Thursday 26 April 2012

Working in Montréal today --No Inspiration

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

I do not want you to think that I was not thinking of you this A.M., I just could not find anything that inspired any kind of comment, critique, or comedy.  The 3 Cs of this pulp.

There was Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's recommendation for Ontario to embrace our risk of a lowered rating..  meh.

The War on Drugs -rethinking by Harper et al..Yawn.

The apparent contradiction of Alberta crying that they need to import skilled from other countries because of a manpower shortage, yet simultaneously argue for lower wages..  my eyes closed for a second and I may have snored.

So, sorry folks, but have a good day anyway.

Hey, would it be wrong to bcc Stevie Wonder on my emails?

Thursday 19 April 2012

Working in Ottawa today --Mind your metaphors

Good morning folks, I will be working in Ottawa today.

We've all heard bad mixed metaphors when the speaker combines two separate metaphors into one new one that just falls short of making any sense at all.

"We have to get all our ducks on the same page."
"It’s time to step up to the plate and lay your cards on the table."

And there is always the malapropisms, this misuse of similar sounding words for often humorous results, for that we could probably look to George Bush alone for all the examples that we would ever need, here is just two of his vast collection.

"We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile."
"It will take time to restore chaos and order."

I am not sure to call it when one just screws up the metaphor, a mixed-up metaphor Don C. style.

"Don't put all of your eggs in a row."
"I can see the fire at the end of the road."

But what do you call it when the right metaphor is used for the wrong situation?

I was on a phone call Monday and the legal beagle of the other end of the phone made reference to The Sword of Damocles hanging over another party's head.  Now the situation was that the other party would be agreeing in writing that if they dare to do X then damages would apply.  But the amount was not specified, so for my opposite there existed an open ended or an unbounded liability if he broke the agreement.


That's not what The Sword of Damocles refers to.

In the 4th century BCE Dionysius II was the tyrant ruler of Syracuse.  He was only particularly  notable because his uncle Dion teamed up with Plato to try and restructure the Syracuse gov't to be more moderate and move toward a democracy, but Dionysius would have none of that and banished his uncle, gave away his wife, and seized all of his assets and stopped Plato in his tracks. —beware bratty nephews I tell you what.

Anyway.. Damocles was a bafoon  in Dionysius' court.  Sort of a cross between a kiss ass and a Fop.  As part of his kiss ass routine, he carried on about how great Dionysius was and how great life must be being that great and surrounded by all of this wealth and leisure.

What's that -- a Fop?  That is a member of the King's/Baron's/Lord's court that dresses over the top, flamboyant, attempts wit and generally puts on airs, certainly seeking a higher station than his resources shall we say… suggest?

Kiss ass?   You should know that one already.

Back to Damocles.. Dionysius may have tired of the ass kissing or was just bored, but likely decided that Damocles should just shut the hell up.  So he put it to Damocles, If you think my life is so great, swap places with me, or something to that effect, but likely with more hand waving. Of course that sycophant Damocles jumped at the chance.  (see: ass kissing & seeking higher station above).  Damocles loved it.  Had the attention of the court, the food, the lavishness, the beautiful staff..  All was swell, until he looked up.  Dionysius had arranged for a very sharp and very heavy sword suspended over the throne held by a single horse tail hair.

It was right around this moment of realization that Damocles implored Dionysius to allow him to resume his regular station.

So to what does The Sword of Damocles refer?  Simply that positions of great power and responsibility carry built in perils; One could even say that it's hard to be happy with a dagger pointing at you; Certainly that the sword represented an ever present risk of injury that could occur regardless of the victim's action.  But it is not a good metaphor for break your side of the agreement and the costs could be surprisingly high.

Have a good day, mind your metaphors.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Working in Montréal today --A good day to be Scottish

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

Hey, what sounds like two scruffy tom cats fighting over a twitchy calico in heat at 3 AM in your backyard?  That's right kids.. Bagpipes!

Now just before my Scottish brethren get their dander up and start pitching dwarves or capons at me I will explain that I do enjoy a good tune squeezed out of the old windbag, my favs include Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace.

But when the playing is bad, oh Lordy, it's bad.

So it was probably the sounds of this feline fugue that inspired Vancouver's regulations preventing buskers from playing the pipes on that city's streets.  But wait.. is that city's mayor not the kilt wearing Scotsman Gregor Robertson ? (sounds best when you roll the r sounds a bit)

Good news prevailed yesterday though when the good mayor announced that the city has reversed its position and not on Gregor's watch will the pipes or drums be banned from the city streets.

Piper Joe McDonald said that he could see both sides of the issue, and called on the city's buskers to not hang about all day in the same place playing their pipes.  "If someone's in a shop and they've got to listen to six hours of bagpipes, that's like drinking too much Scotch".. "Scotch is great, but you don't drink the bottle all in one sitting."

Oh, and just so someone doesn't fire back at me with some claim that the pipes were banned in Scotland as weapons of war in the 1700's.  nay I say.

Many misinterpret Piper James Reid's death sentence after his capture after the Battle of Cullenden as indication that the English court viewed the pipes as weapons of war.  No, Reid was tried for high treason for marching into battle with the Jacobites, that he didn't carry a weapon was of no consequence.   Further, The Proscription Act of 1747 does not list the pipes.

Why do I even mention it?
Piper Dave Brooks was tried in London for disturbing the peace with his pipe playing recently..  Not sure exactly when but Dave tried to claim his pipes weren't a musical instrument, but a weapon and cited James Reid's case.  The judge said they were "an instrument of war in war and a musical instrument in peace". It caused laughter in the court when he added however if he wanted to continue to claim them as a weapon he would charge him with bearing arms and put him in the cells.   Dave was fined 45 pounds, about $100 and sent on his way.

Have a good day, even if you're not a Scot.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Working in Ottawa today --April Showers

Good morning folks, 

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Daffodils growing in soil are neither liquid, gel nor paste.  They are also not tools, sport equipment, nor firearm, ammunition, nor explosive.

This was the subject of a brief exchange between airport security staff and myself this morning as I was passing through security on my way to Ottawa while carrying a small potted Daffodil.

Ultimately I prevailed and here I sit on the plane with my Daffodil.  I bumped us both (Daffodil and I) to business class (yes, on points. --mine not the Daffodil's) so that the Daffodil could sit comfortably on the console between my seat and neighbor's.

I just had a brief exchange with a NFAP (non flower accompanied passenger):

He -Is that your plant?
Me -No, we're just friends.

He -Why are you flying with flowers.
Me -The more interesting question is why no one else is.

He -Are you going to give me any straight answers?
Me -I've already said too much, please direct all remaining questions to the Daffodils.

Have a good day, be sure to stop and smell the flowers.