Monday 29 November 2010

Grey Cup Heartache

There is no joy in Gopherville. The mighty Riders have crapped out.

Montreal 21, Saskatchewan 18. We Westerners must now slink away, bind up our wounds and bide our time . . . .

Next year! *shakes fist* The Cup, it will be ours.

Friday 26 November 2010

It's Grey Cup Weekend!

The Canadian Football League championship game is being played this Sunday in Edmonton and apparently we're all Hot to Huddle! Because that's the only way to keep warm at the outdoor game . . . well, apart from lots of booze and 10 layers of winter clothing. In 2002, the last time Edmonton hosted the Grey Cup, the slogan was Party in Your Parka! Heh heh heh.

Actually, the weather forecast for Sunday afternoon's game is a balmy -5°C, which is pretty darn good considering that it was -28°C just a couple of nights ago.

This year the Big Game is between the Montreal Alouettes (Eastern Canada Champions) and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Western Canada Champions) -- the same teams as last year. And it'll be a real grudge match too. Being a Westerner, I must (of course) cheer for Saskatchewan. Go Riders Go!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

The Lion Tamer

Does this guy have the best job in the world or what?

And a tip o' my hat to A Rose Is A Rose at ravings of a semi-sane madwoman where I first saw this video (together with the Cuteness Overload Kitty on Monday)! She always posts interesting stuff, so be sure to go check out her blog!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

License Plate Hijinks

Last week, Brahm at alfred lives here had a funny post about vanity plates, including a link to photos of some "best" and "worst" ones. His post reminded me of an infamous license plate that was issued in Winnipeg about 30 years ago when I was in university, so I thought I would share that story today.

Here in Canada, all license plates (regular and vanity) are pre-screened by the province to ensure that they do not contain swear words, sexual imagery, discriminatory insults or prejudicial slurs. But one such license plate slipped by Manitoba officials. And it wasn't even a vanity plate -- it was just a regular alphanumeric licence plate. It read: 69 AAH

Everyone heard of and laughed about that plate. I thought it was just an urban legend until one day when I actually saw it for myself! The plate was on a car driven by an older, sweet-looking, white-haired couple who probably had no idea of their license plate's double entendre. Or maybe they knew exactly what it meant and thought it was hilarious!

Never underestimate the elderly.

Monday 22 November 2010

Monday Morning Overdose of CUTE!

Start your week off right by watching this!

Oh, those big black eyes and that crazy tail! Who knew a McDonald's bag could be so much fun?

Friday 19 November 2010

Helloooo Winter!

So, winter has finally descended on us here in Edmonton. We had a nice long autumn with some beautiful weather, but the past couple of days has swept that away. Now we have lots of snow, painfully slow driving conditions and frigid temperatures. The kind of weather that makes you yearn for a vacation in warmer climes . . . now that's the real Canadian Dream!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Oh, Four Tuna

One of my favourite modern classical cantatas is Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. He composed the music in mid-1930s Germany, using for the libretto a series of secular medieval poems written in Latin which largely concern boozing, gluttony, gambling and lust -- things which never go out of style! The best known movement is O Fortuna concerning the fickleness of fate.

Last weekend over at PENolan's blog Menopausal Stoners, I saw an absolutely hilarious video of O Fortuna's misheard lyrics. Here it is for your listening pleasure but I warn you -- you'll never hear O Fortuna quite the same way again!

To see O Fortuna's real lyrics in Latin and English, click here.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Louis Riel, Canadian Folk Hero

On today's date 125 years ago -- November 16, 1885 -- Louis Riel was hanged in Regina, Saskatchewan after being convicted of treason. On behalf of his dispossessed and beleaguered Métis people, he led the unsuccessful North-West Rebellion against the Canadian government. Most English Canadians supported his execution and most French Canadians opposed it. His death continues to be controversial in Canada, even after all these years.

Sixteen years earlier in 1869, Louis Riel led the Red River Uprising in Lower Fort Garry (Winnipeg) during which he negotiated more favourable terms for the creation of Manitoba as a Canadian province. He is quite rightly regarded as Manitoba's Father of Confederation. However, once the province was established in 1870, Riel became a wanted man for the murder of Thomas Scott, an Ontario Orangeman who had been executed on Riel's orders during the Uprising. Riel disappeared and went underground in the United States for years, although defiant Manitoba francophones and Métis persisted in electing him as their Member of Parliament three times in his absence.

Following his execution, Riel was buried on the grounds of St. Boniface Cathedral in the French part of Winnipeg. Today, there are a number of Riel statues in Winnipeg plus several buildings, a school division and a bridge named in his memory. The St. Boniface Museum contains a wonderful display of Riel artifacts.

Riel's death is marked each year in Manitoba with ceremony and honour.

Friday 12 November 2010

Christmas Rush

My busiest time of year is at hand -- the Christmas rush! I hate crowds, so I always try to get my Christmas shopping done early -- by the end of November, if possible. Then there's sending cards, putting up the tree, decorating, wrapping gifts. All the holiday socializing in December. Places to go, people to see. Plus this year we're having company for Christmas as well. Phew, a lot to do!

So my blogging will be a bit sporadic until the New Year, I'm afraid. But I'll still pop up when you least expect me.

And now -- to the mall!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

--from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon


Wednesday 10 November 2010

Virtual On-line Labyrinths

Another great way to walk a labyrinth is to use one of the many virtual labyrinths available on teh interwebz. Here are my two favourites:

Labyrinth Online (click here) gives you a choice of designs and "carries" you through the labyrinth, so you don't need to use your cursor. The walk is silent but you can play your own choice of music on a headset or other device if it would enhance the meditation for you. The "button" which travels the labyrinth changes colours as each circuit is completed. It goes through each rainbow colour of the seven chakras. If you want, you can pause the button and then resume the walk at your convenience. You'll enjoy reaching the centre of the labyrinth!

A virtual Chartres labyrinth is available at (click here), source of the cute labyrinth-walking cat photo that everyone liked so much the last time I posted it. This site gives you a choice of being carried through the labyrinth or moving the cursor yourself (click and drag -- not conducive to optimal meditation, in my experience). You also get to choose whether you want photos, text or both to periodically appear during the course of your walk. There's no music though -- this virtual labyrinth is also silent. And you'll enjoy reaching the centre of this one too.

So dare I say it? Of course. Let Your Eyes Do the Walking!

Monday 8 November 2010

A Clucking Great Blog Award!

Thank you so much, Wendy at The Year of the Cats, for conferring this award on my humble blog! I am cluckin' touched!

Indeed, as Foghorn Leghorn would say: Why, I am honoured, I say, honoured to receive this Clucking Great Blog award. Now looka here, son. This proves I ain't no loud mouthed shnook. So what's goin', I say, what's goin' on?! Don't stand there with your beak open! Say somethin'! Explain yourself! Your tongue's flappin', but no noise is comin' out of your mouth!

Well, if I can just get a word in edgewise . . . what I must now do is pass this award on to others who are worthy of it. And who is more worthy than those brave urbanites who actually raise chickens in their own backyards and blog about it occasionally for the benefit of the rest of us? I know of two such intrepid bloggers and it is my pleasure to pass the Clucking Great Blog Award on to them:

Little Messy Missy at Little Messy Missy

Friday 5 November 2010

Happy Diwali!

Today is the first day of Diwali, the 5-day Festival of Lights sacred to the Hindu, Sikh and Jain spiritual traditions. The lighting of small oil lamps represents the triumph of good over evil and our emergence from spiritual darkness into the light. This festival also celebrates the inner light of all people.

Many Gods and Goddesses are celebrated during Diwali but two Goddesses in particular are honoured. First of all -- Lakshmi, the Goddess of Abundance, She who gives all the good things of life which money both can and cannot buy. May She smile upon all of us and shower us with Her blessings!

And then Kali is honoured -- She who cuts through all Illusion, She who is Inexorable Time and Change. May She smile upon all of us and shower us with Her blessings! Kali Ma, You rule us all.

[Diwali lamps photo by Rohit Saxena (dhondusaxena). Kali photo by Piyal Kundu.]

Thursday 4 November 2010

Finger Labyrinths

An alternative to walking a labyrinth with your feet is to walk a labyrinth with your fingers instead! These "finger labyrinths" are portable and handy for indoor use when a meditative experience is desired. They are made out of a variety of materials, such as plaster, ceramic, wood or plastic, and usually feature a grooved unicursal path.

Some finger labyrinths are very small and are designed to fit in the palm of your hand, like this pewter one. A stylus is often used to trace the path of these tiny labyrinths.

Finger labyrinths can also be made of cloth or paper, traceable directly by your finger or by pushing a small bead or token around the circuits. Labyrinths on paper can also be coloured with pencils or crayons as a meditative experience, in the same way as mandalas frequently are.

Finger labyrinths can often be purchased in spiritual bookstores or gift stores and may also be ordered from the many, many websites which sell them. But if you want a finger labyrinth that is really quick, easy and cheap, you can just print a basic Cretan or Chartres labyrinth design off the internet, enlarge it as needed on the computer or photocopier, and away you go!

As the old Yellow Pages slogan used to say: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

My Favourite Valkyrie

Now, I'm not a proponent of warfare, battles, death and misery but, having said that, I've always had a certain fascination with Valkyries, the "Choosers of the Slain." Accompanied by ravens and riding their fierce horses through the sky, these Nordic Warrior Goddesses carry fallen heroes and warriors from the battlefield to Valhalla, the home of the Gods.

Valkyries are tough, no-nonsense Goddesses. And they are given suitable names to prove it, names that reflect and celebrate conflict. For example, Brynhildr, the name of the head Valkyrie, means Bright Battle. Her sisters have names like War, Tumult, Chaos, Devastation and Clash. And then there are Sword-time, Spear-flinger, War Axe, Victory Rune, Cruelty and Killer. Not to mention Battle Spear, Battle Cry, Battle Noise and War Oath. Even the softer sounding Ale Rune is a reference to drunken brawling.

But there's one Valkyrie who resonates with me above all others -- Bossy. Yes indeed -- Bossy the Valkyrie. She doesn't sound quite up to the same belligerence level as her sisters but still, I bet she can seriously get on someone's nerves which might cause conflict to break out.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I do not have a soft spot for Bossy because she is in any way like me.

[My Rare One and Her Royal Highness both vehemently shake their heads: Nooooooo, no resemblance there!]

Bossy the Valkyrie sounds well-meaning, really, and gosh, can she help it if she just knows better than everyone else?

[And now my Rare One and HRH commence exaggerated rolling of eyes.]

It would save so much time if everyone just listened to her! And did things her way which is the correct way, after all.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

One Last Jack-o-Lantern

Well, that's it for another Halloween/Samhain season, folks! Let the countdown begin for next year! Nom nom nom.

Monday 1 November 2010

It's the Witches' New Year!

The Wheel of the Year has turned again. As you know, in the Celtic tradition Samhain marks the end of one year and the beginning of another -- it's the Witches' New Year! And so, dear bloggy friends, may this upcoming year bring you good health, good luck, happiness, prosperity, friendship and love!

May Water cleanse you,
May Air teach you,
May Fire drive you,
May Earth be a foundation for you.

Be it so!