Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Other London

This past weekend, the girls and I (Laurie, Sophie, and Mali) spent an enjoyable day in the city of London.
Laurie shopped, Sophie cooed and gurgled at passers-by, and Mali frolicked with a handsome young Viszla in the dog park on Adelaide St.

Obviously, we're no longer part of the international teaching jet-set like our friends Rick and Heather of We were in London,Ontario rather than its transatlantic namesake.

The quickest route to London is an hour-long drive south from Goderich on highway four. On the way, you pass through such notable burgs as Hensall, the white bean capital of Canada, Lucan, home of the infamous Black Donnellys, and Exeter, whose name, and odour are reminiscent of excrement. The pastoral contryside is dotted with an occasional stone farmhouse, but for the most part, it's an underwhelming journey. That's not to say there aren't some beautiful nooks and crannies in Southern Ontario--you just won't find them alongside Highway Four. Beauty is a card this region holds pretty close to the chest.

The same can be said about London. At first glance, it's pretty uninspiring. The outer ring is the typical homogenous hodge-podge of poorly zoned tract developments, chain stores, and strip malls. The roads, as my wife often notes, are a commuter's nightmare--the city has simply outgrown its infrastructure. London also owns the dubious distinction of being home to the world's most poorly-named tavern--the Alex P. Keaton on Talbot Street. Come on. I know Michael J. Fox is a Canadian icon, but naming a bar after a fictional character he played in one of the lamest sitcoms this side of the Golden Girls---what could possibly be more pathetic?

All the same, we really enjoy London. It has a great covered market (Covent Gardens) in the downtown core, eclectic retail shops, and wonderful ethnic restaurants--three things we don't have in Goderich, so it's worth the trip.

Poor London. You must be a city with an inferiority complex--like some poor schmuck named Brad Pitt or George Clooney.

If you could re-name London, what would you call it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Support the Troops, But I Hate Babies: The Shameless Antagonist's Guide to Deconstructing Meaningless Propaganda

L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein is taking heat from the right wingers for writing a column in which he says he doesn't support the troops. In his concluding paragraph, he writes:

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Read It:

He argues that it's a contradiction to claim you're against the war and supportive of the troops, echoing the refrain of his conservative detractors.

Rather than concede semantic ground, I choose to reframe the context of the meaningless slogan "I support the troops".

You support the troops? Fine. Then let's set up a few parallel assertions: I support the teachers. I support the doctors. I support the priests. I support the children...Can you say these slogans with equal conviction and/or fervor?

What is support, anyway? Does the word "support" mean blindly condoning any action on the part of the subject of your support?

If you can say "I support the priests" with equal fervor, are you shouting "hallelujah" with each new molestation of an altarboy?

If you say "I support the children" with equal zeal, do you hold nerds for the neighborhood bully to punch?

Thoughtful people aren't hoodwinked by kneejerk appeals to patriotism.

I support the troops, particularly the conscientious objectors who refuse to particate in a counterproductive, ill-conceived neocolonial resource grab.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Good Question

"We still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know compels the conclusion that the President has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently. If the President has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration,
kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?"

-Al Gore

Monday, January 02, 2006

Little Bird

I don't know if Aunty Linda realized how appropriate Sophie's pants where when she bought them.

When our little bird is hungry, she literally pecks at her mother's breast with her nose.

Free Hit Counters
Free Counter