Saturday 29 December 2012



Please say it ain’t so. Please, someone, tell me this is just a hoax.

  • The top 2012 interests according to were: Hunger Games, Honey Boo Boo, Fifty Shades of Grey, Gangnam style dancing, and American Idol. That may explain the financial problems of institutes of higher education and the fact that
  •  Universities have to adopt a programme of prioritization (Globe & Mail 25 Dec). They will rank courses by DEMAND and STUDENT OUTCOME.  Judging by our 2012 top interests, I guess there will be a demand for courses in American Idol, Advanced Honey Boo, and The Meaning of Gangnam. Please contact Provost Maureen Mancuso at Guelph University. She wants to know about YOUR essentialities. ESSENTIALITIES? – Do I have to use that word to pass American Idol 100? Is that the student outcome they are looking for? Well, maybe I’ll learn Guelph-speak if I live long enough. After all,
  • Aging is a preventable condition, as Aubrey de Grey tells us ( It should be combatted with preventive medicine. We just need to reach LONGEVITY ESCAPE VELOCITY, that is, live long enough until they’ve found a cure for what ails us. Could be a long time until they find a cure for the world's stupidity, egomania, and crass spending, for example on
  • Designer iPhone cases. The blinged Mischa Barton model costs $ 300,000, topping the record holder from Natural Sapphire Co ($ 100,000). iPhones must have a high ATTACH RATE, the measure of the amount of money a manufacturer can make off supplementary goods. You didn’t know the term ATTACH RATE? That’s because you didn't major in American Idol. But there are a lot of ignorant people out there.
  • Italian and French politicians, for example, don’t know anything about sex. Dominique Strauss-Kahn had sex with a hotel maid IN ERROR ( Silvio Berlusconi thought his bunga-bunga parties were ELEGANT DINNERS conducted in an ATMOSPHERE OF GOOD CHEER AND AFFECTION (              
In the NO COMMENT department, we have three cases that weren’t hoaxes:
  • The NRA suggested a remedy for school massacres: Armed guards in every school. 
  • Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair.
  • Amazon sold you Kindle books, but remains the owner of your books (

 And the biggest hoax that WAS:
  • The Apocalypse. Or did it happen, and we never noticed?

Wednesday 26 December 2012

WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS. Memories of the Sixties.

Guess what I got for Christmas: a 1968 edition of Dr. Spock’s BABY AND CHILD CARE. And guess who the previous owner was: Harvard University, Department of Social Relations. Department of What? Would that be the forerunner of Facebook?

Here are some nuggets of wisdom from Dr. Spock:

WORKING MOTHERS. Usually their children turn out all right. WHEW! I’M SO RELIEVED.

ROAD TRIPS WITH BABY: LET HIM ROAM! The leg space for the back seat of a car can be filled with luggage, so that a crawling baby or small child has room in which to roam...If children insist on standing, they should stand on the floor, not on the seats.

COMIC BOOKS: OK, NO VIOLENCE, NO SMUT. But the question remains: Will comic books that are merely vulgar or preposterously heroic... ruin their taste for good literature?

SEX IS BAD. Idealism and creativity of human beings is related to the inhibition and sublimation of sexuality.

DIAPERS. First fold lengthwise so that there are 3 thicknesses. Then fold about one third of the end over. As a result, half of the folded diaper has six layers...a boy needs the double thickness in front. NOW WATCH OUT AND DON’T PIN THE DIAPER TO THE BABY! When you put in the pin, slip two fingers of the other hand between the baby and the diaper to prevent sticking him.

HOURS OF FUN IN THE PEN: Let him out of the playpen when he insists...I don’t mean at the first whimper, for if you give him something new to play with, he may be happy there for another hour.

EARLY TOILET TRAINING IS CRUCIAL FOR YOUR CHILD’S CAREER. It is the foundation for his lifelong preference for unsticky hands, for clean clothes, for a neat home, for an orderly way of doing business.

WOMEN ARE EVEN MORE CRUCIAL. Men’s idealization of woman [and their drive to create] are the main inspiration for their creativity in architecture, engineering, technical inventiveness, scientific discovery, literature, drama, music, painting. EVEN ENGINEERING? WOW!

THE REASON WHY WE HAVEN’T TAUGHT OUR CHILDREN THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD: Most of us are not clear about our own place in the universe or about the meaning of human existence.


Saturday 22 December 2012

Still frantically shopping for Christmas presents? Here are some guaranteed winners:
  • Apocalypse Survival Kit. Available now at deep discounts.
  • membership. No alcohol, no sex, no dancing, no nudity, just sweaty bodies close to you. Plus the thrill of moustache stroking, ear scratching, and footsie tournaments. What can be more fun?
  • Choice of 3 amazing apps: Stupid Actions Undone Service app. Oh, you already tried it, and it doesn’t work? Okay, how about the
  • UFO booking app? Includes green body suit and 50,000 frequent flyer points. No, doesn’t work either? Well, then go for something more down-to-earth that I didn't make up, like
  • Toilet Flush app from Raises toilet seat, pushes lever. Amplified flushing sound not included.
  • Three special gifts for special people: Monkey Shearling coat for the small person in your life.
  • Large-Print edition of Fifty Shades of Gray, boxed set (plus book fork lift for the frail senior in your life)
  • F**K and Other Conversations. A useful phrase book for the teenager in your life.  
  • Gift certificate from, event organizers to the nouveau riche. Bonus: Free limo ride from your front door to the curb.
  • Scissors with etched motivational message “Save now, buy later”. Suitable for cutting up credit cards
  • Custom tattoos. Choose from: TGCIO (Thank Goodness Christmas is Over), TGVRAG (Thank Goodness visiting relatives are gone), TGNMTL (Thank Goodness no more turkey leftovers)

Thursday 20 December 2012

THE END IS NEAR. Unmistakable Signs of the Apocalypse.

Tomorrow the Mayan calendar rolls over, but it’s not the end of the world. I know the icecap is melting and atrocities are being committed every day, but the devil is in the details. And so is the Apocalypse. Watch for these 10 tiny indicators. THE END IS NEAR when

  • Spinach Houses outnumber Steak Houses in New York.
  • Socks emerge from your dryer in matched pairs.
  • A watched kettle boils.
  • Toronto’s Mayor goes on hunger strike. His weight dips below 300 pounds.
  • Monkeys wear shearling coats. (Oh, wait, that one has already happened)
  • The tabloids lose interest in Kate and William.
  • Bryan of The New Normal comes out of the closet: he is heterosexual.
  • Twitter becomes the medium of choice for intellectuals.
  • The number of my blog followers soars.
  • The USA outlaws guns.

In any case, don’t worry. In this virtual age, the Apocalypse takes place on-line. So as long as you don’t turn on your computer tomorrow, you are safe!

Sunday 16 December 2012


We have come a long way since Peter Singer wrote Animal Liberation in 1975. According to an Ipsos-Reid survey (Globe, 14 December), Quebec is now the last bastion of pet traditionalists, who insist on treating their furry friends like animals. The rest of us treat them as equals, realizing that their emancipation offers tremendous career opportunities. We will need:
PHILOLOGISTS to create politically correct dictionaries replacing the words “animals” with PEOPLE OF FUR (POF), “pet owners” with POF ATTENDANTS, and animals used for “breeding” with NATURAL POF PARENTS, etc.
LAWYERS, to get the UN to adopt a declaration of POF rights and to represent POFs in court. When someone gets attacked by a pit bull, why is the dog put down rather than the human? In divorce cases, who gets to keep the pups? And, equally important, the pup house and furnishings – the fine china bowls, the shearling and alpaca coats, the designer leashes?
MUNICIPAL POLITICIANS, to keep children out of public parks and off the sidewalks, or at least put them on leashes. We need advocates for safe POF car seats, separate lanes for cars carrying POFs, and separate seating in restaurants. They provide booster seats for kids, so why not perches for POFs? Separate washrooms are a disputed issue – should POFs allow themselves to be humanized and forced to use litter stations, or should they insist on following their natural fouling instincts?
The discrimination suffered by pets at present is so horrendous we don’t know where to begin. Why are there no pet spas offering Botox for Shar Peis? Why is there no free kindergarten for kittens? What about minimum pay, mandatory holidays, and pension benefits for service dogs?
We’ll need
PHILOSOPHERS, to solve the thorny question of identity. What is a POF? Do Furbies qualify? What about men with hairy backs? Women who don’t wax? But maybe that’s a question for
PSYCHOLOGISTS, when they are not busy with abuse cases. Not every foster parent treats his/her fur kid like a beloved child. Some people have POFs for all the wrong reasons. They are the underdogs in their office and compensate for it by lording it over their fur kids.  We need psychologists to help POFs to deal with the trauma of authoritarian foster parents, teach them to become more assertive about their rights and train them in the effective use of howling, biting, scratching, and gnawing furniture.
Helen Hobbs ( notes that humans have become addicted to screens and handheld devices, so now only POFs can provide a direct and “pure connection”. Let’s call it what it is – not a connection, but an opportunity for inappropriate touching and harassment. Humans ought to remember the first rule about POF dating: Let your POF initiate any contact. Allow him to lick you first before licking back, and don’t go beyond his invitation with unwanted kisses or stroking.
We'll need
THEOLOGIANS. Last Halloween some misguided POF attendant dressed his dog up as Satan. I’m asking you. Why not as God? The God of Fur (GOF), I mean. POFs used to be worshipped. Think of the mummified cats in Egyptian tombs, the biblical golden calf, the Hindu elephant deity Ganesha. The modern Western world, by contrast, is full of human idols. We need a new Dante to unveil the horrors of the POF Inferno and the beauty of the POF Paradise.
And finally, we need
ARCHITECTS, to build a furry cathedral with altars to St. ALPO, patron of hungry POFs, the martyr KING KONG, patron of high rise dwelling POFs, and the Great Enabler, DECADENCE.  

Thursday 13 December 2012

MONKEY BUSINESS. Why was Darwin at IKEA?
What’s a monkey sporting a faux-shearling coat doing in the IKEA parking lot?

He is an early entrant in CTV’s Amazing Race Canada, TV critic John Doyle suggests. Nah. Why come up with far-fetched explanations when there are four perfectly good reasons for him being there.

  • He was trying to find his car. Have you seen the size of those IKEA parking lots?
  • He was protesting IKEA’s unfair practices. They’ve got toy rats. They’ve got toy hedgehogs. But not a single plush monkey. That smacks of species discrimination, don’t you think?
  • He wanted to kick off a SAVE THE SHEEP campaign by sporting a polyester shearling coat. Note: Canadian fashionista Jeanne Beker pronounced the coat DIVINE.
  • He tried to kickstart a career as Houdini 2. He got out of his crate, he got out of his car, he got out of his diaper – well, would have, if people hadn’t started aiming their cell phones at him. Would you want pics of your hairy bum go viral?
But seriously, why get excited about a monkey in a furniture store parking lot, when there are more inspirational specimens on the loose? Like the devout rhesus spotted in a church parking lot in Clearwater? He’s still out there somewhere, and was last seen in the parking lot of a Baptist church in St. Petersburg, according to Clearly this monkey has more elevated career aspirations than going into the Houdini-style show business, unless of course he’s thinking of televangelism.

Then there’s the monkey of Danville (NH) who, according to, has been on the loose for 11 years despite efforts to trap him with bananas and peanuts. An ascetic! You have to admire his noble mind. Unless of course the local dumpsters offer a larger selection of primate food.

Anyhoo. The owner describing herself as Darwin’s mommy desperately wants him back. Hmm. Changing diapers must be more fun than I thought.  

Saturday 8 December 2012

SURVIVORS. Kate Middleton, hyperemesis, and me.


There are Holocaust survivors. There are breast cancer survivors. There are Survivors on TV. And now, brought to you by the Globe & Mail’s Stephanie Nolen, there are HYPEREMESIS SURVIVORS.

But to go all the way from the tragic to SURVIVOR LITE: There’s ME. What have I survived, you ask. After searching my humdrum life, I offer you this list. I have survived

CATCALLS from construction workers who did some risky footwork on the scaffold to praise my boobs. I know. I’m talking about another era, when men had the nerve to notice women’s boobs out loud.

I survived
HIGH HEELS -- although they didn’t always survive me. As in when I fell down the stairs at the Bluma Apple Theatre and broke the heel of my shoe. Since I was visibly pregnant at the time, the management worried. Not about me, but about a potential law suit. I was practically carried to my seat. The shoe was returned to me at intermission, with the heel fully rehabilitated. The baby, in case you are interested, kept his cool and stayed put until due. I wonder: if he develops a phobia for stilettos, can I still sue the theatre, or is there a statute of limitations?

I survived
THE HEARTBREAK OF PSORIASIS. Watch the classic Denorex commercial on YouTube so you can fully appreciate my suffering. I’ll save you the rest of my heartbreaks, or family members will sue me for loss of privacy.

I survived
PETS my children foisted on me. Sometimes THEY survived, too. Like the gerbil that escaped when I cleaned his cage and slipped into the heating duct. Luckily for him it was summer and he re-emerged eventually, dusty but alive.

I survived AIR CANADA food.

I survived MY OWN COOKING during the first year of my marriage when I finally came to realize what my mother had been doing in the kitchen all those years. Survival hints: 1.Involve spouse. 2. Visit frozen food section in supermarket. 3. Order pizza.

I know, I know. My list is pathetic, and I’m still on the bottom rung of survivors.
Come to think of it: I’d like to keep it that way.

Thursday 6 December 2012

LIFE IS BECOMING EASIER. Or I’m becoming smarter.

Time was when I couldn’t get past the first paragraph of a Scientific American article, but now I just brush through the pages. Has my brain expanded to the point where I’ll be able to breeze through medical journals next? Yes, absolutely!

Disappointingly, it’s not because of my brain expanding. It’s because medical journals need more readers. So what are they doing about that? Improve the quality of their articles? Nah. Where is your inner salesperson? They improve the quality of their hype. They make the articles more newsworthy. EGG YOLKS ARE AS BAD AS SMOKING! MULTIVITAMINS CUT CANCER! RESEARCH FINDINGS ARE CRAP! No, wait, that last one shouldn’t have been in capitals. That’s just me talking under the influence of John Ioannidis’ article WHY MOST PUBLISHED RESEARCH FINDINGS ARE FALSE (

So now that I’m able to read medical journals, what else can we dumb down to the level of the unexpanded brain?

TERRORISM. I recommend’s HOW TO MAKE A NUCLEAR BOMB. Helpful hints: you need money and a remote detonator.

UNIVERSITY. Stressless studies are on their way with redesigned courses to make university degrees accessible to all. REDESIGNED? Oh, I see, that’s code for EASIER.

WRITING: Twitter is here for you!

LOVE. I read there are DISTINGUISHED GENTS for hire to dance with you on cruises ( Oh, wait, they are not allowed to flirt. Well, then try Three videos is all it takes.

HAPPINESS. I thought I had that covered with positive thinking. But author Oliver Burkeman has written a whole book to prove that positive thinking won’t do the trick. Bummer, I thought, until I read the alternative he offers: SORT OF LEARN TO RESIST THE URGE TO DO EVERYTHING RIGHT. Oh, well, that’s okay then. I’ve learned that trick long ago.

PERFECT EYEBROWS. Sorry, that’s one area in which I can offer you no short-cuts. According to beauty expert Bahar Niramwalla, you still have to brush your brow hairs, fill the gaps with colour, powder them, and finish with a brow gel to hold them in place. I was on the brink of despair. I’ll never have perfect eyebrows, I thought, until I remembered Burkeman’s advice and RESISTED THE URGE TO DO IT RIGHT.


Sunday 2 December 2012


A couple of years ago, economist Daniel Hamermesh published a study, BEAUTY PAYS. We need a prof from Texas to tell us the obvious?  Beauty is a winning ticket. That’s why Dwight “Triple Chin” Duncan bowed out of the Liberal leadership race, and Justin Trudeau is still smiling full-gleam. That’s why the Democrats picked Mitt Romney as their candidate rather than Newtface Gingrich, although Mitt didn’t come through for them in the end. Maybe his tan wasn’t deep enough.

If beauty is so important, how do you explain the election of 300 pounder Rob Ford or beer-bellied Angela Merkel? Apparently it’s the face that counts, the part you can’t hide, at least not where I live, the part no act of willpower, diet or exercise will change. So how can we level the playing field?
  • Bring on social services. We have welfare to take care of the disadvantaged, don’t we? Let’s have free plastic surgery for the facially challenged. Put HAWK NOSE into the medical dictionary. THIN LIPS are a genetic disease! Why should you have to pay for pumping them up?
  • Believe you are beautiful. Exploit what blogger Aaron S calls the AMERICAN IDOL LOOPHOLE. Seriously untalented people win because they think they can sing. So why not convince yourself you are beautiful?
  • Spread the rumour that hot chicks are stupid. On second thought, don’t bother. It won’t work. Men are so shallow!
  • Remember that age does not improve looks. So become famous early in life and, like The Who, trust in early onset Alzheimer among your groupies. They won’t notice that they aren’t living in the sixties anymore.
  • Let the Mayan calendar take care of things. The world ends in less than 20 days, so what do you care about beauty? -- Can’t get yourself to believe in doomsday? Then:
  • Find work at a call-in centre where all faces are equal. Oh, I forgot. They’ve moved those to New Delhi.
  • Work online and use a fake photo. I tried it. I posted a blog with the cover of PLAYING NAOMI: 22 hits. With a youthful photo of Greta Garbo: 633 hits.   What about the unlikely case of CNN asking me to put in a personal appearance? No problem.
  • Bring on the burka. And wait for my study: BURKA PAYS.