Monthly Archives: January 2014

‘Just sit yerself down and tuck right in, hon’ and the world’ll seem brighter


Reflective of the proliferation of foodie obsessed and cookery programs on television — and despite the amount of girth some folks are packing around, and despite the huge increase in Type 2 diabetes in society – folks continue to really like to eat and to stuff any manner of nosh into their gaping maws.

Nothing wrong with that as such. I’ve been known to like a decent meal myself.

And of course cities and towns abound with eateries of all manner and description. Having grown up in the era when my old man thought Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti was eatin’ real ‘eye’-talian, I find today’s choices in ethnic grub just amazing and much to be embraced. In that I love Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and virtually every other furrin offering other than Greek. I cannot abide Greek dishes for the most part, but that’s just me and if you are of Hellenic origins please don’t hate me.

Of course, anybody who has been in the restaurant business knows that such demanding labors – and they are hugely demanding – aren’t reflected as a fast route to becoming a millionaire. Beaneries fold all the time and the profit margin even for high-end joints is slim. People sometimes decry the shitty pay servers and bussers and even cooks get, but that is reflective of the nature of the business. I will say on their behalf, when you go out to eat, please tip and tip handsomely and I am not just saying that because my wife has been involved in the business.

But I decided the other day that what I think would do well is a down-home, old-fashioned comfort-food joint. Whether or not it would make a fortune would remain to be seen, but the email friend I ran the idea past thought if she and I went into partnership we’d at least become ‘hundredaires’.

waitressThe premise for this massive, multi-outlet chain of eateries that inspired me is reflective of the fact that these are trying times. Times indeed that try the souls of us all, and what’s the best thing to have when you are stressed to the max other than assaulting your liver with a quart of gin? Well, some good old-fashioned comfort food like Mom used to make. Well, yes, I know there is already Denny’s and other joints that follow a similar premise, but mine would be homier.

So, we would offer no airs or pretension whatsoever, airs and pretension only add to stress. So, you would have waitresses, possibly named Rosie, with pencils behind their ears and the dishes available would be such gems as meatloaf, potroast, chicken-fried steak, fried chicken, and all of these dishes enhanced with mashed taters and corn or stringbeans. No fancy-ass salads and that sort of thing. And behind the counter there would be lots of pies available, and fountain delights like malteds, shakes, ice-cream sodas and so forth.

And to set the right sort of mood whilst you are dining would be a jukebox offering such selections as Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page or You Belong to Me by the inimitable Jo Stafford.

I’ll let you know when we’re ready to dish up. Bring a big appetite and the mumsy-looking lady who manages the joint is sure to give you a big hug when you come in.


Here’s a good way to quit smoking if only the feds would let you

e ciggie

I’ve found myself somewhat amused by all the foofrah around the incident of an eleven year old kid being sold a so-called e-cigarette at a neighborhood convenience store. I believe it was a shop operated by Asians and since kids in China begin smoking at about 5 the proprietor probably didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Though he has since expressed contrition over the matter and said it wouldn’t happen again.

Since I grew up in the halcyon era of candy cigarettes — “Look kids, you can have a smoke just like Daddy.” — I cannot help but find myself bemused by all the fuss.

bogieOf course, the e-cigarette is a kind of pretend cigarette that operates electronically and involves no noxious and potentially lethal smoke like the ‘real ones’ that are still fully legal, by the way. So, with them the smoker can go into an eatery or a bar or even an airplane and puff away and gain some of the esthetic pleasures of the real thing. Reportedly they have proved a bit of a godsend in getting people to quit a potentially lethal habit and in that I applaud the concept. As anybody who has quit knows kicking the weed is a brutal business and while therapies like patches, gums and drugs can help, the e-cigarettes have developed a pretty decent track record in dealing with the process. And hey, they even look a bit ‘cool’, like the real thing. You can still pretend to be Bogey while you try to ignore what ultimately happened to him.

Yep, I believe that e-cigarettes could be the ticket in quite seriously getting us rid of a societal scourge.

But, not in Canada, That’s right, not in Canada. We do have e-ciggies but we don’t have them with nicotine in them, What does a smoker want? He or she wants nicotine. The addictive substance that got smokers hooked on the weed. Why do smokers want nicotine? Because they are addicts. They are addicted to the substance every bit as much as the alcoholic is addicted to booze, or the junkie to heroin.

While nicotine containing e-fags are available in the US and can be acquired on-line, they are not available in stores. In lieu the hapless smoker trying to reform is left with substances like cinnamon and god knows probably bubble gum. Sort of defeats the purpose. I reiterate, smokers are addicts. Ask any reformed booze addict and they will tell you that getting off the sauce was easy compared with quitting smoking.

So, why don’t we have nicotine-containing e-butts in Canada? Because Health Canada says we mustn’t. They maintain that the jury is still out on the safety of nicotine-containing e-ciggies. They maintain this folderol and meanwhile a certain percentage of the population is still puffing away on those regular old ‘legal’ cigarettes that are openly sold – albeit not to 11-year-olds.

It doesn’t compute. Yet it does. Health Canada gets a lot of its information from the medical community.

The medical community knows very little about addiction so don’t seek your information there, in my esteem. When I was addictions counseling I once had a client who was trying to kick a heroin addiction. But, he had prescribed drugs from the doctor in his home town. The prescribed drug was a powerful opiate. He was trying to kick an even more powerful (though not by much) opiate and this practitioner was giving him ‘Hillbilly Heroin.”

I spoke with the doctor and the doctor got highly indignant that I should try to tell her (it was a female) what to prescribe. I told her she obviously knew nothing about addiction and that his prescription to that substance was ending. She got even more indignant as did I. But, the call was mine, blessedly.

My point being, and I don’t mean to suggest ‘all’ doctors know nothing about addiction, but if doctors are giving Health Canada advice on e-cigarettes they’re out to lunch,

Don’t bring the tots along if you’re going for a snootful


It is a good thing we have politicians because in their desperate scrambles for votes they are inclined to come up with ideas that make a lot of the rest of us feel real smart when we ask ourselves: What in hell was he/she thinking of?

A short while ago the premier of this province, Ms. Christy Clark, in a desperate attempt to attract her booze-loving constituents, suggested that tiny tots should be invited into saloons with Mom and Dad while they either get gassed up or sip a polite cocktail.

pubNow, I’m not a prude about this and most children are fully aware if their elders like to indulge in a belt or two. But kids in a bar? No, for heaven’s sake. People generally nip down to their local to get away from the domestic scene, or else they would drink at home where it’s less expensive and they don’t need to worry about driving over the limit. If you plan to get loaded, do it at home so that you don’t go out on the road and risk ‘my’ life.

Children in Adult Venues: I adore children. Honestly I do and one of my regrets in life is that I had none. That said, I get persistently exasperated by parents who feel that any venue is just fine for their toddlers and that all adults present should be as charmed by their progeny as are they. Progeny that are largely ignored as they wander noisily about the premises irritating adult patrons and picking up things that they have no business touching. Leave them at home or go to Mickey-D’s which is more child-friendly than my coffee joint. Otherwise a brat is a brat is a brat and I don’t like brats.

I wrote the foregoing paragraph a couple of years ago in reference to kids in coffee outlets. It surely applies to booze joints. I am sorry, but these are places in which adults, for good or for bad, indulge themselves and generally people go there to get away from children – and certainly away from other people’s children.

Are the patrons of the pubs affected to be restricted in their language and behaviors, both of which aren’t always of the most commendable, especially as an evening of tippling progresses? Perhaps bars should consider family centres within the saloon with, oh I don’t know, maybe big bins with plastic balls like in Ikea stores.  You know, segregate the tots from the topers.

There are all sorts of lovely family-type ventures that can be indulged in for the sake of solidarity in the  domestic unit. You know, like hikes, picnics, days at the beach, amusement parks – and just maybe not booze venues.

In other words, there is a legitimacy to restricting juvenile access to various areas. Part of that legitimacy is due to respecting what tiny bits of innocence modern children still possess, and the other part of it is respecting the maturity of grown-ups in situations that would allow them to do stuff kids can’t.

It’s akin to those who advocate lowering the voting age to a degree that gets nonsensical. I am old fashioned enough to believe that a person has to ‘earn’ certain rights, and one facet of that earning is maturity. God knows many adult voters are sappy enough as it is with their choices but I like to think that the more mature one is that perhaps the more reasoned the choices will be.

And one of my reasoned choices would be to keep kids the hell away from neighborhood booze joints.

Please, Lord, say this dreadful nuptial news cannot be true


You will have to excuse me today if I seem a bit dispirited. You see I am in something of a state of mourning.

I don’t know if you heard the ghastly news but it seems that The Captain and Tennille are splitsville.

Apparently love was insufficient to keep them together. Or, perhaps it was a matter of age and the Captain (AKA Daryl Dragon) was unable to do that to her one more time.

Anyway, as the Everlys sang, when there were still two of them, “So sad to watch good love go bad.”

capnThe Captain and the luscious Toni Tennille (luscious in my mind, anyway, I thought she was amazingly hot). But, hell, it was 1975 and I was much younger then and virtually all females seemed hot and thank God Deborah Harry hadn’t yet come along.

But, Tennille was a very pretty girl with an infectious upbeat manner and the song was innocent and sweet and they were a young married couple who seemed besotted with each other. Their relationship (or apparent relationship) seemed to be ideal.

And while Toni was hot Daryl was kind of deadpan and always sported that dorky captain’s hat and that was to disguise the fact he was bald. Toni was also extremely chipper. It would probably prove to be irritating as hell for somebody to seem so upbeat all the damn time. Come on, Toni. Didn’t you ever get pissed off? Who knows, maybe she was an absolute raging bitch when she wasn’t performing.

I am not about to speculate over what drove them apart but she is reported as having said the state of their marriage (of 38 years duration, I might add) was “irreparable”. Wow. That’s heavy duty. I don’t know how many of my wives have said that about our assorted relationships. Yeah, likely all of them except the current one. At least I hope the current one isn’t going around saying that to all and sundry.

But of course if you are in show biz it’s essential to launder your soiled knickers in public. Them’s the rules.

Something else struck me when I read the item yesterday, and that was surprise.

You see, it had been so long since I’d heard anything about them I didn’t realize they were still alive.

Wait a minute, now. Does this mean I’m somehow missing out on something?

ameican idol

Sometimes I wonder if I’m losing my marbles, and other times I wonder if I don’t give a damn, and I finally console myself by telling myself that I am a man of such impeccable taste that the seeming interests of other mortals are meaningless to me.

Yeah, that third one must be it.

This little thought originated with a conversation I had yesterday with a guy who made reference to something on American Idol. Something he had seen. Which could only lead me to believe he watches AI. Now, this is a very intelligent chap, widely read and infinitely articulate. But, I also thought, he has had a long and successful career in the music industry so perhaps it all makes sense. Consequently, I passed no judgment. It is populated by Harry Connick, whom I like, and J-Lo with a caboose that agreeably just won’t quit (I think she acts and sings a bit, too) and a third person whom I think is Mr. Nicole Kidman.

I do confess though, that I have never watched AI. Does this mean, due to my friend’s comments, that I might just give it a shot? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

olearySomebody made a snide reference on FB as to how Kevin O’Leary should be fired by the CBC. I agreed since he is such an insufferable arrogant asshole. Have I ever watched his Dragon’s Den thingy?

Nope, because I have zero tolerance for arrogant assholes. They remind me of high school jocks, a group for whom I also have zero tolerance but have virtually no contact with any more – except in far too many walks of life that somehow impinge on mine.

But, that got me thinking. One of the virtues of living in a free society is that we have the right to make choices. Choices as to what to watch, what music to listen to, what books to read, who to have an intimate life with, who to vote for (though less choice in that category since pols seem to be cut from the same bolt of cloth.).

And I could easily make a list of all the TV programs, for example, that I have either never watched or if I have watched them (once maybe) subsequently vowed to never revisit. That would be like, in the old days, I think I only watched either the Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan’s Island maybe once and even that was too much. I mean those were cornball TV shows so braindead that they made the films of Adam Sandler look funny, which is, of course impossible since he is the unfunniest man ever born. He makes the late Red Skelton sound like Socrates.

Latterly there has been all sorts of critical esteem heaped in the direction of the sitcom Community. And when it was threatened with cancellation there were viewers soiling their knickers all over the place. I don’t get it. I watched it a few times. I mainly found it vapid and cliched and hardly comedy of a high order. I mean, I like Joel McHale and I think his other series, The Soup is a delightfully irreverent piece of satire in the vein of Chelsea Lately, and I think Chelsea Handler is the smartest, wittiest, sexiest woman on TV. But, Community? No thanks. I’ll pass.

What other shows did I never watch? This doesn’t mean they were bad, I just never watched them. I’m sorry and I know Breaking Bad evokes orgasms in some. Yet, and maybe because I’ve worked in the addictions field, I don’t find the saga of a meth cook to be an entertainment. I think he should have been shot, regardless of his motivations for being there. I watched once. I found it violent and creepy and I realized I didn’t give a shit what happened to the protagonist.

Dexter likewise. The guy was a fucking sadistic psycho. Why should I find him entertaining. I don’t care if he slew people on behalf of the righteous, I don’t want the bastard living in my neighborhood. Yet, people loved the show. People I love and respect loved the show.

Sorry, but I’ll stick with The Good Wife and NCIS. They’re easier to handle and I don’t need to suspend my moral judgment to deal with them.

I’ve just looked at a few TV offerings and haven’t even gotten to films or music. As for films, God invented the DVD for good reasons so that I don’t need to go to a noisy cinema, and as for music, other than Adele and Amy Winehouse there hasn’t been much to write home about since 1978,




So here is a toast to all the floozies of the world — God love ’em



Floozy as defined by Urban Dictionary – “A woman of questionable sexual morals or a Promiscuous Female”. A floozy does not operate as a traditional respectable female. A floozy is born with their hormonal clock slightly imbalanced and there for is shifted in the seasonal hormonal space time configuration.

You hardly ever hear of floozies these days. That time-honored reference seems to have been replaced by such disagreeable terms as ‘slut’ or ‘slag’. Nasty in their intonations. But floozy kind of trips off the tongue in a silky manner.

floozzuesFloozies, to me, were also ‘blowsy’. Another age-old reference to a woman who showed off her mammalian attributes to the full-advantage of the onlooker. Was a floozy a prostitute? Not necessarily so. She was often a bit promiscuous or, in other words of the era, a ‘good-time girl.’

Etymologically speaking the term floozy originated near the turn of the 20th century from the word ‘flossy’. That’s kind of nice. Has suggestions of softness.

The point of this exercise, however, is not to extoll floozies, as loveable as they might be but to look at the judgments to be found within certain terms and the most egregious judgments are invariably found in references to females.

Men get off easy in this regard. A man who is generous with his charms is perhaps deemed a ‘tomcat’ or possibly even a ‘horndog’ but nothing much more comes to mind. Furthermore, the terms suggested aren’t terribly damaging or demeaning. In fact, for some dudes they are sources of either pride in the person so named, or envy by the person doing the naming.

But, if a woman is called the aforementioned floozy – or slut, or roundheels, or bimbo or any one of a dozen other references to her perceived sexuality, there is judgment galore by both sexes. I think of a reference that has been made to men who get a lot of ‘action’, and that is “he gets more pussy than Sinatra”, with the assumption that Frankie was cocksman par excellence and that was to be admired.

On the other hand, Marilyn Monroe for example who was, according to legend, pretty easy with her favors, ended up being deemed wanton and was ultimately victrimized by sexual rubbish like the aforementioned Sinatra, not to mention the Kennedy boys.

So, at the end of it, and in a call to not be so damning, I am suggesting the reinstatement of the fine old word ‘floozy’ but only if it’s uttered as a term of admiration, not disrespect.

Readin’ and ritin’ and rithmetic, taught to the tune of a flung textbook — where’s the cops?

evil teacher

With the passing of each day I see more and more examples that show me why there is so little hope for the world.

Yesterday I read an item that told me that a teacher here in British Columbia was suspended from her (often thankless) job for daring to, yep, yell at a class. Furthermore she flung a book at some little peckerhead in that class and in so doing, it was deemed, that she had traumatized the class.

I, who grew up pedagogically in the era of the strap, yanked earlobes, knuckles cracked with a pointer and yelling that’d make a drill-sergeant cringe, yet emerged no more traumatized and neurotic than most of my contemporaries, must confess to having been astonished by this item. Not that I condone overt abuse of tiny tots, but surely this is an egregious overreaction and obsessive nannyism.

bad teacherIf teachers in my era had been kicked to the curb for flinging chalk, books, and whatever else, not to mentioned yelling, then most of them would have gotten their walking papers.

All this item served to show me was that we were built of sterner stuff than the timorous brats of today and perhaps that was to our advantage. We did not have some sort of authority running interference for us and taking our side against teachers, and let me say we had some teachers who were virtual loopers, to use the clinical term for eccentricity of the thought process. And yes, we had some who were outright sadists by any standard.

I recall an incident from junior high in which a kid was dragged to the office for slugging another kid in the gut, unprovoked. But, and we knew, the puncher was a truly fucked up little guy sorely in need of psychiatric intervention. That didn’t matter to the two pricks in charge of ‘discipline’. Those two pricks were, by the way, the principal and vice-principal (see the warm regard in which I hold them). Anyway, as was proforma in the day, the transgressor was strapped. He was strapped 35 times on each hand (still sticks in my mind, obviously and we knew because we counted the strokes as one always did). That punishment wound have been excessive for Bligh’s HMS Bounty.

I am not about to suggest that we were ‘better’ for the brutal treatment some kids of my generation received, but in reading that newspaper item I also think there is such a thing as going too far the other way to protect our kids from what seemed to me like a pretty innocuous situation. A situation that probably conspires more often than not but this unfortunate woman, alas, had a class the chose to alert the gestapo of politically correct officialdom.

Brutality is one thing, and not to be condoned, but there is also a virtue in kids learning how to suck certain things up.