At the corner of Ste Catherine and Creescent sits an Energie Cardio ‘Select’ and a Burger King. They are on the South side of Ste Catherine, separated by Crescent. Both have entrances on the ground floor. Both have large windows facing each other. Burger eaters can watch cardio raisers and sweating exercisers see cigarettes enjoyed with large cups of coffee. The street is reality, the upper floor an escape. The upstairs of the Burger King is filled with smokers eating hamburgers and drinking coffee financed by the generous spare-change offerings of passerby on the street. The upstairs is a refuge from the tough face of the reality of –20 degree weather waiting outside. Stories are traded, alliances are made and warmth is savoured. These people are going nowhere, except back out to the street in search of more spare change.
“What are you doing tonight?”
“That girl come up to me and tells me she’s pregnant! (big laugh) She wanna have my baby…I can just see it now. That baby, when it comes out, a big smile with my big tooth missing.”
Across the street, a nubile young woman strikes an enticing pose on her workout ball. Her tight underwear visible through her tight yoga-style pants.
Inside the Burger King, a hand slaps the table as a bearded wheezing man laughs heartily and coughs loudly, emitting a cloud of smoke from the deepest depth of his lungs.
Each world is oblivious to the other, yet for each, this is an escape.
Through the smoke and din of rowdy stories I see the folks at Energie Cardio stare blankly into up-to-the-minute headline news and stock quotes on TV screens suspended over the front of their treadmills. It’s like a carrot suspended over the head of a rabbit. The rabbit never gets the carrot but continues to run forward in hopes of a tasty treat. Intermittently, a highlight from an NBA game is celebrated with two guys giving each other a big high five. A fist punches the air as a game winning three-pointer hits its mark. A fit woman steps of the stairmaster and slams a specially-formulated electrolyte-replacing drink. The coordinated exercise class stares themselves intently in the mirror as they complete a maneuver using large rubber balls in unison. A heart-rate is checked, a towel wipes down a stationary bike.
“She ain’t pregnant, she just going through menopause.”
“She ain’t pregnant, you shooting blanks!”
The men coffee-drinkers high five each other.
“Yeah, blanks all right: blank bullets.”
I find snow removal to be utterly fascinating. Maybe because I grew up in a place where snow removal meant turning on the garden hose and washing the snow away, but maybe not. Montreal gets rocked with snow, and then these magical snow removal elves come out in their flashing disco light trucks and whisk it all away, at night.
This song goes out to all overweight glasses-clad Japanese men in overalls who've ever fallen off a fence because they were so excited about the prospect of a bowl of steaming hot noodles, from Hokkaido! A staple of my diet for most of the 90s, and you'd be hard pressed to find a kid who lived in Vancouver in 1991 who doesn't know this commercial by heart. When I was a kid our neighbor Mitch's mom was Japanese and she said she remembered this ad from her childhood in Japan. So safe bet it's been playing i some form or another for about 40 years now. Being only 15 seconds long, the commercial always played twice in a row to make sure you'd never miss out on all the good parts. The original is in the previous blog post here. Thanks Japan!
1. Smoking kills 10,000 Quebecers every year.
2. du Maurier updated their packaging to help reduce its impact on the environment.
3. Our small steps make the difference.
My first impression:
So by smoking du Maurier cigarettes, I'll be making a difference? Right. Anyone who's stupid enough to think they're doing the planet a service consuming cancerous products wrapped in recycled paper deserves to, in my opinion, well, die.
Upon further consideration:
I wholeheartedly believe that the only way we can possibly "save the environment" is if billions of humans, well, die. Or aren't born in the first place. Whatever works.
Any family with five kids who claims to be making the "conscious choice" by filling the trunk of their flex fuel truck with reusable cloth bags filled with organic locally-produced family owned hand picked vegetables is completely delusional. You have five kids. The damage is done. You might as well buy a monster truck and crush baby seals for profit as far as the planet is concerned. Those five kids are going to use more planetary resources than you can ever offset by planting a tree or by installing low flow toilets. Sure, one of those five kids might turn out to be the climate Einstein and invent something that will improve the planet in ways we can only imagine, but let's get real here. They probably won't. Now, I've personally got nothing against anyone who was five children, hell, I've got nothing against anyone who has five hundred children. But please stop cranking out kids and then claim to be 'environmentally conscious'. In my school of though, the less humans on the planet, the better the established biological processes of nearly every other species will fare. Well, except maybe Pomeranians. Sans humans, the wolves will take care of 'em in hours. But I guess they're the same species. Which is pretty weird. So less people = happier and more successful all other life forms....which is kinda what people want to describe when they refer "the environment" though those rose colored glasses that leave out what makes up the real environment, or our surroundings. Forget virgin alpine peaks and pristine jungles. We're surrounded mostly by packed used car lots, porno theatres, nut and bolt factories, air freshener distributors, abandoned drive in theatres, and commission salespeople in airports who coax us into signing up for credit cards by offering us a free hat.
So back to the smokes. Here's my logic. I set out to ridicule this newspaper's obvious mixed-messaging greenwashed advertising cash grab. Then I though about it for a second. Less people = pretty much blanket improvement in all ecosystems of the planet. (Pocket dog variety excepted.) If a cigarette company wants people to believe smoking their product will help the rose-colored-glasses version of the "environment", then they're 100% right. You smoke, you die, you leave more room for other species. Everybody wins! Well, except for anyone who smokes these cigarettes. They just die. But consider these newly-dead smokers as an eco-sacrifice for the rest of us. If we're really serious about climate change, we need to make big changes in each of our lives. Smoking kills 10,000 Quebecers every year. This is a good start.
Important recession notes: Smoking and dying will create jobs in tobacco farming, manufacturing, trucking, convenience store retail, marketing, medical, mortuary services, funeral homes, cemetery maintenance, but will likely hurt companies that produce rose colored glasses.
Q: What are you up to these days?
Internet-wise, I am:
Real life wise, I am:
-Speaking at various events all over the map. (If you're interested in having me speak somewhere, sometime, please get in touch via this contact info.)
-Doing some stand up comedy
-Hawking copies of the red paperclip book, which in a fun-filled-fashion, tells the whole story, front to back. (Now in 14 languages! Only read Estonian? Perfect.)
-Making extremely high quality paintings and taking enjoyable pictures.
-Laying down giant club anthems as world famous DJ Dancefloor. Reliable sources say that DJ Dancefloor is blowing up on the West Coast. Seriously, can somebody please call the Fire Department, 'cause the charts are on fire. (Download his hottest club thumping beats here for FREE!)
-Traveling to many exotic locations.
-Trying my very best to be the world's finest husband. (Dom has a cooking school in Montreal called L'Armoire du Haut! Take a class!)(In English and en francais!)
-Looking for these guys.
In the recent or not-so-recent past I:
-Had a photo exhibit called in Montreal at the wonderful Galerie Armatta.
-Watched my brother Scotty and his pal Fiddy hitchhike to 50 states in 50 days.
-Named a cat.
-Made a googly eye collage of Dennis Rodman.
-Happened upon my doppelganger at a nightclub.
-Both of them.
-Discovered a secret lookout.
-Crated an obscure regional license plate-based flickr group.
-Learned about SAXercise.
-Got vaccinated against H1N1.
-Went camping with Retired Movie Star Dave Leroux.
Q: Are you really looking for these guys?
A: Why not?
But also, A: We have no idea who they are. It's an international manhunt.
Q: What's happening with the Red Paperclip House?
A: Last year I announced we were going to trade the red paperclip house. Since then, hundreds of offers have poured in for the house. The response was incredible. Nothing short of completely overwhelming from a choice of potential trades standpoint. Granted, most people offered a red paperclip for the house, which was cool, but my main goal in making the trade was to keep the best interests of the Kipling community in mind. Long story short, I couldn't make up my mind. So, I recently decided to donate the red paperclip house to the Town of Kipling. It's a community asset, and along with the world's largest red paperclip, a great tourist attraction! There are many cool things planned for the red paperclip house.
Q: What sort of ideas are in the works for the red paperclip house?
A: That's where you come in! If you'd like to get involved in the future of the red paperclip house, please go straight to the source and contact the fine folks at the Town of Kipling: firstname.lastname@example.org or 306-736-2515.
Q: Whereabouts do you live these days?
A: Mostly Montreal, with some Kipling and Vancouver thrown in for good measure.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Well, Dom and I are getting itchy feet. We plan to address that for the first half of 2010, and all the while keep my eyes peeled for another red paperclip!
Q: Seriously, you couldn't think of better metaphors than that?
A: Sorry, I'll work on it.
So that's about it for now folks. Please have a happy December, and never forget where we all came from.