a rolling pin. Or a can of Mugs Root Beer and wax paper, if you don't have a rolling pin. Just roll it out...

Besides a rolling pin, I also lack cookie cutters. So I just use a glass. I don't have to show you a picture of that do I? Come on, the Mugs Root beer improvisation is embarrassing enough! Once you have cut out your little round circles of dough, line those babies up on a cookie sheet. Now pop 'em into the warm oven. Bake them for 8 to ten minutes- leaning closer to the 8. They might not appear done but unless you have a Holly Hobby Oven they will be done. While they are still warm, you want to add the jam. Now Grammy often used jam she made herself, but we can cheat. Use your favourite kind. Put a little on the bottom side of a cookie, and then top that ooey gooey goodness with another warm cookie, make a little sandwich out of it.

Now here comes the most important part- Share them with someone you love:

And that my friends is the magical Jam-Jam: a traditional Newfoundland cookie. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Free Hugs: Newfoundland

Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann . His intention was to change the world one hug at a time. In a world where we live so insularly, IPods in our ears, Blackberries at our fingertips, and lawyers on speed dial: this idea was radical. It spread fast.

And was banned by authorities just as quickly...you have to have insurance for that kind of thing. But a petition and moocho media later (Oprah) and suddenly the red tape disappeared.

Since this campaign started (2004) it has spread- and of course you know Newfoundlanders had to get in on the action. And here they are doing just that:

Have you hugged someone today?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

The best husband in the world

Since the only family we have in Ontario is my Uncle Bren and his brood Hubby and I haven’t been out much since The Boy was born. Bren and Sherri have three of their own, so they can hardly drop everything and come over and watch my son. But on Friday, that is exactly what they did.

Because my husband is the bestest husband in the world.

I pulled into the house Friday evening after picking my son up from daycare- and found myself pulling in behind Sherri’s van. Her kids hopped out, said hi, and walked on in to the house. The Boy and I followed- where we met my Husband at the door. A husband who was supposed to be at work. A husband who had bought me tickets to see the Police in concert (OMFG!), and who had arranged for Sherri to watch the Boy while we were out. A husband who was standing there with a goofy grin on his face while I wept like a baby.

The concert was outstanding. First rate. I have wanted to see these guys in concert since Synchronicity came out. The trio, has not toured for over 20 years, and yet those years apart seemed to fall away Friday night. They played together in an almost symbiotic fashion. Sting’s voice was clear, and hit every note, Summer’s guitar solo’s was epic, and Copeland simply blew everyone away with his drum set up. His incredible rendition of Wrapped Around Your Finger had Copeland standing, jumping and hitting chimes, cymbals; even a large gong behind him with finesse. The crowd was into it, singing along, answering Stings’s trademark “EEEEYOOOOHHHHH!" note for note, with heart and gusto.

It was an excellent evening. My ears are still ringing. If you have a chance to see The Police in your area, (They play Montreal's Bell Centre Monday, Nov. 12) take it. It is one of the best shows I have ever seen.

Thanks Buddy, you are the best.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wikiality.com, the Truthiness Encyclopedia!

Just a little sample of what can be found at: Wikiality

Newfoundland is a magical place to the east of Canada. It is full of cod fish, old men, leprechauns and eczema. Newfoundland did not exist before 1949. That is why it is called Newfoundland. Newfoundlanders wear green, white and pink flags all the time. They're probably Communists.

At one point, Newfoundland tried to join the
U.S., but many Newfoundlanders and Americans alike wanted none of that, so like the fat boy that dates the ugly girl in high school, Newfoundland joined Canada for a while. Everybody keeps forgetting that Newfoundland is single now, though - either that, or nobody wants to have to deal with the idea of it being in the dating pool (because it goes potty in the water), and so they still include it in all of the maps of Canada and call it a province and think that people in it say "b'y" a lot.

Odd dudes. Funny, but odd.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A time to remember

My Poppy served in World War II. He was a selfless man, proud, strong, honest and hard working. He left such a mark on me: gave me an image of the person I want to be. He died of cancer a few years back and I find it hard still to think about him as gone. Poppy never really talked about his time in the war, he found it too difficult. But he was the man behind the scenes at the memorial services, and at the parades, and he kept the cenotaphs in good condition throughout the year. It was important to him that people remembered, honoured, and were grateful for the sacrifices made by so many young men and women.

This time of year I think about him a lot, because he always had a difficult time around Remembrance Day. So I guess he was in the back of my mind guiding me to a story about Canada’s War Brides: over 45,000 British and European women who left behind everything that was familiar to them to start a new life in post-war Canada.

Canadian War Brides is trying to gather stories from these brave women. Their tales are incredibly romantic; their journeys are inspiring and sometimes tragic, yet they leave you with a greater understanding of this amazing group of Canadian women. Of course, this is a Newfoundland Blog, so I must highlight the story of Rosalind Elder. I should also thank her for teaching me a Newfoundlander's toast I had not heard before:

I bows towards you,
I nods accordant.....
I catches your eye and I smiles

**The Picture above is of Newfoundland War Brides from the St. John's "Rose and Thistle Club", Christmas 1950. Photo courtesy of Rosalind Elder. Ms. Elder also has a website, and has a book of her own called Maples and Thistles

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Should I call the CIA?

Ever since I put my son in Montessori School (Sept 4/07), he has been sick with one thing or another and so have myself and hubby; because my son is a generous little guy he shares it all with us.

So far he has been stricken with Roseola, an ear infection, a throat infection, pink eye, and now another ear infection and that pink eye is still lingering. Riding right along with him is my husband, who has had sinusitis, the flu, and now another bout of sinusitis. Then there is me, I have had a chest infection, a cold, and I am currently battling a throat infection. We are all on our third round of antibiotics.

Hubby takes the Go train to work every day, and for years now has been restricted in that tiny train car to get to work; it is always crawling with the germs, phlegm, and airborne cold missiles that only an enclosed space like a train can nurture and cultivate. And yet, he usually catches something that knocks him back once a year. I work with teens all day. They hand in their work on paper that is oozing with their pathogens, and I type on the computers that they hack and whoop and sneeze on all day, and I, like my husband, usually catch something only once a year. I rest, drink fluids, and the malady goes away.

That does not appear to be the way it is working this year. Nope. Not at all. We have had one thing after another for months now…MONTHS! And the damnedest thing is, it never goes away. It just hangs on, like those last five pounds you want to lose. And just when you think you are close to beating it, the damn thing morphs into something else.

I am really starting to wonder about what is going on there at Montessori. Is it really just a school? Or is it a front for something more sinister? I am starting to think it is black ops for some terror cell secretly manufacturing biological weapons of mass destruction. Maybe I should call somebody about this? God, my kid is only a year old, and already he has turned to the dark side.

Somebody pass me a Kleenex.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Jellybean Row

Awhile back, Geoff Meeker dropped a line to me about Jellybean row. I have to admit, it was the first I had heard of it. But one peek at their web page and I was hooked. I even have a little Christmas request list made.

What is a Jellybean Row you ask? Well, it is part souvenir, part collectible and a piece of original art. Modeled after the heritage homes of downtown St. John's, these colorful plaques are mounted and ready to hang on your wall. Better yet, my wall.

There is a really sweet Christmas series for sale as well... I am seriously considering picking up a set for my mom for the holidays. She is a Christmas nut. I love how the one above even has the stained glass window over the door. Anyhooo, it is a really neat idea folks. Check it out! Let me know how you like it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Newfie Screech- We have the Yanks to thank?

Back in the day, Jamaican rum was a popular part of a Newfoundlander’s diet, as we traded salt fish to the West Indies in exchange for rum (that would have been when we actually had fish to trade with anyone!). The original rum was barrel proof in strength so it did not exactly have a smooth finish. Eventually the government applied some controls that required it be packaged in clear glass and began selling the rum in unlabelled bottles. You could say that screech was the original no-name brand. It remained nameless until American soldiers came to the Island during World War II.

I have heard the story told many times, and I often wonder if there is either bit of truth to it. Apparently, a young serviceman, enjoying the lower drinking age, was having his first taste of the brew with some of the locals. They were not supposed to be drinking at the time, as the officer was on duty. But, it was cold, and a little nip might warm him. The Newfoundlander he was with, downed his shot in one gulp, so the American did the same. The officer’s blood-curdling scream attracted a lot of attention. An Sergeant who heard the sound from outside pounded his fist on the door and demanded to know, "What the hell was that ungodly screech?"

Answered the Newfoundlander: "Da Screech? T’is the rum, me son!"

And the name stuck.

A few years back there was an overhaul of the whole brand. Ironically, it was done in part to break into the US market. I hate the new look. Maybe it is because I don’t do well with change, maybe it is because the new look just doesn’t jibe with a name like “Screech”, or maybe it is just an uppity design which conveys little of the history behind the bottle.

What do you think? Which bottle style do you prefer? And have you ever sampled this sweet, yet raw dark amber gold? And for those of you who might scoof at the drink due to its name, I’ll have you know, this baby is the Gold Medal winner at the 2003 International Rum Fest!

Newfie Night-cap
• 1 ¼ ozs. Newfoundland Screech
• 1 – 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
• Coffee
• Whipped Cream

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Rant

I so agree, strange little dude:

That said, my little guy will be a dragon tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Scott Pynn Art

You know, I believe that Newfoundlanders are a talented lot: a fine crew. Contrary to all those Newfie jokes out there, we can get the job done. Hell, we are currently building the entire province of Alberta! We are sharp, clear minded, we cut through the bullshit. One need only read the works of Ray Guy, Rex Murphy, or Rick Mercer to see that. We are artisans, painters, sculptors and poets. And we do it all with our distinct sense of the world, our wit, and our poetic voice.

I recently came across the works of Labrador native, 27 year old Scott Pynn , and I was lucky enough to be able to ask him a few questions about his life and work as an artist. A self described "Average Joe", Scott used to work as a roofer, a carpenters assistant, and a lumberjack. The latter he said was “the most interesting because I would spend all day cutting down trees and then go home and paint them back up again”. Scott’s been painting since he was young. He was inspired by his grandfather, also an artist, who specializes in painting steam locomotives. He taught Scott when he was “just a young pup” beginning with the basics of composition, color, and perspective: “It was the greatest gift he ever could have given me.”

Art is not a choice for Scott- it is something he must do: “I have always been compelled to make things and feel disconnected from myself when I don't have a creative outlet. I sometimes joke that if I never painted my mind would explode, it's hard to pinpoint what inspires me; it's a mixture of everything, nature of course being a big part. But I guess what I strive for the most is to describe in paint those indescribable feelings you get so often in life. Like on a crisp fall evening when the leaves are crunching under your feet and you can smell wood smoke in the air, or that feeling in your stomach around Christmas time. You know the feeling I'm talking about, everyone does. Sometimes I'm inspired by very big things like a thunder and lightning storm and sometimes it can be as small as watching a drop of rain slowly trickle down the stem of a daisy.” Scott has had a variety of shows in the last few years in Labrador, New Brunswick and Alberta, and more are in the works. Currently he has the largest Facebook Art Group with over twenty-five thousand members and growing. He is “thrilled” with the support he has received fellow Newfoundlanders.

I have some really beautiful pieces of art in my small collection of Newfoundland works- and I picked each because they spoke to me somehow. Of course, because I live off Rock now, these pieces mean so much more to me: they are a comfort. But my feelings towards Scott's pieces were very different: I haven't reacted to art work so viscerally in a long time.

I lived in Wabush, and Goose Bay for a few years as a child- and it was a golden time for me. I was a happy kid then; my family loved it there. I don’t often think of Labrador because my time there was so short. But when I first saw Scott’s work, I found myself whirling back to that apartment on Cormac drive…to the woods beyond where I would toboggan, ski-doo, build snow forts, and make snow angels in the deep of the whitest snow. I remembered the magic of the Northern Sky, with her rainbow of lights swirling in dark- the trees bowed by the weight of the snow, themselves awed by celestial majesty. Scott’s work brought it all back in a bittersweet rush of nostalgia; made me a little weepy. But then, that is what great art does.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Autumn traditions in Newfoundland.

I love autumn. I love the cool days and crisp nights; the changing leaves that swirl in the wind whispering their way through the sky. Of course this fall has had none of that. Jeeze, it has been hot as balls these past few weeks. Feels like we may just skip fall and dive head long into winter- though at the rate we are going, it looks like it will be a green one.

Aside from the weather cliches, I love autumn because of all the traditions that go with it. Many of my favorites begin at harvest time, it has become and annual tradition for my husband and I to pick apples at Archibald's Orchard , and pick up a nice fruit wine for Thanksgiving at the same time. We also head on over to Pingles Farm to pick our pumpkin for Halloween- and deck the house out so it looks like a tribute to Vincent Price. And now it is something we do with our son.

Many of the autumn season's customs are historically related. Although there was no Thanksgiving Day holiday in Newfoundland Pre-Confederation, many people celebrated it as part Harvest and it included Halloween. The whole season of Halloween is a little different back home on the Rock. There are at least a half-dozen Halloween-related customs that are unique to Newfoundland, though their roots, like our ancestors, reach back to other places. We just made them our own.

For example, the few days before Halloween and sometimes after it used to be called Mischief Week. Old Newfoundland's children traditionally believed that there are certain kinds of mischief allowed at that time: stuffing sods in chimneys, soaping windows, taking pins from gate hinges, and so on. It in no way resembles the Devils night insanity that sometimes goes on across Canada and the US. Mischief week was just harmless little pranks.

In Trinity Bay North, many people participated in Torch Night, when young men would carry torches around the community in a parade. Torches were made from just about anything: from old boots soaked in fish oil, or barrels of kindling, even old dried-up tar mops; in fact the name Tar Mop Night was used in the White Bay area. And come on, is there anywhere else on the planet that still celebrates Gay Fawkes night besides the UK and Newfoundland?

I miss all that kind of stuff now. Not just because that the weather here in Ontario is all off, but that deep rooted sense of tradition and community is so lacking here. Cripes, some neighborhoods and apartment buildings don’t even allow Halloween. It is kind of sad really. And we are losing it back home too, slowly but surely. I don’t think Tar Mop Night has been seen in about 60 years or more now.

I know some traditions die out for practical reasons- imagine Guy Fawkes night downtown Toronto! The police would show up in Riot gear. Seriously, we need to sit down and look at all those wonderful traditions we had for so many years, and really give some thought to preserving them. If not in practice, definitely with photos and stories: our own recording of our history. These traditions are what make us unique, they are an essential part of that constant internal pull of the island: they draw us together as one. And that my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Ass kicking is what's called for"

I have never been one to jump into American political debate. I do watch what is going on down south but I refrain from commenting on American politics and popular debate because, well, I am not American. It is all too easy to point the finger from the outside; much more difficult to take an honest look inward. But there are occasions when issues arise and I find myself drawn in. The 911 conspiracy freaks have managed to get me going today because, and it pains me to say it, but there are actually some Newfoundlanders out there promoting a variety of conspiracy theories. And no, I am not linking to their blog.

While I am no fan of George Bush and his cronies, I do not believe that the attacks were a false flag operation carried out with the intention of winning the allegiance of the American people in order to facilitate military spending, the restriction of civil liberties, and a program of aggressive and profitable foreign policy. All this was simply a bonus for Bush Administration; it allowed them to take advantage of a tragic situation and use 9/11 to invade Iraq.

While "Intelligence" may have known something was in the works, I doubt they knew exactly what was going to happen and when. Nor does it make any sense to me that the planes which rammed into the Pentagon and Twin Towers were missiles, or were shot down (um, from where? Cleveland?), or that they were the results of "controlled demolition" (yes, because no one would have possibly noticed that in the works). I think the best theory is that Flight 93 never crashed, no, they swapped that plane! How exactly they manage that is never explained. All the while, these conspiracy freakshows manage to ignore the wreckage at the scenes and witness testimony. They also somehow miss published reports by the National Institute of Standards and Technology which do not support the controlled demolition hypothesis. And the hundreds of peer reviewed papers completed by civil engineers who prove that the impacts of jets at high speeds in combination with subsequent fires led to the collapse of the Twin Towers. And yet, this wacko collection of freaks, who seem to have nothing of importance to do with their time, still persist. Maybe it is time to move out of Mom's basement and get a job folks? Maybe get a girlfriend? A boyfriend? Whatever curdles your cream.

You might be wondering what got me going on this today- and it was this crazy exchange between 9/11 "Truthers" with Bill Maher on his show :"Real Time with Bill Maher":

My mind turned to all those families who lost people they loved because of 9/11 and the subsequent wars in the Middle East. What a slap in the face it must be for them to have these brainless worms go on and on with their inane conjecture, and to see Newfoundlanders join this lunatic fringe makes me even angrier. Come on people, we are smarter than this.

Monday, October 15, 2007

And now for something completely different.

It is a little known fact that I kick some serious ass when it comes to puzzles. We recently downloaded PuzzleQuest for the Xbox 360, and when we weren't cleaning, marking, or playing with the boy, my husband and I played game after game of it on the TV. I beat him bad. I made him cry. I did a victory dance on his inferior little manbrain.

Then, on Sunday night, I noticed a new link on my Newfoundland forum, it was Karen, the wonderfully talented photographer (she also happens to have a stunningly beautiful blog) who posted it. Karen knows of my weakness for riddles, puzzles and puns. I think she knew this site would plague me; would get under my skin like bed bugs at a whore house on a Saturday night.

It is a visual puzzle in the style of a medieval painting, and each section of the painting represents a horror flick. The movies represented span film history and because it is basically an ad for M&M Dark chocolates (Yuck, who eats the dark stuff??) all the films depicted are horror or thrillers. So, you have to be a bit of a film buff to get more than a dozen. My husband remembers EVERY FILM HE EVER WATCHES and I am a bit of a horror film hack, but there were two of those suckers we did not get at all.

And it is driving me batshit.

If anyone can get the one with the stairs, or the one with the two guys on the stairs please, for the love of mike and milk chocolate, please let me know.

Here it is: http://www.mms.com/us/dark/dark_game.jsp

And Karen, payback is a bitch..."I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too....."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I will be watching tonight

Two of my favourite shows have pulled out all the stops for their Fall premieres. This Hour Has 22 Minutes makes its season debut this evening ... and Danny Williams is on the menu. Oh I do hope they make a nice liver pate out of him. I may even open a bottle of wine. According to the CBC, Mark Critch will once again demonstrate an unmatched talent for his dead-ringer impression of Danny Williams. Have a listen to this my friends ...just enough to whet your appetite.

And if that wasn't enough, RMR is back! Wahooooooo! Disgraced media baron Conrad Black is scheduled to appear in a taped segment on the season premiere of The Rick Mercer Report tonight.

Ahhhh, ladies and gentlemen, I will break open a bottle this fine eve; any suggestions for a nice red, something that goes nicely with crow?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It is official, Danny is on crack.

Well the Premier toured the hospital in my hometown today. He was taken to the cramped areas where nurses and doctors work and was shown broken and outdated equipment that the health professionals use to treat (and I use that word lightly) their patients including a temperamental X-Ray machine. When shown the operating suites Danny made a small gaff: "Obviously there are bigger operating rooms than this?" Why no Danny, came the answer, this is our standard operating room. His reply: "You're not serious!"

Is anyone else asking why this is such a suprise to him besides me? Anyone?

Oh yes, we are serious Danny Boy. Serious as a heart attack in the dead of night, when there are two nurses on duty but one is with the teen who just came in with Grand Mal seizure and a head injury; the other nurse is on the phone with the paramedics coming in from a serious motor vehicle accident on the highway, and the rest of her lines are lit up as well. The one doctor on call is in with the kid seizing, and is mentally trying to brace himself for the call coming in from the highway. Meanwhile, a restless dozen or more ER patients sit crammed, side by each in the tiny waiting room. Some have been there for 6 hours or more; some puking; some coughing; all miserable and stewing in their own juices.

This was a night at the ER for me some 15 years ago, when we brought my boyfriend, now husband, into the ER while he was having a Grand Mal. Things have gone further down the crapper since then and Grand Falls is only the tip of the iceberg.

Recently Meeker on Media shared a pretty dark letter he received from one of the nurses who works at the Health Science Center. It tells a sad tale of nurses who cannot be advocates for their patients for fear of job action being taken against them. Of nurses so overworked they can’t tend to patients in their dying hours. Of a lack of response on behalf of health care workers outside of the ER towards ER staff and patients because their work load is too heavy, thus further compounding the problem of overcrowding at wait times in the ER itself. It is burning good people out. It is making a difficult job harder. It is unacceptable.

People are frustrated, people are lashing out, and who gets the brunt of it? The nurses. Nurses have been assaulted in the ER, one nurse reports a wheelchair being thrown at her. When people are treated like animals, they tend to act that way.

Many of my classmates who choose a life in the health care field have left the Rock, many have left Canada, to work in places where they are properly compensated, have the proper working conditions and are given the respect they are due. Those who remain are tired, frustrated, and feel just as abandoned by the system as their patients do. And when doctors and nurses are this tired, over worked and frustrated, and angry, they tend to make mistakes. Mistakes like 42% rate of inaccuracy of hormone receptor tests for breast cancer patients, or flawed work by a radiologists overseeing the care of more than 3500 patients, or a nicked bowel on a patient who simply wanted a cyst removed.

But to hear Danny Boy tell it today "Our health-care system is not in a crisis". Then, the moron continues to elaborate saying that "the Grand Falls-Windsor hospital will be standing in line with deteriorating schools and roads", and one can only assume, 1000 dollar baby bonus checks for families back home.

Well ladies, maybe you should learn how to squat down and deliver those babies on your own because it seems there will be no room at the inn if you need to haul ass to the ER.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A thousand bucks for every baby?

Most politicians simply kiss babies, or take the obligatory picture with one. Smile for the camera! But our Danny takes that old election ploy one step further- he is bribing them before they are even born!

Yes the election promise made by Williams on Tuesday means parents would get $1,000 for every child they have in an effort to combat a sagging birth rate and mass outmigration that has sapped the province.

Hey Danny, come here for a second! Now listen close, I need to explain something to your ass:

Most Newfoundlanders would give their left tit (or nut as the case may be) to live and work on the Rock. They are not leaving because they want to- they have to. They search for work that pays them a fair wage. Work that is stable. Work in a province that can offer their children opportunity, a future. Unless you can offer this to Newfoundlanders, they will continue to leave. They will take that $1000 bucks, and save it for a plane ticket to Alberta, to Ontario, heck, even to Korea.

But they can’t stay in a province that offers them so little in the ways to make a life. No matter how much they want to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It is Election Time

But I just don’t feel it.

The money is flying, promises are being made, babies kissed, and roads are being paved. The rhetoric is heating up as the political ads air nonstop between ads for Tampax and Nytol. Sad tallies all of promises made, broke, kept, remade and negated.

And honestly, I don’t give a damn.

My Poppy served in World War II, and I have always taken the right to vote very seriously. I always made an effort to get to know the issues, to be politically aware, and to haul my fat ass up off the couch each Election Day and vote. I was one of those annoying coworkers who harassed and berated those who could not be bothered to get politically involved.

And now I am one of them.

I am just so tired of the same old crap. And hey, it is not like we all don’t know how it is going to end. We know who will get elected; we know what will happen after the election. Nothing.

And absolutely nothing will change.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Search For Steve Fosset makes use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk

It’s been ten days since adventurer Steve Fossett disappeared in the Nevada desert. Millionaire Richard Branson was using Google Earth to try to located him and now Amazon is involved. The company has set up a Mechanical Turk project where volunteers can view recent satellite photos and search for the plane. The project is located here. A similar project was created to search for computer scientist Jim Gray when he was lost at sea earlier this year, but Gray was never found.

When I heard about this story I had a slightly jaded response- ah yes, another cocky kabillionaire killed off by his own arrogance. But that dark knee-jerk reaction soon gave way to a sense of awe, I mean, absolutely how cool is this technology? This is beyond Transporter cool, beyond Cylon cool, beyond Transwarp drive cool. This is ubercool.

The next thing that struck me was the results this undertaking have revealed. So far, searchers have found half a dozen previously unknown crash sites, but no sign of Fossett’s plane. Wait a second, how can we have SIX previously unknown crash sites? How does that work exactly? We must assume at least one person was aboard- likely more than one, how is that person was not missed by someone? Homeless men/women don't fly planes, prison escapees (except those off Prison Break it seems) don't have the means to fly either, and these pilots ain't runaways. This is not a person who is off the grid. A person who can fly a plane is a person of some means, likely a person who should be missed, even if we assume these folks failed to file a flight plan. Surely someone somewhere approached authorities and said: "Um, We are missing my dad, and a plane can you look into this for us?"

I find it so odd that half a dozen crashes went unreported and missing until now. And while it is amazing to consider what can be done when people put time and effort into something, it strikes me as profoundly sad that no less than six individuals were left to mummify in the heat of the desert because they didn't have the high profile name and face to warrant the effort.

If I have an accident in the desert nobody but my family would use this technology to look for me. I am not famous, I am not rich, and as such my worth as a person on this planet is limited only to my circle of family and friends. Perhaps the attention generated from this will make it easier in the future for people to conduct searches for ‘average’ people, but I doubt it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Well I am back at it

Maternity leave is over and I am back at work. Sigh. It has been a rough week. I had to drop the Boy off at Montessori School for his first full day. It was what I had been dreading for weeks. I had envisioned him crying and screaming, clinging on to my legs, wailing like a banshee, and me wailing right along with him. It didn't quite go down that way- the Boy had a much more effective tactic.

When we arrived, he simply tucked his sweet little face into my neck, and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. When they finally pulled him off me, he tucked his little face into the neck of his teacher and stared at me with pleading eyes, and a trembling lower lip. If you listen very carefully just now, you might hear my heart break all over again as I recall that scene. His quiet protest left me feeling like I was the hunter who just killed Bambi's mother. Such was the doe eyed look of misery I received.

My first day back at work was jammed packed with new things I needed to learn, and old things I had to relearn, new names and faces to memorize, and a thousand tasks that all demanded my immediate attention. All of it important. All of it with "right now" status. All of it taking a mental back seat to "I wonder how he is doing?" "Why did I leave him there" "Is he eating?" "Why did I not get a better job?" "I hope they can get him to sleep" "Oh god, I hope he knows I am coming back for him" "Is he crying?" "I am a terrible mother". Oh man there is nothing more powerful, more all consuming, more destructive to the human psyche than guilt.

Of course I had one arse cheek up off the chair, waiting for the end of the working day so I could leap out of there and race to get my son.

I could hear the crying as I walked down the hall to the infants room (he is only 11 months old). But wait, that didn't sound like the Boy. No, that is not him at all! I open the door to see each of the teachers crawling with wailing babies, and where is my boy? Over by the wall, opening and closing the little drawers and dials they have there. He doesn't even look up as I ask his teachers how he did- I even had to raise my voice a little so they could hear me over the caterwauling. He didn't even flinch. Just kept right on working.

It seems my Boy was one of the "happy ones". He had a great day. Their only concern was that he hadn't pooed, nor would he sleep. They put him in his crib, and he cuddled his MooCow, and simply stared at all the sleeping babies. But would not fall asleep himself. I guess he wanted to scope the place out. He is a strange child.

And in the days since then, the pattern established on the first day has continued. When I go to pick him up he hardly knows I am there- and when he does notice my presence he dutifully crawls over and hugs my legs. Then, when we arrive home he poos. Thanks for saving that little joy for Mommy kid. Yes, that is exactly what I needed. Why, oh why, can't you make this deposit at school? Perhaps I have a little anal retentive baby on my hands.

Naaa, I think he just takes after his Dad.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Ten Commandments- Newfoundland Style

1. Jus' one Lard
2. Onor yer Mudder 'n fadder
3. No tellin' jigs 'n yarns
4. Go on ta deh Sundee meetin b'ye.
5. Dere's nuttin befare deh 'oly Lard
6. No foolin 'round wit anudder buddy's missus
7. No killin
8. Mine yer mout
9. Never mine 'bout dat which t'aint yers
10. Never mine 'bout yer buddy's stuf

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Attention Beauty Competitions!

The jig is up. You no longer need to bother with the Interview questions to reveal intelligence (snigger!) and personality (guffaw!). We know it is just filler.

Miss Teen South Carolina was asked: ”Recent polls have shown 1/5 of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map why do you think this is?” This was her answer:

Um. Like .Yeah. Einstein here still managed to be the third runner-up.

The correct answer to the question was: In North America we have placed more value on being attractive, rich and famous. Education takes a back seat (I am sure you are familiar with the back seat Miss Teen South Carolina!) Accountability and personal integrity are ideals for an age long past. With our no fail, social promotion, let’s-not-hurt-their little-self-esteem system in which diplomas are given out like tic tacs, why would you expect any less?

So Miss Teen South Carolina next time you are asked a question that requires you to think, just do what you do best and flash your tits.

You would have gotten to first place had you done that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Captain Newfoundland. Ever heard of him?

I don’t think he will be coming to a theater near you any time soon; Captain Newfoundland (a.k.a. Captain Atlantis and Samadhi) isn’t exactly, shall we say, marketable. But he is as real a super hero as any other. He is a hippy superhero really, a philosophical guy, always going off in inward rants, and awkward social commentary. This guy is no Clark Kent. He will catch the bad guys, and sit them down and explain to them the Siddhartha method for controlling one's emotions. Captain Newfoundland is an Age of Aquarius type of guy.

Captain Newfoundland is the ultimate “CFA”, which is a Newfoundland saying for a person who is not from the Rock, a person who comes from away. His race came to Earth millennia ago with on a mission to teach young mankind how to build pyramids in Egypt and to become one with the universe in India. I am really not sure why he wasted his time on all this, when the man could have just fast forwarded through time and restored the cod stocks or something useful like that. But who can explain the mind of a super hero? According to legend, his people also founded the kingdom of Atlantis which was almost entirely destroyed (how that happened I was never really sure) all except a little tip…can you see where this is going? That little remaining tip of Atlantis is what is now known as Newfoundland.

Centuries later the Vikings, led by Leif Eiriksson, landed on the Rock and founded a colony. During their first winter, a strange being was sighted, and Vikings being, well Vikings, attacked. The captain then transformed, growing into a giant version of the god Odin. They had a big pow-wow, there was some time travel and probably lots of laser lights, and dancing chicks, and boom they were friends. I was never really clear on why this whole interaction took place. Ah yes, this was the nature of the comic series- a series that took place on the corporeal plane, and the spiritual plane. It was burnt. It was odd. It was something that I believe was the result of either too much wacky tobacky, or not enough time on the psych ward.

There are a lot of weird things about the comic, but the oddest thing of all has to be the fact that the Captain's face is a black mask with an outline of the Island on it. No, I am not making this up, seriously. Look:

Come on, look at me with a straight face and tell me that is not insane! I mean what comic hero has a MAP for a face? It is beyond a little nuts. This full on, you-require-medication-and-full-time-care wacko. And yet somehow it works.

I didn’t pick up the Newfoundland Herald last time I was home, so I have no idea if the series is still alive and well, let alone if the good Captain is still kicking ass. If anyone out there can let me know, I would appreciate it. And if you can update me as to what is going on in the series, I would like that too. Hey, it is always good for a laugh.

pictures from http://jeffwerner.ca/2006/03/captain_canada.html

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hey Danny "Chavez"!

Hey Danny, exactly what broke the impasse between you and Big Bad Oil? There has been much speculation but no real talk on the subject. All Big Oil will say is that they are "pleased" with the deal, avoiding the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room, and the mess it is likely to make. T'is making me more nervous then a dog at the vets office; doggie knows sooner or later he is gonna get snipped.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

N.L. announces $16B Hebron oilfield deal. Maybe.

I know, it is old news now, this story broke yesterday. I was sort of waiting to post about this until I had figured out how I felt about it. But it is clear to me that I will remain two minds on this one for some time now.

Don't get me wrong, I am mostly elated. On its face, this sounds like a wonderful coup! Finally Newfoundland is not being bent over the fence- it looks like we may actually be getting somewhere. Maybe regaining some autonomy and respect.

However wasn't this deal dead in the water last year? Didn't the oil companies want tax breaks in exchange for the equity stake? What happened to that demand? I know, we are going to put up more money now...but still.

Maybe I am just too cynical. Is it me or is this deal a little too close to the October provincial election? Perhaps I am worried that this, like other projects, will end up half in, half out of the province, with workers shipped in from all over the world. It could be the lack of details surrounding the deal that worries me; more to the point: what did we give up to get this memorandum? Or maybe it is because 2015 is a long ways away, who knows how much feces could hit the fan before then?

Its nerves. Yeah, nerves. I am just jittery because nothing is signed yet. Right?

It is more like I am scared to believe. I have heard this song before, heard it too often, for too long, from too many politicians. It goes a little something like this: "We will achieve economic self-reliance. We will bring our sons and daughters back home!"

And yet here I am.

So, congratulations on your recent win Danny Williams. Really. I hope this historic memorandum of understanding is everything you claim. But you will excuse me if I don't pack my bags just yet.

* picture from http://www.petro-canada.ca/images/general/Location_Map_Oil_Only.jpg

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I can see you infected finger person!

Would the person who found my blog by entering the following words into google: “red line going up arm from infected finger” please stand up. Are you standing red line infected finger person? Good. Now get off the internet and haul ass to the Doctor’s office will ya? Jaysuz.

I almost dropped my tea this morning when I read that in my site stats. I can see what types of searches are performed and the search engines used to do it- sometimes it is really weird to see how people get here, and other times it is downright scary.

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular to use the Internet to diagnose everything from a simple tummy ache to congestive heart failure. I don’t remember Dell shipping an honorary medical degree to me when I bought my computer. I mean I can check the box again but I am pretty sure all I am going to find is the bill.

The net has got to be bad for hypochondriacs. If you do a search with just headache, nausea, and dizziness as your symptoms you will find yourself with any thing from vestibular balance disorders, to ear infections, to cancer. Pick your poison!

Hey, I am all for people empowering themselves with information, and being proactive about your health- but when you have got a “red line” going up your arm from your “infected finger” you should not be on the net. You should be at a hospital somewhere, probably hooked up to antibiotics.

Now I understand a lot of people want to avoid going to a crowded ER, where if you weren’t sick before, by the time you get to see someone and get out of there it is a good bet you will have caught something new. Consider it a parting gift from Canada’s health care system to you. A perverted little loot bag of disease. Yes, I understand your reluctance, but there are other options. Call a nurse! They are the ones who really know what is going on anyway! Many provinces have a system like we do in Ontario called Telehealth where you can call a nurse if you need to. I have called it many times, and saved myself trips to a walk-in clinic or an ER. In Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador the number to call is HealthLine - (1-888-709-2929) where you will receive bilingual, not-urgent health care advice. But when in doubt people, don’t log on, or call, just get to the hospital and take care of yourself.

Do you hear me “red line going up arm from infected finger” person? Do ya huh?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cell Phone laws protect the stupid...and the innocent

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador calls on all provinces to follow its lead by banning use of hand-held cell phones while driving. I applaud this action- there are too many distracted drivers out there and those driving while babbling on the on the road are among the worst. I am not sure why there is any opposition to this legislation, it seems pretty common sense to me. And I have to say it warms my heart to see Newfoundland leading the charge.

I remember when cell phones first became really popular, I was younger and I thought it was cool. My parents, who tend to drive long distances for work on empty Newfoundland highways, really liked the security cellphones offered should they break down or need emergency assistance on the road. Let’s face it there are stretches of road home where you can drive for 2 hours and not see a gas station or another car. And yeah, it is nice when you were going to be late for dinner, to be able to call ahead and let people know. They were great for that sort of thing.

However, that is not what they have become. Like Lapdogs and Rottweilers, cell phones became status symbols for self important imbeciles everywhere. If you didn’t have one attached to your ear you were not worth talking to. Now every goon with a cell plane is talking long and loudly anywhere and everywhere all the time. I am not sure I would be so annoyed if they were saying something at least halfway interesting but most of it is so banal.

But you know, it isn’t just these permanently connected egomaniacs who are causing problems. Car accident statistics indicate 98 percent of reported accidents involve a single distracted driver. Rubbernecking was the highest percentage of single distractions, followed by driver fatigue, looking at scenery or landmarks, passenger or child distractions, adjusting the radio or other music form, and cell phone use. I have seen people put on make-up while driving, I have seen folks reading the paper, I saw one guy…well, he was making himself pretty happy lets just leave it there (Note to people who drive in cars: Folks who drive a van, truck or semi can see pretty much everything you do in a car).

Unfortunately we cannot legislate common sense, even though we try. Like the seatbelt law, this one is apt to get a number of people upset, but after a time, it becomes habit to comply. As much as I wouldn’t mind it if a few of the morons out there removed themselves from the gene pool before they bred, I know that nine times out of ten these morons who cause accidents are seldom the ones hurt. Some kid crossing the street, or another driver who is doing all the right things usually gets the worst of it. While the moron walks away without a scratch. Yes, sometimes we have to protect the idiots against their will in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One of my Favourite Newfoundlandisms

Here is a new feature for the blog: "Favourite Newfoundlandisms"

Today's winner is:

"I am so hungry, I could eat the arse off a low flying duck"

What are some of your favourite Newfoundland quotes or popular sayings?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Seattle's Fremont Troll has escaped, Irritates Bloggers

The Fremont Troll has been lurking under the north end of the Aurora bridge in Seattle since 1990. But about a week ago the 18-ft. tall mammoth vanished into thin air. The missing Troll worries authorities because it has been off its medication for sometime now and police are afraid that the grey beast could hurt itself or someone else.

There have been numerous sitings but none have been confirmed. Analysts are now viewing security footage from a local Internet cafe where tipsters say they saw the Troll surfing the net and eating Paydays. Servers in the heart of Seattle's technology center are adding credibility to this claim as they have noticed a marked increase in Spam and Internet Troll attacks on Blogs, Forums and Chat rooms.

If you see this Troll, do not engage it. Without medication it has no control over its emotional centers. It is impervious to reasoning as it has the mental capacity of a toddler. Just proceed as though you do not see it, and contact authorities immediately.

Or you can do as I have, and record their IP address. Should the Troll come back to disturb me, I shall just have to send it something nasty.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wedding Stories, and the Art of the Open Bar

I was a wedding this weekend, for a friend of mine and his girlfriend. There they are----> Ain't they purdy? This was a very important occasion, not just because it was a wedding, but because it was a wedding with a free bar! Ha! Just kidding. It was important to me because I happen to think a lot of Andre, and it was good to see him happy. It was also a momentous because my husband and I got to go out! Outside, together, sans baby, like normal people do! Wahoo! When you live away from home, getting a baby sitter is hard. I do have an Uncle here, but he and his wife have three young kids- so I don’t feel right about asking them to sit for me, but this occasion was too important to miss, so that is exactly what I did.

It was really good to sit with friends and have adult conversation. And it was wonderful to be able to have a drink or two. Ahhh yes. Nine months of pregnancy and 7 ½ months of breast feeding make for a very dry Nadine. So I had a glass of wine, then a Vodka and cran, then another glass of wine…I was having a laugh with friends I haven’t seen in awhile. Dancing and laughing with Don was a lot of fun too. And it is thirsty work let me tell ya! I found myself really enjoying the wine- until the flashback.

Yes. Yes. The Flashback. I had been to a wedding before where I was going through wine like this. And then beer. And then Vodka, and then Scotch. I don’t think that ended well. No, not well at all. Want to hear the story? Well, sit back and get yourself a drink.

The wedding was in 2003, in Kingston which is a little over 2 hours from here. It was for my husband’s childhood friend Mike, who was, as we say back home, a bit of a hard case. We drive out on the Friday after work. The traffic was heavy and it was raining cats, dogs and various rodents the whole way out. Nice start.

We get to the room at the hotel, a little smelly, very tiny, but it is somewhat clean. After checking in and unpacking, we head to the local bar where the wedding party was having a pre-weddin’ social. When we arrive I notice there are kids running around, babies everywhere, and a lot of people I don't know hitting the bottles pretty hard. Since I am driving, I must watch all this and not participate. I consider how the eight year old feels watching mommy getting soused, and wonder briefly about the affects of alcohol on mother's breast milk. Then I decide I don't care. How the kids got into the bar is beyond me. It was not a restaurant.

I was introduced to a number of the people at the wedding, and I am dismayed to discover that only three of the guests are Don's friends, I only know two of them. Even more distressing is that the rest of them are lawyers. Most of the night is spent listening to the group masturbating with stories from law school, or their legal firms (Now before the comment section is filled up with accusations that I am an antilawyerite, let me assure you, I love lawyers. Some of them are my best friends. I just hate the ones who are full of themselves). Thankfully Jeff Hogg and his wife Sherri were there, so I got to talk to someone while I watched husband get soused. He doesn't do that very often, so it was ok. Kind of funny to watch actually.

The next day we head over to Fort Henry for the wedding, and after 2 short hours of waiting to get across the causeway we arrive. I am thinking to myself that this might actually be nice- we will be near the water, and outdoors for a wedding…that would have been really cool. Except that is not where the ceremony is. Nope, we are doing that in a bunker at the top of Fort Henry. A small urine smelling bunker. It is dank, there are no windows, save the three missing bricks at the front of the bunker. But my, those white silk ribbons on the brick sure do look nice!

The woman in front of me must have marinated in her perfume and it was making me queasy. A wedding guest was late so the bride's family held the wedding up for them, while we waited like sheep in the bunker. I was getting a little claustrophobic; my eyes start to roll in my head, and I was tachycardic. The pianist squeezed into a piano at the front of the bunker played the same three songs over and over again. I started to see stars. The couple behind me rehashed the same stories I heard from the night before. How thoughtful.

Finally the wedding started, and the rest of it was pretty well engineered. We laughed and clapped in the right places. Pictures came after that, and Lord, if I have to start describing that whole set up, I will have to start drinking again.

I am honestly quite ill by that point so I went to the washroom: splashed cold water on my face and went outside for fresh air. I felt a little better when I was given an intriguing bit of information from the groom: Drinks were free until dinner. I figure, hell, I feel like crap now, maybe a drink or two will help. Somehow forgetting that this is now 6:00 pm, and I haven't eaten since 11:30.

Well I got a drink, and get a round for the people I can talk to (Don, Jeff and Sherrie) and sip. And sip. Around me, more stories from law school, and talk about how much money they made last year before taxes. Don is talking to Mike and Jeff, someone gestures to him and Jeff and asks who they are. The reply is "They didn't go to law school." so they moved on to the next topic. Someone was kind enough to get another round. And we all say thank you politely and gulp. Now there was no fraternizing with the law crowd. I was starting to think we scared them. I get another drink and asked myself "Am I scary?" This continued for sometime, and we learn that dinner will be delayed a bit. There are some other scripted items which must be completed first. I am not sure what they were right now, but I remember it had something to do with pictures, and Randy Travis. I drink.

Sometime later, and trust me, I don't remember, dinner is served. I think by this time I have set a record for how many times one person can curse between breaths. Most of what happens next is a blur. I remember feeling a little off. And concentrating on my turkey. I had a piece held up on my fork for a long time. You can meditate with turkey you know. It is quite calming. Suddenly I knew I had to move...and fast. Don says he looked at me at that point and feared for someone's life. I looked angry. I was not at that point. I had one goal. To get out. To get to the bathrooms.

Well fine friends. I did not make it to the bathroom. And the two gentlemen who were at the bar down the hall from the dinner room can attest to that. I almost made it out of the little bunker. But not quite. A sad mixture of white wine, red wine, some scotch and a morsel of turkey made a second projectile appearance in the doorway to the outside air. I don't remember the next few moments. I do know that Sherrie came outside with me and held my head up for about half an hour, trying to get me to eat. Not much success on that front. Don came out a few times to make fun of me and disappear. Finally he decides it is time to haul my sorry ass back to the hotel. The sorry spectacle was the highlight of the evening for the non-lawyers...and they left shortly after we did. Needless to say, I did not make it to the boat trip the next day.
So back to 2007 now, and with that Flashback oh so fresh in my mind I decided I'd had enough wine, vodka and amaretto, and chose water instead. My mamma didn’t raise no fool.