Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rolling in his manger.


*a high five from Jesus was the best Christmas present anyone could even hope for!

I was Christmas shopping and not Holiday shopping today because I'm a little Irish Anglican. I made the mistake of wishing a store clerk who looked about as WASPy as myself a "Merry Christmas!"; the clerk retorted "Happy Holidays!"
I fumbled around for an apology, and said that I hoped I hadn't offended by wishing him a Merry Christmas.

A- "Oh, no worries! I celebrate Christmas!"
B- "Oh. I thought that since. . .you know, Happy Holidays. I thought maybe you celebrated a different holiday."
A- "Nope."
B- "Okay! Good. Merry Christmas, then! Again!"
A- "And Happy Holidays!"
B- ". . .yeah."

I get the whole Christmas vs. Holidays fiasco. I have friends who celebrate all kinds of things this time of year--Hell!--I've got friends who celebrate Christmas and don't particularly fancy Christ! But is it so wrong, from one Christian to another, to exchange a wish of 'Merry Christmas' in public? Does my language always have to be inclusive? I mean, I say 'Happy Birthday!' out loud, in public, even when I know that not everyone in the bar is celebrating a birthday.

Perhaps I'll start saying, "I'm having a Merry Christmas!" and then look to the sales clerk for a response of "And I'm having a Merry Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Winter Solstice myself!" Sharing can be fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Beef on the Feds

People who are confused by federal politics need only look as far as Table 12 at my local A&W Restaurant for clarification.
It is preferable that any who attend the A&W tutorial have no existing opinion on anything, read at a Grade 6 level, and like icy cold mugs of root beer.

I sat close enough to overhear a Father and sometimes pundit explain, with the aid of The Calgary Sun, the current state of Federal politics to his eager-to-learn pre-teen daughter. Like most loyal Sun readers, he was only looking at the pictures.

F- "This is Paul Martin. He's the Prime Minister right now, but not for long. He's done a lot of lying. We don't trust him."
D- "Why?"
F- "Because he's done a lot of lying. This is the New Democrats leader. If he's elected, he'd give all our money--like the money for your Christmas presents--to poor people."
D- (silent horror)
F- "I don't remember his. . .Jack Layton--that's his name. I think he's married to a Chinese lady."
D- (silence--maybe confusion, because there are no Chinese in all of Alberta)
F- "Stephen Harper--our guy--is the Conservative Leader. You know that Mom and Dad and you are Conservatives, right?"
D- "Yeah."
F- "If he wins, hopefully things will get better for us out here--we'll get more of a say. Remember what your favourite colour is?"
D- "Pink!"
F- "And? What's the colour of Dad's tie?"
D- "Blue!"
F- "Right! Want to know anything else?"
D- "No."

So. There you have it. This poor girl just had to know more about the election, and dear old dad filled her in.
After this short lecture on politics, F turned to his onion rings to rebuild his strength.

D- "Are we fighting any wars right now?"
F- "No. The Americans are."
D- "Why?"
F- "Because. . . Did you have fun shopping for Christmas presents for Mom tonight?"

Without the assistance of pictures his wellspring of knowledge had dried up. The Father employed, perhaps unwittingly, the classic American strategy of Distraction to get himself out of a tight spot, while saving face for not really having an answer.

God, I love my new hometown!

Monday, December 05, 2005

A beer for me, and one for the biggot.

This afternoon I spent it, as all good salesmen should, sipping beers around town trying to drum up business and rapport with the staff. I affectionately call it "Rotating the stock".

Bellied up to the bar at one of my new "locals" I met a postman trying to drown out the cold Alberta Clipper that has gripped my new fair city. We started talking.

Was I from England?

No. (I get all kinds of wild guesses at my accent. In truth, it's really like Ottawa Valley crossed with East Coast; don't ask)

Did I like SW beer?

Yes. It's a hobby turned occupation for me.

What did I think of Calgary?

Very nice. Exceedingly friendly.

And that's when the veil started to slip.

A- "Well, you'll see. It's not that friendly. I was born in Tilsonburg, and old timers still rag on me for being from out east."
B- "Sheesh! How long did you live in Tilsonburg? I'm from close by those parts. My father used to listen to 101.3 Easy Listening all the time in the car. Drove us nuts."
A- "Three years. We moved to Calgary when I was three."
B- "And the old timers still consider you 'from out east'?"
A- "Yup. Alberta's rich. The richest in Canada. They hate sharing their fortune with a country that doesn't give them anything in return."
B- "Well. . . . I hope they aren't too hard on me."
A- "They will be."
B- "Oh."

Here comes the bomb.

A- "You'll find that Albertans are pretty conservative."
B- ". . . "
A- "My wife and I, we're pretty open-minded; we have niggers as friends."
B- "! ! !"

I shit you not. He tried to candy-coat his statement by lowering his voice when he said "niggers", but there it was. Like a shiny new bike he'd been dying to ride all winter! I gawked at him. Dropping the "N" word is like having a naked dead baby lying in the corner and trying not to talk about it. But when you think you should maybe mention it, you have no idea where to begin. He let me off the hook.

A- "Hey, we call them that in front of them--they don't mind! I mean, that's what they are. We get along great!"
B- ". . .what do you do for a living?"

Cross burner? Hate-monger? Jim Crow advocate? Grand Master?

Postman. A sub for folks who call in sick.

It should be said that EVERYONE else I met today was exceedingly nice, and didn't bring up gooks, wops, chinks, limeys, retards, midgets, crackers, faggots, or dykes--much to my relief.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Aloha Stranger!

Yesterday I attempted to do laundry for the first time since leaving Toronto.
Yes.
I did have to recycle-wear a few things in my small suitcase in order to make it this far. It would have been easier if my lovely wife hadn't needed her suitcase, which, God forbid any police are reading this, is big enough to pack her entire body in.
Not that I would.
But I'm warning her: the cooking better improve!!

I was excited at the idea of fresh clothing, but couldn't operate the machine. It's an old decommissioned coin-op which required a "trick" I didn't know. So I went and knocked on my new basement neighbour's door. My overweight, slightly deranged neighbour who has elected to live in a basement apartment for 20 of her last 60 years. Who the fuck does that?

M- "Just a minute!"

She answered the door in what once must have been her favourite pair of black jogging pants; now, a shadow of their former self, the jogging pants were more consistent with what I know to be 'beaded curtains' than athletic wear. I use the world 'athletic' loosely. I should, as a hilarious pun, instead write 'athletic where', for there was little evidence that the jogging pants were there (and greater evidence of thigh, than I would have liked).

She was very helpful, and showed me the 'trick' with her free hand; the other hand was trying, in vain, to clutch enough material to make a veil, for modesty's sake.

After telling me not to worry, that she was a severe epileptic, and that if I discovered her lying in the hallway to go about my business (so long as she wasn't bleeding or in immediate danger), she dashed back to her room.

M- "I wasn't dressed when you knocked!"

I resisted calling back, "You still aren't!"

Move over Manitoba!

To illustrate how friendly Calgarians are, I submit this brief anecdote.
I was in 8th Street Sushi, and struck up a conversation with the owner while he busied himself making my lunch box special. We ventured onto the subject of my house hunting, and I told him that I had scored sweet pad in Marda Loop, to which he replied:

S- "Hey! Marda Loop? I got a buddy who lives down there; he's in pharmaceuticals. I should get your number so he can give you a call. You guys could get together for a beer!"

Here I am, some random dude that has walked in off the street, and the bossman is trying to hook me up with a new friend!
I could be an axe murderer on the lamb!
This isn't the first time I've had mutual friends forced on me; it's happened likely 6 other times since I've been here.
People just look at you, and if they think you've got a trusting face, they offer up their friends to you.
Wild.

But I like it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Never bring your fists to a phone fight.

I just realised that I never elaborated on a tale from our honeymoon which was hinted at several posts back. It was in regards to an altercation I had returning a defective Smart car to Drossos Moto Rental on Satorini (specifically, in Oia).

I know how Smart cars are supposed to ride. I piloted one of the first Smart cars in Canada, my beloved Dilton, every day for a year. So when we E and I were driving home through a winding mountain pass after sunset with no dashboard lights apart from this one:



Coupled with the poor handling and funny noises, I had my suspicions that we would plunge to our death.

The next morning I decided to go and confront the good shopkeeper about his wares, and ask for a rebate on my rental fee. The AC didn't work, the airbags didn't work, the car handled like a goat, and the dashboard was but a memory as soon as the sun went down.

I brought up the issues with a large Greek man whom I assume to be the owner, and he categorically refuses to believe any of my claims. He even goes so far as to say that the airbag light, the ever-present beacon of death, is actually a seat belt light.
To prove this, he gets in the car and fastens the seat belt.
I insist that, having my own Smart car back in Canada, I know that light to mean "Airbag no workey"; why else, I ask, would the stick man have a large orange in his lap?

More resistance, and then finally, he just walked away.

But before he did, he told me that I was "a stupid, stupid man".

I was getting a little steamed. I pursued the issue back at the reception desk. And pursued it. And pursued it.
Until finally he blew out of his chair like a hand grenade had gone off behind the desk and bellowed, in a long monstrous roar, "GET OUT!"

In my line of work I've had to deal with a few Greek business men, and if there's one thing I've learned about them, it's that they love to yell at you. This behavior used to scare me, and sent me running to the hills slipping in my own shit; but I'm out of my training pants now, and know that it's all talk.

Usually all talk.

Sure, I stood my ground, much to his amazement. I even rose to the occasion, roaring my own, "GIVE ME A REBATE! THE CAR IS UNSAFE!"
I also got to use, for the first time, "My wife was in that car, and you deliberately put her in harm's way!"

It was then that he picked up the phone to beat me. I rightly guessed he was bluffing, and stood my ground.
He rounded the desk, put his fat gut and 6'3" frame tight against mine, and bellowed, "GET OUT, YOU STUPID MAN! GET OUT!" No movement on my part. Steely stare. Then, "I'll CALL THE COPS!!"

Well, he did have the phone in his hands, and since he pussed out of beating me with it, he might as well use it.

B- "FINE! I'd love to tell them about how unsafe your cars are, and how poorly you've treated me!"

It was then that he tied to beat me with the phone for a second time. This time, he actually started to swing the phone at my head. While I braced for impact, he ran out of telephone cord, and the phone shot out of his hands and landed on the floor behind the desk.
Having failed at beating me, we decided to push each other around a bit. I"m 5'10", and not more than 135lbs. holding my marble collection, so the struggle was pretty one sided. I can't say that I gave as good as I got; but I gave as best as I could.

Desperately enraged, he picked me up off my feet in a big bear hug, crushing me with his strength, and threw, yes, threw me out the door.

Did I mention that this whole time an Aussie had been waiting patiently in a chair to rent a car?
Yeah. He did nothing. Up the Anzacs with a rubber hose!

Once I landed on the cobblestone outside, I was fit to hunt bears with a stick. We spouted off at each other, him all the while calling me names; myself, all the while, protesting that he could have killed my wife. I finally cracked and said,

B- "Why is that I'm the one with the complaint, and you're doing all the name calling? You know what? Fuck you!"

A lady shrieked, "Don't say that! He's a Greek man! He'll KILL you!!"
I shit you not.

He didn't kill me.
I didn't get a refund.
The Aussie DID rent a vehicle.

My lovely wife E? I turned up at poolside, broken sunglasses on my face, to her reading a book and having a drink.

E- "WHAT? What happened to you?"
B- "This Greek guy tried to beat me with his phone."

And now you know, the rest of the story.

Calgary in a nutshell.

I realise that every single pissy little town in the Maritimes, the Midwest, New England, and Northern Ontario boast:

"Don't like the weather? Wait 15 minutes and it'll change!"

Har har har!

Those people are all bullshitters. The only place in the world with weather that can turn on a dime is Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
One minute,
sunny, clear skies, 18 degrees celsius.

53 seconds later. . .
cloudy, snowing, -16 degrees celsius.

This Calgary Chinook is more temperamental than a two year old on crystal meth.

My new expression is:
"Experiencing nice weather while it's snowing on your friends and family in Ontario? Wait 53 seconds, or be forced to eat your words, Showoff!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

The milk's gone bad.

Hoo boy.
So I'm going to wobble through the finish line with a Meme I hadn't noticed I was tagged for by talk talk talk looking nearly as pathetic as those marathoning types who believe that 'just finishing makes me a winner."

The Meme rules require me to find the 23rd post of my blogging career, and seek out the fifth sentence.

Ah yes. One of my very favourite posts about a man named Kottaris--I think his first name was 'David'--he, or someone close to him, used to google his name constantly for more information, lifting my hits preciously close to 8 a day!
Mr. Kottaris got drunk, began sexing up a cow in Riverdale Farm, and was taken into custody only after he had made bedroom eyes at a horse and clunked a Riverdale employee on the head with a beer bottle. Remarkable man. Remarkable life.

On to my appointed task:
"I wonder if this is what Stompin' Tom would call a 'Thunder Bay Thursday Afternoon'?"

Having just been through the T-bay recently, I can say without hesitation that people there have the good sense to fuck their cows and horses at night, not mid-afternoon. Think of the children! Would someone please think about the children?!

James Bow set the bar higher by writing some piece of fiction to go along with this meme relic. Great idea.

Money for Nothing, and the Milk for Free

B & C sat in jail.
Their shoe laces, watches, hemp necklaces, and belts had been confiscated by Thunder Bay's finest.

C- "A lot of fuss over a little animal buggery."
B- "Mmmmm."
C- "Did you see the sign?"
B- "Hmm? What sign?"
C- "The one about 'absolutely no sexual activity in the field'?"
B- "No. I'd be surprised if a sign like that actually existed. I think--"
C- "Well that's our out then! There were--"
B- "--I think it's implied."
C- ". . .really? Implied?"
B- "I think it might technically still be illegal."
C- (pause)"That's a bit Draconian, don't you think?"

. . .

C- "What about consent? That cow looked at me in a very consensual way."
B- "Consensual--what? The cow looked at you in what? a consensual way?"
C- "Yes. A very consensual way."
B- "You can tell that to the judge; I'm pleading guilty."
C- "You do that. You can rot here in Thunder Bay for the next 30 days for all I care! I'm fighting this!"
B- "What happens if you say 'The cow consented, in a very consensual way' and the judge asks you how old the cow was?"
C- ". . .what?"
B- "And the farmer says that the cow is 3. That's practically veal. Then you're up for statutory rape of a farm animal. That sounds worse than bestiality in my books."
C- "I didn't think of it like that."
B- "Yeah. Well. Why don't we just sit here quietly and wait for this whole embarrassing affair to get over and done with?"
C- "Okay."
B- "I mean, it's bad enough they have us on suicide watch."
C- "Yeah."

. . .

C- "Isn't this what Stompin' Tom called a Thunder Bay Thursday Afternoon?"

. . .

C- "I mean, I think we've been misled. I'm sure that's a song by Stompin' Tom! Sure of it!"

. . .

C- "That old fart should be here instead of us. Liar."

the end


Surely that's offended so many of my readers, that I'll get the flag and finally be left to my own devices.
I'd love to Meme others, but I doubt anyone is left. Or will talk to me.

Just be thankful I didn't compose a story about Kenora Sunglasses.

Bingo Bango

An election is in our future, and Joe Clark heaves a sigh of relief (misery loves company)

Now I'll get to see the true nature of my new hometown: Calgary. If a Federal election doesn't make this town go "pop!" I'll eat my new cowboy hat.

Who knows, by this time next year, I might be living in a whole other country called "Alberta"?

I hope not. My mother will have a fit if I'm living in other country.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thin mountain air goes straight to my head.

Look, I don't know what's happening to me, but today marks the second straight week of me arriving in the lobby of the Sandman Hotel Downtown Cowtown only to discover that:

I'm flying low;
My barn door is open;
The Buick is hanging out of the garage;
The cucumber has been tossed from the salad;
Mr. Wang! Now seating a party of one!;
Rain caused the worm to come up for air;
It's getting breezy;
I've had a wardrobe malfunction;
The pig's out of the pen;
The Rooster's flown the coop;
The elephant is cooling off in the trouser Savanna;

and finally, as a self-serving nod,

I've accidently revealed where Saddam has been hiding his Weapons of Mass Destruction.

I think that the guys at the front desk are getting suspicious. Each day I enter the lobby, mock surprise (because I'm not surprised after two weeks), and face a pillar to pull myself together. Once I did this at the END of my workday.

I must be losing my mind.
Please tell me Reagan didn't start his slide in the abyss by showing up at State dinners with Bonzo's banana falling out of the tree.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Everything's cool--Dad's hip to it.

I just had a Yahoo search of:
"fart during the anal sex"

Does this old bugger listen to "the rock and roll", do a little of "the marijuana" while having some of "the anal sex" all the kids seem to be having today?

Next search:
"teeth fall out during the anal sex"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Yanksgiving Special: Turkey

I can't decide if the guy I saw tonight was someone I would want as my boss, or not. He was pretty "full on".

Sitting in the M Bar of the Sandman Downtown, I was treated to the worst spectacle of employee dismissal I have ever seen. Not having seen many of them (speaking from the perspective of a model employee) I can't say my statement holds a lot of water; I will, however, allow the public to decide whether or not I witnessed a holocaust of employer decorum.

He was drunk when I took my usual seat for dinner.
"He" being a boss in his late 50's who sat beside a young lady who seemed to be making painful attempts at polite conversation.
I learned, by eavesdropping, that she had just been canned; her hands were folded over a manila envelope containing what I assume was her "golden handshake". He boss, however, was making very affectionate, very drunk, overtures to her. Touching her. Consoling her. Telling her how lovely she was, and how he always thought, even for an employee, that she was special and lovely.
He was even creeping me out, and I didn't have to sit next to him and keep saying, "Well, thank you. This should be a good opportunity for me. I needed a change."

What took the cake was when he asked his former employee if he could borrow her phone to call someone to pick him up: he was soused.

Holy crap.

She let him. She let him burn her fucking airtime minutes to find someone to pour him in a cab.
The surrogate had no sooner arrived, when she "what a privilege" and "I need a new adventure"'ed her way out the door. The surrogate, another female employee (or trophy wife) escorted bossman to the John. He was so bombed that there was no way he was navigating himself there on his own two feet.

I have never, EVER, seen something so painfully inappropriate in my life.
Having said that, had I been in her shoes I would have found better topics for small talk than she managed to muster, such as "So, you ever tried a Hurtz Donut? No? You want to?"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Glory Hold unnecessary.

Yesterday afternoon, immediately following the Calgary Santa Claus Parade, I stood beside two girls having a conversation that would have perhaps been more appropriate with fewer children around.
I hope I'm not becoming a prude.

A- "Lucas, he's from India, and he knows this breathing technique that allows you to give a blowjob and breath at the same time!"
C- "Really?"

What being from India has to do with this special talent, I haven't a clue.
What I do know, is Lucas would probably make a hell of a didgeridoo player.

If this is true, it puts to rest the old barroom joke of "breathing through the ears"; clearly, that's not necessary if you know Lucas.

Mohawk'ed driver, no survivor.

Last night, while walking home from renting some movies and buying some Nibs, I looked across the street and saw one of the biggest mohawks of recent memory.

Kids don't seem to do much of that sort of thing anymore. Soon, my children will only be able to learn of the mohawk from Police Academy movies. . .but I digress.

The Mohawk was pushing a comparatively more subdued punk in a wheelchair; they were both trying hard too look as if they didn't give a shit about the world. The Mohawk, who was "driving" should have given more of a shit about pushing his buddy in the wheelchair, because just after I looked away, I heard a cry of "SHIT!". I turned back just in time to see the wheelchair (and its passenger) racing down the sidewalk leading underneath some train tracks, and without it's driver.

I immediately thought, "Oh snap."

The wheelchair clipped a part of the retaining wall, and ejected its occupant onto the sidewalk. Life had suddenly become a lot less "devil may care".

Dude on the ground was okay; we got him back in the saddle, no harm done. His ejection had gone much smoother than Goose's.

Which I think gives me permission to laugh.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Rainbow Ejection.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the "Chick Pea" for lunch, even though I had, while in Greece, sworn off souvlaki as a sign of solidarity towards my lovely wife.

In Greece, they only eat souvlaki. Nothing else.
Well. . .maybe goats tails--but nothing else.

I broke our unified front against souvlaki, sure, but that's between her and I and no one else.

Sitting near me were two gentlemen, both whom I had stood behind in line. One had never had souvlaki before, and the other one had appointed himself as "expert" on the subject of Greek cuisine. The "expert", E, quickly exhausted his knowledge of Greek food when faced with a barrage of questions from the Greek virgin (ooooh! Naughty!). V pointed at nearly everything in the joint, asking "What's that?" or "What's this?"; E didn't have all the answers, though wouldn't admit it, and began giving vague responses that trailed off--I think he was hoping that a server might interrupt him with a sharp, "Lettuce? Hot sauce?" and put an end to the field trip lecture.

They both ended up, seemingly by accident, getting Chicken Souvlaki Deluxe, which so far as I could tell, was no different from my Regular Chicken Souvlaki. Apart from the price, that is. I think the owners bump annoying customers up to "Deluxe" as some sort of tax for being a pain while in line.

The big Greek V, right before my very eyes, sneezed after taking two bites of his Deluxe. It was an open-mouthed sneeze that carried tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, red onion, parsley, chicken, hot sauce, pickled turnip, and pita five feet from where he was seated. What a show! All the colours of the rainbow; but unlike a rainbow, which is fleeting, these colours stuck to the floor and chair which represented, for lack of a more romantic description, "The End of the Rainbow".

E- "That's happened to me before. The hot sauce."

And then it was back to the business of eating.
No "Excuse me!"
No effort to clean up the mess.
Just more face filling.

Classy.
Just like the kid who pukes out the bus window on field trips.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Terror Level: Code Brown.

I was feeling a little touch-and-go this morning as I made my sales rounds on foot in downtown Cowtown; my colon surprises me with chaos now and again, but only when I least expect it (or when it's least convenient).

Nearing 17th Ave, the so-called Red Mile, and I began seeing spots. Things felt like they were deteriorating, and I couldn't determine whether, if I attempted to bleed off some of the pressure building up in my abdomen, it would be a big mistake.
Before I could weigh the pros and cons, my body decided for me.
It felt like the One Second Plumber had gone off in my trousers.

For those that have to ask, "No, it was not a good feeling."

It was so cold in Cowtown that I couldn't distinguish whether the new, warm feeling in the back of my lap was as a result of body-warmed gas, or body-warmed shit.
It is a humbling moment entering a new account for lunch, reporting immediately to the little boys room and inspecting your trousers to confirm or deny rumours started by your right brain.

For the record, I enjoyed lunch with a cup of coffee. Having been that close to the edge without going over, I was in need of another adrenaline fix.

Monday, November 14, 2005

From the Horse's Mouth.

OF the many things I have misspoke about on blind dates in my past, the one thing I always managed to avoid was ominous warnings.
Things I have heard others say upon first meeting:
"People think I'm a total bitch!"
and
"In my last relationship there was commitment issues. . ."
Both are totally inadvisable remarks. (I'm married, so I should know how to get this ball in the end zone, kids!)

Last night, while I tucked into my Calamari Penne Something-Something, I eavesdropped on what appeared to be a first date. These two kids did not know each other very well, judging by the content on their conversation.

The girl chimes in, during a quick exchange:
G- "You should never trust a woman!"

Didn't Don Knotts shoot himself in the foot in The Apple Dumpling Gang, too?

There is no small talk, only small talkers.

Hotel bars are littered with business folk trying to make it through the lonely night, counting the minutes until seminars and plant tours begin again at 8am. For some, the time cannot pass quick enough.

Two business associates seated beside me at the bar last night had what can only be described as polite conversation. Polite, because the one dude managed not to fall off his stool laughing at the other.

After a long silence--their talk about sports completely out of gas.
A- "Do you read American Gamedog?"
C- "No."

I wanted so badly to ask C if this question was a continuation of a conversation about gamedogs the two had had earlier in the dog, or whether, as I suspected, it was the worst attempt at making small talk I had ever heard.

A- "I just rediscovered it recently. I don't have a gamedog. . ."
C- "I was just going to ask if you had a dog."
A- "No. I don't have a gamedog, but I'm considering getting one. It would be tough, because I'm on the road so much."
A & C nodded and looked into their drinks. I think C was trying desperately to conjure up a yawn.

on the radio, Phil Collins' 'Can't Stop Loving You' begins

A- "This song is Number 1 on my travel mix CD."
C- ". . .oh?"
A- "I love it. It's kind of about traveling."

Yeah. Kinda.
It's more about leaving, which is what I'm sure C couldn't stop thinking about doing himself.

I felt so bad for this guy, that it made be glad I was alone. No offense, my darling wife. You would never spring getting a subscription to The Shih Tzu Reporter on me over dinner. And I love you for that.

Freedom Toast.

Last night, down at the bar, I did a bit of bonding with another lonesome salesman.

He was from Houston, and I from Toronto--that kept us laughing for hours!!

Once I had run out of my limited knowledge of sports, I decided to dip my toe into the dicey situation in France at the moment.

B- "Boy! Those French really have a doozie of a problem on their hands, eh? Kids burning cars like crazy!"
H- "Yeah, well, that arrogant nation had it coming, see."
B- ". . .(pause for irony). . .yeah, well, we've had our problems withe the French too."

I decided to turn things back towards sports, and the CFL game earlier in the afternoon: Stamps vs. Eskimos!
He decided to call it a night.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Snake wrestling.

This is from my "Oldies but Goodies" file.
It involves Armchair and is mildly homoerotic.

I am sure that you will all enjoy.

When Armchair (A) and I, our rockstar roomie D, and my twin brother C all lived together in university, we shared Apartment 801. Those three numbers, when used in that configuration, are still magical.

From 801's balcony nothing escaped our watchful eyes. We were Waterloo's equivalent of the "Justice League" without all the complications that come from the burden of super powers.

It was from our "Watchtower" late one night while A slept that myself, C, and D peered directly into the intimate moments of a young man's life. It was clear that he was struggling with the burden of being away from home, the loneliness, and the 'not getting laid in his Freshman year'. How he was coping with this, was to take advantage of unrestricted internet access devoid of the parental filters his parent's computer in Burlington had.

D- "Is that dude. . .what's he doing?"
C- "I don't know."
B- "I think he's beating off to internet porn!"
D- "Let's get A's binoculars!!"

The words had barely left our eager mouths, and A was out of bed and down the hall with his binoculars; it was the quickest I had ever seen him move.

A confirmed our suspicions; it was an unholy union of one soul locked in a sinful embrace. If he was going to keep this up all year, this dude needed to invest in some curtains, or hang a bedsheet up.

A few weeks later we were entertaining guests in 801 and the subject of our neighbour and his seemingly insatiable, chronic, habit/relationship. One of our guests asked which apartment 'across the way', as he lived across the street. We eagerly pointed out the glass sliding door which had been our porthole of entertainment nightly.

Sure enough, it was his roommate. Small world. Among other things.

The next day a bedsheet hung over the window. To this day I have never seen the poor boy's face.

Torontonians rejoice!

Let it be known that after an empirical analysis of the City of Calgary, conducted over the course of three separate visits in three separate seasons, there are more random piles of vomit here than in Toronto.

Thankfully, it's always frozen when I meet it. Even in summer. Because Calgary is that cold.

I think Toronto stills edges out other cities when it comes to random puddles of urine.

Hi, My Name is: Ron Swayze

While traveling on the Trans-Canada highway with C, we saw nature's wonder in great abundance. We encountered the living, breathing niceness that seems to be the hallmark of what it is to be Canadian. We drove through flurries of snow, forests, rock cuts, and limitless flatness. But the thing that sticks out in my mind isn't all that. It's Ron, a welder's assistant on the gas line running near Swift Current.

In what we thought was an abandoned Travelodge, while soaking in a hot tub with some Steam Whistles we imported from Ontario, a pot-bellied Teddy Bear drove up in his truck, came into the pool area, pulled off his clothes, and jumped in with us. We became fast friends, and soon learned he was employed in the hard-knock life of the pipeline. He made a hospital's ER sound akin to a walk in the park when describing his occupation; he painted a portrait of a man being paid to flirt with danger 12 hours a day. We were duly impressed.

As with all initial contact between males, it turned out to be macho posing. After a while, the truth materialised; replacing the portrait of a roughneck pioneer in the wilderness of the Prairies, was a Lite Brite sketch of coffee breaks and extended periods of slacking off. . .in the wilderness of the Prairies. . .far from a supervisor. The only thing consistent with his original portrayal was the extremely good pay. But such is bonding between males: first, it's how tough your life is; then, it's how much easier, sweeter, it is. I do it myself.

From out of nowhere two pre-teen boys materialized and began romping in the pool. The presence of young, impressionable ears took none of the colour out of Ron's stories; he was just getting warmed up. He had just begun to elaborate on his statement:

R: "Roadhouse is pretty much my favourite movie, because I lived it every day back in the late 90's."

We had to know more.

R: "My first night bouncing at my buddy's bar, this Indian lady picked a fight with another lady--white lady--and I thought 'Cool! Cat fight!'. But they wouldn't stop, and it was getting out of hand. I told the Indian lady--she was lying on the floor--that she had to leave, but she could come back tomorrow. I was bent over her, and she grabbed my hair and told me to 'Fuck off!', you know."

The two boys overheard this and started to giggle and whisper.

R: ". . .and she wouldn't let go. I didn't know what to do. My boss came over and said, 'You let go off his hair and get the fuck out, and I'm not going to ask twice!' Then he just took his steel-toed workboot and kicked her in the cunt."

Yes. He dropped the 'c' bomb. Like it was no different from an "if" or "but".
R had a big grin on his face.
The boys looked horrified; all splashing had stopped.

Chris and I nodded appreciatively; any man who skips pussy, vag, clam, hair taco, 'the pink', and twat in the company of relative strangers is a man we could learn a thing or two from. What we now had to come to terms with was that everything R knew about life and living he learned from this man. . .

Dy-no-mite!

I was just searching for Calgary Stampeders tickets on Ticketmaster, and the verification word was "liger".

It's pretty much my favorite animal.

My lovely wife is jealous because I spend all day searching for hot tixs.



Bred for their skills in magic indeed!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Often imitated, never duplicated: Bruce Lee

Before I left for Alberta, a coworker of mine showed me his homemade nunchucks.

He's an older guy.
He hides his nunchucks in two different socks in his truck--completely legal--he assured me.

Amused, I asked him to show me "a thing or two with the 'chucks".

On his third underarm pass, he hit me in the elbow so hard it made my left arm go completely numb. The numbness lasted for over an hour. That ended the fun as quickly as it had began. He apologised and hid the nunchucks like some pre-teen stashing porn.

He has sais, but I decided it would be better that I not ask for a demonstration. I prefer blunt force trauma to sucking wounds.

Alberta Bound

My twin brother, C, and I have just completed the long haul down the Trans-Canada from Toronto to Calgary. We did it in a lime green '68 Chevy Truck--very hot! The new news is that I've been made Regional Manager of Alberta for The Good Beer Folks and am moving here. . .Parkdale, I hardly knew ye!

The move will be for a year or so.
I hope Cowtown is as full of crazies as Hogtown is; I suspect, however, that no place on earth could possibly have as many nuts as Toronto. I will do my best to find them.

Wawa has not one, not two, but no less than THREE large geese. What town needs that many oversized geese? What town council, buoyed by the success of one large goose, decides that a flock is needed?
And why build them all the same? Why not make an Elvis Wawa Goose, or a Pete Rose Wawa goose?


I hope St. Thomas' mayor doesn't visit and get it in his head that more Jumbos are needed to stimulate tourism.

How much excitement can one town contain?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A treat to make your pee stink.

Teenagers are pushing their luck heading out with a grocery bag on Halloween.
They are completely deluded if they think that dressing, to quote one hair-brained girl, "as myself" is going to make anyone who bought the candy (particularly one who bought the candy, then got dressed up in lederhosen to pass it out) eager to fork it over. There should be no reward for Halloween complacency.

Which is why last night while passing out candy AND barbecuing dinner, all done gracefully in lederhosen and knee socks, I chastised a brood a teenage boys who dressed as "themselves". One can afford such risks when renting their home, as the threat of getting the house egged is of little consequence.

But I didn't send them away empty-handed--heavens no!--I asked if they would each like a piece of barbecued asparagus instead of my candy bars. First they grumbled, eying the candy bowl, trying to figure out if i was just like the other gutless suburban weenies who had fattened up their grocery bags after saying, "Those aren't very creative costumes!" or "Aren't you a little old for Halloween?".
Nothing doing.
Asparagus or step off, bitches.
Then they each held out their hand and took a spear of asparagus. Shit, they even thanked me!
I felt like I had done something constructive with the problem they had presented by encouraging them to make the healthy choice, without being as cliched as passing out apples (which still suck as a Halloween favour).

My warm feeling ended when I realised they had each ate 22 cents worth of Peruvian asparagus.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Saint Martin Caballero, we give thee thanks.

The warm, fuzzy feeling you get while acting as a good samaritan can quickly be overshadowed by threat of death.
Or so my good friend C and I discovered the other morning while having coffee on my porch in Parkdale.

A slight woman with a large dog appeared in my driveway and called for help.
A- "Can you guys help me? I'm leaving my boyfriend because I think he's going to beat me! Help me!"
B & C- "Certainly!"
A- "I'm waiting for a cab. Just stay with me while I wait for a cab--he doesn't like other people around."

We dropped our coffee and went to her aid streetside, though I felt no self-respecting abuser would try to hit a woman with such a big, man-hungry dog like hers.

B- "Where's your boyfriend?"
A- "He's in my apartment--I'm afraid he's going to do something to me--he's got a tomahawk!"
C- ". . .a what?!"
A- "You know, it's like an axe on one side, and a hammer on the other--"
B- "A tomahawk?!"
A- "Yeah."

I felt a sinking feeling. A feeling I get, in the pit of my stomach, that reminds me of all the times my mother told me Toronto was a big, dangerous, scary place in which I would surely have my life taken from me in a violent, un-Godly way.

C- "What's your boyfriend's name?"

Good. We would at least have something to scream while he removed our scalps.

A- "Gord."

Gord? Gord:The Last of the Mohican? Gord sounds more like some dude who would be carrying a rolled up copy of the Toronto Sun as a weapon.
I made a quick glance at my recycling bin to take stock of wine bottles that could possibly be used to slow Gord's progress on his tomahawk rampage. As usual, there were plenty.

A- "I'm leaving him today. I don't have any homework due tomorrow, so I'm leaving him today. Can I have a smoke?"
C- "Sure."

As C passed her a smoke, she grabbed his hand, looked at it, and said:
A- "You're an actor."
She grabbed my hand, while C stood dumbstruck, and said:
A- "You're an actor, too. He's the successful one."
Dead on. We stood completely speechless. C is an actor. C is much more successful than I.
C- "How did you know that? From our soft hands?"
A- "I just felt it."

In Parkdale it may not seem like too grand a leap of faith to identify two handsome-ish, well-groomed young men as actors; I would, if playing mystic, be more likely to guess 'singer-songwriter' more often than actor, mind you.

The first taxi pulled tentatively towards us, wound his window down, and told our friend that he would not accept the dog in his car. Her response was quite out-of-step with the occupation she had just told us she was training to enter: social worker.
A- (to the cabbie as he sped away)"Fuck you, you Muslim asshole! My dog is likely cleaner than your dirty cock!"(to us)"It's likely true, too, Bastard."

The second taxi wasn't far behind, and as our mystic friend who was taking the first step to safety, she turned to C and told him that she would see him later--paused, with a glance skyward--and said, "Christmas. She you at Christmas." Then, in an effort to help her dog get in the taxi she kicked him in the ass, and rode out of our lives as quickly as she had entered. No sign of Gord and his tomahawk; but a little unsettled by her show of some 6th sense.

For the record, neither of us were wearing 'Les Mis' tee shirts.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Romance is Dead.

Two nights ago I attended a fundraiser for this fella who goes to Nepal each year and teaches literacy to women--excellent cause. Though worthy as the cause was, the evening was overshadowed by a budding romance which exploded into bloom mid dance floor. . .but I should back up a bit.

There was a burly, bow-legged bulldog strutting around the loft we were mingling in, shoving his under-bite into as many plates of pate as were left at knee height. He was being whored out at $5 a pop for novelty photos taken before a giant painting of a dog house ($6.50 if you wanted him to 'slip you the tongue').

There was also a young baby, curious as a kitten, who was trucking around on all fours, inspecting every nook and cranny.

The bulldog had noted Mr. Baby earlier in the evening, but it wasn't until our young friend had crawled well out of his mother's reach, and onto the "dance floor", that the bulldog took any real interest in his quadruped comrade. The dog's interest developed into an unhealthy infatuation quickly, and before anyone could intervene, the bulldog had mounted the baby, and was humping away to beat the band; the baby's head was banging off the floor in rhythm to the pelvic thrusts his diapered ass was receiving. Baby didn't seem to mind so much. Of course, the bulldog had about 20lbs on the baby, and prison etiquette tells you that once cornered, let the larger aggressor finish his business "the easy way" rather than "the hard way" because it's going to happen "anyway".

The inter-species love overture continued, mother unawares, for what seemed like years--I was impressed by the bulldog's stamina, and was glad that my lovely wife wasn't there to draw comparisons--and was eating up every delicious minute of it. This spectacle was better than all of the leg-locks I've seen dogs put on unsuspecting guests over the years, and I didn't want it to end.

The mother, however, did not share my enthusiasm for nature's beautiful ballet, and clutched baby away from his sinful enbrace. Even after all the bum-banging and head-banging the baby endured, he didn't seem to register what had happened, and was still wearing the same stupid grin he'd had on after upseting the garbage can. Baby was full of a love for living that most others have long ago lost; and a giant leap ahead of his peers, who will have to wait until prom night for someone to dry hump them on the dance floor.

The baby was left humming Sir Elton John's Circle of Life; the bulldog, Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do With It?.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Athenian Hospitality.






What on earth possessed Athenian airport interior designers to hang images of Amelia Earhart and failed early designs for personal flight systems in their cafeteria I'll never know. My lovely wife, E, who is already an anxious flyer, did not need the cold comfort of seeing a photograph of another woman who flew AND NEVER SAW HER FAMILY AGAIN. And let's face it: the pilots of those early flying machines likely had their fair share neighbours and friends saying, "Are you fucking nuts? You're going to jump off Butler's Hill with that on your back?"; the concepts inspire even less confidence today than they did 100 years ago.

Athens International Airport should have just hung a photo of the Hindenburg and been done with it.


My lovely wife also has the unsettling habit of loudly discussing the safety records of airlines once we've boarded. She became certain, once on board our 737 Agean Airlines flight to Santorini, that Agean had operated the plane that recently crashed outside Athens. She was equally suspicious of our Olympic Airlines flight to Rhodes; a suspicion which became more acute once we had started across the tarmac--on foot--and she realised that she would be taking her first propeller plane ride. Thankfully, all the souvlaki stayed where it belonged: hammering away on her colon.

More to follow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's all Greek to me.

To my faithful friends,

I am happy to report that my little buddy, my long-suffering fiancee E, has finally changed her monogram, as well as her status as a Miss.

Knowing her well, I am assuming that she will now be known as a Ms., and begin pulling her hair back in tight little buns, and chasing children off our Parkdale lawn with a broom.

The short and long is this: we are, and have been for over a week, in Greece. My lack of posting, though no surprise to frequent vistors, should be excused on account of the fact that Greece isn't very internet-friendly.

To whet your palette for my return, I say simply this: I gained one more mortal enemey during our travels, and will likely never be welcome to let a car from Drossos Moto Rental on Santorini ever again. If the exchange of blows, or, more accurately the dispensation of blows by one, and reception of them by another, be any gauge for the quality of the tale, then this one will be a doozie.

I have it from a reliable source that I am a "Stupid man!"--he's an expert in the field, I assure you.

My warmest.
B

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Nana's got nada.

This evening I was on our front porch, smoking one of my lovely John Calich pipes, when I overheard the neighbour seeing a friend out. I wasn't prowling; it was my night off.

X- "Have a good night."
Y- "You too. . .oh! You were going to give me your record albums!"
X- "Yes. You're right. I'll get them."

X sounded like he had made some drunk-talk promise of ' You like it? It's yours.' and then thought better of it now that his buddy was nearly off his hands.
He trudged back into the house and retrieved the booty.

X- "Here you go. My record player hasn't worked in years. I suppose you'll get more use out of these than I will."

His tone confirmed my suspicion that the records had been offered in a haste now regretted.

Y- "Great! . . . Nana Mouskouri? . . .oh. . ."
X- "She's great! You'll just love her! That's nearly all of her albums from '67 until '91!"
Y- ". . .oh. . .I thought they were going to be, like, Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra."
X- "Nana's great! You'll love her!"
Y- "Thanks."

I've tried to sell friends on shit I like before (the merits of 'Sleepaway Camp 1' is something I'm continually lobbying my friends for support on) and it never works. All that happens is people go away thinking, "Holy fuck! He likes that? I don't know if we can be friends any more! I just don't know."

After the usual good byes, Y went down the stoop and over to the trunk of his car. He tossed the prized Mouskouri vinyls into the trunk like dirty gym socks, took a glance around, then pulled a bottle of Capt. Morgan's Spiced Rum out and poured a few fingers into his steel travel mug.
I shit you not.
Screwed the bottle closed, took one last disgusted look at his new Mouskouri discography, closed the trunk and drove away.

What. A. Prick.

If one of my buddies insisted on grabbing my vinyl off me, then reacted like I had handed him a shit sandwich, I would have smacked him in the chops and returned the discs to my library. The cajones on some ungrateful turds on this ball of mud never ceases to amaze me.

That being said, the Value Villages of Toronto are full of Nana Mouskouri's albums and never once have I dropped the 25 cents required to play. Anyone who gets photographed for their album cover wearing eyewear as big as Steve Allan's and still expects to get laid deserves my befuddled respect, but not my quarter.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Someone, anyone, speak something!

Last night was date night for my little E and I.
The happiest night of the week, right?

yeah.

Usually.

Last night one of the activities scheduled was something I laughingly referred to as "charity work for my fiancee" to a workmate.
It was the one, the only, Les Miserables. I bought tickets to this SOLD OUT theatre EVENT months ago so that there wasn't 6 weeks of long faces moping around the house.

It started off with a hell of a bang at THE BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT IN TOWN, Le St. Tropez. Amazing! (and I hate the French!). An apropos amuse bouche for the main event: Les Miserables.

Sitting in our seats, eagerly awaiting 3 hours of full-on, laugh-riot, French Revolutionary madness, we cooed at each other and made lovey-dovey eyes. And just as the lights started to dim, and some French peasants entered marching in time with the music, a soft male voice from behind us asked, with urgency:

M- "This isn't a musical, is it?"

Too late, pal.
He didn't need the answer; his sigh had already been drown out by Jean Valjean singing about washing away his sins with sweat.

If some dude has never heard of Les Mis:The Musical--one of the longest-running Broadway musicals, which already spent innumerable curtain calls in Toronto at the Royal Alex--then he deserves his fate without pity.
No. Don't pity him. He's already dead.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Things mom never told you about anal sex.

Never short on supply of terminally crazy residents, Parkdale pleased last night during the cocktail hour I was sharing with friends on the porch.

My twin, C, and my rocker roomie D, were tippling the good stuff when an old friend strolled by sipping from a can of Guiness. He was merry enough for the four of us.

A- (calling out to any one of the three of us on the porch)"Are you man enough to take me? The man-child?"
B- "I don't reckon we are!"
A- "I don't reckon you are, either. You callin' me nigger? I'll call you. . . white nigger!"

Then he turned his smiling menace on some pretty pedestrians walking by on the other side of the street. I imagine they crossed after hearing his exchange with us, not wishing to be a party to the loud shouting of racial epithets. He was flirtatious:

A- "Hey laaaadies! Let me spend some time with you! I promise not to put it in your ass; I don't want no fart burns on my dick!"

He looked back at us as if to say, 'Fellas, you know what I'm talking about here, don't you? Those fart burns?'. We looked back as if to say, 'Damn those fart burns!'; I hope it read from twenty paces.

A- (to D, who was puffing on a Belmont Mild)"Hey buddy! You got a smoke? No? Probably your last one, eh? Well. . . I'll share something with you. A fart. But it's not just for you; all must share it!" (and again, louder) "ALL MUST SHARE IT!"

Immediately, the mantra from my youth spent in Beavers sprang to mind: sharing sharing sharing. I even did the Beaver Tail slap in my mind. Wooooop--SMACK!
While I was daydreaming, A flitted out of sight; but he left us with his infectious energy, his love of life, and, of course, his fart. The evening, we all knew, was looking up.

Like The Littlest Hobo, he just keeps movin' on.

Maybe tomorrow. . .

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Write Nothing Day!

Why do bloggers feel the need to apologise to their "readers" if they haven't posted in a few days (or weeks)?

It's summer!
I'm busy!
I'm feeling 'blogging malaise'!


Who cares?!

I never apologise to the 3 people who read my blog, and I neglect posting for weeks on end!
If I got nothin' to say, then I got nothin'! I don't need to been forgiven for that. I need to be thanked!
My comments should fill with remarks like:

X- "Hey B! Thanks for not posting a bunch of links! --X"

or

Y- "B--I saw you leave your house today! I'm glad you didn't bother posting about the fact that it's sunny outside, and that you don't feel like posting! Keep up the silence until something cool happens! --Y"

or

Z- "I glad that you haven't posted about how much you hate Bush/how terrible the war is/how sad Hurricane Katrina makes you--because it goes without saying. Keep not saying it!! --Sexy Zed"

I'm not trying to be mean, but I think bloggers should post because they want to post, not because they HAVE to post. They shouldn't have to ask for penance if their lives prevent them, or their inspiration fails.

Bloggers rebel!
Post whenever you like, guilt-free!
Make blogging YOUR bitch, not the other way around!
And don't post something describing NOTHING, because it gives my NOTHING some depressing solidarity.

Have Gun, Will Travel. . . to Parkdale.

My former-roomie/current rockstar D has been crashing with my beloved E and I in Parkdale.
Following the good form we pioneered during our childhood together, and perfected in school, we've been eating only things cooked over a fire (my Fiesta Barbeque) and drinking only things that come from a Roundhouse, or Scotland. As a tribute to our mothers back home, we always always always invite a vegetable to dinner.

And we watch movies, and documentaries, and smoke pipes, and laugh at our own jokes.

Two nights ago we were walking home from Cockbuster with three selections for the evening--Sin City; Suspect One; and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson--although, we were disgusted with the complete absence of any 'classic' films available to rent. We had been there in search of 'The Battle of Britain'. We had been relaxing on the porch for about 5 minutes, when we heard "POP! POP POP POP! POP POP!"; then the squeal of tires; then silence.

D looked at me.
I looked at him.

D- "Did that sound like I think it sounded like?"
B- "I think so."

We were, of course, referring to the familiar song of the Parkdale Lead Lark.
No experts on the sound of handguns discharging (we grew up in the sticks were everyone had piddling little .22s) our suspicions were confirmed by the sound of sirens approaching from the distance.
A party on a front lawn a few doors down, even closer to the corner where we heard shots fired, raged on uninterrupted (or unimpressed).
When the police arrived, a few of the nere-do-wells from the halfway house at the corner were babbling away to the police officer like little kids trying to please their father:

X- "I heard a 'POP! POP! POP!"
Y- "I saw the car speed away, but I didn't really get a good look at it!"
Z- "Why don't you just let them all kill each other?"

There were no casualties.
The sobering sight of the night, was seeing officers looking for bullet casings on the sidewalk we had just come down 5 minutes earlier.
I would later refer to the evening as being filled with "just some random gunfire"--perhaps a touch cavalier on my part. I mean, in Toronto, you really need TWO bodies to raise the pulse of the citizens nowadays, don't you?
If you want it to make the news, at least one of them should be white.
Now, I'm not trying to tell shootists how to do their job--heavens no--I'm just saying.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Look who's pimpin'!

Our neighbourhood crazy--the 'born again' white man (a black man who put a white pillow case with eyeholes over his head and claimed "Now, I'm the white man!")--hit the streets again the other morning dressed in full pimpin' regalia. All I saw was billowing purple-ness. Then leopard print. Then an ostrich feather. Then--HOLY SHIT--I almost hit him with my SmartCar Dilton!

My mother always told me to wear clean underwear in case I died, unexpectedly, away from home (presumably she would change my underwear before medics arrived in the eventuality that I died at home); I hope that this gentleman wears clean platforms, a clean purple wide-brimmed fedora (with leopard trimmings), a clean purple satin robe, and a clean, brown, three piece suit when he strikes out for his early morning pimp, because if his jaywalking is habit, he'll be dead before the month is out.

Swerving and slowing to miss Mr. Bojangles, my window down, I received a bit of advice. Not the usual, "What the fuck!? Learn to fuckin' drive, Douchebag!!" advice; financial advice that went a little like this:

Mr. B- "Hey brotha! I could pimp your car to a Suburban for a dollah!"

My SmartCar. To a Suburban. That's pretty funny!

As I drove away, he yelled after me:

Mr. B- "What do you say, MoFo? Allllll-right!"

And he just kept on a'groovin' and a movin' down the lane.

God I love this neighbourhood!

And hey, if you're looking to make a little somethin' somethin' on the side with your gas guzzler to help fiance rising fuel costs--call me. Dilton's birthday is coming up, and I want to surprise him.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

When two unicyles meet.

Yesterday, while waiting for the Queen's City Yacht Club tender at York Quay, I saw two kids (siblings, I believe) collide while riding their unicycles.
They were following their father, who was on a proper BI-cycle. (clearly Darwin chooses him, and not his offspring, to advance)

I was a little upset that they didn't fall into the lake, as I've always wanted to dive in and rescue something spontaneously, like in the movies. Typical male hero complex, I know; but Thunderdome needs heroes.

I don't know what possessed them to roll down through the York Quay on unicycles at that time of day--it's a real cluster-fuck with all the tourists and pigeons. Likely just showin' off.


One of my close friends took up the unicycle "to meet girls". Seriously. Believe it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How to Do Absolutely Everything!

On two occasions recently someone has come to my blog looking for instruction on "how to miscarry".

Jeeez-us!

All you had to do was ask. Check out this Irish website for some great pointers on how to carry, and miscarry, items during a move.

Hope it helps.

Catholic a-No-Go!

I was at a wedding recently which led me to think the following unsavory thought:
I wish Catholics would burn in Hell.

I was in a Catholic Church at the time, so you'll pardon me for already being in a bad mood.

Maybe not ALL Catholics; just the ones who believe being Catholic is so cool and being Anglican is so NOT. Like the Mother of the Bride on this particular day, for example.
We were hitting a nice groove about one and a half hours (that IS NOT a typo) into the service when the Most Reverend Toothless led his flock in an intonation of "The Lord's Prayer". I was an altar boy for years and years in a High Anglican Church, and can still remember a time in school when we had to actually SING 'Oh Canada', SPEAK 'The Lord's Prayer', and READ from the Bible (a long time ago, I know)--so I take to 'The Lord's Prayer' like a fish to water. Could do it in my sleep.
But THE CATHOLICS, unbeknownst to me, have some half-assed abbreviated version that omits some of my favorite bits of Deity ass-kissing--the Kingdom, Power, and Glory stuff--and substitutes in a few moments for the Reverend to moan on about something--I don't know what--before finishing the regular way. Needless to say, I kept rolling on "The Lord's Prayer" while the rest of the parishioners fell noticeably silent.

Great.

Now everyone knows I'm Anglican. Terrific.

As if I wasn't enough of an outsider, then the Reverend Father forbids--FORBIDS--me from taking Communion. Now, to be truthful, he didn't single me out personally and say:

R- "Everyone! Come and have a bit of Christ with me! Except you, B, unclean beast that you are."

No. Instead he gets all timid, like a kid forced to apologise for saying something completely honest, yet completely inappropriate, and says:

R- "Now, in the Catholic Church, Communion is a sacred right. . ." blah blah blah ". . .and I ask that only people baptized in the Catholic Church partake."

The fuck you say?
I don't recall Jesus--a Jew--being too fussy about who He shared his wine with. Hell, He even let the dude who was to betray HIm get crunked. Why so picky now, Catholic Church?

Supposedly I could have gone up and crossed my arms and received a blessing--but fuck that shit--the reason I can't get the drinky-drinky in the first place is because I'm going to Hell for being Anglican; what on Earth do I need this guy's blessing for? So he can get some wood being close to a Devil? Bah!

So I sat it out, steaming like I've never steamed before.

AND THEN, to top it all off, during the "Sharing the Peace" part of the service (hour two) when people are supposed to be nice to each other and actually share some PEACE, the mother of the bride turns to me, shakes my hand, and says:

MOB- "Learn your 'Our Father'."

BEEEEE-ATCH! The words you're looking for are 'Peace be with you, brother.'

I know my "Lord's Prayer"; I'll learn this so-called "Our Father" when Christ falls off the cross!

I was so fit to be tied I just wanted to drown someone in the cistern.
But I didn't.
Nearly, though.

Thank God for Summer's Army!

The biggest and best difference between Parkdale and Riverdale I've noticed so far?
The Ice Cream trucks!!!
Mr. Softee! Mr. Soft Serve! Dippity-Doo! Dairy King!
No matter where I am in the house, I can hear one of those delightful gentlemen rolling down my street with their merry tune dancing on the air, floating me out of my seat and onto a sea of fancy! Parkdale's finest hour!

Riverdale, on the other hand, only had the Knife Sharpener come to visit. Hearing the tinny clang of "The Blade Runner"s bell doesn't excite the imagination in the same way visions of slush puppies and twist cones do.

Of course, I never had to fight crack whores and degenerates for a place in line by the knife sharpening truck.

Reclining Hostility

There was this old bastard sitting on his walker at the end of my driveway this evening when I returned home. He looked like he was getting ready to auction off my SmartCar Dilton's spot to the next eager CNE visitor looking for cheap parking--dirty Capitalist!
He was most certainly from "Leisure World" down the block, as only residents from the said "retirement retreat" have eyes that are perfectly void of ambition.
I stopped the Smart, blinker engaged, and waited for him to haul his ass off his walker seat and shuffle to a more convenient bit of acreage. He didn't budge.
I gave a light toot of the horn in place of screaming, "Get. The fuck. Outtamyway!"
All that did was get him to focus his thousand yard stare at the impending doom idling before him, and heave a sigh--there were no other signs of life.
I wound my window down:

B- "Hey pal! Ya mind scootin' over a bit? You've picked a hell of a place to take a break."
A- "Scoot yourself!"
B- " . . . " (blink) "Come on, give me a break, buddy."
A- "You give me a break!"
B- "I will, if you insist. My car doesn't look big or mean, and it doesn't have 4 Wheel Drive; but its driver hasn't any conscience and will keep trying until he runs you over."
A- "Show some fucking respect for the elderly!"
B- "If you don't fucking move, I'll be paying my respects to the dead! Now scram!"

He wobbled to his feet, muttering cuss words the whole time under his breath, and shuffled out of the way about as slowly as molasses in winter. I rolled up my drive and parked with no further exchange.

Now I was all riled up, and fit to hunt bears with a stick. Of all the damn days to bump into a born-again slack-jawed teenager, and I run into one just minutes before I attempt to assemble my new barb-que. Shit.

Le Mew. Le Purr.

There is a skunk in Parkdale.
Likely more than one, but I've only had the pleasure of meeting the one who lives under our neighbours porch. Perfectly symmetrical white lines down his back, with a fluffy coat coloured stealthy black--the envy of his peers, no doubt.

I think he looks like a "Kevin".

And "Kevin" let's one rip every three nights RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR WINDOW. What he's spraying, I don't know; all I know is that he sure likes to cut the cheese. And I'd sure rather he didn't.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My First Job: Whale Contraceptive Cleaner.

And I think Parkdale has a crime problem (present company excluded).

Check out this little bastard!

What in sam hell is that bugger going to do with a HUGE bag of natural gas? Make his whole house smell like a fart? Recreate the Hindenburg disaster for Science Fair? What??

Communists can be so retarded. Kids in a democracy steal shit they can use. Like candy bars.






I think Jack's mom would be even MORE PISSED if he sold the cow for a bag of natural gas; at least you can make soup with beans. . .then fill your own bag later. (da-dumdum) Thank you! You've been so kind! Good night, folks!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

All creatures wet and wonderful. . .

. . .Parkdale has them all!

This evening, while my parents were visiting the 'Big Smoke' direct from the small town I grew up in, during a fine meal I prepared which we enjoyed on the porch, two different residents of "Leisure World" passed by.
They had both pissed their pants.
As Huggies Diapers once highlighted through demonstration: boys wet mostly in the front; while girls wet mostly in the back.

Now, sure HE could have dropped a soda in his lap; and SHE could have sat in the splashing pond near Queen St. . . but I highly fucking doubt it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

True crime is nothing like 'Ocean's 11'.

The other night, while lording over some bottles of Steam Whistle like a despot, a great idea came to me.
I won't describe the great idea--it was to involve a theft of something relatively innocuous--but I will describe my plan. It involved a ladder which I likely shouldn't have been thinking about climbing, considering how many wow-ee pops I'd had to inspire me in the first place; nevertheless, my loving E turned me loose on an unsuspecting Parkdale, and I was ready for some Pink Panthering.
This 'recipe for disastrous hijinx' had but two ingredients: the first being myself; the second being a ladder.
I had myself.
Earlier in the week I had noticed a ladder in my neighbour's back yard--PERFECT!
I now possessed all the ingredients necessary. . .or did I?

Dressed in black, not by design, I shuffled into the neighbour's backyard, grabbed the ladder, and proceeded to walk away nonchalantly. My 'just out for a stroll in Parkdale under the cover of night' demeanour (an activity which, in truth, doesn't exist--EVERYONE 'strolling' in Parkdale at night is "working") lasted only until I ran out of arm's length; then the ladder, which refused to follow, and my hands (which refused to let go) worked in tandem to bring me flat on my back.
What. The. Fuck.
Being a bit on the 'tight' side, I stood, gave the ladder a scowl, and then grabbed it and gave another pull.
Still nothing.
Pull pull pull.
Nothing nothing nothing.
I couldn't budge the damn thing, and the whole time I'm thinking, "This puny ladder's got nothin' on me!".

That's when I heard, "Hello?", followed by a bunch of whispering.

Hearing someone's voice call to me brought about the gravity of my situation: I was dressed in black in someone's backyard wrestling with a ladder. It likely didn't look too good.
I kicked into acting mode, looked towards the sky and around the yard like I was confused or dumbstruck, then zig-zagged back down the driveway.

Two minutes later I was safely in my house watching ALL the neighbours search their 'estate' with flashlights and rakes.

Two days later, while my lovely E was having a visit with her bridesmaids from the 'burbs' (who already think we'll die a grisly death at the hands of some deranged crack whore) when our upstairs neighbour stopped to tell the ladies:

G- "Now E, I don't want you to worry, but two nights ago the next door neighbours had a PROWLER. He was trying to get a ladder to do God knows what, and one of them scared him away."

E's bridesmaids eyes are larger than saucers by now.

E- (in rehearsed horror)"Oh my!"

G- "Now, don't worry, THE POLICE WERE CALLED, and everything should be okay. Just maybe keep your windows closed."

E- "Okay. I will."

Cue the bridesmaids losing their shit, only to be comforted by E stating under her breath, "B was the prowler."

Do they make greeting cards they say something to the effect, "Sorry I was prowling around your yard last night. . ."?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Two words for the Liberal Party: Soylent Green.

On Spencer Ave, in glorious Parkdale, is a place called 'Leisure World'. Far from the haven for nerds into model trains and D&D that I recall from my youth, this so-called Leisure World is just the type of place I'd send my aging stepfather if he beat me as a child.
Instead of flowers, Leisure World sows it's gardens with half-wits and attention-starved elderly.
They're everywhere.
There is one man of particular note who, though saddled to a wheelchair, lives life without boundaries; unfortunately, one of the boundaries he now flaunts pertains to the sensible use of a public thoroughfare--for daily I encounter him asleep at his wheels in the middle of the street. The advantage of driving a Smart Car is generally I can maneuver around him.

He does exhibit an uncommon trust in Toronto drivers; I wouldn't sleep in the middle of ANY Toronto street, no matter how much physical mobility I stood to lose.

Polar Bear Camoflauge

It's official.
I've just finished moving into my new home in Parkdale, and already the accolades have started piling up.
Through an empirical evaluation of Spencer Ave, I have determined that I, B, am shirtless more often than any other crack whore or dementia-addled old fart on the street. The second and third floor residents have encountered me SHIRTLESS on average once a day since the start of the month. In that time they have seen me do the following things shirtless:
drink a beer;
use a circular saw;
take out the garbage;
dump waste illegally;
relax on my porch in a large round chair.

In short, I've settled into Parkdale living just fine. I'm showing some promising signs of assimilating with the riff-raff long before the chilly season, when shirts must be wore rather than tied around the waist.

How did I become such a skid?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Proof is in the Tampon.

E encountered the total nutbar whom I paid some finger service to a few days back, and he was in full roar this time.

Days ago, when A had floated past me dressed as a bargain basement Casper and told me "Now I'm the white man," I had been disappointed. Was that all he had to say?
Some flames, I supposed, burn bright--but only for a short while.

I was wrong.

This flame is still burning.

Dressed once again in his 'white man' disguise, A screamed at my beloved E, "The white women are liars! They have white blood in their veins--WHITE BLOOD IS WHAT THE WHITE DEVIL HAS--and when they menstruate, they bleed white!! All white women are liars!!"

I was surprised that E was so forthcoming with this tale, as A had made some pretty damning statements about white women (of which she counts herself a lifetime member)--it inevitably led to some tears on my part, and some difficult questions she answered, in my opinion, far too quickly.
Questions such as:
B- "Are you a liar!?!"
B- "Do you menstruate white!?!"
B- "Are you a devil or demon!?!"

Tough, difficult questions to ask your true love. Questions I hope you never have to ask your fiancees. Tough.

And the tricky part about asking a lying white-blood-bleeding She-Devil questions to which you want answers is: You never know if you're getting the truth.

Anyway--that's between Me and E.

While this deranged man was on his screed, another half-way house philosopher weighed in on the issue, adding helpfully (and showing surprising proof that Affirmative Action is well becoming a part of our social fabric) that:

C- ". . . hey, hey, hey! Whites aren't the only liars! Blacks, Asians, Koreans, Brown People--they all lie too! Not just the whites!"

A made absolutely no indication whether he heard C's protests--cries for equity on this damn ball of mud--and continued his harangue at the expense of white women everywhere.

Myself? From one white man, to another aspiring white man: I wouldn't have been able to stomach seeing him affiliate my good white complexion and fine Y chromosome with such extremist opinions and behaviour. We white men have made painstaking efforts over the last few months to bring a fuzzy exterior to our blunt diplomacy, deceit, and tyrannical power-mongering that it does not one bit of good having one of our own breaking step and behaving like some sort of 'sexual jihadist'. It's bad for our new "Brand Image": White Men--Not the same dudes that wouldn't let your grandma vote, or your mom abort you, or your brown-faced country do their own thing!"

Monday, July 25, 2005

Obey the mullet.

This morning the humidity finally got to be too much. . . for a mullet on Broadview Ave.

Piloting my Smart car, Dilton, down Broadview often provides for some early morning diversions, and today was no different. While on my usual southbound commute, I was paced by a man riding a bicycle who wouldn't seem out of place in a Glass Tiger tribute band. His lovely dirty blond locks feathered like a mane around his baby-soft face.
But what made him special, was his dedication to The Mullet Way of Life.

At each traffic light (and just my luck, we hit them all this morning) he would put a foot down, pull out a pink plastic brush from the back pocket of his Levis (impossibly tight for riding a bike), and brush with vigor. The kind of brushing that requires two hands: one for the brush; and one cupped around the brush to form a protective barrier. He brushed like a symphony conductor--his brush, the baton. Each subtle twist and jerk of the brush served to direct the dirty blond chorus towards its climax; every long stroke adding tremolo to his mullet.
Once the light turned green, our Mustang would shake his mane and gallop to the next set of lights. Each red, he would conduct his grooming, or mating, ritual--the message lies in the eye of the beholder.

We parted ways outside "Jilly's", the finest strip club that Queen St. East has ever produced. As I rolled away, he brushed with an intensity that I have certainly never seen looking back at me in the mirror.
The end result? It was like he had brushed erection into his hair--ELECTRIC erection--and all manner of X chromosome, fair or ill-favoured, would succumb to his overture.
His symphony:
Virtuoso Del Sesso
It will surely be divided into 5 Movements:
Movement 1--Eye Contact.
Movement 2--Kissing with Tongue.
Movement 3--Up the Shirt.
Movement 4--Down the Skirt.
Movement 5--Sink the Pink

Now that's a conductor I would love to be First Chair under.

It's Grrrrrrrrr-eat!

My fiancee, E, recently answered the phone and was treated to the following exchange.

E- "Good afternoon, __________!"
A- "Is C______ there?"
E- "No, I'm sorry, she's not!"
A- "Don't you fucking lie to me, bitch! Don't you fucking get me angry! I'm a tiger. . .a T-I-I-I-GER! Look at my stripes. They're long stripes. And wide."
E- "A. You're not supposed to speak to me like this--you know that. If you don't speak to me respectfully, I'll hang up."
A- "FUCK YOU!. . . .watch my stripes. . . ."(click)

It should be said that she works at a job where conversations like this are par for the course due to the clientele she keeps.

I wish I could pull off saying a line like "Watch my stripes!" instead of "Good-bye!".
"Good-bye!" seems so plain next to "Watch my stripes!"



Check my spots, bitches!

Racial Profile a Little Sloppy.

If, in conversation with someone, you venture into the red hot topic of racial politics in Canada, and the person you're speaking to says something like:

A- ". . .yeah, well in Parkdale racial politics is boring!"

You can repeat this story to them.

A week or so ago, while walking the streets of my new neighbourhood (Parkdale), I nearly bumped into someone completely covered in white bedsheets and winter jackets. Over his head was a pillowcase with eyes, nose, and a mouth cut out of it. Judging from the zig-zagging of his stroll, the eyeholes either weren't working, or he wasn't using them. He looked like a Goodwill box with legs. Or a very drunk Casper the Ghost.

If I'm to believe the colour of the mystery man's hands, he was black. This is important when trying to understand the political weight of his sole comment to me as he 'floated' by.

C- "Now I'm the white man."

(pause)

B- "You certainly are."

If, by white man, he defines the parameters of Caucasians to include "drunk by 10am" and "crazy as a shithouse rat" then yes, he was whiter than Pat Buchanan; however, his definition of Caucasians would directly conflict with my definition of 'Citizens of Waupaca, Wisconsin'.
My definition is colourblind, and applies equally to both the blacks and whites of Waupaca, WI.

Had he been wearing a NASCAR hat on his pillowcased head while desperately clutching a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, I may have believed him.

'From A to B' is, and always has been, a safe harbour for Affirmative Action as it applies to the observation of crazies from all creed, colour, and nationality. Hence my motto, 'Crazy is as crazy does!', amended from the outdated and somewhat less AA compliant motto of my forefathers, 'Crazy is as crazy looks!'.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Plumbing's Greatest Punchline.

Recently we took a school bus to the Mandarin buffet in Etobicoke.
A place of such regal beauty that even the carpet bears the familiar pink M of The Mandarin.
A place were no expense has been spared in the quest for a faithfully-constructed North American brand of "Far East" so familiar to us all.
A place were the endless bounty of deep-fried popcorn shrimp is always fresh, sizzling away in it's chaffing dish net.

Heaven.

Of this trip to heaven, I have but one story to tell, and it's about the washroom. This should surprise none of my regular readers.

Making my way to the loo, I found that I was treading in the wake of two young fellows--brothers--about 4 and 8 respectively. There was some confusion, on their part, as to which of the two doors they should enter. The doors were clearly marked with pictures: a samurai for the boys; a Mikado consort of sorts for the girls. The make-up on these icons was surely what was causing the confusion; both characters were wearing angry red lipstick.

They chose wisely.

I followed them into the washroom; but before I was fully in, I heard gales of laughter bouncing off the tiled walls. Rounding the corner, I saw the two fellows pointing at the prince-sized urinal (hung on the wall closer to the floor than the kingly urinals to ensure all waste would make it to Lake Ontario, rather than the floor) doubled-over with laughter. The gasping kind of laughter that happens about five minutes into a real hazer.
These two kids couldn't believe their eyes! Apparently they'd never seen a pint-sized urinal before; judging by their reaction, it was better than anything Pauly Shore has done.

I began to get concerned that: 1) someone would walk in on me with two howling young boys and wonder--oh, I don't know what--and haul me off to 22 Division; 2) that they would begin pissing their pants, and never truly enjoy the accommodating urinal.

Finally, about mid-visit for me, one retreated (as if to catch his breath) to a stall; the other, still snickering, decided that it was time to piss into the waiting mouth of the Smurf-esque urinal. This is when things started to get a bit more 'real' for me: the kid in the stall began peppering his snickers with awful-sounding grunts of stress. He would snicker snicker, then hold his breath and grunt. I sounded like a cross between "A Baby Story" on Life, and the canned audience on "Family Matters". This made me and his brother start to laugh; the difference between our enjoyment was, I laughed and did not piss on my own feet. The more the one brother got on like a pig in heat, the harder we two laughed, the wetter the other brother's shoes became. Which made me laugh harder; which made the kid in the stall laugh harder.
Things were getting way out of hand. I had to leave.

Just as I washing up, the grunting from the stall fell silent. For the first time since entering the Mandarin Men's Room, you could hear a fortune cookie crack. Then, a massive splosh broke the silence. All three of us completely lost it.

I was still laughing by the time I made it back to my table, and for the first time in a long time, I was at a loss as to how to begin explaining the cause.

Charlie don't play trombone!

It was a cool and breezy afternoon, and E and I were walking on Queen St. W.--the oft-conjested strip of buskers and panhandlers--when we encountered a performer I had never seen before.
From far away, it was clear that he was a man playing a saxophone while wearing a Chinese rice-picking hat. As we got closer, it became clear that he was in his ninja pajamas. We heard music.
Music that made us want to jump and prance.
Music that made us want to rock the dance.
He was playing "Pass The Dutchie" on his saxophone--how very exciting! I nearly had a full-on orgasm when we got close enough to recognise that the pauses in his rendition of the "Musical Youth" classic were to accommodate a burning cigarette he held in his right hand (making it a little harder to pass to his left-hand side, if he should so desire).
Since "The Gong Show" went off the air, public demand for performers of his ilk just isn't there.

When we passed, I believe he began to sing the opening "This generation rules the nation. . ." part in Chinese; rarely have I been happier walking down Queen St.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mommy drinks because you didn't miscarry.

Parkdale is a place that will never, ever, cease to amaze me.
It's many colourful characters; it's endless juxtapositions. There really is no place quite like it.

And I am hunting for an apartment, which may result in me vehemently defending my new neighbourhood: Parkdale. Nothing is decided yet--any one got a nice, cheap, two bedroom in a house?

So the Little E and I are in line at Parkdale's Price Chopper behind a wild-eyed woman and her pre-teen daughter. On the conveyer is four bottles of Listerine, two prepackaged donuts, and a bag of Smartfood popcorn. The woman is counting her change. . .problem! She calls her teenage daughter over to borrow some money (and I'm sure that she was using the word 'borrow' in the same way Susanna Moodie describes her Yankee neighbours 'borrowing' sugar in "Roughing it in the Bush"--they never intend to give it back). Finally the bleak truth becomes clear: in toto, there is not enough money for all the items.
As a test, in your head, choose which item to forgo in order to make the receipt match the amount of change in your hand:
1 bag of Smartfood Popcorn;
2 pre-packaged donuts;
4 bottles of Listerine.

Have you chose one?

Was it the Smartfood? The Smartfood that your pre-teen daughter desperately wants?
Or was it one of your precious bottles of Listerine, you dirty filthy crackwhore!?!

Yes, rather than subtract some of mommy's good times over a bottle of smooth-sippin' Listerine, this class-act poster mom for the Parkdale elite chose to subtract Smartfood--arguably the most healthy thing on the conveyer (next to our lovely spread of fruits and vegetables . . . because E wouldn't let ME have any junk food!)--in the least democratic grocery decision that I've seen all year.

Good grief.

No one's breath is so awful, nor their gingivitis so advanced, that that quantity of Listerine is so urgently needed. I mean, she could have cut her Listerine with fruit juice to stretch the three bottles until the end of the week--the upside being family unity. . . and her not smelling so much like a whore whose just finished fellating a Dentist.

"The Toothbrush Family" (a cartoon from my youth focused on improving brushing techniques) would have been entirely different with a tripped-out Mouthwash relative. Susie Sponge would have been bawling constantly at the hair-brained antics of Mouthwash Marty.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Duck. Duck. Duck. Tag!

So. I got tagged by this beast of a man, and now must put on my thinking cap and go to work.

Number of books I own.



I live in a room which I affectionately call "The Library"; however, the primary vice housed in the library (aside from scotch and tobacco) are movies. I've accumulated somewhere in the neighbourhood of 250 books--mostly theatre and history related tomes. One of them a very awesome book published in the 1968 edition of the 'American Heritage Junior Library' series called 'The History of THE ATOMIC BOMB' given to me by The Armchair Garbageman himself! For years I've ignored the fact that stamped on the cover, in large black letters, is the word 'DISCARD'. The interesting thing about this book is that for nearly the entire time I've had it, there has been a four leaf clover pressed onto the page which has a photo of the first atomic detonation, and reads "I am become Death, The shatterer of worlds". I put it there long ago out of some misguided attempt at symbolism; now it means "Frosted Lucky Charms are magically delicious!"

Last book I bought.



The last book I bought was 'Trawler' by Redmond O'Hanlon. He's this crazy old limey travel writer who jumps on a crab fishing boat in the middle of winter for shits and giggles. He's sea sick by page 20--I haven't read much farther yet! I bought it because I saw him interviewed on The Daily Show and thought, "That crazy bastard sounds like a riot! I've got to check this out!" I generally lean towards non-fiction/biography.

Last book I read.



The last book I read was Errol Flynn's autobiography, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways". In the first 20 pages of this one he gets kicked so hard in the balls by a cow after trying to nurse on its udder that he aborts his attempt at running away and returns home. Even at the lush, naive age of 10 he already knew that someday his balls would come in handy. I love the fact that he called his own autobiography "My Wicked, Wicked Ways"; he knew exactly what people thought of him, and wanted to make a splash before he died--why let everyone else roll in the delicious awfulness that was Errol Flynn when he could just as easily join in while he was still able to hold a drink in one hand and a teenager in the other?

5 that mean a lot to me



Good Night, Sweet Prince

This is one of my all-time favorite books. A very loving, but brutally honest, biography of the famous American actor John Barrymore (yes, she IS his great, great something). I love these 477 pages so much that I've given them as a gift before. Barrymore was the type of guy most of us would love to be: live life to the hilt, following your heart, and damning the consequences. He is much, much more a romantic hero than the legendary gin-sodden stories which outlived him reveal.

You Shall Know Our Velocity

This is the Dave Eggers of "Heartbreaking Work...", except with more rough edges showing. Any book that starts at the end (and death of its main character--written on the book's cover, in case any of you were pouting "He RUINED the book, man!")and proceeds to unravel the history of just how he got to where he dies, is setting an ambitious goal: keep them hooked, even when they know how it's all going to end. This book was perfect for me, because I used to flip to the back of "The Hardy Boys" to relieve myself of all the mystery before allowing the stories to build to a natural conclusion.
My fiancee, E, got my copy signed by Eggers, and insisted that he make the dedication out to my dead silver/white Persian cat Petunia. E and Petunia did not see eye to eye in life; their relationship has improved in death.

The Catcher in the Rye

A book which has no doubt appeared many, many times of similar 'tag' lists, but I cannot deny how important it was to my adolescence. My twin brother, C, and I still refer to it as 'The Bible of our Youth'--which may be doing a sizable discredit to our Anglican Minister back home, but there it is! I recall our English teacher at dear ol' Medway High, whom I bonded with because we shared the same first name, and the day he 'snuck' us some copies out of the English Department lock-up--the book was still banned in our County at the time--and told us to read them. We devoured every word. Like "Sweet Prince", my brother gives copies from 2nd Hand stores to folks.

Black Players: The Secret World of Black Pimps

Let's face it: any book written by a husband-and-wife team on the secret world of black pimping has got to be a classic. In the book's second appendix, entitled "PIMP TALK: A Dictionary of Black Hustling Slang" the following entry is made to explain the expression "motherfucker":

"once a serious curse, now a ubiquitous all-purpose word whose meaning is dependent on tone and context. DAS suppl. Meanings can be entirely opposite, e.g., 'I love that motherfucker,' and 'I hate that motherfucker.' Similar to standard usage of 'bastard.'"

Well. There you have it. Just try and put this book down--I dare you, motherfucker!

Dorothy Parker: Complete Stories

After reading this book, I checked for the hair of the dog that bit me.
She was one vicious wit.
If you've never read any of her writing, you must check it out; and once you have, remind yourself that she was living and writing in the Twenties! This broad of one touch cookie.

Nero Wolfe Mysteries

I love them all. They're bubblegum fro the brain, to be sure, but ,very diverting bubblegum. And very, very entertaining. When I ran from Sherlock Holmes, I went straight into Archie Goodwin's arms.

So there it is. Someone needs to start one of these Duck Duck GOOSE games for movies. My taste in movies wouldn't redeem my taste in books; but a pig loves rolling in its own shit.

Thanks for passing this my way, M.