so long, paul

ok, i'm finally willing to call it: stephen "stepford" harper is our new prime minister. yay.

thank you canada, i guess, for not sending a harper majority to the house.

so it would seem that the tories have won themselves what we call a minority government. i'm hardly looking at the results anymore. i don't imagine any sort of janga will happen to the numbers by the time i wake up a few hours from now. i just don't.

is the house still fractured? yes. perilous? maybe. paralyzed? i fear so.

harper is nothing if not deft, but he will have to do some cirque de soleil manoeuvering to get any serious big ticket shit done. fine by me. the lib+ndp number will be a factor, though perhaps not as big a factor as that dreaded bloc caucus - they might be able to stir some shit up.

my orange and lime popsicle coloured peeps gained 11 seats, bringing our caucus to 29 (unless things change overnight, which happened in 04 so who fucking knows). on a personal level, i feel some satisfaction about how our party fared in quebec - we made some significant electoral increases here, reaching and even surpassing some of our percentage goals. of note:

outremont 17.64%
papineau 16.87
hull-aylmer 15.5
westmount ville marie 14.9
manicaouagan 12.84

here's what went down tonight:

- the electorate i so mistrust came out in high numbers today

- paul martin said he's going to step down as leader of the liberal party - that will likely happen sometime in the next few months - people i know are terrified that he will be succeeded by this guy, a scary intellectual (an american, no less - gasp!) who may sell well but does not necessariliy bode well for the things we worry about

- ndp victories that yielded from me a particularly hysterical squeal of delight, not just because i think they'll make spectacular additions to the caucus, but in some cases, because of whose ass they spanked: bevington, nash, chow, marston

- i was more surprised that tina keeper was declared elected than when i heard she was running

- matt was a-bloggin' in the cool kids room as part of cbc's elaborate election coverage (which in the main studio, resembled a well lit disco lounge), though things look garbled over there at this second

- bonnie was over for the hoopla and we grappled with waves of fear, boredom, and sarcasm by consuming my homemade carrot & sweet potato soup, hint-o-lime tostidos, green grapes, mango sherbet, and diet dr. pepper

- we wound up expressing ridiculous amounts of concern for the health of various newscasters, wondering if martin stringer lost all that weight because of an illness

- to my shock and awe, footage of ralph goodale arriving at his victory party featured both of my parents, close ups and all

gotta go to sleep now. hope the sky doesn't fall overnight.


moore to voters

from michael moore:

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Michael Moore Statement on Canadian Election

Michael Moore is currently in production on his next movie. As an avid lover of all things Canadian, he has issued the following statement regarding Canada's upcoming election on Monday:

Oh, Canada -- you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right? I know you have a great sense of humor, and certainly a well-developed sense of irony, but this is no longer funny. Maybe it's a new form of Canadian irony -- reverse irony! OK, now I get it. First, you have the courage to stand against the war in Iraq -- and then you elect a prime minister who's for it. You declare gay people have equal rights -- and then you elect a man who says they don't. You give your native peoples their own autonomy and their own territory -- and then you vote for a man who wants to cut aid to these poorest of your citizens. Wow, that is intense! Only Canadians could pull off a hat trick of humor like that. My hat's off to you.

Far be it from me, as an American, to suggest what you should do. You already have too many Americans telling you what to do. Well, actually, you've got just one American who keeps telling you to roll over and fetch and sit. I hope you don't feel this appeal of mine is too intrusive but I just couldn't sit by, as your friend, and say nothing. Yes, I agree, the Liberals have some 'splainin' to do. And yes, one party in power for more than a decade gets a little... long. But you have a parliamentary system (I'll bet you didn't know that -- see, that's why you need Americans telling you things!). There are ways at the polls to have your voices heard other than throwing the baby out with the bath water.

These are no ordinary times, and as you go to the polls on Monday, you do so while a man running the nation to the south of you is hoping you can lend him a hand by picking Stephen Harper because he's a man who shares his world view. Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest? Is that how you want millions of us down here to see you from now on? The next notch in the cowboy belt? C'mon, where's your Canadian pride? I mean, if you're going to reduce Canada to a cheap download of Bush & Co., then at least don't surrender so easily. Can't you wait until he threatens to bomb Regina? Make him work for it, for Pete's sake.

But seriously, I know you're not going to elect a guy who should really be running for governor of Utah. Whew! I knew it! You almost had me there. Very funny. Don't do that again. God, I love you, you crazy cold wonderful neighbors to my north. Don't ever change.

the devils we know

well, this is it: E minus 0. today is the day the canadian electorate puts its future in the hands of one of these white men. democracy is inspiring. it is awesome. it is also nauseating.

a feminist mentor said to me this morning that she has taken the day off because she wouldn't be able to concentrate anyways, what with the throbbing of her heart and belly. not to mention that she really doesn't know how to write her funding proposal for swc given that the person who may be reading it next month could be following orders to shut down her organization. she says she's clinging to the cpac poll that still has the tories with a minority win. the g&m also speculates a tory minority.

the unpamused poll is wishing for a miracle that assuredly will not come.

miracle has no reason to show up to this event. she's bloody well busy, thank you very much. her blackberry is chock full of appointments with people and populations who have actual hope, people who are so in the hole that anything is better, if not deserved, people whose hopes are backed by bona fide belief.

this is not a fundamentalist rant of one of harper's zealots. it is little-ole-unreligious me, an idealogue who is genuinely baffled by the unpreditability of the electorate. i guess i'm a naive dreamer who worries that people don't 'get it'. because the hole we are slipping into is not a visible one. it's darkness and danger are more insidious than palpable. i truly don't understand how it is people get so dazzled by shiny glittery things, like promises of $100 bucks a month per kid or talk of a gst cut ... folks are prepared to overlook the 'other stuff' that isn't really clear anyways, you know, some sorta rumours about threats to human rights and environmental protections ... c'mon, he's pro-life and all, but he wouldn't actually DO anything to take away a woman's right to choose ... would he?

but i should know better than to trust polls, or even follow them. i studied polling in university. i read (and consult often) the book "how to lie with statistics". i know all about flawed samples and leading questions. and didn't we all learn our lesson in 2004? by comparison, my ulcer today is microscopic -- we were convinced then by pollsters to expect a conservative landslide. turned out to be a mud puddle.

so maybe my fellow voters pursuing their civil duty will surprise the fuck out of me. i am fully prepared to have them BLOW MY MIND. maybe they know a serious threat when they see one. maybe they recognize the stepford grin for what it is: ominous.

either way, the political forecast could be dramatically different tomorrow morning. seems like folks are so tired of seeing red (justifiably so, perhaps) that we may just be willing to sign over our souls in a rotten deal with the you-know-what. my stomach turns at the thought of where we might be going if that happens. the average person may not notice any obvious shifts in temperature or climate. even some political colleagues have suggested that changes may not be terribly noticeable. well i disagree. those of us working in this area will friggin' notice. and pretty soon, so will our neighbours.

guess i'll heed the recommendation of the vancouver sun and stay up late. in 2004, many people went to bed thinking the ndp had 32 seats and woke up with 18. maybe they're prepping for an all-nighter this time around.


on special interests

on this third day before the dreaded election, these words remind me of how much is in peril should the you-know-whos emerge victorious. here are excerpts from a "late in the day rant regarding the election" by an amazing woman i've known since way back in sask. you go grrl.


Seeing as how everyone seems to be into manipulating statistics and percentages, I thought I'd throw my interpretation into the mix. My riddle is to solve who exactly are the Special Interests.

If we mean visible minorities who declare foreign birth or heritage, this would mean more than 18% of the population. Canada is the most polyglot country in the world, this not including the hundreds of distinct tribes and cultures living here prior to British and French invasion, colonization, and theft.

Does Special Interest mean the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples who in the last census are approximately 4.4% of Canadian citizens? As a First Nation Cree woman, damn right I have a special interest. Truthfully, whichever party is declared the Best Hoodwinker on January 23 makes no difference to me when we are talking historic obligations and sovereign rights as we have been somewhat screwed by whole lot of governments. It's just some party is getting a tad nasty when appealing to "ordinary working families" to kick us all off what is referred to as welfare. As if we as Aboriginal peoples are not ordinary, working or families. Some people see our situation through a social justice/human rights kind of lens and so they will have my vote - call it what you want.

My son, daughter and I have a degenerative muscular disease along with over 16.3% of Canadians who live with a permanent disability. Are we Special Interests? Bear in mind this does not include the short-term disabled or the 12% of Canadians who do not even have a family doctor or 18% of Canadians who report being unable to even access a doctor. But at least right now we don't get forced to pay up-front before receiving basic health care, get turned away or receive a big hulking bill in the mail. I actually cry when I think that someday my children's lives may be diminished or be lost because I cannot afford the more expensive privatized services. Universal health care is the pride of this country and I am proud of this. Does this make me a Special Interest when demanding my country and elected officials ensure this right remains tantamount?

4.7 million Canadians live in poverty with over half of these being children and young people. Tax breaks mean nothing for those people who do not earn an income, cannot afford to file their taxes nor have a stable address. $100 a month will buy 48 disposable baby diapers, a case of formula, a cheap lottery ticket and a small Slurpee. In Ottawa, my family of six pays 50% of our gross income for rent as the waiting list for subsidized housing is 2-3 years. When I work for $7.50 per hour, $6.00 per hour of my wage pays for childcare. We use the food bank now almost monthly instead of twice a year (2005) and receive what should be 5 days worth of food. Bless their hearts at our local branch but moldy whole-grain bread and dented cans of beans should not be what people are donating. Am I a Special Interest person now because I am sick of cooking chili and creating various ways to disguise bruised produce but still need to feed my children with whatever dignity I can muster?

Am I Special Interest because I believe gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and two-spirited people are at least 10% of us (What is 10% of Thirty-Something Million)) and that they better have equal rights?

In civilized countries when a tax reduction is suggested, concerned citizens say - OH MY GOD - what will we have to lose or cut down to pay for this tax cut. Here in Canada we say - yipee- another whole $300 for our tax refund - but where the hell do we put all these plastic margarine tubs and Granny with her Alzheimers?

Am I Special Interest because I do not believe in finding elusive weapons of mass destruction nor that every person of colour is automatically related to Osama bin Laden and therefore let's detain them for three years without cause if we don't torture or shoot them first? Am I Special Interest because I get upset when my communications with like-minded people becomes flagged as anti-American and likely soon to be anti-Canadian?

Don't even get me started on why people shoot each other or use addictive drugs. How prisons are an old cash cow. How safe injection sites and alternative justice plans are a good thing. How reproductive choice is a right. Addressing how many people are dying with AIDS. How we can deal with homophobia and racism. Clean drinking water for all would also be nice.

Or not get me talking about post-secondary education. Providing affordable or accessible education for all our children will take much energy. I truly pray I do not work my fingers to the bone to support a system where my kids aspire to unrealistic goals and spend the rest of their lives as serfs paying back huge student loans which can take decades to repay. The thought of them living in a big non-energy efficient house and with gas-guzzling vehicles and supporting a culture of consumption until there is no more fuel just frightens me. Stop me now, I think I am leaving Special Interest and entering the Average Canadian dream.

I could go on, declaring what I think should be Special Interests and why we are all not "ordinary working families" that owe over $350,000 in suburbia mortgages, working like demons to preserve this lifestyle. Hating non-white people for all their social welfare benefits will not make lives easier.

When you are massively in debt, you will vote for anyone who points the finger to some other cause and gives you a couple of hundred dollars tax credit and RRSP advice. Most ordinary people will take the easy path. But I think you get the point.

Anyway, I think the Special Interest population adds up to a great portion if not all of Canada. Add up the percentages. So what's wrong with that? If the NDP is accused of trying to represent Special Interests, so be it. Who is left after all?

Arlo Yuzicapi Fayant, Cree Mother & Writer


guess they're ready

to my sistahs over at fafia -- way to go! woo hoo we did it! felicitations!

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. we are stunned about what has happened with the fafia campaign. not even in our wildest dreams did we imagine obtaining signatures from all five major party leaders. and now we're a bit glazed over wondering what to do about it, and how little it might mean.

who would have thought that a bitty snowflake of an idea would snowball into what we're handling today. i'm talking about a suggestion (apparently mine) to target candidates with a signable pledge, all in the name of attempting to pierce through the noise with women's issues during the federal election. and so within days of that particular strategy session (days which for fafia necessitated, i might add, begging translators, sweet talking graphistes, and risking paper cuts on tongues), fafia produced and distributed the actual pledge along with the aptly named 'pledge action kit' to foot soldiers across the country. phase two of this election campaign, which started out the gate alongside the annus novus, saw our sisters pushing the pledge to local candidates while we attempted to do the same at the federal level. things plodded along fairly well, and we began to make plans about what to say about the noteworthy signatures we would receive. there were several angles to anticipate, to spin, to savour. until this morning when at the last minute, stephen fucking harper decided to sign. we never expected this.

we all know how much shit candidates are bombarded with during an election and how rare it is to catch their attention. ok, so seriously, woo hoo this REALLY IS a big deal. we REALLY ARE thrilled. yes, we high falutin' strategists and tacticians doing earth-shattering life-saving work recognize this as a significant accomplishment. but it still feels weird - sort of a mix between satisfaction and let-down. when you so seldom reach this kind of political objective, it's almost anti-climactic, a bit confounding. and in the context of this particular election, this feels like barely a blip. chalk another one up as more of a moral victory than a resounding political one.

these are the moments when you have to be careful not to react too quickly or overreact. you see, it would have kinda been preferable if 3 or 4 out of 5 had signed. then you've got something to work with. especially if the absentees are heads of parties that are simple enough to shame. so now, with our 5, we're all like, hmmm, ok, so now what? at the risk of disclosing highly sensitive top secret strategic considerations (as if they aren't obvious), may i just say that questions of spin and traction are made fuzzy today.

a release has been issued today, softballing the information and offering no trace of analysis or emotionality. hardly sure we even want it picked up. as for what comes next, there's some head scratching to do. for now, i have chosen, as would any seasoned campaigner, to deal with the conundrum by cooking a tray of lasagne and watching ellen.


spot the cred

the comedians at party central have come up with yet another cheeky election gimmick. so for those of us who've dreamed of vacationing in liberia, here's a chance.

the great paul martin credibility hunt

"are paul martin's new values real, or convenient? is the liberal party really what it was, or is everything a game to them now ... [he] says this campaign's all about values - so no doubt the values he pretends to hold so dear, well, exist. if you can prove they do, then you and a friend are going on an all-expense paid trip to any of the countries whose flag martin flew on his ships ..."


spicy woman on top

yet another extremely inspiring presidential victory in latin america made me weep: three cheers for the election of michelle bachelet in chile yesterday. not only is she chile's first female president, she is the first woman elected to such a position in south america who isn't connected to a former beloved male leader. the victory for women in politics is one thing (she has pledged to implement gender parity in her cabinet), but what gets me, though, is what she represents: a bio fit for a screenplay, featuring family tragedy linked to the pinochet era, triumph, and conviction. that chileans understand class (they chose bachelet over a billionaire) moves me, deeply. it also makes me want to move, but that's a whole 'nother matter.

women (socialist ones, even) on top... how novel. geena davis is doing her best to promote the radical notion of a woman as leader of the free world. a zillion groups are trying to change attitudes AND results. the 4 women mps of the ndp are doing their wee part. but still.

i don't know what it means that the industrialized world now more than ever needs to take a cue from the so-called developing world on gender equality, at least in terms of women's ascension in politics. but i dig it. maybe it has to do with our utter complacency about democracy, as if we've even had it for that long, that makes us lethargic about politics, let alone the composition of our elected bodies. we don't thirst or clamor for a way in. we come to accept it as the norm that mostly white middle aged business-minded men bother to show up for a shot.

also, what we lack up here is the vibrancy of an active social consciousness which in the south is what allows the ideas of gender equality and anti-classism to exist not as fringe ideology, but as credible contenders for domination. that consciousness is what keeps me up at night, wondering if, collectively, we ever had it, and if so, if we'll ever get it back. i think it's the best we could hope for to seriously topple the neo-con agendae, not just poke at it from the sidelines.


not a lover of folk music

as i parked my car earlier on this, the last day of my contract with the clc, i paused briefly to take in the moment. about wrapping this gig, i feel a mix of relief and disappointment. relief that some more time will now be freed up to do the kind of unpaid work i apparently so enjoy. disappointment that my experience here wasn't more fulfilling. i try really hard to take on work that will generate a mutual feeding frenzy: i want to get as much as i want to give. i didn't learn anything here so much as get some (not great) shit confirmed. despite what i knew coming in, i had hoped to be able to actually do more. but the conditions weren't particularly ripe for that to happen. so i nudged some files while doing lots of outside work, and appreciated what sue told me during our initial negotiation: "if this wage helps supplement the income of someone so frequently underpaid or unpaid, then i'm fine with that." i really dig her.

as i started on my shuffle to the door, i peered into the car parked next to mine. upon noticing an ian and sylvia box set in the cd cubby, i amusedly thought to myself, bet i'm the only one who ever rolled into this parking lot blaring janet jackson ... like, ever.

farewell, dear ol' labour congress. we hardly knew ye.


happy poverty day

shitty shitty internal politics and bad labour practices aside, the canadian wing of the make poverty history campaign has declared today "poverty day" in the context of the federal election. they've put out an election kit, as have others, and together with other anti-poverty groups in the country, are calling on candidates in the federal election to address poverty today. meaningfully.

there will be a nationally-televised forum on poverty issues tonight in toronto featuring mucky muck panelists like lewis and mcquaig (and me ol' pal jo grey too), with party representatives debating key issues. it'll air live at 7 pm edt on cpac. i can only hope it doesn't run parallel to the big "your turn" segment with paul martin and peter mansbridge. oooh good tv.

tax cut it out

during monday night's debate, god damn stephen harper - touting his proposed gst cut as a gift to the lowest incomers - invoked the name of an organization i used to run. aahhh, i recall a time when we couldn't get a politician to utter our name in a small ottawa meeting room, let alone by the poster boy for the radical right on prime time national television. i guess napo found a replacement for me who could actually manouever the organization to a place where the likes of harper use it an endorser of policy. gawrsh.

ok, so as if all that wasn't enough, harper citing napo, leaving me and likely thousands of anti-poverty activists choking on bile, now the yahoos at the howe institute have also suggested that the tory gst plan benefits poor people. hooweee, this matter of whether the gst cut results in a whopping 50 or 60 dollars of savings at the end of a shitty year for a poor family sure is getting lots of attention. what a provocative issue. oh i'm provoked alright: god damn is harper getting off easy if this is as good as it gets for addressing poverty in his platform.

i'm no economist muthafucka, but it seems to me that poverty reduction would require an actual gain for a poor person, not a miniscule returning of something we've gotten used to paying over 12 years. oh and also, it would require actual infrastructures and systems to deal with lifting up a whole level of the population. your idea of dealing with poverty is like the federal politics version of flicking a nickel into the panhandler's tin. how big-hearted.

we're letting this guy come off as the friggin' messiah for 50 fucking bucks, when every other plank in their platform is regressive, nay punitive, tantamount to poor bashing? i'm telling you, if he wins this thing, we best cling tightly to that fucking 50, hiding it inside our desperate hands as we watch everything around us crumble.


alter egos

am i really a musician who delivers high energy and smiley performances, who comes across as genuinely propelled by the catchy beats, compelled by the crowd ... or do i just play one on stage?

am i actually an activist who believes another world is possible and that society, earth, the future, will all be better ... or do i just play one in the trenches?

hey, what if i'm not even a bona fide human being ... maybe i just play one on the outside.

more so in the past was i able to convey an altogether sparklier version of self, one that wasn't necessarily fraudulent, but not entirely true. i think that's the case with most people. we do our best to just get through a day, and to do so, we often have to embellish. our public persona seldom matches our private one, nor should it. and our cocktail party persona needn't coincide with our board room persona, gym persona, beach persona, bar persona, yada yada whaddeva. but at least we can hope for some relationship between all of them.

me, i'm feeling little connection to those alter egos. perhaps that's why i reside beneath all these layers, because i really don't know which me is more viable. and whenever i might spend some time trying to figure it out, i can do so inconspicuously, unnoticed.

so here i blur through this incredibly strange week of politics-o-rama and incongruous work demands, slightly numb, hands clutching tightly to the lips of that proverbial bell jar so as not to slip right the fuck in. all the while hyper aware of the disconnected me's. they fascinate, as much as spook and confound me.

but i digress. here: i posted some pics of the band taken on saturday night at the rainbow bistro. i'm the one with the big hair, looking all upbeat and for real.


imagine this cabinet

mercer has laid out some of the composition of a potential stephen harper conservative cabinet, replete with telling captions. breathtaking. the torstar has even begun discussing what that might look like... as my stomach turns.

[rick's kidding about tom flanagan being his direct link to the tory war room, no?]

do something

i wasn't going to bother because really, this forum has never been an action centre, but what with the big huge federal election taking up so much space, i may as well mention some on-line campaigns that could use help.

i've already blathered about the whole child care shmozzle - here is where to tell local candidates to build public child care and to do it right

i've been helping the feminist alliance develop their pledge strategy - here is where to tell party leaders and other candidates to sign one

the coalition for women's equality suggests these questions to ask candidates on the top women's issues

cupe has an election pool going - grand prize is a leather jacket - hey, why not?

not specific to the election, this is the e-card campaign the clc is doing on women's freedom and equality

also not election-related, here is amnesty's e-petition on the missing and murdered aboriginal women in canada

aw fuck it, another gooder - code pink's e-petition to stop the war in iraq - they want 100k sigs by IWD (march 8th)

that's enough for now. good activists.

errata: child care

between the stepford smirk and affected (think neve campbell) speech patterns, it was truly an effort for me to tolerate stephen harper during tonight's debate. never mind that most of what comes out of his mouth makes my entire body tense.

because i've been working on this issue more closely lately, i'm more concerned with the fact that no one - pretty much ever - corrects paul martin on child care. he shouldn't be allowed to hoist up his so-called child care program like a fucking trophy during this campaign. after a decade of continued broken promises by the liberals on this, last year finally saw some progress on child care, due in no small part to pressure from the ndp and advocacy groups. what was drummed up, however, sure ain't all that.

some of us didn't expect the issue of child care to come up again in tonight's debate. but there it was, popping up under every fucking theme category. those bastards even managed to raise it during the segment on national unity. as an issue, child care has such legs during this election for two reasons: 1) harper's sexy campaign pledge of cash to parents, and 2) martin's refrain that child care is a promise delivered. but i can't believe martin got out of tonight's debate without effectively being called on it. gets me mad.

so let me go over just a few hits and misses of the liberal child care program:

hit - commitment to making child care a permanent program, a la medicare

miss - zero legislative framework - ensuring accountability for public child care dollars would mean introducing actual legislation so as to enshrine standards for quality, universality, inclusiveness, accessibility, and developmental programming

hit - commitment to sustained funding, up from five years to ten

miss - zero increase in funding - to actually fund a national child care program paul, we need substantial annual increases - new child care spaces in one year will require the current annual funding commitment just to continue operating - and by the way, your current commitment is actually LESS than what you offered in 2004

hit - agreements with provinces and territories directing funds to a system of regulated community-based programs

miss - zero commitment to establish child care as a public service - how committed are you, mr. martin, to public health care if you are so reluctant to direct federal funding to not-for-profit child care?


from the mouth of a senior

my dad just called upon scanning the morning headlines -- i swear to christ this is what he said in a hushed, almost conspiratorial tone:

"pam ... oh pam ... i hope those goddamn fuckin' right right neo-nazi evangelical bushy bushy christians do not win the election."

reads almost as well as it sounded, except, dammit, the delicious accent is untypable.


nic fit

in that i don't believe in resolutions, it is with no fanfare or ceremony that i quietly attempted to make it through this day without smoking. i now find myself in mid-afternoon wondering what the fuck i'm doing and who the fuck i'm trying to kid.

it's not like i'm down deep in the trenches of this election, breaking skin while hammering lumber into frozen ground, traipsing across the arctic tundra knocking on doors of the electorate, breaking fingernails on a phone canvass, sipping ass-like coffee racking up hours in a dusty poorly-lit converted storefront campaign office.

i'm not in the uber inner sanctum, flying high in the leader's jet doing sharp minute-by-minute analysis, crunching polling data, inventing sound bites, feeling important about my uncanny sense of strategy.

but i'm riveted, like other sicko junkies, by hourly updates about policy announcements, polling trends, public relations gaffs. i follow pundits. i pay attention to who says what on behalf of whom, and how. in more than one capacity am i trying to stay on top of how things are going with our campaign here in la belle province, how our limited staff and our mind-blowing strategy are panning out.

i'm spinning in this week's news cycle - one political promise after another, including my favourite, the liberal promise of partial compensation of tuition fees that are 80% higher than 10 years ago thanks to their own hikes.

the thing is, there's a whole fuck of a lot to to keep an eye on, and that eye is somehow more acutely focussed if a cigarette is handy to the lips below.

but why would i tell myself to just wait and quit smoking after the election? there is never a good time to quit. guess i could also wait until after my birthday, after the torino olympics, after the winter, after they bring back the swan with me on it, after i achieve total enlightenment.

fuck it. i'm off now to the couche tard.


get by with a little help

well, i made it through the crush of december due in no small part to outside intervention, some calculated, some indirect. i realize talking this way (frequently) makes me sound like a bit of a mental patient, but i seem to openly admit my ups and downs here, so what the hell. we all know the kind of mental and emotional beating this season can inflict on even resilient intact folks. that i actually feel ok right now is a fairly big deal.

so without further ado, a big shout-out to ...

anne, for squeezing me in on her last day on the job before taking off to pop out a baby: thanks for the trim and killer scalp massage. i fear we may have gone a bit shorter than i wanted, but your stool is an important place in my life to practice the art of trust (it's NOT just hair as many people think);

suzanne, for providing a compelling enough lure to partake in xmas dinner alongside other human beings instead of flopping down with the president and bad tv;

marie-claude, the new gal at the morin salon, for ridding my heels of their hideousness and applying deep purple to my quirky toenails;

the hosts of a coupla cocktail parties that forced me to engage in normal conversation with pleasant people while sampling snacks of obscene point value;

the peanuts xmas music that somehow crept into the week's soundtrack too often;

to webgeek for the half-hour of original arcade-style centipede and frogger;

to motrin, limewire, sting, the websites of elections canada and the g & m, bell expressvu (especially tmn - i can't even admit how many flicks i watched this week), to the campaign for being slightly less demanding than expected, and to aimee mann for once again walking me through some kitchen floor moments.

oh, and a special thank you to claude for the quality time, for asking me to wear the saffron scarf, and for always keeping an eye on my glass.