Friday, 10 August 2012


One day "that" could happen to you too. 
(The balding thing. The being King of 
England thing is much less likely.) 
Photo:  s_bukley/

Continuing on his mission to someday be taken as seriously as Mr. Ed the Talking Horse, Justin Bieber has treated another magazine to some choice morsels of wisdom. (Please see He's cute but dumb as a bunny, in which he explains to Rolling Stone the advantages of being "per cent" aboriginal.)
In an interview with Britain’s Rollercoaster magazine, the Biebs takes issue with Prince William’s thinning hair.
“I mean, there are things to prevent that nowadays,” he explains. “I don’t know why he doesn’t just get those things, those products. You just take Propecia and your hair grows back. Have you not got it over here?”
Well no dear, but what they DO have is a history of beheadings, so you might want to keep your 18-year-old smartypantsiness to yourself. And by the way, why are you even worrying about such weighty matters as the future King of England’s hairline? Don’t you have a WHOLE PAGE of three-syllable new lyrics to learn? 

One day "that" could happen to you, too. 
(Oops. Too late.)

Photo:  s_bukley/

And while we’re on the subject of hair, apparently supermodel Naomi "Bam-Bam" Campbell is losing hers. (But don't take my word for it. Click here.) Shocking paparazzi photos of her lounging on a boat in Ibiza reveal that her hair line is retreating faster than Lindsay Lohan's career. Years of getting four-foot-long extensions will do that to you, I suppose. 
The cruel irony is that even with no hair and at age 42, she still looks better than almost everybody. This makes me want to eat a big piece of cake and stop even bothering to try.  


After all, it is 2 o'clock 
in the damn morning!

I was watching a movie at 2 a.m. in my bedroom the other night, because not a lot else goes on in my bedroom at 2 a.m. and also because I'm an insomniac. Right there, I've hit upon two topics that might be interesting to explore in another post, but today we are staying on course. We are talking about manners and social skills.

So I was watching Country Strong at what I consider a reasonable volume. I live in a townhouse and I try hard not to be a bad neighbour, having had a few of them in my time. (Oh, I could tell you stories. But again, staying on course. I feel I'm making real progress here. Perhaps a reward is in order?)

So anyway, I'm watching Gwyneth and thinking, hmm, she's not bad, who's that cute guy, I'm hungry, etc., when I hear this pounding at my front door. I ignore it at first. I don't answer the door to strangers during the day, so I'm sure as hell not going to open it at 2 in the morning.
Then the doorbell starts ringing furiously, like a slot machine on "jackpot." That does it. I storm down the stairs and whip open the door.

And standing there is a woman I have never seen before.
"YOU," she huffs, "need to turn down your damn stereo! It's 2 o'clock in the damn morning!"
For a brief, fantastically enjoyable moment, the movie camera in my mind plays a reel of me slamming the door in her unfamiliar face while simultaneously flipping her the bird AND calling her a name that we will never, ever lower ourselves to repeat here.

But then I realize that this is what modern young moms refer to as a "teachable moment." (Not to be confused with a "spankable moment." Those were big in my day but are frowned on now, as are disposable diapers, soothers and other things that worked like a charm. . . . What IS it with me and digressing?)
I decide to teach this woman that there's a right way and a wrong way to say everything.
For example, if someone is blocking your view at the movie theatre, all you have to say is, "Excuse me, could I ask you to move just an inch or two to the left please?"
If someone butts in front of you in the Timmies lineup, simply say, "I was in front of you, actually, but it's okay. I'll let you buy me a coffee to make up for it."

And if your neighbour's noise is bothering you at 2 o'clock in the damn morning, simply say, "I'm sorry to bother you so late, but would you mind turning your TV down a bit?"
Most people will gladly oblige, and apologize as well. 
You'll encounter the odd cretin who'll tell you to bugger off, but you can always leave a burning bag of dog poop on her doorstep the next day. Strange how satisfying that can, or so I've heard.

I'd love to end this story by saying the rude stranger and I brokered a truce and became friends. Alas, after a flurry of huffy exchanges, I learned that A) this woman is staying with my neighbour B) I have more couth in my left armpit than she has in her entire body and C) some people simply aren’t “teachable.”
As for the movie, well, I just went in and turned it off. It wasn’t that good anyway. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


"She's gone? Cool. Let's go barf on the table."

I may not have told you this yet this week, but I am a dog person. A dog person who owns zero dogs and two cats. This confounds me on a daily basis, because if there is one thing I can't abide it's a sneaky cat. And there is no other kind of cat.

My two little guys are cute as hell, but they have no respect for me whatsoever. They maybe fear me a little, especially since that time I flung their kitty dish across the room while simultaneously shrieking their names after one of them barfed on the counter. 
That scared them real good. But fear is not the same thing as respect.

These two are very good at pretending to like me, but it's just a cover for their disdain. If they respected me, they would not continually ignore my command to stay OFF THE TABLE. I know they do this because every night before I go to bed, I polish my kitchen table to a glossy sheen, and in the morning it is covered with paw prints. Then I clean it again while they look on, silently and sarcastically communing with each via telepathic messages. Sensing this, I whip around to glower at them and they're all like: "What? What? Nobody said 'Stupid pet owner.' " 

I realize that some people have no problem with their cats crawling all over their table and countertops (see Get off the table, gaddamit!), besmirching them with their litter-infused paws. 
I am aware that some people believe their cats can be trained to stay off their table and countertops once and for all.
These people are what I like to call crazy. 
Because here is what really goes on when you aren't home and your cat is:

YOU: OK, I'm going to work now.
CAT: *blinks*
YOU: I love you, kitty!
CAT: *blinks*
YOU: Now remember, stay OFF THE TABLE! Byeee!
CAT: Fuck you. As soon as you're gone, I'm on the table. All day I'm on the table. It's great.

Editor's note: I can't help but comment that one never hears stories about dogs going on the table.
Cats' note: Fuck you. She doesn't own dogs, she owns us. And we're on the table. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


After the blowout weekend I had, which consisted of too much eating, drinking and dancing and not enough sleeping, my body has decided it would like to have a word with me. And that word, it turns, is "Basta." (Wow. My body speaks Italian. Good to know!)

 I hate you deeply. That is all.
(I spared you the naked version 
of this pic. You're welcome.)

Actually, it has been whispering this word to me for a while now, but I didn't know what "basta" meant. Today it finally got my attention by tag teaming with the full-length mirror in my bathroom.
WHOA! That is just rude! Are those what they call "muffin tops?" My God. I've got muffin tops.

Once it had me in that position, my body started hectoring myself: "Look at you! You used to be a track-and-field champ! You couldn't have pinched an inch even with a set of forceps.
I don't look or feel like I used to and and I've been lugging an extra ten pounds around for years now. Are you gonna do something about this or do I have to have a stroke to get your attention?"

Well you can't really ignore a threat like that. You can't tell yourself, "Pshaw! Don't listen to yourself. YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!" Not when you're standing naked and hung-over in front of a full-length mirror.

So today, as I sit here swilling water and Advil and wondering why I overindulge at Caribana EVERY DAMN YEAR, I am making a vow. Starting right now tomorrow, I am going to commit to be fit. I am going to tone up, get lean, eat clean. I am going to keep a Bridget Jones-style diary (it won't be the first time I've been compared to her) and bore you with the juicier details occasionally. I will do this for one full year six full months, at which time I will revisit the dreaded full-length mirror and 'fess up.

The "fun" begins right now. Going to make some scrambled eggs and cheese for breakfast, hold the toast. Hopefully the next instalment of this diary will have me reporting "Va benissimo!" For now, I bid you buon giorno. 
(Wow. This Italian body thing could come in handy someday.)


My beautiful mom (from left) circa 1967 with me and RJ; with my firstborn and "Dirty Gertie" circa 1985; and with me at my firstborn's wedding circa 2001.

Mothers are, by their very nature, self-effacing. The simple act of having a child changes them forever. It takes the love they once lavished on themselves and directs it at their children. This is more true of some mothers than others, but for my mother, it is 110 per cent true. She has been there for my brothers and I in every possible way, both when we deserved it and when we (mostly I) did not. She made a loving home for us, made home-cooked meals every single day, greeted us after school with toast and tea and conversation, brought us soup in bed when we were sick, encouraged our ambitions no matter how unlikely it was that we would ever achieve them. She did all of this while working full-time as an author of more than 100 books. (I repeat: More than 100 books.)

As a kid, you think your parents are embarrassing and unhip and possibly a little less smart than you are. Because you are a kid, you try not to be like them. You do not realize yet that the smartest thing you could possibly do would be to try to be exactly like them
Because you are a kid, you don't realize that wonderful parents are a blessing not everyone has...and that you will not have forever. 

I am no longer a kid. Not by a long shot. The good thing about that is that, with every passing year, I gain a deeper realization of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful mother. And how precious our remaining time together is. 

So Mom, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. We won't mention the number (EXCEPT TO SAY IT'S A BIGGIE!!!), but we will celebrate it in grand style. Have a wonderful day. No one deserves it more than you do.   
Love, Mimi

Monday, 6 August 2012


Point a camera at a group of sharp-dressed black men and this is will be their
 instinctive reaction. White men? Not so much.

It is almost impossible to spend your best dating years in multicultural Toronto and not learn a thing or two about other cultures.  And one thing I have learned is that there are some striking differences between black men and white men. (Editor's note: We will not be talking about the rumoured "endowment" difference, which may or may not be a phallacy. At least not this time.) 

These differences can take years to uncover, but if you want to fast-track your education, remember this: You can find out everything you need to know about black and white men at a party. 

Go to a black party and the first thing you notice is that everyone dances. A lot. They will have their own DJ and people will start swaying the second the first tune spins. 
You will also notice the men have taken some care with their grooming. They'll have funky things done to their hair, they'll be immaculately shaved, and they will praise each other's style enthusiastically. You'll hear a lot of "Damn, those kicks are sick!!!"
There is food, "cooked food," and I mean there are tables full of it. Fried chicken, jerk chicken, oxtail, rice and peas, gravy, salad, stewed fish, hardbread, trays of lasagna. You'll have a hard time finding a beer, but there will be bottles of liquor ... about two bottles less than there should be, because one of the guests will arrive empty-handed and drink OPB (other people's booze) for the rest of the night. 
There will almost NEVER be a fight, because weed and violence cancel each other out. But if there is a fight, the men, women, even the DJ will intervene and put a stop to it. Before you know it, the scrappers will be hugging each other and saying, "It's cool. I love you, man."

In contrast, I present: The white party. We've all been there. The boys roll in in jeans, T-shirts and ball caps. They will have shaved but they won't expect anyone to comment on that or their outfit, and in fact they'll be a little creeped out if you do. (You: "Hey, nice shirt, Kev, is that new?" Kevin: (recoiling) "What the fuck? You want to see my skivvies too?")
There is either no music or there is very loud AC DC. Which means there is no dancing. 
There are bowls upon bowls of chips, there's a veggie tray, and there's a barbecue loaded with burgers and dogs. But above all, there is beer. There will eventually be a bonfire  in the backyard, and at around 1 a.m., someone  will start drunk-yelling "Woohoooo!
Shortly after that, a fight will break out.
Every man at the party will soon be pummeling someone, and the women will stand on the sidelines and cry.
Eventually the men will get tired and forget what they were fighting about, and before you know it the scrappers will be hugging each other and saying "It's cool. I love you, man."

Editor's note: Maybe they're not that different after all.


The fact that our faces are blurry tells you a lot about 
the state of the photographer's equilibrium at this point.

I mentioned yesterday that there are some significant differences between black parties and white parties. And then totally by coincidence, I get invited to a black party. That was last night. I'm not quite sober yet, in fact it's 5 a.m. and I am still there. This is all kinds of wrong but would you please QUIT YELLING because I am aware that this is all kinds of wrong, and also, my head hurts.
So anyway. Here is what I did this weekend. I'm not bragging but I will say this would have killed most strong men.

Friday: Caribana preparations (this was well covered off in posts Countdown through Caribana!)
Saturday: Caribana. All day and into the night. We need a bigger word for bacchanal. 
Would you care for some shrimp, stewed rice, 
macaroni pie, jerk chicken and ribs? 
No? That's ok, there's plenty of other stuff.
Sunday: Surprise birthday party for one of the prettiest and sweetest ladies in Brampton. Food and fellowship and music a go-go. Still there as I write this. 
Menu: Shrimp in coconut curry sauce. Jerk chicken. Rice. Sweet potato. Fried chicken. BBQ ribs. Salad. Asian noodle salad. Perogies. Jerk chicken. (I said that already? Feck. I don't know...I'm tipsy, gimme a break.)
Monday: I'll let you know when I wake up, but I don't expect much will happen today other than: 
Fed cats. 
Turned up AC. 
Made tea. 
Closed blinds really really tight.
Promised self to remember never to do THAT again.
That, my friends, is what you call a good party. In any colour.