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Thursday, February 27, 2003
To the Pseudodictionary, Robin! Yes, after a well-worded ass-kicking from Herr Cacomixl, the new term "guy-fi" has been sent to, and accepted by, the Pseudodictionary. I'm also happy to announce that, a mere 11 months after I coined the thing and 8 months after Richard immortalized it in verse, "transwestite" is also a Pseudo dude.
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a request for proposal! It's also what I've been working on for the past week, well into the night, along with our Environments team. We're trying to play easy-to-get with an airport, you see. Here's hoping. I have to say that I lost a little faith in one of our consultants when he handed me a page of suggested names for the airport exhibit centre, and the first one was "Ground Zero." Um....NO. Just NO.
Best. Tagline. Ever. In a discovery meeting with dentists yesterday, I learned a whole lot in a very short time about the different dental implants I can get when my teeth fall out. One of the dentists also told me why there are always so many elderly people in Swiss Chalet, the Canadian restaurant chain that offers chicken dinners that are neither Swiss, nor served in a chalet. Because, "it's cheap and you can eat it with dentures." To me, that beats the hell out of "Nothing tastes as good as Swiss Chalet," no?
Finally.... heads up, Victoria! Incoming! I may be able to blog during my five-day police action on Vancouver Island, but if not, expect the mumblings to continue on March 5th.
Friday, February 21, 2003
Oh, YES. "Guy-fi" it is!
This was all brought about, incidentally, by hearing a colleague refer to "The Hours" as a chick flick. Apparently, I guess, because there were "chicks" in it. Way intellectual chicks. And death and stuff, but the boring kind.
So far: "Kill 'em fillums"; "boy story"; "masculinema"; "male showvinism." Oh, dear. Perhaps we're stuck with "dick flick."
It's just not fair. There's no suitable male equivalent of "chick flick." I tried, I really did, to get "dick flick" into wide circulation, but it is slightly too, er, Rabelaisian for popularity. And, as one friend pointed out, it sounds like a hazing ritual.
Still, somewhere out there in the English language there just has to be the perfect combination of words for a movie targeted blatantly at 14- to 24-year-old males. "Sir Reel?" "He-feature"? "Him-flim"? Suggestions welcome, but keep 'em mostly clean.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Somewhere in Etobicoke, back in 1998, an assortment of tea biscuits was packaged and sealed, and shipped west by rail, landing in a grocery distribution centre. It was fresh and lovely and none the worse for its journey. It was sent to a store and placed upon a shelf in the cookie aisle. It waited. And waited. And waited. And was sent to another store. And then to a resale warehouse. More than four years pass. Then one day a hapless Karo office manager, sent to the "poor relation" grocery store on the next block to pick up meeting kibble, thinks she has discovered a new treat. She purchases the biscuits and proudly sets out a plate of them in the boardroom, only to watch people take one bite and quickly set the biscuits down again. They're too polite to comment. All except for one. "What the hell is wrong with this cookie?" says the copywriter, snatching up the package. "Best before Mar 08 99?" she reads aloud. The clients are understandably unimpressed.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Why a Duct? Tales of the rush on duct tape, courtesy of Defective Yeti and Fush. Some day, on some plane of existence, I want to meet these men. I won't pigeonhole either one with comparisons to The Onion or Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey. I will just read and enjoy, over and over again.
Friday, February 14, 2003
Friday in the Studio: we've just invented another cocktail: pineapple juice, lemon vodka, saskatoon liqueur and a ju-jube. Name: "The Jubilethal." It's terrible, and you drink it way too fast.
As if it mattered: Here are my Oscar predictions.

It should be:

Picture: The Hours
Actress: Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven
Actor: Adrien Brody, The Pianist
Supporting Actor:Chris Cooper, Adaptation
Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep, Adaptation
Director:Stephen Daldry, The Hours

It WILL be:

Picture: Chicago
Actress: Rene Zellwegger, Chicago
Actor: Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt
Supporting Actress: Catherine Zeta Jones, Chicago;
Supporting Actor: Paul Newman, Road to Perdition
Director: Rob Marshall, Chicago.
Of course, every year I make solid, damn-tootin' predictions and every year I end up with the booby prize at Oscar Night for Fewest Correct Picks.
Perhapsh anoth'r Jubilethal. Thass the tick.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Annoying Book Snob Gets Long-overdue Smackdown: First night with the potential book club buddies, and I find that I am in way, way over my head. It's a co-ed group, filled with language lovers, and damn them, they've already read the Julian Barnes novel I was going to suggest. They're just finishing "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, a book that disturbed me to the deeps of my being. They're disciplined and committed, and they each get through at least a book a month. They like to "experience" books, meaning they read extra reference materials and research details that intrigue them. I will be expected to offer informed comments on current reads. They do not drink at book club meetings. That's about the only downer. Otherwise they're all lovely petunias who are not at all put off by welcoming a giant loud-mouthed onion among them. We shall see.
On the way to work, I noticed a mobile billboard proclaiming "TAI CHI WEAPONS." It struck me as funny, picturing practitioners of Tai-Ch'i Chuan armed to the teeth. I mean, imagine the threats: "The Celestial Emperor Reaches for a Ripe Persimmon, extending arm to Swimming Monkey -- hey! Where are you going! I've got a knife, which I will soon finish brandishing slowly." [Editorial note: yep, I know that the meditative exercises of Tai-Ch'i Chuan are only one part of Tai Ch'i, which encompasses a philosophy, a way of life, and a defensive art.]
Monday, February 10, 2003
And another thing: Anyone can have streaked hair, but as one of the very cool I prefer to have mine banded. To emulate: forget whether it was L'Oreal Preference 213 Acajou or L'Oreal Haute Mode 326 "Mahogany," forget how to calculate six weeks between colourings, and -- oh yeah -- get old. Four different shades form the striations on those hairs that haven't fallen out yet.
Best spam opener of the day:

bitch, Protect Your Computer From Unwanted And Hazardous Viruses!!

Friday, February 07, 2003
Maybe, if I keep promoting him, Les Barker will return to Calgary. Accordingly, as proud owner of a T-shirt with the same title, I give you the song "Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower," and its sequel, "Cosmo, Prince of Denmark":
by Les Barker

"Roll up, roll up," cried the Ringmaster
"See the man on the flying trapeze!
The one we've just fitted with elastic
That's him, over there... in the trees."

"Where's Cosmo, the fairly accurate knife thrower?"
The girl with the baby said
Her name was Lucille, they knew Cosmo'd know her
She still had a knife in her head.

"He's back there in the procession," said the Ringmaster
Pointing to an old, half-timbered Morris.
It's Cosmo, the fairly accurate knife thrower
And his lovely assistant, Doris.

Lucille stormed up to him in anger
Gave him the baby, he didn't resist
Shamed by the memory of the night she conceived
He'd aimed for her sister...and missed.

Little did she know that the child Cosmo gained
On that morning's Morris Traveller ride
Would become the world famous stunt man
"Evel Schemevel' and his Yammershitty 1- 2- 5.

He grew up a child of the circus
Rode the Big Dipper, The Dodgems, The Ghost Train
With Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower
And his lovely assistant, Elaine.

Once upon a time, they kept marine mammals
But everyone was agin' it
And now the pool stands empty
There isn't any porpoise in it.

Evel set the animals free
'Cos that's what he knew they would wish
You can't keep animals in cages these days
And it never worked that well with the fish.

And soon he was the star of the circus
The Morris Traveller still travelling on
With Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower
And his lovely assistant, Yvonne.

Poor Cosmo was on the decline
He was hitting the Boddingtons' Loopy Juice
And in one afternoon hit two lovely assistants,
Four passersby and a migrating Canada Goose.

But his circus was making a fortune
And the audiences willingly paid it
To see Evel leap over thirty "National Front" members
And cheered when he never quite made it.

And before he got out of the ring
The next act would kill two or three
It was Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower
And his lovely assistant, Marie.

And the climax of Evel's career
Was announced with fanfare and fuss
He'd leap over 42 motorbikes
In a corporation double decker bus.

It was on the 1-8-9 to Stockport
That Evel set out after his dream
Drove at 75 miles an hour down Wellington Road North
Towards the "Little Sisters of the Poor" Formation Motor Bike Team.

Some say the big lady on the back seat stood up
But they found a puncture in the front wheel
And a knife inscribed "To Cosmo, The Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower
From his lovely assistant, Lucille."

by Les Barker

The guard, high on the battlements
Of royal Elsinore
Saw the ghost of one departed,
The king of days before;
A knife deep in his chest,
His face with pain was wracked;
"This dagger was my son's," he cried;
"I was helping him with his act."

Cosmo, Prince of Denmark;
Hamlet's younger brother,
Killed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
His uncle and his mother.
It was the evil, cunning Claudius
Who ended the king's life
When he said to little Cosmo,
"Merry Christmas! Here's a knife."

Cosmo tried out slings and arrows,
And Hamlet bore the scars
Before he made an outrageous fortune
Out of his cigars.
Cosmo, Prince of Denmark,
With practised flick of practised wrist,
Took arms against a sea of troubles
And missed.

It was curtains for Polonius;
He came crashing to the ground
With a knife straight through the arras --
Serves him right for turning round.
Cosmo killed Laertes' father
But his sister went to ground;
She jumped into the river
And he missed her but she drowned.

Then they stood beside the grave,
Horatio and the kid;
"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio."
"Yes, he looks as if you did."

And there are characters in other plays
That Cosmo did to death;
Remember poor King Duncan?
Bet you thought it was Macbeth.
It was Cosmo, Prince of Denmark;
He got out his knife and fork
And sliced up Francis Bacon
And half the House of York.

Cosmo, Prince of Denmark;
Not the best of men at darts;
The reason English kings
Often come in several parts.
Again in Julius Caesar,
Don't heed his dying call;
Though he said "Et tu Brute?"
It wasn't him at all.
Cosmo, Prince of Denmark
Practising at home
Aimed at Copenhagen
But the knife came down in Rome.
It was Cosmo, Prince of Denmark
Who sent him to the grave,
And the Latin "Et tu Brute"
Just means "Where's my aftershave?"

Oberon, Titania;
They all went for the chop;
It was unfortunate for Bottom;
Cosmo went for double top.
"But soft! What knife through yonder window breaks?"
Poor Juliet, cried, intense:
"Wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
"I'm impaled against this fence."
All around the stage were bodies;
Survivors there were rarities
As they counted up the corpses,
One hundred and Laertes.

Cosmo looked at all the carnage,
And, remorseful for the dead,
He attempted suicide
And killed King Richard's horse instead.
And in a land beyond Tintagel
Lies a lake shrouded in mists,
Where a hand holds up a sword
And a voice cries "Who threw this?"

Thursday, February 06, 2003
You want me to join your book club? What are you, nuts? "Oh, Jane, you read so many different books. We're always getting stuck in a rut. You could really help us." Well, I'm pleased to be asked, of course, but I don't think you realize what you're risking. I am a book club exile, an impatient, opinionated, loud-mouthed book glutton. Sometimes I really hate a book, but continue reading it anyway, just to confirm my opinion that it's total crap. Perhaps I should mention that my current taste runs to massive romans-fleuves, which is fine if your group only meets once a year. Tell you what, you all read "Underworld" and "The Forsyte Saga" to get an idea of what I'd be bringing to the group. See you in 2005.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Another classic moment from "My Life in Vaudeville": Jane, wearing ultra-grippy boots, walks to the bus stop in the early a.m., making her way carefully over freshly graded sidewalks (it snowed last night), which are not so much graded as polished to a deadly sheen. Suddenly, both feet are in the air, trading places with her head, and she comes down KA! THUD! on her back. Birds begin to twitter loudly, or is that just the high-pitched squeals of laughter from the schoolkiddies across the street?
Later: I hurt all over a lot. Stoopid sidewalk.
Monday, February 03, 2003
I remember so vividly cutting class that spring morning in 1981, so I could stare at the t.v. and watch the live broadcast of the Columbia making its historic re-entry. That was a definite "Remember where you were when?" moment. And then Saturday morning. I was at home, up early and crabbing, when CBC broadcast the "lost contact with shuttle" line. More hours in front of the t.v., with disbelief of a darker sort.
Yet the weekend was not all about tragedy, despite world and local news (another goddamned avalanche and seven more promising lives snuffed). I was lucky enough to spend it with some of my favourite human beings -- and they're not just my favourites because they feed me some of the finest provender known to humankind. Beer and bar trivia with Der Krag on Friday. A lovely debauched Saturday evening at McDoom's, overflowing with delicacies and indelicate humour. Definitely one for the memory banks. Of course, as I said to McD, I may be the only one of the participants who can actually say that.