Thursday, December 30, 2010

SOMETHING'S MISSING

Typewriters.

Eight-track tapes.

Cheap smokes.

All gone.  Even Kodachrome.

Dollar bills.  (This is Canada, eh?)

Silver coinage.

Flip soda pop.  (Green bottle, sold for a nickel.)

Kaput.

And can you still get a good hunk of headcheese? * *  Not that I'd ever want one, mind.  Good headcheese.  Even sounds oxymoronic.

But my point is this:

Well, actually, I don't have a point.  It's just that another year has come and gone and I thought I'd take stock.  Of something.  While I'm drinking beer.

Yes, dear?  Oh, thanks.  (The wife has just finished ironing my Nehru shirt.  It's rather become a New Year's custom.)  Now, if I can just find the Vitalis and my old bottle of Jade East....








* *  Asked and answered.  Here's a picture.  (You're welcome.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ANOTHER MILLSTONE... 'ER, MILESTONE

My wife and I were married thirty-eight years ago... tomorrow.

We got hitched at the police station, in the office of the Justice of Peace.  The wedding party consisted of six people: my best man and his wife, the maid of honour and her boyfriend, and of course me & the missus.

We were all broke.  (The week before, I had to borrow fifteen bucks off my best man for the licence.)  We informed our parents after the fact.

The wedding dinner was lasagna and beer.  Lots of beer.

Nobody owned a car.  We walked to and from in knee-deep snow.  Someone brought a couple of joints.  Everyone was happy.  (After all, Canada had defeated the Russkies in the show-down series a few weeks earlier.)

And so it goes....

A little more slowly these days.  But it goes.

Happy Anniversary, my dear.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I hate feeling under the weather.  With my flyweight frame, any shivering is likely to induce a chain-reaction of falling parts.  Oh look, there goes my right ear.

The place is quiet tonight.  My wife and son are out enjoying themselves.  I've got a fever.   And a noisy cat howling down the corridor.  Anyway, I have time to wrap some presents and drink a couple of hot toddies.  Music will help.  Cue the iTunes.

Stay well, children.  Hope you wake up to something nice under the tree.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

YADDA YADDA... FESTIVUS



Okay, let's get right to the Airing of Grievances:

1)  Parents who send their sick children to school.

2)  Children who attend school, sick or otherwise.  (Known as 'The First-Thing-Monday-Morning Grievance'.)

3)  Parents.

As we can see, two out of three times, it's the parents' fault.


Feel free to leave a grievance of your own.  Later, we will move on to Feats of Strength.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HOLIDAY READING

Lemme see... I've got Peter Ackroyd's 'The House of Doctor Dee' sitting on my desk.  I read it years ago but I think it's time for another go.

There are a few other books I want to reread.  Don't ask me why, but I'm going to initiate a New Year flirtation with some of my old university texts.  I unearthed a Descartes, a Bertrand Russell, a play by Strindberg and one by Ionesco, a couple of existential goodies, a shitload of nineteenth century fiction and a hogshead of Shakespeare.  (Some of my margin notes are hilarious. But they're proof I was actually young once.)

Llewellen, you have the bridge -- or at least the kitchen -- until further notice.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE Q

I want to live in the Q Continuum.

And pester John Luck Pickerd.

Note: This message might only be intelligible to Spence Olchin.

BTW:  I'm pleasantly pissed this evening.  Playing tunes, eating sausage rolls, drinking beer and levitating.

Hope your evening is going well.

Q out.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SEASONAL MUSINGS



My wife and I are not religious.  Or, to be absolutely precise: I am an atheist; my wife believes in Santa Claus. She believes in celebrating the season: with lights, food, decorations (of all and sundry), family, music, friends, presents, Alastair Sim, baking, nostalgia, and of course, booze.  (Yowza. I'm in.)

Yes, there is a little girl living here. And she's in her sixties.  I learned long ago that little girls are tenacious... you can neither defeat them with logic nor be truly happy living in seasonal opposition.  You gotta go with the flow.

So, at this time of year I attempt to make my little girl happy.  It's worked for forty years.

Llewellen: move the tree a bit to the right and straighten the Arsenal ornament.  Good.  Perfect, my old son.  Now, break out the beer and the Smoking Bishop.  And expect a raise come the morrow.

Merry Christmas, kids.  Whatever Christmas means to you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

PERSON OF THE YEAR

Mark Zuckerberg.  Big effing deal.  Nearly as meaningful as the time Time made you (and me) Person of the Year.  Remember? Yeah.  I was dead chuffed.

Person of the year.  Water cooler claptrap.

Now, if they chose, say, Person of the Last Three Fucking Millennia,  I might take a look-see.

Candidates?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THE AYES HAVE IT

This is an Aye-aye.



Yeah, I'd never heard of it either until today.  It's a rodent-like mammal -- a Primate, actually -- with a large middle finger.  (Describes a few people I know.)

These buggers live in Madagascar.  They tap on trees to locate grubs, tear off the bark with their teeth and then insert a jumbo middle finger to extract the bugs.  It's fucking brilliant.  A woodpeckerish-mammalian-rodent-cum-primate.  The dude's got it all.

Why is this important?

Dunno.  I just felt the need to share.

Llewellen: beer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

THE KID WITH THE KILLER SMILE

likes to lie and break the rules.

All with a smile.

Pretends he doesn't hear you

and even though he did, so what?  Fuck you.

And this is okay because he's smiling.

He's passive-aggressive, a tiny psychopath.  But no one wants to call him that.

Because he's six,

and he smiles.

I've got his number, and he knows it.

When I smile at him, he smells cop...

a whiff of the future.

Friday, December 10, 2010

JOURNAL ENTRY, DECEMBER 10, 2010

Life is short.  And most of it is winter.  So....

I'm grateful to be surrounded, daily, by tiny creatures on a frozen playground, having them look up and smile, taking my hand, pleading, then coaxing with blackmailers' skill to show me something of immense importance, something I thought was miraculous too, when I was seven.  And when I see it,  I'm not so cold anymore.  Because I remember.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

CHEERS




Coronation Street is fifty years old today.  That is a pint-raising achievement of the first order.  (And I'm hoisting one as I type.)

In Canada, the shows we're watching on CBC are about a year old.  (Joe's body has just surfaced on the lake: a fake death turned the real thing.  And methinks poor old Gail is gonna be royally fucked.  Jeezus, that woman has the worst luck picking men, dontcha think?)

Anyhoo... I'm a fan.  Been watching for about thirty-five years.  (Nearly gave it up a few years back, though.  The suits kept killing off or getting rid of my favourite characters.  Like Mavis and Derek.  And Curly.  And a bunch of other people I can't even remember... but I miss 'em anyway.)  

Ah, well.  Life (on The Street) goes on.  Cheers, Corrie.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DEAR JOHN...





I suspect that if you were alive you'd still be out there... not with a Kotex strapped to your forehead, but maybe unveiling a new bluesy single on Letterman's show or flashing that famous smile on a syndicated cooking show, teaching us how to make a nice toad in the hole.  Bet you'd have written a novel or two by now.  Or at least a few short stories... set in the late forties and the early fifties.  Something about mothers and sons.  Probably.

Thirty years is long time.  Seems even longer sometimes in the dead of winter.

I can play Imagine all the way through on the keyboard now.  Without fucking up a lot.  Just thought you should know.

Thanks for everything.  Again.  Always.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE

I like the way this works.

Because I'm a lot older than most of the diners who frequent this place, I get to sound like Methuselah.  In the rare occurrence when a patron is of a more... wrinkled vintage, I get to say 'fuck man, how the hell old are you?'  Okay.  So that's the premise.  Let's play.

When I was your age, girls and boys had separate entrances at school.  In many cases, there were separate playgrounds, as well.  Teachers came outside and rang a hand bell to signal the start of the day and the end of recess.

When I was your age, parents claimed the right -- and often acted on the inclination --  to slap their kids into next week.  Questions were seldom asked.  And if they were, it was usually of the 'You and the missus goin' to the pig roast on Saturday?' variety.

When I was your age, I thought love conquered all; or was all you need; or would rain o'er me.  (Add your own song lyrics here.)  I realize now that love will get you only so far.  For the long haul, arthritis medications and bladder-control diapers is where it's at.

So... how the fuck old are you?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

WAS THIS REALLY A FAIR FIGHT?

Tony Blair vs Christopher Hitchens, debating religion in Toronto the other day.

Wish I could have been there.  Blair, a newbie Catholic.  Hitchens, an atheist.  Blair, the lap pussy of the invisible sky fairy.... and a number of other entities, all man-made.  Hitchens, the Rottweiler of debate.

Go dog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THEN AGAIN, IF IT WERE EVER THAT IMPORTANT, I'D HAVE DONE IT ALREADY

I'm composing a bucket list.

I began with ten items.  However, after a weekend of (increasingly unfamiliar) rational reflection, the list has been whittled down to three.

The other seven, it turns out, were seductively veiled death wishes.

For example, I realize now that # 5 -- building a cobra-powered time machine -- might contain certain design flaws.  Ditto # 8: having tea with Kim Jong il and beating his wrinkled ass at chess.

#3 still has possibilities... I mean, it's not inconceivable that I might discover the Holy Grail while on holiday in the Galapagos.

Yeah.  Let's keep that one at the top of the list.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'M GLAD I NO LONGER HAVE TO...

Keep an up to date resume.
Pretend I'm still in game shape.
Write exams.
Kiss anyone's ass.
Drive a Pontiac.
Worry about performance reviews.
Help people move.
Find a date.
Drive kids places.
Worry about my weight.
Buy brassieres for my mother.
Pretend I'm going to finish this fucking dickwad novel.
Plan for my retirement.
Fake my way through anything, ever again.
Pretend I'm going to live forever.
Give a shit.  About most things, all the time.

Yeah.  There's a weight off.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MAKE IT STOP

Hey, I'm as sentimental as the next guy (unless the next guy is a twat like John Boehner) but I just can't get all worked up and weepy about Prince William and his chosen one getting married.  It's non-news; yet   the airways are flooded with pictures, analyses, interviews, prognostications, well-wishes, Lady Diana comparisons, the couple's plans for reproduction, and yadda yadda yadda.  I mean does anyone really give a rat's ass?  I enjoy watching news and current affairs programs.  But over the past several days I've actually developed carpal tunnel syndrome flipping channels when William and Kate appear on the screen.

Of course, if the Prince had a history of beheading his former girl friends, I might be interested.

Please, sweet Jeebus, enough already.

Monday, November 15, 2010

MONDAY NIGHT QUESTION

Do you ever get the feeling that you'd better work everything in really fast
because the world is about to go tits up...
I mean
with gun-toting fuckers on every street corner --
ugly, bone-brained, illiterate cocksuckers with big guns --
brigades, battalions of hairy-palmed cretins armed to the teeth;
or do you fear that maybe
the old earth is just fed up, ready to heave
one final time and vomit up its insides,
unleashing some long dormant virus that'll rip us apart like microscopic buzz-saws?

Just asking.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LOOKING AT THE DAYS AHEAD

I'm tutoring a few kids this term.  Reading and writing skills, mainly.  The usual.  But I have one boy who has been slipped my way (on the QT, mind; mum's the word; we don't want the suits finding out) for enrichment. He gets to pick my brain... what's left of it.  I get to keep a smart kid from falling into coma.

This week, we're going to discuss paradoxes.  Down the road, we'll touch on things like quantum theory, Einstein, historical puzzles, how to write more effectively, killing a guy with the power of your mind -- well, maybe not that last one.

It makes a change.

And change is just around the corner.  I'm contemplating full retirement.  Maybe by the New Year.  Perhaps when the chess tournaments are finished.  Or by Easter, or May, or by the end of the school year.  This one or next.  But soon.  Very soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

JOURNAL ENTRY, NOVEMBER 11/2010



I realized a few things at the Remembrance Day assembly today.

1.  Some kids have brothers, uncles, and cousins serving in the Canadian forces.  A few of these men have been deployed to Afghanistan.... Two are still there.... 

2.  .... One of our kids has a distant relationship (in both time, naturally, and genealogy) to Colonel John McCrae....

3.  I'm fucking old.  My grandfather was a soldier in the British Army -- the 77th Regiment of Foot, The Duke of Cambridge's Own.  His war took place in South Africa.  
In 1901....

HEY: Do an old man a favour.  Be kind to each other.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A ROUND ABOUT WAY OF STATING THE BLOODY OBVIOUS



I just finished watching an English video called 'The Riddle'.  As the title might suggest, it was a mystery.  Entertaining enough.  A bit over the top.  Something like its star, Vinnie Jones.  (That's Vinnie on the left, applying the squeeze to The Great Gazza in bygone days.)  These days, if all you had to go on was this old photograph, you'd still be able to pick Vinnie out of a crowd.  Not so much Paul Gascoigne... the squeezzee.  The lad has encountered some turbulence of late.  Well, for the past twenty years or so.  Probably longer.  You'd be hard pressed to pick him out of a police lineup.

To say that Paul Gascoigne remains one of the best footballers of his generation isn't really a stretch.  But that's the trouble.  The remains began appearing long before they should have done.

As I scan the landscape from the seniors' lounge of our unstoppable meat-rendering train, I guess I'm saying that we could all have done more with our gifts.

In my case, it went down hill when I lost the ability to fly... or to make much sense on Sunday nights.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

MOLLY, YOUR KING IS STILL IN CHECK



I love teaching kids how to play chess.  I've been doing it for years, either at lunch/recess time or after school.  But it takes patience.  Hell, it might take weeks (each of our two separate club sessions is just 45 minutes/week) to get the neophytes to fully understand how each piece moves and captures and, more importantly, what the actual object of the game is.  Then there's en passant... which was today's lesson.  If, before the Christmas break, I have five kids out of the forty who actually incorporate this move into their game, I will consider the whole enterprise this fall to have been a resounding success.

And don't even talk to me about a club tournament.  It's in the planning stage, of course.  Wish me luck.  (In the event of my death and in lieu of flowers, just be fucking kind to each other, okay?)

And no, Jason.  Pawns still cannot move backwards.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN

I recently read a novel called 'The Historian'.  It involves a bunch of professor types tracking down the still extant Vlad The Impaler, aka Dracula.  The scariest thing about this novel -- aside from much of the prose  -- is the length of the thing.  But once I found myself invested in fifty pages or so, I decided to forge on.
Now, I can't for the life of me think of anyone to whom I would recommend the book.

* * *

Asked at school recess on the Primary yard:  What are you going to be on Halloween?  The tally is in.

6 Ironmen  (That's six versions of Ironman.)
4 Princesses
3 Hanna Montanas
4 Witches
1 Hello Kitty
3 Draculas
1 Hippie
1 Fire Hydrant
1 Billy the Exterminator
4 Monsters
4 Ghosts
2 Bats

The kids also asked me what I was going to be.  I told them a guy in an iron lung.

* * *

Guess I better roll out my costume.  They'll be pounding on the door in about half an hour.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

RESTORE SANITY: DRINK BEER


Last night, in my own small attempt to Restore Sanity, I dropped a line to ABC news.  (They had recently tapped Andrew Breitbart -- yup, that Andrew Breitbart -- as a commentator for Tuesday's American mid-term elections.)
In my email, I mentioned that since I am a foreigner, my active participation in the American electoral process has been, shall we say, nil; but as a good neighbour, with a rather big mouth, I felt I had to respond to Breitbart's newly elevated status.  (Journalist? WTF?)  I also mentioned that the brain-trust @ABC might consider a collective lobotomy.  In return, I received a nice form letter indicating (between the lines, mind) that my opinion will neither be read nor responded to... but thanking me for my time.
Any time, guys.  It's what I do.

And speaking of restoring sanity...  Llewellen, more Heineken.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE PAST CATCHES ME UP

In the corridor at school today, a woman waved to me and said hello.  She called me by name and, naturally, I had no idea who she was.  (The old steel trap memory has begun to rust, I'm afraid.)  Turns out she is the mother of a student I took under my wing some years earlier, as he began his no-so-slow descent into mental illness.  He left the school abruptly, mid-term, when he was nine years old.  He's nearly eighteen now, still institutionalized.  He has been in and out of trouble with the law over the years, each incident raising the bar on the likelihood of a life to be lived wholly behind walls and bars.  With a fistful of medication to be swallowed each day.

I've thought about this boy often over the years.  I remember that his dream was to pilot a starship. I still have a stuffed toy horse he gave to me one Christmas.  That's the long and the short of it, I'm afraid.

His mother was surprised to find me still haunting the hallways of her son's old school.  I told her that I might be semi-retired, but they'll have to carry me out of here in a box.  Someday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

For Shadow

My best friend died today.  

She was thirteen.  

Seems like last week she was a puppy.  

My friend for years.

Thanks for being you.  For all the years.  For as long as I'll remember.

I love you.

Sleep, baby.  You've earned the rest.


Friday, October 22, 2010

EVERY GOLDEN AGE WAS JUST A PISS-COVERED VENEER.

I suppose every generation -- as it ages -- laments the passage of those 'good old days'.  Me, I never much believed in that shit.  And I bloody well know my father wouldn't have wanted to return to his supposed 'good old days'... the ones that ended, more often than not, with a belt to the ass before bed and precious little on the plate at supper just past.  Sure, the grass might well have been greener somewhere else.  But that just made the vipers harder to spot.

As nuts as this world gets (schizophrenic, psychotic, racist, homophobic, moronic, and yeah, reptilian) it is what it is.  Nobody said this was gonna be easy.

 I must admit, though: modern refrigeration is way cool.  Llewellen... bring us a couple of cold Heinekens.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'M A BELIEVER

My computer died about two months ago.  Until yesterday, I had been making do with an old Toshiba laptop that Santa Claus had given to my son three years ago.  (Santa spent a fair bit of dough on it, too.) Now, I am behind the wheel of a iMac.  And I gotta tell you, this fucker rocks.

Wow.

Just fucking wow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A SUNDAY MORNING POST WHILST THE WIFE COOKS US BACON

THIS is bloody amazing.  It might not impress Americans, but for anyone raised within familial hailing distance of old Blighty, it is remarkable.  My maternal grandfather was of the Scouse persuasion and my father's lot hailed from north London (yeah, that's Gunner territory, is that) and Kent.  My wife's family, what's left of them around here, came from the Scottish Isles area... 'round about the Isle of Skye.  Fifty years ago, if you'd had these folks in one room at the same time, an interpreter would have come in handy.

The kid in the video could do all the voices for an animated history of Britain.  Really, quoit 'cepshinow, innit?


* * *

Can't wait to see my son.  He's coming back from Ottawa for Thanksgiving next weekend.  Since his departure for university, I've become reasonably adept at text messaging. I still haven't quite figured out how to write a literate three-line message in under ten minutes -- I need commas and semi-colons after all -- but I am getting better.  Of course, my large arthritic fingers aren't much help either.

* * *

Speaking of Nick, he mentioned he was off to an ABC party last night.  ABC stands for : 'Anything But Clothes'.  (Believe me, folks, I don't want to know any more details.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

I LOVE A MYSTERY

I was cleaning stuff up last week -- my office, the basement, some closets -- and I came across an interesting article or two.  Years ago, soon after my dad died, my mother gave me a bunch of stuff that had belonged to my dad.  I remember looking through a couple of the boxes at the time, breathing deeply, crying a bit, and tucking the whole shooting match away. But there was one small box of stuff... at the bottom of another box... that I never opened.  Until a few days ago.

But...you'll have to tune in later to find out what I discovered. I don't have time right now. This is 'All You Can Eat Pickled Eel and Curried Goat Night' here at the Lunch Counter and I'm hellishly short-staffed, what with Llewellen's latest bout of Pink Eye (and Garcia, my illegal Mexican sous chef, down with the boogie-woogie flu).

Hint on my discovery: Dan Brown might raise an eyebrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tonight, I ordered my first tavern meal from the senior's menu.  It cost me three bucks less than the regular menu -- plus, I got unlimited soup/salad/ tea or coffee/ and pie for dessert.  Okay... the senior portions are a bit smaller, but only for the entree.  (Did I mention the unlimited stuff and free pie?)  Next week, I'm gonna have me a steak for twelve bucks.  I figure that in a couple of years, with all the money I save, I'll be able to put a good down payment on a new set of choppers.

* * *

My basement is full.  Of stuff.  Fuck me, I could be one of those guys on Hoarders.  I started cleaning it up today and ought to be able to swing a cat around down there by Christmas... 2015.  Which reminds me, I haven't seen one of my cats lately.  (That could explain the weird smell behind the furnace.)  I'll keep you posted.

* * *

Don't know why, exactly, but the beer tastes extra wunderbar tonight.

* * *

I found myself singing a Rick Nelson song today.  'Travelin' Man'.  Later, it was 'The Wanderer' by Dion.  And right now, I'm going to cue up some Four Seasons.  Yes, gentlemen: in days gone by, I rocked a bit harder than those tunes would suggest.  But never underestimate the power of simpler times.  
They did exist, didn't they, those 'simpler times'?

This post needs a picture of some sort.  Maybe an old guy with no teeth.  Or a dead cat at the very least.  Ah, screw it.  Have a nice weekend.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It is very windy tonight.  Leaves are seething on the trees, hissing like hell.  Different than the sound of poplars near the beach.  That is more plaintive.  Elemental and lonely. 
Perfect for candlelight and
Night verse.

Llewellen: more beer and ink pots.

Monday, September 20, 2010

TODAY AT SCHOOL

There were some kids on the hill at recess today, little kids, huddled around... something. That's seldom a good sign.  At the very least, what they're concerned about is a steaming pile of dog shit (that might end up anywhere). Almost as bad, someone's likely got their pants down and there will be a lot of splainin' to do.  One time -- years ago now -- it was a girl whose blood sugar monitor, it turned out, had been hellishly innacurate.  Her sugar level had dropped so low and so fast at recess that she was in the early throes of convulsion.  She might have died. Quick thinking by those on duty saved the day.  (The child is fine, by the way.  I ran into her several months ago.  She is eighteen, maybe nineteen now and wants to be a veterinarian. Which is kind of the segue to the rest of the story.)

Today, what the kids thought they'd found was a mouse.  It was moving about in the freshly cut grass.  Not running like a mouse, just... moving.  Willy nilly.  Slowly.  The little dude was black; a bit bigger than a mouse but with a different body structure.  And with a tell-tale snout.  They'd stumbled upon a mole.  A young one.




Well, that was my day.  (Aside from washing the car, installing new door knobs and lock sets at home, printing off some stuff for the chess club, and reading in the park.  Life is hard.)

Oh, and the mole is fine.  We left it to go on its way; we all washed our hands; and I headed for the nearest Tim Horton's for a coffee.  Did I mention that I only work a couple of hours a day?

P.S. Our mole was not the one pictured.  The guy in the picture has slightly bigger feet.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Watching U.S. Politics Is Making Me Cringe

What fucking year is this?  1930?  1840?  Those whack-job Tea Buggers (Paladino and O'Donnell in particular) and their supporters are bloody frightening.  Maybe I'm reading too much into this but the road ahead appears to be littered with Bibles (the only text book you'll get for science class), empty shell casings and dried skulls, concentration camps for the remnants of the educated middle class and one TV station with a Jeebus test pattern on Sunday.

Then again, perhaps I'm a tad paranoid.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Many Jelly Beans Do I Have In The Jar?

I have a birthday coming up.  See if you can figure out the year I was born.

The preceding year, the Canadian mint struck only 422,741 ten-cent pieces.  (A very low total.)

King George VI of England was on the throne.  (Probably all that chili and beer.)

Hurricane Hazel was still a few years in the future.  (Ripped our roof pretty good.)

The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.  (Yeah, it was a good decade.)

And the giveaway question...

Newfoundland becomes Canada's 10th province. (You gotta love Joey.)

Prizes?  Certainly.  The first correct respondent receives dinner for six at The Lunch Counter.  Guest chef: Bear Grylls, the guy from Man vs Wild.  (He eats shit raw -- like snakes, scorpions, bugs. I hope he at least brings a fondu pot.)
Subsequent correct answers will be rewarded with a cited quotation of their choice on the Lunch Counter sidebar.  (If I can figure out how to use those design/settings things again.)

Contest closes around about the cocktail hour on the 19th.

Later.

Monday, September 6, 2010

WHAT THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE

Gearing up for a hectic day at school tomorrow... like, maybe an hour or two. Yee-haw! Semi-retirement rocks.

Of course, the hours will increase as the weeks progress... different programs, different lengths, depending on funding.  So, I'm basically still out there... but enjoying the best of two worlds. 

Later this week, I'll head over to the Senior's Centre and sign up.  Gonna play me some badminton, grab some cheap lunches, and maybe take in a few weekend bus tours. 

I might even finish my novel.  Or just read.  And drink beer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ANOTHER RITE OF PASSAGE

Over the past couple of days, we drove 1200 kilometres (round-trip) to stay in an Ottawa hotel and deliver our baby boy into the hands of complete strangers at Carleton University.

He's nineteen.  It seems like last week I took him to Junior Kindergarten for the first time.

He's moved in; we're back home; and I feel even more ancient than ever.  (The hotel was quite nice, though.  And the Heineken's were cold.)

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.

And man, it rained like a son of a bitch all the way there.

Monday, August 30, 2010

TONIGHT, WE WEAR US SOME SMILES

It's been a long summer.

My wife has been struggling with joint and muscle pain since April -- by mid-July, she could hardly walk from the bedroom to the bathroom.  It started innocently enough: a sore shoulder one day, next day a squeezing, throbbing  pain in the wrist.  A day later, the other symptoms gone, a leg might be swollen and hot -- and I mean HOT -- to the touch.  The pain was moving.  But it was taking its toll.  It was like a forest fire, hot spots kicking up everywhere.  Our doctor suspected Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He was correct.  But to make the call (and receive relief) requires more than a GP's best guess... despite the extensive blood work and X-rays.

Today, she finally got to see a specialist. (Sometimes, despite -- or because of --  our decent health care system, you need to drive a few hundred miles.)

We can see the lay of the land now.  The predizone took effect within three hours. It's the first smile I've seen on her face in weeks.  More later.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DAD, HERACLITUS, UNCLE LEO, AND ME

My father would be 98 years old today.

Just thinking:
If the diabetes and heart failure hadn't taken him a few years ago, England's recent performance in the World Cup would certainly have finished him off.  (And that is no lie.)

Ninety-eight.  1912.  The year the Titanic sank.  Fucking history, eh?

Me, I've managed to step into Heraclitus' river and splash about during eight numbered decades.  And yeah... it ain't never the same river twice.  (Maybe that's why I can't get any latter-day traction.)

I have no idea what the hell I intended to say tonight.  As Uncle Leo famously said: "I'm an old man.  I'm confused."      

I'm probably going to stop posting this crap. (If I haven't nailed any of my remaining 38 theses to the Lunch Counter doors by the autumnal equinox, you must -- I implore you -- consider me dead.)

"Will somebody answer that damn phone!"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

APROPOS OF NOTHING


I've always been a bit of a sucker for puns.  Wrote loads of them in bygone days (before the age of powered flight) but gave up the practice years ago.  Mine were usually short -- shorter than the traditional 'Feghoot'.

This morning over coffee, I wrote the following:

A man is stopped by airport security.  He is pulling a dead kangaroo.  Stuffed inside the unfortunate beast's pouch are a shaving kit, a laptop computer and a change of seedy looking undergarments.
"What the hell is all this?" demands the chief of security.
The man replies: "Just my carrion luggage, sir."


Thank you.  You're a wonderful audience.  Please drive safely.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

HA HA HA... OH JEEBUS, THIS IS BLOODY HILARIOUS.

Are you a writer? A wanna be writer? Need a yuck?  Then THIS is the place for you.

Apparently (based on three separate samples), I write like:

a) Margaret Atwood
b)William Gibson
and
(are you ready?)
c) My main man, Oscar fucking Wilde! 


Below is my 'badge' to prove it.

I write like
Oscar Wilde.

(Actually, the 'badge' had some kind of feather that didn't survive the cut and paste.)

I tell you, I couldn't be happier with the outcome.  (Except for the Atwood shit, of course.)

So... who do you 'write like', eh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I INVENTED TRIVIAL PURSUIT BUT NO ONE BELIEVES ME

So....

Does anyone want to play 'The World is Fucked'?

Rules: You wake up in the morning, catch up on the latest shit and savagery, and roll the dice.  Repeat until you take your own life.

The winner is the player who returned the game, unopened, for a fucking refund.



Update: This will be my last post for an indeterminate amount of time.  Please be kind to each other.

Monday, July 12, 2010

CORRECTION

In the post below, I made reference to a high boot challenge during Sunday's World Cup Final.  I mistakenly said it was Iniesta who received said boot.  It was, of course, Alonso.  It's painful to watch this again.

That is one of the nastier challenges I've seen in quite some time. Should have been a straight red card.


Tomorrow, we move on.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BIT OF A RUBBISH CUP FINAL, EH, WOT?

I was unimpressed with the quality of football played today.  Overall, the winners were the more enterprising team.  The Dutch rather engineered their own loss.  There were too many cynical, dumb challenges by the men in orange.  (They deserved most of the bookings they received.  And the high boot challenge on Iniesta should have been straight red.)  That said, the Spanish are very skilled divers.

Not a memorable game.   Some decent goalkeeping at both ends.  But a pretty crap game all around.  Very disappointing stuff.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

STAYIN' ALIVE

During the game today (which Spain won), my boss called.  There was a position on offer.  Part-time for the fall.  A school-based, community outreach type of thing.

I said yes.

When I hung up, Spain scored.

Football is magic, eh Senor?

Monday, July 5, 2010

WORLD CUP PREDICTIONS


Ahem... let me say at the outset, I've had a few brewskis.

Germany v Spain
The German side is young, talented, fit, composed and single-minded. And they are exceedingly well coached. Although they dissected Australia, England and Argentina, they also lost to Serbia and scored only once against Ghana. I think four goals  against their opponent in this match might be a stretch. Missing Mueller won't help; but there is a shitload of talent on the bench. This is the game that will tell me whether Neuer is the real thing.  Watch out for Podolski in this match.

The Spaniards, I think, are equal to the task -- although the goal differential during the tournament might lead one to believe that Spain is fucked. (Anything can happen in a single game... and often does. I'm expecting what might be considered an upset.  Although with these two teams, the word really doesn't apply.)  I would like to see Cesc Fabregas in the starting lineup, sore shoulder and all.  You have to start the way you wish to proceed... and a bit more creativity sure as hell wouldn't hurt.  Casillas must have the game of his life.

Holland v Uruguay
The Netherlands have the easier draw... on paper. But make no mistake: Uruguay will come to play. Expect the 'kitchen sink' from these guys.  The age difference between the teams isn't terribly significant.  (This said by an old man leaning towards Holland.)

I haven't checked out who will be missing from the match due to accumulated cards (well, yes, Suarez will miss the game, to be sure) or injuries.  This could be significant. I really should check. Ah, fuck it.

Semi-Final Predictions  (And I absolutely suck at this):

Germany 2, Spain 3 (in extra time)

Netherlands 3, Uruguay 1.

Final:

2 -2 after extra time.  Netherlands beats Spain on penalties.

Yeah.  I'm going all in with orange.

Llewellen's picks:

Llewellen thinks Germany will destroy Spain (he figures Klose will get a hat-trick) and put on a clinic against the Dutch in the Final.  We've got a beer riding on it.

Truthfully... I don't care what happens.  I just want to watch four smashing football matches between now and  Sunday.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

TO THE GOOD FOLKS

OF THE UNITED STATES


Today I BBQ'd some ribs.  

Now I'm enjoying a frosty Sam Adams.

I love holidays

No matter whose they are.


Friday, July 2, 2010

FOOTBALL -- NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

You have to feel for Ghana.  They had it won.  Almost but not quite.  Ultimately undone in about ten seconds by a hand ball, a crossbar, and a couple of botched penalties.

It is truly a beautiful game.  (And I suspect that Luis Suarez is only too happy to miss the semi-final.  How often do you save the day by taking a red card?)

And the Dutch sending Brazil packing after ninety minutes?  Yowza! Lovely, lovely stuff.

Tomorrow's game between Germany and Argentina should be a fucking rip-snorter.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER?

Okay.  So you might be predisposed to beat a hundred. Would knowing this be a good thing?  And what about the flip side... the poor bastard who has his genes sniffed and prodded only to be told he'll  be dead in week.

I prefer to live in ignorance of my best before date (which has, alas, already occurred).  Thanks, but no.  I'll continue to roll the dice.  And bone up on the most satisfying suicide techniques.

Living to a hundred?  Only if I could still drink, smoke, get it up, and be assured I'd see England win the World Cup.  Otherwise, another five seems more than plenty.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WORLD CUP ROUNDUP, DAY 19

My copious notes about the Portugal/Spain match: 

Eduardo was brilliant.  (Without him, the score would likely have been Spain 6, Portugal 0.)   
Ronaldo stunk.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'M A LUCKY, SAD, HAPPY, OLD BASTARD

Grade Six graduation today.  Bloody hell, they grow up quickly.  Seems like last week they were in JK.

Time.  Fuck.  It's enough to make you cry. 

I do cry.  On the sly, mind.  Inside.  But nearly all the time.  Over one thing or another.

Oh, sweet jeebus, I've enjoyed my time here.

Pass me the tissues, Llewellen.  And a frosty brew, lad.

Now, let's do some serious reminiscing. 

You start; I have something in my eye.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

MORIBUND ENGLAND


England's loss in stats:
32 Wayne Rooney lost the ball by being tackled in possession 32 times, more often than any other player at the 2010 World Cup finals.
6 Germany scored four goals from six shots on target, while England mustered seven attempts on target.
55 Wayne Rooney completed only 55 per cent of his passes against Germany, less than any other player.
4 The last time England conceded four goals in a World Cup finals game was in a 1954 quarter-final v Uruguay.
37 Frank Lampard’s free-kick against the bar was his 37th shot without scoring at a World Cup.
0 England have not won a game in which they’ve conceded a goal since beating Cameroon 3-2 in 1990. 

From Dr. Boogaloo:

England's loss  via rheumatism:
The handwriting was on the wall during the game against Algeria.  That, for me, was the worst ninety minutes of football I've seen an England side play in any Cup Finals since I began watching in earnest many, many years ago.  Many times worse than today's debacle.
This tournament made the English side look like a bunch of ludicrously wealthy, over-hyped, near geriatric buffoons.
The core of this team is the same side that couldn't cut it four years ago. WTF?  What's been going on in the youth academies for the past dozen years?
Heskey?  'Fer fuck's sake.

Yes, there will always be an England.  But I don't see the lads in a semi-final any time soon.

* * *

Okay.  Time to get my orange on. The Dutch make a decent brew, after all. (And Robbie plays for Arsenal.)

Of course, if The Netherlands go out next, I'll have to cheer for... um, Portugal?

Fuck it.  Maybe I should just go all in with Argentina.

Llewellen... beer, lad.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

REGARDING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

It happens all the time... around the staffroom table; at the pub; at social gatherings.  But it happens with greater noise and frequency every four years.  What is it?  The chant that soccer is boring.  Inevitably, it is pronounced the loudest by guys who suffer gladly through nine innings (and three-plus-hours) of excruciating, mind-numbing baseball -- or those who think that golf is actually a sport. 

Ignore them.  They are assholes who have no concept of physical fitness and athletic conditioning; split-second shifts between attacking and defending; skill, pace and creativity.

Ignore them.

And pity them.

The rest of the world certainly does.

Friday, June 25, 2010

JOURNAL ENTRY/ 6/25/2010

I think I have multiple personality disorder.

Sometimes, this place -- and the crap I drop here -- seems more authentic than my 'real' life.

I've spent a lifetime creating fiction. Along the way, I've discovered it's more comforting to live in the mind than in the world.

We agree.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FATHER'S DAY

Since I'm the only father left in my family (my dad and brother are dead; and as far as I know my son has no issue) I'll tell you what I got for Father's Day.

A cell phone.  My first. And it only took two hours for my son to drill its basic operation into my softening skull.  ('Soft keys'? Blue teeth? WTF?)

My wife welcomed me to the twentieth century.  It's the twenty-first century, I told her. She said, Yeah.  I know. (Smart ass.)

I've actually done some texting and taken a few pictures.

Now I can be as annoying as everyone else I know.


'Scuse me.  I gotta transfer some tunes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

WORLD CUP ROUNDUP, DAY EIGHT

England sucked.  Big time.  Bunch of overpaid twats who seem hypnotized by last year's press clippings.  Today's game was a masterpiece in how not to play football.  A fucking disgrace. The fans were right to boo those millionaire pillocks. I'm a fan and I was booing.  I'm still booing.  Happy birthday, Capello.  (Hey...what did you tell them at half-time?  Must have been something like 'Carry on chaps.  You can look even more pathetic in the next forty-five minutes.')

The U.S. was robbed of a victory.  Worst refereeing decision of the Finals to date. Either the bastard is truly blind -- or on the take.  I mean, fuck, come on.

I think those horns are getting on everyone's nerves.

The referee in the Germany game was a bloody moron.  Fucking card-happy imbecile.  Way to ruin a match, Gomer.

Otherwise, things were just perfect.


NON-RELATED UPDATE: WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED @ WOOZIE'S PLACE?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

JOURNAL ENTRY/ 6/16/2010

At month's end, I will join the ranks of retired, gentlefolk.

In other words, I'll be an official

old cunt.

Looking forward to it, actually.

Can't wait to be utterly fucking useless

In a world I no longer understand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FOOTBALL, BOATS AND BEER

I tend to watch soccer the way I read books: voraciously, and with a notepad handy. My wife reminded me that I'm no longer coaching.  I told her that old habits die hard; and besides, it might come in handy.  She informed me that that particular boat had sailed quite a while ago.  I replied that I might get off the damn boat and fly back.  She said I was crazy.  I reminded her that I wasn't dead... not quite... yet.  She mentioned my knees, my hip, and the antidepressants. I asked her to bring me a beer.

I drained it at half-time and tossed away the notepad.

I really enjoyed the second half.

Damn sweet goal, Maicon.  A fucking beauty.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

RE: WORLD CUP


TELEGRAM FROM DR. P. BOOGALOO: 


DO NOT DISTURB UNTIL JULY 12TH.  STOP. 

HELP YOURSELVES TO A BEER. STOP. 


-- END TRANSMISSION --

Saturday, June 5, 2010

BUH BYE

 Frankly, I don't know what the fuck I was thinking. 

Later. 

Much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

THE THINGS I'M GOING TO REMEMBER MOST

Working with autistic kids.  (Number one.  Hands down. The job I liked the best.)

Witnessing the 'a-ha' moments, those amazing occasions when one of your struggling students suddenly 'gets it'.

That cold January morning when Mindy got her tongue frozen on a piece of playground equipment.

Hitting a home run  in my last staff/student baseball game.  (Not a huge feat, mind.  But watching that tater sail over the centre field fence... still priceless.)

Cheering them on, watching them mature, and having them drop in years later just to say hi.  (That's better than any home run.)

Kids who seek you out on playground duty to talk about a problem -- usually about 'a friend' who is having difficulty at home.

That warm day in June when Mindy got her arm wedged between two tree branches.  (We needed to call the Fire Dept.)

The yearly visits by 'The Reptile Man'.  (The oohs and ahhs were wonderful.  And that Burmese Python was no slouch, either.)

The smiles.  The missing teeth.  The profound potential.

Working enrichment classes for the really bright kids.  (Damn that was fun.)

Watching them graduate.  (And choking up.)

Receiving at least one marriage proposal per year for twelve years running.

Hearing a kid say you're the best teacher they ever had. (And believing it, if just for a moment.)


Yeah.  I'm ready to retire now.


(Llewellen: a couple of cold Heinekens wouldn't be a bad idea right about now.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

ANSWER A WHITE GUY

Is it normal to wake up in the morning contemplating, visualizing and weighing the best options for self-destruction?
Please note: I am not concerned. This phenomenon is, mercifully, short-lived, lasting only until lunch.

(Hey,Woozie: see what I did there?)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fucking wasps, eh?

Clever cunts.  But I frustrated the buggers to no end this week.

Note to wasps: Build your creepy, ugly, shit hole nests under someone else's awning, you yellow-assed freaks. This is a wasp-free Lunch Counter.

Just so you know... I'm watching you bastards.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

FOR SALE: HAZMAT SUIT. SLIGHTLY WORN.

One good thing about retiring from the blackboard jungle (I didn't tell you? Oh.) is that I will likely encounter fewer strains of toxic bacteria.

Finally, to be bug and cootie free.  I might even make it a full seven days without experiencing some kind of scabrous rash, fungal infection, or gastro-intestinal lollapalooza.

Kids can be a lot of fun.  But they are filthy little creatures.

Friday, May 21, 2010

ON A PISSED-UP FRIDAY NIGHT, I'M LOVING ME SOME 'MURICAN POLITICS

A few days ago, I had no idea who Rand Paul was.  And while I might wish that he, and people of his intellectual ilk, would remain forever unknown (which is to say, allow them to enjoy their banjo music, cross burnings and sibling-fucking in moribund, backwoods obscurity), I realize that my wish might be construed as um, just a tad selfish.  Therefore, I say in all honesty (tho' fingers might be crossed)

Heartiest congratulations, Kentucky!

Yowza.  Shout it out.
Please,
proclaim him from clapboard rooftops and the bowels of the outback
to those really nice seats at your annual horse Derby.

Yessir. This young man seems just ticket to nudge that great state of yours into the third decade of the last century.


Llewellen: need I say it?  Bring us a cold one. On the double, son.  I feel another poem coming on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

CUNTS (a poem)

They're everywhere.

And not the nice kind of cunts, either.  But
the kind that  push your buttons
(because you've got a droopy eye, say
or skin that's a shade darker
than their Uncle Gump thinks is absolutely necessary)
and then they pull a knife on you in the parking lot
because
a knife is a terrible thing to waste;
and after all
it might as well get to work
carving initials into something.  Because it's Saturday night.

Oh, there are cunts galore. 

But not the nice kind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This is the stuff that keeps me going.

Especially when I've been spinning me some old vinyl for a couple of hours and getting mellow.  (Well, it is Friday night.  And the beer was chilled.)

Aynsley, dude... nice fucking job.

Eric: I forgot your birthday on the 11th. Sorry, old son.  But I'm making up for it tonight.  Happy 69th.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

SATURDAY NIGHT QUOTES

My new weekend feature.  I'll type a quotation from a book I'm currently reading and set it here, in the lobby.  (This exercise is meant to take the place of actual thinking on my part.  Plus, the stuff will be better than my usual bleatings about life, death, retirement and hemorrhoids.  And, every quote comes with a free -- albeit digital -- Heineken.)

From,  'a spot of bother', by Mark Haddon:


"What they failed to teach you at school was that the whole business of being human just got messier and more complicated as you got older.
You could tell the truth, be polite, take everyone's feelings into consideration and still have to deal with other people's shit.  At nine or ninety."

Friday, May 7, 2010

AND THE NEXT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE IS....

Spence Olchin from King of Queens. Yeah, baby.

(Compare photo here.)

Elena Kagan my ass.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

IMPLY/INFER

This was the teaser headline on CNN dot com: Bono gets legal name and gender change.

Turns out it wasn't the guy from U2.  Just Chaz Bono.

Yeah.  I can see why a guy might want to jettison the whole 'Chastity' thing now that he's sporting brand new block and tackle.

Too bad Sonny died banging into that tree.  He could meet his new son at Hooters for lunch.

Next.

UPDATE:  GO HABS GO!  (See Comment section for more details.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

WIN, WIN

I am addicted to both educating children and the canning factory that is school.  As for the latter, I'll be punching out soon enough, leaving all manner of spillage on the floor.  It is (probably past) time to let  the second shift -- the newbies -- have their turn.  But I intend to keep teaching.  And that is why I have, for the past seven weeks, been tutoring at night.

Privately.  For very little money.  (How does twelve bucks an hour sound to you?  It almost pays for the printing ink and supplies.)

The parents pay what they can afford.  And I get to keep on doing what I absolutely need to do.

And hey, this week we're learning about snakes and reading some Silver Birch books. 

(I'm going to miss pizza days and soccer at recess, though.)

UPDATE: One boy's parents want me to continue the sessions through the summer.  Fuck me. Summer is when I lie in the sun drinking beer, hoping I'll be dead before I come to.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


The grass needed cutting at least a week ago.  Hell, it needed cutting nearly a month ago.

But I'm a traditionalist.  And I saved the chore until today.

Because no matter how fucked up the seasons get; despite global warming and the vagaries of mother nature; and regardless of the actions of my candy-ass, anal retentive neighbours, I will never, ever, cut my lawn for the first time in a new year -- before the first day of bloody May.

To mine own self, I be true.


Llewellen: Put the machine in the shed and fetch us both a pint.  Fuck it.  Make it a couple of pints.  The smell of freshly coiffed grass gives me a thirst.


Friday, April 23, 2010

THIS WEEK IN THE ARTS

Comedy Central capitulated to Muslim nutbags.  Next night,  Jon Stewart told the Muzzie neanderthals to go fuck themselves.  Final score: Comedy Central nil, Jon Stewart 1.


Today is Shakespeare's birthday.  To commemorate the occasion, I bought a can of mead and wore my niftiest codpiece to work.

If I hear that Wavin' Flag song one more time....

Last night, after much deliberation, I stabbed one of my narrators to death and shredded everything he had forced me to type.  After two months' work, I am again a free man.

I watched something called Bright Star, a movie about John Keats and his love affair with what's-her-name.  (Before I write the last sentence inside these brackets, I should tell you that I hate love stories.  I couldn't wait for Keats to die.)

Joni Mitchell called Bob Dylan a phony and a plagiarist.  I own albums by each of them.  I blame it all on drugs.  Actually, I blame most things on drugs.  I'm on a few drugs.  Llewellen, hit me again big guy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BECAUSE WEDNESDAY NIGHT IS POETRY NIGHT....

Chess Players
 
 
They sit in well-lit rows,
cufflinks sparkling over each battlefield
like stars.  Is this what God was doing
at Flanders, Stalingrad?

The wooden men click.  They're not fooled
by generals bargaining at tables.
They face each other.  They die.
Spaces split slowly open like craters, wounds.

The women are somewhere else,
harmless, beyond hope.
In here is a perfect celibacy
- knights without favours, castles bare of maidens.

Sometimes it ends in madness
- Steinitz challenging that
star-sleeved General to match His mere omniscience
against the mind of a chessplayer.

Time shrivels like an aging pianist's fingers
on keys where there are more harmonics
than atoms in the universe.
Yet nothing really happens

among these clocks and lights.
The end is scarcity,
winds howling over the chequered plains.
Imagine moving words

like platoons into their slaughter
- you'd never get literature!
Yet the chessplayers talk of beauty.
Sometimes they sigh like lovers.
 
 
-- Carol Rumens
 
Man, I love that poem. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Carted a batch stuff to Value Village today.  Got another box  for the Sally Ann.  Gonna get a dumpster delivered so I can liposuck the basement.  Gotta get this place in fighting trim. Want to be able to whisper and hear an echo.


Hmmm... Just read this over.  Sounds like a song.
Better copyright the bugger.
This post copyright 2010 by Blind Lemon Boogaloo.  All rights reserved.

Llewellen:  Beer.

Friday, April 16, 2010

FACING RETIREMENT (PART ONE OF...?)

I don't know what the hell I'm going to do when I have to retire.  Shoot myself in the face, I suppose.  Beats getting up and shaving... and doing what? Poking around and pretending to give a damn?  Puttering about, playing at some boring, useless, sweet fuck all for the rest of the day?
I can't imagine it.  I don't want to imagine it. The mere thought is curdling the beer I'm drinking.
Life without the daily grind. Sweet deal, right? 
Horseshit.
love the daily grind. I don't want to be just another old fucker walking aimlessly about town, pants hitched up to my throat, looking kindly at strangers, pretending things matter.
I look at where I am and where I'm headed
and I want that gunshot to the face
when the time comes.
And please, I implore you: not a word to my wife. She has plans.  She thinks I'm on board. She can't wait.
Nope. Uh uh.
For me, it's the full-tilt boogie
or the big sleep.


Please note: any comments will be considered, but likely disregarded.
Llewellen... fetch 'em.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

You might well ask: what was this company thinking?

But the bigger question is this: why the fuck do parents buy this kind of crap for their very young daughters? And why do these same assholes (and their next-door neighbours) continue to purchase  t-shirts with suggestive -- and by that I mean sexual -- slogans for their little girls?  What the hell is wrong with people?  Bras, tank tops, makeup, spaghetti strap skimpery on little kids.  Kee-rist. Why not go the whole way and get wee Molly a nifty dildo and a cheeky, ass-cheek tattoo for her seventh birthday?

Childhood used to stretch until adolescence.  These days, it's eleven and twelve-year-olds with stretch marks.

Llewellen: I need a beer. And I need it now, son.

Next week: How we've fucked up boys.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SCHOOL SMELLS

Ahhh....

The smells.  Like: fresh wax on the hallways.  Coffee brewing in the staffroom. Freshly ground pencil shavings. And yeah... the kids.

Mostly, kids smell like dust.  Like the open road.  Like freedom.   But then, of course, there's Daniel, who -- like his biblical namesake -- must surely bunk with lions.  How in the hell does a child manage to smell that sour?  (Picture: Barf Bag,  that never-seen-but-often-mentioned character in 'Holes'.)  And don't even think of  getting me started on Lucy.  (This child's bouquet would bring you to tears.  Literally.)

Children should be seen. But  never, ever, smelled.

Thank you for listening.  You're a wonderful audience.  Drive safely and happy motoring.

Your humble public servant,

Phineas Boogaloo

(whose knees might be shot, but whose nose is working just fine.  And overtime.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

My school board has decided, in its wisdom, to chop funding for primary literacy.  Twenty-two half-time positions (eleven people, three of whom are my friends) will be gone by the end of the school year.

And the muckety-mucks that okayed this horseshit  will scratch their brainless heads a couple of years from now and wonder why little Billy and Sally (in Grade Six) can't fucking read above a Grade Two level.  Yeah.  Good luck with all that.  (Are they completely unaware that their vaunted primary Provincial test scores are less than stellar now?)

To mix a couple of metaphors -- and then a nice stiff drink -- I'm thinking it's maybe time to hang up my spurs and sail off into the sunset.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

WEEK IN AND YEAR OUT

I get home from work (educating children) and read the news.  Children slaughtered.  Mutilated.  Raped.  Starved.  Stories from every country: rich and poor, western and not, democracies, theocracies, tribal shit and whatever the hell else there is.

We are a fucking lousy species. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pardon Me, But

How (and fer fucks sake WHY) does a convicted felon receive a pardon for the crime (merely by asking) three years after he's released from prison?  What?  Like all is forgiven and forgotten? Or at least sealed and unavailable?  Unbefuckinglievable.

"A pardon is not meant to erase or excuse a criminal act. A pardon means that the record of the conviction is kept separate and apart from other criminal records."  Uh huh.  Why?
"That means the conviction doesn't show up on checks at the Canadian Police Information Centre, a database used by the RCMP and other police."  Really?  Well pardon me, but why the fuck not?

"James was one of 14,748 Canadians given a pardon in 2006-07, while 103 people were refused, according to government records."  That's 99 fucking percent!

Insert speechless bit here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

On this most holy of weekends for the deluded practitioners of the ancient hoax, I am delighted to see

a) The Pope swimming upstream against a rather violent current;

b) The Archbishop of Canterbury sticking his oar in (to what ultimate effect, I cannot fathom);

c) a bunch of Dutch brewskis cooling themselves in my refrigerator.

Brethren, let us not drown in the septic bilge of religious wee-wee.  Rather, let us be revelers, anointed neath the amber waves and white-capped froth of a few chilled Heinekens. For that is the way of true deliverance. **

Hallelujah. 


Llewellen: fetch us the sacred vessels... and the bottle opener.

** (The Lunch Counter Prayer.  Reproduced with the permission of  Rev. Phineas Boogaloo.) 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AH YES, I REMEMBER IT WELL....

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day, 2010.  Nearly fifty years ago on that day, I scared the living bejeebers out of my twelve-year-old brother. 
Before leaving for school, I fastened a butcher knife -- through a bulky knit sweater -- into a wad of tin foil above my heart.  I lathered up with ketchup, lay in the driveway with my eyes open, my mouth a frozen, screaming o.  Then I waited patiently for my brother to round the corner from the back door, his blue corduroy trousers making that irritating, thigh-scraping noise that only corduroy can effect.
He freaked the fuck out.
When my dad got home from work, he removed a significant layer of my ass. It took my brother almost thirty years to forgive me. And my mother was super pissed that I had ruined such a lovely sweater.  (It was her handiwork.  She had painstakingly knit the bugger, after all.)

So kids...

I guess what I'm saying is: Have fun.  Make some family history tomorrow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

JOURNAL ENTRY/ 3/28/10

'Tis to create, and in creating live
A being more intense, that we endow
With form our fancy, gaining as we give
The life we image, even as I do now.
 
 -- Byron 


There is more life in the shit we make up
than in all the savage sameness 
we're forced to endure.
 
-- Boogaloo 


Saturday, March 27, 2010

THE LOCKSTEP BOOGIE

Disclaimer: I'm old and I'm too lazy to provide links.  (Providing links would require something like research.  And that's as it should be... if I actually cared; if it weren't a Saturday night and my second sheet wasn't just about to hit the nearest updraft; or if I were being paid.)

... but I think it's fucking hilarious that David Frum -- former Bush speechwriter and right-wing doofus -- has been cast adrift by the neo-con think-tank he worked for.  Ha Ha Ha.  (Zee Party vos not vell pleezed vit Herr Frum's modest, common zense remarks.)

 Ha ha ha.... zis is zee time of zee purging.

Don't worry Dave, be happy.  Ha Ha Ha.  (Tough shit and all that.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKIN' AND SMOKIN'

A buddy dropped by the other night for a beer and a chat.  He swilled Coors Light while I, of course, drank Heineken.  He left a couple of his Coors in the fridge.  I am drinking one now.  And I believe it's safe to say it won't become a habit.  I do like the label, though.  Apparently, you can tell when the beer is cold by looking at the mountains behind the big red Coors sign. The snow turns blue when they are ready to go. (Pity the blind, eh?  How the hell are they supposed to know when the stuff is cold?  Selfish, sighted, beer and label makers.)

In other non-news....

I've only smoked a single pack of cigarettes these past five days.  An average of just five smokes a day!  Fuck me, I'm almost  guaranteed an extra hour or two of life.  At this rate, I might even collect a bob or two on the pension.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

OBAMA AND BIDEN COME TO THE LUNCH COUNTER, BABY.



Yes, Joe.  Yes it is.

Llewellen... top up our guests' beers, eh.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HEY KIDS, ANN'S IN TOWN!

Ann Coulter has taken time out from her exhausting schedule to visit Canada.  She's speaking at university campuses, providing enrichment for our undergraduates. Doubtless, the young folk will be dazzled by her exacting allegiance to facts and her brilliant insights into subjects as diverse as Darwinian natural selection, human rights, the age of the cosmos, and the divinely inspired poetic jewels contained within the Book of Leviticus.  (She has treated us to her expertise in times past.)

Or maybe she'll just open that facial sphincter and flap those sunken chops about whatever it is that's recently crawled up that nasty right-wing quiff of hers.

Same diff.

Save your time and money, kids.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

JUST A COFFEE FOR ME, THANKS

The U.S. health care debate seems to be as much about race (those teabagger signs speak volumes) as health.

Amazing to me that some (white) folks actually prefer their continual ass-fuck by insurance and drug companies to witnessing a black President sign what appears to be a modest bill for reform.

Sad.  And a bit scary. But not really that hard to fathom.

What the hell is in that tea, anyway?  And when the kettle boils, does it whistle Dixie?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Break, Day Four:

I am so well-rested, I'm nearly comatose. Is this what retirement feels like? 

Say again?  (It's the wife, from downstairs.)

Yes, dear.  Another beer would be divine.

Man, I got it rough, eh?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LAW AND ORDER, UK: Dicks and Stones

Shades of that Monty Python sketch in which trainees are taught how to defend themselves against attackers wielding fruit.

This time, the weapon is a willy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

JUST IN TIME FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY. IRISH PASTIES!




Oops.  I meant THIS KIND of Irish pasties.  (Sorry for any confusion.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

AT THE PARK

There is a park quite close to the school where I teach.  I have my favorite parking space, right beside the river, where ducks and geese paddle by.  In the wintertime, abandoned nests are visible high up in the trees.  Some are huge.  Possibly mammalian, though dragons come to mind.

Springtime and summer. I picnic, solitary, inhaling the tang of silt and water weeds, while hawks cruise overhead.  Early morning,  herons stand in the river, cautious and hungry.  At night, they fly the length of the water, backs lit by the setting sun, going home.

All I've seen there over the years: thrush, eagle, muskrat, beaver, woodpecker, swan, swallow, fox....

All I do there: breathe, drowse, dream.

All I want: another summer or two. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

THOUGHTS THAT TROUBLE THE TROUBLED MIND

At the point of their last conscious thought, do suicides regret the act?  Or is that a given, in the sense that suicide implies regret of the highest order?

At the point (etc etc), do suicides feel relief?

But without regret, would relief even be possible?

Is it possible -- or even likely -- that 'their last conscious thought' happened well before the final act?

I believe that I would regret the following things:







Well, I suppose that's a relief.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SAVIN' THE DAYLIGHT

On the plus side:  

I'll be able to work on my tan at eight in the evening... whilst watching American Idol.

No need to rush supper.  I'll be able to enjoy late, leisurely desserts and still bask in sunshine whilst tending to my Nightshade, Foxglove and Castor-oil plants.


On the minus side: 

If I die before the return to Standard Time, my life will wind up an hour short. (And I shall expect some kind of compensation.  Which will not, I suspect, be forthcoming.)

My next door neighbor, Mrs. Parsons, will have her varicose veins on display until nearly ten in the evening.

Friday, March 12, 2010

MARCH BREAK

Finally.

Now I can do something totally useful with my time: stay up late, listen to music and drink beer.

(By the way, 'late' in my case is about 11 pm.)

Which means it'll be pretty close to business as usual. 

I'm just a party animal, me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NOW THAT I MENTION IT...

I have a lesion on that scant bit of webbing between my third and fourth fingers that looks for all the world like a tiny vagina.  Let me get my glasses.

Enjoy your evening.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MASSA OF HIS DOMAIN

I love political sleaze stories.  You feel bad for the wife and kids, though.

I'm beginning to think that most politicians (hetero, homo or something in between) are dickheads of the first order.  Tripping on power; getting their junk hauled by subordinates; living a lie.

I bet Massa's also got Jimmy Legs, is a Close Talker, and needs a Mansierre.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Monday, March 8, 2010

THE THIEF I LIVE WITH

I get home today and the dog don't come runnin'.  I call and she don't answer.  She's on the bedroom floor, immobile.  In the kitchen, the fridge door is open.   Stuff's all over the place.  Dog had helped herself to three  cabbage rolls and half a casserole.
Dog is fifteen years old.  Maybe she just wanted one more good meal.
Dumb ass dog... 
never touched a single beer.

Dog is fine.  Gonna live.  But sweet Jeebus -- cabbage rolls?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

WEEKEND WRAP-UP

I was pissing around with a short story manuscript yesterday.  260 pages.  14 stories.  I left the bastard stacked on my desk while I hurried out on my usual Saturday emergency supply run: beer, newspapers, cigarettes and snacks.  When I returned, the pages were everywhere.  (Fucking cats.)  I began picking the pages up at random.  I thought it might be fun to record the first line from one page and the last line from the next.  And so on.  I did a wee bit of jiggering and came up with the following three whatzits.  (Yeah, it was a rather lame exercise. But now it gives me something to post on a Sunday night.)

 1.  "Christ, yes."  There's a drunk inside me.   "How the fuck would you know?" he asked.  Because it's 99:30, soft-watch time.   I'd hate to wake up here.

2.  Who wants fish?  "Tell the truth, you bastards.  Don't lie to me."  And don't, whatever else you do, get Johnny mad tonight.  "For the last time, answer my bloody question."  Not a single hand in the air.

3.  "Can you feel the blade, Evelyn?"  It won't hurt if you do it fast, I swear.

* * *

Went to see 'Shutter Island' tonight.  Guess what? That DiCaprio kid is all grown up.  Who knew?
The movie was entertaining.  Probably gonna have nightmares.
Spoiler alert: Leo turns out to be patient #67.
Haven't seen so much smoking in a movie since Bogart was around.
Would you rather live as a monster or die a sane man?  (I think I'd take door number one... as long as there's beer.)  

* * *

It's getting crowded at the top of the English Premier League Go Gunners!


* * *

Can't stand award ceremonies.  The Oscars blow.  Overpaid pretty boys all tuxed up with busty companions in tow -- or vice versa.  Who can tell?
The Olympics only lasted two weeks.  This Oscar crap goes on all night.

Llewellen... Bring me a beer.  And have one yourself.

Friday, March 5, 2010

ASSHOLISM 101

Yeah, Soudas, the public has spoken to this dumb-ass subterfuge.  Now just get the fuck back to work.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ernest Hemingway once remarked that his best work was a six-word story (that he may, in fact, have been challenged to write.)  The actual genesis of the thing is still shrouded in mystery.  And I love that. 

Here is Hemingway's story:


For sale: baby shoes.  Never worn. 



There.  Now you can tell that cute chick at the coffee shop that you read a short story last night. That'll impress the hell out of her.

You're welcome.



Saturday, February 27, 2010

PERSPECTIVE

So you go to bed with a decent buzz, still feeling sorry for yourself about this and that, and wake to learn that an 8.8 magnitude earthquake has struck Chile. You remember Haiti.  And then you really wake up.

You understand that your own problems are actually, in the vast scheme of things, a series of life-affirming, well-off-the-mark bullet dodges.

You tell yourself to shut the fuck up and just get on with it.  The way they were doing, before their houses collapsed and their families died.

Monday, February 22, 2010

THE LAST ONLINE JOURNAL ENTRY EVER

I look back at the past year -- the past eight months especially and the last seven weeks in particular -- and I tally up the damage: emotional, physical and financial.

Sure.  One can always make a few more bucks. (Selling a kidney in India springs immediately to mind.) The trouble arises on the other outstanding accounts.

Tonight, there are too many bridges on fire.

And I loathe.  Am loath. To say much more, especially here.

Have fun.

Don't get old.

And don't expect any haggis

any time soon.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WHAT I'M READING TONIGHT

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden.  A story narrated by the two main characters, a niece (Annie) and her uncle Will.  I love the dual voices.  The book is both tough and funny. Story of a fifty-year-old Cree bush pilot with several crashes under his belt -- and a bunch of thugs on his case. Annie's story runs parallel to her uncle's and deals with the search for her missing sister.  The setting of the book (northern Ontario) is also a character. No dialogue as such... but you can hear it speak.  Am only eighty pages in.  But there's no rush, is there?

The New Quarterly, current issue, #113.  Some good fiction so far -- I always start in the middle of the magazine and work my way to either end -- by Colette Maitland and Jill Sexsmith.   Leaving the poetry and non-fiction till later.  This magazine is one of the best literary journals in Canada.  (Of course, I have to say that.  TNQ has published my work, after all.)

A manual on literary arts and the school curriculum.  Who writes this shit? And the bigger question: Who actually teaches reading and writing in this cut-and-dried way?  Unfortunately, the answer is damned near everyone who wants to keep their job. (For me, that is simply not an issue.) My kids understand narrative voice and point of view and all the rest of it because I encourage them to listen to what they're reading.  Literacy, literary arts, reading and writing should never be presented as a convoluted crossword puzzle that needs completing in a certain way on certain days on province-wide test papers.
Well, at least I made it to page three before throwing up.  What a piece of crap.

The Heineken label on my beer bottle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

WRAPPING THINGS UP AND MOVING ON

On the day my son turned 19, my mother began her final week of life. That's kinder than saying she had seven days left to live.  The only things I recall about those seven days are these:

I was scared and sad.  My son is taller than I am. And a lot tougher.  For three days, I fed my mother thickened water from a spoon. Then she stopped opening her mouth.  She spent another three days being turned regularly and injected with pain medication.  Throughout, her eyes were open, even at night.  During her final hour, Laurie (her nurse) managed to get them closed. We told her to let go.  I kissed my mother's cheek. I think she knew I was there.  Her hands felt like cold, waxed paper.

* * *

I had a diseased tooth removed from my mouth yesterday.  The pain is finally fucking gone.  And I only bled for five hours.

* * *

I'm enjoying the Olympics.  (Especially digging that snowboard stuff... although I'm personally more suited to curling or a crack game of Crazy Eights.)

The Dutch are good at speed skating.  And making beer. My dad was a speed skater.  He wasn't Dutch, but he made his own beer.

Is it just me or are all the women skiers and skaters extra hot this time around?

Never seen so many crashes on the downhill events.  I get a nosebleed just looking at the hill on TV.

* * *

Ooh, look... there's a weekend up ahead.  Get the Heinekens on ice, Llewellen.   And sweet b'Jeebus,  keep the buggers coming.