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Mr. Hoffman and The Fire Dwellers

For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. [in a deep voice, pulling off the wig] I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.

I’m not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough
to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood.
The best part of myself.


As I listened to Mr. Hoffman speak in the video below, I recalled a passage from Margaret Laurence’s “The Fire Dwellers” when Stacy MacAindra (née Cameron), a 40-ish housewife, is riding the bus.  A lovely teen sits down next to her, and Stacy wonders to herself, “What’s she seeing? Housewife, mother of four, this slightly too short and too amply-rumped woman with coat of yesteryear, hemlines all the wrong length….lipstick wrong color, and crowning comic touch, the hat…”   But as only Stacy knows, “under this chapeau lurks…a tigress.”

As does within us all, no matter what the veneer may indicate to the contrary.

If only everyone could have this kind of epiphany.

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Filed under Film, Life In General, The Mama Goddess, Uncategorized

The Tao Of Charlie (Life Lessons From “So I Married An Axe Murderer”)

The film So I Married An Axe Murderer , starring the inimitable Mike Myers, is a work of pure genius, combining physical and cerebral comedy with exemplary instruction in navigating this mortal coil.

You may be thinking whaaaaaat? but hear me out, okay?  Okay?   Okay.

Warning: Here there be spoilers.

1. Trust Your First Impressions
Case in point: Charlie meets Rose.
Can anyone play nutjob better than Amanda Plummer?  I think not.

Quotes:
Charlie: (as Rose attempts to hit him with an axe) What the FUCK?!

Life Lesson: So many of us take pains to ignore our gut instincts when we meet someone.  We’re told it’s not fair to pigeon hole others (at least not before getting to know them better).  However, there’s a damn good reason we have gut instincts to begin with, so by all means keep an open mind, but when your first impression screams ‘this person is batshit crazy!’ trust that you could be on to something.

You are a total nutcase, completely deranged, delusional, paranoid. Your thought process is all fucked up. Your information train is jammed, man!

2. TV and Movies Are Better Than Real Life
Case in point:  Tony.  Poor Tony.  He became a cop with visions of chasing guys across a crowded city square, hanging on to that part of a helicopter. (You know that part? Underneath the thing that it lands? Do you, do you know that part?)  And he’s never even commandeered a vehicle.

Quotes:
Tony Giardino: Excuse me sir, I’m with the San Francisco police department, this is official police business. I would like to commandeer this vehicle!
Commandeered Driver: No.

Life Lesson: Watch movies constantly.  Avoid real life whenever possible, it’s bound to disappoint.

No. No, there’s not.

3. Relationships Are Hard
Case in point: Charlie and Harriet.  Charlie is a commitmentphobe.  Harriet is possibly Mrs. X., who kills off her husbands.
It’s a match made in Heaven, obviously.

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: I’m afraid you’re gonna ki – leave me.
Harriet Michaels: That I’m gonna cleave you?

Life Lesson: Oftentimes in life, people need to step back and get their shit together before they can make a relationship work.  At least, this is how it pretty much works in the movies: good times, followed by conflict, followed by conflict resolution = better times.  No guarantees, though (refer to Life Lesson #2).

4. The Unknown Is Usually Best Left That Way
Case in point: haggis.
Exception: Paul Haggis.

Quotes:
Harriet Michaels: Do you actually like haggis?
Charlie Mackenzie: No, I think it’s repellent in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

Life Lesson: Avoid the unfamiliar.  Nothing good can come from eating food simmered in an animal’s stomach.

5. Be Honest
Case in point:  Tony the cop, attempting to go undercover

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: So Tony, what’s the deal with your clothes?
Tony Giardino: What do ya mean?
Charlie Mackenzie: You look like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Life lesson: No matter how it may hurt their feelings, never let a friend go out looking like a 1970s pimp.

6. Coffee.Is.The.Best.Thing.Ever

Case in point: Scene 1, Charlie being served at Cafe Roads.

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: Excuse me, miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* cappuccino. *Hello!* Look at the size of this thing.
Tony Giardino: It’s practically a bowl.
Charlie Mackenzie: It’s like Campbell’s Cup-O’-ccino!
Charlie Mackenzie: [laughing at his Campbell’s joke and wiping his tears] Oh, My sides. Please. Aidez-moi.

Life Lesson: No amount of coffee is too much.
MM Coffee

7. Poetry And Alliteration Go A Long Way When Wooing
Case in point: Charlie attempts (and succeeds) in getting Harriet back

Quotes:
Charlie Mackenzie: Harriet. Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis. Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher. Un-trust… ing. Un-know… ing. Un-love… ed? “He wants you back,” he screamed into the night air like a fireman going to a window that has no fire… except the passion of his heart. I am lonely. It’s really hard. This poem… sucks.

Life Lesson: Learn to rhyme, or at least put together some interesting stream-of-consciousness prose. Ya never know.

MM Poetry

8. Things Can Always Be Worse

Case in point:  Stuart’s anniversary speech to May.

Quotes:
Stuart Mackenzie: Thirty years ago today, May and I were married. Some of you were there, some of you weren’t born, and some of you are now DEED! But, we both said “I do,” and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.
May Mackenzie: That’s true!
Stuart Mackenzie: But I’m glad I married you, May, because hey, could’ve been worse.

Life Lesson: Groove on what you got, not what you don’t, because it could really suck more.  Really.

May, shut it!  Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game's about to start!

May, shut it! Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game’s about to start!

9. The Scottish Are The Undisputed Extreme Party Champions Of  The Universe

Case in point: Stuart Mackenzie

Quotes:
Stuart Mackenzie: [after Charlie and Harriet have been married] Let’s get pissed!
_______________
Stuart Mackenzie: [after exhausting a bagpipe player at Charlie and Harriet’s wedding]
We have a piper who’s down! Repeat, Piper Down!

Life lesson:  Don’t try to outdo ’em.  Just sit back and admire.

Why,  yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

Why, yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

10. And last but not leastSometimes The Conspiracy Theorists Are Right
Case in point: Stuart conveys his unique worldview to Tony.

Quotes:


It’s a well-known fact, Sonny Jim!

Life Lesson:  Listen to the crazy people.

And here’s The La’s to sing us out with There She Goes:

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Filed under Advice and How To, Film, Life In General

♥ Love Letter To Canada ♥

Happy Canada Day, all!  It’s our nation’s 146th birthday, and my 46th blog post (I’d like to claim I’d planned that).

When I was an elementary school student, one of my favourite assignments was geographic research.  I recall penning (penciling?) compositions on San Salvador, Florida and Rome, however the ones that gently squeezed my little Canuck heart were inevitably about Timmins, British Columbia and Toronto, among others.  I remember happily flipping through encyclopedias in the school library, eager to gaze upon grainy 1970s photographs like this one:

ontario-place-mr

Ontario Place, Toronto

or this…

St. John, New Brunswick

St. John, New Brunswick

or this…

Swartz Bay, Britisih Columbia

Swartz Bay, British Columbia

In the years since, I have travelled to the West Coast numerous times, and have spent time in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  Six out of ten ain’t bad, but I do palpably feel the absence of the midwestern provinces, and what I wouldn’t do to get to Nunavut, NWT and the Yukon.
One day, I whisper to myself, one day.

I have fundamentally Canadian images burned forever into my brain, that give me a little tingle every time they rise, unbidden.   A photograph of a grain elevator in Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.  Nighttime pub crawling in Montreal with my friend Andy.  Sprinting down an eastern provincial park beach, tearing off my clothes (bathing suit conveniently underneath), and jumping into the salty Atlantic for the first time.  Strolling through Stanley Park in Vancouver, on a warm yet soggy March day, almost having the place to myself, and spotting an immature eagle, perched majestically in a tree, watching me.  Just missing my PEI friends as I arrived in Kensington, yet because of that, having the most beautiful night camping by the water.  Listening in awe as my cousin in Moore’s Mills, New Brunswich spoke fluent French and English to her children.  And, of course, years of memories from hometown Ontario, like watching the CN Tower being built (on my first visit I bought a pen, which had a picture of the tower and a little elevator that moved up and down as you tilted it).

Other memories from my Book Of Canadian Recollections include:

  • Getting all excited about traversing the then 5-year-old Confederation Bridge spanning NB and PEI, almost 13 kilometers long (that’s 8 miles for Americans, y’all).  Realizing immediately that they’ve built the barriers so that drivers can’t see over them and get distracted.
    Experience rating: meh.
  • Ordering a ‘Relic’ burger at Molly’s Reach restaurant in Gibson’s, British Columbia.  Bruno Gerussi, FTW.
  • Hearing Stan Rogers for the first time.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Buying a beautiful print of A.Y. Jackson’s Yellowknife, Northwest Territories from a woman who had originally purchased it because it brought to mind her days there as camp cook for a group of geologists. I sat contentedly for the next hour as she regaled me with stories.
  • Heading to the Canadian National Exhibition every year with my father, whose commitment to procuring a Shopsy’s corned beef sandwich each and every visit bordered on the religious.
  • Breaking down en route from Montreal to Lac-des-Seize-Îles in a torrential rainstorm, and proceeding to travel with the French CAA guy and his girlfriend, windows rolled up, them smoking cigarette after cigarette, as we communicated directions in Franglaise.  Good times.
  • Canada Vignettes.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Stepping into the narthex of Notre Dame cathedral in Montreal for the first time.  Words cannot express.
  • Living through ten (count ’em, ten) London, Ontario winters.
    Snow.  Oh God, the snow.
  • Meeting fascinating people:
    Gordie Tapp of Hee Haw fame in the waiting room of my optometrist’s office (circa 1978).
    Bill Lawrence, former host of Tiny Talent Time, who became the perpetually cheery weather guy at CBC.
    Guy Paul Morin (acquitted of murder in 1995), in a CBC elevator, where it took me about 30 seconds to connect the face to the name.  Suddenly overcome with the enormity of what he must have gone through, feeling  I had to say something, I turned and offered a simple ‘Congratulations,’ to which he humbly replied a quiet ‘Thank you.’
    Ken Bell, WWII photographer, at his home in Gibson’s Landing.  What an honour.
    There are more, but I don’t want to make you jealous.
  • Dating a Francophone separatist in the early 90s and realizing in my Ontarioan ignorance that we still have a long way to go in that department.
  • Each and every summer from time immemorial, having at least one opportunity to float on my back in one of our beautiful fresh water lakes, my heart filled to overflowing with gratitude.
  • Richard Condie.  ‘Nuff said.
  • 1992: The Tragically Hip releasing Looking For A Place To Happen, because any band that can somehow fit Jacques Cartier into a  tune is well, the coolest ever.
  • Having it slowly dawn on me that every other white clapboard Catholic church on the East Coast is named St. Peter’s.
  • Standing under two-hundred-foot trees in Capilano, British Columbia, and being reminded of my smallness in the world.

20080706123845_single red maple leaf

The ties I have to this place are not the silken, tenuous kind; no, these are most surely comprised of diamond-encrusted titanium links. And though enormously strong, they are neither awkward nor heavy, and provide a centering and stability I can’t imagine getting from anything (or anywhere) else.

And with that, I will leave you with Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s The Log Driver’s Waltz, 1979, Canada Vignettes.

Happy Birthday, Canada.  I love you.

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Filed under Music, Nostalgia, Uncategorized, Wanderings

Book Review: F U Penguin

Went to Toronto last weekend to hang out.  As usual, saw and ate at some awesome places.  Might I suggest a visit to the TIFF Bell Lightbox at 350 King Street West if you haven’t been yet, and try the mushroom soup at The Town Crier pub at 115 John Street.

I never tend to visit book giant Chapters here at home, however the one at 142 John Street is pretty impressive.  While I was there I happened across a book that originated with a blog, à la Stuff White People Like.  The book is called F U Penguin.  I’ll let y’all extrapolate the name of the blog from that.

Without realizing it, I think I was waiting for this book to come out, and I’d wager that applies to a few of you, too.  This book rails against Cute Animals Everywhere.  E-mails, movies, websites – Matthew Gasteier has left no stone unturned, and nothing adorable is exempt from his wrath and derision.

A few excerpts:

Snow leopards:  rare, majestic, dickish

Did you know…?  Unlike many other large cats, snow leopards cannot roar.  This explains why instead of getting upset when you don’t do something they want you to do, they say something passive aggressive like “Oh, no, don’t worry about it, I’m sure it will just magically take care of itself.”

Thanks for ‘gracing’ us with your presence.

I get it, Whale, you’re busy.  I’ve only been on this FUCKING BOAT for three and a half hours waiting for you, and the only thing I’ve seen so far is my lunch from earlier.

Did you know…?  Orcas are commonly referred to as “killer whales,” a name they spread themselves so no one would find out that they cried at the end of Titanic.

Rare animals can be a real drag.

I was living my life long before I knew what you were, Long-Eared Jerboa, and I will go on living my life long after I have set you as my desktop picture.

Did you know…?  The long-eared jerboa is different from the regular jerboa in one major way, though researchers have yet to determine precisely what that is.

Happy reading!  Spread the word!

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Filed under Books, Wanderings