Beneath the Beauty

She's gorgeous. My lord, I can't keep my eyes off her. I ordered a second espresso. She hasn't noticed me yet. She has to look up at some point. Nobody keeps their head down reading that long. Jimmy St. Barman came over to talk me. I don't mention the girl but he knows she's there. She apparently comes often. I come in often and never noticed her before. Different hours, he tells me.

I fiddled around with the paper and looked up at the plasma screen to occupied my eyes. She finally looked up. What an incredibly engaging smile. No one has ever captivated me this way. It made me nervous. Maybe it's the four espresso shots.

Jimmy came over and noticed she kept returning my gawks with several subtle glimpses of her own. She had style. I don't normally gawk. Why would I give them the upper hand? Man, do I hate these games. I am so patently bad at them. Do I send her a drink? This is not a bar and she's not a cheap skank. Do I go over? Nah, that's presumptuous. Maybe she would like to be alone. I need an in.

Jimmy served her lunch at the table. She ordered the linguine. Good choice. I take a break and let her enjoy her food without any pressure.

Suddenly something she did caught my eye.

What is she doing? She's cutting her pasta? Is she mad? Is she some kind of Pict? Oh lord, the humanity! What's next? Is she going to ask for butter?

On a second thought, she ain't so cute. Fuck her. I turned around and continued to talk to Jimmy as if nothing happened.


A Hostile Take Over

This morning it has been announced that Qwerty stores out of Pennsylvania just purchased the magical and legendary Gus Goose Company. This is most certainly a difficult day for Canadian business. Let's go on the street to gauge reactions as they are about to open the doors....

"Those damn Yankees! Didn't we hurl their sorry over rated asses back to the Missouri hinterlands during the War of 1812?"

What's that go to do with modern business?

"It has everything to do with it. It's our company. If it will go under let it go under on our soil."

So, to cite another example of Canadian symbols, if the CFL is dying and needs cash and no Canadians are not willing to step up you would deny Americans to come in and save the league?

"Damn straight I would. They would change all the rules."

Do you actually go to any of the games?

"No, sir I do not. I like 4 downs."

Another person approaches: "What's that you're reading?"

Walrus Magazine.

"Huh, what kind of name is that?"

Well, it's an interesting magazine that offers a Canadian perspective. Its format is similar to The Atlantic.

"Could you believe this scandal? Imagine that, an American buying Gus Goose."

Is it alright if a Canadian buys an American?

"That's fine by me."

Isn't that a double standard? Isn't a tad hypocritical?

"Go on reading your fancy book East coast boy."

Before I go, I'm curious to know what magazines do you read?

"People and Life."

Aren't those American? Oooo....

Little old lady offers insights:

"Oh my. We can't let that happen. We can't let the Americans come in. They will ruin our society. I find it most disturbing. I hear they won't sell tea."

But Gus Goose's sales were dropping. It was clear Canadians, both investors and consumers, were no longer supporting it. Something had to be done.

"Oh dear. No matter. It's a Canadian institution and it shouldn't be sold to heartless Americans. Gus Goose is a part of our heritage."

Moments later

There's a mad dash to Qwerty Stores as the doors open. People try to go in unnoticed. Prices are incredibly low...

Hey, weren't you against American imperialists coming into our private serene cocoon? What happened to Gus Goose being a part of our heritage?


Gus Goose.

"Gus Goose could never sell socks at these low prices!"

Canada-la-la in Wonderland

It is time. Time to call Canada for what it is: A smug and underachieving group of huts that has lost all sense of perspective. This Confederation has gone awry. Long gone are the Pearson years when Canada meant something. Indeed, too many people are basing their Canadian pride on an era long since passed. We have done precious little to continue the once proud legacy of what was a majestic country. Canada is has lost its way.

Today's Canadian nationalists (including Quebec) are petty little intellectual minnows vulnerable to useless squabbling. Zombies if you will. Very few of them know of real Canadian courage as witnessed during the Great Wars nor do they know much of Canada's questionable past when it comes to racism as was the case with the little known eugenics movement. They know little of both our accomplishments and failures as a people, culture and ultimately a nation.

To be fair, there are some who want to revive Canada but I am beginning to wonder if they have a fighting chance. Some intellectuals like George Grant argued Canada has been gone for quite sometime now. Maybe this is why we behave like we do on the international stage. Like pampered naive sots we skip along pointing fingers and laying blame at everyone but ourselves. People eventually grow wary of others who always point the finger while refusing to look in the mirror. Why should it be different for nations? Look in the mirror. Instead, Canada buries its head in the ground and directs traffic.

It has grown tiresome to watch Canadian talking heads and their 'fresh' perspectives. It seems that only the CBC, in all its magnificent inefficiencies and bias views, is allowed to have 'alternative' views. More often than not, these 'alternative' programs usually end up being anything but that. They are just recycled bad air. Just like our economy is based on several flimsy economic constructs thus rendering economic data superficial, so is our political and intellectual life.

Within these confines lays a siege mentality that is no different than those found in Europe which usually stagnates a society. If not, can lead them into war. Ah, but Canada is a peaceful nation that does not wage war. True, Canadian politics is incredibly civil. Nonetheless, Canada, I submit, while aiming to create an impossible utopian state of superiour minds, is actually a weak kneed country where the most distrustful, distasteful and least admirable types have managed to get into the halls of power in Parliament. These people do what incompetent people know how to do: blame others for their mistakes and parade around with their pants down as if they are doing something important. Sometimes our behaviour is so obscure it makes me wonder if something is wrong with me. Surely, I must be missing something here. I doubt it, but it could be.

The sooner Canada comes to grip with its embarrassing behaviour the sooner we can get true statesmen in power. The sooner we can truly educate and train civil servants to be enlightened conveyors of the Canadian identity. We need to forge a new path with real intentions. Not the cliched empty rhetoric so incredibly hollow these days.

Until then, continue to watch our leaders disgustingly sit at the table with terrorists and murderers as they recently did with the Tamil Tigers. Some may trick themselves into believing that this is a practical example of Canadian 'soft' power at work where a progressive country is seeking to unite peoples. If the romantic revolutionary ethos has gripped some in this country than it must be said that this country's delusional state has met Abbadon.


Johnny Kid

Johnny Kid was fed up. Just plain fed up. He wasn't suicidal just down. Besides, isn't suicide a cop out?

Maybe the lack of sleep was having an ill effect on him. Or maybe it was the large amount of cantaloupe that made him think he was seeing orange? Johnny Kid was deformed both mentally and physically.

This went along with his sometimes outrageous inner thoughts. He often conjured up images of him tying up his boss and tearing his eyelashes. He would then want to feed him cantaloupe with his hand. Sadly, he couldn't. Johnny Kid had an envelope for a hand. Size 11x14.

It made for an awkward social life. Going down a girls pants was out of the question. The paper cuts have scarred one too many gals.

It was sad but sometimes uplifting. Like the time he substituted as goalie on the school hockey team. His envelope hand won them the game. He was a fucken modern day Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Everybody loved Johnny Kid....for awhile. Then they forgot about him as humans are apt to do.

Johnny Kid was at the movies the other day. In the middle of the flick he got up and began yelling at the screen. "What the fuck is this shit!" Amidst the shhh's he continued, "You mock me? Do you know who I am?"

That was the last we ever saw of Johnny Kid.


Captain Freaky Fanatical and Ms.Sowers

In Monty Python's hilarious 'Life of Brian', there was a group calling itself The People's Front of Judea. They were all talk and no action and mired in minutaie. In one of their meetings, Reggie the leader, tries to stir up popular revolt as he proclaims "...what have the Romans ever done for us?" Upon further reflection, the other members start to list a number of Roman contributions - aqueducts, baths, sanitation, irrigation, wine, education, etc.

Sounds like Canada. Lot of rhetoric little action of substance these days. What have the Americans ever done for us? A fine motto for childish anti-Americanism.

Canadians, I think, fall into three groups each found in 'One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest': The first group is the R.P. McMurphy group who try to revive Canada. The second group are the ones who are mute-by-choice like Chief Bromden and simply escape. Our talent if you will. And the third group are the evil Nurse Ratchet. They include the the intellectual deadweights, infantile nationalists, the CBC and other homegrown stinky nationalized programming and self-absorbed sensitive Canadians who are floating around aimlessly on a raft with Huck Finn and Jim.

Which category do you fall under?


Walking into Fate

She just appeared. I'm not sure how she did but there she was. An angel had to have put her there just as I turned the corner. We were just kids, 18 I think. I remember wanting, right there, to leave the military, quit the team, anything really just to be with her. 5 minutes was all I needed to know.

Now, I'm no natural romantic but I swear I could have recited any sonnet that night. She demanded engagement. Subtle and sensual temperament can overwhelm any confident kid walking the streets on a warm summer night ready to invade and conquer the world. Only it was not me rolling over anybody.

An unplanned exchange of glances was all it took. Something just locked us. Out of character I say, "Hi."

"Hi." I'll never forget the way she said it.

There was no need for complex intros. There was enough complexity within ourselves. I continued, "Where are you headed?"

The sound of her voice drove me crazy.

"I'm not sure. I'm not from around here. Any suggestions?" I look around. "Man, it's a big beautiful, cool place. I'm not sure."

She answered, "Are you trying to tell me a hip young guy like you can't point me in the right direction?"

"Sure. Follow me. There should be some live outdoor music shows tonight."

She smiled approvingly. An unstudied smile that simply pierced through me. What is going on? "I'm Alex by the way." "Nice to meet you, Alex. I'm Olivia." "Where are you from, Olivia? "Vancouver," she replied with a West coast easiness. We walked for 3 hours and stayed together until 5am. We watched the sunrise from an all night cafe.

I didn't need to kiss her. But I wanted to badly. Not to satisfy any selfish urges. To thank her for being with me. Sometimes things just happen.

Even if we don't ride into the sunset together or runaway like two tramps in a Springsteen song this girl has entered my soul forever. Nonetheless, I felt it in my bones that there's something going on here.

I was right.

Speech on the Hill

Ladies and gentlemen, the Prime Minister of Canada,

A cough in the audience. Some clapping. A monkey on a bike passes by. PM laughs.

"I hope that's not my ride."


"These are trying times for Canada. With no professional hockey, this country is fast losing things to do. With the Americans busy around the world it can't always be fun and games for we Canadians. We have to pull together, stand up and speak as one strong proud voice."

"Parle Francais!" One Member of Parliament shouts.

"You see. It is this kind of humour and tolerance that makes this the greatest damn country in the world."


"This country has a right to speak. We will continue to do so. No matter how righteous and pointless dammit you can bet I will force those Yanks to listen to our demands. It's the Canadian way to be firm."

Waits for claps. Press Secretary tells PM to lash out and increase anti-American rhetoric to liven the atmosphere and crowd.

"Those bastard invaders are not going to tell Canada what to do. The Battle of 1810 was a lesson we should never forget."

Standing Ovation.

"We Canadians have values. We have compassion. Don't take it from me. Take it from this great Irish singer. Bono Box."

Bono: "Um, it's Vox Mr. Prime Minister. The world needs a little more of Canada. Thank you. Vote in your by-elections. It's important...in the name of love.....bye."

"The world can indeed use a little more Canada."

Questions come fast furious from the floor. Lights go out. Lights come back on. PM gone. Liberal thugs are released. This party is officially over.

Laugh track comes on. "I own you. Don't you forget it."

Giant fresco of Jean Chretien is displayed.

Table For Three

Table For Three

The hostess politely asks: " Table for one?" The tone of the question is one of those murky open-ended ones that permits a person caught in Spider Man's web of alienation to confirm if they are, in fact, alone. I looked to my right and left. An inept busboy carrying a plate of knives trips. As they fall all around me and pierce some people I answer her while biting into a granny smith apple, "Three."

I don't know why no one sees Dan and Gad. It's not like they're lost or imperceptible. Dan especially since he likes to wear a napkin as a mask. He thinks it's charming. She has a look of bewilderment - like the one my childhood psychologist gave me when I drew a murdered unicorn lying in a pool of blood - but seats us nonetheless as those on the ground struck by the knives are tended to by an infirmary of Samaritans. I am most grateful. "Thank you, Flo. And tell Mel to speed it up." We all laugh at the off-the-cuff reference.

A stare is coming right at me from a kind gent at the table next to me. "Who you looking at, brother? Yeah, you best be looking the other way." She returns with a menu. "Excuse me," I tell her. "We require three menus. Sharing will just waste time." With a stupid puzzled look she responds, "But...but you're alone." "No I am not, Alice! Bring me three menus!"

My tone softens with a dignified but unyielding, "Please." She returns with them, carefully places them on the table and leaves abruptly. Her perfume smells like the doctor who once examined me when I was a teenager. I imagine making insanely ardent love to her. Shake my bones, baby. Shortly thereafter she comes back to take our orders. Before I ordered I asked her what perfume she was wearing. She answered "Smoke."

I was not amused. I ignored her insult and rationally decided to speak for Dan and Gad who both went to the washroom at the same time. They, in their loving incoherence, always do that. It's a predictable joke they have. They think I don't know, but they fail to realize in their buffoonery that I engendered like a magnificent maestro their fabulously fleeting actuality. I'm a step ahead of them today. "Dan will have the roast stuffed pike with the skin on and Gad will have the oven-braised teal. Bring the beak on the side." Heh,ha. Dan always orders flummery. Gad prefers snipe.

I have always been treated, like tainted fluoride, as an outcast - always on the periphery of life. Society, that elusive word that means nothing to me, has deemed me unfit. I don't sleep. Sleep is a mere nuisance. I prefer the dark forbidden contours of the infinite but anticipated night. It thinks to be so omnipotent. It's not so tough. We all know the sun will rise, night! Be gone! The Angels are trying to convince me otherwise but I defy. The inkblot experts who practice psychology always wanted me to explain why I excessively love and distrust sleep but I didn't know why. They needed my quotes to put in their picture books. I'm nothing but a painting in their museum of nothingness. I know this. Just like how I know about Dan and Gad's little routine.

"Can we have some water, please?" I initiate a hollow conversation with my friends, bursting with inner self-combustion to see the look on their faces when the orders come in. A man drops a card on me. "Dr. Youp - Psychologist? Now that's the fifth this week!" Unfazed, we laugh, we argue, we cry.

It was a perfect lunch if not for that tin toy soldier staring at me. Oh, that gaze! The one my imaginary step-mother gave me! It's penetrating in its accusations! Its gaze was beginning to warp my sense of reality. Tick? What tick? Why do I have a sudden tick? Oh, tic on my arm. I asked the waitress to move the tin soldier who was by now drumming at a furious pace. In her marvelous and sensually boozled stare, she tells me she could not. I tried to make the best of the situation. I slice my cantaloupe, which I pronounce cantaloop. I don't know why. I just do. Dan and Gad tell me to let it go and ignore the toy soldier but I can't. It's just too much.

I get up and walk towards the tin solider singing the Songs of Roland. I was a virtuous vigilante descending upon an officer in all its uniformed glory. I hack it to bits with a mini- axe I carry in my inner pocket. Waiters, of all genders - and the inept busboy who had one ear - all gather like conniving conspirators in unison to make a call. Never do they remove their green, blue and brown eyes from me.

"Sir? Sir?" The clouds in my brain pass and after a couple of quick glances I spot Dan and Gad. She looks in their direction and says, "Sorry for the delay."

I get to my table. The service is good here. The food is not bad, either.


Scenes from a Bathroom

Rick is an idiot. I mean, a complete socially inept moron. He thinks he's so witty, smart and engaging which makes him more of a tragic character. Some of the crummiest things come out of his mouth. So, when I have to go, I try to avoid going when that idiot goes. Some people you just don't want to share piss time with. The bathroom can be a terrible place. It is a place where bad scent and senseless chatter meet.

Some time ago, both stalls were taken. I had just sat down, with a paper, to perform. The guy next to me was already installed in the stall next to mine. No troubles. He did not know who I was just the way it should be. No yapping, just dripping and splashing.

Sometimes I wish I can just put up a wall around me to shield me from the world whenever I wanted to.

Anyway, in comes Rick. He unsuccessfully tries to open both stalls. I hate when that happens. It puts pressure on you. The train doesn't always come on time you know. You need to ease into it and sometimes that takes time. Someone else walks. Rick begins to chat with him. Phew.

A few seconds later, literally one minute after he tried to open the stalls, he shouts "Come on guys. It doesn't take that long to shit!" As he tries to force the stall doors open like an impatient child.

I didn't want to say anything so as to not jeopardize my identity. The guy next to me, luckily, was finishing up. As he walks out I hear him say "You're a fuckhead." Rick responds "Shit faster next time and I won't bother you." He ended up staying in there 15 minutes. I know, because 15 minutes after I was done I realized I left my paper in the stall and went back to get it.

It was easy to know it was him him. I looked under and saw his ugly shoes. I can just imagine him sitting there with that empty head and stupid look. Just wasting. Too bad he can't shit himself into oblivion. That would be funny. I can't even describe how dumb he looks. It's so subtle it would take Michaelangelo or a Dada expressionist to draw it.

In my dreams sometimes, I find myself in a bathroom with literally 50 stalls. It is an impersonal one where the concept of Mu prevails and Paganini is playing. I head for the very last one so I can have some privacy. I also angle myself slightly to the right so that I increase my privacy. When I am done, I straighten out and find someone right next to me. 50 stalls and this one figure...staring. Sometimes, between the crack of the stalls, an eye is peeping in. Surreal stuff.

I think my dreams are trying to tell me that I am insane and that privacy is impossible in public places are not mutually exclusive. I insist though. While this may be true, I can at least defend against finks like Rick. The art of flushing toilets and keeping neat for the next person are long gone. With this loss, we can also surmise that common decency among the collective has been reduced to trivial meisms.

It's as if someone goes into the private stall and pisses all over the walls on purpose. "No one can tell me what to do because I am me! Ha, ha!" They are the ones, no doubt, who fill the toilet with so much shit it overflows with toilet paper turned yellow and brown. Some try to be a little better. They'll at least flush once but their stains are unbearable. It's always nice to go in and see light floating shit residue.

My inclination towards privacy is so intense that I won't come out if I know someone is there. I'll just wait. I just don't feel like doing the "Hey, how's it going" routine. This isn't Vaudeville for fuck sakes. The guys who don't wash their hands disgust me. I can just imagine their personal hygiene. I refuse to shake the hand of a person I know who doesn't wash their hands. Hey, you're talking to a guy who opens the bathroom door with a paper towel. There was a time when I stood around in the stall for 5 minutes as a congregation of colleagues decided to have a conversation in the bathroom.

Believe me when I say it was an absurd and utterly stark real moment. Like a silent Ozu film from 1920.

Some days I manage to not see Rick. I like those days. Ah.

World Junior Hockey Championships

Make no mistake about it. With Canada's recent gold medal at the WJHC, this ushers in a new golden age for Canadian hockey. At this moment, Canada are the reigning men's and women's Olympic Champions, the men's and women's World Champions, the World Cup title holders and now the World Junior Champions.

It was like watching polar bears against mice. That's how good they were. It's not like the opponents were weak. Hockey is one of the most competitive international sports where 6 or 7 nations can beat anybody on any given night. However, not this time. Nobody was going to beat this team.

Canada is a land where hockey finds its ultimate expression. No country supports grass roots hockey like Canada. Every sport has its crucible of passionate fans. Soccer, as an example, is the sport of the people and finds ultimate support in places like England, Brazil and Italy. In Canada, hockey is the only thing that really matters. It is the one thing Canadians excel in.

The 2005 edition will possibly and arguably go down as the greatest hockey team Canada has ever assembled. Certainly the best Junior team ever. Not even our pros have dominated as they did. They were the perfect balance of skill and power. They represent everything Canada can be and should strive for. Indeed, Canadians should demand such excellence from every facets of Canadian life.

Hockey Canada and its organizers move forward with a sense of purpose. It has all the leadership qualities a country needs. Maybe this is why Canadians call for hockey summits when we feel our dominance is slipping. It seems it's the only thing we've got amidst all the corruption, inefficiencies and mismanagement of our government.

This victory is made even more special given the present insidious predicament the NHL is in. Most Canadians, if not all, would take the sheer pureness of Junior hockey any day. What a great victory. Next year in British Columbia, Canada will try to make it two in a row. Don't bet against them. They know how to succeed. .

Buying Espresso

Janna enjoys the finer things in life. She doesn't know much about anything but she tries. She frequents and only visits the high quality merchants in the city. Her husband, Harry, is a neurotic mess.

Janna sees the coffee tins in the aisle and jumps like a little school girl. "Hmm, look honey, there are so many choices of espresso coffee here. I just love shopping here. It's quaint."

Harry looks and stares at her. "Isn't that redundant?"

"What is?"

"Espresso coffee."

Janna shrugs and continues trying to select a coffee. She puts her finger to her lips. "Now, what should we buy?" Harry is already getting nervous.

"What's the problem? There are 9 different Italian roasts to choose from. I can't even tell the difference anyway."

"Oh, Har, it's important to be selective."

"Can you choose and let's go. As if you are a coffee connaisseur."

Janna sighs but refuses to budge. "You can be such a drag."

Harry usually has a hard time in aisles and this day is no different as people keep bumping into him. At one point, he's pinned against the other side of the aisle as a glut of carriages block the aisle.

Janna is unperturbed.

"I don't see the reason why we need to employ scientific reasoning to buy espresso. I mean..."

Janna grabs the shop owner and asks him his opinion on a couple of brands. The shop owner grabs them and begins to read the back of the tins. He finally admits he's never tried them. "Which one do you recommend?" she asks. The shop owner continues to examine the tins and proceeds to explain what the packages says. Janna thanks the owner.

Harry rolls his eyes."That helped. He read you the package. As if we can't read." He motions in the direction where the shop owner went. "We're not from the sub-Sahara. Thanks for nothing chump."

Janna finally settles on one. Harry takes the tin. "$14.95? For espresso? Are you nuts? What's wrong with the $5 one?"

"It's high quality from the finest company in Italy," she asserts.

"How do we know for sure it's the finest shop in Italy? Maybe they say this just to sucker us in with these artsy prices. Who can afford such luxuries?"

"We can. Let's go and stop making an issue of everything."

Janna and Harry head to the grocery line to pay. Harry is just about out of his mind. "We haven't moved. You realize we haven't moved. Right?" There's a pause. "Sometimes I wish I could just ram a carriage into someone who is taking too much time getting their money out."

Another pause follows. "I just wanna yell 'Move it, cunt!"

Janna is ignoring Harry while reading a magazine. "Stress kills. And you have a filthy mouth."

"Stress is having to wait in line with a $15 dollar coffee...Wha? Where is she going? Am I seeing right? They are closing our cash?"

Harry asks the cashier, "Where are you going?" The cashier answers, "Break. Union rules!"

"Union rules? UNION rules? Great, it's communism."

He signals to the manager. "I am not moving to the back of another line just because of some lame ass union rule. Either you open this cash immediately or we will no longer shop here. And we all know small shops like these need every customer they can get these days."

The manager glances at Janna and obliges. "I will assist you sir." He opens up the cash and they pay.

"As Harry rushes out the passage way narrows down like a funnel. Just as they are about to get to the door they are cut off by an elderly couple walking excessively slow. A couple of attempts are made to try and cut around the couple but backfires.

Harry will just have to wait an extra 30 seconds to get on with his life. Janna is just fine with hers. "I can't wait to get home and try my new coffee as she hugs the tin."


Legacy of Time

We remember the ghosts that lived in the Old Forum. They were carrying a torch of formidability for posterity. It was a place where legends were born and majestic teams ruled. Effortlessly, artistically and powerfully they dazzled not only their fans and opponents alike but themselves too.

The ghosts made their presence felt one last time in a game between the great Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in what was the last year before they tore down the old rink. One gets the sense that the ghosts were hanging around on this sombre day. It is as if they had no intentions of moving again. They did not like what they saw down the road. Some were fixing the banners of all those Stanley Cups, others were playing around on the ice chasing each other, still others sat back and listened to the play-by-play of the game that was actually going on.

The present Habs were a mere shadow of their former selves. They were a team that was mismanaged and its tradittion of excellence was gone. No one is really sure how this was allowed to happen it just did. Some believe that the Habs will rise again one day.

On this night, Montreal is losing 4-1 heading into the third period to their arch rivals Toronto Maple Leafs. "Where are these fricken ghosts" one player asks. Peetie, a player for the Habs, tells him there are no ghosts. "Get a grip and play hard" he continues. Howie Morenz, the Stratford Streak, Montreal's first legend, overhears the conversation. He summons the lads for one more round of magic.

Peetie gets off the bench and scores an incredible goal making the score 4-2. The coach comes over to Peetie, "What the hell got into you? Good job." As Peetie looks up he sees something flash by. He nudges his team mate. "Did you see that?" The team mate responds "See what?" Peetie could have sworn he saw #7 fly by.

The Habs are playing marvelously. Their skating reminds some in the stands of the old Habs. One fan shouts "How do you guys think you are? The second coming of '56 or '78?" Jean skates past a Leaf defenseman a scores. 4-3 with 4 minutes to go. Jean shakes his head at an image he thinks he just saw. "#9? Nah."

No one ever thought that Mario would be the next one to tie this game up. He did. 4-4. He could have sworn he saw #2 flash before he scored. The energy in the Forum is electric. If one could read body language, the Leafs had resigned themselves to defeat. One player remarked later "It was as if the ghosts came down and played the game."

In the broadcast booth Danny Gallivan drove the voice of the play-by-play man as he winked to Dick Irvin who somehow was able to see them. Behind the bench Toe Blake stood stoically. The ghosts had arrived.

The game is not won. There are 33 seconds left in this critical game. Peetie sweeps down, out of the corner of his eye he sees all past Montreal Canadien legends around him, he let's a ferocious slap shot go. He scores! Habs lead 5-4. The proud Toronto Maple Leafs, however, will not leave without a fight. One of their fine player's fakes the goalie with 3 seconds to go.....what a save! Habs win! Behind, one could have sworn Vezina, Durnan and Plante all chuckling.

Incredible. Later, as the lights were shutting down, the ghosts hugged one another and skated off the ice for the last time. They were tired. They swore they would come back one day. Maybe #23 could pick up and assemble together the fragmented pieces fallen to the ground that was once a powerful 'C'.


Conversations with Popular People

Hello and welcome to the first installment of "Fucking Stupid Talk." My first guests are Jessica and Ashlee Simpson.

"Hello to you both."

They both sensually stare into the camera and say hello.

"You both have attained incredible popularity. What exactly have you accomplished?"

Jessica: "Er, well..."

Ashlee: "Like, you're so not cool for asking that question."

"Maybe, but can you both please answer the question. What have you contributed to our culture? Everywhere I turn I see your god dang faces on every cheap magazine."

Jessica sticks her tits out and attacks "Well, more than you. Who are YOU?!"

Ashlee: "Yeah, like, um."

"Well, thanks to you both. That was most enlightening. Just like your work."

"We all know my next guest, Madonna."

Madonna: "It's Ester now."

"Oh, excuse me. I forgot. Aleister Crowley was a cult figure and not a Kabbalist."

Madonna: 'Excuse me, loser? What do you mean?"

"Let me ask you. Did you feel a sense of void or Mu for you to turn to the omnipotence of the Kabbalah? Do you feel more alive or is this just another typical trendy phase?

Madonna: "I have gotten in touch with my spiritual side."

"There you have it. A businesswoman who sold sex and later children's books has found comfort in the Zohar. Good for her. Material girl milked the excesses of the 80s for all it was worth. Forgive me for not buying into this. Empty she remains."

Madonna: "Do you know who I am? I can buy and sell you on credit you squirt."

"Now, now. I don't think that was taught by Moses de Leon."

My next guest is Rick Mercer.

"Rick, you do a good job of lampooning the decadence of American education with your 'Talking to Americans' show. Boy, we Canadians sure love laughing at others to assuage our insecurities, don't we?

Rick chuckles. "Well, I wouldn't put it that way. We Canadians are a funny benign bunch..."

"Rick, would you consider doing a 'Talking to Canadians' bit? And what do you think the reaction would be up here in Canada if an American did it? Remember the uproar when a sock called Triumph did this? What a scandal for we Canadians. Particularly the dead-weight intellectuals in Quebec."

Rick: "Well, I don't think that he would have much material up here. Canadians are generally more aware of the neighbors down south than they are of us."

"And so you think that doing what you do will increase our exposure down there?"

Rick: "Well..."

"Fuck you. That's the third time you start your sentence with 'well. Feeling hot? Maybe it's global warming. Go solve it.'

My next guest is Hilary Clinton

"And what my dear have you accomplished in your political career?"

Hilary: "I have spearheaded many ideas that would make America more compassionate."

"What the fuck does that mean? What, you mean? Like increasing government involvement in our lives? Did any of your 'spearheads' actually pierce through and resonate with anybody in Congress? Do people really think you're the future? Hilary, you are truly hilarious."

Hilary: "I don't think you quite understand how level-headed and great Canada is. Tommy Douglas was a great man. And yes, my future is written in the wind. I will save America from itself."

"Pseudo-liberals have enacted terrible laws and programs in North America. Suck my ass. Better yet, suck Bill's."

"My next guests are Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Barbara Streisand."

Tim jumps in, "Bush is the devil."

Susan: "He is lying to you and you people don't even know it."

Barbara: "I only want this side of my face shown."

"Whoa, slow down narcissists. SLOW DOWN. What the hell is this? Night of the Living Dead? It's my show, cumquats. First, Tim, shut the fuck up. What the hell do you know about foreign policy? Go write another lame play about Leo Strauss. Susan, Miss 'I'm too smart for all you dead puppets' you're cute but an idiot. What makes you think people actually care about your political stances? Haven't you noticed they ignored you already and continue to do so? Celebrity and politics is a bad mix. Go recite some lines and jump off some more cliffs. Barbara, no matter what side you show that shnouser will still get in the way."

Finally, for our last segment. We'll go out in the streets and interview people.

"Sir, what are you thinking at this moment?"

"Weed, man. I need a job. These birckenstocks don't keep my feet warm at night. He eats babies man. I can't believe how stupid this country is. 60 million idiots! Look at the states that are blue man. It makes me sick. I'm sorry world for how dumb we are. Jesusland has taken over. A theocracy is taking hold. RUN! We shall march forever against Bush. He is a menace to freedom and security. He's a dummy. He drinks oil for supper, man. Don't you get it? The media are puppets! Right-wingers are everywhere. Arghhh."

"There you have it. Sell your bonds for real people. Freedom is such a precious commodity. Have we over spent it? True liberals should be so proud."

Good day and thanks for reading.


Tim Horton Must Die

Just watched the latest Tim Horton's commercial. Just when I thought it could not meet its own standards of self-absorption they come out with another doozy. The plot has four hosers - an older couple taking off on a cross-country journey and two young males doing the same.

Alas, this is not like any journey. The purpose of this journey is to hit as many Tim Horton's (if not all) scattered across this gigantic geeky land. They even marked Horton outlets with cups drawn on the map. The Great Canadian Epic. Yeesh.

Look, it's simple. If you know anyone who comes up to you and tells you that they plan to make a trip of visiting Tim Horton outlets to savour absolutely terrible coffee here's what you should do - take them slap them out and tie them up and let them think of the pointlessness of their existence. At the same time, feed them espresso and teach them a real coffee lesson. Cripes, the idiocy of it all is incredible. Out of all the things to do in North America, Tim Horton's wants to put itself right up there with Route 66. Enough of the madness. Time to seek and destroy the marketing team.

At this point, why don't we just adopt the Tim Horton coffee mug as our passport?