(random words; schizo factor: 9)

Our staff dance and sing - whatever it takes to make you smile. Smiles = our payment, leave the money in your wallet. Great things can be expected from us, so don’t wish us into the fire.

Assemble freak men in the moonlight, give them hats to fill with change. Big half-pitchforks pierce pistolpacking moments in January. Of goulash I've none, of pizza there is quick justice.

Police the leek fellowships, drain unction from cobra hollows. Polaroid swishmakers grumble halfliveredly. King of majesty! We are proud. Pinpoint the poindexters and follow them into a murky mottled metric daze.

Open toed daffodils vex my jelly master. Maseratis of mummification! Oh yellow cob! Corn from high hills of underwater Atlantis.


Cupcake Man seeks over the top blues band

The deal: I write the lyrics, you and your band sing them.

Start with this lil number which I call 'El Flopso':

The Flopso Blues

Hey big Betty, butts do sag/ Papa's coming home in a body bag

Sweet little chicken, steak fried grits/ Shake a little pepper on ya flopsy tits

Deepfried cabbage, bottle o suds/ mama's wooden leg is stuck in the mud

Chorus* Spiderman chokin/ Bullfrog croakin/ Ain't nobody jokin/ Flopso is down and broken

Bigass carrots, peelin grapes/ pinch my sugar an' shake your bake

Cash in hole, house in hock/ my mud-covered watch is a monkey clock

Three little pigs, big bad fox/ huffin and puffin, spittin pennies in a sock

Chorus* Spiderman chokin/ Bullfrog croakin/ Ain't nobody jokin/ Flopso is down and broken


Shazbat Shazoom

So...I made somebody's online dictionary. Somehow. Apparently I'm a magician. Fun. Also, I create literature. Intense.

For context, see Wednesdays at the Mod - a ramble about moral decay in Toronto or skanky biotches or possibly me having too much fun at my own expense.



Marilyn and John enjoy a massage

...a conversation between two people who won't admit they're
in love.

[? = my handwriting is illegible]

What do you mean?
J: Massages
M: Getting?
J: No, giving.
M: Aren’t you a
J: We don't allow touching here.
M: Huh? You're touching me pretty much everywhere.
J: No. I mean, have you seen people on the subway.
M: Yeah. They’re afraid.
J: Yeah. They have no libido. Calm as …
M: What about massages. You keep groping me.
J: There’s a knot there. And I need feedback. How else can I improve?
M: Yes, that’s good.
J: My hands are falling off.
M: That’s what happens
J: Do masseuses get carpal tunnal?
M: Why're we so afraid?
J: Who us?
M: No, people.
J: We’re two lovers on either side of a firewall.
M: Who - us?
J: No. People. You and I are more prosaic.
M: I don’t envy kids.
J: Huh?
M: There’s no mystery.
J: That’s been said.
M: Everything can be found. Makes you want to to go looking again.
J: When anything's possible, people tend to sleep in.
M: Very good. is that yours?
J: Yes - original.
M: Well done.
J: We need the chasm. The carrot.
M: Huh?
J: Stuff you have to jump after, pray for.
M: Nonlinear things.
J: Yeah. I dunno.
M: I don’t get it.
J: Keep it that way. Neither do I. And you’re so cute when you realize you don’t have a clue.
M: Is that so.
J: Charming you are.
M: What- a compliment?
J: It goes with the massage. I’ve got you here, chilled out, and I'm glad you've stopped biting.
M: Keep rubbing.
J: I want a fajita.
M: If people were listening to us now – what would they think?
J: I dunno.
M: Fajita?
J: they’d probly think we’re idiots. I’m constantly repeating everything you say, but as a question. And yeah I like fajitas.
M: Fill up space. No fajitas here. I can't eat Mexican on a full-body massage.
J: Fill up space?
M: We need filler time. Tempos con quesos. Cheese talk.
J: Bertrand Russell – The Conquest of Happiness
M: Conquest of who?
J: You
M: Shut up
J: Ok – of Happiness.
M: That’s better. How did he do it. Russell. The conquering.
J: Well he goes on about the value of boredom.
M: Boredom. Is my conversation getting too spicy? Mexicala m0uthiness
J: Well, overstimulated people tend not to accomplish very great things.
M: Really
J: Yep.
M: Well keep stimulating my shoulders like that and I won’t get outta bed for a week.
J: Me me me. That’s you.
M: I’m too much of a massage slut? What you gonna do about it.
J: About your slutty ways?
M: Yes.
J: I’ll keep rubbing until you reach liftoff.
M: I wish. But who will massage you when I’ve fallen asleep.
J: Probably nobody.
M: Is that why you give, so you can get?
J: We are what we lack.
M: Gord Downie.
J: I'm impressed.
M: And who am I?
J: Todd's girlfriend
Am I. So I am. A very dismal viewpoint. And what do you lack?
J: Todd's girlfriend.
M: But you aren't me.
J: I'm not so sure sometimes.
M: I lack massage.
J: The whole city does.
M: I’m selfish, I like your massages. I’m not a communist.[?]
J: Neither am I.
M: Then why do you want to massage everyone?
J: I don’t. Nice to ease the joints though.
M: You know what you really are, John?
J: I’m dying, please tell me.
M: You’re a combination of all the books you’ve ever read.
J: Tabula rasa eh. What made me pick up the first one then?
M: I don’t know.
J: And what do I want with you then
M: Well, I’m all the books you haven’t.
J: I reach for what I lack.
M: Yes. And keep reaching. And rubbing.
J: You slut.
M: Heehee
J: Something about being different on the internet [?]
M: Did what?
J: Made me feel small.
M: You are Hue of Borg.
J: Hue – who?
M: You don’t watch Star Trek. Never mind.
J: We don’t watch any of the same things any more. Don’t have to. The internet is an intensely personal thing.
M: Culture dies without consensus.
J: Yeah, and Star Wars replaced the Nativity story. I’m not sure what the internet gives us.
M: Lightning speed access to all the wrong answers.
J: Yeah. We can be dead wrong faster than ever before.
M: What would the Oracle of Delphi have thought?
J: I dunno. I’m so lambda?
M: That makes no sense.
J: Touche.
M: Yes, I'm being toushayed.
J: Massage. My hands are good for something.
M: Locked in a room with just me.
J: I was described as good at that.
M: What makes something good.
J: Harmony.
M: Like the Beatles?
J: It’s this tennis-match way we talk. Builds tension
M: Is that all it takes to keep interest?
J: Rhythm
M: What happened to harmony?
J: People should get married based only on longterm conversational potential. Find their life rhythm.
M: Yes
J: But I can play with any band.
M: Accompaniment. Stop showing off and keep massaging.
The big people in the world will always outshout the small.
M: Huh
J: It’s a fraud. Democracy. Far cry from Athens.
M: Huh?
J: The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversaton with the average voter.
M: Who said that?
J: I think it was Winston Churchill
M: You need more faith in people, John. They do what is expected of them.
J: The My Fair Lady effect. Julie Andrews. George Bernard Shaw, legend of Pygmalion.
M: Huh. How do I know anything? You read too much.
J: Oh I’m thinking of selling my spare iPod.
M: You with an iPod - you're such a sheep.
J: Go to hell


J: What if Todd was here, what would he say? How'd he defend his libido.
M: He’d be angry
J: Why're you attracted to him anyway?
M: Tall.
J: Huh?
M: Height. He’s tall.
J: That is so offensive you have no idea
M: Why? What's wrong with liking tall guys.
J: For the same reason me expressing my fondness for big-breasted women is offensive to you.
M: Am I offended by that?
J: At least a woman can get implants if she wants a bigger chest. A man is stuck with his height. There is no justification. It’s a Neanderthal prejudice.
M: Are you being a whiny suck?
J: Yes.
M: For a guy who makes fun of midgets as much as you do, I think you’re being a bit hypocritical with your outrage over my height preferences.
J: Consistency is a tall order.
M: Stop it. What will satisfy you?
J: You don’t want me to tell you.
M: I already know.
J: It’s not you.
J: Other people can’t make me happy.
M: You don’t give other people much credit do you.
J: I don’t know when I lost my faith in people. But no I didn't mean that as a pessimistic thing.
M: You disguise with niceness. But really it’s like all your expectations of people have evaporated.
J: So? My point is only I can make me happy.
M: Soon you will be a hermit.
J: Go to hell. It’s the green light I want.
M: What green light?
J: The green light at the end of the dock.
M: Easy, Gatsby. You read too much.
J: Not true – I’ve never read Shakespeare.
M: So what. Neither did Shakespeare.
J: Did what?
M: Read Shakespeare.
J: No but I’ve read Pope.
M: I don’t believe in the guy.
J: The pope is just a guy. Did you know Alexander Pope was practically a midget? Seriously - like 4'6". I guess you wouldn't have married him.
M: When I get the chance to marry the pope, I'll let you know ok. You’re doing great with the massage by the way.
J: Thanks for the feedback. I like to do a good job.
M: Who will notice if you don't?
J: I will.
M: You’re one of the greats, John.
J: Takes one to know one.
J: There is something about you that is carved in stone.
M: Funny, in the mirror nothing seems familiar.
J: Is this turning into an emo song?
M: No - I don't listen to cool music
J: Perfect foil. You’re the woman a man can…
M: Me? Not one of your downtown narcissists
J: I feel sorry for 'modern women'.
M: Why?
J: If feminism is genetic, then feminists are doomed to extinction.
M: Huh.
J: They aren't exactly out there getting pregnant.
M: Don’t be an idiot. It’s a cultural thing. It’s learned into society, you men are stuck with it, Deal with it.
J: Like a cultural meme.
M: Huh.
J: Exactly.
M: Stop it.
J: What – feminism?
M: No, get up.
J: ...
M: Thanks for the massage.
J: No problem. Where are you going.
M: Take a chair John. Now it’s your turn.
J: Rock on.



Quantum Fred

(meaninglessness factor: 7)

Ostracized from exile, delivered from the Age, Fred
whispered to his webcam, and trawled the universe for a homepage.

In 1740 he sang baroque, and
later taught the Babe to take a poke
and so fans packed Yankee Stadium.
He was Picasso in 1910 and
Warhol in '67 but
I saw him last week at midnight sweeping
the floors of a 7-11.

Fred comes and goes, Oh
and his bank account will never grow;
'You don't buy railroad tickets no more'
'You shop at the airport duty free store'

He's not upset at
disheveled hair
satisfied with poisoned air
Half and half he takes his coffee
sliced to ribbons by the scanner
a tiger lily lasts November
Roses bloom in Armageddon

Fred only gets 15 minutes
to unwind, to scope his mind for escape
now he's begging for change
at Danforth and Pape and
singing about his favourite grape, and
he just made friends with a puppy.


10 career choices to consider

1) Hot dog vendor - plenty fresh air and interaction; I'd charge a toonie. But I hear the vending racket is controlled by the mob. No wonder we see no outdoor salad carts.
2) Priest - I'd be gunned down tragically in Central America. Villagers would pray to my ghost for paranormal blessings.
3) Cashier - nothing calms me down like making change. Seriously.
4) Copywriter - hmm. No.
5) MiSC. editor - already had this job, and it was great. What is MiSC.? I'm working on that post. It's tough to explain.
6) Jokewriter - I do this one too.
7) Busboy - I prefer picking up plates to picking up bowls but can't be fussy I guess. I'd be the go-to guy when folks ask 'Can I get another napkin?' My shift would be a well-oiled machine.
8) Tour guide on a double-decker bus - many favourite things combined: fresh air, making stuff up, meet bored tourists (some goodlooking) with too much money. May have to start a touring company. The Toronto neighbourhoods tour. Yeah. Could be on rickshaw too. God that's a brilliant idea.
9) Mixed-tape consultant - just waiting for the technology to make a comeback.
10) World Cup Blogger - nothing says soccer like a blog! Yes.



(staring at the lake listening to Baroque masterworks)

Hourglass figures fine and smooth drunk loosening of keyboard inhibitions, you scrivener with cuff sleeves loose, verbose, sit at the rear of a kitchen caboose. Regale with tales of a genial giant, and how postmodernity got screwed up getting Y2K-compliant. “It’s another tech bubble,” just wait and see – “I’m selling my earthly possessions and moving to a fantasy.”

I’m not your shining knight, I’m the king of daze. The man you’re in love with doesn’t exist –his hair is turning grey. Meet so many women, like a revolving door. These weak social links leave me gasping on the floor. Can you breathe through society snorkels? I’m suffocated by our city’s legitimate desperation, just elected president of an insecure nation.

Blame yourself for curiousity, though they dish out death penalties at the first sign of pomposity. What curiousity gave you will kill you too. What you deserved is what you rue. You say you won’t be it but it's what you do. That is hell, the chasm between talk radio and pillowtalk, between red carpets and plank-walks, between “shut up” and lip locks.

He said "Honest men believe others are honest, but a liar doesn’t trust anyone so he makes prisons.” and "the best laws were all invented by liars. Trickledown morality's what feeds the fire.” Inspired by libertarians, or were they false-freedom-barbarians? All in favour of life, death to strife and the safe and responsible use of a carving knife. But this from a boy who never took a wife?


Insanire Iuvat - 'It's Good to Go Nuts'

Alcoholic Genius
Horace and Wines in the Odes
Pat Tanzola
Latin 311
For prof: Ross S. Kilpatrick
Fall 1999

balnea vina Venus corrumpunt corpora nostra, sed vitam faciunt balnea vina Venus

-Roman poem-fragment found inscribed in stone (Griffin, 89)

potabis: ‘you will drink deeply’
-Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Ode 1.20.3)

Those upper class Romans loved a wild party, and Horace was no exception, so the story goes. Wine, long associated with images of Bacchic revelry--the “eat-drink-and-be-merry” of the Epicurean cliche--indelibly stains the Horatian verse with its ubiquitous alcoholic presence: in Odes III alone, seventeen of the thirty poems (odes 1, 4, 6, 8, 12-19, 21, 23, 25, 28-29) contain references, allusions, and even (in Ode 3.21) prayers to wine and drinking. Indeed, the Horace novice begins to wonder whether the poet was in need of a twelve-step program, for wine is so noticeable a weapon in Horace’s poetic arsenal, used (abused?) in a scope and style unlike any other Roman poet. Upon a more sober examination of the Odes, however, the sensitive reader becomes aware that Horace uses wine for reasons deeper than merely boorish expression of his hedonistic habits (as they are alleged to be). The famous drinking-party or convivium (‘living together’) is not exclusively an end in itself in the Odes; more often drinking serves Horace as a point of departure, from which he may tackle any number of topics—love, friendship, politics, philosophy, morality, and so on. Horace was no chaste monk, but above he all preached the Golden Mean (Harrison, 6) of moderation. He uses wine by way of example, reproaching its over-indulgence as well as praising its pleasures. Wine was also a prominent theme in the work of Greek poets such as Alcaeus. It was the Greek style that Horace reinvented in Latin, and to which he paid homage in his symposiastic (from Greek symposium or ‘drinking together’, equivalent to a Roman convivium) odes; as an attonitus vates (‘inspired bard’) of Bacchus, wine was a key part of his ambitious poetical stylization. Drinking and the appreciation of wine, then, is a poetical framework, an aspect of Roman life whose manifold aspects and subtle nuances—including not only orgiastic fever but also relaxed conversation between friends--Horace explores to the fullest in his role as poet.

The Romans had a bad reputation for indulging in drink and losing control. Expensive wines, perfumes and flowers were “characteristic features of the voluptuary’s convivium”; these parties were synonymous with alcoholic excess (Edwards, 187). Drunken brawling was instilled in the literature: Ovid’s Metamorphoses include scenes of centaurs and lapiths braining each other with massive wine bowls. The Romans were blithely self-aware of their alcohol-soaked excess. Many contemporary writers, such as Seneca, denounced convivia as the settings for prodigal consumption, and wine as the prime instigator (Griffin, 86). In a famously hilarious Phillipic, Cicero tore into Antony’s wine-soaked atrocities:
Let us speak instead of the nastiest kind of vulgarity. You, with that gorge of yours, that stomach, that body as strong as a gladiator’s, had consumed so vast a quantity of wine at the wedding of Hippias that you had to vomit in the sight of the assembled Roman people the following day—a scene disgusting to behold—even to hear about! If this had occurred in the middle of one of your drinking-bouts, even then, who would not consider it shameful? Yet in a gathering of the Roman People, while engaged in public business, the Master of the House—in whom belching would be most indecorous—vomited, spilling fragments of food, stinking of wine, into his own lap and over the whole tribunal.
(Cicero Phil 2.63—from Edwards, 191-192)

Horace himself acknowledges this capacity of wine for incapacitation, noting rixarum metuens…Gratia (3.19.16)—‘the Graces fear brawling’. Wine was the companion of both love (Veneris sodali/ vina craterae –3.18.6-7) and witty conversation, but at the other end of the symposiastic spectrum lurked riotous quarreling and sexual jealousies (rixam et insanos amores –3.21.3), ever-dangerous beneath the surface of any party. Wine and debauchery went hand in hand, and the Romans were not necessarily proud of this fact.

And yet, by Horace’s time, appreciation of wine was something of an art form, which brought an air of distinction to the wine-lover. In the late Republic, the systematic specialization of knowledge spilled over from areas like philosophy and law onto the supper table, resulting in an increased connoisseurship of food and drink (Edwards, 203). In his encyclopediae Pliny the Elder devoted an entire book to wines (Griffin, 65); even the strict Cato was said to be quite knowledgeable on the subject: “narratur et prisci Catonis/ saepe mero caluisse virtus” (3.21.11-12). Wine could be appreciated without the noisy accompaniment of the convivium. Heightened awareness of the differences between vintages helped raise the wine-jar above the level of low debauchery, to the level of haute-couture.

Of Roman poets, it is above all Horace who speaks of wines with a most comfortable sophistication. The elegiac poets, such as Catullus, do not display an expertise in this area; Asclepiades and Meleager never mention wines by name; the epic writer Virgil is just as sparing—“wine snobbery was not appropriate at all levels of poetry”(Griffin, 67). This makes Horace’s knowledge of vintage, demonstrated throughout his body of work, all the more compelling: “he mentions the Falernian fifteen times, seven times the Caecubean, six times the Chian…” (Griffin, 66). Horace is unduly paranoid about wine: he worries that Spartacus has destroyed all the fine bottles from the Marsian War (see 3.14.18-20)—as though Spartacus’ chief concern were drinking. Indeed, no one (and certainly not Spartacus) can match Horace as arbiter bibendi: he knows how to store the wine (amphorae fumum bibere institutae –3.8.11), how to dilute and heat the wine (aquam temperet ignibus –3.19.6) and how to make a toast. In making the toasts, he even makes correct use of the genitive case, with sume…amici/ sospitis (3.8.13) and da lunae…da noctis…da auguris Murenae (3.19.9-11) representing holdovers from corresponding Greek ‘toasting’ expressions (Williams-1969, 72). Horace was a lyric poet; lyric poetry was traditionally supposed to be written to accompany musical performance at parties, where, after all, there would have been drinking (Williams-1969, 8). This alone, however, does not account for Horace’s peculiar fondness for wine.

Enemies of Horace might have said that he was just “a ‘fat little hedonist with a knack for writing verse’” (Harrison, 109). Horace’s refined urbanity, exemplified by his thorough knowledge of the wine-cask, is marred by fits of regression into ‘debauchery’: he is all-to-ready to quaff the contents of said cask! Horace is apparently an anomaly among Roman poets, an alcohol-obsessed over-indulgent lush, who brags about the proper amounts for drinking (Connor, 144). After demanding three times the normal amount of wine (ternos ter cyathos –3.19.15), the poet exclaims in a fit of convivial swashbuckling: “insanire iuvat”—‘it’s good to go nuts’ (Minadeo, 92). Wine brings oblivion. In the pia testa ode, Horace praises, with blasphemous reverence, the ‘powers’ of the holy wine-jar: wine may bring querelas… iocos… rixam…insanos amores…facilem somnun (3.21.2-4). He mentions his notable friend Massala Corvinus, but only with respect to Corvinus’ obedience to the bottle of wine (3.21.9-10), an obedience that Horace shares with relish. His immediate reaction to a piece of good news or the arrival of a friend is to lay out a party with plenty of wine and laughter (Harrison, 109). Ode 2.27 provides a most explicit example:
The throw of the dice will decide who is to see to the wine. I intend to rave like a Bacchante. Now that I’ve got my friend back, I’m all for an orgy.
(2.27.25-28, as quoted by West, 132)
Horace was an extrovert who enjoyed life to the fullest!

It would be a mistake, however, to attempt to understand Horace and his wines solely from this libidinous perspective. There are noticeable cracks in his hedonistic façade. Keep in mind that Horace (who lived 65-8 B.C.), was approaching middle age at the time of the Odes (book III was published in 23 B.C—he would have been forty-two). Though a reveler in his youth, he was mellowing, just like Corvinus’ languidiora vina (3.21.8). While he does order up the usual celebration upon Augustus’ return from Spain, he won’t cause a fuss if his girl Neaerae won’t come; should there be a problem in procuring her, his slave is given instructions to leave (“abito” 3.21.20). After all, sighs Horace, “lenit albescens animos capillus/ litium et rixae cupidos protervae” (3.21.21-26). In ode 8 at the gathering between Horace and Maecenas, there is a similar air of moderation. Though the party will last till dawn, Horace bids “procul omnis esto/ clamor et ira” (3.8.15). Sellar comments that Horace “in his maturer years had no greater enjoyment than that of honest talk and wholesome wine with an old friend” (Sellar, 173). There is no ‘insanity-provoking mechanism’ ascribed to the enjoyment of wine here.

Horace actually deplores undue excess. There is an instinct for moderation about Horace that raises him above the level of the lowly pleasure-seeker (Chapman, 134). Most notable in Odes III is his treatment of that vetula Chloris, whom he admonishes: poti…faece tenus cadi (3.15.16) are not appropriate a woman of her age. Horace paints a “hideous picture” of Chloris, “devoid of any sympathy” (Connor, 187). In the sixth Roman Ode, attacks the adulterous immorality of women at drinking-parties (inter mariti vina--3.6.24) as an emblem of the general breakdown of order. Readers may feel it is hypocritical of Horace, he a bachelor and veteran of many love-affairs (“militavi non sine gloria”—3.26.2), to take such a stance. As Harrison points out, however:

his affairs with [Greek] courtesans…don’t prevent him from honestly
deploring the fact that Roman matrons should imitate such women (Harrison, 13)

Horace was Poet Laureate of Rome. It is hard to imagine Augustus entrusting the role of moral mouthpiece for the reformed Roman State to a mere libertine. Horace said “rectius vives”—‘may you live more correctly’. While he dabbled in Stoicism and especially in Epicureanism—whose highest good is the absence of pain—Horace above all believed in the Golden Mean of Aristotle, that the best path to take in life is the one between two extremes. Excessive recklessness and ostentation are to be avoided. The weak hedonism of the party ethos becomes stronger when emphasis is put on death and the uncertainty of life (Williams-1972, 73), but even precious Falernian wine will not soothe a man who is troubled at heart (3.1.43). So Horace’s most famous phrase, “carpe diem” (1.11) is not an alcohol-soaked carte-blanche.

Having given credit to Horace for his ethical scruples, the reader must abandon the narrowly-conceived formula that, in his poetry, wine equals joyous revelry. The equation has more variables. This results in a very complicated situation for the critic. For surely there are some traces of Horace’s mad playful youth in the Odes—ode 28, a joyous exhortation to symposiastic preparation, seems to affirm this alone. And yet, Sellar claims Horace was “neither an ardent lover nor an intemperate reveller” (Sellar, 168), and that he was the least serious of all the love poets. He certainly does lack the passion of, say, a Catullus, who said to his lover “odi et amo”—‘I love you and I hate you’. As a rule, Horace does not go to extremes. Love, like wine, is to be enjoyed, but not overdone. Horace mentions so many girls—Chloe, Lydia, Lycus, Phyllis, etc.--that “it is doubtful if he was deeply attached to any of his girlfriends” (Harrision, 62). As he is a connoisseur of wine, so is Horace a connoisseur of women.

Horace obviously had other reasons for making so many references to wine, apart from the fact that he was a wine-connoisseur. Sellar explains the ubiquity of wine in the Odes via the influence of the Greek poets: “love and wine were favourite themes of Horace’s prototypes” (Sellor, 168). Fraenkel agrees: songs about “banquets…prayers, and invocations” are Greek in derivation (Fraenkel 168). For example, there is Alcaeus, who was a particularly important model for Horace:
The convivia and the drinking of wine are important for the composition of
[Horace’s] poems. His model in his lyric poetry is Alcaeus, and Alcaeus
sang constantly of wine. (Griffin, 76)
Eleven of the thirty poems in Odes III are in the Alcaic metre. Odes 8, 14, 17, 19, 21, 28, 29 are all symposium poems (Williams-1972, 25), based at least partially on the Greek style.
Horace truly admired the Greeks; he longed to take their poetic conventions and make them his own. The pia testa ode, in all its irreverence, is an imitation of a Pindaric invocation in a form “instantly recognizable” (West, 93) to the Romans and Greeks. Horace brags that he is princeps Aeolium carmen ad Italos deduxisse modos, the ‘first to spin Aeolian poetry to Italian rhythms’ (3.30.13-14, as translated by Williams-1972, 150). Drinking was an important factor in Greek poetry; therefore wine takes on a stylistic role in Horace, above and beyond Horace’s own purported hedonism. Wine provides a welcome ‘stage prop’ for Horace to use in giving advice to Maecenas in odes 8 and 29, to discuss political themes in ode 14 (as well as odes 8 and 29), and to talk of love-making in ode 28. Food is noticeably absent from the Odes, though most would agree food is just as necessary to a life of pleasure. Though Horace is known for his love of wine, the fact that drinking (and not eating) is the chosen poetic fashion to broach upon themes such as the shortness of life, love, friendship, and politics is not his invention: “the higher genres, not only lyric but also elegy, were happy to accept mention of drinking, but would not allow discussion of food” (Griffin, 81-82). Wine is an objective poetic entity. Whether the theme is serious or not, everything the poet has to say, both his private and public utterances, can be versified in relation to how they impinge upon the setting of music and drinking (Griffin, 78). Wine is part of the Greek style, and Horace adopts it into his own style.

In accordance with this, Horace deals with the theme of his poetic inspiration in conjunction with wine. If Horace lacked passion (and albescens…capillus certainly supports this view), then what about the Dionysian fervour of ode 25 (Dionysus is the Greek equivalent of Bacchus)? What does it mean when Horace invokes the Wine-God (Lenaee means ‘God of the Winepress’ –3.25.19) for inspirational help? Horace claims that he sees Bacchus; that he is mad with poetic frenzy: “quo me, Bacche, rapis tui/ plenum” (3.25.1-2). Is he being literal? Fraenkel is quite credulous: “I think Horace means what he says. He did see Dionysus” (Fraenkel, 200). This stance, however, does not fit the portrait of Horace in the Odes. The Odes are “the mature and deliberate work of a man whose locks were turning grey” (Chapman, 97). The statement that (in a supposed inspirational frenzy) he had seen the Wine-God must have been the result of a calculated poetical motive. The Dionysian vision is a clear case--unusual for Horace--where the poet and the man, Q. Horatius Flaccus, seem to be starkly separate people. Typically, it would seem Horace’s 'own personality' burns through his verses: Horace is so adept at portraying a believably autobiographical character in his poems, that lazy critics are apt to always interpret his verse in this way. Horace the man was a wine-lover, and he wrote a lot about wine. From one perspective this is unsurprising; from another perspective, this is a happy but completely unnecessary coincidence, and the Odes reaps the benefits of it. Unfortunately, the poet sometimes has to use a little bit of creative exaggeration, to say the least, and this is the case with the Dionysian vision. Was Horace really serious about Bacchus’ ability to inspire him to write great and original poetry (“dicam insigne recens adhuc/ indictum ore alio” –3.25.7-8), all via the wine grape? Probably not. Otherwise there would be a Horace in every dumpster, not begging for change but writing verse instead.

Horace may have been too moderate to take much of life (including Bacchic frenzies) seriously, but he was dead set on one issue: his own poetic greatness. Horace believed, after the fashion of the Epicureans, that the only thing capable of surviving death and possessing immortality is fame (Harrison, 7). In the first line of the last ode of book III he claims with bravado “exegi monumentum aere perennius” (3.30.1)—alas, it’s not bragging if it’s true. Horace gives a nod to the Greeks for their help, but Greek metres carry him only so far; despite their influence, Horace’s poetry will be totally original. Horace is sacerdos musarum (3.1.3), and he claims that he can only fulfill his poetic role with divine inspiration. Bacchus was the god to hear his requests, the god not only of wine, but of poetic fever and originality (Williams-1969, 130), the Muse whose inspiration is like madness. Only in the extraordinary frame of mind that is akin to drunkenness, Horace writes, will he do justice to the grand and perilous theme of Augustan poetry. The image of Bacchus is a figurative link to Horace’s impassioned claim (perhaps his only impassioned claim) of supreme poetic status:
…it is a metaphor, sanctioned by long literary usage, for something which
the poet was anxious to say: that he really was a great lyric poet; an
Alcaeus, a Pindar. (Griffin, 75)
Thus, poetic greatness does indeed go hand in hand with drunkenness.

Horace squeezes a tremendous amount of poetry of out his wine-press, both in quantity and in quality; book III is another classic vintage. If every nuance of drinking and appreciation of wine could flow through a poet’s oeuvre, Horace is the prime example in Roman poetry. Yes, Horace was an extrovert hedonist in his youth and even into his old age. The role that wine plays in his verse is nonetheless subtle, and understated, in spite of its prevalence. In Odes III, Horace, after the manner of the Greek symposium, uses the forum of drinking as a framework for poems of any flavour: “an invitation to a friend can promise a party…rational hospitality can rebuke the vices of age...its reverse brings…the orgy” (Griffin, 77). Whether he uses down-to-earth directness or stylized allusion, the poet meets with and expresses his themes over a cup of wine, poem after poem. Hence it is really no surprise that Horace (in 3.21) sings an entire prayer to a wine-jar as though it were a god: wine has helped Horace become famous, and one should always thank the gods when they are propitious.


Connor, Pater. Horace’s Lyric Poetry: The Force of Humour. Australia: Aureal Publications,

Chapman, John Bisset. Horace and His Poetry. London: George C. Harrap & Company, 1971.

Edwards, Catherine. The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1993.

Fraenkel, Eduard. Horace. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1963.

Gowers, Emily. The Loaded Table. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

Griffin, Jasper. Latin Poets and Roman Life. London: Gerard Duckwort & Co., Ltd., 1985.

Harrison, J. A. Horace in His Odes. Bristol: Bristol Classical, Press.

Minadeo, Richard. The Golden Plectrum: Sexual Symbolism in Horace’s Odes. Amsterdam:
Rodopi B.V., 1982.

Noyes, Alfred. Portrait of Horace. London: Sheed and Ward, 1947.

Sellar, Arthur, ed. The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.

Williams, Gordon. The Third Book of Horace’s Odes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

Williams, Gordon. Horace. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1972


"Who do you want to be?" she asked

"The most influential writer ever," he said.

"Really. Rich and famous doesn't sound like you."

"Not at all. There's only one way to accomplish it. Doesn't mean fame."

"How then?"

"Be unknown. But be everywhere. Powerful and anonymous."

"Huh? like who?"

"Think for a minute. Who's the most important writer ever?"

"I don't know."

"Just think about your life. The most influential author. Think about where you live. Who controls almost everything - all the time?"

"I give up. Who?"

"The dude who wrote the stop sign."



"Please leave now."


"I mean - right now."

"Fine. But it's a masterpiece."


FIAC team bios - Criminy Fok

About Criminy – FIAC short story author

Criminy straddles the line between the insignificant and the insane. "Vocabulary is like a dromedary," he exclaims. "And I’ve been to Tipperary. I’m oh so scary."

Indeed. Criminy began at FIAC writing about an evil cow that lived in the Cupcake Man's basement:

I was in my basement, playing The Game Of Life, when a fearsome black cow appeared before me, hissing and spitting, her four stomachs churning with bovine malevolence. She was more like a cobra of the barnyard; she was no benign Bessie. Her udder dripped a hot, corrosive muck that reeked of sulphuric acid. It was as though this creature was poisoning its milk on me by way a deadly taunt. No, I would taste naught of the she-bull’s udder: Considering how utterly taken aback I was by the beast’s iron-hoofed ingress, I would do precious well to exit this encounter with my life. I groped for my pitchfork, hoping perhaps to impale the beast, lest she impale me upon her blunted snout. My effort was in vain: the cow, though bovine in stature, was feline in agility. The beast was upon me, gnashing its outward-jutting teeth and mooing like the Dark Shade Calf of Hades herself. Eyes wide with mortal terror, I expected no less than complete bodily evisceration…

Except to write his memoirs, Criminy has never looked back, penning over 50 short stories for FIAC in under three years. His memoir, published in an outhouse in 2005 was an homage to his characters: 1001 Ludicrous Assholes – or Reading This Book is Better than Tuberculosis, and was banned in 113 sanitoriums across North America.

Criminy's technique is unique to FIAC in the blogosphere. Eschewing ‘plot’ and ‘character’ his stories are driven by impossibly original names - like Moses Drecksnider the King of Cutlery and Znoosle the Curmudgeonly Coelecanth -and random phrases such as 'a woman can talk about shoelaces as long as the lace is long'. He says his writing "wriggles upon the disfigured cliche" and "cliffhangers in every sentence." Sure, Criminy. Whatever!

"There are better stories out there," he says, "stuff with an actual plot, or real emotions. There are more poignant insights." But as far as daredevilry goes, Criminy walks the talk like the bees knees. "I mix metaphors like a curious cat on a hot tin roof." Or like an old dog playing pick up sticks. "Suspended disbelief is a game of chicken," he shouts into his webcam. "Take that to the bank and smoke it!"

His stories have been described as "blinding, in the bad way" or "akin to a heavy thud" or "not unlike a voluminous sneeze" or "like being suffocated under a moose."

"My goal?" he says. "To make my readers drunk."

"And one day, they will go blind."


"This is literary moonshine.”


FIAC team bios - Antoine B-B

About Antoine Blankety-Blank, FIAC IT support

Bob Marley, meet Blackbeard - ie Antoine! Antoine is a master of bandwidth. His prowess with Blogger technology, namely the Postex Positron borders on the ridiculous. After a degree in Viagra Studies from the University of Kablingie Antoine shucked 487 oysters in a row. "There are calcium stones in my gullet the size of turtles." But what size turtle he will not say.

Disdaining violent outbursts, Antoine relies on sweaty handshakes. "A lot can be learned from the komodo dragon," he says about his favourite monitor lizard. He applies their "patient coldblooded outlook" when adjusting FIAC Ethernet signals. But Antoine admits he sometimes deploys the atomic suplex to resolve the stickiest technical glitches.

When channeling a FIAC post Antoine drinks whiskey and says a prayer. Regarding his future with our team, Antoine muses, "Either I keep working for FIAC, or I get shot from a cannon." Not an easy choice.

Antoine is only 19 and yes, ladies, he is single!


FIAC team bios - Mona

About Mona, FIAC Schoolmistress

Education has always been a part of Mona's life. She wishes her enthusiasm on the masses. Mona's "vivacious passion for vibrancy" seeks its level in her grandiose whimsy. Mona once shook the hand of President Jimmy Carter; it was that moment that solidified her "extreme distaste for nature" and passion for politics. Mona describes her interest in teaching as a mothlike attraction to a towering blaze. "As bugs gravitate toward a torch, so do my students whirl around my instruction and scream out joyous twitterings."

Mona has a degree in All Things Extraordinary from the University of Utter Relevance. She worked for 86 minutes as firsthand attache to Winston Churchill's portrait artist's petticoat maker. While fastening a button to a sleeve, she was hit by a bus. That bus was not even a bus, but a cosmic insight that made Mona giggle and fart; a realization that her contributions to civic life would be effected only by joining our team.

Says Mona, "People think too much... about stupid things. Like amniotic fluid and Sega Dreamcast. I try to encourage that - by smashing wooden cupboards to bits and writing about ancient Celtic euphemisms for beer. Other times I am unconscious. It's a mystery." Indeed. "That's why I work here."



The miracle worker

(She pinched me on the bum
it was 2001
I didn't expect that
or what was to come)

There's a picture upon my dresser
letters for her
that need an addresser

she grows smiles in her eyes
transplants them on faces
hellos like embraces
discard the bitch mace
bigcity paranoia, cynicism
sequoias blocking
forest for the trees
she lives in Atlantis,
yes! So
I am led to believe.



We are dying. Lies make us. I die trying, fly high trying.

Great geese overhead in winter; fly to where? I can’t care, but know they go there, through air. Don’t shit on my hair. I’m stuck. Luck I earned, karma stashed from previous lives, love I got drunk on, and burned.

Collide. I scope a crash for colours. Rainbow wrecks and twisted rigid bones. Amen to the jigsaw in my brain, wipe shrapnel, go home. Here I am, babbling to the only person I love on ten thousand telephones.

I write love letters, sweetest she ever received. Envelope lick drop-in box delivers unfading memories and etchings you can believe. But these days - nobody can digest a megabite, or trace autumn leaves - that just ain't how folks get paid - and whistling? Disappears into the breeze.

Cataclysm! Ms. Rhythm gave me schizoschism, I trap her, keep her prisoned in a prism, ringing elision, illusion of darklife and deadweight confusion, refresh from fullness, sick to death of bullshit underwater nowheres - here, there and everywhere. I know it’s not fair, nothing is and everything is. But I'm so tired I don’t care.

Stuff a sock down my pants and call it country. I sang bluegrass in her kitchen and cracked like humpty dumpty. I was dared to hit a girl once, but anger’s a failure of intelligence; violence is so 20th century, like not voting’s worse than suicide. Governments and the afterlife - we get what we deserve.

Will I bomb you, Osama? What will calm you. The drama. You, on the desert dromedary, your derriere kicked by an ass donkey King Kong Bush still swatting at the consequence of that aerial ambush.

They made a war. Outlet for fate. Pent-up nihilism needs its place. Explode yourself on a bus, try to crush my luscious blush, your self-destruction doesn't wipe the smile from my face. Optimism. Relax. There’s a reason why people masturbate. Or if you’re that desperate for affection - ask your sister on a date. But don’t blow me up: it's my get-home bus, and I don't like being late.

Mass graves. Grave masses. Crusade Christians. Help the homeless and don’t throw stones. I live in a looking glass. I can move anywhere, but I live what I choose – wherever they got sweaty skins on tired bones; wherever they have eyeballs; wherever they got the jigsaw blues.


Marilyn and John peeling carrots

...a conversation b/w two people who won't admit they're in love.

Marilyn: John, I’m not content.
John: Neither was Stalin.
M: Are you comparing me to Stalin?
J: Well your mustache is inferior.
M: You're obsessed with communist despots. And don't trash the 'stache.
J: 'Despot' implies a bad thing.
M: Why am I Stalin?
J: I reference him because of geopolitics, feminist theory, and these carrots we're peeling. It's hard to explain.
M: Huh?
J: I don't know.
M: You're nuts.
J: Ha, now I’m the one ‘stallin’...
M: My brain's wilting; stop. Can't we talk about life, love and inspiration?
J: These things matter to you?
M: Very much. My father’s uncle was a butcher. He taught me to get to the heart of the matter. That's what butchers do.
J: Nonsense.
M: No it isn't.
J: Well I agree, the quality of life depends on the liver.
M: Go to hell, John.
J: Zing.


Why pizza can save the ocean

(highly questionable philosophical musings...)

Pizza has the property of being adored by all nations. If the nations were polluting the waterways, and were offered pizza instead, they might stop their polluting. The waterways thus owe their existence to those with solutions that involve Italian treats. But only if the pizza were delicious enough to make men neglect their destructive and in some ways instinctive habits.

Let us turn to the domestic sphere:
Large fingers are often chopped off in the hinges of rusty doors. This is something Leonardo Da Vinci discovered when he taught his lectures. Those with longer fingers suffered more frequent breakages and those with hair that got caught in hinges were almost as plaintive. The lesson: be attentive and on guard, for the majority of accidents happen in the home.

The greatest philosophers had no idea what mustard, ketchup and other condiments would mean to the modern grocery store. Philosophers deal in truth, and truth alone. Those who deal in groceries are grocers, and yet they must be acquainted with the subtruth that imports upon their trade. For the rules of business are worldly, that cannot be argued; yet the philosopher also must cross realms and deal with physical needs, that also cannot be argued, unless the philosopher is purely vapour and spirit — and yet such entities are not achievable without contacting shades and sprites from beyond the grave and channeling their quintessence while denying the transubstantiation of said quintessence. The point is that hot dogs are metaphysically intangible but gastronomically indispensable.

A barbell suspended above a doorframe is an invitation to mischief. That is tautological. A dwarf who climbs a high ladder to reach the barbell to remove it from danger might not still not be able to reach it. In this way his good intentions are nullified by his stature, and so all in the gym will mock him. For dwarves have not achieved mainstream acceptance and the barbell could shatter the skull of the next person who enters. If that person is also a dwarf the barbell could actually be taller than that dwarf. For dwarves are not tall and barbells, when suspended are destructive.

A pickle taped to a dromedary’s buttocks has certain problematic vectors. More on this next week.


I will call you again

After two years,
everything you said is clear

people say what's the point
- ti trovo un posto

the first words I learned in your language were the most beautiful

first thing learned is last forgotten


come back and you won't get away
burned in me


Hounds of Love

I need a passport to get me into my next state of consciousness. Tired of ramming clichés into a blender and everything coming out smoothie, a bit too digestible. Eco-conscious thoughts, are these sentiments neurodegradable or will they litter the thoughtscape for centuries? Packaging, I’m cutting down on packaging now.

“In the future…” My favourite way to start a sentence.

In the future will pork and beans be outlawed?

I did a hatchet job on myself.

Got soaked again. Can’t trick Mother Nature. Like a soccer commentator, uttering poignant things every tenth minute.

Leave me dice and a drawbridge for the night and I can be the knight in the moat with fight in his face and lice in his hair, dirty but unbowed and proud of his duty and serving the beauty of her name and eyes and the skies will be painted with her fair breath, so dress for Sunday and pluck the goat, the moment's tonight and the broken backs are upon the boat.

Pisces do unnerve me, they are fish with a tail, a dragon drinking ale and I’m a wiggin with the nail, this hammer of my finger does not linger for a moment in my mind so unwind the twine and unfurl limericks into mirth; it's a truth you can't escape the mind ready for rape and the ladies're atittering at their own selfastonishment.

Selfish it is to sell fish at all.


Flaming Hogs of Fishbait!

How did we meet - do you remember?

I was interested in your name. I was referred here by a friend, Ms. Kimberly Quock, a friend from the islands. Your name is Chloe? A good name, doesn't get my blood boiling, a fine name for friendly conversation. Chloe, where have you been all my life? You must forgive me, I have never, ever met someone with so large a forehead.

I have my fetishes: a voluminous forehead here, a well-manicured, even serrated toenail there; a fluffy pink bunny laid carefully above my doorframe. Everyone has some micropleasure, Chloe - what are yours? Perhaps dromedary limericks, or piping hot porcini mushroom pie - or is it blonde peach-fuzzed boys named Sven? Oh we'll get along fine, ma'am; I am a tolerant soul.

I don't go well with your brother, true. The exception proving the rule. That mango on his head - a custom from the island perhaps, or psychotherapeutic appendage. Such folly. A mango can't help your brother; noggin fruit doesn't help anything, Chloe. Your brother should give up his pet personalities. That bit of tropicalia is a stubborn ploy. 'MangoHead' be damned; it adds up to nothing but a rotting piece of fruit...

(the preceding serves no purpose at all. except practice)


Quit your day job

(Get a day job and quit)

The emptiness that came so swift upon
being respectable
the pointlessness sets me adrift on being

I don't speak any more, it's
circumspect to piss or spit
when you wake up too early to work late
complaints don't rate
when I can't raise complaints I feel so
normal even keeled and self-possessed and
god I
hate it.

This is the other half, the
greener grass, the moment past for future moments that will pass
so think about half-naked women so nice
and car insurance and a motorbike
monthly pay is comfortable, safe, that's good advice

You get old, accept that excuse
nobody promoted from a recluse cave and
integrity's a kind of
ascetic self-abuse I guess so
let up let up get up and give up

And if you just stopped reading
then you deserve what you get.
'If I just stop writing I'll get everything
I deserve.'


Sympathy for the Devil

(The evolution made me do it!)
Heaven doesn’t glow with the fires down below, a bit sterile and empty like Leonard Cohen sang, it’s closing time for heaven, I’ve got somewhere else to go when it’s half past eleven, down the alley there are drums in the alley drunken bums, fisticuffs and satin fluff on a blonde wearing mink earmuffs. Coddle your bimbos three by three, they probably all failed Grade 10 History, and so everything repeats, like the staring at the teats and suffering of the people at the hands of an elite. We evolved from the army ants, hierarchy and caste transmitted through our pants, blame the progeny of your genitals and that’s why women love to dants. The tribe rules, look at Survivor, and Dilton Doiley ain’t MacGyver, it’s those firefighter high-fivers and the 6 ft 4 NASCAR drivers that are the result of this DNA (why you love
T & A) tumult.


Dress up Thursdays

When I was 19 I would dress up in a shirt and tie - every single Thursday.

I'm not sure why I started it.

"So..." people asked, "why are you all dressed up?"

I had no good answer. But I kept dressing up. It had the makings of a story.

"Because, um. It's Thursday."

I wore a tie every day for five years in high school - but it was a non-issue. When you go to an all-boys private school, having a physical appearance is mostly a non-issue. As a teenager I was all intellect and brain vapour. I had no use for mirrors.

Then I got to university. 'Feel good by looking good' was my new philosophy. It worked. People got to expect it - the tie, the style, the smile. It was strange for me, because I don't really like attention. The direct, staring 'who's that guy'? kind. I still don't like mirrors; they force me to stare.

Anyway, my first haircut at Queen's was on a Thursday. It was early November, my hair was criminally shaggy. And my new hairdresser was hot.

"Why are you dressed up," she asked, "on a Thursday morning?"

She had an incredible figure and bottle blonde hair. But Christ - her first name eludes me now. It was one of those blonde-bombshell names.

"It's this thing I do." I was half in love already. "It's dress-up Thursday."

Jaclyn? Holly? Amber? Sonja? Kendra? Tricia?

"Ok.... Why do you do it?"

Cuz I'm an eccentric baddass daredevil, I wanted to tell her. Glad I didn't. It was a great haircut. She cut my hair every two months for the next three years.

"I guess because it makes people smile."

I was 100 % faithful to her. Her scissors, my hair, three years. I've never been committed to anyone that long.

She moved to Ottawa in 2000 to open a salon. I think of her every time my hair grows shaggy. I'm sad about her name now. I'm sad because she asked me the best questions - and I'm letting her down.

"It gives people something to talk about."

I've never told any hairdresser since Keira about Dress up Thursdays. It was our thing, and besides - they might think I was strange.

Ah. Yes. Keira. Keira. Keirah? No.

I miss you Keira. Move back to Kingston. Thanks for indulging this incoherent anecdote. I wrote about you so I could remember your name.


ludicrous trash

Great big bird! Enter and I am atyourservice. Great things we expect, not least is this cheek, offered up, to be pecked, your beak this lip, need for affection least changeable thing this week. Oh jump! Oh bump! Oh cancerous lump! Tie to me to a trapeze, such acrobatic phlegm in a dogmatic den of sorcerous orthodoxy – long on melancholy and choking on conformity. We serious lynchmob, long for big guns, warm bullets, chickens with no heads, sweaty fingers itchy for a target, big bull and bear maul all strangers in the market. Cranks and critics lash invectives, reviews a reflection of their talent in the trash. The guttersnipe attacks itself, the self-esteem suicide is the master of self help. Oh night, grey day, mad morning and unspoken traffic torment, sewer rust and cliché lust, too snobbish for an Elvis bust on your housewarming holiday.


Ms. Rhythm makes a comeback

She came into the night and this light dying and my heart failing. After hours of screaming silence, she winks and whirls into the river, as though escape by water could excuse her crime. She didn't leave a calling card or a thoughtful hand-written note. I scour the bank upon a skiff, a boat beneath me to float that way and this, the merest whiff, perfume in a jar in my memory, across the ocean she's laughing or crying. I asked her mother her new address; I carried a photograph of her silk black skirt, I don't remember clothes but I remember certain textures, powders or sensations of heat. She was a criminial no doubt, word was out in the town, most wanted thief, most feared devil, most loved siren, most certain death.


don't forget

the strength it takes to be a gentleman.


Buy the new Hip album or I will kill you...

(...with reminders of how extremely good it is!)

My Second Album Review: World Container
It will be written: in 2006, Gord Downie discovered melody. And heart. And Bob Rock didn't put up with overintelligent lyrical obfuscation. And the band kicked it as usual - with piano!

The Tragically Hip are the only band I'll stoop to review; here's my nonsensical track-by-track analysis of World Container - possibly the third best Hip album ever behind Road Apples and Fully Completely. It is surely Gord's best vocal performance to date.

1. Yer Not the Ocean: Gord loves nature - but hates Stephen Harper. Harper's a piddling puddle, he's no Atlantic. Look beyond politics and this is a rebuke to mankind (yes, one of those species-wide rebukes): "I'm standing on my toes" and "[you] can get out of your own way" are references to evolution. Ie for all our advances the water is still above our heads. Kim Jong Il (evolution's finest product) should listen to this one. Oceans can take only so much crap.

2. Lonely End of The Rink: Song-about-Bill-Barilko-who? Song-about-Bobby-Orr-what? This track officially replaces the national anthem, the Hockey Night in Canada theme, as well as every Tim Horton's ad in existence. A classic 'story song' for goalies, who according to GD play "the noblest position in professional sport." 'Lonely' is inspired by Gord's dad, a former travelling salesman with 5 kids who nonetheless managed to watch young Gordie play net as a kid - showing up halfway through a game, watch Gord make a few key saves, and then vanishing. All I can say is - sweet smokin shitbricks! Don't get shredded by the opening guitars.

3. In View: A love song, the antidote to Harper. Also the best song about cell phone paranoia (and call display) ever recorded. The melodies shine out for the first time; finally, a Hip song we can hum!

4. Fly: This is untapped potential, the urge to realize dreams; also about Gord finally tapping into his heart with his songwriting: "something deep inside saying - 'Where you been all my life'." Also about talented and well-educated immigrants who come to Canada and then get shafted into "pushing the broom," doing work far beneath them. The coastline of Canada beckons like 'a pair of glowing thighs' but many immigrants end up cheated. Fly fly fly. Lots of choruses. Fly 'Air-World Container', yes.

5. Luv(sic): a pun in the title! Another song about airplane sickness aka soggy puke. I mean, love. "Words I carry in my heart?" - but hadn't the courage to say, for fear of succumbing to soggy cliche. Can the Hip grapple with Cupid - without becoming... Stupid? Is Love the only virtue there is? The Hip sound convinced.

6. The Kids Don't Get It: About how hard being as awesome as the Hip is; how hard defining Canada for all the clueless Canadians is. This is about how if humans don't cut back on CO-2 emissions Ma Nature's gonna deprive us our high-horsepower engines, kick our asses back to the Paleozoic and devolve us into whiny paramecium. Er, yeah. Anyway - some quite capital screeching here!

7. Pretend: I could 'pretend' this isn't another heart-filled love song - but I'd be lying. The keyboards are a huge departure. What's next - a random rant about lovesick Killer Whales?

8. Last Night I Dreamed You Didn't Love Me:
About 'old school' Hip fans who don't like the new stuff, especially departures like the previous track. Also about two minutes too long - the only song on W.C. I don't really like. The irony. Flush it down the World Container!

9. Dropoff:
Some bands are afraid to experiment. The Hip are NOT such a band - and it can be scary. To experiment that is. Fans don't want change. Even Bob Dylan got/gets heckled - and he's a narrowness-bestriding colossus. Has the word 'iridescent'. Spurts of machine-gun lyrics recall '100th Meridian'. Some verses remind me of Georgian Bay. I love Ontario.

10. Family Band: holy crap - I'm hemorrhaging from my incredulous forehead. 'Family Band' is possibly the best Hip song ever. Possibly the best Hip song ever. Unfortunately... bad title. I prefer "Rock the Universe - Hardcore" or "The Day the Earth Exploded" because that's exactly what happened here. FB is an FU to Kim Jong-Il, Harper and all their jabronies, and a big thumbs up to all that's incorruptible like James Brown, Elvis Presley, shiny Lamborghinis and quality street meat (?). Climaxes with a scorching mid-song pause + hypermetal reignition which make all of 'Little Bones' seem like a stupid accident.

11. World Container: This is all Bob Rock; a complete killer-whales departure with keys and a rollercoaster melody - Gord vocal's the equivalent of a trapeze acrobat. Lyrically, I suspect it's about Kim Jong-Il or Stephen Harper -"the one who couldn't imagine all the people [Canada] living life in peace" or maybe Gord's on about fickle fans again: "The good news is that you're smaller/the bad news is you can be smaller than that." Or maybe it's about how vast the sky is. Whatever, it's instantly likeable and makes me cry. Or laugh. "Laugh and laugh till yer told 'please dont come back'." Please come back!

Down with Harper, up with bodies of water. 'Save the Planet' and don't Contain the World. Five stars!


Song for lonely jazzheads

Some things are insufficient to express, me not prone to the mental undress.

Always sharpening. Sharpen yourself into electric current, until your eyes are a solar eclipse - and you draw blood by being invisible.

You sitting on a bench, by the tin, in the park, beside the swing, sit and sigh - skyscrapers are selfish; they make the sky dark.

Traffic pumping blood; open door equals flood, metaphor equation, permanently transient nation, this tree in spring – I remember tiny buds, thanked each leaf, chased each in autumn to rescue gratitude from the thud.

Nobody dreams of work. They dream of fringes, exceptions. I dream of Mediterranean vacations with my rose-coloured queen. I don't recall dreams much but this one reoccurs. She has straw hair like cornstalks, laughs three millimeters from my cheek. That night in Ottawa I told her how proud she made me. She didn’t expect that; choked up. I never complimented her but this time I did. She could not speak, eyes watering. I forgot how intimidating I can be. ‘Love is an action’ I told myself - but women aren’t made that way. I felt like an alien. You can't speak... I choke up. She couldn't read my music for the notes I wrote her. Like a jazz pianist with mittens.

Me high? On pork tenderloin, cab sauvignon. Medications, milady, we’ve taken a few. I’m wrapped in butter and slippery do, and no no no - I never ever did stop loving you.


What's Troubling Marjorie

(short story squiblet, best not to read this... I haven't bludgeoned y'all over the head in weeks)

Big asses troubled Marjorie Gold.
That was for starters.

For example the 62-inch ass of her cousin Desmond was a source of consternation and regret. His ass glowed in summertime, as a result of sunburns on the superfluous flesh that extruded from Desmond's jeans. This ass made a fool of Desmond - who was presentable but for this troubling fact. To Marjorie, Desmond was more foolish than a toad with a top hat who spoke lousy English (and whose ass was bigger than acceptable). Marjorie wrote notes for Desmond - which she never sent - advice on how to disguise himself with foliage, perhaps twigs, or judicious drapery. But she was much too shy to rebuke her cousin openly about his copious rearage.

The uneasiness over Desmond was not the end of her neurosis. Marjorie was a self-conscious girl who often vomited in public. This made her very shy. She vomited during prayer meetings at her parish; she vomited on strangers on the sidewalk if they moved too quickly from side to side to avoid Marjorie while she returned from the grocer with a large basketful of spinach or plums. She vomited a lot, and her stomach lining was in ruins. She consulted the internet on a thrice-weekly basis to find naturopathic cures for damage due to bilious discharge. Hers was not an easy lot, but then many teenage girls had it difficult. Some girls did not grow very big chests, and had to obtain special brassieres. Other girls had braces which made it impossible to kiss boys. Then there were the girls with embarrassing parents, transitional complexions, braces and small chests who did not want to exist at all. These girls were sometimes sad, yet were often interesting and always had an inner beauty which writers like to mention - because people like an underdog.

Asses and puke were thus the two extremes of Marjorie's exotic teenage life. And yet to call Marjorie 'exotic' is a blatantly sarcastic reference, and Marjorie feared sarcasm most of all.

One day Marjorie was avoiding sarcasm by paddling a canoe along a river. The river was an urban estuary that local activists had revitalized with applause-worthy endeavours like “Wish for the Fish and Switch from Filling the Ditch with Garbage, Bitch!”which had reintroduced salmon spawn to the downtown marshland. Not all such activist endeavours had rhyming names, but most were well-received. The estuary in question had recovered its ecological vigour, and Marjorie saw a turtle flapping its tiny limbs beside her metal canoe. “How I love the simple turtles,” she said to herself, “they remind me of myself – with their tough exterior and soft underbelly... Or is it vice-versa?" And she sighed, continuing this 'canoe of thought', "Not to mention some of the boys have complimented me; they say I have the nose of a tortoise.” This last thought was true: Marjorie had the nose of a tortoise. A strikingly tortoise-nosed, but nervy and puke-prone girl was Marjorie Gold. It was the new millennium, she thought, and Reality TV shows could be made that featured even girls like her.

It was an idea, she thought. Reality television would be an escape from her 'exotic' life. Marjorie had connections in the television industry. She had bought a television once at Radio Shack, now called the Source. “That man who sold me the TV – maybe he knows how to get me a reality show,” she thought. Marjorie was tenacious, like a turtle-nosed wolverine. What she lacked in knowledge she made up for with a turtlish, dogged wolverine-like donkeyheadedness. Marjorie was, indeed, a complex girl.


So much for that

tired of wiring myself and even more stuck
not exactly prescient
vagaries become the president
tape-recording a seagull cluck
oh beautiful girl! I was thinking of
your eyelash. If Monday means the apocalypse
then I'll be waiting with my

I visited Copenhagen when I was 25, and no, jealousy is not the word to
describe my experience. More like 'this is how blonde people live.'

I hollowed my wooden leg into a canoe. I can't run marathons but
the portaging in Algonquin is grand.

O great woman! Let me taste that recipe. But Thanksgiving's near and I'm
empty of claims, nobody owes me a thing.

Upon purchasing a Mac I'm learning to write all over again. Like wearing Luke Skywalker's prosthetic arm (hollowed out leg)



Hey you small people, big people, those in between:

do you know what I mean?

Ellision of worlds ain't easy, and the microphone is useless when I'm voiceless or wheezy.

Who can doubt my double dare - who can stare at the pinhole eclipse, at the horse's hair and cry 'fair enough', or if dwarf and elf are made of gruffer stuff then why do I pass it off as fluff?

Hotbeds for the horny, stiff masts for the ancient and stormy. Uselessness essential, dementia serious subject for the sane. If the crazies could collude and dissect a dismal dullard, what shock and disbelief - what grandmother-grief! What sweet excuses and relief! Such sad tragedy - to have shipwrecked my schooner on such an ordinary reef.



Wherever she is is a lie, drowning all my thoughts in work. I'm an alcoholic for schism, there is the great grey wispy fog, that magic mochaed crowing smack. Smackusabout, and do not shout empty paternal volcanicisms.



Dig the new classification scheme on RHS, ie 'Cupcakes, by flavour'. I was always wondering about splitting this blog into different categories. Last month Blogger in Beta answered my prayers, so thanks guys for doing the dirty work. I've managed to classify almost half my archives by flavour. Lots to think about. Unfortunately, my life will change as of this week, and I seem to have lost the ability to post anything interesting on FIAC*. Previously I would have been distressed, but maybe I'm just supposed to accept another chapter closed and move on to different things.*

*reverse psychology


Second glass of wine

Have I told you how good you look? Reflection of the sun, you genie for life, grant me just one wish. Things never as they seem, the past four months - a neverending dream. Just today I had a break, perked up and made chili. Something gluey within me, something fluid finally, yet it just seems somehow silly.


I smell like chlorine

Swim on a Sunday afternoon, home to a broom, saunter past Boom and eat mac and cheese. I have nobody to see, just me and the fleas in my sneeze; the strawberry jam on toast with tea and - with the kitchen window open - the inevitable bees. Where is my wine? I haven't gone boozing for over a week; appetite been slack, like a dirty green potato in a dusty brown sack.

Gather your whimsy in a paper cone, call your mother on the telephone, she's up at the cottage, and the blood in your head collecting; take aspirin to lesson clottage, fear a stroke, by pen, blacklisting men make your life miserable with, punishment for whippersnappers so guilty of wit.

How did my job interview go so wrong? Maybe it was my tapdancing, or when I burst out in that song.

Backup plan? I have a hundred and ten. Fear not, as I do not, we live in the land of the donut, not the 'do' nut and I do not see a problem!

"I thank him not for his cordiality, but for his punctuality; his rhyme and sense of timing, that careful attention to grammatical hygiene. "

Or maybe it is autumn's approach that places the sun above reproach. Value what disappears, learn to love beauty after the years, he said "that's why I don't spend money on beer;" ah but so many people have wax in their ears.

For a half-hour, this is worth it, a moment in the ultimate, that I am so filled up with breath I must share, and so empty of nothing I don't dare.


Feedback Loopy

Can't sever myself in discrete chunks. Can't step out of time and figure out what happened. Can't analyze what's doing the analysis. Can't introspect, can't set a control group, graph the result. Nothing erased from this hard drive, it's all there, overheated and congealing. Attention involves a blind spot. Perception is fiction. Gestalt little happy faces. Can't see atoms, infrared, most of the E-M spectrum; don't believe my eyes, but fear the alternative - living in a cave - even more. Being and not being. Give me my cell within the Borg, an oar on a slaveship; can't handle being alone no more, so desperate to sell what's left of my personality.

I switched to Blogger beta, and it's way cool. One neato thing is the stats on post frequency by year and month. Seems something happened in August 2004 that took the fire out of me (heartbreak?). Then in July 2005 I attempted to retire (burnout); after my comeback I was never the same. Or maybe I just ran out of things to say. Whatever the case, each year I've posted approximately half of the previous year's totals. So 2007 will get only 50 posts, approx once per week. I hope they're good!


Marilyn and John Drink Their Faces Off

...a conversation b/w two people who won't admit they're in love

(read this only if you are drunk)

Marilyn: Pass the bottle. I’m doing my best fish
J: What’s your deal, why the drinkies?
M: You won’t believe the shitty day I had
J: Did it involve spandex?
M: No – that would have been much worse.
J: What happened?
M: Nothing. Everything.
J: This is something to do with Todd. Cut him loose like a chicken that won’t let go.
M: Chickens are rarely tenacious; this is more about the world and the people in it. I can’t see myself ever being happy.
J: You should learn how to whistle.
M: Whistle?
J: Yeah, some big-band jazz. Make your hips move like they should.
M: Huh?
J: Girlfriend you gots to let loose. I know this woman, she can peel a grape with her tongue. Man, she fine. I can set up an appointment.
M: John, why do men lie? And stop talking like an Oprah flunky.
J: Men lie because women force them to. Why do women set standards for behaviour? Oprah reminds me of delicious chocolate pudding, 5 feet tall but squawks like a feminist.
M: Seriously why do they lie? Today Todd said I look fabulous, but I know I've gained 2 pounds in the last three months.
J: Whoa Betty, your boobs are busting out!
M: Who’s Betty. Stop with that country twang. You aren’t Merle Haggard and I’m getting fat. Pass me the bottle.
J: Here, North Korean snake liquor. My cousin bought a bottle when he went there to get brainwashed.
M: That’s disgusting. Where’s the shot glass. North Korea? Is he a communist?
J: It’s buried in the folds of your neck. Two whole pounds? Holy crap. No wait, it’s on the edge of the chair.
M: Thanks. Now pour.
J: No he’s more of an international observer. Like Marvin the Martian. He went to Pyongyang to be like Kim Jong Il; to take credit for everything. Did you hear Kim Jong keeps winning the North Korean lottery? So damn lucky.
M: So this is made from snake’s blood? I’ll vomit within the hour.
J: Not from snake actually, just regular awful liquor. The snake adds danger: the venom seeps into the liquid. Too much could paralyse the drinker I'm told.
M: Ugh, I don’t do paralysis. Steve Irwin - he just died from a stingray.
J: Stingray?
M: Sting from a stingray stinger. Stingrays - that shit'll kill you. But let’s talk about you, John. You haven’t got a girlfriend. What’s wrong? You need tips from the expert.
J: Is it because I don't shave my pits? Also I don’t have a real job. Nonetheless, I need tips from you like a werewolf needs hair plugs.
M: Shave your pits, TeenWolf, then get a job.
J: Yes.
M: Isn’t that the 6th commandment?
J: What - Thou Shalt Lay Barren The Underarm?
M: Ha.
J: Moses shaved his pits, I guarantee it.
M: I thought Moses was a picker. You remember – from Seinfeld. I love the one with the Pick
J: "If we pick, do we not bleed?"
M: This Korean shit tastes awful. Snakes don’t do drinky. Tell your cousin I just swallowed Kim Jong Il’s urine.
J: Ok, I have a bottle of vodka, vintage LCBO. Kim Jong’s Ontario counterparts.
M: Got OJ? The throbbing in my soul needs booze.
J: Booze equals depressant. You’re sad because you're drinking
M: I’m sad cuz I’m fat and no one loves me.
J: You're not fat you idiot, and everyone loves you. Todd does, in his weird perverted way. Even though I hate him. Where's that vodka? Ah.
M: You hate Todd? I thought you loathed him.
J: Actually loathe is stronger than hate. I measured it on the Hitler scale. Ok... got it opened!
M: You can’t say 'Hitler', asshole - you just offended half the world.
J: Why not? Do you love him? Who are you – Mrs. Hitler?
M: You’re not Hitler, you’re Shitler. I'm gonna belt you in the nuts. Now pour.
J: A slow comfortable screw. Like in the movies.
M: Which movie?
J: Porky’s 5
M: You idiot.
J: Or is it from Raiders of the Lost Ark. A movie about Nazis coincidentally.
M: Shut up. So, Todd is an ass, but it's ok because I got the new Johnny Cash album.
J: Cash has been dead for three years. Now who’s being cruel?
M: This is posthumous; it’s called A Hundred Highways. Cash laid down the vocals and Rick Rubin’s musicians did the rest, except years later.
J: Any good?
M: Can’t go wrong with Cash. He’s better than real cash, as in dollar bills.
J: The man had skills. Maybe he'll teach you about love.
M: Don’t worry, he teaches me about my soul.
J: You have a soul? I thought you were a Turing automaton.
M: I have a soul.
J: Yes, and a horrendous body mass problem, according to you. But you’re still goodlooking. I’m surprised Todd isn’t ecstatic - two pounds more to love.
M: Shut up. How fat is Kim Jong Il?
J: Huh?
M: Well I figure most dictators are fat and lazy.
J: Not at all. I’ll confirm with my cousin, but apparently Kim works out religiously.
M: They’re communist, John - they don’t have religion. Ideology has taken the place of God.
J: Ain't politics a nutty thing.
M: What do you mean. This screwdriver ain't strong enough. You know what to do:
J: What?
M: Pour.
J: Pour? I mean politics influences our every breath.
M: Pour
J: Only if you say por favor
M: "Pour like a whore with an open door."
J: What?
M: My old bartending roommate used to say that: "Pour like a whore with an open door." Many stupid catchphrases get thought up at the end of a 2am shift. Doesn't make sense.
J: Bartending verbiage, nice. So when are you dumping Todd? I’ll move in on his turf like the Portuguese in Little Italy. You fine, plumpy.
M: Huh? That accent again.
J: You’re too good for him
M: Get a job and I’ll date you.
J: Get some self-confidence and I’ll hug you. If I can get my arms around those two extra pounds that is.
M: Go to hell.
J: I do love you of course
M: Why do we insult each other?
J: We’re bitter about missing the offramp to love.
M: Really. So where are we now?
J: Stuck in the express lane to lifelong loneliness. And you got into an accident at Mile 115 – at the massive Fattass Spinster Monument.
M: And how.
J: You’re locked into that monument with a hypnotic gaze.
M: That is disturbing.
J: We have so much pent-up resentment, alienation, all that shit caused by technology and the postmodern psychosis.
M: Now you’re talkin like wacked out North Korean philosophe.
J: And you’re shakin' like a bowlful of jelly. But I like the way your eyes shine when you smile.
M: That’s the nicest thing you ever-
J: Dammit I say nice things all the time. Just wish you’d listen. Not obsess about your goddamn navel
M: I haven’t even mentioned my navel!
J: You were about to. I could tell, you were massively perspiring. It’s a cry for attention.
M: What, being sweaty?
J: No, writing your navel.
M: Of course. I have to express all that is. The world will admire me for my personality and intellect.
J: The world will admire you more if you could push yourself away from the dessert cart. If we lived in the Age of Miracle Prosthetics I could buy you some longer arms.
M: Longer arms?
J: First I’d have to amputate the existing ones. You averse to gangrenous agents? Chemical Ali used em on the Kurds.
M: The Kurds?
Yeah the Kurds. Now there’s a crew that gums up the works. Feisty, admirable bunch.
M: What the hell does that mean?
J: Nothing as usual, now pour.

(to be continued)