Thursday, November 10, 2016

Another Cent-less Loss

On February 4, 2013, in a typically arbitrary and mean cost-cutting move, Steven Harper’s Conservative government withdrew the Canadian penny from circulation. From that day forward, cash transactions were to be rounded to the nearest nickel.
     That summer, August 10th to be precise, I purchased a bag of ice from the general store at Wymbolwood beach for $2.99, forked over my three dollars, and with some fanfare was presented with what would be the very last penny I would ever receive in change.
     And to honour that one-cent worth of rebellion, I have carried it in my pocket ever since.
Then, on the morning of November 8, 2016, when I was changing into short pants for a chiropractic appointment—swapping my wallet, my keys, and the coins from the pockets of my long pants—I realized I had lost the last Canadian penny I’d ever received in change. I had never considered it my lucky penny, just an important penny, and a comfortable little ritual in trying times.
     It was not on the floor of my bedroom, it was not in the little basket Dr. Eric keeps for the stuff that falls from people’s pockets as they lie on his table.

Really, I had never considered it lucky, and after three-plus years in the left-hand pocket of my many pants, I have to admit it was looking pretty grotty. Lots of pretty good things had happened to me in all the time I’d been carrying it, but lots of shitty stuff, too. And honestly, I was already getting my head around the loss of the silly thing, when a Tuesday that had already started out badly ended with the election of Donald J. Trump.
     Then, as if I needed any more proof, I found it again on Wednesday.
     Sorry, America.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Typeface Families, part iii

Arial Baskerville wished she’d never signed up for speed dating. The first man to read her nametag asked if her parents liked Shakespeare. Arial, who generally felt more muffin toppy than spritely, tried not to cry. The second man asked if her parents liked The Little Mermaid. No, said Arial, wondering if it was his hair gel that gave him a kind of pedophile vibe. The third asked if her parents had been in the mile-high club. At that, Arial bolted, crashing into a rumpled but nice-looking man who’d evidently had the same idea. His name tag read Gill Sans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Typeface Families, part ii

Baskerville has a thick old face, and his whole Roman-nosed clan seems stolid and button-down. A bit constipated. They bring to mind a mantel clock ticking off another dull Sunday with only tea to look forward to, and that at the stroke of six, not a moment before. Easy to read, you think at first; but their reticence seduces, and over time their true nature manifests. They are in fact not obese and dull but round and voluptuous. Their crisp seraphic hauteur belies a bawdy sensibility and a hearty appetite. These characters revel in a good swash and well-turned loop.

Image: Astrid Hampton

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Typeface Families, part i

The Morisons lived as if in times that were Roman – yet new. Stanley Morison embraced a Mediterranean fusion diet. His signature dish: a straight-up egg linguine drenched in olive oil from a bottle with girls in togas, and that would’ve been fine. But then he’d spray on this Thai fish sauce, an update, he said, of an ancient fermented fish recipe. Actually it wasn’t bad. But no one visited the Morisons a second time, not just because of Stanley’s rotting fish gut disquisition, but also because of the spray of serifs he’d leave hanging in the air as he talked.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bobblehead Ernie and the Pennant Race


The Blue Jays’ recent swoon coincides with a serious injury to my bobblehead Ernie Whitt, suffered in the course of an overzealous cleaning. (No blame shall be cast, at least out loud.)
      I’m not particularly superstitious when it comes to sports; sure, I lace my left skate up first, etc; but something about this was deeply unsettling. Coincidence? Bah. In a pennant race, it’s all hands, past and present, on deck.
      Catchers’ legs are notoriously fragile, but a few dabs of Goop and several hours in traction fixed Ernie up. He’s back. He’s swinging.
      Now over to you, current Jays.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pane E Sciroppo di mais

Few images have stayed in my mind as indelibly as a scene from Franco Brusati’s Pane E Cioccolata. Here a group of illegal migrant workers living in a chicken coup spy on some Swiss skinny-dipping youth. They watch from their hovel, their faces covered in shit and pin feathers, enraptured by this vision of white pulchritude splashing about all flesh and sunshine and lazy dust motes. Nino feels the alienation most strongly and in an attempt at inclusion bleaches his hair. Eventually, he betrays himself when he roots for Italy during a football game.
     Outed.
     Like me at Holt Renfrew.

Image from F. Brusati’s Pane E Cioccolata (1974)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gold Star

It’s well-established I'm shallow but “Gold Star?” Seriously? Gotta wonder what were the other contenders for this label?
     My Trump Schadenglee is wrecked by seeing it takes a dead son to trump Trump, and now on CNN dude in lecture mode about radical Islam is trying to trump the dead son’s Gold Star dad—“the threat, sir, is not from Swedish Lutherans named Anna and Lars.” So, where does this end? With people whose dead son got killed by heinous Swedish Lutherans named Anna and Lars to trump the Trump-trumper’s trumper? (In Swedish, yo, “Gold Star” is “Guldstjärna.”)

Image: www.zazzle.ca

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