Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mrs. Gorse’s Golden Years

Mrs. Elizabeth Gorse’s years passed with Free Church orderliness, and what was once a dutiful if uninteresting character paste hardened into a Liberty-printed chrysalis of self-satisfaction, with room for only the occasional incredulous Daily Mail snort and maniacal bouts of gardening and laundry. Still, she developed these rhythms honestly over time, and before domestic chores prevailed, any twinge of Six-Form loneliness was cured by intense doses of field hockey and Pitman shorthand. Elizabeth was never, ever fun. In fact, once back in Mrs. Bagshot’s primary school her classmates attributed an awkward splosh of her milk ration to a missing humerus.
Photo: Laundry Line (Hampshire, England)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Brave Bird

Today on a run I almost stepped on a squat little robin. He hopped out of my way just in time and I stopped to take a look. The first trip from the nest? The first flight? He was still getting the knack of it, and his momma was not happy with the interest I was showing. She screeched and squawked and fluttered past my head, and I got her message. See, she had more than herself to consider; that’s why she stood her ground. That’s courage, not attitude. And I did what all reasonable animals do: I ran away.

Image:  Copyright ©2009 Maria Langer at Flying M Photos

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I was Heckled by Anarchists

Sure, people shout at me all the time from their cars as I stubbornly cycle along their roads. I’m used to it, and I’m not too proud to admit that at least some of the time it’s for something I’ve actually done wrong. But then there was the summer the anarchists were in town for their international convention, and as if that weren’t already oxymoronic enough, the group I encountered were crowded into an old gas-guzzler chugging along Harbord when one leaned out of his window with a broad smile and shouted: “Hey, get a load of Mr. Appropriate Technology!”

Illustration by Aesthetic Apparatus.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Potato Protocols for the Aliens’ Arrival

After years of scouring outer space for radio waves or other signs of intelligent life, we’ve found them. The aliens. Lo and behold, they’re on a mineral-rich, Earth-type planet and resemble nothing so much as Yukon Golds. A sack of ambassadors arrives Wednesday at UN headquarters for trade negotiations. Grocery stores and restaurants must remove potato products from their shelves and menus. (Citizens, no stockpiling the Pringles!) Idaho and PEI are to be stricken from maps, replaced respectively with extra Montana and with water. And children, if you’re overheard singing “One potato, two potato,” you just might get skinned alive.

Image: Agustin Berrocal.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Perfect Storm

The perfect storm will begin late Tuesday afternoon. It will have been predicted perfectly by Ted in Meteorology, a good man, a veteran of the last just war. Ted will give the storm a perfect name, offending no one. Perhaps Heather? Heather will fall as perfectly gently as icing sugar from a sieve, causing no casualties. All Wednesday, cocooning families will play Monopoly perfectly cooperatively, building empires of ecologically-friendly hotels, forcing no one into bankruptcy, leaving no child behind. Thursday morning, on each porch they’ve secretly shovelled, flocks of youth at risk will place a basket of glittery Heather cupcakes.
Illustration by Sweet Tooth Studio.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Call it vanity sizing if you want, but this morning I went shopping for shorts, and discovered I’ve managed to coerce my girth back down to an indisputable 34 inches . . . with room to spare. Even more exciting, I actually found and fit into one of those elusive 33s which—even though the first wash would likely end up bringing me back down to earth—was, more importantly, simply more than I wanted to pay.
Now, I wonder if I shouldn’t have bought them anyway, if for no other reason than to mount them as a trophy over my bathroom scale.

Read the exciting introduction here. Illustration based on Cocoa Florida’s Saggy Pants Ordinance by way of the Smoking Gun.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Woodland Protocols for Canada Day

It’s July the First, and the Canadian woods resound with the call of the wild. That’s it—that high-pitched scream; the water’s still cold up here.
     Canada Day is when we reconnect with our roots: fishin’ and campin’, laying a fire—and cutting wood. Now don’t let me douse your enthusiasm, Johnny Canuck, but Safety First. Consider the photo at right. See what Hoser’s doing wrong? Right! No safety glasses—and no ear protection! And there’s one other shocking breach of woodland protocol. Do you see? Yes. He’s not wearing gloves.
     Play safe, citizens; and Happy Canada Day, wood-cutters everywhere.

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