The Contest (Audio Blog)

In an attempt to keep the magic of the holiday season alive, I've done an audio blog you can find on my sidebar.

If your days haven't been merry and bright, better luck next year!


Hey Sailor!

Stealing a page from Melinda June's excellent Christmas Memories series (collect them all!), it is time for me to present you with a Christmas memory I scarcely remember. Luckily, the magic's been captured in this photograph from the archives.

Picture it, 1966 and a not quite yet 3 year old Dale. I hadn't yet traded up for the bee suit.


Do They Know It's Christmas?

As the song goes: It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid.

Whoever wrote that doesn't live next door to Honeypot. Approaching my driveway a few nights ago, I saw my dear and brassy neighbor in her front window putting the death star atop her Christmas tree.

Last year, her tree was on display and well lit day and night from mid-November through to January. I expected it was an artificial tree until I saw the remains in the snowbank after the holidays. How she kept it alive all that time and avoided calling the Fire Brigade about her burning bush is beyond my comprehension.

The spirit of the season has moved even the Korean Bagel Lady this year. Her heart opened wide the other day when she decided to Feed the World by giving me a free bagel and coffee. Mr. Korean Bagel Lady scowled on from the back so I just smiled while I collected my bounty. She leaned in and conspiratorially implored don't look at him, it is illegal! I laughed and walked away thinking, so is the threat of adding bleach to my coffee.

Other signs that something miraculous this way comes is that my next few train rides home from work will be like a Silent Night even Stevie Nicks couldn't ruin. The Elvis invoking train conductor has hung up the Santa hat he's been wearing and is now on vacation, ahhh.

He spent much of last week ambushing anyone who walked by him with a fart machine. Generosity of spirit allows me to make no judgment on a sixty-something year old man with a fart machine (especially as I'm a forty-something man who's spent several weeks playing a plastic guitar). My only hope for him for the new year is that he forgets to come back to work or failing that, that someone gives him a whoopee cushion for Christmas, it's time to branch out buddy.


Croc Rock

For quite a while, I allowed the public debate about whether those shoes designed for the garden were better left there or if they were alright for everyday wear to rage on without me. I hadn't formed a definite opinion because I hadn't actually tried them on.

Now that I've slipped my foot into one, there may be no turning back.

One question remains - how do you get the lid on without breaking your leg or the shoe?


The Man Comes Around

While I try not to be the type that covets, I remember well the desperation I felt at wanting a xylophone like one of the neighborhood kids had when I was growing up. Hers was a miniature version of the real thing and was quite shiny and desirable and made the loveliest sound. My dreams were partially realized, if only in plastic, one year on my birthday.

It took little time for me to study the colour charts in the song booklet and bang out with as much precision as the little beaters would allow, the many awful children's songs on offer. I'm not sure what became of my toy xylophone but I think I've found a worthy replacement lo these many years later.

As a card carrying gawky pre-teen member of the Junior Choir at church, I played a smoking version of Jesus is Lord on the guitar, all two chords of it. While I haven't been near a guitar in years, I recently found in my hands a Les Paul Gibson. It's a miniature version and in plastic but with its colour coded keys to guide me, once again, I'm a guitar hero. Alright, so it's the guitar that comes with Nintendo Wii's Guitar Hero 3 but it produces no less a joyous noise than my real one from long ago.
You press the colour keys on the frets to match what you see on the screen and strum each note. In no time, you're a superstar, at least I am on Easy mode. Each difficulty level adds more notes and requires more dexterity. I'm halfway through the Medium setting and show no signs of stopping. Alright, there are signs, the threat of blisters and bleary eyes but if it makes me happy...

At various points in the game you must do battle against guitarists such as Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Slash from well, from under that hat, to progress. Welcome to the jungle baby!

Here's someone playing along with Heart's Barracuda on Expert. I'm no expert. Yet.


Dirty Dancing Indeed

Someone at work was showing me a magazine called Viva which I'd never heard of. It had a recipe section featuring dishes Fit for a Star and most of the dishes looked pretty good.

It was a bit of a different story when it came to the dessert section though.

Although you might not need to click to enlarge the photo to get the point, have a read at what they've put beside Patrick Swayze's photo. I didn't doctor (or lawyer) this at all.

To make things stranger yet, the photo credit is to Michael Crichton.


Black and White Movies

I dreamed I was walking through a part of town I don’t live in and haven’t been near in years. The sidewalks were teeming with people pushing cases of all sorts of artifacts and items like books and clothes. It seemed like a very large and portable marketplace surrounding me. I pointed to a shelf of dvds blocking the entrance to a shop and explained to someone going by that some of the movies were from me because I wanted to help one of the shopkeepers who’d been in some sort of trouble.

The scene shifted to a subway type platform and a black girl was walking by me singing something very soulful but indistinguishable. I marveled at the sound and found myself again in a crowd on a narrow makeshift pathway near my office.

The route was marked with string and pickets and lined with hordes of children who were laughing and shouting. The idea was that you were supposed to pick up a trophy from a box on the right side and a badge from the back of a pick up truck on the left as you went along. I waved them off and they accepted this as they knew I was just going through to get to my building which I could now see across the street.

After making it through the crowd, I ended up at the foot of a hill that used to be near my childhood home. I started up the hill and was walking just behind and to the side of another black woman who I recognized but couldn’t place. I began telling her about the woman I’d heard singing earlier and she smiled at me and nodded while I talked and she said good-bye to me as she entered a house at the top of the hill.

As I started back down the hill, I realized I would probably be late for work and so I took out my cell phone from my pants pocket to make a call to my boss. It wasn’t my current phone but one I used to have. As I flipped it open, two dead bugs on their backs lay crushed against the screen. They were long slender bugs with wings and reminded me of earwigs.

I rummaged for and found a tissue to wipe them away with but then one of them stirred, flipped over and flew away. I could tell the other one was definitely dead but then it too stirred, flipped itself over and flew away. I was puzzled but figured I’d best make the call anyway. As I started to dial, I woke up.


Of Bosom Buddies and Doppelgängers (Audio Post)

It's time for another audio post on Passion of the Dale so please travel all the way over to my sidebar to hear it. I felt it was high time I spoke my mind on one of the most important issues of the my day.

In the audio blog, I mention the wanted by Hollywood passport photo story and so here's a link to that. The vanity involved in me telling that story at the dinner in the audio post may have had more than a little to do with what happened next.



Rainy Days & Wednesdays

Having weathered the shock of seeing the words fuck and fucking show up in the Metro newspaper recently, I was nearly asleep again until someone turned the volume way up.

In the review of Serj Tankian’s solo album Elect The Dead, mention was made of his touring band, the Flying Cunts of Chaos (FCC). Now that I’ve seen the word cunt in a widely circulated daily newspaper, I feel I can move on with my life.

Taking over the top spot in my outrage will now be something I wonder about every time it rains. Why do people carry umbrellas roughly the size of a four man tent especially when they're not super sized themselves? Apart from the potential danger to passersby, they look ridiculous. Side note to Rihanna– the word umbrella has only three syllables.

Bonus thought for the day: People are like antibiotics, best taken in small doses. Or is it massive doses with antibiotics? It's no secret why I'm not paid to think.


Save The Dales

Now that the food displays at work have finally been dismantled and possibly distributed, it has now become my pleasure to walk by the hordes of Christmas trees already adorning the lobby at work. What’s that song called -- the 36 days of Christmas? Sure, there’s the mitten drive to look forward to but something tells me the kids would rather have an iPod to warm them, those silly kittens.

While I'm feeling all Grinchy, I might as well shift focus back to where it belongs, on the Korean Bagel Lady.

Several weeks ago, a co-worker offered to get me coffee and when she mentioned it was for me, the Korean Bagel Lady gleefully told her, I put bleach in it. I guess that explains my radiant smile and upset stomach. When I mentioned I was on to her plot to turn me into a bleached Dale, she said Oh no, now I put C.L.R. in you coffee, it better for you. Doesn't it just warm your cockles and other parts to know there's someone so concerned about my well being?

When she told me a while ago that her husband would be coming back to work at the bagel stand, I asked how they would fit all those people behind the counter. She lowered her voice and said She will not be working here any more and she motioned toward one of the girls in the back. She leaned in and whispered I fire her! and did that hand across the throat sign that means your number's up. As she rose to her full height of nearly 5 feet, she looked pleased with herself at the proclamation.

The day soon came that the lady being 'let go' told each customer in line that she’d been fired. I wished her well and kept moving. Later, the Korean Bagel Lady said to me People are making my head crazy! That girl tell everyone I fire her and they tell me I shouldn’t do that, I should pay her more! They don’t know! She was stealing from here (she pointed at the cash register) and from there! pointing toward the back (either bagels or washcloths were missing is my guess). I asked my poor lady if maybe she’d feel better by poisoning my coffee with something new and she smiled and sent me on my way.

I look forward to new adventures that will no doubt feature my old nemesis and the new one, Mister Korean Bagel Lady even though he's definitely a humourless sort.


The A / V Club Presents Another Audio Post With Visuals

I recorded a new audio post a few days ago but forgot to post it or mention it, inexcusable for an A.V. geek but I have forgiven myself and moved on. The audio link is in my sidebar.

The post is about food and food banks. To help you follow along, here are a few visuals, some of which are related to the post.

The CN Tower

A Can of Red Bull
Vampire Teeth
A toaster that looks more or less like a toaster
A Running Shoe
A Can Opener
A Can of Beans

A warning sign I always heed

Jerri Blank

A nice drink


And Now A Word From Coaster Punchman

Dear Gentle Readers of Passion of the Dale,

Dale has generously offered to host this week's episode of "The Mama Gin Files." I was unable to post it on the front page of Coaster Punchman's World for fear of retribution by Poor George, who forbade me from publishing the video. However, since the trials and tribulations of living with Mama Gin is my story too I feel altogether entitled --- at least as long as I don't get caught.

Click here to experience Poor George trying to practice his bass clarinet in the face of Mama Gin's daily dose of harassment.

Google Video has been acting really weird lately, so it may take several clicks on the "play" button before you actually get to see the video. (It might tell you it's "unavailable" a bunch of times - something Google is trying to iron out.)

And if you aren't amused by crazy Chinese ladies harassing their gay sons, there are also some cute cats in the video. Maybe that will make up for it.


Coaster Punchman


The Answer My Friend... (Audio Blog)

There's poetry everywhere, much of it lost on me but from time to time, something gets through. Is eighty-six seconds enough to capture it all? Only the audio post on my sidebar knows for sure.


Eight Is Enough

Since I couldn't attend Jacy's dinner party complete with Gifted Typist and Tanya Espanya, I thought it was high time I took on Wapantake's challenge to answer some questions related to dinner parties.

“The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their own.”

First off, let me say that if I'd ever stopped to think that there were eight phases to a dinner party, I'd certainly never attend or throw one. It sounds like a lot of work.

1) The Dinner Party Theme
You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?

I think I'd dress up as me, only a much more refined version of myself. Since expense isn't a factor but my ego is, I'd head for Harry Rosen or Walter Beauchamp Tailors and get myself into some made to measure clothes. Throw in some new cuff links and shoes and a watch from A. Lange & Sohne and I'd be good to go. I suppose that since it's a special occasion, I could put on clean socks and underwear too, you know, just to be sociable.

2) The Invitations
This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?

Since my last party with the movie folks was a hit and then Amy Sedaris and I became best friends, I'm confident that mixing up the guest list won't cause any unsightly blemishes.

On most occasions, it's easier to contact the living than the dead but for one night only, I think that resurrecting Anne Bancroft would be worth the extra effort. She'd be funny, charming, have great anecdotes and be flirty. I'd originally thought of Helen Keller but I hate repeating myself over and over and there's always the chance that if she's having an off night, it's food flying everywhere and that's just no fun for anyone.

Who else? I wonder if Jesus would come? No, forget him, once he starts with the party tricks, it's impossible to shut him down. Oh I know! Kathy Griffin! She's said things at least as outrageous as Jesus and would have everyone laughing and talking long after the party had wound down. I don't know anybody who can say Suck it! and mean it quite like Kathy.

Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos would be fun to have along as well for his hair alone. I'm pretty sure his alter ego, Tony Sirico would provide that fish out of water squirmy goodness that can be fun at a party. It'd give me a chance also to find out just how the hell he came to work on the upcoming Elmo's Christmas Countdown and to give me some inside dirt on his old HBO gig.

Aaron Eckhart would nicely balance out Kathy and Tony and I think it'd be fun to hear some of his Hollywood stories too. We could talk about his film choices and also whether Julia Roberts bugs him as much as she does me. I'm not sure why but he looks like the kind of guy who knows how to mix a mean drink too. Yep, he's in.

To add a little more estrogen to the mix, I think singer songwriter Jenny Lewis would round things out wonderfully. If we were lucky, she might get up and do a number or two and fill us in on why she didn't just go ahead and make a second great solo album instead of doubling back and helping Rilo Kiley put out half a decent one. It's also fun to have people of various heights in the same room.

3) The Starter
You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?

First off, as I'm not very skilled in the culinary arts, I'm hoping that having the whole affair catered falls under the 'preparing the menu' heading. Most of my friends know how to cook well but I didn't even have the courtesy to invite them so I guess I can't rely on them. I think the way to go might be with trays of tasty appetizers, some hot and cold, some on crostini, others in and out of puff pastry and maybe some little soup shooters. I'd also have smoking hot staff to serve them so if the food was lame, there'd at least be eye candy to munch on.

4) The Main Course
Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?

I think I'd opt for a nice and simple but tantalizing prime rib with carrots, potatoes and whatever other vegetables my guests might enjoy. I'd have to rely on whoever the wine expert in the crowd was to suggest something, because once again, I'm hopeless. Is there a wine that has a delicate yet playful undercurrent of gravy? Now that I think of it, I probably should have invited prominent conversationalists and mixologists Bubs and Coaster Punchman to ensure a top notch evening.

5) The Sweet
Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?

I had Blueberry Lime Cheesecake the last time I was in New York that was quite heavenly so I think I'd have Gordon Ramsay whip some of that up for everyone. It was delicious and just the right amount (still room for more drinks after).

6) The Entertainment
The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their ‘party piece’ (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?

I'd like to do the treadmill dance perfected by Ok Go but I generally try to avoid personal injury and embarassment when in mixed company. Instead I might do a reading from my high school variety show that was a hit at the time. It was the story of Little Red Riding Hood but a sort of bass ackwards version. It was funnier than it sounds and was done at the behest of my Geography teacher who was directing the show. He later became the principal and was promptly arrested for shoplifting a dog collar at a local store (an honest mistake he claimed).

7) The End Of The Evening:
The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search through your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?

I don't think the term hi-fi has been in broad use since the 70s has it? I also stopped buying CDs a while ago so instead as I lingered in front of the iPod sound dock, I might cue something up from a nice mix that Mellowlee made for me a while back. It might be After Midnight by JJ Cale but it could just as easily be any track from that mix. It has all sorts of love on it from Feist to Nina Simone to John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens and some tunes I'd never heard before but still enjoy.

8) The Dinner Party Nightmares
Okay, so the “virtual” dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?

While I've never had anything on a par with Mary Tyler Moore's Veal Prince Orloff incident, there was that one time...

My lovely friends Laurie and Tanya who had met only once before ended up seated across the table from each other at a small gathering. Laurie was providing instructions on the best way to eat some particular dish we were having. Without provacation, Tanya shouted at her 'Stop bossing everyone around and telling them what to do, we know how to eat'. This led to a deliciously awkward silence that was eventually recovered from but not before everyone's blood ran cold a moment. To avoid repeat performances, they are no longer contractually obligated to appear at the same functions.

I tag everyone to play along but first, be honest, do I look fat in this gravy boat?

**Edit - I always do this - I meant to invite Tina Fey but now she won't return my calls so she's up for grabs.


Something To Talk About

It's been a rough few days for me and I've had a hard time concentrating. I tend to shy away from writing about personal issues although from time to time, that has happened.

This is one of those situations where you've heard people say "I never thought it could happen to me" and you take stock, realize how lucky you are and move on with your life thankful that it wasn't you.

It's different now. I've become one of those people. I never thought it could happen to me. My first thought was Isn't this something that is supposed to only affect women? Well, now that I've had treatment and done a bit of research, I realize that's simply not the case.

I fretted my way through Monday and Tuesday feeling sorry for myself and thinking about how this would change the way people view me and decided today, I had to bounce back and try to move on with my life. I might as well just go ahead and say it, loosen the powerful grip it's had over me. My name is Dale and I had static cling.

My pants spent the better part of the day trying to ride up my legs and a good half a can of Static Guard did absolutely nothing to solve the problem. I feel better getting that off my chest, almost as good as when I pulled those wretched pants from my legs. Maybe things will work out after all.


The A / V Club Presents: An Audio Blog With Visuals

I can't sing you to sleep but I could probably talk you to death. I've done another audio blog that can be found on my sidebar.

Here are a few visual aids to help things along. Yes, now that I'm relying on pictures, the end is nigh.

Madame Sousatzka

Tom Hulce as Mozart

Mary Wickes

Al Lewis

Larry King & Aaron Brown: Hair Wars

A rocking horse you can cut out and colour


You're Soaking In It

Several years ago, I saw an ad in a magazine for a new adult diaper that was made to look more like one of those pull ups things all the leaky kids wear.

Being one to support great advancements in all aspects of life, I picked up the phone and dialed the get a free sample! number. I left my pal Tanya Espanya’s name and address.

Flash forward several months and there I sat at a Tanya family gathering when she recounted how a pair of ‘big underwear’ had shown up in the mail out of the blue. Big underwear? I asked having forgotten about my good deed. Yeah, some kind of incontinence pants shaped like underwear!

I confessed that I was the good Samaritan who’d sent them. I don’t think anyone laughed so hard they peed but if they had, she really could have been a hero that day instead of a victim.

It’s Tanya’s birthday today and although she’s temporarily blogged out, I wanted to remind her not only of the special moment we shared that day but also that she’s not getting a new gift until I have proof she’s used her special pants.


Pop Goes The Colonel

While we’re on the subject of food, please read Hot Lemon’s excellent post here on popping the perfect kernel and weigh in on the topic.

Why when I think of Hot Lemon do the words Big Orange come to mind?


Food Glorious Food

There have been articles in magazines and newspapers recently about what top chefs would choose as their last meal. The question is posed in support of a book called My Last Supper by photographer Melanie Dunea which features their answers represented pictorially.

Several of the responses were not for fancy schmancy dishes but rather comfort food tied to their childhoods and dear old Mom, something I’d understand better if my mother had been a decent cook.

Digging around on the internet, I found that there was some detailed information on last meal requests made by death row inmates but at the moment, and all moments really, I'm far more interested in what I'd have.

First I thought of chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, creamy spinach with cheese, vegetables, and cheesecake with a follow up snack of Halloween candy but then I thought, why repeat what I just had last night?

Visions danced through my head - onion rings, hash browns, an end cut of roast beef, a three legged dog (how’d that get in there?), my mother’s fudge -- there are far too many possibilities!

At the moment, I’m happy I’m not being asked to make any final decisions and also that nobody’s taking my picture, this shade of gravy on my shirt does nothing for me.


A Night At the Audio

I went to the opera a few nights ago and thought I'd audio enthrall myself so up goes another audio post for the sidebar.

And this ladies and gentlemen, is Mr. Verdi.

Electoral Sex

Remember last month when I bought that goat? He never writes. Fucker.

I should have done this earlier. Some of the lovely people who helped get my goat are in the Top 10 running at Blog Interviewer this month. I want them to win! win! win!

Click on their names and vote for:

Beckeye because she's America's Next Top Model Blogger

Lori because anyone who writes about pussy should be in the Top 3

Toadee because I robbed him but just barely last time

Margo because, well, she's an excellent writer.

Barbara tell me why you're not in the Top 10? I'll take the blame if you'd like.

Everyone else can suck it but only because I'm too lazy to know them. And because Beckeye loves the movie Grease so much, may I just say If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.


Please Write Anything Else!

I brought it upon myself. For making fun of spam in my prior post, the Blue Meanies attacked me today. I came home to 64 new comments on various posts. I was happy when my email started to download until I quickly realized that 3 of them were legitimate comments and the rest were from robotic spam fiends who failed grammar class.

The messages alternated between the following comments:

Your blog is great. Articles is interesting!

Thanks to author.

Hello all.

Nice article.

and my favourite:

Please write anything else!

In order for me to write anything else, I have temporarily turned on the comment verification feature. Please pray for me during this difficult time.

Yours in Christ,




I try to conduct my computer life in the same manner as my regular life - under a semisweet cover of darkness, but this is not always enough to stem the tide of the modern scourge - spam email.

Today in my IN box, there was an exciting opportunity that began by quoting my blog address and then suggested that since I have a pharmacy / medical related blog, I could earn cash if I helped refer people to their website which is a discount drug business.

My less than comprehensive investigation into my blog showed me that of the six hundred and twenty-nine posts leading up to this one, there were a total of seven posts that referred to either pharmacy or medical. While this may satisfy their criteria, I'm not so sure I'd trust their Research & Development division or for that matter, their drugs.

While I thought briefly of the glory that being a drug kingpin or a pimp might bring, I decided against participating in this exciting opportunity and instead used my energy to come up with potentially life saving advice for you:

Always consult your physician before undertaking the reading of any blog other than this one.


My Espanya Has A First Name and It's Billie Jean

Now that I’m back in the office after a few days off, it’s right back to the grind I know so well, work avoidance.

Over the past few hours, my mind’s been heavy with a problem that I think only that bastion of justice Maury Povich may be able to help put to bed.

Tanya Espanya has been implying that I had something to do with the creation of a hideous monster who’s been dominating her life over the past few months. Please see here.

I did not have sex with that Spaniard.


Human Art

Damned people, I hate them except when I'm busy loving them.

Check out this video after turning down the brightness on your monitor.


The Rising Blogger (New Yoga Position)

I had a nice email from a character named Judd letting me know that I was nominated for a Post of the Day over on The Rising Blogger.

You can read the nice things he said about me by clicking here. I'm considering hiring him full time!


Firehouse (audio blog)

Look! Over there! No, not there, to your right, on my sidebar. It's a new audio blog of an old post freeing my time up to not write anything new or original.

Admit it, you miss Honeypot as much as I do, I haven't seen her much lately. I will be accepting voice auditions for the role as I'm not doing it justice.

Enjoy. Or not. No big whoop.


News To Me

This morning in the newspaper (yes, I’m still pretending I can read) there was a great column about a showdown between the Anthony Bourdain and Rachael Ray camps. The columnist used the eff word in a quote from Bourdain. As there’d been no reply from the editor’s desk about my earlier enquiry, I emailed the columnist and he replied in short order.

He confirmed what Mistress LaSpliffe and Deadspot said about being able to use direct quotes per standard CP copybook style but in his reply, he managed to use to good effect, just about every swear word known to man or at least me.

I thanked him for the information and let him know I look forward to the day he manages to get the cee word into newsprint.

Here’s to a free press or at least, a free newspaper. I’m still surprised but no longer curious.


Hang It Up Daddy

After seeing the film But I'm A Cheerleader several years ago, one of the songs from the soundtrack ate away at my brain for a long time. The film was pretty funny too but I just couldn't shake the song.

I guess I figured I'd been cured of it not having thought of it in a while. Then along comes Quentin with Death Proof. He's included the same song playing over the menu at the start of the dvd and now I've got the brain fever again.

April March - Chick Habit mp3

Someone run me over.


Dear Prudence

When did it become okay to casually print the words fuck and fucking in a widely circulated daily newspaper meant for transit readers?

In the Metro paper this morning, there was an article about Kevin Smith’s new book and they quoted him using the words above. The print edition has both words while the online version seems to show a little more decorum and only uses fucking.

While I don’t particularly have a concern with those words being bandied about in conversation among adults, isn't it inappropriate to use them so casually in print?

I’ve written to the editor but he’ll probably be too fucking busy to respond.


This Crotch Is For You

Just when I think my life can’t hold one more good thing, along comes Beckeye to prove me wrong.

Recently, her delicious contest (number four in a series) asked for a caption to accompany a photo of tanning expert Britney Spears.

Being the sort to enjoy an occasional bit of submission, I ponied up and gave her my best shot along with a couple of dozen other people.

Well, you’ll never guess what -- I won!

I am now officially a Firecrotch of the Month award winner!

Do Nobel Prize winners get such a bold and beautiful badge to display? I think not but then, I don’t know anything about the Nobel Prize.

For all you do Beckeye, this firecroctch is for you! Actually, it’s for me, so thanks!

I Light Up Her Life

Seeing as how I’m now closer to the Korean Bagel Lady than to some of my immediate family, she knew I'd been to New York on the weekend.

This morning when I went for my bagel, she asked how my trip was. When I told her I was stuck in the airport for 6 hours due to fog in New York and cancelled flights, she laughed and said You make me so happy now! You were alone? No, I answered, I was with a friend so it wasn’t so bad. Her smile faltered. Oh, that too bad, it better if you suffer alone but for 6 hours waiting, I am now so happy still! She smiled again and laughed.

She then commanded Tell me some special place you go in New York, the Empile State Beerding? No, but I did see The Frick Collection which was very nice. She shook her head and made a face like I’ve never heard of it so it can’t have been any good. As I picked up my bagel and said see you later, she laughed and shook her head: 6 hours! Hahahaha!

Is it progress that she didn’t overtly call me dumbass this time?


Clouds In My Cofee

For a moment, looking at this photograph taken on the weekend, I felt one step closer to understanding what Starbucks means by Tall, Grande and Venti. If you look closely, you can see Coaster Punchman jealously pushing me out of the way to take his rightful spot next to Poor George.


My Country 'Tis of Thee

This weekend in Canadaland, most people will be busy readying themselves for Thanksgiving on Monday. I have a lot to be thankful for but at the top of my list is the precious three day weekend.

To celebrate, I'm heading for the U.S. of A. on a fact finding mission. My first order of business will involve poring over our free trade agreement to see if there's any way I can exchange this hat for something a little more stylish. After that, it's all gravy.
Happy Thanksgiving and Weekend!


Delta Dawn

My morning routine involves avoiding everyone until I’ve arrived at my desk and had at least a few litres of coffee.

On the long elevator ride up to the second floor this morning, a woman I don’t know perkily announced “This is Friday for me! I’m so excited!”. I started to muster my patented wan morning smile when I took in what she was wearing.

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a fifty something woman dressed in a schoolgirl style skirt, knee socks and a white shirt and tie to force a genuine ear to ear grin from me. “Good for you!” I said and made my escape.

Apart from older people trying to interpret youth through clothing, today on Trend Watch, I’d like to ask for help on another puzzler.

In relation to the incident mentioned above, while I might have said It was my biggest smile ever, a number of people might have instead written BIGGEST. SMILE. EVER. I've been seeing THIS. EMPHATIC. EVERYWHERE.

WTF man?


For Those About To Write

I must say that I receive a lot of really excellent comments on my posts and for that, I thank you.

Recently, Write Procrastinator made me laugh pretty hard with a comment that I consider suitable for framing (or for being framed with).

On my recent Sticks and Stones post, WP called me Baron Dale von Sacher-Masoch for the repeat business I bring the Korean Bagel Lady's way.

I pointed out that I was a masochist from way back and commented that WP reads me like a book, a very short book, possibly with pictures.

His rebuttal:

See the Korean Bagel Lady pour hot coffee on Dale.
Pour, Korean Bagel Lady, pour.

See the Korean Bagel Lady pelt Dale with bagels.
Pelt, Korean Bagel Lady, pelt.

A classic no?

WP is not only a brilliant commenter but a prolific writer. Along with his blog here, he maintains another where he writes under a pen name. He hosts a fun movie title combining game over here and has been featured in the digital pages of Astonishing Adventures Magazine. For a procrastinator, he's pretty damned busy!

For all you do Write Procrastinator, sah-lute!

Generalists and Majors Uh Huh

Dear Human Resources Generalist,
When someone winks at you and gives you a lascivious smile at work and you're pretty sure they were instrumental in getting someone else fired for sexual harassment, what’s the protocol?



You Guys Get My Goat

Throughout the month of September, I begged and pleaded for votes to make the Top 3 on BlogInterviewer. It was a down to the wire contest between me and worthy opponent Toadee for third place but in the end, a small burst of steam put me ahead.

Honouring my promise to make a charitable donation if you got me there, I shopped around and decided to take Deadspot’s suggestion, contacted Heifer and bought someone somewhere a goat!

According to Heifer’s website, goats can produce up to a gallon of milk per day and along with providing a family enough to drink, left over milk can be used for making cheese, butter or yogurt and the rest can be sold to buy clothes, school supplies and medicine.

Children generally end up caring for them as goats are gentle despite their rough and tough and mean and stuff reputations. It also gives the child a chance to learn responsibility and valuable social skills like thumbing his nose at his friends and saying ‘look at me, I’ve got a goat, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah'.

This exercise has taught me a few things:

--I have a massive ego

--You feed it

--That Toadee guy probably hates me now

--Someone else hates me (I got a thumbs down vote)

--The Korean Bagel Lady is the star of my blog

--I’m a lucky guy

People of the blogs? You're the best, no matter what everyone else says about you.


David Lynch vs. The Korean Bagel Lady

Since I can't spend all my time watching news bloopers on YouTube and wondering why I'm still in fourth place on Blog Interviewer, I decided to watch a film this afternoon, David Lynch's Inland Empire. Following that, I decided to audio blog about it*.

Look! Over there! On my sidebar! It's my voice telling you in under 60 seconds all you need to know about my afternoon. I didn't think too much about it before recording it so go easy on me.

Since it's such a short piece, you'll still have time to click that voting button one more time right here. (Thanks for voting for me at all! I appreciate it).

*This is not a real review. Had this been a real review, you would have been given instructions on how to feel about the film. Thank you.

**I guess once you do a new audio thingy, it replaces the old one. If I ever figure out how that all works, or if I even try, I'll put it up again.


As Seen On TRV

I'll be the master of my own demise. After the Korean Bagel lady called me "dumbass" the other day, I mentioned it to a co-worker.

Later in the day, I went for coffee and the bagel lady said "You tell your friend I call you dumbass? She come here and say you call Dale (she pronounces my name more like Daire) a dumbass. So, you tell everybody?"

"Um, no, just her" I lied sheepishly.

"No I think I see it on terevision, you told the world...dumbass".

Her cackling this time rivalled anything the Wicked Witch ever produced. I made my retreat but with free coffee for my troubles.

I think she likes the idea of being thought a badass.


Reach Out And Touch

I was talking to my Mom last night as it was her 77th birthday.

She told me that one of my sisters will be taking her to see Michael Buble when he hits her town in February. She asked my sister to see if she can get front row seats because she'd like to touch him.

I'm not sure what her regular boyfriend Jesus will think about that but my Dad's probably okay with it.

Sticks and Stones

My relationship with the Korean Bagel Lady has reached dizzying new heights and that’s not just the caffeine talking.

I was there with a friend the other day and adding my usual milk and sugar to the coffee when the Korean bagel lady started nattering at us. When we were finished not understanding each other, I turned to my friend and asked “Did I put sugar in this already?”

The bagel lady didn’t miss a beat - “Dumbass!” she called out and went back to wiping the counter.

At this point people will say we’re in love and there might be something to it. Her coffee sucks.


A Modest Proposal

As some of you know, my singular mission of late has been to crack my way into the elite Top 3 of vote getters on Blog Interviewer this month. To anyone who has voted already, thank you. If you've voted more than once, thank you thank you.

While I'd made no firm decision on how best to spend the possible winnings of $25, 15 or 10, a few things had crossed my mind. Initially I thought I'd buy y'all some Kool Aid but then after my recent post on Jonestown, I wondered if there would be trust issues.

Then I thought I might pay Beckeye off so she wouldn't share those naked photos of me and Splotchy that she purports to have. This went out the window after she published her manifesto on how she aims to dethrone me and well, I’m still sobbing.

After reading the post Tenacious S did on how gratifying it was to sponsor a child through Children International and then reading Lulu's post about the overwhelming enormity of Calcutta's poverty she recently witnessed first hand, I hatched a more devious plan.

If you vote me into the Top 3 thumbs uppers on Blog Interviewer, I'll donate $100 to a charity that you can help me pick.

If you get Bubs, Splotchy, Barbara or Beckeye into the Top 3 with me, I'll double it and personally hand over $25 to Beckeye next week when I see her (you know, for the photos, or drinks).

All this is made possible by the fact that I’ve finally unloaded that yacht I haven't really been using or my income tax cheque finally arrived. If none of this goes according to plan, I'll be writing to each and every child not yet adopted by Mia Farrow, Rosie, Madonna, Mary Louise Parker, and Brad and Angelina to let them know that while I still heart them, others have let them down.

Feel free to suggest a charity. A few I've been thinking about are Children International, World Vision, Habitat For Humanity and Doctors Without Borders. All do good work and from what I can tell also manage to be fiscally responsible.

You can vote once every 24 hours:

Vote for Dale

Vote for Beckeye

Vote for Splotchy

Vote for Barbara

Vote for Bubs

Don't make me go postal (with those letters to the kids).


Death Comes Ripping!

Splotchy, creator of the most excellent Green Monkey Music Project, allowed me to participate in Volume 6 of the series Can't Wait For Halloween! I hope I didn't botch the theme too badly and can explain what spurred me to submit these songs.

The rule this time out was that the songs were to have at least a tenuous connection to Halloween or be spooky in some way.

You can download my selections and those of the other participants here.

1. The Misfits - Death Comes Ripping

For The Misfits, every day is Halloween! For 30 years and through numerous personnel changes, their aggressive punk melodies have endured and inspired countless bands. I chose this one because not only does it bring to mind the band's horror movie fascination but the tone and lyrics remind me that there's a reason I worry about all those scary monsters and super creeps out there. They'll be in New York City on October 31st if you dare.

2. Grant Willard Conspiracy - The Ghost of the Girl in the Well

Is it too precious to describe a song meant for a Halloween mix as haunting? While I don't know a lot about the band other than that they're difficult to categorize and I like what I've heard, this song, featuring Kristin Hersh on back up moodiness, sets a tone that's hard to shake.

3. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Peekaboo

Ghoulish yet sexy, Siouxsie Sioux's been scaring me for years. I saw her in a double bill with Julian Cope years ago and she was mesmerizing. Most of the songs from 1988's Peepshow could have found a place on this list but this one gives me a sense of dread that makes me unsure whether I want to watch her or I want her to watch me. Boo!

4. Bjork - Play Dead

My favourite alien Bjork dishes up some otherworldly howling in a song that for me expresses the torture and embrace of pain that your fevered brain might know how to express but you never could. If she ever stops singing, she could open a costume store and make a fortune. Another of my favourite concert going experiences.

5. Richard Shindell - Are You Happy Now?

Not your standard somebody done me wrong song, this funny and bittersweet tale of a lover running out on a relationship on Halloween gets me every time. I probably shouldn't but I smile and feel happy when it comes on. The lyrics are so damned poignant and real. I wonder who it was that tricked poor Richard.
Thanks for letting me play Splotchy!


Damn It Jim!

I can't entirely blame Jacy for this post but would my mind be whirring so if it wasn't for her blog name (Reject The Kool Aid)? Probably, yes.

Kool Aid - ah, how you helped fuel those sugary summer days of my childhood and let me freeze you in ice cube trays for later chipping away at. And of course, how can I forget the mass murder / suicide connotation?

Jonestown. 1978. Some 900 followers of the Reverend Jim Jones ended up drinking Grape flavoured Kool Aid and following him to their deaths.

Not long ago, The Hour's George Stromboulopoulos sat down with the Reverend's son Stephan who was away with the basketball team while the horror unfolded. He talks about how he wanted to kill his father and his life then and now. The interview is a fascinating insider's look into a terrible event. The video is here.


Jacy and the Sunshine Band

Jacy helps run a blog called Reject The Kool Aid that takes aim at a number of things like the much maligned Crocs sandals phenomenon, invisible deodorant and the art of falling apart. When mommy bloggers cry out for help, Jacy and Tearfree answer the call but then quickly hang up and start writing.

While she may hold the land email speed record for replying to my interview questions, Jacy had to wait until I got around to posting them; I'm lazy and let's face it, we can't all be her. Here are my questions and her answers.

1. Your current avatar is Elizabeth Montgomery who famously played a witch with a twitching problem and Lizzie Borden, someone with an axe to grind. Prior to that, you were poor Charo, meethundertood only when she spoke. I applaud your championing of the disabled but if you were to choose a male celebrity avatar to represent you, who would it be and why?

There are so many male celebrities I would choose as avatars -- and still might -- that I could go on and on. But here's just a start: Don Rickles. Paul Lynde. Charles Nelson Reilly. Burt Reynolds in his Cosmo pose. Flip Wilson. All of them would be chosen for their camp factor. Don Rickles? No one more insultingly funny. Paul Lynde? Uncle Arthur was such a deliciously snide little bitch on Bewitched. Charles Nelson Reilly really made the Match Game. Burt Reynolds turned me onto hairy-chested men at a disturbingly young age -- eight! And Flip Wilson for Geraldine alone.

2. Reading your post about dating and the description of the Steve Lawrence guy, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry so I did both. If Steve had thrown in Eydie Gorme, would that have sweetened the deal at all? What other celebrity twosome would you 'date' if you could?

You know, that arse Steve Lawrence wooed and wooed me and then dropped off the face of the Earth all of a sudden after telling me he was getting theatre tickets for us and would call in a couple of days. I actually think he WAS married! So this is a fitting question. Okay -- definitely NOT Brangelina. But most certainly Seal and Heidi Klum, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Mark Ruffalo and his French wife, Ewan McGregor and his French wife, Johnny Depp and HIS French wife, and George Clooney and whatever skinny skanky lingerie model he's dating right now.

3. You're the only person I've ever seen adapt the magical word Schadefreude and you did it in relation to that cringeminge Paris Hilton, bone-us points! Are there any words that you cannot abide? Disqualified are 'panties' or the 'c' word (woefully underused I think).

I love the C-word and think it should be much more widely used but RTK is a family blog. My girlfriends and I actually call one another: C**ty C**t. As in: "Hello, C**ty C**t." Or: "Don't be such a c**ty c**t." There are very few swear words that I don't like, in fact, although I cannot abide the word "pussy" to describe the ladyparts -- so porny. What I hate these days are things like LOL, RFMLFAO or whatever the hell that is -- all those made-up Internet acronymns that you are actually hearing people use in speech. I hate some expressions these days more than I hate the actual words, and some of them seem to stem from the Net. Here's a new one that I cannot abide: True dat. As in: "That Paris Hilton -- she is the biggest skank in Skankville." Reply: "True dat." Huh??!?? Do you mean "I agree?" And I hate when people make up words to express emotion in their writing: like Gaaaa! or Arrrgggghhh! or even Phew!!!! Laziness!

4. The google ads at the bottom of your blog right now include one for Bald Women. If you were bald (are you?) and had to choose between rocking the look or consigning yourself to wearing hats, which would it be? In a related vein, would you let Carmindy from What Not To Wear anywhere near your face with her makeup palette? She does a mean smoky eye I hear.

I would no sooner walk around bald than I'd walk around naked. Hats, wigs, weaves, plugs, etc. -- I'd do it all. I really pity men who lose their hair. As for Carmindy: That is a serious fantasy of mine because at my age, I am really not sure if I can get away with the smoky eye anymore. And I desperately need red lipstick advice because it's back in but I have full lips and look like a blow-up doll when I wear it. Carmindy is the Makeup Goddess, although I am tired of her pushing the Crest Whitestrips on everyone these days due to product placement requirements.

5. This is the part where I offer unsolicited advice to you free of charge Jacy: 1) Read my blog every day and 2) if you do go for the nose job, remember to donate the extra bits to the homeless, they like to feel pretty too. Your friends seem to thrive by making comments and providing advice on life and how to live it. I'm guessing your shrink does the same thing. Which is the costlier proposition?

I actually do check your blog every day and you are a lovely writer! As for advice, yes, I get lots, both professional and non-professional, and I desperately need it. I am quite lost and fractured since the split -- I actually posted a picture of my knockers in a bra in a deranged moment of bitterness about my ex and his erstwhile love of my hooters -- and then knocked it down because it seemed so wrong. God!! I hope Jennifer Aniston is reading this right now and soon posts a comment to your blog that says: "I've been a fan of Jacy's for years. Her goodness just emanates from her, and I just love how much she's doing for the spinning movement around the world. I love her! May she pedal towards a lifetime of happiness on her Schwinn spin bike!"

I'm sure Jen will at least send me an email Jacy as she doesn't often comment out in the open like that. Thanks for taking the time to sit down without me and crack these nuts open.


Fire House

A few nights ago while on the back deck reading John Waters' Shock Value (A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste) , it must have been more than God could resist. Out stepped my neighbor Honeypot in a halter top and shorts and she quickly set to work building a fire.

It seemed fitting (unlike her apparel) that not only was it the warmest day we'd had in a while but that the the big news of the day was the mayhem being caused by a five alarm fire raging in the city.

I ignored her as best I could until I heard someone calling out "Hey, want some wood?". No, it wasn't a new paramour for our Honeypot but the neighbor on the other side of her fence. "I've just cut up a bunch of wood and you could have some for your fire!" he said a little too excitedly. "Sure, that'd be great", she answered, her cottage cheese thighs quivering in antici.......well, you get it.

Woody lives with his mother, an ever intriguing prospect when you're over the age of 40 and have your own wagon that you still pull around town. He poked his head around the back end of the lattice topping the fence that usually separates them and began handing over freshly cut wood. I've little doubt he's clearing away some of the forestation in his back yard to prepare a plot for his mother's final resting place although it could just be that he wants a better view of Honeypot's Emporium.

As the flames threatened to lick the leaves of the innocent willow tree trying to enjoy the last blush of summer, they chatted, she adjusted her halter and I went in to check my fire extinguisher.

Oddfellows Local 151 mp3 - R.E.M.


I Can See Clearly Now

This morning, the fog was thicker than that time at Antonio Bay. Walking through it, I felt that vague sense of unease that anything could happen and I'd probably be ill prepared to deal with it.

It was so thick that as I approached the station, you couldn’t even see the train.
The train wasn’t there yet, but still!


True Colours

After not winning on the red, green or any other carpet last night for my daringly casual Emmy attire, I wandered through a parking lot today wondering what would become of me.

I hoped for a sign and then, there it was. A sign. It looked like a standard "The management is not responsible..." sign until I read on.

The management is not responsible for any theft, damage, or loss of personal property, howsoever it may occur.

I enjoy it when I come across a word I've never seen before; this find ranks right up there with the egress sign I spotted a while back. I'm really not that hard to please.

The plan now is to try and work the word into casual conversation at least once before I die, howsoever that may occur.



A lesser mortal might worry about the fall out but not me.

Damn the consequences, I'm wearing the same pyjama pants (Old Navy) as I did for the Emmys last year.

No pictures, please.


Fill Me In

See this area right in here? The doctors say they can't find a thing.

Vote for me and help fill my brain.