Thursday, December 30, 2010



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.)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


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


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


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


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


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


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?