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)