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Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Thanks, Rory, for your level-headed opinion regarding the current CrimeStoppers campaign. For myself, after I calmed down from my usual copywriter's reaction ["Everybody wants to change the copy! Screw you all!"] and actually thought about the entire matter, I realized that no matter which models we used in the billboards and transit posters, we'd be accused of marginalizing some element of society. Our sin, if sin there was, lay in employing members of a street theatre troupe who happen to be pretty much all Caucasian and have more piercings and tattoos than your average drama group. For the record: our original designs included non-Caucasian models, but these were deemed too risky, in the sense of risking the accusation that we were identifying visible minorities as crooks. In the end, CrimeStoppers can't win. And the medium overshadows the message. I don't know which exhausts me more.
Morning chuckle: As I trawled through my list of favourite blogs, a daily ritual as crucial as strong coffee and Doonesbury cartoons in my world, I was delighted to see that a favourite blog slammed my old company. "Cheesy stock photography of business people looking hip," indeed. But to be fair: for the most part it's actually exceptional imagery of cheesy subject matter [hip CEOs].
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Hymn upgrade! Gitcher hymn upgrade here. Thanks for the laugh, Jon.
Fine blogs abound.
The advantage of having missionaries’ kids as friends: the keen eyes of friend Fearless managed to dislodge this gem from its hymnal. Those crazy Prots and their kooky modern tunes, is what I say:
#90 God of Concrete
[Frederick R.C. Clarke and Richard Granville Jones]
[from The Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada (1971 edition)]

God of concrete, God of steel,
God of piston and of wheel,
God of pylon, God of steam,
God of girder and of beam,
God of atom, God of mine:
all the world of power is thine.

Lord of cable, Lord of rail,
Lord of freeway and of mail,
Lord of rocket and of flight,
Lord of soaring satellite,
Lord of lightning’s flashing line:
all the world of speed is thine.

Lord of science, Lord of art,
Lord of map and graph and chart,
Lord of physics and research,
Word of Bible, Faith of church,
Lord of sequence and design:
all the world of truth is thine.

God whose glory fills the earth,
gave the universe its birth,
loosed the Christ with Easter’s might,
saves the world from evil’s blight,
claims us all by grace divine:
all the world of love is thine.
Alternate closing lines for each verse, suggested by Kirsten and me:

”Dips us all in turpentine.”
”Soaks our tiny heads in brine.”
”Sings as good as Patsy Cline”
”Won’t you be my Valentine?”
”Ages like a good red wine”
”Doesn’t smell like apocrine”

SFX: Snickering, snorts and giggles in the pews from two very naughty parishioners.
Monday, October 29, 2001
Let's see: Daylight Saving Time was introduced to my country somewhere around 1966. So that's 35 years in a row I've forgotten to turn my clocks back in October [a creature of consistency, I also forget to set them forward in April]. Okay, so my parents were responsible for setting the clocks when I was a child. Technically it's only been 20 years that I've been waking up to a wrong world -- why are the television listings wrong? Why aren't the stores open? Why oh why am I at work early? Why can't all my clocks be as smart as my iMac, and set themselves?
Sunday, October 28, 2001
Somewhere, off in the distance, a dog laughed. Call it Theo's Revenge: I came down with, not chalazion, but Pink Eye, a.k.a. "conjunctivitis." I will admit that I'm finding it slightly easier to put antibiotic drops in my own eyes than in Theo's. Unfortunately, pink eye's quite contagious. Fortunately, I was home sick for the past two and a half days, so the risk of infecting anyone else dwindled to next to nothing. The regret I have is that for once I had a really gross, undead look for Halloween quite by accident, and I was unable to capitalize on it at a party.
Accomplishments while ill: Finished "The Lord of the Rings" and its massive appendix. The scope of Tolkien's imagination is virtually limitless, and now I finally understand all my former associates from The Society for Creative Anachronism, who preferred to live inside that book instead of the real world. They were able to do so because Tolkien's treatment was so complete: he devised complex languages, genealogies, folklore, even alphabets. A perfect alternate universe. I say I understand the compulsion of many people to lose themselves in Middle Earth, but I don't share it, and when I see rows of fantasy science fiction literature my first thought is generally "Run." Yet I will say I am very, very glad I read The Lord of the Rings, and yes, I'm keenly awaiting the movie, even though that bewildering lack of talent, Liv Tyler, is in it.

Slight diversion from topic: Thinking of Liv Tyler in the Lord of The Rings brings up a popular topic with me: The Cold Spoons in The Cinematic Souffle, or, "How Good Movies Could Have Been Perfect if They'd Have Paid More Attention to Talent," or "What in God's Name were They Thinking When They Cast That Person?" My outstanding examples include:
  • Uma Thurman in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1989) -- Yes, she looks like Botticelli's Venus. Frankly, the painting shows more emotion than she did in that role.
  • Keanu Reeves in “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993) -- looks great, sounds like Ted.
  • Ben Affleck in “Shakespeare in Love” (1999) -- although he did have one or two good moments. I'd have cast Christian Bale or someone like him, with more range than Ben.
  • Meg Ryan in “Restoration” (1995) -- Oh, very nice Oirish eckcent, moi goirl.
  • Julia Roberts in any role requiring a non-U.S. accent. Enough said.
  • And the latest: Heather Graham in “From Hell” (2001) I felt quite sorry for her, actually, while simultaneously wanting her to never appear on the screen again.
Getting real for a moment: Ultimately, who gives a good goddamn what I think about movies? And if I'm a better actor than Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan, why are they richer than me? [Okay, grammarians: I know, I know, it should be "richer than I", since the verb "to be" takes the nominative complement. Happy? Now fuck off.]
Now, where was I? Oh, the accomplishments. Easily summed up in two: sleep and bad television, with occasional fits of coughing/launching cats off duvet. I'll say this about fevers: they make for terrific dreams.
Thursday, October 25, 2001
A little backlash trickles in: Hate mail about the Crimestoppers campaign. About how we've targeted the multiply pierced and tattooed among us as Evildoers All. The letters (three of them) are written by one multiply pierced and tattooed female, and two people who own establishments for piercing and tattooing other people. I can't wait to get letters from the blond people, the blue-eyed people, and the backwards-wearing baseball cap people. Incidentally: the models were all from a street people's theatre troupe here in Calgary, and they were pretty damned delighted to be seeing their faces up on billboards. We asked at the time if they thought we were marginalizing them based on their appearance. "No," said one boy, "umm....we're, like, ACTING?"
Not much point in being early for the recording session [the first time ever] if the goddamned talent doesn't show his face. The resident genius engineer felt terrible about the no-show, promising to deliver the head of said talent in an unmarked wrapper, and even bought us breakfast while we waited, but ultimately Monique The Suit and I headed back to the office.
Breakfast was a waste, too. In fact, for the last 12 hours, all solid food has been irrelevant. I don't think I can blame this all on chalazion.
Wednesday, October 24, 2001
What the? I am blinking a lot, and I just checked and my right eyelid is definitely angry-looking and tender to the touch. Could it be...oh, I don't know...CHALAZION?
Incidentally, what is Dana Carvey up to these days? I miss him.
I Gave Till I Felt Good: Just pledged $85 during Rory's "Walk & Chew Gum" show on CJSW. Here's hoping my karmic burden is reduced a little bit thereby. Frankly, I need all the help I can get. And the Howie-designed "CanCon" t-shirt I get as part of the incentive schwag...if that ain't worth $85 all on its own, I just dunno what is.
No, I didn't really smack anyone in our Production Department: It's all part of the game here, me threatening production artists with death on an almost daily basis, and them pretty much ignoring me and carrying on.
Irritability update: I slept in, it was too slippy-snowy to ride my bike in to work, I had to take the bus and ride one-cheek-on, one-cheek-off downtown, while listening to bronchial outbursts and that ti-ti-ti-chuh, ti-ti-ti-chuh noise from The Personal Stereos of The Young, and to top it all off, one of my brassiere straps joined the Enemy.
But on the good side: I made Lentil with Roasted Red Pepper Puree soup last night that was both hellishly hot and heavenly good. Oh, my. Mm-mmm....damn, sometimes I cook goooood.
Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Guess who's about to hand one to a production artist? Today I wrote a skiing ad which contained the following line: "...only 5 minutes by shuttle to Lake Louise ski area, host of the 2001 World Cup Women's Downhill and Super G races." The proof comes back with "2001 World Cup Women's Downhill and Super Graces." Yeah, you know, those women named Grace who fight crime. Or perhaps they're the famous Three Graces from antiquity, Aglaia (Splendour), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer). Whatever. I'm off to Production to put the boot in.
Adorable, creaky-voiced student intern in design studio dares to whistle along with Blondie's Greatest Hits. No words are needed among Those of Us Who Remember 1979: we all know that adorable, creaky-voiced intern must die.
Lookit what came in the e-mail:
Hello Not My Dog,

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Products? Hmm...this could be difficult, as I have nothing designed for t-shirts or coffee mugs, and I sold my last bumpersticker years ago [I printed up a few to sell at a folk music fest back in the early 90s -- “Born to Feel Guilty” -- and I think I sold maybe 12]. Still, that shouldn't stop me. Right back atcha', Zoovy!
The First Ever “How Much is that [Not My] Doggy in The Window?” Sale
  • 1 Toshiba microwave, with creaking turntable, circa 1985. Price: FREE.
  • 1 Kenmore 14” colour television, circa 1989. Price: FREE.
  • Assorted crockery, some with fetching cornflower pattern, circa 1965. Price: FREE.
  • Four kitchen chairs, brown vinyl back with harvest gold front, vague floral motif, circa 1970. Price: FREE.
  • Upright Viking vacuum, with four replacement bags, circa 1960. Price: FREE.
  • Hudson’s Bay blanket coat, circa 1986. Price: FREE.
  • Four bags of clothing, circa 1981 to 2000. Price: FREE.
  • Panasonic 4-head VCR, fucking broken AGAIN, circa 1995. Price: FREE.
Offer good while supplies last. Act now and get a free plant-chewing cat. Don’t delay.
Monday, October 22, 2001
The fun we have!
On 10/22/01 2:16 PM, "Grant [Pop Up Menu] Hutchinson" wrote:

It's a bike, Jane...

Shouldn't it be "Ass-Hammer bin Laden"?

Just a thought.

Well, why not? Or Ass-Hammer Bum Achin'? Yo mama's sin blatant? No bombin' my haven?.....who'd have thought six syllables would be so much fun?
My current favourite adjective: "Weapons-grade." Just as Bill has the running gag "[Insert Noun here]...for victory!", I'm going to use "weapons-grade" as a special qualifier in my future blogs. By way of example:

Weapons-grade irritability: I've got it bad today. A pinheaded client gets all dithery because I foolishly attempted to introduce her text to the fundaments of grammar. I am called and lectured in exhaustive detail over the phone. Any attempt of mine to say, for example, "Yes, but that's a misplaced modifier, meaning there's a very great chance of confusing the reader" is met with "No, there are no modifiers in it! There was nothing wrong with the way it was. CHANGE IT BACK," all in a shrill, twittish voice that makes my ears chew tinfoil.

Weapons-grade linguine con vongole: Say no more. Perhaps six cloves of garlic *was* a little excessive. Apparently the aroma has been rocking the couriers back on their heels as they exit the elevators on our floor.

Weapons-grade cat blatz: The number of chewed leaves/fronds/flowers of my new houseplants is exceeded only by the patches of green barf all over the condo. Sorry to move in on your turf, Howie.
I suppose it had to happen... I ride an odd sort of a bicycle. I've had it 9 years, and it's a weird, rugged little mountain bike that was designed in Canada but assembled in Korea, called an "Asäma Escudero." [I know -- an umlaut over an "A"? The hell?] But anyway, I should say it used to be called "Asäma Escudero." Now it's "Asäma bin Laden," thanks to an evilly quick-witted friend. Damn.
Friday, October 19, 2001
Enough half-assed philosophy, bring me my Poetry Friday! Done and done. But first, an explanation. At my first condo board meeting last Wednesday I was handed a homemade booklet titled "The Best of the 1970-2001 Inglewood Community Newsletters." I could hardly wait to get home and dive in, but even then I did not expect such a wealth of poetry to be included amongst the articles. "I cannot keep these beauts to myself," I said, and so, I present to you all the Poetry of Inglewood, my quirky, old-fashioned and occasionally bad-breathed** neighbourhood:
(Anon., 1972)

There were some kids in Inglewood
Who wanted to play hockey
They found a coach who'd yell at them
And all the lines would jockey

They played a lot of hockey
They won up to the last
Played with colds and Charlie Horses
Played twice as hard as asked

The cars have springs that are now sprung
The air shows through the tires
The hockey sticks are fit for picks
The pucks for vulcanizers

Next year they'll win the cities
They'll come on strong and good
And we will go out and cheer them on
These kids from Inglewood.
[Fiendish laughter]: We're not done yet, kiddies!
(H. Pearce, 1991)

In olden days when the earth was young,
Long before the psalms were sung,
I wonder if God ever saw the need,
To scatter its parents of the present seed
On the Rhubarb Patch

When Buffalo and Indians roamed the land
And vegetation grew on every hand,
Do you think they found their taste to suit
The broad-leafed tart tasting fruit
From the Rhubarb Patch?

When Mounties' horses with heaving flanks
First crawled by the Bow River's banks
Did each and every man and beast
Enjoy an abundant and tasty feast
From the Rhubarb Patch?

When the white settlers moved on the place
They must have been a hardy race
For the kid they raised were quite a few
With money and food from the crop they grew
On the Rhubarb Patch.

But times have changed and on every hand
Senior Citizens' homes now dot the land,
I live there too and, comfortably housed,
My patriotric fervour is aroused
By the Rhubarb Patch.

And when at last my time draws nigh
And I reach the mansion in the sky
I ask you to cremate my hide
And scatter my ashes far and wide
O'er the Rhubarb Patch.
Thanks for indulging me, and I promise not to do it again. Well, not unless another issue of the Inglewood Community Newsletter contains more poetry.

**("Bad-breathed": there's a yeast factory in the neighbourhood. When the wind is right, it's like being trapped in an elevator of helpless belchers.)
Signs of a restless mind: I'm dithering between what I'd call "intolerant propaganda" and mean-but-harmless amusement . Case in point: the Letterman show last night. Senator John McCain was the marquee guest. His first words were "What's Osama Bin Laden going to be for Halloween? Dead!" Huge laffs from audience. Throughout McCain's interview, Afghanis were referred to as camel-sellers and camel-herders. "Get back to your camel sheds," etc., again to huge guffaws from the audience each time.
I know the US has focused on the Taliban government and militia as the enemy, with very good reason. I personally feel the Taliban's combination of fundamentalism and hatred is evil in our time. But would I have quietly sat through an interview where someone said about, say, hostile African forces, "get back to your banana trees" or "get back to your cannibal pots"? I doubt it. I don't know exactly why, but it made me feel very uncomfortable, the way I get when someone's being bigoted or otherwise intolerant in a mixed group of people of which I'm part. And yet I laughed like hell over this dark cartoon that Rik from Mememachine found.
I guess maybe I do know why the Letterman show bothered me. A comic depiction of an unfamiliar culture (Afghanis as camel-loving madmen) is just another way of objectifying them. And objectifying them muddies the definition of them as human beings -- granted, human beings capable of terrible things. Yet once they're seen as less than human, it's easier to visit atrocities on them under the justification of "revenge." Which, if you've been paying attention, is exactly what the terrorists did to our society on September 11th. Call a nation of 350 million people "The Great Satan," and believe it, and suddenly you don't feel so bad about killing 7,000 of them. Because they're the enemy. I hope, oh, I hope, we don't sink to that level. We have to be better than the terrorists, and treat them better than we expect in return, or what's it all for? How can we say we're better? Ow my head....the foregoing deep musings have been brought to you by Naïve Insulation of Canada, Inc.
Stupit bumpersticker seen last night: "Unless you're a hemorrhoid, get off my ass." Oh, so if I *were* a hemorrhoid, you'd *want* me on your ass? I see. Apparently no one reads for sense anymore, down bumpersticker way.
Happy Birthday, Mad Mel the Road Worrier, a.k.a. "Dad." I gave him this nickname a few years back out of irritated affection. (My other names for him are "Mad Melvin" and "The Melvinator.") I remember how Dad would drive our old Ford Mercury "3 on the tree" green truck 70 mph down gravel roads in Southern Alberta, three kids on the bench seat, none of us wearing seatbelts, and Dad with only his left thumb on the steering wheel (a cigarette was in the other hand, you see). To us, that was how dads drove. Switch to modern-day Melvin, who phones for road reports and is prone to cancelling his trips the moment a rogue snowflake hits the asphalt. He's even worse now that he's moved out to "The Island," so perhaps it's just the change of years that's brought out the worritin'. I love him, but sometimes I long for the old careless-drivin' dad of my early years.
Thursday, October 18, 2001
Anthrax, schmanthrax: How's this for a grosser-outer? It also qualifies for quote du jour status with the following gem:
"If an alien came from space and studied the bacterial counts," the professor says, "he probably would conclude he should wash his hands in your toilet and crap in your sink."

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
The case of the flying ginch: So, being brillyunt and also ecologically minded, last night I says to myself, "Let's put the drying rack out on the deck and save ourself a little electricity, rather than using the dryer." It was a noble idea -- that is, until the windstorm hit at midnight. I was fast asleep at the time, but the wind was so loud it startled me awake. Normally I love wind, so when I realized it wasn't the Killer Tornado of my nightmares, I tried to settle back to sleep. Just then something white blew past my window. "Gee," I thought, "if I didn't know any better, I'd swear that was a sock."

Exclamation point suddenly appears in head: ten seconds later I'm outside in my bathrobe, retrieving laundry from all over my deck, and rescuing a few socks that flew over the railing to land on the shingles. Only to me do these things happen.
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
It really wasn't my fault. Hic. It was my creative director's birthday lunch today. I had to drink that Blackstone zinfandel. And although it would never have been my choice of a chaser, how could I refuse a shooter bought by the birthday boy himself? Note: Zinfandel, followed by Bailey's Irish Cream and Sambuca (the latter two being the ingredients of the Karo house shooter) is barf just waiting to happen. I've been back at the office for hours and I'm still feeling grim. Not only that, but I had to write a series of ads for Ukrainian Christmas celebrations when I got back, blinking and grinning, and I have to say that dealing with the number consonants found in Ukrainian words, when you're mildly hosed, is a daunting task.
More crazy t.v. coincidences: Last night I watched the exceptional modern update of Othello, featuring a favourite actor of mine, Eamonn Walker, in the title role. Although it was never one of my favourite works by Shakespeare, I appreciated how it was transformed to modern-day society with all the messy racial problems thrown in. The only knock I have against it is that Iago's [or I should say his modern counterpart, Ben Jago's] asides to the camera weren't terribly subtle--not like those of unctuous fiend Ian Richardson in House of Cards. Which is odd, given that both screenplays were written by Andrew Davies.

Anyway, coincidence: After "Othello," I turned to PBS to watch the end of "The Ponder Heart", a film of the Eudora Welty book, and hit it at the courtroom scene just as the prosecuting attorney (played by a scenery-chewing, drawlin' Brent Spiner) accused the defendant of "strangling his innocent little wife like a modern Othello." Little things like that are always happening to me.

Hmmmm...I've just read the foregoing and I think I'm about to be placed under arrest for being boring. [Thank you, Fran Leibowitz, that's an all-time favourite line of mine.]
Monday, October 15, 2001
Rhymes with "bonsai": That'd be Jon's eye. Having a little trouble with chalazion, huh? Did you know it comes from the Greek word for "hailstone"? It probably feels like you've got one under your eyelid. I think it's also uncannily like the Yiddish word for junk food: "chazerai".
Incidentally, if, like me, you are devoted to Jewish humour, do take a look at I loved their tagline, among other things.
Anyway, Jon, just as your animated eyeball did for me, I hope I've managed to distract you from your itchy eye, if only for a second or two.
Oh my god: "Automatonic".....brilliant.....I am dying of jealousy.
Serendipity? You be the judge: Given that the new Salvation Army building was put up right next to the King Edward hotel, Calgarians are now faced with having the new "Centre of Hope" next to "The Home of the Blues." I love little jokes like that.
Coincidence? You be the...yeah, yeah... A meteor was sighted yesterday, 2:30 p.m. MST, by pedestrians at Nose Hill in northwest Calgary. At that same time I was flying Fearless's acrobatic kite atop the bluffs at Nose Hill. Witnesses described the meteor as bright silver-yellow, with a long flame trail. I rest my case.
No, I'm not unpacked YET. Thanks for asking.
Note to self: Never, never try to assemble bookcases when in a foul mood. Kindling, anyone?
Friday, October 12, 2001
Lately we've been informed that the U.S. has established air supremacy over Afghanistan. Now there's a bulletin. In other news: Didsbury, Alberta (pop. 1100), establishes air supremacy over Afghanistan, too. And this just in: Elvis dead.
Oh, come off it! I get all worked up about going to see The Sing-Along Sound of Music, only to find out that tickets are $25 a pop. Twenty-five bucks to go out and prove to my friends just how much my singing reminds one not of the lark, but of the magpie. Oh sigh, sigh, I know I'm still going to go, and I know I'm still looking forward to it. And I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing play-clothes made out of curtains, too. But $25 -- how can it cost that much? In 1965 you could buy a car for that much, dammit.
I mentioned, in an earlier post, that I loved the portrait of Alan Bennett. I should have explained that I was intrigued by its iconography of rumpled lunch sack and unplugged electrical cord. They got me to thinking what my own iconography would be, if I ever had a portrait painted. Probably a ticket stub from a show, a stack of books, a wedge of cheese, a bunch of herbs, a raven and a Band-aid™. Signifying my love of entertainment, reading, food, cooking and flying, and my accident-prone nature. Probably should throw a couple of Ibuprofen pills in there, too.
Another copyright-defyin' Poetry Friday!
(Robert Hass, ©1987)

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to
her. But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Rabbit rabbit rabbit: Some entries for the Bunny Counterculture/Antiwar buttons, courtesy of Tabitha, Fearless, and Howie's friend Mike:

Draft beer, not bunnies. (Tabitha)
Make love, not war. Then make love again. And again. And....(Tabitha)
Inna-gadda-da-lettuce (Mike)
Make ruffage, not war (Mike)
[from the Dennis "Hopper" and Peter "Rabbit" Fonda vehicle, "Leafy Rider"]: They'll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But when they see a free rabbit, it's gonna scare 'em!" (Mike)
I'm fur peace (Fearless)

Others: "Police action, my foot." "Bun the Bomb." "Proud to be a hoppy freak."[a.k.a. "Jane's getting a little desperate here."]

Newsflash! These just in from Jon:
War? Gnaw.
Cukes, not nukes.
Don't lettuce fight.
[and obviously]: Warren peace.
God, I love having talented friends. And this Internet thingey.

How about it, all you other warrenmongers out there? Got a bunny button or Thumpersticker inside you, waiting to burst out? Want a beverage sent to you by mail? Let me know. **Note: beverages will be sent upon slogans actually being used by client. Unless you're gonna' cry about it, or something.
Now that's what I call chocolate: A colleague returned from London with a bunch of packets of chocolate. Each illustrated wrapper was part of a series: Kings of England, Queens of England, yeah, boring so far, but wait: there were also WWII posters and modern writers. I have a "Careful: He's Listening" and "Air Raid Precaution" chocolate bars, and one of my favourite authors, Alan Bennett, portrayed on another wrapper. What a dilemma: I've got chocolate at my desk and I can't eat it for fearing of wrecking the wrapper. [Yeah, right. Like people will buy that one. Actually, I ate George III, and it was pretty crappy chocolate, really. So I think I won' t have much trouble not eating the war posters or Mr. Bennett -- unless I get really, really hungry, or bored.] I particularly like the portrait of Alan Bennett because it shows him seated at a desk, chin in hand, with a crumpled paper lunch sack and an electrical three-prong plug on the desk in front of him. Now that's portraiture.
Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Oh, no, no.....please, no. Putting "NYPD" and "FDNY" on the missiles bound for Taliban hideouts is so very wrong. It's a perversion. I know people want revenge, but the police and firefighters should not be associated with instruments of death. If you really want to mindfuck the terrorists, put NYPD and FDNY on the humanitarian packages of food, clothing and medicine. So that the recipients of the aid will associate the NYPD and FDNY with helping...which is what they've always been about -- helping people. Not war.
Friday, October 05, 2001
Today's Challenge, or Why Janes Loves Her Job So Much, and Yes, She Really Means That: I've been given the challenge of creating a series of antiwar/counterculture slogans that rabbits would use. Actually, the slogans are for a local renegade theatre company. So! The procrastinating copywriter eventually puts pen to paper and thereupon realizes she needs help. Here's what I've come up with, so far:

Peace and Carrots
Bunnies, not Bombs
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (We ate them)
If you would like to contribute a rabbity antiwar slogan, please send it to me and your karmic burden will be substantially reduced, I tell you. Oh, and I'll throw in the beverage of your choice, even going so far as to involve international postal orders and bubble wrap. There is no length I will not go to get someone else to do my work for me.
Oh, that reminds me: Tabitha, I owe you a Crown Float for your successful trivia answer of last month, but I don't know how you can drink those things....Guinness and cider.....either is fine on its own, but poured into the same pint glass? You have to really want to drink to swallow that concoction. Perhaps it's all in the proportions, but I tried making one once and it was as enjoyable as sitting down to a jar of pickle juice.
Heather's blog entry today really hit home. I remember that day back in 1997 when I realized I'd lived half my life without my mom. It was much more hollowing than observing the regular milestones (5th, 10th, 20th anniversaries of her death). Sometimes I look back and can't really believe it actually happened, that she died two months after being diagnosed with cancer. Or even, sometimes, that I actually ever had a mother (was it only a dream?). She had a great soul, my mom, a generous sense of humour and the softest heart on the planet. She understood the importance of music in a well-rounded life, and played the piano almost instinctively -- meaning it was so natural to her, it was just an extension of her abilities. She also had quite the surprising temper, meaning that she would put up with crap from dad and the kids for a long time, surpassing the patience of saints, and then -- whammo! When the eruption happened, everyone ran for cover. . I owe her a lot even today. The lasting regret I have over her death is that she died just when I was at my most annoying, ignorant, obnoxious teenage stage. So I never got to that cool "friends with your folks" stage with her. I like to think we'd have been pals -- pals who regularly drove each other around the bend, of course.
Thursday, October 04, 2001
Hire this man. He can write. He's got killer wit to spare. He can draw. He knows design like I know ice cream flavours. Do not let him get away.
While you're at it, hire this guy, this woman, this man and this man. This man's probably running the country while maintaining the cover of mild-mannerd techno-guru. Under No Circumstances should you even approach this man, but alert the nearest wildlife control squadron.
I'm getting pretty damned adept at flipping the bird these days. The latest digital extension happened this morning, as I rode into work. I pass by a representative of Homo Non-Sapiens, who just happens to be a construction worker. Not that that's relevant, it just fits the stereotype of the mouthy construction worker -- because, as I rode past, he yelled "Pedal harder, fat-ass." Before I could think of a verbal reply, I had raised my left hand up over my shoulder and flipped the finger. Crude, yes, but in keeping with the tone of his conversational gambit. Felt great. And I don't feel at all guilty about it in retrospect.
Bird-flipping I *do* feel guilty about: I ride over a two-block long bridge most days. This bridge has a sign at either end instructing cyclists to walk their bikes over the bridge. It's pretty much universally ignored, since no cyclist is going to hop off his/her bike to walk across a pretty much empty bridge. I yield to what pedestrians there are, and we co-exist mostly peacefully. Last week, though, this woman called after me, "Can't you READ? You're supposed to WALK your bike on this bridge!" This was after I'd warned her of my approach, then slowed down and hugged the side railing while I passed her (observing all logical safety precautions). Annoyed, I shot back, "Hey, you're pretty good at reading signs -- how are you at sign language?" as I gave her the finger. She had the law on her side, after all, so I should have shut up. But the smarmy self-righteous tone of voice spurred me to rudeness. Which I feel only ever-so-slightly bad about.
Wednesday, October 03, 2001
Yeah, I know I probably shouldn't, but: My rogue peasant brain couldn't resist Mememachine's call for titles for a book on masturbation. Here are my entries:

1. The Devil's Handshake: Masturbation Through the Ages
2. Pulling the Goalie: World Views on Self-Gratification.

While I'm aware they're both male-focused, and the second is hockey/soccer focused, they're all I can think of that could remotely be used as titles for an academic work. Which *I'm sure* this book is, academic, I mean.
Holy web-elf action! I merely consider designing the site, and lo, she is redesigned courtesy of Grantdalf The Great himself, using that greatest of fonts (which he himself designed), Schmutz. Gee, I wish I had a new Volkswagen Turbonium metallic green, please....
Irony, billboard-style: I guess we know our new CrimeStoppers campaign is hitting its target audience of 13- to 25-yr-olds. One of our billboards has already had the 1-800-222-TIPS number tagged over. And death-defying tagging it was, since you can only get to this particular billboard over a nasty barbed wire fence next to the train tracks downtown. Still, if I can frustrate just one pin-headed tagger, I shall not have lived in vain. [Note: I don't consider all graffiti to be garbage. Far from it. But this incessant tagging is about as appealing as, and the intellectual equivalent of, a dog piddling on every available post or tree. "Mine!" "Mine!" "I was here!" Dumb buggers.]
Tuesday, October 02, 2001
Just like the old days. Now I'm bickering with my older brother over the legitimacy of the "Frozen chicken" story. You know, where the RAF tested its jets' windshields and fuselages by firing a dead chicken at them from a cannon, then the USAF borrowed the idea, had no luck, complained to the Brits, who told them "Try thawing the chickens"? Yeah, that old chestnut. Lawrence read about it in a book. I've found two different websites that debunk the tale. Lawrence says my web sites are written by faceless skeptics. I accuse him of not exactly being on first-name basis with the author of his book. And so it goes. Told you that fishing trip would be just like a trip into the past.
Don't know why, but have fallen into the glooms lately. No reason for it. (Like it's such a rational thing that there should be an identifiable cause.) Anyway, can't take joy in the new condo yet. Here I go to haul up those bootstraps and snap out of it.
Monday, October 01, 2001
Back from the fishing trip at TaWeel Lake. Here are some random notes:
  1. The accommodation was indeed a log cabin, approximately 15' x 10'. Heat source: wood-burning stove. Beds: 4 camp cots with thick horse blankets and sturdy cotton sheets. Table, kitchen, one, with chairs, 4, sitting for the purposes of. Kerosene lamp: one. Candle: one. Big honking box of matches: one. Was sharing it with my father and two brothers exactly like sharing it with the entire cast of Blazing Saddles? Oh yes. Lots of snoring, belching and the ever-present late-night flatus. Thanks, boys.
  2. My father and older brother are experienced fly fishermen. My younger brother and I have never fly-fished in our lives, and settle for spin-casting rods with assorted lures. We catch approximately 4 fish to their 1. Tough little Kamloops trout, or "Kamloopers," as they're known. Unluckily for them, they happen to be unbelievably delicious. Luckily for us, the smaller lakes surrounding TaWeel are terribly overpopulated and underfished, so my usual bunnyhugger guilt at killing a living creature that is not an insect is reduced somewhat. It's wildlife management, really. Do I really believe this argument? After seeing one smaller satellite lake teeming with big-headed, starving trout, yes, I do.
  3. Number of moose sightings: one. A beautiful cow moose, right next to our picnic spot one day, about three minutes after we'd headed off from shore again. (Private theory: my younger brother unknowingly called her in with a display of post-lunch flatulence.)
  4. Other wildlife sighted: Owls, bald eagles, ospreys, beaver, and leeches.
  5. Travelling to TaWeel Lodge was like being in your own personal LandRover commercial. We were crammed into a ancient but determined 4X4 and shifted over a number of incredibly rocky, boggy, log-bridged and terrifyingly steep roads for more than an hour. The owners should consider supplementing their fee with physiotherapy services at either end of the ride.
  6. Would I go back to TaWeel Lodge? Yes, because it's unbelievably gorgeous, quiet, and wild, with great fishing and plenty of time for meditation. Watching the moon rise over the hills was a different poem every night. But: the owner is a Vietnam vet with three sons in the services. Liberal he is not. Open-minded he is not. In fact he is prone to starting conversations with such statements as "So: was Trudeau a communist, or what?" He voluntarily moved to B.C. to operate the fishing lodge, and admits to loving the quality of life in Canada. But we're all a bunch of mealy-mouthed pacifists who never stand up for anything, according to him. Tempted though I was to say, "Hey, Jeff, you run a great fishing camp, but you know politics like my ass chews gum," I wisely kept changing the subject. Other than that small annoyance, it was one of the best vacations of my adult life. Just hiking into the hills alone was worth the drive there.