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10/01 Direct Link
OVERHEARD STREETCAR CONVERSATION

-The Globe's stopped running Rick Salutin's columns.
-It's about time. The guy's been dead 25 years.
-What? He's been an insightful lef-
-Yes, but he's very dead. He died in '86.
-He's been being published weekly!
-They're all old columns. Reprints. Ever noticed he never mentioned the collapse of communist Russia?
-I thought that was just style.
-No. Evidence is the columns still went on like communism didn’t lead to brutality and famine.
-I noticed that.
-Like he was still masturbating to pictures of Ulrike Meinhof.
-You don't say.
-Otherwise: why'd he never evolve?
-Right.
-My stop.

10/02 Direct Link
MY TWO CENTS
with Mr. Sarcasm

You've read Fahrenheit 451, right? About firemen who start fires rather than stop them? Well, wouldn't it be wild if doctors were actually trying to kill us? Don't laugh! It's not impossible. Can you imagine it? Far-fetched, but still.... If I wanted to kill people, I think I'd try to put them together in one place, so they could trade diseases and die sooner. And-and-and if I was a doctor trying to kill people I'd shuffle them from specialist to specialist til they died. Of course, that's not how things are at all! Noooooo!

10/03 Direct Link
-Policy meeting, June 7th.
-Since it's imperative we keep our mouth-breathing troglodytes who do the dirty work we call employees healthy we must let them see doctors occasionally.
-Yes but let's keep track of those shirking losers in case they're tempted to disobey the whip.
-Sure let's let them see doctors liberally but let's keep track of when these losers are away.
-We can look generous as we collect data about their dead-end existences.
-We could whip out such information when we're firing them.
-Yes we can.
-Okay let's put some decent language around it and call it a day.

10/04 Direct Link
There was this girl I really wanted to sexually harass, but I didn't even have her phone number.

What to do?

I punched in some numbers. The guy who answered had my target's sassiness. One of the seven digits was right, obviously.

Picked one, changed the rest, dialed.

"Hello?"

Female. I was getting closer.

Kept two digits, changed the rest.

"Yes, hello?"

Closer, closer. Just some digits off.

An hour later I found her, the woman I wanted to sexually harass.

She said, "Hello?"

I said, "I really want to get into you."

She hung up.

After all that work!

10/05 Direct Link
What's true love look like?

I may have written about this before. I don't remember.

This couple I know had a furious fight. About what, I don't know. As it was related to me:

"We went completely ballistic."

"We smashed every place in the house."

"Every glass."

"We would have smashed the cutlery of that was possible."

"Actually, we didn't smash everything."

"No."

I asked, "What did you save?"

"We didn't smash the fancy dishes."

And there you have it. It was a display of passion, but within its own boundaries. I find this anecdote fascinating. It describes true love.

10/06 Direct Link
I was pushed out or I ran out, and I ran to school and I ran to write ABCABCABCABC and I ran aroudn the neighbourhood delivering newspapers, here, there, everywhere, then it was high school halls I ran through, locker to room to locker to room. And I ran to a grocery store to work and up and down the aisles I ran and I ran to college. I ran to the chapel and I ran to the marriage bed and I ran to the hospital and to three children I ran; and I ran to retirement and I stopped.

10/07 Direct Link
My love, there is a tree with knots and rings, and the rings are.... Love! not a ring of a tree nor its knots ... um.... Darling, see that tree? its knots are not rings, but we can ring in a naughty year by.... Hey you! if we were trees, would we have knots, or ring-like, or, cutting us open ..., no. It's spreading wide, this knotty tree, and there's rings hidden in there, and, like ... us ... there's.... When that truck hit that tree.... Darling! Let's go climb a tree and look at.... Maybe I should re-think this.

10/08 Direct Link
I'm going to build my self up. I'm going to get my self up early tomorrrow morning and go for a long walk; perhaps I'll even run. I'm going to deny my self tobacco and alcohol and I'm going to breathe more deeply. I'm going to take my self to an "improve your self" workshop and do to my self what they think I should do to my self. I'm going to put my self to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm going to give my self better food; no chips. I'm going to force my self to improve. Tomorrow.

10/09 Direct Link
A REVIEW OF DAS RHEINGOLD

We went to see the Metropolitan Opera Company's production of Das Rheingold at the Beach Cinema. It was quite an extraordinary production, with fantastic special effects. At first there's waves, then there's the Rhine Maidens swimming around. Alberich appears, and then--incredibly suddenly--his head expanded til it was, like, filling the whole stage! I couldn't believe it! Then his head shrank and the stage was normal again. These wild expansions and contractions happened regularly through the whole show. The singing was great, too. With Bryn Terfel, Stephanie Blythe, Eric Owens, Wendy Bryn Harmer etc.

10/10 Direct Link
Just Like Saint Augustine's Blues

Please, Dr. Louie, I'll be good. I'll behave. I'm promising I'll stop my wild living and all the partying, I will get more sleep, I promise. As for the smoking, okay, I'll cut down--no, I'll quit--yes, I'll quit it all, I'll quit everything. It's all going out in the trash! I'll stop drinking so much, I swear, because I know what you're promising, you promise me I can finish my work before I die, I'll have time enough, so yes, Dr. Louie, I'll give up all my bad habits.

Only, please, not yet!

10/11 Direct Link
I took my number and found a seat. Above, an LED display showed an incomprehensible flow of letters and numbers.

I read, and looked up whenever a 'bing!' announced a new bundle of letters and numbers.

A woman sat down two seats away from me. After a while she asked, "How long is this going to take?"

I said, "I've been here for about a half hour, and I think I've advanced halfways."

Some time later she said, "This is horrible."

"I know, I know."

Then my number came up.

I looked at her, said, "Whoopie," and went off.

Contact.

10/12 Direct Link
I got a letter today. It read:

"Dear John,
We do not like you. You were pretty nice before but you are not who we like any more. We like other people more. You have changed. You are not the same. You do not hate Jews and we do not like that! Plus you like your freedom too much for our liking. There are other reasons we think. Some times we do not like your work. Some times you just list things. I hope you are hurt by this. We have a meeting now."

The United Nations has dumped me!

10/13 Direct Link
October 13, 2010

Toronto, August 2, 2005

We were watching television at Mary's parent's house in Cape Breton. There'd been an airplane accident in Toronto. A plane hadn't taken off properly, and it was on fire. For about two hours there was no word about what had happened to the passengers. Were they all dead? I thought, they're goners for sure. We were trapped by that plane on fire. Finally there was word. Passengers had been spotted by nearby highway traffic. Eventually we learned everyone was alive and well. I actually cheered. It appears there's some goodness, even in me.

10/14 Direct Link
Walking through the rain today--which I find really annoying. It's because I'm a 21st century Wordwworth--I compose stuff when I walk along. Tintern Abbey was written like that. Anyhow, when I'm walking through the rain I find it impossible to think deeply. Maybe it's because of my genetic make-up. I'm convinced I have more nerves than ordinary folk. So each drop of rain stimulates more nerves than usual. So I trudge along, incapable of my sublime Wordsworthian thoughts. Plus if I have something worthwhile I worry about my pencil getting wet. These things are enough to annoy me.

10/15 Direct Link
What Happened Yesterday at the Doctor

Life and Death were gambling. Precisely what they were gambling with--quatloos?--I don't know; but I knew what the were gambling for.

Death said, "He's such a bad example, especially to his nephews. Twenty quatloos."

Life countered: "I'd hate to see him leave his work uncompleted. Forty quatloos."

Death said, "But it's all junk! Eighty!"

"As David Smookler once said, perhaps one day he'll come up with something worthwhile. Two hundred quatloos."

"This is a joke! Three hundred!"

"Five hundred."

"It's yours."

They got up.

Life: "Again tomorrow?"

Death: "Of course we shall."

10/16 Direct Link
All my brothers and sisters were shocked when we found out dad had a whole other family. How did he hide it so well? This other family wasn't as big as ours, but still--two kids, and a wife?

The family was in another city. Another country, in fact.

My sister wrote her half-sister. The half-sister was surprised, too. "He's such a homebody!"

Another family, another city, another career. Where did the time come from?

After three years we found out what his other career was. He was an actor using the name Cary Grant instead of Archie Leach. Strange....

10/17 Direct Link
**** EXCELLENT SLATE FOR THE MONEY

BY IVNIVS CAIVS (ILLYRICVM)

THIS IS A FINE SLATE, PRICED RIGHT FOR THE STVDENT ON A BVDGET. IT MEASVRES ONE FOOT BY ONE CVBIT. THE MANVFACTVRER HELPFVLLY INCLVDED THREE STYLVSES. THE WAX MELTS NICELY, AND YOV CAN SENT AWAY FOR REFILLS. YOV CAN HOLD IT HORIZONTALLY OR VERTICALLY DEPENDING ON WHETHER YOV'RE DOING MATH OR VERSE. THE WOODEN FRAME IS DVRABLE AND CAN BE EXPANDED WITH A KIT SOLD SEPERATELY. FOR ONLY XIX.XCIX DENARII, YOV CAN'T GO VERY FAR WRONG. I'M GOING TO BVY TWO FOR SATVURNALIA PRESENTS!!

WAS THIS REVIEW HELPFVL TO YOV?

10/18 Direct Link
WOLF

She came down from the attic and went through the second-floor rooms marking all wooden furniture with a chalk X. On the ground floor she did the same. In the basement she found an axe, a hammer, and a bag of four-inch nails. She broke apart a sawhorse and threw the wood upstairs. She proceeded to hack and saw all the wooden things in the house into planks. She nailed the planks against the front and back door and all the windows on both floors. Then she nailed more boards against the front and back doors. Just in case.

10/19 Direct Link
I was out hunting for subsistence yesterday when I saw a sign on a fancy building that read, "Enter to be bribed by a politician."

So I went in. Thousands of people were there. I waited my turn.

Seventeen hours later, I was before the politician.

"Whaddaya need?" he asked.

"I guess I'm here for my bribe."

"Here." He handed me a post-dated cheque with lots of zeroes.

"Where are you going to get the money from?"

"It's a genuine Ponzi scheme, son! Born of vanity and fed by stupidity!"

I fell on my knees. "My God! This isn't satire!"

10/20 Direct Link
Dear motorist who is waiting for me to cross at the crosswalk,
I'm walking quickly, I'm not being tardy, and I'm not cursing you. Really, best of luck. I'm glad that automobiling is still being done in the world. It's just something I prefer not to do. I know you have some place to go. And so do I. The most germane difference is that you have the privilege of sitting whilst I have to walk. Consider me to be like one of the ducklings in Make Way For Ducklings. Yeah, I'm just like one of them.
Yours sincerely,
John

10/21 Direct Link
paper
nouns, verbs, classicism, Beethoven, newspapers, in-jokes, Marcel Proust, sighs, low sounds, plants and animals, touch, Borderlands, beer cans, swimming, France, wrenches, witty puns.

glass & plastic
bad grammar, Mozart, two-litre bottles, long-playing records, guns and knives, television and radio, James Joyce, pens, anorexia, measuring tapes, walking, Germany, doors, homes.

organic
good grammar, body parts and functions, Bach, orange peels, cigarettes, shoes, sexuality, Homer, pencils, cancer, sight, Half Life 2, speech, England, atomism, money, water, birds, insects.

garbage
modernity, broken barbeques, politics, popular things, Yann Martel, iron, weak sentimental voices, poststructuralism, taste, pops and crackles, windows, mysticism, dvds that skip.

10/22 Direct Link
GAIUS MARCUS CANUS DISCOVERS SOAP

Gaius Marcus Canus was cleaning a sheep one afternoon with dirty hands. When done, he noticed his hands were cleaner. But what part of the sheep had done this?

A month later, he was cleaning another sheep and he experimented. He rubbed his hands on the meat--and his hands got slightly cleaner. He was onto something.

Twenty-five days later, he was cleaning another sheep. He tried lean meat versus fatty meat, lean on left and fatty on right. His right hand was spotless. He was about to shout something--but a dinosaur ate him.

10/23 Direct Link
It was an accident that I fell in love with him, and it was accidental that I married him. In a few years we accidentally found ourselves with three kids, one of whom being accidental. We got a house and a yard as if by accident, and our kids went to accidentally chosen universities and started, accidentally, their own families. We accidentally played a lot of accidental cards and read accidentally. We accidentally aged, by accident we aged. Then my husband died accidentally, and by his accidental grave I spent many hours accidentally crying. It had all been by accident.

10/24 Direct Link
Ghosts accompany the frequency of 18.9Hz, give or take a half a Hz. It's been known for some time that subsonic sounds cause dis-ease and nausea in human subjects. (Cf. Irreversible.) But what's also been discovered is that at 18.9Hz±.5Hz, eyeballs vibrate in harmonic sympathy. These vibrations are not perceptible except to peripheral vision. Small specks on the periphery of the cornea appear to move--but when one turns to look, well, naturally, they're gone. Vic Tandy of Coventry discovered this to be the case in 1998. It truly is just wind in pipes often enough. Now read this slooooooooooowly.

10/25 Direct Link
You can only take in information a bit at a time. You remember what Victor Klemperer talked about. He was shocked to be fifty-five before he understood the difference between stocks and bonds. But you feel like you're understanding what's in front of your eyes. How could there be something missing? Oh, look: you didn't know that function was there, even though it was there all the time. Or was it? Depends on your epistemology. You can't know beforehand what is there, though you think you do. Things that are missing. What about in your dreams? Do you dream nothing?

10/26 Direct Link
We went to vote. The polling station was in a church. Some guy there told us to move ahead in the line--some idea about forming two lines. He ordered us to butt in. Mary went ahead; I went to the back of the line.

The asshole ordered me around some more. I finally got to the registrar. Not on list. (As expected.) "Go talk to that woman."

I went over to her. She said, "Are you here to fill out a form?" The question made no sense.

"Forget it," I said.

I hope Rob Ford fires all these tools.

10/27 Direct Link
A recent sociological study--what it was for need not trouble us here--used as one of its questionnaire variables the number of friends the subject had in high school.

I can understand what that would take. In order to have a lot of friends, one merely has to be rather insensitive and callous. There's naturally backs stabbed and backstabbing happening in any group.

I never got the hang of that. At the slightest slight I flee, like a normal person would. These teenage psychopaths with dozens and dozens of friends.... I pity them. They don't know what they're missing.

10/28 Direct Link
Millicent came home from the No Frills store in tears.

She cried, "There I was, wandering about the store; I saw cans of green beans all the way from Peru, and over there, in the fruits and vegetables, there were coconuts from Jamaica, and these big thorny things from some place like Sumatra; and New Zealand spring lamb for sale, and the dairy was local but the grapes were all the way from California; and, and I broke down, I broke down because of the beauty of it all: we live in such a diverse community! such a diverse community!"

10/29 Direct Link
I guest-lectured a Sociology of Media seminar yesterday. The topic turned to politics, and I pounced.

I said, "Okay, since we're on the subject, I'm stumping for a candidate. Here's some of his platform. Provision of livelihood. Equal rights. Breaking of debt-slavery. Expansion of old age benefits. The right to a higher education. The outlaw of child labour. These are just some of the planks in the platform. How many of you are with me on this?"

About a quarter of the sleepy hands present went up.

"Ah! Half of you just voted for Adolf Hitler!"

pwnd! busted! pwnd! busted!

10/30 Direct Link
They said he was useless, so he showed them up. He told them how to build a skyscraper.

"First you need a foundation. A good rule of thumb is one floor for every fifty stories. So if you want a skyscraper of a hundred stories, dig a two-floor foundation.

"Then build a first floor above ground. Make it a lobby, with a couch and a couple pictures.

"Next go up and up and up, til you reach the top floor. Stop. Up on the roof put a garden or something.

"There. I'm not useless. That's how to build a skyscraper."

10/31 Direct Link
IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS: GOD AND GABRIEL

-Hi, Gabriel.
-Hi, God.
-So what's going on?
-They think they have us.
-Really.
-They've constructed a concept they call 'dopamine.'
-What do they think of it?
-O, they think it's the key to everything.
-Homunculus, spiritus mundi, revelation--now this.
-Yes. They use a new machine to try to figure it out.
-And?
-They can see pleasure and pain happening in their heads. They think this matters.
-I see.
-So, well, they think they've found us. More properly You.
-Do they.
-Maybe you have to see it to see the humour of it.
-Maybe.