Misc


Looming year’s end inspires journalists and politicians alike to sit down and spin a bit.

Rick Bell of the Edmonton Sun and Jason Kenney, the newly minted MLA from Calgary-Lougheed and leader of the fledgling United Conservative Party had one of those new year chats lately and, per tradition, it wasn’t terribly enlightening.

The main topic wasn’t even as surprising as it was just sad.

Of course, I am talking about bozos.

Yes, in Canada, politicians and pundits spend a good deal of time pondering the existence and continuing national nightmare of the bozo candidate, who more often than they should, become elected officials.

It’s a serious enough issue that I factor it in when contemplating who I want to see wind up as Premier or Prime Minister because, in my opinion, a leader’s ability or not to manage their benches directly correlates to how often I will have to judge them harshly and/or worry about the safety of my children’s future.

Faux pas nightmares walking among us is just a fact, but that others unite to give them platforms and power to cast an inky Mordorish shadow on far too many communities is a puzzlement. We should be marching and GoFunding to prevent these horrors from occurring, but as Jason Kenney admits to Bell, the onus of prevention truly falls most heavily on political parties and their leaders.

Bozos should simply never become candidates, according to Jason Kenney. It’s his new mission as UCP leader to make sure the Lake of Fire is doused.

It’s a good New Year’s resolution too because bozo’ng is almost a sport for the current crop of farther to the right than not conservatives in the Alberta legislature.

A few examples of extreme bozo’ng this year include MLAs who’ve compared social democracy to holocausts, held up murderous dictators as examples of good government and accused members of the majority holding NDP government of … eating dogs. And that’s just what they stood up and blurted out for the Hansard.

The Bozo gold medalist of 2017, an MLA who’s Libertarian views would comfortably cozy up like a fat purring cat in any southern state in America, has this year’s hat trick. He rented out his taxpayer subsidized apartment on Air BnB, was recently convicted of a hit and run in a parking lot, and topped both those incidents when game wardens caught him hunting on private property just days before being convicted of said hit and run. For all Jason’s talk about “vigorous vetting”, this guy is still in the running.

Vigorous vetting, as far as can be discerned, consists mainly of “are you fiscally conservative enough for us to overlook your numerous personal failings”? Most of the time, the answer appears to be yes.

Kenney’s current House Leader in the legislature is a good example of the lengths to which the party must go to “overlook”.

Jason Nixon, who represents Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, was discovered to have fired a female employee after she reported being sexually harassed on a job site. This only came to light during a debate on a bill that would strengthen protections for women in the workplace. Something Nixon feels is best left to businesses to decide for themselves, which in retrospect isn’t much of a surprise because as a businessman, he decided to fire a single mother of three – days before Christmas – rather than set straight the man who sexually harassed her.

As most men do these days, Nixon gave a tepid apology along the lines of “I was young. It was a different time. Of course I wouldn’t do that now because people get upset about it now, and that’s inconvenient for me. Blah. Blah. Blah.” And then he quickly entered the man poorly explaining witness protection program also known as blocking all his critics on Twitter.

Mr. Kenney’s response was to stand by his man.

So much for vetting.

Finally, it being an end of the year confab and all, it included the obligatory holiday cheer stuff. Jason’s consisted of throwing a fuel soaked yule log into the outrage flames of a conservative holiday tradition.

“The problem is people on the left think saying Merry Christmas is hateful. Those voices of crazed political correctness will not govern what is allowed.”

Ah, the war on Christmas. What would Christmas be without a war?

So, god bless us, everyone because I don’t think I need to point out that Jason’s holiday message to Albertans , as much as anything, qualifies as a Bozo moment.


Labour is still, unfortunately, divided into traditional perspectives as far as the world views relationships. There are the tasks that women perform and those that are the man’s job.

Automotive issues generally fall on the man. Putting on the snow tires, changing air filters and the oil is considered the domain of men. Although, as society moves farther and farther away from vehicles that can be easily maintained in the comfort of one’s garage (and let’s be real, a having a garage, or having one that isn’t a second basement, is drifting away from the norm too), vehicle maintenance is becoming a lost art regardless.

When I was single, I maintained my vehicles by taking it to a shop and letting a professional do the work. I drove in. I hopped out, sat in the waiting area, paid the bill and left. There was the obligatory peeks at different fluids and filters that required me to nod  but for the most part, it wasn’t really a chore and no one – that I am aware of in retrospect – was actively trying to rip me off in terms of service.

During my first marriage, I maintained my independence as far as this particular man job went because my first husband really didn’t know much at all about cars. He could change the oil and tires, which was more than I could do, but we didn’t have a garage and one of his best friends, who was a mechanic, told me on the sly early on “Don’t let him fix anything. Ask me first.” Good advice that I took.

Now husband, however, is a man job professional. I really can’t think of anything that falls under the traditional umbrella of man jobs that he can’t do. Literally.

And so, I have been lazy. Don’t judge.

For all of my life, I have taken care of myself and everyone who fell under my protection. My late husband was a terrific guy, and he had his strengths, but taking care of us wasn’t one of them. I was okay with that. I like being in charge, and I am pretty bossy, so it worked out well.

But, I admit, when the opportunity arose to hand over the tasks that I have never been fond of, I took it and didn’t look back.

Today, I took the truck in for an oil change. It was in semi-urgent need. Husband is quite busy and won’t be taking much time off over the holidays, so I thought “I’ve got this”. Which I did because I simply called up Husband on the phone and had the kid at Jiffy Lube talk to him.

Seriously, how did I ever live without instant access to everyone I know?

Whenever the need arises for me to step up for oil changes, however, I am reminded all over again that most of what I know about the truck is just how to drive it. I don’t know where anything is on the dash that I don’t have to use everyday. I know little to nothing about the various settings for lights, for instance, and I forget from one time to the next how to pop the hood open.

Jiffy Lube Kid presented this and that dipstick or spot on a card for me to judge levels or colour of this and that fluid, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were fine or not. They appeared to hit the proper marks and have the required clearness, so I gave a Queen Elizabeth nod, and he seemed satisfied.

I can tell the difference between an air filter that needs to be changed and one that doesn’t but fortunately, Jiffy Lube never asks me to. They simply say, “This looks fine” or “This should be changed” and I give my royal assent.

Sometimes I think maybe I should pay more attention to these man jobs like vehicles and home renovations, but those thoughts pass quickly.

There’s very little about the routine chore aspect of life that’s so complicated that it requires a whole lot of stored knowledge. If I had to – like today – I manage fine. It’s an oil change. Jiffy Lube wouldn’t get too many repeat customers if it’s regular practice was to lie to people. I don’t need to know the ins and outs of differentials, transmission leaks and air tire pressure to be able to deal with issues as they arise. A lot of the information people needed to know about home and vehicle maintenance in the days of yore stemmed from the fact that many things were not as complicated as they simply were time consuming. And disposable income was not such that people could afford to have someone else do the work for them.

For me, the important thing is that Husband and I are – mostly – doing those things that we find acceptable personally. I am disinterested in renovations beyond “are you finished yet?” and he is fine with taking on the work required to update. And while he is happy never to step foot in a grocery store, I am good with being a personal shopper. Just as an example.

But it’s a curious thing, this distribution of tasks. What’s his and what’s hers. And how easily we slide into roles. Some would say this is conditioning, and they’d be right to a point. In my opinion, personality and mutual understanding plays their parts too.

I imagine Jiffy Lube Guy runs into people like me – barely interested in or aware of what is going on in their vehicles as long as they are running – all day long. Women and men.


I game. Not hardcore – unless it’s a new release or new expansion – but I game. And though it sometimes feels like I am a lone woman in the gamer’sphere, the numbers say I am not.

As of 2014, women over the age of 18 were 32% of gamers while boys under 17 made up just 17%. Men make up 52% of all games and women are the remaining 48%, which is up from 40% in 2010.

Like most teens back in the day of arcades, I hung out. I played Tetris, Centipede, Galaxian and a bit of PacMan. It was never something I actively sought out and generally, if I found myself in an arcade, it was because one of my friends had a crush on a boy who hung out at arcades.

For the record, never once did I ever have a crush on a boy who hung out at an arcade.

I got my start in the virtual game world via The Legend of Zelda almost 20 years ago now. My late husband and I had a Nintendo 64. In addition to Zelda, which I found intuitively maddening for it’s lack of sense, we had the standard Mario offerings and some racing games. Eventually the new wore off and I gave the console to my nephew, but gaming called again about a decade ago when I discovered The Sims which, lacking rules and guidance, I was able to turn into hours of distraction during some darker times in my life.

I got back into gaming the summer before last when my husband got me a PS4 and introduced me to Destiny. I’d tried a few other games, Diablo 3, played a bit of Nintendoland with the kids and took a rather pathetic shot at Mass Effect. And really, I wasn’t feeling it.

But my husband wanted us to spend virtual time together in addition to the real time we already spent, and he was sure I would like Destiny because I had enjoyed watching him play Dust 514.

As shooter games go, it’s the easiest I have ever tried. It’s first person and the graphics aren’t cartoonish, which I find off-putting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to play Mass Effect. It had a great story line, characters that were compelling and didn’t feel like something created for children.

I am not good. Fair to occasionally average is roughly my skill level. There were things about Destiny that I’d have never completed were it not for assistance from my husband and his online comrades, but I liked the game. I liked the time he and I spend playing, and I liked his friends – who, contrary to stereotype, are nice guys.

More imaginary friends is probably not something I need but it’s where I generally end up.

Husband now thinks I should take my rather average skills to Twitch and see if anyone will watch me. Not a lot of women streaming their play, and certainly not in my age range, but I hesitate because I prefer written words to spoken, and I am dubious about my own appeal.

And I don’t do PvP, which is what most Destiny folks like to watch, nor do I care enough about the gear and loot to cater to those who nerd out on the minutia aspects of games.

PvP is virtual mortal combat against complete strangers for imaginary rewards. A person might think this would appeal to a gal who really loves online life but no. Virtually killing strangers for no particularly good reason or, in my case, being fake murdered by strangers, who then dance – and … other … things – all over my virtual corpse is not appealing.

But husband believes that my rambling commentary would suffice, but again, I am doubtful. Plus I swear. A lot. Even more than I do on Twitter.

I share all this only because I am going to rewrite a review of the latest version of the game, Destiny 2. Mostly because the whining about it has annoyed me. And I probably will record and share my gameplay at least once just to see if it is less horrible than I think it will be. So I wanted to provide a bit of background beforehand.

To sum up, old woman games and has opinions about it that she will sharing from time to time in the future. That is all.