Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Earl Grey Gardens

When he died the late ’50s split-level bungalow stopped breathing. But his widow preserved the place, nicely, like a curator might so that by the time I visited, it was a time capsule containing things from happier times. I met Queenie through her son, himself a solitary, acquired taste. She was lovely, and I felt ashamed for my voyeurism. When she passed fifteen years ago the house began to putrefy. The son is now mad; his sister madder still. They buried her ashes by the dried and cracked shell of her once-lovely lily pond, then they dug her up again.
Photo by Donnie Johnston of Windsor, Ontario. Click here to see more of his work.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Crazy

Summer weather brings back memories of sitting on a musty green-and-tan plaid couch with my grad school roomie, Diane, looping “Crazy” on our tape recorder. Diane was engaged to Bob, who would come in from out of town and buy her filet mignon dinners, Bob, whom she loved but wasn't in love with, and we mulled this distinction over as if she'd invented it, wondering what she could do. Our other roomie, the Other Kathy, would walk into the living room and find us singing along, tears streaming down our cheeks. She’d laugh at us, but she was in Economics.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Karl August Schulze

Turns out my dad died exactly thirty years ago today, when I was twenty-two . . . and way too young. But then the story I’d gotten was that his father died young, and so he had convinced himself that he would too. Not the best lesson for me, and still I took to telling people he’d died in his 49th year, in fear of turning fifty—a joke, I thought, until I found myself approaching that very same deadline, only to discover that, in fact, he had died at 47.
     I’d made it, I thought, and with plenty of time to spare.

Photo from DistantCousin.com.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Harbinger

I fell in High Park today in spite of my cleats. And not a diminutive pretty girl tumble, either. My dogs carried on, covertly anticipating a mutinous gnaw on my frozen leg and left me, a big green corduroy-wrapped mammoth, to wallow in my Pleistocene nadir. I’d reached my limit wearing my stupid coat and stupider trapper hat. But before another crazy-woman expletive escaped from my mouth Nature rewarded me with the promise of Spring. I know it is nigh because the minute my cheek hit the ice I smelled it, brown and melting and two centimetres from my nose.

Image by Christianm on Dreamstime.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Farch!

I had a history teacher who had fashioned a second career for himself as the “Wizard of Words.” Between lessons, he’d regale us with tales of etymology and enthusiastically promote the words he’d coined in his spare time, perhaps in the hopes that one of them would might just catch in our young minds.
     At the time, the smart money was on sesquilingual; but I was partial to Farch, a name he’d proposed for a single long month combining both February and March, and which today, on Farch 32nd, would go a long way to explaining this seemingly interminable winter.
Original pin-up by Enoch Bolles.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sexism Isn’t Rocket Science: A Response to Schulze (2014)

Schulze (2014) maintains that, for Baby Bear’s porridge to be “just right”, albeit smaller than the “too cold” dish of Mama Bear, the tale of “Goldilocks” must contravene a law of thermodynamics. Viewed through a feminist political economy lens, however, “Goldilocks” is devoid of science-fictional convolution. Obviously, Mama Bear has relinquished the opportunity to taste her cooling portion because she has been performing the emotional labour of consoling Baby Bear (traumatized by a raisin, or the like, in his dish), whilst manually labouring to provide Papa Bear and him with second / new (read: “too hot” / “just right”) helpings.

Image: “Mama Bear”, by Hannah Blosser.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Laws of Thermodynamics

Most parents eventually come across a beloved fairy tale that now offends their adult sensibilities. Mine was Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
     Yes, the story correctly posits that, given three servings of porridge at the same initial temperature, those portions, being of various size, will indeed cool at different rates. And yes, after an allotted time, the largest might still be too hot; but if the medium bowl is now too cold, the smallest couldn’t possibly be just right, because that would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
     And I really don’t think children should be reading stuff like that.
Photo by James W. Blinn. Bowls by Certified International. Oatmeal by Quaker.

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