Monday, November 28, 2005

The Exo-Files

A former Canadian Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”

Brace yourselves fellow Canadians – The Yanks to the south are surely going to be training those nuclear warheads directly on our target now for sure! It’s bad enough that the Americans already see us as their retarded neighbor who's responsible for unleashing Mad Cow, SARS, Monkey Pox, and who fuck knows what else, but now we have to contend with some wacky ex-Minister going all X-Files and spouting off about little green men on top of things.

No wonder Bono has such a hard-on for picking on Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in the media lately; and even Bob Geldof before him. We’re a complete laughing stock – a few strips of bacon short of a sandwich. Bono, apparently, is still “crushed” over Martin’s refusal to commit 0.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product to eliminating poverty.

Oh, get over yourself douchebag! I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again: “Fuckin-A, Paul! You give that Irish dipshit in the cowboy hat what-fucking-for, eh! Show him how your left hook moves in mysterious ways!”

Now here’s Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defense Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stating: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head" on September 25th of this year in a startling speech at the University of Toronto.

Just fucking perfect! Who’s ever going to take us seriously anymore at this rate? Even though we're known Internationally as the worlds "peackeepers"; our little blue helmets arn't going to be worth shit against an alien Death Ray.

It seems that Mr. Hellyer so firmly believes in his ET’s that he further warned his audience that the United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He openly stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

Okay. This guy has been sniffing way too many FEDEX van seat cushions! Somebody shut this fucking guy up before even the friggin’ Danish are laughing at our collective asses.

Here we’re grappling with the Avian Flu pandemic that’s hanging over our heads and this numbnut is worried about Intergalactic Wars. So much so that three Non-governmental organizations took Hellyer’s words to heart, and approached the Parliament in Ottawa, to hold public hearings on a possible ET presence, and what Canada should do. The Canadian Senate, which is an appointed body, has held objective, well-regarded hearings and issued reports on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage and medical marijuana. In fact, to better organize the agenda for this particular Senate hearing, I assume that the actual same-sex legislature will be literally used to roll up the remaining evidence from the medical marijuana hearing so that it can be smoked before the Senate commences with it's scheduled meeting. How else are you every going to understand that on October 20th, the Institute for Cooperation in Space requested Canadian Senator Colin Kenny, Senator, Chair of The Senate Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, “schedule public hearings on the Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, so that witnesses such as the Hon. Paul Hellyer, and Canadian-connected high level military-intelligence, NORAD-connected, scientific, and governmental witnesses facilitated by the Disclosure Project and by the Toronto Exopolitics Symposium can present compelling evidence, testimony, and Public Policy recommendations.”

Huh? Are my taxpayer’s dollars fucking paying for this? I better smoke another one...

Imagine sitting in on that particular Senate meeting. One minute it's all "dood", "no way", and "wow, man", and the next thing you know, everybody is gorging themselves on cookies and playing X-Box.

The Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, presented by the organizations to a Senate Committee panel hearing in Winnipeg, Canada, on March 10th, proposes that the Government of Canada undertake a 'Decade of Contact'. The proposed 'Decade of Contact' is “a 10-year process of formal, funded public education, scientific research, educational curricula development and implementation, strategic planning, community activity, and public outreach concerning our terrestrial society’s full cultural, political, social, legal, and governmental communication and public interest diplomacy with advanced, ethical Off-Planet cultures now visiting Earth.”

And all this because a bunch of garage door openers suddenly broke? Is any other Canadian embarrassed yet?

We're going to have every brill-creamed geekasaurus and sophmore Trekkie outcast beelining for our border for the next few months. Shit, anybody who's ever so much as owned, played with, or built a to-scale model replica of the Millenium Falcon as a child will be applying for a permanent citizenship. Sure this would all give Leonard Nimoy an erection the size of Manitoulin Island, but what’s it all mean exactly? I don’t understand the need to continually poke the active beehive with sticks just to see what happens. And believe me, after 9/11, that big fucking beehive to the south isn’t in the mood for shit – ET’s or otherwise. They already have their eyes trained on us as it is - they’re just as likely to recall their troops from the Middle East and turn them loose on us instead. Americans already think we’re a nation of complete stoners all running around with our tongues stuck out of our mouths because somebody once warned us of acid rain. They’d think nothing of rolling over us and paving over the prairies for a massive military parking lot.

Miraculously, Hellyer ended his speech with a standing ovation - a testament aimed more towards the quality of good shit on hand, than for the actual speaker himself. He even concluded, saying, "The time has come to lift the veil of secrecy, and let the truth emerge, so there can be a real and informed debate, about one of the most important problems facing our planet today."

Sadly, he did not mean starving Africans. Fuck their skinny asses - we have bigger fish to fry!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Return of Officezilla!

Fashion has become the Bain of my existence at the office lately.

Along with the responsibilities of being recently promoted up from the ranks of lowly wage donkey’s, comes the expectation that I will also make a further effort to actually look the part as well. I suppose whether or not I am actually efficient at doing my job is not really important as long as I can successfully dress with the air of someone who would aspire to such a position. The fact whether I am wearing jeans or business casual khakis while excelling at my labors seems like a minor moot point to me, but it’s not my responsibility at work to make those vitally important office decisions.

Lately, in an effort to comply with these new office mandates I have been in and out of the Walmart dressing rooms more times than the Duke boys have been in and out of the Hazzard County jail. And this is not an easy thing to admit for someone like myself whose only previous brush with popular fashion was in accidentally discovering a secret shoe fetish while roaming the aisles at a discount clearance store.

The true fact of the matter is that I’ve never been remotely considered anything as fashionable before, and now suddenly, I’m being required to somehow transform myself into Calvin Klein by this Monday morning. Up until this point in my life I have avidly subscribed to the safe, familiar sexual ambiguity of jeans and t-shirts. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are in this life, put on a pair of Doc Martins and a flannel shirt and immediately you’re perceived as a misunderstood “ar-teest”. What I know about really being “professionally fashionable” at the office place you could inscribe on a single grain of sand; I still consider white socks and sandals to be a statement in comfort that transcends beyond mere Labor Day.

That is to say – I’m a fashion retard.

This doesn’t mean that I am against having to dress up and appear professional at work. I’m simply relating that this is not something that is going to come easily for me since it also inevitably means that I will have to do more clothes shopping – and I fucking hate clothes shopping. Nothing ever seems to look quite right while standing in front of those full-length mirrors standing in most dressing rooms. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me it’s like I’m checking myself out in one of those Carnival Funhouse Mirrors. Any pair of ordinary “flat front” trousers will inevitably make me feel like I have developed a severe case of testicular Elephantitis* while examining myself in one of those fucked-up dressing room mirrors.

My lack of common fashion sense really struck home this year at the annual company “Seasonal Dance”**. Here, co-workers were getting all dolled up like actual Red Carpet celebrity debutants and here I’m left trying to accessorize the only tie I own with my only pair of Dockers. Fashion just comes naturally to some. Some people could stitch a cow turd to their cheek and eat maple walnut ice cream out of a toilet bowl and still come across as being stylish. I guess I’m just forever destined to be the rube in faded Chinos.

There is even one manager at work who has become synonymous with office fashion, as on any given day he makes Hugo Boss look like a Keebler Elf. And I’m not talking about that hideously tacky Officezilla guy either! That guy looked like a neon tetra fish swimming between the desks. But this particular manager has reset the bar for office fashion more times than Dick Fosbury with a severe case of the cramps. Honestly, how many men can wear a bright neon orange dress shirt capable of burning out the eye sockets of innocent rabbits if ever they should happen to gaze upon him for too long. Well, he didn’t even bother to wear a tie to the Seasonal Dance this year and he still made us all look like a pack of dyspeptic hyenas - I bet this guys farts smell like bakery-fresh cinnamon rolls. And still he managed to get kudos’ from all his peers and fashion disciples alike during the post-dinner speeches. When I later inquired him how he so easily managed to stay on the very cusp of current office trendiness, he simply winked and coyly advised me: “sometimes you just have to zig when others people are zagging”.

Okay, there, Tommy Hillpecker – thanks! Usually, for me this means proceeding to get ripping drunk, strip naked and dance on the table before passing out under my car in the parking lot with my keys up my ass – but I think I understood what he was driving at.

* A revelation that my female companion at the time was not so inclined to hear - twice - in the middle of the store at the time.

** Why they just can’t call it an office Christmas Party anymore is beyond me. Why are we so afraid of upsetting those denominations that do not believe in or participate in our own traditional holiday customs? Muslim employees are allowed to take an hour off every day for prayer for one whole month out of respect for their religious faith, so why can’t we still reserve the same right to whoop it up once a year at a holiday office rager and drunkenly make out with a co-worker on the photocopier?

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Am Cannabian (Part II)

DISCLAIMER: The sad fact is, that this intended second part (Part I) for my vacation travelogue is long overdue. Not long enough that I have forgotten the intense displeasure of having eaten roadside cheese curd - but long enough. Coupled with the fact that my time at the keyboard is limited these days and I'm feeling guilty of having posted nothing in almost a week, I decided to post it here now despite the fact that it's still, as of yet, incomplete. But hey, somethings you just want to keep for yourself.

I'm so ashamed of myself. Enjoy nonetheless.

(As I my focus was in the diligently driving us for the entire length of our journey, the following travel accounts have all made in hindsight after deciphering whatever few shorthand notes my female companion was able to scrawl into a note pad at 120km/hr. Judging by the few chicken scratches that were made, either I had very little to say for the duration of the trip, or I have just inadvertently stumbled across the formula for the Caramilk Secret. I apologize if the caliber of my ‘in-the-moment’ lowbrow humor is not up to usual high standards, and the fact that this little epic travelogue only took another 3 months to finally be posted - albeit incomplete.)

St. Catharines; ON (9:23AM)

Okay, so we didn’t leave so early in the morning as planned. It wasn’t an early morning sunshine that cascaded through our windshield; it was more like an early mid-day afternoon’s glare - whatever. It felt good to finally be on the road and putting some distance between us and the normal 9-5 doldrums that had become our daily work lives. I think I speak for the both of us when I say that we needed this adventure like we needed a million dollar lottery prize*. For me, at this point, after exactly one year since my last major trip to Texas, I wouldn’t even care so much if I were to be abducted and gang-probed by a group of bug-eyed aliens so long as I was able to return with a nice tan and a token souvenir t-shirt: “I GOT ABDUCTED AND GANG-PROBED BY ALIENS AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY SHIRT”. It still would be a welcome interruption to the mundane routine that I have become enslaved to. With each passing mile beneath our wheels I could actually feel the layers of stress unraveling from my body like a drying onion.

Unfortunately however, the miles of our first journey leg lay between Toronto and Cornwall along Highway 401, through Oshawa, Cobourg, Brighton, Trenton, Kingston, et al, and is about as exciting as watching paint dry. The only real site from the roadway besides the acres of golf courses and regular Tim Horton’s rest stops is the “Big Apple Marketplace” on the outskirts of Kingston. The marketplace even has a humungous apple (which, to me, looks more like a mutated peach) constructed in the parking lot to proudly advertise: “Over 2,358,644 pies sold”. Wow! That’s a lot of fucking pie; but hardly enough tacky tourist appeal worthy of stopping for. Besides, being the uber-health conscious travelers we are, we avoided the monster apple pies as well as the buckets of greasy chicken from the rest stop KFC at the next turn off, and instead we feasted on regular sized apples and sweetened rice cakes (which, to me, despite the added sweetened flavor, still taste like air) – all conveniently located within arms reach behind the seat of course.

Besides, at the KFC rest stop, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous at the number of angry-looking Arab men milling around the gas pumps. It was as if there was an Osama bin Laden look-alike competition being held at the Esso station At the risk of sounding racist, I was only too pleased to be quickly leaving behind all the beards and turbans at the service station with a full tank of gas and my head still connected to my body.

I know, I know, I watch entirely too much CNN. Anderson Cooper has tainted my perspective on reality. But shit, that’s why I’m going on vacation in the first fucking place!

Oh, and just food for thought here, but do they have a nuclear physicist on hand in order to work out the exact distance proximity between Tim Horton rest stops? It's uncanny how every time you happen to feel even just the slightest twinge of discomfort or pressure in your bladder - low and behold, there's a Tim Horton's rest stop! Using some unheard of form of space age mathematics, they must have somehow calculated the exact bodily breakdown of a regular-sized double-double and then alloted the precise moment of time before you next have to take a piss...and built another convenient rest stop. And so it goes...the cycle continues.

Hows that for a fucking marketing strategy?

Gananoque; ON (1:30PM)

Upon leaving the Kingston area, we ventured into the Thousand Islands district; not that we could see many islands from the highway, but judging by the roadside billboard advertisements, they are a popular tourist attraction in this area. A French explorer called this region the “Thousand Islands”, and, although the islands number more than 1,800, the name has stuck. Only a Frenchman would come up with such an inappropriate name. Although, having said that, “The One Thousand and Eight Hundred Islands” just hasn’t got the same ring to it.

From our haloed CAA “Trip Tik”**: "The islands range from mere points of rock to village size, but most can accommodate only a summer home or summer camp. Cruises offering close up views of the isles depart from towns along both shores.” Sounds like a perfectly delightful place in itself in which to get lost for a week if we should decide to pack in the driving; but I don’t like my chances of successfully crossing over to any of the thousand islands, even the closest one, with all our camping gear in tow (not to mention the girl); particularly after only existing exclusively on apples and sweet tasting air for the past five hours. The bottom of Lake Ontario is not the ideal vacation experience I had previously envisioned.


Only a short time after passing the Thousand Island region, we finally pass through Cornwall and by and enormous bulletin board proclaiming “Bienvenue a le Province de Quebec” (which, I incorrectly assumed, meant “Live Sex: Next Exit”). We had finally arrived in French Canada.

Montreal; QC. (4:30PM)

From the moment I entered into Quebecois Country, I have been about as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Even the David Bromberg playing on the CD player was doing nothing to quell my uneasiness. All I have heard about from others who have made this same trip are the nightmarish tales of gridlock traffic, insane Quebec drivers, and directions that may as well be written in brail for all the usefulness they are providing for drivers. And after eating only apples and rice cakes thus far, I’m becoming a bit anxious about staying on route and not getting turned around in the notorious Montreal Rush Hour traffic and ending up in Goosefart, Labrador hours later. Just imagine what the roadside coffee must taste like in Goosefart, Labrador. I bet it wouldn’t even be fit enough to wash down your crispy beaver on a stick.

Being the disciplined Canadian Anglophone that I am, I had envisioned the directions through Quebec to be only slightly less than the formula for cold water fusion. Surely, reading the map would be like trying to follow a recipe from an Urudu cookbook. However, the Francocized directions were not as difficult as I had originally feared - pretty fucking simple actually. Nord, Sud, Est, Quest - that’s practically English for fuck sakes! Add a letter here; minus one there; we’re practically speaking the same language. However, apart from these easy, basic directional prompts, my French directions are not so hot. For example, I learned on this same trip that “Part après le Virage” is not actually any city that can be located on a map, but actually only French for “Next Left Turn”. Who knew?

All in all, we survived to tell the tale and the Montreal Rush Hour traffic was just as everyone has described it – horrendous. It was bumper-to-bumper gridlock traffic until we passed through the Pont Champlain Tunnel, which runs under the St. Lawrence River to the south banks of Quebec. Luckily we were able to amuse ourselves with some P.J. Harvey and reading all the ridiculous sounding department store names in French such as “Prix Club”. Not somewhere I would ever want to be caught shopping on my vacation, of course.

St-Jean-Port-Joli; QC (8:05PM)

After nearly twelve hours of driving and fussing with the dashboard settings - I am famished. I would eat road kill at this point if offered - and considering that we're left with only French roadside diners to choose from there was a very good chance that this may have, in fact, come true. But if I didn't get something resembling sustenance in my belly besides rice cakes and apples, there was an excellent chance that I may gone all 'Alive' and wound up eating my companion and co-pilot by the end of the day. With this carnivorous air hanging over us, we decided to stop at the cleverly named 'Arête-Stop' (or, 'Stop-Stop'). Being deep in the heart of Quebecois, as we were, ordering was only accomplished through a series of apologies and gesturing at the menu like some pathetic Neolithic primate - albeit, a polite one. I took the opportunity to also indulge in another one of my life firsts and ordered an infamous side order of French Fires with gravy and cheese curd to go with my club sandwich. I know – I’m crazy, eh?

I'm not sure what came over me just then. Normally, I wouldn't come within 50ft. of anything called "curd", much less voluntarily order it for the purpose of eating. Curd? Isn't that a dispossessed camel salesman in the Middle East or something? But how many times am I ever going to have this opportunity again? So after one quick table change later and a short time of spinning our road map around in front of this on the table like a pinwheel as we tried to find our bearings - the waitress returned with what could only be assumed was our meal. The club sandwiches were recognizable enough (after all, who could ever fuck up a club sandwich?), but what was mounded up on a separate plate all unto it's own was something that only devil himself could be sure of. Ah, yes, - the curd. It was everything I had expected and had the color of a melted down traffic cone and looked like a neon iceberg floating in a puddle of greasy brown slop. My poor rice cake padded stomach wouldn't stand a chance to this cheesy monstrosity and I had to admit defeat after only two meager forkfuls. But at least I would be able to cross off another first from my list at any rate – no matter how revolting.

So after one large bowel movement in the Men’s Room at the Arete-Stop and one more hopeless round of desperately gesturing at the map with the kid behind the cash register to try and find our location***, we settled back into our cockpits, put some Aimee Mann on the CD player and set the controls to cruise into the night for the next leg of our cross country odyssey.

Somewhere in New Brunswick (12:30AM-ish)

As we rambled on through the night we struggled with our roadmap directions desperate for signs that we weren’t instead heading towards Goosefart. Had I not been so high at the time, I may have actually been a bit concerned. But luckily, we were still on track.

As my female companion napped (Hey, after a hard say of sitting still, changing CD’s, and wrapping and unwrapping packages of rice cakes - who wouldn’t need a nap?) I begin to ponder our destination. Antigonish is a Mi’kmaq (Eastern sub-Arctic culture group) name, meaning “the place where the branches are torn off by bears gathering beechnuts”. Just the kind of thing you want to be pondering while slowly lapsing into a sleep depraved hallucinatory state. Suddenly, I felt vulnerable knowing that while we were sleeping in our comfy sleeping bags throughout the weekend, my new Coleman tent would probably only provide us about as much protection to foraging bears as the cellophane wrapping on a microwave dinner. Whatever the case, this was nothing I was prepared to share with my slumbering co-pilot. I could rather risk hungry bears as opposed to waking the girl currently snoring beside me anyways. Besides, if the bears in Nova Scotia were even half as faggy looking as the frolicking deer pictured in the ‘Deer Crossing’ signs that we continually passed by at the side of the road, we had nothing to worry about.

Why DO those deer silhouettes on the roadside warning signs look so faggy anyways?

(The rest of this story, including that of having the simple law of natural physics explained to us - two University graduates - by a lowly gas station attendant at 5:30AM in Moncton, NB will have to wait for another time/post.)

* For those of you idealists who say that “money can’t buy happiness”, let me just say that I have some pretty impressive mounting bills. Money may not buy me complete happiness, but it sure will make my financial ruin easier to deal with.

** Which, it should be noted, was obtained quite unjustly the day before we left by impersonating a valid card-carrying CAA member in a sly coup that would have impressed any CIA covert operative.

*** I would like to be the first to dispense with the myth that the majority of French Canadians speak fluent English. Here I had been in Quebec for nearly half a day and I was still communicating like one of the apes from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wrestling Fan Anonymous

My name is Terry Nash and I’m a wrestling addict.

I simply can’t help it. I know that I have a serious problem. They say that the first step to healing is in admitting that you have a problem - well, I got me a HUGE fucking problem! It all started innocently enough, against my better judgment of course, but before I knew what evil had actually taken over me I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I was drawn to this mammoth train wreck like a fly to horseshit.

It was love at first suplex.

I remember a long time ago as a younger, simpler man I liked to go down to the local dive bar*, throw a zillion chicken wings down my throat, get hopelessly legless on draught beer, and cheer on the Randy "Macho Man" Savage as he sailed off the top rope onto the chest of his poor lifeless opponent. Wrestlemania was strangely therapeutic and it was the most fun I’d ever had without lubricant. But somewhere down the road I decided to read a book and suddenly wrestling was beneath my superior intellect. I also wasn't getting laid much then either.

You know how it goes…

My original intent this time around for tuning into another similar broadcast of the ever-popular ‘Monday Night RAW’ wrestling extravaganza was an attempt at finding witty and insightful subject matter to sound off shamelessly about for you dear readers. Surely if there was anything worth mocking on this planet it would reveal itself in two men in sparkly lame man panties grappling with one another. There are only three things that at this point I believe to be true about this universe: the earth is round, outer space is infinite, and only fags watch wrestling.

To me, wrestling represented the ultimate paradox: if a two grown sweaty men in spandex body slam one another inside a squared circle and there are no toothless rednecks to hold up “John 3:16” – would it still be fixed? My world unraveled quicker than Tutankhamun in a wind tunnel. Everything I had faithfully accepted as truth in this life had been turned askew and raped of all meaning. On top of that...well, lets put it this way...if I ever find myself sporting a chubby after Ricky Martin comes on the radio – I’ll know what to blame. Well, that, and my queerbait landlord.

I was right in the fact that it provided me with an endless source of testosterone charged comedic material. So much so that it would take eons to voice it all here in type for you. But what I hadn’t planned on at the time was in becoming hooked to it's deliciously uber-cheesy plotlines.

Previously I had mocked these types of simpletons. They were supposed to be the absolute ass end of the evolutionary chain. You know, guys who genuinely thought that Steve Guttenberg was honestly Academy Award worthy for his work in the Police Academy series - guys whom you’d think nothing of unplugging from their life-support systems just to make popcorn. These are beings that crave and idolize unfounded violence and all other measures of moronic behavior in general. And nowhere is this fact more in evidence by the recent staggering success of ‘Jackass: The Movie’ and with the sudden rise in shopping buggy-related injuries. The whole world has gone fucking mad.

Or so I thought!

Vince McMahon, illustrious owner and general manager of WWE realized this basic intrinsic need in life’s lowest-common-denominators and catered his own particular mixture of ridiculousness and senseless mayhem to this basic male need. He offers this unique brand of “sporting entertainment” to the lowest rungs of society** and thus fulfilled an as of yet unclaimed bastion of television culture. We men are drawn to senseless violence like we’re drawn to spread-eagled blonds on the hoods of convertible sports cars. And considering society still frowns on monkey knife fighting in International waters and pregnant women on water-skies tend to make people nervous – I’d say that that leaves little else on television to satisfy our male needs***. We’re hypnotically drawn to it. The sound of a harsh, rough and tumble moolyak with a forehead you could show home movies on harping endlessly about ass-whoopings he promises on doling out on his opponent calls to us through the television screen like Siren songs.

Just when you realize that your very intelligence is being sucked from your brain and just when you think you can muster up enough strength of will to turn the channel or, heavens forbid, get up from the couch, they announce an 'Over-the-Top-Rope Bikini Battle Royale' and your pathetic ass isn’t going anywhere. Your attention locks back onto that television screen like it was magnetized and your brain continues to liquefy from between your ears until you couldn’t beat a chicken in a game of checkers.

I was transfixed. I haven’t been that strangely aroused since the bitch fight at the end of ‘Single White Female’. I also realize that I’m one step closer to salmon drapes but I don’t care. And so it goes until my intelligence is on par with that of a box of animal crackers. Am I really this easily amused or am I just suffering from a serious bout of dementia brought on after having brain spiders lay eggs in my ear?

* Thats us fella's!

** Any dive with a satellite dish on the roof and with the proper number of red neon X’s blinking in the window would suffice nicely.

*** 'Everyone Loves Raymond' simply doesn't cut it and will only drive us to domestic violence.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Living With Imelda Marcos

I’m a simple kind of guy - the kind of guy that has only ever owned two pairs of shoes, ever, at any point in his entire life. A single pair of sandals for the summer months and a single pair of steel-toed work boots for the rest of the year because you never know where you’re gonna have some heavy shit fall on and squash your toes. Likewise, as a testament to my normal frugal expenditure on such unnecessary trivialities, my current pair of steel-toe shoes are a size too big. I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time, but whats the worst that can happen - people notice my large feet and assume that I'm hung like a mutant rhino? However, it also usually means that I‘m not exactly going to be the most fashionable person in the room at any fancy reception or anything; but comfort is not without its sacrifices.

But this all changed this past weekend.

I have been noticing that my drunken boob of a landlord that lives below me has been acquiring an alarming number of shoes lately. They have been stockpiling in our front lobby for the past few weeks now. Such brand names as Pony, Reebok, Brooks, Nike, Air Jordan, Kodak, Timberland, Keds, you fucking name it – his shoes have been literally breeding in our front lobby like fucking rabbits. It’s like living with Imelda Marcos! And judging by the strong smell of fresh leather that now permiates the residence and makes our humble abode smell like the reception area at a tannery, I think he may have a new addiction.

But even being the troubled, trendy, fashionable drunken boob that he is – he is not without his perks. It turns out that my landlord also knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy about some cheap ass shoes. And it just happens that I’m also in the market currently for another pair of cheap ass steel-toe shoes. So the bells and whistles in my brain sounded off like a five-alarm fire. How can one turn down such an opportunity.

So one thing leads to another and the next thing I know I’m in a back alley shoe warehouse and after a round of slapping shoulders and exchanging secretive nods and glances with voiceless guys in sunglasses, I’m informed that everything in the warehouse is only $20 a pair. TWENTY DOLLARS A PAIR! Holy shit - I've died and gone to shoe heaven! I almost creamed in my Caterpillars right then and there.

I wish I could say I was able to exercise some form of restraint here. But I’d be lying. In fact, my self-restraint lasted only marginally longer than Renee Zellweger’s marriage. But I’m talking about REAL big brand shoe brands here – not the rinky-dink discounted brands that you find in most clearance stores and which would probably disintegrate to dust on your feet the second they treadded through even a shallow puddle or would allow my toes to be turned into flattened cocktail sausages under the weight of the first heavy snowfall. And at the marked down price of only twenty bones each, even I can afford to treat my feet to a little luxury.

So before you know it - mere nanoseconds actually - we’re both running around this warehouse giggling like school girls and grabbing at pairs of high-end shoes like two Park Avenue rich-bitch, store-bought, daddy’s princesses with an unlimited credit card.

Well fuck me. This really is fun, isn’t it?

A wave of uncontrollable frivolousness washed over me. Suddenly my broke humble unfashionable ass is skipping through endless aisles of primo brand name footwear planning out the perfect fall and spring ensembles. I'm spinning gleefully with my arms stretched out high in the middle of this shoe warehouse floor like Mary-fucking-Tyler Moore. I even accessorized here people…ACCESSORIZED! How shameless is that?

So now instead of getting just another new pair of low-cut steel-toe shoes as originally intended, but I’m also now he proud owner of a proper pair of spiffy black leather dress shoes, a pair of pearl-white runners, a pair of brown suede dessert boots*, a pair of sturdy hiking boots, a pair of thick insulated winter boots as well as a snazzy pair of slip on steel-toe casual shoes for those times when I want kick in somebody's teeth, but still look fashionable while doing so.

To celebrate my momentary loss of control, not to mention masculinity, I returned home with my booty, polished off a bucket of fried chicken and spent the evening wacking off over my new pairs of ill-gotten footwear. Whats a boy to do?

* What can I say? They take me back to a time when I was young and cool and listened unappologetically to Hall & Oates.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

New Floor Order

I’m sure everybody’s father is the same – able to harp on endlessly about subjects of little to no significance whatsoever for weeks at a time. If conversing aimlessly on dull topics were an Olympic event my farther would be Jesse Owens.

I imagine that as everybody gets older and move into their twilight years, their interest wanes towards the smaller things in life. These minute droppings on life’s canvas of memories becomes more important and the ultimate basis for conversation. Who has time to ponder on the future when the Reaper is breathing down the back of your neck? Suddenly, it’s the insignificant details in life that you take most pleasure and interest in. Embracing the moment as it were - whether it be the weather, the season finale of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, or just over having saved a whole 30 cents on dented cans of fruit cocktail down at the local supermarket. It’s these types of things that my father relishes in discussing in great detail.

My father’s rate of conversation progresses at the rate of a special Olympic hurdler. It seems like only yesterday he was hell-bent on continually raving about the “magnificent” steak he had for his birthday back in July – when in fact it was. To hear my father go on about this steak and sniff the air proudly, and of course by all accounts of the story, it was so rare that you’d think he worked it over first with a blowtorch and pliers before it was slaughtered and delivered to his table.

Lately, the preferred topic of conversation with my father is his new fetish for click flooring. He and my stepmother had this click flooring installed three weekends ago and I’m doomed to hear about it until the end of time. And if his genuine enthusiasm for this new click flooring is anything to go by, this was about as good an idea to my father as selling chili fries at church services.

For the past 14 days I have had to endure the entire saga of this new floors progress as it unfolded. This incredible click-flooring epic leaves no detail unexposed or unexamined. From the initial ripping up of the old mildewed carpet in the family room to the shrewd deal he struck with the flooring installer. To hear him revel in telling the story you’d think that this new click flooring was the second coming of the Messiah. It’s all he talks about these days, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a slight twinge of jealousy for this stupid fake wood paneling floor every time he brings the subject up – which is always! The sun literally rises and sets on this new floor according to my father.

Yes siree - my father sure does love him some click flooring tiling!

The initial stages of the story began weeks ago with the monumental task of ripping up all the existing carpet in the house prior to the prodigal flooring arriving. This was not exactly the most enjoyable part of the saga, but a part that my father relished in telling repeatedly nonetheless. I now know more about the historical strata of this particular worn carpet - from every bleached piss stain from past bladder-challenged pets to every cigarette burn from falling asleep in front of the hockey game. I even discovered the origin of those odd smear marks in the corner of the living room that were made during the great worm pandemic of 2001 and from which Sparky never fully recovered. I could write an essay on the evolution of this carpet.

But still the epic continues…

From here my father’s story took a different turn two weeks ago towards the actual click-flooring installation process and what a remarkable job the installer did for only $500 - a real bargain my father assures me. This part of the story amuses me. Considering my father doesn’t know a hammer from routing saw, or that he once built a birdhouse out in the backyard only to have the Fair Housing Commission condemn it afterwards due to anonymous complaints – I highly doubt that my father is a good judge of anything that involves “installation” in the first place. You could unroll a bundle of slatted bamboo and fasten them together with bubble gum and my father would only brag that it’s ethnic and that you just can’t get that kind of workmanship here in Canada.

The way my father praised this click-flooring installer you’d think he was paying him with sexual favors or something. Honestly, the boxes of delivered click-flooring tiles were marked with a big “EASY TO INSTALL YOURSELF” sticker that promised you wouldn’t even need the brain of a parakeet to put it together. Hardly! If it’s so easy why do they recommend you still hire an installer? Shits like working out coldwater fusion. At least my father was shrewd enough to fork out the $500 instead for the installer to assemble something that a pre-kindergarten class could supposedly have worked out before Nap Time.

Honestly, my father never, ever, bragged to anyone about my prowess on the baseball diamond, curling sheet*, badminton court, or anything else for that matter including anything I’ve ever accomplished as an adult (which sadly, is limited as well). But this particular installer, who, for all intensive purposes, was a stranger until he showed up Monday morning in his overalls ready to click together some tile. The guy could have been a serial killer or diddle little boys in playgrounds and my father would have welcomed him into his home as part of the family providing he had the right tools to install click flooring. But according to my father: “he’s a genius with his hands”. Definitely not something a grown man should ever have to hear mentioned by his father (or any parental unit for that matter).

Most recently, this conversational opus has become all about the click flooring worship and how beautiful the finished product it looks. Shit, it’s just snap-together fake wood paneling not the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Now every time I talk to my father it’s the same thing: “Have you seen the new click flooring?” or “You should come over and see the new click flooring.” I bet he’s more proud of that damn new flooring than he was when I first came home from the hospital. I’m half expecting him to start popping celebratory “It’s a Floor!” cigars in people’s mouths and start showing them wallet-sized snapshots of the new baby.

The fact that I have visited their home at least half a dozen times to see this click flooring since it has been laid and even made the token slide across it’s slippery surface in my stocking feet and boxers with a cucumber microphone at the speed of light, this doesn’t deter my father from continually inquiring about its supreme majesty.

“It really looks nice and the installer did a great job didn’t he? You’ve seen it, right?”

Ugh. Somebody stab me!

* Don’t laugh - in my day I could throw perfect draw weight to the tee line or hit and roll a shot rock onto the button without breaking a sweat. Makes ya hot just thinking about it, huh?

Taking a Bite Out of Stupidity

What the fuck is going on in the world?

There are pirates with grenade launchers raiding luxury cruise liners off the coast of Somalia and Islamic North African immigrants burning cars and schools while rioting in the streets of Paris over two crispy tater tots were found still smoking on an electrified fence in Clichy-sous-Bois. Literally, every time you turn on the television set it seems like the entire planet is going down the dumper fast with one mighty flush.

On the near home front, there’s the whole mismanagement of the ‘HurKat’ crisis; pythons snacking on crocodiles in the Florida keys, Bush Jr. using the latest avian flu pandemic scare to further line his pockets with a another requested umpteen billion dollars, escaped Death Row inmates running amok among us, Tom Delay indicted on criminal charges, a White House scandal involving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity exposed by nosy columnists, and Karl Rove up to fucking God only knows what. And I could have sworn that there was still some war going on somewhere…

…nah. My mistake.

Either something is terribly amiss in this whole cosmic kaleidoscope of life or I'm not the only completely pissed off that Brandon was voted off Survivor this past Thursday. Either way, it’s still lions and tigers and assholes – oh my!

However, a ray of light in all this madness is the arrest of some teaching assistant, Shirlene Huffman, in Camden County, NC who arrested Wednesday for allegedly biting a 7-year-old autistic student after he became unruly during gym class and bit his teacher.

Well, brav-fucking-o!

I can appreciate this teaching assistants strict sense of justice and her tenacity for having the cahones to really “make it real” for this child. In lieu of all these recent political and tragic world demises, I think it’s this exact kind of brutal honesty and take-no-shit attitude to crisis management that deserves a round of fucking applause! No lies, no half truths, no bullshit - just the teeth marks where the ounce of flesh was extracted.

Boo-ya, sister!

This is exactly what this fucking world needs. It surely keeps in tune with our proclaimed ‘eye-for-an-eye’ global policies as it is as of late. Clearly Huffman was only trying to show the child what it feels like and why it is wrong to bite, but of course the child’s parents see it a bit differently. They cite that their son is being treated as a “problem child” when in fact he is only autistic and has special needs. Ah Christ, here we go again!

The little rugrat was biting teachers for petes sake! And who cares what even led up to the incident. He could be throwing a spazz because another child gave him an atomic wedgie - whatever. I'm sure he deserved it. But unless his “special need” is a higher protein diet – I think the teaching assistant was bang-fucking-on to chomp back on his autistic ass. Some little peckerwood bites me and I’m going to take a piece of his ass in return - tout-fucking-sweet!

It’s a hard lesson to learn for the child I agree, but a necessary one under the circumstances. So suck it up kid and deal with it like any other civilized member of the human race. And what are this child’s parents teaching him exactly? If life doesn’t go your way – burn shit to the ground and usher in complete anarchy. After all, you’re not to blame - you’re “autistic and have special needs”.


This is the same hard-edged mentality we need once again to turn our political zeitgeist back around, don’t you think? We've turned into a collective race of sea sponges. It's all someone else's fault - rip shit up. We shouldn’t be coddling these types of errant miscreants and rebels without plause, but going straight for their eyes with sharp sticks instead.

Congratulations Shirlene Huffman – I salute you!

And feel free to go all medieval on the asses of any other “autistic” rhubarbs that you think may jeopardize our moral common sense and therefore needs to feel the full fury of your canines. Perhaps if somebody had taken a bite out of Osama bin Laden, Dubya, or even Dick Cheney’s ass eons ago, we wouldn’t be in the fucking mess that we’re in now. Hopefully, you and other strict disciplinarians of your ilk will help formulate this new world order and instigate a more positive social change starting at the grassroots level.