Log Cabin Chronicles


Tim Belford is the host of CBC Radio's Quebec A.M. program, based in Quebec City.

The joys of changing homes (730)
Over the last few weeks I've discovered one inalienable truth. Moving is no problem. It's not the sale of your house, although putting up with the lookers, the pryers, and eventually the buyers is a pain.

US Military Intelligence strikes again (580)
I'd never noticed before but if you look closely there appears to be a wire running from the polar bear's right hind foot to the silver rim of the coin. Could it be a micro-circuit? Could we all be walking around with a miniature homing device in our pocket?

No Bloke Queen at our Birthday Party (630)
That's it! Stop the music! There will be no queen at this party! That's right. Elizabeth 2nd, by the Grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and several other bits and pieces scattered around the globe, is not welcome at Quebec's 400th birthday bash.

Reality is in the mind of the inventor (680)
Take the "device for producing dimples," for example. This was the brainchild of M. Goetze. Now, I reckon the industrious Mr. Goetze probably got his start at the Marquis de Sade Manufacturing Co. The dimple producer resembles not so much a beauty aid as a device for extracting military secrets. It consists of a handle, much like the one you find on a brace and bit, and two arms. One has a rounded end and is placed against the cheek. The other has a receptacle for the round end and goes inside the mouth...

Patiently waiting for victory, eh? (500)
The last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup Lester Pearson was Prime Minister. Exp. 67 was getting ready to kick off the best year the nation was to have for quite some time. Dinosaurs still roamed the earth and I was just twenty years old.

Whither Post-election Quebec? (500)
Finally, 25 percent of the population either thinks everyone should have a windmill in their own back yard, or, the best way to cure poverty is to tax companies out of business, or, there's actually no point in voting at all anyway.

Attention aging breeders, better that you don't (600)
How many kids want to have dad show up at the minor soccer championships only to watch him felled when an errant ball knocks his walker out from under him?

Tim's take on Canada's new Food Guide (580)
It's even more important in this day of fast food and eating on the run. Let's face it, when half the population thinks the four basic food groups are salt, fries, ketchup and Pepsi, we need guidance.

Cold enough for ya? (780)
One of the coldest times I ever spent was delivering newspapers in Stamford, Ontario, just outside of Niagara Falls. The wind was making a straight, unimpeded run from Windsor to the Honeymoon Capital of the World and the only thing in its way were my ears and nose.

The last big turkey story (for about a month) (525)
It seems - at least for me - that it is impossible to obtain a reasonable sized version of my feathered friend. Something in the order of twelve pounds, say. Enough to feed two comfortably with ample leftovers for the inevitable post-feast sandwich.

After the fall (570)
I fell out of a canoe recently. It's something I haven't done for a very long time. The last time I recall doing anything quite so stupid was In 1963. And then I had an excuse.

Bummer (400)
Well, I may never know if I've got the perfect butt or not.

Grinning for the Gold (495)
The TV cameras focused in on the world's best women's mogul skier and the glare from her grin caused TV reporters to avert their eyes and the cameramen to dim their lights.

Remembering KP Holmes (500)
Meeting KP on the first day of grade five coincided with my first use of a fountain pen. Until that point we had been forced to use wooden-handled straight pens with replaceable metal nibs and a pot of ink.

You want to place a pistol in their hands, eh? (480)
So, Canada's customs officers want to slap on the old Colt .45 or maybe a Dirty Harry-style .357 magnum so they can make some border-running scofflaw's day.

Some free Canadian advice for the new Prime Minister, eh? (400)
Stephen Harper pretty much better pay attention. The alternative is another election and I reckon if he ends up calling one within the next two years, Canadian voters will take up torches and pitchforks and drive him, like a political dr. Frankenstein, from the castle, or at least from Sussex drive.

Canada's Powder Puff Derby 2005 (690)
Criticism of the recent All Leaders Debate in Canada has been fast and furious. Why are Canadians of either official language choosing Gil Grissom and CSI over the country's political elite?

Another minority government in Canada? (460)
That's right. Another federal election and the candidates are campaigning for all they're worth. But this time not even the boys in Las Vegas can handicap this race.

Talk about ad scamming (500)
I don't know about you but nothing gets my goat quite as much as being taken for a fool.

Nervous voter, not dead yet (520)
A lot can go wrong between my house and the voting booth. I could end up dead. Don't laugh. It happens.

For your health care - leeches and maggots and hookworms (495)
Despite what our modern naturopaths say, a couple of aspirins or a Tylenol sure beats the old eye of newt and tongue of frog thing you find in Shakespeare.

The All-new Fall 2005 TV Season (465)
I see the new television season has started. Well, all I can say is don't hold your breath.

Free, at last (515)
I once actually knew a girl named Romanoff who, from an early age, became known as Noodles.

Passenger safety at Air Canada (490)
Air Canada announced it will be returning proper cutting tools to its dinner plates as of September 15.

Bond. James Bond, that's who… (535)
One of my favorite characters in the James Bond movies is Q. He's the guy who runs the department that comes up with all the neat, nasty stuff like exploding pens and magnetic watches with built-in buzz saws.

All together now, in a straight line… (470)
Just when you think our happy little fonctionnaires deserve the gold medal for bureaucratic bilge, something pops up that makes you happy to be a Quebecer.

It ain't over in Saudi Arabia, eh? (750)
Of the twenty leaders of the house of Saud since 1745, three have been assassinated, one executed, three deposed, one captured by enemies, two simply lost control and one, obviously seeing the writing on the wall, fled.

Naked came the strangers (600)
Apparently my fellow basker had opened his eyes and there, passing before him, were two young ladies wearing only what God in his wisdom had given them.

It's alphabet soup to moi, eh? (490)
Could it be we've got one too many acronyms? One too many SOPDIPS or MALPECS or cashdumps?

And who shall be our Royal Highness? Just in case… (530)
If a federal election were held tomorrow probably the only safe liberal seat in the province would be Westmount....so, I guess it's about time to think the unthinkable and plan for an orderly separation.

The Welsh, ah, the loving Welsh (500)
They actually carried out a survey of 918 Welsh males and found out that, after a decade, those who manage to get it on with their significant others the most had half the risk of death of those whose wife said "Not tonight dear, I have a headache.'"

Ah, Belinda, we hardly knew ya (415)
Belinda has suddenly discovered she's Paul Martin's love child and actually believes in fiscal conservatism and same-sex marriages.

Politics: It's about stuff envelopes, eh? (700)
Much to my shame I have to confess I've been on the receiving end of the cash-stuffed liberal envelope. I've been part of the sleeze. I wallowed in the mud with the best of them.

CIA? No way, it's CEO that's hot (500)
But what really gets my goat is that CEOs come up third. You have to think that here sex and money do make for a winning combination. After all how else could you explain Conrad Black or Donald Trump?

In which Our Hero spring-cleans his car after a long winter (525)
I don't know about you but I don't get around to cleaning out the inside of the car much when the temperature falls below zero.

Ah yes, Spring cometh and frogs, too (740)
I've always loved frogs. As a youngster growing up in a semi-rural farming area I would don my wellies and trod off to the nearest pond at the first sign of warmth.

Ah, the charmed life of the Royals (525)
I hesitate to use her soon-to-be title, Princess Consort. It sounds far too much like a name that would be better suited to the four-door version of the British Vauxhall. Or maybe the latest in bedside telephones.

I finally got the piano, now let me tell you about our new bed (740)
A little while back I related the story of my misplaced piano. Well, for those of you who were wondering, and from the phone calls I received there were a few, the piano arrived safe and sound.

Don't you just love Canada's Gomery Inquiry? (500)
So far the good Mr. Gomery and the government's lawyers haave asked 36,000 questions. And so far the answer to 35,990 have been "I don't remember."

Some thoughts about a special day for women (510)
Long before I was bored to death by Betty Friedan's "Feminine Mystique" or heard Helen Reddy warble "I am woman" I knew instinctively that women were equal.

Teddy, Teddy, who gets a Teddy? (740)
No wonder the Armed Forces are short of equipment. One of DND's employees was sued for walking off with $100 million bucks. It seems while nobody was watching he used phony invoices to saunter off with the cash equivalent of a fully armed regiment of infantry.

We need a winter holiday, now (540)
When it comes to a holiday in February, the average Canadian would celebrate Broccoli Day if it meant some time off.

Mister, have you seen my piano? (485)
Have you ever lost a piano? I don't mean have you ever had one taken from you, burned in a fire, sold to strangers. I mean lost, as in misplaced. You see mine's gone missing.

Please, not another evening of Shot-in-Buffalo-Hump-Saskatchewan movies (400)
Let me make this clear. Hockey is a great game to play and a super one to watch but it's still nothing more than organized shinny.

Hey lady, what's in a name? (360)
In retrospect, if, instead of telling Ms Copps to "have some tequila, Sheila," John Crosby had referred to her as a "hot mutton," the Speaker of the House would still be trying to figure out a ruling.

No WMDs and all that (450)
Faced with the world's mightiest army racing across his front yard at about ninety miles an hour and his own soldiers tossing their boots off to be able to retreat all that much faster, it stands to reason if Saddam had them, this would have been a pretty good time to use them.

Dear Santa (460)
It looks like I'll do pretty well Anyway. I saw the love of my life checking out the prices on the new Lexus so I think I'm in for a real surprise come Christmas morning.

Introducing Sam Chatto, the (possible) King of the Brits (590)
For those of you untutored in the ways of the monarchy, primogeniture is the feudal rule that governs who can be the next to wear the Crown.

Meet Canada's rich folks, and really rich folks (450)
The three Irving brothers, of New Brunswick - Gassy, Greasey, and Oily - still rank forth in filthy family lucre even though the province they own has one of the highest rates of unemployment and the lowest incomes in the country.

Who's your buddy, eh? Eh? (580)
Just because Bush thanked everyone from Andora to Zambia for their support after 9-11 before he thanked Canada, there's no need for alarm.

No senior citizen, me (460)
Reading the paper the other day I noticed no fewer than three articles dedicated to boomer angst at aging.

It's about sacrifice for others (760)
It's easy to forget in the midst of this day of remembrance how difficult life was for those left at home. Behind every soldier, sailor, or flyer was a family. Maybe a mom and dad. Maybe some siblings. Maybe a wife and children.

Tell 'em to take a hike (560)
The OECD just issued a report that chastises Canada for spending too much time providing "baby sitting" instead of early childhood education. Apparently we just let the little nippers sit around and play instead of giving them a good grounding in mathematics, physics, and literature to ease their way into kindergarten.

Antigua, Moi, and Northern Dancer (520)
Just this week, in anticipation of $75-a-barrel oil, I went to my friendly banker to establish a line of credit. I reckon about $20,000 will get me to and from work this year.

The year I went to driving school (670)
I'm not a great driver. I'm not a danger on the road but I have to admit I'm no Gilles Villeneuve either. I'd like to think it's because I don't really like to drive. I'd much prefer the passenger side of any vehicle.

What might have been (574)
Back in the Dark Ages when I was a lad, I too dreamed of glory. There was only one problem. My body.

Can those naked-guy ads, eh? (400)
I've got nothing against the human body per se but if I see one more youthful, sculpted toosh on prime time I'm going to go mad.

Lo-tech Guy meets 21st Century (475)
My first hint that I might be looking at something new came recently when I slid a tape into the slot and pressed play. What followed was three ka-chunks and a grrr noise reminiscent of gears not quite meshing. The machine then spit the tape back out.

All smiles on a Sunday in Ontario (535)
So there we were, eighteen people crammed into a photo studio about the size of a double phone booth. The photographer, whose first language appeared to be Spanish, vainly attempted to arrange us around our parents by generations, all the time shouting commands based on colour of apparel.

Where you live is where you vote (480)
When the Canadian government decided to institute a permanent voters list everyone was all smiles.

On cherries, pigs, and why I was fired (500)
I've only been fired once in my life. That's not counting the newspaper that folded just before Christmas and left both me and Santa holding the bag.

Dire warnings from Mom (400)
My mother is the Cassandra of our family. I say that for two reasons. She can see into the future and what she sees is never good.

Using thumbscrews for science. Right. (400)
A perfect example of being over-employed came up recently when a bunch of scientists in Great Britain took the time, and probably a hefty government grant, to figure out pain is less intense when it's administered by a woman. Researchers placed forty people in a thumb screw and had either a man or a woman do the twisting.

Insurance fascists get control (450)
I smoke a pipe. As a consequence I cough more than I should, my clothes smell like a pipe and I pay more for life insurance.

Canada deals with avian flu threat (430)
This means killing off 17 million potential hosts, i.e. all the hens roosters, ducks, and geese in the region. Whether this will work or whether the government is going off half-cocked, or half-henned, isn't known for sure.

New moves for the Our Thing gang (430)
This way, American-born would-be Michael Corleones can pick up the essential traditions: the wrapping of dead fish, garroting, usury, how to correctly place a horse head in a bed.

Put the curlers in charge, eh? (400)
They don't pollute, they'd never try to take over anyone else's sheet of ice, and they own up when they break the rules.

Yeah, but it's hard to hit a moving target (430)
Take my word for it -- nothing good can come of moving. That's why I wasn't looking forward to the latest CBC move - our fourth in fifteen years, if you don't count temporarily changing floors at 250 Grande-allée.

I know nothing, I see nothing (420)
Could it be, I wondered, that the average Canadian, resident of a nation with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, has never read a paper?

10 Do Nots for Male Lovers on V-Day (485)
Oh sure, if we're lucky, we eventually meet Mr. or Ms. Right. But along the way, for every Prince or Princess Charming, there's a whole lot of frogs.

Half-time ain't what it used to be
Personally, I hate marching bands but if it comes down to a choice between John Philip Sousa and Janet Jackson's right mammary, hand me a tuba.

The Darwin Awards
The awards are handed out to individuals who, by their own stupidity, end up doing themselves an injury, or, in some cases doing themselves in, thereby elevating the level of what remains of the gene pool.

Did I ever tell you about warm? (500)
Once upon a time I lived in the West Indies

Squirrels, they are the nuts (500)
I've always been fascinated by squirrels. They're the Flying Wallendas of the animal kingdom.

You do not want fries with that, right? (420)
Maybe it's time someone points out that the cheese curd and french fries in a poutine don't fulfill the daily requirement for dairy and vegetable in Health Canada's food guide.

On getting Saddam, that old softy (420)
I don't know about you but I wasn't surprised Saddam came to his end as T. S. Eliot said, "not with a bang but a whimper." Like most bullies, Saddam, when someone finally stood up to him, couldn't throw in the towel fast enough.

Get off our backs, eh? (480)
True freedom also means you can spend days on the couch with a pack of Rothmans and a bottle of Molson watching reruns of the "price is right" and eating jalapeno-flavoured ripple chips.

Hands off my heroes (450)
Another myth is about to bite the dust. Apparently a group of amateur historians in Britain want to open up the grave of what may be the last Saxon king of England.

How I miss the apostrophe (520)
The first girl would yell "give me a 'b'!" Then she'd twist around, bend over, and flip up her skirt to reveal a purple letter 'B' on her white-pantied backside.

Mario Dumont, again (380)
Quebec's political version of Doogie Howser put it this way: Action Democratique would be somewhere between "separation And submission."

Ah, to be on the Restigouche River with all the Libs (500)
You know you really have to wonder what's going on at the Irving family's fishing camp on the Restigouche River. It appears that more cabinet ministers show up there, fly rod in hand, than turn up at cabinet meetings in Ottawa.

Faced with a 25 lb. turkey, I reached for... (515)
I don't know if you've ever come across a twenty-five pound turkey but let me tell you, this bird could have walked the forest primeval with little fear.

" And Youppi never groped a co-worker" (500)
The fact that otherwise normal people - well, as normal as they come in California - flocked to the banner of Conan the Barbarian is something altogether different -- it sets the tone for future elections.

Tim's sex column to start your week (500)
The fact that the French, at 167 times per year, once again, 'claim' to have sex more often than anyone else is a given. Every nation needs its myths. What really concerns me, however, is that Canadians - on average - claim to be doing it 150 times a year…three times a week.

Your basic Tall Tomato story (480)
Ideal for the balcony she said. Grow it in a pot she said. Virtually no space she said. Just a little water she said. She had obviously never read Jack and the Bean Stalk.

On the Rolling Stones and tourist gouging (475)
Driving from Quebec City to Niagara Falls wasn't so much a vacation -- I was more like navigating my way through the Canadian version of Prates of the Caribbean.

Get me to the church on time (450)
That's right. You can grab the bride, stuff the bridesmaid, the best man, and - depending on the size of your vehicle - at least one usher, into the back seat of your Hyundai Sonata and tie the knot.

So much doom & gloom, so much life to live (500)
How does that old 60s song go? "Tell me over and over again, my friend, that you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction."

Dad, pity poor old Moulay Ismail (500)
And if Moulay didn't get anything else right, he at least did the parenting thing. He is reported to have fathered 548 sons and 340 daughters.

The summer job that burned my butt (465)
In retrospect, I'm not sure which was more painful -- the scalpel, the iodine, or dropping my drawers in front of someone I had known since grade three.

it's Fiesta Time (445)
But, I got it assembled all right. The real terror didn't set in until I started reading the instructions for using your appliance correctly.

Hell, all I wanted was a hamburger! (515)
There are probably no people on earth -- with maybe the exception of the Aussies -- who love barbecues more than Canadians.

Enough PC is enough (400)
A recent study in the United States -- where PC is king -- shows that benign censorship has turned the world on its head. Certain jurisdictions have banned the story The little engine that could because the train is depicted as male.

Right turn on red. Yes? No? Sometimes? (500)
It suddenly dawned on me the other day what I really needed was my very own Sancho Panza.

Canada's Governance Options (465)
That way we'd end up with a four-and-a-half day work week, a flat tax system everywhere but Montreal, and a reduction of the civil service but only between ten at night and seven in the morning.

Time, ladies and gentlemen, time... (500)
We slog our way through Winter in darkness and just when we begin to see the light of spring, you take it all back be re-setting the clock!

Waiting to fish (500)
It was barely a stream, running into the lake in not much more than a trickle. But it had what my father knew was the essential element of success. It was full of sunfish and rock bass.

Whatever happened to cooking? (500)
I've got news for you. The hulking football players that sing that little Michelina song? They didn't get to be that big eating lovely little frozen dinners.

Give 'em both the boot (525)
Picture this: Survivor IV ~ Duel in the Desert. That's right. Both leaders pick a five-person team from their cabinet. They get nifty names like "the Great Satan's Tribe" and the "Butcher of Baghdad's Tribe." Then CBS plops them down in a neutral desert somewhere in the Middle East.

Wither goest the smart money? (455)
Mind you, if the Americans don't place much faith in the UN can you blame them? Last month, in a logic-defying twist worthy of anything behind Alice's Looking Glass, the UN Human Rights Commission elected Libya as chair of the group.

Warm as toast (515)
There I was, standing ankle deep in snow, wearing longjohns, a toque, a flannel shirt, a long scarf wrapped twice around my neck, and two pairs of mittens.

There's Rock, then there's the hard place (525)
The man who brought you the gun registration law says Paul Martin can't be beaten for the leadership of Canada's Liberal Party.

The need for affordable car care (480)
But, doesn't it strike you as odd that when you drive in with a rattle and a clunk directly under the driver's seat, you leave without that particular clunk - after a couple of hundred dollars - but one hour later you find you've developed a whiz, bang, thunk, under the passenger side of the vehicle?

The old ad game (640)
So, maybe Iraq has the weapons and maybe Iraq is an axle of evil or whatever George W. calls it. But let's drop the advertising shtick. After all, you can't, and you shouldn't, sell a war like detergent.

The leaving of Jean Chretien (600)
The opposition doesn't want Jean Chretien any more. Paul Martin and his supporters don't want Jean Chretien any more. Even some of Chretien's loyalists don't want him any more.

No winter sport, moi (645)
I don't play old-boy hockey. I don't curl. As far as I'm concerned, snowshoes are nothing more than an impediment to walking. And I definitely don't ski.

Quebec's worst drivers are... (500)
On the top of my list for the worst drivers in Quebec are young women between the ages of 18 and 25 driving anything the size of a Toyota Echo or smaller. It's as if they were all named Chekov and Captain Kirk told them to hit warp speed and I'm a Klingon vessel standing between them and safety.

A strange kind of Gift of the Magi (485)
Think of it more as a pre-emptive strike. A sort of gift-buyer's Pearl Harbor. I merely want to immobilize her shopping power long enough for me to get her Christmas presents.

Lament of an ex-Boogie Man (475)
I was once part of the dance-till-you-drop generation. We'd start at nine o'clock and boogie 'til dawn.

Reluctant to go to America these days (530)
I've never been a good border crosser in the first place but the thought I might get nabbed and mistakenly deported to, say, Scarborough or Red Deer has me frightened.

Tim -- aka Sheena, Queen of the Jungle -- unmasked (475)
I like to get dressed up in costume. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit around home at nights wearing nylons and a little frock from Simmons. It's not that kind of thing.

On getting festively stuffed (460 words)
No, the problem with me and herself is one of dressing. I prefer a simple, understated, tasty, traditional sage dressing handed down from generation to generation that has been refined to exquisite perfection. She, on the other hand...

Giving in and eating it all (500 words)
I reveled in my red wine when they told me it was full of anti-oxidants that would retard the aging process. Then they told me I'd age well but my liver and kidneys would give out.

Save the barbers (550 words)
There was a time in this fair land when barber shops and barbers abounded. Every town had at least one. You could get a shave, a haircut, and even have your nose hairs trimmed. No fuss, no bother, and it cost about a buck fifty.

Nothing to it. Piece of cake. Right. (665 words)
Now, if I'm holding upright (c) in one hand and pressing shelf (g) against the upright with the other, which hand is supposed to wield the screw (h) and screw driver?

I knew this would come back to haunt me. (500 words)
Have you ever said something and the moment the words left your lips you just knew you'd regret it? In my defence, at the time, I was deeply under the influence of Abbie Hoffman's book "Revolution for the hell of it."

Ever lost your ID? (600 words)
We don't just give out birth certificates willy-nilly anymore. And you can't just walk in with your existing id and expect them to accept who you are. Belford may be an Anglo-Irish name but in this day and age, I could still be a founding member of somebody's liberation movement.

Canada's political parties: all you ever wanted to know and then some (600 words)
The Canadian Alliance under Steven Harper occupies the far right of the political spectrum, except for the left wing of the party which is right fiscally and in the centre socially, which puts them to the left of the right wing of the liberal party dominated by Paul Martin, which is right fiscally and nowhere socially.

The nesting urge (500 words)
I found myself thinking about the nesting urge earlier this week. I was watching a couple of birds in action as they laboured to put together a nest.

Kiss me Charlie, I'm your Mum (500 words)
You have to hand it to the brain trust that looks after the Royal Family's public image. Ever since the disaster with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the toe-sucking antics of the former Duchess of York and the various faux pas of the Wessexes, they've been working overtime to spruce up the Windsor family image.

Canada's Food Guide turns 60 (535 words)
The best suggestion is actually a tuna sandwich using one third of a can of water-packed tuna on two pieces of whole-wheat bread. Along with this you can also have as many cucumber slices as you desire - which would likely be about seven hundred.

Hey, song and dance man, play a tune for me (575 words)
It started in our kindergarten band. I really wanted to play the triangle, or maybe the cymbals. But the teacher took me aside and told me in her most confidential manner that she wanted me to play the blocks.

What's in a name? (500 words)
Forty-five Canadians with the surname Dunlop have been asked to legally change their name to Dunlop-tire. It's the latest marketing gimmick from the tire people.

Quite an act, the latest Canadian budget (450 words)
Watching Paul Martin's recent budget presentation reminded me of the Flying Wallendas.

Now, about who comes to Canada, and when (465 words)
If the agreement that was signed this week had been in force back in 1783 my own ancestors wouldn't have made the cut. They arrived in Upper Canada claiming refugee status just ahead of an American mob.

Reality TV has got to go (440 words)
For endless weeks, perfectly good prime time was taken up by a collection of misfits whose sole purpose was to stab all the other misfits in the back.

Military days, glory days (630 words)
Unfortunately, my pleasure at learning how to dress a field injury was tempered by our warrant officer - a veteran of D-Day. He assured us that learning how to apply a splint would, in our case, be irrelevant since none of us would survive thirty seconds in combat.

I have this fear of needles (450 words)
My worse experience was in the armed forces. The needle was about eight inches long and was wielded by the guy who played Igor in the Frankenstein movies.

Nearly sideswiped by a house (550 words)
A funny thing happened the other day. A house nearly fell on me. Well, actually it was more like drove over me. And, in truth, it was really only half a house.

Call an election, smell the money (450 words)
You know you can always tell when there's an election in the offing. Or in this case, a by-election. Suddenly, cabinet ministers who haven't journeyed past the continental restaurant on the Grande-Allee for months are booking limo rides to the boondocks.

You're nobody without your ID (655 words)
In a world where plastic and identification is everything, the worst possible thing is to lose your wallet or your purse.

Unexplained things that swim in water (500 words)
Where there's smoke there's fire. Or in this case, where there's a ripple there's a monster.

Old Wobbly has a new bike (600 words)
I now have twenty-one gears, of which I use about three. The tires are about the same width as one of those monster trucks. It has a derailer and I can lift the whole thing with one finger.

A moving tale (440 words)
After the CBC decided to relocate our offices, I decided that a twenty-five minute walk at 4:30 a.m., in the dead of winter, went beyond a good stretch of the legs. So here I am, once again, packing.

Everything's for rent (440 words)
Taking a leaf out of bill Clinton's notebook, they thought it might be a good idea to charge people for an overnight stay at 24 Sussex Drive. I don't know how much they thought they could charge for a night at Chez Jean's but if it included breakfast it might be worth a go.

Tax-free Big Biz (440 words)
And yet the solution is simple. You merely have to use any extra cash you have lying around to buy a bankrupt company.

Keep your clothes on, eh? (480 words)
What would possess a couple of thousand otherwise perfectly normal people to take off all their clothes and lie down in the middle of a street -- particularly if a perfect stranger was going to take their photograph?

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in (360 words)
I spent the last couple of days cleaning my fishing gear.

But who are you going to sue? (400 words)
George the Third is dead. The Canadian government wasn't involved. And you can hardly hold the great-great- great-great-great grandson of Private Bloggins responsible.

Summit reflections (400 words)
The one thing that stood out was that the number of violent protestors likely exceeded their collective I.Q.

What's your worst fear? (400 words)
"...I have friends who are afraid of spiders and snakes and, in one case, mustard..."

Philpott who? (400 words)
I can remember as a child my mother making calls and politely asking to be connected with a particular number. Actually, the town was so small local calls could be made by just mentioning the name of the person you wanted to reach. Then along came direct dialing, touch-tone phones, answering machines, call waiting, and voice mail.

Enough with boots already (475 words)
I felt like Muhammad Ali, or maybe Peter Pan...dancing over puddles, flitting from curb to curb, light as cotton on the wind.

Notes from the Bread Man (450 words)
I love bread. I really do.

On hold (400 words)
It's the long wait. The really long wait...

What's the world coming to? (400 words)
You have to wonder if George Orwell were around today what he would think.

Skeleton in my closet (400 words)
What will the Mounties think of me now?

Lighting up my Christmas Life (440 words)
Not to grumble, but what about all those lights?

Winter Time & The Driving Ain't Always Easy (460 words)
Our Man in Quebec City muses on the long list of recommend survival gear to get through the first winter of the next century.

A long line of dads (450 words)
Now that his son is a grown man...

It's war, for crying out loud (450 words)
On war reporting...

Right, Middle, Left (400 words)
Calling for an extended politcal spectrum in Canada.

Caveat emptor, etc. etc. (450 words)
On law and love of Latin.

Signs of the impending Apocalypse (450 words)
There are ten. Count 'em, ten.

Sex when you're 60+ (450 words)
Why do you think they sell so much viagra?

Pay for your own Y2K party (450 words)
Don't celebrate with my tax dollars.

Man of the year (400 words)
How about choosing a Canadian, eh?

Christmas is for kids (445 words)
Especially if you're the youngest.

Crease, stick, tie (400 words)
On being wrapping-challenged.

Lower the lid (450 words)
Talking toilets here.

Follow the money (500 words)
The pols always find it at election time.

I gave at the office (500 words)
This time of year, everyone wants money.

Connected, at last (400 words)
In which our columnist gets wired up and logged on.

On wearing a beard (400 words)
A potentially barefaced tale...

Canadians aren't bad lovers (400 words)
It just takes a while to get undressed, what with the climate and inherent modesty...

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