Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

Dr. Dawg's blog has a post up now on Israel with around 200 comments. Much of the conversation is, I'm sure, dealing with obnoxious racist Zionist bull-shitters. I'm sure it's a sterling display.

On my FaceBook feed, friends of friends drop all sorts of charming drivel. Racist crap about Canada's First Nations and "Idle No More." Condemnations of "Black Lives Matter." The collected wit and wisdom of libertarian goof-balls. Empty-headed, asinine attacks on socialism.

I'm just tired of it. "Debating" with non-entities to no purpose.

Especially when it means stirring-up the mental illness of trolls. Who needs that?

And to what end?

It's not just an assertion on my part that The Left was pretty much useless getting Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. Or at stopping harper. (Again; these statements of fact will just provide fodder for gibbering trolls who support evil shit to mindlessly gloat.)

So, I could engage with/wrassle with people I don't know, about our differences of opinion. (And hear a lot of ignorant, bigoted bile.) Make challenges to the Left that go unanswered.

Nah.

I felt compelled to write this after seeing that Dawg post had over 200 comments. It's all so futile.

Monday, January 25, 2016

You Can't Make This Shit Up


I gave my "friend" from my hometown the heave-ho during the holidays. He was depressing me and I was already depressed. I won't go into the straw that broke the camel's back but let me share some vignettes with you.

The gym we went to had three floors. I told him that the third floor had the stationary bikes, the aerobics room, some extra weights and machines and a "hot yoga" room.

"Hot yoga?" he asks with interest.

I honestly didn't know what it was. I said it was new. They just put it in.

We went to the grocery store later and he saw one of the gym's young, female personal trainers there. He told her he recognized her and asked if she taught any hot yoga classes. She said no, she just did the personal training. He told her he just got his membership and he was interested in taking some classes.

Another time, he approached one of the other female personal trainers and asked her if she taught the hot yoga classes. She said no.

He never approached any of the male trainers. He never inquired at the desk about when the classes were. He just asked these pretty, fit female trainers if they taught the classes. Gawd nose what was going through his head. Did he imagine that they'd be maintaining erotic yoga poses in a steamy room with beads of perspiration dripping from their faces? Or did he think it would just be "hot" as "sexy" yoga???

I don't know if any of you go to the gym. But I find it really irritating when people take a couple of dumbbells off the rack and then stand right in front of the rack to do their set preventing anyone from using any of the nearby weights. He was one of those guys.

We started to work out separately because I didn't want to be seen with him. Ogling the ladies and blocking the weights. And saying stupid things like "Curls for the girls!"

Now, remember people; this guy is 48 years old and 100 lbs overweight. 253 at 5'8".

He kept insisting that we move in together. In his mind we'd be these swinging bachelors probably. And we'd come up with a get-rich-quick scheme and all our problems would be over. One time I told him I had an idea: Prostitution. We'd put his ass out on the street and I'd be his pimp. He laughed. Then he said; "Imagine it though. You'd probably have to fuck these F-A-T, O-L-D women!"

I replied; "Yeah. And imagine the female prostitutes having to fuck fat, old men."

"Yeah, but they're all crack-heads." he says, obviously referring to female prostitutes. I could only shake my head. In the first place, not all prostitutes are crack-heads. Secondly, just because a person is a crack-head, it wouldn't mean nothing matters. Third, I think a guy who is such a combination of desperate and cruel that he would take advantage of a person's addiction to obtain sexual gratification is far viler than anything he imagines a crack-whore is.

That wasn't the first time this 48 year old, 253 lb out of shape guy made critical statements about fat, old women.

Lot's of other stuff. But I decided, okay. I don't like this guy. He's stupid. But what can he do to change that? He's lonely, so I'll associate with him as a work-out partner, in that I'll walk (plod at 3x slower than my normal walking pace) to the gym with him. I'll help him lose some weight. Take the pressure off his bad hips.

He stepped on the scales one day and was down to 247. I said that was great. We'd check again in a week and I guaranteed he'd be at 240. So, a week goes by. He gets on the scale. 259. What can you say? What is there to say? Pretty depressing and bleak. He returns to his locker to get his stuff.

And this part is why I entitled this post "You can't make this shit up."

I hear him drop something and exclaim in frustration. Turns out his gym-bag was open. And his goddamned box of fucking chocolates fell out and they spilled over the change-room floor!!!

The stupid mother-fucker is desperate to lose weight and he's got a goddamned box of chocolates in his gym-bag that he took to the gym!

As I type this, it occurs to me that I'm being unfair to someone with definite problems. But on the other hand, this guy has no problem with condemning women for being fat and old. Because he's stupid. Which, as I say, is not his fault. We don't condemn other people for their handicaps. Which, at the end of the day, is nothing but depressingly hopeless.

By the way; what does he mean by "old"? On one of the subsequent nights when I felt obliged to socialize over at his place, we were watching the tv and some ad came on for some holiday resort and the happy white family running down the beach included a wife/mom who looked more like she belonged in a beer commercial. I don't normally talk like this, but I was drunk and stoned and reacting to my environment. "Christ! Look at the body on her." I said.

Drum-roll please.

"Yeah, but she's old man." He said.

I couldn't take it any more: "You're a real fucking idiot!"

He looked genuinely upset: "Hey man, she's squeezed out a couple of kids ... " (Remember it's likely the case that the group of them are all actors, unrelated to each other!)

"Dude. She's only in her mid-thirties at the most! She's younger than you are!"

He became subdued and silent.

Obviously one can start to use words like "sexism" and "patriarchy" when reading this post. And they're entirely appropriate. I'm not going to say that patriarchy itself is the end-product of this total cretinism. But I dare say a good deal of its support comes from this source.

Time to type other things ...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Rich Kid


So I'm on the Yonge Line with the dog. And this tall young man gets on and sees the dog and wants to pet it and we end up having a conversation. He's got short, blond hair. He's good-looking in a kind of babyish way. For his height and his build his facial bones haven't gotten the thickness that separates a man from a boy. I'm figuring he's still in high school.

So he tells me that he's got an idea for how to help the homeless. Give them a dog to look after. Also, get them a place to stay and a job to go to. But the dog is crucial. The dog will give them companionship and support, but also make the (formerly) homeless responsible. They have to look after the dog. They've got to keep it together for the dog.

I'm thinking; "What a patronizing, un-worldly-wise, but sweet attitude!" I sorta keep up the conversation talking about how Cesar Millan was saying how a dog with a homeless owner isn't unhappy at all because it's always out and about, doing stuff, or just chilling. And it's got a boss/friend/companion. (I didn't go into how that pulls the rug out of this Norm MacDonald routine.)

But you know, it kinda, mighta been inspired by the sort of thinking in that Norm MacDonald bit. Because the next thing I told the kid was about this video I'd heard about, where a bunch of middle-or-upper class douche-bag "dog-lovers" decided to "rescue" animals with homeless people, from the homeless people. These people didn't think it was right for a little kitten or puppy to be with some dirty, sick, diseased poor person, while at the same time, having no opinion whatsoever about fellow human beings being homeless.

Long story short ...

In the video, they pull up in front of some homeless guy and snatch his puppy away from him. And he tries to keep a hold on it but the prevail and off they go.

That's what I'd heard about the video. I tell this to the kid and he almost starts crying right there. And we agree with each other how important the bond can be between people and animals. Then he returns to his idea.

Well, I don't know how to put this, other than to just say it: It quickly dawns on me that the story he's telling me isn't an idea, but an already existing fact. He really did scope out some homeless guy and decide said homeless guy was on the up-and-up. He really did go up to the guy and tell him "Today your life is gonna change!" And somehow or other, this kid really did get the homeless guy a job and an apartment. And a dog.

I look at the kid. His clothes. Suddenly I recognize all sorts of designer labels. This kid is rich. I don't know where the money really comes from. Parents probably. A job in a firm he's connected with. What he wants to do is see how successful his little experiment is and to get funding for a larger-scale project with lots more homeless people getting dogs (and jobs and homes).

I don't really know what to say. On the one hand; yes, it's patronizing. On another hand; stable employment and shelter is a benefit in itself. On my third hand, some people do have issues with substance abuse, loneliness, low self-esteem. Having a pet on top of the job and the shelter could give them some much-needed structure and support. On my fourth hand the kid's heart is in the right place. On the fifth and final hand, it's just some guy talking to me because of the dog.

We both got off at Eglinton Station. A lot rich people live nearby. (A lot of other people transfer to buses to other areas. I didn't see where he went.

the above story is true ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Death Ticket

A random search found me this. To the side, the "White Stripes" version was featured. Never actually heard the "White Stripes." In my opinion they massacred the song. This version is amazing.

Friday, January 15, 2016

"The Generals"

As some of you may recall, I'm writing a screenplay about the Second World War. These past few years I've learned more about that conflict than I'd learned in the previous 45 years. Not part of the story I'm writing, but as a side interest, I read about just what us Canadians were up to in the conflict.

For instance; I used to think that the Dieppe Raid was a half-hearted attempt by the British to conduct a landing, with the purpose being for it to fail and thereby convince the US-Americans and the Soviets that an invasion of France was premature. Since troops were going to be lost, better make them "unimportant" colonials. And so it fell to Canadian soldiers to get massacred at Dieppe.

But apparently Canadian leadership, and no doubt the right-wing portion of the Canadian electorate, and, also it appears, some of the Canadian soldiers in Britain who were bored from years of drilling, who demanded to be a part of it.

I'm no big fan of J. L. Granatstein, but when I see a hardcover book by him about the war, selling for $4.99 at "Value Village" I decide to buy it.

The Generals is a nicely written book. It describes how Canada, with much less in the way of developed resources and skills, was able to cobble together the ability to fight alongside the more experienced British and the more powerful US-Americans. I personally like biographical history because it develops history on a human scale. So, you get a good sense of the socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of the men who represented Canada on the battle-front in one of the biggest overseas endeavours this country has ever been a part of.

For the most part, I don't like these guys. Andrew McNaughton was the guy who (to obtain money for the War Department) convinced the Mackenzie-King government to let him hire unemployed single-men to build air-fields and bases, under military discipline, during the Great Depression. Anger and frustration at this shitty existence exploded and led to the On-To-Ottawa Trek.

Harry Crerar was Canada's leading general during the fighting portion of the war. Turns out he was from Hamilton. There was a Dr. Crerar at the end of the street I grew up on in Hamilton. I wonder if they were related.

Guy Simonds was supposedly our best fighting leader. He was an out-and-out imperialist. Evidently a high achiever who had to overcome his family's relative poverty and get through the Royal Military College through loans from sympathetic higher-ups. He called for stuff like peace-time conscription after the war and more spending on the military.

Granatstein spends a lot of time moaning about the neglect of the Canadian military during the inter-war years. Yes. Well, a lot of things got neglected during the Great Depression. And, the mindless slaughter of the First World War turned a lot of sensible people off of militarism and war. When you consider that the same martial values inspired the German and the Japanese militaries as they did for every military in the world, the thing to lament is that this madness wasn't thoroughly expunged everywhere, for all time.

But it wasn't. And these guys helped to do the organizing and reacting of some of the battles that brought Hitlerism to an end.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pointless Memory

I remembered something. Reflected on it. Then, two days later, it popped into my head again. This is something I hadn't thought about at all in over a decade. 15 years I'd say.

Check it out. It's 1988. I'm in London, Ontario. Hanging out with some people outside the now-departed Brunswick Hotel. Farther down, ... what was it?  Talbot Street? About 8-10 storefronts, a couple are arguing. Well, he's arguing anyway. He's a very pretty boy in his early 20's, and she's a very cute little girl about the same age. But he's drunk and angry and she's scared/upset.

I didn't know much about anything, and even now, it's possible for a guy to be justifiably angry with a woman and for her to be nervous because she's gotten herself in trouble with him. Even then though, I was keeping an eye on them.

Further down the street, coming towards them, with a stomping stride and swinging arms, was this shorter guy (but a little taller than me) with very broad shoulders and big arms (all easy to see because he was wearing a t-shirt in the the fall).

The pretty boy had his back to the oncoming little power-house and he started yelling even more loudly at the girl and then pushed her twice in the the chest. The shorter guy had come even with them and instantly he had his left hand around the boyfriend's neck and had lifted him up against a telephone pole. I heard his voice asking his prisoner something and the boyfriend answered and then I could make out boyfriend saying "sorry." The little guy let him go and they, all three of them, spoke for another few moments and then the little guy continued on his way. Which was to the Brunswick. While he was striding towards us, I watched the couple. The girl seemed genuinely concerned about her boyfriend, and he seemed genuinely subdued.

For all I know now, he beat the shit out of her after they got home.

Up-close, the little tank looked exactly like this character I'd been drawing for a comic book at the time. Crew cut. Small pointed nose. High cheek-bones. I was impressed about the way he lifted the taller guy off the ground. The girls who were drinking with us told me that he was the sweetest guy in the world.