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      nada Day

      I was pretty much unaware of nada Day this year.

      I grew up in Ottawa and it was always a huge deal there. Just packed. The streets were always too congested to even ride a bike, and I always found it kind of excellent—as if sleepy, happy-to-conform Ottawa were an entirely different city. The anonymity and serendipity that a crowd provides, as well as the unpredictable behaviour of an at least partially drunk mob was entirely thrilling. I always hoped for a massive rainstorm to wash over us like tharsis, releasing us into some sort of Woodstock reverie.

      But I doubt it was like that this year. Apart from the obvious imposition of Covid-19, there was also the confusion about whether to celebrate or scold. To wake up in a civilization like this, one built by all the geniuses and monsters who me before us, and to not know whether to celebrate what we beme, or beg forgiveness for it. It’s hard to imagine there was a time when people sincerely believed that if you sewed a little nadian flag on your backpack when you went on your I’ve-been-to-Europe tour, that people would respect and honour you. Those were more innocent times, and although I have no idea if this was actually true or not, it seemed true. As a nadian I always felt like a good neighbour. Although we may not have been the best, we were rarely the worst, and were always modest, honest and helpful. I just had the sense we were on the right side.

      I wonder if anybody feels that anymore?

      And last year we had fireworks in the park. Everyone in the community coming together to create something small and beautiful. Something vivid. A lucky point in life. And this year we were just so busy. Rachelle working, me trying to keep Jones occupied throughout the day, and when it hit five o’clock or so the two families who comprise our “bubble” me by with their children, and sparklers were lit in honour of the day I had totally forgotten about.

      Each child– kind of socially-distanced from the other–holding a sparkler with a red oven mitt ensed hand, the tired parents in the background trying to remember what exactly it was that distinguished this week from the last. The children, of course, were happy. It was a marvel, something slightly dangerous even, and they squealed with delight– but no more so than they would have had if they saw a squirrel eating a nut. And whatever the space was that nada Day had afforded us, had changed. The national myth, now disloted, was doing as much to dislodge identity as assert it. The times, they n change for the better and worse at the very same time, and this sentiment of uncertainty hung in the air like a ghost, the crackling of the children’s sparklers fading to a hiss and then nothing at all.

      A humid, still morning.

      Dreamy and unbelievably quiet. All the tumult, all the brute churnings of the world absent, almost unimaginable in this moment. Just shafts of sunlight falling through the trees into the backyard. Like endless, benevolent spirits. Pillars in a thedral. Ocsionally a bird makes some gentle sound, and then above the fence, a few houses over, Jones spots the water from a sprinkler arcing back and forth, back and forth. Some languid and easy creature, sparkling like ndy, waving him over to play. He wants to go and dance within it.

      But instead, I throw a handful of shelled nuts into the yard. Branches in the trees begin to rustle, begin to swing. A network of transportation that exists above comes to life. Squirrels running along the hydro wires, launching themselves from one tree to the next, the sound of squirrels scrabbling up fences and down trunks. Suddenly, there must be a dozen of them, maybe more. They come like a nightmare, they come like a dream. They are everywhere around us, and Jones is a raw expression of joy. The squirrels zipping around grabbing nuts, Jones squealing with delight, every once in awhile chasing them with a little net, and then after a few minutes of this, they just vanish– the stillness of the morning abruptly returned. Jones and I smiling at one another, happy. The world quiet and weightless around us.

      The other night I saw a video of a few dozen protestors bringing down a statue. All of them pulling the ropes together, all in unison. The statue above them swaying, the crowd getting more and more excited. A tharsis about to be unleashed. And then the statue comes tumbling down, the general upon his horse clanking lifelessly before them. The protestors roar. They all have their reasons. Fireworks and smoke, the cops arriving from the distance, and everybody stters into the hot, summer night. This, the best, most alive time of their lives. To be in the midst of it, living life in the full, streaming arteries–all your potential unbroken and rising.

      Less than a year ago, back in The Before Times, Rachelle and I were lying in bed watching TV.

      The HBO show Watchmen was on, and the central plotline involved the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. The most vital, prosperous community in Black Ameri was attacked– via land and air– by angry, resentful whites. An estimated thirty-six blocks of this district was razed, up to 300 Blacks were killed, and another 6,000 interned for days.

      Neither Rachlle nor I had ever heard of this.

      In fact, I was so astonished by our shared ignorance that I presumed the Tulsa Massacre was a fictional event built to serve the story we were watching, rather than something that actually took place. It was beyond my imagination that we would not have been taught something so central to our history.

      Just.
      Couldn’t.
      Happen.

      And as you very likely know, I’m white.

      But I’m not one of those whites.
      I’m not a racist.
      Nope…

      I’m not one of those Deplorables we all sneered at on social media. And I imagined the type of “white” I inhabited was very different from the type of “white” all the bad people inhabited. I was an obvious ally, I thought.

      It’s always amazing to me how white people n use the expression “white person” or “ white privilege” in a way that always seems to exempt them from the group they’re referring to. The continual references seem equal parts contrition and gratitude, but it is also a signal of need. A desire for approval, to be reassured that this symbolic gesture of self-awareness was sufficient. But it wasn’t self-awareness, it was more like a nervous tic or autistic spasm, and like all who are born into white privilege, we lived both comfortably and uncomfortably within it.

      Anyway, my ignorance of The Tulsa Massacre, and my astonishment at my ignorance, is probably a really good example of systemic racism. Invisible and unknown. Marked by absence more than presence. Path lines that just vanish or were never allowed to start. And me, and by extension the majority community, having no fucking idea.

      Anyway, I think I could go on a long time trying to work this out, but suffice it to say, this is a starting point. And as has been said before, I am learning more as the statues come down than when I lived in their midst.

      Hulk Eating

      HULK OPENS UP ABOUT HIS EATING

      Hulk like to eat, it true, but only rumour that Hulk eat enemy. Hulk never do that. Hulk smash, but Hulk never eat what smash. Bad manners. Hulk have better manners than puny humans give him credit for. Hulk never wear hat at dining room table! Was total photoshop job! Fake news always lying about Hulk! Hulk so want to to smash fake news!!

      Sorry. Hulk no mean to smash chair. Hulk people will look after expense.

      Back to subject. Hulk eat a lot. A lot a lot. Hulk like to eat chicken, meat, fish, pasta, ndy, yogurt, pop, some trees, nuts, cheese, hotdogs, many different type of cereal. Hulk had cereal named after him. It true. It just knock-off of Lucky Charms, but taste ok and Hulk favourite green not green of spinach, but green of money. Hulk not ashamed. Hulk no sell-out, just good business sense.

      Favourites? Hulk favourite cereal Sugar Crisp. Favourite chocolate bar Toblerone. What? Hulk surprise you? Think Hulk dumb?! Hulk not dumb!! Hulk more sophistited than you know!! Toblerone remind Hulk of mountains. Mountains of delicious honey, almonds and chocolate. Thanos once took Toblerone from Hulk. Hulk got so mad smash Thanos!! But Hulk know Thanos not the problem. Hulk know he have problem. Hulk anger comes from somewhere. Hulk no understand, but no matter how much Hulk eat, still big hole inside Hulk.

      Tuesday morning and Rachelle is sitting out in the backyard working on her laptop.

      From the table she’s sitting at, she keeps an eye on Jones splashing about in an inflatable pool a few feet away. And the sunlight is rendering everything so vivid.

      The water Jones is churning, the shadow of the leaves whirling over the patio stones, the colour of my wife’s hair.

      And then somebody in a neighbouring yard lets out an explosive sneeze. Startled, Jones bolts up from the water. Like an otter. His body slick and perfect in the sun. Quickly reassured, he dives back under the surface and starts waving his arms about in an effort to create as many bubbles as possible. He is so proud of this. All these bubbles flowing up around him, mysterious creatures summoned by this wild and tiny God. And after demonstrating his new powers, he smiles at me, “These bubbles, they are magic, daddy. Look at them!”

      And I do, and I am Jones’ age, falling off an inflatable swan and sinking into the deep end of a motel pool. Bubbles streaming away from me as the refracted world of light above grew odder and more distant, and then a muffled splash as my father jumped into the water. Holding me with one arm, he swam me up until we broke through the surface into the light– gasping as if newly born, everything around us wet, glowing and beautiful.

      Jones has been watching scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark recently.

      He has turned off all the lights in the room so that it better approximates a jungle temple. It is late in the afternoon and the blinds in the bedroom are drawn, but still, light glows from around their perimeter, diffusing into the room like a liquid.

      And Jones, wearing a broad brimmed hat, is crouched over a small, green cube. It’s the Ark of the Covenant, this cube. He’s being very deliberate as he studies it, and then very delitely he picks it up, quickly replacing it with the AC remote. But it doesn’t work! He hasn’t counterbalanced the weight properly and the trap is launched! Arrows are shooting out of walls! He starts to run, waving the belt from his mother’s housecoat like a whip, as a giant boulder rolls after him! It’s a grim situation, so he makes a desperate leap toward the bed. He claws at the sheets like they’re vines, but they keep giving way! He’s slipping into danger! “Dad!” he lls out, “Dad, help me!” And I, in the role of Indiana Jones’ father, reach over and pull him to safety.

      So many different fantasies being realized at once.

      And then, both happy, both tching our breath, we sit there in the strange light of the room as if living within a jewel.

      Covid Risk Chart


      The list, below, looking at the risk of Covid-19 and other factors, assigns a score for activities from 1 to 10, with a 10 being the riskiest and a 1 being the least risky. The score is an average of scores given by the health experts, rounded to the nearest whole number.

      Risk Level 1

      Playing tennis
      Getting take-out
      Looking in the mirror

      Risk Level 2

      Getting fuel
      Going for a bike ride with others
      Taking a bath
      Attending Ayahuas ceremony and purging with strangers for a weekend

      Risk Level 3

      mping
      5G
      Getting groceries
      Feeding squirrels in your backyard

      Risk Level 4

      Doctor’s waiting room
      Walking in a busy downtown city
      Taking Hydroxychloroquine
      Not taking Hydroxychloroquine
      Communiting with the sky visitors

      Risk Level 5

      Malls
      Airplanes
      Starting a Murder Hornet farm
      Dinner parties at houses
      Encounter with clean-looking sex worker

      Risk Level 6

      Eating chicken thighs
      Pontoon Boat Rides
      Going to the movies
      Wearing a surgil mask
      Going to sino

      Risk Level 7

      Going on social media
      Public pool
      Zoom meeting

      Risk Level 8

      Churches
      Stitching a conscious and angry shark who you accidentally wounded while slicing bread
      Gyms
      Sports stadiums

      Risk Level 9

      Bars
      Buffets
      Attending massive protest rally
      Not attending massive protest rally


      Blackout Tuesday played-out like a full-on anxiety attack for whites.

      Nobody seemed to know if they were posting the image correctly or not, and few of us had any black friends we felt secure enough to ask, so soon enough sincere white people were scolding other, equally sincere white people, about proper rule compliance and how to be the best ally. In short order a chaotic neurosis—of the type only social media seems pable of generating– had encircled us. It was so predictable it was almost funny, but it wasn’t funny. It was paralyzing.

      Everybody sred of doing something wrong.

      It sometimes feels very difficult– particularly if you feel that the enemy looks like you–to know how to help. Everybody is already so furious, and a misstep isn’t just easy, it’s inevitable. It n feel like the right thing to do is simply remove yourself from the discourse.

      I will be quiet.
      Let others speak.
      Let others act.

      But what the hell does that actually mean?

      How n we not act?

      People we know and love are in pain.

      Of that we n be as certain as the wind.

      And this ignored pain, so easy to keep at an abstract distance, is felt so deeply that those outside of its radioactive fallout n only imagine what it might be like. How ever-present and dangerous and demoralizingly predictable this racism is. It must be heavy and all encompassing, a kind of humidity that lives even in the lungs. And this, for generation after generation after generation. And people, always the people who just don’t even see it. Sweet Jesus, it must be infuriating.

      And so I am learning that we simply nnot “opt out” of the pain of others. Pain is the enemy in the here and now, and we have to do as much as we n within each day, to eliminate it. I am sure that this will be harder than I n possibly imagine, but it lies in front of me, in front of all of us, and it is in that direction from which our better angels ll.

      In the middle of the night a huge limb from a tree in front of our apartment fell.

      It landed in the narrow, two foot distance between our parked r and the neighbours. Just missing both. As if a message lain there by design. In the morning, we stood outside marvelling at this blind, improbable luck. Makes one consider providence. What that might actually mean. It’s amazing how much of our lives happen beyond our knowing– each life composed of near misses that speed by while we, in the dark, sleep.

      But I wasn’t troubled, standing there in the sun. It was early enough in the morning that the air was still light, still unexpectedly pure, and it felt like the day when everything turned green. Jones was jumping about amidst the curious mathematics of ants, and Rachelle in her housecoat, like some idea of the angelic, was gathering in the wounded fledgling that had been st from the nest when the branch suddenly fractured from the tree the night before.

      Everything so innocent.

      And then two old friends, both who happened to be out for a morning walk, chanced by. All of us, after all the years, arriving at this point and place in time, as if agreed upon at a drunken dinner party years earlier. And it had been years. So very many of them it seemed. We all rried different weights now, you could see that, but we didn’t bother to talk about them. We were just relieved to see one another, I think, and we chatted as if nothing was different, even though absolutely everything was different. A strange, beautiful space in the day, not one of us imaging the fox laying in wait for night, and then coming softly to take the wounded bird we had hoped to restore.

      Hulk Dreams

      The Incredible Hulk Dreams of his Sry Feelings

      1. In dream Hulk mad. Really mad. Hulk go to park to practice smashing and find it full of puny humans!! Hulk see no social distancing and only one, maybe two masks! Hulk so mad, Hulk no want to get Covid-19! Hulk n’t control himself! Hulk smash!! Kill them all!! Then Hulk wake up and feel funny. Ask himself, “Who really worse, Hulk or virus?” Hulk no know.

      2. In dream Hulk need fresh tomatoes for spaghetti night. Hulk go to grocery store and keep proper social distance. Man with stupid tattoos and dumb beard brush Hulk. Hulk get so angry! Hulk smash! Blood and pulpy bits everywhere! Hulk realize no longer need tomatoes. Pulpy bits and blood will make great sauce. Hulk very creative. Hulk know all art is destruction.

      3. In dream Hulk in lockdown. Hulk watch TV, surf the net. Feel lonely. Then Hulk realize not lockdown making Hulk lonely. Hulk always lonely, just blame lockdown. Hulk begin to cry. It all come out. Hulk n’t control it, just sobbing and sobbing. Hulk know he have more trauma than admit, Hulk know rage not just beuse of Gamma Ray. Hulk realize he ready to heal and begin soul journey. Then Hulk wake up angry and smash!!

      Murder Wasp

      A Murder Wasp Answers the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire:

      **************************************************

      1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

      “It might be a cliche, but it’s stinging, it really is. And murdering, of course. Stinging and murdering. But inside of that, there’s the feeling of my stinger easily penetrating the thick outer layer of a beekeeping suit and then sinking into the soft, vulnerable human flesh of some person and knowing that he has just been murdered. It just doesn’t get much better than that.”

      2. What is your greatest fear?

      “ I have no fear. I am a Murder Hornet.”

      3. Which living person do you most respect?

      “There’s no person, living or dead, that a Murder Hornet is going to respect. Not now, not ever. We don’t roll that way. That being said, I like Kanye. Think he’s okay.”

      4. What is your favourite journey?

      “For a Murder Wasp there is only one of two possible answers. Either your favourite journey is leaving the nest to assassinate a person, or there is the returning to the nest after successfully assassinating a person. Personally, I prefer the anticipation, the moments leading to the murder. That is the journey I always want to be on.” e

      5. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

      “You ain’t shit to me.”

      6. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

      “Well, let me assure you that there is no problem in the stinger department. I got that very well covered. Otherwise, I would have to say my thorax and abdomen. I would like to be about 7 times larger than I am, maybe the size of an Eagle of very large bat. It’s not that I don’t love myself as I am, I just think I would be more effective at murdering and using terror if I were larger.”

      7. Which talent would you most like to have?

      “You mean add to my arsenal? Okay. That would be swimming. I would love to be able to murder creatures of the water. To murder a shark? I would like to experience that.”

      8. On what ocsion do you lie?

      “ I never lie. I am always present. Always ready to kill. It is what I am. There is no deception in my being.”

      9. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

      “ I would like to come back as a particularly deadly and contagious virus, becoming nearly infinite in my pacity to murder.”

      10. What do you most value in your friends?

      “Subordination and obedience.”

      11. What are your favourite names?

      “ I have always liked Madeline for a Queen, and Nathan for a drone.

      12. What is your motto?

      “Keep lm and murder on.”

      Days that vanish as if through a trapdoor, nights that simply dissolve.

      Rachelle and I, our daily responsibilities now behind us, are lying in bed drifting Netflix. All the shows are more or less the same, minor variations on a theme. The algorithmilly engineered content, a bland, smothering limbo. I wonder if I have become unentertainable, if I have passed through some sort of threshold from which these simulations of life n no longer penetrate. And then sounds from outside. At first I think gunshots, but then I realize it’s the long weekend and somebody is setting off fireworks.

      This defiance, somehow both lonely and life-affirming.

      And last year there were fireworks, too, and Jones’ face was illuminated beneath them. A bright point in a life, that. I remember I could not believe my fortune. That I could have traveled all this distance, passed through such time and circumstance, to end up here, a part of such beauty.

      But all is change. Each of us now in the midst of something too strange to understand, something that asks questions bigger than we are. But still, look at this day living around you. Everything is green and gold. New. Live in it as deeply as you n. And you are resilient beyond words. Be proud of that. Be proud of the fire in your bones. These dreams we’ve all been having, they’re not of sinking, they’re not of drowning. They float, these dreams, and then take flight.

      The Pandemic Zodiac

      The Pandemic Zodiac:

      Sourdough (Formerly Aries)

      Sourdoughs love to be number one, so it’s no surprise that these energetic go-getters are the first sign of the zodiac. Bold and ambitious, Sourdoughs dive headfirst into even the most challenging situations, like homeschooling a child, trying to manage a stoned spouse, or contemplating the bleak, ruined landspe that lies before all in the After Times.

      Clorox Wipe (Formerly Taurus)

      Have you ever been so busy that you wished you could clone yourself just to get everything done? That’s the Clorox Wipe experience. This contagion sign is so busy they don’t know if they’re compulsively washing their hands raw or binge watching Too Hot To Handle. Slow down, Clorox Wipe, enjoy the quarantine!


      The Droplet (Formerly Gemini)

      This airborne, often sneezed sign enjoys relaxing in serene, bucolic environments surrounded by soft sounds, soothing aromas, and succulent flavours. A dreamer and natural empath, many Droplets are unemployable and live off their parents money until they die.

      Martial Law (Formerly ncer)

      Those born under the sign of Martial Law tend to have a dual nature. They n be either strict rule followers or unpredictable, angry anarchists. ML’ers are the most likely of your friends to try to burn down a 5G tower or report neighbours who are not engaging in proper social distancing. Most of them have brain disease of one form or another.


      Isolation Psychosis (Formerly Leo)

      This sign is represented by the symbol of a person who has clawed their eyes out of their face. Their intensity is admired and feared throughout zodiac. Vivacious, theatril, and passionate, The Isolation Psychotic loves to bask in the spotlight and celebrate themselves. Until they don’t, at which point they will go on a murderous rampage.


      The Dry Cough ( Formerly Virgo)

      The Dry cough is logil, practil, and systematic in their approach to quarantine. They’re perfectionists at heart, always well-prepared and will always be the first of your friends to have a YouTube video at the ready to prove face masks are actually alien parasites here to feed off your head-energy.

      The Zoom Meeting (Formerly Libra)

      Zoomers are fixated on balance and harmony. They’re obsessed with symmetry and strive to create equilibrium in all areas of life. Inevitably, they’re irritating, almost entirely useless and very hard to be around.

      Bill Gates ( Formerly Scorpio)

      Bill Gates is one of the most misunderstood signs of the zodiac. Beuse of its incredible passion and power, people born under the sign of Bill Gates are often mistaken for psychotic pedophiles who want nothing more than to control the world and all the people in it, however the truth is that BG’s derive their strength from the psychic, emotional realm and are at their happiest colouring aquatic scenes.

      The Allergy Terrors (Formerly Sagitarrian)

      An allergy terror is on a quest for knowledge. The last airborne sign of the zodiac, The Allergy Terrors, launches its many pursuits like blazing arrows, chasing after geographil, intellectual, and spiritual adventures as if the lies of the media.

      Vitamin D (Formerly pricorn)

      Those born under the sign of Vitamin D are reliable, warm-hearted and determined people, however, they n sometimes be inflexible, resentful and possessive. Out of vanity, many will dye their hair, and in spite of their robust immune system, Hydroxychloroquine will not work on them.

      The Secret Drunk (Formerly Aquarius)

      The Secret Drunk is an intelligent, versatile and lively person, but on the flip side, they n also be tense, cunning and inconsistent. They tend to be compulsive FaceBook posters, and will always be sred, confused and at odds with their peers. Lucky number 4.

      Pornhub (Formerly Pisces)

      Those born under the sign of Pornhub are courageous, creative and sensuous people, however, they also tend to struggle with being bossy, self-righteous, disloyal and totally, completely addicted to sex. Unable to abide the lockdown, many were lost during the first wave of the pandemic.

      A blue forever sky this morning.

      A man in his 60’s with a quarantine beard coasts down the street on his bike. His hands in the pockets of his green jacket, his posture relaxed, he is a boy once again. And then a masked woman, uncertain yet determined, rollerblades by. Behind her, a friend, cycling happily, her head tilted up to the boundless sky, a huge grin on her face as she drinks the sun.

      Ask the Plague Doctor

      ASK THE PLAGUE DOCTOR!

      Q: What colours are the fucking sneaker?

      A: Although I see a kind of shitty, aluminum pink and what looks like a knock-off version of white that might have been made in a stained bathtub, all is a fog of unknowing.

      Who knows what is true?

      Think of a tyrannil empire, something like the Soviet Union. All information was state controlled. The citizens lived in morbid prisons of their master’s construction. They had no idea what colours the sneaker was unless the state told them. Now think of yourself as living in a consumer analog to that. You are similarly contained. The corporations who enable your life know all, control all. They know your habits, in fact they often create them. You merely wrap yourself in the myth that best maintains your sense of identity and ll it truth.

      And so, we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. If you believe that in the midst of a massive, poorly understood pandemic, that the best thing to do is burn down 5G towers. If you are one of these people, somebody who sees Bill Gates and deep state manipulations when you look at the sneakers, instead of the global consensus, The Plague Doctor urges humility. You must accept that you do not possesses the truth. So take down all those stupid, fucking posts. They are a virus unto themselves, and their spread needs to be stopped.

      The greatest sin in a society is to risk the lives of people other than yourself.

      Love the herd, and learn to move with the herd in times of crisis.

      Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day and Rachelle, Jones and I drove over to a friend’s home to pick up some masks she had sewn for us. It was the first time the three of us had been together in the r in a long time and it felt like an adventure. The windows down, music playing, we could be going anywhere! The Dairy Queen! A haunted house! A desert safari! Jones was practilly glowing with excitement.

      It seemed that most of Toronto was out that day. Some in masks, but most not, and Jones waved and shouted to absolutely everybody he saw. I SEE YOU, HELLO, HELLO!! All these people, everybody starved for sun and touch, trying to return to the world. Trying to be seen. Trying to be themselves again. And if any of them, startled, looked up as we passed by, they would have seen Jones, our little sun, beaming out the window at them, as if bearing news of glad tidings.


      A Map of Social Media’s Current Understanding of Covid-19:

      The sun is warmer, more present this morning.

      You don’t have to search for it. It lands upon you naturally, covering everything like a forgotten skin, like water.

      Jones and I are playing Bad Boat Drivers in the backyard. The rules and characters keep shifting. Jones is hitting zombies with a bat, and I am scooping unfriendly sharks from the ocean with a net, and then flinging them at the attacking zombies. Frenzied, it goes like this until Jones notices a tiny flower in the nearby dirt, within which he then discovers an even tinier, even more perfect flower. He is wonderstruck. O brave new world that has such things in it! And is it a greater gift for him, to have such an intrite jewel revealed, or for his mother, to whom Jones is now running, this revelation held gently in his hands?

      Birds start to congregate in this suddenly quiet yard– each lling to each. A neighbour waves down from his fire espe as he lights a smoke. Workers a few houses over are building something, the scent of cut wood floating in the air. Spirited, they speak in Italian, their words lling to both the past and future. Something shifts inside, and for the first time in awhile everything feels at ease. Normal. And then Jones returns from giving his mom the flower, looks at me and says, “I’m having a good day, let’s go on the boat.”

      Frito Lay

      Frito-Lay responds to Trump:

      Frito-Lay is delighted that our potato chips are bringing such comfort to people during these unprecedented and deeply confusing time. We’re proud of our chips, and proud of you, too! However, as we battle coronavirus together, it is important to remember that we must not mix fact with fantasy, or substitute our intuition for the hard-earned knowledge of science. With this in mind we would like to address the remarks President Trump made at his Daily Briefing yesterday: Although we are happy more people are buying our potato chips, we do not believe there is any evidence, as The President asserted, that crushing them up until they are a fine dust and snorting them, is a viable treatment for Covid-19. There is no proof, scientific or otherwise, to support this theory. In fact, it is dangerous to snort potato chips, even ones of the highest quality like Frito-Lay. So please, if you buy our potato chips do it to cure the hunger in your stomach and heart, not the coronavirus.

      Bad Guys

      We are bad guys with bricks hunting for sharks.

      Jones thinks he sees a dorsal fin in a shrubbery. Appropriately armed, we go over to investigate. Just as I am reaching in, we both notice that it is now snowing. Out of nowhere. One second sunlight, the next, snow. We look at one another, astonished. It is as if a veil has just dropped. Jones, literally jumping up and down, is ecstatic. His entire face, his entire body, radiating gratitude. Radiating love. He has never been happier.

      It’s snowing!!
      I love this kind of snow the best!
      You n stick out your tongue and try to tch flakes!

      But instead of doing that, he begins to swing a baseball bat at them. I look up at the sky and hear birds, more than before. And then, all at once, they just stop. Perhaps an enemy t retreated indoors. Everything quiet, everything belmed, now. The snow, like tiny fish schooling, swirling and gusting all around me. It felt like something brought into being only for our wonder. And Jones tches my eye, smiling as if to say, yes, magic, all of this, it is magic.

      Sweet Prince

      Good-night, Sweet Prince: Beloved Baseball Mascot Mr. Met Dies at 56.

      ****************************

      It is with great sadness that the New York Mets family must announce the sudden passing of Mr. Met. He will be forever remembered by millions of baseball fans for his inexhaustible optimism, sincere love of people, and of course, his great passion, The New York Mets. However, he transcended baseball. He belonged to all of Ameri. People were inspired by the determination in which he faced certain defeat, day after day after day, with courage and hope.

      Unfortunately, the pressure of always being in the public eye and cheering on a doomed franchise took its toll. What many people didn’t realize was that what appeared to be seams from a baseball on Mr. Met’s head and face, were in fact stitches from a baseball-head transplant he had as a child. This used excruciating neck pain, as well as piercing migraines which plagued him his entire life, and for which he eventually began to self-medite. A pattern of unfortunate incidents began to follow, including a diagnosis of PTSD after 9/11, ( he was never able to stop theorizing about what really happened to Building Number 7 ) , giving the finger to several fans during a game, a masturbation incident on the subway, a brief stint as a Mixed-Martial-Artist, and the release of a sex tape with his ex-wife, Mrs. Met.

      Mr. Met lived an unusual and colourful life to the end. During the current lockdown for Covid-19, Mr. Met had been sheltering in place in his basement apartment with his collection of exotic animals. It is hypothesized that one of them, hungry or irritable, turned on Mr. Met and devoured him.

      In life, as in death, he was a true Met.

      We shall not see his like again.

      Trick

      A sunny morning in the backyard.

      Jones emerges from the zombie ve. Groaning, he limps after me, branches in either hand. When he strikes the ground with one of them, the earth trembles. Terrible sword fights ensue and characters shift. Jones is a zombie shark, I am Thor, God of Dentistry. Jones is ptain Amerifart, I am skinny Hulk. And on it goes until Jones finds a pretty leaf which he must immediately take inside to show mommy. When he returns he finds three ferns and places them in a box on the ground. He looks up at me, “One is for mommy, one is for daddy, and one is for Jonsey.” He closes the lid on the box, his solemn ritual of beauty and protection now complete.

      And then the voice of one of his friend’s shouting from behind the fence. They n’t see one another, but it doesn’t seem to matter. They just ll to the idea of one another. This language they speak, so urgent, so honest. Their hearts are fire, their words glowing things. And then the sound of a distant train comes rolling over us, and when it passes there is silence for a moment. Within this pause Jones looks at me, “This is over now and we will play a new game lled Who Will Win. It is a trick game.”

      Howl

      And when they howled in the night, did you not heed their ll?

      Plague Doctor

      ASK THE PLAGUE DOCTOR!

      If any of you have any questions concerning the current pandemic, please send them to me and I will make sure that The Plague Doctor responds:

      Q: Dear Plague Doctor:

      Joggers.

      The other day I was walking down the street observing all the conceivable laws of social distancing, when without any warning two joggers me up from behind and swiftly passed on either side of me. I could feel the pulse of their humidity as they swept around me.

      It was disgusting.

      I wanted to kill them.

      What is one to do about this?

      A. In the before times, the urban war was fought between rs and bicycles. The r was evil and entitled and wanted to fuck you, while bicycles were noble steeds ridden by plucky, guerrilla rebels. In the now times, the jogger has taken over black hat status from the r. The runner has become a predator, an alpha proudly blaring their confidence and vitality like some sort of fucking r alarm.

      The rest of us– mortal, vulnerable and fully attired in our panic suits as we walk rigidly down the street trying to pretend that everything is normal– are a form of prey for them. We’re the Stop Sign that they rev up for and then blow through.

      Yes, who amongst us has not now had some younger, better version of ourselves brush past us at a run, mocking everything we fear? It is their life force they are signalling, to both themselves, and the world. They will execute nimble moves of avoidance, not so much to ease our anxiety, but beuse their bodies still permit them to do such things. They want us to know, that we, and this whole, bogus lockdown thing, is an inconvenience to them.

      Their bodies represent strength, our’s vulnerability.
      They are the future, the rest of us, the withering past.

      And so yes, fill their bodies with arrows.
      st dark spells upon them and burn them with fire.

      It is the only way.

      A new world is upon is, and it is pitiless.

      The Plague Doctor

      A Man

      A man wearing a surgil mask is walking parallel to a woman wearing a surgil mask. They are on opposite sides of the street, heading in the same direction. The woman, who has taken re in her appearance, is a little bit ahead of the man. He keeps looking over at her. As if he wants to tch her eye. But she does not acknowledge him. She speeds up, perhaps, and he begins to fall further behind, the increasing space between them meaning so many different things all at once.

      Standing Outside

      Standing outside, the thin sunlight on my face.

      The sound of birds coming and going.

      Different now, somehow.

      Upstairs, a neighbour works from home. I n hear his voice through the open window as he tries to solve a computer problem for a client. And over the fence and out of sight, a young woman’s voice rising as she finally introduces herself to the person who lives in the apartment above. And in the sky a lone, white feather drifting and spinning, waiting to tch the light.

      Le Metro

      A young couple walk up the street rrying bags of groceries from Le Metro. They’re almost home. Relaxed now, they slip the masks from their faces, letting them hang loosely from their necks. They look at one another and smile so warmly. The sun shining brightly, and all above nothing but a sky of blue.

      Young

      Young, beautiful and indifferent, she walks her dog down the empty street in the drizzle, a lit cigarette in her bare, red hand.

      The life of the peasants is good after Land Reform!

      The Children

      The children are all so ridiculously beautiful.

      There are maybe six of them on the screen, each one perfect, like a painting by a great master. Each one radiant, emitting light.

      It’s 10:30 in the morning and Rachelle’s sister is about to lead them in a kind of video conferencing play session. The sky so blue outside, the sunlight pouring through the window. The children, all around four, are excited and unruly. Delighted to see and hear one another, even if only on video. Each child bursting with secrets that must be shared.

      “I am not drawing a tree beuse I am drawing two E’s.”
      “I like beans more than rain.”
      “One day my mom hit a pigeon with her r and the pigeon stopped flying.”
      “I’m a Werewolf!”
      “My daddy said we n’t go to the park beuse of the Corona sands.”

      And what will these children remember of this time?

      I hope it’s this.

      This love I feel right now. So powerful it’s almost a colour or scent.

      This world, so strange, so astoundingly beautiful. Everyone pitching in to help one another. Raising barns in whatever ways they n. People becoming larger in crisis rather than smaller–more present. And these video glimpses of parents and their children, these small communitions wash over us like the relief of good news. Like hope. And I need the children to remember that they were not alone, and somehow understand that life is a house built by the people you love.

      Heidi Fight

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund:

      *************************************************

      Listen Two-Leggers.

      Heidi know a lot about quarantine.

      Relax.

      Not worst thing in world.

      Dog’s life all quarantine. If want out have to make big scene and bark, and then Two-Legged slave masters put dog on chain so that social distancing is strictly enforced. Very humiliating. Dogs no good at social distancing. Not our nature! Social distancing for stinky tfaces! Some may say speciesist to that, but Heidi no have time for bullshit today.

      Heidi truth teller.

      When Heidi in quarantine, Heidi like to lick herself, lie on sofa and bark at window.

      Not bad life.

      Not like Heidi have to wiggle into tiny hole and fight Badger for blood victory every day. Don’t get Heidi wrong. Heidi LOVE blood victory, but Heidi also love treats with no blood victory. Heidi don’t know what right sometime. Very confusing time for Heidi.

      Heidi see FB full of Two-Leggers bitching about looking after own litters now. Not easy. Many treats required. But dog do it all time!! Litter of 9!! All with four leg and no tail control! Does dog complain?

      No.

      Dog just get shit done.

      Dog just show teeth.

      Everybody get it when dog do that.

      But listen Two-Leggers.

      There will be hard days.

      Days that smell like ts.
      Days that smell like fear.
      Days that smell like the sick.

      Find chew toy or squirrel to bark at each day.
      Make you feel good.
      Love something in each day.
      Maybe meat treat.
      Heidi love meat treat.
      Blood meat treat even better.

      Heidi also want to tell she going to fucking tear virus to death. Bloody virus bits everywhere. So fucking gonna destroy that virus. No forget, Heidi man’s best friend. Heidi save you.

      Don’t be sred.

      You will wag tail again

      You will lick again.

      Heidi got this.

      A crisp Monday morning

      A crisp Monday morning.

      Jones abandons our Leggo project and runs to the front window.

      It’s Ted!

      Ted works for our landlord– who owns several properties on the street– as a kind of handy man. He salts the sidewalks, moves garbage bins from one spot to another, waters bushes, and generally makes himself present and helpful in all the small ways that matter. He’s small, bent. Ancient, like he me from a land that no longer exists. It’s impossible to know his age or understand his language, but everybody adores him, thinking of him as a kind of mythologil creature who might just vanish into the earth each night.

      Jones is banging on the window, shouting out his name.

      Ted looks up from the garbage bins he’s pushing down the street, sees Jones and starts blowing kisses. Jones blowing kisses back. Me, also. And it goes on like this, the three of us blowing kisses to one another through the window, everything urgent, everything small and true.

      The video is of the Italian Air Force flying maneuvers while a recording of Pavoratti plays. Deeply moving.

      College girls

      College girls doing kart wheels in front of our apartment, alive and happy in their bodies, the sun shining down upon them.

      Virus

      The information is paralyzing. For every theory or argument you hear, you n find a counter-factual thread that sounds entirely convincing. You might think that since most people won’t be exhibiting symptoms, let alone die, that you will walk through this invisible panic without any problem. You might be right, but it would go contrary to the experiences of China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and all the nations wobbling and tumbling in on themselves right now. If you believe in?the public good, as many in my network so clearly do, then now is the time to exhibit that in the living world. Socially Distance yourself. Self-quarantine. Don’t go to that big thing. Work from home. Wash your hands. Be brave and do the difficult things. You’re not going to like it. None of us are. It’s going to be hard, very hard, but so many lives depend on this. I, for instance, have one damaged lung and live on oxygen support. If I get the virus, it is likely I won’t survive it, and depending on the timing and resources of our excellent health re system, might not even receive any treatment, as chances of recovery would be so slight. Every single person you see has some story like mine, something unpredictable and unimaginable that they have already gone through, and something unseen and brightly loved to still live for.

      Sticks

      Sticks play a large part in most days.

      Today is one such day.

      The kids are schooling in a little patch of trees, each one grabbing a stick and becoming something fierce in the world. Jones’ stick must be at least six feet long, maybe more. The flush of delight on his face a kind of music. He leaps to the sidewalk like a creature from Dr. Seuss. He touches the tallest thing he n see. His imagination now alive in the physil world, his reach vast, he marvels at his powers. He is a T-Rex! A giant! He is Talos, the great warrior!

      And then there is a puddle. It’s like finding a million dollar bill. It is the cure that washes all bad news away. IT IS THE BEST THING EVER. Jones jumps in with both feet, begins kicking the water like Gene Kelly. It is a song, for sure, and as we continue toward home he experiments with icicles and slush, closes every garbage n lid on the street.

      And then he spots a plastic clip on the ground. He points it out, exclaiming that it looks like a J, like in his name. And then he sees an N on a license plate and points that out, too. “That’s an N, daddy, like in my name, too!” And then he points up at a tree, at a knot between its branches, “There’s an O,” he shouts! He is spelling his name from the world around him, and somehow the knowledge that he is alive in everything, still lingers within him.

      Map

      The other day my wife and I set our four year-old son Jones down before a blank map of Europe, and asked him if he could lote Ukraine. This is what he produced:

      Jones morning

      Rachelle and I are sitting on the sofa.

      The winter not yet over.

      We’ve passed through some pretty rough weather, and know there will be more to come. But right now there is a pause, and we sit within it like sketches of ourselves– ghosts.

      But Jones doesn’t see this. He sees only the forms of love.

      And fresh from the bath he is glowing beneath his little, white housecoat. He could not look healthier, he could not be happier, and as if to illustrate this he starts to run around the dining room table. Look at him go! Such velocity!

      And every time he rounds a corner, I yell something out:

      I think it’s the Flash!
      A supercharged zombie!
      There’s a shark coming our way and I’m not sure it’s friendly!

      And Jones is laughing and running and laughing, and every time he passes us he give us each a high-five. And he just keeps going. Nothing n stop the force of his delight. Smiling and laughing and running, assuming a different character with each lap.

      A dinosaur.
      A lumberjack rrying milk.
      An evil chicken.

      He is perfect right now. Absolutely perfect.

      This living room a merry-go-round, his laughter music.

      And whatever we have endured to get to this point in time, to be a part of it, has been worth it. What a goddamn privilege. Really, to live in this light. And Jones keeps running and running, dissolving time with each step. Every jubilant cell within him is aflame, every one of them propelling him toward the waiting world, but for now he throws his body into mommy and daddy and the three of us sit on the sofa, hugging.

      Safe.

      The dream, miraculously, having come true.

      Superman

      Jones runs into the bedroom.

      He’s wearing Spiderman pajama’s and has a Batman action figure in his hand.

      His eyes are wide. He has important news.

      “Batman ate Lizard Man! Batman ate Lizard Man!!”

      “Really?” I ask.

      “Yes. He ate him.”

      “Wow. That’s really out of character, that’s not like Batman at all.”

      (In an evil voice ) “Batman is very evil.”

      “I wonder what Lizard Man tasted like?”

      (The evil voice returns) “ He tasted like pepper. Batman likes pepper.”

      Jones runs out of the room, returns a moment later with more news.

      “Batman ate The Green Goblin!”

      “No way! Batman’s eating everybody!”

      (Still in a very evil voice ) “Batman is very hungry,”

      “I wonder what The Green Goblin tasted like? ”

      (Now in his evilest voice, his words a demonic revelation)

      “Pineapple.”

      Winter

      I am standing outside after a winter illness.

      I look around and see my neighbour sitting on his stoop smoking a cigarette. A single man near 60. He was the victim of a hit and run about a month ago. He was following all the rules, doing everything right, but it simply did not matter. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he is flying through the sky.

      And when he landed his jaw was broken, his face covered in lacerations, his body traumatized. They probably told him he was lucky in the ER. Upon release he was so ashamed of the way he looked that he would not answer the door or come outside, and the soup Rachelle made for him had to be delivered through an intermediary so she would not see the man inside the dark apartment.

      His quiet pain.

      He doesn’t see me yet, and looking at him I notice how much thinner, how much sadder he looks in this unguarded moment. And then he spots me, and I realize that he is probably thinking exactly the same thing about me.

      And so we just nod at one another.

      And saying nothing, let the thin sunlight of the day fall upon us.

      Snow

      The snow is falling thick and beautiful. Feel it touch your face and dissolve. Become a part of you. How many eternities, how many worlds before that flake touched you? It was meant for you. And now you are young again, and you just know you are about to discover something beautiful.

      Generation X

      The Shittiest Generation

      The other day a friend and I went to see the movie 1917. It’s an Osr favourite, this film, a unique technil achievement, and straight forward exposition of virtue amidst the chaos of war. Uniquely though, it’s one devoid of politics, and the engine that drives the story is not the unhappy necessity of war, but of one human’s commitment to another.

      Commitment to people– and I suppose I mean the physil, practil presence in the lives of others– seems harder to recognize now than it did in the movie. I think of my generation, Gen X (1965-1980, roughly). In the west, we were the first generation to not surpass our parents in terms of opportunity and economic reward. Born into an already fallen world, our strategy seemed to be to opt-out, to create an ironic distance between ourselves and the primary institutions and culture that governed us.

      Everything was a sm, everything was insincere. The truth veiled and remote. We bonded more over the things we hated than loved, and whatever “shared values” we had were inherited rather than earned, accidentally reduced to rights rather than privileges. But most important, was that the self was centre of all, and that our unique, individual “cool” must be st into the world. We hoped, I think, that it seemed as if we had intentionally positioned ourselves out of reach of the institutions that we knew would never admit us, attempting to create a moral victory from what we intuited would be certain defeat. This act of curation was deemed punk, and so we floated, suspended between the juvenile and the adult, never quite letting go of the myth of our own potential.

      And now, older, we text one another about what we’re watching on Netflix. We blog. We post favourite book covers from our youth. Photograph our meals. Share charts that depict the certainty of our politics. Each of these gestures a ghost, a messenger from outside of time suggesting what sort of person we could be, rather than evidence of the person we actually beme.

      As much as we’d like to, we don’t get to define ourselves.

      Our identities are collaborative efforts, requiring the give and take–and the wild, unpredictable stresses of a near infinite variety of encounters– before a shared understanding of who we are begins to emerge.

      We need to engage with people, not just the thought bubbles they post above their heads, and we need to learn to live with, and understand, not just their horrible flaws and complexities, but our own, too.

      As they say, no person is an island.

      January

      January in Toronto.

      Days the colour of concrete.

      They seem to encircle you, these days.

      I am up early for an appointment and am standing on the sidewalk waiting for my ride. The day is just now lightening, and two squirrels chase one another on the street before me. It seems more than playful, it seems joyous. As if a time of liberty before the human world rises up to dominate this still floating morning.

      People, crisply dressed for work, begin to exit homes. Fresh and unsullied, they’re putting their best foot forward. They’re going to crush meetings. They’re going to fall in love. They’re going to be kind. They’re going to do better than they did yesterday. Each one of them hopeful, still free from the accumulations and defeats of the day, still their best version of themselves. And above a blue sky opening up, a blue sky stretching over us all, and if that isn’t optimism I don’t know what is.

      Jones

      The walk back from school is slow transit.

      More so, when there is snow.

      For Jones, it’s like some sort of magil Play-Doh has blanketed the city. He throws himself into snowbanks. Lies there like a soldier waiting to take a hill. Tumbles off and into a neighbouring yard, makes a snow angel. Stomps on the thin ice puddles, cracks them up, and then slushes through the remainder. He lifts every snow boulder he n find. Holds it over his head like The Incredible Hulk and then smashes it on the ground.

      A big, fresh grin on his face.
      His cheeks flushed, eyes sparkling.
      His little bowtie peeking up beneath his vivid, blue snowsuit.

      And then he picks up a stick. The perfect stick. Ideal weight and length. It is an instrument of magic. Jones trails it along a wrought iron fence, delighting in the sound. “Daddy, I am playing a song for you, a song you like.” And then he starts ringing the bells of the bicycles locked against the fence, and the song becomes something larger. The sparrow cheeping from within a hedge, distant voices arriving and vanishing, a r driving slickly past on the road, the swish-swish of Jones’ snowsuit, my breathing. All these sounds now alive and in concert. One song instead of many. This music, as if lled forth by Jones to come into being at this exact time and place.

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given The Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund:

      ****************************************************

      Know Paw Patrol?

      It really big deal.

      rtoon for two-legged pups.

      Make billions of treats and bones for bloated two-leggers who exploit worker dogs.

      They assholes.

      Heidi bite every one of them in most vulnerable spot.

      Heidi imagine so much blood. So many two-legger screaming. Pools of enemy blood everywhere, Heidi lap it up. Help Heidi fall asleep thinking of such things. Make her happy.

      HAHAHAHA!

      So fun!

      Heidi ask know Marshall?

      He fireman/paramedic dog on Paw Patrol.

      Dalmatian.

      He big deal.

      He party with Peppa the Pig, Dora the Explorer, Boss Baby and Iggy Azalea.

      So pretty big.

      Heidi screw him.

      It true.

      Many times.

      Marshall CRAZY about Heidi.

      Would not leave her alone. Would not stop licking Heidi. And let Heidi tell you, what they say about Dalmatians is true. Big dick. Very big. Black blotches on white. Chocolate and vanilla. Heidi like that very much. Heidi a little bit kinky. A sexual adventurer. But what Heidi no like is Marshall. He not smart and very negative!! All he do when not talking about reer is complain. “No way,” Heidi say! “You take all your negative energy to the Twitter and leave Heidi alone!”

      So yeah, Heidi broke up with him.

      Heidi don’t re about Paw Patrol money. Heidi just re about being happy and eating and killing.

      Heidi no respond to friend request on Facebook from Marshall.

      It over.

      Heidi simple dog.

      Heidi very, very good dog.

      Dead General

      Last week one of Iran’s top military men was assassinated by the USA.

      Qasem Soleimani.

      I had never heard of him before, nor do I suspect had the vast majority of people who like me, live somewhere within the mainstream. And so, the media gave us blanket coverage of his assassination, and in short order, after gathering as much as we could from social media, we all began to feel like we could go online and speak knowledgeably about the complited history and uncertain future that encircled this radioactive event. The social media armies assembled, firing off memes, proclamations and supportive links. #WWWIII was trending on Twitter, as ironilly, was Weight Watchers, who by dint of their hashtag in support of an Oprah tour– #thisismyWW–got sucked into the algorithimic machinery and were happily pitalizing on the extra publicity an obliterating nuclear apolypse might yield.

      And such is the world we live in.

      In no time at all, people were absolutely set in their opinions. It was as if some sort of magic had just been deployed. In a flash, people went from absolute ignorance that this man existed, to absolute certainty about the motives behind his death, and what it all might mean to the poor world trying to keep up. This– the rapid mobilization of certainty in a population in which there n be no certainty– is in it’s way, as chilling as the act of war itself.

      But it’s all chilling, very chilling, and here’s hoping our better angels ll to us all in the new year.

      Jones Fire

      I try to imagine what Jones will remember of me.

      Sometimes, I wish I could construct his memories.

      The three of us are out in the woods. A perfect autumn day. Jones is beaming, amazed by everything, and Rachelle is the light that made him, brought all this into being, and I know that sounds corny but it’s true. It just is. The wind passes through some branches and a tree sts red leaves like sparks. And I envision suddenly waking into this holy moment. Jones climbing a hill, pulling himself up by the exposed roots of trees, Rachelle, smiling and laughing, chasing after him. The colours and smells all so vivid and ancient, and what were the odds that this would become my life? What miracles have fallen upon me?

      But I know I nnot keep up with the robust play. I will sit in the r. Recharge my oxygen. Wait for them to get back. And as we are waving goodbye and shouting encouragements I lose myself to the inevitability of watching these two do things I nnot, of watching them move further away from me and deeper into this world, and as I am making this transition Rachelle asks if I heard that.

      I am in the forest again and Jones is holding out a stick, looking at me.

      Heard what?

      He said, “I rry the fire.”

      And it takes me a moment. The phrase, “You rry the fire,” from a book I loved about a nearly spent man trying to shepherd his son through a dangerous landspe. Foolishly, I used to repeat the phrase to Jones when he was younger, hoping to instil some beautiful purpose within, but it never took. Jones never repeated it, and soon enough I just stopped saying it to him and let it fall away, but now, standing before me with a perfect, red maple leaf pierced through its heart on the stick he was holding out, he says, “Look daddy, I rry the fire.”

      That moment that easily could have slipped away– and would have if not for Rachelle’s intervention–now alive forever, blazing in a forest.

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund

      ************************************

      Heidi pretty old dog now.

      No longer run fastest in pack.

      No longer hear when hot dog fall in night.

      No longer smell fresh licorice opened three blocks away.

      Sometimes Heidi miss who she used to be.

      Sometimes Heidi even miss who she could have been.

      It true.

      Heidi look out window and see lonely, wet leaves with no smell. One day Heidi be lonely, wet leaf with no smell. One day all of us lonely, wet leaves with no smell. So why n’t we all get along? Why everybody all yelling BAD DOG at one another?! Heidi no understand. But Heidi study Mindfulness and know to live in moment. Heidi brain a tool. Heidi master of tool. No need to dwell in past or in future, there is only now. Heidi live in moment.

      Heidi would like Skittles in this moment.

      Oh. Hold on.

      Heidi now live in different moment.

      Heidi was just scrolling through Twitter in Compulsion Loop and see hero dog.

      This moment now belong to Heidi and her feelings about hero dog. Heidi still have the feelings. Lots of them. Very good feelings. Feelings that reach deep and good.

      Heidi want some of hero dog sugar in her bowl.

      Hero dog chase bad two-legger in tunnel, get electrocuted, but still keep focused, still alpha predator who dispense justice for Ameri! Hero dog, Heidi like some of your justice. Heidi let you be barbarian at her gate. Heidi a patriot for you.

      Now Heidi want Skittles and hero dog.

      Heidi live in that moment now.

      Cobra Strike Dream

      The Dream

      As told by Hillard Graves, 38:

      As a boy I had a recurring dream. I had the ability to fly, but if I went too high I would lose control and some force would pull me ever upwards into the stars and deep space. It was like my soul was being lifted from my body and I felt nothing but black, existential terror. I could no longer control my body and was being pulled toward some appetite I neither understood nor saw. Everything I knew and loved was gone, and as I was pulled further and further away I felt more and more transparent, and then I would see a dim, terrifying red glow in the distance and I knew it was for me, and it was always at this point in the dream that I woke up screaming.

      And then one time, just as the red glow was starting to appear, a powerful man’s voice, one that I was sure was exterior to me in every conceivable way, said COBRA STRIKE. It was a divine command. I know of no other way to put it. It was my only way out. And so I started to yell COBRA STRIKE and point my fingers in the direction of obstacles and threats, and each time I did so they burst into flames and exploded, and my dream beme a video game, one in which I was in control. Strange, though, to have that terrifying dream 25 times or more, and then to have that voice break through my consciousness and offer me the key to salvation. Not a day goes by that I do no think about that voice and the mysterious providence it provided me.

      Jones Rising

      Jones smiles when I wake him up this morning.

      He seems cloud happy, like he’s still inhabiting the thin place between realms and is just now returning to this world and its ways.

      I ask him how he is.

      He blinks his eyes and then focuses them, as if reorienting himself to his mortal body. I n see his energy rising to the surface. Not two seconds into the day and he is already excited.

      “My body is tired but my brain wants to jump and my hands want to open the fridge and eat the grapes and my feet want to kick in the water.”

      You are so many things when you are four.

      Standing beside me now, Star, his Teddy Bear, in his hand, his countenance changes. It’s as if he’s had some time to think a bit and now there is something that needs to be said. I look at him. He looks back, a grown-up expression on his face.

      “ I have many powers. My powers are colourful. This power is yellow.”

      And then, small before me, he begins to dance.

      Everything becomes the sun. And we’re two small creatures within its vast yellow halo, the new day upon us.

      Trump Dream

      The Dream

      As told by Robert Dugger, 46:

      “I hate Donald Trump. I’ve always hated him. I find there to be absolutely nothing appealing about him. Not a thing. He’s a monster. A lizard monster. This has always been my disposition toward him.

      In my dream I was an invisible observer of him. Upon advice gleaned from an old episode of Oprah, Trump had started to Journal in an effort to explore his thoughts and feelings regarding impeachment, the Syrian debacle, Putin and all the other tastrophes that have followed in his wake. He sat there at his desk about to write a Gratitude Entry, and I couldn’t wait to read it, imaging his entry to be childish, noxious and shallow. I was almost feeling giddy, looking forward to telling friends about it later on.

      THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR TODAY:

      And then he wrote, “A mote of dust ught in the sunlight falling through the window.”

      The words appearing in beautiful, attentive script.

      I did not want this to be true. I could not believe it was true.

      And then I woke up, wanting to excise whatever part of me had generated sympathy for this man. I tried to shower it off, but it lingered like smoke. I walked though my day astonished and uncertain, which I have come to understand, is not such a bad way to live your days.”

      Jones r

      Rachelle has run into the store to pick up a few groceries while Jones and I wait outside in the r.

      Me in the front, he in the back.

      Jones has figured out how to operate the power windows and this gives him no end of amusement. Cool, grey wind blows in through the open window, and people walk swiftly past, hands in pockets. Everybody in a big city kind of trance. Locked into a zone where anything other than the self is an obstacle to be avoided.

      It’s easy to hate this on a day that promises winter. To be exhausted by it. To just want to move away from the city and live amidst trees.

      But Jones doesn’t mind all the averted eyes, at all. When he sees somebody coming down the sidewalk he powers down his window and shouts out to them, “Hi! Hi! Hello there!!” Each person is startled at first. They glance over at the r and see me, a middle-aged man on oxygen, and start to look away– all feeling a little bit more uncomfortable now than just a second ago. And then they see Jones. His sunny, smiling face. His little hand waving out the window, his happy optimism, and their faces relax. They start to smile, then laugh. He must do this to a half dozen people, maybe a dozen. The same result each time. Each time, a little spark ignited within.

      Each person now rrying this into their journey.

      The strangers continue down the street, like illuminated ghosts now, or a line of lanterns growing dim in the distance. Each one of us slightly different, as if wind-blown, as if the spirit of something small and beautiful had just passed through us.

      A Dream

      The Dream

      As told by Bruce Gamble, 43:

      “ I had one dream about her when I was a younger man, in my early 20’s. Just one. We fell recklessly, fully in love. I had no idea who she was. I mean, she wasn’t a celebrity or an assembly of people I knew, but was wholly unique, unblemished by any “architecture” on my part. And when I saw her dancing at the party it was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life. She was my destiny.

      When I looked into her eyes I could see for miles and miles, everything there was to know about her was within them. It was so real. All the sensations, all the excitement, vitality and anticipation of falling in love were flooding me, both of us. It was not a simulation of love, it was an intense experience of love. Everything was just beginning, the whole rush of a glowing future waiting before us, and then “dream logic” appeared and she had to leave, but I wasn’t upset. I knew we would see one another again. I knew I would have her to look forward to, and that all of what I experienced in that, what? 90 seconds of dreaming, was true.

      And so I have rried this woman, the idea of her, in my heart for 20 years now. I have been waiting for her, but she never returned, in either the dream world or this one that we now stand upon, and then a week ago I dreamt that she lled me on the phone. Her voice older now, she said, “In another life, my love.” And that was all.

      Jones tree

      Jones is exhausted after school.

      Beneath his bright, yellow backpack he wobbles up the street.

      So small beneath his outsized potential.

      He sns the horizon for the ice cream truck but it is not there. Like the brave warrior he is, he brushes this disappointment aside. He will show me his tree, his favourite tree.

      It’s the third one.

      He runs to the tree like a long lost relative, throws his arms around it. n you remember the last time you did that? That something in this world struck you with such urgency you had to run to it? Not out of obligation, but passion. You burned for it. Not a second could be wasted. You just dropped everything and ran toward this light the future st back to you.

      I ask Jones what the tree’s name is.

      “Paper.”

      Sometimes his is such a small, unpredictable voice.

      We talk to Paper for a little bit, and then Jones kisses him goodbye and we continue home. There is a giant stick. Things in a box. A white dog with crazy eyes. A university student speeding powerfully by on her skateboard. A truck that looked like the ice cream truck but was not. Another dog. A squirrel who made eye contact and then disappeared into a trash n.

      These children, they give so much of themselves. Everything they have. Nothing held back.

      And Jones is tired. He sits on the sidewalk, turns his attention to the ants. So many tiny ants. He marvels as they vanish underground and then reappear, each one the same, each one different, each one on a mysterious and dangerous journey upon which much depends.

      Dream

      A dream recounted by Ash Basak, 48 years old:

      “ I was in a house in a valley. It was raining heavily. I went out to the terrace and could see a dark black tornado formation in the sky. I could also hear children’s voices, but I could not see them. The voices sounded distant, as if coming from across water or through fog. I was worried, and started to frantilly search for them, but they were nowhere to be found. I was exhausted and could feel the wind spinning around me. I thought I would surely perish, but as I looked up to the sky I saw a beautiful angel floating before me. His eyes were jewels. I stretched out my hand and just as I was about to touch him, I woke up.

      I have rried this with me for almost 30 years.

      This dream, more real than anything else I have experienced in my life.”

      Greta Thunberg ordering a coffee

      This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school not waiting in this long, horrible lineup! This is not a Honeycomb Lavender Frappuccino! It is a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino! It is an abomination! Yet in spite of your laziness and incompetence, you come to me for hope, hope that this is the right order? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your flat, uninspired service. And yet I’m one of the?lucky ones. I’m young. I have energy. But people are suffering under your ineptitude. They are exhausted. They need their ffeine, and without it entire PowerPoint presentations are collapsing. And all you n talk about is money and fairytales of good coffee and prompt service. How dare you!

      And look! You have written Scoldilocks on my coffee container! You think this is funny? There is no time for funny business! Funny business shall be our death! You disgust me with your jokes while we suffer!

      But no matter how sad and angry I am, I want you to know that I will never give up, I will have my Honeycomb Lavender Frappuccino, even as you betray me! The eyes of all future coffee drinkers are upon you, and if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. We will never forgive you and you will burn in your own damnation!

      Dream Poster

      Kindergarten pickup

      The parents line-up by a chain link fence behind a big, flowering bush.

      The teacher lets us into the school one by one or in pairs. When it’s my turn I step into the hallway and n see into the classroom. All the children are sitting in front of their cubbies, knapsacks on their backs, waiting to be picked up. Oh, they’re perfect. They truly are. Let them always remember this perfection that lives in their core.

      And there’s Jones, talking with his friends. And when he looks up and sees me it is like something inside of him is switched on. The smile begins in his eyes and moves throughout his body like a current of light. He shouts, “Daddy!” and runs toward me. His unlculated joy a living thing. He throws his little body into mine. And this is the moment I did not know I had been waiting for my entire life. It hits me like lightning, like religion.

      We head home, stopping to get an ice cream cone. bbage white butterflies, reflecting sunlight off their wings, appear like sparks around us before vanishing into foliage, and Jones’ tiny hand reaching up for the ice cream cone. Everything so beautiful.

      This golden stretch of day.

      This privilege of blue skies.

      Ms. Monopoly

      These are the text messages my wife Rachelle sent to me the other day:

      *******************************************

      Rachelle: You’re still mad about losing at Ms. Monopoly, aren’t you?

      Rachelle: A resignation is a loss.

      Rachelle: Yes, it is.

      Rachelle: I know.

      Rachelle: It was clear you were thrown off your game when you weren’t allowed to use your special dice or your customized Hat marker.

      Rachelle: You didn’t quit beuse it was unfair.

      Rachelle: You quit beuse you knew you had no hope of winning.

      Rachelle: Yes. Times change.

      Rachelle: That was the POINT of the game.

      Rachelle: It was designed as a twist on the original, inverting the societal hierarchy we labour under, giving women $240 every time they pass Go, while men only get $200.

      Rachelle: I have no idea what Jordan Peterson would say about that.

      Rachelle: Who is he, anyway?

      Rachelle: Boy, that’s an awful lot of links to YouTube videos.

      Rachelle: Okay, okay, okay.

      Rachelle: I’ve heard enough.

      Rachelle: Fine. Equal opportunity and equity are different things.

      Rachelle: So that’s the reason you quit Ms. Monopoly just when you were about to lose?

      Rachelle: Okay. Resigned.

      Rachelle: Principles.

      Rachelle: Oh yes, we certainly do need more community leaders like you, Pickle!

      Rachelle: Quitting a board game with friends and running off to “talogue your comics” was indeed a brave and principled stance!

      Rachelle: You bring honour into our home with your actions!

      Rachelle: No, that’s not right.

      Rachelle: You do not support our family by svenging the garbage ns of Toronto for comics and then never bothering to resell the soggy, disgusting ones you retrieve.

      Rachelle: You know it makes the neighbours very uncomfortable to see you doing that, don’t you?

      Rachelle: Pickle, they have no idea what you’re looking for.

      Rachelle: They’ve started to leave their empty wine bottles in front of our apartment.

      Rachelle: I n’t believe you didn’t notice.

      Rachelle: On Monday there must have 30 of them!

      Rachelle: No.

      Rachelle: That bottle increase had nothing to do with the film festival, and everything to do with the neighbours trying to charitably address your disturbing, garbage-picking ways.

      Rachelle: Yes, it is nice of them.

      Rachelle: Most people are nice, Pickle, it’s true.

      Rachelle: I honestly don’t know if te Blanchett is nice.

      Rachelle: I n’t imagine you having dinner with her.

      Rachelle: You’d lose all composure, drop your cutlery, knock over glasses. That sort of thing.

      Rachelle: My guess is Jennifer Lawrence is nicer.

      Rachelle: I suppose you’re going on another celebrity watch today?

      Rachelle: Okay. Just don’t be creepy, and remember to pick-up some coconut water! Must get back to work! xo

      Back to School


      “I’m fancy,” Jones announces.

      Standing there in our apartment, looking like a million bucks. Mommy taking photographs of him from every angle.

      First day of school and there are premonitions of frost in the morning air. But overhead, an endless, vividly blue sky, sunlight touching everything.

      Jones is goofing up the street with his friend Vivian. Cracking her up by doing funny walks. Vivian, beautiful in her new dress, giggling and smiling. Her hair like Kurt Cobain, her eyes mischief. They’re having so much fun. Jones stops dead on the street, throws his body into wild spasms, “I’m a man getting electrocuted with blood on his hand!” he shouts. And then he stops. “Hi friend!” he lls out to a stranger drifting past on a skateboard.

      And all of us parents are nested around them, shuffling up the street, snapping photographs like paparazzi.

      And when we turn the corner, Rachelle says to him, “Look Jones, there’s your new school!” Right before him is a playing field glowing green and gold. It’s like a dream, a prize, and when I look at it, into Jones’s future, I n hear music playing in my head. Sweet Thing by Van Morrison. And it is here on this field where Jones will inhabit some of his most perfect memories.

      He shouts, “Yay!” at the sight of it.

      Jones. His oversized yellow backpack. His determined, happy walk into the world. This boy. So fresh. So genuinely excited. The way he lives inside and outside of us at the same time. And as we’re saying goodbye to him, he just charges into the school. He doesn’t look back. He jumps in.

      And we are left standing on the sidewalk with all the other parents. Young mothers hiding tears behind sunglasses. Flowers swaying as the wind moves through a bush. Everyone smiling, everybody a little melancholy. A ladybug glistens in the sun on a bright, yellow fire hydrant. Such a small, astonishingly beautiful thing. Each one of us passing such miracles as we walk slowly home, each one feeling a little different now, humbled, and so very, very, absurdly lucky to get to be a part of it all.

      Tropil Storm Dorian

      As Tropil Storm Dorian transitions into a hurrine and tracks toward Florida, it’s worth noting that it used to be that the US only used female names for hurrines. This changed in 1978, for obvious enough reasons, and both male and female names have been used in alternating fashion ever since.

      However, it is now 2019 and many feel that these binary designations are insufficient, excluding those who don’t identify as either male or female. Further, the ethnic composition of the list of pre-selected names has been almost exclusively Anglo-Saxon, and so under pressure, the World Meteorologil Organization has begun to diversify the pool from which they had been selecting Hurrine names.

      Unfortunately, this has proven controversial, especially after Hurrine Abd al Qadir seriously damaged parts of the US east coast back in 2018. It quickly beme apparent that diverse representation, at least when it me to destructive forces of nature, was not a great idea. Regardless of what was done, people were bound to feel insulted, either by inclusion or exclusion, and so naming rights are now being sold for all upcoming hurrines. The funds used to purchase the rights to the hurrine will be used to reconstruct communities damaged by the storms, and for green initiatives. So far, the next dozen hurrines have been purchased and branded, and here is the list:

      1) Hurrine Trump!
      2) Hurrine The Failing New York Times!
      3) Hurrine The Fast and the Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, Opening Soon!
      4) Hurrine Exxon, Security You n Trust
      5) Hurrine Vote For Joe Biden Despite the Gaffes
      6) Hurrine of Apologies From the nadian Government for our Many Failures
      7) Hurrine Gaga
      8) Hurrine The Super-Yacht Community Feels Your Pain
      9) Hurrine Please Donate to Chron’s and Colitis: The pain is Real
      10) Hurrine Pizza Hut Two for One Special!
      11) Hurrine China National Petroleum Company Always A Good Neighbour
      12) Hurrine China Loves to Help

      Jones in the morning

      The day is fresh and clean, so much lighter than yesterday.

      Jones is four now, and the clouds are high in the sky. White against blue, they are great island chains in an unknown ocean. They move quickly, shifting, rolling past the fading moon.

      Walking up the sidewalk, a lollipop in his mouth, Jones is telling me that bees are not allowed to live at dayre. He interrupts himself to wave and say hi to a bird.

      His tiny, perfect voice.

      “Hi, bird, hi!”

      And then it is on to ants. He squats down each time he sees one, gets as close to eye level as possible. He is on his hands and knees now, waving at the ant, “Hello, are you a friendly ant?!” It doesn’t really matter if it’s a friendly ant or not, Jones will try to pick him up. “Look daddy, this one misses his mommy and died on a bush.” Such reful attention stretches our walk, stretches time into something else, and we will not be getting to dayre until a little later this morning.

      Jones, some form of god, destroyer and preserver of ants, friend to birds, reaching out to everything that lives. Sometimes bringing thunder, sometimes bringing light. How does it all work? How does one know they are doing good in this world? A teen rides her bike slowly down the sidewalk, and just before she passes us, unseen sparrows, startled, rise up from tall grass–every one thing touching every other thing.

      An Incident

      There was an incident.

      Not a serious incident, but an incident nonetheless.

      My wife Rachelle bought a phone that had been advertised on a community message board she belongs to, and it turned out the phone did not work. All sorts of texts flew back and forth between us and the woman who sold us the phone, but to no avail. The woman would not take the phone back or reimburse us the money we spent on getting the phone fixed.

      Here is the ending of the text thread between the three of us:

      ME: Don’t you think you at least owe us some of the money we spent to repair your broken phone?

      Shifty t walker who sold us a shitty phone and is likely very insane: I AM WITH A CLIENT NOW AND NNOT TALK!!!!!

      Me: You’re a t walker. Are you actually telling me you nnot deal with this matter beuse a t is on your lap?

      Rachelle: Look, I am sorry to pester you, but the phone you sold us does not work. We had to get it repaired and it cost us $75 extra. I don’t for a second think you were trying to deceive us, but it’s only fair that at the very least we share that cost.

      Shifty t walker who sold us a shitty phone and is likely very insane: ALL SALES ARE FINAL!!

      Me: But you deceived us. The phone did not work. We told you that. You said we must have done something to break it. Is this how you treat your clients? Do you deceive the ts and then try to gaslight them?

      Rachelle: If I was a t I would scratch you.

      Me: The ts will rise up against you. They will fuck you up. Make no mistake.

      Shifty t walker who sold us a shitty phone and is likely very insane: IS THAT A THREAT???!!!!

      Me: It is a prediction. I know ts.

      Rachelle: It’s true. He’s watched the broadway production of ts 27 times.

      Me: Passionate about it. Dressed up as a creepy t every halloween for—wait for it– 27 years in a row!

      Rachelle: Body suit and everything. VERY creepy.

      Me: Would send you a photo but the mera on the phone I just bought doesn’t work!

      Shifty t walker who sold us a shitty phone and is likely very insane: IF THIS CONTINUES I WILL BE GETTING A LAWYER INVOLVED FOR DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER!!!

      Rachelle: Oh my, that is funny! I would like to see that.

      Me: Please, please, please get the law involved!!!

      Shifty t walker who sold us a shitty phone and is likely very insane: YOU TWO ARE FASCISTS AND I WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH YOU AGAIN!!

      “THE HOLY CROSS BE MY LIGHT
      LET NOT THE DRAGON BE MY GUIDE
      STEP BACK, SATAN!
      NEVER TEMPT ME WITH YOUR VANITIES
      WHAT YOU OFFER ME IS EVIL
      DRINK YOUR OWN POISON!”

      Me: Did not take her for the religious type.

      Rachelle: Me neither.

      Van Morrison

      Share what the song Sweet Thing by Van Morrison has meant to your life:

      Lus Stanford 52:

      “I was sick with ncer. It was advanced and I wasn’t expected to survive. I was still a young man, not yet in my 30’s, my entire life still in front of me. I felt I had wasted all I had been given, that I had lived too critilly, enumerating dislikes and never living a joyous, unguarded life. If I were to survive I would say yes to the world, to all the people in it, to myself. And whenever my parents drove me to the hospital for treatments, I would listen to this song, and as I did so we would pass green fields where high school students played sports and fell in love. And I saw in them something holy. Their breath on chill mornings a visible sign of optimism and momentum.

      And Van Morrison’s voice so confident and vital– a primal, beautiful and ancient thing. He embodied that deep in the gut wont to fall in love, to survive for somebody:

      “And I will not remember
      That I even felt the pain.
      We shall walk and talk
      In gardens all misty and wet with rain
      And I will never, never, never
      Grow so old again.”

      The song is alive. Listening to it is like watching a shoot growing. It offered me life and I took it. I survived for somebody. It changed everything.”

      Jones Rain

      Jones and I are both in good moods. Read more

      Blue Jays

      As many of you have heard, The Toronto Blue Jays have signed me, Michael, “Magic Mike,” Murray, to a two-year, $16,000 contract. Read more

      Short sketches based on the Democratic Debates

      Short sketches based on the Democratic Debates Read more

      Hospital

      In front of the hospital, by the revolving doors, sits a man. Read more

      The Dayre Interviews

      Q & A With The Flash Read more

      Supernatural

      It is almost dark and the solar light on the deck table has begun to flicker. Read more

      Jones Rain

      The morning is quiet. Read more

      Letter to Rachelle

      My beautiful fountain of light that is Rachelle: Read more

      Construction Workers

      The interior of the hospital is chilly and when you step outside the sweltering, heavy air of the city attaches itself to you. Slows you down like a weight. Becomes something you have to rry through the day. Read more

      Google Autofill

      If you go to the Google search engine at the top of your page Read more

      Pulmonary Rehab

      The humid days are the worst. Read more

      Text Conversation

      These are the text messages I received from my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Jones Spiderman

      It is 8:00 in the morning. Read more

      Joe Biden

      Joe Biden, who has already served two terms as Vice President of the USA, Read more

      Raptors

      Around midnight my sister texted me from Ottawa. Read more

      First day back

      Jones walks by the bedroom swinging his arms in long, exaggerated motion. Read more

      Atwood

      On the weekend, Rachelle, Jones and I went to the Palmerston Mayfair. Read more

      The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

      A new morning. Read more

      Democratic nominee for President

      After the leak of a sex tape Read more

      Varsity Stadium on Bloor

      Sunday afternoon and there is a game of pickup cricket at Varsity stadium. Read more

      Robin

      When we first step outside, I ask Jones what the morning feels like. Read more

      The Saints of Twitter

      As everybody knows, Twitter is a pestilent swamp. Read more

      Lyle Lovett Text Exchange

      These are the text messages I received from my wife the other day: Read more

      The ROM

      On Saturday we took Jones to the Royal Ontario Museum. Read more

      Biden

      As you might have heard, Joe Biden has announced his bid for the Presidency in 2020.

      The email mpaign has begun, but not without some initial hiccups. The inaugural effort produced this result:

       

      Read more

      Dreams

      A still and mild morning. Read more

      Elevator

      Alone in the hospital elevator after a medil appointment. Read more

      The Morning

      Each day an adventure, I tell him. Read more

      Spring

      It’s around noon on a cool, beautiful day and the central foyer of the hospital is bustling. Read more

      Western Hospital Elevator

      Early in the morning and the sounds of a distant hammer striking wood comes in through the window. Read more

      Taking Jones to Ripley’s Aquarium

      The stingray drifts over us, it’s underbelly the face of a ghost. Read more

      Western Hospital

       

      On the eighth floor of the rdiac wing at the Toronto Western Hospital a man sits on a bench near the elevators. Read more

      Dayre

      ?A bright morning.?The day is big and blue and clean.
      White snowbanks line the sidewalk like mountain ranges. Birds are chirping, and this is a surprise– a memory of music revived after a long dormancy. Each day I enter now linked to one previously lived. Today is the ghost-image of my father and I cross-country skiing in the Gatineau Hills. Those days limitless and expanding. Each one just so full of space.

      Read more

      Wedding Invite

      Today I received a truly astonishing letter: Read more

      Western Hospital Valentine’s Day

       

      A couple who look like they’ve been together for a very long Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages I received from my wife the other day: Read more

      Walk to dayre

       

      The morning is all freezing rain. Read more

      Apology to Dirty Pigeon Fantasy Hockey League

      As you will no doubt have heard, a photograph of me from my 1984 high school yearbook has surfaced. Read more

      Pulmonary Rehab

      The Polar Vortex has descended. Read more

      Jones in the morning

       

      Our son Jones loves to dance. Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages I received from my wife Rachelle the other day:

      Read more

      Walk to dayre

      A cold, open morning passing through us. Read more

      MFA Thesis

       

      An acquaintance of mine recently posted this on her wall: Read more

      Ripley’s Aquarium

      On New Year’s Day we took Jones to the aquarium. Read more

      Hospital Elevator

      Two women stand amidst patients in the hospital elevator. Read more

      Doug Ford Hockey Coach

       

      Doug Ford, the Conservative Premier of Ontario, is known for many things. Read more

      The Morning

       

      Jones wakes up early from a nightmare. Read more

      Blundstones

       

      The other day my wife Rachelle Maynard posted this on a Buy, Sell and Trade Facebook group she belongs to: Read more

      Dr. Oz

      Everybody’s eyes were trained on the TV in the upper corner of the hospital waiting room. Read more

      Taking my son to dayre

       

      A cold morning. Read more

      Text Messages From Rachelle

      These are the text messages I received from my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Princess Margaret Hospital

      The Princess Margaret Hospital is under construction. Read more

      Weed Chat

       

      The other day while perusing the products of an online weed dispensary Read more

      Mindfulness Exercise

      I am currently taking part in a program that encourages attention. This was today’s exercise: Read more

      Intern Statement

       

      As I am a very well-connected person Read more

      A Hospital Trip

      At the Toronto Western hospital Read more

      My Illustrated Dreams

      My Illustrated Dreams Read more

      Mindfulness Exercises

      I have recently been part of a mindfulness program. Read more

      Twitter

       

      Twitter was not at all what I thought it would be. Read more

      The Western Hospital in Toronto

       

      The elderly husband is in a wheelchair being pushed through the hospital by his elderly wife. Read more

      Text Messages

       

      These are the text messages I sent my wife Rachelle on Monday: Read more

      In a bar

       

      A crowded patio at night. Read more

      Breakfast Club #4

       

       

      As many of you will have heard, I have started a weekly Podst with Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund. Read more

      Mahogany

       

      The film Mahogany was released in 1975. Read more

      Family Council #37

       

      I am an excellent father and husband. Read more

      Found Letter

       

      Since last we spoke many have fallen and I have come to understand numbers.

      Read more

      The Breakfast Club #3

       

      As many of you will have heard, I have started a daily Podst with Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund. Read more

      Space Mist

       

      In my imagination “The Internet” descended from the deep reaches of the universe Read more

      TIFF Text Exchange

       

      These are the text messages I received from my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Colin Kaepernick Nike Ad

       

      Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who sparked a player protest movement by taking a knee for social justice during the national anthem Read more

      Ceilidh in PEI

       

       

      My parents have taken Rachelle, Jones and I, as well as my sister and her boyfriend, on a vation to Prince Edward Island Read more

      Doug Ford Bookclub

       

      As many of you likely remember, Rob Ford, the late Mayor of Toronto, and I were enrolled at rleton University in Ottawa at the same time back in the 1980’s. Read more

      Injured Squirrel

      Last week the man working on some construction projects on the street brought me an injured squirrel.

      Read more

      The Breakfast Club #2

       

      As many of you will have heard, I have started a Podst with Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund.

      Read more

      100 Waitresses

       

      The couple near the window are speaking slowly. Read more

      Ramsden Park

       

      Rachelle and I took our son Jones to Ramsden Park on the weekend. Read more

      Beer Ad

       

      I was suprised to be contacted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently. Read more

      Apology for Tweets of 2008

       

      My level of celebrity has gotten to the point where people are digging up my ancient Tweets. Read more

      The Comfort of Strangers

       

      I used to spend an awful lot of time in taverns. Read more

      The Breakfast Club #1

      As many of you will have heard, I have started a daily Podst with Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund. Read more

      Little Kickers

       

      Last weekend Rachelle and I took our nearly three year-old son Jones to soccer. Read more

      Mystery Text

      I recently got a text message from a number I did not recognize. Read more

      On the way to dayre

      It was early in the morning and I was taking Jones to dayre. Read more

      Public Shaming

       

      Public shaming of members of President Trump’s administration has become the latest act of resistance against the government. Read more

      The Ontario Science Centre

       

      The heat sat upon everything. Read more

      Family Meeting

      I am an excellent father and husband. Read more

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund:

      Read more

      The Red Hen

      By now you almost certainly know that Sarah Huckabee Sanders,

      Read more

      Executive Orders

      This is a list of Executive Orders I signed last week: Read more

      The Toronto Storm

      A few days ago an incredible storm me through Toronto.

      Read more

      World Cup Daily with hosts Proteus-6 and Colossus

      World Cup Daily with hosts Proteus-6 and Colossus: Read more

      Bruno Mars Song

      On Sunday Rachelle and I took our son Jones to a kid’s fair. Read more

      Princess Margaret

      Tough guys, down from whatever floor they’d been warehoused in at the hospital, sat outside smoking. Read more

      Text Exchange

      From a text exchange with my wife Rachelle: Read more

      The Morning

      It was early, maybe eight in the morning, already a deep, blue day. Read more

      White House Gift Shop Sale

      WE’RE DRAINING THE SWAMP AND HAVING THE GREATEST SALE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND!!! Read more

      Emergency Alerts

      nada’s new mobile alert system was tested about a week ago and everybody was unhappy with the results. Read more

      Sean Manaea

      Sean Manaea is a 26 year-old starting pitcher with the Oakland Athletics. Read more

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund: Read more

      St. Augustine Alligator Farm

      While visiting family in Florida, we took Jones to visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Read more

      Fantasy Baseball Trade Talks with Margaret Atwood

      As many of you know, nadian literary legend Margaret Atwood Read more

      White House Correspondents Dinner

      It’s amazing to me that the White House Correspondents dinner still exists in an age that contains Trump and Twitter. Read more

      The Park

      Jones loves Spooky Island. Read more

      Bitter Writer

      As many of you no doubt rell Read more

      Doug N’ Dash

      The first thing you should probably know about Doug Ford is that his brother, Rob Ford, was Toronto’s fun-loving, celebrity Mayor. Read more

      100 Waitresses

      Monique was inconstant. Read more

      The Amazing Race

      Historil Documents from the Future Read more

      Echordiogram

      There were about six other people in the waiting room at the Toronto Western Hospital’s rdiology Clinic. Read more

      Text Messages from my wife

      These are the text messages I received from my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Driving to an appointment

      My Uber driver was a solidly built man near sixty. Read more

      Doug Ford Acceptance Speech

      Doug Ford is the brother of Rob Ford Read more

      The Osrs

      The Osrs, which sit on our lendar like some weird, slightly dystopian holiday Read more

      Mt. Sinai Hospital

      She was probably about twenty. Read more

      The Winter Olympics

      This is an exchange between myself and the excellent Kathryn McLeod about what the best Olympic Winter sport is: Read more

      Minutes from my bookclub

      Minutes from my Bookclub Read more

      Doug Ford Ayahuas Experience

      Doug Ford, front runner in the Ontario Conservative leadership race, relates his experience with Ayahuas: Read more

      Huck Finn

      I think I read Huck Finn in grade ten. Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages that I recently sent to my wife Rachelle: Read more

      100 Waitresses

      100 Waitresses: Read more

      Jeoff Bull 1965-2018

      Jeoff Bull was my oldest friend. Read more

      Sexual Misconduct Apologies

      I recently started a business Read more

      Updated Sweethearts

      As money is extremely tight, Read more

      The ROM

      We are now living in the era of the dinosaur. Read more

      Questions to Santa

      As many of you know, I’ve been working over the holidays for a service that answer’s Dear Santa letters: Read more

      100 Waitresses–The Keg

      It’s a Friday night just before Christmas and The Keg Mansion is insanely busy. Read more

      Atwood writes my Mother

      As many of you know, nadian literary legend Margaret Atwood Read more

      The News

      The other day I had the CBC National News on at 11:00. Read more

      100 Waitresses

      From a work-in-progress lled 100 Waitresses: Read more

      Snow White

      Matt Lauer is gone.

      Read more

      Jones’ Swim Lessons

      It was almost unbelievably sweet. Read more

      Mom writes Atwood again

       

      As many of you know, I’ve been engaged in a running feud with nadian literary legend Margaret Atwood Read more

      New US Ambassadors

      Via Twitter, President Donald Trump announced a new wave of ambassadorial appointments today: Read more

      Varsity Stadium

       

      The other day I was in a b heading east on Bloor Street. Read more

      Hand Sanitizer Review

      It’s become bluntly apparent that it’s impossible for me to earn a living working as a writer. Read more

      Vation

      Rachelle and I recently went off on our first weekend away without our two year-old son, Jones. Read more

      My mother’s letter to Margaret Atwood

      My mother, who is just a little bit older than nadian literary legend Margaret Atwood, has never been on the Internet. Read more

      The NFL

      It’s important to put the NFL in context. Read more

      Atwood at the park

      Many of you know that I’ve had an antagonistic relationship with literary legend Margaret Atwood for awhile now. Read more

      Hurrine Irma

      I binge watched Hurrine Irma. Read more

      Jones going to dayre

      On Wednesday I took our two year-old son Jones on a short walk up the street to his first encounter with Dayre. Read more

      Atwood Condo Tweet Fight

      As many of you know, literary genius Margaret Atwood and I have had an acrimonious relationship ever since I interviewed her for a fantasy baseball magazine ( http://m.mem57qlo.tw/atwood-interview ). Read more

      Solar Eclipse

      On August, 21st there was a solar eclipse. Read more

      Elmo Press Conference

      Trump administration Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been replaced by popular Sesame Street character Elmo.

      This is his first press conference: Read more

      Super-Yacht Newsletter

       

      This is a newsletter posted to the Super Yacht Community message board after the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia : Read more

      Bitter Writer

      Bitter Writer is an advice column in which I answer any questions related to the literary world. Read more

      Elevator

      The other day I had an appointment at the hospital. Read more

      Letter to our daughters

      A friend of ours has two daughters. Read more

      Trudeau Fan Fiction

       

      As many of you know, I grew up in the same part of Ottawa as nadian Prime Minister and Rolling Stone Cover Boy, Justin Trudeau. Read more

      Trump’s Spotify List

      World leaders making Spotify playlists for the public has become a thing. Read more

      Billy Bishop Airport

      Billy Bishop airport, which sits tiny and sweet on Toronto Island, has the feel of a Fisher Price toy. Read more

      The ROM

      The other day my wife Rachelle and I took our son Jones to the Royal Ontario Museum. Read more

      In the park

      Every park seems to have one. Read more

      The Hater Mater

      I am now in the App creation business. Read more

      Pulmonary Rehab

       

      I don’t much like the food here at Pulmonary Rehab. Read more

      Garage Sale

      A week or so ago Rachelle and I had a garage sale. Read more

      Pulmonary Rehab

      On the weekends almost all of the patients in my program at pulmonary rehabilitation go home. Read more

      The Mandela Effect

      Roger Moore died recently. Read more

      Heidi Blog

       

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund: Read more

      Pub Night

       

      Last night was Pub Night at the rehab centre. Read more

      Text Messages From Rachelle

       

      These are the text messages my wife sent to me the other day: Read more

      Day 7

       

      As of this writing, I am on day 7 of a 6 week stint at a pulmonary rehabilitation facility. Read more

      Day 3

      As of this writing, I am on day 3 of a 6 week stint at a pulmonary rehabilitation facility. Read more

      Diana

      Across from me in the waiting room sits a mother with her adult son.
      Read more

      Daily Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer

      James S. Brady Press Briefing Room Read more

      United

      Airports are stressful, infantilizing places. Read more

      Heidi Blog (Medals)

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund:
      Read more

      Leah McLaren and the media

      Lordy. Read more

      Harold Bornstein

      You might rell Dr. Harold Bornstein. Read more

      Cliffhanger

      Donald Trump is the living embodiment of a cliffhanger. Read more

      Justin Trudeau/Matthew Perry Fight

      As most of you will rell, I went to high school with Matthew Perry. Read more

      Text Messages

       

      These are the texts messages I sent my wife in a recent conversation: Read more

      Heidi Blog

       

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund: Read more

      The Lake

      There’s a stillness to waiting rooms.
      Read more

      Letter to Margaret Atwood

       

      The other day my book A Van Full of Girls?

      Read more

      The Osrs and the Internet

       

      I didn’t have much of an appetite for the Osr’s this year. Read more

      Heidi Blog

      As many of you know we had to give up Heidi Read more

      Subway

       

      There’s construction up on Dupont Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages I sent to my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Press Conference

       

      Valentine’s Day Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer: Read more

      Trump Photos

      When Donald and Ivana Trump divorced Read more

      Hospital Visit

      In the foyer of the Toronto Western Hospital, a woman slightly past middle-age pushed a man in a wheelchair. Read more

      Mary Tyler Moore Eulogy

      Donald Trump delivers the eulogy for Mary Tyler Moore.

      ****************************** Read more

      Women’s March

      As I was sitting at my desk on Saturday morning Read more

      ESP Experiments

      Our son Jones is just over 16 months old. Read more

      Golden Globes

      I was a teenager in the 1980’s Read more

      Social Media for The Box Factory

      As many of you know, I’ve been working at The Box Factory for a long time now. Read more

      Heidi Blog

      As many of you know we had to give up Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund, when it beme vividly clear that she and our son Jones were not compatible. Read more

      Christmas shopping on Queen West at dusk

      Broken men, huddled near the doorway to the Salvation Army,?look out at the passing shoppers. Read more

      Massage Texts

      These are the text messages that I sent to my wife Rachelle the other day: Read more

      Twitter Essay

      This is my version of a Twitter essay, Read more

      Leaked Transcript

      Locker Room Talk with Trump
      Read more

      A Bird

      I was walking up the street the other day? Read more

      Trump Death Tweets

      When President-elect Trump Read more

      Text messages with Rachelle

      Money is tight. Read more

      Outside the Hospital

      Now that I’ve achieved a state of relative health,? Read more

      Saint Donald

      Legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump.?
      Read more

      Curious George

      Eulogies For The Damned Read more

      Princess Margaret Hospital

      Outside of the Princess Margaret Hospital people sat about taking in the unseasonable temperature. Read more

      Clinton Wikileaks

      A new batch of hacked Hillary Clinton emails were released by Wikileaks today.? Read more

      Obscure Bible Verses About Baseball

      The bible is long and weird. Read more

      Jose Fernandez

      Jose Fernandez was a pitcher for the Miami Marlins. Read more

      Heidi Letter

      As some of you may have heard, Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund of the last ten years, is no longer living with us. Read more

      Bitter Writer

      Dear Bitter Writer: Read more

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund: Read more

      A Real Man

      What are some of the qualities of a real man? Read more

      Spring

      The other day a couple of university students were walking up Madison. Read more

      Jose Bautista

      Baseball, my friends, baseball. Read more

      Trump Fan Fiction

      Although Donald Trump was in disguise Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages that I received from my wife Rachelle Read more

      Queen East

      The other day Rachelle and I had lunch at Joy Bistro on Queen East. Read more

      Bunz

      I was recently invited to join the Bunz Trading Zone. Read more

      Nadine Gelineau

      It’s probably fair to say that in the year 1979, Ottawa was not a particularly “cool” place. Read more

      Anxiety Nation Podst

      As many of you know I’ve long been interested in hosting a podst. Read more

      Heidi Cruz

      Super creepy Republin Presidential ndidate Ted Cruz
      Read more

      The New Edinburgh Pub–A clean, well lighted place

      There is no doubt that we will all be pulled into the shadows of this life at one time or another Read more

      Trump Penis Tweets

      Donald Trump’s penis size me up at a recent Republin debate. Read more

      Found Postrd

      Found Postrd Read more

      Trigger Warnings

      The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is always controversial. Read more

      Putin Judo Speech

      Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ex-wife, Lyudmila, just married a man Read more

      Jones Dreams

      Dreams I’ve had since Jones, our six month-old son, was born: Read more

      Text Messages

      These are the text messages that I received from my wife Rachelle, Read more

      Andy Murray Match Fixing

      Scottish born Andy Murray, a Wimbledon champion who is ranked second in the world in men’s tennis, is a distant relative of mine. Read more

      Militia men on Alan Rickman

      The standoff continues. Read more

      David Bowie/Oregon Standoff

      It’s been over a week now since Ammon Bundy and his armed band of Constitutional enthusiasts Read more

      The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom

      Only white people could come up with a name like The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. Read more

      Beautiful Boy

      Christmas evolves. Read more

      Trump Christmas Movies

      Donald Trump discusses Christmas movies: Read more

      Hospital Food

      Hospital food is an atrocity. Read more

      My Trump Protest

      As I disagree with Donald Trump on everything, I’ve decided to do something about it. Read more

      Rocky IV and Amerin Violence

      The other day I watched the movie Rocky IV. Read more

      International Men’s Day

      My favourite holiday of the year is International Men’s Day. Read more

      Heidi Blog

      Today I have given the Blog over to Heidi, our Miniature Dachshund: Read more

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