E.G. (Not Just Another Latin Abbreviation)

He's a rock and roll astronaut, he's evil and yet, he still likes the universe. He is Ziggy Stardust! Steve Austin! Dr. Evil Evil Genius!
He did not strike me down as expected when I asked the lame difficult questions. Have a look here but beware the eye!

Beth I Hear You Calling

When I posed a few questions to the inestimably talented Beth, I had no idea I was going to keep her busy all weekend! Well, busy with at least one of the questions.

Here's answer number one.

Honest In-Jin

Jin asked me recently to do her. Ever the polite Canadian, I cooked up a little something for her and hit her with it right between the pies.

Her answers were nearly as delicious as some of the food porn photos she regularly shows off.

If you care for a taste, click here.



I went to see the new Hairspray movie hoping for quite a bit more than I got. While it was certainly fun and Nikki Blonsky fleshed out the role Ricki Lake originally took on, I think it suffered for not having John Waters in the director's seat. His cameo was more inspired than the casting of long time drag queen John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. The whole thing just made me want to see the original film again.

Mr. Waters has always been able to make me laugh, think and occasionally squinch up my nose in a I can't believe he put that in a movie! kind of way. His book Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters has long been a favourite as well. I was surprised recently to see him put in an appearance in Jackass 2 but not so shocked when he turned up in the excellent This Film Is Not Yet Rated that Chris talked about.

While watching the special features on the dvd of A Dirty Shame, I felt a strange kinship with him when I learned that I share one of his fears, spontaneous human combustion, something I've worried about on and off for years. Now that I've said it, I can move on to protecting my other secret shames with more vigilance and am free to take on other projects.

I wonder if he'd do a cameo on my blog or direct one of my posts if I asked nicely? In no time, Mr. Waters would be sure to get at the dark heart of me and ultimately make me redeemable or at least get the white kids in my head to dance with the black ones.

Maybe a little help from a fellow blogger and a certain dodgeball teacher he knows might work in my favour? Then again, the whole thing could just blow up in my face.


Some Pig?

In the time it took me to use my next breath to curse, I'd stepped through a spiderweb this morning worthy of good Charlotte herself.

I felt bad for a moment destroying a night's work done with the noble intent of survival and wondered if I had just condemned a pig to die. But then I thought bacon! and felt a whole lot better.


Interview With A Bee

When someone new pops by and leaves a comment, it's always exciting to try and figure out who they are and what makes them tick. I've been very lucky to have comments from some really excellent people and want to say thanks to you old folks and hi to the young 'uns.

Recently, Kate from Someone Else's Horoscope dropped in and I saw that she'd been interviewed and was conducting some of her own. I figured if I asked for a few questions, it would be a good way for her to get me to talk more about me to know me. I'm not sure it worked.

1. How did you come up with the name Passion of the Dale (and while you are 'going there', how about a bit of dirt on why you chose the Bee guy for your avatar?) What's your definition of passion?

Hi Kate and welcome to my nightmare. I was inspired by a well known anti-Semite who had a film out at the time and I also liked the absurd way it sounded with my first name Passion Dale. It hopefully gives the correct impression that everything I write about means a lot to me, even if it's something as simple yet lingering, like a fart.

I used to have an old 45 rpm record centre as my avatar but then out of the blue one day, I was stung by the Bee. It helps me to rememeber how closely The Simpsons' skin tones match my own.

2. Describe a life-altering experience that you had. How was it life-altering?

You mean one that affected me or just in general? I've had several, some that I've blogged about and some that I'm saving for a rainy day. Any post on my blog that has the label family is bound to be telling, so try this one.

3. What do you think about plastic surgery? What would you change about yourself if you had the opportunity to do so for free?

I think plastic surgery is great for people who have disfigurements that are holding them back from enjoying life but when it goes too far (you know who you are), it hurts us all. I'd probably take a couple of inches off my waist if they could assure me I wouldn't die during the process but otherwise, I'd steer clear.

4. Do you believe in God? What is your vision of what happens to a person after death?

I'll let the book I'm about to start reading answer for me: Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything. I figure even if a lightning bolt hits me, the fact that I've got a nun in my family might score me a point if I end up needing it. After death, depending on your pre-nup with the funeral director, it's bug food or dust in the wind. These answers are subject to revision in times of crisis or upon rereading The Lovely Bones.

5. Where have you been in the world and where would you like to visit? When do you think you will get there?

My favourite vacations have been in the home country (Canada) and I've been lucky enough to get to see parts of Italy (Rome, Florence, Verona, Milan), London and New York and enjoyed them all. I'd like to get to Budapest and Prague, perhaps within the next year or two.

So, I'm not sure what have you learned about me Kate other than the fact that I'm an unrelenting smartass with a slightly pudgy heathen centre but thanks for stopping by!

If anyone else would enjoy a round of interviewing, let me know and I'll throw stuff at you. Or some questions if you prefer.

Sorry About That

Don't you hate getting into an elevator that smells like someone has just farted in it? It wasn't me. Honest.


Putting The Fun Back In Funeral!

Work has been killing me lately so when I noticed that the morbid good people over at Social Zymurgy: The Culture of Beer had devised a brilliant game to play, I wanted in.

They've been wondering what funeral mix you'd like to have played when your big day arrives. I've long toyed with the idea of playing deejay at my own send off and so, here's my first attempt at a list. Granted, not all of these would make the final cut but there are a few buried in the mix that I'd keep.

1. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing - Garbage

2. If You Were To Wake Up - Lyle Lovett

3. Born Secular - Jenny Lewis

4. God Is A Real Estate Developer - Michelle Shocked

5. Strange Angels - Laurie Anderson

6. I Set Myself on Fire - XTC

7. Try Not To Breathe - R.E.M.

8. Rocket's Tail - Kate Bush

9. Oh Happy Day - Harlem Gospel Choir

10.What'll I Do - The McGarrigles - this song makes me want to cry every time I hear it.


We Got The Beat

In our building concourse, muzak plays continuously for reasons unknown to me. Are the footfalls of the working man so abhorrent that they need covering up with watered down versions of yesterday's hits?

It's loudest in the morning when the building is virtually empty. As I walked through the other day on my way to find a life restoring beverage, the tune playing was one I didn't place immediately. After a reach far back into my brain, I realized it was a very horns heavy rendition of Donna Summer's Bad Girls.

Right on cue, two female security guards came into view striding to the beat. It made me smirk which made them regard me suspiciously. I wanted to explain by singing 'Toot toot, heyyy, beep beep' but I think they probably would have arrested me.

I make no comment on what these two should be charged with:


When Tomorrow Comes

If tomorrow is anything like today, I'll see:

-- two citizens of the homeless variety making out in a sleeping bag in the park near my office while two security guards chuckle at them on their smoke break

-- a full sized refrigerator with the doors on, a stained mattress and boxspring and bags of garbage on the site of a charity clothing donation box that's been removed from a plaza near my home because people keep using it as a dump

-- this image, at once frightening and beautiful


In Between Meals

Summerlicious is underway in Toronto and this means some good eating at restaurants I've not been to or have found too expensive to experiment with. Three course meals ranging between fifteen and thirty-five dollars is a great way to find out if you want to go steady with a particular restaurant.

While I buzz around town pretending I'm someone, it isn't always like this in my eating world. Usually, I'm just a guy who'll eat almost anything as long as I don't have to cook it. As with most rules, there is an exception. I hereby divulge my love for the one thing I will cook but wouldn't dare serve to guests:

Kraft Pizza.

It's not so much a pizza as a box of ingredients that you put together to make a little taste of heaven. There's a packet of pizza flour (just add water), a can of sauce (just open) and some fine herbs and cheese (to just sprinkle on top). A little elbow grease and 13 minutes in the oven is all it takes for a little taste of heaven.

My mother introduced her army of children to this fine delicacy many years ago and it was one of the few things she cooked burned that still managed to taste pretty damned good. She could take one package of that dough mix and stretch it over two full cookie sheets.

Occasionally, there would be crumbled hamburger on top or a can of whole button mushrooms, no pieces and stems for us, such luxury! Did you know that if you thinly slice wieners and put them on, it's almost like a fancy pepperoni? Shut up, we were poor.

Tonight when I go out for what will most likely be the last of my Summerlicious jaunts this year, everything will be compared to the Kraft Pizza I had just last night (plain but with extra cheddar and mozzarella).


Dear The Man

Today I plan to steal a bit of time from my busy day so I can get my haircut. After all, you never know who's going to be on the other end of the phone when it rings.


Don't Just Sit There!

Yesterday I did something unspeakable. I used a public bathroom at Union Station. I avoid doing this when possible because public bathrooms often tend toward the grotty. Bravely in I charged because the situation demanded it.

This particular bathroom featured some old and very open urinals. I don’t generally like to display the goods without seeing the money up front and so I went to one of the stalls.

As long as there’s a modicum of creativity involved, I’m a fan of graffiti. This stall didn't have much to offer apart from the usual mix of bad limericks and poorly rendered drawings of the anatomy of both sexes but then I caught sight of a few simple words printed off to one side that really got me.

I don’t want to be alone anymore.

How sad, I thought. And then I thought, maybe if you didn’t spend all your time alone in a bathroom stall with a marker, you wouldn’t feel so alone, asshole.


Top of the World

One of the best things about spending vacation time at the family estate in the Maritimes is leaving again. My official welcome of "Looks like you put on some weight" forced an immediate reaction - a quick shrug of my shoulders, the biggest smile I could muster and then I let her have it with both barrels, "Hi Mom".

It's a good thing I've learned to chew on my animosity until it's broken down into bite size pieces and save it for later. My mother's mutterings are never as important as my focus on the other players in the game, the promise of assorted fried foods and the well nigh essential drinks.

My sister the Sister, and assorted other siblings and family members dug in and helped with the navigation through stories and updates of our follies past and present and those of family members foolish enough not to be there to defend themselves. Photo albums filled with markers proving the passage of time were reviewed, new poses were struck and we ate, drank and made merry.

When I visit, I stay with one of my sisters and her family because as hinted at above, I'm no longer small enough to fit through the door of my parent's apartment. She's a saint and everyone seems to land on her doorstep looking for respite. I believe she may be a bit closer to God than my sister the penguin.

My folks are aging faster than I'd ever imagined they could and in a weak moment, realizing that the next time everyone is together might not be for the happiest occasion, I suggested we plan a reunion. The immediate responses of "I don't think so" and "No friggin' way" caught me off guard. I thought I was the only one that found these gatherings so draining.

Coming back after any trip, I enjoy the way the world comes slowly into focus during the descent through the clouds. Subdivisions promise a neatly laid out model for living, swimming pools glint semi-preciously in the sunlight, cars perform strange migrations around off-ramps and rows of school buses rest parked together like so many No. 2 pencils. I feel at peace looking down at everything and wait for the crunch of tires on asphalt to signal the start of my next episode in this strange life.


All I Ever Wanted

I'm only halfway done a week off and I've been busy drinking with a nun, avoiding my parents, eating at the kids' table and I may never come home.

Who am I kidding? I can stand another few days of this and then I'm out!