Monday, March 13, 2023

Here's yer sign

Today I walked, or rather stumbled, out of the townhouse I have called home for the last 12 or so years; as long, I think, as I've called any place home, for what might be the last time. I dragged my last nine parcels out with me.

Excuse me. I nodded off there just now. Have not slept much at all lately. High hopes for tonight though. 

The taxi driver came with van at a surcharge as requested. He looked at the walker and my bags and said:

"Is that all coming?"

Translation: "I wish that wasn't all coming."

Me: "Yes."

Top-Ten Answers I should have said:

10. No. They'll follow us on their own.

9. Let me guess: you're not aware you're a moron; are you?

8. As long as they're not on fire.

7. No; just every other bag.

6. Yes. And I really pray that's the stupidest question I'm going to hear today.

5. No, just the ones that don't fly away when you reach for them.

4. I don't know. You'll have to ask them.

3. Hey, that's a great idea! Yeah; let's bring 'em all!

2. Does the Pope shit in the woods?

1. No. They're just breathing heavy.                                                                                                                     

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Blooper heaven

Do you like TV and film bloopers? I do. So I put together a collection of the highest quality I could manage. Just gems. No chaff. It's um... kinda long... but no one says you got to watch it all in one sitting.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Villain-Penguin Committee, or How Pennsylvania Twice-Screwed Quebec

Ladies and gentlemen: Exciting times! The Hall of Filth has hereby trebled in size.

Prologue: It should be noted that "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky was never drafted into the NHL. He chugged into the league aboard the Pompous Peter Pocklington Profiteering Express and together turned the NHL upside down in terms of rule changes and player salary dynamics. But excuse me; Pocklington is not on trial today. Maybe another time. Don't leave town, Peter.

The biggest draft anticipation of hockey's modern era came in 1983-1984 with the "Magnificent One" Mario Lemieux the undisputed Number One Pick headed for draft day. The Pittsburgh Penguins, under the ownership of Mafia Scumbag Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. reacted by hiring new General Manager Eddie Johnston who had a reputation for excellent goaltending in his playing career and a knack for finishing last place as a GM.

Sure enough, Johnston did not disappoint and led his new team to a 16-win season; currently the 18th worst in NHL history (bottom one per cent) thus assuring the Pens would acquire Lemieux.

Predictably Lemieux was a super-star, challenging legends Gretzky and Orr in any conversation regarding "best player of all time" but in six years could not bring Lord Stanley's Cup home to Pittsburgh for it's first ever visit.

No problem. It's 1990. Enter new GM; former headlining goaltender Ron "Hot Head" Hextall; a man and mouth who played by their own rules! But he's no Eddie Johnston. "The Joker" Jaromir Jagr is the creme de la creme of the coming draft but best pick ol' Hexface can come up with is fifth overall. So he calls up Jaromir in the barely-still-existing Czechoslovakia and says, "Hey, Joker-Baby! I know you want out of that poop-hole-ovakia. But you want to come to Pitsburgh don't you? So you can play with the best player in the world; Super Mario. Right? He can teach you how to be a proper super star!"

"Why yes," says the Joker to the Penguin. "Yes I do!"

"Great. So here's what you do. You tell everyone, No, I won't come to North America if you draft me. I'm staying in Europe to play with my friends, my family, my countrymen. Then we draft you anyway! And then you show up and say, Ha ha! fooled you Faggots! You fell for my little joke! Then you play for us, and you and Mario will be the best duo since Lefleur and Cournoyer!"

So that's what they did: leveraged the Magnificent Acquisition they earned by being the worst team in memory and then ran over the league with two elite superstars and immediately snicker-snatched two Stanley Cups!

In fairness it was the Quebec Nordiques who should have had the privilege of drafting Jagr. Instead they landed Mike "The Italian One" Ricci who whelmed the NHL with his Pasta Offence (he got few pucks past-a goalie).

And to make the Quebec story a little more hilarious, they drafted newest sensation Eric Lindros in the very next draft; the guaranteed Gretzky-Lemieux Heir Apparent - what "One" was he? I honestly forget. The "Bull-Headed One" maybe? Or "The Egoist?" And his reaction was "Fuck those losers, I ain't playing for Quebec! Send me to the Pennsylvanias where they know how to manufacture Stanley Cups and Yankee Bucks!"

"Oh. Okay. Whatever you say, Boss." said the league, and he went to the Pencildelphia Flyers and Petr Forsberg went to Quebec as compensation and both players were awesome and both spent half their career injured and the Nordiques sans Jagr or Lindros, fizzled and were dragged away to Denver. Au Revoir mon freres.

Fast-forward to the turn of the century and Penguins fans are still hungry for a third drink from the Cup. Thanks to their glorious bankruptcy accomplishment and rather sensible buy-out arrangement, our old Magnificent friend Mario now owns the team and he and Hextall preside over another toure de farce; another bottom-twenty season in NHL history with "The Sexy One" Sid-the-Kid Crosby gathering everyone's attention.

Things got weird with the following lockout season and a special lottery arrangement in which The Penguin Committee made out with another steal, nabbing superstar Evegny Malkin 2nd overall and still qualifying for best ball entitlement for the following year, sans season, snapping up Crosby first overall. And with the most privileged NHL duo since Lemieux/Jagr they won cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017.

Let's look at the best 16 players of the modern era by point-production on a per-game capita.

  1. Mario Lemieux  PITTSBURGH
  2. Connor McDavid  Edmonton
  3. Sidney Crobsy  PITTSBURGH
  4. Peter Forsberg  Coloraado
  5. Joe Sakic  Colorado
  6. Pat Lafontaine  Buffalo
  7. Evgeni Malkin  PITTSBURGH
  8. Steve Yzerman  Detroit
  9. Eric Lindros   Philadelphia
  10. Leon Draisaitl  Edmonton
  11. Artemi Panarin  NY Rangers
  12. Nikita Drunkerov  Tampa
  13. Pavel Bure  Vancouver
  14. Jaromir Jagr  PITTSBURGH
  15. Alex Ovechkin  Washington
  16. Patrick Kane  Chicago

the Penguin Committee managed to acquire 2 of the top 3 players all-time, 3 of the top 7 and 4 of the top 14! None were made great within any superior Penguinese development program. All were drafted pre-great and under peculiar circumstances.

It's a terribly sketchy distribution. 

Broadening the scope above to top 32 players all-time, where in a 32-team league the average organization should have experienced one player at this level in their entire history, here's how long it took teams to acquire fastest multiple examples:

  • Edmonton: 5 in 37 years
  • Pittsburgh: 4 in 21 years
  • Colorado: 3 in 15 years

  1. Boston: 2 in 2 years
  2. NY Islanders: 2 in 3 years
  3. St. Louis: 2 in 11 years
  4. Buffalo: 2 in 21 years
  5. Chicago: 2 in 24 years
  • Anaheim: never
  • Arizona: never
  • Calgary: never
  • Carolina: never
  • Columbus: never
  • Dallas: never
  • Detroit: never
  • Florida: never
  • Las Vegas: never
  • Los Angeles: never
  • Minnesota: never
  • Montreal: never
  • Nashville: never
  • New Jersey: never
  • NY Rangers: never
  • Ottawa: never
  • Philadelphia: never
  • San Jose: never
  • Seattle: never
  • Tampa Bay: never
  • Toronto: never
  • Vancouver: never
  • Washington: never
  • Winnipeg: never

HoF Proudly inducts the Villain-Penguin Committee to the Hall of Funk:

  • Edward J. DeBartolo Sr
  • Eddie Johnston
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Ron Hextall

Indictment: Greedy Hornswoggling

Sentence: 15 months each

What do you think? Who were the worst offenders? The Penguins or the Hitler-Schnitzel Death Machine? Comment, like and subscribe. Just kidding. Take a hike!

Saturday, December 03, 2022

A brief chapter from history

So I did some reading about this guy from the early 20th century and concluded he wasn't very nice. Here is his story very briefly:

Adolph Hitler was born in 1889 in the Austrio-Hungarian town of Braunau-am-Inn. He could never make friends because he was terrible at sports and came from a town with a silly name. One day he met Schnitzel the Cat and something clicked. But Schnitzel hated Jewish people and told Adolf they could only be friends if he promised to get rid of them all.

Adolf discovered he did have one talent; he could scream at people and make them feel angry, especially German people. So he pretended to be German and screamed at them and they loved it so much they put him in charge, without even bothering with an election.

He and Schnitzel got to work and killed about six million Jewish people along with some handicapped people and gay people and anyone else Schnitzel didn't like, while the Germans meanwhile were very very careful not to find out what the strange couple were up to. In the German's defense, they were being wooed by the big plots of land that Adolf gifted to them which he stole from Slavic and Polish people.

Luckily some nice people from nice countries (but not Italy or Japan) got together and tried to stop Hitler and Schnitzel's hijinks. They had a big big fight in which things got carried away and a lot of other people with various axes to grind took sides and another 80 million people died from burning, starving or choking to death or from boys shooting each other 'til they bled to death while shitting their pants and crying for their moms, not understanding that they were "heroes" and it was all going to be fine.

After six years of this skirmish some surviving Russian people had Hitler surrounded in his Fury-Bunker so he married his only human friend, Eva Braun, and the very next day, a jealous Schnitzel ruined their honeymoon by murdering them both and fixing the scene to look like suicide.

Fiendish period: 1939-1945

HoF Indictment: Delusional Megalomania

HoF Sentence: 5,950,000,000 years 

HoF stands for Hall of Filth by the way. As HoF Society Admin person I'd like to thank you for attending our very first induction ceremony. I hope you approve of our first ever inductee.

Hitler, Adolf and Schnitzel

Thursday, December 01, 2022

My holiday gift to you

I hereby give you...

My humiliation.

For your enjoyment.

You should probably be ready with earplugs so that you don't bleed out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Nugget of Wisdom #707

According to Make It magazine; a product of "world leading" news channel CNBC, Harvard researchers report that, "Hi. How are you?" is the worst thing you can say when greeting an associate. They advise that this is too vague and not likely to generate an authentic connection.

Hard to argue that, I say. But what if it's an associate we don't exactly crave an authentic connection with? Maybe it's perfect?

Three superior options, claims Make It:

  • “Hi. What are you looking forward to this week?”
  • “Hi. You remind me of a celebrity, but I can’t remember which one — who’s someone you relate to?”
  • "Hi. What are your three favorite colors?"

Um. Yeah.

Confession: Only two of those were recommended in the article and one of them is my own throw-in. Though I can't imagine using any of them. Also, I find it a bit odd that they issue their number one piece of advice; "be authentic," right before providing canned dialogue.

Oh and here's their actual third suggestion. Ready?

  • "Hi. What's your current state of mind?"

Can you imagine?

Pretty sure my response to that would be, "Suddenly cringed the fuck out, actually. Will you excuse me?"

The preceding nugget may or may not contain authentic wisdom. Either way it is not endorsed by the army of monkeys known as Fantasy Writer Guy. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Everyday Heroes

I was 17 when I met two particular cousins for the first time. Their mom had rescued them from a not-great dad and my uncle took them in as his own, gave them solid love and shelter, this during a 12-year period when I was separated from the whole family at large. All four made me feel extremely welcome (as did the whole excellent family) at a time when unfavorable high school dynamics had turned me socially inward. The cousins, being my age, took that opportunity during our somewhat-brief association, to respond to my demeanor effectively; with a slightly puzzled respect. They marveled at my "mellow" manner and interpreted it, whether mistakenly or strategically, as something rare to be applauded. When introducing me to their friends it was often revealed that the reputation they conceived of me had preceded the introduction, and not that of a "loner", as some kids mistook me as, but as more of a confident outsider, like a tame Clint Eastwood perhaps, minus all the guns and bravado! And though this interpretation was also off the mark, it no-doubt drove my social turnaround, at least initially. They were the first to coax me out of my shell, whether by fluke or by design. I never did ask; never got to speak my loving gratitude.

Meanwhile Aunt K, who I was only just meeting, accepted me at once like family. I remember her saying "You are welcome in our house ANY time!" I've never been specifically told that before or since.

The boy, who struck me as an extremely pleasant and friendly dude, had a tragic knack for trouble of the wrong-friends variety, and gradually dissolved into some underworld apart from my understanding. In hindsight I would gladly go back in time, and decline that gift he gave me, if only I could trade it for the privilege of supporting him instead, and boosting whatever strength he needed so that he did not need the support of his unworthier allies. If only I could have helped tip that equation. Maybe we'd still be friends. I don't even know if he's alive.

"I hope he stays out of trouble now," said his sister to me one summer day in our youth.

'He will!" I said, like it was obvious.

She laughed. "You're so confident!" But I was a fool. I also later assumed she would defeat her breast cancer. She did not.

I was told there was no funeral and not told of a memorial celebration that happened later. I was very disappointed. If it was too late to praise her for her kindness, I wished at least to tell her loved ones.

Years went by, never getting to see Aunt K. I wanted to. I wondered if she was upset with me (and other family) for not supporting her daughter enough. K's absences from small family gatherings were always attributed to the great physical suffering she'd been enduring.

The other day, as I pushed my walker up the ramp to the little handicap bus, I sensed another guest on board. Sometimes we share.

"Hi Rich," she said. I looked up, but already knowing that lovely gritty voice. I was completely disarmed, as if caught in a long long exhale.

"It's so good to see you," I managed to say. Such an understatement. It was so good to see her I could barely form the words.

She did not seem upset with me at all. We caught up in a hurry. I was teary. There was a hug of sorts, as much as possible given the logistics. I got the chance to praise her daughter. It didn't surprise her. She knows her daughter. The pain of losing her... I can't imagine.

But she continues to put one foot in front of the other, as hard as that must be at times, or maybe all the time.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Homework? Really?

I've started the medical diet through the bariatric clinic as a weight-losing measure to better prepare me for the surgical program which will create significantly more permanent weight-loss. I'm on robust prescription meal-replacement shakes and non-carbonated, non-caloric fluids and nothing else; nothing resembling food until week thirteen. If I last until then. This seems like torture at times.

The program includes weekly Zoom classes. I'm about to do my homework which I think consisted of three questions. Excuse me while I go find them.

Let me think carefully and answer honestly:

1. To avoid diabetes. To avoid heart disease/heart attacks long enough that my Mom doesn't have to bury me. To increase my chances of being able to properly walk again so I can better pursue my goals rather than giving up on some of them.

2. My mobility, my mortality and... people will not worry so much about me.

3. None. I no longer have any confidence that I will succeed. I am really, really, REALLY not liking this experience. What I would like is some FUCKING FOOD.

What abilities at least give me hope of possible success?

Great question.

My ability to be at peace with my circumstances, which... I have not utilized very well up to now. Can I summon it? Surely I should be able to but I WOULD RATHER EAT.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Going places

Dear Diary:

I thought about getting out of bed eventually, and then finally did. I'd showered and laundered yesterday so today would be a breeze. And only one bus to take. Well, two if you include the little DARTS bus.

I'm in clean clothes with Jim Morrison shirt anchored under my Jabba-the-Hut belly. Got my standard gear, two bottles of wine, birthday card, notebook, pens. Forget the coat; its like summer almost. And forget my Presto (transit) card because it's lost and therefore I must buy a GO ticket from a machine and swiftly because DARTS was 22 minutes late picking me up. But both machines at the GO station reject my purchase attempts (three times each) and I can't seem to stop myself from loudly cursing though I've no wish to draw attention. I cannot miss this GO bus! and at the last minute I'm on it and pleading my case to the driver who lets me in with no ticket.

Another nice man gives up his roomy front seat so I can sit there with walker before me, clinging to it, even with its ornamental "brakes" supposedly engaged, trying to keep it from crashing around the wide aisle as the bus careens around corners.

My folks and I converge at the park-and-ride and they haul me and my gear to brother's house where we celebrate Pops' 76th birthday with booze, nibblies, excellent coffee and of course a hockey game on the toob. And eventually dinner and cake. The niece is two now and starting to gab, and its a joy to finally communicate with this beautiful creature. I gape and snicker at anything she does and she giggles at me delightedly.

The boy is now in grade one and a veritable encyclopedia of animals and dinosaurs. He reads me a simple story about fire trucks before springing into his typical hyper hijinks. Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Nana all take their turns admonishing him and on some occasions he seems hurt. I never do that. Surely we need at least one good-cop; no?

He squeezes onto the couch between my mom and I while she reads a storybook aloud. I make one teasing gesture at him and he's off on a wrestling/boxing campaign against me. I do my best to survive for some time and then beg a reprieve. Dad barks at him. "It's my fault," I say. "I wound him up."

"Stop trying to take the blame for my kids' behaviour!" he says. I didn't know I'd done that before.

The night gets on and the boy wants me to come see his room. I remind him that Uncle has bad legs. He suggests I could at least try. And I do. I climb the damn stairs and arrive at his room. "I have to sit!" I say.

"He points at the comfy armchair; he and mom's reading chair, and says, "I have a chair for people with leg problems!" Later the others would have a great laugh at that.

Soon its time to leave and I struggle and rise. The boy looks sad and presses his cheek to my hip. I cup his shoulder. "I'll see you again soon. Okay buddy?"

The bus home features a more typical arrangement at the front. Two trios of inward-facing seats which are hinged. One set is up, out of use and blocked by bulky luggage. On the other is a young white athletic man, a black woman and a little girl of middling complexion, my niece's age. I cannot possibly sit on my walker seat or leave it alone to become a loose cannon. And I cannot fit it down the narrower aisle toward the rear where there might be a couple available seats. I hesitate and look around.

"I'll move," says the black woman and she jumps up and moves a few strides down to the first empty seat.

"No, I don't want to split you up!"

"It's okay," they say. Their stop is coming up soon. I sit down gratefully and try to rein in my mechanical beast.

"That's what these seats are for," says the guy, nodding at the beast, his daughter on his lap.

I nod at the stroller and say, "Well you've got your burdens too." As if to explain, I then add, "I just came from my brother's place. He has a girl the same age." Dad and daughter have much fun together and I am very happy. These colourish kids strike me very dearly. It's like looking into the future. It's like they carry the flame for a better humanity one day. 

At the end of my ride he wishes me well and I can't resist touching him on the shoulder and saying, "You have a very beautiful family." He thanks me and his expression is that of surprisingly real gratitude.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Thankful part 2


Thursday, October 27, 2022



I accept a meeting request with the VP of the Tigers, along with the new fundraising specialist and the new game-day specialist who has worked with the local pro football team and the local pro lacrosse team. Their resumes are superb and their appearance should be a load off my mind. I can concentrate on writing articles, producing videos and running the web site. Our social media guru is still on board.

But this is the first time in three years I have made a commitment to a volunteer organization. I've been on hiatus. There's a dull shadow of nervousness back in some recess of the mind.

Coincidentally I have graduated from the wait list and will go on the bariatric medical diet within two weeks. This day I attend my first virtual class. The other participants seem very reserved, many too shy to undarken their cameras. This will be a weekly commitment for about 24 weeks.

I also attend a phone appointment with another doctor. I have the hardest time with his accent. I gather though, that I will have to take blood sugar readings every other day and go to my doctor's for a weigh-in every other week.

All this just after committing to my dearest writing pals that I will join them for live November write-ins. The commitments are piling up all of a sudden. Over-commitment has proved a very dangerous threat to my health in the past. It leads to neglect. I know I have to be careful. It weighs on me. The doctor is full of bravado and talks about changing the doses to all my medications. I'm thinking he can go to hell, this stranger, and no one is changing my meds except my family doc who I trust with my life.

I sense all this weight but it's not demanding; just lurking. And ah, the miracle of facebook and it's glorious insights. This day I gain the insight that my regular sushi friends are celebrating an outing at our fave sushi joint and I wasn't invited. Well, I can't complain. If they didn't choose me then that's on me, not them. I have not been the kind of person they want to sushi with currently. So be it. Oh well. I do not suffer the illusion that when I am de-grouped it is someone else's fault. 

But it's a little haunting, and the feeling brings back that from a couple weeks prior, on Thanksgiving day. Me sitting on my walker on the driveway, getting my daily dose of outdoors, planning cheese sandwiches for dinner because I have not received my October assistance payment due to some problem; a problem which adds more weight.

And through the open window of my next door nighbours I hear the celebration going on. A bunch of folks I thought were my friends, who I have thanksgivinged with several times before, are dining without me. It's a little shocking but I'm okay. Maybe they'll send a plate home with my housemate who is there. But they didn't.

At darkfall I call Mom and we skype. She loves me like a rock. And the faint little pit of hurt is diminished.


I hear from my caseworker finally. She releases my October payment. I'll have it in a day and a half and then my November payment right on it's heels. And she tells me there is a $150 benefit languishing on my profile and though it is not properly triggered she's sending it to me anyway. She tells me to treat myself to whatever I want before graduating to Disability benefits within a month, and by the way, Disability will have a nice retro sum waiting for me as well. Just in time for my new diet launch with a very pricey bill attached at the outset.

Today I shower, go for a walk, do laundry, make a healthy meal, dog-sit, read a chapter, work on projects. I'm feeling better and it's a banner day. The shower is barely painful at all. I am physically improving and it's not fully understandable why. I've hit no real milestones yet, only improved some habits.

So I'm thankful this thanksgiving season.

For being alive. For the biosphere hanging on still. For being human and not a cockroach or a lobster.

And for knowing more clearly who my friends are. Or aren't.

And even for those who are not but who used to be. My failures have not diminished special memories.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Yes I'm still a movie junkie

I'm just rolling over the half-way hump of film Kate (USA 2021) starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the nasty Mercenary/Pin Cushion/Walking Bruise, Miku Patricia Martineau as the headstrong Japanese teenage crime boss daughter (and the only thing resembling a good guy), and the sparingly-used Woody Harrelson as the subtly-creepy sidekick; the supposed-supporting role.

Looks like a great flick if you want to pick someone to root for and then celebrate the colour red in the form of fountains of blood gushing and splashing all over the goddam place in every scene. Personally I'm having trouble staying awake.

I'll give it zero blood-splashy stars out of five. Probably. If I make it to the end.