Monthly Archives: February 2016

A big letter ‘O’ doesn’t always remind me of Oreos

megsterA very enlightened and highly evolved female friend of mine suggested in an email that I, if stuck for a blog item, should write about (ahem) orgasms. I could consider the male aspect of the equation and she would happily offer the distaff take on the matter. Of which she let her self off the hook somewhat by including the caveat “But then who could describe an orgasm anyway?”

Anyway it is the sort of topic about which I tend to be hit by an attack of shyness, as frank as I tend to be. I have no desire to offend, though I haven’t a clue why something so nice should ever be offensive, but for some it would be, no doubt. Now if, by this point, you are in any doubt about what is under discussion here, think of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and seek to have what she is having.

Now the bounds of tastefulness demand that I do not get clinical on this topic, despite how much I might want to. Let me say, though, that for me it is that micro-moment in life when I truly believe there is a God because surely nothing can be better than this. But, that’s just me. I also tend to think that neo-purity and healthfulness has taken something away from it in that an enraptured post-coital couple can no longer lie back in blissful states and blow smoke-rings at the ceiling – or, as my ex-wife once said: “This is the one time I wish I did smoke.”

There is a great deal more I could write about the Big O, especially now that I am getting on a roll and building up to a climax of some sort, but I’d better slow down for the sake of all parties concerned. Maybe my friend would like to contribute some further thoughts. In which case I’ll report them. Females have better insights in this topic to begin with. It’s something to do with multiples methinks.

 

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Just let me have my cuppa joe and all will be right with the world

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Somebody was supposed to link up with me for coffee this morning, but she got waylaid and it didn’t happen. As much as I would have enjoyed her company and didn’t mind waiting for a bit, I ‘needed’ caffeine. It is basically the only vice I allow myself these days and it is therefore imperative.

Weary of waiting I made myself a cuppa. I am savoring it right now. The world is now a brighter place.

I no longer drink a lot of coffee because, as much as I like it, I also cherish sleep. So, in the evening I have tea. Not as satisfactory. It’s sex with a condom. You know, nice enough, but missing a certain essence.

I have always loved coffee. Real coffee – Joe, Mud, whatever you want to call it. Decaf is an evil substance and only worthy of being deposited in the toilet without having gone through the middle-man (ie, me).

Something that delighted me when I was back in England in 2006 is that one could finally get a decent cup of ‘real’ coffee rather than the piss they formerly served.

For decade the doomsayers who like to take all the joy from our lives have tried to convince us that coffee – like tobacco, booze, and fatty foods – was deadly and would do us in before our allotted time on the planet. Consequently the killjoys (those who live in fear that others might be having fun) tried to mount study after study to show that coffee was bad for us. They failed, also time after time, in their quest.

In recent years a lot of fancy-ass coffees have come down the pike (lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, flat whites and so forth) and they are well enough unless the ordering involves somebody standing ahead of me in the queue at a coffee joint early in the morning; then they are very bad things.

In Mexico a couple of years ago we ordered coffees at an outdoor cafe. The pleasant server asked if we would like ‘Americanos’. Definitely a preference but I thought, considering where we were, shouldn’t they have been ‘Mexicanos’?

And that is all I have got on coffee for today.

So how would a gender switcheroo work for you?

peeingA female friend and I once had a very interesting discussion about sex. No, not about ‘doing it’ kind of sex – that sort of chat can get you into no end of trouble – but more about the lives of the two sexes as far as it pertained to the differences between the two – both vive and not so vive.

She believed it would be appropriate, albeit impossible, if we were about to switch genders – just for a while, not the whole transgender thing. Maybe once in a lifetime, she thought. And after we’d made the switch, we could then revert to our original gender.

She felt such a feat would be brilliant in not only ridding each sex of a great deal of misunderstanding about the other, but would also build up a huge empathy that we’d never lose.

She also thought it would be fun.

About a week, she felt, would do the trick. Not any special week, just an ordinary week in one’s life in which we would become our opposite number and be as a member of the half of the population we spend a great deal of time with, but never truly understand.

She meant, of course, a complete transformation, not just dressing in drag. In other words, guys, you wouldn’t just get to wear panties (provided you don’t already do that – now be honest) but you would have all the plumbing fixtures that rest in those panties. And you know, breasts may be awfully cute, but sometimes they’re bothersome to the owners. You may like them big, but ask a ‘big’ girl how enjoyable they are by the end of a long day.

If this were to happen, I thought, would women finally understand that it is just as logical to leave the seat up as it is to put it down?

Once that burning issue was out of the way, we might then deal with certain other traits of gender specificity.

She attested that no matter how feminist in sensibilities a male might consider himself to be, he would have no idea of the rigors of PMS unless he were to actually go through it. And Menopause? Land sakes, welcome to the middle-aged female’s nightmare.

On the other hand, it might be apt for the woman to don jockey shorts on a week that a prostate exam had been scheduled. Of course the woman need only counter with the old feet-in-the-stirrups issues, or a mammography, about which, and I’ve said this before, guys go with your wife or girlfriend (not at the same time) for one of those procedures and you will really treat her with respect that verges on awe.

But, enough of the nastier aspects of being what we are. There are day-to-day issues that might just prove to be challenging.

Men: We may fantasize about how swell it would be to have somebody regularly come on to us in a frank and honest manner. Yeah, but only if the person was of your choice. So, let’s say instead it isn’t a mysterious fantasy figure but somebody who has career power over us.

Furthermore, as males we have rarely suffered the fear that a female of superior size and strength might overpower us. If we pass a member of the opposite sex of slight acquaintance on a dark street she offers us no physical threat. Our physical threats are made by our own sex.

  • We have rarely been – there are some exceptions – physically abused by a spouse and left with no recourse other than departure and ultimate poverty.

  • We rarely have to plan meals, cook them and then serve them on a regular basis. Weekend barbecuing doesn’t count.

  • We do not have to spend nine months swelling, losing our physiques, undergoing major hormonal fluctuations, dealing with cranky and unreliable bladder control, forming varicose veins and stretch marks, etc. etc. For the sake of producing that (hoped for by he spouse) son and heir. No boys, you just get to be there at the end when all the nastiness has been seen to.

Women: You are not expected to keep your overt emotions in check to the degree that men are expected to. You want to cry, then bawl your eyes out. People still get uncomfortable when men cry.

  • You do not need to steel your reserves of courage to invite somebody you fancy out, and risk suffering rejection.

  • You really don’t need to be good at sports.

  • You have a closer relationship with your parents most times. There is a gender bonding with your mother and a protective aspect to your paternal relationship.

  • You don’t need to be ‘in the mood’ for intimacy to happen. It may not be the best encounter but you can certainly do it. For a male, being in the mood is kinda essential. Hence, you don’t really need to suffer performance anxiety.

But, if I reached any conclusion about all of this, it would be that Adam was only God’s practice run. Eve came about after he’d perfected his technique. That’s mainly evidence by the fact that males with all their limitations are really only valuable in the siring capacity. After that the girls can get along just fine.

I don’t really mind that because I am rather fond of females and all their ‘mysterious’ elements.

 

So some see this Jones anthem as sexist and vile, but not the rugby lads

tomjones-delilah(9)One of my fondest memories (amongst many others) of touring Europe way back in 1968 was listening to a guy walking along a sidewalk in Rome belting out Tom Jones’s Delilah, which was very popular at the time.

What impressed me is that he was so unabashed about singing it in public. Not something you see or hear in stodgy old North America very much. But the fellow was Italiano and they are used to being expressive.

The memory takes me to a particular foofrah going on right now. Damn it, why does there always have to be ‘something’? Can’t people be left in peace? I guess not.

Anyway, I have always rather liked the voice of Mr. Jones, who is otherwise sort of a Welsh icon and subject to a lot of lust by especially middle-aged women who are prompted to pitch their dainties at him on stage. I have often wondered (perverse bugger that I am) if those pelted panties are fresh or (ahem) ‘unfresh’. Hey, it had to be asked. Jones is himself married and has been married to the same woman since he was about 12 or somesuch. Rumor has it that he hasn’t always been faithful but she has stuck by her dude. Well, he probably makes decent coin, so that might explain some of that.

Back to Delilah. The song has for years been kind of a theme for Welsh rugby teams. Don’t ask me about rugby. The only team sport I know anything about is baseball so, rugby, not so much. But I gather that the Jones song is talismatic for when the players get out there on the scrum, or whtatever it is they do.

But, aha, enter the ‘forces of niceness’. It seems that some of the lyrics in the ditty seem to advocate violence against women. Sort of a Ghomeshi anthem in the eyes and ears of some. Well, I despite the idea of domestic abuse, but I have heard the song many times and seemed to miss the lyrics that the missus should have a good thumping.

But, I am probably wrong about that. But in that regard, I would suggest expunging the offensive lyrics and substituting nicer ones. I mean, the Welsh aren’t going to roll over easily on this. They have steadfastly stuck to the use of their archaic language when all other Celts in the UK like the Scots and Cornish have long since rolled over and played dead. More power to the continuation of Delilah, but nail Ghomeshi.

 

Chacun a son ‘dysfunction’

pisstank queenWe love our buzzwords, we do, we do. We glom onto an expression or term and then we begin to apply it to virtually anything that might apply, no matter how tenuous the connection might be.

One such word is: Dysfunction, and its adjective, Dysfunctional. In certain ‘helping’ circles nobody is ever a drunk, a pervert, a druggie, a thug, or just a plain asshole. Everybody is dysfunctional.

I probably use the term too much myself, mainly because I used to be in one of those damn ‘helping’ circles, providing whatever skills I might have as an addictions counsellor. Not that I didn’t feel the work was important – it was and is – but it was just that in my mind a client I was dealing with was really a ‘crackhead asshole’ (by his behavior, at least), which seemed more realistic than, “Oh yes, Bob is dysfunctional to a degree.” Bob is dysfunctional in every respect, damnit. Bob does no functioning at all other than scoring and going back to the pipe.

Also, even though dysfunction is intended to be a ‘gentler’ term, in a way it’s harsher, because it tends to indict the so-described as being virtually valueless in all areas of his or her being. What dysfunctional tends to overlook are the virtues an otherwise screwed-up person might have. We all have our moments, after all. Or, at least some of us do. I’ve known long-time heroin addicts who are otherwise hellishly interesting people. We’ve all known obnoxious drunks, but we’ve also known some delightful and funny drunks, their alcoholism notwithstanding.

Dysfunction has a special disregard for charm.

I once knew a charming man who would definitely be described as dysfunctional. Seamus McCarthy was his name (no, it wasn’t his real name), and he was an Irish-American cabdriver. He propelled his hack around Miami as a day job, but I met him in Ireland.

Back in 1981 my first wife and I took a 10-day coach tour of Ireland. We were living in England at the time, and she thought such a tour would be a splendid idea. I thought a tour would be wonderful, but the ‘coach’ part left me cold. But, as it turned out, it was OK. That was because Seamus was on the tour.

Seamus was dysfunctional. Or, to be more precise, he was a drunk, alkie, sot, pisstank, boozer, and any one of dozens of descriptors you might want to utilize.

He was a single guy, former Great Lakes seaman who had a great love of Canadian beer, since he grew up in Buffalo, which is practically in Canada, and he was fun. A lot of fun. By 10 a.m. he would pull out his bottle of Jack Daniels and two paper cups, one of which he would pass back to me. I wasn’t used to tippling prior to lunch but, hell, I was on vacation. My wife was less than amused.

Eventually Seamus and I took to hanging out. We had a few things in common, and be it understood, he was a bright and well-informed guy, despite his ‘dysfunction.’ We toured the cathedral in Galway and he told me: “I had to do this because Galway is where my mother’s from and she’d be furious if I hadn’t gone. I won’t tell her I didn’t take Mass. I haven’t taken Mass in 20 years. She doesn’t know that.” See, dutiful, despite dysfunction.

Oh, there were other interesting people on the coach. There was the French father with the three gorgeous teenage daughters; the Scottish guy who had been smashed to ratshit in a road accident, but he and his wife were determined to make the best of it; a couple of loud Aussies; the elderly French academic lady with a passion for the writings of Hillaire Beloc; and the upper-class and very attractive middle-aged Englishwoman who touched the back of my hand and told me in the bar one evening, she well into her cups, that she was a pee fetishist, in one of those TMI moments. And so on, and so on.

All of that notwithstanding, Seamus was the guy who charmed me the most. I was there to have fun, and he was a great guy to have fun with.

We went to a pub in Galway one evening. There were four of us: Seamus, myself, my wife, and a German girl. It was great. It was a hole-in-the-wall operation with fine Guinness on tap, and a local band that came in with spoon player, fiddler, bodhran expert, and an accordionist. It was great. We all drank too much, no doubt. Then, Seamus got into a contretemps with a guy. He was a Protestant from Belfast and he drunkenly began making disparaging comments about the “fucking Papists”. Seamus took understandable umbrage, and cautioned the guy. We felt it was time to leave before a brawl broke out. Relishing some fresh air we walked the mile back to our hotel.

Seamus came in later. “What happened with that guy?” I asked. “Well,” he said. “I asked him to step outside. Then I thought, I can’t punch out his lights. I’d be arrested and thrown in an Irish jail. So, I did the only thing I could think of; I bitch-slapped him. I slapped him and he started to cry. Then I hailed a cab and got the hell out of there.”

Yeah, pretty dysfunctional behavior all right, but it still sticks in my mind, and it still amuses me.

I never again heard from Seamus after the trip, but have often wondered how his life panned out. I kind of hope he modified his behavior for the sake of his health, because I’d like to think he was still around.

Charming dysfunctionals should be able to last. The world needs them in a way, even if one wouldn’t want to live with one.

 

The day the Magyars came to town to stay

Hungary Lost its FreedomThey’ll take our jobs; they’ll molest our womenfolk and probably our daughters; they’ll bring in evil furrin ways.” And so it goes whenever we get an influx of refugees from some benighted and war-torn part of the world.

To those who are bent out of shape about the current influx of Syrians and their ilk, I say

relax”. They are the latest group of many. Face it, North American countries are built on the refugees we have let in to stay.

Prior to this it was the Vietnamese and others from the former Indo-China region. When I was a kid, post 1956, it was the Hungarians, and I heard the same bullshit from my elders. I was at school with a number of Hungarian refugee kids. They were pretty good guys for the most part and their sisters were exquisitely attractive and just a bit exotic looking.

One classmate had three evenly-spaced scars along the side of his head at the temple. He said the scars were from a Russian machine-gun. Prior to fleeing the benighted country (minus their parents, I might add) these guys had devoted their time to lobbing Molotov Cocktails into the cockpits of Russian tanks. Well, this was pretty enchanting stuff for us sheltered kids from suburban Burnaby. I for one had never had either the yen or opportunity to lob a petrol bomb.

Whether or not his machine gun tale was true it certainly made him seem mighty exotic in the eyes of the females at the school – a genuine renegade warrior who wasn’t afraid of no Russkies.

As for any sort of postscript, I don’t know if the boys ever saw their parents again. They were fostered out to families in Burnaby and that tale was repeated all across Canada, and at the end of it all, they made pretty good citizens. As had their counterpart DPs (Displaced Persons) at the end of World War Two, and later as did the Vietnamese and so will eventually the Syrians and we’ll all be fine.

There will be glitches, and there will be bad guys who made it in and people will grouse and fulminate and say: “See what I told you,” and Canadians will only wish they had a Trump to vote for so this sort of nonsense would stop – fully forgetting that their own forebears came from elsewhere, and some under extreme duress..

We’ll all survive and so will the newcomers. It is the history of human migration, and if you are really pissed off about new guys coming in you might want to discuss the matter with some First Nations friends, but I doubt if you have any.

 

Have compassion for most of the homeless but not necessarily ‘all’ of them

Homeless_woman‘ Buncha bums’ is the pejorative comment that won’t entirely vacate my consciousness when I think of the denizens of that so-called tent-city on the former grass next door to the Victoria Provincial Courthouse. Hey, how about Law & Order, Criminals In Tents, that’d work if I were of a more judgmental nature.

I am torn on this issue. A whole slew of folks protesting their homelessness have decided to ‘occupy’ a public space. Some of those homeless are actually British Columbians, so it would seem that our society is obligated to look out for them.

So the good burghers of Victoria, and to give credit where it is due, have rallied to find adequate housing for them, and in the process give them the boot from this little chunk of Victoria’s ‘green and pleasant land’. And I think, by any standards, what they are offering them is pretty darn decent.

I recognize that homelessness is a dire thing, not just in Victoria or Vancouver or virtually everywhere in the world, but also in this town. A few years ago I was commissioned to write the Homelessness Study and the findings were informative and sad in many cases and to a degree we have done bugger all about it other than to fulminate. Not saying there aren’t individuals who are involved in helping, just saying it ain’t going away.

I also could lapse into an apologist mode and say ‘I have been lucky’. But that isn’t really the case. I have worked hard all my life, have made sensible decisions and other than a foray into drinking too much many years ago, I am not addicted. The only area in which I am blessed is that my mental health seems reasonably functional.

That all means that I spent many years getting a decent education and after that suiting up each morning and going to work whether I felt like it or not. I was forced in that realm to kiss a few asses I didn’t feel deserved to be kissed. I also paid my bills and didn’t live extravagantly. All good. And better than the lot of some folks, I will concede.

But, back to the tent-city and the poor. The ones I have always felt for are the so-called ‘working poor’; those with the shit jobs (and shit jobs are the norm not just in this community but in many communities) minimum wage and no benefits and no hand-outs like the welfare folk get. That is so fucking wrong, in my esteem

Anyway, both the City of Victoria and the provincial government to some degree have attempted to find a solution to the impasse there and to get the denizens therein the hell out. They have found some housing and to their credit some of those unfortunates have been grateful for what has been offered and are moving on.

But there are others who maintain that what has been offered isn’t good enough. If they don’t get exactly what they want they will stay put and are currently defying orders to depart. Who are these hand that feeds them biters? I don’t know and I resist the impulse to want to see the police go in with mean dogs, but the thought has crossed my mind.

But I am left with the thought for that ilk; you contribute nothing to the discussion or to society and therefore I am left with no sympathy. Get a life and move on. If you cannot do that, that is one thing. But if you ‘will’ not do that, it is another. Screw you and get out and I am sure the decent t but impoverished people will be happy to see your backsides.