Sunday, February 21, 2010


Most of us have lost animal companions. This morning was my turn.

My dog moved on up to that home in the sky, where the weather is cold and crisp, but never chills you. Where there's an unlimited supply of garbage bags full of meat and bones to forage through, where the humans always smile and pat you, and where the only other dogs are female and frisky.

He was parachuted into my life, literally. I found him as a partially-weaned pup with his forepaws tangled in a billowing plastic shopping bag, being blown down the street one cold February day so many years ago. An eskimo dog with long, thick matted fur like a muskox, he looked like a Rastafarian having a bad hair day. Consequently he was malodorious, and his dingleberries were legendary.

Through the last 14 years Lucky has had to put up with a lot of adversity. He was trapped under someone's house for 10 days without food or water. His chain got tangled around him and cut him down to the bone. From the age of 4 months he never stepped into the warmth of a heated house through Arctic blizzards, severe windchills and hurricane strength winds. I even ran him over twice in the same day last year. But as resilient and forgiving as he was, he could not dodge the onslaught of old age.

My old friend, I salute your toughness, but also your kindness and friendship. I trust we will meet again.

I miss you. Rest in peace, my old dog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Someone Must Really Hate You Guys

This has to be the most monumental FAIL of all the team uniforms at the Olympics. All the Norwegian men's curling team is missing is a fool's cap and curling shoes that "curl" up at the toes with bells on them.

Now I happen to like curling, both as a participant and a spectator sport. But I know in the sports psyche's of many nations it rates right up there with two-man luge in teh ghey factor. So what were you thinking, Svein, when you barfed up this argyle monstrosity? Do you hate curling? Do you have a mad on against a member of the Norwegian team? Or are you trying to make a statement about the folly of grown men sweeping 42 lb discs of granite along a sheet of ice?

Cripes, the last time I saw this pattern was when some nonagenarian was being interred with argyle socks on, and all I could think was that I'd hate to be buried that way.

Fortunately, I have some eye bleach to remove this disgusting image: too bad Jennifer Jones's rink lost out this year in its chance to represent Canada in the Olympics. Her babe factor alone would have gone a long way to expunge the atrocity perpetrated by the Norse upon our noble national sport.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

First Air Treats Nunavik Customers Last

It's been a busy time lately, and it seems the only time I blog is when I have a bee in my bonnet. I have a killer bee of a mad on towards a company, so here goes.

I do a lot of flying, but since this is exclusively within the north or to Montreal, I have only experienced the service of two airlines, First Air and Air Inuit. For those of you not familiar with the inner workings of Nunavik commerce and politics, both are subsidiaries of Makivik Corporation, an ethnic (Inuit) organization administering land claims money.

On Monday I flew from Montreal to Kuujjuaq on a flight which carried on to Iqaluit. The plane left 90 minutes late due to mechanical problems, which is fine with me and an indication that the airline places a premium on safety.

The 737 was in full configuration and filled to the gills with passengers for the two destinations.

Two hours later we walked in to the airport and gathered around the luggage carousel. The fifty or so passengers were waiting patiently for their suitcases, cases of beer and consumer products when the PA proclaimed that the airline had left 95 pieces of luggage back in Montreal, and that we would have to wait a day for the next plane to be reunited with our possessions.

What pisses me off was that the airline knew about this when we checked in, but said nothing. I had medication in the suitcase, and had I known I would have removed it. Another choice I had was to give me wife my luggage who was traveling the same day back home via Puvirnituq. Or I could have stayed on in Montreal until such a time as my luggage and myself had a fighting chance of arriving together.

But no, First Air said nothing.

Now, when Boeing designed the 737, they certainly did so with knowledge that the payload should be able to accommodate a full cabin of passengers AND their luggage. The fact that First Air removed the luggage indicates that they had cargo in the hold, which they feel is more important to them financially than keeping their customers satisfied.

What a way to treat their customer base and de facto shareholders! They could at least compensate me by paying my bar tab from that Monday night.

Henceforth I will fly Air Inuit, an airline which also has delays and occasionally loses luggage, but has the decency to be apologetic.