Category Archives: me

Of $50 Haircuts and Busted Smartphones

Where to begin? A bit too shellshocked still from last week’s tragedy to jump right back into the political commentary. How about some frivolous personal stuff?

Here we see a photo of my two crippled Treo smartphones, a 180 and a 270, taken courtesy of the onboard camera of my new toy, the Treo 600. Astute (by which I mean nerdy) readers will note that almost exactly one year ago, I purchased the used Treo 270 from Andrew Currie after my Treo 180 failed. Now the 270 has failed and I have bought an even more expensive and problematic beast. The lesson? I’m an idiot, but you knew that already.

And because I’m an idiot I decided it was time to splurge on a $50 haircut, rather than the cheap-ass $7 jobs I usually steal from the haircutting school near my parents’ house. Here is the result of salon pampering and expensive styling product:

Who said I wasn’t metrosexual enough? Of course you can’t see the actual hair in that photo, so use your imagination and picture me with 50 dollar bills plastered to my scalp.

Aw heck, let’s end on some environmental politics. A famous global warming denier has this to say:

Michael Crichton: “I think there’s only one position, and that is the position that the data leads you to.”

I’m with you, Michael. When the bulk of evidence starts to point toward global warming being a myth, I will happily (honestly and truly happily) join you in your skepticism. Until then, please follow your own advice and be lead by the freakin’ data.

Meanwhile, there’s another planetwide phenomenon upon us —global dimming.

Another Tragedy

A very sad thing happened this weekend when the wife of a dear friend and co-worker, who was apparently an occasional visitor to this site, unexpectedly and suddenly passed away. I cannot imagine a family less deserving of such heartbreak, and I struggle to find some way to help them. At times like this there are no catch-all words of comfort for those left behind. I can only offer the following insight.

About three years ago I was in Bermuda with my friends Sean and Andrew. While there we foolishly rented motor scooters, even though only Andrew had any appreciable experience on any motorized vehicle. So it comes as no surprise to hear that I, ever the klutz, crashed my scooter and suffered a concussion.

Now, in between losing consciousness on the pavement and waking up with a paramedic peering down at me and tasting Andrew’s fingers in my mouth (don’t ask), I have vivid memories of a unique experience. In those brief seconds of blackout I remember long minutes of complete contented timelessness during which I was on a country road in summer with blinding brilliant white sunlight beating down upon me; and with me were the people in the world whom I loved the most. During this period, I knew that I was supposed to be somewhere else, but I was so completely content and happy to be on that road that I didn’t care what was happening in the “real” world.

I’m not suggesting that what I experienced was a near-death experience. I don’t know if my heart stopped. I accept that it’s entirely possible that my “hallucination” was caused by scrambled neurons and/or the subtle play of Bermudan sunlight upon the retinas of my still open eyes.

But all of that is beside the point. When I awoke I no longer had any fear of physical death. I still cling to life with all my might, and I’m terrified of life-threatening situations. But my only anxiety regarding my own death concerns the care and disposition of those I would leave behind; I am otherwise now convinced that the actual process of personal death is not necessarily a traumatic experience, but indeed is the “re-birth” that many traditions teach. I am not a religious man, yet I have personally encountered additional scenarios which reinforce the conclusion that physical death is not the end of the journey.

None of this, of course, helps my friend and his children in the short term. But I hope that, over time, as they come to deal with missing their departed love one, there will be some comfort in considering that death, while tragic, may not be the complete extinguishing of human spirit or potential, but merely its transformation to another place or form.

If anyone has any words of particular insight and comfort to offer my friend, feel free to add them as a comment, as he is a regular visitor.

Lord Love A Geoduck

With all the seriousness about us these days, let’s dwell on some frivolity, shall we? The following is supposedly a photo of Rasputin’s penis, recently bought on auction by a curiosity collector:



It does seem likely, though, that had the mad monk’s schlong been sliced off, it would have been at its base and not the navel, no? Besides, this looks more like a geoduck or a sea cucumber. Will wonders never cease?

Now, one of my favourite shows these days happens to be Stargate: Atlantis, which is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1. But here’s my problem with the new show. Why does the grand city of a 10,000 year old technologically-advanced space-faring civilization so resemble my highschool chemistry class? A failure of imagination, my friends. Same reason all aliens on American sci-fi shows happen to be white people with mid-Western accents.

And speaking of aliens on American sci-fi shows, how come none of them ever speaks with contractions? Something about advanced alien culture that is averse to the apostrophe? Just another mystery for our times, I guess.

PS. Both of my tsunami articles (here and here) have seen interest from India Currents Magazine; the first might see print in February.

A New Year’s Tradition

Thanks to those who’ve made comments about the new site design. It’s a work in progress; more comments are welcome. As always, last year’s Bulletin is archived, so if you missed my closing year commentary, feel free to browse back. I’d like to remind you of the new articles over on The Podium: “Poverty Caused the Tsunami” and “Stingy Tsunami Relief.”

2004 was a crappy year for many reasons, both global and personal. But the tradition here at is to begin each year by listing those things for which I am actually thankful. So let’s go…

  • While I loved living in Washington, DC, it’s sort of nice to be out of the USA during these times of renewed gestapo culture;
  • I started a great new job and a great new career in consulting right here in boring old Ottawa;
  • My new book came out (and no one seemed to notice), but at least now I’m officially not just an author, but a novelist. Cool.
  • As a result of a personal crisis I discovered just how cool and supportive my friends and family really are;
  • Speaking of which, while some close friends have lost parents recently, I still thankfully have both of mine (serious knocking on wood!)
  • Canada’s new federal Conservative party, while full of fire and bravado, failed to win election to power. Whew!
  • Most importantly, I met a remarkable young woman who, though we are no longer involved, remains a part of my life, and I am much better for it.

Sorry for the shmaltz, but that’s what you get. It’s a small price to pay one day a year for the hard as nails journalistic commentary you usually get here at!