September 30, 2014

Modern History

It's always interesting to look back at old photos of the town or city you live in. You might see a main street that looks somewhat similar but with vastly different looking buildings, cars, public transit and even old-timey looking people. Just google high school yearbook photos of kids from the 1920's. The entire tenth grade looks like they're in their forties.

But it's easy to forget that a cityscape changes over time, and some change is so gradual we don't even notice it happening. 

Here's a classic example from the city I live in, Toronto. Honest Ed's is an iconic (and gigantic) retail store that opened in 1948. It's tacky and they sell cheap junk, but it's a landmark. The now deceased owner, Ed Mirvish, was a promotional maniac. He'd draw thousands of people to the store every year as they lined up around the block when he gave away free turkeys at Christmas.    
Those lights suggest I can get a corndog inside.

But soon, Honest Ed's will be gone, so I figured it was an opportunity to enter the madhouse one more time...perhaps for the last time. It's a convoluted maze of schtick, and for those of you prone to claustrophobia, you might lose your shit in this place, literally if you can't get out in time to find a bathroom. But as I walked around, I ignored the trinkets and paid more attention to the old promotional photos of B and C list celebrities adorning the walls, since the Mirvish family have been involved in Toronto's theatre scene for decades.

Having said that, I did find a child's winter jacket for $3.99. What a steal. It's the only garment of clothing you can buy that will get you arrested when your kid freezes to death walking to school.

Nowadays, Honest Ed's is more of a caricature of itself, yet Torontonians will always have a soft spot for the old joint. Do try to to make your way there one more time, before it's gone for good.  

Something tells me there's been a shitload of dishonest activity in this alley.

September 29, 2014

About a hundred years too late

These are cute.

Assuming you live in Toronto as I do, I'm sure you've seen them around town. Would you ever use one of these given the digital alternatives?

The infamous media critic Marshall McLuhan said "ya I'll have a double double with an everything  bagel with cheddar" when he was in a Tim Hortons once. But he also said "the medium is the message". In this case, I suppose it professes this city's love for staples.

A recovered medieval torture device: Criminals would have their faces dragged along this board
thrice daily for a fortnight.

Business Crackumen

You know, I'm no high-falutin' CEO, but I would have to think the business owner who made the decision shown here is not that great at business.
Yes but I'd like an extra helping of duct tape on my kofta please.

Look I get it. Times are tight. You're trying to run a small operation catering to people with three bucks to their name. Chances are this isn't the sort of joint that requires a jacket and tie when dining at this fine establishment.

I would hazard a guess however that the time it took the owner to go look for his duct tape, strategically cut it and cover up what slop isn't available anymore, might be equivalent to the cost of a new goddamn sign.

September 28, 2014

Of Trouts and Common Courtesy

Someone, somewhere in summertime said this before, but it deserves a re-telling, perhaps best framed as a Public Service Announcement.

Being in public means we are all sharing the space with each other. It's a communal situation, so we should all be cognizant of some basic guidelines, which I'll re-visit here and there.

For now, one thought to pass along. If you are employed, chances are there may be some kind of cafeteria or lunch room. In my case, it's the former, which has a bank of microwave ovens for folks to warm up their lunch. The process of doing so is a bit of an awkward ritual and strangely intimate and personal. But that's another story.

Don't bring this to work.
When we share microwave ovens, let's be aware of what we are sticking in said ovens. In short, when considering what to bring to work for lunch, do not bring a trout. A trout is a harmless beast on its own, but when it's been selected to ultimately reside in your stomach, warming it up in a work cafeteria setting is never a good idea. Oh sure, to you it's a delightful fragrance that stimulates the salivaries. But to me, sitting nearby innocently having my relatively scent-free lunch, it's a dagger. A dagger that cuts deep.

Thank you. We now return to our regular programming.

Touching Hell

Not literally of course. I mean, nobody can touch hell. If Hell did exist, it would likely feel similar to the tactile delight that I experience a few days a week.

Cat food.

You see, Jones The Cat eats the stuff to survive. When she's slumming that is. You see, most days Jones eats people food. Tuna. Fucking tuna. You know you've done alright as an animal species when your culinary regimen involves a dish you can get at an expensive corner deli.

Anyway, I think it's important that we all remember our roots. Modesty is of paramount importance in a person's character, so by extension I like to instill it in Jones The Cat too. This is why Jones supplements her VIP diet with cat food. In all honesty though, it's not regular cat food. It's porn star. Due to her laundry list of hang-ups (psychological or otherwise) Ms Jones eats Medi Cal Hypoallergenic. Which brings me to my point.

Regardless of this stuff being of premium quality, cat food is food. From a mass production perspective, I shudder at the thought of what this stuff is. At the end of the day it's basic animal nourishment peppered with some flavour instinctively appetising to cats. But what's revolting to me is the feel of the stuff. Unless I'm doing it wrong (and I probably am), when I serve up some kitty mush, much of it sticks to the fork due to it's cold mealy consistency. As a result, I use a finger to push the terribleness off the fork into the bowl, which is when I am Touching Hell. Feeling this stuff on my digits, I physically cringe and some unknown organ within retreats, curls up and dies. The food is soft, but not too soft. There are tiny gritty particles I can detect, and forgive me if I forego commenting on the scent, because I wouldn't know. Instinctively I breathe only through my mouth when serving this feline cornucopia.

Jones The Cat
When it's over, I go to the bathroom, turn on a hot shower and sit down in the tub, and begin to sob uncontrollably. And when I see Jones afterwards, she quietly looks at me and sometimes I think I see a quiet appreciation in her eyes. But then I realize I'm being ridiculous.

September 27, 2014

So Here We Are

Ironically, the simplicity of this post's title is what astounds me. Four little words that say so much. It's really a good centre point for me. A place of balance. A mental benchmark that I can return to when Life occurs.

There's even a song titled So Here We Are. It's track ten on Bloc Party's album Silent Alarm. It's one of those songs that resonates for me. Not a clue if it has the same meaning to the band as it does to me, but isn't that the point of art?

There's much to say here, so this is just the beginning. But this isn't just about me. Your words are welcome here too, but not mandatory. Life provides us with enough rules, so we don't need any more here.

Welcome to Hobo Guantlet. Let the adventure begin.