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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympic Stats

So, here we are again, at the end of another winter Olympiad. I prefer the Winter Olympics (hence my absence from the blogosphere this past little while) mainly because it seems more Canadian, and hence we always do better at them. And considering I live in Calgary, the home of the 1988 Winter Olympics (and don't you dare forget it!), it borders on civic pride.

I did notice something rather interesting. Most of our medals were won by female athletes. In fact, 16 of our 24 medals came courtesy of female athletes. That's two-thirds. And five of our seven gold medals came from the female athletes too. I think I heard one commentator mention this. I may be jaded (and a bitter, twisted, old conspiracy-theorist feminist) but I bet there would have been more comment had it been the other way round. Queries of why we are funding these women who aren't achieving. Rumours of cutting said funding. Sigh. And why aren't women allowed to ski jump at the Olympics? Will it interfere with our childbearing responsibilities? I still remember that one as an excuse as to why we couldn't triple jump in junior high. I personally would like to see women flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

But I digress. Actually, no I don't, I'm on a rant here. So why aren't we celebrating the overwhelming victory of the women's Olympic hockey team? We are the Queens of the Ice! Oh, maybe that's the reason...

And now we're up next. It's 2010 in Vancouver/Whistler! And wasn't it a proud moment when the recently-elected Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, wheeled his way up to take the Olympic flag from the Mayor of Turin? Torino? Never mind.

Maybe if I start saving now, I can afford tickets to see the first-ever Olympic women's ski jump event. It's gonna happen. It's gotta happen. After all, we'll need all the medals we can win, as we're the only host country never to win a gold medal. Twice. Ouch.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Tyranny of Valentine's Day

Well, here we are again, on the eve of another blockbuster event designed to bring out your inner consumer. Have you bought your chocolates, flowers, jewelry, lingerie, yet? Better yet, are you thinking you'll receive chocolates, flowers, jewelry, lingerie? It's a good day to buy, that's for sure. But I continue my intense dislike of the day.

I used to hate this day in grade school too. Everyone had to send those damn little cards out, and in my day, you sure didn't have to give one to every kid in the class. So raw, hurt feelings were inevitable, and it didn't get any better in high school when they had fundraisers for hand-delivered cupcakes, or whatever the hell it was.

Am I sounding a bit bitter and twisted? Or possibly a tad martyred? Well, that at least would be more historically accurate, as all three of the saints known as Valentine were early Christian martyrs. Their feast day - February 14 - was associated with romance because it was when the birds began to couple (read, rut). Also it's associated with the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. So it's really more about procreation than romance.

Prehaps my foul mood has to do with the fact that February is universally known - at least in the Northern hemisphere - as the worst month for Seasonal Affective Disorder - depression, in other words. So whose bright-ass idea was it to put a day dedicated to romance smack dab in the middle of the worst month for depression? You're bound to beget more depression with that logic, no?

I've decided to head off to the casino tomorrow night and try my luck on the slots. I'll either come home more depressed, or very, very happy with bags of money. And then I'll go out and buy my own chocolates, flowers, jewelry, lingerie. Yeah. That'll show 'em.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The New Normal

Can't stop with the politics - way too interesting. First of all, Harper named his leaner, meaner Cabinet. One unelected Minister, who was rapidly appointed (not elected) to the Senate. One turncoat Liberal from Vancouver, who has Olympic ambitions - that is, in running them, not running (or skating or curling) in them. On first glance, doesn't look good for the Cons (not the Tories - that was the old party, eh?) Guess Harper is over that nasty Stronach defection - at least he got even.

Then there was the make-up of the other 27 Cabinet Ministers. And for sure, there was our man, Stockwell, leading the charge as Minister of Public Safety. Why is it that I don't feel too safe? And why did they drop the "Emergency Preparedness" part of the portfolio? My guess is that if bird flu hits, we'll all have to pray. That's where the "Minister" part of his new title comes in handy. Six women in Cabinet, but no Diane Ablonczy - no reward for long service to the Reform movement or for introducing Harper to his wife. That should have been worth something right there. And what better place for his old buddy-rival Peter Mackay than out of the country most of the time. Clever. Maybe Peter can help solve that nasty Denmark debacle by reviving the Hans Island debate, thereby diverting world attention away from the cartoons. Good first move, if you ask me. Shame about our Sea King helicopter that went down just off the Danish coast though - doesn't inspire confidence in our ability to actually defend Hans Island.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the Tony Clement appointment. The man gutted Ontario's health care system, so Alberta shouldn't have any problems when they continue to gut theirs. And I know Ralph, we pay $9.1 billion a year for healthcare. That's because you insisted on blowing up hospitals back in the 90s and we're playing catch up. But I digress...see how easily federal politics turns into provincial - and by provincial, I mean Alberta - politics now. That's the New Normal, and from here on in it's just going to get curioser and curioser.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Break from Politics

Seems I've been blasting away now about the Canadian political scene for a few posts now, so thought I'd change topic. But before I do .... did you hear Stephen Harper ended up in an Ottawa hospital a couple of days ago with respiratory problems (perhaps asthma, perhaps pneumonia, we're not too sure...)? Doesn't exactly inspire confidence - probably stress-induced to boot. And he hasn't even taken office yet. The best line was from a colleague in my office, who said he probably had the stress-induced attack because he realized he had to put Stockwell Day in his Cabinet. Nice.

But on to other things. I said that if I found consumer products I really liked, I would share them with the blogosphere. Well, I really like the portable towel warmer I bought recently at Linens 'n Things. I'd been eyeing these things for almost two years and my mother finally got fed up and bought me a gift card at Christmas. So I got one. It's lovely. It warms your towels and dries your smalls. You can get out of the shower and clamber into a nice warm, snuggly towel. I'm definitely addicted. It reminds me of staying in the really nice hotels, and sometimes you just have to pamper yourself. Go. Buy one. You won't regret it.