November 27, 2013
June 2, 2013
I had a thought. Not a very important one. But still… Most visual art is voyeuristic. If not sexual in interest it is at least snooping. There are times when the subjects of the art are looking at the artist. Looking into the camera. But more often the artist is trying to catch people in some act that reveals. Reveals something about human nature, relationships.
A lot of pornography is based on this same voyeurism. But if you have looked around you also see the subjects of porn almost assaulting the viewer. It is aggressive. Baring their teeth.
March 8, 2012
December 25, 2011
Nominated for an EPPIE Award. And its free. Laughs, chuckles, rape, and murder.
A man is dying in his backyard of a heart attack. He begins to recall his life. Except that it is not his life. It is the life of a fictional character from a popular television situation comedy. And he can’t…
November 3, 2011
My oldest daughter just won a major award (sound editing), The Directors Guild of Canada. And I am very proud of her. Not for her award. But for her working so hard. Taking charge of her life. She is a wonderful young woman. Although I don’t agree with everything she does (far too many tattoos), she has a good heart, an old soul, and a beautiful father.
October 1, 2011
I am wrong. Do doubt. But then again. What if I were right? I’m trying to be crafty here. To get you to… It seems to me that the internet is becoming something else. Read the following blog if you want to see how complicated all of this is becoming. Its certainly beyond my comprehension. http://tcnewcomb.com/2011/10/01/cause-and-effects-the-bigger-picture-of-the-digital-revolution/ But. Do you feel the shadow of something over your shadow when you’re working on things on the net or just surfing. It will probably not be anything like the movie, The Matrix.http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4189646/the_matrix_movie_trailer/But what if we are viewing the initial stages of a new life form? I’m sure this thought delights the conspiracy theorists. Information, people’s thoughts, images, feelings etc. are being poured into this new… I don’t know what to call it. And the next question is of course, how would we know if it is alive?
September 30, 2011
Cats have always been a part of my life. When I was a kid our mom got us a cat. And then one day it mysteriously disappeared. Mom said that it had run off. My sister and I suspected that she had taken the cat to the pound. It hadn’t been trained. Shit everywhere. The women I lived with had cats. One looked like Charlie Chaplin (Adolf Hitler if you’re a half glass is empty sort). One girl had a cat that she had to keep in her basement. It copulated with anything it met. Including her dog, a chihuahua. And then my son’s cat who was a friend he had for twenty years. Through some pretty bad times for my son. I’ve looked deep into the eyes of a dog. You either see love, excitment, fear, or hate. When you look into a cat’s eyes its like you’re looking into yourself. And you see nothing.
THE GOLDEN CAT
She roamed through the stores. A slut of sadness. Sashaying. A tail reaching up like a flag. To the sky. Her head. Regal. Smiling. Aristocratically. Her hips swaying. Oh so slowly. Back and forth. Like long grass in a light August breeze. When the farmer stops to wipe his brow. And think about the woman in the kitchen. Baking pies. The smell drifting carelessly in that same August breeze. Rising in the air. Like the Queen’s glove. The white one. Not the ones stained in weeds. Gladness. Waving to the plebian masses. She was adored. I’m talking about the golden cat. Worshipped by some. Hated by others. Hate is too weak a word for envy. Her hair – long and golden. Her body – slender. In a good mood. Brushing up against the legs of those she deemed worthy. Other times – aloof. She stood at a distance from her admirers. Lest they make unwarranted presumptions. Her head cocked to one side. As if she were absorbed in a conversation. With someone The Golden Cat. That was her title. No one knew her name.
Betty Ainge, wife of Joe, and daughter-in-law to Lewis, third cousin to Mrs. Murphy. But unknown by Mrs. Murphy. Betty worked in the dollar store. On weekends and statutory holidays. With her father-in-law, Lewis. It was Betty who dared. To name the golden cat. She called her – Rachel. Rachel had been the daughter that Mrs. Ainge lost in her first trimester. A miscarriage. As if her womb was a buggy. Driven by white horses. And a man in slides. Mrs. Ainge named the baby. As soon as she found out. That there was life inside her womb.
Joe was Betty’s husband. And also a third cousin to Mrs. Murphy. Both Mrs. Murphy and Joe were aware of this relationship. Both denied it. Joe didn’t think it was a good idea. Naming a child before it was born. Seemed presumptuous to Joe. Lewis thought it was presumptuous to name a cat. Without the cat’s knowledge or permission. Joe was superstitious. Never carried a ladder. You have to walk under a ladder to carry it. Threw salt over his shoulders. On a regular basis. When anything was spilt. Even milk. Cried at funerals. Bawled at christenings. Wailed at the front pages of the daily newspaper. Was afraid of the unborn child. And when the miscarriage arrived, Joe fell into a deep depression. And kept saying that the child. Had changed into a snake.
Betty followed suit. After she lost the child. Betty became depressed. Pursued by the dogs of night. The judgment of God. Presumption was a mortal sin. Betty fell into a spell. Lasing months. Joe had his own demons. Saw snakes everywhere. Both were hospitalized. And the bills started pouring in. Joe asked his father for a loan. Lewis shook his head. You have offended. Me.
When Betty recovered her health, she sued for divorce. Joe was locked up in a cell. Where he screamed at the lights. Betty took up with the father. Left the son’s house and moved in with Lewis.
When Lewis saw the cat for the first time, he felt that it was possible. The unborn child had been reincarnated. But he did not name the cat. He did not know what to name her. Which led to numerous arguments with Betty. Then one day Betty threw her arms up in the air. The cat’s name is Rachel. I didn’t divorce my husband to lose an argument with you.
Sometimes Lewis put bowls of milk out for the feline. And sometimes, if the milk was not too cold, or not stale, or not milk but cream, the cat would take a few licks. Just to be polite. The cat liked Lewis. No reason was given. Lewis was sure that she was some sort of goddess. A creature so beautiful must have divine origins.
The owner of the furniture store worshipped the golden cat. Mr. Singh. Believed that the cat was a talisman. An omen of future wealth. Wasn’t it colored golden? And didn’t it have the heir of good breeding. Upper class. Old money? Mr. Singh did not worry about cat hairs on his furniture. It did bother him somewhat when the golden cat began to tug on the sides of his couches with his sharp claws. When he attempted to chastise the cat, his words were silenced by a cold glare from the sacred beast. She looked clear through me, Mr. Singh was often quoted as saying.
Luigi Manco, the restauranteur, was not so enamored with the golden cat. ‘I’ll twist the head off that fuckin’ beast!’ he’d scream after finding a fur ball floating in his famous Irish Stew. So Luigi set traps in his restaurant to catch the elusive beast. But the animal was too smart. And Luigi knew it. He offered a reward for the capture of the animal, dead or alive. These too proved unproductive. The cat for its part stayed away from the restaurant. Most of the time. Ignoring all of the food that could have been hers, had she chosen. Her only weakness was the restaurant’s wine cellar. Which she indulged in. Leaving the empty bottles of wine on the cellar floor for the hired help to clean up.
The ownership of the golden cat was debated amongst the regular customers of the plaza. The consensus was that the cat’s true owner was James Edwards, one of the partners of the pharmacy. Wasn’t the cat given free range in the drug store? Wasn’t Mr. Edwards Egyptian? The home of the cat as god? And didn’t the two, Mr. Edwards and the cat, share so many personality traits. As if in some strange way they shared the same soul. And hadn’t Mr. Edwards been seen in the company of the cat. In his car. Going home. Late in the evening?
The first time the Ohara brothers spotted the golden cat they knew what they had to do. Exterminators did not need competition in the elimination of the growing rodent population in the plaza. Even though Mr. Singh had pointed out to them that the cat did not seem predisposed to catch mice. In fact Mr. Singh believed that the mice like everyone else revered the feline. But the Ohara brothers had their own ideas. And so did the golden cat. We think.
September 23, 2011
I don’t like crowds. They depress me. Especially on the Expressway. All those dreams. Inside those cars. All those disappointments. And telephone directories. Knowing that your name is crammed in there. Somewhere. Hardly able to breath. And not just human beings. I love cows. In small herds. Or in movies. With cowboys. But seeing large herds of cattle outside cities. All that innocence headed toward the slaughter house. And they know it. And not just mammals. Insects. When I see a swarm of ants on the side of my house. I get the hose and wash them off. They seem. Dangerous. But I love one crowd. Ideas. Libraries. But not galleries. Especially big ones. The paintings seem like prisoners. And I can imagine them making a break one night. And being shot while they are trying to climb the walls. But in libraries, books seem content. Like cows. In a meadow. Far from the madding crowd.
HURRY UP AND DO ANYTHING
Mr. Martins sat on the stool. Like a small child on a poddy. His left arm swallowed by the sleeve. Of the blood pressure apparatus.
They should give it a name. Like Earl.
Mr. Martins laughed at a joke that someone had told him the previous day. About a guy named Earl. Who was sitting in a bar. On the stool beside him. Sat an orange box. Earl said burglar.
Mr. Martins didn’t get the joke at the time. But he was laughing now. The long pony-tail that hung down his back. Swung from side to side. Peacefully. Like a swing from the bough. Of an apple tree.
Nearby a pharmacist counted pills. Fifty six. Sneeze. Dam. One. Two.
A tear ran down Mr. Martin’s smile. The pharmacist’s assistant was dealing with a customer. Who had been waiting in line. For days. To drop off a prescription. A week was lined up behind him. There was a second line. Customers picking up their prescriptions. A lot of humming of the same tune. Fed over the intercom.
Take The A Train.
Some were tapping their toes. One man had a toothpick in his fingers. Another was using a jackhammer. On his callouses. Somebody’s mother was sweeping. Up the aisle. In a chorus line. Of 1927.
“Mr. Martins!” a voice cried out from an aisle of headache remedies.
Mr. Martin was shaken. From his revelry. Smiled and winked. That gentleman Ralph Sampson, an employee of the drug store and a tall drink of water, had now reached Mr. Martins. Mr. Martins reached out with his free right hand. To shake Ralph Sampson’s hand. The blood pressure machine had a death grip on his other arm.
“You’re looking well, Ralph.” Mr. Martins smile was rattling. His head nodded up and down like a bobble head.
“Damn thing is like a shark. First time it swallowed my arm, I thought it was going to rip it off at the shoulder.”
“I haven’t seen you for some time, Mr. Martins.” Ralph said.
Ralph stood smiling at Mr. Martins for the longest time. Like the Supremes. Singing Reflections. Pointing to the door. And then to the other side. Of the door.
“I heard rumours.” Ralph continued. “Heard that you were doing poorly. I prayed. It wasn’t so.”
Mr. Martins was tired of smiling. But the machine. Wouldn’t leave his head alone. Shaking it up. Like it was a can of paint. Mr. Martins tapped on his chest. With a finger from a hand. That was free. So sure of itself.
“Ralph. I had a heart attack.”
Ralph gasped. His own hand. Went to his own heart. Mr. Martins put a finger on his lips.
“I don’t want the whole world to know, Ralph. Not good for business. I don’t mind my friends knowing but… I’d like to stop it there.”
Ralph smiled. He was pleased to be considered amongst the friends of Mr. Martins.
“I did as you suggested, Mr. Martins.”
Mr. Martins lost his smile.
“You didn’t divorce your lovely wife? Such a beautiful woman. A princess. I know she’s so far. From you. But love is like a girdle. It keeps things from jiggling.”
Ralph laughed. Shook his head. Laughter echoing all the way down his oesophagus.
“Mr. Martins, you are too funny. Too funny. I’m not married. Naturally, you have many admirers. And you have mistaken me for one of them. I am flattered. No. I started taking classes at Humber College. Business management. In fact, your name came up in class. You’re something of a legend. In the local business community. Although I would not believe everything they said.”
“Believe everything you hear.” Mr. Martins glanced at the dial on the blood pressure machine.
It must be almost. Done.
The blood pressure machine began to deflate. Mr. Martins sighed. Took his arm out. Rolled down the sleeve of his shirt. He looked at the readings on the machine.
“Slightly over optimal.” Mr. Martins was pleased. “Just about the way I feel.”
Ralph continued, “Mr. Reynolds, our teacher, was saying that you ran your consulting business out of a coffee shop for ten years. Your secretary reported to you everyday for instructions. An unusual business practice.”
“Isn’t that where we met?” Mr. Martins asked then added, “If I had an office, I would never have showed up. I hate offices. All the politics. Dress code. Casual Fridays. Ralph. Offices were built for people who like to organize things on Monday. And then reorganize them Wednesday. They are the demons of mediocrity. Business should be carried out in the market place.”
“Mr. Reynolds said that you made tens of millions of dollars.” Ralph smiled. “No one knows how.”
Mr. Martins stood up and put on his jacket. A hockey jacket with Lightning scribbled across the back.
“I had a smart secretary, Ralph. The beautiful Florence Devine. Gone now.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, sir.”
“Not dead. Worse,” Mr. Martins responded. He raised his eyebrows. “Married.”
“What brings you into the drug store, Mr. Martins? Used to see you over at Tim’s. That’s where I heard the rumours.”
“About my heart attack?” Mr. Martins asked.
“No, sir. A heart attack was never suggested for your sudden disappearance. One rumour said that you’d been swallowed by sharks while fishing for marlin off the shores of Florida. A gory description spoken with a great deal of relish. Another rumour had you married. To a transvestite named Ms. Devine. And yet another said that you’d come down with the flesh eating disease. Contracted while you were having dinner at Scrappy Reilly’s.”
“Scrappy Reilly’s?” Mr. Martins looked up at Ralph. “I don’t believe that I’ve ever eaten in Scrappy Reilly’s. Where is Scrappy Reilly’s?”
“It went out of business, Mr. Martins.”
Mr. Martins thought about that for a moment. He took a piece of paper out of his pocket and with a pencil so small it disappeared in his fingers, wrote a note. Then he looked up at Ralph.
“Why am I here at the drug store?”
Ralph smiled. There was a vacant stare from the clerk.
Mr. Martins made a grand gesture with his hand.
“If I have another heart attack, and you can be sure, Ralph, that another heart attack is on its way. Speeding down the old 401. What better place to conduct my business. It’s open 24 hours. There’s a clinic attached to the drug store with a doctor in attendance. And all this medication. Next to running my business out of an E.R., I couldn’t think of a better place. That’s why all the seniors smile when they drop in here. They feel safe. Besides I couldn’t keep drinking all that coffee at Tim’s. Caffeine isn’t great for the old ticker. And I couldn’t stomach decaf. Just doesn’t give you that kick. And those donuts. There’s a reason why there’s a hole in them, Ralph.”
Ralph laughed and was about to ask Mr. Martins why there were holes in donuts when Mr. Martins’ attention was broken. He gestured. Ralph turned. A beautiful young black woman. Long black straight hair. Tall and willowy, with small breasts, long legs, and wearing a tight black skirt. Stepped down the aisle. Ralph swallowed deeply. Ralph had never seen such a woman.
“It’s the lovely Ms. Wendy Passion,” Mr. Martins said.
“Your new secretary?” Ralph asked.
Mr. Martins nodded.
Wendy Passion stepped up to the two men. Mr. Martins introduced her and Ralph. Wendy smiled at Ralph and bowed her head. Than turned to Mr. Martins.
Mr. Martins looked from Ralph to Wendy and smiled.
“You can speak freely, Wendy. Ralph is my… protégée.”
Wendy and Mr. Martins spoke about business for several minutes. Ralph listened attentively. Mr. Martins took out the scrap of paper that he had been scrawling on previously. They talked about some new investments. When they were finished, Wendy nodded toward Ralph, and departed.
“Isn’t she a princess?” Mr. Martins said shaking his head. “And smart too. That’s one of the keys to success in business, Ralph. A smart secretary. And when you get one, pay her well. More than she can expect to earn anywhere else. In fact, I’d pay Wendy more than I pay myself if it came down to it.”
Ralph shook his head.
“I don’t know, Mr. Martins. A woman that looks like that. How long are you going to be able to keep her?”
Mr. Martins looked at Ralph.
“What are you trying to tell me, Ralph?”
“Well, Mr. Martins.” Ralph hesitated.
“Come on, Ralph,” Mr. Martins insisted. “Out with it.”
“A woman that smart and that looks like that, well, she isn’t going to remain free…”
“You think I should marry her?” Mr. Martins interrupted.
Mr. Martins thought for a moment.
“I hadn’t considered that possibility.”
Mr. Martins patted Ralph on the back.
“I knew you had a mind for business.” Mr. Martins looked around the drug store. “How long have you been working here, Ralph?”
“Two years, Mr. Martins.”
“And you don’t own it yet? Shame on you, Ralph.”
Ralph shook his head. “I don’t have your flare for business, Mr. Martins. Not yet anyway.”
Mr. Martins smiled grimly. He was quiet for a spell. Then he looked up at Ralph with the most serious expression Ralph would ever have expected.
“Ralph, a heart attack comes with its own lessons. The obvious one is that we are all mortal. I don’t know why but the most obvious fact of life almost totally eludes human beings. It’s almost as if they are afraid to look death in the eye lest they be turned into stone. Like death was Medusa. And I’ve learned my lesson. There’s not more to life than business. There’s not more to life than anything. Life is the key. Stay breathing. So hurry up and do anything.”
August 13, 2011
We measure our lives in years, months, days, seconds. Time does not move. All measurement is a memory. Some memories are true. April made up her own story. I was there. I know she’s telling the truth.
Is it true? Is it a fabrication? You decide. Check out this new book from David Halliday.