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.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Freezer-burned Rump Roast

I served a lot of beer at the Canada vs. Wales rugby test match out at York on the weekend. A lot.

And by the end of the day, although people were very polite, they began doing things indicative of massive beer consumption mixed with unrelenting heat.

A young man from Wales asked me if he could sit in my large beer trough, as it was filled with ice and water and he was desperate to cool down. This trough holds four 24'ers of beer, is metallic, and was originally intended to water sheep (which must be why this young Welshman was attracted to climbing inside it).
I told him 'Certainly! Just take it off the table so you don't break your neck."

He did so.

Then he proceeded to remove all his clothing--ALL his clothing--and climb inside.

B- "Are you nuts? Your. . .er. . .nuts, will never reappear!"

A roar of approval from the assembled crowd, which was getting larger by the second, cameras flashing. A buddy of his decided to tip the trough over and let the ice water spill out, which he did. But that fatal moment when wet skin touched ice cold metal so immortalized in the film "A Christmas Story" came to life before our very eyes! The Welshman's buttocks stuck fast to the bottom of the trough. Instinctively, he clutched his Twig and Berries to protect them from a similar fate; but who would save his ass?!
Not one of the horde leapt forward to offer assistance.
And I certainly wasn't! There is a limit to my dedicated commitment to the 'Good Beer Folks' way of living, and it involves unsticking other men's arses.

He finally, after some ginger squirming, came loose; but the excitement had taken it's toll; despite the extreme cold, he managed an erection large enough to hang his shirt off of.
Incredible, I know! But true!

I reached to call Mr. Ripley.

If it's important, Canada lost the match.

This Little Piggy Went to The Beer Store.

Having no toes is no excuse for bad manners.

Now that I've got that out of my system, please allow me to explain:
The Beer Store that I attend has a resident rubby who cruises the neighbourhood in an electric wheelchair like he's bigger than Ben Hur. Being confined to a wheelchair is some golden schtick, and most rub-a-dubs would be happy to have it working for then when trying to panhandle change; this guy isn't happy to settle with the same old wheelchair bit--heavens no! Each morning he pulls of his socks--rain or shine--hot or cold--and exposes his raw red feet to the world. These feet, gentle reader, have no toes. These feet, kind observer, look more like roast hams.
That's his trump card.
I mean, who could possibly turn down the advances of a man, in a wheelchair, who has no toes? Only the coldest, basest, most God-less Torontonian that Hell ever shat would deny this man a few shekels.
Enter B.
I've had encounters with this man in the past, and know him for the crude, ill-mannered bird that he is. His volcabulary does not befit a man who, on outward appearances (forgiving the absence of toes), looks like Good ol' Saint Nick; his manners would leave truckers from Detroit speechless. This toeless beggar is not the same Scope-swilling, sing-song loving variety you get downtown; he a breed unto himself.

Leaving the TBS today with my Rockstar roomie D, there our specimen was. I noticed him scooting towards the store while we were unloading empties--it was getting close to Beer o'clock, and he needed to get his show on the road!
As we left the TBS, he mumbled something about spare change, and tossed a forlorn look our way.

B- "Sorry. Not tonight."

We passed.

From behind, I hear this Bronx cheer. A Goddamned raspberry spat at our backs! Who does that anymore?

Me.

I turned around, met his eyes, and gave him some Bronx Cheer right back.
He looked about as surprised as the day his toes fell off.

Now, I know this post sounds cruel and harsh, but I treat these wayward gents with respect. Telling them "Not tonight" isn't as honest as telling them "Not ever", but even still--I always speak to them directly, and respectfully. I feel pretty justified to bring some bugger, toes or no toes, back in line with a taste of his own medicine!

If he pulls that shit again, I'm letting the air out of his ties. After all, I KNOW that he's got plenty of breath to blow them back up.

The Littlest Angel.

I live near the Toronto Hell's Angels Chapter.

I drive past it every day, both on my way to work, and on my way home from work.
It is NOT a secret clubhouse.
If the large number of Harleys on the street outside didn't tip you off, the sign definitely would.

The clubhouse no longer has windows because (so the story goes) a rival gang shot a rocket in through one of the windows and blew the hell (ha ha) out of the place. Hence the cinder block.

There is a member of this chapter who I see quite often haunting the Eastern Ave stripe between Logan and Carlaw. He's always in a multi-zippered black leather jacket. . . and he's a midget. Or dwarf.
He walks around with his chest puffed out and his fists clenched, like a man spoiling for a fight. Dying for someone to make a crack about his height.
I'm dying to see what he rides--to ask him how he manages looking macho on what must be a minibike (like the ones we used to tear around on as kids) or have training wheels. I won't though. He's small, but I'll bet buttons to navy beans that he could stick lay a beating on my ass.
That's all my sport card needs: B-0, Midgets-1.

Leave the meter running.

Returning from Calgary the other night, my cabbie drove past the bank machine by the Silver Dollar (on Spadina @ College) where I witnessed something classically Toronto: a lady of the night, hard at work.

Bouncing down the street was a tubby Asian fellow, in his middle age, followed by a prostitute (and yes, in those heels, she definitely was a prostitute) who was easily one head taller than her John. I say "bounce" because he was the type of guy who walked with his formidable belly first, and on his toes, causing a bounce. He kinda looked like the Kool Aid Man. The walk of someone either very merry, or with something stuck up their wazoo.

My cab stopped at the lights, and the Kool Asian Man bounced to a stop at the bank machine and started to poke in his PIN. He was in a great mood for someone at 1:30am taking money out of the bank; she did not share his enthusiasm. She also did not share the enthusiasm of some deadbeats hanging around the streetside bank machine trying to negotiate rates with her while she waited to complete her original transaction.

I couldn't decide if his boundless joy was like: a child a Christmas waiting to open presents; or, a child who's just finished watching 'Sesame Street Live: On ICE!'.

The working girl? I couldn't decide if her doldrums were like: a child who just dropped their chocolate vanilla twist cone; or, a child who scratched the mini van riding their bike in the driveway, and was waiting for father to get home.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Still Your #1 Source for Shitz!

The list of Search Engine Queries never ceases to entertain me.

On top of the most recent questions demanded by a public whose thirst for knowledge is unquenchable, are:

"monkey that pisses into his own mouth";
"why do panhandling";
"first-hand: pain in the balls"

Still, after all this time, the shitzu reins supreme (aside from the ridiculous presence of "the" on my list of individual word hits)--its only threat comes from "jail". The black horse on my list could turn out to be either "balls" or "whoopie"; surprisingly, "Ranchero" is tied with "fuck" for last place. Who'd a thunk it?

Sympony for the Devil

My lovely little E bought us tickets to "The" Stratford Festival's production of 'Into the Woods', which we traded for seats last night at the Avon. After seeing "House of Wax" in the theatre, we were in desperate need of the culture.

While on a washroom break at the end of Act 1, I heard some unfortunate individual have explosive diarrhea. Before I could give much thought to the obvious question ("How long was he waiting to drop THOSE kids off? Did he make poopie in his pants?") an unholy symphony of flatulence erupted from several of the posteriors lined up along the urinals. It sounded like Hot Butter practicing before a show!

I've fallen victim to contagious yawns many, many times--hell, just writing about yawning is making me yawn!--but I've never caught a fart.

And I can't say that I care to bear witness to such a rare beast as the "Creeping Fart" ever again.

But if I do, Gentle Reader, I will tell you all about it.

Give it Mikey--he'll eat anything!

This morning my lovely little fiance, E, and I treated ourselves to a bit of breakfast at Fran's on Shuter at Victoria.
After a nice wait in line, we were shown to a table inside (which was against the wishes of the lovely E, who would have preferred a cosy patio spot) and set beside a mother and daughter, who were also having a bit of breakfast.

In hindsight, the fact that there was no room on the patio was a small blessing.

BECAUSE the daughter to my right (E's left) proceeded to eat her toast in the most extraordinary way!
Surely you've heard of, or seen, or ARE, people who cut the crust off their bread before eating it. Nervous, particular people with no regard for the starving kids in China, or the famished inmate in San Quentin's solitary confinement.
Take them out in the streets and shoot them, I know.
However, this queer bird next to us cut off the crusts, one by one, and ate them. Ate ONLY them.
By "them", I mean the crusts.
She carved up a piece of crust, took a nip, then smeared peanut butter on the remaining inch and ate it.
All that she left on her plate was what people generally consider, no matter what their eccentricity, as the "edible bits": big toasted, triangles of delicious soft bread.

It's like buying a Kit Kat and only eating the chocolate (I've seen you people out there who do this--you know who you are!).
It's like opening a bottle of wine and only sucking on the cork.
It's like buying the "Best of Frank Sinatra" and only listening to 'LA is My Lady'.
It's like buying a condom and only wearing it around the house!

. . . but you get the picture.

Like all great character flaws, I blame the parents.
Pulling a stunt like that at the breakfast table should have had some kind of corporal result--smack to the fingers with a ruler, flick to the earlobe, push-ups on the knuckles--something for Christ's sake!
Now the world is stuck with this loopy wasteoid who leaves a trail of perfectly fine triangles of bread in her wake!

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Did anyone hear that duck?"

My little Fiance, who lives in Parkdale, overheard the following declaration outside the MacDonald's at King & Dufferin (my favorite place to eat when I'm Westside!)

A- "I just farted, and y'all just gonna hav' ta sit there an' inhale it!"

I heard Stephen Harper did something like that in the House of Commons two weeks ago.

Ba-zing!

But seriously, having to announce that you farted is humiliating. It's like finally having to say to your best friends, "So. . . I got my hair cut", or WORSE, your lover "So. . .did you. . .I mean. . .I'm finished". If you've got to announce it, then brother, you ain't done it right!

The only real exception to this "Wait and See" rule that I have, is something my good friend (and wang-swinging actor) C practices: calling me in to look at his tremendous shits. This is not something the average person, with average relationships with their friends and lovers, will ever have the pleasure of discovering on their own. It needs to have attention brought to it.

Broken Telephone.

While in Calgary, I took time out of my busy schedule to pick up telephone messages.
This, in and of itself, is pretty common for most folks who have telephones and work jobs where people tend to leave messages asking for this or that. What was extraordinary about collecting messages in the Downtown Calgary Sandman, was that there were a few messages from February which hadn't been intended for me. They had been saved, and left, for someone like me (with a few extra minutes of life on their hands, and little to do with those minutes) to discover.

This is the transcript from Saved Message #1:

(done in the characteristic voice of Yosemite Sam)

S- "I paid for a ticket to ride this'a he-ar mule, and I'm-ah gonna ride this'a he-ar mule! Yeeah, Mule! Yeeah!"

-click-

I haven't the slightest clue who left the message, nor to whom it was addressed, but I'm sure that it made complete sense at the time.

The Save Message #2 was more mysterious.

F- "Miss Stevens, this is Karen at the front desk. You mother has called, and she would like to get a hold of you as soon as possible. She says that it's urgent, and that you can reach her at home. If you have any questions, please call front desk. Thank you, and have a nice stay!"

The 'nice stay' all depends on just what kind of urgent news Miss Stevens' mother has. The fact that Miss Stevens saved a message with very little information on it leads me to believe that Miss Stevens did what I sometimes do--watch teevee and "get around to" returning the call later.
By later, I mean to say "when Bell sends me a recording saying that 'The following message from. . .left at. . .will be deleted from your mailbox.'" Whoops.