There’s no two ways about it, superhero movies are big money. And why wouldn’t they be? Think about it. They take pre-existing characters, already storyboarded, toss in a plot that has lots of explosions, add a few big-name actors, and there you go.

People will pay their hard-earned money for this experience, regardless of quality. People demand higher standards from a McDonald’s value menu item than they do from these pictures.

Comic book movies are no new thing. Superman and Batman movies have been around for decades. But in the last fifteen years there’s been an enormous boom. Since 2001, there have been a total of 38 Spider-Man movies, 19 Iron Man movies, a dozen Thors, and so many Avengers it’s unbearable. Two, I guess. How ever many, it’s too much.

One of the more interesting effects of this phenomenon is that films based on lesser known comics are appearing that probably wouldn’t have been given the chance to make the big screen otherwise. Adaptations of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, and garnered glowing reviews.

With this trend in mind, I have a few suggestions for some relatively obscure comic book characters that deserve to make that leap to the movie theatre. So, if you’re a big time movie producer looking for the next big hit, bear these in mind. And if you’re not, well, read them anyway I guess.


Unlike Spider-Man, who was a human bitten by a radioactive spider, Wasp-Man was a regular working-class wasp who got bitten by a radioactive human. Now he uses his super powers to fight people trying to do evil gardening, and swoops into the jam and mimosas of villains at brunch telling inane stories from their weekend so loud the entire patio has to hear them.

Corn Man

Corn Man traverses the prairies of the Midwestern United States, appearing wherever someone isn’t eating enough corn. There’s a lot of potential for stories here, because, really, do any of us eat enough corn? In one memorable plotline that would be perfect for the silver screen, Corn Man faces his most dangerous arch-nemesis, a guy who’s making a burrito and inexplicably isn’t going to put corn in it.

Clipper Girl

Wandering the breadth of the land, Clipper Girl uses her powers to clip the toenails of lazy men who neglect to do so, ensuring that their casual girlfriends’ legs won’t get scratched or cut in bed. She also devotes much of her time trying to figure out why her superhero name is “Girl,” when she’s 27 years old.

The Bechdel Test

The Bechdel Test has a pretty unique set of abilities, and maybe couldn’t support a movie on her own, but would make a great sidekick. Her main power is to appear in other superhero movies for a scene or two and talk to the one female character about something other than a man.

Single Guy

From his bachelor apartment of solitude, Single Guy fights vigilantly to assert that he’s single by choice, he could be in a relationship if he wanted to, he’s just taking time to really know himself, and besides, he just hasn’t met the right woman yet, oh, and also he’s totally not gay. It’s 2015, if he were gay he’d just be gay, he’s not trying to hide anything, he swears.

The Mopper

The Mopper pretty much just mops. He’s not really a janitor, because janitors do more than just mop, plus they get paid. He’s more of a deranged ex-university professor who cracked under the pressure of work and his wife leaving him, and now he just mops, and the guys down at the local hardware store feel pity for him, so they let him mop up at the store because he’s not doing anyone any harm. Until one day when he stabs a bunch of people in the neck with an awl. No one really saw it coming, but a lot of people, when they’re gathered at the Tim Horton’s by the highway, say they knew something like that was bound to happen. He hung himself in prison five days in. Classic supervillain.

The Guacamole Kid

Wherever a restaurant is charging extra for guacamole, The Guacamole Kid is there to help you out. He can’t really do anything about the extra charge, it’s restaurant policy, but he’ll totally spot you that fifty cents. If he’s got it on him.


Photo by stu_spivack via Flickr

I don’t know how to start, really. It’s funny, I have so many thoughts, so many things to tell you, so many questions I want to ask, then when it comes down to it I can’t think of a thing to say. I don’t know if you’ll even read this, if it’ll manage to find its way to you out there in the quadrant of space you call home.

You never told me where you come from. If I knew, I could try to send this to you directly. But you kept that vague. You kept a lot of things about you vague. And I get that, I respect that.

We didn’t need to rush things. That’s part of the fun and excitement of being with someone new. Learning things about them slowly, discovering things in common. Where they’re from, what their favourite albums and books are, how many brothers and sisters they have. Or, in your case, how many flesh-stalks burst from the same spore cloud.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t completely know what to make of our time together. It all happened so fast, it’s still taking me time to wrap my head around everything. One thing I can say for sure is that you really swept me off my feet. Literally. When you sucked me into your spacecraft from the golf course I’d broken into and was exposing myself to caddies on.

I know we only spent one night together, but when something is right, you can just tell. I know you could feel it, too, I could see it in the glistening, pulsating sockets I can only assume were your eyes. Or your genitals.

The things you said to me that night, in your guttural, unnatural language, more disturbing than the screams of a hundred thousand grasshoppers lit on fire at once, were so romantic and beautiful, I imagine. And the things you did to me when I was strapped to that examination table, the way you explored my body. Well, I’ve never been touched quite like that by a lover before. And what happened in the indeterminate amount of time I was unconscious after you injected me with that phosphorescent blue liquid must have been magical.

Listen to me. Using words like “magical” and “lover.” I never talk like that. You’ve got me all frazzled. Oh, geez, “frazzled?” I never say that. But I’m just so giddy, my mind is all over the place, like someone turned on the warp drive. Is that a real thing in space ships? A warp drive? Or is that just in the movies? Oh, here I go again, just rambling on like a dummy. But that’s what happens when you’re in love, right?

Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. That just kind of slipped out. I didn’t mean that. No, just forget I said it. No, it’s obviously way too early to be using the L word. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’ve probably scared you off now. I always do this. I meet someone really great, we hit it off, then I go and ruin everything by getting excited and trying to rush things. You probably think I’m totally crazy. I did this with that Sasquatch, I did it with that subterranean lizard-person, I did it with that cute waitress at the diner down the street, now I’m doing it with you.

But, wait, no, you know what? No, I’m not going to apologize for that. It’s how I feel, and why should I try to hide that? I’m going to put myself out there, all the way. Like that series of interlocking tubes you put all the way up my rectum. I know you felt it, too. The feelings, not the rectum thing. I dare you to look deep into whatever frightening conglomeration of physiology that approximates a heart and tell me otherwise.

I’m not asking for a lot. I’m not suggesting we uproot our entire lives to be together based on one night. All I’m asking for is that you give this a chance, because there’s clearly something there. And it’s something real. As real as the stars and the northern lights and those horrible spider-octopus things that your species contracted to rain inky black death upon the entire Earth so you can have unobstructed mining rights for the precious, precious nickel needed to make cosmic dildos for your chain of interstellar sex shops.

I’m just saying, next time you find yourself in my neck of the galaxy, drop me a line, maybe we could hang out again, see where things go. How about next month when you’re in town to blow up my solar system’s sun? We could go somewhere, make a weekend of it. I hear Pluto is really nice this time of year.


Photo by exoimperator via Flickr

For a lot of people, summertime means camping. I mean, I don’t really get it, voluntarily spending an entire weekend in the woods, with no access to online pornography and miles from the nearest friendly toilet. Frankly it all sounds a little too much like a Solzhenitsyn story to me. But, as the great shaman-prophet Sly Stone once said, different strokes for different folks.

So, besides the leeches and the ticks and those spiders that crawl into your ear while you sleep and lay eggs in your brain and then the eggs hatch four weeks later while you’re at your desk at work and you die right there in front of all your co-workers and you’re forever remembered for shitting your pants and unleashing a torrent of baby spiders from your nose, there’s also bears.

Bears will just straight up kill you like it’s their God-given duty, because it is. The scientific name for a grizzly bear is ursus arctos horribilis. No, seriously, that’s what it is. That’s Latin for “what in the golden fuck are you doing sleeping in a nylon sack in the forest?” There’s less between you and a bear’s mouth than there is between me and a microwave burrito.

Nevertheless, if you’re one of these insane idiots who insists on “getting back to nature” or whatever you call getting horsefly bites on your dick, there are steps you can take to ensure you don’t get mauled into a coma by a common bear, even if you really do kind of deserve it.

There are the preventative ones everyone knows, like store your food up really high in a tree, and don’t menstruate, but I’ve got a few more that can help if those fail you and you’re actually confronted by an angry bear because you didn’t put your food high up enough in the tree or went and bled out of your genitals too much.

And before you go asking how exactly I’m such an expert on the subject, I’ll tell you my qualifications. I’ve literally never been mauled to death by a bear. Not even once. I think that track record speaks for itself. So, remember these bear safety tips when you head out to the campground this weekend. Oh, and also remember to bring that extra canister of fuel for your Coleman stove. You don’t want to forget that.

Compliment the bear. Bears are nature’s most notorious binge/purgers. The bear spent the entire winter sleeping and lost a lot of weight. Now it’s out there getting fat on salmon and bugs and people and probably, like, I don’t know, grouses or whatever bears eat. Honey, I guess.

The bear’s weight is fluctuating wildly, and it likely has crippling self-esteem issues. Tell the bear it’s looking good. Even if it knows you’re just saying it to be polite, it will probably really appreciate the consideration. Don’t lay it on too thick, though. You don’t want the bear to think you’re hitting on it. You’re not trying to have sex with the bear.

Although, I mean, let things happen organically. If the bear’s into it, and if you are, why not gently move things forward into a bit of playful flirting? Maybe you will end up having sex with the bear. Make sure you’re both on the same page, though, and don’t lead the bear on. It deserves to know where you stand on this. It’s casual, just a summer fling, there’s no reason that anyone needs to get hurt come Labour Day.

Tell the bear a joke. Jokes are great icebreakers, and there’s a good chance that the whole reason the bear is rearing up, swiping its claws, and frothing spittle is because it’s a little awkward socially and not great at meeting new people. A good, short joke could be just the thing to diffuse the situation.

So, if you know a decent one, bust it out, make the bear chuckle, and you never know, you might end up making a friend. Try to keep it clean, though. There’s no bigger gaffe than delivering an off-colour punchline and being met with nervous titters, avoided eye-contact, and having your entrails scooped out in one lumbering swoop.

But a well-timed observational quip about modern day life in the forest could be the difference between you ending up as so much bear droppings the next day, and you headlining at the Shady Grove Watering Hole or the Comedy Cave. A lot of bears are in the business, and it’s just a matter of getting some exposure, so this horrific attack could end up being the serendipitous break you’ve been looking for.

I know this guy who a few years back was having the flesh of his neck and shoulders ripped to shreds relentlessly, then he started in on his bit about how polar bears talk like this and black bears talk like this. Well, turns out that bear was a big-time producer at Comedy Central, and long story short, my buddy has his first hour-long special coming out this fall. Most of his act is about being permanently quadriplegic due to a nightmarish bear attack, but you gotta find your voice, right?

Probably the best advice I can give is to just admit that you were wrong. Face it, if this bear is so angry at you that it wants to pop off your head like the cap of an internal organ-flavoured Jones soda, you probably did something. Even if you don’t know what.

Maybe you didn’t notice the new way it’s styled its fur. Maybe you got really drunk with your friends the night before and didn’t respond to the bear’s texts, even just to give it the courtesy of letting it know where you were and who you were with. Maybe the ever-encroaching progress of your species is threatening its natural habitat with alarming speed. Who knows. Who cares, really, all it’s looking for is an apology. Just tell it what it wants to hear.

That’s about all there is to it. It’s all pretty common sense stuff. If all else fails, just take a deep breath and be at peace with the fact that it’ll soon be over and you’ll always be remembered as someone who died doing what they loved; shitting in the woods.

Photo by Andrew_N via Flickr

Day One

Seven Samurai (1954) Seven hired samurai battle a group of bandits to save a farm village. Widely considered one of cinema’s greatest classics, this is Kurosawa at his most masterful. Plus, I ate a total of three turkey sandwiches during the film. With cheese. A

Day Two

Sanshiro Sugata (1943) Even in his first film, Kurosawa’s striking visual style is on display, seeds of the hallmarks of his later films can be seen, and I texted this girl whose number I’d gotten at the bar the weekend before while I was watching. I ate some ice cream mid-way through the movie, but the girl didn’t text me back. B

Day Three

Sanshiro Sugata 2 (1945) This is the sequel to the one I watched yesterday, and it was basically more of the same. That girl still hasn’t texted me back, and I was watching my phone for the whole movie, so I would’ve seen it if she did. D-

Day Four

Dodesukaden (1970) A story of the lives of a community of people who live in a garbage dump. Pretty interesting film, and his first in colour. Like, look, even if you’re not interested, a text back is just common courtesy. D

Day Five

Stray Dog (1949) A rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen pistol, which is being used in a series of escalating crimes. Finished off that ice cream from the other day and didn’t leave the apartment. B+

Day Six

Dreams (1990) A visually stunning collection of vignettes inspired by recurring dreams from throughout Kurosawa’s life. I had a bunch of McDonald’s when I watched it because I got some coupons in the mail, and by the time the movie was done I could already feel the rumblings of some pretty horrific diarrhea ahead. C-

Day Seven

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945) Some guys are trying to sneak through the mountains dressed as monks for some reason? I don’t know, I fell asleep for a lot of this one. It was a great nap, though. B

Day Eight

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) A taut drama about a man seeking revenge on the high-powered bureaucrats who forced his father to commit suicide to cover up their embezzlement. I was sexting with an ex throughout most of this one, and then about two hours into its two and a half hour run I left to go hook up with her. A+

Day Nine

Scandal (1950) A damning portrayal of the invasive nature of the media. The ex I hooked up with last night said something about this mole on my arm looking bigger than it used to. Does it? I’ve been trying to figure it out the whole movie. C

Day Ten

Ran (1985) A sprawling epic about an aging patriarch and his three jerk sons who all won’t stop trying to kill each other. This is one of Kurosawa’s last films, and is his last period epic. The composition of each shot is incomparable, the colour is absolutely vibrant, and I had a burrito during it that was the size of a fucking newborn baby. A

Day Eleven

Drunken Angel (1948) An alcoholic doctor goes beyond the call of duty to try to save a young gangster from tuberculosis. Visually striking shots and powerful performances make this a gripping watch. All the stuff about doctors kept making me think about this mole, though. Is it bigger?? B

Day Twelve

The Lower Depths (1957) I texted an old nurse friend a pic of the mole. He said it’s nothing to worry about. Actually, what he said was to stop texting him, we’re not friends, in fact he wishes the mole was cancerous. It was a bit much. I mean, it’s been like six years since I slept with his girlfriend. Some people can really hold a grudge. My main takeaway, though, is that the mole isn’t a big deal. B+

Day Thirteen

The Most Beautiful (1944) I was feeling like kind of a fatso because I’d eaten a bunch of poutine earlier, so I decided to start working out while I’m watching these. I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical, and by the end I felt like a 90-year-old on his death bed. D

Day Fourteen

Rhapsody In August (1991) A Nagasaki family discovers an estranged relative and his family in Hawaii. There is a lot of talk about the atomic bomb. Richard Gere speaking Japanese was way too disconcerting. D-

Day Fifteen

Yojimbo (1961) A wandering ronin plays two rival gangs against each other to save a town from their grip. Got me pumped up to work out again. I did two sets of twenty sit-ups and spent so much of the movie on the elliptical that I could hardly breathe. So, as a reward, I ate grilled cheese sandwiches until I passed out. B+

Day Sixteen

Sanjuro (1962) The sequel to Yojimbo. So tired and sore from all the sit-ups yesterday I could hardly move. Had to pause the movie several times to poop, because of all the grilled cheese sandwiches. C

Day Seventeen

One Wonderful Sunday (1947) A melodramatic tale of a young couple trying to make the best of their Sunday date, despite only having 35 yen. Still not really feeling up to doing any exercise again. Maybe tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. And no more grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, I mean, I’ve still got some cheese, I should finish that off. Then no more grilled cheese sandwiches after that. For real. B-

Day Eighteen

Throne of Blood (1957) A re-telling of Macbeth, set in feudal Japan. I got really drunk during this one. A


Day Nineteen

The Quiet Duel (1949) So hung over. Is it me, or was this movie way too loud and bright? D-

Day Twenty

Dersu Uzala (1975) I saw a UFO! No, for real. It’s hard to describe, but it was this slowly brightening orb of light that got really intense and then slowly faded and was gone. The really weird thing, though, is that right where it had been in the sky, the clouds segmented into these perfectly symmetrical rectangles that were all geometrically sound and were equidistant from each other, like in a grid. It was weird, man. I’ve never seen anything like it before. B

Day Twenty-One

Madadayo (1993) None of the local newspapers would print anything about the UFO I saw. Like, I’m not expecting it to be front page news or anything, but you’d think they’d want to print a little something. It’s news, after all. It really happened. I did get a free tote bag and coffee mug, though, so it wasn’t a total loss. C

Day Twenty-Two

The Hidden Fortress (1958) Pretty sure Kurosawa just ripped most of this off from Star Wars? C-3PO+

Day Twenty-Three

No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand most of this movie because I don’t understand Japanese. D-

Day Twenty-Four

Ikiru (1952) My cats were being so cute while I watched this, I started snapping a few pics of them and before I knew it I had over 50. It took me the whole rest of the movie to Instagram them all. Time to let the likes roll in. B+

Day Twenty-Five

I Live in Fear (1955) Got 12 likes!! B

Day Twenty-Six

Red Beard (1965) Seven more likes! A

Day Twenty-Seven

The Idiot (1951) It kind of hit me while I was watching this that I’ve been doing this every day for just about a month now, and I’m nearing the end. Can I be honest with you? For years now I’ve been adrift, my life all but meaningless, hardly having a reason to get up out of bed in the mornings, tilting listlessly from paycheque to paycheque and drink to drink. But watching these films has pulled my life into a direction. However trifling it may seem, it’s been a constant that I’ve desperately needed, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s over. No rating, what’s the point?

Day Twenty-Eight

High and Low (1963) Things got a bit real yesterday. I’m feeling better today, and I’m confident that things will turn around for me soon. You never know what tomorrow will bring. B

Day Twenty-Nine

Kagemusha (1980) I finally beat the level in Candy Crush that I’ve been stuck on for, like, two years! B+

Day Thirty

Rashomon (1950) Rashomon is considered to be not only one of Kurosawa’s greatest achievements, but one of the greatest in the history of film. Its innovative camera techniques and use of multiple perspectives of the same narrative changed filmmaking forever. It was the film which launched Japanese cinema into world consciousness, and cemented Kurosawa as one of the leading figures in the medium not just at the time, but of all time. I don’t know, though, I was distracted by this really itchy mosquito bite on my leg that I couldn’t stop scratching the whole time. C

David Heti’s been in Montreal honing the craft of the laugh since way back. I remember first meeting him at Grumpy’s open mics back in the day.

His first comedy album was independently released last year, but got picked up and re-released by StandUp! Records. He’s best known for his curious sense of humour that leaves nothing untouched, he probably has a joke about touching you.

Jesse Chase: How was it coming up as a comedian in Montreal?

David Heti: I think the comedy community is really open here because there’s not a lot at stake. But, there’s a lot of energy and potential because of Just For Laughs— although, it’s not as competitive as Toronto. The people here are here for the good reasons and I’ve never had a three minute set, or had to pay like in LA or New York.

Ok, I’m not going to avoid it. I can get the Yoko Ono reference in one of your jokes, but the John Coltrane/Thelonious Monk slavery bit was pretty gratuitous. How does your black audience receive your use of the “N” word?

It goes over great and better in a room with people of colour in it. And there’s a difference between a place like New York where there’s tons of black people and places like Portland where it’s mostly white. I mean I think someone could tell a good holocaust joke if they’re not Jewish. I can make a poem or something about something I never experienced.

You can make any joke with your friends right. They can trust you, they know where you’re coming from and so if I think that an audience knows you’re a good person they’ll allow you to go to more touchy places.

Chris Rock said when it comes to white people using the “N” word it’s basically no.

I’m surprised he said that. What’s Chris Rock not allowed to say? Everything’s partially objective, everything’s partially subjective…

Author’s Note: Sometimes, there is a “pass” granted to a performer who uses taboo terms in his bit. In my opinion, as a man of colour, David Heti doesn’t get that pass. He uses the “N” word to irresponsibly and childishly segue into his joke about owning John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk as slaves. It’s not cool, or funny. In his defense Heti jokingly says he can say that because “he’s a comedian and he doesn’t own anything,” but I feel it’s more an issue of white privilege.

It’s cool you’re teaching comedy at McGill. How did that come about?

A friend of mine was working in the writing program said she knew someone who could do a course, so I wrote up a course and they let me teach it.

Personally, I understand a joke is a joke and I know how to take a joke, but sometimes I find some people are trying to be funny and it’s uncalled for. Like sometime I say to myself, that wasn’t even funny. Do you ever experience that?

One time I got off stage and this guy was really like, man, that was great, I have some jokes for you. And I say sure.  And then he went on a tirade of anti-semitic jokes. I thought okay, well, why are you telling me these jokes?  And he said well that’s what you do. I said that is not what I do, you don’t understand what’s going on, you’re telling me these things and it’s highly offensive and inappropriate. That guy was just incredibly ignorant, I don’t think it was ill-willed. If I see someone on stage and hear them say something hateful, they’re telling the joke for the wrong reasons.

David’s album can be found at

You can sign up for his course via the McGill Website

We can all agree that late night talk shows are very popular in the U.S. and in Canada as well. For decades, there have been numerous talk shows hosted by different television personalities talking about current events in a humorous way and interviewing different guests.

Personally, I indulge in a little late-night binging myself every now and then, right before I go to bed. I guess it’s the combination of comedy and celebrity interviews that keeps me relaxed. But not all shows are alike.

This past Wednesday, I purposely stayed up to catch David Letterman’s final Late Show after being on the air for 33 years. Although the show has had high ratings throughout the years, Letterman has never seemed to interest me. Unless he has a guest on his show that I actually like, I’ll tune in; otherwise, I don’t find him to be all that funny. I’m more of a Tonight Show fan (since Leno, not Carson) and the current host, Jimmy Fallon, is one of my favorite comedians.

Fans of the show will miss David Letterman, his monologues, and the sound of breaking glass every time he would throw pencils and index cards (ok, I’ll admit that was pretty funny). But what viewers will miss the most is Dave’s Top Ten List, a regular segment of the show that consists of humorous topics. During Wednesday’s program, a star-studded cast, including Barbara Walters, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin, took part in presenting the Final Top Ten things celebrities always wanted to say to the host (again, quite funny). 

So as Letterman says goodbye, America will be saying hello to Stephen Colbert, as he will be the one taking over the Late Show this fall. Once again, I don’t think I’ll be watching the show even with Colbert as host but I will tune in to the first few shows just to see what he will bring to the table.

However, I would’ve liked to have seen a new face enter the prime time slot. Perhaps a daytime TV host or a female comedian. Did CBS make a wise choice in picking Colbert? Or should they have gone with someone else?

Well, my boy. It’s hard to say exactly when it started. I suppose it was as early as twenty-thirteen or twenty-fourteen. ‘Course, it’s easy now to look back at everything that’s happened in all the years since then and say it was obvious what was going on. At the time, it was hardly nothin’. It was just part of our everyday lives back then. I know that seems pretty unenlightened to you young folks of today, but things was different back in those days. Simpler, you could say.

But before long it escalated, and what happened next was one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever saw. The Great Introvert War. It was a dark time for humanity. Brother against brother, sister against sister, me against everyone in my book club. And the lines drawn are still felt to this day.

It seemed innocent enough at first. History folk will say the real start to it was a sudden onslaught of online lists about what it’s like to be introverted. Sure, they was made to look harmless, with lots of pics and animated gifs from 30 Rock and New Girl, but there was somethin’ a whole lot more sinister at work there. Drove a wedge right down the middle of society is what it did.

Now supposin’ you’re all set to marry the pretty young gal from down the street. She’s a little shy, but you’ve been sweet on each other since grade school, and everything’s ready to go. Then one day there’s some inflammatory BuzzFeed link going around called “22 Things You Need to Know if You’re Dating an Introvert,” and suddenly your whole world is turned upside down and thisways that.

A lot of people started wonderin’ about the people they was with, and things started to turn ugly. It wasn’t long before there was numbers you could call to report someone if you knew they was an introvert, and not much longer after that people started gettin’ killed. It became organized. Secret coded messages, unintelligible to extroverts, started being passed around under headlines like “34 Things Only Introverts will Understand.”

‘Course, you know all about that from the history holograms at your school. But it was a different thing to live through it. History folk will tell you all about what caused what, and who fought who in what battle. But they ain’t going to tell you about what it was like to lose half of your friends, your family. They can’t tell you how it felt for me when your grandmother was taken away to the introvert camps.


Horrible, ghastly places, those camps. Big complexes of individual cells where introverts were forced to live by themselves, with virtually no contact with the outside world. ‘Course, the introverts loved ’em, and flocked to ’em in droves. Many of us never saw a lot of our friends and family again. It could’ve just ended there, with the world divided like it were. We could’ve just left each other alone. But the smugness of the introvert knows no bounds. And what happened next I can hardly bear to recall.

It was devastating for us extroverts. Almost lost us the war when they unleashed their most diabolical weapon. “17 Signs You’re a Secret Introvert” it was called. It spread around Facebook like wildfire. Came out of the clear blue sky. Ain’t none of us was expectin’ somethin’ like this. All of a sudden you didn’t know who to trust. Anyone, this list proclaimed, no matter how outgoing they appeared in public, could actually be an introvert at heart. And right there at the top of the article was a meme of Amy Poehler.

She was supposed to be one of our most steadfast and powerful extroverts. This was slander. It sent shockwaves through our camp, and almost immediately people were turning each other in. Their friends, their drinking buddies, their obnoxious co-workers who were always imitating techno beats. It was a fever. A panic. It almost lost us the war. But we managed to bounce back in the eleventh hour, as any history robot will tell you.

Some people believe there are still introverts out there, hiding in their vast underground cave systems, rechargin’ and preparin’ to venture back out into the world for revenge. After BuzzFeed was dismantled and all its content creators hanged, they lost their main method of propaganda dissemination. But some say they’re plotting, back and forth in long threads of @ replies in their private Twitter accounts, and it’s only a matter of time till they strike again. They just need to work up the resolve to go out in public once more.

And all we can do until that day, my dear boy, is keep living the life we fought so hard to preserve, to ensure the extroverts who died didn’t do it in vain. Having house parties, gettin’ drunk in movie theatres, and talkin’ way too loud at brunch in trendy cafes. Thems are the birthrights of every extrovert.


Photo by Frédéric Vissault via Flickr

The first time I saw her, something changed in me. It was at breakfast, in a greasy little diner I frequented around that time. She walked in just as the waitress was setting down my classic eggs Benedict. A vision through the steam which rose from the moist surrender of the hash browns on my plate. Two delicate, quivering mounds, splashed with an obscene sensuality by creamy hollandaise sauce. The sizzling whispers of bacon caused my heart to thunder in my head, and blood rushed through my entire body exhilaratingly. I knew at that moment she was a woman I wanted. To do. Like, in a sex way.

I approached her table and our eyes locked. I sat down without a word exchanged between us. Boy, she was totally a babe. With boobs and everything. Probably other parts, too. She held a grill-plumped sausage between her fingers, lightly, but firm with meaning. Gently she caressed with the sausage’s tip between the tender edges of her short stack, glistening, dripping with the sweetest of maple syrups, until with desperate abandon she thrust the sausage within. A quick spurt of grease trickled out as she raised the meat-filled pancake to her mouth.

My mind was racing, but I kept my cool. “Whoa,” I said, “I totally have a boner.” And she was all like, “yeah, me too, wanna go do it?” Though her mouth was full of pig-in-a-blanket, so I almost didn’t catch it. But then I was like, “totally.” So we went to my apartment and totally did sex. Like, full-on P in V sex. I saw her boobs and even touched them, too. We were all sweaty and stuff, and she made these moaning noises and I kind of grunted. She was like, “wow this sex is such good sex!” And I was all, “yeah, we’re totally having it! Sex, that is!”

After that we couldn’t bear to be apart. We met the next day at a coffee shop downtown. We sat across from each other at small table in an intimate corner, though the dishes between us proved but a trifling distraction from how much we wanted to bone. She swirled her biscotti, taught and swollen with want, through the warm froth of her mocha.

I held a chicken salad sandwich with both hands, roughly, but with a tenderness I could give to nothing but that which I longed for ceaselessly. I pulled it close to my lips, my breath hot and ragged on its cool mayonnaise and diced celery. I was locked with it then for a moment which to the rest of the world sped by in smoggy metropolitan rush hour time, but for me, and the sandwich, seemed to span the flare and burning out of a thousand distant suns. When at last it met my mouth, it seemed for the merest second to resist, to quake at the passion erupting among us. Then it gave in. Gave itself to me completely. And we were one.

And then me and that girl went and totally banged somewhere again. Like, in a bathroom somewhere, I think.

The next few months were a torrid blur of lovemaking and enchiladas. To this day when I close my eyes I see her beautiful face, contorted; in the throes of ecstasy, eating corn on the cob. There was one weekend we spent locked in her bedroom just having sex. It felt really good. Like… like what sex feels like. Y’know, like how it feels? I don’t know how to describe it, but you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, we both complimented each other on how totally good we are at sex, and we high-fived a bunch.

More than anything else, I look back at my time with her with an ache, a longing unparalleled to any I’ve felt before or that I can possibly fathom feeling again. There is, burned like fever in my memory, a picture of a perfect moment. Fleeting, simple, and elegant, it’s a moment I will take with me to the ends of this world and beyond. A burger we shared at a picnic table one sultry summer’s afternoon. I can still see the winding trail of burger juice and mustard rolling lazily down her chin after that first bite. And then we totally went at it, sexually. If you know what I mean.

The vicarious thrill of reliving that moment is all I have left of her. Always will I look back on it, and that burger. With relish.


Photo by Harumi Ueda via Flickr

Facebook is ubiquitous, and it ain’t going away any time soon. That’s a good thing, because it’s a valuable social tool. But it can be pretty overwhelming when you log on and you’re confronted with an all-out assault from friends, family, co-workers, people from high school that you didn’t even care about then, and that creepy weirdo you met at a party one time and had a fifteen minute conversation with about Joss Whedon that was mostly just you agreeing that yeah, you guess Firefly was pretty good and pretending you didn’t sleep through most of The Avengers.

You have the people you want to stay updated on, the ones who are important to you, but how do you go about weeding through the rest? Who deserves to get the axe? Often it takes careful consideration, a weighing of pros and cons that doesn’t just take into account the present, but the future of relationships too. That being said, there are a few people on our friends lists we’ve all got that have no business being there, and whom you should drop right now like a cat into a crock pot.

People with children

It’s a pretty hard and fast rule that anyone with kids should be avoided online at all costs. Nothing good can come of being friends with parents. It’s just one never-ending cavalcade of pictures and braggy status updates about the “amazing” thing their child did that day. Oh, my kid took his first steps today. Look, my kid can use the potty now. Wow, now he’s graduated top of his class. Whoopee, my kid got appointed to the Supreme Court. Big deal, I can walk and poop and get a job. Well, I can walk and poop, anyway. And I’ve appeared in court.

Online activists

You know the type. They post all day about all these causes, acting like they’re making a difference, but they never actually do anything real. There’s a difference between really making an impact and just sharing a bunch of links and photos. So you got a bunch of people to sign a petition about some oil pipeline, it’s not like that took a lot of effort. And is it really that much work to organize a protest that stops the destruction of the only local habitat of an endangered species of bird? I doubt it. You know what? I looked it up, and a lot of those birds are just going to get eaten by cats and bigger birds anyway, so smooth move on that one, John James Audubon.

Also, raising money for breast cancer research by riding your bike across three provinces? That’s not even half of the country. Better luck next time. And $8400 isn’t even that much money, either. I make that in like three years.

Your exes

This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of people hold off on hitting that unfriend button because they want to keep tabs on their ex. It’s a lot easier that way to find out where someone’s going and sit in your parked car outside, smoking cigarette after cigarette listening to radio static for four hours stewing about who they could be seeing inside that condo.

And, let’s not kid ourselves, social media allows us to rub their face in our current successes, too. But really, as soon as the relationship is done you should cut those ties. Otherwise, what may start as a civil, respectful post-romantic friendship will almost certainly turn ugly. Spiteful messages will be sent, embarassingly photoshopped photos will be posted, and rumours will start to spread about who’s a big cheating whore and who’s not. And eventually this will all be used in her case to take out a restraining order on me.

Well, guess what, Charlene? If you didn’t want your dad and your 67-year-old aunt and your fiancé to know that you once told me I’m better at oral than any guy you’ve ever been with, then maybe you shouldn’t have created a situation in which I can tag you in even one  post about it, let alone four.

There’s no foreseeable time when Facebook isn’t a regular part of everyday life. So we might as well get used to it. We’re well past the early, Wild West days when your stature in life was told by how many friends you had. Thankfully we’ve now settled into a much more calm and reasonable system based on the quality of those friendships. And, obviously, the much more vital count of how many Twitter followers you have.

Photo by Gerard Girbes via Flickr

I guess I should get one thing straight immediately; I haven’t quit drinking. Not even close. My habitual booze habits have done nothing if not steadily increase as the years of my adult life have been knocked back, one jigger at a time.

But I’ve recently seen a lot of articles and blogs being shared around that have gotten me thinking. Stories from people who have given up their hard drinking ways, and the inspiring recounts of how much their lives have changed for the better. And so I sit here, glassy-eyed and unable to distinguish whether I need to throw up or sneeze twelve times in a row but confident I’ll pee unchecked if I do either, and I wonder, why not me?

And that’s led me to this point. A year from now I could be telling the world my interminable story of sobriety that no one really wants to hear but everyone has to pretend to show support for. A little glimpse into my teetotaling future that will lend me support when I’m tempted and will, most importantly, get me guilt-driven Facebook likes. If you’ll indulge me here, like I indulged the other night in half a bottle of vermouth with orange peel twists because I ran out of gin, imagine for a moment it’s one year in the future.

A year without drinking a drop of alcohol. Wow. That’s a long time sober. Who would’ve thought I could have made it this far? Certainly I had my doubts. Probably more than anyone. But here I stand, a breathing testament to willpower and committment. A heavily laboured breathing testament, to be sure, but that’s only because of the gross amount of weight I’ve put on in the last year from swapping my compulsion to drink and socialize with one to eat my feelings away while shut from the outside world in a curtained apartment. The feelings I had previously banished through a level of liquor consumption which could bring shame to a family name.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways my life has improved since I decided to quit the bottle. First of all, the obvious one: no more hangovers. I used to view hangovers as this inevitable part of life, the flip side of the coin that I would have to deal with to keep living the wild party lifestyle I thought I needed. Headaches and nausea in the mornings are a thing of the past, though, and now my hours upon waking are filled with good old fashioned crippling anxiety, depression, and a healthy terror of interacting with anyone outside my bedroom door.

Speaking of interacting with people, the change in my relationships in the last year has been marked. At work I’ve noticed a shift in my co-workers’ behaviour toward a much more cool and detached attitude, which I attribute to my newfound focus on professionalism. Though I’m starting to think my visible shaking and inability to make eye contact or hold a conversation without fighting back tears might have a little bit to do with it. One big plus is the recent friendship that’s struck up between me and my HR representative at our weekly mandatory case meetings, which began only a few short weeks after I stopped drinking.

Family engagements have changed drastically, too. Without the hazy cloud of alcohol, I’m able to really connect with my relatives in a way I’ve never been able to before. Never have the innumerable nuances that my uncle Marty so painstakingly details about his job at the car rental outlet been so vivid to me. The holidays are no longer just an excuse to get tipsy in celebration, but a time to reflect on what’s important and find new ways of winning internal struggles with thoughts of suicide.

And let’s not ignore the impact that this has all had on my romantic life. Dating used to be a heady blur of glasses of wine gulped back to calm fluttering nerves, flushed faces and dreamy eyes longing from across a table in candlelight exchanging naughty secrets. Now it’s much more straightforward and efficient. Dates are a lot quicker. Usually within the first ten minutes I’ve abruptly blurted out any and every embarrassing secret or story that pops into my head, and then I can’t think of anything to say for the rest of the evening except to constantly have my date reassure me that she’s having a good time. Often these dates end with her excusing herself to use the restroom and then leaving having paid the bill for both of us because she’s either afraid of or for me. It’s for the best, though, because without the calming warmth of a few glasses of scotch or cognac I would probably be too nervous to get an erection anyway.

One year. It’s amazing how much can change in such a short period of time. Maybe this has even inspired some people out there to start their own journey. I hope you can look to my story for strength, like I’ll look to it myself, whenever you feel like the urge is too strong. Yes, it’s truly incredible what the human spirit can accomplish when we set out to do something, and the first step begins now.

Well, like, soon probably. I mean, I’m going to have another few drinks today, but we’ll see tomorrow. Oh, wait, I’ve got that thing tomorrow night. Well, sometime next week for sure. Or by the end of the month. Though, there’s a lot going on this summer. Maybe if I just try to cut down on the amount I drink. That’ll probably work, right? Like, I don’t need to quit entirely, the point is I could quit whenever.


Photo by Travis S. via Flickr

Our entire lives we’re taught a lot of things about what’s healthy and what’s not. It comes flying at us from all directions, and it’s hard to keep track of it all. From the internet and television, gossip and conjecture, doctors and pharmacists even. But how often do you hear some fact about some thing being good for you, only to find out a year later that now people are saying it’s bad for you? All the time. Or at least you would if you hadn’t lost your hearing back in 2009 during that ear-augering trend everyone was going on about.

There’s all these questions that seem to constantly flop back and forth. Am I supposed to eat lots of eggs or no eggs? Should I be worried about this skin cancer or just power through it to get that perfectly bronzed tone? How many glasses of wine should I give my children per day? We may never get a straight answer out of the so-called “experts” about a lot of these questions. But here are three long-standing beliefs that I happen to know* are full of as much crap as the big adult diaper-mulching craze of summer 2011.

Marijuana smoke is less harmful than cigarette smoke

This is a doozy. Weed activists love to tout this one out at every turn, but the simple fact is it’s untrue. Just look at the evidence; you look way cooler smoking a cigarette than you do smoking pot in any form. The act of lighting a cigarette alone is one of the coolest looking things a person can do. Compare that to the chimp-like awkwardness of someone trying to smoke from a water-based “bong” device, and suddenly that cigarette is infused with an even more urbane elegance.

Just look at the historical figures we associate with smoking marijuana. People like Bob Marley and John Lennon; unbathed musicians who beat their wives. Do they have the same class and sex appeal as the likes of Audrey Hepburn or that one guy from The X-Files?

Cholesterol is bad for you

If you eat a lot of fatty foods, cholesterol can build up in grimy deposits in your arteries, and for that reason has been vilified not only by the healthing community but by society at large. But, really, are huge lumps of grease in your arteries such a bad thing? The answer is no. And here’s why. As cholesterol buildup erects monuments to indulgence at various points in your blood stream, it is at precisely these points that a bottleneck is created and the blood flow is forced to push through at a much faster rate. The result is that the pressure of the flowing blood, or “blood pressure” as I’ve named it, is significantly increased.

Now, how can this increase in “blood pressure” benefit us, you ask? Simple. Look no further than one of nature’s simplest and most widespread creations, the garden hose. Even with the water cranked all the way to the max, the slow, lazy arc of the hose’s discharge will take a long time to wear down and wash off that hardened-on muck from the side of your filthy automobile. But, were you to slide the edge of your thumb over the nozzle, say a third or half of the way, the water would be forced out at a much faster velocity, tearing up that gunk in a matter of moments and leaving the rest of your day free to do whatever it is you like to do with a free afternoon and a length of hose.

So, naturally, the same is true with your arteries and blood. The more of these cholesterol points there are along the arterial highway from your heart to your various extremities, the faster the abundance of functions your body needs to perform will be done. And all the more efficiently. So keep piling in those processed meats and cheeses, and just remember that chest pains and shortness of breath are signs that your body is operating at its fullest capacity.

Condoms are an important part of a safe and healthy sex life

Sex doesn’t feel as good with a condom.

*Johnny Scott holds no licences or credentials in medicine or nutrition. He does, however, own a comprehensive book on cat anatomy, and is pretty sure that’s enough that he can just go from there.

Photo by kokopinto via Flickr


There are two kinds of guys: guys who watch pornography and guys who say they don’t watch pornography. Or, more accurately put; guys who watch pornography, and guys who watch a lot of pornography. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, it’s perfectly natural. Or, at least as natural as getting off from watching multiple women fart on one chocolate cake at the same time can be.

But it’s important to realize that everybody’s porn habits are different, and there should be no judgement when it comes to someone else’s preferences. In fact, a quick scroll through a man’s sordid browser history can tell you a lot more about him than you might realize. Here’s a short guide to what your porno penchant says about you.

If you pretty much stick to the straight ahead, heterosexual, no-fetish-attached, boy parts in girl parts brand of porn, you’re a pretty common personality type. You’re the person who eats their toast with only low fat margarine, and sticks to one or lower on the spiciness scale when you go out for Thai.

Your girlfriend has cheated on you at least twice, and your friends only hang out with you because you have a car. But grudgingly, because it’s a Ford Focus. You work in a bank or an insurance agency, and you named your dog a person name, like Dennis or Sheila. You get indignant when the wait for a table at the Olive Garden is too long, and then go next door to wait just as long at Red Lobster.

Maybe your tastes are a little bolder than that. You know, you’re not a freak or anything, but you like to get a bit wild. Perhaps you enjoy some action with toys, or light fetishism like mild S&M or foot play. Well, if that’s the case, then congratulations, you’re a total scumbag. Yes, it’s true. You may not realize it, but you’re occupying the sleazy, sticky limbo between guys who watch vanilla porn to match their vanilla lifestyle, and guys who watch bizarre extreme porn in a direct reaction to their vanilla lifestyle.

You’ve bought an El Camino through Kijiji. You consider tequila a sipping drink. You own multiple cats, and they’re all named after well-known literary heroines, though the only book you’ve ever read all the way through is Catcher In the Rye. Eight times. You trim your moustache to specific measurements. You vehemently defend your tattoo sleeves when no one’s said anything about them. Your vinyl collection is organized according to mood. You claim to have a deep appreciation for the films of Stanley Kubrick, but have only ever seen the ones with nudity in them. You play bass guitar.

If you’re mainly into gay porn, you’re most likely a gay dude, and you’re not ashamed of who you are. Or maybe you’ve watched a little because you’re writing an article about pornography, and you needed to do a bit of research. It doesn’t mean anything. So what? So you’ve done it a few times? Well, you’re just being thorough, right? You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, it’s nobody’s business anyway.

Look, just because your ex-roommate walked in on you five years ago and thought he caught you watching something, doesn’t mean he should’ve went around telling everybody. Besides, you totally just accidentally clicked on the wrong link. That’s what you keep telling everyone.

If anime porn or cosplay is your thing, you need to get a better grip on things than you think you have. You live in a relative’s basement and work part time at a grocery store, but only until you get your dream job at the comic shop. You wear cargo shorts more than three hundred days of the year, and you’ve been hosting a self-produced, twice-per-week podcast since 2011 that’s up to 19 subscribers now.

What you’re most proud of in life are your internet rants, and you’ve alienated every woman you’ve ever gotten slightly close with by projecting onto her an unrealistic ideal that you’ve composited from the love interest in every superhero movie you’ve got entirely committed to memory. You non-ironically use the term “friend zone.”

Now, if you’re all about the big butt porn, then I’ve only got one thing to say about that; stay the course, friend, you know what’s up! High five!

Speaking of which… uh, gotta go.


Photo by Rilind Hoxha via Flickr

The zombie apocalypse is upon us. People said it wouldn’t happen. Sane, rational, reasonable people. But they were wrong. It just didn’t come in the way we were told it would come in the movies. It came, not in the form of ragged reanimated corpses shuffling up and down the city streets crying out for brains, but in the inane dinner party discussion, in the impassioned jabbering of the late-night cocktail hour, in the insipid silence-filler of the office break room at lunchtime. Yes, the zombie apocalypse is here, and it’s far more horrifying than anything George Romero could have ever imagined.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the zombie invasion went from threat to full-on takeover, but we’re in the thick of it now. Where once zombies roamed only in the niche realm of gruesome horror shlock and the warped minds that brought it to the screen, now they’ve chewed through the fleshy bounds of genre film and burst into the mainstream with a bloody spray. With the course we’re on, we’re about eight months away from the first zombie Disney sidekick, and word has it that the cast of How I Met Your Dad will consist mainly of undead characters.

It’s a wasteland out there. Where simply having zombies in something lets it pass as entertainment. Did the love story in the last romantic comedy you saw fail to capture that certain spark you’re looking for? Try this one instead, one of the characters is a zombie. Now the lack of that spark can be chalked up to irony. Did you try to get through a Jane Austen novel, but found it too dry and uneventful? Well lucky for you and your pea-brain, someone “wrote” a rehash of it with a bunch of zombie stuff tossed in, and for only 21 of your dollars this glorified sheaf of toilet paper can fill the void left in you from trying to understand subtle meaningful prose.

The plague is spreading. Rapidly. Just walking down the street earlier this week I encountered several clusters of people—or what may have at some point been people—talking vacantly about how great the latest episode of The Walking Dead was. It’s getting frightening out there. No one who hasn’t been reduced to a barely functional husk with only enough brain power for the most basic motor skills would see an episode of that show and react that way.

It’s getting to the point that I’ve had to start defending myself. At a party this weekend I was cornered by two such creatures. One kept grunting about how much of a badass Carl has become. “You should see him in the graphic novels,” the other kept shouting. I had to break the leg off of a nearby coffee table and cave in both of their skulls to get away. I was chased for blocks by other ghoulish party-goers who wouldn’t stop moaning about how “the show really hits its stride midway through season three, though!” After taking out several more of them they became too overwhelming and I had to hide until dawn in a stairwell.

I made it home, and now I’m holed up here, the doors and windows boarded up, anything that could be used as a weapon within arms’ reach. It’s only a matter of time, though. Before too long I’ll run out of food and have to venture out again. But even more pressing is that the threat looms over me within these very walls. Each time I turn on the television or sit at my computer, looking for brief diversion from the horrors around me, I’m assaulted by more TV shows, movie trailers, articles discussing TV shows and movie trailers, and TV shows discussing other TV shows. And I’m beginning to fear it’s already happening. That I, too, through sheer amount of exposure, am becoming one of them.

Maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe it’ll be a relief, not to have to fight so hard anymore, to just accept it. To shut down my higher thought processes, and live out the rest of my life and beyond as a mindless drooling zombie fan. It could be worse, I suppose. I could’ve been gotten by the vampire fans.


Photo by Victor Savio via Flickr

The priest is going on about water. At length. Namely, he’s going on about the presence and abundance, vs. absence and shortage, of it in our lives, in our regions, where we’re from and live, where our souls linger. He’s pretty boring with the words.

You can tell by the variety this congregation attracts that there ain’t any overwhelming pressure for this priest to deliver. Downtown New Orleans, Sunday, 11 a.m. He’s softly going on about water to folks from Des Moines, Birmingham, Chippewa, Cleveland. A mother and a son from Montréal. A family of six khaki-short wearers in front of us. A bunch of Asian folks from down the road across from us.

He, they and we are placeholder for all of our routine Christian brethren. We’ve come to be together and remind ourselves how lucky we are. How much water we have in our lives—how much more we can get. How God is to thank for it. My mother and I are just tourists waiting for lunch. The little, thickly bespectacled priest is going on about drought in California. We listen politely.

But then he starts in about a different kind of water. That deep kind of thirst only God can deliver on. That God nectar for our souls. “Only God can quench that thirst,” he says, and folks seem to believe him.

He has us rise, and he has us sit. He has us rise again. A couple of things are constant, though: the remnants of a speech impediment, and the word “quench.” And whether he’s talking about Arkansas spring water, fire in Colorado, or that all important soul water (though he absolutely does not use any term even remotely as evocative as “soul water”), God’s got the stuff, and has and will provide, as long as we let him and are thankful.

Like, the priest goes on, when all those Jews newly freed of bondage were complaining to Moses about how wretchedly un-quenching the desert is, bemoaning how they’d likely croak of thirst because of the damn freedom they’d newly acquired at his behest. How God talked some nice talk about water that came true, water gushing from rock struck, saving Moses’ flock. And how we, too, listening to this boring, old, swagger-free sermon, should also be reminded of the oldest bit of jive in the book: have faith and God will provide.

Amidst all this—with all the “let us pray” moments, and believer hands firmly forward in abandon, and individual thirsts right ready for the communal quenching, the sermon meandering dangerously close to Gatorade-commercial territory—I start assuming it’s like this every Sunday. Folks in from partying on Bourbon Street, working up to brunch, praying meekly in the one proper shirt they packed. Another Sunday in a big, easy port city. Immaculate Christ as usual.

When collection rolls around its wicker baskets—outstretched by local parishioners holding them out on broomsticks—I tell my mother 2000 years of empire is enough. When the priest has us kneel, I tell her we will not. There’s something admirable about all these folks apart yet here, together, liturgically bound in some form of equality. A classically, ruling-class trained, lovely mezzo-soprano entrances all into one quenched body. But she and I won’t pretend we’re buying in. It’s inevitably heavy stuff, I guess.

But meanwhile, the kids in the flock seem to have the right idea. I’m parsing arguments for fate vs. particularism, confining the great swindle of illusory, sentimental equality, framing the classist irony of liturgical musicianship, of its fine, aristocratic affectations—but the kids have other worries to focus on.

The number of stars in the glasswork, for instance, seems to be on several little guys and gals minds. You can see them gazing up, counting with tiny pointing index fingers, mumbling arithmetic. The number of crosses in the wrought-ironwork decorating the benches, also, attracts the attention of more than a few. And plenty of them are just worried about staying still too long, fidgeting and congregating with, like, the world. All of them chock full of water. These young folks are still on the right track, me thinks.

Finally, a little boy to our left points a sermon program at my mother and blows her away with what I assume is a machine gun. He smirks and breezily moves on to his next victim. The music is still so lovely, gladly, and makes for a nice segue as we subtly avoid communion. We come out onto Baronne Street so hungry. It’s catfish po-boys time, and all is well in the world.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest bar holidays of the year. It’s a celebration of all things Irish, and everything the Irish have contributed to modern society. And by that I mean it’s been stripped of any real cultural significance it once may have had and is an excuse for hordes of non-Irish people who can’t hold their liquor to go out for one of the three nights of the year that they party, put on an abundance of cheap gaudy green clothing and accessories that an actual Irish person wouldn’t wear for a barrel full of Guinness, and puke up so much green food colouring-drenched Bud Light that any given bar bathroom looks like a crime scene Agent Mulder would soil his suit pants over.

So, in the spirit of the day, here are a few fun St. Paddy’s Day activities that you might enjoy trying. Because, remember, today everyone is a little bit Irish! Except, of course, the Irish, who are a lot Irish, and who are probably downplaying it as much as they can to disassociate themselves from the monstrosity that this holiday has become.

The first activity of the night involves shots. Because we all know the best way to kickstart an extended night of dangerous levels of alcohol consumption is to do shots. Specifically, see how many Jameson shots you can force into your “Rock out with your shamrock out” t-shirt clad stomach and still make it out your front door. This is a good game to start with, because it gauges how prepared you are for the rest of the night. If you can make it off your couch and get past the door frame without concussing yourself, you might be ready for round two.

If you do end up making it out, another fun thing to do is see how many people you can get to kiss you by claiming you’re Irish. This is a competitive game that you can get a few friends involved in, or even just compete with yourself to beat last year’s record. Either way, you’ve got to play to win, so you’ll need to dress the part. Make sure you’re wearing one of those tall green dollar store hats (which also doubles as an emergency puke collector), and four-leaf-clover-shaped sunglasses. I can’t stress enough how important the clover-shaped sunglasses are. No one is going to take you seriously on St. Patrick’s Day if you’re not wearing clover-shaped sunglasses. The bigger the better, too. Oh, and be sure not to forget the old Irish custom of wearing leftover green Mardi Gras beads.

Now, the goal here is to try to get more and more people to kiss you the drunker you get. The rules are pretty simple; walk up to someone, preferably interrupting any conversation they might be having, and shout “kiss me, I’m Irish” at them. Then, when they look at you disgustedly and refuse, try to force them to until you get kicked out of the bar. Then move on to the next bar. You get bonus points for each time you get pepper sprayed. The trick to winning this game is that the more slurred your speech gets and the more vomit crusts the front of your clever green novelty shirt, the harder you have to try to insist yourself upon people. The game ends when all participants are either unconscious in an alley or in police custody for assault.

Another fun game, though this one is for more advanced players, is to shit your pants and try to make it home to pass out in your bathtub. This can be a challenging one. The way it works is that you shit yourself, ideally while you’re trying to make someone kiss you or when you’re getting belligerent with bar security or the police, and you try to remember A) where you are, and B) where you live, then figure out how to get from A to B. Taxis and buses won’t let you in because your leprechaun pants are clearly filled with enough green-stained poop to fill the pot at the end of the world’s most disgusting rainbow, and who knows if you’ll survive the walk, so you have to get creative. Bonus points if you can convince a drunk ex to drive you in their car and make them kiss you but then be unable to perform sexually.

Finally, the most difficult St. Patrick’s Day challenge of all; convincing your friends and significant other to forgive you the next afternoon when you wake up. As far as I know, to this date, no one has successfully won this challenge, so godspeed and get texting.

This should provide you with enough exciting fun to make your St. Patrick’s Day celebration the best you’ve had yet. Be sure to proudly post on social media about how aggressively drunk you are so I can see how well you do on each game, because god knows I won’t be setting foot outside my apartment to interact with you morons until this travesty of a holiday is long over.


Photo by afagen via Flickr

We’re all getting older. There’s no escaping it. But it’s not all bad. In fact, there are a lot of advantages to getting on in years that you may not even think of. Like anything, it’s got its pros and cons, but with the right attitude the good can definitely outweigh the bad. Let’s look at a few examples.

Sleep. Boy oh boy, when I was in my early to mid twenties I hardly slept at all. Between bars and parties and drugs and hanging out with all my cool friends and all the anonymous unprotected sex I was having, I just didn’t have time for it. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I’d proclaim to the universe at 6pm, starry-eyed on ‘ludes and 56 hours since my last rest, from the sunroof of a limousine while raining champagne upon all the poor chumps on their way home from work to eat dinner and fall asleep reading at 9 o’clock.

Well, I’ve hit 30, and I’m still breathing, but maybe all that partying made me die inside, because now I sleep all the time. Not even intentionally a lot of the time. I’ll fall asleep watching TV or at the movies or on a bus bench. I’ve taken impromptu naps in restaurant washroom stalls, during job interviews, and while driving. And you know what? I’m okay with it. More than okay. I’ve realized that I’ve been missing out all these years. Sleep is the best. Hell, I just slept for five hours between writing that last sentence and this one. And I’m thinking of sleeping for a few more before the next paragraph.

Music is another thing that changes drastically as you age. Or, more accurately, your reaction to music. I remember the days when I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest albums from the popular music groups of the era. The days when I wanted more than anything to shock those around me with the edgy sounds that I was hip enough to be into. Going to concerts, the louder the better, and leaving with ringing ears and spattered with every manner of bodily fluid. Nowadays, though, things are different. I don’t care much for the new music of today. If you can call it music. Sounds more like a lot of noise to me.Nope, I’m pretty set in my ways now. I’ve even begun to regress, I think. Some of the stuff I used to love to listen to is a little too rowdy for my current tastes. Just set me in my recliner with my slippers and put on a little Chicago and I’ll be perfectly content. If I’m feeling particularly exuberant I might switch it up to some Steely Dan. As far as live music goes, my criteria haven’t changed much. All I really look for in a venue these days is if it has a comfy corner somewhere where I can nod off for a couple hours during the show.

Of course, one of the biggest things that changes as you get older is sex. Gone are my days of hitting the scene in search of scandalous one night stands, of blurry cavalcades of so many nameless women, of being able to achieve or maintain an erection without pharmaceutical aid. No, I’ve slowed down as time’s gone by, but what time has taken away from me in quantity, experience has bestowed upon me in quality, if you know what I mean. What I mean, of course, is that if I can make it through even six minutes of semi-vigorous intercourse, afterwards I’ll be down for a good nine hours of solid, quality slumber.

What else? Hmm, my eyesight’s getting pretty bad, and I can’t really remember how much of I’ve said about… whatever it was I was talking about. My memory isn’t so good these days either. Oh yeah! I was telling you about the time I ran for office and was beat by a golden retriever. No. I was telling you my secret steak marinade recipe. Or, was it… well, it’ll come back to me. Just give me a little while to rest.   Photo by Jyle Dupuis via Flickr