Huh…I don’t know if I’ve ever taken that long a break from the blog, apart from when I’ve been traveling. It’s been a busy couple of days…a conference, Nellie’s holiday party, catching up on the ever-growing pile of stuff I/we need to do, visiting friends, trying unsuccessfully to see a movie last night, etc.

Probably the only thing really worth mentioning right now is a decision we made yesterday: that we’ll start eating meat again. Well…I guess we were still eating seafood so it’s not as if we were really vegetarians, but we decided to work other meat back into our diet.

While I think we’ve done pretty well to go off most meat for two full years, and off red meat for two and a half, I still view this decision as something of a failure. The main reason we’re adding more meat to our diet is because we’ve done a piss-poor job at ensuring protein is part of our diet. We’ve also sucked at expanding our usual meal choices over the past couple of years, such that I feel very limited in what I can eat now. I’m not saying that’s a valid reason to eat animals, I’m just saying it’s another way in which I failed at this. A big factor has been time constraints; both of us have been working a lot of hours lately, and when we do that we tend to sacrifice good eating habits. By reintroducing chicken to my diet — and I think that’s all I’ll take back for now — I hope to at least have more quick, healthy options to go to.

Certainly we’ll eat less meat than we did before we started this little experiment. I’ve had six meals since we made this decision and I have yet to eat any meat, so it’s not as if I feel a ravenous hunger for it. I feel guilt even thinking about eating meat (weird, since I’ve been eating fish for two years), as I should…if my rationale for going off meat was to spare animals, then I should keep in mind at all times the consequences of going back to it.

We’ve also decided not to buy meat in grocery stores, opting instead for places like Cumbrae’s and The Healthy Butcher. Their meat isn’t really any more humane — they still kill the animals — but if we’re going to do something as environmentally irresponsible as eat meat, we’ll try to do the least amount of damage possible.

Anyway, a few minutes after making the decision, Nellie had ordered her first bacon in over two years and seemed to enjoy it an awful lot. She’s gone to and from vegetarianism before, so maybe it’s a little easier for her. I’m just not sure when I’ll be able to bring myself to try chicken, or pork, or especially beef. I suspect the latter will happen in February…Nellie’s already decided she wants steak for her birthday.

"My voice is a signal calling out"

Let’s see, what’ve I been consuming lately?

  • The season finale of True Blood was pretty good, but I’ll be curious to see if they can keep it up another season.
  • I don’t even know why I still enjoy Entourage (beyond the obvious Piven-ness) but I do.
  • The new Fembots album Calling Out is very good.
  • As much as I can’t wait to watch the final two episodes of The Shield, I really don’t want it to end.
  • I’ve watched four movies in the past couple of weeks: Monkey Warfare (very Parkdale-indie), You Kill Me (ridiculous and implausible, but fun), L’Enfant (realistic, troubling and bleak) and Rails & Ties (predictable, melodramatic and wooden at times).
  • Lots of hockey and basketball too, but both my teams are slumping right now, so…yeah. Lots of Wii tennis.
  • The Future of Management by Gary Hamel was a very good book if you’re ever wondering why we’ve spent the last century innovating new business practices, but not new management practices.

Time: the revelator

Yesterday a friend asked, via Twitter, “Where were you 45 years ago today?” I hadn’t quite woken up yet so it took me a second to place the date: November 22. It was 45 years ago yesterday that JFK was assassinated.

History has a funny way of messing with your perception of time, particularly when something is still very much part of popular culture the way that Kennedy (and his assassination) is. That event always feels much older to me than how I perceive 45 years. While it happened before I was born, it’s not as if I’m unfamiliar with it…I’ve consumed a lot of films, documentaries and books about that assassination. In fact, when I thought about it yesterday, I found it mildly surprising that I was born only 12 years after John Kennedy’s assassination. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms before, and the two events seemed decades apart in my perception.

That thought stayed with me as I continued to read the first pages of Richard EvansThe Coming Of The Third Reich (amazon). He’s currently describing how antisemitism was alive and well, even fairly organized, in Germany in 1908, well before the start of even the first world war. 1908…that’s 100 years ago. It won’t even be for another six years that we hit the first anniversary of the beginning of WWI.

WWI seems like a big marker. We’re all taught so much about it that, to me, it seems like the starting point of what we perceive as ‘recent’ history; anything beyond that is just labeled history, full stop. I used to think recent history was whatever had transpired in the past hundred years or, when I was younger, whatever had happened earlier in the current century. WWI was that milestone for me, and probably for my father too, but I suspect it won’t be long until it fades and WWII becomes the new starting point. That’s strange for me, as I’ve been reading so much about WWI lately that it’s far more prominent and memorable, if that’s the right word, to me. History is delineated in our perceptions not by years, but by milestones, and their prevalence in our minds tricks us about their age.

Another example: it seems equally hard for me to believe that Nevermind by Nirvana was released 17 years ago as it is to believe that the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is still nearly four years away.

This is what happens when you let Ashlee Simpson name people

From the wonderful Malene Arpe at the Toronto Star:

Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz welcomed a son yesterday. His name is Bronx Mowgli Wentz, which will assure him a painful childhood full of taunting and school yard beatings. There is as of yet no photos of the little guy (something I’m confident will be rectified by People Magazine in short order), so instead, here are, well, The Bronx and Mowgli.

Less Joe Mauer. More Ryan Howard.

I’m still trying to get some work done — brilliance often strikes around midnight, right? — so no interesting blog topics tonight. This week has been bad for imagination and insight. Too much happening at work, not enough brain downtime at home, let alone time to get non-work stuff done. We haven’t had groceries in the house since Sunday morning. We’ve been on subsistence pizza for days.

Meanwhile the weather’s turned to shit, which normally would turn my mood black as pitch, but it’s not like I’m paying attention to what’s outside. Still, though…I don’t hate my days. I hate some of what happened at work today, but not most of it. I think having the right co-workers, and especially the right boss, makes up for a lot of down.

That’s it. Enough. I’ve been trying to hit for average all week. Tomorrow I’m swingin’ for the fences.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there goes the paycheque

Oh yes, this is just what I need: unfettered access to Canali.

Just a few years ago, Harry Rosen Inc. found that consumers weren’t ready to buy its luxury men’s wear online. They worried about using credit cards on the Internet, and didn’t like to purchase clothes without trying them on first.

Lately, however, the retailer’s research has found attitudes have come around, so by next April the chain plans on finally launching an e-commerce site. One factor working in the company’s favour is that new, younger customers are already comfortable purchasing online and they’re at ease buying shoes and jeans, items that used to be a hard sell owing to sizing standards. Perhaps the most compelling thing Harry Rosen’s research came up with was that it could generate up to 10-per-cent more business with an e-shopping site.

That last sentence has a mistake in it. It should read ‘…it could generate up to 10-per-cent more business from a single IP address in downtown Toronto with an e-shopping site.’

Oh, and…’e-shopping’? What is this, 1996? Maybe Marina Strauss should’ve mentioned how Harry Rosen plans to get on the information superhighway.

"Unfortunately I have fallen in love with my Fatherland. I cannot live in these times."

Having just finished The Future Of Management (amazon) by Harvard prof Gary Hamel, I’m moving on to The Coming Of The Third Reich (amazon) by Richard Evans. That should keep me loose and cheerful on chilly mornings, no?

Actually, I bought that book — along with The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s (amazon) by Piers Brendon — after I began looking for a WWII equivalent to The Guns Of August, and found an answer in this AskMetafilter thread. I want to understand the run-up to the war, but it seems pointless to do so without focusing on the most puzzling part. For most of my life it had seemed inconceivable that Germany could take such a murderous turn, but in recent years I’ve seen enough to know that it’s probably not as improbable as I’d like to think. Anyway, I reckon if ever there’s an enemy worth knowing, it’s the rise of Nazism.

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.” –Hermann Goering