February 17, 2011

Now It's Lawyers Making Me Sad.

Category: Life — Cranky @

Every morning I take a few minutes and scan the news. Today I read about Jamie Calder, who says her son was injured in an accident at St. Marth Catholic elemenary school. She’s suing the school. Must have been a bad accident, right?

Turns out the teacher asked one student to hold the door open for the others, but somehow her son ended up getting his finger caught in it. She’s suing for loss of income to date of $100,000 and a loss of future income of $100,000, not to mention a loss of $20,000 for lost house and yard keeping capacity. It’s elementary school, lady, and your kid got his finger jammed in a door by another student. It happens. You can’t possibly supervise enough to prevent that from ever happening. And if you sue schools and government you’re really demanding to be paid by taxpayers – i.e. me.

I also read about two passengers who were on the Greyhound bus with Vince Li when he killed his seatmate (a complete stranger), cut his head off, and ate parts of the body. They’re suing the bus company for failure to provide safe passage, the government for failing to regulate safety on a form of ground transportation, the RCMP for taking too long during the standoff, and Li himself, who was found not criminally responsible because he’s a freaking lunatic. I don’t know what kind of security they think will protect everybody from insane killers, but it has to involve a cavity search.

It used to please me that Canadians were less likely to launch ridiculous suits, but I have to accept the fact that we’ve adopted that particular Americanism. We’ve become a “sue first and ask questions later” nation.

That makes me sad. I think if you launch a lawsuit that is deemed frivilous you should have to pay for your picture and the details of your suit to be published prominently in a local newspaper – perhaps with the title “stupid moneygrabber” emblazoned on your forehead.


February 7, 2011

The Radio Made Me Sad

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

Over the last twelve years I’ve ignored the radios in my cars, preferring to listen to CD I found on my own through internet searches and forums. So this past week I decided to leave my own music at home and listen to the radio when driving. I’ve traversed the dial, from one end to the other, and I said in the header, the radio made me sad.

My good heavens, but what a cess-pool over-the-air radio has become. I swear, if we ever invent time travel somebody needs to go back before the guys at Antares invent Autotune and shoot them.

For those who don’t know, Autotune is something you can run sound through that can correct off-key singing. It was the industry’s dirty little secret. Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Shania Twain have used it to fix their vocals during performances, although Reba McEntire refuses to, bless her heart.

Then somebody figured out if you cranked it up, you could make your voice jump around like a synthesizer. Cher released “Believe”, launching a dumbing-down of music the likes of which I’ve never seen. Auto-tune is EVERYWHERE. I think it might be illegal to write hip-hop without using it. And it has become a substitute for being able to sing.

And the lyrics… I put in more radio time this week than in the past entire decade, and I couldn’t find one song with lyrics that are anything but throw-away junk.

I don’t claim this decade is somehow flawed, musically. There’s plenty of good music being made. But wow, has radio fallen on its face.


February 2, 2011

But It's Sooooo Good!

Category: Life — Cranky @

I took a cooking class with my mother over the past 10 days, and we had a rather interesting exchange at one point that I had to ponder.

One of the dishes we sampled was shrimp prepared in a court bouillon stock. It was a similar recipe to that prepared by the Carvery restaurant in the Westin Hotel back in the late 80’s. That similarity is no accident. The head chef from that restaurant was the person teaching the course. I loved that shrimp. It was the standard by which I would judge all shrimp to this day.

When the shrimp was done, we each tried one. my mother tasted part, and handed the rest to me. She said, “I don’t eat shrimp, but that was great.”

So I asked, “But why did you give me the rest?” She replied, “I don’t eat shrimp.”

I persisted, “But you said it was great.”

And then came the statement. “You don’t understand, but that’s okay.” And so ended the topic.

She’s right. I didn’t understand. It seemed to me that she should partially repeal the ban on shrimp and eat the whole thing. After contemplation, though, perhaps I understand now. The person that she is doesn’t eat shrimp. It’s no longer a question of whether or not it tastes good or bad, the shrimp-eating boat has sailed for her. The best shrimp in the world won’t make her reconsider. She doesn’t eat shrimp, and that’s that.

Am I that way? Well, I don’t like cabbage. If I tasted a dish with cabbage and I liked it, would I eat the dish? I think so… but would I ever make it again? Probably not. In twenty years will my actions be governed more by what I’ve done historically than by the immediacy of what I’m experiencing, and is that perfectly natural for most people?

I don’t think there’s anything incorrect or somehow wrong about her choice. As Socrates is purported to have said, “Know thyself.” The self she knows doesn’t eat shrimp. Good enough.


Edit: Well, my mom informed me that while she liked the initial taste from the bouillon, as soon as she hit the shrimp, she was done. Apparently she doesn’t like shrimp. And I’m wrong again.