weedmanSo I’m sitting in my backyard, enjoying the sun, listening to some music when I hear the magical sounds of the steel drums. My ears perk and it’s a familiar song from the eighties, “Pass the Dutchie.” I know that song and I know what it means. I look over my fence and sure enough it’s a vehicle that looks like an ice cream truck but plastered on the side is a giant marijuana leaf with “Weedman” in rainbow letters under it. And that fragrance. Is there a skunk in my backyard? Unmistakable.

What a great idea, I say to myself. The possibilities are endless. You’re sitting on a beach with the love of your life. The sun is going down, burning low behind the mountains. Romantic perfection to the nines. But you’re missing something. A joint would be perfect right now, lending a relaxing and mellow vibe to your romantic interlude. You hear sounds in the distance, “How do you feel when you got no weed, Pass the Dutchie.” The fragrant aroma of a thousand skunks under your porch wafting in the sunlight. The weed man has arrived. “Honey, hold on just a minute. I’ll be right back,” and you sprint to the Weedman truck like a ten year old running for a Sonic the Hedge Hog ice cream bar. You score and slowly walk back to the beach, but the sun has already set. Not for you though, an ember glows like the midday sun. Ten minutes later, you are fast asleep in your lover’s lap.

Or you’re downtown in the food truck line up, but in the distance you hear those familiar drums. “Pass the Kouchie on the left hand side.” Oh yea, the Weedman is here. You score a little appetizer from your Rasta waiter. After the appy, you hit the gourmet hot dog truck and gobble down a bacon and spicy guacamole dog. Then, with about ten seconds consideration, you hit the poutine food truck. The Weedman earns another commission. You wouldn’t have bought those extra fries, curds and gravy with out a hydroponic embellishment.

And all the other options. The folk music festival although I’m sure the Birkenstocks might be pissed at having the Weedman ruin their traditional stomping grounds. For each festival the Weedman adjusts the tune blaring from his truck. Country music festival, “It’s all going to pot,” Willy Nelson and Merle Haggard. This works also for the Calgary Stampede or any rodeo where good ol boys hang out. Folk music? Let’s go with Dylan and “Everybody Must get Stoned.” I don’t think there’s a musical genre exempt from the Weedman.

I’m looking over my fence and the Weedman passes. Pass the Dutchie is fading into the summer sun. What do I hear next? The Ice Cream truck song (which apparently is the most racist song in the world) followed by the potato chip truck and the pizza truck. Man, those munchie guys are making a killing because it’s not kids running after the food, it’s middle aged guys flying out of their backyards. Mowing the grass has a whole new meaning here in suburbia.

Thanks Meningrey for the image


Sentence Love

on-chesil-beach-ian-mcewan I just finished on Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan and holy cow can that guy write sentences.  Check these out 

“…it was already early September, and the leaves and grasses, though still unambiguously green, had an exhausted air..”

“The garden vegetation rose up, sensuous and tropical in its profusion, an effect heightened by the grey, soft light and delicate mist drifting on from the sea…”

“His painful craving was building intolerably, and he was frightened by his own savage impatience …

Flip to any page of this novel and you’ll find beautiful sentences, go on I dare ya.



Paperback Reader

I’m gorging on spy novels like a two tonne shark at a Vegas seafood buffet.  I just can’t put the books down – le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, Cleveland, Matthews, McCarry and the list goes on.  There is nothing better than escape fiction in a backyard hammock as you watch the summer clouds float by. It’s like television without the glare and brain rot.

However the incredible part of this extreme pleasure is that I bought my latest spy novel as a paperback.  What a novelty.  I’ve been using an e-reader for the past five years, so it’s the paper form that’s became nouveau for me. Many years ago, the e-book was the novelty as all new technology is (remember Facebook before Zuckerberg’s head exploded).  Quite the reversal. Now paper is cool.  Can I even say retro?  Oh my God, am I going to grow a beard, crop my hair short and wear orange glasses? “Holy android grandpa, you had books made of paper?  Did a lot of people read paper books in your days? Well yes, Sonny and they even left their house and went to a place called a bookstore to buy these ancient relics.  Grandpa,  what’s a store?”

I don’t think I’m going back to paper for ever, but it’s a welcome change.  Maybe paper belongs in the summer – dog-eared pages, easy reading topics and the cover sun bleached and faded. So romantic.  Is that what paperbacks have become?  A romantic novelty.   It was very pleasing to step inside a bookstore (another romantic notion?), grab a book and feel the weight of it in my hand.  And then read the first paragraph and judge whether the words will make a great bed partner for the next three weeks (then toss it to a friend for another spin). The bookstore has an added feature – humans who speak and answer questions, “Did you like this book? I ask. ” Although the only response I got was, “What do I care? My job maybe gone tomorrow.”

It was also nice reading the praises from various authors on how fantastic the book is.   However, it didn’t really help – the book isn’t really all that great (but I’m still gobbling it up).  It might have been better if I went online before I purchased the book and read what people who’ve actually read the  book thought about it. The cover hype was just that hyperbolic marketing trash which worked. Sold to the man in the plaid shirt with orange glasses. Hype is not so easy to do when you have thousands of responses from savvy readers and they give honest not paid opinions.  Perhaps the best feature for buying online. However like any review online, there are too many opinions, making any decision difficult. “I couldn’t get past the first page every time I tried to read the book. It was about wife who tries to murder her husband by putting sleeping pills in his bed time milk.”

Am I going back to paper for ever? Nah. There are too many environmental issues with paper – mainly you need to kill things to make a copy. Digital is death free. But the actual experience of buying a book – going to the store, talking to someone and feeling the pages between your fingers is hard to beat. Is it just a short walk before the paperback dies like VHS or CDs? On that note, does anyone need a six disk carousel CD player?


Thanks to achieve a better life for the graphic

George Orwell – A man for the times


 I am a huge fan of George Orwell. I remember reading Animal Farm in high school. It was my first introduction to literature besides the hidden copies of Salem’s Lot and Catcher in the Rye in our back pockets.  Of course our favourite part of the Salinger novel was the farting in church scene.  I went to a Catholic high school, so farting in church was a great symbol of discontent.  A few high school church gatherings were very smelly indeed.

Recently, I picked up a copy of Orwell’s “Burmese Days” (ok, so I downloaded it – who actually wants to kill trees for a paper copy – that’s so like seventies).  It’s a great read, but holy cow some situations in the book  are out of date.  The novel takes place in the 1920s in Burma where Orwell spent five years as a policeman (1922-1927). The main character Flory (Orwell) has a birthmark on the side of his face, a mark he tries to hide and is very ashamed of.  It is a great symbol of Orwell’s discontent with English colonialism. Orwell was also very aware of the use of language as we are today.  Language is politics. In Orwell’s most progressive way, he made sure the term “Chinaman” was replaced by “Chinese” through out the novel. A most twenty-first century approach, but that’s pretty much where the modern progress stops.

Other situations are shocking.   The alcohol drinking is incredible, the Brits drink and smoke no matter what time it is. I’m sure people today get up and drink alcohol, but doing so is  considered a problem.  These guys head to the European only club at nine am for rounds of gin and tonic (another shocking situation –  a whites only club).  Even the angered Flory falls into this booze trap, “No I don’t want breakfast.  Get me a gin.”  However that’s not the socially responsible way for the twenty-first century man. Today’s voice might say, “Dude, perhaps you should calm down and go for a run or do some yoga. Then we can get a kale and spinach smoothie.  I think you’ll feel much better.” In Orwell’s time a very fit guy cut himself down to fifteen cigarettes a day and a half  litre of gin. I can’t imagine an athlete today doing either of those activities while training.

Then there’s the hunting.  A female character in the novel declares, “Let’s go shooting.  It would be so fantastic if we shot a leopard.  Oh how I hope we kill a leopard.”  And they do.  But today’s voice,”OMG beeatch you’re not going to shoot a leopard are you?   Who the hell kills wild animals?  It’s environmentally irresponsible and the government of  Myanmar will have you arrested.” Flory would respond, “What the hell is Myanmar?” “Dude, they don’t call it Burma anymore. The military government changed the name back in the eighties.” Flory, “That’s great.   So no more imperialism?” “Well, bro, almost. Myanmar had a  brutal military dictator for almost twenty years.” Flory, “Some one should write a book about it.”  “They did bro, it’s called nineteen eighty-four.”

And this is why we need to read books that may appear out of date because it shows us how we’ve progressed (or not) as a society.  Now go buy an e-copy. We don’t use paper anymore. Consider the environment. And a very happy birthday George.  You would have been 114 on June 25th.

What would your mother say?

happy-mothers-dayMother’s day is just around the corner and I am very lucky because I have the greatest mom on earth (and so do you).  She’s so great that I carry her on my shoulder as a guide for politeness, manners and how to properly carry myself in public.  For example I must always wear clean underwear in case I get into an accident. Nobody wants a paramedic to look at my dirty underwear and say, “his poor mother.” Or clean your ears because potatoes will grow in them.  To this day I don’t eat pomme de terre in any form, including french fries. She is my guru for mindfulness long before the idea became a western fad.                      

So there I am sitting in a garage waiting for the mechanics to exchange my winter tires for summer.  I am standing, staring at the grease marks on the floor, hoping I didn’t jinx the weather.  How many times have I put away the snow shovel too early?  And boom the next day ten centimeters of white hell falls from the sky.  In the waiting room there are only two chairs, so I stand and ponder. A few minutes later a slim and fit young guy, say in his late twenties, comes in and plops down on the only vacant seat.  He pulls out his phone and removes himself from reality. The other guy in the chair is in his late fifties, a little over weight, varicose and might have problems standing for a long period of time even though he’s driving a brand new, midnight coloured two-door Dodge Charger. So I guess he doesn’t need to stand, ever.

A few minutes later, in comes a mom tied down with parcels and a rambunctious toddler. The young man looks around to see if anyone is watching.  He scans over to me and I give him the stink eye but to no avail (as if any creature on the planet would fear my smelly eye).   The young dude goes back to his phone. The bogged down and tired woman stands. Why do people do this?  Do they think they can hide and not face the discourtesy around them?  There are real people in the world and they are still looking at you.  I go over, stand in front of him and say, “What would your mother say if …”

“What would your mother say..”  if you were so inconsiderate you wouldn’t give up your seat to a mother loaded down with baggage and a two year old in tow.  My mother would be so disappointed. She’d also be disgusted if I sat on public transit reading my ebook (entitled, “How to control the world through commodity stock”) while ignoring a pregnant woman, hanging on to a strap barely able to balance.

What would your mother say if there was only one seat left in a food court because it was lunch hour and you and your friends ran ahead of an eighty-eight year old women, struggling to make it to the seat and took it from her? My mother would grab my by the ear, drag me back to the food court and make me apologize to the elderly woman who has done more for this society in one hour than you have in a life time.

What would your mother say if she you gave up your seat to a mother with kids or a pregnant woman or a senior? She’d be damn proud and tell you it’s the best Mother’s Day present ever. Happy Mother’s Day mom.  And thanks for making me a better person even though I forgot to change my underwear this morning.

Practical Magic, Easy Exercise

playdough manWhat is that sad looking lump of Playdough in the mirror?  Speedo season is just around the corner. Time to get a bit more exercise in the bones.  But I’m a lazy lump.  To help, I’ve designed an easy,  practical workout scheme that anyone can follow. Here are a few tips to combine exercising and practical everyday needs. 

Firstly, I hate gyms – they are smelly, cost too much and are littered with judgy, neurotic people.  I need something much more practical.   Part one entails running.  I also need some necessities. Wow, what a great idea, combining running and shopping (New Olympic Sport?). Off I go.  However, once I get my groceries: –  one large bottle of Vodka, some cranberry juice (a healthy alternative), a bag of oranges and Doritos (I need the carbs after my twenty minute exhausting run) – I realize that my knapsack is too small, so I give the oranges to some guy hanging around the liquor store. But the best thing! I killed a flock of birds with a giant boulder – exercising, shopping and saving cash – there’s only so much you can pack into a knapsack, so you don’t buy  crap you don’t need.

Now what else can I do for that Speedo bod? I go into the basement. My bike. I will ride my bike to work. That way I can save on gas and parking. Ok, but I’ll need to be prepared for this one. It’s still very icy  and cold outside (spring really doesn’t come here until June). Snow tires. I look at the bald tires on my bike (Ok, so I haven’t ridden it since the seventies). Studs. No problem I can make those. Thumb tacks will work just fine. I take off the tires, poke a few thumb tacks through the very thin rubber and seal it with sealant I used (ok so I intended to use) for a kitchen sink repair. Pluck on the long ginch, strap wool socks over (yes over) my tennis shoes and wrap a long florescent scarf over my face and head. I have to debate whether to take the vodka or not. It’s cold out there and I might need some warmth on my twenty minute bike jaunt. Plus the extra weight is good for exercise, right?  Vodka wins.

Another great idea. I’m going to get a pet because you have to get out and actually walk the thing, right? But I don’t have the time to take care of an animal. But guess what? There’s an app for that. You choose the kind of pseudo pet you want (I chose a min-pin, yorkie, pit bull cross – the dog has attitude but lamas and lizards are also options) and the app tells you when to take it for a walk, a pee or feed it, so you actually have to get off the couch and take care of your pet. Not only do I get great exercise, but the app is way cheaper than actually owning a hound. (Ok, so there’s isn’t a pet app but if you’re looking for an invention!!!)

One final great idea.   There’s a free stairmaster in any apartment or office building on your way to work or after work.  It’s called the stairs (brilliant or what?). And if you break in illegally, you can have the overweight security guard chase you up and down the stairs –  great for a high tempo run. So there you go – triathlon training at it’s best – running to the liquor store, biking to work with spirits on your back and swimming in the bottle of vodka you take on all your training exercises.

Please don’t try these at home kids. Leave exercising to professionals – now go back to Netflix binging.

Trump-Dumb, the new nation

Welcome to donald-trump-election-caricatures-582450ec49347__700Trump-Dumb – the grope is on!  Usually with America, one just laughs, shakes their head and moves on, but the business of Trump-Dumb is directly affecting my beloved nation.  Canada is the first country to feel the stupidity of Trump-Dumb.

One of his first executive orders was to ban refugees and visitors entry into the US from seven selected countries.  Of course they are all Muslim dominated countries and economically poor (didn’t see Saudi or Kuwait or Dubai on the list). His message as the leader of the free world, “I, as head of Trump-Dumb,  am condemning your whole culture as a group of bloody terrorists.”  However, the real subterfuge is to anti-Muslim and anti-immigration groups who now believe it’s pay back time for immigrants who do not conform to their narrow-minded ideals and values (whatever the hell that is and I guess religious tolerance is not ideal).

And what happens the day after the order?  A white guy (Trump-Dumb and Marine Le Pen supporter on Facebook) goes into a Mosque and kills six innocent Muslims and injures another eighteen while they are peacefully praying.  Nice work there Donny-Dud. You have no understanding what a message from your office means (this is not a reality show). And where did this horror take place?  Canada, the peaceful benign home of trees, maple syrup and moose. We get the honour of receiving the first negative repercussions of a Trump-Dumb executive order.

The scary part?  This is just beginning of his dictatorship. His attorney general says she doesn’t think the Muslim ban is constitutional.  The person who is in charge of US law says the executive order is unlawful.  So what does small hands do?  Fires her for insubordination.  So much for free speech in the country that has it as a fundamental right in their constitution.  I just hope the American constitution has a dictator provision. Even more disturbing is when my eighty-eight year old mother-in-law, who lived through the Nazi occupation in Belgium, says “You know this is how Hitler started.”

As a personal gesture I’ve decided to no longer buy any thing American or shop in any American stores.  Painful as this is, it means no more Costco (ahhh cheap gas and edamame pasta,  the horror!).  However I won’t paint America with one broad stroke (unlike the King of Trump-Dumb) and I will continue to enjoy Starbucks because Howard Schultz has decided to hire 10000 refugees (see article here).  I’m so glad so many American companies have joined the anti-Trump immigration ban, including Google, Apple, Nike, and Netflix (thank you Reed Hastings,  Santa Clarita Diet is safe).  However after all the support against the ban,  I’m not sure a business ban is the way to go (bring back the edamame noodles, but haven’t heard a peep from Costco).

Hope springs eternal.  When I started this article Trump-Dumb  was in full swing with a horrendous number of executive orders in just over a week. This week however, the train wreck appears to have slowed.  Lady Justice has stepped in and protected liberty. A judge in Seattle (who ever thought a judge would become a national and world-wide hero?) had the audacity to stand up to the King of Trump-Dumb and hold his malicious order accountable.  The action restoring my faith in America.

If there is one thing King Trump-Dumb has done is bring people together, but not to the liking of the King, I’m sure. Opposition is a powerful weapon. And for now, Lady Justice has a very shape blade her hands.


Thank you Froz (???) for the picture.