Lake Superior State University Banished Words List

Posted in Pop Culture on January 22nd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The Lake Superior State University Word Banishment selection committee has published its 2004 List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The lists have appeared regulary since 1976, and have been compiled by The Unicorn Hunters.

This year, over 5,000 nominations were received, a new record. Words that made it onto the list include metrosexual, companion animals, shock and awe, and LOL. I’m disappointed that tipping point didn’t make it.

Want to have a word banished? Submit it here, with your reason.

More Family Stories

Posted in Family History, My Father's Stories, My Mother's Stories on January 21st 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: This time out, a pair of short pieces from me dear old M and Da:

    Dad: One incident that comes to mind was when I was about 11 or 12 years old, in the late 1930s. We always had a big garden at the back of our house on Berry Street, in St Boniface, Manitoba. One day I was told to water the garden, but instead, I just stuck the hose in the ground and let it run for a while! Then it occurred to me that my Dad had to pay for the water, so I stopped with the hose in the ground and watered the garden! I really felt bad about that afterwards.

    Mom: Whoever wrote the words to the song, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy”, wasn’t in my mother’s kitchen 60 years ago. Living was certainly not easy for her. I still picture her working in a very small kitchen, wood stove putting out the heat in an already sweltering room. She was canning food. To keep her family fed throughout the upcoming long, cold winte,r she would can somewhere in the neighbourhood of 500 jars of food. She would can corn on the cob, kernel corn, peas, peas and carrots, carrots, tomatoes, chickens, peaches, pears, plums and strawberries. She would make strawberry jam, raspberry jam, grape jelly, grape jam, blueberry jam. If you could name it, I swear my mother could can it.

    I receive daily inspirational messages from Oprah. I think today’s thought is very fitting, in helping describe how my mother loved us all. “Love is that splendid triggering of human vitality…the supreme activity which nature affords anyone for going out of himself toward someone else.” –Jose Ortega y Gasset, philosopher

Small Mercies

Posted in Observations on January 21st 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: What has brightened my days in the dark of winter:

    – discovering fresh blueberries at Costco last week, and buying two packages;
    – receiving kind support from a friend regarding my writing;
    – knowing how fortunate I am that at 50 to still have my parents around, and that they are the most amazing parents, too;
    – the recent resurgence of the Montreal Canadiens, and enjoying it quietly (very few of my friends are sports fans, really…);
    Heavy G taking time from his insanely busy scheduled to stop by and help with a minor house repair;
    – finishing the final draft of another blog article with the same Mr Heavy G;
    – making a professor’s day simply by telling her that a new online resource she requested is now available;
    – the gentle reminders of how blessed I am with amazing friends and colleagues

Iowa Caucuses: What th’ – ?, and CIBC: SBT

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 18th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The US political system is not something to be understood easily. For example, the Iowa Caucuses. Whatinhell are they? I found explanations on the ‘net, but after reading them, I have a headache. You may fare differently. Try Jim Morrill’s description from the Charlotte Observer, or another take from MSNBC. There is also a detailed explanation on CNN’s site, but it’s a java pop-up window, so I cannot link to it. As of today, it’s on this page, in the “Related” box, about a third of the way down the page.

:: As if we need more proof that banks like CIBC are cold-blooded, heartless behemoths that care nil about their lunch bucket customers, I experienced more of CIBC’s slow but steady withdrawal of basic services today. While driving home from dim sum, I stopped at a Shell station to get cash, only to discover the CIBC machine there had been pulled and replaced by a Scotiabank machine. Undaunted, I drove further down Calgary Trail to a Petro-Canada station, only to discover that its CIBC machine had been swapped for a PetroCanada quick cash machine – you know, the generic kind, where the machine tells you that to withdraw any money will cost you an additional $1.50. Disappointed but not surprised, I drove to the local 7-11, which, thankfully, still has its CIBC bank machine.

But don’t let CIBC tell you otherwise. From their Public Accountability Statement 2003 web page, under “Affordable Accesible Banking”: In 2003, CIBC took steps to make banking more accessible to Canadians by enhancing products and services and upgrading delivery channels. Eh? From the same accountability statement: “CIBC offers customers a wider choice of banking services through Amicus Bank, a member of the CIBC group of companies.” Well, the two Amicus Bank machines I tried to use this afternoon aren’t there anymore.

CIBC over the years has pulled seven of its eight bank machines from my university campus. Now they are pulling machines from retail locations as well. “Enhancing products and services?” “Upgrading delivery channels?”

Er, no. Oh, SBT? Sucks Big Time.

Bush in 30 Seconds

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 17th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: In my short lifetime, I cannot remember a US presidential campaign with so many anti-incumbent movements before the election. George Soros and Michael Moore were on Charlie Rose last night, both speaking out against Bush, with Soros essentially dedicating the next year of his life to ending the Bush doctrine, which he believes to be a “temporary abberation.” Soros continues to provide leadership for an open society on this planet, with his Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation Network. Moore’s next movie, Fahrenheit 9-11, will examine the links between the Bush and bin Laden families.

Tonight I learned of the contest, Bush in 30 Seconds, in which contestants were asked to create a 30-second ad to explain and expose the failure of Bush’s policies. Of more than one thousand ads submitted, 26 were chosen as finalists. The five winners are here, and the overall best ad, “Child’s Pay“, is absolutely devestating, frightening, in fact, in its power and imagery – an ad with no dialogue, proving that pictures are indeed worth thousands of words.

Then check out Billionaires for Bush – “Because the deficit isn’t growing fast enough.”

Out of It

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 15th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: A visit to my doctor yesterday confirmed that I have a flu bug, which, oddly enough, may have been the cause of my eye problem last week. I picked a lousy time to get sick, during one of the two busiest teaching weeks of the year at work. I feel like I’ve abandoned my colleagues. It feels more like a head cold than anything else, but I am bored and it is hard to concentrate on anything other than watching tv. So the only time I’m venturing outside is to rent movies. I watched Out Of Time last night, and thought it was quite good, a decent thriller involving arson, murder, and coverup afterwards. Denzel Washington continues to make good movies. Also, it’s nice out – 7C today (44.6F), and sunny (in contrast to the Eastern half of the continent, freezing in sub-zero tempertatures right now), and I’d rather be outside than inside.

:: The Edmonton Journal today published a letter written by my pal, Georges Giguere. The “friend’s automated Telus voice mail” of which he writes, was mine. While I never thought the sound of the voice was that bad (and has been changed, anyway), the letter is a good one, and sums up how he and many others, including myself, feel about the continuous and unabated assault on our senses by All Things Technological in today’s world. Sadly we must get used to it, because it will never subside. Fascinating then, that the cassette recently celebrated its 40th anniversary of existence, and despite all rumours to the contrary, is still going strong in most parts of the world. I bought my first cassette recorded in the late 60s, and cassettes I recorded then are still playable today. Can’t say the same for 5 1/4″ floppies, can we?

Back to bed…

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