Monday, November 15, 2010

Where's the Beef? Ah, there it is.

A recent study from McGill University has revealed that the sight of cooked red meat calms men down. It was initially believed that the sight of red meat would actually incite aggressiveness in men, as the tribal survivalist urge would be to protect sources of protein. On the contrary, it appears that the calming sensation of the sight of meat that is ready to eat is the result of the survivalist urge and that the calm may also have been an effect of the fact that men eat with their loved ones.

Take that, eco-loving vegetarians who believe that meat makes us more aggressive. The study clearly shows that it actually calms us down. And of course it does. It doesn't take a room of scientists to tell you that. All you need to do is look at your father's face when he's busy at the barbecue with a beer in one hand, watching over the steaks. That's serenity. And when you've had a hard day, what could be more comforting than cooked meat? Handmade hamburgers, spaghetti with meatballs, Shepherd's pie, tortiere...

After a long hard day in the cold, you're not likely to want to come home to a cooked carrot. Let's face it. Meat is good. It's filling, comforting, delicious and full of important protein to make you strong. While I was growing up, the beef industry was pumping out ads to show people the benefits of eating beef as part of a nutritious lifestyle, including getting endorsements from pro athletes. It was much like the current milk ad campaigns that are aggressively lobbying us in movie theatres and sporting events.

Meat has since passed as the darling of the food industry to give way to fish as the healthy alternative, but as more publicity about unethical fishing practices and barren oceans is revealed, the tide may turn. But whether it's fish or meat, human beings need to eat and there's nothing more calming at the end of the day than a good meal. And science doesn't need to confirm that.

Facebook Status: Not Amused

Cheery good news! It appears that the Queen of England has a Facebook page. But alas, it will not be an interactive Facebook page where you can 'friend' her. The page will be run by Buckingham Palace staff on behalf of her Majesty and will be used to send out messages to the public on behalf of the Royal Family. It will also serve to update the public about events that will be held at any of the royal palaces.

While this is disappointing news for all those monarchy fans out there who would love to get daily, nay, hourly updates on the Queen's whereabouts and movements, as well as moods, it does give us an occasion to dream. Let's imagine, for a moment, what the Queen's page would look like:

Name: Queen Elizabeth

Occupation: Queen of All England (and the Isles, too, they just don't know it)

Residence: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Palace, various summer homes and estates, too many to count, LOL

Likes: Tea, Horses, ceremonial robes, tiaras, polo, peas, English cuisine, theatre, history, rugs, museums, visiting dignitaries and making them uncomfortable

Dislikes: peasants, the Duchess of York, soccer hooligans, non-pastel colours, crowds that need to be waved to, talk of marriages, tabloids, the fools in the tabloids, pop music, smiling, that strange man who runs Canada right now for some reason

Facebook Status: Perennially Not Amused

Now that's a 'friend' we would like to have.

I love you- All Staff

A lonely public servant in Australia has apparently mass emailed the entire Australian Department of Immigration in order to find a woman that he met at a party. The email stated that he understood that this was an unusual measure, but that life is too short to experience regret.

He may have used some ironic words, as he is currently being investigated by the values and conduct section of the department for his inappropriate use of work email. This may result in some form of email rehabilitation program, as the government likes to solve its various issues with training modules, as broad and various as they are pointless. Something along the lines of "Your workplace is not your dating pool" or "Cupid doesn't email."

On the one hand, it's understandable that after years of Hollywood drivel and films starring bubbly blondes with stars in their eyes, that people would consider the grand love gesture to be the best and boldest way to find lasting happiness. The run to the airport gate, the love song in the middle of some well known public gathering place, chasing down your love in a stolen ice cream know, those gestures.

Granted, sending off an email is not exactly grand, we probably do it a hundred times a day without even thinking about it, accidentally emailing ourselves in the process, but sending a mass email to an entire department of public servants while searching for love? It has all the hallmarks of the grand gesture: reckless, silly, over the top, fantastic if it succeeds and absolute humiliation for life if it doesn't.

There's been no follow up news to see if the woman was ever found or if she ever responded to the man. As much as most of us romantics out there would like to believe that the man is some form of dashing Hugh Grant charmer who just happens to be a cubicle Charlie who is desperately shy, my guess is that he was that awkward guy with the tie that doesn't match his shirt lingering by the punch bowl. Which means that this woman may not want to be found.

Let this be a lesson to you guys out there, lingering around the punch bowl and thinking about talking to girls- go talk to the girls. We're not scary and we don't have cooties. We won't act like supreme bitches and toss our hair at you and make below the belt comments about the size of your manhood (well, maybe in LA and New York). We're just people, like you, and if you never make a move, we'll never know you're interested. And a mass email the day after is not the best way to get our attention.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why We Remember

November 11th is Remembrance Day and despite all the publicity and plastic poppies being sold on every street corner, it is my hope that the point of the day is not lost on people. It's not just a day off from work for federal employees and it's not the day that veterans take out their medals to shine them. November 11th at its origin marked the end of the first world war, the first conflict of its kind which shocked the modern world. It was the 11th day, the 11th month and the 11th hour where four years of war, famine, disease and grief finally ended.

This is significant, but it's so far removed from the current reality that this is why I fear the message is getting lost. While teachers often include World War I in their curriculum, it's not enough to throw names, dates, numbers and unpronounceable European countries at them. They should emphasize the importance of such a large conflict to a so-called civilized world and how it started from the war that would end at Christmas to the war that lasted 4 grueling years.

People are generally more aware of the Second World War, the 'Nazi war' as most people know it. There is something about the mystique of the Hitler regime and the horrors of its cleansing regime which stun and stimulate the mind. But the First World War, while it lacks the glamour associated with the Second, was stunning because of its nature. It is a demonstration of how pride, politics, past bad blood and basic human greed can push humanity to the brink; and it very nearly did.

And that's another thing that people should not forget: how close we came to destroying everything we created over the years by tearing each other apart with guns and tanks. How close we came to wiping out the human race in the name of national pride, territorial gain and racist notions of the right of certain races to rule. And how we nearly destroyed an entire generation which drowned in muddy fields or were killed by gunfire in trenches.

Today's wars are mired in politics and industrial interests, but Remembrance Day is not about those things. It's about remembering what war is and how we should do everything in our power to prevent it. That's the best way to honour our veterans and freedom.