Friday, March 31, 2006

Just in Case You Missed Them

This cold has kept me up all night and I'm not coherent enough to blog properly. With it being the last day of March and all, what better time, therefore, to let others do the talking for me as I launch a new feature, Shit! I Wish I had Written That.

I keep a modest blogroll and check out all sites obessively on a daily basis. During the month of March, here are the three posts which most caught my fancy, for any number of reasons. I hope you enjoy them too. So in no particular order, and with no prizes or considerations other than my admiration, here are:

"Feeling Rather Peevish To-Day For No Particular Reason...". Interesting and hither-to-me-unknown American political trivia. And where does L get those amazing graphics?

"Job Interviews". I was going to acknowledge Twenty Major's heroic "live blog" during St. Patrick's Day, but got fed up cutting and pasting 24 fucking permalinks. So I picked the next post down the list.

"Us Weekly Visits the Fuhrerbunker". How can you fail to entertain when you mix romance with the final days of the Third Reich?

So there you have them. Hope I can get back to regular blogging tomorrow, once I've wiped my screen clean of the green sludge now coating it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

In Search of the Lost Chord

I have cut the umbilical chords of all five of my children. In Inuit tradition, this is an important rite: the cutter, called a sanaji, not only carries out this medically-necessary procedure, but makes a pronouncement of the future life and character of the newborn.

But my first time at bat, I somehow managed to turn a Madonna and Child moment into something straight out of a slasher film.

As with all our children, our first born was delivered by midwife in the birthing unit attached to the regional hospital in Puvirnituq. This unit is very low key - no delivery tables, no surgical gowns or masks, no obsessive rinsing of hands, no doctors or nurses - but a nice big queen size bed in a private room, with indirect dimmed track lighting and a few short steps away from the smoking balcony.

I had also managed to smuggle a six-pack of Molson into the room - for medicinal purposes, of course, in case I started to feel faint. Predictably, and fortunately, feeling faint I did become, and had polished off at least three cans before my son started crowning.

So when the moment came for me to cut the chord I was in a real funk, what with anxiety over the safety of mother and child, concerns over not passing out, and the importance of the task I was about to perform all combining with the beer. In short, I was just a few moments away from being admitted to the local mental ward down the hall.

I picked up the shears, positioning them appropriately between the two clamps on the umbilical chord, closed my eyes and squeezed. I then mumbled something about him being a great help to his mother and father during his life, and opened my eyes.

Flushed with success, nervousness, alcohol and over-exuberance I experienced what I can only describe as an idiot moment. For some still inexplicable reason, I unclamped the umbilical chord from the placenta end.

Bloody hell! Like some demented garden hose, the pressure still present in the placenta drove the chord spraying wildly about the room, splattering streaks of blood over the bed, wall, and all who were assembled in the room. I managed to dive for the twisted chord, grab it and reapply the clamp, but the damage was done.

I quickly repaired to the smoking balcony, with a beer can in each pocket of my parka, and toasted the arrival of my first born, who was to become our experimental model upon whom all manners of parenting mishaps befell, but who paved the way for easier child-rearing for his four subsequent siblings.

[Ed. Note: For those of you genuinely interested in traditional Inuit birthing and child-rearing practices, you can download a .pdf at this site.]

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Non Compos Mentis

Canadian jurisprudence has just hit an all time low.
One of the most notorious drunk drivers in the Ottawa area has been found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charges because of a mental disorder that makes him believe female celebrities are controlling his actions.
Seems the judge bought into his story that Shania Twain lives in his cranium and tells him what to do, so he is not to blame for driving whilst drunk, despite the fact that he killed a woman and her child while DUI a decade ago.

This trumps my usual legal defense - not guilty by reason of lycanthropy - which no judge has yet deemed worthy of being an acceptable explanation for my criminal malfeasances.

Which female celebrities control your actions, criminal or otherwise?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What is Happening to Me???

I think I'm losing it. Big time.

On average, I have to re-edit any given post at least 3 times after publishing it. And yes, I do proofread and preview before I hit the "Publish Post" button.

I spent five years as an editor for a magazine, and was pretty good at catching most typos and grammatical sins well before the first galley stage. And presently I spend my working hours drafting proposal after proposal (at least that's what I tell my employer). But now, despite my best efforts, I find the most egregious mistakes appearing as if by magic many hours after posting and reposting. What gives?

My theory is that, since I am the creator of the text, I am actually reciting it rather than proofreading when checking for errors. It might also have something to do with dashing off my daily missive minutes before rushing off to work each morning.

But I'm amazed, with few exceptions, how well most of your blogs are written with nary a spelling mistake, errant punctuation mark or poor construction. Just how do you guys do it?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Brits being Hypocrits on Seal Hunt

The seal harvest is a hot button issue in Europe and North America. Why? Because seals, especially young seals, have what the marketing industry calls sex appeal. Pictures of woeful-looking seal pups are just tailor-made to stir the public's passion, and make anyone with a heart dig deeper in his pockets to support PETA, Greenpeace and other eco-activist organizations.

But just where were all the animal rights activists in the UK in 2001 when over 7,000,000 cows, sheep and other cattle were "culled" to prevent the spread of what basically is a relatively benign medical condition?

I can still see Bruegelesque images in my mind of dead cattle being burned en masse across Britain's pastoral countryside as hysteria seemed to grip the nation. While the smouldering pyres received world-wide television coverage, I cannot remember a single word of protest against this commercially-motivated specicide.

Hoof and mouth disease, while quite contagious, is not a big killer of cattle: it justs renders them non-commercially valuable. And unlike variant KJD (mad cow disease), it rarely passes into humans and, when it does, it is a non-fatal condition. Vaccination was used in Holland to stop the spread of hoof and mouth, but was not used in the UK due to a then-existing EU regulation against exportation of vaccinated cattle, and the British government felt the economic impact would be too great.

Bluntly put, the hoof and mouth disease cull was nothing more than certain groups protecting their commercial interests. And the silence of the British public in 2001 was deafening.

So it seems we have two classes of animals: those which are exotic, attractive and whose life has perceived value, and domestic animals which are treated no better than breathing meat/milk/egg factories, in whose death we reap their worth.

I've been ragging Paul McCartney a lot recently in this blog, but at least he has the virtue of consistency being vegan. But how many others decry Canada's seal harvest, yet tacitly support animal brutality through consumption of animal flesh often raised in the most appalling and inhuman of conditions?

At least animals which are hunted exist in their natural ecology until the last few moments of life.

So, seal hunt protesters, either be consistent right across the board, or shut the fuck up!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Celebration of Seal Recipes!

In honour of the start up of the Canadian seal hunt season, I'm sure you'll all be appreciative of the following list of tried and true recipes for that other "chicken of the sea". Just what would this festive season be like without the family gathered around the dinner table, groaning under the weight of nature's bounty fresh from the ice floes?!!!

First, the old traditional stand-bys from the standard Canadian cuisine:
But, ever the innovator, and an ardent proponent of Fusion cuisine, I now present for your gustatory pleasure, these all-new thematic seal meat confections.

Seal Meat Hash (inspired by Sir Paul McCartney)

  • 2 kgs. fresh seal meat, cubed
  • 1 kg. blackbird breasts, deboned, whole
  • 500 grams turnips
  • 250 grams parsnips
  • 250 grams strawberries (field berries preferred)
  • 30 ml mustard (the meaner the better)

Boil turnips and parsnips salted water until done, then set aside. In a wok, stir-fry the cubed seal meal at high temperature until seared, add blackbird breasts fry another 10 minutes. Add cooked vegetables and cook another 5 minutes until flavours blend. Cool and refridgerate. Just before meal-time, blend strawberries and mustard together to create a vinegrette, and pour over the chilled seal meat and serve. A right good scoff.

Tournedos de Phoque a la Bardot

  • 500 grams baby seal tenderloin, well aged and beyond its prime
  • 250 grams Canadian bacon, thinly sliced
  • 125 grams pate de foie gras

Cut the seal tenderloin into 3 cm slices. Gird with bacon slices, holding in place with toothpicks. Grill quickly on both sides until red juices appear. Top with pate and serve quickly. This dish is best experienced with healthy jiggers of Screech.

Although I have tested both recipes, I am interested in hearing your comments and modifications.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Home Fitness

Given the extremely high cost of living up here in the Arctic, we take in boarders from time to time to supplement our meager income.

One of our regulars is a guy named Yuri, who works at a mine about 100 miles away and won't spend his off-rotation in Montreal or Toronto because of some unpleasant business with the Hell's Angels or similar criminal elements. He comes from a large city in Russia the name of which escapes me at present, but if I find my Risk board I'm sure it will come back to me.

Despite being a chain smoker, Yuri is obsessed with physical fitness, and since our village has no public gymansium or exercise club, he has quite creatively adapted our household furniture and appliances for his fitness routine. So for two weeks out of every six our house becomes Yuri's gym.

Now I don't mind his coffee table leg curls as long as he doesn't spill the drinks or the ashtray. And it's somewhat surreal to watch him doing chin-ups on the kitchen door frame wearing a Rammstein sweatshirt with blue jeans and counting out the repetitions in Russian.

But it was the bed press which really got to me. He started crawling underneath the twin bed in his room late at night, and lying flat on his back pushed the bed frame up, and down, then up, and down. Through the walls I could hear him pant "shestdesyat shest, shestdesyat sem', shestdesyat vosem', shestdesyat devyat' . . . " until I finally yelled "Yuri, knock it off - the kids have school in the morning". "Pros'tite, sorry Nanuk", he replied, "I find sponge tomorrow. White noise. Will be better".

I still have no idea what the fuck he was talking about. But he has switched to a more aerobic approach to fitness with my children's Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix. Like some weird sort of pantomime, Yuri plugs a set of headphones into the television, fires up the Nintendo Game Cube, lights up a cigarette and dances in smoke-hazed silence with Mario, Bowser and Mushroom as they cross their cartoon landscape in quest of keys.

It must be increasing his lung capacity, because he has now gone from two up to three packs of smokes a day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Walrus Penis Envy

During my recently-terminated 7-day stranding I had three obsessions - the weather back home, the ever-changing flight schedule, and walrus cocks. Since I am now safely arrived back home, the subject for today's post will be walrus dorkage.

What intrigues me is that walruses, at least male walruses, have an extremely hard bone running the length of their penises which, in effect, keeps them perpetually ready for action. Called a baculum, this bone is present in most mammals, except for humans, kangaroos, rabbits and hyenas, making penile reinforcement nature's rule rather than exception.

The walrus baculum, or usuuk in the eastern arctic dialects of Inuttitut, can be carved or scrimshawed into Inuit art. Preferably when the walrus is dead. And since walruses have a whopper in the phallus department, their baculae can be well over two feet in length.

It all seems so unfair! Walruses mate only during winter (in the water), so why do their cocks have to be erect all year round? We human males, on the other hand, at least think about sex 24/7/365 but have to rely on blood pressure to stand at attention. And believe me mileage does vary.

A recent interpretation of the Book of Genesis has postulated that Adam's rib, taken from the first man in order to create womankind, was actually his penile bone. The proponents of this theory note that biblical Hebrew does not have a word for penis, and point to the fact that both males and females of the human species have the same number of ribs.

From my point of view, this primal "bone" transplant is a greater punishment than banishment from Eden. And to add insult to injury, He gave us males superfluous nipples. But just imagine the potential if we only had a bone!

But I digress. My final thought on the walrus penis is to relate to you an Inuit joke. [You will have to turn to the "Comments" to get the answer.]

Why do walruses need to have a bone in their penises?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Day Seven - I've Given Up

Just a short post to keep you abreast of my current immobility in the icy grasp of a Nunavik winter. [Ed. Note: OK, like I know it's technically spring, but we still have tons of snow and frigid temperatures]. My mind has descended into such a funk that I'm knotching the days as they pass into the titanium case of my Powerbook.

In reality, I have not been actually immobile, but am being shunted from village to village flying over my fog-bound home town and family. Yesterday, ten air miles from town it was all blue skies and unlimited visibility. But two aborted approaches right over my village through freezing fog and mist (plane icing up all the while) were enough for the pilots, and more than enough for me: we thus proceeded to Kangiqsujuaq, ironically where this epic journey began.

They say you can truly never go home - I hope they are not being literal.

But enough of me, how are things going with you?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Same Shit, Different Pile

I apologize for the endless posting concerning my travel woes, but after five days of maroonment, getting home transcends mere obsession and has descended into mania.

A plane finally picked us up from Quaqtaq yesterday, but my home town was completely obscured by ice fog so we diverted to Kuujjuaq. And to this very hour my village remains shrouded in an inpenetrable white cloak of icy oblivion.

Not that I'm complaining about being stuck in a hotel with a restaurant and a [drum roll] BAR, but I'd rather be home. Fate did manage to play another cheap joke on me: even this hotel had no running water until just about an hour ago. And they're giving me the old heave-ho in 90 minutes because they want to give my room to some asshole just because he/she has a reservation.

So I'll camp out at the airport, and see what develops.

Feel free to make comparisons to Odysseus in the Comments.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Message in a Bottle

If you find this post, please let my family know my final thoughts are with them, and tell my oldest son to destroy my porno collection on the home computer's hard drive.

I am now entering into the fourth day of my meteorologically-enforced exile in Quaqtaq. Feeling like a member of the Franklin Expedition, I have an overpowering sense of doom, like Fate has thrown snake eyes and isn't even bothering to cast the dice again.

I went up to the today airport with a heart full of hope of finally getting home, the weather being passable. But the cloud ceiling soon fell and all I could hear was the drone of the engines passing overhead somewhere in the clouds.

To add to my woes, I have been turfed out of my hotel room since other guests magically appeared from another flight eventually heading to a different destination. They had the reservations for today, and I had none. So off to the couch in the common room I must needs repair, and try to pass yet another lonely night away from the bosom of my family and those I hold so dear.

Topping that, the sewage tank is full, so we have eight in the building with no functioning toilet. And the guy who drives the sewage removal truck is similiarly stuck, but in another town. I had a slash outside against the hotel wall last night, but as the sky is now brightening to a depressing grey, that option's now out.

I have just consulted today's weather forecast, and the winds will pick up in the afternoon just to coincide with the arrival of the next homeward bound flight. My spirits are sinking, and I feel strangely old.

But the last nail in the coffin was from two of my readers who were too callous to even buy me a drink, drawing some perverse delight in my suffering. To you I say: fuck right off you unfeeling bastards. Revenge will come when you least suspect it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Role as an Insurrectionist

With all the hubbub in France where the youth and the trade unions are staging nation-wide protests against particularly (and peculiarly) discriminatory labour legislation, I am transported back to my salad days as a protester, agent-provocateur and terrorist. It is my role as enemy of the state which will be the subject of today's post.

The late sixties and early seventies were interesting times - winds of change carried copious amounts of marijuana wafting across the social landscape, the birth control pill brought about the sexual revolution, and liberation movements sprung up like so many mushrooms seemingly overnight.

Here in Quebec (I was living in Montreal with my parents at the time, before making the great trek northward) we started off having the Quiet Revolution in the early-to-mid sixties. A cabal between the Anglo minority in Montreal and the Catholic Church had substantially limited the career prospects for the Quebecois majority. You had to be fluent in English to get a decent job, and the abbés and monseigneurs made sure French Canadians spent all their spare time procreating and struggling to manage extremely large families, or risk excommunication if they practiced any form of birth control other than Vatican roulette.

Then came a more direct confrontation: the Front de Libération du Quebec, which had hitherto provided considerable amusement with their penchant for blowing up mail boxes in English-speaking districts of Montreal, shocked us all with the kidnapping of British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte in October, 1970.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau hastily invoked the War Measures Act (basically martial law) and sent in the army - in full force. I remember soldiers with machine guns patrolling Ste-Catherine street, and hundreds of members of Quebec's intelligentia were detained without due process, often for many months.

So, you are asking, how did a young Anglo youth in Montreal become a subject for detention during the October Crisis? The answer involves fate, romance, drugs and illegal weapons.

You see, I was going out to a jazz club on a first date with a really sweet girl named Shirley. Ron, fortunate enough to have a car, was my wheel-man. We were heading up Guy Street and sharing a spliff when we were encircled by police cars with lights on full strobe.

I immediately assumed this was a drug bust, and frantically tried to swallow the evidence, but panic having turned my normally well-lubricated throat into a parched desert, I could only spit out the hash onto the dashboard and hope for the best.

At least five officers came over with weapons drawn, and as Ron casually rolled down the window a dense cloud of smoke and fear billowed out. After asking us to remain where we were with our hands in plain view, one cop searched the inside of the car with a flashlight. I could not believe my luck when he seemed to ignore all the hash crumbs on the dash. But all good fortune was reversed when he focused in on the glove compartment, opened it, and a massive hunting knife fell out.

Now Ron honestly didn't know whose knife it was nor how it got there, but these are not the words police like to hear when investigating insurrection. When all occupants of a vehicle disavow any knowledge of a weapon or its provenance, the shit is going to hit the fan. And hit the fan it did.

Reinforcements were called in, and we remained prisoners of Ron's vehicle for a good hour as the cops tried to sort the whole thing out on their radios. All the while my somewhat disabled brain poured over and over the ramifications of being busted for possession.

So imagine my joy when the police cars started disappearing one by one, the pistols started being holstered, and we were told that the knife was going to be impounded. Not a word about drugs.

In retrospect, it was probably the knife which saved us from being brought up on a drug charge. The police were so obsessed with the knife and Ron's old Plymouth Valiant that the obvious presence of hashish became a non-issue.

That, by the way, was my one and only date with Shirley - I was so freaked out by the whole experience I overimbibed by a factor of four and made an ass of myself.

Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Take Pity and Buy the Bear a Drink

I'm throwing myself at the mercy of my readership. It's been ages since I've had a drink and, here in the frozen north, the prospects of getting some alcohol soon are somewhere between "no fucking way" and "zero degrees Kelvin". "When Hell freezes over" has already been reached and surpassed long ago.

So I am furnishing on the sidebar an easy way for you to provide me with some relief from my present condition. Simply choose an option below, and submit away. Multiple drinks are graciously accepted. I know the barman, so don't worry about the tip.

C'mon - get Nanuk loaded. I promise I won't drone on and on about my gout, nor will I try to slip my paw up your thigh.

Woe is Me!

Yesterday, I gave up my seat (plane overbooked) since there was a second flight coming a few hours later.

No later had the first plane lifted off the ground than the agents approached me with the grim news - the second flight had been cancelled. So another night in Quaqtaq.

It's not that I have anything against Quaqtaq, but I druther be home, or marooned in Kuujjuaq where there are bars and restaurants. So here I sit in my lonely hotel room, having celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a Diet 7-Up, inconsolable, parched and generally feeling sorry for myself.

Now the weather's going down, and I could be stuck here for days.

No more Mr. Nice Bear! That was last time I'm being a gentleman and giving up my fucking seat on the plane.

What Have We Here?

I know we polar bears have a reputation for virility, but doesn't this look like it's trying to sodomize a giant tortoise?

But if so, what is the person supposed to be doing in this snow sculpture?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Yet Another St. Patrick's Day Post

We tend to characterize Quebec as being monolithically French. After all, it was "discovered" by French explorers, the names of towns and cities are bizarrely French, i.e. St-Louis-de-Ha! Ha!, the official language here is French, and the cuisine is, well, French-Canadian: ragout, steamées, frits, tourtiere, Michigans and poutine.

What we tend to overlook is Quebec's broad ethnic diversity. Aboriginal nations aside - there are 11 - successive waves of immigrants landed at Quebec or Montreal over the past three centuries: English, Scottish, Irish, German, Chinese, Haitian, etc. etc.

Most have left tangible legacies: the English built banks, the Scots designed railroads, the Germans mines - physical monuments to their presence here.

But the Irish went further: their arrival on coffin ships in the 19th century has left an indelible mark on the Quebec genome. They weren't adventurers or fortune-seekers: they were Quebec's first refugees, driven from the old sod by famine and oppression. They didn't have the wherewithal to establish big commercial ventures and impressive homes. Instead, they toiled as farm labourers north of Quebec City and carved out the Lachine Canal on the Island of Montreal.

They lived in places which are named Shannon, Valcartier, and Griffintown.

And they bred and bred and bred, not so much with each other, but into the "pure wool" French-Canadian families. For this reason, you will find among the common surnames of French Canadians - Tremblay, Roy, Lefebvre, Gagné, etc. - an inordinate number Irish family names such as O'Neil, Nelligan, Burns, Ryan, Flynn and Sullivan. Patrick, or Patrice, is a very common given name even among those who are unilingually French. Outside of Montreal, most Irish descendents cite French as their mother tongue, although Irish Gaelic was still used in some households well into the 20th century.

In keeping with the Irish penchant for marching, Montreal has the oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in North America (sorry, Boston and New York).

So if we are to learn anything from history, it's that to make your mark on the world, the bod is mightier than the sword, especially if it's an Irish one.

Ed. Note: The fact that the title of this post is orange and the text green is NOT to be construed as a political statement.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shit's Creek has Run Dry

It must be fate. I mean, I've been writing disparagingly about the perils of the old-fashioned chemical toilets in the Arctic as recently as yesterday, but I'd give my last Loony for one right now.

I'm in a "hotel" in Quaqtaq, a smallish Inuit community on the northwest tip of Ungava Bay in Northern Quebec. There are six of us here, and there's no fucking water. Can't flush the toilet, take a shower, and, most grievously, cannot make a pot of coffee so I'm composing this post sans caffeine.

I thought it was because the town neglected to deliver water (no underground pipes due to permafrost so water gets trucked in to every residence and the sewage gets pumped out, hopefully not by the same vehicle).

But, horror of horrors, we've got plenty of water, it's the fucking water pump that has fried itself. So instead of waiting until 9:00 AM and flag down a water truck, we have to keep our legs and sphincters crossed until the afternoon.

I want to go home!!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Poo, Piss and Pine-Sol™ - Part IV

For those of you who haven't read Parts I, II and III, a honeybucket is a chemical toilet which until recently was the only alternative to shitting in a snowdrift. In lieu of a flush toilet, it was basically a pail lined with a couple of garbage bags containing a couple of gallons of human effluent laced with Pine-Sol (or Mist-o-van) to kill the odor. Unfortunately, there was nothing to do to make it more visually appealing.

Pivotal to the understanding and full appreciation of the disaster below is that the entire honeybucket pail must be carried outside the house when emptying.

One teacher, newly arrived in the Arctic and not having had the drill for the safe disposal of honeybucket effluvia explained to him, deduced that the procedure was the same as removing a kitchen garbage bag from its container. Obviously Teddy, as he was called, wasn’t teaching physics, because he would have immediately factored in the weight of 3-4 gallons of sewage sloshing around inside a thin plastic bag into the equation.

On his maiden flight, he lifted the bags out of the bucket still in the bathroom, and starting walking outdoor over the living room carpet, the wall-to-wall living room carpet. Inevitably the bags burst, spewing poo, piss, Pine-sol, bum wad and used Kotex a couple inches thick between the couch and the television set.

So distraught was Teddy that he abandoned the apartment and started camping out at another teacher’s residence, and out of shame told no one of his mishap. Its existence became apparent a few hours later to the other residents of the apartment block when the stairwell began to smell like a pig farm in a spruce forest. However, it took a few days for someone to track down the source of the odor and, by that time, the sewage had eaten its way through the carpet, the tiles underneath down into the plywood.

It took a good two months to clear out the sludge, remove the carpeting and replace the tiles and sub-flooring. But alas, the psychological damage on Teddy was done – he was kicked out of town for sneaking into other people’s bathrooms as he had now developed a morbid fear of shitting at home.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Heavens prevent Blogging

On the first leg of a week's worth of work-related travel, I am presently cruising over the tundra at an altitude of 9,000 feet.

I want to inform my readership that, due to my curse, I will be off-line for a night or two.

This, too, will pass.

Creationism vs. Evolution

I'm sick to death of the amount of bandwidth consumed in the never-ending debate between those believing that all living things have descended from a single-celled entity, or that God (the Christian Jehovah, not the Moslem's Allah or the Jewish Yahweh, both of whom have been strangely silent in this discussion thread - maybe they're laughing too hard) created all living things.

Nanuk, even though he has a brain a couple of sizes too small, can easily resolve this one:


Einstein said "God does not play dice with the universe" and I doubt he was on the roulette table either when the concept of Deoxyribonucleic acid sprung forth into being. In other words, from a bear's vantage point, evolution is intelligent design.

So to both sides of this debate, I say stop wasting your time! It's now been resolved and direct your attention to more pressing issues, like whether James Blunt and Crazy Frog are one in the same or how to make sacremental wine from potato water.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

On Choosing a Career

Men have it rough - not only is it traumatic to still be a virgin as each month of your teenage years rolls by, but when the long-anticipated occasion does "arise", it is fraught with anxieties, awkwardness, fumbling and embarrassment. Indeed, losing it, especially in the wrong way, can scar you for life.

Take, for example, my best friend at the time whom we shall call for the nonce Felix. Now Felix, despite his name, was unlucky with the ladies to the extreme. Not only had he not plowed his first furough by the age of 19, he hadn't even had a date. Of the men of our group, as the petals of our virginity were plucked one by one from the bloom our youth, he alone was steadfast in his celebacy. And despite our best efforts to hook him up with the local "sure things", he kept his hitless streak intact.

Our local drinking spot was small and usually frequented by the same patrons night after night. But not on the night Felix lost his virginity.

A married woman, about fifteen years his senior, sat it the corner of the bar, belting them back like there was no tomorrow. I went over to chat her up, with Felix in tow, and gathered through a conversation where every second word was "cocksucker", "asshole", "bastard" and "arsenic" that she had just discovered her husband had been cheating on her.

I got called to the dart board, but Felix lingered, perhaps sensing as a lion senses which gnu of the herd is the weakest and how it could be taken down with least effort. His stratagem: lower her resistance with alcohol, which also had the spin-off effect of building up his courage. I kept watch out the corner of my eye as they swilled back beer and whiskies, and low and behold, about a hour later both were gone and their forest of empties cleared from the bar.

It seems I was not alone in putting two and two together, so we ordered a round, raised our glasses in toast and assumed he had spirited the woman away to the local motel which did a good trade from our pub. At least Felix was finally off our charity list, we thought, and could henceforth take care of himself.

So imagine our surprise when he came in the door fifteen minutes later, face bitten by mosquitos, some brambles on his clothing, and a clump of vomit in his hair. It appears he had done her in the bushes behind the building and the unfortunate lady had "climaxed" orally.

But since he was beaming from ear to ear, we left him alone at the bar, where he stared contentedly into space for the next hour. When his reverie broke, he turned to us and said:

"Boys, I'm thinking of becoming a divorce lawyer". And he did.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Render unto Caesar

This weekend I had planned to get a double root canal, or revel in my goutiness, or determine once and for all how long your dork has to be exposed to a windchill of minus 50 before it freezes. But the dentist is out of town, my gout has also left the vicinity, and its only minus 4 with no wind - definitely not conducive to knob-freezing.

Therefore, I have no alternative but to devote the entire 48 hours to working on my federal and Quebec income tax returns. Although I am not legally required to do so for another six weeks, I am going to file early in the vain hope of winning the tax lottery - actually showing a small refund which, doubtless, I will never see since it will be absorbed borg-like into my existing accounts with them.

The Canadian Revenue Agency and Revenue Quebec are tapeworms permanently lodged in my intestines, growing ever more corpulent as they suck whatever miniscule enjoyment I find in life completely out of my system. Although I have just last week feed them whole sheafs of post-dated cheques to cover fiscal 2002, they are not satisfied. They are never satisfied.

Every fortnight or so I get another of those dreaded brown envelopes, with more reassessments (always in their favour), demands to pay/file, threats of garnishee, and requests for some obscure receipt from 1996 which has disappeared into the mists of time but.

I guess it's time to feed the machine!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lebso Sluts

Since I started this blog thing exactly a month ago I've been very regularly checking my Site Meter for traffic reports and my Comments for, well . . . comments. I don't think I'm being vain in doing this, I just want to know if anyone appreciates my little keyboard pokings.

So imagine my elation, my absolute rapturous delight when checking out a referring link I found out that the humble WHITE BEAR'S BLOG was the NUMBER ONE Google citation for "obsessive maturbation". Out of 2,330 fucking other entries! My heart swelled with pride, and my ego glowed white hot the fuel of adoration.

On second thought, I thought "Well, it is rather a peculiar audience, but what the hell - it's a start. And if my writings induce manic onanistic episodes for some individuals, so be it". I even imagined 2,330 (female) readers glued to the screen, amusing themselves by abusing themselves reading all about chemical toilets and demented alcohol by-laws.

But then I looked more closely, and my heart fell. Sure, I was still number one, but for people querying "obsessive maturbation" - sans s - not "obsessive masturbation". I must admit I felt crushed.

But they don't keep a good bear down for long, and I'm now setting off on a new marketing path: deliberate misspellings. I mean, why loose yourself among the 364,000 entries for LUSCIOUS LOLITAS when you only have to elbow a meagre 38 others out of the way to have the top entry for LUSCIOUS LOTILAS? There are only 700-odd listings for KUBAKKE. And CREAM IPE is ripe for take-over.

Any more idaes?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Damn Gout

The gout's got me a bit laid up today - you can't concentrate on writing when your big toe's throbbing to beat the band.

For those of you who have never experienced this pain, I want you to imagine drinking at least a bottle or two of something sickly sweet like Southern Comfort. Imagine waking up hung over as all hell, and then being forced to listen to some metal band like Rammstein for the whole morning at full blast until your headache's so bad that auto-decapitation is a serious option. Now you've got a baseline for the concept of pain.

Next, imagine a room of thirty fellow sufferers: take the aggregate headaches, and a dash of absessed tooth and testicular trauma, wrap it up into a little package and shove all that pain into the joint just behind your big toe. Then put your toe into a vise and twist until you're a quarter turn from shattering it, drop an anvil on it, and then you can begin to appreciate gout pain.

No more writing for today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Polar Year

Our little corner of the globe (and its antipodean counterpart) will be the object of intensive scrutiny during the International Polar Year coming your way in 2007-2008. But that's two years, you say - actually, it is thirteen months.

I was under-impressed, however, with the scope and nature of the scientific enquiries proposed during this period, to whit:
  • The role of the high latitude oceans in the global water cycle
  • Enhance the network of surface drifters in water and on sea-ice to provide information on sea surface temperature, marine meteorology, and ocean currents
  • Snow and ice/albedo feedback, and the related negative feedbacks (eg. cloud) that regulate polar and global climate
And the list drones on and on.

Where are the proposals of true relevance to those living north of the tree line in remote communities? Here are my research proposals:
  1. Why does a turnip cost $10 CDN when its input costs are $1.25 for the vegetable and 75¢ for the transport?
  2. Why are local and regional politicians elected for 2-year terms when it takes at least 3 years to learn the ropes? By the by, the first two years of any Arctic politician's term is usually spent looking for ways and means of increasing their honoraria and expense allowances.
  3. Why do we not have our own electoral division in Quebec (125 seat legislature) when our territory is more than a third of the province's land mass?
  4. Question: how many low-income people can you cram into a three-bedroom house before the combined family income makes them ineligible for social assistance programs?
  5. Why are Inuit, who have hunted polar bears, whales and wolves for countless milennia, so terrified of a house fly?
  6. Is it possible to die from alcohol starvation in the Arctic, where I am limited to a Biafran's ration of 26 ounces per month?
I assume there are vasts oceans of research grants out there: the CBC informs that Canada alone has committed $150 million. Anyone want to help me respond to the Requests for Proposals?

Footnote Factoid: The first International Polar Year was spearheaded by Austro-Hungarian naval officer Karl Weyprecht in 1882-83. Less than successful, they became ice-bound in Hamburg, and spent all their research funds in that city's famous bordellos.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

An Appeal to the Internauts of CYZG

To: all those having an IP within the subnet of 69.71.80.###
Subject: Bandwidth is no longer an issue: use your keyboard!!!


I can understand your trepidation about leaving comments on this site, but I promise all remarks, especially those understandibly praising my erudition and perspicacity will be answered in a timely and appreciative manner.

But, as Jesus once said: "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country (Matthew 13:57)" - or home town, it seems. In other words, I get more fucking traffic from the good citizens of Mumbai than you lot.

So be brave, feel at home, tungasiviit tungasuriit, and add a little something to this humble journal. Just relax and let it flow. Even write in Inuttitut if that helps, and I will get my autotranslating McIntosh to reply in kind, at no extra charge.

Just don't use my proper name, or ye'll be soon sleeping with the sculpins!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Make Love Not War

An article posted today on the CNN website describes the behaviour of bonobos, a chimp-like primate, which resolve disputes by "a quick round of sex".

Now I'm sure most of us have "made up" after a domestic row by retiring to the boudoir for a little horizontal mambo, but it appears these critters have taken it to a whole new level. Not only do they greet rivals with a "genital handshake", but instead of fighting over territory, they screw each other over it.

All of which makes me think "What if evolution had taken a twist and mankind descended from the bonobos rather than their war-like cousins, the chimpanzees?". This, in turn, poses other questions:
  • What would basic training be like?
  • Would the Hundred Years War have been the Hundred Years Orgy?
  • How would aerial combat be conducted?
  • How would the arms race escalate?
  • Would conservatives still complain about inadequate government spending on the military?
  • What would a M*A*S*H* unit treat other than priapisms and STDs? (Damn insurgents gave me a dose!)
  • Would we still be pondering whether women should be front-line troops?
  • Would Ovid have written "Warfare is a kind of love" rather than the other way around?
I'm blown away by the possibilities. What do you think?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Drought is Over!

I am happy to report that I am happily hungover for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

A big shout-out to my partners in crime in Quebec City and Kuujjuaq who broke the embargo in my community and furnished a 40-ouncer of Scotch.

Your good deeds will not go unrewarded!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

McCartney Attacked by Baby Seal

Feeling threatened by the terrifying sight of ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and wife, a baby harp seal defends itself. Obviously it's heard "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard".

McCartney and company have joined our annual East Coast circus protesting the seal hunt. This has become a celebrity tradition and dates back to the days of Brigitte Bardot, noted seal pup kisser and attention whore. This recent episode has been amusingly blogged by Red Tory.

The ritual is repeated late winter every year: showbiz luminaries with sagging careers fly in via helicopter, roll around the ice near nursing seals, then photo-op, click, fly out and hold a press conference, or, in McCartney's case, appear on CNN's Larry King Live. I suspect the seal protest industry supports what is now becoming a way of life for many residents of our Atlantic provinces.

My alter ego lives almost exclusively on seal meat, and boiled seal is a common lunchtime meal in our town. Fresh raw seal liver is a delicacy. But I must confess I find the taste revolting - very fishy with a consistency of beef liver. But the kids love it, and anything that replaces french fries and burgers in their daily diet certainly gets my Seal (sorry) of Approval.

The difference here is that our seal hunt is an on-going affair, and is most successful during the summer on the water with a high-powered rifle. And, for those already beginning to weep for the seals, I can report that all shots are head shots (the head is the only thing above the water) so the seal crosses over to that big ice floe in the sky instantly.

Actually, a friend of mine pulled a seal he had shot into his 24 foot canoe, unaware that he had only concussed it by the impact of the bullet on the water beside the seal's ear. On his way back to town the seal woke up, bit him and started chasing him around the canoe. Unable to shoot it (thereby putting a hole in the canoe), he eventually grabbed it by the rear flippers and flung in back into the sea.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Each winter I while away my hibernation by watching a lot of television. Way too much television.

Lately I've taken perverse pleasure in watching Most Haunted, a bogus reality show where mediums, parapsychologists and the congenitally gullible hold "vigils" in the darkened rooms of supposedly ghost-ridden buildings. In particular I get a kick out of watching grown men and women scare the ectoplasm out of each other, what with all the rappings, light anomalies and cold spots.

Chief among my objects of scorn in this series is Derek Acorah, a charlatan of a medium if I ever saw one. Accompanied by his spirit guide Sam, Acorah does the initial "readings" of various locales within the designated castle/ruins/ancestral home; but if truth be told he does most of his readings from an annotated guide to Ghosts of Britain. Inevitably, the dialogue goes like this:
Acorah: I'm sensing a female presence here, a woman beguiled, definitely grounded here, not transiting. A confused lady, a lady most mislead. Sad, yes, sad.

Host: Derek, do you get a name?

Acorah: Wait a minute . . . Sam, what's her name? C'mon now Sam, give it to me. Sorry, all I get is the letter Y. Wait . . . what's that Sam? Vet? Oh, that's Y vette. Yvette.

Now Acorah, not content with just one show on which to futile search for astral beings (we still haven't seen one ghost in three years), has his own show debuting (at least in Canada) on March 10. I can hardly wait.

But Derek, why stop at two shows? I'm sure your talents will be appreciated by these worthy colleagues.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Teledildonics - The Next Generation

As you all know by now, I live in a remote part of the planet, with my only connection to the rest of the world being a virtual one, through telephones, television and the Internet all delivered by satellite.

So imagine my keen interest when I discovered the world of teledildonics - remote sexual stimulation of another person via mechanical apparati activated by signals sent via TCP/IP. For example, there is now a vibrator which plugs into a USB port so that, presumably, speed, intensity and other parameters of sexual excitation can be directed by anyone connected to the computer.

Although the term was minted by either Ted Nelson in the '80s or Howard Rheingold in the '90s, the technology is still in its infancy. It is also still quite grotesque in its industrial design. But the idea being able to transmit palpable physical feelings to people thousands of miles away has got me thinking of ways to transcend the merely sexual to more important uses.

Indeed I predict enhanced teledildonics will become the emoticons of the future. Just embed the links, and your reader will REALLY feel what you mean.
  • deliver that "wake-up" call to assholes with a meaningful pimp slap
  • solicit cash donations with repeated knees to their groin
  • really give someone the cold sholder
  • to convince someone of the wisdom of your point of view, you will be able to twist their arm
  • why waste keystrokes when you flame when readers can feel the lashes of your hot tongue on appropriate parts of their anatomy?
I'm not pulling your leg. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Sky is Falling

The past few days have been unbelievably warm up here. Instead of our familiar minus 25C February weather (that's minus 13F for you guys south of the 49th), we hit an unbelievable plus 4C/39F) yesterday. And it actually rained in Iqaluit and elsewhere on Baffin Island.

What's happening, as you can see from the weather map, is that we are part of a weather system beginning around Bermuda, going northward into the middle of the Atlantic, and then cutting inwards over southern Baffin Island and the extreme north of the Ungava peninsula. Consequently we were almost 20C/34F degrees warmer than Montreal, some 1,800 kms to the south.

This bizarre weather has started to unhinge some of the local residents. Everyone's talking about global warming, and although I believe it to be real, a couple of days of really warm weather in our little corner of the world do not a global trend make. Others, though, are beginning to go off the deep-end and talking about Latter Days, the Rapture, the birth of the Anti-Christ and other such drivel.

It seems to me the only predictable thing about the weather is its absolute unpredictability.