This Is Going To Sound Like Bad Poetry

I've been thinking about the little dog and what might have happened to him since the other day. Tonight, I stayed a bit later at work and caught a later train. As I stood in the just starting rain at the corner waiting for the light to change, someone came up behind me and said "Hi".

I turned and it was the lady who'd rung my doorbell a few mornings ago. I said "Oh! It's you! What happened with the dog?" "I took him to the vet's office, they scanned him for a microchip and he had one. He lives a couple of streets away from you". "That's so great, I haven't stopped thinking about him". We both smiled big, she said "Have a good night", I returned the wish and we went our separate ways. I wagged my tail all the way home.


Going To The Dogs

This morning at 6:20 a.m. while I was getting ready for work, something shocking happened. My doorbell rang. "Who rings a doorbell at 6:20 in the morning?" my brain asked. My heart nearly burst through my chest but said "it's alright, calm down, it can't be a home invasion, it's far too early and they almost never ring the bell."

I opened the door and there was a well dressed lady of about 55 who skipped any greeting and went straight to an exasperated "Is this your dog?" A cute little dog of undetermined breed stood off to the side of her wagging it's tail and looking up at me. "No, it's not my dog." "Well I was walking and this dog started following me. He just kept on following and so I said GO HOME and it came here." "How strange, but it's not my dog, I've never seen it before." "I don't know what I'm going to do because he won't stop following me." "I'm not sure what to tell you." She just shook her head and turned and left with the dog following her.

I put on my pants finished getting ready and headed down the street toward my train. I could see her and the dog a short distance ahead and a man walking in my direction stopped as she told her story. He shook his head No and for a few steps, the dog followed him but thought better of it and turned around and rejoined her.

As I caught up with all 6 legs of them she said "I've already missed one train this morning, I don't know what I'm going to do with this poor thing." I smiled and said "I don't know either, good luck!". The dog looked at me, looked at her until she gruffly said "Come on" and they turned down the laneway off in search of new beginnings.

I didn't miss my train but I did perhaps miss an opportunity. If I'd just said "Yes! Sparky! Where have you been?" and taken the little fella in, I could have called in to work, had them courier me the paperwork and I could have started an adoption leave. I'm not much of an opportunist first thing in the morning.


Two Johns Walk Into A Blog

When I'm not busy tracking the movement of my neighbors or my hairline, I can often be found spending my time rather constructively. While it may appear to the casual observer that I'm simply sitting around in a daze, I can assure you my brain is on fire trying to sort out the answers to all the BIG questions like who's going to get popped on the series finale of The Sopranos and could my whites could be whiter?

Now that I think I've cleared a little space in there, I've been busy catching up on some of my favourite blogs. As usual, I'm struck by all the unbridled creativity on parade. While I haven't known either of these two characters long in a blog sense, they both have projects on the go that are exciting and worth tracking.

John Donald Carlucci is planning to launch a web only free magazine called Astonishing Adventures Magazine. He's enlisted some A-List talent to contribute but is also seeking input and submissions from others interested in the pulp genre and more. Give this post a look and all you writers get cracking.

Another John, the one called Mr. Mutford, has been busy with his bid to take part in Canada Reads, a panel discussion on books with Canadian celebrities inciting us all to get reading. As an avid and interested reader, John would like to see real people (namely himself) represented on the panel. He has a Facebook petition set up that will hopefully land him front and centre with the powers that be. Have a look and help make him some headway. Then he won't blame us if he ends up an internationally ignored superstar.

If we can save just one child from the Jolie Pitts, all this strenuous typing will have been worth it.

Let it never be said that I'm not at least as useful as a pipe.


Hell's Half Acre

Not so very far away from the Still A Car Wash car wash in my neighborhood, is a plaza that used to play home to a good video store, grocery store and several other useful places to stop and spend time in. Lately, things have gone decidedly downscale.

The grocery store closed, unable to compete with a big box grocery store that opened a few blocks away, and is now a Dollarama where you can affordably meet all your cheap plastic item needs.

The independent video store is now, gasp, a Christian Bookroom. Although the sign says OPEN, brown paper remains in place on the windows. Either pedophile priests are being brought to justice inside or there's nun on nun action available in the back room. I'm too scared to investigate.

The only fun the plaza now holds is that my dentist is still there to welcome me and Coffee Time, recently voted most unhygienic coffee shop chain in the Greater Toronto Area, is still packing them in.

Closer to home, my neighbors have proven to be even more fun than usual. Like many, my policy has long been Just Say No To Neighbors. The woman who looks like a hooker with a tarnished heart of gold and two young men, possibly her sons, have recently become the proud owner of a contraption that looks like an old fashioned round barbecue on legs they find more suited to building fires in each evening. They sit around drinking and laughing into the wee hours with their friends. It could be worse, they could be friendly. I avoid eye contact.

The only respite from this activity was a few nights ago when the hooker's boyfriend dropped by. She and this guy who looks about 60 sat by the fire in their plastic white moulded chairs necking like teenagers. They went at it for a good couple of hours and I know this because I wanted to go out onto the deck and practice my dancing, but each time I tried, there they were, still locked on to one another. If only they had been younger and hotter, I could maybe get involved, but as it goes, these two are probably beyond even their own fantasy material.

Last night around 2 a.m., I awoke to a sound I couldn't immediately identify. It took me some time to realize that it was the sound of a hand saw cutting wood to put on the fire. I closed the window and went to bed praying for the first time in a long time, that the old guy who lives on the other side of me lives forever. At least the old fucker's quiet.


Bittersweet Symphony

Recently, I inadvertently began infecting Tenacious S with bad songs in some of my post titles and comments. To prove my love, I offered up 'This Is Not A Love Song' by Public Image Limited recently. But now, I find myself reminded of something that is sure to bring her to tears once again.

Years ago, I worked with a lovely girl and the two of us got on like a house on fire, only without all that pesky smoke. We laughed a lot, covered each other's work and were generally as devoted as two platonic employees could be without rankling the feathers of her perfect fiance.

Any time one of us did something that benefitted the other, it was our habit to quote the excruciating Bryan Adams song by saying 'everything I do, I do it for you'.

Time went by, as it does, and the day arrived when my lovely friend and her perfect fiance were to be married. To my horror, the invitation announced that not only was it to be an outdoor wedding but it was about an hour's drive outside of town and at an old Scout's camp in the woods to boot. The potential for a haunted wedding seemed high.

My worries were for naught as the day presented itself as perfect. The sun stayed throughout, the site was charming and the little birds and woodland animals carrying my friend's train down the aisle chirped a lovely tune.

The service was a fine one and lasted just the right amount of time. The happy couple had just begun their reverse procession when out of the woods blared the unmistakable strains of that ghastly song '...you know it's true, everything I do, I do it for you...' They had wired the surrounding forest for sound and to me, it just seemed wrong.

As they walked by my seat, he dashing and proud and she wearing that new bride smell, I mouthed to her 'I thought that was OUR song' and she just kept on walking.

The horror.


This Is Not A Love Song

These are some of the words I refrained from using in the last post. Don't you think that shows a certain amount of decorum?


firm grip






back nine

hole in one



My new agent, Sans Pantaloons has been keeping me pretty busy with public appearances, motorcades and the like so I've scarcely had time to play among the blogs.

After my last few obligations are complete* I should be back writing my little heart out.

*perfecting Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the Nintendo Wii


Dog Day Afternoon or Interview With A Deadspot

When master storyteller Johnny Yen first introduced his pal Deadspot to the world of blogging, I knew it could mean only one thing - yep, another blog on the Internet.

While he may describe himself as just some guy, he's anything but. Okay, well yes, he is a guy but he's also smart, funny, a gud riter and look at that kick ass avatar.

I recently sat down with emailed Deadspot begging to know more and he threw up a little on me. Check out the answers to all the questions you knew I'd ask.

A Brief Reminder

While walking along a hallway at work this morning, I passed someone I have known for at least 15 years. The hallway is not dark.

As I smiled and said hello, she nodded her head and said ‘Good morning Sir George!’ and kept walking.

Readers, please note this blog is not entitled Passion of the Sir George.

Thank you.

*Edit - His most high excellence Sans Pantaloons made me a banner more worthy than this post.


A Loaf In The Hand Is Worth...

One of my ride-a-long pals on the GO train was talking about a recent visit she made to a local groceteria and an encounter with another customer. I love colourful exchanges with the public as told by her because generally, she always seems to have been wronged in some way that I find entertaining.

The store she went to makes their own (very delicious) bread and they slice it for you while you wait. She had gone in for a loaf of their sourdough and was standing behind a man in line at the counter. There were only two loaves left and it was close to the end of the day. When he ordered one, she figured everything would be fine. As the counter person started to slice it for him, he said ‘You know what? I’ll take them both’.

Sensing there might still be hope, she leaned around and said ‘Ohhhhh, that’s why I was here lined up, I was hoping to get one of those sourdoughs too’. He didn’t bother turning around and instead addressed the counter person, ‘Too bad, I’m taking them both’.

The prospect of a long night with no sourdough set her off. ‘Well aren’t you a sweet man? I hope you really enjoy both those loaves and have a great night!’. Without looking at her, he brushed past her with the prize and said ‘Don’t worry, I will’.

She was livid and said she wouldn’t have minded so much if he hadn’t been rude to her. I wondered if that was true, I mean she did get all up in his grill pretty quickly right? After we stopped laughing, I said that while I might have given her the loaf depending on her tone, I would have been more likely to just sweetly say ‘Ohhhhh, sorry about that’.

We may never know who had the bigger bread emergency that night but I do know at least four people got a story out of it.


Up The Junction or An Interview with Beckeye!

Beckeye honoured me with allowing me an interview with her recently.

The ticking was so loud that I cobbled together a few questions for her (including limited time only bonus questions). You will soon learn that she has one hand on the glorious mess that is pop culture and the other on my ass.



At last night's opera intermission, some guy came up to me and asked if I'd be interested in learning more about new tobacco products such as 'smokeless tobacco'. My rule is that if it's not heroin, I ain't buying.

J.C. Who?

Katie Schwartz posted a hilarious essay on what she'd do if Jesus showed up at her door. She's linked to the chosen people who've also welcomed him in. I never want anything to come between me and my favourite Jew that we can't eat our way through so I offer an attempt to address the question myself.

Jesus is the one with the x-ray vision right? Just before he rang my doorbell (I prefer when people knock), he'd be bound to see me scurrying for a few quick sprays of my Believe in God Instantly Faith Enhancing Breath Spray. Mmminty!

There's nobody at the door. I guess the spray doesn't work.

If he had shown up, I'm pretty sure he'd look like Phil Hartman in a bedsheet and I'd try and be cute and call him HeyZeus! and he'd just hover there unimpressed. I'd invite him in praying he didn't pick my favourite chair to sit in but you know he would.

I'd be terrible with the small talk and ask So, what do you think of Christopher Hitchens' new book God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything? He'd look down, pick a piece of fluff off of his robe and drop it right on my freshly vacuumed area rug.

I'd say, oh hang on, I'll put on some music. I Been Redeemed.mp3 by Meryn Cadell* would start playing and midway through, he'd stand up and poof! disappear. I'd laugh and call out Come back anytime Jesus! You're a helluva guy!

*Meryn's cd Angel Food for Thought has been re-released and it's about time. On the track above, she accompanies herself as she did when she would perform it live, with a tape recorder playing back her own voice. I love you Meryn!


Things I Saw Today At Work

The guy that looks like a grown up version of Milhouse on The Simpsons.

A guy doing what looked like high speed Tai Chi in the park near my building.

My whole blog flashing before my eyes.


All Hail Flannery Alden

Some blogs, I'll admit, I only read for the pictures. Not Flannery Alden's though. Because she's into begging for it, I sent a few interview questions her way. In a spectacular display of blogging prowess, she captivated, fawned, threw in the word egress, and answered stuff.

Proceed with whimsy.


It's Shake and Bake and I Helped!

Johnny Yen, he of the eloquent posts, tagged me with a restaurant quiz about your 5 favourite places to eat where you live. You're supposed to add a link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you to begin with and say where you're from.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Lulu (Chicago, Illinois, United States)
Chris (Boyne City, Michigan, United States)
AB (Cave Creek, Arizona, United States)
Johnny Yen (Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Dale (Toronto, Canada)

1. Queen Mother Cafe
A great spot on Queen St. W. although some of the tables are a bit close together, try for a booth. Delicious eats, trendy folks. Except for the lady who nearly set the place on fire with her newspaper. I put it out for her. That's how close the tables are.

2. Peter Pan Bistro
Cool little joint with great food - Like many places, they have a slate of their own drinks on the go. I ordered a PeterPantini just to say the name out loud and when it came to the table, it was really green. When I noted this, the waiter said 'yes, it's just like drinking Peter Pan's tunic.' This is not a comment that invites thirst.

3. Avli
Excellent Greek food on the Danforth. The dips are amazing. Really, have the dips. Invite me along.

4. Verona
Nice Italian (duh) joint on King St. with decent wines and a quiet, elegant atmosphere. Also one of my favourite places in Italy.

5. Biff's
One of Oliver Bonacini's restaurants, a nice French bistro with excellent steaks/frites. I don't know any French guys named Biff, do you?

Anyone else hungry? How about Freelance Cynic, Gifted Typist, Molecular Turtle, Old Lady and Constant Winter?

Tagged or Wag the Dale

One of my friends sent me some sort of Tagged email and I inadvertently hit something that 'tagged' everyone in my address book.

I haven't even inspectigated what it's all about so feel free to either 'be my friend' or ignore me as you please.

I'm ridonkulous.


Number 5 Revolution

I've read a lot of good Q & A sessions in the blogger interviews going around and decided that since I enjoy being fashionably late on occasion, it was time for someone to ask me a few questions. I asked Coaster Punchman (CP), already in the zone from several good interviews himself and he came up with these gems.

1. Who do you like better, me or Mindy? Compare/contrast.

This was a tough, soul searching question. Since meeting you on the blogs CP, I've been very impressed with your stalking, thieving, and writing abilities. I was lucky enough to meet you in a public place with backup and learned first hand that not only are you smart, funny and stylish up close, you even have a poor George who comes with his own inestimable qualifications.

Your good friend Mindy, I grew to know by association, first on the blogs where she intimidated me a little with her big brain and then later, in a public place with back up. During the planning phases for my trip to London, Mindy provided a lot of great insider information about what to see, where to go and so on by email. She was a real sweetheart. When I met her, she was immediately charming, witty and sexy, a woman with a devilish side who put me at ease straight away.

Having mulled this question over for practically many minutes, I'm going to have to go with your mutual friend Lulu. As far as I know, she's only judged me secretly to this point.

2. Tell us about the last time you bitch slapped someone, in word or in deed. Describe in great detail how much they deserved it, and what exactly you did that might satisfy my hunger for a good revenge story.

I'm generally an easy going, kind, compassionate and willing to listen sort of guy despite my often crusty demeanor which I save for the blog. I don't however, have a problem demanding good service when there's no reason for it not to be good or I'm paying through the nose for it. Although it's a while gone now, this post described a minor sparring match that, I feel, I stuck the landing on. Generally, I gently bitch slap people at work all the time but that doesn't count because they're often unarmed. Oh, and don't talk, eat or breathe at the movies if I'm in the theatre unless you're a lot bigger than me. If I can take you, I'll tell you to shut the fuck up.

3. What exactly do you perceive to be the problem with the French Canadians? Should they be allowed to live? Why or why not?

I don't believe French Canadians have a problem, it's all French people and that problem is, they don't speak English. The town I grew up in was about half French and half English. The English were morally above reproach and clearly the chosen people. The French sneered and hissed at us like animals, spoke a type of backward gibberish and fought with us just because we were better than them and called them frogs. That is, until the native Indians on a nearby reservation burned down their Church, their school, a couple of roadside bars and started getting bussed into our schools. Then we made up and out with the French like nobody's business. Did you know they do wine and have tasty sauces for practically anything? I love the French and have decided to let them live. Unless they rebuild the school for the Indians and then they're out.

4. You seem to be the most loyal blogger in terms of responding to your comments. Describe just how bad it feels when the rest of us fail to respond to yours.

When I first started getting comments on posts, I wondered if I should just play the aloof card and not respond or if I should respond and let everyone know just how aloof I really was. It seems to be all or nothing with me. As I cry myself to sleep at night anyway, whether people respond to my comments or not has little to no impact.

5. Is Toronto it for you? Have you ever considered moving? Where would you relocate to if you could?

Toronto's been a great city to live and work in and I like that it's relatively safe and clean. I'm not very nomadic by nature and think I would have a hard time just pulling up stakes and moving around. When I visit other places and see their relative charms, I do ask myself if I could live there or not though.

Somewhere on the west coast of Canada like Victoria British Columbia would be lovely; it's filled with charm, is on the water and I hear the mushrooms are pretty good.

If I didn't have to work, I'd love to split my time between somewhere quiet like Victoria, somewhere more energetic like London or New York and perhaps I'd throw Rome in there for a few months out of the year. It can't be that hard to make a living selling water off a cart for a Euro or two to the tourists can it? I mean I've bought it.

If any of you would like to be asked five whole questions, ask Coaster Punchman. Or I guess you could ask me.
I'll email you questions as long as your email is in your profile or comment and you'll answer them and like it.


While I was reading Keith Kennedy's blog a while back, I saw that Beth had done another of her scintillating interviews where he talked a bit about his tattoos. This reminded me of the film The Illustrated Man which I vaguely remembered from my childhood.

While I was at the store the other day, what should be sitting there begging for attention but the dvd of The Illustrated Man. I brought it home to see if I could revive the magic. It had always had a spot with several other creepy films in my head that had left a mark on me.

Watching it as an adult, it's easy to see that what scared me as a youngster was much different from what scared me about it now. Then, it was the fact that the blank untattooed spot on Rod Steiger's back had the power to show you how you would meet your end, now, it's the bad acting and shudder inducing realization that someone had to spend a lot of time painting those illustrations on Rod's ass.

Returning to my most recent opera post (see below) and finally hitting instead of again, I decided to check in on Keith Kennedy again. In another of those blushes of coincidence, he's just brought up the subject of tattoos again and also mentioned a white Russian. Isn't it funny that I've just declared (cold) war on them again?

If I was a man waiting for a sign, I might think it was time for a new tattoo illustration.


From Russia With Blah

The Canadian Opera Company manages to remain unfailingly interesting with each production they mount. It would never have occurred to me however, that anyone could tamper enough with as beautiful an opera as La Traviata that I'd feel more life drained out of me by the end than poor Violetta as she succumbs.

This diminishment was accomplished in spite of principals that were for once young, beautiful and believable as lovers, a wonderfully voiced international cast and an orchestra that consistently soars. At odds with me and many others judging from reactions afterward, was the ridiculous set design, costumes and staging.

I can handle missed lighting cues, surtitles not appearing on time above the stage and other technical gaffes but to open with an S&M party filled with leather clad guests is a little jarring. While providing excellent eye candy, the distractions from the drama had only just begun. The set had two banks of swivel doors that alternately provided awkward entrances and egresses and reflections of blinding light back into the audience. Another piece of the set consisted of a large mattress for our lovers to roll around and stand on while another set piece seemed to have been designed more classically and to solely highlight class distinctions.

The Russians are to blame for this mess: set designer Igor Nezhy, costume designer Tatiana Tulubieva and director Dmitri Bertman. I never thought I'd long for a return to the wonderful days of the cold war but this really got me thinking. When the production originally debuted with the company back in 1999, it was met with derision and things haven't changed. My only saving is that I've only sat through it once and will make efforts to not do so again.

Poor Joe Green must have been rolling over in his grave.


Turn The Beat Around

I noticed a sign the other day near a construction site. I thought it particularly elegant.

Construction Vehicle
Access and Egress

Egress. What a nice old fashioned way to say exit. The next part of the sign was indeed old fashioned. It said

Obey Flagman

In this case, the flagman was a very dishevelled looking female security guard with a cigarette in her mouth looking at her nails on one hand while halfheartedly holding a sign that summed things up.


I wanted to tell her to STOP but that would have meant she'd have to twirl the sign all the way around and she clearly had other things on her mind.

Something In The Way She Waddles

I knew it would happen sooner or later.

Someone very near (sometimes too near) and dear to me has dissed me. And misquoted me.

I blame it on the hormones (in all that junk food she's feeding the tapeworm).

Oh, it's on.

Some of our telephone conversations are much more brilliant than can be captured for their blogability. We talk on the phone on accounta the restraining order.


The Heartbreak of Psoriasis

I live my life by a series of rules and these help me make sense of my unordered universe. They are also made in an easy to break format in case any particular rule turns out to be ridiculous.

My latest rule has to do with the treadmill. I'm not a big fan of most forms of exercise and so I decided that in order to walk away a little winter flab, I needed a new rule to help me.

Watching television while I'm walking seems unnatural. If I could fit a couch on the treadmill, I might reconsider. I've tried reading while walking but without those large type books for people with uncooperative eyes, it's too hard to maintain focus. I'd also rather sweat over a book than onto one.

That leaves me with music. Finding the right treadmill music is a daunting task. Melinda June has a treadmill mix that she mentioned but I always have trouble getting my mix to match my stamina and I wind up wanting to crumple and fly off the back.

My new rule is that I get on the old mule and hit random on the iPod. I stay on for 12 full songs no matter the length. I figure that with a few songs clocking in under a minute, I'm golden, that is unless a few of the songs over 13 minutes decide to visit.

The tally so far for 4 attempts at unbecoming a sloth are 2 x 51 minute sessions, 1 x 50 minute sessions and 1 x 41 minutes. The combination of listening, guessing and praying makes me sweat more than the walking does but so far, the rule stands.

Johnny Cash comes up a lot and I like that. Songs I've never gotten around to listening to come up and that's a good thing too. Even some of the quieter songs have shown me moments of motivation.

Should there come a day when this rule becomes unwieldy, I'll trash it and wait for a new one to show me its grace and keep walking on.

I don't have psoriasis but if I did, I'd blog about it.


Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining

I had a dream last night that I was on my way to a hotel in the town that I grew up in.

While I was walking along a crowded street, a small person with an elaborate clown face blocked my way and looked menacingly at me. I was able to go around her but shortly after I was on my way again, a rough and tumble blonde haired man stopped me and was shouting at me that I’d been rude to his friend and all she wanted was a cigarette. I fished in my pockets and pulled out a single cigarette and gave it to him and he let me continue on.

I got to the hotel which seemed to be a boarding house. I checked in at the front desk and walked up some stairs to my room. I let myself in and found the bed unmade, a lot of clothes strewn around the room and an open suitcase with more clothes spilling out of it. I called down to the front desk and they had a ‘so what?’ attitude.

The guy who’d made me give him the cigarette came in and it was his room. I was trying to explain there’d been a mix-up and he just sat there smoking and looking at me. I heard voices out in the hall and several young people who I understood to work at the hotel were out there laughing and talking. I called over a young blonde girl and explained the situation and the attitude at the front desk. She was very apologetic and told me she’d make sure it was cleared up.

She then told me that if I gave her a --- and she used some sort of slang I wasn’t familiar with. She explained that if I showed her I had a 20 dollar bill, she’d get me a deluxe room in another hotel down the street called The Princess of Wales hotel. I showed her the 20 and she told me to go there and they would know to give me a good room.

I woke up.

So, this is what I know:

I watched the Amazing Race and there’s a little person on it.

I read Bubs’ interview of Melinda June and she mentioned her dislike for clowns.

I’ve had smoking on my mind a lot since being in England where it’s practically law that you smoke like a chimney.

There is a Princess of Wales theatre here but no hotel by that name.

The only place you can buy satisfaction for a paltry 20 bucks is in my dreams.