Wednesday, August 20, 2003

So That's Why They Call it Silicon Alley

I am in the midst of moving from the West End to Yaletown, right next to this place. It will lkely be a difficult adjustment going from a neighborhood full of gay men to a neighborhood that seems to flourish with surgically enhanced women.

While getting my hair cut there last week, I was astounded by the number of women who walked by the salon with the most ridiculously large implants. I mean, who do they think they are kidding? Who are they trying to impress? Who pays for these? Where do these women come from?

A 20-year old girl sat in the station next to me. She could was about 5'6 and could not have weighed more than 110 lbs, but her chest was a D-cup that defied gravity. They were practically pointing at the ceiling. I asked the hair stylist about these women, if she knew any of them, and perhaps if she knew what they did with their lives besides yoga and pilates. Apparently they work in retail and live 3 to a one-bedroom in one of the "live it, love it, rent it" appartment complexes. The breasts are merely an investment, either for a husband or the stage.

However, I can't slag these people too much, as they are my future tenants.

Monday, August 18, 2003

From Hanging Day: Can you tell the difference?

Monday, August 11, 2003

There are a few books I have that I am always re-reading; occasionally picking it up and reading my favorite passages. One friend has remarked on this odd habit, and considers it useless.

Reading something that inspires you is so much more rewarding than reading fresh lines that mean nothing to you.

It is not a coincidence that the books I reread the most are all by mordecai richler. I was exposed to him in Grade 11 with The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Being a Montrealer I was immediately hooked on his acidic wit and his uncanny ability to perfectly summarize montreal, or any other subject, in a short paragraph.

Richler left Montreal for London in 1953, and figured he would never return to that drab provincial backwater called Canada. Yet after moving to London, he says he was never able to let go of Canada, and his identity as a Canadian. Despite spending six months a year in London, he continued to write about Canadian issues, weighing in for opinion when it really was needed.

My favorite Richler passage is from Solomon Gursky Was Here, in which he provides a pinpoint description of the Eastern Townships.

Moses immediately struck out for the 91. He drove through New Hampshire and Vermont, to Quebec’s Eastern Townships, crossing the border at Highwater. Wet slippery leaves lay scattered everywhere on the Quebec side, the bare trees already black and brittles. BIENVENUE. Even if the border had been unmarked, Moses would have known that he was back in the townships. Penury advertised. Suddenly the road was rippled and cracked, and he had to swerve to avoid potholes. Rusting pickup trucks, bashed and abandoned, cannibalized years ago, lay in the tall grass and goldenrod, here and there. Sinking barns rotted in the fields. Small mills, which had once manufactured bobbins - employing eight of the locals – chewing their fingers, were shuttered. In lieu of elegant little signs directing you to the ivy covered Inn on Crotched Mountain, or the Horse and Hound, originally built as a farmhouse in 1860, there were roadside CANTINES, with tarpaper roofs, proclaimed by a stake in the ground OPEN/OUVERT, and offering Hygrade hot dogs and limp greasy pommes frites made of frozen potatoes. There were no impeccably appointed watering holes, where the aging bartender, once Clean for Gene, would offer you a copy of Mother Jones with your drink. However, you could pull in at “Mad Dog” Vachon’s and knock back a Molson’s, maybe stumble on a tree-week-old copy of Allo Police. Or the Venus di Milo, where scantily clad pulpy waitresses from Chicoutimi or Sept Iles stripped and then sank to a bare stage to simulate masturbation, protected against splinters by a filthy flannel sheet.

Despite his criticism of Canada, Richler loved it. He admitted late in life that in spite of all his frustration with Canada, he could never completely leave it.

This seems to be the problem with two conservative writers from Canada who have left but cannot stop criticizing it. Mark Steyn and David Frum never waste an opportunity to diss the land they left. They remind me of guys who can’t stop talking about the ex-girlfriend they hate, but they can’t seem to let it go. They both left because there was no audience for their conservative views in Canada, likely due to the fact that no one wants to read a column that tells the reader how poor, unproductive and doomed they are. Steyn has branched out to host his own website of ranting in defense of Bush and his neocon cabal. Frum continues in the same vein, though closer to the witches den than Steyn, as part of the National Review.