You Can’t Fight City Hall

For anyone new to this blog, I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on in my life. Due to my massive following of about 150 people, I had decided it was time to take it to the next level and fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a cult leader. You can catch up by clicking the links. Or not.

So last week I went to city hall and asked, politely, if I could please get a permit for a cult. Though I plan on breaking all sorts of laws and cultural mores, I’d like the launch of our (and by “our” I mean “my”) cult to at least get off to a smooth start. I had the notion that maybe the Mayor or at least a couple of city councillors would attend the opening. Maybe even a photo op of a ribbon-cutting ceremony. I have big dreams.


Well, I was practically laughed out of the glass pyramid that is our city hall. Jeremy, an insolent peon with a bad comb-over and a moustache that looked like a sickly caterpillar clinging to his lip for dear life, told me, smirking, that no such permit exists. My fury rose up in me and I was never so desperate to have a cowering flock on which to vent my rage. Jeremy then closed his window and put up a sign in chicken scratch: “Gone for lunch.”


“May your computer be afflicted with a thousand viruses, Jeremy. From this day forth you are a sworn enemy of me and my minions,” I yelled. I may have even shaken my fist. Man, I really need to work on my curses.

The bugger did not even turn around but just gave a dismissive wave as walked back to an inner sanctum of cubicles where he no doubt would be having a bag lunch of tuna sandwiches.

“May the bread of your tuna sandwich be soggy, Jeremy.” Ugh! Now this was getting embarrassing.

I stood simmering and red faced, filled with impotent rage. I now know your pain, Martin Luther King. I too have a dream.

I sincerely hope you guys are appreciating all the work I’m doing. I wonder if there’s some sort of support group where I could talk to other potential cult leaders who could understand the work I’m doing. It’s lonely at the top.

Better Late Than Never

It has been a really busy week and it’s only Wednesday. We’re finally going to buy a home of our own and there is a LOT to consider. But the process isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Our one regret is that we are purchasing much later in our lives than most people, but I suppose it’s better late than never.

If you’d told me 15 or even 10 years ago I’d be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed you. It will be in some ways a relief to be out of our building. As I write this cigarette smoke is being blown into our back bathroom through the ventilation system. And when we got home from talking to the realtor yesterday, we found this notice slipped under our door:


This happens a lot. Now I just need to remember to shower extra long before 9 a.m., or the smell of cigarette smoke will be the least of our problems.

Apology Fail

In some ways I live a mildly sheltered life. I work and live in a community where people are decent and kind to each other. Respect is given and received. So I’m shocked when I see and hear something that’s this ugly and cruel.

Britt McHenry is a “reporter” for ESPN. She had her car towed. In the big wide world, this is a minor inconvenience. But upon retrieving her car, McHenry said this to the employee of the towing company:

“I’m on television, you’re in a fucking trailer, honey.”

“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will fucking sue this place.”

“Do you feel good about your job? So, I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?”

“Lose some weight, baby girl.”

Here are a couple of pictures of Britt McHenry:


As you can see, she was likely not hired for her sophisticated analytical and critical thinking skills. She is basically a piece of candy with a word-hole and opposable thumbs that facilitate the holding of a microphone. Even after McHenry was told that her tirade was being filmed, she continued berating and insulting the employee.

Soooo, of course this gets on the interwebs and shit blows up. People are PISSED. And in a spectacular display of non-self-awareness McHenry issues this sweet little gem:

“In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake.”

What nonsense this apology is. “Take the high road?” Seriously? This implies something was done to you, that you had been wronged in some way. Your car was towed. That’s it. You weren’t forced to cage fight a rabid chimpanzee. You didn’t have Rick Grimes cut off your hand with a rusty axe after being bit by a zombie with Ebola. You’re not Sansa Stark, for crying out loud.


I was watching “House of Cards” late last night and I think the words of Zoe Barnes might sum up another, more important, lesson for McHenry: “But remember, these days, when you’re talking to one person, you’re talking to a thousand.” And I’m willing to bet that most of those thousand have been belittled, degraded, and punished for not having won the genetic lottery, and though McHenry might have some fantastic bone structure, it does little to stop her from being a walking, talking pile of ugly hatred. Now get in that goddamn cage and fight that chimp!




Grandma and Me

This is one of the few pictures I have from my childhood. And it’s my favourite.

Early in the morning I would pad quietly to Grandma’s bed and then wait patiently for her to finish saying the rosary. She would scoop me up, putting me on her knee, and ask,”How are you today, John?”

I remember her floral print dresses and big black purse.

I’ve been told I was her favourite, but she died when I was still little; it would be a long time before I was someone’s favourite again.


It’s Too Damn Hot

This encore presentation is brought to you by Colette at WriterInSoul which is a blog everyone should check out and is a favourite of mine. Just don’t ask to take a look at her stuffed bear!

So it seems my complaining about the cold has been heard, and then some, by the gods, and now they have seen fit to teach me a lesson. The temperature here in frozen Edmonton has finally turned a corner and we have some glorious temps of +10 and sunshine. This is good. But the heat in our building is on full blast. And by our building I mean our two-bedroom apartment. This weekend the temp indoors has been hovering around +26 to +27. We have had to leave our windows open and that helps, but we live across from the air ambulance helipad and when the helicopter is taking off and landing the noise is pretty intense. And to complain seems to be in really bad taste: Old man shakes his fist at air ambulance: “You damn ‘clinging to life victims’ and your need for immediate medical attention are too damn noisy!” Old man shuts balcony door in callous disgust. Yeah, so that isn’t going to happen.

So I called the leasing office and, of course, no one is there. I called the security desk. I was told that maintenance was only on call for the weekend and only come in on weekends for emergencies. I was going to ask, “Is heat stroke an emergency?” But really I wasn’t having heat stroke. I was just uncomfortable.

So this morning I called the leasing  office. Every time I deal with the office it is a different 12-year-old. No, not really 12, but young. The turnover rate must be around 90%. I’m assuming the pay and working conditions must be just a touch north of sugar plantation slave in 1743. I was told the whole building was one giant concrete crock pot and they are working on getting things fixed. I assume this means telling the shirtless, bald, on punishment detail maintenance worker that he can stop shoveling coal into the massive furnaces which I can only assume talk in the voice of a devil, laughing and demanding to be fed.

So, though I could be really annoyed about yet another example of how this building seems to be run by children with no adult supervision, I am grateful. Do you hear that, gods? I said I’m grateful! Spring has arrived and now I look forward to long days and a massive blue sky.

Poetry Challenge

Angie Mc at Family Love Does Matter challenged me to write a poem. It has to be ten lines, has to have the word love in each line, and no line can be more than four words. And include a quote about love (this can be your own). Mama Mia! Poetry is not my forte. In fact, poetry is by far the most difficult and challenging medium to get right. The fewer the words the less room you have for error. And when poetry goes bad, it can be a weapon of mass destruction. So I think what I’ve done here is more compile a list than anything really poetic. But it was kind of a fun exercise.

      Random Love

Love: where I am

Love: new socks

Love: no church Sundays

Love: itching of scars

Love: a good puzzle

Love: words falling out

Love: sleeping nine hours

Love: having my teeth

Love: second chances

Love: coming home


“We made mad love, shadow love / Random love and abandoned love / Accidentally like a martyr / The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder.” –Warren Zevon, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”



Starting a Cult: Update

As many of you know, ever since I had attained 150 followers (no, that is not a typo), a staggering number by any measure, I thought it only fitting that I should start a cult. This has been a lifelong dream of mine, the seed of which was planted at the age of eight when I convinced a classmate that if she closed her eyes and opened her mouth, she would get a surprise. In this case it was a fluff dandelion. She complied, and I was bitten by the demigod bug. Since then I have endeavoured to master and control the actions of my fellow man.

Sadly, some of my readers didn’t take this seriously. Some of you wanted to choose your own garments, requesting tailored fits and flattering colours; others asked for certain food and drink. I won’t call anyone out specifically, but you know who you are. This is not how a cult is run. I am to be feared, loved, loathed, and feared again. I want to issue nonsensical edicts: shampoo is the devil’s soap, only racoons are allowed as house pets, all chairs are forbidden, dog dancing is the official (and only) sport. These are just some brainstorming ideas, but the point is that I’ll decide because it’s my cult. Okay? Please don’t make me cross.

These are okay but they don't really say "Pow! We are a cult!"

These are okay but they don’t really say “Pow! We are a cult!”

Now this is more like it. I am the one in red.

My research has led me to a place that is entirely suited to our needs. North Korea has a secret (well, I guess not-so-secret) statue factory. The Mansudae Art Studio employs (conscripts) 4000 of North Korea’s most talented artisans to design portraits, sculptures, fountains, and statues for the world’s most vain—and aesthetically inclined—dictators. Most of their contracts come from Africa.

I’ve looked at the numbers and I figure $26 million should get our foot in the door. I’m thinking we’ll start with my portrait in every home—me in a singlet bare knuckle boxing a bear. And maybe a 40-foot-tall bronze statue of me lifting a wagon full of laughing children over my head as parents clap and cheer me on.

This might work. The muscles would need to much bigger though. And of course I'll be lifting a wagon full of those kiddies.

This might work. The muscles would need to be much bigger though. And of course I’ll be lifting a wagon full of those kiddies.

So who’s with me? Who wants to help build a dream?

Suffering for Art

Today we are going to a café for the launch of a poetry book. The author is one of my wife’s colleagues, and since the café is only about a ten or fifteen minute walk from our place, and because the weather has been so nice, we decided several weeks ago to attend the launch. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Hell, just last Saturday the temp got up to plus 17. With a ton of sun. Woohoo!

But then this happened:


It’s been snowing here now for about three days. We haven’t got anywhere near the dump of snow they’ve had, say, in the Maritimes here in Canada, or down south in Boston, but pain is relative (sort of) so I’m going to allow myself to whinge just a bit.

Aside from the snow, my other reason for consternation is my wife’s need/compulsion to walk fast. Faster than I normally walk. I like to dawdle and mosey and look this way and that. My wife, God bless her, goes from point A to point B with the single-minded efficiency of a German engineer. We’ve actually had some near fights over my ability to walk at a pace that even a toddler with gout might find ridiculous. I am often harangued and cajoled and, if it were socially acceptable, I have no doubt a stick would be used as an incentive.

One of my excuses is that if the zombie apocalypse happens while we are in transit, then my energy will be preserved for running. And as I tell my sweet wife, “I don’t have to run faster than the zombie, just faster than you.” Yeah, yeah, a fart in church and all that. I’m given a withering look and told quietly to “move my ass.” The quieter the voice and the more closed the mouth, the less room there is for my sparkling wit. How anyone could deny herself such an oasis on a cold, wintery day is beyond me.

So, in order to avoid my own small personal Trail of Broken Tears, I’m going to attempt to walk at a pace that we can all live with. And hopefully I can get to the poetry reading relatively unscathed and maybe even be inspired to do a bit of creating myself.

I am reminded once again that great art is almost always born out of some suffering.