Saturday, January 09, 2010

The holidays officially end around here this weekend with the taking down of all the ornaments and, tomorrow, the inside/outside Christmas tree. In all it's been a truly great holiday season, filled with family, visitors and guests (more this weekend), lots of fun and frolic (some especially delightful frolic during our big New Year's gathering), and a great feeling of connectedness with everyone we know and love.

Picked up from Boston's The Edge website:

Portuguese parliament moves to permit gay marriage
Associated Press Friday Jan 8, 2010

Portugal’s Parliament is debating a bill that would permit gay marriage in the mostly Roman Catholic country. The Socialist government’s bill has the support of all left-of-center parties and is expected to pass Friday afternoon. Its approval would make Portugal the sixth European country to allow same-sex marriages.

If passed, the proposed law goes to Portugal’s conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva. He can ratify or veto it, but a veto can be overturned by Parliament. If there is no presidential veto, the first gay marriage ceremonies could take place in April.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates says the measure is part of his effort to modernize Portugal. Two years ago his government lifted Portugal’s ban on abortion.

The Parliament has passed the measure and same-sex marriages could start in April. News reports say the president is unlikely to veto the bill which had the support of the entire Left.


I have some projects coming up, one of which is going to be a bit tricky. I had a wine glass rack made for us to hang centered over the island in the middle of the kitchen. Ideally the rack should be hung from hooks screwed into the ceiling joists, but between the joists and the actual ceiling is 3/4" strapping. My joist finder doesn't pickup the joists because of the 3/4" of open space between the top of the ceiling board and the underside of the joist, but it does find all the strapping.

Given the right screw-hooks and the relatively light weight of the rack even when it's loaded, I suspect I can hang the thing from the strapping, particularly if I add a couple of extra hanging points for security. I don't want to drill lots and lots of holes in the ceiling to locate the joists. Wish me luck, please!


My Cousin in Montreal sent this, with full acknowledgment that it probably offends everyone and traffics in national stereotypes. But it IS funny, so please keep that in mind, especially because Italians (of which I am one on my father's side) get a good drubbing along with everyone else:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to"A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans meanwhile and as usual are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies 'just in case'.

Canada doesn't have any alert levels.

New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA". Due to continuing defense cutbacks, New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is "I hope Australia will come and rescue us".

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be al'right, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!", "I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "The barbie is cancelled". So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Funny... because there is a tiny shred of truth in all the stereotypes. I would add in San Fransisco, Ny & LA & their inablity to decide what to wear if the terror alert in yellow.

I want to be invited to New Years Eve at your house!
LOL (Even though I feel I really shouldn't). Not even a little bit miffed or peeved. ;-)
Will, you can easily locate the joists in the ceiling with a stud finder. It's true, when I first bought the stud finder, I thought it was for something else, but it didn't work all the time. Once I read up on it and found it was for loating studs "in the wall", it worked a lot better! :) Try it, you won't be sorry.

The security level piece is hysterical. Don't worry about being offensive to us. Worry about being recruited by the Conservative Right Wingnuts because they'll agree with your estimation, think you are seriously "telling it like it is", and try to recruit you into their ranks! :)
I'm so happy for you guys -- for the beautiful home you've created, the circle of friends you still have, and the love that abounds. Fortunate!
Canada actually have two threat levels - "there's no reason to get excited" and "the ones you are looking for are that way (pointing south).

And don't the American's have a level called "stay on the sidelines until we're sure to win?"
Re Portugal - two cheers! A third for adoption would have been nice, but hey, lento, lento.

And one in the eye for the impending visit of il papa.
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