Thursday, May 21, 2020

Postcards From the Pandemic

Tourism in the pandemic leaves much to be desired. Forget flights or trains. All destinations are local. There is much to witness from your window or balcony. Birdsong. The moon. A cloud. Maple blossoms (which you’ve never noticed before) are striking. Sunset is must-see.
     Venturing further afield, find somewhere you can walk without breaking the two metre protocol. Forget dining out. If there is any good in this, it’s that you can’t stage a food-porn photo of your restaurant meal. The new normal is you, all alone, sightseeing in your mask. Post that to social media and wait for Likes.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Home Delivery in the Time of Cholera

Towards the end of my career with the Toronto Star, and with a young entrepreneur’s eye to scoring a few more tips from that year’s final collection, a fifteen-year-old me bought a bunch of Christmas stickers to stick on my copies of the Saturday paper.
     Okay, so that didn’t work.
     But I’ve learned a lot in the last four decades, and since they have yet to come up with festive pandemic stickers, I decided to create some myself for my current route, not for the money this time, just for something to let folks know I was thinking of them.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pandemic Togetherness

There are no clubs or cozy cafés, no pints on tap, no films downtown, so at exactly 7:30 we stand on the sidewalk, appropriately distanced of course, and launch into cacophonous tribute with our pots and pans as a between-calls ambulance cruises slowly past and replies with a siren WHOOP and lights, and we bang our cookware harder, hearts bursting, who doesn’t love a parade, grinning like idiots and telling the kids, you’ll remember this—then we all peaceably disperse, thankful for our responders and our fellow citizens and the relative sanity of our politicians, and knowing we are #StrongerTogether.

Photo by Ron Thompson, April 2020

Thursday, February 13, 2020

One Adult, Please.

Please tell me there’s a decent action-adventure playing downtown tonight, without a stupid romance crammed in, because that’s really the movie I’d like to see . . . alone this time; or even a drama, where the first girl to get the obvious close-up doesn’t automatically go on to become the love interest; or one where so much is happening in the hero’s life that he doesn’t even need a girlfriend; because, you know what, most of us never do get to meet our obvious girl, or worse, the one you thought was your obvious girl doesn’t find you the least bit appealing.

Image from The Summer of ’42, obviously.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Olive’s Centennial

Olive Oyl first appeared in the cartoon strip Thimble Theatre on December 19, 1919. For a decade Olive was the strip’s main character. Her boyfriend was Harold Hamgravy, a no-good lay-about and philanderer. When they finally fell out, Olive’s affections settled on Popeye, who became so popular that Thimble Theatre was renamed for him. The Sailor Man always had a schtick. Initially he rubbed the head of the Whiffle Hen for luck; later he obtained superhuman strength from eating spinach straight from the can.
     Today, we know that spinach is best sautéed in butter or olive oil. Happy Birthday, Olive.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Butter Brawl

A friend once told me that the way to stop the butter from burning in your frying pan is to add just a bit of oil.
     And it was an excellent piece of advice, too, except that I had this huge falling out with the guy—more than 32 years ago now—and still would be very happy if I never saw, or even thought of the fucker ever again, except that I do, every single time I add just a bit of oil to the butter in my frying pan . . . and I do eat an awful lot of eggs.
Photo found in Miz Gee's Kitchen.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Patterns of Force

A 100-word story shouldn’t require a 100-word introduction, but here goes…
     Recently, Ron wondered why we’re not writing here more about Trump, and I think a good part of the reason is that it’s simply too hard to keep up. This came to me a week or so after the inauguration when the first batch of Nazi stuff came out, and those stories of an addled president wandering the halls of the White House. With that, I started work on this bit of comedy gold, but by the time I’d finished futzing with it, everyone had already moved on. 
     Enjoy . . .
Remember the one where that “really smart guy” convinced himself the Nazis actually had some good ideas and so introduces them to one faction of a divided and unbalanced planetary system, in an attempt to remodel their world on what he calls the “most efficient society ever created,” except that the thugs who support him end up focussing on the bad Nazi stuff, persecuting outsiders, consolidating their power, and propping up the “stable genius” as a rambling, angry, and perpetually doped-up figurehead.
     Well, it seems those people who missed that episode of Star Trek are now condemned to repeat it.

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