Propinquium: Side Effects and Warnings, An Incomplete List



Side Effects

  1. Nipple squints
  2. Viper tongue
  3. Asner Eyebrows
  4. Chapped hips
  5. Teeth lesions
  6. Squater’s Blight
  7. Genital burpies
  8. Webbed eyelashes
  9. Noontime terrors
  10. Curved fingernails (or “Jester’s Claws”)
  11. Nose sweats
  12. Barking rectum
  13. Widow’s Gumline
  14. Over-spaced teeth (“Chiclets Mouth”)
  15. Floral rectitude
  16. Bumblebee Knees
  17. Nasal halitosis
  18. Lower lumbar caking
  19. Spastic Knuckles
  20. Pigeon Elbows
  21. Suicidal Appendices
  22. Foreskin Curd
  23. Labia Tremors
  24. Prostate Shudders
  25. Heaving Eardrums
  26. Gruff-in-Mouth Disease (or Panthrax)
  27. Uvula Tantrums
  28. Paranoid Occlusions (Myopic Phasia)
  29. Heartgrubs
  30. Hyposeusso-spadia (Curly Cock)
  31. Soupy eyeballs
  32. Puckering Navel
  33. Burning Cuticles
  34. Oral Yeast Infection
  35. Throbbing Extremities (Flintstone Toes)
  36. Tingling Follicules
  37. Tangled Toes Syndrome
  38. Armpit Vaginas
  39. Herniated Lips
  40. Chin Splints
  41. Crabgrass Syndrome
  42. Male pattern blandness
  43. Pancreatic fancies
  44. Premature calculations
  45. Hobo Squats
  46. Impromptu Cleveland Steaming
  47. Phlegmatic Aural Discharge
  48. Elvin Ears
  49. Skull Bowing
  50. Auto-erotic Immolation
  51. China Bifida (or “Spinning Plate-Eye Syndrome”)
  52. The Rapid Cycling Fitzgerald Staggers
  53. Spontaneous Combustion (gas station employees only)
  54. Erroneous Soothsaying
  55. Banal leakage
  56. Calligraphic ejaculations
  57. Nocturnal Shoe fetishism (women only–am I right fellas?)
  58. Pendulous cheekbones
  59. Eyeball eking
  60. Plantar’s Fascist Tendencies
  61. Kaleidoscopic Stigmata
  62. Kneecap spiking
  63. Migrating boils
  64. Sagan’s Conundrum
  65. Bellicose bloviations (or “The O’Reilly Hector”)
  66. Scalp frights
  67. Hyper Thyroid Insurrection
  68. Argle Bargle in the Hoo Hah
  69. Bugle Burps
  70. A Serious Case of the Tuesdays
  71. Lung spurs
  72. Angry Ankles
  73. Forehead Fissures
  74. The Waltzing Maltidas (or “Violent Diarrhetic Explosions”)
  75. Verb Aversion
  76. The Delta Blue Balls
  77. Fingernail Pustules
  78. Slinky Ribcage
  79. Distended Philtrum
  80. Kidney Ballooning
  81. Anal Breakage
  82. Waxy Tongue
  83. Under Ripe Banana Aftertaste
  84. Starchy Discharge
  85. Bagel Buttons
  86. Lincoln’s Distemper
  87. Leptopsoriasis
  88. Screaming sneezes
  89. Withering Advanced Sexual Progeria (or “WASP”)
  90. Earlobe clapping
  91. Droopy sternum
  92. Noodle limbs
  93. Hasty Reheats
  94. Collapsed hamstring
  95. Bronchial lubing
  96. Accordion neck
  97. Hefner’s Palsy
  98. Carrottop’s Convulsions
  99. Uncontrolled baking
  100. White patches or sores inside your pockets
  101. Lazy Leg Syndrome
  102. Painful erection that lasts four years or longer
  103. Unusual bone seizures
  104. Under-reactive reflexes (or “The Melancholy Dane Condition”)
  105. Difficulty bruising
  106. Orgasm Bragging
  107. Ringing in your molars
  108. Coughing up soup
  109. Trace amounts of urine in blood
  110. Irritable Spleen
  111. Cranky Duodenum
  112. Perturbed Thalmus
  113. Wet Heaves
  114. Varicose Aortas
  115. Seeing halos around lights and traffic cops
  116. Frequent mood ring changes
  117. Inversion of eyeball/retina colours
  118. Temporary hair gloss
  119. Flamenco Heartbeat
  120. Swelling in your hands, feet, ears, nose, throat, toes, elbows, gums and chin
  121. Short-term memory…something
  122. Frequent, prolonged or bothersome euphoria
  123. Heart jaundice
  124. Ecstatic urination
  125. Poorly thought-out suicide attempts (or, “Three Stooges Ideation”)
  126. Loss of child-like wonder
  127. Nested menstruation cycles
  128. Intestinal Roman Candle Syndrome
  129. Increased hair growth on wide-spread back acne
  130. Partial or complete oxygen allergy
  131. Geometrically progressive growth spurts
  132. Evil Kneivel Knee Weevils
  133. Lunar Dropsy
  134. Wellington’s Itch
  135. Fire-sprouting esophagus
  136. Kidney-in-Throat
  137. Tongue shaving
  138. Bronzed Johnson
  139. Chapman’s Carbuncles
  140. Galloping Backend Bombast
  141. Bricklayer’s Burning Sensation
  142. Mouth Gout
  143. Thoracic Splendor
  144. Multi-hinged Jawbone
  145. Whooping Doff
  146. Locomotive tenderness
  147. Membrane Sheeting
  148. Milky Foot
  149. Flangial Purpura (or, “The Artist Currently Known as Prince’s Swollen Ridge”)
  150. German Easels
  151. Dashing Quinsy
  152. Berger’s Tissick
  153. Timpani Cheeks
  154. Cosby’s Dance
  155. Ulcerative Dizziness
  156. Stygian Wind
  157. Rushing Meadows (or, Rapidly Advancing Endometriosis)
  158. Irregular Tibia Bleeding
  159. Transvaginal Meditation
  160. Gall quarks
  161. Saliva Retention
  162. Chalky Eardrums
  163. Heart Disease
  164. Vacillating red cell count
  165. Decreased breast size
  166. Increased testicle size
  167. Epidermis translucence
  168. 360 Degree Floating Patella, (or, “Medial Collateral Ligament on a Half Shell”)
  169. Discolouration of lunula (or, “Green Cheese Thumb-Nail”)
  170. Torso Cancer
  171. Lik-M-Aid Tongue
  172. Yo-Yo Balls
  173. Cerebral Eczema
  174. Pelvic Corkscrews
  175. Apical Babooning Cardiomyopathy
  176. Apathetic Periostitis
  177. Calamitous Hypertrophic pulmonary squirts
  178. Arterial frimping
  179. Coal Miner’s Dung
  180. Blue Blood Syndrome
  181. Cerbrovascular Whoopsies
  182. Sagging Valves (or, “Pulmonary Shanty Towns”)
  183. Rheumatoid pancreatic sluggishness
  184. Spontaneous Macular Regeneration
  185. The Ludlum Conjunctivitis
  186. The Kucinich Delusion
  187. Temporal Lobe Shrieking
  188. Pathetic, Half-Assed Self-Loathing
  189. Purpling of the Humors
  190. Severe Acute Chronic Syndrome
  191. Periodic Invincibility
  192. Fore-shortened eyelids
  193. Elevated Fibula
  194. Loss of Blood Retention
  195. Wheezing Uterus
  196. Need for a little less conversation, possibly counterbalanced by an overwhelming desire for a little more action
  197. Chronic Loss of Car Keys
  198. Pain or burning while talking
  199. Black, Bloody or Tarry Calves
  200. Shoulder Rickets
  201. Spinal Pleurisy
  202. Brickwork Gums
  203. Urge to punch people as a salutation
  204. Quaking Tooth Pulp
  205. Pork Belly
  206. Arrhythmic Two-Step
  207. Thigh Pouching
  208. Irrational Fuckface Anger
  209. Itchy Feet (or, “Rambling Man Syndrome”…no wait, those are cysts)
  210. Casanova’s Simmers
  211. Intermittent Duckface
  212. Appearance of unusual or rarely-seen skin creatures
  213. Blood clots in your temples
  214. Darker than usual urine, say like a weak cup of coffee
  215. Major organ itchiness
  216. Blood thickening
  217. Serious, possibly life-threatening sexual attraction to lawn mowers
  218. Speaking in a heretofore unknown foreign language (especially Japanese, Russian and Esperanto)
  219. Reckless behviour including, but not limited to, skydiving high on Xanax with a troupe of daredevil clowns
  220. Ear Marks
  221. Peeling mania
  222. Diarrhea and constipation
  223. Hair sores
  224. Straightening of some, if not all, vertebrosternal ribs
  225. Loss of appetite coupled with violent urge to cook Asian fusion cuisine
  226. Low white teeth count
  227. Putnam’s Phlebitis (or, “Sausage Veins”)
  228. Colorectal Dancer
  229. Sickle & Hammer Cell Anemia
  230. Haphazard Name Dropping
  231. Boiling Blood (or, “Irishman’s Curtsy”)
  232. Russian Tsar’s Telemetry Squibbles
  233. Ethiopian Gout
  234. Ranch Hand’s Argot
  235. Bloated or distended lottery winnings
  236. Irritation around injection site that looks like Maori war paint but is just a meaningless doodle (and likely cancerous)
  237. The Yahoo Serious Walkabouts
  238. Sleep-Related Ironing Disorder
  239. Tax Code Comprehension
  240. DNA Popping and Locking
  241. Tree bark mouth
  242. Pubic Parasthesia (or, “Thumb Tacks in Yer Tenders”)
  243. Subcutaneous Fibrous Toroids (or, “Cheerios Ridging”)
  244. Ill-timed Scissor Kicks
  245. Roman Shingles
  246. Barrel Chesting
  247. Hysterical Hyper-Hydrosis
  248. Banker’s Howls
  249. Tulip Lips
  250. Dirtbag Dermatitis
  251. Pickpocket’s Panting
  252. Antagonistic Pregnancy (or, “Fifth Child Syndrome”)
  253. Voice Box Palpitations
  254. Puffy Eye Balls
  255. High Chair Vertigo
  256. Dandruff that doubles as itching powder
  257. Mad Cat Disease
  258. Taste of copper in ears
  259. Soft palate cramps
  260. Bungling in extremities
  261. Skinny Jean Legs
  262. Illuminati Welts (or, “Hova’s Branding”)
  263. Post-Traumatic Stress Bravado
  264. Profligate Profiteering
  265. Bolivian Marching Glowers
  266. Peacock Glands
  267. Achy Breaky Novelty Songitis
  268. Satin Sash Rash (almost exclusively for mayors and Baby New Year)
  269. Briny secretions from previously undetected “pores”
  270. Shadow Boxing for International Recognition
  271. Dilated Nose Holes
  272. Sniper’s Whimsy
  273. Chigger Fights
  274. Foppish Papacy
  275. Papal Foppery
  276. Slip ‘n Fall Podiatry Hallucinations (or, “The Banana Splits”)
  277. Appearance of wild hair tufts that resemble raccoons (or, “Davey Crockett’s Haberdashery Syndrome”)
  278. Symptom confused for hand tremors but really just excessive jazz hands
  279. Loneliness of a long-distance runner
  280. Homeowner’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick of those rotten kids playing street soccer in front of his house
  281. Hard Palate shuffling
  282. The Tumbling Bumbershoots
  283. The Trouble with Hairy Cell Leukemia
  284. Periodic Hooliganism
  285. Exotic Pet Whispering
  286. Juvenile Alzheimer’s
  287. Knotted Small Intestine Disorder
  288. Ineffective Cockblocking
  289. Hipster Handlebar Pubic Hair
  290. Spitting Blisters
  291. Forty-Eight Hour Colitis
  292. Walking Dead Pneumonia
  293. Night of the Living Dead Blues
  294. Crescendo Arches
  295. Ever-increasing handsomeness (that’s right—we’re talking to you, gorgeous)
  296. Increased likeliness to haggle over bargain basements
  297. Syncopatic Flatulence (or, “Group of Children Clapping”)
  298. La Gripe
  299. Answering unheard Sufi call to prayer (non-Muslims)
  300. Pretty much just walking around like a big shot
  301. Unwarranted bodybuilding pose downs (especially in KFC lineups)
  302. Roller coaster-triggered epilepsy (seen primarily in roller coaster addicts)
  303. Blinding Orthostatic Hypotension (or, “My Head’s On Fire!”)
  304. Photo Insensitivity
  305. Deviated Biceps
  306. Saddle Calves
  307. The King’s Nervous Hiccups
  308. Armpit Miasma
  309. Cruise Director’s Scurvy (or, “Rotting Promenade Deck”)
  310. Panting Virus
  311. Hooker’s Dry Dock
  312. Hypersensitivity to constructive criticism
  313. Increased likeliness of lightning strikes
  314. Erupting follicles
  315. Free-roaming crying jags (or, “Pagliacci Squirts”)
  316. Inexplicable affection for Celtic music
  317. Ashy Eyes
  318. Solidification of finger cartilage (or, “Unjointing”)
  319. Excessive nominalization (or, “The Applicability Ask”)
  320. Impromptu but workman-like dance routines that lack finesse but make it for it with plenty of “zazz”



  1. Some side effects perfectly mirror symptoms of congestive heart failure and our doctor-lawyers predict a 17% chance of misdiagnosis that will lead to death or more severe results; so if you see this or any of the above behaviours, stop the dosage if you can’t handle it, pussy
  2. You should not take Propinquium if you are experiencing serious complications after clipping your nails
  3. Propinquium should not be used in children with a history of imaginary friends, worm-eating or delusions of wizardry
  4. Do not use if allergic to polypropylene pre-injection swabs
  5. Do not inject directly into pituitary gland, no matter what all the cool kids are talking about
  6. Direct sunlight or high heat may cause an increase, then decrease, then an increase again in optical proptosis (“Eyeballs-on-Springs”)
  7. Death-like rigor mortis (cured only by complete sensory deprivation, especially if six feet or more underground)
  8. Avoid contact with women who are pregnant, likely to become pregnant, or are the result of a pregnancy
  9. Not for use in adults suffering from cradle cap
  10. Improper use may lead to unexpected bone growth where you once had tendons
  11. After injection, allow four hours to pass before going near an open flame; also, closed flames
  12. Not to be used by those who have breastfed livestock
  13. Not for use in those with squamous cell non-small cell lung cancer because, well, what’s the point?
  14. Do not mix with alcohol or protein-based foods
  15. Mix Propinquium with avocado, lime juice and minced garlic: use dip as a salve for spontaneous foot-long sores that might erupt wherever you have skin
  16. May induce episodic Non-REM Arousal Parsomnia resulting in “Sleep Sex” encounters with your mattress
  17. In case of shortness of breath or loss of life, consider decreasing dosage
  18. Not deemed safe for use in carbon-based life forms, but how many of us are made up of carbon?
  19. Ideal for use in grown-up test tube babies…what ever happened to those kids? It seemed like they were all the rage in the seventies.
  20. Not to be used in conjunction with SSRIs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or Spanish Fly
  21. Increased instances of awake bruxism may turn your teeth into a tangled, Eastern European-type nightmare
  22. Any changes in sexual behaviour—including frequency, preference and role-playing—should be immediately reported to your pharmacist because he’s got a boring job and could use the spice
  23. Oh, test tube pregnancies are now called “in vitro fertilization”. Kinda cold, don’t you think?
  24. Due to deflation of self-confidence it is not recommended for use in ballers, shot-callers
  25. May cause numbness or tingling in vomit
  26. Prolonged exposure to Propinquium may result in thinner than usual urine stream
  27. Enlarged prostate in women is a serious red flag
  28. Allergies such as Anaphylaxis have been reported, along with how cool a name “Anaphylactic Shock” would be for a wrestling move
  29. Do not take in conjunction with the viewing of any large-scale wrestling event, excluding a Ladder Match, First Blood Match or Circular Saw-Ninja Star Fight
  30. Epileptic seizures may be triggered in those taking Propinquium and who suffer from epilepsy
  31. Do not use as a suppository (even the bottles identified as “suppository”, which was a batch resulting from an ill-advised night of Beer Pong in the laboratory)
  32. Cases of hypokalemia, or low sodium in the blood, cannot be remedied by eating excessive banana floats, mashed potatoes, or mashed banana floats ‘n potatoes
  33. Do not use as a marker in Texas Hold ‘Em poker
  34. Do not use as a marker for your golf game on the back nine
  35. Not recommended for use in the positive reinforcement of dogs or children, despite the medication’s rumoured “bacony” aroma
  36. Reports of Adam’s Apples descending to form a third testicle are mildly supported by tests, pictures, video testimony and a spot in the next volume of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not
  37. Duplexis Pharmaceuticals does not condone the use of Propinquium by Jackass-style stunt performers due to its numbing properties and impediments to common sense
  38. Do not operate heavy machinery if you can help it because those are low-paying and low-status jobs, despite the high level of skill and concentration required to do so successfully
  39. Abstain from the use of metaphors while using Propinquium—there are reports that they have gotten out of hand by when used by some patients and resulted in more than a few broken marriages
  40. Do not get married while using Propinquium
  41. Avoid making serious, life-altering decisions or at least have your pharmacist co-sign any loans or mafia-related IOUs
  42. Messianic fervor and belief in supernatural abilities will wear off within forty-eight hours of use: ability to walk on water will subside within a week
  43. Do not gamble while on Propinquium—unless you have a system, in which case you’d be a fool not to bet the mortgage payments
  44. If you sense a prickling beneath your skin, that’s no silly trick of the mind: you’re one of the lucky few to develop an actual new layer of skin known as “Triceratops Hide”
  45. Instances of hair growth on the tongue have been reported, but Duplexis is currently developing a specially designed mousse for styling (working title, “Tongue Sheen”)
  46. Urge to watch Adam Sandler movies can be combated with large doses of alcohol, ether
  47. The efficacy of Propinquium improves in those with a sedate, sedentary lifestyle: discontinue any health programs while taking this medication
  48. Not to be used in conjunction with pink camouflage clothing because, well, we’re all adults here, aren’t we?
  49. Reports of patients unprovable boasts at having read all of In Search of Lost Time, even more widespread use of the adjective “Proustian”
  50. Beware of counterfeit versions of Propinquium—they can present serious risks to your health



If New Slow Cooker Recipes Were Pitched the Same Way as Television Programs

beef-stewINT. OFFICE – DAY

A swell office, if you like IKEA furniture and clear glass awards. Oh, and posters of old, classic slow cooker recipes that the person sitting behind the desk wishes he was involved in developing.

Speaking of, a slim and nerdy type sits behind the desk, chewing on an arm of his glasses while he flips through recipe cards: this is BLAINE, our Recipe Development Executive.

Sitting in front of him is ERNEST, the Recipe Writer, a pathetic wastrel of a chef, chewing his nails and tapping his feet.


Meh…I don’t know. Is this based on a previously existing recipe?


Nope. One hundred percent original!


Too bad. It would really help us if there was already an established audience for this.


The last time we spoke, you said the world needed a new beef stew recipe. It was time, you said.


But, really—beef stew? Doesn’t Campbell’s already have a beef stew?


Surely there’s room for more than just one—


Have you thought about cumin?


I’m sorry?


OK, maybe ginger. Or how about ras el hanout? People like spicy.


I guess I could consider—


You know what, if you take out the beef and put in a root vegetable, we might be able to sell to a younger demo of chefs. Vegan is so hot right now.


I don’t know if roots are really part of my vision.


How about lamb? Lamb is skewing younger these days.

Blaine drops the recipe cards on his desk top and puts his glasses backs on. Leans forward on his elbow, serious now.


I’d like to think that my MBA leaves me uniquely qualified to tell you how to best cook food. Even though I’ve never been in a kitchen in my life.

Ernest considers.


Maybe something kind of Moroccan?


Sounds kind of spicy. People don’t like spicy. Also: do we have to tell people you’re from Toronto? That plays like shit across the country.


When I was growing up, I had a cousin who lived in Fenlon Falls.



Small town. Plays to the hicks. I like it. But, I’m going to have to pass. I just feel as if your recipe lacks focus. It’s all over the place.


Oh. I felt pretty confident about it before I came in here.


Sure you did. You’re an artist! By the way, we have a few chicken noodle recipes we’re having trouble cracking. Do you want to take a run at those? For no money, of course.


Come on. I have some self-respect.

Blaine gives Ernest a knowing glare.


OK. It’s just nice to get email from a recipe company. Makes me feel important.


That’s the spirit!

Ernest rises and exits. Blaine leans back and puts his feet up on the desk.



I’m an awful human being.


Reduce, Reuse, Rewrite


I love recycling. For me, this is generally restricted to cans of pasta sauce and Dick Cavett jokes, but I came upon another opportunity while editing my novel.

I have spent five years working on the book (on and off, not straight through) and, worried that my periods away might have undercut the integrity of the overall work, I weeded through the manuscript looking for oft-repeated words and phrases. Discovering an add-in for Microsoft Word that scanned a document and produced a report, I found myself looking at the entirety of my novel reduced to an alphabetical list of words accompanied by a number indicating how often it was used; with each new number, the alphabetising started anew. It was a fascinating way of viewing those words I had worked on for so long, re-ordered and shaken free of context. It made my work sharper and forced me to confront why I overuse the word “braying”.

Employing what is, in essence, a cut-up technique, I now provide the following poem culled from the words that didn’t appear all that often. Enjoy! Or don’t. Or, cut it up and make a new one.


From the Department of Irregular Words


The Grotesque spy

Conveniently overhears;

Pushes homicide


Pantomime sparrow

Unleashes culminating verse;

Caucasian counterparts and

women cat-dancing

in the blithe discourtesy of

anemic mysteries.


Mid-argument cross-current rays

on a high-speed wood-panelled tilt-a-whirl

anchored by a sponge



Flinty fraternizing opposing thrill-kill alibis

the fleshy homeowner’s lament.


Writing wasn’t thought

when the late high heart

waited to trip your childhood

And break your goddamn neck.


Yellow cracked sounds

when Father returns for a four ear response

and terrible breath


Rounded plastic hips,

Mother has written beyond suffering men.


She’s calling.

Appeared, sit-kneed to explain,

“Get drunk on the pale palm.

Ever surrounded, seven shoes in the right rubber aisle.

Conversations don’t prove fellowship


The flat twisted phrase

a wild trick of the reflected evening

shuffle-board squeals our struggled solace

when handsome amorous groups

framed romantic menace.

In Memoriam: VHS and the Philosophical Rewind



On September 15th, 1830, William Huskisson died because the world sped up and he didn’t notice.

Poor bastard.  Huskisson, a man whose chief talents apparently lay in a facility with the French language and inheriting great sums of money, dove into British politics after witnessing the dawn of the French revolution as a young man. He served several constituencies with consistency if not distinction and yet will never be remembered for any of his middling achievements. Instead, he is remembered for his appearance at the opening of the LiverpoolManchester Railway, whereupon he stood on the edge of one train while misjudging the speed and proximity of another (George Stephen’s Rocket) approaching on an adjacent track. Never mind his work reforming the Navigation Acts as President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy—Huskisson has become known for being pulled under the wheels of a train and forever after as the first railway fatality, to say nothing of his pioneering work as patron saint of klutzes.

Perhaps his story is less an ode to the comic ballet of fatal disfigurement beneath the wheels of a locomotive so much as it is a cautionary tale; one about speed, the rush of advancement and the simple pleasures of not being killed by a train.

Our family VHS machine was a JVC top-loader. Hitting ”eject‟ was followed by a glorious whirl of gears and gathering hush of elegant hydraulics, which only heightened the anticipation of a young boy whose palm gushed sweat over his rented copy of Code of Silence (which chronicled, if the video box was to be believed, Chuck Norris as a “good cop having a very bad day”).  Over time, the action of that ejection became less graceful and more like a dog cacking up a bone fragment. But when it was new, it lifted up slowly and came to a cushioned stop with an adorable sigh.

As much as I loved that sound, and the confident interlocking of cogs as the tape was pulled from the casing and run along the video heads, I loved even more when the movie was finished. Before watching the second movie (and there was always another as video renting was the last gasp of the classic double feature viewing habit), you had to rewind the tape. Instead of frustration at the curse of sitting idly by in a hopelessly pedestrian analog world, this demanded, and inspired, patience. You could always pull the tape out and slap in the next, but rewind fees were usurious and a silly thing to pay for, like the privilege of taking your own money out of the bank.

Better than forced meditation, the rewind offered a quiet break to discuss the movie you’d just watched. Later in the arc of VHS history, you were able to watch broadcast television when the tape in the VCR was stopped. But in the early top-loader days this was not an option. To press stop meant a black screen and silence. And to rewind the tape meant the same but accompanied with a lulling hum from the machine; slow at first, the wheels struggling to pull the tape back right from the end, then picking up speed mid-way. This provided the perfect rhythm for conversation, shocked into silence from the sudden halt of the end credit music, then the slow slog into review.

“So. What’d you think?”

“It was good.”

“Yeah. Yeah, it was.”

“I liked the music. It was by a band called Tangerine Dream.”


“I think that’s their name.”

“No, I mean you liked it? It sounded like elevator music.”

“That’s a little harsh.”

“No, it was just… not what I expected.”

“It does give it a weird feel. Not like any other teen comedy.”

“How many other teen comedies have the lead guy running hookers out of his parent’s house?”

“Point taken.”

Before long, a list of Risky Business virtues were judged greater than the comparative sins of Private School and all were in agreement that Tom Cruise was a better star whereas Matthew Modine was the better actor.

Then technology had to rear its ugly, ergonomically-correct head and ruin the whole thing. Once DVDs arrived we could bid farewell to the double bill (one viewing of the movie plus a cursory trip through the extra features and Jimmy Kimmel was on), to say nothing of the rewind. How, pray tell, is the modern-day film watcher supposed to accurately digest and analyze The Fast and the Furious without this forum for the free exchange of ideas?

Now I don’t want to come off sounding like a linear-minded veranda-squatting crank yelling at these digital kids to get off my damn analog lawn. There are many changes born of technological advance that aren’t soul-sucking harbingers of the coming apocalypse: self-defrosting freezers, universal remotes, online socialising that allows for contact without the messy human component. I propose that advancement simply because we can isn’t always worth the collateral damage. Haven’t we learned our lesson from Frankenstein? No? Of course not, because we haven’t watched it and then taken the time to discuss during the rewind (or at the very least reckon with the more suspect directorial choices made by Kenneth Branagh).

If you need a moral to savour, then I humbly suggest this: time-saving developments are only as good as the activities we undertake with those newly discovered moments. As long as conversation is trumped by nattering, and interaction confused with connection, we’ll never tease out the subtle ambiguities of the Kevin Smith oeuvre and that, ladies and gentleman, is a world I shudder to contemplate.

Bonus feature moral: watch for on-coming trains. They are moving faster than you think.

I’ma Let You Finish: Random Thoughts on How the Ladies Might Be Right about Male Privilege

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If Peggy McIntosh is right and white privilege is an “Invisible Knapsack” that holds the benefits of being born a particular shade, one can safely assume that male privilege is an “Invisible Fanny Pack”, sticky with energy drink residue and adorned with a sports logo (either staggeringly racist or sexist in a mud-flap sort of way). Likely there is also an “Invisible Messenger Bag” option for the hip fellows who think they’re not a part of the problem because they read the first twenty pages of The Beauty Myth.



There has to be a better way to demonstrate my solidarity with women than listening to the entire Belle and Sebastian catalogue. I mean I’ll do it, but I’m probably going to pout the whole time. (Note: pouting usually results in me getting a cookie, so come prepared.)



Here’s the thing: as a male (and a straight and white one to boot!), certain promises were made to me. Not out loud mind you, but implicitly I was told many times that, in general, things would work out for me. The tacit understanding was that I would really just have to show up and I’d get a) a job; b) a promotion; c) a better table at the restaurant of my choice; d) taken seriously by authority figures; e) automatic conferral of “authority figure” status, and; f) a loan with any financial institution provided I gave collateral in the form of a wink and a firm handshake.

Now, at this late date, all that’s supposed to change? Why the fuck did I waste my time watching Three’s a Crowd reruns? If I knew that I’d be placed in a societal structure more closely resembling a meritocracy, I would have taken the trouble to learn my times tables, to say nothing of proper punctuation;



Suggested replacement hashtags for #NotAllMen:


#NotAllBadApples (sounds wholesome)

#ThisIsWhatAFeministCooksLike (for tie-in with food porn shots)





Discarded opening lines from Jian Ghomeshi’s infamous Facebook post:

“Look, you don’t get your face on a massive banner that is draped in a government building without being of strong moral fibre. Just ask Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jung-il, Mugabe, al-Assad, Pinochet, Qaddafi, Khomeini, Mussolini, Mao, Marcos, Ceauşescu, Reagan, Stern…”

“You are about to hear a smear campaign perpetrated by the ‘media’. How can I vilify a group to which I undoubtedly belong? That’s a solid question.”

“I never thought my victims would say anything, given my position of power. Did I say ‘victims’? I meant ‘jilted ex-girlfriends’.”

“We can argue the finer points of abuse of power, institutional failure to protect those in the employ of a federal entity, or the inaction of the union concerned, but I think we can all agree that naming an interview program ‘Q’ was the height of pretension. My only regret.”

“Why is it that if two people engage in the this kind of activity as part of a dedicated relationship filled with unsurpassed communication skills and in a safe environment it’s fine, but if I spring it on someone it’s considered a ‘felony’?”

“Would a violent predator wear such a cute leather bracelet?”


At some point before now, I should have dubbed male privilege the “Invisible Nutsack”.

Valedictions for the Modern Office: How to Make Your Email Sign off Work for You


Is your career stalled? Do you find yourself holding onto the corporate ladder while your colleagues pass you by on their way up? Do they crush your fingers and stand there for longer than they really need to? Is this jerk eating a piece of cake from the kitchen that you didn’t even know was there, getting crumbs in your eyes and making it look like you’re crying but you’re not and even if you were how is it anyone’s business how you process your emotions with other people succeeding all over the place while your career is stuck on this stupid ladder?

Well, you’re not alone.

Have you considered why your career is in a soul-sucking rut? Maybe it’s your poor networking skills. Perhaps you don’t trumpet your accomplishments in the workplace. Or possibly your cubicle collection of Valentine’s Day cards from notable serial killers is considered less of a ‘colourful quirk’ and more of a ‘disturbing off-hours hobby’.

It has to be one of those reasons, right? Wrong!

Email is the single most powerful tool of communication in today’s office, still surpassing instant messaging, HD meeting holodecks and some curious act known as face-to-face conversations, whatever those are (they sound painful and awkward).

Experts agree (one would assume, if one were to interview any) that how you sign off an email is just as important as the actual content, if not more so. Experts would also say that the sign off is called a “valediction”, because they like to show off even though it is very clear that you are on a first date and didn’t think through the whole spelling-bee-as-ice-breaker thing.

Take a look at this sampling of the most used sign offs and a handy guide as to why you’re a big dumb clod if you still use them:

“Regards” My stars, aren’t you just the picture of refinement. You’re probably wrote it while scratching your back with that ruler that no one ever wants to borrow. You’re not fooling anyone!
“Best” Snore. “Best” what? “Dressed”? “In Show”? Not valediction, I can tell you that for damn sure.
“Cheers” This isn’t a darts tourney at a seedy “Cirrhosis and Firkin”, you faux-cockney git.

Those are your standbys, aren’t they? You’re worried how long people have noticed this complete lack of originality on your part.

Slow down, Panicky Slim, and get that gun out of your mouth. Now isn’t the time to suss out who has been laughing at whom, for how long, or how many meetings have been called in Conference Room C to discuss what faces to make behind a certain person’s back. It’s time to map a plan on the road to that corner office.

Use any of these handy valedictions and hold on for the career-related rollercoaster ride of your life!

I beg you to look favourably on this, my respectful submission, Formal? No, classy. Watch those upwardly-mobile ivy league jerks steal this from you and get that big promotion you promised your wife you’d get under threat of divorce.
Alas, being this my last living breath, please RSVP to the Funny Hat Friday Committee with my sincerest salutations, That, friends, is a call to action. (Also works for Pot Luck Wednesdays and Theme Day Idea Tuesdays.)
Jag förblir din ödmjuk, lojal och sycophant smilfink, Oh, who’s this mysterious author? Not only do I want to answer her message, I want to know what the family crown looks like.
Yours truly, BA, MDIV, Ph.D, DDS, VetMB Look, if you want an email sign-off to improve your career, you clearly aren’t much of a planner. So go with lying! In this multi-media culture, who’s going to verify your claims?

You’re welcome.


Jesse McLean

Current World Events That Threaten Our Safety and Sanity Ranked From Best to Worst (an ode to Buzzfeed)

  1. Dystopian Young Adult Literature
  2. Bruce Jenner’s Current Gender Status
  3. Ebola Now a Thing Because It’s In North America
  4. Teresa Giudice
  5. The slick production values of ISIL recruiting videos
  6. The poor production values of Stephen Harper’s Attempt to Stick Canada in a Middle Eastern Quagmire to Fight ISIL
  7. Homeland without Brody
  8. The search for that missing Malaysian air liner that has turned into a de facto sequel to The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper
  9. The swarm of October mosquitoes I saw on the bus the other day
  10. The degradation of privacy in an increasingly on-line world please click this link to allow us access to all of your personal banking information.