Sunday, October 31, 2010


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


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


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


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


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.


Just fucking wow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


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 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.'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.