Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hail to the Chiefs

A little poem I wrote. Because of it's political nature I'm not sure I want to post it on my Writing Group's web site. So I'm giving it life here instead:

Hail to the Chiefs

I asked Mister President what he had to say
About sending that plane the Enola Gay
To kill all those women and children that day

He just sneered and laughed my question away

It was the Nazis who first did business that way!
The blame lies not with me but they!
I saved a million boys' lives that day.
One million American soldiers! Hurray!

Do such lies really keep your conscience at bay?
We condemned those Nazis but now you say
That they were only trailblazers paving the way
Making your A-bombs A-okay?

Well now that that's clear, what will you say
On the terrible deadly reckoning day
When a thermonuclear fireworks display
Sets flight 'cross the ocean America's way?

Do you think if you plead and if you pray
You can somehow wish those missiles away?
What goes around comes around, they always say
It's not God who will deliver your judgement day

For a harbour you blew two cities away
For two towers you made two countries pay
What runaway pride, what moral decay
Has bent your judgement so badly astray?

Has left your own citizens so sadly betrayed?

You make more and more enemies every day
For your sins, which generation will pay?
Your grandchildren, your children or we here today?

Important notice to all CIA and CSIS agents:

This author is not a terrorist nor is he even "anti-American". He's just some guy who's not afraid to state the obvious and who thinks twice about taking any more vacations in New York City. So don't go getting your knickers in a knot for goodness sake.

Oh and please don't stop me from crossing the border! The only place I ever go anymore is Buffalo and that's just to watch the hockey games - and honestly - would any terrorist in his right mind be plotting to bomb Buffalo? Such an act might be construed as a favor!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Poetry Exercise #2

This poetry exercise is even more restrictive than the last. We were each given a handful of random words. In my case - a great many of them were paint sample chips (they have colourful titles printed on them, you see).

We had to paste them onto a page in some order that formed a poem. We could only add simple words such as
and, she, the, at, with etc.

I found the ordeal bizarre and amusing! This is what I came up with:

The countess laughed and winked
She smiled at the eager violet lipped fairies
In their pink diamonds and petrie plum ribbons
Everyone felt alive
Ravenous they ate sweet corn and aged mint
With the painted storks and the gazelles until dusk

Now in the middle of the night they awakened
With the tides of the seven seas
and babbling with full blown rapture
They ecstatically conjured up sunlit topazes
And amassed them, sealing them

In hot pink barrels!


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Poetry Exercise

This is far from my best poetry, I assure you! It's a writing practice exercise we did at our last meeting. I was given a word list and had a few minutes to turn it into a poem.

My words:


My poem:

The ship swayed with a gentle rhythm
As it had all week
The motley crue of passengers had learned to sway with it
Had learned to love it

A gentle serendipity

The young svelte woman in the suede cape
Sat upon the fore deck
Facing the aft
Watching the creases left behind them in the water
A short-lived trail marking their course
Like bread crumbs left behind
Only to become scrumptious food
For squirrels and chipmunks
And owlbears and kender dwarves and garden gnomes

She watched the sturdy helmsman
As his fingers played upon the great wheel
He watched her too
They gazed at one another across the abyss
Between the two decks fore and aft

Between and below them the young athlete ran circles and figure-eights
Between and around the masts
Sometimes stumbling from the pitch of the craft
Finally he lurched to the rail and craned his neck
And hurled his breakfast of cakes and strawberries into the sea

Below her in the main salon
The poets gathered at the great wooden table
And with teacups and saucers scattered about
They crafted their poetry
Beautiful verses of gardens and princesses
And silly poems like this one
Built from crazy word lists!

And in the captain's cabin
The baron and the merchant
Sipped the captain's whiskey
And they spoke of politics and commerce

They joked about the other passengers
And how the whole lot of them
Could be cast over the board
And never be missed


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

God bless the tartar

I had lunch today at my favorite restaurant. No, that's not true -- my favorite Etobicoke/Mississauga lunch venue. McNies Fish & Chips at Burnhamthorpe and Martin Grove. Actually - to be precise - they're now my former favorite Etobicoke/Mississauga lunch venue.

Something terrible has happened. Something unspeakably vile.

When the meal was done I calmly voiced my displeasure to a small contingent of waitresses. They were very sympathetic. They explained that they had a 'new boss'. And he had made some new decisions.

Teary-eyed, I made my way back to the office and promptly mailed this letter:

Jacob Tewtou
Mosaic Sales Solutions
2700 Matheson Blvd E., W-tower, 2-floor
Mississauga, ON L4W 4V9

Attention Manager
McNies Fish & Chips
315 Burnhamthorpe Road
Etobicoke, ON M9B 2A2

Dear “New Boss”,

It seems you and I have narrowly avoided becoming familiar acquaintances. I’ve been coming to McNies weekly for a long time (missing a week now and then, true, but coming twice the same week just as frequently).

I was there today. I ordered the usual. Two and a Few haddock, tea and two tartar sauces. But oh! The good waitress stopped me there and pointed guiltily at the brazen styrofoam cup sitting there on the table among the condiment gallery - only slightly apart from the others - looking defiant and with a brash sense of entitlement with all those slick and sickly looking packages sticking out of it like snakes from the head of Medusa!

Phony tartar sauce. Ugh!

I swallowed my shock! Choked back the horror. Calmly suppressed the gag reflex. Positive thinking. Perhaps I’d like it. Perhaps it would be - swell.

Au contraire mon ami! No like! Bad bad!

A tartar sauce must taste like mayonnaise and relish! There are no other options. This jaundiced cream-of-deceit did not taste like mayonnaise and relish. No. It tasted more like molasses and Pine Sol! Like worn rubber and monkey sweat! like stale cake and diaper sprinkles! Salt and dandelions! Piss and apples! Sugar and bleach! I noticed each packet holds about 10 cc’s. I pray that is merely a disturbing coincidence.

I’m in despair. I formed an immediate plan, you know. To locate the makers of this blarney imposter - this faux tartar. And to blow up their headquarters! But alas, I’m a pacifist. So my only recourse is this letter.

Respond to me when your noble home-made tartar sauce is rightfully enthroned again. When this vile paste has been banished. Respond to me then and not before. Don’t try to tempt me with flimsy excuses and tawdry coupons. I’m not some cheap hussy, you know. Stop the insanity! Lose the packages. Make your own tartar sauce. Make it.

If you make it, I will come.

If not, this is my sad farewell.

Sadly, farewell,

Jacob Tewtou

I hope to receive a response. I hope they know how to play ball. I shall keep you informed.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Beware the wild buffalo!

So I was down in St. Catharines last night and my buddy wanted to stop at Wendy’s for dinner. I hadn’t been in quite a long time. I saw that the menu had changed a bit. The old chicken nuggets - once marginalized by the new chicken strips have now made a come-back I see.

They’re now called “New crispy chicken nuggets.” I saw there are new sauces as well. I ordered the born again nuggets and a new sauce called Wild buffalo sauce.

“Whooh!” my buddy exclaimed. “I tried that stuff once. Hot going in -- and hot going out!”

“I’ll take a regular barbecue sauce with that too please,” I then instructed the counter-boy. He was happy to comply. The little counter-boys are very agreeable at this particular location. They’d probably empty the till into a sack for you if you asked nicely.

Well ee-gads! The wild buffalo sauce was indeed on the wild side. Quite the kick. Tasted like Buffalo style chicken wings (go figure). Problem is that chicken nuggets are far too bland to stand up to this sauce. You taste the sauce and nothing else. The compliment factor is right out of the equation.

Actually - that’s not the problem. The problem is… This stuff tore me apart. I mean - tore me to pieces. On the way home from St. Catharines to Caledon I stopped at every Tim Hortons on the way - to use the bathrooms. For those who aren’t familiar with Ontario geography or the obscene prevalence of Tim Hortons donut shops - that is a whole lot o’ stops. And of course I had to buy a bunch of small crappy decafs along the way because I’m terribly self-conscious about using restaurant bathrooms without demonstrating I’m a customer.

Insane I tell you. I’m still a little woozy. Probably the dehydration.

Tim Hortons - by the way - is American owned. I just like to remind people that because it’s such an irritating goddamned Canadian icon. I’m not nationalistic about this. I support free trade. It’s just the irony of it. Probably half of middle class Canadian families spend 4 figures a year on the world’s shittiest donuts and coffee - the coffee mostly - and they’re of course paying for the name on the store. The products are dirt cheap to make which I suppose is why they taste like dirt in the first place.

Tim Hortons advertises all these sweet little drippy Canadian iconic vignettes on TV as if to say Tim Hortons = Canada. Plain and simple. I think I’m the only sonofabitch not buying into it.

Oh my god! I just realized! Tim Hortons and Wendy’s are the same company! Now I get it. The whole wild buffalo thing is a conspiracy! A cross-branding initiative!

“Come to Wendy’s for the wild buffalos. Go to Tim Hortons for the toilets!”

Bastards. And it’s probably all designed to get me. Me! The last hold-out from a kinder gentler civilization where coffee tasted good and a donut filled your whole hand. Gosh. This is exciting. I feel like the hero from Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 or George Orwell’s
Wow. I’m on the lam.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

The evils of poker

Okay. I’m on my way to work this morning and the CBC radio show The Current is all about the societal implications of the Texas Hold’em poker craze.

After work the CBC goes back on of course and the Here and Now show is featuring – the societal implications of Texas Hold’em poker.

I listen for a while and when I can bear it no longer I switch to a music channel and sing happily along to Elton John’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and other popular favorites...

Then the news comes on and somehow – slow news day I guess – they get to talking about the societal implications of Texas Hold’em poker.

This poker craze is all so insidious, you see.

They’re glorifying gambling! Making it out to be a sport! Getting kids hooked on it so that they will blow all their tuition money on on-line poker and ruin their lives!

Vile bastards.


There’s nothing wrong with poker. I’m not into it especially but a lotta people are. And why shouldn’t they? It’s a fun game with intriguing dynamics. And if folks want to play for money they have every right to. It makes for more excitement. We’re a wealthy recreation-intense society. Poker suits us to a T.

Poker is just an activity. It’s not a drug. It doesn’t seduce people into becoming stupid about it. People – some people - get stupid about it. It is the initial getting stupid about it phase that precedes the so-called addiction stage.

The first time you bet money that you can not afford to lose – that’s stupid. You know damn well that in poker – as with any form of gambling – there are more losers than winners (and if you don’t understand that then the stupid factor came into play long before you even heard of Texas Hold’em).

The problem ain't TV or gambling or poker, honey. The problem is stupidity. And that’s been around since the garden and the apple – and will keep proliferating in this nanny society of ours. Because we’re all so busy trying to protect stupid people from themselves – and graciously excusing everybody – and I mean everybody – from taking responsibility for their own actions. Societal phenomena get the blame for everything. Personal accountability is the target of the biggest witch-hunt in all history, my friends. It scares me more and more every day.
Beam me up, Scotty.

Is this a shock – me speaking this way? A self-proclaimed socialist? My socialist agenda is based on finance, not intelligence. It stems from the inherent flaws in capitalism that would turn every democracy into a land of a few elite billionaires treading over endless heaps of dead and dying peasants – if not for the moderating effects of taxation and social programs. Moderating effects – far from full compensation for the perversions we’ve allowed to the monetary system – Okay. Just stop me now. We’re not ready to get into this!

Let’s just cut to the chase. How’s this for theory?

Stupid man starts betting money he knows damn well he shouldn’t. This becomes a habit and then an addiction (if you go out for that sort of thing) and he spirals out of control, loses all his money and winds up living in a cardboard box in a back alley.

Perfect. Mr. Stupid will not father a litter of stupid kids in his cardboard box – and thus – less stupid people in the world

It’s called natural selection, people and it ain’t cruel. It’s natural!