Gardening At Night

I haven’t seen much of my neighbors lately and yesterday feeling braver than usual, I sauntered onto the back deck with a book. I sat down and listened for a moment to the sounds of nature (mainly road construction and sirens) before settling in to read.

While minding my own (and possibly everyone else’s) business, I sensed movement from next door. It was my hookery looking neighbor who I now refer to as Honeypot as much for her backyard boyfriend humping as the delicate blend of honey mixed with bleach she considers a hair colour.

She was wearing a leopard type animal print with her hair pulled back into a stubby pig tail and holding a watering can. For the moment, she seemed content to confine herself to the few potted plants on her deck. I safely went back to my book only to be distracted a short while later by the sound of flowers along her back fence snickering at her approach.

The animal print revealed itself to be a one piece bathing suit that while large on its own was far too small for her, a fact that her dimpled ass can attest to. Stippling down from her exposed cheeks were the legs of a dancer, say a 75 year old and badly out of shape dancer. Apart from me, I felt it was a lot to ask of the sun.

Before I could make plans to be blinded by a local gang member, one of the most horrifying events of my adult life occurred. Honeypot turned, smiled and waved at me. I weakly smiled back, collected myself and fled to safety fighting back tears.

Most of the night was spent painting my windows black and wondering what material would be best used to fashion a large HELP sign for the roof.



Everybody's Got A Special Kind Of Story

I leafed through an issue of Hello Canada! magazine recently to see what all the Canadian celebrities were up to but had a hard time finding any.

There were plenty of features on people like Her Thighness, The Duchess of Pork promising to eat all the land mines or something like that and of course it's always a kick to see David Beckham who never gets magazine time but where oh where could my beloved Canadians be?

Then at last, I found one. Hello Alan Thicke!

Alan and his lovely child bride were featured in a glossy spread giving me all the evidence I need that Canadians can be just as creepy as creepy people from other lands.

When asked about his son Robin's music and lyrics, Alan had this to say:

He's always loved the ladies and that always fuels anybody's ability to write about romance. I love his romantic side - I think it's a little strange that my wife and I put on his CD to listen to late at night. It works for us, too!" [Laughs]

I laughed too, right through the puke.

Was it wrong for me to expect more from the man who co-wrote the theme song for Diff'rent Strokes?

Oh Canada!


Ein Interview Mit Fleckigem

When he's not busy trying to kick his Coke habit, Splotchy, or Fleckigem as the Germans call him, spends time creating and maintaining a fascinating blog that is sure to be on the best dressed list this year. He's a sharp observer of life offering wry observations on a variety of topics in a number of mediums.

He recently ponied up with some excellent answers to some so-so questions. The sweatshop I buy my questions from provides questionable quality goods but once in a while... You can read the results here. Do it for the kids.

Crisis? What Crisis?

All week long at work, I felt as though I was standing in a steady downpour of minor crises with no umbrella. There was a clearing trend on Friday afternoon though when I received an unexpected letter of thanks from a client.

For a full five minutes, I felt renewed and able to finish the day with a less heavy heart. I say five minutes because that's how long it took before my boss came looking for me to let me know someone had called to complain about me.

The universe is back in balance. Oh, life.


Play Mistress For Me

When not busy giving me valuable advice (never settle for a pre-war castle - the plumbing's generally faulty), Mistress La Spliffe is busy running her blog and circles around the European countryside.

During the last round of interviews with bloggers, she graced me with a gift of questions. How great she art.

1. I get the impression you moved good and far away from some elements of your upbringing. Why did you stop at Toronto? Or did you? Why are you there now, at any rate?

When it was time for me to spread my tiny wings and fly away, I headed for magical and mysterious Toronto. Several of my siblings had settled here and I used them as a safety net while I learned to make my way in the world. Now nestled in the suburbs, it seems perfect, I'm close enough to enjoy the city but can also take refuge from the rat-raciness of it all. Keeping me in one place is my job and the fact that I'm less spontaneous a creature than I like to admit. For now, I'm content to let others forge ahead into bold adventures while I cash the cheques and complain.

2. I see you've been reading Christopher Hitchens' book about religion so let me ask -- God: Sleepy, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, or Doc?

To my mother's chagrin, I'd have to describe God as Bashful, Sleepy and Absent considering that he never seems to show up when he really should.

As I mentioned to X. Dell in a comment recently, one of my favourite non-fiction books is called In God's Name by David Yallop. It provides fascinating and convincing evidence that Pope John Paul 1 was murdered and details the workings of the Vatican bank and how it funnels vast amounts of mob money. After reading it, I asked my mother what she'd thought and she said that the priest told her it was fiction but she liked it. If only any one of her children had such influence on her.

3. Speaking of, if God cursed you so that you could only eat one kind of cuisine for the rest of your life - and She actually had the superpowers to make it stick - what would it be? And how would you compensate?

For this answer, I picture God in all Her glory as a Botticelli babe, someone with a little meat on her bones, robust, with long flowing hair and a maybe just a little whiter than the current God, Oprah. I'd want Her to be armed with wholly good recipes from every region of Italy. Compensate? Nah, I'd honour her with my body, a burgeoning temple.

4. Favoritism aside, what book have you loved with the most constancy through your literate years, and how has that love changed?

--Some time after graduating from reading cereal boxes and repeated readings of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I found A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. It was the first book I remember really savouring. It made me laugh, think, cry and long for more. Mr. Irving hasn't always been able to give me more but now and then, I've managed a thrill or two. Dare I read it again to see how my love measures up to the memory?

Over the last few years, new relationships have been forged with many but two that will linger on will be Ann-Marie MacDonald for her searing Fall On Your Knees and Rohinton Mistry's astonishing A Fine Balance. Both remind me just how powerful the written word is and that I have a heart that beats.

5. If we assume for a moment that there is, indeed, nothing new under the sun, what was the Nintendo Wii when you first got enough disposable income to blow on it?

--I've never had a problem disposing with income at any point in my life. Long before my Wii obsession, there was music. Happily, there still is.

My first big-ish purchase was a Sony stereo system with a 5 CD changer. I wore it out eventually and replaced it but now I'm a nearly full fledged mp3 addict.

Thanks for playing along MLS and sorry for the delay in answering!


An Old Pro

Outside of the train station yesterday afternoon, stood a middle aged woman wearing a t-shirt proclaiming Abortion Stops A Beating Heart. She was giving instruction to 3 young pamphleteers who looked to be about 12 years of age each.

She told them that even if passersby didn't want a pamphlet, they were to say God Bless. Nice touch.

I successfully dodged the girls who giggled as they tried to pass on their message. None of them blessed me. As I continued on my way, I wondered if these girls would ever be allowed to give choice a chance.

Lyrics from Spring Awakening

Mama who bore me
Mama who gave me
No way to handle things
Who made me so bad

Mama, the weeping
Mama, the angels
No sleep in Heaven, or Bethlehem

Some pray that one day
Christ will come a-callin'
They light a candle
And hope that it glows
And some just lie there
Crying for him to come and find them
But when he comes they don't know how to go

Mama who bore me
Mama who gave me
No way to handle things
Who made me so sad

Mama, the weeping
Mama, the angels
No sleep in Heaven, or Bethlehem


Don't Rock The Boat Baby

Devilishly handsome line drawing Pezda recently rose to the challenge of answering questions as though the glare in his eyes was no big deal.

While I'm still not convinced he isn't rapper 50 Cent, I'll drop that line of questioning while he recovers from winning a gold, two silver, and a bronze medal at his recent rowing regatta.

When he's not rocking the boat, he can be found musing aloud on a variety of interesting topics.

Insert interview here.


Once More, With Feeling

I was really excited to get my tickets last week for the new opera season beginning in October. I was happy to see that one of the performances would be The Rabbit Barber of Seville and several other excellent works were planned.

As I've mentioned before, last year marked the opening of Toronto's new opera house, a world class venue with acoustics that are sublime. This herculean feat was accomplished through the hard work of scores of people but was most especially due to the tireless efforts of General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, visionary, and conductor extraordinaire Richard Bradshaw.

On Wednesday, Mr. Bradshaw passed away suddenly at the age of 63 from a heart attack. He was at the airport in the process of returning home from vacation. He leaves behind his wife, two children and a legacy for the ages.

I have no doubt that this will be a difficult season for the brilliant orchestra but know they will honour his memory and help us to make new ones.

My condolences go to Mr. Bradshaw's family and to the many others who have benefited and will continue to benefit from his vision.

The Flower Duet (mp3)


Snark du Soleil

As my trashy next door neighbors now seem to be busy roof repairing and swearing next door to Barbara's place, I've had to focus on other things, like the people that have moved in directly behind them.

Taking up residence is what may be a troupe of circus folk. On hearing the dulcet tones of something vaguely Russian-sounding being horked through the air, I knew I'd have to take a look. I noted several children playing happily in the yard while the womenfolk looked on at the two men erecting posts with steel bars between them.

After the posts had set, the men began swinging around them doing gymnastic tricks to everyone's delight but mine. I think I'll hold my welcome to the Brothers Rasputin until I can assess just how much they're going to annoy me.

Seeing them at play reminded me of the time Tanya treated me to a free show, no, not that kind, but a Cirque du Soleil production called Corteo. She and her husband Robert have followed the Cirque shows all over the world and proclaimed their brilliance for many years. Robert was washing his hair that night and so Tanya deemed me the Chosen One. I put on my finest red nose and off we went.

While I appreciated the music and sets, I remained confused throughout by the thread of the story and in the end, I proclaimed it all to be jugglers, acrobats and midgets, oh my!

While there was undoubtedly amazing talent and athletic ability on display, parts of the show disturbed me. Apart from the plodding giant they had walking around the stage, the thing that astounded me most was the segment in which a little person midget was harnessed to a group of helium balloons and sent sailing out over the audience cooing all the while like a creepy pixie.

The ringmaster urged the audience to hold their hands out flat and push her back up by the feet to keep her afloat. This spectacle went on for some time and all I could say to my gracious hostess was 'if she comes anywhere near me or touches me, I'm screaming and leaving'. Thankfully, Tanya supported me in my discomfort and no international incident did occur.

If these new neighbors come over asking to borrow a cup of balloons, I'm outta here.


An Idea That Won't Get Off The Ground

To help honour the King in a way that also gives comfort to the many weary devotees lining up outside Graceland tonight, may I recommend...

Careful getting up!

New York's Finest

I went to New York on the weekend because there was a menu on a wall that I wanted to read. The print was so tiny that my bee-dy little eyes couldn't get it all and so I called on New York's finest and they soon made everything better.

Pictured is said menu, one Beckeye, one Coaster Punchman, one Chelene and one Dale. Not pictured is one poor George assisting one poor Jessica with camera duties.

After we figured out what the menu said, we left. Okay, we had brunch and then left.

As always, it's a treat to meet new friends (hi Beckeye) and to reconnect with old great people you can never get enough of (hi Coaster Punchman, Chelene, and poor George).

My friend Jessica had never been to the Big Apple and so we managed to hit a lot of the sights, took in some great shows, ate like Americans and fiercely haggled with the Merchants of Menace along Canal Street, in all, an excellent trip.

See you next time I can't read something lovely bloggy people.


Won't You Be My Neighbor? - A Plea

Contents of my neighbors’ back yard as of August 9, 9:30 pm:

- One large inflatable air mattress (propped up against rear fence)
- One tent
- One upholstered (indoor) sofa
- One large inflatable pool
- One fire pit (in operation)
- One radio blaring Top 40 hits (possibly the worst infraction)
- One small child (female) wandering around
- Three people drinking something out of a large horn (at times up to nine people, one with electric guitar and small amplifier but no talent)
- Scores of beer bottles

If anyone has the number for this sort of pest control, please contact me at once. Please also note that it would take invisible neighbors to make me happy.


Another In A Series Of Meaningful Posts

Just once, I'd like to take a look at this guy and say He looks like a million bucks!

Why won't he let me?

A Guy Walks Into A Pharmacy...

This morning I made nice with the Elvis-lite train conductor.

I was in the hut where they sell tickets getting a new one and Mr. Conductor was telling the man in the booth next to the one I was at a joke.

The punch line involved a female pharmacist offering a guy with an erection that wouldn’t go away $3000 a month plus benefits. I smirked and felt I had participated enough.

He looked at me and said ‘c’mon, don’t you think that’s funny?’ to which I replied ‘I’m still pissed that she only offered me $2000.’ This sent him into fits of laughter and I went on my way knowing that I have touched his life yet again.

Now that we’re practically best friends, I’m considering giving him my blog address and pointing him here.


The Constant Gardener

My favourite exchange during a lovely weekend in cottage country went something like this:

Laurie - I’ve only got a few beans from the garden so I’ll have to mix the country beans in with the city beans.

Dale - What’s the difference between country beans and city beans?

John - The country beans are poorly dressed.


About Last Month

If there's one part of magazine reading that I devour, it's the Letters column. The whole section teems with purpose for me.

As it's often time consuming to read whole articles, I find it a real boon having members of the reading public care enough to write in, have their thoughts tautly edited for space, and help me figure out whether I should be outraged over the latest big deal or not. Important also, is the time freed so I can enjoy the sound of crisp pages snapping one after another as I search for ads featuring things I don't want but if presented properly, must have.

Dear Bon Appétit (America's Food and Entertaining Magazine),

I came across an old issue of your publication at a friend’s cottage this weekend and would like to compliment you on the artfully composed food photographs and the snappy captions (Mad about Mozzarella). Everything looked and sounded tantalizing; even the ads encouraging me to Discover Duck! made me smile.

While I hate to find fault, may I mention my mild alarm at realizing in place of a Letters column, you have a section for recipe beggars? One would think that those leading lives glamorous enough to include dining out would be sufficiently happy already but they also seem to require secrets from the kitchens of top chefs, gratis, and you accommodate them.

While a nice enough service, could your magazine not also support a separate Letters column? Imagine the the thrill your readers would feel at hearing how someone triumphed in their mastery of Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar and Chipotle after they wrote in about the experience.

You might also get a few letters detailing how an unexpectedly runny Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Melted Blue Cheese ruined a dinner party or a failed attempt at Hoisin Marinated Pork Chops threatened someone’s social standing, but I think that would just add to the fun.

Am I hoping for this type of feature to satisfy my own mean sense of humour? No, assuredly not. As proof, I offer this: I asked my friend if she thought I was mean and she answered, No, you're just not nice in the conventional sense of the word. Please let me know if you’ll consider my idea while I pretend not to know where her magazine went.

Hungrily yours,



I Will Not Be Stopped

Although you may think me mad, it is of little consequence. Interviewing has taken over my life as a way of blogging without having to say anything.

My pal Zed has always alternated between being nice to me and very nice to me. As far as I know she's not Canadian but still has the good sense to pronounce her name Zed rather than Zee. She is zerefore welcome here any old time.

I sent her a few questions and she answered with aplomb. Ladies and blogmen, an interview with Zed.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

An interview! Can you imagine it? This time though it's with someone far, far away.

Mistress LaSpliffe's take on life is interesting enough to keep me captivated but the way she caresses and harnesses the language makes me want to think up new ways to say things. Oh, and she's really good at swearing so she's an instant superstar in my mind.

With interests like opera, food and revolution, how could you go wrong? Ready? Here we go.


Hanging With The Mob

I feel it’s time to take a break from this whole interview thing and the best way to do this, is of course to answer a few questions that Mob over at Dear Bastards posed a while ago.

1. What got you into the blog world in the first place; was it something you read about, did you know someone who did it, etc?

I remember hearing about the phenomenon in the media and wondered what it was about. I did a little investigation and thought it might be a good way to stretch my flabby writing muscles and keep track of things I typically would email to friends and then delete only to wish later I hadn't. It’s turned out to be a great way to read some really excellent writers and observers of this ridiculous life we lead.

2. What was the first film you bought with your own money to watch over and over again, be it on DVD, VHS, Betamax...and is it a film that you still like today?

I believe it may have been Last Exit To Brooklyn on VHS but then again, I’m old and my brain is dodgy. I can’t understand why this film never got a proper dvd release but exists on a Korean import. The book is pretty amazing too.

I also remember getting Jurassic Park on VHS because it was came cheap once with a combo meal at McDonald’s. I still like both films.

3. Since celebs always want to speak for the world about how we should be pitching in and saving the world, who would you choose to represent us the best?

I hate self important shilling and proselytizing so I’ll go with Kathy Griffin, a no holds barred tell it like it is kind of gal. She’s already managed to at least jump up to the C list by this point so I think she could get a few things done.

4. What do you think is the most unlikely comic-book to film translation, the one that no one will ever be able to translate properly? (No fair cheating and naming the existing ones that shouldn't have been made...)

Nancy and Sluggo. I mean how could you improve on that?.

5. Tell me the type of music that you like least, then tell me the artist from that genre that you find the least annoying. The lesser of two evils, if you will.

This is a really difficult question because I do enjoy a lot of different musical genres and can find something to like about all of them.

While I don’t eat a steady diet of rap and hip hop, I do enjoy it as long as it’s not all posturing and calling everyone bitches and ‘hos. This may seem strange because I do spend a lot of time posturing on this blog. If I start calling you all bitches and ‘hos, feel free to pop a cap in my ass.