Now You Know My ABCs

Several friendly and funny bloggers have answered these questions and it's my turn to give it a whirl.

A- Available or Single

I'm available for parties, bar mitzvahs and catered events so long as I can bring a guest.

B- Best Friend -
Me, which makes the rest of you very lucky.

C- Cake or Pie -
I'd eat just as much pie as cake if it had icing on it.

D- Drink of Choice -
Coke or a Bloody Caesar

E- Essential Item -
My brain. I never leave home without it although some might beg to differ.

F- Favourite Color -
I like to wear red because it really brings out the bloodshot in my eyes.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms -

H- Hometown -
I was going to say A Town Called Malice but really, apart from the mental patients and thieves in the night, it's just a sleepy little hamlet in eastern Canada.

I- Indulgence -
I denly myself so little that I'm hard pressed to answer this.

J- January or February -
February, it's got my birthday in it and is one step closer to spring.

K- Kids -
Yes, kids. Currently, as seen on tv, they're a very hot accessory; get yours today before Angelina snaps them all up!

L- Life is incomplete without -

M- Marriage Date -
I'm terrible with regular dates so a marriage date could only end in disaster.

N- Number of Siblings? -
Eight is enough don't you think?

O- Oranges or Apples? -
Oranges peeled with the back of a spoon.

P- Phobias/Fears -
Snakes on a blog.

Q- Favorite Quote -
Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage. Albert Schweitzer

R- Reasons to smile -
So many when you tap into the poetry of life all around us.

S- Season -
I used to say summer but now there's something about the transitions in spring and fall that I love.

T- Tag Three People -
Hapabukbuk, Pink Fluffy Slippers and Megan, because I need to know more. The invitation is open to everyone else as well!

U- Unknown Fact About Me -
For now, it shall remain unknown.

V - Vegetable You Hate -
I think I like them all.

W- Worst Habit -
Biting fingernails, my own, not yours.

X - Xrays You've Had -
My head for sure.

Y- Your Favorite Foods -
Italian, Greek, maple walnut ice cream.

Z- Zodiac -
Aquarius. Do I always have to pour the water? And do I have to do it naked?

Celebrity Jeopardy

I don’t generally interact with my celebrities the way Coaster Punchman and Old Lady have reported that they do. I look them up and down, smirk at how tiny they all seem to be and carry on about my life.

As I work in a building close to the beloved and maligned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I occasionally see some of the talking heads in the vicinity. Lately, I've been seeing George quite a bit. I call him that rather than Mr. Stroumboulopoulos because he's been around a while and his last name is far too long. George's new music reports on local radio station 102.1 The Edge were always entertaining until he left to begin wandering the halls of Much Music as a veejay. He was very successful at that and sharpened his interviewing skills there. His current gig is as host of The Hour, a show featuring interviews with newsmakers, celebrities and reports on everything cool and worthy in the universe.

The other day, as I poured my coffee under the wary and watchful eye of my favourite Korean bagel lady, her face suddenly lit up as she addressed someone behind me (in a way I thought was only meant for me, inspired by me). Hello! she exclaimed How are you?! I heard the reply Fine thanks. I turned around, looked down and there was George.

She then said to me ‘you know him? He big star!’ and I nonchalantly replied ‘of course, it's George, everyone knows George; in fact some of the women in my office would really like to know George’. He laughed at that and said ‘then why aren’t you sending them over?’ We all chuckled and I made my escape.

This encounter made one of my female co-workers very jealous as she’d been ineffectively stalking George for a while. She's now tailing me every time I need a coffee or a break in the hopes that I'll see him, alert her, they'll fall in love and I'll have the Korean bagel lady all to myself again. I'll keep you posted.

Random Friday Ten - Deliquency Edition

I'm a little late. Oops.

1. Lovely Rita - The Beatles

2. New York New York - Nina Hagen

3. Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps - Cake

4. The Flower of Carnage - Meiko Kaji (Kill Bill soundtrack)

5. Once Upon A Time In America - Ennio Morricone

6. Cherry Tree - 10000 Maniacs

7. I'd Like That - XTC

8. Neighbor - Ugly Kid Joe

9. Talk Show Host - Radiohead

10.Suzy.mp3 - Kelly Jones


The Call's Coming From Inside The House!

The night before last when I got home, I was pleased to see several new cultural consumables had arrived in the post. That sort of thing always make me giddy and since giddy isn't really my best look, I'm thankful this isn't a video blog.

Yesterday was a planned day off but one that required sharp decision making skills at every turn. Dilemmas presented themselves in the forms of questions about such things as where to rank R.A. Lafferty's Nine Hundred Grandmothers and Moshin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist in my to read pile? Having The Agony And The Ecstasy and Bang Crunch on the go already, would it make more sense to finish them first or put on a blindfold to help me pick and then trip over a chair?

While I pondered whether a video blog might not be such a bad idea, I put on my new cd and switched to wondering whether I should forgive Amazon or not. They'd lied to me by saying they would get me a copy of the mistressy mastery of Joan Sutherland's amazing 1960 recording The Art of the Prima Donna if I was patient with them. They lied. They bluffed saying they were looking extra super hard for it but eventually sent me a shit, we can't find it anywhere man email. I'm going to suggest they check eBay next time. The cd is as outstanding as the reviews led me to hope it would be.

As I sat around wondering what to do next, I was started by a call. Who would be calling in the middle of the day? Nobody knows I'm home. It turned out to be the back yard: Hey! Look how great a day it's turning out to be! It's warm! Get out there and do some yard work! Like any part time shut-in worth his salt, I hung up immediately. Somehow, the calls kept getting put through and I was eventually worn down. I raked and baked long enough to feel I'd been somewhat productive and headed back inside.

As I snacked and settled on the couch, somehow the first 8 episodes of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman accidentally whizzed by. Clocking in at about 20 minutes each, they were just as strange and funny as I'd remembered. I did manage to stop myself from marathoning through all 25 episodes in the first volume and opted instead for a nap.

Later that same day, I got to check out 300. It was pretty cool with lots of stylized violence which I always pick over the real thing given the choice.

The main thing I was able to decide was that it turned out to be a pretty damned fine Wednesday.


What's My Age Again?

I'm terrible at remembering dates. It's a fact.

Let's see, I know the year I was born, the year I graduated high school and yep, that's about it. So, if I told you something about my childhood and you asked when it had happened, chances are, I'd look thoughtful for a moment and then say, I was about 12 at the time. This works quite well for me unless in the story, I show really poor judgment, in which case I change the age to one that puts me in a less culpable light.

Examples of how this works:

One summer day when I was about 12 years old, I was walking to the store and wondering what sort of treat I should get. I'd pretty much decided that I needed a large orange Mr. Freeze or maybe a blue one. As I thought about this and walked on withering in the heat, I lifted a hand to brush the hair out of my eyes just as a squad car rounded the corner. The police officer driving thought I was waving at him and gave me a smile and a quick salute. I thought that was nice. I always wave at the police in a friendly manner now, unless I'm busy running from them and then I don't always have time.
One summer evening, my friend and I decided to try and stay up all night just to see if we could. By the time 4:30 a.m. had rolled around, we'd already answered the question 'do you think we could count all the stars in the sky?' and we were definitely flagging. We decided to take a walk and ended up in a neighborhood a few blocks away.

In one of the driveways we passed a white van was parked. Through the windshield you could see a small toy replica of the van with a potato chip company logo on it. My friend said matter of factly I want that. I peered through the passenger side window hands cupped around the sides of my face for a better view and said Forget the toy, I want all those chips in the back! The back of the delivery van was loaded with boxes of chips! My friend tried the doors up front and they were locked. Dejectedly, he tried the rear doors and unbelievably, they were unlocked!

Without words or thoughts of consequence, we started offloading boxes of chips and running them across the few lawns between us and the end of the street. After a few trips back and forth, there was an awful screech of tires and a flash of light. My buddy called out It's the cops!! Run!!

We threw the boxes up in the air and tore off through backyards and over fences movie style and made it back to his house where we quickly crawled through his ground level bedroom window and sat there in the dark gasping for breath as quietly as we could.

When the adrenaline finally let us think, we sat there whispering recriminations. If you hadn't been so slow, we'd have gotten all those chips and been out of there! Yeah? Well if you hadn't been so noisy, we wouldn't have had to run from the cops in the first place! Oh yeah? Yeah. Shutup. You. Our fear collapsed in our laughter and the sun rising helped dissolve any remaining nerves as we stuck our heads back out into the world.

Alongside his house were the woods and dozens of trails we regularly played hide and seek, picked hazelnuts and rode our bikes in. Off in the distance you could see the hospital and the mountain we climbed. That morning, we took the trail through the woods that led us alongside the neighborhood we'd run from earlier.

Somehow, a couple of the boxes we'd been stacking had tumbled down the embankment into the woods we were now standing in and ran them back to his place almost as quickly as when we'd originally escaped the scene of the crime. We spent a while that morning eating chips and laughing and then started selling the rest to neighborhood kids. I was probably about 8 years old at the time.

Have you ever gotten to the store only to find out they've run out of the only thing you really wanted? One day after a particularly long walk in the summer heat, I was melting. All I wanted was an orange or a blue Mr. Freeze. I made it to the store and they only had red ones left. I bought a bag of chips instead. When I got home, I burst into tears. I was probably about 6. Not 42, 6! Shutup! You better watch it, I'm friends with the cops you know. I'll get them after you.


7 Songs for 7 Bloggers

I can't figure out a cute way to combine the names of Tanya Espanya and Flannery Alden so I'll just take them in vain and do as they said.

The order was to post Seven Sins Songs you're really in to right now. I'm not sure why it's Seven but I don't want my head ending up in a box so here goes:

1. Ol' Keeper.mp3 - Anthony Hamilton

2. All Mine.mp3- Portishead

3. King of the Bongo.mp3 - Manu Chao (you reinfected me Tanya!)

4. Blinded By The Stars.mp3 - Pernice Brothers

5. Ghosts Of American Astronauts.mp3 - Mekons

6. Stacks O' Money.mp3 - Eagles Of Death Metal

7. Let's Never Stop Falling In Love.mp3 - Pink Martini

I tried a dozen or so times to post the mp3 link for Danger! High Voltage by Electric Six but dark forces wouldn't allow it.

Now, anybody else? Please feel free!

Love That Lingers

A girl at work yesterday kept touching a blemish on the side of her lip while she was talking to me. It didn't distract me much because she never has much that's interesting to say. I continued watching and not listening for a while but finally had to break out and say,

-You know, you really shouldn't keep touching that.

It's nothing.

-Well, it looks...like a cold sore. (in my best Jerri Blank voice)

*No, it looks like my boyfriend punched me in the mouth.

-Yeah, with his lips

My arm's still sore but I think it was worth it.


Bound By The Beauty

The building management where I work has begun publishing a newsletter and the first edition yesterday had several items for me to unnecessarily pick on.

When an editor starts off with 'We want this to be a two way dialogue' and then offers no means with which to submit comments or feedback, you know you're off to a running (and screaming) start.

Atop a photo of two of the largest and in chargest volunteers ever seen involved in a food drive was the caption FOOD of LIFE. The way these guys were grinning, you'd think they'd just won food for life instead of having been out collecting it. I'm waiting for the follow up story 200 CANS OF FOOD MISSING!

The feature on the sculpture outside the building in a parkette was a piece of art in itself. The sculpture by Anish Kapoor is called Untitled but for clarity's sake when it's referred to in print, it's generally called Untitled (Mountain). I wonder why? Notably, it's valued at 10 million dollars.

I saw Mr. Kapoor's Sky Mirror installation in New York once on a visit and thought it was interesting if not particularly enthralling but then art is such a subjective thing.

From the newsletter:

...public art isn't supposed to grab you and shake you every time you walk past. Its purpose is to just be there and every once in a while give you pause, connect you to a satisfying thought and hopefully, every so often, assault you with its beauty.

So, not only is there joy in knowing that local seagulls really seem to enjoy their 10 million dollar toilet but now I know people are being assaulted by its beauty, at least every so often.

What wonders await in the next issue? As long as they give me pause and connect me to a satisfying thought, I say write on.


As Dumb As A (Dental) Post

Sometimes you just need a little perspective to make you thankful.

Reading about Coaster Punchman's dentist being inappropriate with him at the end of a visit made me feel lucky. All I get when I go is a simple exam at the start of the visit (fig. 1) and then whatever work that needs to be done.

Fig. 1


You Know The Drill

One good turn of creative bankruptcy deserves another I never say. So, following the lead of one Coaster Punchman, allow me to lead you into that darkest corner of fear, a visit to the dentist! Cue the music.

When I moved to my current suburban installation a few years back, I began a rigorous search for a new dentist. My main criteria was that the candidate for my affections be located close by. I'm lazy, no question. As I gathered stores of energy to prepare, I happened to look out the window and spied an office quite nearby that was home to a drill of dentists. Such luck!

Before I get to the inquisitive new dentist, I'd like to take a swing or two at a few of the old guys. In reverse order.

My most recent dentist was an Asian man who stood at about 6.5 feet tall. (A 6.5 foot tall Asian guy in a mask walks into a bar...) He was nice but continually gloated about all the fantastic vacations he was taking with my insurance company's money. He did make me laugh though and when they were talking about picking a new pope, he showed his progressive sense of humour by saying he wanted to promote more equality in the papacy by printing on t-shirts the slogan Black Smoke For A Black Pope.

Prior to this and after having just moved again, I chose a dentist a few doors away (criteria met) to work on the lone wisdom tooth that showed up to my party. He had a bit of the look of mad scientist about him but seemed amiable enough, at least until he set to work tearing away part of my soul through my gums.

He stitched me up, gave me medication and sent me on my way. The pain and bleeding continued beyond reason and I made a return visit. He'd left a piece of the tooth in and had to go back after it. Following more pain, bleeding and medication, I found myself in front of a pharmacist asking me why a dentist would give me something with aspirin in it, a well known anti-coagulant? If only I'd had two wisdom teeth to guide me initially, this bit of quackery might never have occurred.

Growing up, there was kindly Dr. Gillis. He was what you might call in polite circles a sadistic fucking asshole. He never used enough freezing and I think, enjoyed that. I went to school with a couple of his children and there was no doubt their teeth were perfect but I'm sure it was out of fear and not his dental tutelage.

Flash forward again. Everything here in Candyland is sunshiney and beautiful and the trees are filled with gumdrops the happy songs of Egyptian plovers.

My new dentist is about about 7 years old, seems to know how to use all his Little Tikes dental gear and he pretends to like me which I enjoy.

When I first applied to be his patient, there was a questionnaire to complete with the last question being 'Have you ever had a bad experience with a dentist?'. Like all the best questions, there was barely space to answer and so I checked yes and noted that my former dentists were sadists. He's never asked about my response but that may be because he's too young to understand such a big word, but I smile big every time I see it on the green page that flutters as he opens my file.


Check in the Post

A few musical notes for a Friday.

Katie Schwartz! Since you brought it up here, I think you need your mama to play this the next time she asks a skeptical salesgirl for help: CT.mp3.

And Cool Cat? Your post about kitties, Pecker and Say Anything made me think of the Peter Gabriel song In Your Eyes which brought me to Laurie Anderson who has worked with Peter. She's known for saying anything too and has a song I love that you can hear here.mp3.

Chelene. I know what you've been up to and so, I offer this different sort of vacationy reference tune.mp3 The title could be referring to you right now. I hope it's booze inclusive!

I stopped at 3 because that's just how I roll lazy I am.

The Corrections

The surety I have when writing about my parents is that there is always a moment when their lack of sound judgment takes centre stage.

Recently, I wrote about a mental patient who’d tried to get a friend of mine to follow him into the woods when we were kids. Later, the patient succeeded in using the same tactic to lure and kill someone.

When I mentioned this tale to my younger sister recently, she didn’t recall any of the story and decided to ask my dad about it. I’d like to go on record by saying I’m against fact checking. How much good can come out of other people mucking about in my memories? I mean, really!

My father remembered the incident of the murdering patient quite clearly although he disagreed with my recall on why mad Jack had been a guest of the hospital to begin with. I’d thought it was for murdering his parents but it was worse even than that. He'd had a penchant for capturing and torturing small animals and had gone so far (or was so far gone) that he’d joined The Kindness Club, an organization dedicated to teaching kids to be kind to animals, so he'd have easier access to his prey.

My sister said it was lucky I’d been there to point out to my friend that following a mental patient into the woods wasn’t the best life decision. My dad agreed but added ‘he was always doing that because he liked boys’. My mother then piped up nonchalantly about my friend saying ‘he was a good sized kid, he probably could’ve taken care of himself anyway’.

My sister was aghast and wondered why this nut had been allowed to hang around the buffet grounds of the hospital at all and my father didn’t know why either.

Over the years, my mother has proudly declared that all of her children graduated high school and none of them ended up in jail. More than ever, I’m convinced that my folks had nothing at all to do with the way things turned out.


They're All Gonna Laugh At You

When I saw this, I thought, no, they'll definitely outlast the photo!

But the greater wisdom and funnier line comes from Kirelimel on Melinda June's blog post about Anna Nicole when she said "Thousands of years from now, archeologists will wonder why we buried women with sacks of silicon".




Dear Fred,

When you lent me your copy of Superman Returns, you mentioned that you found it a bit boring. You were right. I know you were right because all around me sit stacks of folded laundry and that just doesn't happen for nuthin'.

This might be a loaded question but when did Kevin Spacey start sucking so hard? I'd rather have had Margot Kidder shave her head, put a few teeth in and play Lex Luthor. At least then, when that wheezy kid said 'you're bald' to him, she might have tossed off an 'oh yeah? well you're short!' remark and redeemed the moment.

If everyone we know gives Parker Posey a dollar, do you think she'll stop saying yes to shit like this? I'm willing to send her at least one, maybe even two.

Am I being too hard on it? After all, there was a decent use of surround sound and Brando hasn't seemed so alive in years.

The next time you tell me something's boring, please speak up louder.

As penance, please listen to Five For Fighting's Superman.mp3 on a loop for the next 2 1/2 hours and we're square, okay?



Look Into My I's

Friday iTunes random mix-a-thon:

It's All I Can Do - The Cars

In The Future When All's Well - Morrissey

I'm Afraid Of Americans - David Bowie

Got Love To Kill - Juliette And The Licks

Explain It To Me - Liz Phair

Way Past Blue - Melanie Doane

Lighting Out For The Territories - Laurie Anderson

Dolce pensiero - Semiramide (Rossini) - Joan Sutherland

Imitation Of Life - R.E.M.

Gore Veil - The Deadly Snakes


The Bad Lieutenant's Wife

Blogging sensation Write Procrastinator has a shiny new blog in addition to his excellent one already in progress.

It's called The Bad Lieutenant's Wife for a good reason. It's a spot for some fun movie title combining which I'd enjoy a whole lot more if I wasn't so terrible at it.

The rules are pretty simple and are on his site.

Play. Or one of Jerry's kids gets it.


Paper Faces On Parade

When I booked tickets to The Phantom of the Opera so I could take my nieces, I hadn’t figured the cost would be so high. I’m talking of course about the trauma of missing a live episode of American Idol. The Phantom touring company ended up sounding a little pitchy in spots though, so it was a bit like being at home in front of the television.

Christine – You’re not the strongest voice in the competition but you know what? You weren’t stagey with your voice and you’ve got a natural warmth thing going on so big points on that. Just watch that whole tripping up the staircase thing in the big Masquerade number and you should be fine.

Phantom – You’ve gotta bring your 'A' game every night at this level. That’s your name up there on the marquee you know? Watch that singing out of your mask side when you hit your lower register okay?

Raoul – If my stomach can grumble in tune, how hard can it be for you to listen to the music and sing along in key? It’s your job.

So overall, it was just alright for me tonight you know?

The Phantom of the Opera played in Toronto for about 10 years and so, I’d already seen this show a few times more than necessary. When the bus tours from Buffalo dried up and the music died, I thought we were in the clear. Nobody told me touring companies would show up now and then to taunt me.

The best part about the whole evening was getting to watch my nieces enjoy it. I’m not so jaded that I don’t remember how electric and emotional a live performance can be. I was really glad they seemed to love it. The touring company did a decent job of bringing the original production back to life although I don’t think I ever need to see it again. Unless of course, I’m in it.

When I got home, I watched the playback of American Idol and saw a lot of forgettable performances from the guys. When I eventually put head to pillow, a smile found my lips as I realized about both shows ...it’s over now, the music of the night.


One Thing Leads To Another

I was reading n.v.'s hilarious take on the American Idolatry peformances and then my brain misfired a little.

When I see contestant Phil Stacey, I think of chemotherapy. I just do.

And when I think of all the chemo patients I've loved before, Gilda Radner pops into my head. I wish I was watching her instead.

Gilda's Live From New York show was a favourite of mine before I ever saw the videotape of it. I had the soundtrack record and it was nearly as funny even without the visual cues. I wish they'd release it on dvd. It's always something I guess.

Thinking about the fun of the opening song Let's Talk Dirty To The Animals.mp3 made me go in search of video clips of her doing the song.

Instead of finding my beloved Gilda, I found clips of Drag Queens doing lip synchs of the song, not quite the same thing.

To clear my head, I remembered back to the sweetest closing number a show may have ever had -- Honey (Touch Me With My Clothes On).mp3.

I listened to the song again and it made me think back to a simpler time when life wasn't so complicated.

And then I thought, how will I ever find a moment like this of my own if I don't put some clothes on?


I've Got Her Pegged

Heather Mills (McCartney) is going to be on Dancing With The Stars proving that the misuse of the word star in this context is being allowed to continue.

Is it too early (or late) to make jokes like 'I wonder if she'll be dancing to Something in the way she moves...?'

Also appearing is Joey Fatone, formerly of NSync. I enjoy mispronouncing his name.

Walk Out To Winter Friday 10

In Canada, all we do is talk about the weather. Yesterday, a lot of prayer and complaining (very similar you know) went into the work day. A raging blizzard complete with thunder and lightning meant that we might get sent home from work early. Und we were.

The first train I can catch however does not leave until 4:30 so my extra 1 1/2 hours was spent watching the freaks people in Union Station, reading and listening to my iPod.

The aftermath today is a lovely wonderland with a protective layer of ice forming because of the freezing rain that took over when the snow tired. The only good thing amid the treachery is that everything looks wonderful for that first second when you haven't begun to try and walk or shovel it. Hi ho, hi ho...

I Surrender.mp3 David Sylvian

Ramblin' Man.mp3 Waylon Jennings

Think I'm In Love.mp3 Beck

If I Should Fall From Grace With God.mp3 The Pogues

Move.mp3 Dreamgirls

CurlyLocks.mp3 Sinead O'Connor

Stayin Alive.mp3 N Trance

All You Pretty Girls.mp3 XTC

Set Out Running.mp3 Neko Case & Her Boyfriends

Sex Beat.mp3 The Gun Club

Bloody Hell

I was trying to open a vacuum sealed package of cheese yesterday with a too large for the job serrated knife. The knife slipped and bit at the flesh of my index finger.

Was a time when I would have pressed on the finger, marvelled at the wonders of blood flow, the human machine and pondered my mortality. While thinking of all those NOVA programs I never watched, I would have clotted and moved on with my life.

As soon as the blade touched my finger yesterday, my whole body tensed in reaction and I felt nauseous. The feeling stayed with me like a bad all over body stone every time I thought of it for the next few hours.

I used to have a stomach of iron. Now? I think the technical term is wuss. After years of loving roller coasters, am I destined to throw up on the Tilt-A-Whirl?