Friday, June 29, 2007

Day 6 - Meltdown

Yesterday, the dike broke. The dam breached. The camel found that straw. Something.

MG reached her limit and wanted to go home. Only that. Well, that and to talk to her mother. So, call mom. Maybe that'll be it. Maybe mom will calm her down.

No. Mom wanted to drive the 8 hours to pick her up. Maternal instinct stronger than we thought. MG's Dad thinks that mom is insane. Mom finally reconsiders. More telephony. Children split up for the day. TS and RA go to Rideau Center to pick up flip-flops and earrings. (And gas: 107.9 cents per litre). MS and MG head down to the pool for several hours. RA and TS return - TS heads to the pool. Children swim for another hour and a half, amicably.

So, crisis averted, and we're hungry.

MS has been eyeing The Mill for most of the week now. In fact, we stopped by on Monday - it was closed, but the menu looked good. So, head over there. "BUSINESS CLOSED" signs have been nailed to the door. They've been in business 30 years, but heard that we were coming, apparently.

So, back to Elgin Street - we ended up at the Mayflower. Absolutely no atmosphere, but the food was really good.

Today we're homeless for a few hours as we transition to the Novotel for one last night.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another day, another museum

Wednesday brought a day spent entirely in Quebec.

First, breakfast at the hotel. This time, not bad.

Then, off to Gatineau City to take in the Museum of Civilization. Turns out they have a children's museum, which is really fantastic. They have little passport thingies, and you can get them stamped at each of the thousand little kiosks there, after completing a little activity. Really good. We spent a couple of hours there, totally engrossed.

Then, off to "Treasures of China." It's amazing what can be done with Jade.

Then, the "Hall of Canada." Once we found it, that is. Not to be missed - so we didn't. Finally, a quick run through their largest indoor collection of totem poles, and the cultural activity of the day was complete.

Then, since we'd been gone almost half a week so far, notwithstanding that some had packed as if they were joining Hannibal's march, it was time to do laundry. (That idea was first floated on Monday). Off to the wilds of outer Gatineau to the "coin de lavage" that the front desk directed us to. Clean, and close to a Dairy Queen - our kind of place. Luckily it was not crowded. A couple of hours later, with a couple of trips to the DQ and the IGA, we were on our way back to the Cartier Resort, and the pool!

A 1 1/2 hour swim ended the day. What will today bring?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The poutine, the poutine!

It's quite good here, at Dunn's on Elgin in Ottawa.

Don't come here for relief from the heat (30 degrees) or the humidity (high) but the food is "decidedly OK". Also, no liquor license. But the Pepsi as Coke is plentiful, and was refilled without asking.

Today was the visit to the National Gallery of Canada. MG was even photographed under the giant spider, "maman".

Today we breakfasted at Zak's, apparently a Canadian institution for 20 years or so. They had smoked salmon, a requirement for TS.

Tomorrow, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and maybe the currency museum!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada

Today we toured the Supreme Court of Canada.

They receive about 600 requests for review, and accept about 100 of them per year.

The US Supreme Court grants about 100 plenary reviews (with oral arguments) per year.

I'll bet the US court's hearing room is bigger.

(No poutine yet, but we did manage to locate some smoked salmon. TS has developed a jones for the smoked salmon since BD's birthday celebration. Thanks ED)!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Oh, and since it's Friday

We should mention that JT is hosting Tea today.

Although there are some Coronas in the fridge, we think he'll be insulted if it's chosen over the fine variety of summer microbrews he's distributed about in there.

Off to Ottawa

Smashed is off for a week in Ottawa.

We can't wait to try the poutine. We hear it's best eaten while hot.

(And no, it's not got anything to do with this Poutine). He doesn't even like french fries.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

France Bans Blackberrys

France bans BlackBerrys over fears of US intelligence snooping
The Independent, By Claire Soares, June 21

Seven million people worldwide may be addicted to them but the French government has said "non" to Le BlackBerry, fearing US intelligence agents could be snooping on state secrets.

"The risks of interception are real. It is economic war," Alain Juillet, who is in charge of economic intelligence for the government, told Le Monde newspaper.

The concern is that information sent from a BlackBerry gets routed via servers in the United States and Britain, and that this poses "a problem with the protection of information".

Research In Motion, the company that makes the handheld devices, poured cold water on the French fears, saying there was no way that the US National Security Agency could see the content of messages that were transmitted .

We wonder if Stephen Hart has found a new life in the French Government...

They look so normal, don't they?

Who knew that they'd be interested in this sort of thing?

Tucked away on Jamaica’s beautiful North Coast, you’ll find Club Ambiance,
A Lively & Casual Beach resort with 100 brightly decorated rooms and the idyllic get away for Lovers, Couples & Swingers (min age 18 years).
We offer that easy going laid back Caribbean atmosphere.

At least the stories should be good when they get back.


Summer starts today (!) at 2:06 PM EDT.

We can hardly wait!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's been a long time coming.

But NT and WP have joined households!

Congrats NT!

Our condolences, WP. We hope your decision making process improves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This could be the end of a beautiful friendship

Casablanca - Mis amigos jugando

Harper's: A Humiliation for Morocco

By Scott Horton

The first nation to extend formal diplomatic recognition to the fledgling young United States was not France, or Prussia or any other Christian power of Europe. It was the Muslim Kingdom of Morocco, and the recognition was extended in 1777, when America’s independence was little more than a matter of wishful thinking. One of the first diplomatic representations the United States opened in the world was the legation in Tangiers, opened in 1786. The U.S.-Moroccan relationship has been long and a decidedly two-sided affair. At the end of World War II, when Morocco was under a very soft de facto American occupation (an occupation, I should add, that was welcomed by much of the population), the Truman administration used its clout to insist that French and Spanish colonial rule over Morocco be brought to a rapid conclusion and that the sovereignty of the king be restored. (There had, of course, been some unpleasant experiences in U.S.-Moroccan relations, especially under Teddy Roosevelt, but on that score, forgiveness was in order.)

I grew up as a young boy in Morocco, and my first memories as a child were scenes from the street life of Rabat, Meknes and Fez – walking through the markets, and waiving to a neighbor from the roof of our house in the rue de Bucharest, near the black sand beaches of the Atlantic. I remember a multi-ethnic country where Americans were held in high regard – as friends. To a certain extent even as liberators, who had driven away the Germans and then ensured a quick end to the aspirations of the colonial powers – without having any colonial aspirations of their own. The Algerian war was raging next door, and Moroccans were thankful of having been spared this. But things have changed, and America’s reputation has suffered a series of hard blows in the country that was once its oldest and firmest ally in the Arabic-speaking world.

Now the United States is introducing a tough visa regime for Moroccans, transparently designed to make it more difficult for Moroccans to travel to the United States. At the same time the old consulate in Casablanca has been closed.


The Moroccans are understandably in a state of consternation about this...


Translated from the French:
Washington 'Humiliates' One of its Oldest Friends

"Forcing Moroccans to submit visa requests to U.S. consulates in Europe or Tunis not only constitutes an unacceptable humiliation; it amounts to bad publicity that damages our country's image and the friendly relations it has never ceased to maintain with America since Morocco became one of the first to recognize its independence [in 1777]."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Oh, so now it's Sir Salman Rushdie

We wonder how that'll go down in certain quarters...

UPDATE: We didn't have to wait long, did we?

Iran has stepped up its protest over the knighthood awarded by Britain to Salman Rushdie, whose 1988 novel The Satanic Verses outraged many Muslims.

Iran's foreign ministry summoned the UK ambassador in Tehran and said the knighthood was a "provocative act".

Pakistan voiced similar protests, telling the UK envoy in Islamabad the honour showed the British government's "utter lack of sensitivity".

Britain denied that the award was intended to insult Islam.

Iran summoned UK ambassador Geoffrey Adams to protest against the knighthood.

"This insulting, suspicious and improper act by the British government is an obvious example of fighting against Islam," Iran's Foreign Ministry Director for Europe, Ebrahim Rahimpour, was quoted as saying by the state-run Irna news agency.

"It has seriously wounded the beliefs of 1.5 billion Muslims and followers of other religions."

Mr Rahimpour added that Iran held the British government and Queen Elizabeth II "responsible for the circumstance of this provocation".



Muslim world inflamed by Rushdie knighthood

Sir Salman Rushdie celebrates his 60th birthday today in familiar circumstances: he is once again the subject of death threats across the Islamic world.

Eighteen years after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill him, a government minister in Pakistan said yesterday that Rushdie’s recent knighthood justified suicide bombing.

The question of blasphemy in The Satanic Verses, Rushdie’s 1988 tale of a prophet misled by the devil, remains a deeply sensitive issue in much of the Muslim world and the author’s inclusion in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last week has inflamed anti-British sentiment.

Gerald Butt, editor of the authoritative Middle East Economic Survey, told The Times: “It will be interpreted as an action calculated to goad Muslims at a time when the atmosphere is already very tense and Britain’s standing in the region is very low because of its involvement in Iraq and its lack of action in tackling the Palestine issue.”

Friday, June 15, 2007

The cat's out of the bag

ED has favored us with Champagne for today's tea. I wonder why?

Could it be he has something to celebrate, or it could just be an irrational patent celebration.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Friday Tea

We know it's only Thursday, but the Committee has received a request from ED to host this Friday's Tea.

It took some convincing, but we were able to agree that that would be a fine idea.

OK, I'll allow it.

Allow that we *love* the US Patent Office. Who knew we could get so excited over chemistry?

Economic news of the day.

While food prices in the US have gone up - our troubles don't compare to those of Zimbabwe's... From the BBC:

Zimbabwe's inflation is already 3,714% - the highest rate in the world.


Shops were doubling their prices twice a month, so they could purchase replacement goods.

If this continues, "doubling the current inflation for each of the seven remaining months of 2007 gives 512,000% thus the economic collapse is expected before the end of 2007," said the report, according to the AP news agency.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Thanks to AZ, we're also going to have limited quantities of Mango Lassi available at 4:00.

Friday Tea

Today's tea marks the passing from the scene of MG - so in his honor, we're going to have a mango-based drink called the "Glitch".

Also in honor of ED's great news, we will also have available something called the "Cry Baby Blues". Congrats ED - maybe there'll be some left for next week. (You will be back next week, won't you)?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Common-law marriage?

Why has common-law marriage been outlawed most everywhere? One only has to open one's eyes.

But if you've just got to bypass the usual method, here's some of the information you'll need.

Common-law marriage can still be contracted in the following jurisdictions: Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire (posthumously), Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Common-law marriage can no longer be contracted in the following states, as of the dates given: Alaska (1917), Arizona (1913), California (1895), Florida (1968), Georgia (1997), Hawaii (1920), Idaho (1996), Illinois (1905), Indiana (1958), Kentucky (1852), Maine (1652, when it became part of Massachusetts; then a state, 1820), Massachusetts (1646), Michigan (1957), Minnesota (1941), Mississippi (1956), Missouri (1921), Nebraska (1923), Nevada (1943), New Mexico (1860), New York (1933, also 1902-1908), New Jersey (1939), North Dakota (1890), Ohio (1991), Pennsylvania (2005), South Dakota (1959), and Wisconsin (1917).

The following states never permitted common-law marriage: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Note that Louisiana is a French civil or code law jurisdiction, not an English common law jurisdiction. As such, it is a former Council of Trent jurisdiction and common-law marriage was never known there.

Word of the Day

In psychology, alogia (Greek α-, “without”, and λόγος, “speech”[1]), or poverty of speech, is a general lack of additional, unprompted content seen in normal speech. As a symptom, it is commonly seen in patients suffering from Schizophrenia.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thai Today, Indian Tomorrow

Today we went to Erawan of Siam. It's the new Thai place. Good food, and the wait wasn't too long.

Tomorrow, New Mother India, with a crowd. What was wrong with the old Mother India...

Opening Ceremonies

Today's the day of the Bimini Summit. SR should be arriving around noon. I'm so excited - I hope I can sleep.

Competing for the world's attention is a little thing going on in Heiligendamm. We hope that Angela can keep the noise down over there.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two Word Review

Smo Kin!

That's what the Marlborough Middle School Jazz Band was a doin' tonight!

As a prelude to summer (not to mention, for many of these fine musicians, eighth grade), this was a fantastic way to top off the evening, and to end the school year. They were fresh from winning a silver medal at some competition or other, and their long hours of practice resulted in a truly enjoyable experience.

Prior to the jazz segment were several others (Sax quartet, Trumpet sextet, String Ensemble, Orchestra (very lush, very polished), and a cappella Vocals), all quite enjoyable, but without quite the savoir-faire of the ultimate ensemble.

If you get the chance to see these cats, (and they were a bargain at $3.00 / ticket), don't hesitate!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Barry's passing through

and the rain, oy vey, the rain! Cold and wet, dontcha know.

The rest of the week will be more pleasant.

UPDATE: Unless you're in the Gulf of Oman

Friday, June 01, 2007

MGG Makes the Leap

As most of you have heard by now, MGG (aka MG) has taken the leap, and is moving on. Friday June 8th will be his last day with us.

We'll miss him.

Now all we have to do is figure out how to mark his leaving.

And at least he'll be here for the Bimini Summit - starting this Wednesday.

NR dodges a bullet

NR has a bad history when it comes to tropical storms.

We're glad that she was able to avoid any unpleasantness this time around.

(Although it looks like we're all going to have a rainy Monday).


Since NR is in Miami, for tea today we can slum a bit, and just have leftovers.