Die, Fishy, Die

Greta was watching television on her couch in cold comfort when her balmy existence was turned upside down as the man of the house walked in. Their home was tastefully decorated, it should be mentioned, with a certain artistic panache. He, her lover, friend and husband, glanced over at his dilatory wife. Their eyes met. At that laborious moment they were both overcome, for just a second, by how much they legitimately loathed one another. She gave him a sarcastic smirk as she inelegantly chewed on s'mores and directed her eyeballs to the television set.

He breaks the silence. "Traffic is just getting worse. I was cut off 5 times today."

Greta ignored his lament. "I'm having a hard time at work. I may have to quit," he said back turned to her as he walked away. Rather than bite her bitter lips she answered with a blunt remark. " Well, you'd better shape up 'cause I am not going to live with no deadbeat." It was then the steam shot out of his salient ears. You could also hear something snapped in him. It sounded like a twig.

"It's always about you, isn't it? Never about me!" he sobbed into his hands. "You never cared for me or my dreams!"

His wife met the opening of his heart with a stoic roll of the eyes. "Don't push me, Greta!"

She did not heed the warning and provoked him with a "What are you going to do?" look. She then added, "You're weak and you're pathetic. I shouldn't even fuck you anymore. I should fuck that friend of yours. Now there's a real man."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Once upon a time they were the most envied couple created out of bigamy among their friends and colleagues. But something disappeared long ago. Time can corrode the best intentions.

Suddenly and without warning, in a moment of natural rage, he took hostage of her fish bow. The bowl included 3 gold fish and a special little black gold fish called Montgomery. He took whatever he knew she loved.

"You always loved this savoury submerged species more than me!" This was clearly a broken man. What man could possibly consider describing goldfish as savoury?

"Honey, p-put the fish down. We can talk this out. But I can't concentrate with you holding that toothpick!"

"You don't want to talk. You just want to shut me up. I swear. I'll stab them one by one."
"You wouldn't have the balls you gutless ferry."

It was a poor diplomatic move on her part. He picked one off clean. It jittered on the stick for a few seconds and dies. "Die, fishy, die," he yelled in a cold sweat. His parents often expressed concern but his German was just fine. Staring at her lifeless fish filled Greta with dread as she screamed in disbelief. She thought about dandelions. She's always loved dandelions as a child. She also realized that she forgot to thaw sausages for supper.

"I will place their heads before me just as Vlad the Impailer had done," her husband giggled. It is safe to say that the lascivious part of their lives was now gone.

The absurdity, the horror and madness was too much for Greta to accept. "You will pay. So help me, God."

"God? God? What do you know about God? Fool! You have no soul."

"And you're a murderer!" Greta shouted.

"Murderer? Against these pointless things?" He grinned and looked at her. He stabs another. "They are under the law. No one can convict me of any crime here. It's not my fault. I will deny everything. No court would rule against me!"

Greta called the police nonetheless. You can hear the laughter on the receiver from where he stood. He looked at her with a satisfactory smile. She came back dejected and with her head bowed. "Please don't."

"Things will change 'round here. I want a plane and $200 000. Go to the bank"

She stared at him curiously. " He yells "Now!" "But..." Just then, she realized he was losing his mind. "And bring back some bacon bits!" he bellowed off the top of his lungs,

But what was Greta to do? He was holding fish, of all insignificant things, hostage. He wanted Greta to withdraw his own money from the bank? How will she sign, as it wasn't even a joint account? Does he even have $200 000?"

The stark brutality of the whole moment was too much for her. She let out a yelp and stuck a toothpick that was used to kill one of the fish in her neck. The blood squirted out but it was not enough to kill her. In her pain, she noticed him talking to the fish. He was now building a castle with some legos. A feeling of faint overcame her. Greta's face and neck swelled. She was having an allergic reaction! She was suffocating. He scarcely noticed. She fell to the ground...and died! How tragic!

The thump jostled his mind back into reality. He was filled with sudden anguish. 'But I loved her! Why must you do this God? Why?! I denounce you, damn you!" He killed off every other fish, including Montgomery. "Now to finish this act."

He quietly turned and left to end his own life discreetly. An existence of eternal pain waited him in hell. Montgomery lay listlessly floating. What was that? Oh my, eggs! Montgomery had been pregnant! A new generation of black goldfish had been hatched among the carnage. Will these fish inherit the madness? Will they be mutant fish who talk and walk? No one will ever know for sure. Unless.....


It's My Arctic Back Off, Eh?

With a picture of John 'Dief the Chief' Diefenbaker proudly above him, Colonel Craniuck was relaxing just like any other dull Canadian day when he was suddenly interrupted by a high alert.

"High alert? That's odd," he told himself stroking his chin.

He spoke into the intercom.

"What is it, Major?"

"We have spotted spies in Arctic waters, Col."

"Those damn Scandinavians. Will they ever leave us be? What the heck do those Skraelings want?"

"Sir, I don't think they're Scandinavians."

"I knew it! It's the French, eh?

"Er, no sir. The tiny island of Comoros."

"Comatose, eh? Get me my atlas, Major."


The Major walked into Col. Craniuk's office and handed the atlas to him.

With his index finger firmly jammed up his nose Col. Craniuck read out loud. "Hmm, it seems Comoros is a country in Africa. Hmm again, but what would this highly unstable country want with the Arctic Archipelago?"

"I wonder if they are properly dressed sir?"

"There's no time for your games, Major. This country is under attack. ATTACK! Call the Inuit!"

"Yes, sir. Do you want their kayak fleet on alert?"


One minute later the Inuit leader arrived.

"Jack, this has got to stop. You can't keep depending on my 4 kayakers to defend Canadian interests in the Arctic. Our Rangers need reinforcements. When will you pasty white morons understand this?

The Colonel incredulously answered. "No. Never! We decide what is best for Canada!"

"Really, Jack? Look out there. Every Tom, Dick and Gordie is trying to invade Canadian waters now"

"I always felt that bronze plaque left behind by Captain Bernier was enough to protect us." Craniuck lamented.

"That was in 1909, Jack!"

"I wish Bob and Doug McKenzie could help us now."

"Who? Look, what do you want my men to do. It's close to blubber feasting time."

"We expect a Comorian delegation any minute. We will have orders for you shortly."

The Comorians did indeed arrive. Colonel Craniuk greeted them and immediately asked

"Why are you here?"

The Comorrian leader spoke. "My country is highly volatile and an election is coming up so we needed a diversion. This was the perfect ambitious plan to have my people riveted by our daringness."

"You're doing this for cheap political points?" asked the Colonel firmly.

"Not quite. We also discovered that Pangnirtung hamlet contains vast energy resources that we decided we want."

"Well, you can't have it. It's my arctic, so back off, eh? Anyway, you must file the appropriate documents and go through the proper multilateral channels to do so.

The Inuit leader slapped his hands to his forehead in disbelief. The African leader let out a huge roar of laughter and said, "Fools. It is already ours! Look around you. There are already 22 flags claiming islands around you and the Camorian people will not be denied!"

The Colonel remained unimpressed. "Hard ball, eh? Well, we'll see to that.

Major, get me Ottawa.

" It's busy sir."

"Hmm. What can they possibly be doing during a state of emergency. Follow me upstairs, Major. I have a special phone."

In the meantime, the Inuit leader, Tornarsuk Pootoogook, decided to strike up a conversation with the Comorian leader, Pierre al-Chamanga. "Stupid hosers. They haven't a clue." The Camorian nods approvingly. "This is why we chose them," Tornarsuk answered.

"Yes, smart indeed. I am fed up of defending this land while the hamballs in Ottawa pretend to have control of these islands. It is our land."

He then looked straight into the Camrians eye. "We will defend it to the death." Immediately, a moment of realization overcame the African.

They began to share a bottle of whiskey left behind by the Colonel.

"Shimwali and Inuktitut forever!" the Inuit leader screamed. The Colonel soon returned and approached the giggling sots. "I demand an explanation!" He glanced over and saw his bottle now empty. "I demand an apology!" Chamanga began to assuage Craniuk. " Relax, Britboy... "

Craniuk interjected. "I am of Ukranian extract, sir."

Oblivious to what the colonel just said the Camorian leader continued to slur his words.

"Don't worry, Canada. We don't want your crummy island." He slapped the Inuit on the back and got up.

Later that night, Captain Craniuk leaned back on his chair. Once again he was satisfied in his handling of the situation.

"Well, Major Jimmy m'boy. We Canadians did it again."

The Inuit leader rolled his eyes. "Can I go now?"

The Colonel winked and said, "You may." Looking over the window, a bumbling expedition from the mythical island of Glaciersandia had just planted their flag. Another crisis was brewing.

"Yes, Sam Steele would be proud."

Les Great Cartoons

Cartoons, for some, are metaphors for their lives - myself included. I probably pay more attention to animated programming, mainstream and underground, than most men (who are actually boys). While I am aware of the hundreds of cartoons out there, I simply do not have the time to view them all. I have seen snippets of many of them but timing is an issue.

Nonetheless, without being an expert, I feel compelled to compile my own cartoon list. I did not include those fascinating cartoon features from the 1930s like Van Beuren's Tom and Jerry, Betty Boop and Felix the Cat (actually created in 1919 three years after Kray Kat became a cartoon series), or that witty nut case Woody Wood Pecker who first appeared in 1940.

It's interesting to point out that some episodes were downright creepy and not so subtle, in today's context anyway, in their racy racial drawings.

In no particular order:

1) Loony Tunes (Merrie Melodies) (1930-1969): Home to such animated men of genius like Leon Schlesinger, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones. During my University days I may have visited 7 0r 8 Bugs Bunny cartoon festivals. I can proudly say that I am one of the few people in Montreal who saw rare subtle footage of Bugs coming out of the shower showcasing his hare-y dong. I also saw a mean version of Tweety Bird. In any event, what a cast of characters. All legends.

2) The Flintstones (1960-1966): Another classic that has stood the test of time. Much like its parent The Honeymooners. This cartoon was filled with unforgettable characters and quotes that should be a part of the cultural vernacular. They should air this show in Iraq.

3) Dungeons and Dragons (1983-1986): My first introduction into another realm of sorcery and magic. The Dungeon Master, Merlin and Yoda. Now that's wisdom.

4) Nightmare Ned (1997): Was a high quality obscure cartoon. It was about a 10-year old boy with an overactive imagination who had nightmares. It was smart. Too bad it did not last long.

5) Spawn (1996-1999): Created by Canadian Todd McFarlane it touched on many evil universal themes that lurk deep within the human soul. Al Simmons was a murdered U.S. government agent who made a deal with Malebogia (the epitome of evil) in a last chance to see his wife. Sheesh, the things men do. Clown remains one of the most hideous and disturbing figures I have ever seen. The 1922 film 'Nosferatu' is close but Clown wins hands down.

6) The Simpsons (1989- ): It's the longest-running animated and comedy series in U.S. television history. Highly satirical, the writing is nothing short of brilliant and the amount of cultural references is enough to keep anybody on their toes. Homer J. Simpson....enough said.

7) Family Guy (first aired in 1999): With The Simpsons filling our minds with cartoon programming, one had to wonder how much more room there was for another satire animation series. Family Guy founds its niche in its controversial writing and should be strictly for adults. The show is hilarious and Seth MacFarlane's Peter Griffith will return in 2005.

8) King of the Hill (1997-): Modern animation is sophisticated now. Just like I mentioned above, was there room for yet another prime time cartoon series? Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead) introduced King of the Hill and proves the answer is yes. Its subtle ironies and satire are centered around a conservative Hank Hill. Unlike the above cartoons there is less surrealism and more realism. Set in Texas, Hank attempts to navigate through life's challenges. The show is also supported by a cast of strong characters including the paranoid Dale Gribble.

9) The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-1964): Admittedly, I did not watch this as I did the others but it was sooo 60s and sooo good. The girlish Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose, who is from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, take us into several adventures fighting villains like Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. The cartoon also introduced to us Mr.Peabody and his companion Sherman and a Canadian Mountie named Dudley-Do-Right who reminds one of those Keystone Cops (ironically created by Canadian born Mack Sennett) in the silent film era.

10) Any Superhero (DC or Marvel) cartoon: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Hall of Justice, Justice League, Marvel Superheros. Inspired by the comics they are a part of the North American cultural experience. Many of us have our favourite versions from the many different animation series but nothing beats the comics. Still, it was great to watch them catch their villains. Boy, have there been many legendary ones, too. I used to love when they collaborated with each other to catch a specific villain. Priceless.

While they were more of a comic strip, Charlie Brown and the Peanut Gang get an honorable mention. Like most of the cartoons aforementioned, Charlie Brown is a cartoon that continues to stand the test of time. Snoopy is as timeless as a Vivaldi piece of music. Speaking of music, Vince Guaraldi composed some of the most memorable and unforgettable tunes in cartoon history. Walt Disney also deserves a mention.

Mickey Mouse, another household name, was not a series but what more can we say about the incredible animation and fabulous movies? Enchanting and brilliant. Some can even make a case for the suave Pink Panther. Will anyone vote for Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat?

It truly is amazing. They all have aged like fine wine or classical music. Just the intro songs of those cartoons are enough to bring a grin on your face. No matter what you're doing once you hear "Flintstones, meet the Flintstones..." you my friend are smiling.

Thus, this concludes this brief list of animated classics.


Temporary Contemporary Love: A Slice of Canadian Cheese.

Slither, slither goes the tongue. It creeps with its own creative free force like a Black Mamba - ooo mamma - in search of prey to conquer.

Her skin reminds me of extra fine, first press, olive oil - without the oil. My tongue, in all its bacterial glory, navigates like a new world explorer (or pirate since my tongue knows no moral boundaries) consuming the sweet, soft olive juice residue in search of gold. The gold I seek is similar to her long bewitching hair. It is hoped, as I skitter'n slide like mud past these lovely humps - which remind me of the romantic straight flatlands of Saskatchewan - and descend like Dante and Virgil into the Inferno, that I will discover tasty and profitable spices.

At a discount of course.

Gosh, if only mother knew what kind of indecorous break necking soppy cheap appliance her little leaguer has blossomed and degraded into.

This enticing woman, ooo this chick, who is she? She reminds me of apples, cinnamon and spice. Tangerine and mangos. I peek, like a koala, into her eyes and see that special and rare combo all men seek of fear, satisfaction and utter rapture.

My hawk-like claws catch her. This prey is mine. All mine. In a flash, my work is done. She whimpers and pants for more.

As I prepare my next venture into the abyss of unknown glory, the phone rings. Drring! I pound my fist on the night table. Who can possibly ruin this evanescent momentous fleeting ardor? I answer with much frustration and disgust as I gawk at her...."Why? But..."

I hang up and look over at the half-finished Sistine Chapel-like beauty next to me, "I must go my love. Leviathan - the government - beckons."

The ravishing sensual slut who reminds me of an olive pit asks, "Will I ever see you again?" I answer, as I button my seduction-rendering white linen shirt, gazing into the serene blue sky overlooking the majestic Mackenzie, "No, you ignorant skank. We just met. I must make haste." I look away as she does. I gape into her dark, gawky Mediterranean eyes while stroking her oily hair gently.

"The government sends its soldiers into the rings of hell without proper funding. But I do it for that flag, dammit!" I continue to look at her. "I may not make it. I leave for the Nanga Parbat Mountains tonight."

And so our lover-turned-hero leaves. He mutters to himself if he will be able to find the A-Team. She, this splendid albeit somewhat vexatious woman of sorts, holds the blanket to her firm breasts. She wonders if she'll ever see her lover of one night again.

"I will never forget you..." She realizes, while in her over-opiated sexual state, that she did not know or think (she rarely does) to ask his name.

With his back to her and a bottle of pills and pessary next to the night lamp, she pathetically bursts into ridiculous tears shouting at the absurdity of it all.



Football Quebec a lesson for Soccer Canada?

Quebec has always excelled in sports. Its athletes consistently perform well at international events. While this has been a source of pride for Quebecers, there is a sport where Quebec has been a model for Canadian sports development. In football, Quebec - specifically in the French-Canadian schools - has it right. Canada has the Program of Excellence in hockey which has proven to be an outstanding example of how proper direction can lead to positive results. Sadly, hockey remains the only sport we get right though many Canadians participate in other sports now.

In 1986, the city of Montreal lost its CFL franchise. Little did we know that the province would eventually be home to a football renaissance that has revived the sport. The remarkable rise of the University of Montreal, and of course, Laval University (the Rouge et Or), is obviously the work of skillful scouting and development. Quebec is now an engine that churns out many future stars and it will not be long before more and more find their way into the NFL.

It is truly amazing to watch programs that are still in their infancy stage defeat programs like McGill and Concordia, who have been around much longer. Bishop's was once the supreme king of Canadian football, but no longer. To be fair, attracting talent is difficult and without scholarships to offer a school will have an impossible task of getting the best talent. Quebec, for its part, offers a special program to all students in the commonwealth of French speaking countries. As a result, it has thrived.

Sports Canada should examine what Quebec is doing and apply whatever they learn to other programs that have not performed up to par at international events. If the Quebec model is not feasible for such sports, then it may find a client in the Canadian Soccer Association. With Canada's pathetic 95th FIFA ranking, it does not take an in depth study to see that this sport is poorly managed and funded.

It also needs to create a real program of excellence with major commitment. Why? Well, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and Canada, with its diverse cultures, is a cesspool of talent waiting to be discovered. Yet, we have not tapped into it properly. Part of the problem is the absence of an indigenous league. North America has flirted with such leagues in the past, some even reaching incredible popularity (remember the Montreal Manic?) Now the MLS is looking to expand and Toronto is the frontrunner to be the first Canadian city to be granted a franchise.

It's time for Soccer Canada to step up once and for all. Hey, make a call to football officials in Quebec. Who knows what you can learn?