Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And here we go again!!

I just can't help myself. This is way too funny not to post. I'd advise everybody to stay up for SNL this weekend...

One of my favourite parts was when they both jumped onto the "Gotcha journalism" thing. Apparently a voter asking Palin a question about Pakistan while she shmoozes over cheesesteaks counts as Gotcha Journalism. So basically if you ask her any question about any topic and she can't remember the appropriate sound byte, you've used Gotcha Journalism. Katie Couric is a real pro for not laughing out loud at them.

We're dangerously close to moving away from Hilarious to Just Plain Sad.

Oh, and add Keith Olbermann to my list of heroes. Apparently he's going to pay $100 to the Alaska Special Olympics charity every time Sarah Palin lies. Check out this link to see how much he owes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tina Fey is my hero

Okay, I know I've been a terrible blogger lately. All election rants and silly videos and nothing about the time I almost set myself on fire in front of 50 people or the ridiculously huge tip I got from this weekend's birthday party (me & 21 five year-olds). Not to mention the sad death of my orchid, finding an old, beloved pair of jeans that fell behind my dresser or the fact that we're STILL taking care of the Big Orange Kitty.

Life is busy. I blame Facebook for my bad blogging in the past year. Even though I know how silly it is, I'm still addicted and have to admit to you all that I posted the following video there first.

Sorry blog, I'll try to do better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The best reaction to the Presidential Debate comes from an unexpected source

It's no secret that I have a strong bias towards Obama, so I won't bother outlining my views of tonight's debate other than to say I found it reinforced all of my prior opinions. It got very tiresome listening to McCain repeat "what Senator Obama obviously doesn't understand is..." rather than actually responding to the questions. His attitude really bothered me, and I thought it was pretty low to resort to that when he was supposed to be discussing how he would run the country. I really did want to hear what McCain had to say because I haven't been able to find much of anything that outlines his stance other than a CNN.com fact checker saying he's voted with 90% of Dubya's brilliant ideas.

It's pretty clear which one of them just doesn't understand.

While it's hard to take a guy who says "the first I'd do (after winning the White House) is check to see if we actually have aliens", Chris Rock is surprisingly well-spoken in this interview.

This was my favourite part:

KING: Didn't you introduce Obama at a rally?

ROCK: I introduced Obama at the Apollo Theater not too long ago. I think Obama would be great. I mean, just look the big thing right now is the economy. And people are going broke. And here: The choice isn't Republican or Democrat. The choice is you got a guy that's worth $150 million with 12 houses against a guy who's worth a million dollars with one house.

KING: Well --

ROCK: The guy with one house really cares about losing a house, because he is homeless. The other guy can lose five houses and still got a bunch of houses. Does this make any sense? Am I the only one that sees this?

KING: It's unique way of ...

ROCK: I'm just saying, John McCain could lose half his houses.

KING: You got a point.

ROCK: And sleep well.

You know, I hope Obama wins just because, you know, the country needs it. The country needs a change. We kind of seen what this whole McCain thing is. And I'll go with the guy with one house. The guy with one house is scared about losing his house.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Happens When You Piss Off Dave Letterman?

(If you're interested, here's the complete transcript. It's even worse when you read it.)


I really miss not having TV right now! Can't wait to hear what Jay Leno and the rest of the late night gang have to say about this one...

Oh, and note to the McCain campaign: Campaigning about suspending your campaign is NOT suspending your campaign. Just sayin'.


Edit: Awhile after finding this video, I came across Sarah Palin is making some TV rounds. Here's part of her interview with Katie Couric:

And here's Couric pressing Palin on a claim that McCain is the right man to "reform government" and Wall Street.

Couric: “But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation -- not more.”

Palin: “He's also known as a maverick though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. …”

Couric: “I'm just going to ask one more time, not to belabor the point -- specific example in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.”

Palin: “I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you.”

Here is the interview. I find it absolutely mind-boggling that anybody would take the chance of allowing this woman to be one step away from the White House.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Because it's too important to not re-post

In the midst of crazy rumours, emails, television ads and all of the drama it's easy to forget what people stand for. It's easy to get caught up with lies that masquerade as the truth. It's easy to get lost in the drama, to let something new and interesting cover up what's really going on.

I can't believe that there are so many people out there covering their ears and eyes like little kids, going "lalalala" and refusing to LISTEN.

After the hoopla over Sarah Palin dies down, what are people going to start saying about her? Will women actually vote for the Republican ticket just because she's part of it? Right now, what I know about her is what the media is reporting, and most of it scares the hell out of me. Of course much of it is probably embellished (at least I hope so) and I couldn't care less about her pregnant teenage daughter either. I did listen to part of her speech at their convention, a nasty reminder of what happens when a woman has to be vicious in order to succeed. It's likely that she's trying to be a strong Clinton-esque woman, but she would do well to remember that Obama won against her...

To my dear neighbours south of here - please wake up and educate yourselves on this election. So many of you are turning to prejudices and rumour instead of looking at facts. Facts that are not necessarily being reported by the media. I've listened to TV ads lately that are so nuts that it's hard to imagine people actually believe them. Visit their websites - for BOTH sides. Read what their speeches say. Watch interviews. Remember that just because something is written down, that doesn't mean it's truth.

As much as I love visiting msnbc.com, I realized this week how much they like to report Shock Facts. On Sept 11th, there was a huge red banner atop their webpage announcing "Authorities report an incident in tunnel between UK and France". On Sept 11th, as people remember the horrific attacks on America. Seems to me that announcing something as an "incident" is automatically going to get people thinking about another terrorist attack. I know I did. Hoping for more details, I went to cnn.com, where there was another headline: "Fire breaks out in train going through tunnel between UK and France". Not a terrorist attack at all. So why would one website report an "incident" when another already knows it was a fire and not something much, much worse? The political articles are just as bad, with so-called news stories trying to shock and surprise people every day.

It's even worse to see politicians actively encouraging the circus to continue.

It's immensely frustrating to sit here and watch John McCain and Sarah Palin and the rest of their party use dirty tactics and attack ads to try and win an election. (Even Karl Rove thinks they are going too far, if you can believe this report from Cnn.com.) I don't know what's worse - that people are listening to them or that others are criticizing Obama for not responding more harshly. Here is a man trying to run a cleaner campaign with different politics. And since the very start of his race, the media has focused on his religion, his colour, his family, and all sorts of things that don't mean anything. And when he doesn't dignify the BS with a response, he is the one who looks bad.

And the biggest complaint about him centers around his lack of experience and what exactly he is planning to do if and when he wins the White House. I can respect people for questioning this, just as people are questioning Palin's readiness, should something happen to McCain.

Want the answers? Instead of reading an article about Sarah Palin being tough on Obama, listening to Fox News babbling about his ex-reverend, or parroting an attack ad to your friends, try actually reading up on what he stands for. And while you're at it, do the same thing for the Republicans. Compare their plans, not just their appearances. Look at their personalities, but focus more on where they stand on the issues that matter to you and your family. Then make your decision.

Educate yourself. Ignorance is no excuse to spout off "facts" that you saw on a TV commercial or heard from your buddy down the street.

Follow this link to hear Obama's latest speech, which outlines some of his priorities for the coming election. It's 10 minutes long and well worth the time.

Follow this link to see what the McCain campaign is saying.

(I have to say that in the spirit of honesty and trying not to be so biased, I went to see some of their videos, but could only find a few brief clips of speeches in the midst of dozens of TV ads and a speech by Sarah Palin. They spent the majority of their time criticizing or attacking Obama. It's to the point that I'm still not sure where they stand on the issues.) If you're interested in more, visit his campaign page for YouTube. Try to sort through the ads to listen to his actual speeches for a clearer idea of what he stands for.

What I find even more interesting then the speeches is watching the crowds behind each candidate. I won't say what I'm seeing - take a look for yourselves and you'll know what I mean.

I think it's amazing that the Obama campaign has mobilized so many people to donate money and volunteer support. Recently I read an article comparing a campaign to a business. If indeed, you do think about the President as the head of a business, bear in mind that he has managed to get tens of millions of dollars from regular people just by asking. Yes, their party is a little self-righteous about not bowing down to lobbyist groups, but the business side of their campaign is a pretty clear indication of how an Obama presidency will unfold, at least financially. In my mind, his lack of experience is over-shadowed by his ability to inspire and mobilize people.

And then there is this:

Say what you want about celebrities, but this message is an important one that should be repeated over and over again. The world they are talking about is one that I definitely want to live in. It's something I wish for both my own country and for our American neighbours as well. An end to wars and ignorance, the chance to people to improve their lives, equal treatment regardless of skin colour or religious belief. Respect for everybody, even people you don't understand. It's a world I want my future children and grandchildren to live in. No, I don't believe Obama is some modern-day Messiah who farts rainbows and butterflies and will wave away all of the world's problems. He won't create a Utopia, and he can't fix everything. But he stands for the belief that if everybody works together, we can change the world. And that message of hope is something we could all use right now. How we get there isn't just up to whoever sits in the Oval Office - it's up to everybody. But you do need a leader who honestly believes and stands for the same things as the people he or she represents.

Who speaks for you? Who represents the world you want to live in?

Choose wisely.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Shot of Bailey's

Tonight I poured the last ounce and a half of Bailey's Irish Cream into one of our London shot glasses. Following my mother's belief in the medicinal effects of sipping liqueur (her choice is Sambuca), it seemed like a good choice to help ease my newly sore throat.

24 hours ago I felt completely healthy, and spent the day at work laughing and joking with my boss. But around 4pm, the annoying sneezing that had originally been attributed to allergies turned into full-blown coughing and nose-blowing. Half a roll of toilet paper and a box of Kleenex later, I stood in Jay's office door and asked for chicken noodle soup. Halfway through the second bowl I lost my sense of taste (number 1 Pet Peeve when dealing with colds, closely followed by the feeling that tissues have all morphed into sand paper). Every time I get a sinus cold there is at least one day of not being able to taste or smell a thing. Usually this leads to more soup or lots of tea drinking, but tonight I had the brilliant plan to have a cup of coffee strongly laced with Bailey's to wash down the Tylenol Sinus and throat lozenges. Now it's 10pm and I can't fall asleep...

So back to that shot of Bailey's.

I poured the last drop of last year's Christmas gift into the glass (my parents get me a bottle of this each year, which leads to many happy weekend mornings or evenings with a cup of Irish coffee (yes, just one) as I sit on the deck or curl up in my chair with a book) my mind pulled a rewind.

April 2006

My parents were visiting from Canada, we'd just returned from an amazing holiday in Paris, and despite missing Jeremy I was in pretty high spirits. Finally I was getting to do all of the things we'd planned on doing: riding on the London Eye, visiting the Tower of London, buying things in the stalls on Portobello Road. I was trapped between vulnerability and excitement, sadness and joy - all at the same time. That April was a true study of contrasts, but as time goes by even the hard parts of that month are becoming easier to remember.

All three of us got sick during their visit.

My dad caught the cold first, then me, then finally my mom. It was a nasty one, pretty much as bad as a spring cold can get. Being in the UK meant that we could walk to the end of the block and choose from no less than 3 off-licenses, each selling either Sambucca or other flavoured treats that could sit in the back of your throat simultaneously soothing your mind and your scratchy throat. My mom was disappointed when we could only find the version of her favourite medicine, but we got a bottle anyway, each of us pouring a shot to sip while watching re-runs of Two and a Half Men on my laptop.

One of the things I loved about my neighbourhood was getting to become a regular in certain markets and shops. My favourite off-license (I will not admit to being a regular at buying their liquor or the 1 pound packs of McVitty's chocolate caramel cookies) was run by a family of men. They were all pretty friendly and when they heard that Mom was sad about not having black Sambucca, they ordered it for her, special. I'm sure she thought it she'd have to leave some of it behind, but we somehow managed to go through the entire bottle in less than 2 weeks. Blame it on that horrible cold if you want, but I have a different theory.

In England, drinking is a major part of every social gathering, whether it be a group of friends at a pub on Charing Cross Road, whiskey shots in a noisy bar, or a shared bottle of wine in a friend's back garden on a sunny afternoon. For the three of us, those shared shots of Sambuca (which I hate the taste of btw) become a nightly ritual that I complained about, but looked forward to at the same time.

Drinking stories used to be all about How Wasted We Got Last Night. Stories of wandering through forests to collect firewood, throwing up in bushes, singing in the streets, mixing rank tasting "shooters", staying up all night, or pretending to row a canoe down the middle a busy road (not my story to tell but yes, it was a real canoe) - all crazy things that have turned into pretty great memories. Our friends didn't drink as much as some of the other kids did, but we definitely had our fun.

In university, drinking became a sport: How Many Shots Can You Take? or Let's Get Drunk in the Pub before our 4th year Thesis exam and See if The Professors Notice! (They did. But the exam was worth 3% of our final grade and thankfully the professors were both pretty cool people. Apparently it was funny when my friend Loren mis-counted my grade twice while marking my paper, finally writing "Good work!" and handing it in for somebody else to figure out. Later they joked about measuring the effects of alcohol of certain people's test scores. Oh and if you're wondering, I got an 82.) Even Teacher's College was like that. Our section would go out once in awhile, hoping for a legendary night that we'd tell stories about years later. Headaches and sore feet in the morning warned us that we were getting a little too old for crazy bar nights, but we did it anyway.

Now many of my friends are Responsible Grown-ups with houses and mortgages and children. The days of watermelon bombs and jello shots have been replaced with card games, bottles of wine and a couple of mixed drinks. The nights of drinking and dancing for hours are few and far between.

I miss the way British people meet in their local every Friday afternoon to chat with friends and enjoy a bag of chips or game of pool before heading home. It's a sense of comradery, of getting together to celebrate the end of another work week. They're full of stories, so you can sit for hours just listening as you sip a pint and smile because there's nowhere else you'd rather be than with your friends. Despite varying levels of inebriation, those nights were not about the alcohol.

My life in Canada is completely different. I see my friends every other week, usually for coffee or a few hours at somebody's house. We laugh and talk and enjoy each other's company, but we're not part of each other's daily lives anymore. People get older, couple up and then make their own little worlds. Which is probably the way it's meant to be but a part of me misses the days when we were more involved in each other's lives. But we're growing up, and as we make our own families it's time to let go of the lives we used to lead.

So, with my last shot of Bailey's, I raise my glass to all of the friends who've come and gone from my life. To the high school adventures and crazy stories from university, to the people who've helped shape the person I've become. To those I'll never see again, but will also never forget. To the friends who've become family. To the times I should remember, but can't.

And to the clinking of glasses and good times that are still ahead.