Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Beware! Christmas Stuff. . . But Good Christmas Stuff

For the few of you who do not have Stan Rogers in your cd collection (and there should only be a few), I've decided to post the lyrics to the saddest, but somehow sweetest, Christmas song ever:

First Christmas
by Stan Rogers

This day a year ago, he was rolling in the snow
With a younger brother in his father's yard
Christmas break, a time for touching home,
the heart of all he'd known
And leaving was so hard

Three thousand miles away,
now he's working Christmas Day
Making double time for the minding of the store
Well he always said, he'd make it on his own
He's spending Christmas Eve alone
First Christmas away from home

She's standing by the train station,
pan-handling for change
Four more dollars buys a decent meal and a room
Looks like the Sally Ann place after all,
in a crowded sleeping hall
That echoes like a tomb

But it's warm and clean and free,
and there are worse places to be
At least it means no beating from her Dad
And if she cries because it's Christmas Day
She hopes that it won't show
First Christmas away from home

In the apartment stands a tree,
and it looks so small and bare
Not like it was meant to be,
Golden angel on the top
It's not that same old silver star,
you wanted for your own
First Christmas away from home

In the morning, they get prayers,
then it's crafts and tea downstairs
Then another meal back in his little room
Hoping maybe that "the boys"
will think to phone before the day is gone
Well, it's best they do it soon

When the "old girl" passed away,
he fell apart more every day
Each had always kept the other pretty well
But the kids all said the nursing home was best
Cause he couldn't live alone
First Christmas away from home

In the common room they've got the biggest tree
And it's huge and cold and lifeless
Not like it ought to be,
and the lit-up flashing Santa Claus on top
It's not that same old silver star,
you once made for your own
First Christmas away from home
First Christmas away from home

Now you must go out and get a copy of this song. It will help to counteract the diabetic coma-inducing sweetness of most other music you hear this time of year. Apparently, he wrote this song to reflect the realities of Christmas for those who are on their own.

"Each had always kept the other pretty well." That line kills me every time, telling a story in just eight words.

Good night, all.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

10 Things I Learned Watching The Da Vinci Code

1. For a book that read so much like a movie or tv show, it sure made a crappy movie. I know. The book is almost always better then the movie. So when the book is a dud, I guess I shouldn't have expected it to be anything more than what it was - the cinematic equivalent of a wet, stinking cow patty.

2. That, even in the movie, two dedicated codebreakers take way too long to link Isaac Newton with a frigging apple. I could accept most of the foolishness up to that point but to have the crucial final puzzle be as friggin' simple as apple. . . Come on! Where'd Dan Brown pull that one out of? Puzzles for Dummies II, Even Dumberer Puzzles for Dumberer Readers?

3. Ironically, this thriller lacks thrills. I won't even get into it's lack of logic.

4. Jean Reno and Audrey Tatou may be better than this schlock, but they sure didn't show it. And neither did Mr. Hanks, for that matter.

5. Don't share a drink with a criminal mastermind. Especially when you are no longer of use. While your at it, stay away from Albinos, too. As Hollywood shows again and again, less pigment, for some reason, equals more evil.

6. When push comes to shove, spend more time talking about things. Tell, don't show.

7. If you're dying from a gun wound, it's a good time to get crazy with the blood drawings and invisible ink.

8. Once the tension dies down, spend a lot of time explaining every single detail before you let the credits roll. Leave nothing to the imagination.

9. Cheesy ghost images are not just the domain of crappy shows like Cold Case. They just look like they belong on tv.

10. Even with all the trappings of intelligence - academics, puzzles, books - Dan Brown's story is surprisingly dumb. I'm ashamed to have to paraphrase a line from an Adam Sandler movie but here it is - I feel dumber for having watched this thing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

TTC Troubles

Let me preface this by saying that, generally, I love the TTC. In fact, I like most mass transit. Car travel, while ostensibly convenient, is just such an absurd concept to me - wrapping yrself in a large block of steel and plastic and rolling to the same place that hundreds of other people are rolling towards in the name of some freedom that does not really exist. I mean, how free are you, when you are driving to work more just to pay for the insurance, the oil change and the gas. Of course, I speak as a person who lives in a city with fairly reliable and extensive 24 hour a day transit. I know that people in smaller places don't have this luxury, so the 'rolling coffin' (as Ken Kesey called them) becomes a necessary evil.

But I'm not really here to bash car travel. I actually wanted to talk about the TTC and their nasty habit of short turning buses that I am on.

For those of you not living in Toronto, the short turn is what the TTC uses to get its buses back on schedule after biggish delays. Instead of going to the end of the line, the bus turns around at some point and goes back the other way, picking up its regular schedule. The passengers who are on the bus have to grab a transfer and wait for the next bus. Usually, I am understanding. The TTC is doing the best it can to serve all the passengers and, while I've been inconvenienced, sometimes it just has to happen.

Lately, though, it has been happening way too often - every Friday on the Jane bus and even last night on the normally reliable 106. I don't mind if it happens once in a while but, when it starts to become a regular occurence, something should be done. I am a fan of transit and I am starting to get frustrated. Imagine what this must be doing to the people who are not as fond of the TTC - more car drivers.

And while this is happening, the TTC goes looking for money for a subway. Some logic, eh? The government isn't giving us enough to run the system as it is, so we are going to go after them to build another subway to ikea, this time the one at Jane and Hwy. 7. Why not fix what you have before you get caught up in an ultra-expensive vanity project that won't do much to increase ridership? I like subways, but I like decent service better and, the way things are, we cannot afford both.

If I haven't bored you enough already with talk of transit, check out It's a great site with lots of transit info. run by people who really care about transit.