blessed are the easily amused

Saturday, June 19, 2004

today's youth are not apathetic

Our elected federal representative in this neighbourhood is a guy so overtly racist that he was excommunicated by the far right party and had to sit as an independent.

The other day my brother got a call from one of his campaign kittens, who said, "Can we count on your vote in the coming election?"

My brother, always one to give the benefit of the doubt, thought he'd try some sarcasm on her. "I'm sorry - I can't vote for him. He doesn't hate fags and Indians as much as I do."

A pause, followed by this sincere response: "Sir, have you read his literature?"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

are we different?

I was thinking, in the aftermath of Ronald Reagan's death, that Canadians are entirely different. We don't gild our elected leaders with any kind of mythology. We don't care who our leaders have fucked or what they might have smoked. And when they grow very old and die, we don't feel like someone has snuffed out a bright star that always twinkled at the edge of our consciousness.

I've read real thinking, caring Democrats crying about Reagan's passing because of what he represented - some kind of medium that connects all the souls in America through a network of corndogs and slow motion army ads. The Prime Minister doesn't represent anything. He does his job for awhile and then moves on to the university lecture circuit. And if he proved himself to be dimwitted or mean, not many universities will invite him to speak. There's nothing that connects Canadians to one another that way. Old people are connected by CBC radio. Young people are not connected at all, except by a vague pride in our superior beer products. Canada is a place to live - a very good one. But the only time it has significance beyond that is when America is terrorizing the rest of the world - because then we're Not American.

But maybe I'm wrong. There was Trudeau, after all. Tears and red roses. Maybe if we had another leader with a little personality we'd care again. Even if he made shitty choices for Canada. I don't see it happening this time around. The defending Liberal gov-bot can only lose to Mr. I've-rehearsed-this-speech-so-many-times-it-might-as-well-be-in-Urdu Conservative.

Monday, June 14, 2004

like a snowflake

Every hangover is different. This one is infused with the beautiful memory of last night's meeting. The Let's Plan Our Trip to New York meeting.

The banal becomes beautiful.

I am fucking off.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


The wires just whispered that Ray Charles died today.

"I was born with music inside me. That's the only explanation I know of... Music was one of my parts ... Like my blood. It was a force already with me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water."

Brother Ray, Charles's autobiography


If you have time, read this story at the Danforth Review. The hamster wheel factory can spare you for 10 minutes.

I just reserved my ticket to Toronto,

from whence the mighty road trip begins. Neither debt nor low-budget cable shows nor intimidating, moustached pricks can stop me now.

I haven't flown for a long time. I'm looking forward to airline booze. That tiny plastic cup half full of red wine and nestled into its little tray divot - that's freedom, baby.

things to do

This morning, by some miracle of short term memory, I remembered to go and move my deluxe beater from the metered spot before I got yet another parking ticket. Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I sauntered out the front door of Mothership News Camp for Delinquent Freelancers. On the threshhold, I encountered Franz the Surly Moustachioed CoWorker. What follows is my first directive of the day:

me: Morning, Franz. Bradley needs you.

Franz: (look of incredulity) HAH?

me: Bradley needs you.


me: OK, I'll get right on that.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

20 units of caffeine, stat

"The Starbucks kiosk will be located just off the parkade entrance, across from the new Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in the mall area at the Royal University Hospital... The revenue generated will be used to support patient care."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

breaking news, breaking hearts

As I ride the Mothership in search of news and a paycheque, I sit in front of a computer that connects me directly to everyone else on this ride, and indirectly to all other news vultures. I may receive instant messages that say 'move pig stox on sat b, dude - thx for fnu feed' or rambling directives from a grammar expert in Toronto. My monitor is divided into about 13 little segments that keep me up to date on all the different news activites going down, about 3 of them relevant to me. I've learned to focus on the relevant ones and block out the rest. For the most part. But down in the right-hand corner is a tiny window that always catches me off guard. It's the 'holy fuck, what now?' window, and it invites me to visit 'the wires' for breaking news and fresh atrocities. Flashing orange and yellow, it urgently whispers: Inferno! Iraq hostages! Expldg kittens!

It really never stops flashing. Some folks might find this sort of comforting - 'nothing's gonna get by me! Yep, I've got my finger on the pulse of the whole dang world.'

I, however, feel like I have my finger in the unclean oriface of an angry babboon.

two sizes too small

Not caring about hockey is a terrible affliction. It's like not having a libido. Or legs. Fuck it, it's like not having a soul, and I'm sorry that I'm soulless. But this bird you cannot change - Lord knows I can't change. When the Flames had a shot, I didn't care. When Calgary was a-riot with skanky girls screaming out of red pickup trucks, I didn't care. When the Flames finally started playing some goddamn hockey in the last 6 minutes of the last game when they were down one point, and they were fast and beautiful and courageous, like someone had just woken them from an underwater dream and reminded them that playing hockey is the kinetic product of joy, and everybody dared to hope for half a second that they might just... I didn't care. Maybe I'm not really Canadian.

Monday, June 07, 2004

career options

Segues like the one I saw on the documentary channel last night are hard to come by. From factory hog farms to 'the bunny ranch' - a Nevada brothel where the girls call the owners 'mommy and dad'. After I found out how much money bunnies can fetch, I was ready to revamp my resume and head south. After half an hour of hidden camera revelations, being kept at farm number one seemed a more attractive option.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

kingdom of lunacy

You're dying to know: is my family insane or not? Some of you are dying to know because my symptoms seem to indicate a particularly wacky mental inheritance. Others want to know because my writing indicates that I possess unequalled clarity and perspective. Still others are shrinks who would like to treat my whole family and make a bundle off what must be some spectacular dysfunction.

I will let all of you decide for yourselves from a few family snapshots.

the waffle obsession
Our ethnic background is predicated on the primacy of bland, starchy foods. We honour the Lord, remember our martyred heretics and torment in-laws by sitting down before mountains of white gooey stuff. The most sacred occasions bring us to a place called the Berry Barn - an ecstatic combination of starch and tacky giftware. Here you may browse through special berry giftware before gorging yourself at the waffle topping buffet. (their waffles are designed to hold 6X their own volume in berry toppings) The waffle is the meal. But if you're an outsider and don't understand this, there are other starch options on the menu - all of which are accompanied by sausage.

Sam, being a heathen, hates this place. But it's not about like or dislike. Do you like communion? Do you like existence? The fool asks these questions. The wise man honours the waffle.

what the siblings do for fun
Recently my sister got in a car wreck. My brother and I heard about it from Mom, who used to be a nurse and is extremely pragmatic: "She's got a throbbing in her right temple, her right eye is seeing spots, and she can't move her neck. So it doesn't sound too serious. She went home." (She inherited my mom's imperviosness to pain.) An hour away, and not answering her phone. Well, I and my brother decided to heroically blaze out there and make her go to the doctor - if she wasn't already dead on the basement floor. After a jolly good road trip with fast food, poor coffee and witty repartee, we got to the tiny town where she lives and found her alive if somewhat bent up. 'Perfectly fine,' she insisted. Only after she lost the argument and found herself at the door of the tiny-town hospital was it safe to admit that she did, in fact, feel pretty wrecked. We had them call in The Doctor, who was probably already in a flannel nighty watching 'hymn sing'. While waiting, we talked about our earliest memories and tried to piece together our history. We also joked loudly about speculums, bedpans and smalltown infidelity. We laughed in the face of mortality; we bonded in the examining room. The doctor arrived, poked her a bit, and sent her home. We left satisfied with our disruption of everyone's evening.

Sam wondered: was it prudent to drive all that way when she may not even have been there? She's a big girl, she can take care of herself. Lisa now blogs in response: prudence is not the point. Prudence never facilitated a good speculum joke.

There's more. But I have to break for perogies with some kind of white sauce.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

like mortality off a duck's back

I just came from a little newsreel shoot that involved a big yellow mascot man, a graveyard, a couple dozen ducks and several hundred grade 4 students.

Now it's my task to write 20 inane seconds of script that tie all those things together.

Watch mothership news at 6:30 to find out how that goes.

And now with the news, here's Surly Franz

A quick pencil drawing of me might feature a word bubble: 'yuk!' Or 'sigh...' Or 'marzipan?' But Franz's word bubble can only say one thing: 'harrumph.'

Franz the Surly & Moustachioed Co-worker and I have re-established our working rapport. This is an essential part of working at the mothership. If I don't know where I stand with Franz, there is a real danger that I could spend a significant part of every day cowering before his giant silver handlebars, feeling chastized and tiny. I still treat him a little as though he's royalty - but I'm the jester. I think he senses my fear. But he may also sense, on some level, that I'm ridiculing him publicly in furtive blog entries.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Here I am. Rock you like a hurricane?

Do you ever have those moments when you catch your reflection in the window of the expensive furniture store and think, "That is me. Just me, my body, and it could be anywhere, doing anything. I could take it to Lebanon tomorrow. There's nothing big stopping me. I could be living on the West side with 4 babies, riddled with ritalin and the paw prints of mean men. I could go back to Bali and try to find the monkey whose tail I grabbed and form a special primate bond, and make a monkey orchestra. But somehow, the cosmic lottery has gently placed me in front of this window in a small city in North America, my image superimposed over armoires and silky settees"?

That's right after you wonder if your ass could possibly be as big as the furniture store window is telling you it is.