Monday, February 9, 2009

More Monday Madness, Nicknames, et ma famille.

I've been tagged with yet another nickname.

I've been sick ever since I got back from Mexico (two weeks ago today). Apart from being nearly deaf thanks to an ear infection, I also have a nagging cough from a chest cold. Add in the fact that I already have diminished lung capacity (thanks to a bout of pneumonia as a kid) and it means CJ turns purple a lot.

A fact that wasn't lost on my pal Fry.

While wandering around Safeway after our weekly Monday night get-together at Tavern United (no plates were thrown this evening!), I had another coughing fit. Of course, being the gentleman I am, I put my hand to my mouth while coughing up my lungs.

"Still got that cough, eh?" asked Fry.

I was able to wheeze out a "Yup" between coughs.

"Shitty." he said, "But you know you're not supposed to put your hand to your mouth anymore, right?"

"Huh?", I exclaimed, "I'm not?"

"No," he explained, "You've gotta use your sleeve, like this..."

He demonstrated by burying his face in the crook of his right arm... around the elbow.

"Fuck that!", I retorted, "I've been covering my mouth with my hand while coughing since I was little, and I ain't gonna stop now because some socialist egghead health nut says I gotta!"

(Remember, I've had a few Guinness at this point)

"It's so you don't spread your germs," he explained, a tad annoyed, "You're in a supermarket. How many things have you touched since you stopped coughing?"

"As many as I could," I answered, "but I was going so fast I lost count. Why?"

"How many..." he started, then said, "Oh fuck, I don't know why I bother..." and walked further up the aisle.

Of course, unbeknownst to Fry, I always have a small bottle of Purell hand-sanitizer with me when I'm sick, and clean my hands religiously after every coughing fit... but hey, I gotta play my part!

I caught up with Fry and said, "Yeah, just call me Typhoid Wheeler!"

Fry grinned. "It does have a ring to it", he laughed, "But I think Plague Rat Wheeler suits you better!"

So, now I'm forever branded as Plague Rat. That makes, er, seven or eight nicknames I'm stuck with...

Meh, I'll always be (a) Conceited Jerk.


Acting up in supermarkets and shopping areas is a longstanding tradition with Fry, myself, and our long-lost pal Slam - has been since our early teenage years. Nothing rowdy or disruptive mind you, just a bit of verbal fun now and again to remind ourselves that - hey - we're only on this planet for a short while, and if you can't act like an ass in public there ain't no point in living. And if the manager of Superstore's Real Canadian Wholesale Club shows she's an uncultured Philistine by interrupting your rendition of the 1812 Overture (thumping a Rubbermaid tote to simulate the cannons), take your business elsewhere. I mean, it's not like you can't buy that flat of Dr. Pepper, 24-pack of Pizza Pops, "Crew Size" box of Cap'n Crunch, and "Institutional-size"(their words) can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Mini Ravioli elsewhere in town...


Speaking of living, ol' Plague Rat here had better make an appointment with the doctor so I can stop this infernal coughing and regain some of my hearing... and before I spread my cold to half the bloody city. Incidentally, if you take the #77 Polo Park bus in the mornings, between Garden City and Polo Park during the hours of 7 and 8am, you may want to consider alternate transportation ;)


Speaking of long lost, my cousin Kaylynne in Quebec found me via my Facebook page!

Her father, my uncle Ken, was the one responsible for getting me interested in computers waaaaaay back in the early 80s. I only know Kaylynne (and her sister Karolynne) through photographs, so here's hoping I can learn a bit more via email, Facebook, and her blog (which is pretty funny). I've linked to her blog on my sidebar if you're so inclined (and you can read French).

Wow. I can't believe how much my French skills have deteriorated over the years. I always did well in French at school (93% in French 300 in Grade 12) and "got by" when speaking to my French-Canadian girlfriend and her family back in my late teens, but I guess when you don't use those language skills for nearly twenty years...

So, I've made it my mission to regain my lost French skills. It shouldn't be too hard, as I already have a basic understanding of the language - just gotta brush up on both the "Parisien" French I learned in school as well as the "Quebecois" French I picked up from my ex's family. It'll also come in handy when I head over to Europe next year (assuming, of course, I don't head over to South Africa for the World Cup).

Speaking of vacations, I'm currently going through my digital photos of my trip to Puerto Vallarta as well as the journal I kept on my TRS-80 Model 100, and will likely post a few mildly amusing stories in the next couple of days or so.


Anyhow, I'm off to spread more germs.

See you next time,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk..!

A sad day indeed.

Lux Interior, lead singer for The Cramps, has gone to the Black Leather Lagoon in the sky.

While I've never been the band's biggest fan, I did so enjoy a lot of their songs. Songs such as Bikini Girls with Machine Guns, Don't Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk, and Shortnin' Bread always lifted me out of whatever funk I was in. They also did a great cover (better than the Ramones!) of the Trashmen's Surfin' Bird that always got me goin'.

We'll miss you, Lux.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Was February 4th (A Tribute to a Fellow Blogging Birthday Boy)

A lot of things happened on this particularily important date in history:

February 4th, 1903: During the Stanley Cup playoffs, Montréal AAA beat the Winnipeg Victorias, 2 games to 1 & 1 tie.
February 4th, 1920: Someone had stolen 21 barrels of whiskey which was held at a Pennsylvania brewery. The person who had taken this liquor was sentenced a fine of $7,000. This particular crime had taken place during the Prohibition Era, during a time when the sale of alcohol was not allowed.

February 4th, 1930: 1st tieless, soundless, shockless streetcar tracks appear in New Orleans.
February 4th, 1931: As banks continue to close across the US when depositors ask for their deposits back, the problems continue to escalate as most small banks had large amounts invested in the stock market and with the crash of wall street in late 1929 many banks do not have sufficient funds left to meet current members deposits. Many are going into receivership with little help for investors. The government is looking at schemes to bail the banks out and help consumer confidence.

February 4th, 1936: 1st radioactive substance produced synthetically (radium E).
February 4th, 1938:
Hitler seizes control of German army & puts Nazi in key posts.
February 4th, 1945: Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet at the Yalta conference.

February 4th, 1949: Failed assassination attempt on Shah of Persia. (Let that be a lesson to ya, Pahlavi!)

February 4th, 1957: This was the first day of the sale of Smith-Corona portable typewriters. This company had been producing typewriters since 1886, when it created the first upper and lower-case typing model. (This was the original mobile blogging!)

February 4th, 1965: US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

February 4th, 1969: The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded on this day. It was an organization that was established to represent the Palestinian people while Yassir Arafat was in office.

February 4th, 1971: British car maker Rolls Royce declared itself bankrupt.

February 4th, 1974: A bomb believed to have been set by the IRA kills 11 including soldiers and children when the coach they were travelling in is blown up by a bomb. Also, Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is kidnapped in Berkeley, California by the Symbionese Liberation Army. And our pals at OPEC raise the price per barrel of oil for those countries who supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

February 4th, 1980: The ill-fated Bani Sadr sworn in as premier of Iran.
February 4th, 1985: 20 countries (but not the US) sign UN treaty outlawing torture. (Twenty-something years later the US would redefine the definition of "torture" as it relates to enemy combatants...)
February 4th, 1993: Russian space agency tests a 82' wide space mirror. (I wonder who the "ants" were...?)
February 4th, 1998: Bill Gates gets a pie thrown in his face in Brussels, Belgium. (Conceited Jerk laughed for a week.)

February 4th, 2003: Lawmakers formally dissolve Yugoslavia and replace it with a loose union of Serbia and Montenegro.

February 4th, 2004: Facebook, a mainstream online social network is founded by Mark Zuckerberg, making physical face-to-face get-togethers a thing of the past.

February 4th, 2006: Following the publishing of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad Muslim protestors torched and destroyed the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. And in Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. (Good thing they didn't overreact.)

/end tribute

This date in history is also important for another reason: It's also my birthday, as well as that of a certain local historian who shall remain nameless (Happy Birthday, matey)!

It's funny, looking at all these events and seeing not only how they are relevant to my interests, but how they echo current events as well... alcohol, war, financial/government collusion, failing auto industries, mobile blogging, the Middle East, Military-industrial complex, radiation/nuclear power, rapid transit, terrorists/freedom fighters/liberators, European politics, religious/sectarian violence, and online social networking.

This got me thinking, was my destiny foreordained, or is this all just an interesting coincidence?