Nov 26 2010

Things I Love Thursday, November 25th ’10


While most people are posting pictures of turkey and stuffing today, I thought I’d mix it up by posting some pictures from a recent editorial featuring Iekeliene Stange.  Turkey-ta, turkaa-ta.  I feel it’s incredibly fitting that Things I Love Thursday falls on American Thanksgiving, and it’s the perfect reminder that the spirit of gratitude is something to be cultivated the entire year.  So let’s jump in the gravy boat of gratitude!  (Yes, I’m fully aware that this makes no sense and actually sounds kinda painful.  Second-degree-burn inducing, at the very least). 

* Being so fortunate to have participated (read: eaten) three separate Thanksgiving meals with loved ones on Canadian Thanksgiving (we try to make sure we get all the harvest-y scenery and foliage (“foilage,” if you’re Marge Simpson) in, so we celebrate our Turkey Day a wee bit earlier, in October).   In honour of my sister, who is home from teacher’s college in the States, we’ll also have a big family meal this Saturday.   It will be a meal of turkey and turkey friends, not family members.   

* Prince William.  Kate Middleton.  Engaged.  Modern enchantment.   Temporarily forgetting casting off the shackles of Imperialism.  Four-day holiday.   Rejoice!  Today-Kylie graciously wishes them all the happiness in the world, and commends them on their mix of romance and pragmatism, but thirteen-year-old-royally-smitten-Kylie is in a bit of a snit!  Like the proud Commonwealth country we are, Canada is eating all this up with a spoon.  Alas, not a silver spoon.

* One thing that really struck me while reading about William and Princess Shiny-Hair’s engagement was that the prince had proposed a month earlier, while on holiday with friends in Kenya.  Therefore, their friends knew about this explosive news story, but not one of them ratted them out to the media.  What excellent, excellent choice in friends!  So I’m also thankful for my wonderful friends, whom I’m sure would also never inform the media if I were secretly engaged to Prince William.

* Pants with an elastic waistband.

*Making elaborate birthday plans….ooooh in a fortnight I’ll be 27!!!  That’s still mid-twenties, right?  Right?

* Coming down with a serious case of the Christmas spirits!!

* Spending quality time watching episodes of “Buffy” and the surprisingly good spin-off “Angel” with the super-awesome Special Man Friend.

And that about sums up my TILT: American Thanksgiving Version.  As things start gettin’ all festive up in here, I wish you all much happiness, love, peace and easily-accessible parking spots at the mall.

Much love and holiday cheer to you,


Nov 25 2010

World’s Tallest Married Couple Not *That* Tall, But *That* Lovely

Tallest Couple


The Guinness World Book of Records has named Wayne and Laurie Hallquist- who stand at 6’10 and 6’6 respectively- the world’s tallest living couple.   While it’s perfectly lovely and decidedly badass to see couples with a significant height difference between them (especially any deviation from the sickenly-common “super-tall guy, super-short girl” combination), it warms the void where my heart should be when I see a super-tall power couple.   Aside from my parents, I’ve seen very few other tall-tall matches.  What about you?  The Hallquists met at a church social, where, predictably, the rest of the attendees immediately matched them up.  Fortunately, their connection went far beyond their height, and were happily married for seven years of (relative) obscurity before they decided to go for the Guinness gold.    While there are other couples who are taller, like basketball phenom Yao Ming and his new wife, Ye Li, as well as the 19th Century’s original tall couple, the fascinating Anna Swan and Martin Bates,  it’s likely that many would-be contenders simply don’t care for the extra publicity.

When I first saw a picture of the Hallquists, I immediately noted how graceful and elegant the pair seemed.  All long, unbroken lines and perfect posture, it was the shorter man measuring the couple who seemed a bit awkward and out-of-place.   It then struck me that “normal” is not a fixed, unchanging point, but a fluid concept that relies on comparison.  While many people who are very tall can feel a bit strange and ungainly while surrounded by people of average height (and the concept can apply to just about any other group, really), it’s not that they are actually strange and ungainly; they’re just measuring themselves against a particularly common point of reference.   These points of reference are ever-changing and can be applicable in a multitude of ways.    There is no definitive “normal” and “abnormal,” just a different series of reference.  As Morrissey says, “there is no such thing in life as ‘normal.’” 

And Morrissey’s always right- – *that* is a fixed, unchanging point.  


Much love,


Nov 12 2010

Remembrance Day


To me, Remembrance Day is one of the most sacred dates of the year.  The powerful message of the day unifies us all, no matter what our background and political beliefs are, as we honour those who made ultimate sacrifices and faced unfathomable horror.  It’s pretty jarring to think of lost generations of men and women, leading ordinary lives, who were called to make extraordinary sacrifices, and of how the past remains a constant, harrowing present for those who survived.  The issue of commemoration, while seemingly neutral on the surface, can still be fraught with tensions and competing versions of history.  History tends to be written by the winners, and sometimes the writing of one’s own glorious history involves re-writing the histories of others.  I find acts of commemoration especially meaningful when framed to think of those caught in war as ordinary human beings, subject to the whims and decisions of political leaders, rather than in terms of good or evil incarnate.   War literature, especially the anti-war poets of the First World War, is particularly effective at capturing these sentiments, and I would like to share a few of my favourite war poems with you.    

“In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, is one Canada’s most enduring and distinctive symbols.   Inspired by the imagery of the poem, the wearing of poppies in Canada, the UK, and the rest of the Commonwealth, is a powerful tribute to our war dead.  Written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae following the death of his friend, the poem remains one of the most popular pieces of war literature of the past century.

\”In Flanders Fields\”

The Great War poets, particularly Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, wrote defiantly against the common public perception that war was a grand adventure, a rite of passage, and a necessary expression of patriotism, and exposed the shocking, realistic horrors of war.  Their accounts of the development of gas and trench warfare, as well as the dissonance between the decision-makers at home and the soldiers who suffered the consequences of these decisions, give an eloquent and powerful alternative to the romantic language and imagery commonly found in earlier war poems and other literature.

“At the Cenotaph,by Siegfried Sassoon

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
“Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men’s biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.”
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

Nov 4 2010

Things I Love Thursday, November 3rd ’10


Lovely Day of the Dead image courtesy of  I highly recommend her tumblr, it’s a treasure trove of hauntingly beautiful images!

Hello, my ghostlings! 

I hope you’ve all had a spooktacularly spectacular Hallowe’en, and that you’ve had a week largely spent in a sugar-induced coma!  I’ve come across all sorts of thrilling stuff that has brightened my week, so let’s get to it!

* Reading all about the history and traditions behind Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.  Makes for fascinating reading, and is a wonderful way to transition into November.  Get thee to Wikipedia!

* Watching Hocus Pocus!  One of my favourite childhood movies (featuring the one and only Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah  Jessica Parker!) and one that is legitimately spooky.   Incredibly entertaining, this movie is actually one for all seasons.   In short, this movie helped raise me. 

* Sugar highs and sugar comas!

* Helping to plan an extravagant Christmas Marketplace that’ll look so Dickensy, Dickens would be jealous!

* Butter tart pie.  BUTTER. TART. PIE.

* Being starred on Jezebel!!!  Surely, this is what being knighted or receiving the Order of Canada must feel like.   What an honour has been bestowed upon me!

* Brace yourselves: My little sister gave me the rest of her Hallowe’en candy.  Yes, you read correctly.  What an amazingly kind gesture!  Completely voluntary.  Completely out-of-the-blue.  Not to mix holiday metaphors, but my heart just grew three sizes!


And so concludes my list of this week’s pleasures.  What are the brightest and shinest snippets of your week?

Cheers to you!


Nov 1 2010

Trick or Treat? Trick. Just Trick.

These stories raised me.  Not well.

These stories raised me. Not well.

Greetings, my dear ghostlings!! I wish you all a very spooktacular Hallowe’en!  I hope you’re getting up to much mischief and funnery, and that you’re feeling the buzz of a sugar high that won’t crash until at least mid-November.  Hallowe’en has crept up on us like a raccoon in a party hat, which is to say that it’ll be rooting through our garbage for leftover dip and discarded party favours while we’re out buying discount candy and mesmerized by sugar skulls the next day.

As a lover of all things strange and macabre, Hallowe’en is always a special holiday for me.  Let us count the ways: Good Girl Kylie delighted in the illicit thrill of partaking in a holiday that my dental hygienist mother loathed, because all the candy made my siblings and I act like hyperactive gremlins.  You can bust out the dance moves to Thriller and get looks of approval, rather than looks of “now-where-is-the-security-guard?” It’s a rare socially-sanctioned time to go on a terrifying candy rampage- and the candy is free! Even better, if you’re from an especially-friendly rural area, like me, where there’s an over-abundance of candy and fewer trick-or-treaters, your prime trick-or-treating years aren’t over when you’re 13.  I know this, because I went last year.  At age 25.  A friendly rural area helps, yes, but not having any shame helps even more.  Around Hallowe’en time, you can tell as many ghost stories as you can handle, and not seem creepy- because creepy is the point!  You get to be all creative with costumes, and even wear them to school! (One year, my mom made matching Peter Pan costumes for her and I- – treasured Hallowe’en memory, fo’ sho’- -and another year, in university, I was “Princess Diana: Business Casual.”  What are your favourite costumes?)  The history behind modern Hallowe’en is incredibly fascinating and enchanting, as are the different cultural interpretations.  To me, what really sets Hallowe’en apart from other holidays isn’t necessarily the spooks and the treats, but the pure, unfettered joy it brings.  It allows- -and demands- -that your imagination run completely free, howling and whipping around wildly as you struggle to hold on for the ride.   Hallowe’en is a holiday that’s completely about fun, and largely devoid of the obligations and and suffocating lists duties demanded of other holidays.  

Yep, Hallowe’en is completely about fun…until you have to pay a visit to my mom and the dentist chair…

To keep the atmosphere eerie and the shenanigans spooktacular, here are some of my favourite Hallowe’en songs:

Hocus Pocus- \”I Put A Spell On You\”

Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson- \”Somebody\’s Watching Me\”

Buck 65- \”Zombie Delight\”

What are some of your favourite Hallowe’en memories and traditions?  I wish you all an amazing All Hallows Eve, full of mischief and (a fun amount) of trickery!

Cheers to you!